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Shaw, Samuel (1754-1794) to John Green

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.03310 Author/Creator: Shaw, Samuel (1754-1794) Place Written: Guangzhou, China Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 11 October 1786-21 November 1786 Pagination: 19 p. ; 32.6 x 20.3 cm.

Summary of Content: Written from Canton, present-day Guangzhou, China. Writes a long narrative regarding a dispute with Captain John Green, who helmed the ship Shaw traveled on during his first visit to China in 1784. The first page contains a letter to John Green from Shaw, in which he declares that he is aware of the "liberties you have taken with my character." Writes, "I know you to be my enemy. I declare myself irreconcileably yours. Yet, although enemies, I will ask a favor of you. Do not, Mr. Green, ever attempt, under any circumstances, to speak to me. I will religiously observe the same rule towards you. Of me, you may speak, when, where, and to whom, you please." The narrative contains excerpts from letters by Captain Green as well as Thomas Randall, Shaw's business partner who accompanied him on the trip. Their dispute centers around Shaw's sales of the ship's primary cargo, genseng [probably ginseng]. Shaw agreed to sell both the genseng in the ship's cargo as well as the officers's private allotment of genseng, in order not to flood the market and lower prices. According to Shaw, Green would not conform to their agreement when Shaw had trouble selling the genseng. When Shaw was blamed for the financial losses, and was sued for the losses when he returned to America, Green professed his friendship to Shaw while refusing to vouch for their arrangement in court, and while continually plotting against him. Shaw hopes his narrative will exonerate him in the eyes of the other businessmen to whom he has been slandered. This is the enclosure that accompanied GLC02437.03311.

People: Shaw, Samuel, 1754-1794
Randall, Thomas, d. 1811
Green, John, 1730-1793
Morris, Robert, 1734-1806

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: CommerceMerchants and TradeAsiaCorruption and ScandalMaritimeFinanceEconomicsDrugsLawDebtGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyFriendship

Sub Era: Creating a New Government

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