Hard Times, Soft Monie
“... Jew Down the Price ...”

Davidson County Tennessee
~ 1836 ~

© 2000, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Nashville Tennessee cover.

Blue Circular Postmark:
       NASHVILLE . T. APR 28
Manuscript Rate:
       C. Haynes, Esq
       Washington Co.
       Recd May 3rd
       Dated Apl 25th 1836
       No. 27

Nashville April 25 1836
Mr. C. Haynes
       Dear Sir, on the 22 instant I enclosed to you a bill of exchange dated 22 instant at 6 months accepted by H. R. W. Hill & Co. Nashville, to order of Haynes Mech. & Co., which you will endorse on the back in that way. Mr. Hill said it was only chance for monie at present, and states that the bank at . . . . . where you got Ten Thousand Dollar bill discounted, would not discount eanney more. He read some letters to that effect from that place and Richmond Va. But he held the letters himself and read them. Now Hill might of not wished eanney more cached in Va. as he states that nothing but good funds or silver would pay them. He appears very slack about doing business, and has since denyed grufly a man he accepted for last year, and raised monie for, and had paid up every cent. I still believe that in a few weeks that I can obtain eanney Reasonable amount But I may be mistaken, he, Hill, said that you must assure the Bank at Noxville that the monie would be distributed in the western part of Va., and east tennessee. If this takes, we, I suppose, can obtain more, or could, I suppose, obtain bills in New Orleans, at 6-7, or 8 months. Hill appeared like he wished the bills to run at such dates that our old debts or new ones would be certain to meet them. Now the fact is this, is that they have done two large a business and have cached two much of their own paper, and he is hard run to meet bills that are payable in the bank. Mark R. Cockrell had 25 thousand dollars that Hill had collected for him in New Orleans, the payment of Cockrell’s plantation. He, Cockrell promised me the lone of it 12 months of at least 20,000 of it at ten per ct pr annum. We went to town the day after Hill arrived, and after being at town, Cockrell was anxious to go to Hill, and lone me the monie, so that the interest might be going on. We went. Cockrell and Hill had a long talk. Cockrell informed me that he could not comply with his promise, as Hill had the Collecting and trouble without Charges and that he Could not draw it out his hand. We rode home together. I observed to Cockrell that Hill only allowed him Bank interest, when he replyed that he allowed him upward of ten per ct., and would return the monie at a few days notice at eanney time, if he wished eanney. So if he allows ten per ct. or upwards, monie matters are worse with them than heretofore. I am convinced he done so, as Cockrell is close to the last cent. I have received no letter since the one from Buckingham. You will please report the news, number & kind of negros & price, and what might be the most best or surest way to get them out here. If they could be, some 20 or 30 sent out with a good team. I could take them on early, and them and the team would be of service to me here. I could send Hill after them, or someone else if you could not procure a good hand.
       I have been thinking that, if monie arrangements cannot be made here to suit me in the course of 1 or 2 months, that I will go to Vicksburg & Natchez and try some of our bills or notes that are payable in the bank, and perhaps some of N.O. I'll ask acceptance through the Mississippi Banks, as I think their acceptance will go there. You must only do the best you can, and think out the monie you have, and you will have the better opportunities to jew down the price and obtain saleable property.
       Talbott is at my house taking his pleasure sleeping. Borrow monie in Va. if you can. I cannot say how our business stands, as I have as I have been busy day and night. I got up and left a considerable bill in N. Orleans, not discounted, but waiting untill our bills become near due. At this writing before daybreak, and I have written two others I do not know if you can read it. We are all well. My respects to all our friends, etc., and myself and Lady would be glad to see her sister at our house this summer to spend 1 or 2 months. I have never heard of Mr. Horn having gotten the letter of credit from Hill. Hill says he wrote him and I believe he said two times. and if he used it.
Yours respectfully, /s/ Joseph Me_______ [?]

“Panic of 1837”
       This letter tells us about the currency troubles the United States citizens faced during the 1830’s under Andrew Jackson. In 1833 under President Andrew Jackson, an independent treasury system emerged when government funds were transferred from the Bank of the United States to state banks. This lead to the Panic of 1837. Ultimately, Jackson’s actions lead to the “Hard Times of 1837-1843.”
“Jew Down”
       The term “jew down” probably had its origins in Europe where the Jews ran the money lending houses during the Middle Ages.

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot
Provenance: Wesley Lanham, Paperamericana ~ 2000

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