Letter from William MacKinnon to Henry Shelton Sanford (December 24, 1879)

Dublin Core

Title

Letter from William MacKinnon to Henry Shelton Sanford (December 24, 1879)

Alternative Title

MacKinnon to Sanford (December 24, 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 December 24, 1879. In the letter, MacKinnon discussed the health of Sanford's wife, Gertrude Dupuy Sanford (1841-1902). He also updated Sanford on the latest news regarding the "Florida affairs" sent by Edwyn Sandys Dawes (1838-1903), a co-founder of Gray Dawes and Company and an eventual board member of the Florida Land and Colonization Company (FLCC). The letter concludes with an expression of interest in meeting with Sanford in the United Kingdom. With its frank discussion of personal health and activities, this letter demonstrated the relatively close relationship between Sanford and MacKinnon. It also highlighted the efforts of MacKinnon and others to help Sanford in recruiting investors for his "Florida scheme," what would become the FLCC.

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 King Leopold II (1835-1909) of Belgium 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, 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 Dawes, 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, December 24, 1879: box 127, folder 2, subfolder 127.2.24, Henry Shelton Sanford Papers, General Henry S. Sanford Memorial Library, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.

Date Created

1879-12-24

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original letter from William MacKinnon to Henry Shelton Sanford, December 24, 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

403 KB

Medium

4-page handwritten letter

Language

eng

Type

Text

Coverage

Balinakill 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.

Transcript

BALINAKILL
CLACHAN
ARGYLESHIRE
Dec. 24. 1879

Dear Mr. Sanford

Only a few lines tonights to say I have received yours of 22?

My wife [?] me [?] [?] you on the satisfactory report your physician gives you of Mrs. Sanford’s health. We hope sincerely his report may be confirmed by the result and that Mrs. Sanford may be quite relieved from all her [?] in regard to the action of the heart and that her general health may soon be quite reestablished.

This evening I received the enclosed [?] letter about Florida affairs from Mr. Dawes. I had written to friend of Dr. MacKenzie’s son[?]. [?] the [?] and his friends have anticipated you. Please return the letter and give me your views should we try to get into their scheme or get them to [?] [?] say 1/3 or 1/4 of it, would that work into your plan?

I am glad you are not hurrying away. We may meet in London if not here before you go. I have written Strauch tonight giving him extracts from letter I wrote my nephew to Calcutta tonight about the [?] elephants. You will see it I also sent him letters from Bombay letting in [?] [?] up [?] for [?] [?] [?]. [?] [?] [?] therefore after [?] [?] [?] [?] will [?] [?]1700 [?] [?]500 for freight.

[?] to them [?] were [?] an [?] and will advise you [?] but [?] frenchman [?] to [?] to [?] [?] them [?] my little [?] [?] when. [?] efforts will [?] clashing.

[?] in wishing [?] I [?] you a very happy [?] [?] [?] and many happy [?]. [?] [?] in all [?].

Believe me
Yours very Sincerely,
W. MacKinnon

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Original Format

4-page handwritten letter

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