Barbarian Eye Lord Napier in China 1834 the prelude to Hong Kong

by Priscilla Napier. First published in 1995 by Brassey's, 33 John  Street, London WC1N 2AT 

ISBN: 1 85753 116 7

 

This book tells the story of William John Napier, 9th Lord Napier of Merchiston, who was sent to China in 1834, not to stop the opium smuggling but to seek a settlement between the British sea-traders and the Cantonese authorities.  He was soon seen by the Chinese authorities as a dangerous spy - a "Barbarian Eye".

 

The Viceroy of Canton declined to accept Napier's credentials from King William IV and replied to his efforts at communication by adapting the syllables of his name - Nay Peer into the rudest possible translation: "Vile labouring beast".  Napier didn't mind this but he was frustrated by the Viceroy's refusal to talk.  He noticed a rocky island occupied by only a few fishermen's families and guarding one of the finest natural harbours in the World .... why not, without bloodshed, arrange to trade from there, rather than up river at Canton ..... the island was called Kong Kong.