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DAVIS, Sir John Francis.

Hien Wun Shoo. Chinese Moral Maxims,

with a free and verbal translation; affording examples of the grammatical structure of the language.

London: John Murray; printed at the Honorable Company's Press, by P. P. Thoms, Macao, 1823 Stock Code: 133538
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"One of the first British titles to use Chinese type in innovative ways"

First edition of the Chinese scholar's collection of proverbs, "one of the first British titles to use Chinese type in innovative ways" (Keighren, Withers, & Bell, p. 135) and an excellent example of Murray's experimentation with printing developments of the time. Printed by Peter Perring Thoms at the East India Company's press in Macao due to the lack of types available in England, it comprises the Chinese text and English translations of some 200 quotations collected by Davis from classical and colloquial literature.

Davis (1795-1890) was the son of a director of the East India Company, and himself was appointed a writer at the Company's Canton factory in 1813. He "early showed marked linguistic and diplomatic aptitude" (ODNB), and accompanied Amherst's Embassy to Pekin in 1816. Remaining at Canton throughout his career, in 1844 he was appointed Plenipotentiary and Superintendent of trade at Canton, and became the second Governor and Commander-in-chief of Hong Kong, succeeding Sir Henry Pottinger. His confrontation with the Imperial Commissioner over British rights on entry at Hong Kong led to his occupation of the factories there in 1847, forcing an agreement to open Canton in 1849. His success did not meet with official approval, and he was censured and his administration of Hong Kong criticised by a Parliamentary Select committee. He resigned in November 1847. His translations of works from the Chinese, beginning early in his career, capitalised on rising interest in the region and met with great success. His later descriptive works, The Chinese (1836) and Sketches of China (1844), ran to numerous editions.

This copy is from the library of Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (1858-1945), the great bibliophile and accomplished Liberal statesman who served as Secretary of State for India from 1910 to 1915.

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Octavo. Original maroon cloth, spine lettered in gilt, scrollwork panel within triple fillet border blocked to boards in blind, uncut and unopened.


Title also printed on title page in Chinese characters.


Engraved armorial bookplate of Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe, to front pastedown, small circular label to lower corner of front board. Spine and board edges sunned, ends and extremities bumped, a few negligible marks to boards, endpapers foxed and gathering T foxed along upper gutters; in all a very well preserved copy in the original cloth, the contents crisp and clean.


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