The Travels of Elkanah Watson

An American Businessman in the Revolutionary War, in 1780s Europe and in the Formative Decades of the United States


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About the Book

Elkanah Watson (1758–1842) travelled everywhere and associated with everyone—soldiers, politicians, diplomats, Indians, artists, scientists, slave traders and abolitionists. He met the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Paine and many other American revolutionaries. At 19, he smuggled funds for the Revolution from Rhode Island to South Carolina in the midst of the war, while starting diaries he would keep throughout his life. Returning, he moved from New England to France, carrying letters from Congress to Benjamin Franklin in Paris before setting himself up as a merchant supplying arms to America. As the Revolutionary War came to a close, he delivered the United States’ final messages to British Prime Minister Lord Shelburne. His tour of England impressed upon him the value of canals, new industries and enlightened agriculture, which he championed upon returning to America. Watson’s travels in the U.S., Europe and Canada come to life in this illustrated biography based on his diaries and notes, and his vast collection of unpublished documents.

About the Author(s)

Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, which he founded in 1997, has worked in Dutch and American archives and museums since 1972. He has written 18 other books and about 75 scholarly articles, chiefly about the “Mayflower” Pilgrims and on Dutch art and church history of the 16th and 17th centuries. He lives in the Netherlands.

Bibliographic Details

Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: 65 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6245-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2336-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface  1
Introduction  3
One. The Colonies  7
Two. France  41
Three. Belgium and England  74
Four. The Netherlands  111
Five. America  145
Six. Final Journeys  184
Chapter Notes  195
Bibliography  203
Index  207