Heard, Augustine


Augustine Heard



Occupation 1

sea captain

Occupation 2

China trader




NA/New England region


Heroic Age of Sail (1816-1865)








...was born in Ipswich, Mass., where his father was a leading shipowner and merchant dealing in the West Indies and China... In 1803 he was in the employ of Ebenezer Francis, one of the principal merchants of Boston, and in his twentieth year, 1805, he sailed to Calcutta as supercargo of a vessel belonging to his employer. He was absent two years on this voyage. He continued to go to sea, and on Feb. 18, 1812, in the brig Caravan, he sailed for the first time as master, being both captain and supercargo. On this voyage eighty thousand dollars in cargo and treasure were entrusted to his care. His skill as a navigator and success as a merchant were of such a high order that he soon became one of the foremost captains in the East India trade, and he had the choice of some of the best ships trading in the Orient.

...in 1829 [having grown rich] he completed his active sea career. [The next year] he sailed for Canton to become a partner in the famous firm of Samuel Russell & Company, in which he had a three-sixteenths� interest. His work was marked with success, but being in bad health he returned to America in 1834 at the end of his term. He then settled in Boston, from which city he directed his business and investments... In 1841, Heard returned to China to assume charge of the business there... The Opium War was in progress when Heard arrived, and during the period of hostilities his place of business was attached by a mob which caused him serious loss, although his coolness and fearlessness enabled him to save a large share of his goods and specie. Later he was compensated for his loss by the Chinese government. ...his firm was one of the four American houses to survive the competition of decades at Canton.

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Record ID: 51