Russell & Company

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Canton headquarters c. 1880

Russell & Company (Chinese: 旗昌洋行; pinyin: Qíchāng Yángháng) was the largest American trading house of the mid-19th century in China.

Early days[edit]

Having arrived in 1819, Samuel Russell from Connecticut founded Russell & Company in Canton, China, in 1824. Dealing mostly in opium, silks, and teas, the company prospered.

Expansion[edit]

In 1830, the company was merged with Thomas Handasyd Perkins' J & T H Perkins of Boston, established in Canton in 1806 by John Perkins Cushing, Perkins' nephew, and was then led by another two nephews, brothers Robert Bennet Forbes and John Murray Forbes.[1]:145

Their illegal trade at that time in Turkish opium via the island of Lintin in the Pearl River estuary was particularly lucrative.[1]:146

Russell withdrew from the company in 1836 and returned to the United States. The firm attracted numerous influential partners through the 1830s and 40s, particularly Bostonians. By 1842, it had become the largest American trading house in China and maintained that position for decades.[1]:145

Briton Nichol Latimer, resident of Shanghai and the publisher of the North China Herald, the most influential British newspaper in China, was the manager of Russell & Company’s Shanghai Steam Navigation Co. until his death in 1865.[2][3]

Facing financial difficulties, the company was taken over by Shewan & Company in 1891.[1]:147

Notable people of Russell & Company[edit]

Partners[edit]

(chronologically)

Officers[edit]

  • Nichol Latimer, publisher of North China Herald and founder of Nichol Latimer and Co.. Latimer was manager of Russell & Company’s Shanghai Steam Navigation Co. until 1865.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Hamilton, Peter E (2012). May Holdsworth & Christopher Munn (ed.). Dictionary of Hong Kong Biography. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 9789888083664.
  2. ^ He, Sibing (2011). Russell and Company in Shanghai, 1843-1891:U. S. Trade and Diplomacy in Treaty Port China. University of Hong Kong. p. 11.
  3. ^ King; Clarke, eds., Frank H. H.;Prescott (1965). A Research Guide to China Coast Newspapers, 1822-1911. East Asian Research Centre, Harvard University. pp. 77, 122–133.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Sweeting, Anthony (2012). May Holdsworth & Christopher Munn (ed.). Dictionary of Hong Kong Biography. Hong Kong University Press. p. 71. ISBN 9789888083664.

External links[edit]