An original $1,000 bond issue for construction of a canal between Lake Erie and the River Raisin in Monroe, Michigan. Michigan Printing.

An original $1,000 bond issue for construction of a canal between Lake Erie and the River Raisin in Monroe, Michigan.

[Detroit? n. p., 1838]. Unbound sheet folded to make 4 pages, approx. 15 x 10-1/2 inches, canceled in ink and with its four remaining redemption coupons canceled in ink as well. Some tearing, creasing and soiling; in good, sound condition. Item #13656

Flush times and financial chicanery in the new state of Michigan, this bond number 13 (of presumably 25), a $1,000 bond and part of a $25,000 bond issue for construction of a canal between Lake Erie and the River Raisin (the City Canal), which was projected to bypass "Fishermen's Bend" in the river and shore up Monroe's status as the up-and-coming city on the Great Lakes. The loan was not without its detractors--according to Talcott Wing's History of Monroe County (1890), "the parties who were deeply interested in the project had to resort to the expedient of conveying small parcels of land to numerous persons who were in favor of the loan and wanted employment on the canal, making them holders of real estate in fee simple, and so qualified them to vote, who otherwise would not have been entitled to vote on the question." Monroe in the late 1830's was considered a better candidate than comparable villages -- like Chicago -- to become a great city, and it was of course the subject of all sorts of land speculation; cf. Fuller's Economic and Social Beginnings of Michigan, 1916. Alas, this bond issue foundered (cash was scarce in the West even after the brief recovery after the Panic of 1837, and taxes were repeatedly levied on the canal-side property leases to pay the interest) and Gen. Cass (a substantial bond holder on the project) finally negotiated a pay-out of 62-1/2 cents on the dollar. The bond is signed by J. Q. Adams (James, not John, alas), who was mayor of Monroe in 1838, and it is endorsed by David Noble. It's unclear to this cataloguer who handled this printing job or even in reviewing the Michigan Imprints Inventory whether there was a press in Monroe at this point; perhaps this was jobbed out to Bagg or to Whitney in Detroit? Or was it printed in New York, where David A. Noble was trying to negotiate the funds to get the city canal financed?

Price: $100.00

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