Thursday, May 29, 2014
The back (reverse) of the nickel pictures Monticello, Jefferson's house. The back reads, "E PLURIBUS UNUM" (which means, "Out of many, one"), "MONTICELLO," "FIVE CENTS," and "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." Monticello (meaning “little mountain” in Italian) is widely considered one of the greatest architectural treasures in the United States. Jefferson regarded Monticello as his “architectural ideas and experiments.”
In his own construction, Jefferson adopted a Chinese style lattice about 1771. He installed “Chinese Railings” to border Monticello’s upraised terrace walk. In fact, Jefferson loved the Chinese railing so much that he designed the Chinese lattice for the house at Edgehill, Virginia before 1798. About 1802, Jefferson used the lattice for the house at Farmington. He also designed the Chinese lattice for his dwelling house at Barboursville. Jefferson also built Chinese lattice in the Swan house in Dorchester. Jefferson continued to use in balcony the railings until his death in 1826.
Friday, May 23, 2014
John Ledyard (1751-1789)worked hard to win the support from leaders of the fledgling United States. The leaders of the new nation, suffering from economic chaos, were pondering how to lead the nation out of its distressed circumstances in the wake of the victory in the Revolutionary War. Ledyard convinced whoever interested in his China plan by predicting opening trade with China “could save our country from bankruptcy on profit of the fur trade.” The China trade could also, “give our United States a place in the commercial world.”
Ledyard travelled to Philadelphia, the new nation’s economical and political center, where his “revolutionary new plan for China trade” attracted Robert Morris (1734-1806), one of the founding fathers. Morris, the Financier of the American Revolution, was the Superintendent of Finance of the United States when Ledyard met him. In June 1783, Ledyard had a conference with Morris. He detailed Morris his sailing route from the United States to China. In accordance with the route, a ship would sail around Cape Horn to the Pacific West, where the ship could buy furs pelts from the local Indians. Then the ship would sail to China with the furs, where those things would be “sold at fabulous prices.”
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Ginseng, the herb that grew in North America, played an important role in promoting the relations between the newly founded United States and China. It helped the founders of the United States in their efforts to open direct trade with China. The huge demand of the Ginseng forced the Chinese merchants to look for Ginseng from other places in the world.
When the American Ginseng carried by the Empress of China reached Canton, all Ginseng carried over were sold out quickly in the unbelievable price. Not long after the Empress of China made great profit from the Ginseng trade, the joint supercargo, reported to Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), Secretary of Treasure, “In the year of 1784, on the 22d of February, the ship Empress of China, being the first ship that ever sailed from United States for China, was sent to Canton by a company of American merchants; her cargo consists of Spanish dollars, about four hundred peculs of Genseng (Ginseng) , a piculs being 133/⅓ Ib English Avoirdu poids, some cordage, wine, lead, iron a few furs, with other trifling articles not worthy enumerating.”