Manufacturer: 10K Gold
Boston American 10k Gold Memorial Mourning ring dated January 13 1813 commemorating the death of Thomas Lamb, Revolutionary War Patriot and partner in the firm of James & Thomas Lamb, a leading Boston ship owner in the first decades of the American China Trade. A curved and rounded crystal lens, covering a plait of light brown and gray hair centers the ring, and is surrounded with a border of faceted jet. The three part ring shank features a central band that is shaped and tapered, which may be a reference to Neptune's trident, reflecting Lamb's maritime pursuits. The back of the ring is engraved Thos. Lamb obt. JanY 13 1813 Ć 59.
There is moderate wear to the jet and the top of the crystal lens, but no breaks or damage. There is a mark from sizing on the bottom of the shank and what looks like an early repair to the shank on one side, just below where the shank divides into three parts, but both are very minor in a ring of this age and almost impossible to notice. Early 19th century piece, a fine ring with historic connections.
A brief biography of Thomas Lamb excerpted from Other Merchants and Sea Captains of Old Boston published by State Street Trust Company, Boston, Mass., 1919
Many American fortunes were made in the North West trade, and among those who shared in these successes was the well-known Boston house of James & Thomas Lamb. These two brothers formed a partnership in 1781, immediately after the death of James Lamb, Sr., who had been head of the house of James Lamb & Son. Thomas Lamb, who was born in Boston in 1753, became agent for this latter firm in the year 1776, but when the Revolutionary War broke out he received a Continental commission signed by John Hancock as First Lieutenant in Colonel Henry Jackson's regiment.
The following June, in response to a call made by General George Washington to ride from Valley Forge to Boston for supplies, Lieutenant Thomas Lamb volunteered to make the journey. Seeing that he had no spurs, General Washington, took off his own pair, which were made of silver, and presented them to the young officer, who started on his long ride. These spurs were always kept sacredly in his dressing-case until his death, and are now a most treasured possession of his grandson, Horatio A. Lamb, Esq.
Unfortunately his journey terminated in a considerable disaster, for when he arrived at Boston Neck his horse stumbled at night over, a rope that had been stretched across the road, and Lamb was thrown from his mount, suffering a broken arm. His message was, however, promptly delivered, but Lamb was prevented from again entering the army, from which he was discharged in 1779.
After the war he turned his attention to his firm, which owned a number of sailing-ships which were sent to the West Indies, among them being the brig Endeavor, brig Active, brig Intrepid, sloop Little Betsey, brig Industry, ship Live Oak, ship Argo, brig. Sally. The house also acted as commission-merchants and fitted out vessels for others. Some of the later ships in which the firm of James & Thomas Lamb had an interest were the Caroline, the Pearl, ship Derby, Vancouver, and Atahualpa.
It was in the Margaret that James Lamb was wrecked in a storm in 1796 ; on the Gooseberry Rocks, two miles out from Marblehead. The ship was then commanded by Captain MacKay, and among those drowned during the eight hours that the Margaret was on the rocks were a boy, a Dutch passenger, and one seaman. The following morning the people of Marblehead came to the assistance of the ship. The Lambs and Perkinses in 1806 were interested in the Derby, which was sent to the North West Coast. It is said there was a large dog on board that was very useful on occasions, because it had been trained to bite an Indian, but would never touch a white man.
Closely associated with them were James & Thomas H. Perkins, and one of the first accounts that shows the connection between these two well-known houses is contained in a letter written in 1791, sent by James and Thomas Lamb to a Philadelphia merchant introducing their particular friend, Mr. Thomas H. Perkins, with whom we are concerned in some business of consequence. He is going to your city to purchase some copper and firearms, etc. And the first notice contained in the Lamb papers of the North West Coast adventures is under. date of September, 1791, and gives an account of the ship Margaret, Captain James Magee, built in Boston, and owned by James Magee, Thomas H. Perkins, and James & Thomas Lamb. In 1792 the Lambs write to Captain Magee that Thomas H. Perkins has heard through Captain Ingraham of his success in reaching China in fourteen months, and of his cargo of fourteen hundred skins. The Sea Otter, owned by Russell Sturgis, James & Thomas Lamb, and Captain Magee, was at this time carrying on an extensive trade in furs on the North West Coast. The brig Hazard was another successful ship, and under the command of Captain Swift she made in 1798 the largest collection of skins ever made on the coast. Thomas lamb died in 1813. Momento Mori.
