Letter from C.Y. Sun, Tientsin, to Alfred E. Stearns, February 20, 1923


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Letter from C.Y. Sun, Tientsin, to Alfred E. Stearns, February 20, 1923


Letter from C.Y. Sun, Tientsin, to Alfred E. Stearns, February 20, 1923


My dear Dr. Stearns

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of 9th Sept, 29th Nov, and 19th Jan, last for which I thank you.

Before I begin dealing with the matters referred therein I should apologize for not having answered the earlier messages from you some time ago and the excuse I have for the delay is that on my arrival home here from Shanghai I found other work so pressing that I was compelled to attend to it in preference to my family matters.

Needless to say, that my work in Shanghai recently was a heavy one. Happily it has very promising prospects and if matters are not interfered with, it is hoped that the Hwai Valley Conservancy Scheme may soon find solution and thus end for that district the perennial innundation that has caused such untold suffering there, The project should have been initiated by the Government but as it has taken no move in the matter it remain for private individuals to lend a helping hand which I have been doing now close upon a year in conjunction with other friend, Chinese & Foreign purely & simply out of sympathy and good will towards those inhabiting that region who appear so helpless in helping themselves.

The scheme involves in hydraulic engineering and the raising of a large fund. In this connection it is hoped that Dr. John R. Freeman of Providence R. I. will be persuaded to come to China supervise the technical part of the project.

Schemes of this nature do meet with considerable opposition from various quarters arising from ignorance and deeply rooted traditions and were it not generally recognized that all who are now engaged in pushing the matters actuated by charitable and public spirit motives, the large undertaking they have now in view should not have made the progress that now marks it.

You will now understand that with this burden hanging heavily upon my mind and the work that was necessary to pave the way to facilitate the successful consummation of the scheme left me little leisure to attend to my own affairs.

Now I come to your letters, they are to me a treasure and in dealing with the matters referred to, a pleasant diversion from the heavy deliberations of the recent months that have been extremely enervating.

I now dwell upon your letters in their order. The camp life the children have had will stand in their good stead. Mingling with the children of the land will give them an insight into American life unobtainable otherwise. The open air, the inseparable activities, the teachers, the companions etc all fused into one and in closest contact must be a feature admirably sound and commendable which I hope some day will be introduced into my country here. The slight disappointment which you met when the young people were left to themselves with their guide after the close of the camp session is one of the usual passing phase when yought [sic] are tried without intellectual direction.

In regard to Arthur’s Tsinghwa Scholarship, Dr. Alfred Sze who has returned on furlough has told me that it must be renewed every year to secure continuity and that as applications for it are mailed from the Educational Mission each year about this time for approval of the Tsinghwa Authorities in Peking, he recommended that early step be taken in behalf of Arthur so I cable you accordingly in confirmation of which I send you copies of the messages depatched [sic] from here, one of which you will see was from Dr. Sze himself to his colleagues in Washington directing them to assist you in filing Arthur’s application. The person of Dr. Yung Kwai I presume you know- at least you have heard of him. He is now the Councilor of our Legation in Washington and is Locum Tenens of Dr. Sze during the latter’s absence.

I hope there will be no difficulty in the renewal of Arthur’s Scholarship but should the application be too late for inclusion with this year’s submission, it would not disappoint us. Rather, it would serve as a lesson to us in the future in our sending in the necessary papers in time to go with the batch.

I am not certain that an oversight has not occurred in the payment of Arthur’s Scholarship allowance as I think the remittance would be in hand if an oversight had not happened as Dr. Sze has intimated that of the 3 applicaants [sic] he assisted, 2 already have had their dues snet [sic] them. Please let me know further to enable us to look up the matter if necessary.

Now I come to your letter of 29th Sept, enclosing statement of account of the children which appear to us entirely satisfactory, as you say which we duly appreciate that present day prices are not what they were during the pre war days and judging from the prospect of the immediate future high ruling would probably prevail for a long time to come for with heavy taxation and heavy rate of wages as a vicious circle continuing, we must bow to the inevitable.

