Canton Days offers the first comprehensive history of the British community in China from the mid-1700s to the end of the Opium War in 1842. During that period, Britons and other Westerners in China were restricted to trading and living in a tiny section of the city of Canton and the small Portuguese territory of Macao. At Canton, trade between China and the West was conducted through a group of Chinese merchant houses specially licensed by the Qing government. British encounters with China in this period have been seen mainly as a prelude to war, and Britons in China usually have been characterized as single-minded traders determined to open the Middle Kingdom by any means or missionaries bent on converting the Chinese "heathen" to Christianity. John M. Carroll challenges common assumptions about the British presence in China as he traces the lives and times of the expatriates at the heart of this vital center of trade and exchange. The author draws on a rich trove of archival sources to bring Canton and its leading figures to life, concluding with the deaths of three Britons, each revealing British concerns and anxieties about being in China. Written in a clear and lively style, his book will appeal to all readers interested in British imperial history, early modern Chinese history, and the worlds of expatriate and sojourning communities.