Cambridge. Harvard University. 1986. Stock ID #165600
Maps, black and white photographic illustrations, xiv + 427pp, glossary/index, notes, bibliography, hardback, inscribed by one of the editors front free endpaper, a very good copy. Robert Hart was one of those empire builders of the Victorian age who had a long and nearly uninterrupted experience in China, from 1854, when as a young Irishman from Belfast he landed in Ningpo, until 1908, when as a man in his seventies he finally retired to England. His years as the Ch'ing government's Inspector General of the Maritime Customs Service have been copiously recorded in letters to his London agent, beginning in 1868, published as a 2-volume collection, "The IG. in Peking" (Harvard, Belknap Press, 1975). In 1970, a second lode of Hart materials came to light, the 77 volumes of his journals, begun on the day of his arrival in China in 1854 and ending at his departure in 1908, with two short but significant gaps in the first decade where he himself destroyed entries of too personal a nature. "Entering China's Service" presents a complete and annotated transcript of the surviving journals through 1863, alternating with chapters devoted to Hart's North Ireland background, the China he encountered, the Ch'ing officials who trusted him, and the unfolding of his career. His reactions to the Chinese as well as to his fellow Westerners cast an invaluable light on nineteenth-century China.
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Price: $200.00 AU