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Union or Secession
  • "Less hopeful than we were"
On February 18, 1861, the Baltimore mercantile house John P. Pleasants and Sons informed Benjamin Franklin Gravely, in Henry County, that recent political events, including comments by president-elect Abraham Lincoln, had made the firm fear for future business conditions.
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"Less hopeful than we were"

John P. Pleasants to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, February 18, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.

In mid-February 1861, the Baltimore mercantile house John P. Pleasants and Sons wrote to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, in Henry County. Apologizing for not promptly answering Gravely's most recent letter, Pleasants wrote, "We delayed replying to it with the hope of being able to say something encouraging to you as to the prospects of trade &c, but we cannot." Recent political events, including the refusal of President-elect Abraham Lincoln to disclose any details about the policies he would pursue after his inauguration of March 4, 1861, had made the firm fear for future business conditions.

John P. Pleasants to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, February 18, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.

Balto. 18th Feby 1861
Mr B. F. Gravely Leatherwood
Henry Co. Va.
Dear Sir
Your letter of the 5th inst. was duly recd. & we delayed replying to it with the hope of being able to say something encouraging to you as to the prospects of trade &c, but we cannot—Lincolns speeches & other unfortunate indications Cause us to be much less hopeful than we were a week or two since—We note what you Say in regard to selling your Tob. & shall be governed by it—We have, we think, thus far escaped better than some of our friends, but, nevertheless, have suffered enough to make us very cautious—It is now very hard to get strictly responsible men to buy Tob.—You will see by the memo. that we have done very little for you—We have given Mr Willis Gravely a draft on you at ten days from 18th Feby 1861 for twenty seven hundred & fifty six 65/100 dollars, say $2756.65—The draft that we accommodated you by accepting, at 4 mos. from 20th Octb last, will be due on 23d inst for $4000.00—We will pay it & it will save you the exchange by paying to Mr Willis Gravely the amot. of $2756.65 in Va. funds instead of remitting to us in Balto. funds
Yours Very Truly
JOHN P. PLEASANTS & SONS