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ALS of Robert J Cairns, Maryknoll Catholic Mission, December 31, 1927
One page typed letter on Maryknoll Mission Headquarters letterhead, together with three contemporary photographs from China. A brief account of the Communist party led Canton Uprising of December 11, 1927 by Maryknoll priest Robert Cairns, who was attached to a Catholic mission in "Sun Chong", which was Guangdong Province at the time. Father Cairns writes that he was "caught up in the maelstrom" when the revolt occurred. "They killed burned and plundered -- it was horrible, and you may well believe that I am thankful to be away from the place. Canton may be a fine city, if you mean Canton, Ohio. ... Father Verdier, the Jesuit Superior of Nanking, whose two companions were recently killed and who himself barely escaped with his life was in Canton for a rest! And a fine rest it was -- but he was with the six priests who got away from Canton the second day of the trouble. The first morning I tried to go to the Hongkong train, when ten soldiers held me up at the point of their rifles. Then I suddenly changed my mind (a Scotch privilege, for it doesn't cost anything) I felt the urge not to go -- and I 'obeyed that impulse'. Returned to the mission, we saw smoking buildings to the north and south of us, not far from the Cathedral. Motor buses and autos were commandeers [sic] by the looting 'Reds', who terrorized the people. At night the city was aglow with huge buildings set afire by these terrible men. Over 2000 refugees escaped on our river boat to Hongkong." The Canton Uprising was an abortive attempt by the Chinese Communists Party, led in part by Russian agents, to take power by force of arms and turn Canton into a Soviet style municipality. The uprising lasted only 2 days; its failure came to be known as the "Paris Commune of the East", and caused some members of the Chines Communist Party, including Mao Zedong, to start to question the methods and strategy of the Comintern in the Chinese Revolution. Father Cairns spent many years in China; he was captured in World War II on Sancian Island by the Japanese. Single page, 4to, folded for mailing. With contemporary note at the bottom of the letter in an unknown hand; with the original mailing envelope, with Catholic Mission Sun Chong, China return address. The three black and white photographs are of contemporary Chinese people.
      [Bookseller: Antipodean Books, Maps & Prints]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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