[Mendon, Massachusetts: 1825-1832]. Thick folio. 41 cm. 359 pp. Full contemporary sheep, with leather tips at corners. Red morocco label laid down on front board, stamped in gilt "Mendon Bank"; red morocco spine label stamped "Journal" in gilt. Marbled endpapers. A very good, sturdy copy, in a neat, legible hand. Near weekly entries, between April 21, 1825, and May 1, 1832. Likely the complete ledger for the operations of the Mendon Bank.
Records of cash transactions, Capital Stock, Bank Notes received, expenses, notes discounted, amounts received in specie, counterfeit bills returned, small denomination bank notes destroyed, payment of dividends to stockholders, government taxes paid, etc. Numerous customers and businesses are mentioned including the United States Insurance Company; American Bank; Fiske & Bridge; Humphrey & Pierce; Seth Hastings & S. Wood; Bixby Valentine & Co.; Fulton Bank; Ralph Huntington; William S. Hastings; John Nesmith & Co.; Warren Lazell; Fulton Bank; Commonwealth Bank; Valentine, Pettingill & Co.; Bank of North America; Benjamin Davenport; E.W. Hayward; Zalmon Green; Fairbanks & Loring; J. Littlefield & Co., Arnold & Davenport, and many others. The first bank agent Ralph Huntington was succeeded in November 1825 by Parker H. Pierce. Over the course of these seven years, twelve dividends of $4000 each were ordered to be paid, the last one on Oct. 1, 1831. The U.S. Insurance Co. apparently was the majority stockholder in the Mendon Bank during its years of operation, and the semi-yearly dividends the bank paid were paid to it. Item #68122

The Mendon Bank was incorporated Feb. 7, 1824, with a capital of $100,000, and authorized to continue until October 1831, according to the "Massachusetts Register, and United States Calendar; for the Year...1829." Seth Hastings was listed as President, E.W. Hayward, Cashier. An earlier edition of the Massachusetts Register for 1825 listed Ralph Huntington, who was Mendon Bank's first agent, as a director of the American Bank in Boston.
Seth Hastings (1762-1831), a member of one of the prominent families in Mendon, graduated from Harvard University in 1782 and began the practice of law in town. He served as a U.S. Congressman from 1801-1807, and was later elected to the Massachusetts State Senate from 1810-14, and was chief justice of the court of sessions for Worcester County. In February 1831, the state of Massachusetts renewed the charter for Mendon Bank for another twenty years, but Hastings died in November 1831, and one of the bank's directors, Caleb Hayward died in 1832. One secondary source says the bank decided to close its doors in October 1831, another that Ebenezer Hayward, Caleb's brother and the cashier, moved the bank to Uxbridge. We have been unable to determine which source is correct.
In any case, the major player in all this was the bank agent Parker H. Pierce whose name appears through-out this ledger. Pierce, of Little Compton, Rhode Island, (1794-1874) was a partner in the Boston firm of Humphrey and Pierce [sometimes also spelled Pearce] until 1830. In September 1831, he was appointed President of the Commercial Bank of Boston. A family genealogy says that he was also President of the United States Insurance Company. Pierce had many other business interests, including shipping and mercantile pursuits. According to Oliver Ayer Roberts' book, "History of the Military Company of the Massachusetts, Now Called the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, 1637-1888," (A. Mudge & Son, Printers, 1898) p.34, Pierce lost some of his money in "South American waters by his shipping, and during the panic from 1836 to 1838, at which time he gathered up the remainder of his fortune and moved with his family to western New York." A joint committee of the House and Senate of Massachusetts from 1838 had a completely different take on Pierce's business problems. The report, "No. 89: Report and Bill Repealing the Charter of the Commercial Bank, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, House of Representatived, March 5, 1838 & Senate, April 1838," states that sometime in the year 1835, suspicion about the bank's operations began and "that partial and unjust system, which treats the funds of a bank as if they existed mainly for the private convenience and emolument of a few of its officers, had commenced, which in its subsequent and more unrestrained progress, has fixed dishonor on its principal agents, and brought ruin upon the bank itself." It noted that many bank transactions had gone unrecorded, and that Pierce had not only taken a generous salary over the years but "he has taken large sums of money from the bank, without the consent of the directors, and has left therefor such securities as suited his own interest..." amounting to over $166,000. “After discovering the abuses practiced by the president and cashier, your committee did not consider the property of the bank safe in their hands, and they accordingly intimated to the directors, that they felt they were representing the true interests of the stockholders to require those two officers to resign.” The sergeant-at-arms was directed to summon Pierce before the committee but he could not be found.

Price: $2,250.00

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