“I Kneel Only To God And Woman”

For centuries the world’s envoys kowtowed to China’s proud rulers. Then along came a crusty American with a stubborn pride of his own

It was midsummer, and by the calendar of the Foreign Dogs of the West, the year 1859. Word came to the royal Chinese officials at Peking that an American barbarian chieftain, John E. Ward, was at the coast awaiting arrangements to proceed to the capital. He bore a letter from his Emperor, James Buchanan, addressed to the Divine Son of Heaven, and he was also ready to exchange ratified copies of the Treaty of Tientsin, signed the year before and since approved by his Senate. He desired that the agreement, respecting trade at various ports, be put into effect. Read more »