Chinese Documents on Trade Regulations with the English

Scope and Content

There are three Chinese documents concerning trade and interaction with the English. With the documents are English abstracts and modern Chinese translations created in 2018.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Thomas Staunton was born at Milford House near Salisbury. When 12 years old he accompanied his father on Macartney's mission to China. He had begun to learn Chinese prior to the mission and as such was able to converse in Chinese. In 1798 he was appointed a writer in the British East India Company's factory at Canton, and subsequently its chief. In 1805 he translated a work of Dr George Pearson into Chinese. Five years later, he published an English translation of a significant part of the Chinese legal code.

In 1816 Staunton acted as second commissioner on a special mission to Beijing with Lord Amherst and Sir Henry Ellis but the embassy was unsuccessful and shortly after it departed back to Britain Staunton decided to leave China permanently. In 1820 he purchased the Leigh estate in Hampshire. He was a founder member of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID.

Acquisition Information

It is unknown how these documents came into the Society. They were housed with a letter from Thomas Weeding to donate the chop (customs document) from the boat Sarah. However these are not related to that letter. They were possibly donated by Staunton as he presented the Society with a number of Chinese documents and artefacts.

Archivist's Note

This material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist in 2018 after translation by RAS Volunteer, Fu Yang.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

It is unknown who owned these documents. They mention within them Sir George Thomas Staunton, who presented other Chinese documents to the Society. It is therefore possible that they had belonged to him.