1867. One page hand written letter signed 'John Bowring', to a W. Dixon, possibly the English author and editor William Hepworth Dixon, referring to Bowring's friendship with Louis Philippe, the king of France, and General Dumouriez. The complete text: "My Dear Sir, You may perhaps not deem this (ornate) contribution to history which I enclose unacceptable. I was very intimate with L. P. having been introduced to him by the only man whom I remember to have had any real influence over him, (one) General Dumouriez." Bowring was an accomplished linguist, writer, translator and diplomat.
Bowring served as the fourth governor of Hong Kong from 1854 to 1859, and became involved in several incidents, including the Arrow Incident and the attacks on Canton which precipitated the Second Opium War. Even though there were standing instructions from the home government to avoid armed conflict with China, Bowring waited only until naval forces that had been involved in the Crimean War were available, and then ordered British gunboats under Rear Admiral Sir Michael Seymour to "punish" Canton. Bowring and Seymour were commended for their actions by Lord Clarendon, the Foreign Secretary. The war served as a pretext for advancing British and foreign interests in China such as the loosening of trade restrictions and the continuation of the opium trade.
Bowring was a prolific author, writing accounts of his missions, works on poetry, and political & economic treatises. In his 'Autobiographical Recollections', Bowring writes of Louis Philippe and Dumouriez: "I was then intimate with the Duke of Orleans, who was in disgrace at Court. He had been denied the privilege of sitting in the Chamber of Peers, no higher title than Serene Highness was conceded to him, and it was believed that he was the centre of a hundred conspiracies to overturn the government. It was supposed, as I had travelled much, and had had much intercourse with the liberals of Europe, that I was a secret agent, as I undoubtedly was a personal friend of Louis Philippe, to whom I had been originally introduced by General Dumouriez ..." Charles-Francois du Perier Dumouriez (1739 –1823) was a French general who distinguished himself in the French Revolution, but ultimately defected to the Austrians, having been defeated by them at Neerwinden in 1793, and having fallen under suspicion of the French Directory. He is said to have fled from France on the horse of the future King Louis Philippe. 5 1/4 x 8in., cream paper, with 'Claremont, Exeter', the family estate's embossed stamp at top. Written and signed clearly in black ink, dated 20 May 1867. A bit ruffled at edges, closed short tear, old folds o/w very good. Very good condition. Item #17643