Williams, Samuel Wells, Lld (2)

Williams, Samuel Wells, LL.D.

a missionary, was born in Utica, N.Y., September 22, 1812. While attending the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, he accepted a proposal to go to China and take charge of a printing-office recently established there by the American Board of Missions. He arrived at Canton, October 25, 1833, and joined with E.C. Bridgmal as editor of the Chinese Repository, which he both printed and edited until it ceased in 1851. He contributed about one hundred and thirty articles to this magazine. In 1835 he removed his office to Macao, in order to complete the printing of Dr. Medhurst's Hokkeen Dictionary. During the winter of 1837-38 he began to print the Chinese Chrestomathy, to which he contributed one half, and he also devoted his attention to learning Japanese. In 1844 he returned to the United States, but went to China again in the same year. In 1853-54 he accompanied Commodore M.C. Perrv in two expeditions to Japan, and gave material aid in concluding the treaty. In 1855 he was appointed secretary and interpreter to the United States legation in China. He resigned his connection with the American Board in 1857. In 1862 he went to Pekin and resided there for several years, completing here, besides his official duties, A Syllabic Dictionary of the Chinese Language. In order to superintend the printing personally, he spent the year 1873 at Shanghai, where it was stereotyped and published. His health being broken, he returned to the United States in 1875, but went back to China in 1876 to close up his affairs there. During his service he had acted as charge d'affaires nine times, which amounted to about five years of service as acting minister. In 1877 he was appointed professor of Chinese in Yale College. In 1881 he was elected president of the American Bible Society, and in the same year president of the American Oriental Society. He died February 16, 1884. Outside of his philological work he published the Middle Kingdom (2 volumes 1883). See his Life and Letters, by his son (N.Y. 1888).

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