STAUNTON, George Leonard (1737-1801). An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China... taken chiefly from the papers of his Excellency the Earl of Macartney. London: by W. Bulmer and Co. for G. Nicol, 1797.
3 volumes: comprising 2 volumes text, 4o (322 x 253 mm) and atlas 2o (590 x 430 mm). Text volumes: 2 engraved portrait frontispieces, one plate, 26 engravings in the text. (Some browning and marginal staining.) Atlas: 44 engraved maps and plates, including 6 double-page and one large folding chart (chart detached, some scattered spotting, some edges a bit frayed). Text in contemporary tree calf, covers decorated with a gilt floral border and central gilt block of the arms of The Society of Writers to the Signet (rebacked to style, extremities a bit scuffed); atlas in half calf antique, preserving the contemporary boards (extremities a little scuffed). Provenance: The Society of Writers to the Signet, the oldest legal society in the world (arms on binding).
"A MOST INTERESTING ACCOUNT OF CHINESE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS AT THE CLOSE OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY" (Cox).
FIRST EDITION. Appointed principal secretary to Lord Macartney's embassy to China in 1792 which sought "to improve commercial relations with China, through Canton (Guangzhou), and to establish regular diplomatic relations between the two countries. Though Macartney and Staunton had an audience with the emperor their proposals were rebuffed In China [Staunton] closely observed and noted all that he saw, and during expeditions he was able to collect botanical specimens. His son, George Thomas, then just twelve years old, accompanied him to China as page to Lord Macartney, and was the only member of the mission who bothered to learn Chinese" (DNB). Staunton's account of this important, but ultimately unsuccessful mission, conceived on a grand scale, takes in numerous places visited en route: Madeira, Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro, Java, Sumatra, Cochin-China, etc. Brunet V:525; Cox I:344; Cordier Sinica 2382. (3)