Cairns, N.
Autograph Letter Signed, Rio De Janeiro, February 12, 1831, to Hugh McCalmont, Belfast

Quarto, 3 ¼ pages, very closely written, in very good clean and legible condition

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Cairns writes on business conditions in Brazil, the effects of the suppression of slavery and the slave trade had in Brazil and its deleterious effects on commerce:


“My Dear Sir,

… we are now quite established and settled in Rio I find myself much more content and happy since all anxiety on the score of final arrangements has been at an end- our business goes on steadily. The country is quiet and though we cannot at present come much speed in sales yet we have every prospect of an improved demand. The last packet took our accounts and balance sheet to W J & Co by which it appears that from two to three thousand will remain as profit but we have been only in our establishment for nine months most of the expenses are calculated for the year … We have done more last month than in any preceding one … so at end of March when our first year ends we shall make perhaps £ 1000 which tho’ a small sum is not bad considering the dullness of the time and that we have great part of our consignments yet on hand …

… The effects of the abolition of the slave trade have not yet been felt, the goods for the coast were latterly sold at such long credits that the proceeds are even to this time not all remitted. For the last six months sales have been more limited than in any former period consequently the remittances for them will be of less moment. The copper coinage is stopped and when the money for the copper blanks already imported is sent away there will be more bills required for returns of that article, and these returns have latterly been of immense amounts. Finally the new crops of produce are very promising – from these facts justify the opinion that during the next shipping season the value of imports to be remitted, will not so much exceed the value of the exports and that therefore we shall have a greater abundance of bills and that the premium on them will consequently be less. We have not yet recovered from the effects of the abolition of the slave trade. All the country people made such large purchases of blacks, that their means were all required to pay for same, and even long credits were required. They have not (nor will they be, for some time) been able to clear themselves from these debts and therefore cannot spend money as they formerly did, nor even pay what they previously owed, which accounts for the difficulty the shopkeepers here now have in collecting their debts and paying us. But this must end, the country is improving much, its resources are much better known and there is no possible reason for the general business connected with its declining in the least…”