The Kings Candlesticks - Family Trees
arrow arrow arrow
William GILES [7495]
Sophie ALLEN [7496]
Frederick DICKINSON [7497]
(Abt 1762-1818)
Mary STOW [12908]
Rev John Allen GILES D.C.L. of Churchill Court SOM [2048]
Anna Sarah DICKINSON [7494]

Professor Herbert Allen GILES M.A. L.L.D. [27]


Family Links

1. Catherine Maria (Kate) FENN [7]

2. Elise Williamina EDERSHEIM [2059]

Professor Herbert Allen GILES M.A. L.L.D. [27]

  • Born: 8 Dec 1845, Oxford, Oxfordshire. UK
  • Marriage (1): Catherine Maria (Kate) FENN [7] on 30 Jun 1870 in Nayland SFK
  • Marriage (2): Elise Williamina EDERSHEIM [2059] on 28 Dec 1883 in S.S. Phillip & James Oxford
  • Died: 13 Feb 1935, Cambridge. aged 89
  • Crem.: Feb 1935

bullet  General Notes:

Herbert was educated at Charterhouse, served in H.B.M. Consular Service in China (Ningpo), was Professor of Chinese at Cambridge, the second scholar to hold this chair succeeding Sir Thomas Wade, he published extensively on China its history, customs, religions, politics, literature, language, art, food etc, he was a pioneer of modern sinology. He married twice and had issue. Two grandchildren Sylvia & Lawrence mentioned in a letter to H L Fenn from R P Fenn.

Giles - Fenn : 30th ult., at Nayland, in this county, by the Rev Dr Giles (father of the bridegroom), rector of Sutton, assisted by the Rev J Hunnybun, vicar of Nayland, Herbert Allen Giles , Esq., of H.M.'s Consular Service in China, to Catherine Maria, third daughter of the late Thomas Harrold Fenn, Esq., of Nayland.
Ref: Ipswich Journal 2 July 1870

Herbert's Chinese name was Zhai Lisi.

Extracts from John Allen Giles' Diary & Memoirs.
Page 302.
Saturday, September 16, 1854.
Herbert was now very ill of typhus fever, and his mother and I took it by turns to sit by him both night and day, . . . . .
Page 376
From Herbert in China.
My dear Father,
After the short time I have been grinding away at Chinese, you can't expect me to know or to be able to tell you very much about it, but still I have managed to pick up enough to have a faint idea of what little "genius" there is in the language, and also the method of learning it. Every man has to provide himself with a copy of Wade's Course and Morrisons Dictionary, which together come to $22 and is rather hot on Student Interpreters. Government provides every student with a separate teacher, who lives in the Legation and is at his beck and call from 8 a.m. till 10 p.m. The first day your teacher comes in is naturally rather amusing, and even the first three or four, as you occupy that time in learning the Radicals, of which there are 214, including 30 classical and 47 obsolete. The next step is an exercise on these 137 Colloquial radicals, which merely consist of combining two or more together as "hand" "heart" "hand heart" used figuratively of intimate relationship. By this means you increase your stock of meanings without increasing the number of characters to be remembered. Then you begin the Forty Exercises, in which I am still vegetating and which generally takes three months to know perfectly, as there are over a thousand characters. . . . . . there is absolutely no grammar at all. . . . . The construction of a Chinese sentence is curious in the extreme. . . . . . "We will go this way" becomes in the Chinese idiom "We will be this road's going men" . The elliptical character of the language makes it very difficult for a foreigner to understand what is said . . . . . In the Chinese language there are about 50,000 characters, each of which you must have seen and learnt before you can even pronounce it. Amongst these there are immense numbers pronounced exactly alike, and there would be many more, only each word is classed under one of the four tones and so the number is considerably diminished. . . . . Unless you pronounce a word in its correct tone no Chinamen can understand you . . . . . nothing but long practice we'll give it you. I hold most extraordinary conversations with my teacher. . . . . He knows all about railways, and steamships, that the earth is round and smaller than the sun but thinks all is China except a tiny piece far away which belongs to "Ying-kuo" (English literally "Heroic Nation"). Chinese wear mourning for a father or mother three years. . . . . for a husband three years. . . . . for a wife eight days. They consider the race of women as utterly contemptible and only fit to sit indoors and work with the needle, and so one never sees women about on the streets, except old ones. . . . . I sleep on a "cool mat" a smooth kind of straw sheet, and comfortable in the extreme. I am bitten from head to foot by sandflies but I fancy it is healthy, and that you lose bad blood by those means. . . . . I enclose a note for Mamma
Your affectionate son
Herbert A Giles.

Page 412
Saturday, January 6, 1872.
Tientsin 15 October 1871.
My dear Father,
The contents of this letter will concern you more than anyone else, and moreover it will leave Shanghai on your birthday, so it ought certainly to be to your address and not to the old lady's. . . . . . I have been head man in Tientsin for 14 days and shall be so until the return of Lay who has gone to Chefoo for his health. . . . . . We are having lovely weather and are all in No 1 health, especially your grandson and namesake, whose legs are now as big as my arms, and arms in proportion. He has a chest like a small buffalo and lungs like screech owl, promising to be a very strong man. As soon as he is old enough (say 4) I shall send him home by himself, so as to open his eyes early to the wickedness of his neighbours. . . . . . I had just got a note saying the long lost box is on a steamer which arrived today, so that it will be delivered tomorrow. . . . . . From 10 to 4 every day my time is fully occupied in translating dispatches, petitions etc from and into Chinese, and has since the development of my ultra-valetundinarian tendencies I give all the spare hours to fresh air and exercise, and thereby reducing the number of pills to be swallowed per annum, and otherwise benefiting my health and constitution. Pyramid pool occupies me from 6 to about 7.15 each evening, and last month's balance sheet shewed a sum of $40 as my winnings, the previous month bringing in $37. . . . . .
16 October. The box is already unpacked and Kate is very pleased with the contents, except that every thing is much too small for the person intended to wear them. Dozens of woollen socks came out, but amusingly unfit for the leg and a half there was to go into them. . . . . .
Your loving son
H. A. Giles

Page 425.
Monday, August 19, 1872 received a letter from Herbert.
Tientsin 20 June 1872.
My dear Mother,
We didn't let your 60th birthday go by without comment. I broke though my rule and opened a bottle of champagne which K and I drank to your good health and many years of it. As there was so much (half a bottle each) we managed to drink the health of the family in general and everybody in particular. . . . . . I prefer having the money in my own name, power being vested in you and the old man to draw any sum out at any time. . . . . . I want a cheque-book by returned mail if possible.
The mail has just come in bringing me a letter from Edward Fenn, full of our money affairs. This is a quotation " I had one time paid in your money to Herbert's account at the L & C Bank, but Dr Giles's requested them to throw his and Herbert's into one account. I was not therefore surprised to hear from him some time afterwards that he found his passbook in confusion and did not know exactly how you stood". . . . . . Until the receipt of E Fenn's letter I had never heard of Kate's Uncle Sam giving her L97.7.6 for a freak (sic) (freak's health and many of them). We thought it was only given to Isabella and Lucy. E. Fenn says we ought to have quite L600 in the Bank by this time four years. . . . . We are saving away hard out here with parsimony just kept well to leeward. The training of my youth I now consider a perfect one in every respect. Luxuries are within easy grasp, but from never having been used to them I don't want them now, and the consequence is my health is very good. . . . . .
Keep all your spirits up, as do we.
Your loving son
H. A. Giles.

Page 453.
Friday, July 18, 1873. Received the following letter from Herbert.
Ningpo Consulate May 23, 1873
My dear father,
A sudden longing comes over me to write an extra letter and send it by the French instead of English mail. Perhaps you don't know that communication with China is possible four times a fortnight, i.e. by the English French Russian and American mails . . . . . I am sending by this chance some books to the ancient lady, and hope she will admire the wrapper. One dollar each - from 4s.3d. to 4s 8d., as the exchange may make it. . . . . . wouldn't you be on the old familiar brink of ruin if you had to pay the printers bill . . . . . I often think of the ruin period and how you rose where so many would have sunk . . . . . (I) mean to try and keep myself free from the miseries of impecuniosity by a just though not parsimonious economy.
N.B. I have just bought a beautiful set of drawing room chairs and sofa. . . . .
N.B.2. Paid for.
I am engaged on several new books. . . . . I think it possible some good might come of scribbling and no harm. My income in China will always be pretty good in future. . . . . I forgot in my last two and ask the old lady to send hearth rugs with the carpets. Her own "savvy" (from the Portuguese sabe ) would prompt that. The piano didn't suffer much by its sea voyage. A tuner comes from Shanghai twice a year . . . . . to the tune of $10 per piano. . . . . coals L5 a ton. . . . . butter 3s.9d. a pound . . . . . beef is only 2d a pound, mutton 6d a pound, vegetables 1d a pound, milk 5d, bread 5d a pound . . . . .
We have been long expecting the arrival of those cabinet photographs which you promised so long ago, but which never come. If by chance Arthur sees this, let him, knowing as he does the happiness of never getting anything you want, set to work in a good cause and conduct you in vi et armis either to Window's all to Elliott and Fry's in Baker Street, and there extract photographs from you as a dentist would a grinder.
I am etc

Page 460.
Tuesday, October 7, 1873. Received the following letter from Herbert.
Ningpo August 7, 1873
My dear father,
Another mighty victory have you gained - for how can you defeat an enemy more completely than by outliving him? To be still in the enjoyment of life and health while a foe is rotting in a vault is no trifle, and cancels whole years of insolence of office. You probably have long ago forgiven poor Soapy Sam, and time may even have toned down the bitterness of the old lady's hate; but there are two living beings who grew up cursing the Bishop of Oxford as they rose in the morning and lay down at night, making it their grace before dinner and there thanksgiving after - Ellen and I. No one taught us to curse the soapy prelate, and the old lady used to say Hsh! as we did so, though she enjoyed it all the time; but we learnt by instinct to hate and to curse the man who had sacrificed us and ours on the altar of bigotry and spite. I don't think we shall ever be able to do anything else than think of the old rascal thus; we began to hate to young and too hotly. . . . . .
N.B. I expect to hear the news of his death from the old lady about two months hence.
We are now in cooler weather. . . . . Instance of Harold's precocity:-we found him sitting up on the bed this morning, K(ate) having laid him down 5 minutes before. He got up himself!!! I was seedy for 24 hours 2 days ago. One Cockle and a dose of citrate did the trick . . . . . I have been busy with my two Chinese books. The second must be a hit. I am sure it will pay well. Perhaps I shall be able to send the old lady another velvet gown. I ought to send you one this time; only I know you don't go in for that sort of thing. By the way I was thinking, and am now, of dedicating the Colloquial Idioms to you, only there would be nothing àpropos in so doing, and by putting the name of a certain man out here in it, I could get an introduction for it in a very valuable quarter. I think I hear you say, "Sacrifice sentiment to dollars" and shall very likely take your advice. Still if you would like to appear in the next, write and say to.
Your affectionate son
H. A. Giles.

Page 466
Monday, February 2, 1873 Received a letter from Herbert
2 December 1873
My dear Father,
I have got a new excitement going just now - a hope that I have found a clue or at any rate am on the road to finding one to the right classification of Chinese characters under their phonetics. ( Then follows a very detailed description of his ideas, which can be taken as the start of his work which culminated in the Wade-Giles" romanisation of Chinese and the Pinyin system)
The "Daily News" has just come with a review of "Colloquial Idioms" I will send you a copy by next mail. K(ate) sends all the news in her letter to Helen
Yours etc
H. A. Giles

Page 501
Friday June 18, 1875.
Went to a Conversazione at the Numismatic Society Chambers in St Martin's Place, near St Martin's Church. Herbert and his wife went with me from Mr Fenn's ( Robert Liveing Fenn) at Kensington where we dined. Herbert exhibited his collection of Chinese coins, which he bought from China. ( The collection comprised nearly 1000 items, and was reported at the time as "probably forming the most perfect collection in Europe")
Chinese Coins.
A correspondant writes to the Athenaeum that the most complete collection of Chinese coins ever seen in this country has recently been brought here by Mr Herbert Giles of her Majesty's China Consular Service, with the view of offering them to the authorities of the British Museum. The collection embraces the period of 4000 years, extending from B.C. 2356 to A.D. 1874, and comprises some very beautiful specimens of "knife" and "lump" money.
Ref: Belfast Newsletter 28 June 1875.

Chinese Sketches.
Under the title of "Chinese Sketches" (Trubner & Co.), Mr Herbert A Giles, of the China Consular Service, gives us a series of short and very readable papers on certain customs and institutions of the Flowery Land, observed by him in intercourse with the natives, or gleaned from the perusal of Chinese literature. John Chinamen does not perhaps always receive justice at our hands, and Mr Giles, a great admirer of his sober, industrious millions, is at some pains to prove how ill founded are our prejudices about his low esteem of women, his tendency to smoke opium overmuch - a thing in practice quite beyond his means - his natural resistance to the Christian missions thrust on him very much against his will. Yet when we turned from these to other papers, our old friend, the Heathen Chinese, comes out in all his pristine colours - superstitious, fatalist, materialist in turn - wholly given (the literati class excepted) to the dubious delights of moneymaking, greedy to credit any fables of foreign travel or domestic quackery, as ever our ancestors were in the days of Sir John Maundeville, or Friar Bungay. . . . .
Ref: Extracted from The Graphic 11 December 1875.

