Francisco de la O to James Wiley Magoffin, Hacienda de la Rosalía, 23 March 1861

Francisco de la O to James Wiley Magoffin, Hacienda de la Rosalía, 23 March 1861, Magoffin Home, I3-14a.

Translation by Rick Hendricks


Hacienda de Santa Rosalía, 23 March 1861

Don Santiago Magoffin

Fort Bliss

            My dear sir of my particular appreciation and respect,

                        I have received your letter dated the 9th of the present month, and I see that you are in possession of two letters Mr. Pierce has written to me. I realize that you and all those men may be disappointed about my arrival at that fort, at the same time that you will also be about the fraud Babitt Hall and Baker committed.

            I am informed that the business of the eighty mules and six wagons is still going and that Mr. Pierce, as it appears, brings nothing. We are in agreement that it will be best to gather as much as possible.

            You are blessed with the necessary experience, and therefore I believe you will work continuously in all your operations, secure that I will support you as much as duty obliges me.

            When you want us to begin the new business, I am at your command; you can count on using me and my operations, with all other things being equal, with Manuel and José.

            With respect to the order for the wagons and mules, I do not understand well. This is what I have to offer in response to your paragraph about whether Mister Pierce is coming with me. I placed an order to my benefit for wagons and mules and sent it to you. I will do it when it comes up. You know that I have a draft from Mister Pierce for $3000 whose term has passed. This sum is more than the value of the indemnity bond for maize and copper. I remind you for whatever uses may be advantageous to you.

            The freighted copper runs no risk before the law for me, and the same goes for Manuel who tells me you should not fail to give him the orders you find to your advantage to use him. An idle mill collects no miller's portion.

            I will take much care in the future. You know how much work I have undertaken. Send me some clothing that will arrive soon and more that you will send me by Mister Samaniego in the caravan of my relative Zubirán.

            Right now there are from 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of copper ready for transport under my watch, but I owe $1,400 for the value of the freightage of maize and copper, which I satisfied in Mr. Pierce's order. I am letting you know because I know you understand that I have what you like.  

            I am preparing charcoal and ore for when the machines arrive because they sustain my illusions of extracting a lot of copper and likewise because the business of making charcoal and extracting ore are moving along together as if one were smelting. Right now there is more than

1000 hundredweight amassed, and I am regularizing the extraction of the ore with the stock of the charcoal. I am carrying both businesses together, based on what I have seen and what Mister Pierce said in his letter dated 9 January. Because I am not a miner, I distrust myself, but I am persuaded that the copper material survives, and with the machine there is no doubt that much should be extracted. For example, look at a lime oven, the rough stone that goes with the lime when the fire is intense is destroyed, melts, changes its character, and turns green when the lime remained in the burned substance. It appears to me that because the ore contains copper, the fire melts it more easily than the rough stone. By virtue of the machines, the smelting should increase in proportion to the machines themselves. This seems completely natural to me.

            Don Facundo López told me that he would take into consideration my misfortune and that if it was possible for me to gather the wagons and the mules, he would resend the contract without a reduction in credit, if it were advantageous to me. You do not need for him to tell you anything more about this business. Please be kind enough to put yourself in my place and decide what seems advantageous to you if we should deliver the wagons or pay the installment.    

I am resolved, if I can, to help you and your family in this business of copper, not, all other things being equal, as you have helped me, but in everything else that it is possible for me to help you.

            I have the account books and documents that prove the quantity that I told you don Sofio Henkel owes (3270.52 ¼ c) with his discount, which I want done in the presence of Manuel when he is here. He is the one who handled the accounts for don Sofio such that when

Manuel takes those books and accounts, they should be liquid, positive, and accurate, as you know are my things, don Santiago. Having no other matter, I am your attentive and trustworthy servant

who kisses your hand

Francisco de la O [rúbrica]


            I wrote you a letter. If you have received it, see fit to answer it [so that I can] take the order to my government.