Lord Macartney’s mission to open up China in 1792 failed, but it did give the Western world its first glimpse of the secretive Middle Kingdom, through the memoirs written by eight different members of the embassy. But the most lively and accessible of the books was that written by Aeneas Anderson, Lord Macartney’s valet. China scholar Frances Wood introduces Anderson’s account of the two-year adventure, which make clear that the valet was seeing far more of China than his master was. His descriptions of life in China and Manchuria in the late 18th century are a hugely valuable and very readable resource, and Frances Wood is as insightful as always.
“Essential reading for anyone interested in the foreign intervention in China at the end of its imperial era. The leading historian of China, Frances Wood has done a great service by producing a republication of the diary of the least prestigious member of the delegation, Aeneas Anderson.” — Prof David S G Goodman, Professor of China Studies, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and the University of Sydney.