Your remarks about the young folks are all encouraging- particularly those concerning Charlie who seems to be developing in the right way, Tom is not up to Charlie in many respects and this may be partially due, as you say, to his being younger. If Latin is too hard for him just leaving it aside for the time being would seem best.

I can well imagine what a problem you have on hand in Mary, and duly appreciate the difficulties Miss Clemons may have with her st tiems [sic] in persuading her to take to the open air and the necessary exercise, when she was here we always found her prefering [sic] her room and books and it was a bit of a trial to make her to do the needful for her health. Your suggestion that she may be sent to a boarding school where she would have to accept the definite routine provided for all the school girls may be the wisest change, as you, like us here have found it so difficult to make her come into line with our idea of physical and mental developement [sic].

Arthur is doing well in M.I.T, and we presume would be finding things easier as he progresses. We are sorry to hear that Lin is finding his school work somewhat of a trial, difficult preparation is probably the chief cause of his difficulty which seemed rather common with the Chinese students at the beginning in European and American institutions partly due to their imperfect knowledge of the English lanusge [sic], but as they improved in it they found their situations gradually become easier and finally not only they negotiated through but in many cases graduated with honors.

Sheh we presume is advancing as usual. He should turn out well as he is thinking lad.

I understand from friends that some of our youths abroad are musically inclined and some prone towards drawing or painting and it is suggested that as a side issue a little cassuai [sic] training might be given them to bring out their latent talent.

We do not know if any of our children are inclined that way but if you should see that they are, some encouragement might be given them as a trial as it is possible there may be in some of them latent inclination which should be developed.

I mention this as in this country music and art do give the posessor [sic] a status which much appreciated.

There is one matter which I should have mentioned before and that is the training of Chinese youths in Europe and America one factor of importance to observers here is that there is dome [sic] difference in them arising from religious Conviction. We find those that are Christians doing the best work in China- hence we are deeply impressed by the fact- and that being so I would very much like to have my children developed religiously as well. If you will persuade them to become members of some Church you would be meeting our views here.

I speak, of course, for my children only and should Mr Lin and Mr Sheh feel in the same way as I do I would advise further. If I am right, Sheh is already a Christian.

The articles dispatched from here to which your kind letter of 19th Jan made reference will, it is hoped turn up soon and in good condition. There has been a delay in their transmission and of this nature are generally the rule than the exception in our present day conveyances. The world apparently has not got over certain war conditions and until absolute normalcy has returned losses and delays will remain the disturbing factors in our inter-traffics.

I am sending articles to you we are exercising our little judgement here which may not at times turn out as we would wish i. e. in despatching things better choice of what you need might have been exercise had we had some guidance. We would, therefore, be very glad at all time to receive some direction from you as what would be suitable and useful for your personal and household purpose to enable us here to do the right selection and in this I hope you will not be too modest to hesitate.

I remitted you by telegraphic transfer in December last G. $5,000.00, which I hope has been made over to you for credit in the usual way as you have been doing.

Our North China lacks rain while in the States, according to reecnt [sic] press telegrams, there has been wintry storms more than wanted, a little exchange between us would be welcomed but unfortunately it could not be done through human agency.

With very kind regards from all here to your goodself, Miss Clemons and the other members of the family.

Very truly yours

P. S.
Copies of Telegrams as follows
Stearns Andover Massachusetts
Application renewal Arthur Tsinghwa scholarship must made Immediately consult Yungkwai Legation
Sun (Tientsin 17/2/23)
Chinese Legation Washington Yungkwai
Stearns Andover will apply for Sun Kwan I renewal Tsinghwai scholarship please see Chao at once and both help
Sze (Tientsin 17/2/23 )
Dr. Alfred Sze Peking
Chao re (regarding) Sun Kwan I's scholarship application immediately favorable attentioning [sic].
Yungkwai (Washington 20/2/23 )


C.Y. Sun


Phillips Academy


February 20, 1923


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