James Laidlaw Maxwell

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A Statue of James Laidlaw Maxwell.

James Laidlaw Maxwell Senior (Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Má Ngá-kok; Chinese: 馬雅各; born Scotland, 18 March 1836; died March 1921) was the first Presbyterian missionary to Taiwan (Formosa). He served with the English Presbyterian Mission.

Maxwell studied medicine and took his degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He worked in London at Brompton Hospital and at the Birmingham General Hospital. He was an elder in the Broad Street Presbyterian Church before being sent to Taiwan by the Presbyterian Church of England (now within the United Reformed Church) in 1864. He donated a small printing press to the church which was later used to print the Taiwan Church News.

On 16 June 1865, he established the first Presbyterian church in Taiwan, this date now celebrated by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan as its anniversary. First his mission centred in the then-capital Taiwan Fu (now Tainan City); in 1868 he moved near Qijin (now part of Kaohsiung) where his work, both medical and missionary, became more welcomed. In early 1872 he advised Canadian Presbyterian missionary pioneer George Leslie Mackay to start his work in northern Taiwan, near Tamsui.

He married Mary Anne Goodall (died January 1918) of Handsworth[disambiguation needed] on 7 April 1868 in Hong Kong. They had two sons, John Preston and James Laidlaw Jnr, both of whom later also became medical missionaries. He retired in London in 1885 where he formed and became the first secretary of the Medical Missionary Association. He and his sons oversaw the construction of Sin-lâu Hospital in Tainan, the first western-style hospital in Taiwan. The younger J. L. Maxwell served in the Tainan hospital from 1900 to 1923.

References[edit]

  • Hugh Macmillan (1953) Then Till Now in Formosa: English and Presbyterian Missions in Formosa. 30–34, 98.

External links[edit]