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this opinion be just, it must be confes- na will therefore give the Americans an sed that a great danger tbreatens the opportunity for a most advantageous British commerce; a very productive commercial intercourse with Europe, source of gain would be lost--a great and to double their gains. many seamen in Great Britain would be Not only bave the Americans a much thrown out of employment-and even shorter way to China than the English the commerce with the European conti- and the other nations of Europe, but nent could not but decrease, since Eu- they are able to obtain the produce and rope would have no occasion to draw merchandise of that Empire on much from Great Britain its supplies of Chi. more favourable terms. The Euronese produce, which it would receive peans are obliged to purchase all they directly, and upon more advantageous want of the Chinese for the most part terms from the Americans.
with ready money, or silver bars, and On the other band, the vast advanta- China is iherefore considered by Euges which the American republic may rope, as the country to which the prederive, and most certainly will derive, cious metals chiefly flow, so that the from an active intercourse with the Chi- gold and silver of Mexico and Peru go nese Empire, are almost incalculable. again from Europe to Asia, where they Considered merely as an excellent school are swallowed up by a gulph from for the marine, it is of the highest im- which they do not easily return. The portance to a state whose external secu- Americans on the contrary, are not rity wholly depends on a numerous and obliged to carry on the Chinese trade
The goods which with the precious metals : they carry find a ready sale must partly be fetched to the Chinese market either various arfrom
very remote countries, and the ticles of their own produce, which are dangers and privations with which the highly esteemed there, or others which seaman has to contend, in seas bitherto they have obtained in exchange for but little frequented, and on unknown them; and are thus able to employ for coasts, call forth all bis energies, enrich other purposes the money which they him with useful experience, and dexter- must otherwise take to Asia. If the ity. Thus, a large number of sailors trade which Europe carries on with may be kept in constant employ, and the China may be called in the highest deprospect will not only excite in the na- gree passive, that of the United States tives, particularly the inhabitants of is very far from being so. the sea-coasts of America, a continually China is an immense market, which increasing propensity to a sea-faring life, now offers itself to the activity of the but also attract crowds of able seamen American merchant, the more this trade from foreign countries, especially from increases, the more persons it will emthe British islands, who will settle with ploy; and the gain which it gives is so their families in America, and promote very great, that even on account of this the population, the increase of which is single branch of American commerce, so favourite an object with the Ameri- the speculative merchant is perhaps no can Government. In the country itself where in a situation so favourable for a new source of gain will be opened at coming soon and easily rich, as in the the same time, to thousands of industri- United States. By this commerce, ous persons; the spirit of speculation which is capable of being greatly extenwill receive a new impulse, and nume- ded, and has numerous concomitant adrous merchants, even from England it- vantages, America will enrich itself self, will settie in America, in order to more and more, at the expense of Great share in so promising a prospect of gain, Britain ; and the turn thus given to a and to acquire riches in a short time. main branch of the commerce of the The nations of Europe are too much world, cannot but be very advantageous accustomed to the use of many Chinese to the rest of Europe. productions easily to renounce them,
An article that is especially in request, and the possession of the trade withChi- in the Chinese provinces from Canton
27 to Pekin, and to the extreme frontiers clothes, and all kinds of toys which of Chinese Tartary, is fine furs. Both look shewy, but are of no value. Most the Chinese and Mantchews are eager of these things are purchased by the to possess them, and the more distin- American merchants at very low prices, guished and wealthy the Mandarins, and the vessels which sail with cargoes the richer and finer must be the furs of this kind from the American ports, wbich they require for their oriental may be sure of obtaining in exchange dress. This article of trade can there. the richest cargoes of furs and skins. fore never fail of a certain sale in that with these they proceed directly from vast and populous Empire ; for the the north-west coast of America to use of it is inconceivably extensive, and China, and exchange their goods for the wearing of furs, noi merely a luxu- Chinese produce with which they rery, but a