We’re going back into the archives to revisit this classic post by James Norwood Pratt. This post contains the four-part sequence “Foreign Mud”. We have added a link to the end of each one to take you to the next if you would like to read them as a sequence, or you can choose which you want to peruse below. Enjoy!

Foreign Mud

What a jovial and merry world would this be, may it please your worships, but for that inextricable labyrinth of debts, cares, woes, wants, grief, discontent, melancholy, large jointures, impositions and lies.

Lawrence Sterne (1713-68),
Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.

Part One

Language was not the major obstacle to doing business with the Chinese–currency was. The goods the British had to offer in trade were…(Read more)

Part Two

Any fair-minded student of imperialism is compelled to admit that the British constantly sought to open up a more regular form of commerce with China. Their diplomatic efforts were…(Read more)

Part Three

Occasionally there were “fiery discharges,” about as dangerous as ritual Chinese firecrackers. Once an opium ship had finished her business at Lintin Island…(Read more)

Part Four

Suffice it that all sides knew a major crisis was inevitable, but the British were not worried because they despised China’s weakness, while on their part the Chinese were not worried because…(Read more)

Photo “White and Brown Galleon Ship” is copyright under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License to the photographer “Pixabay” and is being posted unaltered (source)