The Present Position and Prospects of the British Trade with China

The Present Position and Prospects of the British Trade with China : Together with an Outline of Some Leading Occurrences in its Past History

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James Matheson (1796-1878) became a leading taipan, with significant influence and power in Hong Kong. When this pamphlet was published, in 1836, he was still trading from Canton (Guangzhou) and, following the abolition of the East India Company's monopoly on trade with China, appealed to the British government to pressure the Chinese to lift the severe restrictions on trading. He suggests that despite the efforts of the merchants, China refuses to acknowledge the law of nations, to trade fairly, and as such has 'long since surrendered her rights and is no longer in a position to enforce them'. Matheson's personal appeal to the Duke of Wellington was rebuffed, but his business partner, William Jardine, later persuaded Lord Palmerston to adopt a tougher approach, which ultimately led to the First Opium War. This is a powerful and provocative text: a defence of both free trade and an aggressive foreign policy.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1139178830
  • 9781139178839

Table of contents

Advertisement; Present position, etc.; Historical outline; Some instances of successful negotiation with the Chinese; Emperor's edict reprehending the extortions of the Hong merchants; On the arbitrary duties levied on foreign trade at Canton; On the criminal and admiralty jurisdiction conferred on His Majesty's Superintendents in China; On homicides in China; Memorials to His Majesty's Government from the merchants of Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Canton; Statement of British trade at Canton, 1833-4; Statement of British trade at Canton, 1834-5.
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