habit, which has rendered turn, always with great gain, to the Unithem indispensably necessary. But ted States. the Americans by their almost exclu- It is evident how greatly America sive trade with the northwest coast, must gain by this simple mode of interand their great Continent extending course, which does not even require a from California to the North Pole, large capital, not to mention other adpossess an inexhaustible source from vantages attending it. First the merwhich to supply the Chinese mar- chant gains in the purchase of trifles of ket with this favourite article, and the little worth, which are agreeable and competition which they have to fear useful to the savages, and the manufacfrom other nations, particularly the tory of which employs many bands and English and the Russians, cannot do promotes internal industry. For goods, them any injury worth mentioning. the purchase of which requires but a The Americans, therefore, seem to be small capital, there is an opportunity of destined by nature to be the chief factors procuring articles which are of great in this trade with China, which is iacon- value in a remote and extensive Emceivably profitable, and must in time pire, and then exchanging them for othmonopolize it entirely ; as the period is er articles which may be disposed of certainly not remote, when the popula- with great profit both in America and tion of the United States, taking its di- Europe. The trade may be carried on rection from east to west, will extend too, in small vessels, of 100 or 150 tons to the shores of the great South sea, and burden, the equipment of which is not their ships be then able to navigate di- expensive, (America being so rich in rectly from thence to the Pacific ocean. materials for ship building,) and which
On the north west coasts of America, require but a few sailors to man them; above California, which are but thinly so that an American merchant may carry inhabited by wild tribes, there are sea on so profitable a trade with a very modotters, black, dark brown, and white erate capital. Even those who have no bears, wolves, foxes, beavers, deer, rac- capital, may carry it on upon credit, coons, wbite American lynxes, or great since the expence of the articles to be wild cats, ermines, seals, rabbits, mar- provided for bartering is so very small, tias, and other wild animals, whose fur that means are easily found to obtain is more or less beautiful and precious, them. If one will share the profit with in such abundance, that the natives can the ship owner and the captain, it is not procure them with little trouble, and in necessary to advance any money, and their uncivilised state, willingly ex- profit may be made without the smalchange them for the most insignificant lest risk. A few cannon and muskets, trifles. T'he American ships bring to are sufficient on board a ship that sails these savages, pieces of iron, nails, to the north-west coast of America, as a knives, chisels, shovels, buttons of cop- defence, in case of need, against the naper, and of coloured glass, little looking tives ; and small vessels are even betglasses, tobacco, brandy, powder, arms, ter than larger ones, because they can coarse cotton, and woollen goods, old sail up the creeks. If several ezgilt
sail at once on such an enterprise, which west coast, will continue to increase, in case of need can assist each other, and they must bear away the prize, as there is not the least danger.
their principal rivals cannot carry on the The north-west coast is now so well trade with the same advantages as they known to the enterprising and experien- can. H-nce the American trade with ced sailors of the United States, that China will become more active and exthey do not consider a voyage to it as tensive, while that of Great Britain will more important and dangerous than continually decline. The price of sea one to Europe, or even to the West Otter skins is now so bigh at Macao and Indies. The smallest American ves- Canton, that £20 sterling are often paid sels, brigs, and even schooners under a for a single skio : many an American hundred tons burden, sail thither with- sailor brings home a profit of several out any apprehension. They have no thousand dollars for bis own share; we need of spending a long time after their may judge then, what must be the gain arrival, to procure the necessary cargo of the American merchant. of more or less valuable skins and surs; Tbe valuable and beautiful furs, in China they have not long to wait to which the north-west coast of America exchange their cargoes for the produc- supplies in such great abundance, are tions of the country, and it may be cal- not the only articles which the Americulated, that unless some extraordinary cans furnish the Chinese with. They aceideot happens, the return cargo gives are in want of many other things with a profit of from 300 to 500 per cent, which they are furnished from the Uniincluding the articles for barter, provis- ted States, and thus the ties formed by ions, pay of the sailors, and other ex- commerce between Chioa and America, penses.
