Thursday, January 31, 2013

295. John Jay on the First Effort to Establish Trade Relationsip with China

The Empress of China was by no means a purely commercial activity. Its political symbol is significant: her sail to China made it clear to the world that the United States was no longer the British colonies and was now an independent country.

In celebration of the sail of the Empress of China, Philip Freneau (1752-1832), an iconic poet of the American Revolution, well known for his patriotism, explained the nature of the sail in his widely circulated poem, “With clearance from BELLONA won/ She spreads her wings to meet the Sun/ Those golden regions to explore/ Where George forbade to sail before….To that old track no more confin’d/ By Britain’s jealous court assign’d/ She round the STORMY CAPE shall sail/ And eastward, catch the odorous gale.”

On May 19, 1785, as soon as the Empress of China returned, John Jay, the secretary of foreign affairs of the Congress, expressed “a peculiar satisfaction in the successful issue of this effort of the citizens of America to establish a direct trade with China, which does so much honor to its undertakers and conductors.”


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