A native of South Carolina and a graduate of Columbia (South Carolina) Theological Seminary, Dubose arrived in China with his wife, Pauline (McAlpine), in 1872 and settled in Suzhou (Soochow), a city of gardens and canals. He served there 38 years until his death. Although an eloquent preacher to non-Christian audiences, he is best remembered as the founder of the Anti-Opium League.
The league sought to publish facts about the curse of opium and mobilize public opinion against its trade. To this end Dubose enlisted the support of President Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Congress, and the International Opium Commission. Success came in 1906 when the British Parliament declared the trade “morally indefensible.” A petition signed by over a thousand China missionaries was presented to the emperor. An imperial edict, following verbatim the petition Dubose had drafted, prohibited its trade and use. He was honored in Suzhou by the erection of a stone tablet and in the United States by being elected moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (Southern) in 1891.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
- Hampden Coit Dubose, Preaching in Sinim: The Gospel to the Gentiles, with Hints and Helps for Addressing a Heathen Audience (1873), The Image, the Dragon, and the Demon: Or the Three Religions of China: Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism (1887), and Memoirs of Dr. J. Leighton Wilson (1895). Dubose also published a popular book of sermons and a number of Bible study aids in Chinese. Nettie Dubose Junkin, ed., For the Glory of God: Memoirs of Dr. and Mrs. H. C. Dubose (c. 1910); P. Frank Price, Our China Investment (1927).