1769 - 1855 (85 years)
Has 26 ancestors and 3 descendants in this family tree.
||Jacob van Lennep |
|Relationship||with Francis Fox|
||04 Jul 1769
||11 Jul 1769
||01 Feb 1855
||14 Jan 2013 |
||Comtesse Catharina (Anna) de Hochepied, b. 21 May 1767, Smyrna , d. 13 Jun 1867, Sevdikeuy (Age 100 years) |
||30 Nov 1807
| ||1. Clementine Louise Sophie van Lennep, b. 22 Feb 1809, Smyrna , d. 9 Sep 1813, Smyrna (Age 4 years)|
| ||2. Marie Pulchérie van Lennep, b. 16 Jul 1810, Smyrna , d. 23 Feb 1888, Smyrna (Age 77 years)|
| ||3. David George van Lennep, b. 04 Sep 1811, Smyrna , d. 08 Nov 1811, Smyrna (Age 0 years)|
||14 Jan 2013 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- was one of the signatories of a letter sent to the Dutch National Assembly dated 1 October 1796 pointing out the ever harsher competition caused by the Greek merchants to the Dutch traders in Smyrna. TheGreeks traded directly with their contacts in Holland, thereby by-passing the regular shipowners, and furthermore they had built up a monopolistic position in Turkey with respect to the goods they shipped out. The signatories therefore requested the National Assembly to reintroduce the exclusive trading rights of the traditional Dutch trading firms. (It is not clear what the response to this letter was).
After having made an extensive journey through Europe he joined the family firm at an early age in 1784. In 1792, at the age of 22, upon the departure of Mr. Enslie he took over the management of the firm from his father although the latter remained involved until his death in 1797. Jacob was assisted by his two younger brothers Pieter and Richard and traded under the name of Jacob van Lennep & Co. Richard clearly found it difficult to work for his ten-years-older brother and in 1804 temporarily left the firm. Business with the Dutch Republic was at that time becoming ever more difficult. Although not as violent as the French Revolution, a similar revolution had taken place in Holland as well. The Republic of the Seven Provinces had been renamed the Batavian Republic and the Dutch Stadhouder Willem V had been deposed and had fled to England (1795). The Dutch fleet was convincingly defeated by the British at Camperduin in 1797. Under the infamous Treaty of Kew, Willem V (Feb. 1795) directed the governors of the various Dutch colonies not to oppose the British fleet and to hand over the fortresses in their domains. Although many of the governors did not accept this command, it caused much doubt and uncertainty amongst them and much of the Dutch trade network fell to the British. With the continental trade restrictions introduced by Napoleon normal overseas trade became almost impossible. It is therefore of interest that Richard, having left the family firm, made this long journey to the United States in 1808 to seek new commercial contacts there. As a consequence when he rejoined the family firm upon his return to Smyrna, the trade of the company became almost completely directed to the United States, and more especially to Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston, while the West Indies also became an area of interest. Jacob van Lennep & Co. was the first to ship a cargo of figs to the U.S., while large shipments of opium were shipped to a company in Baltimore for onward shipment to Batavia (Dutch East Indies) and China.
While most of the contact with their agents was carried on by correspondence, Jacob himself also made extensive business trips to Europe and the United States in 1790, 1815-1817 and again in 1819-1822. When, after the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Holland was much impoverished and England was clearly the dominant maritime power, Jacob applied for British nationality (letter dated 16 April 1817), thereby hoping to become a member of the Turkish Company. His company had for many years done business with major Scottish and English firms such as Messrs. Baring Brothers. During his stay in London in 1817 he resided at 53 Devonshire street, Marylebone, Middlesex (W1) and indicated that he would like to spend the rest of his life in England. Notwithstanding the support of his brothers-in-law, William Waldegrave, the second Baron Radstock, and Isaac Morier as well as various letters of recommendation from his English business contacts, this request was rejected as naturalisation could only be considered after many years of residency and only when
his goods and chattels had been brought to England.
From a letter from Lord Radstock it is clear that Jacob considered moving to the United States should British naturalisation not be granted. This too did not materialise, and, possibly because the commercial prospects in Turkey had significantly improved, he returned to Smyrna and stayed there for the rest of his life.
