1856 Letter from Merchant Ship Captain Samuel Ropes to Boston Merchants Sampson & Tappan - Voyage Stalled on Atrato River, Colombia

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1856 Letter from Merchant Ship Captain Samuel Ropes to Boston Merchants Sampson & Tappan - Voyage Stalled on Atrato River, Colombia

90.00

Item No. 3240301

An interesting 1856 letter written by Samuel Ropes to George R. Sampson and Lewis W. Tappan, owners of Boston trading firm Sampson & Tappan. Ropes was a merchant sea captain evidently in charge of a small merchant flotilla on the Atrato River in Colombia. While the specific purpose of the voyage isn’t clear, we do know that Sampson & Tappan’s business was in transporting gold rush traffic to California and also in bringing Chinese laborers to California and to South America.

The letter was written on a single side of a four-page lined sheet of blue paper measuring about 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. Integral mailing address and wax seal (stamped “S R”) on reverse, sent to Boston via the U.S. Consulate in Cartagena. Minor toning. Creased where folded. A couple of tears on the unused pages 3 and 4 that don’t interfere with any of the handwriting.

Full transcript of the letter:

River Atrato February 20th 1856

Majors Sampson & Tappan
Merchants
Boston

Gentlemen
Mr. Cameron finding it difficult to get the vessels any farther without losing much time he has gone on in canoes with the party and left me in charge, and if possible to get the vessels to Quibdo he wishes me to do it. I have only two men on board the Stella and no cook & there is no men to be had hereabouts. The Engineers are with me but one of them is sick, so we are short handed and until I can get some more men we can proceed no farther. I am well, also Mr. Cameron and his party, and I trust this will reach you Gentlemen enjoying the same blessings. I have due me now by various members of the Expedition about fifty dollars which Mr. Cameron is responsible for. Will you do me the favor, Gentlemen, to pay a Note which becomes due the first day of May of $176.40. I will give an order to my Brother in Law, S.C. Hodgdon, who holds the acct, to draw, say, two hundred dollars and he will take up the Note. I expected when I left to be back to New York before May on I would not have left any accts unsettled.

As I have nothing more to write at this time I will close.

I remain Gentlemen
Yours respectfully
Samuel Ropes

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