March 1865 Letter to Photographer Charles D. Fredericks from Business Partner Henry A. Avery - "The armies of the government are walking all over the south"

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March 1865 Letter to Photographer Charles D. Fredericks from Business Partner Henry A. Avery - "The armies of the government are walking all over the south"

230.00

Item No. 8956524

A very interesting March 1865 letter written to noted photographer Charles D. Fredericks, then operating his studio in Havana, Cuba. It was written by Fredericks’s business partner Henry A. Avery, who operated their Broadway studio in New York. Fredericks’s New York studio was famous for its variety of cartes de visite (CDVs) during the Civil War. “The fact is my friend this war is virtually over,” wrote Avery from New York. “The armies of the government are walking all over the south and sweeping every thing like a sustaining rebellion away and it could be a short time before the whole country will have peace or cessation….” The potential end to the war, however, brought declining sales and concerns about economic panic as the value of gold decreased, and the letter contains much advice on how their business could handle the losses. The letter reads:

New York, March 15 1865

Dear Fredericks
Your favors since my last are all at hand. The Bank Draft from Well. I return you as worthless upon the Bank. Mr. Well has not at any time had any gold or Deposit at Mechanics Bank Brooklyn. The draft for $31100 you sent we careed in the very best of time for we for I would have been put to an extremity almost beyond my reach to have provided for our payments. Our Bill Book payments for March were about $1,000 and sales nothing almost. The dreaded times to which I have referred are fast approaching and I see naught but a pause ahead. Sales has fallen more than 40 prct. in two weeks and to day sales at $1.80 and will be in my opinion less than 1.10 within as many days. I am heartily glad you have sent the $31100 not only for my business aid and help here but for the benefit of our house in Havana as by that transmission you have saved for C.D.F.H. $1.00 more than you could to day. The fact is my friend this war is virtually over. The armies of the government are walking all over the south and sweeping every thing like a sustaining rebellion away and it could be a short time before the whole country will have peace or cessation and gold must go with the going of the war. My advice is as it has always been that it is better for our interests as Merchants, Photographers, or any thing you please to turn our money into currency as fast as you can and particularly at a promise such as it has been or as it is now. Make what you can and buy now all the Exchange you can spare the money for, for again I say that in my opinion and I am not alone that the war is rapidly drawing to a close and that the south cannot fend successfully but a very short time longer. We shall have a panic of immense magnitude here and for heavens sake do not let your prejudices prevent you from making or saving a few hundred dollars by Exchange if you can. We must in my opinion go through this summer here at a loss. Profits with us this year will be small or nothing and I shall be happy to have you make some money where you are removed from the influence of war. I note your remarks about purchasing the Drake debt. My letters to you if you will reread them were defensive only when I referred to your losing money for is it was simply to show that all I had done was without loss and in reply to your cutting letter referring to summer trips to Europe &c. That letter Charley hurt me much for it contained allusions to me I thought unworthy and in deference alone did I write a synopsis of my efforts for our mutual benefit, not complaining of you but to show you that you had no cause to upbraid me. I am satisfied with all that has been done by all of us be the same good or bad for I hate to look back at troubles fast and prefer to live and act for benefits in the future. I am in with you in the Drake debt and will go along with you if he pays very well if not I will stand my share of the loss. I cannot consent to sell you the debt when you do not know but you may lose it all and if you know it to be good I will share with you when it is paid. I note your remarks about Fuller Purser of Columbia and will not let him have any thing more on account Havana Valley. Your statement of Well business is extremely fine. $5000 gold is immense. I hope you are keeping a large portion of it. It is a charming business. I had anticipated your order for the Platina and sent it by last mail. It is a great bath and I hope works well with you. You will see by the enclosed invoice that your orders do not remain long unfilled. The same reams of Paper sent you I hope may be [found] advantageous for you to order more of for your sales, particularly the Lase. I have sent you a case of frames with 1/2 velvet for porcelains. You did not order them but they are very rich and will sell at a large profit I think. I have charged some cards made for Mather last trip. You will find a box of syrup for Lou caricature in one of the boxes. I have charged it to him. I hope that you will keep the glass from England as it will be ruinous for us to pay any expenses in Havana upon it. It is very cheap to you as you can have it at cost. Keep it by all means even if we here credit you for it a year. I will send invoice as soon as you write for it. The last of acid I will send as soon as I can make the Custom House entries for it. The card box / views you can also with the extra flanges make 4/4. The movement of the box for the four views you will readily learn two by sliding the holder and two more by raising it. The great fall in gold upsets every thing here and our business feels it yet. By every statement herewith we are not doing so bad. The Porcelain pictures we are increasing our business in and by and bye I hope to see the business much larger in that picture, but in that as well as else all we can hope is that our heads may be kept above water until the tide of success changes from its ebb to a flow, which I think is at least a year hence. We must hope however for the best. We have a great many goods in the Custom Houses and of course with gold falling buyers are very scarce. Still when we sell we sell at a profit. I hope to hear of your turning your [illegible] funds into Exchanges at the best rates of the [illegible] sooner or later and the latest not far off. You will get less currency for your gold ounce than at present. Forty per cent decline in two weeks in gold shows that something is in the wind. I. P. M. sold $1.75 by the time the steamer starts 3 P.M. it may be l.15 or 1.85.
Your friend
H. A. Avery

The letter was written on four pages of a 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” letterhead sheet preprinted with the Broadway address of Chas. D. Fredericks & Co. It is in very good condition with a unusual hole through pages 3 and 4. Otherwise, excellent condition with light toning. Creased where originally folded.

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