William Jardine was born in 1784 in Lochmaben, Scotland. He joins the service of the British East India Company in 1802 until 1816. Upon leaving the company, he serves as commercial agent for different merchants, firstly with the trading concern of Cowasjee of Bombay then to the firm of Magniac, Magniac and Co. in the late 1820's, Daniel Magniac was forced to resign from the firm after marrying his Indian mistress, leaving the firm to brother Hollingsworth Magniac. Hollingsworth, hands the management of the firm to Jardine, whom he considers 'an excellent man in business'. In the late 1820's, Jardine invites James Matheson (1797-1874), son of a Scottish baronet to form an enterprise for the China trade. In 1832, Jardine, Matheson and Company is formed in Canton, trading opium, tea and other goods. Jardine wants the opium trade to expand in China, and Matheson leaves for England to persuade the Government for further openning up to trade. Matheson, unsuccessful in his forays in England, returns to Asia in 1838, prompting Jardine to leave for England to try to finish Matheson's works. The chinese government is ecstatic upon hearing 'The Iron-headed Old Rat's, as Jardine was called, departure, then proceeded to stop the opium trade. Lin Tze Hsu, the leading Chinese official states, The Iron-headed Old Rat, the sly and cunning ring leader of the Opium smugglers have left for the land of mist, of fear from the Middle Kingdom's wrath. He then orders the surrender of the opium traders and the burning of 20,000 cases of opium in Canton. In 1840, Jardine successfully persuades parliament to wage war on China, giving a full detailed plan for war, the indemnifications from China and even the number of troops needed. In 1841, the first of the Opium Wars with China is waged, setting up the opening of numerous chinese trading posts. In 1842, Jardine, 58, died as a Member of Parliament. His nephews, David and Andrew Jardine continue to assist Matheson in running the Princely Hong, as was Jardines was called. Later on Robert Jardine would hold the reins of Taipan after Matheson.
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