Chinese junk ship 'Keying' arrives in New York


A three-masted, 800-ton Foochow Chinese trading junk sailed from China around the Cape of Good Hope to the United States and Britain between 1846 and 1848.
Keying had been purchased in August 1846 in secrecy by British businessmen in Hong Kong, defying a Chinese law prohibiting the sale of Chinese ships to foreigners. She was renamed after the Manchu official Keying. Keying was manned by 12 British and 30 Chinese sailors (the latter all Cantonese). She was commanded by Captain Charles Alfred Kellett, also British.P. T. Barnum had a copy of Keying built in Hoboken (Barnum claimed he had it towed from China), and exhibited it with a crew which may have included some of the Keying Chinese. However the Brooklyn Eagle described Barnum's crew as "one third white and two thirds negroes or mulattoes", so probably no real Keying crew were present.

Arrived, 1847

When the Chinese Junk ship 'The Keying' arrived in New York in 1847, over 7000 people a day paid 25 cents each to just to walk on board and see its unusual design, and to examine the beautifully decorated cabins made of India teak wood, to observe the crew, the Chinese decorative details of silk banners and flags as well as the unusual construction of the ship.She remained at St Helena for some time before taking course to Sandy Hooks and then arriving in New York City in July 1847. The Keying was the first ship from China to visit New York. She moored off the Battery on the southern tip of Manhattan and was received with great fanfare. No less than seven thousand visitors went on board of her every day. She remained in New York for several months. The Chinese crew of Keying were understandably angry as they had signed on only for an eight-month voyage to Singapore and Batavia (now Jakarta). Twenty-six of them left Keying and returned to Canton on board the Candace, which sailed 6 October 1847.