Letter from William MacKinnon to Henry Shelton Sanford (October 10, 1879)

Dublin Core

Title

Letter from William MacKinnon to Henry Shelton Sanford (October 10, 1879)

Alternative Title

MacKinnon to Sanford (October 10, 1879)

Subject

MacKinnon, William, 1823-1893
Sanford, Henry Shelton, 1823-1891

Description

A letter from Sir William MacKinnon (1823-1893) to Henry Shelton Sanford (1823-1891) dated October 10, 1879. The letter was written from MacKinnon's private manor, Balinakill, located in Scotland. It included discussion of MacKinnon's travel plans to Brussels, Belgium. It also mentioned developments related to an exploratory expedition in East Africa, particularly in regard to the expedition's usage of elephants to facilitate travel. The elephants in question were meant to aid a Belgian team tasked with exploring East Africa on behalf of King Leopold II (1835-1909) of Belgium. The elephants were bought by the Belgian king and shipped from British India. MacKinnon also made the esoteric remark to Sanford: "I am with you in all your views." This reference may have been in regards to Sanford's business plans in Florida.

Sir William MacKinnon was a Scottish ship-owner and businessman who established significant trade networks and commercial interests in British India and later in East Africa. Among other business ventures, he founded the British India Steam Navigation Company and the short-lived Imperial British East Africa Company. During his lifetime, he was one of the leading ship-owners in the British Empire. By the 1880s, he controlled more shipping tonnage than any other individual in Britain.

MacKinnon met Henry Shelton Sanford sometime in the late 1870s and the two began corresponding regularly in 1879. MacKinnon's interest in Sanford stemmed from the former American ambassador's close proximity to Leopold II and the Brussels inner-circle of businessmen, politicians, and diplomats. Sanford, living in a château in Brussels, provided a valuable lifeline for MacKinnon, who sought Belgian business connections to support his expanding commercial ventures, particularly in East Africa. He was a vital factor in the formation of the Florida Land and Colonization Company (FLCC), going so far as to lend Sanford £8,000 in early January 1880. He also played an essential role in helping Sanford court early participants in the investment plan. Many of the board members of the FLCC, like Edwyn Sandys Dawes (1838-1903), were close associates of MacKinnon. With his business ventures strongly tied to British and Belgian development schemes in Africa, MacKinnon had no ostensible interest in Florida land investment. His participation in Sanford's Florida ambitions was thus directly linked to his interest in maintaining strong relations with Sanford and his valuable connections in Belgium.

Creator

MacKinnon, William

Source

Original letter from William MacKinnon to Henry Shelton Sanford, October 10, 1879: box 127, folder 2, subfolder 127.2.14, Henry Shelton Sanford Papers, General Henry S. Sanford Memorial Library, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.

Date Created

1879-10-10

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original letter from William MacKinnon to Henry Shelton Sanford, October 10, 1879.

Is Part Of

Box 127, folder 2, Henry Shelton Sanford Papers, General Henry S. Sanford Memorial Library, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.

Format

application/pdf

Extent

464 KB

Medium

4-page handwritten letter

Language

eng

Type

Text

Coverage

Balinakill Country House, Clachan, Scotland, United Kingdom

Accrual Method

Donation

Mediator

History Teacher
Economics Teacher

Provenance

Originally created by William MacKinnon.
Donated to the Connecticut Historical Society after 1901.
Loaned to the Tennessee State Library and Archives for processing until June 1, 1960.
Acquired by the General Henry S. Sanford Memorial Library, Sanford Museum in 1960.

Rights Holder

The displayed collection item is housed at the General Henry S. Sanford Memorial Library, Sanford Museum in Sanford, Florida. Rights to this item belong to the said institution, and therefore inquiries about the item should be directed there. RICHES of Central Florida has obtained permission from the Sanford Museum to display this item for educational purposes only.

Curator

Fedorka, Drew M.

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

Fry, Joseph A. Henry S. Sanford: Diplomacy and Business in Nineteenth-Century America. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 1982.
Munro, J. Forbes. “"Shipping Subsidies and Railway Guarantees" The Journal of African History 28, no. 2 (1987): 209-230.
Boulger, Demetrius Charles. The Congo State or, the Growth of Civilization in Central Africa. London: Thacker, 1898.

Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

4-page handwritten letter

Locations

Categories

Transcribe This Item

  1. SP00181.pdf