A collection of letters, journals, logbooks, watercolors, engravings, and books produced by Macartney himself and those who accompanied him on the historic mission to China between 1792 and 1794.
This is a collection of a great variety of records related to Earl George Macartney's historic mission to China from 1792 to 1794. The mission was dispatched by King George III of Britain in the name of congratulating Emperor Qianlong's 83rd birthday. The mission's goals included the opening of new ports for British trade in China, the establishment of a permanent embassy in Beijing, the cession of a small island for British use along China's coast, and the relaxation of trade restrictions on British merchants in Guangzhou (Canton).
The mission left Britain in September 1792 on HMS Lion and HMS Hindustan, and the voyage to China took Macartney and his entourage a year. Macartney met with the Chinese emperor in September 1793 but his requests were all rejected due to competing worldviews and huge cultural differences between the two sides.
This Cornell University Library collection consists of letters, journals, logbooks, watercolors, engravings, and books (illustrated accounts of the expedition/mission) produced by Macartney himself and those who accompanied him on the mission in various capacities such as secretaries, commanders/captains, officers, comptroller, artists, guards, and servants. According to Prof Robert Swanson (U of Birmingham), while records related to this mission are dispersed in many different libraries/archives across the world, the Cornell East Asian Library (Charles Wason Collection) "contains the largest accumulation of material associated with the [George Macartney's] mission."