The Reception of the First English Ambassador to China, 1792

Even before the ambassador landed the chinese

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Unformatted text preview: of trade. Even before the ambassador landed, the Chinese contrived to run up a flag on the vessel that bore him up the Peiho, whereon was written "Tribute-bearer from England." This was quite in accordance with the Chinese custom of claiming all gifts as tribute. Another custom of theirs was that whoever approached the throne of the emperor must perform the kowtow, that is, must kneel three times, and at each kneeling must bow three times till his head touched the floor. This was the way in which the greater idols were approached and signified that the emperor was a god. Lord Macartney told the Chinese legate that he would not perform the kowtow unless a high officer of state would kowtow before a picture of t...
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