Let me tell you some quick facts about William Jardine

He became a surgeon’s mate on a ship at age 18

His lifelong friend was named Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy

An early business partner was named Hollingworth Magniac

His rival was named Lancelot Dent

He started a business in Hong Kong importing, among other things, opium to China.  His partner was James Matheson:

William C. Hunter, a contemporary of Jardine who worked for the American firm Russell & Co., wrote of him, “He was a gentleman of great strength of character and of unbounded generosity.” Hunter’s description of Matheson was, “He was a gentleman of great suavity of manner and the impersonation of benevolence.”

“He was nicknamed by the locals “The Iron-headed Old Rat” after being hit on the head by a club in Guangzhou.”

When the Chinese tried to ban the importation of opium, he gave the foreign secretary a detailed plan on how to attack China, which the British went ahead and did.

His farewell dinner when he left Hong Kong was legendary.  FDR’s grandfather was there.

A bachelor, when he died he left his fortune to his nephews and siblings.

Jardine Matheson Group, still run by members of his family, is today – all of this is according to wikipedia – the second-largest employer in Hong Kong.


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