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Materials from the past that wrongly anticipate the future, or present information or judgments that are later proved misleading or erroneous, are sometimes overlooked in reconstructing the past. Yet such documents are as legimiate, and perhaps as important, as those that are vindicated by events or continue to share perspectives with later generations.
The five documents reproduced in Nineteenth-Century China are typical of the periods from which they come, but each was overtaken or contradicted by events. Collected with a belief in the legitimacy of attempting to see every period as much as possible in its own terms, these texts offer a glimpse of what China looked like and suggested to Englishmen on the spot in Canton and Hong Kong in the first half of the nineteenth century, and how they viewed their own country and its role vis-à-vis the China they observed.
The first two texts in Nineteenth-Century China exemplify the imperialist mind’s eagerness to explore the world, to get a picture of all of its parts, and as rapidly as possible to “open” all areas to the benificent influence of the West, notably through an expanded commerce that would enrich its Western masters. Samuel Ball’s “Observations” (1817) show how much detailed information was available to Westerners and what the mercantile British were after, and an anonymous dissertation (1838) provides an example of the dream of the China as El Dorado: an immense population of eager traders, hard workers, and willing buyers. The third text (1845) is an early foreshadowing by a colonial official, R. M. Martin, of Western imperial arguments, rationalizations, and attitudes that would become common fifty years later. The fourth selection consists of an exchange of correspondence in 1847 about British access to and use of land in the vicinity of Canton. A short statement of purpose (1848) from the Morrison Education Society, demonstrating a missionary enterprise combining Christian evangelism and English education, concludes the book.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Series Page
  2. pp. A1-A2
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  1. Title Page
  2. p. A3
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  1. Copyright
  2. p. A4
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. A5-A6
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  1. Editor’s Introduction
  2. Rhoads Murphey
  3. pp. i-vi
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  1. Observations on the Expediency of Opening a New Port in China
  2. Samuel Ball
  3. pp. 1-24
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  1. A Dissertation Upon the Commerce of China
  2. pp. 25-46
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  1. Minute on the British Position and Prospects in China
  2. R.M. Martin
  3. pp. 47-60
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  1. Canton Consulate Records Concerning the Lands and Tenements at Honan
  2. pp. 61-78
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  1. Trustees of the Morrison Education Society, The Morrison Education Society in China
  2. pp. 79-84
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  1. Michigan Papers in Chinese Studies
  2. p. 85
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  1. Michigan Abstracts of Chinese and Japanese Works on Chinese History
  2. p. 86
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780472901364
Related ISBN(s)
9780472038015, 9780472127412, 9780892640133
MARC Record
OCLC
1193105917
Launched on MUSE
2020-09-09
Language
English
Open Access
Yes

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