STAUNTON, Sir George Leonard (1737-1801). An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China. London: W.Bulmer & Co. for G.Nicol, 1798. 3 volumes (2 volumes text, 4° (305 x 240mm) and atlas volume, large 2° (560 x 434mm)). Text with engraved portraits of Lord Macartney and the Emperor Tchien Lung, engraved illustrations. (Light spotting to portraits.) Atlas with 44 engraved views, maps or charts, 2 folding, 6 double-page. Provenance: Margaret Graves (inscriptions dated 1807); Robert H.B.Hale (1780-1855, of Alderley, Glos., inscription in atlas vol. dated 1854). Second edition.
[Uniformly bound with:]
Sir Henry ELLIS (1777-1869). Journal of the proceedings of the Late Embassy to China. London: T.Davison for John Murray, 1817. 4° (285 x 220mm). Engraved portrait of Lord Amherst, large folding map (small tear at folds), two smaller maps (both spotted) and 7 hand-coloured aquatint plates by J.Clark and after the Hon. Charles Abbot and M.Brownrigg. Provenance: Robert H.B.Hale (inscription). FIRST EDITION. Abbey Travel 536; Tooley 208.
2 works in 4 volumes. Near-uniform green half morocco gilt, flat-backed spines decorated in the neo-classical manner, uncut. The first bound between 1804 (watermark on endleaves) and 1807, the second 1817 or later using the same spine tools but showing some variation in the leather and the marbled paper, and without a blind roll employed on the covers of the first work.
FINE COPIES OF BOTH WORKS. The first work is an account of the embassy headed by George, Earl Macartney. He was despatched to Beijing in 1792 travelling via Madeira, Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro, Cape of Good Hope and Indonesia. He was accompanied by Staunton, and an entourage of suitably impressive size, including Staunton's 11-year-old son who was nominally the ambassador's page. On the embassy's arrival in China the 11-year-old was the only European member of the British party able to speak Mandarin, and thus the only one able to converse with the Emperor. The embassy, the first such to China, had two objectives: the first to register with the Emperor British displeasure at the treatment that the British merchants were receiving from the Chinese, and the second to gain permission for a British minister to be resident in China. The first objective was reached, the second was not. Macartney was twice granted an audience with the Emperor; in December 1793 he was sumptously entertained by the Chinese viceroy in Canton, and returned to England via Macao and St.Helena, arriving in September 1794.
After an enforced interval, when attention was focused on events in Europe, the British Government in 1815 were once again ready to listen to the complaints of ill-treatment from their merchants in Canton. The second work is an account of the official mission led by William, 2nd Baron (later 1st Earl) Amherst (1773-1857) to present the grievances to the Emperor. The mission arrived in Canton at the beginning of July 1816 and after lengthy diplomatic negotiations was allowed to procede by sea to Teintsin and then to the capital. The mission finally arrived at the palace of Yuen-ming-yuen on the evening of the 29th of August. Lord Amherst was immediately summoned by the Emperor; when he refused to attend he was sent back to T'ung-chow the same evening. After an overland journey back to Canton he embarked for Britain on 20th Jan. 1817. (4)