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of friends, and to the assurance of judicious merchants, long and intimately acquainted with the China trade, that their publication not only will be practically useful, but is due to the memory of their author, will redound to his honor, and will gratify a wise public curiosity concerning the early state and history of this branch of American commerce. Assuming all the expenses, Mr. Shaw has transferred the copyright of the book to the Boston Marine Society, in aid of whose funds he was of opinion its proceeds would be most appropriately applied; and to this object they are devoted."

We hope that a brief sketch of Major Shaw's life, and such extracts from his letters and journals as our limited space will allow, may not be uninteresting to our readers.

Shaw was a Boston boy and a North End boy. He was educated at the common schools and at the Latin school, then under the care of Master Lovell. Of course, his heart was full of patriotism, and his mind well grounded in good learning. His father, Francis Shaw, an eminent merchant, designed the lad for his own pursuits; and, at the opening of the war, Samuel had lately entered a counting-house. His mercantile suc cess, in after years, shows that the occupation was not uncongenial to his tastes; but the quick spirits of youth perceived something of more interest than money columns in the stirring events of the time. A tradition, preserved in the family, proves how keenly, at this time, he felt for the honor of his country. Boston, being held as a garrison town by the British, the officers of the army were billeted upon the inhabitants. The house of Francis Shaw was assigned, for quarters, to Major Pitcairn and Lieutenant Wi Vragg. At the table the latter, in the presence of Samuel Shaw, called the Americans "cowards and rebels." Shaw was indignant at the reproach, and immediately challenged the lieutenant. Before the arrange. ments for the duel were completed, however, Major Pitcairn interfered, and induced Lieutenant Wragg to offer an apology, which, being accepted, the affair was thus happily terminated.

On the 2d of October, 1775, Shaw came of age. With his father's approbation, he immediately prepared to join the army, which Washington was then organizing at Cambridge. On the 1st of January, 1776, he received the commission of lieutenant in the train of artillery; and, in this branch of the service, he remained during the whole of the war.

On joining the army, Lieutenant Shaw was stationed at Prospect Hill, a height overlooking Charlestown and opposite to Boston, which were both in the possession of the British. Nothing of interest occurred here, save, now and then, an irregular attack upon the outposts of the enemy. A characteristic anecdote of General Putnam is related, in connection with one of these skirmishes :

"A successful attempt had been made on Charlestown, and ten houses were burnt. The expedition was carried on with great secrecy, hardly any person, besides those employed, knowing a syllable of the affair until they had the pleasure of seeing the blaze. Among the prisoners taken was a woman, who, being something fatigued, was, by General Putnam's order, carried between two men part of the way; but, this mode being found inconvenient, the General, with his usual affability, cried out :- Here, hand her to me;' which being done, she put her hand round his waist, and made this pious ejaculation as they rode off:-'Jesus bless you, sweet General! May you live forever!'"

For some time Washington had been meditating a plan for dislodging 3


the enemy. Accordingly, on the night of the 4th of March, 1776, a por tion of the army, in which was Shaw's company, took possession of Dorchester Heights, a range of hills commanding the harbor of Boston. The movement was successful. On the 17th of March, the British troops evacuated the city. From that time, the current of the war was turned in other directions.

Lieutenant Shaw went, with the main body of the army, to the westward. In August, 1776, he was entrusted with the command of Fort Washington, an important post on the Hudson. About this time Colonel Tupper, a partisan officer, with the galleys under his command, made an attack upon two of the enemy's ships, which, in the month of July, had succeeded in passing the American batteries, and ascending the river as far as Tappan Bay. Lieutenant Shaw volunteered on the occasion, and, in a letter to his father, he gives the following account of the affair:--

"It was a hazardous design, the force on our side being so much inferior. We had only six galleys, that could bring but eleven guns, in the whole, to bear against two ships, one of twenty, the other of forty-four guns, assisted by three tenders, with the advantage of spring cables, while we were obliged to work our little fleet entirely with oars. Notwithstanding which, we engaged them within reach of their grape-shot for near two hours, when, being much damaged, two men killed, and fourteen wounded, we were obliged to retire, which we did without their pursuing; though one of our galleys lay on the careen a whole tide in sight of them. Five of the wounded fell to the share of the Washington, where I was on board; which was hulled thirteen times, besides the grape-shot received in her sails and rigging. You will, perhaps, wonder what business I had on board, it being out of my sphere, which I readily acknowledge; but the desire I had to see an affair of that nature got the better of any other motive, and inclined me to volunteer. It was no small encouragement to me, when I saw two other gentlemen come on board in the same capacity; one of whom was a merchant in the city, and the other first aid-de-camp to General Washington. The commodore treated us very politely, and, when the action came on, gave me the command of the two bow-guns, which was sufficient employment for me, while my companions had nothing to do but to look on."