Pages 586 & 587.
Saturday, May 14. (1881)
We heard that Herbert, his wife and five children were safely landed and settled in George Street, Manchester Square.
On the 30th of April appeared in the Sutton Herald this notice of the great ceremonial at which the Red Umbrella was presented to Herbert for his services on behalf of the poor Chinese coolies.
A KING OF UMBRELLAS. -Our readers have often read accounts of Chinese labourers inveigled away under the plea of a contract for regular work and good wages, far from their native land, to which they some day hope to return, with the means of a comfortable subsistence. It appears that some few months ago the acting consul at Amoy, Mr. H.A. Giles (son of the Rector of Sutton,) was informed that a ship belonging to a mercantile firm was on the point of leaving Amoy having on aboard a thousand passengers - double the number which she was registered to carry. The consul immediately interfered, and sent on shore all but the proper number. He, however, not many hours afterwards, was informed that they were all gone on board again, and the result was a second visit to the ship, when a thousand persons were surprised in their beds, The consul declared that the ship was confiscated, but released it on the payment of L5000 into the Consular Treasury. An action was taken against him in the Supreme Court at Shangai, when the consul's conduct was justified, and a verdict given in his favour. The subjoined cutting from the Amoy Gazelle will be of interest to all who feel that a great injustice and crime has been ably frustrated.
"Presentation of a Red Umbrella to Mr. Giles" We were yesterday among the spectators of a curious and interesting ceremony. A deputation, consisting of the heads of the Ten Guilds, or corporations, under which the whole trade of Amoy is distributed, waited upon Mr. Giles at his private residence, and, in view of his early departure, begged of him to accept of what is commonly called a "Ten Thousand Name" Umbrella, as a mark of their appreciation of the services rendered by him to the cause of humanity in preventing British steamers from clearing from Amoy to the Straits overcrowded with Chinese emigrant coolies. The deputation was received by Mr. Giles, assisted by Mr. George Browne, interpreter to H.B M. Consulate, and Messrs. Cooper and Powell of H.B.M. Colonial Service; and their spokesman briefly explained in the Mandarin dialect the object of the present visit. Mr. Giles replied, also in Mandarin, to the effect, that in acting as he had, he had simply done his duty, but that he was none the less sensible of the very great honour they had done him in thus taking cognizance of tile fact. He then thanked them all very much, and concluded by drawing their attention to the Chinese and British National flags, which had been hung together at one end of the room, expressing the wish that the cordial relations now existing between the two countries might long be maintained. This allusion was received with evident satisfaction by the deputation; and, after the usual health drinking and expression of good wishes on both sides, they withdrew, having first formally unfolded and presented the Red Umbrella, The umbrella itself stands about ten feet high, and is made of crimson satin, covered all over with the names of the gentry and merchants concerned, inscribed in guilt letters. At the top is an inscription in large characters, as follows: "He protected our black-haired people;" and below that is another, of which we have been kindly furnished with a translation, viz: "Respectfully presented to H.R. Giles, Esq., H.B.M. Consul at Amoy, by gentry and merchants of the port, in token of his virtuous administration, Dated this auspicious day of the Flowery Moon of the seventh year of Kwang Su." (March 6th, 1881.)

The Amoy Gazette
AMOY, Friday, 18th March, 1881.
Copy of Resolution passed at a meeting of the Committee of the Amoy Chamber of Commerce held on 5th March, 1881
"That in view of the approaching departure of H.B.M. Consul Mr H.A. Giles, the Amoy Chamber of Commerce desires to place on record its grateful appreciation of the measures he has taken, as Emigration Officer at this Port, to preserve life and property hitherto seriously endangered by the practice of overcrowding Chinese owned steamers under the British Flag with Native passengers for the Straits Settlements, and at the same time to express its regret that Mr. Giles' efforts in this direction have not been supported in the way they called for and deserved.
And the Secretary is hereby instructed to forward a copy of the above resolution to Mr. Giles and to the Consular Body at Amoy."

A ceremony of a very interesting nature, interesting not only from its rarity, but also from the novel light in which Chinese national character was exhibited, took place at Amoy on the 6th instant in the presence of a few privileged witnesses. The occasion was a presentation made to Mr. H.A. Giles, H.B.M.'s Acting Consul at Amoy, by the Ten Trades' Corporations, representing the whole of the native commerce of the port, in token of their approval of the impartial and fearless manner in which he has performed the duties of his office during the last two years. The compliment took the form of the Red Umbrella so much coveted by the higher grades of Chinese officials and so seldom granted by their people, never except in special cases of beneficent rule. It is an honour, I believe, not before conferred on any European official in China, and therefore it is but right to mention the particular course of conduct which commended itself to the native population of the place as deserving such distinguished recognition, The inscription on the umbrella itself gives us some clue to the motives of the subscribers, "He protected the people of our Black-Haired Race." There can be no doubt that this refers to the energetic action taken, during the past summer, by Mr. Giles, as Acting Consul, to check the overcrowding on board certain British steamers carrying Chinese emigrants from Amoy; and it is a remarkable fact that among the subscribers' names, and indeed among the members themselves of the deputation making this presentation, there were some who had suffered no slight pecuniary loss in connection with Chinese emigration through the preventive steps taken by the British Consul. But their patriotism and their love for their fellow-countrymen, which we are day by day learning from the texts of treaties, the wording of public documents, and the policy adopted by the statesmen of the Middle Kingdom, to be qualities possessed by the Chinese to the full as strongly as by Western races, would seem to have forced them to throw aside their personal interests and join in a tribute of respect to an official, though of another country, who had done so much for the good of his fellow men.
Owing to the inclemency of the weather, and the expressed wish of Mr. Giles, the ceremony was shorn of much of its usual outward pomp. Shortly after three o'clock in the afternoon on the day named, the Heads of the Trades' Corporations forming the deputation, proceeded to the private residence of the Consul, the Red Umbrella being borne
in front of them. They were met at the entrance by the gentleman in whose honour they had come, and a few friends present by invitation. The umbrella was then handed to Mr. Giles in due form, a short address being delivered by the Senior Master of the Guilds in attendance, couched in very laudatory terms. An adjournment took place to a reception room decorated and prepared for the occasion, the walls being tastefully draped with Chinese and British ensigns hung in unison. Mr. Giles here made the following speech in Chinese, speaking in the mandarin dialect, which was translated sentence by sentence into the local dialect for the benefit of his less gifted colleagues by Mr. Wang, of the China Merchants' Co.:- "Gentleman, since I came to your honourable country, I have always endeavoured to regard the subjects of China and of my own nation as members of one fraternity, and in my dealings with them, have treated them alike, making no distinction and showing no undue partiality either to one or the other. Although this was no more than my simple duty, the mere performance of which should be to me sufficient reward, yet I cannot conceal how gratifying to me is this sign you have given me to-day, that I have, to some extent at least, succeeded in my efforts. I am deeply sensible of the honour you have bestowed upon me, and trust not to show myself unworthy of it when we meet again, as I sincerely hope we shall, in future years," Attention was then called to the blending of the National Flags on the walls, and Mr. Giles happily remarked that this was an emblem of the perpetual unity which should prevail between the two countries. This was at once converted into a toast, to which all drank with much enthusiasm. Shortly afterwards the guests took their leave, having first satisfied the exigencies of Chinese politeness by profuse bowing and shaking of hands.
The pole of the so-called umbrella, which is in size more like a tent, is some ten feet in length. The covering is of red satin in three flounces. On the upper flounce is inscribed in large gilt characters "He protected the people of our Black-haired Race." On the second flounce is the dedicatory address, also in gilt characters, which may be translated as follows:- "This is presented to H.A. Giles, Esquire, H.B.M.'s Acting Consul, Amoy, by the gentry, merchants and others of the port, in respectful testimony if his beneficent administration. Dated an auspicious day of the Flowery Moon of the seventh year of Kwang-su (6th March, 1881)," On the lowest flounce are inscribed the names of those signing the address. This is, I think, the most interesting part of the whole affair; showing as it does the general estimation in which Mr. Giles is held by all Chinese classes. In parallel perpendicular columns, about half an inch apart, completely encircling the umbrella, are inscribed the names of no less than one hundred and ten native firms in Amoy, and the names and positions of seventy-four literati holding official rank from that of Taotai downwards.
It is worthy of mention that the Foreign Chamber of Commerce at Amoy intends to take somewhat similar action before Mr. Giles's intended departure on his well-earned holiday. We trust that in the future we have more frequent occasion to chronicle events of this pleasant nature, in connection with our officials in China.

These notices of Herbert's doings in China and of the honour paid him by the authorities will fill a page of my volume. The umbrella is now at Sutton and has been inspected by many Suttonians - John Allen Giles 1881.
Rosamond Stewart 2008 advises that the Red Umbrella is in the possession of the Bodleian Library Oxford. A search at the Bodleian, the British Library and Museum failed to locate the Red Umbrella - 2012

John Allen Giles Diary and Memoirs.
Page 595
Wednesday 2 February 1882
W. D. Cloete and I went down to Gravesend, and saw Herbert and Kate with their six children off for China by one of the P and O's beautiful steamships.
Page 600.
24 December 1882, Herbert writes a touching letter to his brother-in-law Edward L Fenn on the death of his wife Catherine.

Northern Life
February 2, 1897
Prominent Local Chess Players
Mr H. A. Giles President, Aberdeen Chess Club 1895-96.
It was while resident in China, as one of her Majesty's Consuls there, that Mr Giles acquired his knowledge of the Royal game, and acquired it, too, by the uncommon and uncommonly difficult means of book study alone, a handicap on the learner which all chess players can appreciate. Notwithstanding this handicap, and, although, until the constitution of the Aberdeen Club in January 1895, he had had no opportunities of playing regularly, save with some very indifferent amateurs, he immediately took his place as one of the strongest players in the newly formed club. He won first prize in one of the two sections into which the members were that year balloted; and next year, with the all-round playing strength of the members greatly increased, he took first place in the Championship Tournament. This session, other engagements have, until lately, prevented his attendance at the club, but his enforced absence has not diminished his strength, or cooled his ardour for the game, and he is to be reckoned with in the forthcoming championship competition. Mr Giles has taken advantage of occasional journeys to London, to visit the chess players Mecca there, Simpsons Divan, to try his strength against the Masters. In the Divan he has frequently played Bird; and there, four days before the death of the brilliant Zukertort, he encountered that great master in a level game. This game, of which, unfortunately, no record was kept, lasted 12 moves! With Bird in August last he played a drawn game, the score of which we give above. Mr Giles cautious and far-seeing play is responsible in no small measure for the great improvement, during the last two years, in the chess play of the Aberdeen Club; and no more courteous, or more obliging, or stronger player than himself can be found in its ranks.
Thought to be an Aberdeen paper.

Doctor of Laws
Professor Dave Wilson, Dean of the Faculty of Law, then presented the gentlemen upon whom the degree of L.L.D. was to be conferred. He said "Mr Vice Chancellor, as authorised by the Senatus Academicus, I have the honour to present to you Mr Herbert A. Giles (Applause.)
Mr Giles is now resident in Aberdeen, but he was for over 25 years in her Majesty's Consular Service in China, and there he devoted his leisure time to the study of Chinese literature and language, studies of enormous difficulty. He has become in consequence of his indefatigable zeal, one of the most distinguished Chinese scholars of the day. (Applause.) He has contributed many works towards our knowledge of it. I may mention his "Gems of Chinese Literature, "his Historic China," and his "Chinese Sketches," but the chief of all his works, a monument of industry and patience that I think is absolutely unequalled, is his great Chinese Dictionary. The Senatus have considered that services like these to literature deserved the highest recognition it can give, and I present Mr Giles to you for the degree of Doctor of Laws. (Applause.)
Honorary Doctor of Laws from Aberdeen University.
Ref: Aberdeen Press and Journal 3 Apr 1897 p4.

Letters from Herbert Allen Giles writing to his brother Arthur Henry, particularly about their respective children.
These letters are an insight into Herbert Giles ability to relate to, and understand his children, and their cousins. His friendship, warmth, concern for their nurture, education and future. This stands in contrast to another image of Herbert as a the rather acerbic academic. Those who are aware of Herbert's compassionate role in the fatal illness of his wife Kate (Fenn) will not be surprised.
E L Fenn.

