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Jay Cooke Praises Northern Pacific Railroad and
Item Details
Description
Cooke Jay

Philadelphia Financier Cooke Praises Northern Pacific Railroad as “Grandest Enterprise of the Age” and Condemns Congress

 

JAY COOKE, Autograph Letter Signed, June 13, 1878, Philadelphia. On Charles D. Barney & Co., Bankers and Brokers, stationery. 2 pp., 5.75" x 9". Light fold wear; some edge staining; signature bold and dark. Sold Smythe, 2001, for $5,350.

 

In this superb letter, written on his son-in-law’s company stationery, Cooke refers to the Northern Pacific Railway as “the grandest enterprise of the age” and criticizes Congress for withholding an extension of its terms. Congress had authorized the railroad in 1864 and given it nearly 40 million acres of land grants. Construction began in 1870, and the main line from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean opened in September 1883 (but only because the Northern Pacific leased 214 miles of track from another company in Washington and Oregon). In the wake of the Panic of 1873, the Northern Pacific slipped into bankruptcy in June 1875, but construction resumed on a small scale in 1877.

 

In its original charter, Congress gave the Northern Pacific Railroad Company until July 4, 1876, to complete the entire road, but the railroad was far from complete by that date. The Northern Pacific secured several extensions from Congress, ultimately moving the deadline to 1879, but even that was not enough time. The railroad was “complete” by 1883 but did not actually construct its last seventy-five miles of main-line track until 1887.

 

Complete Translation:

 

Philadelphia, 13 June 1878.

 

My dear sir

 

Your letter was handed me by Mr McCulloch yesterday in N.Y. We had a long conference together, Gov Cooke & Mr Parsons were present also. Nothing was accomplished & Mr McCulloch says nothing can be done in England & he is not in the way of such negotiations in NY.I do not feel that I can undertake it & shall write Mr Parsons today that I decline his very fair propositionI have no doubt—if a strong party able to put in 3 or 3½ millions could be found it would be a good investment—but no such party can be found here in Phila or in the UStates.There are hundreds of good things offering all the time. The best of all I think is N Pac – Congress is disgracing itself in withholding the extension & keeping back the grandest enterprise of the age.The feeling is almost universal, that all the troubles of the country are owing to unwise action & want of wise action in Congress!

 

Sincerely Yr frd

 

Jay Cooke

 

Cooke mentions Hugh McCulloch (1808-1895), Secretary of the Treasury from 1865 to 1869 (who would hold the post again in 1884-1885), and a partner since 1870 in Jay Cooke, McCulloch & Company; Jay Cooke’s brother Henry David Cooke (1825-1881), first governor of the District of Columbia, from 1871 to 1873; and Henry C. Parsons (1840-1894), railroad engineer and future vice president of the Richmond and Alleghany Railroad. Parsons was likely seeking funding for the railroad, which was built along the canal towpath of the James River and Kanawha Canal beginning in 1880.

 

Jay Cooke (1821-1905) was born in Ohio and became a clerk in a Philadelphia banking house in 1838. He became a partner in 1842 and left the firm in 1858. On January 1, 1861, he opened his own private banking house. During the Civil War, Cooke was so successful in selling bonds that the Treasury Department relied on him to raise money. Through advertising and the sale of smaller denomination bonds, Cooke democratized the financing of the war, while accumulating a fortune for himself. In 1870, his firm financed the construction of the struggling Northern Pacific Railway, and he set out to develop Duluth, Minnesota, into a major shipping hub. The Panic of 1873 forced his company to suspend operations, and Cooke himself was forced into bankruptcy. In the mid-1860s, he had taken his son-in-law Charles D. Barney into the firm, and Barney led a reorganization of Jay Cooke & Company as Charles D. Barney & Company. By 1880, Cooke had become wealthy again through an investment in a Utah silver mine.

