to Mr. Evarts
Peking , December 31, 1880. (Received March 8, 1881.)
Sir: As every event which shows in a marked degree the reception of western ideas by this people and especially by their high officials is of public importance, I deem it not out of place to write briefly of the erection, mainly through the contributions of Chinese officials, of a hospital at Tientsin. This hospital is under the charge of western physicians.
In August, 1879, Dr. Mackenzie, of the London Missionary Society, Dr. Irwin, and Miss Howard were called by Li Hung Chang, the viceroy to attend his wife, whom the Chinese physicians had failed to relieve of serious disease. They were successful in their treatment of her case. Since then Miss Howard, who is a regularly educated physician sent out by the American Methodist Episcopal Missionary Society, has been much consulted by the wife of the viceroy. In recognition of the services of Dr. Mackenzie and Miss Howard the viceroy granted them the use of a portion of a temple as a hospital and dispensary. He soon became so much interested in their work that he listened favorably to the suggestion of Dr. Mackenzie to build a hospital. Accordingly he and other provincial officers contributed funds which have sufficed to pay nearly the whole cost of the building, and during the last year and a half the viceroy has given liberally for the payment of the current expenses for the care of patients. On the 2d of December the new hospital was formally opened. The foreign consuls and other distinguished guests were present and appropriate addresses were made.
There are and long have been other hospitals under the charge of missionary physicians. To some of these, as notably to that so long and successfully conducted by our distinguished citizen, Dr. Peter Parker, wealthy Chinese have made contributions. But this is, I think, the first hospital which has been erected, and which is supported wholly by funds contributed by the Chinese. This recognition of our methods of medical and surgical treatment, and this adoption of our plan of benevolent care for the sick and suffering poor, are certainly very gratifying. Every step like this which the Chinese take towards our ways of thinking and doing has really a public significance, and tends to facilitate our transaction of public business with them according to our western methods. This is my justification for occupying the attention of the Department with the subject of this communication. I have, &c.,