Pagoda, 4 September 1882
My dear Arthur,
I have been threatening a letter to you for some time past, but things have up to now been incompatible with works of supererogation in general. We are now enjoying a period of general family health, which we hope to prolong at any rate until next hot season. The boys and girls are all well at once and have got back those ruinous appetites which played so much havoc with my limited bank account when in England last year.
I hope you and Georgie (Georgina) are well and enjoying life in your own circle and that Raymond is himself again - "Raymond, our sad, bad, glad, made cousin's name" - as the boys learnt from me to say. His name is a household word in this family, and with Bertram is likely to outlive the distractions of the next five years. He was more thrown in with us than any of the other cousins on either side, and would have joined readily in a little trip to China, if circumstances had been propitious.
I have been reading an immense lot lately, chiefly Philosophy, and writing very little. You can guess that in that line I am a burning Positivist, just as I am in politics a Democrat, and in religion an agnostic. By the way, I am still a monometalist in finance, failing to see the validity of the double standard arguments altogether. I read the XIX Century , fortnightly, and contemporary , every month, and abstracts of the parliamentary debates, so that I know pretty well what is going on.
I hope the carpets didn't give you much trouble. Mabel's illness intervened, and I totally forgot all about the order and everything connected with it until weeks afterwards. By this time, I should image the things must be nearly if not quite ready. Perhaps they will have to go round the Cape.
When are the Conservatives coming in? and who are the Conservatives when they do come? I have met no one who can answer the second, though many know all about the first. It's a conundrum.
How about the Scottish Club? I found they charged more for a dinner than a Piccadilly restaurant, and twice as much as certain places that I wot of. But I resume your London life has not yet begun. Bayswater suited us well. Yours ever H.A.Giles

Oxford - 23.5.1888
My dear Arthur
We propose to go into Belgian Switzerland for August holidays. It is very cheap. Pretty country. Nothing but French. If it can be arranged, I mean to make Ray (Raymond) our guest. But I want Georgie (Georgina) to come and bring the whole boiling(?). We should form a colony of our own. Unfortunately old Russell (Georgina's father) wants the two elder girls. But surely he could wait. At any rate we might work off a month. I am Death on French, and would see that the time was not wasted. I mean to have a great hammer at Ray, without his knowing it. He has much respect for me, and that means the battle half won.
Meanwhile Mina (Elise) is very unwell. She cannot shake off these nervous attacks. We are hoping that a regular course of treatment will straighten her up.
No further communication on the key subject has reached me. I think I told you my new work is to be out in October. At present I am employed in interviewing celebrities at home, Dr. Tylor (Primitive Cult), Professor Earle (Anglo Sax.), Prof. Sylvester (Mathem.), Dr. Pritchard ( Astronomy), Freeman (E.A.), and other lesser lights.
Yours ever H.A. Giles
Have sent photo of Kathleen to Georgie

No address but believe they are on holiday in Heyst (sic) [Heist, Belgium] - 25.8.88
My dear Arthur,
You never saw in your life such a muddle as the mixture of the two families. All your children call me Father, while mine drop naturally into Uncle Herbert.
A proposition to write to you was received with acclamation. In every way, Ray came out first. He set to work quietly, wrote in a businesslike way, finished first, and produced the best letter. It never occurred to him to read his letter over before handing in. Consequently 2 commas were left out, - neither being of great importance. I put them in. The other letters go as written. Lionel's with all its imperfections on its head: indicative after quoique wrong gender for cirque etc. Bertram's is as good a show of handwriting as he has achieved for some time. Val was not much in form this morning. He can do better. Lance's, I thought good for a small boy. Will send more details of scholarship etc. when I know the boys better. Ray plays very nicely. He is very much interested in politics. I gave him some of my views. He was chiefly astonished to find that there were two sides to the question. He has been getting his knowledge of the skies through a tube. Laura thinks, I believe, that no mortal ever so nearly approached the divine. And I have to live up to such a fraud as that!
Dolly waits or me round corners, and even the small boy (Arthur Herbert?) has expressed his approval - of my chocolate.
Mabel, Edith and Kathleen pair off with the last three, respectively. They are a splendid crowd. Very sorry Marion and Amy are not here.
Ray will, I think, learn to swim before we part. He goes in every day. But I can't get a boat, and don't venture myself. I am so well after Pontresina (Belgium) that it is a pity to risk anything.
Mina is very well but that she is torn with neuralgia. However she gained 2 more lbs in Pontresina.
Very busy polishing off my new book :- Chiang Tzu : Mysic, Moralist, and Social Reformer. Date : 300 B.C.
Will write to Cornish re revision of keys. Directly my book is off my hands I shall have some leisure, though already engaged to catalogue for R. Asiatic Soc. Had writer's cramp. Yours ever H A Giles

Heyst (sic) 30.8.1888
My dear Arthur,
Every morning the 5 boys gather round a table, and receive some four to six "subjects from which they choose each one, according to fancy, and write an "Essay" thereon. I send you a few specimens for you to judge of the result. Ray deals with his in a business like way, and has generally finished first. As you will see, he takes pains to make it look presentable. It is difficult to deal fairly with Ray's intellectual powers. He is such a favourite with all of us that I feel myself really unequal to gauging his head apart from his heart. He seems sharp enough and clear-witted. He doesn't appear to know much. I deny that he has a distaste for knowledge. What he has a distaste for - and I fully sympathise with him - is the form in which knowledge is presented for his acceptance.
Bertram is totally ignorant of Latin and mathematics. But he knows one thing well, - French; and has picked up a lot of scrap information which will do well to fill in the chinks. By the time he has learnt German he will have put a little more Latin into his head, and then he can devote himself to really learning it for purposes of examination. So with mathematics he has the advantage of a fine memory.
Lionel has an equally good memory, but only half Bertram's physique. To make up, he has twice his accuracy and application. If he is not "pushed" he will do well. His Latin and Math. in both of which he was out of sight of Bertram, are checked while he is learning French, which he is doing rapidly. On 1st Oct. last he did not know one word of French. Val is hopeless in the sense of Latin and Greek. He speaks French with some fluency tempered with inaccuracy, and has attracted attention by his skill with his pencil. Lance appears to have learnt nothing as yet. But he is only just 10. Ray goes to G with us about the 7th prox. Yrs ever H.A. Giles

Yvoir (Belgium) - 7 Sept. 1888
My dear Arthur,
I feel a great weight off my shoulders. Ray can swim. He went up and down the bath yesterday, clear water, legs visible all the time, - a total of about 20 yards. Today he goes out of his depth with Lionel alongside, within easy reach. He has a fine stroke, much better than Lionel's; but the latter has the advantage of being fat and buoyant. Bertram is not yet in the running. In three or four days more, I hope he will have it. Ray will swim across the Meuse before he leaves. They are all burning to have a boat.
I hope to get one by this afternoon or tomorrow. They are enjoying themselves immensely. We are in a "little Switzerland" as they call it.
Val is painting. Lance is loafing (an idle devil). Otherwise, you would have had a bigger budget.
The Heyst trip was a great success. Mother (Sarah Anne Giles nee Dickenson) was in great form surrounded by 12 grandchildren (HAG's 7 children and 5 of AHGs). How she stood the racket I can't think. It used to play me out by night time.
Mina (Elise) suffered a good deal from neuralgia at Heyst. So far, she seems better here.
I am nearly at the end of Chiang Tzu. Georgie (Georgina) admired the get-up very much. I think it won't be altogether feeble. Then the Asiatic Soc. catalogue, and then I will write for Horace, to revise at once, with necessary quantities marked, if Cornish agrees. It is aggravating to reflect that I sent it from China nearly ten years ago, carefully revised, with latest lights, and that because of the expense it was consigned to the w.p.b. (waste paper basket).
More about Ray. He has a talent for drawing more marked than Val's, which has already attracted attention at the College. Yet you let him learn Greek, or I should say, pretend to learn it. For never in the swirl of this planet will he succeed, or (in my opinion) with any other but a modern language, learnt in the country where his native sharpness is brought into play! Drawing by all means. Especially for an engineer, royal or civil. And dancing. A young man now who can't dance is more or less an idiot. Dancing is not what it was when I was a boy. It is far ahead of cricket in permanent importance unless of course you are a face or studd blushing unseen.
Bertram will begin in Germany right away.
Yours ever H A Giles

Yvoir lez. Dinant - 23.9.1888
My dear Arthur,
On the 19th I lost what Horace would have called "Animde dimidium mese." Ray left us on that day for England, and it is doubtful when we shall see him again. He is a thoroughly good fellow. On his last day here, he and Lionel swam side by side across the Meuse, while I paddled across some 20 feet down stream, in case of accident, - 1 out of 10,000, as the Chinese say. And you can imagine how disgusted I am when I tell you that Bertram cannot swim yet more than 2 or 3 badly made strokes. Even Lance has beaten him out of the field, and can swim two boats' lengths. B. has been thoroughly impressed by his relatives that he is a boy of genius. Consequently he is going through his Pendennis stage, - happily early in life. He thinks things can be done without the sweat and grind of doing them. But I am now doing him a little injustice. He did think so 6 weeks ago. He doesn't now. He is really beginning to work, and is making rapid progress. Fancy his not knowing decimals! which Val and Lance flying about with ease nearly a year ago in T. B. really knows nothing but
French. Even in that he is inaccurate. He laughed me to scorn our first day at Heyst because I said " un groupe"; but his face fell when the dictionary was produced. At present he and I work hard for 4 hours a day at Horace, Livy, Arithm., Euclid. He will probably stay with us until December, and then go to Germany. I think he sees now that, not scholarships and affluence, but mere bread and butter would be problematical, without steady work. We had some bad quarters of hours at first when I insisted on his giving way in all things to Ray and the younger ones. He had always been taught by his grandmother to take a front place and grab all the best things. Not wittingly, of course. She only did it in gr.motherly fondness but his morale suffered all the same. The other three boys, who are very united, do not disguise their preference for Ray. I hope it will all come right. All this is confidential. Tear up when read, as B. and I are close friends. Yours H A Giles.

Westbourne House, Union Street, Aberdeen - 5 Jan. 1893
My dear Arthur,
New Year's greetings to your Bankeyun circle"
The above (furnished apartments) will be our address I hope for some time to come. We are at present in rather uncomfortable quarters, which we leave on the 10th for Westbourne House. You will have heard of my serious illness on the way home. I told the bosses at the F.O. (Foreign Office) the other day that I should not return to China. I landed at Genoa, collected Val (leaving Lance at Feldkirch), Mabel and Edith, met Mina (Elise ) and K (Kathleen) in London after their trip round to Southampton, went to Bath, found Gran (Anna Sarah) in excellent health, and things generally in a prosperous condition.
We stayed in lodgings at Bath for a week. Meanwhile Laura and Dolly burst upon us like two fresh young monsoons blowing two ways at once. Mabel is a fairly attractive girl, but Laura is a real beauty and full of brains into the bargain, which, by the way, if she was my girl, should never be turned to the fatuous pursuit of Latin, Euclid and Algebra. But then you must first know that I am entirely opposed to the so-called "higher" education of women. Laura and Dolly gave us a step-dance against which two young lady proficients even in the differential Calculus would have no chance whatever. Laura sang us a song, but she has no voice at all. Dolly is a sweet little creature, fit to brighten any home but (I should say) unfit for the simplest of simple equations.
Proceeding onto Aberdeen, by night mail, 14% of frost, we find Raymond quite a grown-up young man, (though still beardless), quiet, gentle, unassuming, - the favourite of everybody - even of the she-dragon, Mrs. Mayo. And if you think it is idleness which keeps him from passing the Army Prelim., you are wrong. He is, and has been, working steadily. We were quite astonished at the way in which he refused to join an afternoon skating-party, because he would have sacrificed a mathematical lesson. But he is not a desk man, and the army would be his best career if only he could get in and the medical authorities would pass him, both of which are doubtful. I think I could guarantee his willingness to enter the Army, but nothing beyond that. Too busy to write more. Yours ever H A Giles

Aberdeen - 2 Jan. 1895
My dear Arthur,
Your last, containing news of Raymond's inferred success removed a weight of anxiety from many members of this family. As you say, he must have come out 2nd; and now I think he stands a good chance of getting something, even if his sight does not qualify him for the police.
Arthur (Arthur Herbert) is at last quite well. Since I wrote telling you about his stupidity (I should have done the same at his age) in going to the pantomime when really ill, he developed a nasty attack of dysentery, - of all things, in such a climate. However, he was pulled through just in time for the party on the 30th, though he was refused pratique as regards ices and other such mischief-makers. Meanwhile Dolly (Dorothy) and Madeline arrived arrived, the former round and red, the latter pale and thin. (At this moment even Mad. looks rosy and well). Nothing happened to them en route. They enjoyed the party on the 30th very much, and well they might, as the acting was really excellent. In spite of some disappointments, we sat down 68 to supper, all at once, at a huge table; and then dancing followed. Dolly dances very nicely. I had a delightful round with her. She is a most amiable, quiet, unassuming young lady, and a great friend of mine. Her manners are perfection. Madeline is bright and lively, and (as is right) much more noisy and less well-mannered than Dolly, whose charming demeanour has quite captivated me.
Strange to say the thermometer is high - 53 degrees in the bedrooms - and there is no ice. I doubt if Arthur will have much skating before Gordon's begins. The girls are writing separately, I believe. Yours ever H A Giles

