Let me tell you some quick facts about William JardinePosted: May 5, 2012
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.