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business and gave away in large sums and for public objects a part of the wealth which he had accuniulated in the earlier periods. The greatest achievement of this period was the building up of the Sheffield Scientific School, which he has made, unconsciously and unintentionally, his own monument.

Mr. Sheffield's first era of business activity covered twentyeight years.

It was in 1807, when he was but fourteen years of age, that he was sent as a clerk to take a position in the store of Mr. Stephen Fowler in the town of Newbern, North Carolina. Mr. Fowler had been the first schoolmaster of the elder Professor Silliman and is described by Mr. Sheffield as a “most worthy, honest man of the old school of New England manners and habits."

The following year Mr. Sheffield was transferred to the drug store of Dr. Webb, the brother-in-law of Mr. Fowler, and remained there until the spring of 1812. During a visit that he made in this year to his parents in Connecticut, war broke out with Great Britain, and this gave him an opportunity to show his extraordinary business talent and enterprise. He was asked in the following spring, 1813, to take charge as supercargo of a small swift-sailing vessel to run the blockade at Sandy Hook, go to North Carolina, and purchase and send back to New York a cargo of naval stores, which then commanded enormous prices in the North. As Mr. Sheffield says, “this offer he promptly accepted and, running the gauntlet of the British cruisers blockading our ports, arrived safely, purchased and shipped the cargo

and remained there to execute several similar orders for said friends, much to their advantage and satisfaction.” He was at that time but twenty years of age, and the following year, before he was twenty-one, he was made partner in a large drygoods establishment, managing alone the southern branch, while his partners remained in New York. The close of the war again tested his business skill. The peace of 1815 found him with a heavy stock of goods on hand which he had purchased at war prices, and with corresponding liabilities. In this difficult situation Mr. Sheffield acted with his accustomed boldness and promptitude. He at once began selling off as fast as possible,

on a rapidly falling market, enough of his stock to liquidate promptly all the debts of the concern. He then continued selling off goods, often at enormous sacrifices, against the advice, as he says, “though not against the consent, of his partners, and to the surprise of his neighbors, but he invested the proceeds in naval stores of which he continued to make large shipments to New York. Thus what he lost in the sale of the dry-goods he made up in the profits on the shipments of naval stores, “much to the joy of his associates and the surprise of his more timid and tardy neighbors, who had not believed in the rapid decline of goods and had looked on those bold operations with no little misgiving and astonishment.”

While other firms were, therefore, failing, Mr. Sheffield, by virtue of his greater foresight, kept his firm solvent. He still had a large stock, and in October, 1816, he undertook, alone on horseback, a journey of more than a thousand miles from Fort Hawkins, Georgia, to Fort Claiborne on the Alabama River, in order to find a market for his goods. During this journey he passed through a great deal of Indian country, slept in the woods among the Indians nine nights, and reached the end of his journey in good health and spirits although not having found the market which he sought. But this experience turned out to be of much importance to his future career. He made up his mind that Alabama was destined to become a great and populous state, and accordingly proceeded to Mobile, then a town of less than a thousand inhabitants, where he settled. He had his entire stock of goods, worth some $50,000, sent to him from North Carolina, and here again he adopted his old policy of selling rapidly on a falling market in order to invest largely and as fast as possible in the produce of a rising one. Thus he had converted into cash in a few months most of the heavy stock which could not be sold in North Carolina, and had picked up cotton and peltries enough to load his ship for New York,—almost the first cargo, as he says, of any note shipped from Mobile. This was in 1817.

The time fails us to go into the details of Mr. Sheffield's business life in Mobile, but a few of his experiences must be at least mentioned. Mobile is badly located for commerce, and as it. then had but about a thousand inhabitants including creoles, negroes, discharged soldiers, etc., the bold idea occurred to Mr. Sheffield virtually to move the city to a new site. Before the war of 1812 Josiah Blakely, an old merchant of New York, had laid out a city on the east side of the bay and called it after himself. It was Mr. Sheffield's idea now to buy up the town in connection with other merchants and virtually establish a new city. They built stores, wharves and warehouses, hotels and a school house, a church, etc., and invested all of their property in this enterprise, which "for a while eclipsed Mobile." But it was not a success, and they finally had to move back. During his residence in Mobile Mr. Sheffield was married, Aug. 22d, 1822, to Maria. St.John. She was the daughter of Col. John T. St.John of Walton, Delaware County, New York, but had been adopted by Henry P. Church, uncle of the late Samuel St.John of New Haven, who was then a resident of New York. Mrs. Sheffield shared fully in the life of her husband, whom she survived by seven years and to whom she bore nine children.

