SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

George Staunton, the Jiaqing Emperor, and Lord Amherst’s Embassy to China

Henrietta Harrison, University of Oxford

Date: 14 March 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 14 March 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: S120

Type of Event: 0

Abstract: This paper uses the events of the 1816 Amherst embassy to examine the change in mutual perceptions and knowledge between Britain and China that had taken place since the 1793 Macartney Embassy.  Both Staunton and the future Jiaqing emperor had been present at the great ceremonial occasions of the Macartney embassy, which was used by both sides as a precedent.  Since then the Napoleonic Wars and the expansion of British power in India had transformed the political context.  Tensions that had arisen on the south coast, in which both Staunton and Jiaqing were involved in ways that generated considerable personal hostility, greatly influenced mutual perceptions during the embassy.  Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary in China, also plays a minor role as Staunton’s friend and the embassy’s nominated interpreter.

Organiser: Andrea Janku

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