The letter is from the factor A. R.
Taylor, writing from New Orleans, LA
concerning the loading of a Brig with cotton
for Nicholas Peck. It mentions current
prices and loading rates. It also mentions
three possible ports that the ship could visit and
talks about repressing the cotton bales.
(I believe the cotton bales were
originally more loosely packed for shipping down river to New
Orleans and by repacking them, room can me made to carry
additional bales in the available space at a 4 for 3 ratio.)
Nicholas Peck was born
on May 6, 1736 in Bristol, Massachusetts
to Jonathan and Mary Throop Peck. He
was a 5th generation
descendant of Nicholas Esq Peck,
(born 1630 in Hingham,
Norfolk, England; died Bristol, Massachusetts on May 27, 1710.)
Bristol did not become part of the state of Rhode
Island until 1747.
Nicholas was a successful
Bristol Merchant and dealt in such diverse cargos
as cotton, vegetables, grains,
nails, lumber and rum. He
was also engaged in the slave trade and there is
record of Peck financing a fishing voyage to the
northern Codfish Grounds.
Peck owned several ships
outright and also partnered in shipping ventures
with John Brown, Thomas Church,
Charles Collins, Nathaniel Gladding
(Ship Captain), Henry Munro,
Samuel Townsend, and John Wardwell. During
the late 18th and early 19 centuries the value of the
cargos was usually far greater than
the cost of the ships that carried them and Peck
had a reputation for sending his cargos to sea on
ships that were less than seaworthy.
NOTE: In the case
of the letter below; the factor lists the brig as a class
B.No.1, whereas a fully seaworthy vessel would have been rated
at A.No.1 or A.No.2.
was married to Elizabeth Smith (1766-1797),
Jemima Gorham (1774-1798), and Sally
Gorham who outlived him. Nicholas Peck died
on June 11, 1847 in Bristol, Rhode Island.
sons, Nicholas Peck Jr., emigrated to Gonzales,
Texas in 1831. He purchased
4 lots in the town in 1835 and
joined the Texas Republican Army, serving first
under Captain Jacob Eberly and later under Captain
Moseley at the Battle of San Jacinto. He
returned to Rhode Island in 1837 for
his wife and daughter and settled in Texana,
Texas. He died in 1838.
Letter - Philadelphia to Nicholas Peck - Safe Arrival of Brig