must become more firm and durable. This trade, which so amply rewards Above all, a remarkable production dethe activity and enterprise of the mer- serves to be mentioned here, which chants and mariners, continues to en- grows in America itself, and is almost gage the attention of more and more peculiar to the United States; a propersons in almost all the American sea- duction which is almost wholly unports. Many merchants at Boston and known in Europe, but has been in use Salem in New England, at Bristol, in in China from time immemorial, and is Rhode Island, at New York, Baltimore, held there in extraordinary esteem. Philadelphia, Charleston, &c. have This is the root Panax quinquefolia, or thus attained great wealth, in a few Ginseng. The Chinese writers call years, and the more intimate and va- this plant a precious gift of nature, rious the relations with China become, sweeter than honey and the honeythe greater advantages does it promise comb, more valuable than fine gold, in future. The friendly footing on and jewels, and pearls, a glorious gift which the Americans are with the na- of beaven, bestowed by the gods upon tives of Nootka or King George's Sound, mortals for their happiness, and their and of many other parts of the north- enjoyment on earth.
Placed on a par west coast, of the New World, so fully with the philosopher's stone, it is called secures to them this rich fur trade, the the food of immortality, and it passes basis of the intercourse with China, that among the priests and physicians for a they may be said to have it entirely in universal remedy, wholesome for all their own hands, and to bave no rival weakness of the frail body, applicable to fear.
to all diseases; nay, it is even said to In this trade to the north-west coast prolong life, invigorating the nerves, th British Mercbant is greatly impe- strengthening the understanding, cheerded by the East India Company, which ing the soul, soothing the mind, taming possesses the exclusive privilege of tra- the wild passions, and bestowing inexding with China. With the active haustible delights upon our mortal exspirit of the Americans, the exportation istence. him he United States to the north. The reigning dynasty of the Mant
29 chews, in China, were proud that Na- attached to the numbers three and five, ture produced this wonderful root, with which these leaves present to the eye, such magical powers, in their original the plant obtained, in ancient times, in country; for it was found in Chinese China, the character of particular saMogul Tartary; but sparingly scatter- credness. The growth of this singular ed in certain places and districts. Here plant is extremely slow, but then it atit was considered as one of the regalia tains an age unusual in plants of this of the crown, only the emperor bad the kind; when it has stood fifteen years right to have it gathered, and guards or more, the root is not yet an ioch in were posted at the places where it grew, diameter. Every year the stalk makes that no one might presume to take open- at the upper part of the root, at each ly, or by stealth, what was for the em- new shoot, marks, which show by their peror alone. How fortunate was it for number the age of the plant. The root the Americans that they accidentally itself is of an elliptical form and comdiscovered, not very long ago, that this monly consists only of one piece. The root, so highly esteemed in China, and plant bears but a few seeds ; two or paid for there with its weight in gold, three grains are all that can be gathered which it had been always supposed was from one stem ; these are of a bright red only to be found in Tartary, as the Chi- colour, io shape and size like those that Dese had always boasted, was indigen- may be collected from the honeysuckle. ous in the United States, and might be They ripen in America, in the latter there collected in far greater abundance half of the month of September, and than in China, bitherto the only coun- their taste is more aromatic than that try where it was known to grow. of the root itself, but less bitter.
It grows in the United States, in the In China the greatest care is taken in whole of the immense tract from the gathering this valuable root. It is not Canadian Lakes to Georgia ; is found done till it has attained the highest pereven in the northern states of New York fection and maturity : this is during the and Pennsylvania, and flourishes in Vir- autumn and winter. In America they gioia and the two Carolipas. Nature long committed, from ignorance and inhas spread it here, particularly in the attention, the great fault of collecting tract between the Allegheny Mountains the root from the spring to the first frost. and the sea, and it thrives especially As it is always soft and watery at this where the mountains take a south wes- season, it naturally shrunk together in terly direction. It loves a fertile soil drying, became very bard, and lost not and cool shady spots on the declivity of only in weight but in goodness. This the mountains.
