Many years ago Dr F Porter Smith prepared a Chinese Materia Medica, which, though imperfect in many respects, was the only book of its kind to be had, and as such was much appreciated and very useful.
As this was in the early days of Mission work in China and the people who had need of such a work were few, but a small edition was printed, and this was long ago exhausted. As it was not thought best to reprint without revising, and a proper reviser who had time for the work, could not be found, the book was out of print for a number of years.
However, in 1900, when the Boxer trouble drove Dr Stuart to Shanghai, and he was for a time without his usual employment, he kindly consented to undertake the task of revising the whole work. With such painstaking and fidelity was the work done that the result is practically a new book. It is a cause of keenest regret that the Preface, which Dr Stuart had already outlined in mind just previous to taking to his sick-bed - and which later he was too weak to dictate -- had not been written [when he died].