Thursday, January 20, 2011

Week 1 Reflections

Week 1 Reflections

     Week 1 introduces us to the intellectual world of colonial and revolutionary America. We want to understand, first, how early Americans—colonial British Americans and later citizens of the newly established United States—thought about, or “imagined” the world that lay beyond the familiar Atlantic community.  And, we want to appreciate, second, the forces “critical era” that drove American merchants to search beyond the Atlantic for new markets and goods.

     In preparation for Week 2, consider the report below that was published in the New Hampshire Gazette for 17 May 1785:

1.  The unnamed source was, in fact, Samuel Shaw, supercargo (business agent) aboard the Empress of China.  What were Shaw’s concerns? What message did he want to convey to his audience?

2.  How do you interpret Shaw’s language?  What does this suggest to us about the republican values of the new nation?

3.  How did Shaw represent the experience of encounter in Canton?

4.  What do you think a reader’s response might have been?

 Fowle’s New Hampshire Gazette (27 May 1785)

     We have the satisfaction of announcing the arrival of the ship Empress of China, Captain Green, commander, from the East-Indies, at this port, yesterday, after a voyage of fourteen months and twenty-four days.
May 16
     As the accounts of the reception which the ship Empress of China met with on her arrival in China, have been variously represented in the different newspapers of this country, a gentleman on board has furnished us with the following particular, selected from his Journal.
     “On the 17th of July last, we made the island of Java and the following evening came to anchor in the Streights of Lunda [Sunda]: on this occasion our happiness was greatly augmented, by finding there two ships belonging to our good allies, the French. The Commodore, Mons. D'Ordelin, and his officers, welcomed us in the most affectionate manner; and as his own ship was immediately bound for Canton, gave us an invitation to go  in company with him.  This friendly offer we most cheerfully accepted, and the Commodore furnished us with his signal, by day and night, and added such instructions, for our passage 
through the Chinese seas, as would have been exceedingly beneficial had any unfortunate incident occasioned our separation: but happily we pursued our rout together. On our arrival at the island of Macao, the 23rd of August, the French Consul for China, with some other gentlemen of his nation, came on board to congratulate and welcome us to that part of the world; and kindly undertook the introduction of the Americans to the Portuguese 
Governour of that place. The little time that we were there was entirely taken up by the good  offices of the Consul, the gentlemen of his nation, and those of the Swedes and Imperialists, who still remained at Macao; the other Europeans had repaired to Canton.—Three days afterwards we finished our outward bound voyage.  Previous to coming to anchor, we saluted the shipping in the river with thirteen guns; which were answered by the several Commodores of the European nations, each of whom sent an officer to compliment
us on our arrival. These visits were returned by the Captain and Supercargoes in the afternoon who were again saluted by the respective ships, as they finished their visit. When the French sent their officers to congratulate us, they added to the obligations we were already under to them; by furnishing men, boats and anchors, to assist us in coming to safe and convenient moorings. Nor did their good offices stop here; they furnished us with part of their own banksall, and insisted further, that until we were settled we should take up our quarters with them at Canton.
     “The day of our arrival at Canton, August the 30th, and the two following days, we were visited by the Chinese merchants, and the chiefs and gentlemen of the several European establishments, and treated by them, in all respects as citizens of a free and independent nation: as such, during our stay, we were universally considered.  The Chinese themselves were very indulgent towards us, and happy in the contemplation of a new people,
opening to view a fresh source of commerce to their extensive empire.
      “After remaining near four months at canton, and experiencing, from all hands, every possible attention, we set sail for America the 28th of December, and happily arrived in this port on the 11th instant.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Syllabus: Seminar in Early America: The "Old China Trade," 1784-1844

HST 800-S1 (3250) Dr. Dane Morrison
Spring 2011 Department of History
T 7:00–9:20 Salem State University

THE “OLD CHINA TRADE,” 1784-1844

From the University Catalogue:
The course offers opportunities for intensive examination of highly specialized areas of historiographical importance in Early American history. May be repeated for credit with permission of department chair.

