<p style='text-align: justify;'>This is a Chinese-language petition of a European merchant, addressed to the Qing emperor (Qianlong), complaining about perceived corruption among Canton officials. The petition, which is signed with red sealing wax, is rather short but bound into a large book—as if one had expected more to follow. The title page has the Chinese title 譯明夷字陳稟 (Yiming yizi chenbing, ‘Translation of a Barbarian’s Petition to the Court’), plus a transliteration into Latin script, followed by a French-language text: ‘Cette Copie’ [this copy] was written by ‘le Seul Européen qui [peut] écrire la langue chinoise” [the only European who is able to write in Chinese].</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The petition is dated 1759, only two years after the Qing dynasty had launched the so-called Canton System (1757-1842) as a means to control all trade with the newly emerging Western European powers through the port of Guangzhou (Canton).</p>
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