The eighteenth and nineteenth century correspondence archive

House Correspondence [series HC]

This comprises the most important part of the firm's nineteenth century archives [although the ledgers and other account books occupy more space]. In the late-1820s record keeping procedures were reorganised and from 1830 each year a deed box was opened to hold the most important letters received by the firm in the previous year. Most were received by partners and therefore relate to the most important transactions; there is relatively little material relating to routine business. The letters were bundled up according to their geographical area of origin and not by name of correspondent. Storing the letters in such an organised and secure way doubtless ensured their survival, an assertion supported by the non-survival of virtually all the pre-1830 correspondence.

In most cases House Correspondence has been catalogued according to geographical location of the correspondent. Thus there are sections in the catalogue for most countries in Western Europe, North and South America and the Far East as well as Russia and India. The exceptions to this are 'commercial intelligence', 'proposals for business' and 'ship management papers' where geographical location is irrelevant. The sections are:

General [series HC1; 32 boxes & 21 vols]

This includes papers relating to the private and personal business of partners, of private clients and of staff. The most important groups are: papers relating to staff - memoranda relating to conditions of employment, papers relating to recruitment, letters from staff relating to their employment [HC1.14]; correspondence sent to the firm by partners when absent on business [HC1.20]; papers from a box marked 'Old Firm Documents' covering a wide range of subjects of central importance to the business [HC1.204].

Statistics of Trade [series HC2; 10 vols]

This comprises many single sheets or small groups of papers providing commercial intelligence on markets and commodities, mostly sent to Barings by overseas merchants. The papers encompass printed merchants' circulars, news sheets, prospectuses for corporate flotations, hand written memoranda, and so on.

English [series HC3; 94 boxes & 11 vols]

These papers mostly comprise correspondence with British-based businesses, several of them providing services to the firm. The most important groups are: correspondence sent to Barings in London by the Baring firm in Liverpool [HC3.35]; correspondence with the Bank of England [HC3.52]; papers relating to the Irish Famine Loan [HC3.75]; correspondence with Markby, Tarry & Stewart, solicitors [HC3.103]; correspondence with Norton, Rose & Norton, solicitors [HC3.142]; papers concerning the Liverpool rubber market [HC3.149]; the corporate and accounting records of the Baring Estate Co Ltd [HC3.162]. Note: during 2009 HC3.35 is being conserved and therefore certain sections of the correspondence may not be available to researchers.

Latin America and Metropolitan Spain [series HC4]

Argentina and Buenos Aires [HC4.1; 84 boxes & 4 vols]: Papers relate to the 1824 Buenos Aires loan and its default and rescheduling [HC4.1.13-15]; Francis Falconnet's mission to Buenos Aires, 1842-45 [HC4.1.14]; Major Ferdinand White's mission to Buenos Aires, 1852-53 [HC4.1.24]; letters from the Chairman of the Spanish American Bondholders, 1845-62 [HC4.1.29]; George White's mission to Buenos Aires, 1857 [HC4.1.34-35]; Edward O Madero's letters relating to the port of Buenos Aires, 1860-1901 [HC4.1.39]; letters from Nicholas Bower, Barings' agent in Argentina, 1876-90 [HC4.1.65]; letters from SB Hale & Co, financiers at Buenos Aires, 1870-99 [HC4.1.71]; letters from Essex E Reade, Barings' agent in Argentina, 1891-1905 [HC4.1.124]; documents relating to the Curamalan Land Co, 1880-1930 [HC4.1.141-190] and papers relating to individual bond issues for the Argentine government and railway companies, from 1888.

Brazil [HC4.2; 1 box]: This is a comparatively small group of papers as the firm did relatively little business in Brazil. Most is correspondence with merchants; the only substantial papers relate to the financing of the Bank of Brazil 1879-89 [HC4.2.10].

Peru [HC4.3; 2 boxes]: Once again there are few papers, the most significant being a group relating to the Cartavio Sugar Co [Peru] Ltd 1899 [HC4.3.21].

New Granada [HC4.4; 4 boxes]: This embraces the present countries of Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Several papers relate to the financing of the governments of New Granada between the 1820s and the 1860s and, in particular, of Venezuela in 1864-66 [HC4.4.22].

Mexico [HC4.5; 8 boxes]: Many papers relate to the finance of the Mexican government and of Mexican merchants. There is correspondence with the merchants Manning & Marshall 1827-52 [HC4.5.2]; correspondence with the Mexican government about dividend payments and the reorganisation of its debt 1829-55 [HC4.5.4]; Another important group forms the correspondence of George White, the firm's representative in Mexico from 1861 to 1862, together with the papers he collected. There are also papers relating to the Mexican Conversion Loan of 1899 [HC4.5.54].

