Sir Thomas Francis Wade: Notes

Scope and Content

A collection of notes belonging to Sir Thomas F. Wade, 198 folios. Items (i) to (iv) are in Wade's hand.

(i) Notebook labelled 'Tibet - Yn Nan', containing a few geographical notes on this area. Most of the leaves are blank.

(ii) Scribbling pad with a few notes on Chinese chronology. Most of the leaves are blank.

(iii) Scribbling pad containing (1) notes of references in European and American newspapers to Chinese affairs, July - September 1891; (2) a few notes on Chinese history, followed by a draft of part of an article on China.

(iv) Scribbling pad containing a pencil draft of a long memorandum on the opium trade, apparently intended for submission to the Chinese government, c. 1881, followed by a few sheets of rough notes on current business, December 1881 - February 1882.

(v) Letter from Thomas Adkins to Wade, 25 October [ ].

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Thomas Francis Wade (1818-1895) was born in London on 25 August 1818, son of Major (later Colonel) Thomas Wade (d. 1846). He lived in Mauritius, 1823-1827, and in the Cape, 1829-1832, before returning to England and attending Harrow, 1832-1837. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1837, but left to join the army in 1838. He was made lieutenant in 1841, and was posted to Hong Kong, where he arrived in 1842. During the voyage he studied Chinese, leading to his appointment as interpreter at Hong Kong, 1843-1851. He was made vice-consul at Shanghai in 1852, and Chinese Secretary at Hong Kong in 1855. At the outbreak of war in 1857 Wade was attached to Lord Elgin's special mission, and was given responsibility to negotiate the treaty of Tientsin with the Chinese authorities. He was also attached to Elgin's second mission in 1860. Wade was a member of the Peking legation, 1861-1871, and ambassador at Peking, 1871-1883. He retired in 1883, and on returning to England settled in Cambridge, where he became the university's first professor of Chinese in 1888. Wade published many papers on China and the Chinese language. His large Chinese library was left to the university after his death on 31 July 1895.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Found in the Chinese library, 1921.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Wade in Sidney Lee, ed., Dictionary of national biography, Vol. XX (London, 1909), pp. 420-421.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.

Geographical Names