26 NOVEMBER

LORD NAPIER – ‘THE EMPIRE OF CHINA IS MY OWN’

Lord Napier – public domain via Wikimedia.

[ 26 November 1833 ]

On 26 November 1833, just days after being appointed Chief Superintendent of Trade at Canton and over a month before he had even left England, Lord Napier was already exuberant at the prospect of being able to threaten to use Britain’s overwhelming military power to open up the Chinese market.1  ‘The empire of China is my own,’ he gloated in his diary, adding that ‘considering that the enormous empire of 40 million hangs together by a spider’s web how easily a gun brig would raise a revolution and cause them to open their ports to the trading world. I should like to be the medium of such a change.’2 Unfortunately for his military ambitions, he soon fell ill, dying only a few months after his arrival and five years before the outbreak of Britain’s First Opium War with China. The British merchants, however, appreciated his brief efforts on their behalf and erected a memorial in his honour with a flattering inscription: ‘His valuable life was sacrificed to the way in which he endeavoured to discharge the arduous duties of his situation.’3

 

ARCHBISHOP OF YORK BACKS COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT AGAINST KENYAN VILLAGES

[ 26 November 1952 ]

Today in 1952, Dr. Cyril Garbett, the Archbishop of York, speaking in the House of Lords, backed the British government’s use of collective punishment against entire Kenyan communities.

BRITISH INTRODUCE STATE OF EMERGENCY IN CYPRUS

[ 26 November 1955 ]

During a short radio statement at 17.00 GMT on Saturday 26 November 1955, Field Marshal Sir John Harding, the newly appointed governor of Cyprus, announced draconian emergency laws to crush a growing revolt against British rule. 

FOOTNOTES

  1. Chief Superintendent of Trade at Canton was a post which entailed representing British commercial interests.
  2. Cited in Shuo Wang, ‘The Napier Affair of 1834: The Loyalty of a Chinese Merchant in Early Sino-Western Confrontation,’ in S. Feickert A. Haut and K. Sharaf (Editors), ‘Faces of Communities: Social Ties between Trust, Loyalty and Conflict,’ V&R Unipress, 2014, pp. 153-154
  3. Robert Bickers, The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832-1914, Penguin Books, London, 2012 pp. 47-48.

Please feel welcome to post comments below.  If you have any questions please email alisdare@gmail.com

© 2020 Alisdare Hickson All rights reserved

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