Aberdeen - 6 Jan. 1896
My dear Arthur,
Anxiously awaiting further news about Raymond. Hope to hear tomorrow. The young people seem to have had a fine time with Charley's Aunt. (young Arthur mentions this play in one of his letters in Dec 1895!). Dolly (Dorothy) said she never laughed so much in her life. The thermom. is still high, and there is no sign of skating. That the girls' journey here shall not be quite wasted, skating has been replaced by the bicycle. Lionel spent most of the morning teaching them, and now that jeune diable Madeline can go alone! Not bad for one day's work. Dolly is close behind, and Lionel says that tomorrow will probably finish her off. The light ones always learn more easily than the heavy ones.
Arthur resumes at Gordon's tomorrow. I have been sparing you of late in regard to his prospects, but you may expect the battery to reopen fire shortly - with the much looked-for Record-card. Meanwhile he is in excellent health. Madeline too is much improved. She was very "peeky" and had a nasty cough on arrival. The latter has almost vanished; and whereas she would touch no meat at first, she is now taking to it readily. Our fat girl is but a shadow compared with Dolly, whose waist has a compass like that of a Wellingtonia gigantea. I ought to know, as I spend most of the meal-hours with my arm partially round it. Dolly is a sweet girl, and where the "handful" comes in I can't say. She could be driven with a feather. I heard for the first time yesterday her account of the drowning escapade at Weston. It is in curious contrast with the other account. I am sure the girls are enjoying themselves, as Dolly says the days are flying. Yrs. ever H A Giles

Aberdeen - 16 Jan. 1896
My dear Arthur,
The "O be joyful"s sung over Raymond's success have scarcely yet died away in the halls. Meanwhile, it is quite impossible to express in writing all the satisfaction one feels. I think chiefly of the immense load - Christian's was nothing to it - which has now fallen from your shoulders.
Dolly and Madeline go back tomorrow, after a remarkably short three weeks. It is strictly 3 weeks all but 12 hours though I think it has seemed much less to all concerned. They have gained something beyond ephemeral fun by their long journey. They can both ride the bicycle, for which I fancy they will thank their stars by and by. Dolly, who was the slower at first, is now the better "bikist" of the two. She is calmer and has more nerve. Madeline disappointed me by not shaking off her cough. It continued to hang about her in the mornings, in spite of change of air. This last week I have put her on Kepler's Solution, with very good results. I trust there will be no more coughing at Bath. (It seems that Madeline and Dorothy transferred to boarding school in Bath from Weston super Mare). That girl is not fit for a boarding school. She should be kept at home and be carefully watched for the next 10 years of her life.
Arthur of course went back to Gordon's at due date, and I believe he is shortly to try for a Bursary against boys of between 10 and 11 only. I shall be anxious to see where he comes out. I must write to you in another sense about him before long. At the moment I am busy coaching the girls and Lionel and Val for a French play with scenes from Moliere which they are to act on the 18th at the French Club. Then Mabel and Edith have both been snapped up for a public performance for a charity on the 13th or 14th Feb., and I have promised to stage the piece - Sweethearts - so my hands are full. Love to all. Yours ever H A Giles
Please thanks Raymond for his note to me.

Aberdeen - 23 Jan. 1896
My dear Arthur,
While the family was still reeling under the excitement of Raymond's success, in came the news at the end of last week that the obstinate, perservering, ambitious, and (I am beginning to think) invincible Val, in spite of sickness and hospital disabilities, had positively secured a place in the Engineers. We really don't quite know what to make of it. I had given up hope 3 months ago when he came out 20th in Maths, although keeping his place - 14th - in the half yearly exam. He assures me that he didn't even look at two sets of questions, and had given up hope himself, though as a matter of form he inserted "Engineers" when the paper was brought to him in bed to fill up. Yet he is now 15th on the list. Luckily, this year there were evidently a few more Engineers than usual. Still, it is a little short of a miracle. In addition to the above, and as a pleasant accessory, he got the prize for German! No rose without a thorn. Arthur's sore throat etc. developed, after the mail had left, into high fever (103.5) and symptoms of influenza. Mina (Elise) took it in time with phenacetin, and we were able after all to do without a doctor; but Dolly and Madeline were unable to see him for the last two days of their stay. The boys think he may have been a little overworked (!) of late. For meanwhile his record card has come in and a very good one it is, showing advance all around. Here you are with last half's for comparison.
Reading VG E
Grammar F VG
Composition G G
Scripture VG VG
Arithmetic F G
Geography G G
History G VG
Writing F FG
Drawing G G
Homework G VG
The red (last column) is the new report, and from it you will see that he has only improved; there is no retrograde movement. Writing (Fairly Good) is his worst mark. The boys declare that it is a capital report; besides which he has been selected to compete for a Bursary, and what is more the Master told him he ought to get it. I am sorry he had had to lose a few days with this illness. I could write you volumes about those two girls of yours, who left us, I fear, very much against their inclinations. They seemed to enjoy thoroughly the non-restraint of our establishment. At the same time, they neither of them gave us five minutes' trouble from first to last.; With a slight effort, I got at Madeline. She is a very nervous, not to say hysterical, sensitive, and at the same time defiant young person. Her proper treatment would be, in my opinion, pure kindness, and very little opposition. I am sure I could guide her with a hair. The day after arrival she told Edith that she was sure every one in the house hated her, and that she hated everyone in return! That conviction was soon modified. The boys adored her, and think her far the cleverest of all your girls. Clever she undoubtedly is, but not yet educated. She couldn't tell me how many feet there are in a yard! Don't let this out, because she and I are firm friends now. Dolly is neither sensitive, nor a genius, nor anything but a very lovable girl. Her only fault is her rough, not to say unkind, treatment of Madeline. She is perpetually snubbing the younger one, with bad results for both. Of course, as host, I couldn't afford to correct, and the time was too short to train, or I should have wished to improve Dolly in that sense. I hope you are not bored with all this rigmarole. I find it difficult to be alongside of young people without acquiring an interest in their future; and as a rule I much prefer their society to that of older ones.
Laura is anxiously looking forward to your arrival. She and Mabel exchange volumes weekly. I think I have now said everything, except that we had a very successful performance on Sat. last, programme of which I enclose.
Yours ever H A Giles
Madeline's cough was clean gone before she left. A course of Kepler's Solution would do her much good.

Ref: Above letters transcribed by Celia Stubbs, Valentine's grandaughter - December 2011

Dr Herbert Giles on Chinese Novels
Dr Herbert A. Giles, who shortly departs from the city to enter upon the duties of professorship in Chinese at Cambridge, delivered the opening lecture for the session in connection with Aberdeen University Debating Society yesterday evening in the Debating Hall. Mr. C. G. R. Munnick presided, and there was a large attendance. In briefly introducing the lecturer, the chairman remarked that Dr Giles had given the university four sons, one of who was a very prominent member of their society. In the name of the society, the chairman likewise congratulated the lecturer upon his Cambridge appointment. Dr Giles began by observing that the novel was a comparatively late institution in China - late for China. (Laughter.) Confucius flourished 500 years before Christ, and eighteen centuries rolled away before the novel proper made its appearance. Its development belonged to the thirteenth century of the Christian era; a hundred years before Chaucer composed the "Canterbury Tales", and something like 200 years before novels appeared in this country. Previous to that time there were innumerable collections of short stories, but nothing like a systematic novel. The Chinese were now passionately fond of novel reading; it was one of their two great forms of recreation, the other being drama. They had historical novels, romantic novels, and novels of social life in abundance. Many persons made there living by reading chapters of of novels in public places, and collecting subscriptions from the audience. (Laughter.) Instead, however, of dealing with Chinese novels in abstract, which would be somewhat dry and unsatisfactory, he proposed to lay before them the plot of one Chinese novel, from which they would be able to form their own conclusion as to the mastery acquired by the Chinese in this difficult department of literature. It dated from the middle of the 17th century. It filled in the original 24 volumes of about 4,000 pages, and it contained over 400 characters - (Laughter) - which they might compare with, he believed, 103 in "David Copperfield." He was only obliged to mention three by name, which was lucky, as Chinese names were apt to grate on Europeans ears. (Laughter) Dr Giles then proceeded with the story, which proved of a highly interesting description. It told how three cousins, Pao-yu, the hero; Tai-yu, the heroine; and Pao-Chau, were bought together. The heroine fell in love, but by a stratagem the relatives bought about the marriage of Pao-yu with Pao-Chau, the former only discovering the fact when he lifted his cousin's veil after the ceremony. The result was Tai-yu died of a broken heart after a short experience of madness; and that Pao-yu, whose mind also became unhinged, turned priest. Dr Giles related the charming, though tragic, story in excellent style, and was particularly happy in the humorous passages by which it was enriched. At the close, Dr Giles was most cordially thanked for the rare treat he had afforded.

Herbert was presented with the Royal Asiatic Society's gold medal.

The Chair of Chinese at Cambridge.
Dr Herbert A. Giles, 3 Queens Gardens Aberdeen, has been approached by the authorities of Cambridge University in reference to the Professorship of Chinese, which they intend to resuscitate in the University, with a view to his appointment to the chair. Sir Thomas Wade, the last occupant of the chair, died about two years ago, and a successor has never been appointed. Chinese, however, is now one of the compulsory subjects of examination in the Indian Civil Service, and it is necessary for the University, in order to conserve its interests, to take the step now contemplated. Dr Giles who is a well-known Chinese scholar, and recently catalogued the Chinese library at Cambridge, has reluctantly allowed his name to be brought forward as a candidate. The appointment will be made in October, and it is stated there is little doubt that Dr Giles will be elected to the post.
Ref: Aberdeen Weekly Journal 2 July 1897.

Dr Herbert Giles of Aberdeen, has accepted the Professorship of Chinese at Cambridge University. He was for a quarter of a century in the Chinese Consular Service, and is the author of a number of important Chinese books. He commences his duties in November.
Ref: Daily News 9 September 1897.

Extract from a letter by Herbert's brother-in-law Dr E L Fenn writing to his son Van on entering Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
Grey Friars
November 30 1897
My dear Van
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . you remember your cousin Launcelot Giles he entered Christchurch last October. When you go into residence you will make his acquaintance. I believe his father is to be the new Professor of Chinese at Cambridge, curiously the professorship of Chinese at Oxford fell vacant yesterday; I expect Uncle Herbert would rather have gone there if he had known it was so soon to be vacant, for his wife's relations live there and his father was an Oxford man; still having Lance at Christ's may be an attraction though on the other hand Lionel is at Wadham. . . . .
Love from all
Your affectionate father
Edward L. Fenn
P. S. you will remember to give the porter who let you lodgings a tip, 1/- ? Ask Chase what.

The University of Cambridge proposes to confirm a the degree of M. A. honoris causa on Dr Herbert Alan Giles, who was recently appointed to the Professorship of Chinese in the University. Dr Giles, who spent 25 years in the consular service in China, was made an honorary L.L.D. of Aberdeen last year.
Ref: Pall Mall Gazette 27 January 1898.

Professor Giles Chinese Biographical Dictionary:
The second section of the Chinese Biographical Dictionary by Dr Herbert A. Giles, Professor of Chinese in the University of Cambridge, and late H.B.M. Consul at Ningpo (and until recently a citizen of Aberdeen), has been published by Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, London, and Kelly and Walsh, Ltd, Yokohama, and Shanghai. The two volumes contained biographical notes of 2579 of the most notable Chinamen of ancient and modern times, and the compilation of the work exhibits in a marvelous manner Dr Giles profound and extensive scholarship. It will take rank as the most comprehensive and accurate survey in existence, of eminent Chinese statesman, generals, writers, and other notable characters. The work of Mr Mayers, which formerly held the field in this department of Anglo Chinese scholarship, only contained notices of 800 individuals, so that in point of completeness Dr Giles dictionary is a long way in advance of any existing lexicon. In his preface to Fascicule II., Professor Giles points out that a knowledge of the subjects dealt with in the dictionary is an absolute necessity for British consular officials and merchants in China, for constant references are made by the Chinese to the sayings and doings, often trivial in themselves, of prominent characters. The list of subjects is brought down to the present day from a starting point of 40 centuries ago. The Chinese characters representing the names of the persons dealt with are given in all cases, and the personal name and surname by which a man is formally known have been transliterated according to the sound of the Court dialect as is now spoken at Peking, an popularly called " Mandarin". Chinamen have generally two names, the style or literary name adopted in the youth for general use, and the fancy name or sobriquet either given by a friend or taken by the individual himself. The dictionary forms very quaint and interesting reading, and has been produced with the greatest care and accuracy. Dr Giles concludes his preface with the following playful note; "The toil of proof reading was performed chiefly by the same practiced reader (on my domestic establishment) to whom the typographical accuracy of my Chinese English dictionary was so largely due."
Ref: Aberdeen Weekly Journal 5 March 1898.

