Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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
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
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 Philadelphia ,
and promise myself much assistance from you in everything of this kind that I
shall attempt through life.[ii] America
The Americans wanted to diminish their reliance on taxed imports and ultimately their need for other goods controlled by
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
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, Press,
vol. 1, p. 54. Princeton
[iii] John Fanning Watson ed. Annals of
. 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. Philadelphia
[iv] Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin,
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, Press,
vol. 1, p.74. Also in Princeton
University Journal, no, 1374, Pennsylvania 6 April 1769.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
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.