Between the years 1784 and 1844, American ships sailed Eastern seas, connecting the United States with the exotic lands of the East, such as India, Java, Japan, Sumatra—and, especially, China. In the wake of the remarkable voyage of a "trial vessel," The Empress of China to Canton (1784-1785), American mariners charted routes to exotic coasts, finding markets for American goods and a cornucopia of foods and spices to fill American cupboards. During thus brief period, Americans looked East—not across the Atlantic to Europe only, but to India, China, and the islands of the Pacific. What they knew as the Old China Trade drew three generations of Yankee merchants and adventurers into a mélange of encounter and exchange that helped the new nation out of its first economic depression and legitimized its status as an independent state. Yet, these global encounters brought home more than exotic spices and merchandise from China; they also served as a means to connect the cultures of East and West. Through these “voyages of commerce and discovery,” Americans gained some of their earliest impressions of the peoples of the world beyond the Atlantic. And, in the dawning years of the Early Republic, the experiences of Yankee tars in far-off lands enabled Americans to form a new sense of national identity. The course will examine the development of the old China Trade as a neglected but essential episode of the commercial and cultural development of the United States and situate the era within the emergence of a global economy.

REQUIRED TEXTS (Available in the college bookstore and online)
Hunter, William C. Bits of Old China. Bethlehem, PA: Elibron Classics, 2005.
Fay, Peter Ward. The Opium War, 1840-1842. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina
Press, 1997.
Fichter, James R. So Great a Proffit: How the East Indies Trade Transformed Anglo-American
. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010.

Additional materials will be posted on WebCT and the course blog:

Office Hours
Sullivan 107B before class and by appointment

Course Requirements
1. Three brief papers 20% each
2. Term paper 30%
3. Participation 10%

Attendance and Assignments
• Students are expected to attend all classes and to take extensive notes on all lectures, videos, discussions, etc.
• To get the maximum benefit out of lectures and class discussions, complete readings before a new topic.
• Grades will be based on your demonstration of what you have learned in the course. You will want to be sure to incorporate into your assignments and examinations the knowledge and skills you have learned in readings, lectures, and discussions.
• An excessive number of absences will reduce your grade.
• Grades will be reduced for late assignments.
• College policy mandates that an Incomplete will be given only if 80% of course work has been completed, and only at the discretion of the instructor. Supporting evidence such as a physician’s explanation will be required.

The History Department regards plagiarism as a serious academic offense that can result in dismissal from the college. Students are advised to consult any of the various websites on plagiarism, including:

University of Southern Mississippi:
Purdue University:
Indiana University:

Rehabilitation Act Implementation
Salem State University is committed to non-discrimination of handicapped students as specified in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Students who qualify as handicapped under the provisions of this act should notify the instructor at the beginning of the course so that reasonable modifications in course requirements may be made when necessary.

University Emergencies
In the event of a college declared critical emergency, Salem State University reserves the right to alter this course plan. Students should refer to for further information and updates. The course attendance policy stays in effect until there is a college declared critical emergency. In the event of an emergency, please refer to the alternative educational plans for this course located at/in [faculty member determines this]. Students should review the plans and gather all required materials before an emergency is declared.

To quote the American Historical Association’s essay, On Liberal Learning, “history is at the heart of liberal learning.”

Global Goal

1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the origins and development of the “Old China Trade”
Instructional Objectives
1. Students will read in the development of the “Old China Trade”
2. Students will read current interpretations of the “Old China Trade”
3. Students will develop an understanding of Americans’ early global encounters and
the variety of patterns of engagement with different peoples, places, and cultures
that they developed

Global Goal
2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the multiple perspectives and voices that comprise the primary source evidence of the “Old China Trade”
Instructional Objectives
4. Students will analyze reports and editorials from historic newspapers that describe
Americans’ early global encounters
5. Students will analyze books, journals, and ships’ logs that represent the American
experience of early global encounters

