Fifty years in China; the memoirs of John Leighton Stuart, missionary and ambassador.
He spoke the Hangzhou dialect. At age 11, he left China to live for several years with relatives of his mother in Mobile, Alabama. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and later Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, where he aspired to become a missionary educator, inspired by the influence of Robert Elliott Speer.
In , after his marriage, he returned to China with his wife, Aline Rodd, of New Orleans, and became a second-generation missionary in China. Together, they had one child, Jack, who would become a Presbyterian minister also. His missionary work in China was sponsored by U. President Woodrow Wilson's church in Washington, D.
US Ambassador to China, John Leighton Stuart (Part III) - Vision Times
Stuart's family had close ties with Wilson's family in Staunton, Virginia, where Stuart's father, John Linton, had been named after Wilson's uncle. In January , Stuart became the first president of Yenching University.
Over the next two decades, he built "the Beijing institution into China's greatest university" according to the historian John Pomfret. He quickly made the university among the top universities, and the leading Christian institution, in China. He developed the Yenching campus now home to Beijing University in traditional Chinese architectural styles, even though many Chinese faculty preferred a campus more western in design. Stuart's hope was that China would one day absorb the institution as its own, rather than view it as an imposition of cultural imperialism. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Tsinghua University.
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He forged partnerships between Yenching and Harvard University , and in helped to create the Harvard—Yenching Institute , an important legacy in cultural exchange. He cared much about students and teachers and their interactions and is remembered fondly by Yenching alumni for performing their weddings and for hosting an ongoing salon for student intellectuals on campus. Princeton awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters in In , Yenching threw him a 60th birthday banquet, where kitchen and cleaning workers presented him with a plaque to hang above his door that read, "His kindness knows no class boundaries.
After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in , Yenching University ceased to exist. In , Peking University relocated to the Yenching campus and absorbed most of its academic departments while Tsinghua University absorbed other departments.
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The official Beijing University history museum makes no mention of Stuart or the institution's western ties, yet the campus stands as his memorial. Stuart had been an early advocate of tearing up the unequal treaties with China, calling on the United States in to take the lead with 'an act of aggressive goodwill. He was sympathetic to students and faculty at Yenching who participated in May Fourth Movement — and May Thirtieth Movement He favored the Northern Expedition against the warlord factions in Beijing.
He led a protest with Yenching students against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria When the invaders overran Beijing in , the Japanese ordered Stuart to fly the puppet regime flag at the Yenching University campus and offer his personal "thanks" to the Japanese military for the institution's "liberation.
After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor , the Japanese incarcerated Stuart in Beijing for three years and eight months until the war ended. His deep involvement with China's politics, education and culture won him respect among Chinese intellectuals and students during the s and s. Wen Yiduo , a scholar whom Mao Zedong and the Chinese communists often praised, expressed his respect and admiration for John Leighton Stuart in his famous last speech.
On July 4, , Stuart was appointed the U. Ambassador to China and, in this position, worked in concert with George C. Marshall to mediate between Nationalists and Communists. He forged ties with the leaders in the Nationalist Party , particularly Chiang Kai-shek , and with Communist leader Zhou Enlai , both of whom who spoke the same Zhejiang dialect as Stuart.
He had taught and protected underground Communist Party members at Yenching University for years, some of whom had become party leaders. After Marshall's departure from China in January , Stuart led the mediation efforts that changed from all-out support of the Nationalist government to mediating the coalition government, to negotiating an understanding with the Communist party.
When the Nationalist government fled Nanjing, and Communist forces entered the city in April , Stuart maintained the U. Embassy in Nanjing. Dav Pilkey. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Description This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world , and other notations in the work.
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