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Reformer, intellectual, and colonial governor, Sir John Bowring was the archetype of the ambitious men who made Britain a leading global power in the nineteenth century. Born to a modest trading family, he showed an aptitude for languages that led him to literature, then to radical politics in the struggle for liberty in France, Spain, and Greece. Taken up by the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, he became a figure in the literary world, but his emphasis was on action rather than theories. He became a high-profile advocate of free trade and a liberal foe of Karl Marx. As member of parliament, he supported full suffrage and other radical causes. He modernized Britain’s public accounts, invented the florin as a first step to decimalization, and became an industrial entrepreneur. Losing his money in the 1848 slump, he took a job as consul in Canton, which led to the governorship of Hong Kong. As Britain’s Plenipotentiary in East Asia he negotiated a key treaty with the King Mongkut of Siam but also started a war with China. His term as governor of Hong Kong was plagued with problems, yet there, as elsewhere, he left a legacy of liberal ideas. Bowring’s impact was spread over so many fields that his name has been eclipsed by those with a narrower focus. This book brings his life and disparate achievements together, with a particular emphasis on his role in promoting free trade and his much criticized career in Asia.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Acknowledgements
  2. pp. xiii-xiv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-4
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  1. Chapter 1. Exeter Lad’s Radical Roots
  2. pp. 5-12
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  1. Chapter 2. War, Spain and the Unitarians
  2. pp. 13-22
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  1. Chapter 3. Bentham’s Favourite Son
  2. pp. 23-34
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  1. Chapter 4. A Poisonous Greek Pie
  2. pp. 35-42
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  1. Chapter 5. Polyglot Poet Meets Kubla Khan
  2. pp. 43-52
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  1. Chapter 6. Reforming Politics and Public Accounts
  2. pp. 53-62
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  1. Chapter 7. The New Gospel: Free Trade
  2. pp. 63-72
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  1. Chapter 8. Of Egypt and Levantine Plagues
  2. pp. 73-82
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  1. Chapter 9. Bolton: Pit of Poverty and Progress
  2. pp. 83-96
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  1. Chapter 10. Progressive MP Coins the Florin
  2. pp. 97-106
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  1. Chapter 11. An Ironmaster Derails
  2. pp. 107-114
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  1. Chapter 12. Opiate of Various Peoples
  2. pp. 115-124
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  1. Chapter 13. Frustration at Canton
  2. pp. 125-134
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  1. Chapter 14. Some Progress on the China Coast
  2. pp. 135-142
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  1. Chapter 15. Arrow Ploy Sunk by Ye
  2. pp. 143-154
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  1. Chapter 16. The War of Two Bruces
  2. pp. 155-162
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  1. Chapter 17. Hong Kong: Good Input, Little Output
  2. pp. 163-174
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  1. Chapter 18. High-Minded Humiliation
  2. pp. 175-186
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  1. Chapter 19. The King and He: A Lasting Legacy
  2. pp. 187-202
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  1. Chapter 20. Philippine Fiesta
  2. pp. 203-210
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  1. Chapter 21. A New Wife and Energy to the End
  2. pp. 211-220
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  1. Chapter 22. Conclusion: Why He Matters
  2. pp. 221-232
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 233-252
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 253-262
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 263-282
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  1. Image Plates
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Additional Information

ISBN
9789888268849
Related ISBN
9789888208722
MARC Record
OCLC
887684157
Pages
336
Launched on MUSE
2014-08-17
Language
English
Open Access
No
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