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STAUNTON, Sir George Leonard.

An authentic account of an embassy

from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China [...] with notices of Tristan d'Acuna, Amsterdam, Java, Sumatra, Cochin-China. Taken chiefly from the papers of His Excellency the Earl of McCartney.

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London, W. Bulmer and Co. for G. Nicol, 1797

First edition of the most celebrated and finely illustrated account of the first British embassy to China, which was to lead to the foundation of Hong Kong as a British trading post. It was the failure of this mission to establish direct trade links with China that convinced the British government of the need to set up its own trading post.

Staunton, a medical doctor and friend of Dr. Johnson, accompanied the Lord Macartney as secretary. To write his account, Staunton had access to Macartney's journal and was assisted by John Barrow. Staunton's account is noteworthy for his detailed description of the journey, his examination of Chinese customs (including the binding of women's feet) and the detailed appendix on Chinese trade with Europe and more specifically Britain.

Alexander's plates are of special interest due to their depiction of subjects that very few Europeans had recorded or seen and the indications they

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Two text volumes 4to and an atlas folio (56.8 x 41cm). Text with 2 engraved portrait frontispieces of Emperor Tchien Lung and the Earl of Macartney and 26 illustrations of which one full-page; atlas with 44 plates, including one folding, most after W. Alexander, and 7 double-page folding maps; occasional browning and spotting, heavier on 2 plates. Text volumes in contemporary calf, atlas volume in half calf over marbled boards; rebacked in lighter calf to style, a bit rubbed.


Cordier, Sinica, 2381-83; Hill 1628; Lust 545 & 547.

Stock ID:89359

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