EAST MEETS WEST
Original Records of Traders, Travellers, Missionaries and Diplomats to 1852
Part 3: Papers of John Scattergood (1681-1723), Isaac Titsingh (1740?-1812),
Heinrich Julius Klaproth (1783-1835) and other early materials from the British Library, London
This third part of East Meets West brings together a further 33 manuscripts from the British Library describing early contacts between western explorers, missionaries and businessmen and the Asian societies that they sought to visit, convert, exploit or trade with. Japan and China are the subject of the majority of these manuscripts.
Three figures dominate this collection:
Isaac Titsingh (1740?-1812) was a Dutch explorer, diplomat and administrator who spent much of his life in Asia. He went to Japan as the Dutch Envoy in 1778 and served as Director of the Dutch East India Company factory at Nagasaki (Deshima Island) for three periods between 1779 and 1784. During this period relations between the Dutch trading post and their Japanese hosts were somewhat strained due to a decline in trade and the strict conditions imposed on the westerners on Deshima Island. Titsingh addressed these difficulties during his annual pilgrimage to Edo and also set about recording the sights and customs that he observed. These range from wedding ceremonies to life and politics at the Edo court, and from the cultivation of Bonsai trees to the suicide of a prominent Japanese scholar of Western learning.
For Titsingh we feature a volume of his letters to W Marsden, 1806-1811 (Add Ms 9390); seven volumes of notes relating to Japanese history and customs (Add Mss 9391-9397); a list of places in Japan (Add Ms 18099); two further volumes of notes compiled by Titsingh giving the names of landed proprietors in Japan and their incomes, copies of inscriptions and other details (Add Mss 18099-18100); a further volume of private and official letters, 1790-1797 (Add Ms 18101); and a Journal d'un voyage a Peking, 1794-1795 - probably the journal of Joseph de Guignes, interpreter to the Embassy (Add Ms 18102).
Heinrich Julius Klaproth (1783-1835) was a German orientalist scholar who led expeditions to Asia in 1805 and 1807. His Historischer Atlas von China, in ein und zwanzig Karten was a landmark work. The autograph manuscript of his explanatory text to this work is included here (Add Ms 11704), together with further geographical records concerning Asia and papers and collections on the Chinese and Tartar languages; with notices and a few drawings of antiquities in the East (Add Ms 18105).
John Scattergood (1681-1723) was a merchant in Madras who had extensive trading interests in the East Indies, Persia and China. We include four large volumes of transcripts of his papers which stress the interconnected trading patterns in this region (Add Mss 43730-43733).
A number of other contacts between East and West are also documented including an account of a Spanish expedition to China in 1609 (Additional Ms 13977) and the journal of the Frederick in the Chinese Sea, 1803 (Add Ms 13882).
Missionary activity in China is described in a number of volumes. Egerton Ms 2212 describes various missions, 1693-1700 and Add Ms 16913 cover French missions, 1693-1722. Three volumes document papal missions to China, 1700-1740 (Additional Mss 26816-26818) and another describes Jesuit activities, 1701-1723 (Add Ms 20807). Jesuit activity in Japan is described in Add Ms 33761.
Early business relations between Asia and the West are further explored in the letters of James B Urmston to Sir H Lowe, 1817-1820, Macao and Canton (Add Ms 20228); the Journal of a merchant, 1782-1785, acting as an agent for the Austrian government in India and China (Additional Ms 32165); and a record of European Trade with India and China, 1792 (Add Ms 13818).
These original manuscript sources will be of great value to scholars studying early interactions between East and West and the rivalries between British, Dutch and German representatives in Asia before 1820.