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James Legge, Missionary and Scholar
By his daughter, Helen Edith Legge (1905)


DR LEGGE'S thirty-three years of missionary service in Malacca and Hong Kong ended in 1870. Other work as Professor of Chinese in the University of Oxford, was taken up by him in 1877, and continued until his death in 1897. An account of some salient episodes in his life was prepared by one of his daughters, at first as a labour of love for private circulation alone. There seemed, however, so much in this of interest historically in relation to the beginnings of mission work in China, so much that brought out the fine qualities of the Chinese character, and so much that showed the many-sided activities of the zealous missionary and strenuous pioneer in a new colony, that it was determined to issue the account to a wider circle.

Seeing that his missionary work ended over thirty years ago, a more detailed account than is here given would have had interest only to a few who could remember him personally; and a fuller account of his work in Chinese scholarship, desirable though this might be in many respects, would have appealed to but a small number of students. And, moreover, to have dealt adequately with the literary side of Dr Legge's career would have taxed heavily the time and energy of a scholar versed in the language and thought of China. The Rev. Richard Lovett, who had shown much interest and sympathy in the preparation of the biography, died immediately after the manuscript went to press. To him, and even more to Mr D. J. Legg of The Religious Tract Society, thanks are due for invaluable assistance in enlarging the scope of the original account, assistance rendered at the cost of considerable labour and thought.

To the Rev. George Owen of Peking a special word of acknowledgment is due for his great kindness in reading the proofs with particular reference to Chinese questions.


Chapter I. Early Life
Chapter II. The Choice of His Life Work
Chapter III. Life at Malacca
Chapter IV. Hong Kong and the Chinese Classics
Chapter V. Life in Hong Kong
Chapter VI. The Term Question
Chapter VII. Incidents of Chinese Life and Work
Chapter VIII. The Shield King of the Tai-ping Rebellion
Chapter IX. Ch'ea Kin Kwang, the First Chinese Martyr
Chapter X. Extracts from Letters written by Mrs Legge
Chapter XI. A tour up the west river
Chapter XII. Later Years in Hong Kong
Chapter XIII. A Tour in North China
Chapter XIV. Later Years in England

An Article about the Chinese Classics

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