This volume tells the story of William John Napier, 9th Lord Napier of Merchiston, who was sent to China in 1834 to seek a settlement of the British sea-traders and the Cantonese authorities. That his mission failed was due in no small part to the abysmal ignorance in Europe of the Chinese and their system of government, based as it was on the assumption that China was the centre of the world and all other people were barbarians and outsiders.;The system of "squeeze" operated by the Chinese officials in their relations with the Western traders did much to create the insidious but lucrative trade in opium, based upon an elaborate system of smuggling. Lord Napier's failure to achieve any reciprocity with the Viceroy of Canton, led ultimately to the despatch of a force from India to enforce trading arrangements upon the Chinese by force of arms in what became known as the Opium Wars. One outcome of the fighting was the ceding of Hong Kong to Britain and, much later, the leasing of the New Territories, due to revert to China in 1997.;Though biographical in character, based largely upon Lord Napier's own letters and journals, the book gives an insight into the story of Western contacts over the centuries with the world's oldest civilization, and a description of life in England and Scotland in the early-19th century, including life in the court of King William IV, Lord Napier's close friend and master. Priscilla Napier is the author of "Revolution and the Napier Brothers", "I Have Sind: Charles Napier in India I", "Raven Castle: Charles Napier in India II".