• Naval Officer Whiting Mentions Magnate Astor, Congressman Wood As He Seeks Discounting On Bank Notes

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    WILLIAM WHITING (1813-1883) was an American Naval officer who cruised on the Pacific station, principally engaged on surveys. He served on coast survey duty on the coast of Africa from 1837-45, then was transferred to the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, during which time he drew plans of the defenses of Vera Cruz preliminary to the Navy’s expedition and invasion by Gen. Winfield Scott’s Army. From 1851-56, he was again on coast survey duty, measuring the coasts of China and Japan. He then returned to the Naval Observatory, rendering valuable services in astronomical work.


    3 pp, 8 x 9 3/4, ALS by Whiting, Washington, April 7, 1848, to P. Corbin, Esq., Cashier at the Bank of Lansingburgh.


    In part, “Will you do me the favor to lay before the Bank...the enclosed drafts...They come into my possession in the prosecution of the business matters of my brother’s publication of views in Mexico, and it is very important to me to raise the money on them. They are drawn on New York and on men whose reputation is such that the Cashier of the Bank here and also Messrs Corcoran & Riggs, the bankers, said that the United States could not produce better paper. It is the time for which they are drawn only (six months) which make the banks here and in our larger cities decline to discount them as they have an amount of unexceptional paper offer’d at a very short date.  I think that the time would probably be less objectionable at the Bank of Lansingburgh than it would be here or in New York or Philadelphia and it is therefore that I make my application.  If you will give to its favorable consideration by the Board, the influence of your good will so far as consistent with your own views of propriety in the matter, you will confer on me my particular obligation. One draft is for Seven hundred dollars on Messrs. E. & G. W. Blunt [partners in a highly successful nautical publishing firm] of New York at 6 months from 5th April and accepted by them – there is not a house in New York of more elevated reputation than theirs. While their business is entirely removed from the influence of situation in trade or of the healthy condition of other merchants, their business is that of a Nautical Establishment, furnishing all the charts and Nautical works as well as most of the Nautical instruments used by the entire commercial marine of the United States and the entire Navy.  They have not a competitor in the United States and from Maine to New Orleans, every nautical store draws its supplies from the Blunts.


    “The other draft – also for six months is for Five hundred dollars on and accepted by Silas Wood [important lawyer and Congressman] of New York – His name stands among the first in New York...he is mentioned in a list...commencing with the name of John Jacob Astor [American business magnate]...It is very important to me to get these drafts discounted, and I hope that the Bank of Landsingburgh will do them...”


    Expected mailing folds. Very light wear.


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