Narrative 1: An Authentic Account of An Embassy
As the countries of Western Europe expanded their trading networks throughout the world during the course of the 18th century, the apparent impenetrability of the vast territory of China exercised an increasing fascination and frustration on them and particularly on Britain whose national wealth was intensively concentrated on the development of commerce.
Until the 1790s, British attempts to establish direct contact had only served to increase the myths around that country and the Chinese government's resistance to trade with the outside world.
In the late 18th century, the need for firm knowledge and direct contact with China had become an imperative. In 1792, Lord Macartney, a seasoned diplomat, was chosen to lead an Embassy.
Its composition is described by Sir George Leonard Staunton who was its Secretary.