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British Trade and the Opening of China 1800-42 by Michael Greenberg

By Michael Greenberg

An account of the actions of British retailers in China within the the most important years earlier than the Treaty of Nanking (1842), which remodeled the family members among the Celestial Empire and the Western 'barbarians' and positioned them upon a footing that was once to final for a hundred years. Mr Greenberg indicates how this modification was once led to via the pressures of the increasing British financial system of the early 19th century. a lot of the fabric relies at the papers of Jardine Matheson and Co., the one enterprise of pre-treaty days to outlive, and the biggest of the British corporations then tested in Canton.

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Mackenzie, History of the Mathesons. About this period the Scottish Universities provided an education admittedly superior to anything south of the Border. , 4. 183 1 . ' Kinship was not o f itself sufficient to ensure a partnership. There was the case of young Francis Hollingworth, a cousin of the senior partner, 'Holly' THE HON O URABLE COMPANY AND THE PRI VATE ENGLISH 39 Another such source was the manner in which these entre­ preneurs were recruited and trained. There were two fairly well defined routes for young aspirants to merchant prince-ship-one might almost say two royal roads from Scotland to Canton--the counting-house and the quarter-deck.

L Chronicles, II, 141 , . • THE H O N O URABLE COMPANY AND THE PRI VATE ENGLISH 27 prosecution consigning to Foreign houses, particularly as a British House was established at Canton, competent to the business and under your sanction'. The protest was of no avail; in 1797 the commission earned was a mere $1,160. In 1796, when Messrs Drummond and Sparkes resigned from the management of the House of Agency, Messrs Parry and Williams were persuaded to undertake it only with difficulty. 1 The failure of the House of Agency meant prosperity for Cox & Beale, a prosperity which soon attracted other private merchants to Canton.

I, Chapters 7-9; Vol. II, Chapters r3-16. C. 1788, , THE H O NO URABLE COMPANY AND THE P R I VATE E N GL I S H 25 Thereupon they patronised Cox. 'The Select', taking the alarm, forced Cox to leave China, just as they had got rid of his pre­ decessors. Legally, no private British could stay on. But now a stratagem was devised to force the legal barrier. In 1779 a Scotsman named John Reid, whose service in the Bengal Marine had brought to his notice the possibilities of the China trade, had arrived at Canton with His Imperial Austrian Majesty's commission as Consul and head of the Imperial Factory.

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