Joseph Coolidge to Nicholas P. Trist
|Dear Nicholas—||Boston Novr 19. 1825|
We have to day Mary’s letter of 10th and tho. it related to our melancholy loss by the Washington, it gave Ellen, who had heard nothing for a longer period than usual, from Monticello, relief: I am sorry that Virginia is’nt well; but trust she will soon be better. That rascal Browere deserves castigation—; when the letter came wh. told us of his conduct we were distressed to hear of the suffering he had caused GdP: that his impudent and traitorous letter, wh. has been going the rounds of our country, created mingled feelings of contempt and indignation. I saw it first in a New Hampshire Gazette, wh. I sent you, interlined; but almost instantly after recd the Central wh. contained the same with the Editor’s remarks! It proves him to be without feeling, and convinces me of the pitiful mediocrity of his talent, divested as he is of that wh. is more especially essential to all high attainments in art. of our loss by the Washington I say little at home, as does Ellen also, not wishing to distress one another by shewing how deeply we feel it:I could almost have shed tears for her sake; but would not set her such an example when she gave evidence of so much fortitude: It is a great relief to her, however, that the little picture by mother, that of the Paraclete, was saved; and D’Anville which Col. Randolph used in Edinbro. Mary mentions that two Englishmen accompanied Mr Key to Monticello—Hallam & St. Aubin, they were sensible, good sort of fellows, at least seemed so to me, the evening I passed with them. I made many inquiries about the Professors whom they had known at Cambridge; of Long they spoke most highly, as of one of the best scholars wh. Trinity College has turned out of late, but Key they represented as an erratic genius—half physician, half metaphysician; a little mathematical, and somewhat medical!—My dear N. you spoke to me of the loss of crops at N. Orleans: I sympathise with you, and know that you will do so with me, tho. in another way; I allude to my own prospects, wh. in consequence of some arrangements lately entered into are quite as favourable as I could hope or wish. One of our rich men a Mr J. R. Miller is about retiring from his business, and for a certain amount transferd it to us: he has amassed a fortune in it, and I hope to do the same: the nature of it is as follows: The Capital of New England is investing itself rapidly in manufactures; which are to supply the home consumption as well as that in Spanish America: The manufacturers have occasion for places of deposite in our cities, therefore, where they can leave their goods, and receive an advance of ½ or ⅔ their value: such places are called “American goods warehouses”—: the articles which are deposited are sold at the discretion of him who has advanced upon them & who receives—besides interest of money—, a commission of 2 ½, 5 and sometimes even, with guarantee, 7 ½ pr. ct.—such has been Mr Miller’s business; and I have formed a copartnership with my cousin, Mr Bulfinch, a man of family and education, but what is better still, a man of industrious habits, and most unimpeachable integrity, to take his place—: for the opportunity wh. is offered of succeeding to such a business, ’2000 dls for 10 years were first demanded; but at length $ 1400. for 5 years were accepted:—making, for rent of the warehouse, a brick store of 5 stories, new, but known by those in the trade, $ 7000. for the term of our lease! this, as you will see, gives us facilities wh beginners, particularly such as myself, with habits so different from those of men of business, could not take, unless by some arrangement of a similar nature.I confess to you dear N. I am sanguine of a prosperous result: the goods are recd and sold by boys and clerks, under the supervision of Mr Bulfinch, who is ever present; and who, having a fortune to make, will not flag in his exertions; & who is under obligations to me, whose capital has brought about this arrangement; he is a man of honour and my intimate friend, and in his hands I shall not fear to leave my concerns when it becomes pleasant or necessary to visit friends at a distance: all things are done by him, with my consent, and the name of the house is “Thos Bulfinch & Co”—: one other circumstance combines to make this arrangement most agreable—it will give me occupation, necessary to the happiness and health of any man, and, at the same time, leave me time to pursue my own tastes, with the certainty, while doing so, that the interests of myself and those I love are not endangered thereby. One only circumstance depends upon ourselves—to secure the continuance of the business wh. Mr Miller has transacted; and this we shall endeavour to effect—; it has been great, very great; sales at the rate of $ 240:000 dls the year—! but feeling it best to guard against possible losses—we have retained the right of letting a part of the warehouse we occupy, and that of diminishing our yearly payments, if necessary—: but I see nothing wh. will, if we conduct properly, prevent an addition of from 2 to 3 000 dls a year to my income, and as much to my partner’s—; and in a short time, say two years or more, double that amo. these calculations my dear friend, are all “ en beau”, but as sales are made for others, not for ourselves, our risk is less than in any other—: still it is but an experiment, but it is an experiment wh. promises well;—our predecessor whose experience and advice we are allowed to call for, has ma[de] by his own confession, and as his books shew, the prodigious sum of 60.000 dls in the last five years, besides interest on money employed!—One thing more—: when in Virginia I sometimes felt a momentary regret at not belonging to one of the learned professions—but the instant I crossed the Potowmac, my conviction that I had acted well in chusing [. . .] trade,—wh. occupies the thought of the whole section of the country in wh. I live,—and wh, with us, is the most enviable, and most respectable, wh. it is, in fact, the only one wh. leads to fortune; acquired force wh. increased in the ratio of journey homeward—till I reached New York; where I found that law was in such disrepute that men bred at the bar, had been compelled by public opinion to take to the counting-room! but I weary you with my selfishness—adieu my dear Nicholas—and remember me most affectionately to all—:
Say to Dr. Dunglison that I mean to write to him.