Narrative 10: Life of Macartney
Before the Embassy set off, Staunton had procured three Chinese interpreters but they were too afraid to serve on behalf of a foreign power in their own country. Such was the Chinese determination to exclude foreigners at this time that interpreting for foreigners without official accreditation or teaching them Chinese were both capital offences. As Lord Macartney recorded in his diary, the British Protestant Embassy was compelled to rely on Jesuit missionaries of the Catholic Church as interpreters.
However his page, Staunton's son, had learnt some Chinese from the absconding interpreters on their long voyage to China.