The Ancient Taxicab.
There is no greater Sinologist in this country than Professor H. A. Giles, of Cambridge University, who has just given such irrefragable proofs of the existence in the dynastic records of China of the specification for a taxicab more than 16 centuries ago. Dr Giles who last night told the China Society all about the "measure-mile-drum-carriage", is Professor of Chinese at Cambridge, and has already written enough books on the subject of China, with which he first became acquainted in the Consular service, to fill a small library.
Ref: Globe 1901

Death Notices
The Times 14th Feb 1935
Giles - on February 13th at 10 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge. Herbert A Giles, lately Professor of Chinese at University of Cambridge and formerly H.M. Consul in Ningpo, in his 90th year. Cremation private, no flowers or mourning, by his special request

The Times 14 February 1935
Dr H. A. Giles
A Great Chinese Scholar
Dr H. A. Giles formerly Professor of Chinese at Cambridge died yesterday at his home at Cambridge in his 90th year. His knowledge of the language and literature of China had won for him an honourable place among scholars as far back as the early seventies; since then his philological and literary works, continued until comparatively recently, had made his reputation worldwide and his name a household word in China.
Herbert Allen Giles born on December 8, 1845 was the son of the Rev John Allen Giles DCL (1808-1884), a voluminous scholar and translator, whom he followed to Charterhouse. He joined the Consular Service in China at the age of 22 and after spending the usual period as a student in Peking where he laid the foundations of his lifelong devotion to Chinese letters, he was transferred to Tientsin in 1868. There, among other interesting experiences, he made the acquaintance of the famous Chief Eunuch An Te-Hai, who presented him when he left with a magnificent gold bangle, later he served in important Treaty ports and in Formosa, steadily acquiring a wide knowledge of idioms and dialects. At the age of 28 he had begun to write on Chinese history language and literature, and in 1874 became a regular contributor to the Celestial Empire . In the same year he began the labour of a lifetime, his Chinese English Dictionary published in fascicules and first completed in 1892, revised, enlarged, and republished in 1912. This monumental work was undertaken at Giles own risk and cost, but on the appearance of the advertisement of the first fascicule, Sir Robert Hart with characteristic kindness and generosity, sent the author his cheque in advance payment, for 100 copies of the complete dictionary. For this Giles received the Prix St Julien of the French Academy in 1911.
Having been appointed acting consul at Amoy in 1879, Giles ceased his contributions to the Press in China and thenceforward devoted himself to the study of Chinese, which, as he was want to observe, is quite enough for any one man. He abandoned, therefore, his earlier intention of studying law, a decision in which he was influenced by the advice of Sir Edmund Hornby, H. M. Supreme Court Judge at Shanghai, who held the opinion that a Consul barrister is a Consul spoiled. From the beginning of his career in China he had ambitions similar to those of Swinhoe, who, on reaching the Far East, declared "he would die happy if he could leave his name to a louse". The results of his industry, combined with literary gifts of no mean order, are contained in a long list of published works, beginning in 1870 and covering a wide range of subjects. Educational works for the study of the language, works on the religions, poetry, literature, art, philosophy, and political conditions of China flowed steadily from his pen until only a few years ago.
In 1893 he retired from the Consular Service and returned to England. In 1897 having accepted the post of Professor of Chinese at Cambridge University, he published the work by which he is best known to the general reader, "A Chinese Biographical Dictionary" for which also he received the Prix St Julien of the French Academy. Mr E. V. Lucas in "Over Bremerton's", has born graceful testimony to the human interest and literary charm of this collection of Oriental Worthies. In purely classical research Giles lacked at times something of the book-worm erudition which is so dear to native scholars and meticulous Sinologues in China, that mole-like patience which will burrow for weeks on the track of a quotation, but his qualities of sympathy and intelligence, and his graceful style of paraphrasing even the obscurest of Chinese writers, have made his work as a whole as interesting as it is instructive. Among his best-known works are Chinese "Without a Teacher" now in its eighth edition; "A Record of the Buddhistic Kingdoms" (1877), "A History of Chinese Literature" (1901), "Religions of Ancient China" (1905), and "Chinese Poetry In English Verse" (1898). His "Introduction to the History of Chinese Pictorial Art" (1905), with copious extracts exhibiting the Chinese point of view, is full of delightful examples of the national dry humour and polite self-deprecation, so also is his "Gems of Chinese Literature" (revised 1923), and in 1924 he published "Chinese Instructions to Coroners" and in 1925 "Quips From a Chinese Jest Book". His Hibbert lectures appeared as "Confucianism and its Rivals" in 1915, and in 1923 he issued a retranslation of "The Travels Of Fa-Hsien.
As Professor, Giles did much to foster the study of the language at Cambridge. It could be taken for the Oriental languages tripos and, as a result of his efforts, it was accepted as a subject for the Little-go in place of Latin or Greek for natives of Asia. He produced, in 1898, a catalogue of the Chinese and Manchu books in the Wade Library at Cambridge, and added a supplementary catalogue in 1915. He resigned the chair in 1932. In 1922 he received the triennial gold-medal of the Royal Asiatic Society, the first time it had been granted for Chinese studies. From the Chinese government he received the Order of Chia Ho, and he was honorary D.Litt. of Oxford, honorary LL.D of Aberdeen, honorary Fellow of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and first lecturer on the Dean Lung Foundation of Columbia University, New York. Dr Giles was twice married. His second wife, Elise Edersheim, who died in 1921, was a brilliant proof-reader, who helped her father, Dr Edersheim, with the Hebrew of his works, and was equally useful to Dr Giles with his Chinese dictionaries. She also published a series of "China Coast Tales". Dr Lionel Giles, Deputy Keeper of Oriental Printed Book's and Manuscripts, British Museum, and Mr Lancelot Giles CMG of the Chinese Consular Service, are his sons. Another son, Bertram, Consul General at Nanking died at Weybridge in March, 1928; both he and his wife with other English people had been seriously maltreated by Cantonese troops at Nanking in March, 1927. Dr Giles leaves two daughters.
The cremation will be private. No flowers and no mourning, by his special request.

GILES, Herbert Allen (1845-1935)
Details: GILES, Herbert Allen, LLD; born 8 December 1845; 4th son of
late J. A. Giles, DCL, classical and antiquarian writer; married 1st,
1870, Catherine Maria, daughter of late T. H. Fenn, of Nayland; 2nd, 1883, Elise Williamina (died 1921), daughter of late Rev. Alfred Edersheim, DD; two sons two daughters. Education: Charterhouse. Hon. LLD, Aberdeen, 1897;
Hon. MA Camb., 1898; Hon. DLitt Oxon., 1924; Hon. Member North
China Branch of Royal Asiatic Society, 1904; Hon. Fellow Asiatic Soc.
of Bengal, 1917. Work: First Lecturer on the Dean Lung Foundation,
Columbia Univ., New York, 1902; Hibbert Lecturer, 1914; awarded
Triennial Gold Medal, Royal Asiatic Society, 1922; awarded by Chinese
Government the Order of Chia Ho, 2nd class, with Grand Cordon, 1923; Member of the French Academy, 1924; joined China Consular Service, 1867; Vice-Consul, Pagoda Island, 1880; Vice-Consul, Shanghai, 1883; Consul, Tamsui, 1885; Consul, Ningpo, 1891; resigned 1893; Professor of Chinese at the Univ. of Cambridge, 1897-1932. Publications: Longinus, 1870; Chinese without a Teacher, 1872 (8th ed. 1922); Colloquial Idioms, 1873; Two Chinese Poems, 1873; Synoptical Studies, 1874; Chinese Sketches, 1876; Swatow to Canton, 1877; Handbook of the Swatow Dialect, 1877; Buddhistic Kingdoms, Record of, 1877; Glossary of Reference, 1878 (3rd ed. 1900); Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, 1880 (3rd ed. 1916); Historic China, 1882; Gems of Chinese Literature, 1884 (enlarged ed. 1922); The Remains of Lao Tzu, 1886; Chuang Tzu, 1 889 (2nd ed. 1925); A Chinese-English Dictionary, 1892 (2nd ed. 1912; Prix St Julien, Academie Francaise, 1911); A Chinese Biographical Dictionary (Prix St Julien, Academie Francaise), 1897; Catalogue of Chinese and Manchu Books in Wade Library, Cambridge, 1898; Chinese Poetry in English Verse, 1898 (enlarged ed. 1923); Elementary Chinese, The San Tzu Ching, 1900 (2nd ed. 1910); A History of Chinese Literature, 1901 (2nd ed. 1923); China and the Chinese, six Lectures delivered at Columbia University, 1902; Introduction to the History of Chinese Pictorial Art, 1905 (2nd ed. 1918); Religions of Ancient China, 1905; Arts,Language (with Dr Lionel Giles), Literature, and Religions of China, for Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910; Chinese Fairy Tales, 1911; The Civilization of China, 1911; China and the Manchus, 1912; China and the Chinese (for children), in St George's Magazine, 1912;China, in History of the Nations, 1913; Adversaria Sinica (1st series), 1914 (2nd series, No. 1), 1915; Confucianism and its Rivals (Hibbert Lectures), 1915; Supplementary Catalogue of Wade Library, 1915; How to begin Chinese: the Hundred Best Characters, 1919; the Second Hundred Best Characters; Revision of Bullock's Progressive Exercises, 1922; The Travels of Fa-hsien, 1923; Some Truths about Opium, 1923; Chaos in China, 1924; The Hsi Yuan Lu (Chinese Instructions to Coroners), 1924; Quips from a Chinese Jest-Book, 1925.
Address: 10 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge.
Telephone: 1092. Died: 13 February 1935

Diplomatic Postings:
British Vice Consul at Pagoda Island (1880-1883)
British Vice Consul at Shanghai (1883-1885)
British Consul at Tamsui (1885-1891)
British Consul at Ningpo (1891-1893)

Herbert Allen Giles
Dr H. A. Giles attained to such eminent distinction during his 35 years tenure of the Professorship of Chinese at Cambridge University that it is difficult for the present generation to think of him either as Vice Consul in Shanghai in 1889 or to appreciate the fact that, when he retired from H.B.M.'s Consular Service 10 years later, he was Consul at Ningpo.
His death will be sincerely mourned in China. His scholarship and deep learning have played a most important part in the cementing of Sino-British relationships and he must be accounted among the select group of Englishmen who have notably contributed to the better understanding of the culture and traditions of this great country. He received high recognition from universities in England, France and America he was a prolific writer on Chinese Literature and he communicated his love of Oriental affairs to his family of whom his son Lancelot died last year and another son Lionel, is now a distinguished orientalist at the British Museum. His career affords yet another disproof of the doctrine that long residence in the East precludes vigorous activity on return to the Homeland. Dr Giles retired, at the age of 48, after 26 years in China. He had already contributed a Chinese-English Dictionary to the study of his favourite subject, but his out-turn of writing, apart altogether from the activities which carried him to the highest post in the University, covered a wide field for a period of 35 years after leaving this country. The exponents of the "too old at 40" doctrine might carefully note.
Unattributed news paper article.

Herbert Allen GILES (1845-1935)
HERBERT ALLEN GILES was born in Oxford on 18th December 1845, the fourth son of John Allen Giles (1808-1884), an Anglican clergyman and Fellow of Corpus Christi College. His father had doctrinal differences with the Church and served a term in prison for a minor infraction of ecclesiastical law. As a consequence he was obliged to make ends meet with his pen, producing a stream of publications, many of a decidedly utilitarian nature, such as a series of "cribs" of Greek and Latin texts for schoolboys. It was as a contributor to the latter that Herbert Giles made his earliest foray into the world of letters. His later agnosticism and anti-clericalism no doubt had their origins in his father's ordeal at the hands of the Church of England. After four years at Charterhouse, Giles did not, as might have been expected, proceed to Oxford, but went instead to Peking, having passed the competitive examination for a Student Interpretership in China. His service as a consular officer is summarised as follows:
1867 passed competitive examination; (2 Feb) appointed Student Interpreter 1869 (18 Nov) Third Class Assistant 1872 (20 Jul - 31 Aug) Acting Consul Tientsin; (7 Dec) Second Class Assistant Acted as Interpreter at Tientsin, Ningpo, Hankow and Canton 1876 (4 Aug) First Class Assistant; (8 May - 16 Aug) Acting Consul Swatow 1879 (26 Jun) Acting Consul Amoy (until 10 Mar 1881) 1880 (25 Feb) H.M. Vice-Consul Pagoda Island 1883 (11 Jun) transferred to Shanghai 1885 (13 Nov) Acting Consul Tamsui (until 30 Jun 1886) 1886 (1 Jul) Consul Tamsui 1891 (1 Apr) transferred to Ningpo 1893 (10 Oct) resigned.
Giles' failure to rise high in the Service is to a great extent attributable to his distinctly "undiplomatic" personality. He did not "suffer fools gladly", and expressed in print views on controversial matters that were at variance with official policy and received opinion at home. He also became embroiled in a number of diplomatic contretemps, which resulted in his transferral and no doubt blighted his career. Fortunately, however, he had time and abundant energy to devote to Chinese research and publication, with the result that when he retired on health grounds (at the age of 47) after 25 years' service he had established a reputation as a sinologist which enabled him, despite his lack of formal qualifications, to advance to one of the most prestigious academic posts in Chinese studies. The Chair of Chinese at Cambridge had been vacant since the death in 1895 of its first incumbent, Giles' old chief and enemy Sir Thomas Wade, who had been appointed shortly after the gift of his collection of Chinese books to the University Library. Giles was unanimously elected on 3rd December 1897. There were no other sinologists at Cambridge and his students were very few; indeed not until 1903 was Chinese fully recognised as a subject fit for the Tripos examination. Giles was therefore free to spend his time amongst the Chinese books presented by Wade, of which he became Honorary Keeper, publishing what he gleaned from his wide reading. He finally retired in 1932 and died, in his ninetieth year, on 13th February 1935. Giles' published legacy may be divided into four broad categories: reference works, language textbooks, translations and miscellaneous writings. He tells us that of all his publications he was most proud of his Chinese-English Dictionary (1892; 2nd ed. 1912) and Chinese Biographical Dictionary (1898). Today the Dictionary is most often cited as the locus classicus of the so-called "Wade-Giles" romanisation system, for which the name of Giles is widely known even to non-specialists. The language textbooks are today of purely antiquarian interest. Giles' translations are of the most catholic nature, ranging from San zi jing Ey×O 3/4 <szj.html> (1900; 2nd ed. 1910) through Fo guo ji o1/4C (1877; 2nd ed. 1923) to Zhuang-zi ׯ×O (1889; 2nd ed. 1926) and Xi yuan lu I O c A (1924). Probably the best known today are the anthologies of prose and verse Gems of Chinese Literature (1884; 2nd ed. 1922) and Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (1878; 3rd ed. 1916), still the largest collection of stories from Liao zhai zhi yi AAO<O3/4Oi available in English. His insistence on retaining rhyme in his verse translations, though sound in theory, gives them nowadays an antiquated flavour. In his prose translations he sometimes glosses over a difficulty by simple omission, without notifying the reader, but his style is fluent and robust, and has worn better than his verse. Giles was notorious as a merciless critic of the work of fellow toilers in sinology, and in his journalistic writing, for which there was a ready outlet in the flourishing English-language press in China, he took delight in excoriating others for their mistranslations. Paradoxically, it is this miscellaneous and "ephemeral" writing which now seems most likely to have permanent value and interest. An example is Chinese Sketches (1876), containing observations based on nine years' residence in China on such varied topics as dentristry, etiquette, gambling, pawnbrokers, slang, superstitions and torture. As a polemicist, Giles expressed particularly strong views on female infanticide in China (which he disbelieved), opium addiction (which he deemed preferable to alcoholism), and missionary work in China (which he considered undesirable and unnecessary). The expression of such opinions naturally made him many enemies, but once seized of a conviction he refused to change his mind. This applied to small matters as well as great; an example is his heated argument with James Legge on the authenticity of the Lao-zi AI×O, in the pages of the China Review . Giles was a complex and contradictory personality. Ruthless with his pen, he was the soul of kindness to a friend in need. He dedicated the third edition of Strange Stories (1916) to his seven grandchildren, but at the end of his life was on speaking terms with only one of his surviving children. An ardent agnostic, he was at the same time an enthusiastic freemason. He was by all accounts a convivial companion and clubman, but never became a Fellow of his College, despite holding a Professorship for 35 years. Notwithstanding his reputation for abrasiveness, he would speak to anyone in the street "from the Vice-Chancellor to a crossing-sweeper", and was remembered by acquaintances as a man of great personal charm.
Charles Aylmer Abridged from East Asian History 13-14 (1997), pp. 1-7

