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BARBARIAN EYE: Lord Napier in China, 1834 - the Prelude to Hong Kong

ISBN: 9781857531169
Publisher: Brassey's UK
Edition: 1st English ed
Publication Date: 2003-06
Number of pages: 250
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Description


This delightfully written book tells the story of William John Napier, 9th Lord Napier of Merchiston, who was sent to China in 1834, not to stop the opium smuggling (by which all local officials profited hugely), but to seek a settlement between the British sea-traders and the Cantonese authorities. He was at once seen by the Chinese authorities as a dangerous spy - a 'Barbarian Eye'.

Although his attempts to find an agreement were unsuccessful, Lord Napier noticed a rocky island occupied by only a few fishermen's families, and guarding one of the world's finest harbours. Why not arrange to trade from here, rather than up river at Canton, where ships could be boxed in at whim? The island was called Hong Kong.

Based largely upon Lord Napier's letters and journals, the book gives an admirable insight into the story of Western contacts over the centuries with China, as well as life in England and Scotland in the early 19th century.

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