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1787 Financial Letter From John Wilcocks in Philadelphia to Nicholas Low in New York City Regarding a Prior Debt

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JOHN WILCOCKS (1749-1793). Prominent Philadelphia Merchant, who supported the American Revolution and was Part-owner of the Pennsylvania Privateer Schooner "Mars", Commissioned in May, 1776; his son, Alexander Wilcocks (1741-1807), married Mary Chew, daughter of Pennsylvania Chief Justice Benjamin Chew.

July 23, 1787-Dated Manuscript Letter Signed , "John Wilcocks", (with a short postscript in Wilcocks' hand), Philadelphia, 1 page, measuring 7.5" x 9", sent to Nicholas Low (1739-1826), a prominent New York City merchant and land developer who remained a supporter of the Revolution, Very Fine. Letter with Integral Transmittal Cover to: “Mr. Nicholas Low / Merchant/ New York.” Various financial notations on the reverse, below the Cover as shown, list numerous dates and amounts due, apparently totalling a huge amount! His brother, Isaac Low was a British Loyalist, who left for England when the British evacuated New York City.

Nicholas Low later served in the NY State Assembly (1787-1789), and was a Member of the 1788 NY State Convention which ratified the U.S. Constitution. Low was involved in various commercial ventures, including trade and shipping. His business network extended beyond the American colonies, reaching Europe and other parts of the world. The trade during this period was influenced by the disruptions caused by the Revolutionary War, but individuals like Low were able to navigate the challenges and maintain their economic interests.

After the Revolutionary War, when the British evacuated New York City in 1783, Low faced challenges as a suspected Loyalist in a newly independent United States. His Loyalist Brother’s affiliations led to the confiscation of some of his properties and assets. Despite these setbacks, he continued to rebuild his fortune and remained active in business. This Letter concerns the return of a debtor from New Orleans, and of handling payments to creditors for a debtor in St. Croix. This Letter reads, in part:

“Mr. Nicholas Low --- Dear Sir ---- Having accidentally heard of the return of McIntire McCarty of New Orleans, Debtor, I communicate it by Post, not being able to obtain any particulars about him. Mr. W. Constable probably can inform his situation. I have small sums to pay to Grover Bend & Doctor Charleton about which I wrote you in 1776 & at other times; they are Creditors of a Mr. John Gordon of St. Croix in whose behalf I pay. Please to inform me where the Gentlemen now are & give the enclosed Dispatch... --- (Signed) John Wilcocks”

The signature “John Wilcocks” is massive and bold, being the most prominent on this letter, measuring a huge 4” long at the conclusion.
John Wilcocks (1749-1793) was a prominent figure in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War era, known for his contributions as a merchant and privateer. Born in Philadelphia in 1749, Wilcocks became involved in maritime trade and played a significant role in the commerce and naval activities of the time.

During the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), when tensions between the American colonies and Great Britain escalated into armed conflict, Wilcocks actively supported the patriot cause. He engaged in privateering, which involved privately owned and armed ships authorized by the Continental Congress to prey on enemy vessels. Privateers played a crucial role in disrupting British maritime trade and bolstering the American war effort.

As a merchant, Wilcocks likely participated in supplying goods and materials to the Continental Army and the revolutionary cause. Philadelphia, as a major port city, played a vital role in the movement of goods and troops during the war.

Part-owner of "Mars" that was one of the Privateer vessels commissioned by Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War. Many privateers operated out of ports along the eastern seaboard, including Philadelphia, during this time. Privateers were authorized by letters of marque and reprisal, essentially government licenses that permitted them to capture enemy vessels and bring them before admiralty courts.

It's worth noting that the Revolutionary War era was a time of great upheaval and dynamic change, and individuals like John Wilcocks played crucial roles in shaping the economic and maritime aspects of the conflict.

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Nicholas Low (1739-1826) was a prominent merchant and businessman in New York City during the late 18th century, including the year 1780. He was born in Raritan Landing, New Jersey, and came from a family with a history of successful mercantile and business endeavors.

During the American Revolution, New York City was occupied by British forces from 1776 to 1783. Nicholas Low was a Loyalist, which meant that he remained loyal to the British Crown during the conflict. His business interests continued during the occupation, and he maintained connections within the British administration.

Low was involved in various commercial ventures, including trade and shipping. His business network extended beyond the American colonies, reaching Europe and other parts of the world. The trade during this period was influenced by the disruptions caused by the Revolutionary War, but individuals like Low were able to navigate the challenges and maintain their economic interests.

After the war, when the British evacuated New York City in 1783, Low faced challenges as a Loyalist in a newly independent United States. His Loyalist affiliations led to the confiscation of some of his properties and assets. Despite these setbacks, he continued to rebuild his fortune and remained active in business.

Nicholas Low's legacy extends beyond his activities during the Revolutionary War. He became one of the leading businessmen in early 19th-century New York City, involved in banking, insurance, and various civic and philanthropic activities. His contributions to the economic and social development of the city were significant.
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