A Journal of the First French Embassy to China, 1698-1700
It was not until the early twentieth century that the previously unpublished source of this 1859 work was identified as being itself a reworking of François Froger's Relation du premier voyage, fait en 1698, 1699 et 1700, a journal of his experiences as a young engineer while sailing with the first French ambassadorial party to China. This translation by Saxe Bannister (1790-1877) supplements the original official account with anecdotes and notes: the work is therefore based on composite primary evidence. This does not detract, however, from the worth of this book, in which Bannister uses a lengthy introduction and appendices of further primary evidence to apply what can be learned from earlier works to the contemporary context of the Opium Wars, aiming to promote a more peaceful and balanced attitude towards China. It is a useful example of scholarly propaganda in the history of nineteenth-century Anglo-Chinese relations.