The New International Encyclopædia/Parker, Peter (missionary)
PARKER, Peter (1804-88). A medical missionary and diplomat, born in Massachusetts; graduated at Yale College in 1831; studied theology and medicine at New Haven; was ordained and went to China as a missionary in 1834. He established a hospital at Canton, principally for eye diseases, but soon for other diseases. Dr. Parker possessed great surgical skill, and his fame spread rapidly. War breaking out in 1840 between England and China, the hospital was closed, and Dr. Parker returned to the United States. In 1842 he went back to China and re-opened the hospital, which was soon crowded. In 1845 he resigned his connection with the American Board, and became secretary to the United States legation and interpreter of the new embassy, still having charge of the hospital. In the absence of the minister he acted as chargé d'affaires. In 1855, his health having failed, he again visited the United States, but by request of the Government he returned the same year to China as commissioner with full power to revise the treaty of 1844. This position he held until a change of administration in 1857, when, his health again failing, he returned to the United States, and settled in Washington. He published Reports of the Ophthalmic Hospital at Canton (Canton, 1836-52); Statements respecting Hospitals in China (London, 1841); Notes of Surgical Practice Among the Chinese (Edinburgh, 1846).