In 1793, George Macartney introduced two of the leading empires of his age, and set off one of the greatest power shifts in history. 'Kowtow: Georgian Britain, Imperial China and the Irishman who Introduced Them' tells the story of Macartney, Britain's first Ambassador to China, and his career that spanned the globe, from the Caribbean to India, from Brazil to Indonesia, and then finally through China to Peking. Kowtow explains why Macartney's embassy was needed, and examines the nature and personalities of the Ambassador and his imperial host, the Emperor Qianlong. The reader will journey with Macartney across the world into Peking's Summer Palace, before crossing over the Great Wall to Qianlong's summer hunting grounds in Rehe. The story of the Macartney mission provides significant lessons for modern diplomatic engagements and trade relations, and still causes great reverberations today. As a result, his mission represents one of the major missed opportunities in history and the challenges faced by Macartney still finds echoes in relations between China and the West.
Country of Publication:
15 March 2021
Introduction, Learning to Kowtow; 1 'It Must Not be Difficult to Impress the Chinese' The Need for a British Embassy to the Court of Qianlong ; 2 'Who in the World is this Young Man, Who Knows So Much About So Many Things?' George Macartney, Ambassador of King George III to the Emperor Qianlong; 3 'Affable and Affectionate to His Subjects, Vindictive and Relentless to His Enemies' Qianlong, Son of Heaven, Emperor of China; 4 'The Severest Sufferings Both in Body and Mind' Setting Sail for China, via Rio de Janeiro, Tristan da Cunha, Batavia and Tay Son; 5 'The Greatest City on the Surface of the Globe' By Sea, River and Road to Peking; 6 The Kowtow An 'Ingenious Vehicle'; 7 'Treated Too Favourably, a Barbarian Becomes Arrogant' From Peking to Rehe; 8 'King Solomon in All His Glory' An Audience With Qianlong; 9 'Tremblingly Obey and Show No Negligence!' Rejection; 10 'An Opportunity of Knowing Us' South to Canton, and Home; 11 'An Old, Crazy, First-rate Man of War' the Aftermath; Conclusion.
Eoin McDonnell is a former Director of the Ireland China Institute, and previously handled Chinese investment for IDA Ireland, the Irish Government's investment promotion agency. He holds an MPhil in Chinese Studies from Oxford, a BA in History and Political Science from Trinity College, Dublin, and was formerly Senior Researcher on China at the IIEA. He now works for Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs.