Wednesday, January 18, 2017

482. The Meaning of Chinese Porcelain Ware in North America Colonies

 Mr. Jeffrey Bingham Mead, the President of Hawaii State History Education Council sent me the paper, 'Holy grail of American ceramics' found in dig at American Revolution Museum. It reveals the fact that some local made ceramic wares in the site of Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. The article reminded me of the article by Dr. Dave Wang. Please enjoy yourself with reading some paragraphs below:

The demand for Chinese porcelain and the efforts to get rid of Great Britain’s control over it helped to create the national conscience of the patriots.    

        Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), one of the founding fathers of the United States, was among the first group of colonists who put forward the concept of building a porcelain factory in North America.[i] Dr. Rush’s intention was to overcome the colonies’ dependence on Great Britain for goods and trade. The endeavor of building such a factory was far beyond the porcelain only. It demonstrated the colonists’ determination to be independent from their motherland.

 Go on in encouraging American manufactures. I have many schemes in view with regard to these things. I have made those mechanical arts which are connected with chemistry the particular objects of my study and not without hopes of seeing a china manufactory established in Philadelphia in the course of a few years. Yes, we will be revenged by the mother country. For my part, I am resolved to devote my head, my heart, and my pen entirely to the service of America, and promise myself much assistance from you in everything of this kind that I shall attempt through life.[ii]

        The Americans wanted to diminish their reliance on taxed imports and ultimately their need for other goods controlled by England. Their pursuing self supply of Chinese porcelain ware became a powerful call for the patriotic support of American economical independence. Some colonists attempted  to establish a porcelain manufactory company in Philadelphia in 1769. They established the factory on Prime Street “near the present day navy yard, intended to make china at a savings of 15,000 £. “[iii] Benjamin Franklin, who was in London at the time, showed his happiness seeing the achievement made by his countrymen. He said, “I am pleased to find so good progress made in the China Manufactory. I wish it Success most heartily.”[iv]

        The AmericanChina Manufactory became noted for the porcelain ware it produced. More importantly, it succeeded in cultivating patriotic support. It set in motion “an intense competition between the young American factory and its English contemporaries.”[v] Although the porcelain factory lasted to 1772, it challenged Britain’s monopoly of the Chinese products and ultimately contributed to the winning of American independence. Benjamin Rush stated clearly that he had regarded the manufacture as an important means to mobilize the Americans to build a new nation in North America: “There is but one expedient left whereby we can save our sinking country, and that is by encouraging American manufactures. Unless we do this, we shall be undone forever.”[vi]



[i] Michael K. Brown, Piecing Together the Past: Recent research on the American China Manufactory, 1769-1772, in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 133, no. 4, 1989, p.557.
[ii] Benjamin Rush to Thomas Bradford, 15 April 1768, in L. H. Butterfield ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush, Princeton University Press, vol. 1, p. 54.
[iii] John Fanning Watson ed. Annals of Philadelphia. See also Michael K. Brown, Piecing Together the Past: Recent research on the American China Manufactory, 1769-1772, in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 133, no. 4, 1989, p.555.
[iv] Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 28 January 1772, in Franklin Papers. It is available on line at http://www.franklinpapers.org/franklin/framedVolumes.jsp
[v] Michael K. Brown, Piecing Together the Past: Recent research on the American China Manufactory, 1769-1772, in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 133, no. 4, 1989, p.573.
[vi] Benjamin Rush to probably Jacob Rush, 26 January 1769, in L. H. Butterfield ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush, Princeton University Press, vol. 1, p.74. Also in Pennsylvania Journal, no, 1374, 6 April 1769.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

481. Did Benjamin Franklin Like Everything from China?


Readers from reading of Dr. Dave Wang's paper, "Benjamin Franklin and China. ---A Survey of Benjamin Franklin's Efforts at Drawing Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization during the Formative Age," have learned that Franklin loved Chinese culture and learned much from it. He made good use of the culture in aiding his efforts to build a new society in North America. For example, he loved Confucian moral philosophy, Chinese technology, Chinese products, such as porcelain wares and silk. He also loved Chinese plants and had some of them transplanted in North America. However, if you make the conclusion that Franklin loved everything from China, you will be wrong. With this post, I would like to point out one thing that Franklin didn't like.

It was the bed bugs. In 1750 in his widely circulated Poor Richard's Almanack , Franklin told his readers, the Bed Bugs was first brought from China in East-India Goods. He showed his fellow colonists how to  destroy the bugs. He told them to prepare some boiling Water and "poured from a Teakettle into the Joints, &c. of the Bedstead, or squirted by a Syringe, where it cannot well be poured. The old Ones are scalded to Death, and the Nits spoilt, for a boil’d Egg never hatches. This done once a Fortnight, during the Summer, clears the House" 

Nowadays there are many kinds of chemicals available to kill the bugs. However, personally I endorse Franklin's method. It produces no side effects, no pollution to one's own houses and environment in general.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

480. Borrowing Poitive Elements from Chinese Culture


As we approach the new year, I want to take a moment to reflect upon 2016. In Chinese, the phonetic pronunciation of "2017" can be slightly tweaked to mean "go forward together." I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for my readers all across the world. All research needs readers--without readers, any research would be meaningless. The growth of my readers over the years indicates that there is increasing interest in how Chinese culture influenced the development of the United States. Today, the bilateral relationship between the United States and China is one of the most important in the world. If history can be a teacher, I predict that the United States will continue to benefit from borrowing positive elements from Chinese culture, as did the Founding Fathers in centuries prior.

