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1842 Canton Stampless Letter By William Couper Of Wetmore & Co. China Trade For Sale

1842 Canton Stampless Letter By William Couper Of Wetmore & Co. China Trade

Thisrare folded stampless letteris signed"W.Couper"and was sent fromCanton, ChinainSeptember of 1842. The four page letter was written by William Couper of Wetmore & Co. to his father Dr. James Couper in New Castle, Delaware. The letter was sent Sept. 18, 1842 and arrived in Delaware on February 21, 1843. This "Packet Letter" was mailed by ship from Canton via London and New York. Each page measures about 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches. Wetmore & Co. was owned by William Shepard Wetmore (1801-1862)of Providence, Rhode Island.Wetmore & Co. was started in Canton in 1830's and dealt primarily in tea, silk and spices. This letter is in extremely good condition! !

William Shepard Wetmore was born on January 26, 1801 to Nancy Shepard and Seth Wetmore in St. Albans, Vermont. He was a sixth-generation descendant of Thomas Whitmore, who immigrated to Boston in 1635 from the west coast of England and became one of the earliest settlers of the Connecticut Colony.[1] His mother died on February 2, 1802.[1] He had two stepbrothers Charles Wright Wetmore and Seth Downing Wetmore and one stepsister Nancy Shepard Wetmore. William moved to Connecticut with his aunt and uncle [1] and was educated at Cheshire Academy in Cheshire, Connecticut.[2]

Mercantile shipping business

William was mentored by an uncle, Samuel Wetmore, who was in a mercantile partnership with another uncle, Chauncy Whittlesey, in Middletown, Connecticut. In 1815 Samuel and his brother William Willard Wetmore moved to Providence, Rhode Island entering into a business partnership with the merchants Edward Carrington & Company.[3] When William was fourteen years of age, he was hired aboard the ship Fame, bound for England, South America, and the East Indies.[4] In 1823, a trip on the Lion stranded him in Valparaíso, Chile. He took employment in Chile with the firm Richard Alsop of Middletown, Connecticut. This eventually led to a partnership of Alsop, Wetmore and Cryder in 1825 with John Cryder of Philadelphia. In 1829, he retired from the firm.[2]

China Trade

Due to impaired health William's physician advised a career move to China.[1] In 1833, he traveled to Canton, China and took over a partnership in Dunn & Company. He formed close ties with a junior partner Joseph Archer.[2] He went on to establish a new merchant house, Wetmore & Company, with Joseph Archer. Wetmore's profit and loss ledgers from 1834–1839 reveal that the primary goods brokered by Wetmore & Co. were tea, tea papers, silks and spices. Lesser cargoes were wines, ports, hemp, pearl buttons, copper and coffee. They also transported a variety of foreign currencies, and delivered Sunday newspapers. "Fast boats" were commonly employed for personal passages and letters.[1] The company went on to be one of the largest mercantile houses in the East Indies despite the fact that Wetmore was opposed to the opium trade.[5] During his time in the Far East, Wetmore collected a variety of Chinese objects, porcelains and china, which he imported home.[1]

It was in 1835 that the Maryland merchant George Peabody sailed to London on a mission to defer a United States banking crisis when states had begun skipping interest payments on bonds marketed in London. Peabody eventually enjoyed a huge success as a merchant banker in London and as a self-appointed American ambassador of the mercantile industry. He developed a form of wholesale banking known as merchant banks and became a leading dealer of American state bonds in London. It was through family and business connections that William S. Wetmore began a lifelong friendship with the prominent financier Peabody.[1]


1842 Canton Stampless Letter By William Couper Of Wetmore & Co. China Trade

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