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William Ralston Letters: 1872 English Engineer's Letter with Plans for Investments in California Lan

Currency:USD Category:Collectibles Start Price:250.00 USD Estimated At:500.00 - 1,000.00 USD
William Ralston Letters: 1872 English Engineer's Letter with Plans for Investments in California Lan
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First of three historically significant letters written to Ralston, as President of the Bank of California, is dated September 13, 1872 and is from Robert Maitland Brereton. Brereton was an English railway engineer who was active in India. In 1871 William Ralston called him to California following a drought in the San Joaquin Valley. He supervised the surveying of the area and produced a detailed plan of irrigation canals. From 1872 to 1876 he was frequently in Washington D. C. and helped pass the first Irrigation Act and offer assistance to the Irrigation and Reclamation Service. Hence an unusual interest in railroads, water and land in California as reflected in this letter.

This first letter is optimistic with potential for financial investments in California, "...I arrived in New York on Wednesday, and stay till next week in order to forward our California projects of land & water. I left a strong Emigration Company forming in London under Mr. Robert Benson the Chairman of the London & North Western R.R. a very good man - and one largely interested in American R.Rs. This company will embrace California & Oregon in connection with the other states, and with me the managing agent for the Pacific Coast..."

The letter also addresses the fact that Brereton is:
• the managing agent for the Pacific Coast
• will act as agent for English to secure land in California
• when the English market is ready, will wire you
• Californians are asked to agree to a 10% to financiers - he thinks that is too high
• mentions a Mr. Anderson, M. P. for Glasgow, and chairman of the Emma Mine
There are issues, however. One is the Arizona diamond hoax. People are concerned this is another California swindle. He was unsuccessful in London because of Levi Parsons, H. Green and one or two others.

Letter is written on "Oriental Club, Hanover Square' stationary. The Oriental Club is "composed of noblemen, M.P.'s, and gentlemen of the first distinction and character." The Committee elects members by ballot. The club opened in 1824. The qualifications for members of this club are, having been resident or employed in the public service of His Majesty in the East, or the East-India Company. The Duke of Wellington was the first President!
Date: 1872 City: San Francisco State: California HWAC# 48807