After leaving our July Researcher’s meeting, I found this series of letters, which are pertinent to the discussion of money matters during the Panic of 1857 and following years. Linda Bryan
All of these are from: M391, Roll 1, American Missionary Association, Minnesota Files, 1847-1882, Minnesota Historical Society Library. Fisk University assigned a number to each document and they are on the microfilm in numerical order by that document number.
May 4th 1858
My dear Brother [George] Whipple [honcho of Am. Miss. Assoc.]
…I made my purchases in Galena. I found, as I anticipated, that I could not use your drafts payable in three Months, without too great a sacrifice. Consequently I was obliged to limit My purchases to about half the amount I wanted to take up. My purchases amounted to near $500. which exceeded my Means of paying $200. I expect to draw some funds from _gov’t_ here, with which I shall be enabled to pay it. But the transportation from here to the Mission is a great item, which is yet to be provided for…
Saint Paul May 7th 1858
Rev. Geo. Whipple
My dear Bro
[deleting here a discussion of trying to find a workaround for $500 which is due from Indian Agency but not yet arrived]…“It is no use for Me to try to collect any thing here. This place is now feeling the pressure of hard times. More than ever before, & I think they have not found bottom yet, by considerable. The country is now doing business mainly upon _State & City Scrip,_ & they have recently voted to loan the credit of the State for $5.000.000 & have thus hung a Millstone around their Neck, which they will doubtless have to bear for any years to come…
Agt of A.M.A.
Belle Prairie May 15th, 1858
Rev. Geo. Whipple,
My dear Brother
I arrived here on the 13th …. I shall return to St. Paul as soon as I learn that the Supt of Ind. Affairs has arrived, & if he does not arrive in a few days, I shall be obliged to raise some money on my Drafts at whatever sacrifice it costs, but giving three percent per Month for money is a hard way to carry on a Mission, 7 I shall void it if possible, but if I am compelled to Borrow Money, I have no expectation of obtaining it for less than that & I don’t know that it can be got in St. Paul, even at that….
Yours truly, J. P. Bardwell, agt. of A.M.A.