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Manuscript Records of Traders, Travellers, Missionaries & Diplomats, 1792-1942

Part 6: Correspondence and Papers of Sir Ernest Satow (1843-1929) relating to China from Public Record Office Class PRO 30/33

This project offers the diaries, journals, letters, photographs and scrapbooks of a host of businessmen, tourists, scholars, missionaries, doctors, journalists and diplomats from the first British mission to China in 1792-1794 through to the mid 20th century.   All are in English and they are an ideal group of sources for student project work.

Part 6 is devoted to the papers of Sir Ernest Satow following his transfer to Beijing (Peking) in October 1900 - in the immediate aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion - where he replaced Sir Claude Maxwell Macdonald as Britain’s Minister.

  • His background in understanding Eastern cultural, political, financial and commercial activities placed him as an ideal candidate to undertake diplomatic relations with China.
  • His main task was to preserve good relations between the foreign powers, extract restitution from the Chinese government and maintain the peace. 

The papers and correspondence (he had contacts all over China) are a crucial source for understanding Britain’s opinion and attitude towards China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Records relating to his earlier service in Japan are published in our companion project Japan Through Western Eyes, Part 6.


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