STAUNTON, Sir George (1737-1801). Voyage dans l'intérieur de la Chine et en Tartare, fait dans les années 1792, 1793 et 1794, par Lord Macartney, ambassadeur du roi d'Angleterre auprès de l'empereur de la Chine. Translated by Jean-Henri Castéra (1749-1838). Paris: chez F. Buisson, an 6 de la République, (1798).
4 volumes, 8° (198 x 118 mm ). Frontispieces in each volume, 3 folding engraved maps in Vol. 4. Contemporary tree calf, smooth spines gilt (minor wear to joints and extremities).
FIRST FRENCH EDITION. A translation of An Authentic Account of an Embassy to China, chiefly from the papers of Lord Macartney and Sir E. Gower: the official account of the first English embassy to China under Macartney made by the secretary George Staunton, first published London, 1797.
“Great Britain was anxious to establish formal diplomatic relations with China and thus open the way for unimpeded trade relations. But the pall of Chinese reserve and self-sufficiency, which for centuries seldom admitted penetration, still hung over this empire and effectually resisted Lord Macartney’s arguments and gifts. ... His visit was not in vain, however, for it gave us a most interesting account of Chinese manners and customs at the close of the eighteenth century” (Cox I, p. 344).
“The account of this famous embassy was prepared at government expense. Apart from its Chinese importance, it is of considerable interest, owing to the descriptions of the various places en route which were visited” (Hill). These places include Madeira, Teneriff, Rio de Janeiro, St. Helena, Tristan d'Achunha, Amsterdam Island, Java, Sumatra, Cochin-China, etc.
The second French edition, published the following year, contains 2 extra volumes. Cox I, p. 345. Quérard IX, p. 289. See Hill, pp. 280-281 (First Edition).