Travels in China, containing descriptions, observations, and comparisons, made and collected in the course of a short residence at the imperial palace of Yuen-min-yuen, and on a subsequent journey through the country from Pekin to Canton. In which it is attempted to appreciate the rank that this extraordinary empire may be considered to hold in the scale of civilized nations.
John Barrow initially taught mathematics to the son of Sir George Leonard Staunton. Through Staunton's interest, he was later attached with the first British embassy to China from 1792 to 1794 as comptroller of the household to Lord Macartney.
Barrow along with fellow future author William Alexander toured China around which provided the material for a number of interesting works on the region including this one as well as Alexander's "The Costume of China".
Barrow soon acquired a good knowledge of the Chinese language, on which he subsequently contributed articles to the Quarterly Review; and the account of the embassy published by Sir George Staunton records many of Barrow's valuable contributions to literature and science connected with China. Barrow ceased to be officially connected with Chinese affairs after the return of the embassy in 1794, but he always took much interest in them, and on critical occasions was frequently consulted by the British government.
Five of the plates are hand-colored aquatints with etching and engraving by Thomas Medland after William Alexander. The 3 remaining plates are uncolored engravings by Neele, 2 of them double page. Second edition, the first was published in London, 1804.
Abbey Travel, 531n; Cordier 2388-2389. Lust 366.
List of Images
1. Front Cover
2. Title Page
3. Portrait of Van-ta-Gin
4. A Foreign Trader
5. A Rice Mill
6. A Chinese and a Hottentot
7. View in the Eastern Side of the Imperial Park at Gehol
8. Construction of the Arch of a Chinese Bridge
9. A village and Cottages
10. Dwelling of a Mandarin or Officer of State
11. Back Cover