at the court. Further afield, the vicar apostolic of Sichuan, Gabriel-Taurin Dufresse, was beheaded in 1815.

But developments in China were not the only factors contributing to the precarious state of the Christian enterprise around 1800. External factors such as the declining power of Spain and Portugal, the dissolution of the Society of Jesus in 1773 and the impact of the French Revolution all contributed to a waning of the missionary spirit in Catholic Europe, bringing about declining financial support which considerably weakened the missionary endeavour in China. Although the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists or Vincentians) -designated to continue the work of the suppressed Jesuit order - sent its first missionaries to China in 1784, by 1820 only twenty-eight Lazarist priests had arrived in China. The Missions Etrangères de Paris also experienced a decline in personnel for the China mission field, and there is no reason to believe that the situation was different for the vicariates apostolic of the Italian Friars Minor or the Spanish Dominicans. The Christian endeavour in China had reached a low point in 1815.

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