Extract from :The Way of Life According to Laotzu
An American Version, by Witter Bynner
More relevant is a divergence of judgment as to the book's value. Herbert Giles, the able, pioneering British sinophile, tender toward Confucian orthodoxy and finding in Laotzu "direct antagonism to it," wrote in his Chinese Literature published at the turn of the century that "scant allusion would have been made" to the Tao Teh Ching, "were it not for the attention paid to it by several more or less eminent foreign students of the language."
Perhaps pedantic Giles was annoyed by the fact that Laotzu could speak of scholars as a corrupting nuisance. Other scholars more imaginative than Giles have differed with him; and current tendency gives the mystical ethics of Laotzu a surer place in import for the world than the practical proprieties of Confucius. Certainly Tao has had profound influence on a great part of the world's population. Apart from the superstitious and the misled who have taken over the name for religious sects and have perverted its meaning into alchemy, geomancy, occultism, church tricks generally, a majority in the Oriental world has been fundamentally informed by Taoist quietism, whether or not they realize the source of the patience, forbearance and fortitude which characterize them. Not only has Laotzu's creative quietism been the foundation of China's age-long survival; what was originally good in Japanese Chintziest has also derived from him. And the Western world might well temper its characteristic faults by taking Laotzu to heart.

bullet  Research Notes:

London University, School of Oriental and African Studies Library:
Sir Charles Stewart Addis
Catalogue Ref. PP MS 14
Addis, Sir, Charles Stewart, 1861-1945, knight

FILE [no title] - ref. PP MS 14/624 - date: 1922
[from Scope and Content] Mounted newspaper cuttings from British, Canadian and Chinese newspapers relating to speeches made by Addis on his Far East tour, on Canadian banking, relations with Japan, the presentation of the Royal Asiatic Society's gold medal to Professor Herbert Giles, author, and on the death of Murray Stewart, with profile of Addis, photograph and cuttings on his operation and recovery.

To find out more about the archives described, contact London University, School of Oriental and African Studies Library <>.

Some Giles images from the from the Giles Collection ANU Canberra Aust, with family agreement.