However, he retained many happy memories of his visit to the United States and his contacts there. As a token of gratitude for the various services rendered, Jacob donated an Egyptian mummy to the city of Boston, a gift the City Council passed on to the General Hospital in Boston, where, notwithstanding a name change to Massachusetts General Hospital, it still remains.
Jacob had purchased this mummy in Alexandria through his cousin Lee, presumably a partner of Lee & Fils, who was British Consul there. The mummy came from the tomb of Ramses II and is thought to be of the cousin of that pharaoh, and was later identified as ?Padhershaf? or more colloquially ?Paddy?. Paddy was shipped to the States on the vessel Sally Ann together with the usual cargo of currents, raisons, wool, opium and carpets.
In 1825 Jacob was nominated Consul General at Smyrna for what had in 1813 become the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A year later the Directorate of the Levant Trade and Navigation was abolished and the 2% duty on all goods shipped to and from the Netherlands lifted. That same year Jacob was named agent for the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (NHM) in Smyrna. This company was created on the initiative of King Willem I to reinvigorate commerce in the Netherlands (1824) after the economic collapse during the French occupation. The long-standing friendship of Jacob with Mr. van der Houwen, who would later become the Managing Director of the NHM, will most likely have been influential in this appointment.
One of the proposals Jacob made to the NHM was to import Javanese coffee to Turkey and to supply opium as a return cargo, as there was a growing demand for it in Batavia (the Dutch East Indies) and China. A first cargo of 60 cases of opium, dried fruit, figs and carpets was forwarded to Amsterdam for onward shipment to the Far East. This was to be the first of many shipments where from 40 to several hundred cases of opium would be sent each year. The opium trade with the NHM, although clearly very profitable, was however not their main interest. Jacob van Lennep & Co.'s shipments to other firms in Holland remained significant while the trade with the United States was by far the most important. For example, in August 1835 Van Lennep & Co supplied cargo for four American ships.
The Greek war of Independence caused serious international developments. An Anglo-French squadron appeared off the coast of the Levant, and when this flotilla destroyed the combined Egyptian-Ottoman fleet in 1827 the animosity against western Europe and the mood of the Turks towards the ?Franks? became extremely tense, disrupting all trade between the Levant and Europe. As a consequence the
Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij stopped all further initiatives in that area although Jacob van Lennep & Co. remained their agent and continued to ship opium to Amsterdam for onward shipment to the Far East.
During the absence of Jacob from 1819 to 1822 during his journey to Europe and the U.S.A., his brother Pieter directed the firm's affairs. He clearly did not have the same business acumen as his older brother. His long-term loans to Greek traders of the local bazaar caused the firm significant losses.
Pieter died in 1824 and his younger brother Richard died the following year, leaving Jacob to run the firm alone. He then introduced Richard's sons into the trading business of Jacob van Lennep & Co. The second son, Gustave Adolphe, was
put in charge of the branch office in Constantinople. This appointment proved to be disastrous and the various debts and obligations he incurred led in 1847 to the bankruptcy of that office. After the settlement of that bankruptcy Gustave started a new firm under the name of G. A. van Lennep & Co. and bought ships and grain with borrowed money. Curiously, Jacob acted as guarantor for his nephew?s actions and purchases. Then, during the crisis caused by the political upheavals in Europe in 1848, Gustave?s firm went bankrupt. This bankruptcy was one of the causes the firm Jacob van Lennep & Co. stopped payment. Jacob therefore decided to step down, leaving what remained of the firm for his cousins to clear.
Jacob died in Smyrna the 1st of February 1855 highly regarded, according to his cousin Charles, by all classes of society in Smyrna. The entire town was said to have
attended his funeral service.
Sources: J. Schmidt, From Anatolia to Indonesia, Opium trade and the Dutch Community of Izmir, 1820 - 1940 (Istanbul 1998); W.M.F. Mansvelt, Geschiedenis van de Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij, 1824 - 1924, Deel 1 (Amsterdam 1924); National Archives, Kew, England, Ho1/7/5, 265806.
- partner in the firm Jacob van Lennep & Co.
(which from 1819 traded especially with the United States), agent of the Nederlandsche
Handel-Maatschappij, Amsterdam 1826-1848, the firm was terminated in 1848, Consul-
General of the Netherlands at Smyrna 1825-1855
Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion, Chevalier de la Légion d?Honneur, Knight of the Order St. Ann