William Aurelius Harland (1822-1857)
Aurelius Harland, emigrated to Hong Kong in 1847 as he made an imprudent marriage to a servant girl. He worked as a surgeon at the Seaman’s Hospital. His letters describe his medical work – he was the first to practice Chloroform anaesthesia there in 1848. A friend of Karl Gutzlaff, he learned Chinese and may have written a significant portion of the Bowu xinbian one of the first books describing western technology in Chinese which was published in 1855 by Benjamin Hobson. He may be regarded as one of the pioneers in introducing Western science and technology to China. In addition, he wrote papers in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society on Chinese anatomy and physiology and reviewed the Chinese textbook on jurisprudence – « The washing away of wrongs » , which he believed was 300 years ahead of European practice. He was also a keen botanist and with his friend Henry Hance, collected and classified many Chinese plants. He became Colonial Surgeon but died at the early age of 36 and is buried in the Colonial cemetery in Happy Valley.
Chinese anatomy and physiology. Royal Asiatic Society. China Branch. Transactions.1847.1:43