Wang Tao 1828-1897

Wang was born in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. After failing the juren examination, he followed his father to Shanghai. In 1849 he began working in the London Missionary Society Press. His task was to render into literary Chinese the oral translations of Western missionaries, and to assist W.H. Medhurst on a new translation of the Bible. In 1862 Wang was accused of writing a letter to the Taiping rebels, and was sentenced to death. Medhurst's son, the British Consul, gave him refuge in the British Consulate in Shanghai, and four months later he was evacuated to Hong Kong. There he was invited by James Legge to teach in the Ying Hua College and to assist him in his Chinese Classics translation series. In 1867, he followed Legge to Britain to continue with the translation work. Wang spent over two years in Scotland. He also made short stays in Paris, London and Oxford. In 1884, he returned to Shanghai, where he edited the newspaper Shen bao, established a publishing house, and was director of the Chinese Polytechnic Institute and Reading Room. Wang's travel writings include his diary Jottings of Carefree Travel, A History of France, The Franco-Prussian War and Travels in Japan. Besides scholarly work, he also wrote a large number of classical poems, essays, letters, an autobiography and a collection of stories.