Can Macartney mission to China in 1793 did it go?

The debate on the question, why could not easily become reductive Macartney in 1793 by an overemphasis on the cringe Macartney did not meet the standards of Chinese ritual. However, this only reveals the bias of the discussion focusing on only the event and Macartney; which in turn becomes an in-depth understanding of the non-western perspective, China's geopolitical context during the eighteenth-century. The argument must take into account the objectives set out in the western neighbor Macartney embassy in China into the company, and why collided with the values ​​and principles of Chinese Confucianism, and conformity to the traditional Chinese culture of the Celestial Empire. Since Byng and Juices (1981) alone, "the embassy is not visible to reveal the fundamental differences between the British and Chinese responses to eighteenth-century science, and broad cultural implications." The article attempts to approach the debate in the scientific context Macartney embassy instead of cultural analysis is a historic event that creates a temporary debate Macartney nature and is not willing to perform the kowtow.

Cultural and scientific knowledge will approach the discussion forward. Attwell as he points out, "on the surface of this failure to activate Macartney rejection of the Chinese protocol … the Chinese imperial point of view, the emperor's prominent position in the hierarchy of Heaven." Attwell argument demonstrates the importance of identifying celestial aspect of the Qing Empire of China's traditional and culture of apathy and ambivalence toward the "Western Ocean barbarians". It develops the argument that because the mission was cultural conflictions the two empires doomed from the start. But it is important, maintaining a comprehensive overview of the contexts will both Empires essential to know that the mission was able to succeed, or not. The argument will be the case that Macartney was a failure from the beginning, not because of his failure protocol cringe, or character, but because at this point in the eighteenth century, the two empires polar opposite geo political and firmly rooted there different and conflicting worldviews. The "embassy refused even before they arrived."

First, the rise of the British Empire in the eighteenth century Enlightenment mentality explains coincident that the British prefer adopted and implemented as part of the national culture; and a measure dealing with foreign powers to determine what they were civilized compared to the British results. The values ​​and principles of the Enlightenment was that rationality and observation; As a result of the scientific method grew out of the Enlightenment, and has spread to the state and used in areas such as historical research. The UK is becoming a scientific world view, as well as "a scientific explosion" in the knowledge of the eighteenth century contributed to Britain's growing belief in the Sciences. The Enlightenment and the promotion of continuous progression and science was completely foreign concept in China; deeply embedded in the ideology of Confucianism and Heavenly pre-dominance. As Attwell surmises, "it assessed the level of the Qing Chinese people … According to the relative civilization of perfection of the Heavenly Empire.

The British, it had to do with the positioning of the level of scientific achievement." The mere notion of the Enlightenment was the awakening of new ideas and methods, new standards and academic progress, which by the way would Industrialization in Britain at the time of Britain's biggest empire in the eighteenth. The Chinese on the other hand were not aware of Britain achieved and Europe is scientifically and economically the powers, lack of awareness and concern is what Macartney debate is historically important and interesting study because it shows the contrast between the two civilizations, particularly in the context the times. The Chinese do not believe that in addition to contributing to the celestial limits the size of the heavenly realm, the "Son of Heaven" as the ruler. The safe was expressed by Chinese Gregorian and confidence in the world. These themes of cultural department, and cultural priorities are the issues that are directly focused Macartney, unsafe targets on the British embassy in 1792. These cultural differences and conflicts cultural norms of the root and the essence behind the fact Macartney embassy and it is because of them that Macartney embassy could not be reached for successful regardless of success cringe, cringe or not at all.

