In seventeenth century, Macartney was appointed envoy to China with privileges granted to Great Britain. More than nine months later, he and an accompanying mission of nearly sixty men were in command of ship. The warship arrived in Tianjin smoothly.
And Macartney mission received a pardon based on celebration of Qianlong's birthday, and true purpose of his visit to China is still being debated.
The "Huairou Yuanren" pointed out that in eighteenth century, status of two empires was relatively equal, and two great powers showed a sense of expansion.
And such an egalitarian mentality inevitably led Macartney to put forward a relatively fair and mutually beneficial approach during his visit to China, although actual goal is debatable.Business purpose
However, one of its most important goals should be to facilitate trade exchanges between two countries, carry out a diplomatic mission for purpose of trade, and further expand and optimize East India Company's shortcomings in trade. .
For Britain in late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, demand for Chinese goods, especially tea and silk, reached considerable proportions and became main consumer commodity in Great Britain at that time.
Among them, only tea, sold through East India Company and paid annually to British government, generates more than 6% of national tax revenue.
For this reason, this kind of one-sided monopoly and lack of ports have created desire and discontent in UK from top to bottom. How to successfully open Chinese ports and facilitate exchange of materials became Magal Ni's most important task. important goal.
Another very important point is that relative closure of Qing Dynasty led to a huge trade deficit in Britain. A large amount of silver poured into China, and opening of Hong Kong to mutual trade was inevitable.
Because British weren't only ones traveling to and from sea in China at time, Macartney also had to travel to Shisangxing to find out and explain to Qing Dynasty that not all English speakers were British, so fix British image in Qing Dynasty .
In fact, this point was also mentioned in congratulatory letter of King of England to Qianlong, which highlighted benefits that trade between two countries could bring.
However, Macartney came with such great hope and returned with such great disappointment.Many people often think that Qianlong was arrogant and closed country.
In fact, looking back at history, truth is often more complex and hampered by many factors. The reason why this visit to open business exchanges between China and UK was not successful can also be seen from some of details of coming year. outside.Reasons for failure of visit to China
Interaction with Britain is in Latin and French, not because Qing dynasty lacked bilingual translators, but because Qing dynasty had very close relations with France long before Qianlong.
Furthermore, United Kingdom is an island nation and was going through a relatively divided and turbulent period at time. Compared to mainland countries such as France, Qing dynasty was more willing to cooperate with it.
Furthermore, although United Kingdom was open about trade and carried out a normal trade exchange, Qing government did notice that United Kingdom was actually planning to gradually sell marijuana to cover its trade deficit.
It made entire court of Qing Dynasty always remain vigilant about trade, and secondly, it also had an important relationship with main business concepts between the two countries.
Compared to Britain, which enjoys freedom and emphasizes commercial concept of personal private property, in this self-sufficient agricultural feudal dynasty, commerce and trade are often seen as an additional complement to itself, and it is more considered as tools to expand its political and cultural influence.
Magarni was also aware of this problem: in his diary, he detailed difference between traditional Chinese cultural ideal and China's particular geographic environment.
However, it is also a mistake to view tribute as trade as a common trade feature of Qing Dynasty. Since Southern Song Dynasty, feudal dynasty was actually deeply aware of huge profits that trade could bring.
High-ranking officials and nobles, even members of royal family and nobles, have acquired a lot of property in overseas trade through thirteen lines, and reason they maintain a relatively conservative stance is because maintaining political and ideological stability is more important than anything else.
The rulers of Qing Dynasty paid more attention to how to maintain and establish their supreme power in a world with many countries.
And establishment of this kind of power is usually established in more complex dialogues and communications, and goal of obtaining position of highest intellectual lies in such policies as granting of feudal titles and huairou.
By exchanging business and seizing opportunity to expand empire's substantial hegemony, Macartney came to Qianlong with true thoughts of British king, but it was very difficult to fully open up business and trade between two countries through such rhetoric.
This can be seen in envelope given to Macartney by chief executive of East India Company. This is key point.
The reason why Macartney's visit to China attracted people's attention is that after more than 50 years, his ideas of time were realized in content and conditions mentioned in the Treaty of Nanjing.
This similarity makes people feel that time and space are intertwined. In a state of existence in world, Qing Dynasty is believed to have abandoned relatively equal trade opportunities before ushering in a history of humiliation in modern China.
It is true that Qing Dynasty lost an important opportunity to participate in latest changes in world, which led to hegemonic diplomacy, that is, traditional countries had to accept powerful countries and conduct forced diplomacy in accordance with established norms of international exchange. .
The Qing Dynasty and British Kingdom at that time had completely opposite world views, political views and economic models, and behind them was a set of consistent logical systems.
From an a priori point of view, it is very easy to form wrong view when looking at historical choices of time. To evaluate historical figures and events, it is often necessary to put them in current perspective situation.
When mastering various historical documents and materials, try to restore historical truth of that time, reason relatively logically and evaluate characters and events in horizontal and vertical comparison.Conclusion
But no matter what, in this historic clash, two great powers have taken completely different paths. So-called prosperity leads to decline, and weakness leads to strength, heralding their own prosperity and decline.
For more than two hundred years, two large ships of China and Great Britain, under the erosion of years, have experienced ups and downs on their way. They met again, but led to a different situation.
The self-rescue and buoyant energy that tried to repair its own decadence seem to have suddenly changed in over two hundred years, but what remains is that these past humiliations and reluctance will still not disappear, but will be transformed into intrinsic motivation. it keeps people moving forward.