The P&O Company and the Politics of Empire from its origins to 1867
Author: Freda Harcourt

This book is a study on the history of the P&O shipping company, paying due attention to the context of nineteenth-century imperial politics that so significantly shaped the company's development. Based chiefly on unpublished material in the P&O archives and in the National Archives and on contemporary official publications, it covers the crucial period from the company's origins to 1867. After presenting new findings about the company's origins in the Irish transport industry, the book charts the extension of the founders' interests from the Iberian Peninsula to the Mediterranean, India, China and Australia. In so doing it deals also with the development of the necessary financial infrastructure for P&O's operations, with the founders' attitudes to technical advances, with the shareholding base, with the company's involvement in the opium trade, and with its acquisition of mail, Admiralty and other government contracts. It was the P&O's status as a government contractor that, above all else, implicated its fortunes in the wider politics of empire, and the book culminates in an episode which illustrates this clearly: the company's rescue from the edge of a financial precipice by the award of a new government mail contract prompted, among other things, by the Abyssinian expedition of 1867.

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Nurse, writer, activist
Author: Lea M. Williams

Ellen La Motte: nurse, writer, activist, is a biography of La Motte that traces the arc of her life, from her birth in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1873 to her death in Washington, D.C. in 1961. It integrates original unexamined sources such as diaries, unpublished manuscripts, and publishing contracts along with primary sources—letters, newspaper articles, health department reports, and public records—with an examination of her prolific published writings, about topics as diverse as tuberculosis nursing, women’s suffrage, nursing during the Great War, and the opium trade. It considers of how she developed as a nurse, writer, and activist once she entered the Johns Hopkins Training School for Nurses in 1898 and grew into a potent force in the anti-tuberculosis campaign. Gaining experience speaking and writing on behalf of controversial causes, La Motte put her talents to use on behalf of the fight for the vote for women, nursing during World War I and the anti-opium campaign.

Lea M. Williams

Peking in March of 1917 after a three-month absence and allowed themselves another month or so before they returned to Japan to see the cherry blossoms in April and stayed until June 1917. By summer, the two women were back in New York City, approximately a year after they had left. Figure 8 La Motte’s passport, 1916–1917 During these months of travel, La Motte underwent an immersive education in the origins and consequences of the opium trade. On her way to Japan, she

in Ellen N. La Motte
British imperial attitudes towards China, 1792–1840
Author: Hao Gao

This book examines British imperial attitudes towards China during their early encounters from 1792 to 1840. It makes the first attempt to bring together the political history of Sino-Western relations and cultural studies of British representations of China, as a new way of understanding the origins of the Opium War – a deeply consequential event which arguably reshaped relations between China and the West for the next hundred years. The book focuses on the crucial half-century before the war, a medium-term (moyenne durée) period which scholars such as Kitson and Markley have recently compared in importance to that of the American and French Revolutions.

This study investigates a range of Sino-British political moments of connection, from the Macartney embassy (1792–94), through the Amherst embassy (1816–17) to the Napier incident (1834) and the lead-up to the opium crisis (1839–40). It examines a wealth of primary materials, some of which have not received sufficient attention before, focusing on the perceptions formed by those who had first-hand experience of China or possessed political influence in Britain. The book shows that through this period Britain produced increasingly hostile feelings towards China, but at the same time British opinion formers and decision-makers disagreed with each other on fundamental matters such as whether to adopt a pacific or aggressive policy towards the Qing and the disposition of the Chinese emperor. This study, in the end, reveals how the idea of war against the Chinese empire was created on the basis of these developing imperial attitudes.

Hao Gao

trigger for this conflict? Was it Lin Zexu's campaign to stamp out the opium trade, or Charles Elliot's ‘heroic’ intervention in the opium crisis, or the murder of Lin Weixi, a Chinese villager who was allegedly killed by a British seaman? A war in defence of a contraband trade, of course, sounds morally unjustifiable, but then why should MP George Palmer claim, in the parliamentary debate held in April 1840, that ‘no member was willing to declare himself directly opposed to a war with China’? 1 If this was the case

in Creating the Opium War
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P&O and the opium trade, 1845–57
Freda Harcourt

the company. 1 The 1844 contract also enabled the company to introduce steam transport to the opium trade. Opium played such a significant part in P&O’s history and prosperity in the nineteenth century that the company’s expansion in the Far East needs to be placed in the context of the opium trade more generally. Black gold 2 Indian opium had a unique status

in Flagships of imperialism
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The 1916 Central Asian uprising in the context of wars and revolutions (1914–1923)
Niccolò Pianciola

” practices during the “settlers’ revolution” and the civil war in Semirech’e.8 However, even within Semirech’e, the temporal and spatial variation of episodes of eliminationist violence was remarkable. By focusing on the main “peak violence” area during the 1916 uprising, Przheval’sk district, I  will show the role that the cross-​ border opium trade with Xinjiang played in unleashing mass violence in the region. The war comes home Of a tsarist subject population that in 1914 stood at about 178 million, fifteen million were drafted during the war; by mid-​1917, six million

in The Central Asian Revolt of 1916
Hao Gao

goods in China so as to defray the cost of its ever-increasing import of Chinese tea, which became Britain's favourite drink by the end of the eighteenth century. It was opium that offered a solution to this long-lasting problem. Although the EIC kept its hands clean from the opium trade in Canton, it developed opium production on a huge scale in its colony in Bengal. The private merchants bought the company's opium on credit, sold it to the Chinese and then paid the EIC's representatives in Canton, who used the money to purchase tea. According to Michael Greenberg

in Creating the Opium War
Claude Markovits

China, however, clearly derives its origins from the activities of the British East India Company. At the time when the company became master of Bengal (1765) it also started being involved in trade with China. A triangular pattern of trade developed between Britain, India and China in which Chinese sales of tea to Britain were increasingly paid for by the sale of Indian opium to China. 2 The story of the opium trade is well known, but it is sometimes forgotten that Indian merchants, particularly Parsi merchants, played a major

in New frontiers
Zheng Yangwen

Zexu wrote a letter to Queen Victoria. He had asked Captain Warner, a merchant and naval officer not engaged in the opium trade, to deliver it but we do not know the fate of this letter. 16 It seems that Lin had done the job he was tasked to do: opium destroyed and smugglers gone. But trouble was soon to descend upon China. Then Chief Superintendent of Trade, Captain Charles Elliot, had instructed British merchants not to sign the bond. Some of these merchants went to Macao while others headed home. William Jardine and James Matheson worked hard, seeking reprisals

in Ten Lessons in Modern Chinese History