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Chapter 6

History 2601E Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Canton System, Filial Piety, Hepu County

Course Code
HIS 2601E
James Flath

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Spence - Chapter 6
"China and the Eighteenth-Century World"
Managing the foreigners
- Qing state had no Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- relations with non-Chinese conducted by variety of bureaus and agencies, which implied or
stated cultural inferiority and geographical marginality of foreigners (while also defending
state against them)
- Koreans came and mingled freely with Qing scholars
- left vivid accounts of social and cultural life in Peking, and political attitudes of
Confucian literati
- Japanese ceased interaction during late Ming
- refuse to acknowledge China's ritual superiority
- China felt they were the "central" kingdom
- felt other countries were under the power of China
- Chinese made little attention to precise information or detailed study of foreign
- Chinese described other nations as "exotic" or different
- described in belittling language
- those leaving China to trade or travel were seen as betraying China
- Qing uninterested in potential governmental gains made from foreign trade
- China reserved absolute right to regulate foreigners trading with China (from location
and frequency to smallest details of personnel and goods involved)
- Canton system - foreign management
- attempt to control foreign trade and increase profits by regulating prices
- formed monopolistic guild - "Cohong" - "combined merchant companies"
- Hong merchants ordered to stand surety for foreign crews' good behaviour and
for payment of transit dues
- George Anson - flagship suffered severe storm damage
- was presented with numerous administrative hurdles
- was refused meeting Qing officials
- messages unacknowledged for weeks
- charged him outrageous prices for shoddy supplies
- refused to allow him to make repairs he wanted
- Anson published his alleged mistreatment
- was widely circulated and translated
- created an anti-Chinese feeling in Britain and in the West
- East India Company sent James Flint (company trader who learned Chinese) to present
complaints to Qing court concerning restrictions on trade in Canton
- emperor appeared willing to talk at first, then changed his mind
- had Flint arrested and imprisoned for 3 years for:
(1) breaking Qing regulations against sailing to northern ports
(2) improperly presenting petitions
(3) learning Chinese
- European trade restricted to one port
- forbidden residence excepting during trading season Oct-Mar
- had to deal with Hong merchants
- Hong merchants write report for the Hoppo (court-appointed official)
- 1770 - Westerners worried of trade deficits that forced hundreds of thousands of silver
from them in exchange for silks, porcelain, teas
- began to ship opium (grown in India)
- passion for tea in Britain and America growing significantly
- Lord George Macartney, sent by King George III, to show Chinese court of Western
- Lord refused to perform the kowtow
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