George Smith (bishop)

George Smith (Bishop)

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George Smith (bishop)

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George Smith (Chinese: 施美夫; 19 June 1815 – 14 December 1871) was a missionary in China and the Anglican bishop of Victoria (Hong Kong) from 1849 to 1865, the first of this newly established diocese.

Smith was born in Wellington, Somerset on 19 June 1815. He obtained a BA in classics from Oxford in 1837 (and an MA in 1843 and DD in 1849) and was ordained as a deacon in 1839 and a priest in 1840. He rapidly became involved in the Church Missionary Society and arrived in Hong Kong on 25 September 1844 as one of the first two Church of England missionaries to China. Poor health forced an early return to England, but Smith's Narrative of his period in China was published in 1847.

Smith worked hard to rise money for further missionary work in China, and in 1849 was made bishop of the new diocese of Victoria (Hong Kong) and warden of the newly founded St Paul's Missionary College (see St. Paul's College). With his new wife Lydia, née Brandram, Smith arrived in Hong Kong on 29 March 1850 and threw himself into missionary and educational work. He learned Mandarin, becoming sufficiently fluent to conduct services in it.

Smith was also responsible for missionary work in China and Japan. A weak constitution limited this work, but he nevertheless visited Japan (1860), the Ryukyu islands (1850), India and Ceylon (1852–1853), Australia (1859), and elsewhere, partly to work for emigrants from China.

Smith left Hong Kong for the last time in 1864, retiring from the bishopric the next...
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