Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Shou Kie, Tientsin, December 21, 1921

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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Shou Kie, Tientsin, December 21, 1921


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Shou Kie, Tientsin, December 21, 1921


December 21, 1921

Mr.Tsai, Shou Kie
5 Race Course Road
Tientsin, China

My dear Mr.Tsai:

Your letter of November 17 has been duly received. The boy is getting on well, though he did not react quite so rapidly after the operation as we had hoped. After talking with the doctor, I decided to let him invest a week with some very good friends in the outskirts of the town, who have on several occasions ministered to the needs of our Eastern friends. He responded well to this change; and when he left for Hartford several days ago, he seemed in excellent health and spirits. Mr. Manning, at my request, gave him private instruction to help him in making good the losses in his school work incurred by his illness.

Before Guo Fang left, I went over with him in detail his cash account. I haven’t the figures with me at the moment, but, as I recall it, he had a balance of about $1000 on hand. The operation, nurses expenses, and infirmary changres will, of course, make a pretty big hole in this, for it costs a good bit to be sick nowadays, at least in this country. Dr. Balch, who performed the operation, is one of the best surgeons in New England and is regularly called by us for operations of this kind. As he gets not infrequently as much as $1000 for an operation, the charge of $300 in this case is reasonable. I have always felt in matters of this kind the extra investment is a safe and wise insurance. I am enclosing the bills as they have come to me, as you have requested. If it turns out that any of those concerned are in a hurry for their pay, I will see that their accounts are met from the funds which I have on hand.

Yes, we are all watching with the keenest interest and the fondest hopes what is going on at Washington these days. If only China had a stable government that commanded the respect and confidence not only of the world but of her own people, I believe that practically everything she desires as a nation would be granted at this time. As it is, much good has been accomplished and final and full justice must, inevitably be done, unless we are compelled to acknowledge that nations have no standards of honesty and morality, what ever they may profess. The Washington conference means, in my judgement, a long step forward towards the day when international confidence and goodwill shall be accepted as a matter of course, as they are between friends and reputable business concerns.

You have had so many travelling pedagogues from America in your section of the world of late that I should almost hesitate to follow the beaten path these worthies, even if the opportunity presented itself. I hope, however, you won’t take everything that is preached to you as gospel truth, or even as representing always the best opinions of America educators. Messrs, Dewey and Russel, at least, are far from being worshiped by the leading and most thoughtful educators of America, even though they have large followings among the more noisy and so-called “modern educational psychologists. I don’t know one of my school master friends, or college presidents even, who accept the teachings of these men, at least without many and pronounced reservations.

Please remember me most warmly to your boys and your son-in-law, Yit Sing Wang, all of whom I remember with sincere affection and in whose life and progress my interest is as keen as ever. This letter should reach you not long before the New Year festivities are upon; so accept also my heartiest good wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.

Very sincerely yours.


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


December 21, 1921


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