Melbourne: March 28th 1870. Ephemera. A four page handwritten letter by James P. [Chapin?] of Melbourne describing difficulties he has had in Australia, addressed to Charles S. Maguire of Randolph, MA whose family has invested in Chapin's mining venture. Chapin explains that he would not be able to repay an investment to Maguire Sr. 'and "George" "what we owe, but don't intend to keep back any money you may depend."
He refers to a mutual friend 'Frank' who for 3 years has been working a sheep station "which might have been a good enough thing now, to pay off every shilling but ... mutton depreciated in value after the world thought they had [friched buttoru??? disease?] so the good fortune alluded to assists only to having a roof over his head!" He goes on to say, that he will pick up a living "in any decent wen when we are closed up here, but at present have no intention of quitting Australia." "What you need to understand is that we have tried very hard to resist failure ... without success and that George's statement about our short remittance being the sole cause of all his difficulties is incorrect. Also... that loss of money does not of necessity imply loss of character!"
Unfortunately, James Chapin remains elusive in historical records. Charles S. Maguire, age 38, is listed in the 1870 US Census for Randolph, Norfolk, Massachusetts with the occupation "Engaged in Pacific States Mining". He is living with his 33 year old wife Sarah B, and his parents James & Mary, aged 63 & 64 respectively). The father James is listed as being born in South Carolina, with a father of foreign birth. The 1850 census reveals that Charles has a younger brother George, possibly the "George" who is reported to be complaining in the letter. (George's occupation is listed as Book keeper in the 1860 census; Charles and his father James are both in boot manufacturing.) Charles' occupation in 1850 and 1865 census state he is a boot maker. In 1882, Charles is living in San Francisco, aged 50, occupation "Miner". He was to die in September 1886, an insurance agent in San Francisco.
10x8" folded cream paper, with original folds. Very good condition. Item #27437