Panama: 20 September 1857 & 30 March 1858.
Two Quarto letters (ca. 26,5x21 cm). 1 p. and 1 p. Brown ink on blueish woven paper, one letter with a blind-stamped coat of arms in the left upper corner. Both letters addressed to “William F. Conant” on verso. Fold marks, one letter with a small tear on the left margin, but overall a very good pair of letters written in a legible hand.
Two early interesting letters from Panama written by a young entrepreneur John H. Conant to his elder brother, Boston merchant William F. Conant. The letters discuss various financial matters and mention American Consul A.B. Corwin. The Conants established their business in Panama, most likely after the construction of Panama Railroad in 1855. In the 1870s-1880s, William F. Conant was a member of the Boston Exchange Company, the Mercantile Wharf Corporation, and Melrose Unitarian Society.
20 September: “I wrote you by last steamer that I could not get a draft by last steamer but should send you the amount you asked for by the steamer, but I find it is imposable [sic!] to get a draft this steamer, but inted to try and find some responsable [sic!] person who will take it to New York and then send it by express to you. I have got it all done up and sealed <…> If I do not send it in this way, I am sure of a draft by next mail from the Am. Consul here. I do not think there will be any doubt but that I shall find some one who will take it to N. York and send it to you <…> Sep. 22nd. Since I wrote the above I have bought a draft for $200, of the American Consul A.B. Corwin on Capt. S.H. Ackerman, No. 67 Crosby St. New York Citty at sight. So you will have to negociate for it. The draft cost me two percent and one percent which I paid for Gold making in all 3 prct. I intend & 150 for you and the remaining $50 yo go toward bying those articles which I ordered to be sent me by the ice vessel which is to sail from Boston shortly…”
30 March 1858: “The last two mails I did not write owing to being very busy at the time thinking about the steamer being in untill [sic!] too late. My health has been very good of late, in regard to many affairs. I shall send you one hundred dollars by next mail if I can procure the draft, if not you will be obliged to wait untill [sic!] the mail after, however I will try my best. My business is still pretty good. <…> I mentioned to him [father] that he could call on you for money to pay his interest &c. as we had an ac. together. In one of your previous letters you mentioned that you had wrote me that you had disposed of my bank stock. You are quite mistaken as I have looked over your letters and find nothing in there to that effect. However I am not sorry that you sold as I repeatedly wrote you if you needed the money to do so & use it. As regards to the note I hold against Capt. Russell, I don’t know as you can colect [sic!] it or not, but I herein enclose if I suppose he has not done anything since he arrived home. Sell or settle it the best way you can. If you can get one hundred for you you had better do it…”.