Born in Ireland on May 14, 1737, George Macartney, Earl Macartney, studied
at Trinity College, Dublin, and went on to become envoy-extraordinary
to St. Petersburg, where he concluded a commercial treaty with the Empress
Catherine. In 1775 he became Governor of the Caribbee Islands, and was
captured by the French in 1779 when Grenada was attacked. In 1780, he
was appointed by the East India Company as governor of Fort St. George
in Madras (India), at the time of the Mahratta War, and remained in India
until 1786, when he resigned. In 1792, he was sent as Ambassador to China,
the first British embassy to that country. He embarked upon the "Lion"
and traveled to China with a large contingent of soldiers, scientists,
secretaries, and artists. Although they did not succeed in their primary
goal of securing permission to have a British minister in China, the embassy
collected much important and valuable information relating to conditions
in China, trade, customs, and practices. In 1795, Macartney became governor
of the newly-captured colony of the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa).
He died in 1806.
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