Philadelphia: April 15, 1842.
1 p. pen and ink on paper, docketed on verso. 4to. THE PROPOSED TERMS SEEM HARD. Old folds, minor toning, small hole where seal was affixed affecting two words of text, else fine. Item #228660
Written at the nadir of Biddle’s career during a time when he was struggling with debt.
“I have had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 31st inst. The proposed terms seem hard - and I had always hoped that as ours was the first debt, our judgement would have enabled us to sell city property enough to recover it. I regret that this is does not seem to be the case but I rely so confidently on your good judgement & your desire to serve your friends that if you think it best for our interest, you my join in the measure on the part of the trust you represent. Very Respectfully Yours, N Biddle”
Nicolas Biddle (1786-1844) is the most prominent member of the influential Biddle family of Philadelphia. Graduating at the top of his class from Princeton, at the age of 15, he went on to serve as secretary to the U.S. minister to France; secretary to James Monroe, who was then minister to Great Britain; and was elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature. He is probably best-remembered, however, as President of the Second Bank of the United States and President Andrew Jackson’s greatest antagonist. Jackson’s determination to destroy the Bank of the United States led to a bitter political blood-letting between Jackson, Biddle, and their supporters known to history as the "Bank War." Jackson ultimately prevailed in his efforts and the U.S. Bank closed it's doors in 1836. Biddle reorganized the remnants of the institution as the U.S. Bank of Pennsylvania, a commercial bank run under a state charter, but Biddle had difficulty replicating his success in the private sector. After the Bank of Pennsylvania’s collapse during the Depression of 1839-1843, Biddle was left with debts that, though he succeeded in paying off, consumed his personal fortune. He retired to Andalusia, his estate north of Philadelphia, where he died at the age of 58.