THE AFFAIR OF QUALLAH BATTOO: 1831-1832.
Within a few years after the Empress of China opened the way to the Orient, American merchants established a considerable trade with the Dutch East Indies. Java was the first island visited, the Empress of China having stopped there on her way to Canton. The adjacent island of Sumatra was doubtless the next to attract the attention of our shipmasters. Trade with it was begun in 1789 by Captain Jonathan Barnes, of Salem, commander of the brig Cadet, who in that year arrived at Boston with a cargo of pepper, spices, and camphor. The traffic in pepper with the Sumatrans soon became quite extensive, and in 1802 no less than 30 American merchantmen visited the island. Salem led its competitors, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, in the pepper trade. Her shipmasters prepared charts and sailing directions for the coast of Sumatra which were used by both the merchant and national marine.