mistake is still committed in some parts While Europe produces nothing of the United States, where the inhabiwhich it can offer to the Chinese in ex- tants make the collecting of the root onchange for their productions, America ly an occasional object; and when possesses in this remarkable plant an ar- they are hunting or travelling,dig up the ticle peculiarly its own, which is, above plant at all seasons when they happen all others, proper for the trade with to meet with it. But by this they deChipa.
prive the ground of a valuable producMany of your readers may, perhaps, tion, which would be far more valuabe curious to be better acquainted with bléif it were tended and cultivated with a plant so esteemed by the great Chi- due care. Though the Ginseng roots nese Mandarins, and in the Harems. thus collected by ignorant persons do
The stalk of this plant, which attains not fetch in China the high prices which the height of about a foot from the are given for such as have attained their ground, is of a dark red. It is adorned proper maturity, yet the demand for with elliptical leaves, three of which al- them is not the less brisk. The Ameriways grow together, and each of which can merchants in the interior purchase is agaio divided into five little leaves. large quantities by the pound, or the On account of the symbolical meaning hundred weight, of the country people.
who employ themselves in collecting for these, they take in return East India and digging this root, and gain by ex- goods, which they dispose of to advanporting it to China, about one hundred tage in the Chiaese markets, and, at the per cent.
same time, gain the freight. Besides But the profit is incomparably great- their own produce and manufactures, er when Ginseng roots, perfectly ripe, they carry, also, manufactured goods and careiully gathered at the proper which they have purchased in Europe, time, are brought to Macao or China. directly from the ports of the United
The Americans begin to be more sensi- States to Canton. Articles particularble of this advantage, in proportion as ly in request there, are opium, Indian the intercourse with China becomes birds' nests, benjamin, scarlet berries, more active. They bave made them- gum lac, Russia leather, cordovan, colselves better acquainted with the nature oured linea, white, black, and spotted of the plant, and the taste of the Chic lamb skins, writing paper,razors, grindnese; employ greater care in gathering, stones, carpets, pen-knives, coarse cloth, and acquire more skill in digging it. buttons, axes, scythes, locks, watches, One man can gather about eight or and numerous other articles, which the nine pounds daily. Hence the quanti- Chinese bave hitherto received almost ty of this article exported from the Uni- exclusively by the ships of the English ted States increases at the same time East India Company. that its quality improves ; and the trade The American merchants, on the with Ginseng roots io the Chinese mar- other band, bring back from the Chikets continues to become more and nese seas, partly for home consumpmore profitable to America. The ex- tion, partly for the supply of Europe, portation already amounts to at least immeose quantities of tea, of the most 500 cwt. annually.
various kinds, porcelaine, indian ink, In China they understand the art of lackered articles, pearls both genuine preparing the Ginseng, in such a inan- and artificial, coral, paints, half silk ner, that it appears semi-transparent : stuffs, fans, cowries, various kinds of in this case a much higher value is set silk, pictures and drawings in India upon it. In America they have also ink, &c. learnt this art, and the process employ
I have thu:, Mr. Editor, given a ed is very simple. The merchants in sketch of what may be called the Amerthe American commercial towns pur- ican view of this important question ; chase the roots so prepared, and ren- though it is, doubtless, partial, and may dered partly transparent, at six or seven be in some particulars exaggerated, it piastres a piece ; and sell them in Chi- still seems to merit the serious considerna, according to the quality, at from fif- ation of those who appreciate the imty to a hundred piastres a piece. Even portance of our China trade : I forbear in Louisiana and Kentucky, they carry from examining what may be said to on this extremely profitable export trade weaken the force of the reasonings above to China.
stated, in the hope that some of your A great part of the East India trade, readers, better qualified than myself, in which such large capitals are now may be induced to take up so interestemployed, by the merchants of the Uni- ing a subject, and either shew them to ted States, is also calculated chiefly with be ill founded, or else point out what a view to China. The Americans have change (if any) in our system, may found inea
to obtain in the East In- enable us to avert the threatened loss of dies, a considerable sale for many of so valuable a branch of our commerce. the produtions of their country; and
H. E. L.