Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.
Peking , April 13, 1892 . (Received May 27.)
Sir: The missionary associations engaged in work in China have long recognized the necessity of establishing schools for the young in which natives should be educated who might become in their turn teachers and preachers. As to the range of the, education to be provided there has been a difference of opinion. Some missionaries have contended that money donated for religious work should not be used for educational work except of the lowest and most necessary grade.
Others have contended that in a country like China, whose people hold education in such high esteem, the very best advantages should be afforded to the youths who are to be prepared to be able to influence their countrymen.
Influenced by these latter ideas the ordinary school in some places has developed into the college. This has notably been the case at Tungcho, 14 miles from Peking, where the American board established in 1872 a common school, which is now about to take rank as a college, and which deserves by its thoroughness and advanced grades of study this new distinction. The most notable departure in this line is, however, the establishment of the Peking University by the Methodist mission. The institution was fully organized the 2d day of December, 1891. The board of managers met at this legation that day and adopted all the rules and regulations required to organize the practical working of the university. Among the members of the board of managers are to be found Mr. J. H. Ferguson, minister of the Netherlands; Sir Robert Hart, inspector-general of imperial maritime customs; Dr. W. A. P. Martin, president of the Tungwen College; Mr. John Rhein, interpreter of the Netherlands legation; Dr. Henry Blodgett, the oldest missionary now here; many other missionaries, both English and American; some other gentlemen, and myself.
The managers represent the best intellect among the foreigners in China. The design is to furnish to the students all the branches of an elevated collegiate course. A very large plot of ground almost adjoining the premises of the Methodist mission has been purchased from the Italian legation, and suitable buildings are now being erected with great rapidity. The president of the university, who is ex officio president of the board of managers, is Rev. L. W. Pilcher. The vice-presidents of the board of managers are Dr. W. A. P. Martin, Rev. Henry [Page 105] Blodgett, D. D., and myself. The institution is designed to be as little sectarian as possible. From the members of the faculty the only declaration required is that they hold to the doctrines of the scripture as set forth in the Apostles’ Creed, and that they will teach nothing contrary thereto. All the bishops of the Methodist Church who have visited Peking have enthusiastically indorsed the plan of a university. The board at home has approved it. A charter has been granted by the State of New York.
I do not doubt that the institution will be successful in its main object of securing for China a highly educated native ministry.
I have, etc.,