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Title Extracts of Letters Written By Elisha Kent Kane in China
Reference Mss.B.K132
Library American Philosophical Society
Collection Elisha Kent Kane Papers (Bulk, 1843-1857) 1810-1953
Date 1844
Description On race relations and politics in China; including information about the riots in Guangzhou and the murder of a Chinese man.
Document Type Manuscript, Correspondence
Theme(s) Race Relations; Politics, War and Diplomacy; Trade and Commerce
Keywords anti-foreign feeling, cargo, family, business, conflict, correspondence, culture, death, factory, government, murder, riot, physician, property, sailor, security, trade
Countries China
Places Guangzhou
People Elisha Kent Kane; Caleb Cushing
Additional Information

Elisha Kent Kane was born in Philadelphia on February 3, 1820, the son of the jurist and Democratic politician John Kintzing Kane and his wife Jane Duval Leiper. Already prominent in Philadelphia and Washington, the Kane family became more so with Elisha's celebrity as an Arctic explorer and his brother, Thomas Leiper Kane's, as a general in the Union army and advocate for the Mormons. Kane studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania before earning a commission as a naval surgeon. While in the Navy, Kane embarked on the succession of voyages to exotic locales that became the basis for his extraordinary fame. In 1843, he attended Caleb Cushing's first diplomatic mission to China as ship's physician, and subsequently travelled to the Philippines and Western Africa. Distinguishing himself in the Mexican War, Kane's greatest fame came from two expeditions to the arctic, aiming to locate the lost explorer, Sir John Franklin and to explore for evidence of the open polar sea. Kane died in 1857 while attempting to organize a third arctic voyage.

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