Merchant Princes, Missionaries and a Man-of-War (1807–1815)
The embargo of 1807 devastated direct trade between India and the United States. The impact of the embargo is seen in letters from Nusserwanji Maneckji Wadia to Ichabod Nichols, and from Luke Ashburner, a British entrepreneur in Bombay, to Nichols’ former shipmate, Jacob Crowninshield. When the embargo was lifted in 1809, a young supercargo named John Johnston sailed from New York to Bombay where he struck up a lasting friendship with Nusserwanji Maneckji. In 1810, Nusserwanji’s relative Jamsetji Bomanji, the master builder at the Bombay Dockyard, supervised the construction of the first man-of-war for the British Royal Navy. This ship, the HMS Minden later played a significant role in the Anglo-American War of 1812–1815. This period saw the arrival of the first (American) missionaries in Bombay, and the growth of American and Parsi involvement in the China trade, transporting tea, silk and porcelain to the United States and opium to China.