In October, 1776, shortly before the battle of White Plains, Shaw left Fort Washington, the capture of which, in the following month, "formed," says he, "a pretty subject for Howe to write upon. He would, otherwise, have had chagrin enough, since he has done so little towards subduing America."

Between this time and August, 1779, Shaw was successively promoted to the ranks of adjutant and brigade major in the corps of artillery. By his gallantry in the various actions at Trenton, Princeton, the Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth, he gained the confidence and affection of General Knox, who, in August, 1779, made him his aid-de-camp. In this station he remained till after the close of the war. The friendship thus formed between the young officer and his general continued, without in. terruption, until they were separated by death. In 1792, party spirit com menced its opposition to the administration of Washington by violent as saults upon the character of General Knox, and other members of the cabinet. We make a short extract from a letter written, at that time, by Major Shaw to his early friend, to express his indignation at these attacks. It relates an interesting incident of the war :-

"Happy must you feel-thrice happy am I-in the reflection, that, so long as the American name shall last, yours will be handed down with distinction in the

list of the valued file;' and the artillery, which, formed under your auspices, equalled every exigence of war, will be regarded as the child of your genius. Well do I remember the honorable testimony of the gallant Lafayette, amidst the thunder of our batteries on the lines at Yorktown. We fire,' exclaimed he, with a charming enthusiasm, better than the French,' (and faith we did, too.) To this I made a suitable objection. His reply was, 'Upon honor, I speak the truth; and the progress of your artillery is regarded by everybody as one of the wonders of the Revolution."

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In a letter written in June, 1779, Major Shaw gives the following account of the pecuniary situation of an officer, at a time when the depre ciation of the continental currency, in itself a sufficient evil, had made the army the prey of every mean vice that avarice breeds and fosters :—

"I wish, seriously, that the ensuing campaign may terminate the war. The people of America seem to have lost sight entirely of the noble principle which animated them at the commencement of it. That patriotic ardor which then inspired each breast-that glorious, I had almost said godlike, enthusiasm—has given place to avarice, and every rascally practice which tends to the gratification of that sordid and most disgraceful passion. I don't know as it would be too bold an assertion to say, that its depreciation is equal to that of the currency-thirty for one. You may, perhaps, charitably think that I strain the matter, but I do not. I speak feelingly. By the arts of monopolizers and extortioners, and the little, the very little, attention by authority to counteract them, our currency is reduced to a mere name. Pernicious soever as this is to the community at large, its baneful effect is more immediately experienced by the poor soldier. I am myself an instance of it. For my services I receive a nominal sum-dollars at eight shillings. in a country where they pass, at the utmost, for fourpence only. If it did not look too much like self-applause, I might say that I engaged in the cause of my country from the purest motives. However, be this as it may, my continuance in it has brought me to poverty and rags; and, had I a fortune of my own, I should glory in persevering, though it would occasion a sacrifice of the last penny. But, when I consider my situation-my pay inadequate to my support, though within the line of the strictest economy-no private purse of my own-and reflect that the best of parents, who, I am persuaded, have the tenderest affection for their son, and wish to support him in character, have not the means of doing it, and may, perhaps, be pressed themselves-when these considerations occur to my mind, as they frequently do, they make me serions; more so than my natural disposition would lead me to be. The loss of my horse, by any accident whatever, (unless he was actually killed in battle, and then I should be entitled only to about one-third of his value,) would plunge me in inextricable misfortune; two years' pay and subsistence would not replace him. Yet, the nature of my office renders it indispensable that I should keep a horse. These are some of the emoluments annexed to a military station."

In 1781, Major Shaw's younger brother, Nathaniel, decided to enter the army. In a letter, encouraging the plan, Shaw gives a list of the articles necessary for an outfit; which, in deference to its statistical character, we extract. The reader will notice in the advice, "superfine will be cheapest," a touch of the peculiar thrift of New England :

Clothing, &c., necessary for a young campaigner:

Beaver hat,...

Coat, faced and lined with scarlet-white vest and breeches-plain yellow buttons (superfine will be cheapest,).

Three white linen vests and breeches,.

Six ruffled shirts and stocks,......


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*Lafayette being in the service of the United States, always spoke as an American.

Four pairs white cotton or linen hose,.


Total, silver dollars,.




"If the above sum can be raised on my notes," adds he, "I can spare it without injury to myself, and as much as will bring Nat. on to the


But we must close our extracts from these letters of Major Shaw. We turn, with reluctance, from the vivid story of "the battles, sieges, fortunes, he had passed;" from the glad tidings of victory at Trenton, and Princeton, and Monmouth; from the painful description of the mutiny of the Jersey and Pennsylvania lines; from the sad tale of Arnold's baseness and Andre's untimely fate; and, especially, from those pages in which he dwells so fondly upon Washington's demeanor in that most perilous hour, when, after their seven years' apprenticeship, in want, and danger, and neglect, officers and soldiers could bear up no longer against the broken faith of Congress and the injustice of their countrymen. We know how feebly we present the picture. We have but borrowed, here a tint and there a line, from the harmonious whole.

