United States and American History: 1784

About the history of the United States in 1784, baloonists and balooning, trade with China and the state of Franklin.


--Deer hunting by night was abolished in the Carolinas. Farmers complained bitterly that cows and horses were being shot by mistake.

--British painter Robert Edge Pine returned to Philadelphia with a cast of his Venus de Medici. The Quaker city was shocked to see the bare facts in public.

--Pope Pius VI appointed the Rev. John Carroll, of Baltimore, to be his apostolic emissary in the U.S. Catholic affairs were formerly handled from London.

Jan. 7 David Landreth founded the 1st U.S. seed supply firm, on High Street, in Philadelphia. All seeds had previously been shipped from Europe. His firm merged with Robert Buist and Company 40 years later.

Feb. 22 The trade with China opened. The 360-ton Empress of China sailed with a cargo of ginseng for Canton. The herb cargo, on which the owners made $30,727 with an investment of $120,000, was eagerly sought by the Chinese as a "virility" restorative.

June 23 America's 1st teen-age balloonist soloed on this sunny Wednesday. He was 13-year-old Edward Warren of Baltimore, who went aloft in a 35'-diameter silk balloon that carried a cylindrical iron stove beneath it, to heat the confined air. The balloon craze that swept this decade began on the Champ de Mars, in Paris, on August 27, 1783. Ben Franklin was among the spectators who watched the 1st untethered and manned ascent. Some 16 months later, he also posted the 1st air mail letter carried by balloon from Dover to Calais on January 7, 1785. The 2 balloonists on this flight, Jean Pierre Blanchard and Dr. John Jeffries, had problems. Plagued by loss of lift, they 1st jettisoned everything removable, including their clothes, and then urinated as well, to prevent a forced landing in the English Channel. The nude gentlemen were received by the French with a great display of savoir faire.

Aug. 23 Settlers organized the independent State of Franklin, the 1st American State west of the Alleghenies. Headed by Gov. John Sevier, Franklin existed for about 4 years, but Congress steadfastly refused to recognize it.

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