Macartney another obstacle to a successful venture in China was deeply rooted in Confucianism; These principles have existed in China for hundreds of years, and was originally part of Chinese national identity and cultural life. The enlightenment contradicts the principles and virtues of Confucianism, especially the heavenly power of the emperor, which is supported by Confucianism, as the Byng and juice that "Confucian theory of virtue, the emperor as Son of Heaven and universal ruler, will inevitably attract the barbarians Station … see for themselves China's superiority. " The Chinese believed that the exposure of the country and the court of the Emperor offerings, foreigners can thus accept submission of the Celestial Empire and accepting the hierarchy of the universal head. The letter Chang-Ku ts & # 39; I brought Pien-ung, P. B. Byng by providing in-depth understanding of the Chinese interpretation of Western thinking patterns. A letter from the "Grand secretion," the governors of China, the letter reads, "of course, should ensure the application that they meet the sincerity of sailing across the sea in their desire for civilization". The position requires disclosure of "desire for civilization" that the Chinese people who have this civilization, and that aliens are seeking through this culture of the Celestial Empire. The British, however, did not see China in this way, China is happy with curiosity, but not as outstanding performance. Macartney inadvertently not accept this proposal paved the sovereign King subordinate to a foreign emperor. The conflict between the British and Chinese worldviews have ego conflicts, all those who believe in their own superiority, however, the British wanted to open China's acceptance of British diplomatic power.

The Chinese remained introspective, in the midst of the world is willing to accept one cares British scientific developments. Two different worlds, and Macartney event shows the disillusionment, the two continents as Gillingham quoted Alain Peyrefitte "… A collision of two celestial planets and moons; the other is the down-to-earth, commercial and industrial science." The comment is a patronizing sentiment on behalf of the Chinese statement attributes, but it reflects the cultural differences between the extensive nature of the two powers. Also, the importance of identifying "important for the Euro-centric accounts of Chinese culture historical conclusions because they are assumed to Gillingham's citation to the scientific method, which the West was successful or superior discourse, as opposed to China's seemingly negative virtues that time. A another example of such a statement "a clash between striking instance of a dynamic, modern society and traditional and unchanging one" in Gillingham, shows the change in the Westernized reported that, based on measuring the success of industrialization principles such as trade and economy. the Chinese description successful nations and cultures totally different to the British;. the scientific method represented methodology and quantitative stranger to the Chinese hierarchy as Pritchard were highlights problems of early intercourse with the West, which grew out of the different practices and ideas "the Chinese are different, foreigners dealing with alternative methods of embrace the celestial expanding frontiers had no interest in the Qing dynasty.

is the subject of trade has become a widespread problem is the failure Macartney embassy. The British trade with free trade and economic performance, the Chinese, however, from trading in foreign economic benefits, but also to the "participation" depends on foreign trade in tea and silk trades in China; that Britain was becoming increasingly dependent on increased demand. The Chinese trade hit an alternate; Commerce reported the self-sufficiency of the country, not overindulgence, this approach was in line with the value of Confucianism; Landes cited Attwell approaches described by as a result of the cultural triumphalism with petty downward tyranny made China a reluctant and repair bad student. The statement does not reflect an understanding of the context of the eighteenth century Chinese cultural values ​​in China, as argued, it does not intend to change or adapt the British paradigm of scientific methodology and social progress. A more accurate account of Chinese culture would emphasize the geopolitical landscape of egocentrism, introversion China's foreign relations. As Cramner- Byng is identified, "the Macartney embassy had no armor piercing success of the cultural superiority of their system is characterized by a tribute to the Chinese Empire." The argument reflects the cultural department and the belief that Macartney would not have been a success, regardless of the procedure is carried out in China, according to official standards cringe. However, England's motivations and goals only one side of the reason why Macartney was inconceivably doomed the moment he left Britain.

The Indian company was particularly successful in the Embassy of China, wished that the new trade rules would benefit the UK, which provides access to the most popular ports for merchant profiteering; Gillingham shorten that "they were in port frustrations on the hard controls in China, which was open to overseas trade." The company has taken such an interest in and continued commitment to the Embassy to set up a committee to oversee the mission, "Secret and superintending committee". However, the committee did not understand the Chinese elite executives and traders in Hong aspirations. The Macartney embassy was therefore not in full ceremonial preparation of concepts of Chinese culture and the effect with respect to the emperor of the status implied. Macartney, the applicant for his sovereign, that the recipient of his humbling himself does not understand, or rather underestimated the hierarchical authority of the emperor; as Zewen states that "under the whole heaven, no earth, not to the emperor, and within the maritime boundaries of the land, there is none that is not the subject of the Emperor. Confucianism served as a doctrine to support the emperor's heavenly power in Chinese society and the around the world in China, but the cringe served as a means of social control of Chinese and foreign visitors to the Celestial Empire, to pay homage to the middle world. the idea was one of transition, Byng and juice quote, "they themselves could be verified Chinese supremacy. .. barbarians, of course, is eager to come to be restructured. "