Cuba [HC4.6; 8 boxes]: The most significant papers comprise the correspondence of local merchants largely involved in Cuba's sugar trade, including George Knight & Co 1828-62 [HC4.6.2]; JC Burnham & Co 1846-66 [HC4.6.8]; Storey, Spalding & Co 1850-70s [HC4.6.10]; There are also papers relating to the unsuccessful negotiations for a bond issue for the Cuban government in 1904 [HC4.6.16].

British Guiana [HC4.7; 1 box]: The papers here mostly relate to a dispute concerning the firm's title to plantations over which it held a mortgage. [HC4.7.1].

Spain [HC4.8; 6 boxes]: The most important group is correspondence of the firm's Madrid agents, Henry O'Shea & Co 1844-67 [HC4.8.6].

Chile [HC4.11; 2 boxes]: There are papers relating to the finance of the government and of railways, but they are relatively few.

Spanish Central America [HC4.12; 2 boxes]: Again there are relatively few papers. Papers relate to the Panama Railway Co 1857-58 [HC4.12.4]; The Salvador Railway Construction Co Ltd 1885-89 [HC4.12.6-8]; a proposed advance to the Costa Rica government in 1899 [HC4.12.9].

Uruguay [HC4.13; 4 boxes]: There are some papers relating to the finance of railways and of the government in the 1880s and 1890s.

North America [series HC5]

It should be noted that most of the firm's North American papers from c.1830 to 1870 are in Library and Archives Canada at Ottawa.

Boston [HC5.1; 18 boxes]: The most significant groups comprise correspondence received from local agents and merchants. There are letters of the firm's main agent, Thomas W Ward, covering the years 1828 to 1850 [HC5.1.2]; correspondence relating to the trading activities, 1826-28, of the firm of Joshua Bates & John Baring prior to its 'merger' with Baring Brothers in 1828 [HC5.1.10]; the letters, 1878-1905, of Kidder Peabody, successors to Ward at the end of the century [HC5.1.27]; papers relating to a bond issue for the American Telephone & Telegraph Co in 1905 [HC5.1.30].

New York [HC5.2; 71 boxes]: Once again the most important papers comprise correspondence with agents and merchants. There are papers relating to the Merchants Exchange Co, owners of an exchange building in New York, 1850 [HC5.2.23]; a very large run of letters received form SG & GC Ward between 1870 and 1896 which relates to issuing and trade finance, as well as market conditions and the development of US railways. [HC5.2.30]; similar correspondence from Baring Magoun & Co 1895-1903 [HC5.2.39]; papers relating to the Rubber Goods Manufacturing Co. 1899-1901 [HC5.2.41]; Commercial Cable Co, 1900-01 [HC5.2.43]; Northern Securities Co, 1904-05 [HC5.2.48]; and papers relating to the winding up of this firm's affairs, 1900-18 [HC5.2.52].

St Croix [HC5.5; 2 boxes]: A substantial group of papers relate to the management of sugar producing estates, 1825-76, which the firm acquired through foreclosing on mortgages [HC5.5.1].

Louisiana [HC5.7; 5 boxes]: The firm's work in financing cotton planters and cotton shipments of the southern states is reflected in these papers. Correspondence received from agents is again important, in particular that sent by EJ Forstall & Sons, 1830-90 [HC5.7.6]; and by Matthias Purton, later of Barings' Liverpool house, 1842-48 [HC5.7.8].

Washington DC [HC5.8; 1 box]: This is a small group of important papers relating to work undertaken for the US government covers subjects such as arms purchases during the American Civil War [HC5.8.4-5]; and the United States Funded Loan of 1873 [HC5.8.6].

Philadelphia [HC5.9; 3 boxes]: An important group of papers relates to the affairs of the Bank of the United States, 1817-36 [HC5.9.1].

Baltimore [HC5.11; 3 boxes]: Here there are papers concerning the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, but mostly for the 1880s. Others relate to the Bolivar Mining Association 1826-32 [HC5.11.1]; and to the merchants Morton Stewart & Co [HC5.11.5].

Canada [HC5.15; 13 vols & 2 boxes]: Virtually all the pre-1870 Canadian papers were taken to Canada in the 1920s. The only significant ones remaining relate to the finance of the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway, Canada's first major railway, in the 1850s and 60s, and are of great importance [HC5.15.2-102]; for the post-1870 period papers relate to the Nova Scotia Railroad, 1881-83 [HC5.15.111]; the Western Counties Railroad of Nova Scotia, 1887-88 [HC5.15.117]; the Canadian Pacific Railway, 1884-90 [HC5.15.125-135]; and the Alberta Railway & Coal Co, 1892-98 [HC5.15.138]. There is also correspondence and other papers relating to bond issues for the Canadian government.

