Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to C.Y. Sun, Tientsin April 7, 1930


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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to C.Y. Sun, Tientsin April 7, 1930


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to C.Y. Sun, Tientsin April 7, 1930


April 7, 1930
Mr. C.Y. Sun
44 Cambridge Road
Tientsin, China

My dear Mr. Sun:

Your letter of February 18 reached me just before my return from a recent and somewhat hurried trip to England. Since that time. I have been more than crowded with work here and my answer to you has in consequence been delayed. Please accept my apologies for tho delay.

What you write me of the attitude in China usually assumed towards a higher degree is most interesting and confirms thet impression I had already formed on that subject. Under the circumstances, I can readily understand why you should wish Charlie to secure as much outward evidence as possible of hit attainments and progress in America. On the other hand, I am still of the opinion that some of the returned students, at least, have leaned too heavily on the degrees that they carried back home with them and have allowed the fact of their possession to curtail their own initiative and effort in lines of active and worth while service. Whether Charlies has higher degrees or not, I am sure that he will give a good account of himself and more than realize your high ambitions for him in his later life and work. I had several delightful little visits with him in London, and have heard from him once since my return to America. In my judgment, he will enjoy and gain increasingly from the life and work in London, even thought he found both a bit distasteful at the start.

I have only recently had an interview with Tom who came down to talk over his problems with me. At present it is a bit difficult to know just what to advise him, but we are making inquiries of several of the leading universities, including Harvard, to discover if possible where the best courses in government administration, international law, etc. can be found. If this plan does not work out to our complete satisfaction, there is a chance, of course, that I might be able to get Tom a temporary position in one of our own government offices, though of course I cannot promise this, ae I am not sure just how far such procedure would be in conformity with the customary practices in offices of this kind. I shall be only too ready and glad, however, to investigate and discover what can be done.
Frankly, I am a little worried about Tom lest his success and unusual popularity at Middlebury College leave him in a position where he will find it extremely difficult to readjust himself to conditions and life at home after his return. I have seen similar developments in the case of one or of my Chinese wards and in those cases have been led to feel that the stay in America had been prolonged a bit too long for their own individual good. Tom himself feels that the change is going to be a very severe one to meet and I am sure that he is right. This is in no sense a reflection on him or his spirit, but an inevitable situation which confronts a boy who becomes thoroughly imbued with American ideas and takes naturally to our free American ways, winning as he goes along the confidence and good will or his American school and college friends. Tom has done this to an unusual degree and hence the problem becomes more acute in his case. I cannot help wondering whether in view of this situation it might not be well for Tom to have a year in China in order to get back a little more into the spirit and atmosphere of his own people before he goes further with his work in America. I have not said a word to Tom about this myself, but since his last visit, I have been more than ever impressed with the nature of the problem which the boy is bound to face and which I can see is already causing him some inward uneasiness. I am just thinking out loud, as it were, to you, and am not prepared to recommend what course you should pursue, since that naturally is a matter for you and not for me to determine. The fact it I am not altogether clear myself as to what would perhaps be the wisest thing to do.

Please don’t worry about the carved black wood which forms the base for the lovely piece of jade you sent me recently. The break in the wood is of such a character that I am sure it can be mended without revealing its impairment. Madame Sze kindly delivered the jade to my boy in New York, from whom I received it recently and brought it home. I can’t tell you how deeply I value it and how thoroughly I appreciate your generous thought in sending it to me.
Mary writes me enthusiastically of her work at New Haven, and gives me a most interesting and amusing account of her experiences in practical nursing, something required as part of the regular course of all those who are at the Yale School of nursing.

The remittance to which you refer of three thousand dollar has not as yet reached me, but doubtless will in due time. Both Mary and Tom have surpluses to their credit on their accounts, so that I am not worrying on this score.

with warm personal regards, and sincere good wishes, believe me
Very sincerely yours


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


April 7, 1930


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