Macartney embassy, ​​although not marked an important period in China, the implementation of the forces of the external world and the changing balance of power shifting to the Western colonialists. As Byng states "Macartney embassy was the writing on the wall, a warning that the Chinese exclusivity can not be sustained forever."

However, the consequences are Macartney kowtow to the question of perceived failure Macartney. The Chinese point of view, if we want to understand why China's refusal Macartney holiday habits have undermined one of the key objectives of the embassy. The Chinese believed the British embassy was the usual method of "solemn tribute to the Tribunal," and carried banners that Lord Macartney came to court to pay respect to the emperor. The British, however, had a number of aims, including the opening of a number of commercial ports and an official of the British interior in the Chinese capital. They went against the aims of China, China Hanshan arguing that there is no such a "precedent" was set up in any other Western Pacific countries. The embassy was recognized and treated, Mungello states, "the Chinese Macartney placed as a banner barge, clearly him as a tribute-bearing agent of the British". The British wished to see their European counterparts embassy, ​​but the Chinese could not accept differentiating various Britain; doing so, I recognize UK high management standards and precedent in discussions with other Western Pacific powers. Macartney failures can be attributed to a strong reluctance to separate China-Britain differs from other powers, Mungello concluded, "British attempts to special care, the Chinese were doomed by the obligations of the guest nations ritual to treat all equal."

in many ways, the timing could hardly have been worse than the embassy. "The Macartney expedition was a failure, but appears to be insightful British, Chinese romance of the Jesuit period went far and the concept of China's flaws and egocentric themselves and the world exposed. Macartney hoped for a diplomatic solution, but opium were wars of indictment He lost patience with the presence of the Divine in the UK. in the context of two different cultures, cultures confliction what caused Macartney error. China has refused to embrace the commercial and scientific values ​​of the West, a move that proves destructive China opium wars. But in China, stable seemed far from all the land on the European continent, as Byng comments "Ch & # 39;. gel Lung and officials seemed aware that the situation of China's dominance in the world was being questioned." the fact that the cringe just one answer the cultural divide and firmly believes both Empires own supremacy values ​​throughout the world, like the ideological struggle of the culture. the cringe, represented by the flat or in the face of cultural apprehension and incompatibility between China and Britain in the Hevia identify "idle ceremonial performance is important They point out, because both the nineteenth century and later claimed, diplomats and scholars that the stiffness rituals, and China's refusal to change, lay at the heart of the China-west conflict. " The implication is obvious Macartney embassy failure.


Attwell, William. "Macartney not trade delegation to China, 1792-1794", the four-month bulletin of the National Library of South Africa, vol. 66, No. 1 (2012): 25-34.

Byng-Cranmer, J.L. and Trevor. H. juice. "A case study of cultural conflict: the scientific apparatus Macartney embassy in China, 1793" Annals of Science, 38 (1981): 503-525.

Cranmer-Byng, J. L. "Lord Macartney embassy in Beijing 1793 official Chinese documents," The British Library: University of Hong Kong (1961): 117-183.

Gillingham, Paul. "The Macartney Embassy, ​​History Today (November 1993): 28-34.

Gregory, John S. The West and China since 1500, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, of 2002.

Hevia, James L. "the ultimate gesture of respect and humiliation: kowtowing in China", Past and Present (2009): 212-234.

Mungello, D, E. The Great Encounter between China and the West, Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009th

Pritchard, Earl H. "A deep bow to the Macartney embassy in China in 1793," the Far East Quarterly (1943): 163-202.

Zewi, Yang. "Western international law and Chinese Confucianism in the 19th century: conflict and integration", Journal of the History of International Law 13 (2011): 285-306.

Source by Alexander James Syder

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *