The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Parker, Peter
PARKER, Peter, an American missionary, born in Framingham, Mass., June 18, 1804. He graduated at Yale college in 1831, studied theology and medicine there, and was ordained and went to China in 1834. He established a hospital at Canton, intended particularly for the treatment of eye diseases; but it was soon found impracticable to exclude patients suffering from other maladies. Over 2,000 patients were admitted the first year. In surgery Dr. Parker manifested remarkable skill and wrought wonderful cures, and the fame of the hospital spread rapidly. He often preached to its inmates, and trained several Chinese students in the arts of medicine and surgery, some of whom attained considerable skill. In 1840, on the occurrence of hostilities between England and China, the hospital was closed, and Dr. Parker revisited his native land. Returning to China in 1842, he reopened the hospital, and it was thronged as before. In 1845 he resigned his connection with the American board, and became a secretary and interpreter to the new embassy from the United States, still keeping the hospital in operation. In the absence of the minister Dr. Parker acted as chargé d'affaires. In 1855, finding his health seriously impaired, he again visited this country, but by special desire of the government returned the same year to China as commissioner, with full power to revise the treaty of 1844. He acted in this capacity until a change of administration in 1857; and his health again failing, he has since resided in the United States. He has published “A Statement respecting Hospitals in China” (London, 1841), and an account of his visit to the Loo Choo islands and Japan in 1837.