 

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

 

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Jay Cooke Praises Northern Pacific Railroad and

Estimate $3,500 - $4,500
Feb 26, 2020
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Starting Price $1,200
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0053: Jay Cooke Praises Northern Pacific Railroad and

Sold for $2,200
11 Bids
Est. $3,500 - $4,500Starting Price $1,200
Autographs, Books, Relics, Kerouac, Hemingway
Feb 26, 2020 10:30 AM EST
Buyer's Premium 25%

Lot 0053 Details

Description
...
Cooke Jay

Philadelphia Financier Cooke Praises Northern Pacific Railroad as “Grandest Enterprise of the Age” and Condemns Congress

 

JAY COOKE, Autograph Letter Signed, June 13, 1878, Philadelphia. On Charles D. Barney & Co., Bankers and Brokers, stationery. 2 pp., 5.75" x 9". Light fold wear; some edge staining; signature bold and dark. Sold Smythe, 2001, for $5,350.

 

In this superb letter, written on his son-in-law’s company stationery, Cooke refers to the Northern Pacific Railway as “the grandest enterprise of the age” and criticizes Congress for withholding an extension of its terms. Congress had authorized the railroad in 1864 and given it nearly 40 million acres of land grants. Construction began in 1870, and the main line from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean opened in September 1883 (but only because the Northern Pacific leased 214 miles of track from another company in Washington and Oregon). In the wake of the Panic of 1873, the Northern Pacific slipped into bankruptcy in June 1875, but construction resumed on a small scale in 1877.

 

In its original charter, Congress gave the Northern Pacific Railroad Company until July 4, 1876, to complete the entire road, but the railroad was far from complete by that date. The Northern Pacific secured several extensions from Congress, ultimately moving the deadline to 1879, but even that was not enough time. The railroad was “complete” by 1883 but did not actually construct its last seventy-five miles of main-line track until 1887.

 

Complete Translation:

 

Philadelphia, 13 June 1878.

 

My dear sir

 

Your letter was handed me by Mr McCulloch yesterday in N.Y. We had a long conference together, Gov Cooke & Mr Parsons were present also. Nothing was accomplished & Mr McCulloch says nothing can be done in England & he is not in the way of such negotiations in NY.I do not feel that I can undertake it & shall write Mr Parsons today that I decline his very fair propositionI have no doubt—if a strong party able to put in 3 or 3½ millions could be found it would be a good investment—but no such party can be found here in Phila or in the UStates.There are hundreds of good things offering all the time. The best of all I think is N Pac – Congress is disgracing itself in withholding the extension & keeping back the grandest enterprise of the age.The feeling is almost universal, that all the troubles of the country are owing to unwise action & want of wise action in Congress!

 

Sincerely Yr frd

 

Jay Cooke

 

Cooke mentions Hugh McCulloch (1808-1895), Secretary of the Treasury from 1865 to 1869 (who would hold the post again in 1884-1885), and a partner since 1870 in Jay Cooke, McCulloch & Company; Jay Cooke’s brother Henry David Cooke (1825-1881), first governor of the District of Columbia, from 1871 to 1873; and Henry C. Parsons (1840-1894), railroad engineer and future vice president of the Richmond and Alleghany Railroad. Parsons was likely seeking funding for the railroad, which was built along the canal towpath of the James River and Kanawha Canal beginning in 1880.

 

Jay Cooke (1821-1905) was born in Ohio and became a clerk in a Philadelphia banking house in 1838. He became a partner in 1842 and left the firm in 1858. On January 1, 1861, he opened his own private banking house. During the Civil War, Cooke was so successful in selling bonds that the Treasury Department relied on him to raise money. Through advertising and the sale of smaller denomination bonds, Cooke democratized the financing of the war, while accumulating a fortune for himself. In 1870, his firm financed the construction of the struggling Northern Pacific Railway, and he set out to develop Duluth, Minnesota, into a major shipping hub. The Panic of 1873 forced his company to suspend operations, and Cooke himself was forced into bankruptcy. In the mid-1860s, he had taken his son-in-law Charles D. Barney into the firm, and Barney led a reorganization of Jay Cooke & Company as Charles D. Barney & Company. By 1880, Cooke had become wealthy again through an investment in a Utah silver mine.

 

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

 

WE PROVIDE IN-HOUSE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE!

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