It Is All About Connections!
In the fruitful and picturesque period that, preceded the War of 1812, Boston merchants sent their ships to the, North West Coast for loads of valuable sea otter skins which they procured from the Indians who brought the pelts in canoes to the ships, and there for a few beads or a handful of trinkets bartered their valuable freight. Across the western seas the cargoes were borne to China, where they were usually disposed of to good advantage, a single cargo often bringing fifty thousand dollars. Once again, in China ports, the ships were loaded, this time with teas, nankeens, and silks, and thence the long voyage, that sometimes lasted for two and three years, was resumed, and the ships returned home to New England.
The son and namesake of Thomas Lamb was long prominent in the shipping and financial affairs of Boston. He entered the counting-room of his father's firm, James & Thomas Lamb, at the death of the latter in 1813 when he was seventeen years old. Among the ships which he partly or entirely owned were Rosanna, Cabot, Clematis, Moselle, Coriolanus, Korea, Louvre, Versailles, Marmora, Narragansett, Switzerland, Napoleon and brigs Lincoln, Eight Sons, Harmony, Sultana and bark Concordia.
He was president of the Boston Pier or Long Wharf Corporation for thirty-four years and was much interested in improving Boston Harbour, writing many pamphlets on the subject. He served as president of the Suffolk Savings Bank for Seamen and Others for forty years, and for twenty-five years was president of the Washington Marine and Fire Insurance Co. Among other positions of trust and responsibility which he occupied were the following: treasurer of the Boston Marine Society for fifty-four years, during which he increased the capital from $22,000 to $150,000, and gave away over $200,000 to beneficiaries. He was long a director of the New England National Bank and its president from 1846 to 1884. At the time of his resignation from the New England National Bank in 1884 the officers of the Bank in a letter expressed to Mr. Lamb their keen appreciation of the kindly consideration and interest which he had always shown towards them. In 1828 Mr. Lamb was a member of the Common Council under Mayor Quincy. He died October 25, 1887, at the ripe old age of ninety-one years.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded by a group of Puritans from England. Governor Winthrop arrived in Boston with two thousand others to begin settlement of the Colony. Among this number were Thomas Lambe, with small sons, Thomas and John, and wife, Elizabeth, who must have had mixed feelings as they boarded the small sailing vessel to cross the ocean, for she was expecting another child very soon. Thomas is said to have been a merchant of London, and tradition says also that he was of Irish stock.
John Ledyard an American explorer and adventurer joined Captain James Cook's third and final voyage
American trade declined during the War of 1812, but after 1815 Americans were able to resume and expand the maritime fur trade, and continued to dominate the North West trade
The Maritime fur trade and the North West Coast trade enriched Boston ship owners, creating capital that helped New England's transformation from an agrarian to an industrial society. The trade stimulated the culture of North West Coast natives, made Hawaii famous and nearly overwhelmed the native Hawaiians with foreign influences. It played a role in increased commercial pressure on China at Canton. Fur bearing animals were devastated, especially sea otters. By 1850, sea otters were virtually extinct throughout the North West Coast and found only in the Aleutian Islands and California.
Other health problems included the spread of alcoholism, tuberculosis, venereal diseases including syphilis, and sterility. The coast trade also promoted and enhanced the pre-existing system of native slavery and native slave trading. The overall number of slaves increased, as did their distribution and exploitation.
large amounts of capital in short time contributed to American industrial and manufacturing development, which was compounded by rapid population growth and technological advancements. In New England the textile industry rose to dominance in early to middle 19th century. In light of the decline of the fur trade and a post-Napoleonic depression in commerce, capital shifted from wharf to waterfall, that is, from shipping ventures to textile mills, which were originally located where waterpower was available. The textile industry in turn had large effect on slavery in the United States, increasing the demand for cotton and helping make possible the rapid expansion of the cotton plantation system across the Deep South
The Old China Trade was the name given to the early commerce between the Qing Empire and the United States under the Canton System, spanning from shortly after the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783 to the Treaty of Wanghsia in 1844. The Old China Trade represented the beginning of relations between the United States and East Asia, including eventually U.S.–China relations. The Maritime Fur Trade was a major aspect of the Old China Trade. Trade with China was by no means a new trend: since the voyage of Marco Polo and the days of the Silk Road, the Chinese had established a tradition of trade with the West.