CHARLES M. DAWSON
Title: 1877 - 1878 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT TRAVEL DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY THE 19 YEAR OLD SON OF AN ENGLISH WOOL MERCHANT TRAVELLING IN THE GUISE OF A GENTLEMAN ON A GRAND TOUR WHO IS IN FACT A SPY
Book Condition: Good+
Size: 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall
Publisher: AMERICA CHINA SHANGHAI  1877
Seller ID: 0002187
On offer are a fascinating, pair  of original 1877 - 1878 manuscript USA/China travel diaries handwritten by Charles M. Dawson, the young 19 year old son and scion of an established, successful English wool manufacturing concern. The books are fascinating as a substantive and significant historical record on numerous levels considering that while traveling as a young bon vivant, an English gentleman on a fantastic sight seeing tour, we soon learn what will be of particular interest to historians and researchers that the underlying reason for the young man's trip was industrial espionage! Touring and sight-seeing were a mere cover for Dawson's primary mission which was to study, observe and gather intelligence on textile manufacturing processes (using China grass, hemp etc) and trade opportunities, with the option of whether to set up a factory in China or bring Chinese methods and products back to England. Undertaken at 19 years old, a well educated, now somewhat seasoned Dawson with one international trip under his belt having toured the USA and Canada the year before, [we list this diary separately Seller Id #0002186] he joined his father's firm 'Mark Dawson & Sons of Bradford, England, worsted spinners, est. 1848', at an early age and later became a director of Henry Longbottom, top-makers of Bradford. Book 1 has approximately 175 pages dated July 12th 1877 through October 28th and book 2 with about 90 pages dated October 29th through January 3rd 1878. A keen observer and a dedicated diarist Dawson records a treasure trove of interesting stories and observation of all he sees; places, people, customs, culture, industry and events from New York and his railroad journey across America to San Francisco, the voyage to Japan and his fascinating record of China over a period of 100 days. Seeing such sights and making such observations as the Chicago riots, Wahsatch, Yokohama, manufacturing activities, prisoners, Peking, the Ming tombs, smuggling, skulls in pots, a cat and rat market, a brick tea factory, grass processing factory and even tortures and executions and much, much more. He writes while in Shanghai "I do not see much chance of putting up machinery here. First water power is impossible in Shanghai & coal is fearfully dear… out of Shanghai you have no protection from the Government. If Johnny was to see what we were up to the grass "guild" … would set the natives on & then good bye to grass machinery. When I get to Suchow, if I can manage to get there "en guise" of traveller, I shall be able to see how they prepare it & if possible buy it in a ready prepared state. If the Chinese even in the house here, got to know my object in coming out I should not have the slightest chance of doing anything so I am merely here to look about & as I have taken a fancy to see some works I am going if possible to Suchow". Dawson negotiates purchases of China grass for export back to England, as well as visiting manufactories. [Adding further depth are a small number of illustrations by the young Dawson who is already quite and accomplished artist. We have a sketchbook he created much later in life.] The covers 7 x 4.5 inch books have some general ageing, overall the books are G+.
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