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James Gilmour

1843-1891. Scottish missionary to Mongolia. Born in Glasgow, he studied at Glasgow University and in Congregationalist theological colleges, and left in 1870 for Mongolia to reopen under the London Missionary Society work that had long been in abeyance. After language study in Peking he went on to Krechta, where in order to learn the Mongol language and customs he went to live in a tent on the plains, preferring to reach the nomads rather than the settled Chinese-speaking agriculturists whom his seniors advised him to evangelize. With indomitable perseverance, and despite an almost total lack of response from all except the Chinese, Gilmour persisted in his task for fifteen years in the face of adverse criticism. His custom was to winter in Peking, where also he sought to reach the Mongols. His last years were spent among the agriculturists. Promised colleagues failed to materialize, and his was a lonely, hard, self-sacrificing task, with seemingly little effect made on Mongolian Buddhism.