Some online sources for Herbert Allen Giles.
Ref: G J Giles to Giles Family Group. 2009
Note: The Editor of this website has been unable to connect with some of these links. 2013. texte/zhuangzi/ zhuangzilegge1. htm <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 3/23/2008 Last Visited: 3/23/2008
Mr. Giles's view that the name 'God' is the equivalent of Thien . . . . . His version of this differed in many points from all previous versions; and Mr. H. A. Giles, of H. M.'s Consular Service in China, vehemently assailed it and also Dr. Chalmers's translation, in the China Review for March and April, 1886 . . . . . Mr. Giles, indeed, occasionally launched a shaft also at Julien and myself; but his main object in his article w as to discredit the genuineness and authenticity of the Tao Teh King itself. The work, he says, is undoubtedly a forgery. It contains indeed, much that Lao Tzu did say, but more that he did not. I replied, so far as was necessary, to Mr. Giles in the same Review for January and February, 1888; and a brief summary of my reply is given in the second chapter of the Introduction in this volume. My confidence has never been shaken for a moment in the Tao Teh King as a genuine relic of Lao- Tzu, one of the most original minds of the Chinese race.
In preparing the version now published, I have used . . . . . Through Mr. Balfour's kindness I have had an opportunity of examining this edition of Lao's Treatise; and I am compelled to agree with the very unfavourable judgment on it pronounced by Mr. Giles as both "spurious" and "ridiculous". All that we are told of Lu Yen is very suspicious; much of it evidently false . . . . . Having exposed the errors of Mr. Balfour, Mr. Giles proceeded to make a version of his own, which was published last year in London, with the title of 'CHUANG TZU, Mystic, Moralist, and Social Reformer.' It was not, however, till I was well through with the revision of my draft version, that I supplied myself with a copy of his volume . . . . . I did not doubt that Mr. Giles's translation would be well and tersely done, and I preferred to do my own work independently and without the help which he would have afforded me. In carrying my sheets through the press, I have often paused over my rendering of a passage to compare it with his; and I have pleasure in acknowledging the merits of his version. The careful and competent reader will see and form his own judgment on passages and points where we differ . . . . . Mr. Balfour appears to have made his version mainly from the same edition of the work; and some of his grossest errors pointed out by Mr. Giles arose from his accepting without question the misprints of his authority . . . . . It would not have been necessary a few years ago to write as if these points could be called in question, but in 1886 Mr. Herbert A. Giles, of Her Majesty's Consular Service in China, and one of the ablest Chinese scholars living, vehemently called them in question in an article in the China Review for the months of March and April. His strictures have been replied to, and I am not going to revive here the controversy which they produced, but only to state a portion of the evidence which satisfies my own mind on the two points just mentioned . . . . . Giles has also a note in loc., showing how this synonym settles the original meaning of Tao in the sense of 'road.' . . . . . This has been done by Mr. Giles in his version of Kwang-dze, which is otherwise for the most part so good . . . . . I know that Mr. Giles's plan in translating is to use strictly English equivalents for all kinds of Chinese terms . . . . .
4, Hwang-Ti does reverence to his instructor Kwa ng Khang-dze , saying, 'In Kwang Khang-dze we have an example of what is called Heaven,' which Mr. Giles renders 'Kwang Khang Dze is surely God.' In par.5, again, the mystical Yun-kiang is made to say to the equally fabulous and mystical Hung-mung, 'O Heaven, have you forgotten me? and, farther on, O Heaven, you have conferred on me (the knowledge of) your operation, and revealed to me the mystery of it; in both which passages Mr. Giles renders thien by 'your Holiness.'
Mr. Giles's own ideal of the meaning of the name 'God' as the equivalent of Thien.
But Mr. Giles seems to agree with me that the old Taoists had no idea of a personal God, when the y wrote of Thien or Heaven . . . . .
XV, par, 3, in a description of the human SPIRIT, its name is said to be 'Thung Ti,' which Mr. Giles renders 'Of God;' Mr. Balfour, 'One with God;' while my own version is 'The Divinity in Man.' In Bk. . . . . .
6, we have the expression 'the place of God;' in Mr. Giles, 'the kingdom of God;' in Mr. Balfour, 'the home of God.' In this and the former instance, the character seems to be used with the ancient meaning which had entered into the folklore of the people . . . . .
1. For this sentence we find in Mr. Balfour: Spirits of the dead, receiving It, become divine; the very gods themselves owe their divinity to its influence; and by it both Heaven and Earth were produced. The version of it by Mr. Giles is too condensed:-- Spiritual beings drew their spirituality there from, while the universe became what we see it now. e/catalog/ titles/c0001. html <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 5/25/2006 Last Visited: 6/27/2009
Herbert A. Giles and China: Two Early Classics of Modern Sinology . . . . .
Modern sinology-the study of things Chinese-may trace its roots back centuries to Marco Polo, Byzantium and even Imperial Rome, but to a great extent it was built on foundations laid and extended by Herbert Giles, a consul for the United Kingdom in China and later a professor at Cambridge University . . .
Introduction: Herbert A. Giles and China, by Joshua A. Fogel . . . . .
Herbert Allen Giles (1845-1935), the author of the two works which comprise this volume, was in his day, as now, an extraordinarily erudite scholar of Chinese history and culture. His long life spans the era from the Taiping Rebellion through the early years of the second Sino-Japanese War. He was the son of John Allen Giles (1808-1884), an Oxford University-trained minister, translator from the Greek, and author of a Latin Grammar. After serving in the Chinese consular service for twenty-six years (1867-1893), Giles became professor of Chinese at Cambridge, where he taught until 1932. Over the years, he penned a long list of books, scholarly and popular, which attempted to make sense of the great complexity of Chinese history and culture to a literate Anglophone audience . . . . .
Herbert A. Giles (1845-1935)
Herbert Allen Giles was born in England, and was the son of an Oxford University-trained scholar-minister. He served in the Chinese consular service from 1867 to 1893, then retired to a position at Cambridge University, where he taught until 1932. He was a pioneer of modern sinology, and the author of a great many books, both scholarly and popular. His name is best remembered in connection with the Wade-Giles system of romanizing the Chinese language, which he developed in co-operation with Thomas F. Wade. Giles was also the author of a Chinese Biographical Dictionary (1898) and Chinese-English Dictionary (1912): both are still valuable reference works for scholars and students of Chinese language and culture.
chinapedia.chinaass 2009/0427/ The_last_ one_to_ <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 1/1/2009 Last Visited: 5/14/2009
I discovered the details about the traditional dinner invitation party, and many other wonderful Chinese old-world tit-bits, from the writings of Herbert Allen Giles, who was a British diplomat in China in the late 19th century and also professor of Chinese at Cambridge University.
"A foreigner arriving in China for the first time will be especially struck by three points to which he is not accustomed at home," Giles once said in a lecture.
www.primaryproofs of christianity. com/socplaari. html <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Last Visited: 1/20/2009
Herbert A. Giles, M.A., LL.D., Professor of Chinese at the University of Cambridge, says about Confucius:
Now for many centuries he has been the central figure and object of a cult as sincere as ever offered by man to any being, human or divine. com/what- are-the-fundemen tals-of-medi <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 7/23/2008 Last Visited: 7/23/2008
Volume 2.2 - Religions of China by Herbert Giles, Ph.D. University of Cambridge Buddist Fundamentals of Meditation by Ting Chen, translated by Dharma ...
www.survivalafterde books/fodor/ chapter3. htm <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Last Visited: 6/6/2009
But Professor H. A. Giles, of Cambridge, gave it balanced sense by suggesting brilliant textual emendations. The voice had talked now for about ten minutes.
www.harvestfields. ca/free-books/ index.htm <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 1/4/2008 Last Visited: 1/4/2008
Herbert A. Giles, M.A., LL.D., Professor of Chinese in the University of Cambridge.
www.southernghostre ghost_stories/ Antique-Boo <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 4/26/2007 Last Visited: 4/26/2007
Antique Book Chinese Without a Teacher Herbert A Giles
www.translationjour 27names.htm <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 1/1/2004 Last Visited: 4/2/2009
As I briefly mentioned in the introduction to this article, the Chinese government felt that the good Sir Thomas Francis Wade and Cambridge professor Herbert Allen Giles had been leading the way for English speakers to mangle Chinese pronunciation and argued that the Wade-Giles transliteration system of Chinese names was not intuitive . . . . .
Dictionnaires Le Robert, Paris:2000, although very comprehensive, does not have an entry for professors Wade or Giles, whose system it uses.
Translation of proper names - part 2 <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 12/9/2003 Last Visited: 12/7/2005
As I briefly mentioned in the introduction to this article, the Chinese government felt that the good Sir Thomas Francis Wade and Cambridge professor Herbert Allen Giles had been leading the way for English speakers to mangle Chinese pronunciation and argued that the Wade-Giles transliteration system of Chinese names was not intuitive . . . . .
Dictionnaires Le Robert, Paris:2000, although very comprehensive, does not have an entry for professors Wade or Giles, whose system it uses.
A Lute of Jade: Being Selections from the Classical... <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 4/8/2004 Last Visited: 10/19/2006
To Professor Herbert Giles . . . . .
"The Peach Blossom Fountain" is quoted by Professor Giles
in his 'Chinese Literature'. The philosophy of this ancient poet . . . . .
History of Chinese Literature, by Professor Herbert Giles, p. 180.
British Go Association <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 3/31/2007 Last Visited: 12/28/2007
Herbert Giles was professor of Chinese at Cambridge at the start of the 20th Century. He translated an introduction to the game as early as 1877, but it was not widely available. He admits in Pecorini and Shu's book of 1929 that he used to play with his young children.
Buddhist Kingdoms | Foundations <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 6/26/2007 Last Visited: 9/7/2009
Klaproth et Landress" (Paris, 1836); of the Rev. Samuel Beal (London, 1869), and his revision of it, prefixed to his "Buddhist Records of the Western World" (Trubner's Oriental Series, 1884); and of Mr. Herbert A. Giles, of H.M.'s Consular Service in China (1877) . . . . .
Mr. Watters had to judge of the comparative merits of the versions of Beal and Giles, and pronounce on the many points of contention between them. China Guide - Ancient China Religion <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Last Visited: 8/1/2008
RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT CHINA . . . . . RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT CHINA. by HERBERT A. GILES, MA, LL.D. (Aberd.) Professor of Chinese at the University of Cambridge, . . . . .
E-book: Chinese Tales and Fables - Experience the... <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 1/14/2005 Last Visited: 4/17/2006
Professor Herbert A. Giles, 1892. This quote from Herbert A. Giles (he compiled the first exhaustive Chinese-English dictionary in 1892) aptly describes the contents of Chinese Fables, a handsome new ebook.
E-dition presents: Chinese Tales and Fables <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 6/30/2004 Last Visited: 1/3/2006
Professor Herbert A. Giles, 1892.
This quote from Herbert A. Giles in 1892 aptly describes the contents of Chinese Tales and Fables.
English catalog top page <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 5/25/2006 Last Visited: 2/25/2009
Herbert A. Giles and China: Two Early Classics of Modern Sinology . . . . .
Modern sinology-the study of things Chinese-may trace its roots back centuries to Marco Polo, Byzantium and even Imperial Rome, but to a great extent it was built on foundations laid and extended by Herbert Giles, a consul for the United Kingdom in China and later a professor at Cambridge University.
EzSoft.Net : Chinese Fables 1.0 <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 12/1/1999 Last Visited: 10/15/2005
Professor Herbert A. Giles, 1892.This quote from Herbert A. Giles in 1892 aptly describes the contents of Chinese Fables, a handsome new ebook.
Gambling Games of the Chinese in America <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 5/29/2007 Last Visited: 1/8/2008
The writer is indebted to Herbert A. Giles, Esq., H.B.M. Consul, Amoy , China for suggestions with reference to the correct etymology of fan tan, and the terms used to designate, the different ways of laying the wagers.
Herbert A. Giles and China: Two Early Classics of... <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 5/25/2006 Last Visited: 2/25/2009
Herbert A. Giles and China . . . . .
The two works reprinted here cover the early and the later periods of his career. Chinese Sketches of 1876, apparently Giles's third book, was written when he was still in the foreign service. He already revealed a stunning breadth of learning, especially for one in his early thirties who lacked virtually every Western-language reference work we all now take for granted. . . . . . The republication of these two works by Herbert A. Giles will, it is hoped, modestly redress the balance.
Literature - Education <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 6/15/2004 Last Visited: 3/5/2005
Professor Herbert A. Giles, 1892.This quote from Herbert A. Giles (he compiled the first exhaustive Chinese-English dictionary in 1892) aptly describes the contents of the French version of Chinese Fables, a handsome new ebook. . . . . .
Professor Herbert A. Giles, 1892.This quote from Herbert A. Giles (he compiled the first exhaustive Chinese-English dictionary in 1892) aptly describes the contents of Chinese Fables, a handsome new ebook.
Others - Education <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 1/30/2004 Last Visited: 6/26/2005
Professor Herbert A. Giles, 1892.This quote from Herbert A. Giles (he compiled the first exhaustive Chinese-English dictionary in 1892) aptly describes the contents of the French version of Chinese Fables, a handsome new ebook.
Religions of Ancient China - THE ANCIENT FAITH... <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 5/26/2005 Last Visited: 10/25/2006
Article by HERBERT A. GILES, M.A., LL.D. (Aberd.).Professor of Chinese at the University of Cambridge, Author of "Historic China," "A History of Chinese Literature," "China and the Chinese," etc., etc. First Published 1906 by Constable and Company Ltd., London.
Speak E-Z Chinese | Chinese Phrasebook | Free Audio... <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 12/1/2006 Last Visited: 10/26/2008 Initiated by British scholar Sir Thomas Francis Wade, and later modified by Professor Herbert Allen Giles in 1912, the system became the preferred Chinese transliteration method among academies.
Speak E-Z Chinese | Chinese Phrasebook | Free Audio... <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 4/9/2007 Last Visited: 10/26/2008
Initiated by British scholar Sir Thomas Francis Wade, and later modified by Professor Herbert Allen Giles in 1912, the system became the preferred Chinese transliteration method among academians.
Spicy Quotes - inspirational educational quote -... <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 5/3/2005 Last Visited: 9/22/2006
Professor Herbert A. Giles, 1892.This quote from Herbert A. Giles (he compiled the first ... <http://www.finaldow> nload. . . . story collection.html
THE CIVILIZATION OF CHINA by Herbert Allen Giles <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 2/17/2004 Last Visited: 7/29/2005
Herbert Allen Giles, M.A., LL.D. Professor of Chinese in the University of Cambridge,
Tales of Old China <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 1/1/2008 Last Visited: 1/18/2009
The Project Gutenberg Etext of China and the Manchus, by Giles* #3 in our series by Herbert A. Giles
This file should be named 8mnch10.txt or
"In these trying circumstances, " says Professor Giles, "the tact and resource of Prince Kung won the admiration of his opponents," and when the Foreign Office was formed in 1861, it began with the Prince as its first president, a position which he continued to hold for many years.
It was he, as we have seen, who succeeded in outwitting and overthrowing the self-constituted regency on the death of his brother Hsien Feng, and, with the Empress Dowager, seated her infant son upon the throne, with the two Empresses and himself as joint regents. This condition continued for some years, with the senior Empress exercising no authority, and Prince Kung continually growing in power. The arrangement seemed satisfactory to all but one--the Empress-mother. To her it appeared as though he were fast becoming the government, and she and the Empress were as rapidly receding into the background, while in reality the design had been to make him "joint regent" with them. In all the receptions of the officials by the court, Prince Kung alone could see them face to face, while the ladies were compelled to remain behind a screen, listening to the deliberations but without taking any part therein, other than by such suggestions as they might make.
Being the visible head of the government, and the only avenue to positions of preferment, he would naturally be flattered by the Chinese officials. This led him to assume an air of importance which consciously or unconsciously he carried into the presence of their Majesties, and one morning he awoke to find himself stripped of all his rank and power, and confined and guarded a prisoner in his palace, by a joint decree from the two Empresses accusing him of "lack of respect for their Majesties." The deposed Prince at once begged their forgiveness, whereupon all his honours were restored with their accompanying dignities, but none of his former power as joint regent, and thus the first obstacle to her reestablishment of the dynasty was eliminated by the Empress-mother. To show Prince Kung, however, that they bore him no ill will, the Empresses adopted his daughter as their own, raising her to the rank of an imperial princess, and though the Prince has long since passed away his daughter still lives, and next to the Empress Dowager has been the leading figure in court circles during the past ten years' association with the foreigners.
During her son's minority, after the dismissal of Prince Kung as joint regent, the Empress-mother year by year took a more active part in the affairs of state, while the Empress as gradually sank into the background. She was far-sighted. Having but one son, and knowing the uncertainty of life, she originated a plan to secure the succession to her family. To this end she arranged for the marriage of her younger sister to her husband's younger brother commonly known as the Seventh Prince, in the hope that from this union there might come a son who would be a worthy occupant of the dragon throne in case her own son died without issue. She felt that the country needed a great central figure capable of inspiring confidence and banishing uncertainty, a strong, well-balanced, broad-minded, self-abnegating chief executive, and she proposed to furnish one. Whether she would succeed or not must be left to the future to reveal, but the one great task set by destiny for her to accomplish was to prepare the mind of a worthy successor to meet openly and intelligently the problems which had been too vast, too new and too complicated for her predecessors, if not for herself, to solve.
When her son was seventeen years old he was married to Alute, a young Manchu lady of one of the best families in Peking and was nominally given the reins of power, though as a matter of fact the supreme control of affairs was still in the hands of his more powerful mother.
Tales of Old China <> - [ Cached Version <> ]
Published on: 7/11/2006 Last Visited: 9/29/2007
The Project Gutenberg Etext of Civilization of China, by Giles* #2 in our series by Herbert A. Giles
This file should be named 8mnch10.txt or 8mnch10.zip4. /A Chinese Biographical Dictionary/, by H. A. Giles, LL.D., Professor of Chinese at the University of Cambridge . . . . .
7. /A History of Chinese Literature/, by H. A. Giles.
Notes on two or three hundred writers of history, philosophy, biography, travel, poetry, plays, fiction, etc., with a large number of translated extracts grouped under the above headings and arranged in chronological order.
8. /Chinese Poetry in English Verse/, by H. A. Giles . . . . .
9. /An Introduction to the History of Chinese Pictorial Art/, by H. A. Giles . . . . .
11. /Religions of Ancient China/, by H. A. Giles . . . . .
A short account of the early worship of one God, followed by brief notices of Taoism, Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Mahommedanism, and other less well-known faiths which have been introduced at various dates into China . . . . .
18. /Chuang Tzu/, by H. A. Giles.


bullet  Other Records

1. Census: England, 30 Mar 1851, The Church Yard Bampton Oxfordshire. Herbert is recorded as a son aged 5 born St Giles Oxford

2. Herbert Allen Giles: Youth & early China days, 1857-1870.
Middle - drawingroom in Ningpo and Herberts second family with Elise & Kathleen 1889

3. Herbert Allen Giles: Children of Catherine & Elise Giles, 1882.
Giles first family c1882, likewise but date at 1893 unlikely, c 1887, family with Elise & Kathleen c1894.

4. Herbert Allen Giles: Settled in Cambridge at Selwyn Gardens, Post 1896.
Selwyn gardens scenes c1900, an older Herbert , Selwyn Gardens Cambridge, Herbert on a tricycle.

5. Census: England, 31 Mar 1901, Selwyn Gardens Cambridge. Herbert is recorded as head of house married aged 55 Professor of Chinese born Oxfordshire Three servants are resident in the house

6. Census: England, 2 Apr 1911, Selwyn Gardens Cambridge. Herbert is described as married aged 65 a University Professor born Oxford

7. Herbert Giles & Family WWI: Declaration to Save Wheat, Cir 1916.

8. Herbert Allen Giles: Letter to Philadelphia Giles, 22 Dec 1929, England.
22. 12. 29.
My very dear Girlie,
Your little letter was a great treat, and Stinton is delighted with her calendar. I'm glad to be temporarily away from Gas n Razor blades. Life always fails for me on this date, the day, as perhaps Val has told you, on which I committed without a moments hesitation then and without any feeling of regret later on - a period of 48 years - what was legally a murder but morally a humane act. I have never shaken off the resentful feeling that a sweet tempered lovable girl, who never had an enemy, should not be allowed to see what all mothers long to see - her children grow up.
I am sorry to write like this, I have rarely, if ever, done so before. I will leave off now, think of Delphia, your bright star. All best wishes from your loving father H A Giles
This letter was written to Valentine Giles second wife Philadelphia [9234], and is in the possession of her daughter, Philadelphia Atkinson [9235] - 2008.
Published courtesy of the Gt Grandaughter of Herbert Giles, Rosamond Stewart.
The researcher has held this letter embargoed for many years, it is now time to reveal this act of compassion by a loving husband nursing a loved wife suffering the agony of liver cancer.
Should you be reading this you are asked to respect the devoted intimacy of the writer.

9. Professor Herbert Giles: Research into Herberts work by Shengyu Wang, 2012-2020.
2012 - Shengyu Wang a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago, is writing a dissertation on the translation and reception of Chinese strange tales into European languages between 1880 and 1920 as well as how these tales had contributed to the making of the modern culture in the West. One of the chapters in her dissertation deals with Herbert A Gile's phenomenal translation of Pu Songling's "Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio."

