Sir John Bowring in Asia: A Superfluity of Sail

Presented by Mr Philip Bowring

John Bowring (1792-1872) is a familiar name in Thailand as the author of the Bowring Treaty with King Mongkut, has a mixed reputation in Hong Kong, where he was governor, is seen as an imperialist by Chinese nationalists for starting the Arrow war. His ten years in Asia (1849-59) were the culmination of an amazingly diverse career: From a modest trading family to scholar of Spanish literature, polyglot, Unitarianism, hymn writing, associate of Jeremy Bentham, radical politics in and out of parliament, the early promotion of free trade in Britain and around Europe, public accounts reform, currency decimalisation, and entrepreneurship in iron and railways. It is perhaps not surprising that as plenipotentiary and governor his energy and commitment to liberalism often ran ahead of pragmatism. But he left indelible marks in Asia, as elsewhere, mostly beneficial. Much has been written about the different aspects of his career and family but “Free Trade’s First Missionary” recently published by Hong Kong University Press is the first to distil all of these, and more, into a biography covering his whole life, and with a particular emphasis on the Asian decade.

8 July 2015

Where: The Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1

Commences at 1.15pm

A Sandwich lunch with wine and/or soft drinks is available from 12.30pm but must be booked in advance by the previous day. £10 with wine or £7 with soft drink.

Tickets: Members and their guests only. Free

5 JUL

UPCOMING EVENT

Sikunder Burnes: Master of the ‘Great Game’

Where: The Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD [Nearest Underground Stations Euston Square or Warren Street]

Lecture starts at 1.15pm and ends around 2.30pm. A sandwich lunch is available from 12.30pm and must be booked via the office by 2.30pm the day before.

Tickets: Free: Members and their guests only.

Find out more > Show me all upcoming events
Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.