Virginia [HC5.17; 1/2 box]: The papers mostly concern the state's sterling debt in the 1870s [HC5.17.1-7].

Minnesota [HC5.24; 2 boxes]: There are several groups of papers relating to finance of the state's railways the St Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railroad, 1890, 1904-05 [HC5.24.1]; and, in particular, the Great Northern Railroad, 1893-1904 [HC5.24.3].

Far East and Australasia [series HC6]

Barings' historical connection with the Far East is largely built upon trade and trade finance.

China and Japan [HC6.1; 9 boxes]: Of greatest importance are the letters received from the firm's correspondents, Russell & Co, 1830-83 [HC6.1.8]; very few papers relate to Japan, the significant exception being telegrams and other papers covering the Japanese government bond issues during the Russo Japanese War [HC6.1.30-35] [see also Partners' Filing].

East Indies [HC6.2; 2 boxes]: There is a small amount of material relating largely to mercantile matters.

India and Indian Ocean [HC6.3; 18 boxes]: There is a particularly good series of letters received from the firm's Calcutta agents, Gisborne & Co, 1830-88 [HC6.3.1]; of more specialised interest are seven boxes of papers relating to the administration of sugar and coffee estates in Ceylon which were mortgaged to the firm, 1847-96 [HC6.3.7]; a smaller number received from Borradaile, Schiller & Co, also of Calcutta, 1868-73 [HC6.3.26].

Australasia [HC6.4; 4 boxes]: Barings' interests in Australia were comparatively modest and mainly restricted to the middle years of the nineteenth century. Papers relate to the sheep farming enterprises of Sir Colin Mackenzie [HC6.4.2] and, more extensively, to the negotiation of a proposed bond issue for the Victoria Government in order to fund railway construction.

France [series HC7; 24 boxes]

Without doubt, the most important French papers comprise the extensive correspondence sent to Barings by the Paris bankers, Hottinguer & Cie, which covers the whole spectrum of French economic and political life, 1820-1903 [HC7.1]; other papers relate to the finance of railway building, most notably the Chemin de Fer du Nord, 1842-46 [HC7.17]; more papers relate to French government finance, for example the FF200 million loan, 1844 [HC7.18]; the FF500 million loan, 1854 [HC7.28]; the Paris-Lyons-Avignon Railway, 1852 [HC7.31]; in the mid-1850s the firm made large scale grain purchases for the French government's account [HC7.36]; another significant group is correspondence with the Banque de Paris et des Pays Bas, 1884-1905 [HC7.55]. also letter books in Partners' Filing

Netherlands [series HC8; 29 boxes]

The principal group of papers comprises correspondence from Hope & Co, bankers, with whom Barings frequently formed syndicates to make bond issues simultaneously in London and Amsterdam. These papers cover all aspects of the European capital markets and the entities borrowing in them between 1823 and 1903 [HC8.1]; a much smaller group of letters was received from Pierre C Labouchere, sometime a partner in Hopes and an important collaborator with Barings, 1821-38 [HC8.2]; other important groups include letters from W Borski, banker at Amsterdam, covering subjects similar to those dealt with in the Hope correspondence, 1832-81 [HC8.8]; of more specialist interest is a small group of papers relating to picture purchases by Barings' partners in 1846 [HC8.11]; and correspondence with the Netherlands Trading Co, 1857-74 [HC8.14].

Austria and Germany [series HC9; 12 boxes]

The Austrian and German papers cover many subjects. From the 1820s onwards there is much correspondence with Hamburg merchants relating to trade and trade finance although, unlike other major trading centres, no extensive series of letters exchanged with a single merchant house has survived. Perhaps the most notable correspondence is that of Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co of Hamburg, 1828-98 [HC9.11]; The Austrian papers mostly relate to government finance and capital market activities. Letters sent by P Ericksen of Vienna cover Austrian politics, finance and the country's money market and, in particular, his work in negotiating the Austrian Government's 1849 and 1851 bond issues, 1848-61 [HC9.22]; there are other Austrian government bond issue papers, including some for a 1865 issue [HC9.23]; Ericksen's successor was Charles Klein and his letters cover the years 1864-69 [HC9.26].

