James Philips letter book  1800-1801
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The James Philips letter book (552 pages) contains copies of the Philadelphia merchant's business correspondence from February 7, 1800-June 4, 1801. Philips was involved in shipping and wrote to merchants throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Great Britain about a variety of foodstuffs and other commodities. The first 69 pages once held pasted-in documents, but all are now blank, with the exception of page 43 (which has a copy of a two stock certificates, dated February 6 and 7, 1800).

Most of the letters concern shipping and have notations about the safe arrival of cargo in various ports. Writing from Philadelphia, Philips discussed commerce with his mercantile contacts in various locations such as London, England; Manchester, England; and Havana, Cuba. In a letter of March 12, 1800, he warned Captain N. A. Perry of the difficulties inherent in shipping to distant locations, especially St. Domingo. On other occasions, he discussed the dangers of flooding the market and other economic subjects (April 14, 1800; June 5, 1800; et al.). His letter of December 30, 1800, contains a lengthy passage regarding his concerns about recent American political shifts; he also foresaw some of the conflicts that would take place during the War of 1812. The letter book has an index of recipients.

Partial List of Frequent Correspondents

  • [Jim] A. Brown, Baltimore
  • Samuel Corp, New York
  • Corp, Ellis & Shaw, New York
  • Charles Holmes, New York
  • Lawrence & Van Tandt, New York
  • C. T. & J. Marriott, Manchester (England)
  • J. & W. Mellish, London
  • Marriott & Robinson, Manchester (England)
  • Samuel Newton, Liverpool
  • J[ohn] L. Philips & Brothers, Manchester (England)
  • Luke Tiernan, Baltimore
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