On the 19th of April, 1783, just eight years from the first shedding of blood at Lexington, the cessation of hostilities was proclaimed to the army. The disbanding of the troops was assigned to General Knox. As a member of his military family, Major Shaw remained with him during the year, sharing in this delicate and arduous duty.

In the events which accompanied the dissolution of the army, Major Shaw took an active interest. He was chosen secretary of the committee of officers who organized the Society of the Cincinnati, and the original draft of its constitution is said to have been from his hand. With General Knox, he accompanied Washington upon his entrance into the city of New York after its evacuation by the British; and he was present at that solemn and august scene, when the officers of the American army took their final leave of their great chief, and when manly cheeks paid tribute, in tears, to that affection, passing the love of woman, which his stern virtues commanded, in the hearts of those who had suffered and triumphed at his side.

Shaw's military life was now over. He was without occupation, and in debt; and his future fortunes were to be based upon the universal respect which his talents and his integrity had secured, and upon his characteristic energy. With these, and the winning manners which were natural to his generous disposition, and to which the training of the camp had given dignity and polish, he was not likely to fall short of success in any pursuit.

Without delay, he turned his attention to those occupations for which he had been destined in his youth. A company of capitalists had just been formed, in the city of New York, for the purpose of carrying on a trade with China. Daniel Parker, Esq., a friend of Major Shaw, and agent for those concerned, offered him the situation of supercargo. He accepted the offer, on condition that Captain Thomas Randall, with whom he had formed an intimate friendship during the war, and who, like himself, was "out of suits with fortune," should accompany him and share the profits of his agency. No one, except Shaw himself, was to sacrifice anything by this condition. It was readily agreed to; and, on the 22d of

February, 1784, the two friends sailed from New York, on the first voyage ever made by an American vessel between this country and China. The ship in which they sailed was the Empress of China, commanded by Captain John Green. Her burthen was 360 tons. She was loaded chiefly with ginseng, of which she carried about 440 piculs; the value of a picul (1331 pounds) in China being, at that time, from one hundred and thirty to two hundred dollars.

Having paid due honor to the Old Man of the Tropics, by abundant libations of sea-water and grog; and every green-horn having sworn faithfully to observe those great laws of morals and manners of which that deity has special cognizance, namely, that no man shall drink small beer when he can get strong, unless he likes the small better; nor kiss the maid when he can kiss the mistress, save under a similar and not less wise condition, the voyagers arrived at St. Jago, one of the Cape de Verde Islands. Here they stopped several days, to obtain fresh provisions and for repairs. A French brig, with a cargo of slaves from Senegal, was anchored in the harbor. It seems that not even the sanction of the law was able wholly to clear the escutcheons of persons engaged in this "abominable traffic." When the captain of the brig came on board of the Empress, Captain Green bade his people to beware of the French sailors. "These fellows are Saint Peter's children," says he; "every finger a fish-hook, and each hand a grapnel."

Shaw left St. Jago on the 27th of March, and on the 18th of July he arrived in the Straits of Sunda. Here he found a French man-of-war, the Triton, Captain d'Ordelin, bound to Canton. The gentlemen of the two ships, representing nations so closely united by good offices, met with great cordiality. Captain Green being, of course, unskilled in the passage, took advantage of the experience of Captain d'Ordelin, and sailed, company with him, from Java. On the 28th of August the Empress arrived at Whampoa, having been at sea one hundred and seventy-four days since leaving New York.


It is pleasing to notice the courtesy with which the Americans were welcomed. On arriving at Whampoa, they were saluted by all the shipping in the harbor. An officer came from the French vessels, with boats, anchors, and cables, to assist them in getting a good berth. The Danish sent an officer, with compliments; the Dutch, a boat; and the English, an officer, "to welcome their flag to that part of the world." Then followed national dinners, and visits of congratulation. The French, sur

passing the rest in their kindness, gave them the use of their factory and a part of their banksall, (a large building of bamboo, for the storage of water-casks, spars, sails, &c., and for the reception of the sick,) during their stay.

"The Chinese themselves," says Major Shaw, "were very indulgent towards us, though, ours being the first American ship that ever visited China, it was some time before they could fully comprehend the distinc tion between us and Englishmen. They styled us the New People; and when by the map we conveyed to them an idea of the extent of our country, with its present and increasing population, they were highly pleased at the prospect of so considerable a market for the productions of their own empire."

From Major Shaw's Journal, we take the following account of foreign ships visiting Canton in 1783 and 1784 :

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