Russia [series HC10; 24 boxes]

Once again the papers mostly comprise correspondence with Russian agents and merchants, while specific groups of papers relate to railway finance and to Russian government bond issues made by Barings in its capacity as the government's financial agents in London. The firm sent him to St Petersburg as their representative on the board of the Grand Russian Railway Co and his letters are full of details of Russian railways and of Russia's economic and political life. Correspondence from Stieglitz & Co, 1825 to 1884, and from Wyneken & Co, 1870 to 1878, both of St Petersburg, form other substantial groups of letters covering wide ranging subjects [HC10.1]; also [HC10.3]; Groups of papers relating to specific business transactions include the 1850 Russian government loan [HC10.15]; Grand Russian Railway Co finance, 1857-59 [HC10.18]; The most significant correspondence is that received from Charles Jutting, 1863-79 [HC10.28]; the Nicholas Railway loan, 1869 [HC10.38]; the Transcaucasian Railway loan, 1882 [HC10.49]; the 1888 Russian government loan [HC10.56]; the 1890 Russian conversion loan [HC10.57]; the 1906 Russian government loan [HC10.67].

Scandinavia [series HC11; 1 box]

Historically Barings had no strong connection with Scandinavian countries. Small groups of letters, received from merchants at Stockholm, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and elsewhere, survive. The firm acted as informal advisers to the Swedish and Norwegian governments concerning bond issues to finance railway construction in 1876 and some papers relating to this work survive [HC11.14].

Italy [series HC12; 13 boxes]

One substantial group of papers comprises letters received from Grant Brothers & Co of Trieste, 1825-79 [HC12.1]; papers relating to the liquidation of their business and Barings' interest in their assets [especially their Sicilian estates], 1843-1917 [HC12.2]; papers of much wider significance relate to the Italian government's currency stabilisation loan, 1881-83 [HC12.22].

Belgium [series HC13; 3 boxes]

The papers relating to Belgium mostly comprise small groups of letters received from Antwerp and Brussels-based merchants. One bundle covers a 1874 bond issue for the Belgian government [HC13.13].

Portugal [series HC14; 6 boxes]

The most important groups relate to Barings' work as financial agents of the Portuguese government and, in particular, to proposed bond issues in 1846 and 1847 [HC14.5]; to an advance made to the government, 1866-67 [HC14.8]; to a 1877 bond issue [HC14.13]; large group of papers relates to unsuccessful negotiations for a government bond issue, 1901-04 [HC14.18].

Turkey and Africa [series HC15; 2 boxes]

Turkey [HC15.1; 1 box]: Very few papers relate to business undertaken in these areas. A small group concerns the construction of the Baghdad Railway [HC15.1.5-6].

Africa [HC15.2; 1 box]: Papers relate to a bond issue for the Cape of Good Hope government, 1882-83 [HC15.2.1]; and to the establishment of banks in Egypt [HC15.2.5].

Reports on Business Houses [series HC16; 4 boxes & 13 vols]

In undertaking its banking business, Barings frequently received from other houses and from banks confidential reports on the character and resources of potential clients and other businesses. Some were written into books ['character books'] while others are on single sheets. Fifteen character books, or indexes to them, survive but they are the remnants of several series rather than a continuous single series. Notable reports cover houses in Buenos Aires and Montevideo in 1857; English cotton merchants and spinners in 1850; Neapolitan houses in 1820; Moscow houses in 1867 [HC16.20]; and Madrid houses in 1848 [HC16.22].

Proposals for Business [series HC17; 16 vols]

The firm received numerous unsolicited requests to provide loans, to manage security issues, to become agents, to purchase businesses, and so on. These are grouped together in this series. Often the requests were accompanied by detailed information about the underlying business. Thus a proposal to Barings to purchase the Chateau Margaux in 1835 was accompanied by a detailed account of the Chateau's vineyards [HC17.27]; while a 1839 proposal to purchase the steamship India was accompanied by the vessel's specification [HC17.58]; other subjects include the reorganisation of army canteens, 1864 [HC17.247]; methods of payment to the French Navy when stationed in England, 1867-68 [HC17.269]; the funding of the construction of the Schleswig Holstein Canal, 1880 [HC17.358]; and proposals for the sale of port held by Barings as security for advances, 1892 [HC17.419]. Numerous prospectuses for businesses about to be floated are also included in the series.

Ship Papers [series HC18; 43 boxes, 2 vols & plans]

These mostly relate to the work of the firm's Ship Department in the 1860s and 1870s. Its work was centred upon the management of the tea clippers Black Prince [HC18.1]; Norman Court [HC18.2]; and Chaa Sze [HC18.3]; The surviving papers are remarkable in terms of their completeness and include specifications and plans, building accounts, voyage accounts, crew lists and other crew papers and invoices for the supply of equipment and stores. The department also supervised the construction of ships in British yards for foreign owners and there are correspondence, technical papers, plans and accounts, covering the years 1867 to 1874 [HC18.4]; and here are also a small number of bail bonds, dated 1868 to 1879 [HC18.5].

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