A General Chart, on Mercator’s Projection, to shew the Track of the Lion and the Hindostan from England to the Gulph of Pekin in China, and of their return to England

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An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China ... Taken chiefly from the papers of His Excellency the Earl of Macartney

This folio, first edition engraving is from Sir George Leonard Staunton’s An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China … Taken chiefly from the papers of His Excellency the Earl of Macartney. The work was published in London by W.Bulmer & Co. for G.Nicol in 1797.

George Macartney, 1st Earl Macartney (1737-1806) was dispatched to Beijing in 1792 travelling via Madeira, Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro, the Cape of Good Hope and Indonesia. He was accompanied by Staunton, and a retinue of suitably impressive size, including Staunton’s 11-year-old son who was nominally the ambassador’s page. On the embassy’s arrival in China it emerged that the 11-year-old was the only European member of the embassy able to speak Mandarin, and thus the only one able to converse with the Emperor. The embassy, the first such to China, had two objectives: the first to register with the Emperor British displeasure at the treatment that the British merchants were receiving from the Chinese, the second to gain permission for a British minister to be resident in China. The first objective was achieved, the second was not. Macartney was twice granted an audience with the Emperor and in December 1793 he was sumptuously entertained by the Chinese viceroy in Canton, and returned to England via Macao and St. Helena, arriving in September 1794.

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