The British Presence in Macau, 1635–1793
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
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Professor Francis Robinson, Royal Holloway, University of London (Chair)The Royal Asiatic Society was founded in 1823 âfor the investigation of subjects connected with, and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to, Asiaâ. Informed by these goals, the policy of the Societyâs Editorial Board is to make available in appropriate formats the results of original research in the humanities and social sciences ...
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Abbreviations and acronyms
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...âLibel of English policie, exhorting all England to keepe the seaâ This study sets out to present a history of the British presence, at first in the Indian Ocean, pursuing the Portuguese route, and later, in the Far East, in Macau, from 1635 to 1793, as also in Japan (Hirado) from 1613 to 1623, from where the English attempted unsuccessfully to set up direct trade links with China. The ...
1. Anglo-Portuguese conflicts and the founding of the East India Company
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Euro-Asian relations, determined in part by the European response to socie-ties such as the Chinese and the Japanese, developed slowly, and, as stated by Donald Lach, reflect the feeling which those cultures aroused in Western trav-eller-writers, as well as the lattersâ preconceived ideas and tastes.1 From the end of the sixteenth century, when Macau was enjoying its economic apogee, reports ...
2. The voyage east: The beginning of Anglo-Portuguese relations in the East Indies
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From the earliest English trading days in China; under special permis-sion from the Portuguese, both sides had shown remarkable ingenuity in interpreting the laws to their mutual advantage and in accommodations, In 1602, two years before England and Spain signed their Peace Treaty, and in the wake of the Dutch,1 the English, using their increasing naval military might ...
3. The arrival of the English in Macau
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The Convention of Goa signed between Goa and Surat aimed to face the growing Dutch power in the Far East, gradually opening the gateway to Macau for EIC vessels and those of private English traders. This alliance mirrored the problems with which the Estado da Ãndia had to concern itself in the face of its northern European rivals and the strategies Portugal adopted to deal with ...
4. The beginning of regular East India Company trade with China
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Throughout the second half of the seventeenth century, the EICâs initial attempts to set up direct contact with China stemmed above all from the strat-egy of Eastern factories, whereas the Portuguese tried to defend their privileged position in the Pearl River delta, to the detriment of English interests. Between 1690 and 1696 eight EIC vessels made their way to Chinese ports, this number ...
5. The gradual growth of the British presence in Macau in the early eighteenth century
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After the trading seasons in Canton, the supercargoes made their way to Macau, where they lived during the summer in relative quietude, thus being able to prepare contracts for the following year and attend to EIC interests without having to return to Europe. These prolonged sojourns of traders in the city gave rise to the production of increasingly well-informed descriptions of it, allow-...
6. Macau as a centre for Chinese control of the European “barbarians”
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In 1719, the Kangxi Emperor (1662â1722) proposed to the Portuguese that foreign trade be centralised in Macau, where Western merchants would thence-forth reside. The city, relatively impoverished since the suppression of trade with Japan, viewed the imperial edict as permission for European rivals to enter an area in which the Portuguese still held a privileged position, and the Macau ...
7. The visit of the Centurion
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In November 1742, with merely four EIC vessels in Canton, the HM Centurion,1 under the command of Commodore George Anson, was the first Royal Navy warship to arrive in Macau for the purpose of re-provisioning. It had sailed from Southampton in 1740, within the context of the War of Jenkinâs Ear against Spain, with the aim of upsetting Spanish interests in South America. Anson ...
8. British relations and conflicts with the Portuguese and Chinese authorities in the second half of the eighteenth century
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From the second half of the eighteenth century on, Lisbon tightened its control over Macau, and, in the context of the EICâs project for expansion in the East, conflicts heightened between the supercargoesâwhose economic power became ever more visible in the enclaveâand the Portuguese and Chinese authorities. In 1749, in the face of the development of British interests in China, ...
9. The “scramble for the use of Macau”
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Throughout the eighteenth century, the EIC became dependent on private trade conducted between India and Southern China whereby Indian opium reached Canton, the purchase of tea requiring silver earned through the sale of that drug. Since the previous century the Portuguese had been importing opium into China, and Macau ultimately became a strategic space for British smug-...
10. “Guests and old allies”
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The permanent and growing influence of the British supercargoes and inde-pendent traders in Macau gave rise to conflict between these and the Portuguese administration in incidents which, together with the restrictions imposed by the Mandarinate and the co-hong, led the EIC to seek a territory in Southern China, for if Portugal was an old ally of Britain in Europe, in the Far East Macauâs ...
11. The importance of Macau for the British China trade
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As shown, throughout the second half of the eighteenth century EIC officials clashed with the enclaveâs authorities. The former were, however, forced to abide by the decisions issuing both from the Chinese and the Portuguese and acknowledge the fragility of their position in China. Following the clashes between the British and the governor analysed above, Fort William wrote to the ...
12. Lord Macartney’s embassy to China, 1792–1794
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The ever growing importance of the China Trade for the British economy and trade, especially after the Commutation Act, incidents such as those of the Lady Hughes (1784), the tight control of the Portuguese and Chinese on the Macau-Canton axis, the high prices practised by the Chinese, and the demands of the co-hong and the hopu led the British, âthe first people in the worldâ,1 to attempt ...
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At the end of the eighteenth century, Britain took on the role of a mighty power in the East; the British role and status in Macau at that point were very differ-ent from those of a hundred years before when the EIC set itself up in China. The foreign population and trade ultimately became essential for Macauâs economy, but the local and religious authorities accused the British of consti-...
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Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2013