In 2016, Dr. Dave Wang published the paper, Ideas from the East: American Founders and Chinese Wisdom, (www.virginiareviewofasianstudies.com/.../v18_12.-Wang-Chinese-and-Founders.doc)











Sunday, December 4, 2016

479. The Traditional Tea Becomes Popular Again


Who said that academic research focusing on history has no relationship with current economic development?  This report may help change your way of thinking. In one of the oldest continuous newspaper of the nation, The Post and Courier, winner of Pulitzer Prize, Jon Strother wrote a special report on May 26, 215. It is titled "Steeped in the Past,"

In colonial era, Chinese tea, such as Bohea, Congou, Singlo, Hyson, Souchong were popular among the colonists. Jon made it clearly, "in truth, they are the names of teas once popular in early America that have faded into relative obscurity." However, those teas and the stories behind them have been started to be alive because the research done by scholars. Jon reported, according to Dr. Dave Wang in an article for the 2011 Virginia Review of Asian Studies about China's cultural influence on the United States, "The Chinese American tea trade increased steadily after 1785. With the increase of population and wealth, the American people demanded larger and larger quantities of tea. " 



The scholar's research has also helped business men to promote and develop their businesses related to traditional culture. I hope that Kyle Brown, the founder and owner of local tea purveyor Oliver Pluff & Company, will flush over the country. 





Sunday, November 20, 2016

478. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Confucius


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and Thomas Paine (1737-1809) were the two founders that pointed out the importance of morals during the inception of the United States. In 1778, two years after American colonists declared their independence, Franklin emphasized the significance of morality. He pointed out the necessity of governing with morality, especially for the leaders of the United States. He told fellow Americans that laws were not enough for the new nation. He used his experiences to advice Americans on the importance of virtues. Franklin raised the question, “What can laws do without morals?” He clearly expressed that he believed, without morals, the human society “will in a course of minutes become corrupt like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched.”[1]   

Thomas Paine believed that Confucian morals were necessary for politicians in their political debate. He raised Confucius’ virtual principles during his political polemic with the federalists. To support his argument against the federalists, Thomas Paine quoted Confucian moral principles to criticize their moral faults. He told these federalists to follow Confucian teachings so they could be worthy to argue with: “I recommend to them the observance of a commandment” regulated by Confucius, “that existed before either Christian or Jew existed.”  He then listed Confucius principles “Thou shalt make a covenant with thy senses, With thine eye, that it beholds no evil. With thine ear, that it hear no evil. With thy tongue, that it speak no evil. With thy hands that they cemmit no evils.”[2]



[1] Benjamin Franklin, To Madame Brillon: “The Ephemera” AL (draft): Cornell University Library; French translations: American Philosophical Society (three), Bibliothèque de la Société Eduenne, Autun, Institut de France; copy or transcript: Yale University Library; incomplete copy: Huntington Library.
[2] Thomas Paine in 1802? ,  The Political Works of Thomas Paine, 2 vols.,  [in 9 pt.], Oxford University, 1864, p.15. Paine quoted from Confucius’ following teaching maxims to Yan Yuan, one of his well-known students: "Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety." (Section 12 of  the Analects).

Friday, November 4, 2016

477. Korean Scholar Cited Dr. Dave Wang's Paper

  
In the recent “Korean Journal of Medical History” ,( Vol. 25, August 2016) published by The Korean Society for the History of Medicine, Ms. Sul Heasim published the article, "The Perception of Ginseng in England and America,1600-1800. " Sul works at Department of History, Yensei University, Seoul, Korea.
In the article, the author discusses serious imbalances in the research on ginseng.  The author found that Ginseng was widely discussed in England and America in the early modern period: " the discussion encompassed not only botanical and medical interests, but also discourses on the commercial marketability of ginseng.” (The author’s EMail: snowlove@yonsei.ac.kr)
What attracted my eyes was that the author cited Dr. Dave Wang’s paper,  “Chinese Civilization and the United States: Tea, Ginseng, Porcelain Ware and Silk in Colonial America, “Virginia Review of Asian Studies (2011), pp. 143-157.
This finding adds one more country on the list of showing that Dr. Dave Wang’ s academic papers were cited by scholars in their research.

Friday, October 7, 2016

476. The First US President Who Spoke Chinese


My readers might have noticed that the main founders of the United States loved China and its culture. They borrowed from China industrial technologies and agricultural plants to improve the society of North America. For them,  Chinese civilization was so charming and attractive that some of them event tried to learn Chinese.  With this post I would like to introduce you the first US president who spoke Chinese.

The 31st president Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was the first president who could speak fluent Chinese. It seems that he was born with some bonds with China. He was born in WestBranch, Iowa on August 10, 1874. It was the ninety years’ anniversary of the successful sail of the Empress of China, the first US commercial ship reached China's shore in August 1784.


Lou Henry, Hoover's wife and Hoover learned Chinese while they worked in China in the early 20th century. Some records show that they spoke Chinese at the White House when they prevented people from hearing what they talked about.  (David King, Herbert Hoover, Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, ISBN 0-7614-3626-X). 

In the early years of the 20th century Hoover worked as an engineer in Kaiping Mine, Hebei Province of China. Chinese characters on the picture read "Kaiping Mine."