Stow, Edward Jr.
Manuscript Letter Copy Book, September 19, 1789 - November 25, 1795

folio, 98 pages, plus blanks, last page torn with loss of text, bound in contemporary boards, considerably worn, some pages loose. There is a hiatus in the correspondence between late 1791 and early 1794, with pages numbered separately for both. Signed by Stow, on front flyleaf, as well as on the many letters. Letters are in very good, legible condition.

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The correspondence details the business affairs of Edward Stow, a leading Boston merchant who dealt in a variety of goods, including tallow, Indian corn, iron, chocolate and "bank paper," the letters detail shipments of merchandise, market conditions and "prices current," in Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Stow's father Edward Stow, was a noted captain and was persecuted as a Loyalist sympathizer during the American Revolution which led him to live for a time in Canada.

Stow became director of the New England Mississippi Land Company with his partner John Peck, a company central to the Yazoo land settlement case establishing legal precedents for sales by states of land to individuals and speculators. Stow after moving to Philadelphia befriended Gilbert Stuart, who painted portraits of both Stow and his wife.

The letters in the first section of the volume are signed "Stow and Kennedy," a later letter is addressed directly to John Kennedy. Kennedy was a merchant in Boston (he is listed in the 1789 Boston Directory), whose office stood next to that of John Hancock. The partnership between Stow and Kennedy is announced as concluded in a letter dated May 4, 1790. By 1794 Stow had relocated to Philadelphia where he established himself in business, specializing in "the New England trade."

The correspondence covers news and offerings of goods and shipping opportunities addressed primarily to individuals and businesses in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, but includes other localities including Baltimore, Portland, and other towns in Massachusetts including: George Brewer, partner; Stow and Kennedy, partners; John Kennedy; Wm. Robinson; Tyson & Hagart; D. T. Shephard; Samuel Bryant; Conrad Wickerly; Capt. Edward Stow, father; John Peck, partner; John Hollingsworth; Joseph Rhoads; John Quincy; Joshua Loring; Andrew Hodge; Lane & Godfrey; Philip Key; Miller & Hoope; Thomas & John Hancock; Joseph Hussey; Mott & Lawrence; Nathaniel Sigourney; John Stillman; Jospeh Gardner, partner; Capt. William Marshall; John Russell; John Jenks, agent; J. B. Childs; Benjamin Jarvis; Daniel Wild, etc.

Stow mentions many ship's captains in his employ; several letters to Joshua Loring refer to a ship building project, another discusses "our adventure in Charleston." The letters are written mainly from Boston and later Philadelphia, but a few are datelined from New York. Stow discusses many of the problems encountered by businessmen at the time, scarcity of money; large fluctuations and discrepancies in the prices of commodities in different regions along the East coast; difficulty in obtaining regular and timely shipments, etc. Several letters discuss accounts and business ventures in France and Cuba.

An interesting look at interstate commerce and economic activity in the early Republic, with individuals and enterprises along the Eastern seaboard.