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By Michael Greenberg

An account of the actions of British retailers in China within the an important years earlier than the Treaty of Nanking (1842), which reworked the kinfolk among the Celestial Empire and the Western 'barbarians' and positioned them upon a footing that was once to final for a hundred years. Mr Greenberg exhibits how this variation used to be caused via the pressures of the increasing British financial system of the early 19th century. a lot of the fabric is predicated at the papers of Jardine Matheson and Co., the one enterprise of pre-treaty days to outlive, and the most important of the British organisations then demonstrated in Canton.

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In the 182os a very interesting fiscal war developed between the Portuguese and British opium interests, which will be examined more fully in Chapter VI. Towards the close of the pre-treaty regime Macao had almost completely decayed as a commercial centre; it was finally killed by the development of Hongkong. Amoy, a much more substantial port giving access to the tea­ growing province of Fukien, was open to Spanish trade only. But the right was merely nominal, because Chinese junks could transport goods to and from the Philippines much more cheaply than could the Spaniards.

The system had two aspects : the confinement of foreign trade to Canton, and the detailed arrangements, of which the Cohong was but the central institution, at that place. Canton was chosen hy the Chinese as being situated in the extreme south-eastern corner of the Empire, in a province which was geographically cut off from the rest of the Empire. There were two exceptions to the rule that foreign traders must resort only to Canton. 2 Its status was not clear; 1 Even the Japanese allowed the Dutch to send two ships a year to Nagasaki.

But its connection with the Supercargoes is not clear. THE H O NO URABLE COMPANY AND THE PRIVATE ENGLISH 29 1780s, within the orbit of the Company's Factory. 1 In 1 809 it decided to prohibit its servants from acting as agents for the sale of opium. Mr Baring protested that his acting as agent for the proprietors of opium did not interfere with his duty to the Com­ pany; that the merchants of Bengal would otherwise consign their opium to the disreputable Portuguese. The Select Committee discussed the matter: 'Mr Pattie was of the opinion that this con­ nection with the opium trade threw discredit on the Company, which could not dissever itself from the actions of its own servants ; and declaring that Baring & Co.

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