It was during this same period of his life that Mr. Sheffield laid the foundations of his fortune. His operations were chiefly in cotton, and for many years he was one of the largest and most successful shippers in Mobile. The esteem in which he was held was indicated by the fact that Mr. Biddle, the president of the Bank of the United States, invited him to act as confidential director in the United States Branch Bank in Mobile. In order to take this situation, he gave up his seat in the board of the old Bank of Mobile. His position thus became a very delicate one. “The times were speculative,” says Mr. Sheffield in memoranda written for his children, "and the United States Banks at Mobile, New Orleans, and Louisville were being used by those who controlled them to forward and aid very large speculative operations; and to check this system without breaking down the parties and thereby causing a revolution in business and very great loss to the bank, was a question which gave your father much anxiety, for when he received his appointment he was told by Mr. Biddle that the Board of the

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parent bank at Philadelphia would rely on his watchfulness and prudence and independence in giving them early notice of any irregular business or favoritism. His position as one of the bill committee enabled him to detect a system of accommodation loans to a large extent for account of the houses both in Mobile and New Orleans in which the president of the bank in Mobile was a chief member, with which they were conducting immense speculation which if unprofitable would end in a grand explosion of credit and very great loss; any sudden action, however, might cause the event it was prudent to avoid.”

Mr. Sheffield filled this delicate position in such a way as to earn the thanks of Mr. Biddle and to be offered the presidency of the branch bank, but he declined this, and also withdrew from the position of director. As a result of this experience, he laid down for the guidance of his sons some valuable maxims, which help to explain his success in business, and are as true now as they were then. He says: “My reflections and decision as to the proper course of action, being in a measure responsible to others, made a deep and lasting impression on my mind of the necessity of mature, earnest reflection in forming one's judgment, and after thus arriving at the conclusion then to act with energy in carrying out your plans. My decisions and prompt action then no doubt gave some bearing and tone to my future business course and stand; and I now recommend you never to decide hastily and without mature and earnest reflection in important matters, but earnestly seek in your own judgment the right course, and when you have decided then act with energy and promptitude, taking care in all public matters or enterprises to throw your own interests and your own feelings to the winds rather than suffer them to have the least influence on your actions or decisions. Swerve not from your convictions of right and duty. Learn to say 'No' with decision and 'Yes' with caution,-'No' with decision when it meets a temptation; “Yes' with caution when it implies a promise, and however things may eventuate you will have the satisfaction of having acted honestly and may sleep quietly."

In another paper Mr. Sheffield · has left us some reflections which almost amount to a short treatise on the philosophy of commerce.

(1) "It is true,” he writes, “that in early life, when I was engaged in trade—buying and selling merchandise—“getting gain' was a leading purpose; but I pursued my business with diligence, and my ambition was, not only to get gain, but to stand well with my fellows and the people.

But when I embarked in commerce, the most interesting of all business occupations, my mind was called to a higher plane and tone, for then it became incumbent on me to seek knowledge and correct information; and whether it was cotton or coffee, in the firms of which I was for many years chiefly and largely engaged, it was all important to success that I should make myself fully and accurately acquainted with the production of all climates and countries, and to carefully watch and note the probable causes which were likely to increase or diminish production, not only in our own country, but in all parts of the world where cotton was grown, and at the same time watch and carefully consider all the causes which were likely to increase or diminish consumption.

This led me to close watchfulness, careful investigation and observation, and to the collection of such information and research, bearing on the subject, as it was possible to gain; which statistics I was careful to preserve for reference; and for many years I had, at command, official tables of production in all countries of Europe as well as of the United States, and, at the same time keeping well informed of the yearly exports of the manufactured article in pounds weight from Great Britain the principal country of consumption. And thus finding that from year to year, nearly three quarters of the entire import into England was consumed there, and of this three quarters, thus consumed, more than three quarters, in pounds weight were consumed by the laboring, working people, it was evident that in the event of poor harvest and dear food the said working people would have but litle to spare from their miserably low wages to buy new clothing; and consequently the consumption

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