British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

Such a circumstance would give it an appearance of congratulation, and be a flattering introduction to the great object in view. The present Emperor is 75 years old.

I recollect nothing more at present. If anything I have suggested proves of use in this business I shall be well pleased to have added my mite. If not, you will have very little trouble in reading this letter, and I shall think it none to have written.1. . .


27
INSTRUCTIONS BY HENRY DUNDAS TO LORD MACARTNEY, 8 September 17922

. . . Upon the present view of the matter, I am inclined to believe that instead of attempting to gain upon the Chinese administration by representations founded upon the intricacies of either European or Indian politics, you should fairly state, after repeating the general assurance of His Majesty's friendly and pacific inclinations towards the Emperor, and His respect for the reputed mildness of the administration: First, the mutual benefits to be derived from a trade between the two nations, in the course of which we receive, beside other articles, to the amount of twenty millions of pounds weight of a Chinese herb which would find very little vent, as not being in such general use in other countries, European or Asiatic, and for which we return woollens, cottons and other articles useful to the Chinese, but a considerable part is actually paid to China in bullion.

Secondly, that the great extent of our commercial concerns in China requires a place of security as a depôt for such of our goods as cannot be sold off or shipped during the short season that is allowed for our shipping to arrive and depart; and that for this purpose we wish to obtain a grant of a small tract of ground or detached island, but in a more convenient situation than Canton, where our present warehouses are at a great distance from our ships, and where we are not able to restrain the irregularities which are occasionally committed by the seamen of the Company's ships, and those of private traders.

Thirdly, that our views are purely commercial, having not even a wish for territory, that we desire neither fortification nor defence, but only the protection of the Chinese Government for our merchants or their agents, in trading or travelling through the country, and a security to us against the encroachments of other powers who might

____________________
1
A copy was sent to Lord Macartney, 20 February 1792.
2

Factory Records, China, 91, pp. 341 ff. Lord Maeartney had had diplomatic experience on a mission to St. Petersburg in 1764 and had been at various times Chief Secretary for Ireland, Governor of Grenada, and Governor of Madras. After the failure of his mission to Pekin he was employed in the Diplomatic Service until appointed in 1796 as Governor of the Cape, where it was felt he could give expert advice and strong government.

-46-

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