Friday, May 23, 2014

351. John Ledyard, Robert Morris and Opening Trade with China

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.”

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