2019 - Shengyu writes at the completion of her work - I am very pleased to share with you the attached article on Herbert Giles' 1880 Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, which will appear in the journal Comparative Literature. I have revised it many many times, and that's why it took me seven years to finally finish it, but I feel quite rewarded by having the reason to read Giles' wonderful translation again and again, each time appreciating it more. This article cannot be completed without your help and suggestions, which I have duly acknowledged in this article as well as in my dissertation (2017).

10. Professor Herbert Giles: Research into Herberts work by Shengyu Wang, 2012-2020.
2020 - Shengyu writes - there was much unwarrented criticism of Herbert Giles during his lifetime. But I have also found that there were many praises of Giles' translation of Pu Songling's tales of the strange. Existing scholarship has overlooked these reviews as well as the scholarly aspect of Giles' translation. One of the purposes of my article is to show that Giles' translation has close connections with the emerging comparative studies of anthropology and religion in late 19th-century Britain. Below I am sharing with you some reviews from Giles' contemporaries - all are positive.

Review by the renowned translator James Legge.
Legge is the most important Victorian translator of China and Oxford University's first chair of Chinese language and literature.
"Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio <>."
The Academy: A Weekly Review of Literature, Science and Art 18 (1880): 185-86.

Letter to Giles from Marquis Tseng Chi-tse (a.k.a Zeng Jize) in praise of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio.
"Literary Intelligence <'s%20American%2C%20European%2C%20%26%20Oriental%20Literary%20Record%201%2C%20nos.1-2%20(1880)%3A%205-10.&pg=PA50>."
Trübner's American, European, & Oriental Literary Record (1880): 50-51.

Review in "Books on Folk-Lore Lately Published <>."
The Folklore Record 4 (1881): 191-204. Founded in 1878, the Folklore Record is the first journal of Folk-Lore Society of Great Britain, which is one of the first organizations in the world for collecting perishing cultural relics.

Ku, Hung-Ming. The Spirit of the Chinese People <>.
Peking: The Peking Daily News, 1915.
Educated in Edinburgh and writing in English and Latin, the polyglot Ku Hung-ming (a.k.a. Gu Hungming) is one of the most internationally-esteemed Chinese man of letters in his generation. Though critical of Giles' dictionary and adversaria sinica, Ku speaks highly of Giles' translation of the Liaozhai, see p.130.

"Literary Intelligence <'s%20giles%20%E2%80%9Care%20to%20the%20Chinese%20what%20the%20%E2%80%98Arabian%20Nights%E2%80%99%20are%20to%20the%20Arabians&pg=PA6>."
Trübner's American, European, & Oriental Literary Record 1, nos.1-2 (1880): 5-10.

Other mentions
Lang, Andrew. "Some Japanese Bogies." The Magazine of Art 8 (1885): 15-20. Reprinted in Books and Bookmen <>. p.137. Lang is a renowned poet, novelist, comparative anthropologist.

Lafcidio Hearn, regarded as one of 20th century's foremost Western interpreters of Japan, borrowed many details from Giles' translation for a supernatural tale he wrote . See Hearn, Lafcadio, Some Chinese Ghosts (1887), p.167. <>


Shengyu's work can be found on;

11. How H A Giles learned Chinese: by Phebe XU Gray, Apr 2014, Foreign Service Journal USA.
The life and work of Herbert Allen Giles offer insights for many Foreign Service members - particularly those who embark on the kind of linguistic journey Giles undertook as a young diplomat.

Herbert Allen Giles (1845-1935), perhaps best known for his association with the Wade-Giles transliteration system, was a British Foreign Service officer who spent 25 years in China. After retiring from diplomacy, he became the second professor of Chinese at Cambridge University. Giles initially took Chinese as a job requirement. But after mastering the language for that purpose, he pioneered the discipline of Chinese studies and was a prolific author of numerous textbooks and articles on China's language, literature, culture, history, arts and philosophy. It would be unfair to compare Giles with today's U.S. Foreign Service officers, since he spent his entire diplomatic career in China and Taiwan. Nevertheless, his story proves that it is not
only possible for an adult to learn Chinese, but to be remarkably successful. With that in mind, here are some possible lessons for FSOs preparing for language-designated positions.

Discover Creative Ways to Learn the Language:
After completing his studies at the Charter School in Oxford, Giles passed the competitive examination to be a student interpreter for the British Foreign Service. Immediately after arriving in China in 1867 as a 22-year-old, he distinguished himself by his untraditional approach to learning the language. There were very few textbooks available for Westerners to learn Chinese at that time. Giles was not entirely satisfied with the recommended textbook, Yu Yan Zi Er Ji, considering it as an "ill-arranged and pedantic primer" - an assessment that would become a major point of contention between Giles and its author, Sir Thomas Wade. So he set out to learn what the Chinese were reading and how their children attained literacy. Giles purchased books on the street, and started by memorizing a classic primer, The Three Character Classic. He then taught himself to read Chinese literature by using dictionaries and consulting French translations, since he was already fluent in that language. He was so ardent in his pursuit of learning that he sometimes stopped strangers on the street to find out what they were reading. In addition to reading business correspondence on the job, Giles was also steeped in contemporary and classic Chinese literature, history and philosophy, going far beyond the required textbooks. Giles' diplomatic career carried him to many places in China: Tientsin (now known as Tianjin), Hankow (Hankou), Canton (Guangzhou), Swatow (Shantou), Pagoda Island (Xiamen), Tam-sui (D'anshui, Taiwan), Shanghai and Ningpo (Ningbo). In each of these posts, Giles studied the local dialects; he even wrote a language book on the Swatow dialect.

Go Beyond Instrumental Motivation:
There are two kinds of motivations for learning a foreign language: instrumental (utilitarian) and integrative. The first category encompasses those who learn another tongue to fulfill a job requirement or get good grades, while the second group consists of those who are truly interested in the target culture and people. Integrative motivation is generally the stronger of the two forms, and its practitioners are generally more successful in learning the target language. Although Giles started learning Chinese due to instrumental motivation, he soon transitioned to integrative motivation because he became genuinely interested in the Chinese people. Giles often ventured into the local Chinese community rather than stay within the comfort zone of the expatriate quarter. In the preface to his Chinese Sketches (1876), he noted that "The following sketches owe their existence chiefly to frequent peregrinations in Chinese cities, with pencil and notebook in hand..." Giles offered an unconventional view of Chinese culture, countering the mainstream belief of his contemporaries. As he wrote: "It seems to be generally believed that the Chinese, as a nation, are an immoral, degraded race ... that opium, a more terrible scourge than gin, is now working frightful ravages in their midst; and that only the forcible diffusion of Christianity can save the Empire from speedy and overwhelming ruin. An experience of eight years has taught me that, with all their faults, the Chinese are a hardworking, sober and happy people, occupying an intermediate place between the wealth and culture, the vice and misery of the West"
Giles' devotion to China and its culture is evident both in his 1922 anthology of translations of famous Chinese verse, and his own poetic preface to that volume:
Dear Land of Flowers (China), forgive me! that I took
These snatches from thy glittering wealth of song,
And twisted to the uses of a book
Strains that to alien harps can ne'er belong.
Thy gems shine purer in their native bed
Concealed, beyond the pry of vulgar eyes;
Until, through labyrinths of language led,
The patient student grasps the glowing prize.
Yet many, in their race toward other goals,
May joy to feel, albeit at second-hand,
Some far faint heart-throb of poetic souls
Whose breath makes incense in the Flowery Land.

Learn the Culture As Much As the Language:
In addition to learning the Chinese language, Giles became an ardent student of Chinese culture, from his youth in China through his old age in Britain. Once he managed to disguise himself to enter the Temple of Heaven (a complex of religious buildings in southern Beijing dating back to 1420) with the Chinese emperor to view an imperial sacrificial worship. He also went to the market to observe events such as funerals conducted by Buddhist monks, circus performances and tooth-extraction.
After retiring from the British Foreign Service, Giles kept in touch with current affairs by reading Chinese newspapers. He continued to assess and write about events in China actively long after retirement. His 1923 book, Chaos in China, reflected his keen observations and insights into the causes of the society's tumult. Giles also collected Chinese coins and traveled widely in China, mainly for business purposes. During his journeys, he sought opportunities to observe every aspect of local culture. Instead of being annoyed when the Chinese stared at him, as many Westerners were, he took the opportunity to study them, staring straight back and attempting to see their hearts and understand them.
Two of Giles' many publications, the Chinese-English Dictionary and Chinese Biographical Dictionary, won the Prix St. Julien Award from the French Academy. These books were testimonies to his lifelong endeavor of collecting data, writing, editing, and doing multiple revisions. At the time, Chinese studies was not a popular undertaking, and Sinologists were regarded as outcasts in both the general and academic community. Giles undertook these monumental projects almost singlehandedly, taking a huge risk by financing the publication of these books on his own.
Endurance and Due Recognition:
Giles' involvement with Chinese studies spanned more than half a century. He continued to publish prolifi-cally until he was 80 years old, when he summarized his life's ambition as follows: "Throughout my life, from 1867 onwards, I have had two dominating ambitions: to contribute towards a more easy acquisition and a more correct knowledge of the Chinese language, written and spoken; and to arouse a wide and deeper interest in the literature, history, religions, art, philosophy, and manners and customs of the Chinese people' A key aspect of his approach was targeting it to the general public in the West. His Chinese without a Teacher, a textbook intended to help the general public learn the language, remained popular for many years. In addition to receiving two honorary doctorates, one from the University of Aberdeen and the other from Oxford University, Giles was invited to inaugurate the Chinese lecture series for the establishment of Columbia University's Chinese program in 1902. (Columbia later offered him a departmental chair, which he declined.) He also received a red umbrella from the Amoy Chinese Chamber of Commerce for his protection of emigrants from overcrowding in steamers. Giles received a special Er Deng Da Shou Jiahe (The Metal of 2nd-Grade Good Crop) award from the Chinese government in 1922. That same year, his accomplishments won him the Royal Asiatic Society's triennial gold medal. Giles was also a leading member of the North China Royal Asiatic Society, mentoring other Westerners in their studies of Chinese language and culture. One of these was Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor, a commissioner in the Imperial Maritime Customs Services. Brewitt-Taylor counted Giles, along with Sir Robert Hart, the inspector general of the Imperial Maritime Customs Services in China, as among his few close friends.
It was with Giles' encouragement that Brewitt-Taylor twice painstakingly translated a classic Chinese novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. (The first manuscript was lost in a fire during the Boxer Rebellion.) His rendering remains a classic translation to this day.
Giles' work in Chinese was so well regarded that Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China, wrote him to express appreciation for his contributions to the understanding of Chinese language and culture in the West.

Family Ties:
Giles' family was closely linked to China; when his first wife died, she was buried there. His second son, Lionel Giles, a notable Sinologist in his own right, translated The Art of War and was the keeper of Oriental printed materials and books at the British Museum.
There he cataloged the famous Dunghuang Scroll, brought to Britain by Sir Ariel Stein. Two other sons, Bertram and Lancelot, served as diplomats in China in the early 1900s Lancelot witnessed the Boxer Rebellion and the siege of the foreign legations in Peking.
All three assisted Giles with his publications.
The fourth son, Valentine Giles, served as a colonel in the British Royal Engineers and participated in Francis Young-husband's 1904 Tibetan expedition. Giles' grandson, Austin Giles, worked in the Shanghai Hong Kong Bank in Manchuria and was also stationed with the British military in Chongqing in the 1930s. Giles shared Chinese studies with his grandchildren, as well, by introducing them to stories and poems in traditional Chinese culture. The strength of Giles' love affair with China sustained him for a productive life's work, until the age of 90. A century ago, Giles prophetically declared that "the interest in China and in her certainly four thousand years of civilization ... will no doubt quicken some day in the future."
For all these reasons, the life and work of Herbert Allen Giles offer insights for many Foreign Service members'97particularly those who embark on the same linguistic journey Giles undertook as a young diplomat.
Phebe Xu Gray is a language and culture instructor in the East Asian and Pacific language department at the Foreign Service Institute. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent those of FSI or the U.S. Department of State.
Contributed by C Stubbs 2019


Herbert married Catherine Maria (Kate) FENN [7] [MRIN: 9], daughter of Dr Thomas Harrold FENN M.R.C.S. [1] and Maria ALSTON [2], on 30 Jun 1870 in Nayland SFK. (Catherine Maria (Kate) FENN [7] was born on 30 Sep 1844 in Nayland SFK, baptised on 29 Oct 1844 in Nayland SFK, died on 24 Dec 1882 in Pagoda Anchorage Foochow China. and was buried in Pagoda Anchorage Foochow China..)


Herbert next married Elise Williamina EDERSHEIM [2059] [MRIN: 115], daughter of Rev Alfred EDERSHEIM D D [2060] and Mary Elizabeth BROOMFIELD [13144], on 28 Dec 1883 in S.S. Phillip & James Oxford. (Elise Williamina EDERSHEIM [2059] was born in 1860 in Aberdeen Scotland and died on 17 Dec 1921 in Cambridge CAM..)

Copyright © and all rights reserved to Edward Liveing Fenn and all other contributors of personal data. No personal data to be used without attribution or for commercial purposes. Interested persons who wish to share this data are welcome to contact to arrange same and be given the details.

Home | Table of Contents | Surnames | Name List

This Website was Created 16 Jun 2024 with Legacy 9.0 from MyHeritage; content copyright and maintained by or