Rare 1836 China Trade Letter To Wetmore In Canton For Sale
This rare,early China trade letter dated "Canton June 20th 1836"is one of a collection of China Trade letters related to William Wetmore & Co that I recently acquired. The letter signed "DW.Oliphant" is addressed "To the Americans in Canton." In the letter Oliphant tells how the officers aboard the ships Peacock and Enterprize have taken up a collection for some type of memorial for Capatain Campbell. He also states that William Wetmore has suggested to do something in the memory of "Mr. Roberts" (Edmund Roberts was a U.S.Far East Envoyaboard thesloop of warPeacock, he fell ill and died in Macao). He suggests that donations be sent to the Opthalmic Hospital. This two page letter is written on quality paper with a "Cansell 1832" watermark (see last picture). Each page measures approx. 8 x 10 inches. Extremely good condition! !
William Shepard Wetmore was born in St. Albans, Vermont, on January 26, 1801. At a young age he moved to Middletown, Connecticut to live with his aunt and uncle, attend school, and work in his uncle's shop. At the age of fourteen, he entered the mercantile business in the employ of Edward Carrington & Co. of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1823, Wetmore sailed as the firm's supercargo on the ship Lion, bound for the port of Valparaiso, Chile. He was shipwrecked on the way, but this misfortune soon became an opportunity. Wetmore joined in a partnership with a Valparaiso import merchant named Richard Alsop, who was originally from Middletown. The firm Alsop & Wetmore conducted trade with the United States and England with great success. In 1825, the partners joined Philadelphia native John Cryder, creating the firm Alsop, Wetmore & Cryder. This endeavor continued until 1829, when Wetmore retired and returned to the United States with a large fortune.After several years at home while recovering from poor health, William Wetmore departed for Canton, China in 1833. William Wetmore and Samuel Archer, a family friend, completed an agreement to establish Wetmore & Co., a partnership between Wetmore and Archer's son, Joseph. Wetmore's cousin, Samuel Wetmore, Jr., would serve as clerk. The elder Archer had close connections to the British textile trade, especially James Brown & Co. of Leeds. John Cryder, who was then working for the London bankers Morrison & Cryder, secured these accounts for Wetmore & Co. With these textile accounts and Joseph Archer's established connections in the tea trade, Wetmore & Co. acquired much of the business previously held by Dunn & Co., a recently disbanded China trade firm. Wetmore & Co. conducted brisk business throughout the 1830's, trading in Chinese tea, silk, opium, and other goods to merchants in the United States, Britain, France, Chile, Peru and Sumatra. In 1839, Wetmore left China and established himself in New York City. His partner from Chile, Richard Alsop, had been the United States agent for Wetmore & Co. of Canton; however, due to a quarrel, Alsop was removed from the firm. Wetmore then became the principal United States agent for his own Canton firm. In 1844, William Wetmore and John Cryder established the New York City commission merchant firm of Wetmore, Cryder & Co. Cryder had married Wetmore's sister and had recently returned from London. Wetmore, now established in New York, left his cousin, and former clerk, Samuel Wetmore, Jr., as head of the Canton firm, Wetmore & Co. William Wetmore removed himself from all business in 1847 and retired to his mansion, Chateau-sur-Mer, in Newport, Rhode Island. Wetmore traveled from China to London, England, in 1837 to marry his cousin, Esther Phillips Wetmore of Middletown. She was the daughter of his uncle, Samuel Wetmore. Esther died in October 1838, a few weeks after the birth of their firstborn daughter. Williamreceivednews of his wife's death while in Canton. In 1843 William later married Anstiss Derby Rogers daughter of Salem, Massachusetts, merchant John Rogers.John had three children with Anstiss: William Shepard Wetmore, Jr. (1844-1858), George Peabody Wetmore (1846-1921), and Annie Derby Rogers Wetmore (1848-1884). Willliam Wetmore died on June 16, 1862.
Edmund Roberts, appointed by President Andrew Jackson as America's first envoy to the Far East, went in the U. S. sloop-of-war Peacock on two consecutive non-resident embassies to the Eastern courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat during the years 1832–6. Roberts concluded treaties with Siam and the Sultan of Muscat in Oman, ratified in Washington, D.C. 30 June 1834. He returned in 1836 to exchange ratifications with Oman and Siam; and to Cochin-China for a second attempt at negotiation. He fell seriously ill and withdrew to die in Macao; which precluded his becoming America's first envoy to Tokugawa Japan.
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