John P. Pleasants and Sons to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, December 17, 1860, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.
John P. Pleasants and Sons, a mercantile house in Baltimore, informed Henry County merchant Benjamin Franklin Gravely that the unsettled political situation in the country had created a financial crisis because banks were unwilling to extend credit to businesses or to accept at face value notes drawn on other banks. Three days before South Carolina seceded from the Union, Pleasants wrote that he regarded "the present aspect of political matters as more unpromising than they have, heretofore, been, but he cannot think otherwise than that some adjustment will be effected." Many Virginia merchants and tobacco dealers had longstanding business relationships, such as that between Pleasants and Gravely, with firms outside the South.