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The Lion and Dragon: Britain's first embassy to China

Narrative 7: An Authentic Account of an Embassy

The meeting with the Emperor of China took place in a magnificent tent in the grounds of the Imperial summer palace. Inside the tent, Lord Macartney knelt in front of the Emperor, refusing to kowtow as instructed. Watching him were George Leonard Staunton and his 12 year old son, George Thomas Staunton. The child had learnt some Chinese from the Chinese Jesuits who sailed with them and was the only member of the Embassy able to converse with the Emperor. Delighted with this bright child, the Emperor presented him with a yellow embroidered purse from his own belt, and a green jade sceptre (which is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum).

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A mark of extraordinary favour
William Alexander

William Alexander. WD959/136 and WD961/1540

An Authentic Account of an Embassy An Authentic Account of an Embassy An Authentic Account of an Embassy

Sir George Staunton. An Authentic Account of an Embassy. 1797. 787.l.47

Engraving in Staunton

William Alexander. Engraving in Staunton. 787.l.47

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