This is a wee bit of an obscure posting but I know a lot of people are interested in the history and characters involved in the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs run for so long by Sir Robert Hart, the "IG". One of the fascinating things about the Maritime Customs administration is the number of serious scholars it produced – I posted about a new biography of one, Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor, a noted translator recently.
For those who like ephemera about the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs they may like to note that one person being remembered at the moment through a new biography was the son of a Maritime Customs administration official in
Bowra is also largely forgotten as he never really produced any seminal scholarly works (though did write a few understandable books about ancient Greece) and his famous bon-mots and supposedly cutting remarks don’t really translate to 2009, if they were ever funny outside of a bunch of public school boys – ‘a man more dined against than dining’ may have had the young fogies in stitches back in the 1930s but doesn’t mean much now. However, his remark (alluding to his rather mysterious sexuality) upon marrying a noted lesbian that, ‘My dear, buggers can’t be choosers’ is quite amusing.
He also wrote and apparently regularly recited some pretty bad poetry. Still, as an inspiration to a bunch of largely privileged boarding school boys embarking on university life he was influential. And to several generations too - he was Warden of Wadham College (left) from 1938 to 1970 and served as Vice-Chancellor of the
The point of this digression is that, as a footnote to a history of the impact of the Maritime Customs administration, Maurice Bowra’s father was Cecil Arthur Verner Bowra and Maurice was born in Jiujiang in 1898, then of course Kiukiang on the southern shores of the Yangtze River in northwest
As I said it’s a small footnote in the history of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs. I know nothing else really about Bowra or his father in