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Young John Allen

Young John Allen (January 3, 1836 - May 30, 1907), D.D., LL.D., was an American Methodist missionary in late Qing Dynasty China with the American Southern Methodist Episcopal Mission. He is best known in China by his local name Lin Yuezhi .

Allen's method of missionary work through the publication of various newspapers influenced many Chinese reformers of the Self-Strengthening Movement and prompted philosophical discussions comparing Christianity and Confucianism. His publications were popular among many Chinese for their attention to Western concepts of international relations, economics and the natural sciences.

On Dec. 18, 1859 Young and Mary Allen and their infant daughter, Mellie, sailed from New York and on July 13, 1860 reached Shanghai. From 1861 to 1866 while he was cut off from his church at home by the American Civil War, he worked as a coal and rice broker, a cotton buyer, teacher and editor. 

Because of the poverty in the South he continued these employments and did as much preaching as he could. He also studied the Chinese classics and published a religious weekly. Lack of funds from the Board of Missions compelled him to support himself and his family. Nevertheless, on May 18, 1881, he announced his withdrawal after "an almost consecutive service of nearly eighteen years, in connection with the Educational, Editorial, and Translation Departments of the Government Institution here Shanghai," in order to devote his full time to the work of Superintendent to which he succeeded when Rev. J. W. Lambuth returned to the United States because of ill health. 

In 1878 Allen returned for the first time to the United States to serve as one of the delegates from the North Georgia Annual Conference to the General Conference held in Atlanta during May, 1878. On May 15 he addressed the General Conference on the "work in China." In June and July he visited old friends and delivered commencement addresses and sermons in many places. On July 17 Emory College conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. He visited the United States again in 1888, 1893, 1898 and 1906. 

In 1883 he purchased land for the site of the Anglo-Chinese University which he served as president from its opening in 1885 until his resignation in 1895 because of impaired health. He was instrumental in founding the McTyeire Home and School which opened in 1892 with Miss Laura Haygood, sister of his old friend and Emory classmate, Atticus Haygood, as its head. The missions of his church to Japan and Korea were influenced by the success of his educational work in Shanghai. 

The list of Young's literary productions includes about 250 volumes of original and translated works, published under the auspices of the Methodist Society for the Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge Among the Chinese (S.D.C.K.) in Shanghai. In Shanghai, Allen edited a Chinese tri-weekly periodical, North China Herald, 1860-1861. He founded and edited the monthly Wan Guo Gong Bao, or Review of the Times from 1868-1907, a paper "said...to have done more for reform than any other single agency in China." 

The Review attracted a wide and influential Chinese readership throughout its thirty-nine year run. One of the ways in which the Review appealed to a broad, scholarly audience was through its discussion of current events and economics. During the First Sino-Japanese War period of 1894-1895, essay titles included: “International Intercourse, by a descendent of Confucius,” “How to Enrich a Nation, by Dr. Joseph Edkins,” “The Prime Benefits of Christianity, by the Rev. Timothy Richard,” and “On the Suppression of Doubt and the Acceptance of Christ, by Sung Yuh-kwei.” The articles attributed practical applications to the Christian faith and portrayed Christianity as a useful concept for the Chinese, one that Allen and his contributors intended to portray on an equal level to concepts such as market economics and international law. The Qing reformer Kang Youwei once said of the publication: "I owe my conversion to reform chiefly on the writings of two missionaries, the Rev. Timothy Richard and the Rev. Dr. Young J. Allen." Rev. Richard was Allen's colleague and a contributor to the Review.
Publication of the Review ceased shortly after Allen’s death in Shanghai in 1907.