Trading Sentiments: Friendship and Commerce in John Turnbull's Voyages (1800-1813)
The Journal of Pacific History, 48:4
19 Pages Posted: 30 May 2014 Last revised: 26 Aug 2014
Date Written: December 3, 2013
This paper explores the relationship between commerce, cross-cultural friendship and empire in the published Voyages of Pacific salt pork trader John Turnbull. Turnbull published two versions of his Voyages, the first in 1805 and the second in 1813. Through exposing the variations between the two versions of his Voyages and analysing the reception of each text in the burgeoning periodical literature at the time, I explore how his commercially oriented critiques of cross-cultural friendship transformed into unbridled enthusiasm in the second reprint. I explain this shift as both a consequence of a shift in genre, from commercial voyaging to scientific voyaging, and as a reflection of two competing ideas of the relationship between friendship and commerce. The first version reflects a Smithian ideal, where friendship is excluded from commerce, while the second version shows a natural law conception of friendship as commercial imperialism in its ideal, and morally virtuous, form.
Keywords: natural law, commerce, friendship, Pacific History
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