Autograph Letter Signed

HATCH, Rufus (1832-93)

From Main Street Fine Books & Mss, ABAA (Galena, IL, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since March 11, 1998 Seller Rating 5-star rating

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About this Item

This entrepreneur first became a successful Chicago grain broker before becoming one of the founding members of the Chicago Board of Trade, but his Wall Street speculations made him a wealthy man in New York, where his plentiful and good-humored letters published in newspapers across the country earned him wider fame and the moniker "Uncle Rufus." ALS, 4pp, 4¼" X 7", New York, NY, 1873 September 2[4?]. Addressed "To his Excellency / The President of the U.S." (Ulysses S. Grant). Fair only. Though fairly legible for the most part, the letter is heavily age toned and worn, spotted and soiled. Despite rough condition, this letter is an outstanding example of the bold and popular style of "Uncle Rufus," and was penned just a few days after the stock market crash of September 18, caused by excessive speculation in Northern railroad construction that followed the Civil War -- a trend of which Hatch was a leading proponent. This "Panic of 1873" hit Hatch himself hard; his reputed $1 million worth dropped by nearly 75%, though he supposedly made good on his $600,000 indebtedness. This panic marked the start of the "Long Depression" -- two decades of a weak, uncertain economy. Hatch here advises the president -- who he knew personally, having taken him, members of his cabinet and 300 other guests on a 2-day round-trip New York/Newport cruise aboard the new steamer owned by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company which Hatch served as director not long before -- what to do in this new crisis: "I beg leave respectfully to submit the following proposition for the financial relief of the country. 1st In order to prevent inflation, 2ndly To prevent any advance on the Gold prime and 3rdly To prevent any disturbance in Exchanges between the United States and Europe, and 4thly That our exports may continue. Deposit $10,000,000 Gold & $10,000,000 Greenbacks in New York banks. Receive joint clearing house receipts as security. The Security is good. Loan any part of the $44,000,000 Greenbacks on any government bonds at par on $10,000 multiplied. The people have paid 100 on the [ ? ] upon which this proposition in based. When the Government needed $2000,000.000 as a military necessity the banks were trusted from $50,000,000 to $150,000,000 why not trust them now to the extent of $20,000,000 to save the country from financial ruin?" Signs off "Respectfully," large and bold. President Grant did not take Hatch's advise, instead contracting the money supply, which caused interest rates to rise and worsened the situation for those such as Hatch who were in debt. A fascinating and scarce piece. Bookseller Inventory # 40478

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Autograph Letter Signed

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

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Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts has been buying and selling quality books, autographs and ephemera since 1991. We specialize in general antiquarian, first editions, signed books and autographs and documents. We are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association (MWABA), Universal Autograph Collectors Club (UACC) and The Manuscript Society.

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Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts accepts VISA, MasterCard and Discover cards. Checks are welcome. Institutions will be accommodated as their procedures require. Shipping is additional and will be quoted at the time an order is placed. Illinois residents will be charged 8.25% sales tax. Every effort has been made to describe each book and any defects accurately. If an item proves unsatisfactory for any reason, it may be returned pursuant to ABEBooks' policy. We would appreciate a courtesy cal...

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