In 1793 Lord George Macartney finally achieved his trade mission's goal of a personal audience with the 83-year old Emperor Qian Long (approximately pronounced "Chyen Loong") in China.
He went down on one knee, according to his own account, and would have kissed the hand of Emperor Qian Long as he did the hand of his own King, except that the hand of the Emperor was held by Chinese to be sacred and not touchable by a foreigner.
Borders were expanded but not opened, as Qian Long's grandfather and Qian Long himself sought to keep out potentially destructive forces and to keep in the potentially restive Chinese.
The letter Macartney brought from King George III, which addressed the Emperor Qian Long as a "brother" monarch, generated outrage within the Emperor's court for the British king's appalling presumption of near-equality with the Son of Heaven (Peyrefitte, 1992/1989, p.
Emperor Qian Long had no need of trade with Britain and no wish to allow meddlesome foreigners to penetrate China's outer gate.
Interaction between Macartney and Qian Long, and Their Schemata
He learned the Emperor's first minister, Heshen, who was also his lover and his son-in-law, was the only person Qian Long trusted, and Heshen acted as gatekeeper to the Emperor (Peyrefitte, 1992/1989, p.
According to Peyrefitte, Qian Long felt that it was preposterous for Macartney to suggest:
that Qian Long should consider George III his 'friend and brother' (as if the one and only Son of Heaven could have friends and brothers
Qian Long bestowed more valuable gifts upon young Thomas because he spoke to the court in Chinese.