This letter was written by B. F. Marshall, a cotton broker who split his time between Mobile, Alabama, and New York City.
Marshall wrote the letter to William J. Ridgill (1817-1864), a cotton broker in Montgomery, Alabama. He served as a Second Sergeant with the 42nd Alabama Militia during the Creek Indian Wars, 1836-37. He was married to Winnifred Stanley (1819-1870) about 1840.
There are references to the impact of cotton prices caused by increased tension between the Russian Empire and Turkey that culminated in the Crimean War.
Addressed to Mr. W. J. Ridgill, Montgomery, Alabama
New York [City]
August 30, 1853
I wrote you hastily yesterday. We have now the Europ__ ___ — which threw no new light on the Eastern question. It appeared by the previous ____ the Czar had accepted the terms proposed & that the Sultan had also accepted of them. Still that does not seem to satisfy all parties. I have not the most remote idea there will be any war — but I am equally satisfied that Nicholas now feels assured that he can do as he pleases hereafter (on the slightest pretext) with Turkey, as he must see that England is not disposed to stand square up to Turkey. The ____ from the ____ are very contradictory in regard to the crops and as it is not likely that we can get such ____ as will cause action here in time for us, I have told Mr. Sprague to make the best sale he could from cotton. I was in hopes the Europ___ ___ would have been of such a character as to have aided prices but as they show a slight decline & small sales in Liverpool & Havre, this market will be barely sustained. I will not be able to leave here before the 25 September, so you will continue to write me to that date & should there be such injury to the crops from _____ as would justify taking hold, you will please telegraph me & I will try to make up our losses by a further ___ operation. This, I suppose as it is the ____ market in the union & the only point where there is a good stock of cotton. I would be glad you would write me ___ or ____ so as to keep me as well posted as possible.
You can’t turn a corner here without meeting an Alabamian. It seems that the South has determined to make the North their summer retreat. I am pleased to say that I am not only in fine health but stronger than I have been in ten years so I feel that I will be able to do a hard winter’s work.
Yours, — B. F. Marshall