Global Goal
3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the various ways in which historians have interpreted the “Old China Trade”
Instructional Objectives
6. Students will critique the methodologies and interpretations used in past and current
treatments of the “Old China Trade”

THE “OLD CHINA TRADE,” 1784-1844

Week of:
1. Jan 18 The East in American Imagination
Readings*: Fichter, Introduction and Ch. 1
Morrison, “Roiled Waters”+
Recommended: Shaw, Journals, “Memoir” (1847)+
Osborne, “Teaching . . . as if the Pacific Mattered”+
Tana and Van Dyke, “Canton, Cancao, and Cochinchina ”+
Video: To the Farthest Ports
* All readings satisfy Instructional Objectives 1–5

2. Jan 25 First contacts: The Empress the Turk, and the Columbia
Readings: Fichter, Ch. 2
Shaw, Journals, ”First Voyage” (1847)*+
Paul E. Fontenoy, “An "Experimental" Voyage To China. 1785-1787”+
Gallagher, “Charting a New Course for the China Trade”+
Morrison, The Empress the Turk, and the Columbia+

3. Feb 1 Turning the Corner
Readings: Fichter, Ch. 3-6
Forbes, “The Old China Trade” (1844)”+
Morrison, The Empress the Turk, and the Columbia+
Morrison, “Salem as Citizen of the World”+

4. Feb 8 Canton
Readings: Fichter, Ch. 8
Hunter, Bits of Old China (1855)+
Morrison, “American Expatriates in Canton”+
Recommended: Delano, Ch. I, II, XXII, XXVI+
Fanning, Ch. XIII, XV+

5. Feb 15 India
Readings: Fichter, Ch. 7
Delano, Ch. XII-XIII+

Due: Brief paper Shaw, ”First Voyage,” or Hunter, Bits of Old China
(Instructional Objectives 1, 3, 5)

6. Feb 22 The Country Trades
Readings: Shaw, Journals, ”Second Voyage”+
Morrison, The Empress the Turk, and the Columbia+

7. Mar 1 The Fur Trades
Readings: Ingraham, Journal of the Brig Hope+
Morrison, The Empress the Turk, and the Columbia+

8. Mar 8 From the South Atlantic to the South Seas
Readings: Delano, Narrative of Voyages and Travels, Ch. II, XI
Fanning, Voyages Round the World, Ch. XVI, XIV, XXII

Due: Brief paper Delano, Narrative, or Fanning, Voyages Round the World
(Instructional Objectives 1, 3, 5)

Mar 14 Spring Break

9. Mar 22 Women in the China Trade
Readings: Harriett Low, Journal, selections+
Rebecca Kinsman, Letters, selections+

10. Mar 29 A China Trade Literature
Readings: Morrison, “Roiled Waters”+
Recommended: Melville, Typee+

11. Apr 5 Asian Export Art: Culture and Consumption
Readings: Zboray, "Between ‘Crockery-dom’ and Barnum”+
Kuo, "Canton and Salem:”+
Benfey, “The Boston Tea Party,” in The Great Wave+
Tour: Peabody Essex Museum

12. Apr 12 The American Companies
Readings: Fichter, Ch. 8-10
Forbes, The Old China Trade (1844)+
Recommended: Forbes, Personal Reminiscences

Due: Brief paper: Low, Journal; Kinsman, Letters; or Forbes, “The Old China
(Instructional Objectives 1, 3, 5)

13. Apr 19 The Opium Trade
Readings: Fay, Ch. 1-9
Forbes, Letters from China, selections+

14. Apr 26 Opium Wars
Readings: Fay, Ch.10-end
Forbes, Letters from China, selections+

15. May 3 The New China Trade
Readings: Macfie, Orientalism, selections+

Due: Presentations (Instructional Objectives 1-6)
Term paper (Instructional Objectives 1-6)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

China Trade Readings

Over the next few days, I will be adding posts and links to this blog, as well as document based questions, for your review and comment.  See you on the 18th.

Professor Morrison