"Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt Signature on Accessory Transit Company of Nicaragua Bond

Currency:USD Category:Collectibles / Autographs Start Price:1,000.00 USD Estimated At:2,000.00 - 4,000.00 USD
 Commodore  Cornelius Vanderbilt Signature on Accessory Transit Company of Nicaragua Bond
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Extremely rare and important. Early bond number 14, $5,000, issued February 9, 1856. Signed by C Vanderbilt Pres. and Isaac C. Lea as secretary. Reverse also signed by Vanderbilt in bold writing. Historic company that was set up by Cornelius Vanderbilt and others during the California Gold Rush in the early 1850's to transport prospects from the East Coast of the U.S. to the West Coast. Travelers would take a steamer from NY to the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua where they would travel by stagecoach and steamboat to the pacific coast and then onto San Francisco. Accessory Transit offered the cheapest method of traveling to California. At its peak was carrying over 2000 passengers per month. In 1852, a dispute with Joseph L. White, a partner in the Accessory Transit Company, led to a business battle in which Vanderbilt forced the company to buy his ships for an inflated price. In early 1853, he took his family on a grand tour of Europe in his steamship yacht, the North Star. While he was away, White conspired with Charles Morgan, Vanderbilt's ally, to betray him, and deny him money he was owed by the Accessory Transit Company. When Vanderbilt returned from Europe, he retaliated by developing a rival steamship line to California, cutting prices until he forced Morgan and White to pay him off. In November 1855, Vanderbilt began to buy control of Accessory Transit once again. That same year, the American military adventurer, William Walker, led an expedition to Nicaragua and briefly took control of the government. Edmund Randolph, a close friend of Walker, coerced the Accessory Transit's San Francisco agent, Cornelius K. Garrison, into opposing Vanderbilt. Randolph convinced Walker to annul the charter of the Accessory Transit Company, and give the transit rights and company steamboats to him; Randolph sold these to Garrison. Garrison brought Charles Morgan in New York into the plan. Vanderbilt took control of the company just before these developments were announced. When he tried to convince the U.S. and English governments to help restore the company to its rights and property, they refused. So he negotiated with Costa Rica, which (along with the other Central American republics) had declared war on Walker. Vanderbilt sent a man to Costa Rica who led a raid that captured the steamboats on the San Juan River, cutting Walker off from his reinforcements from insurgent groups in the United States. Walker was forced to give up, and was conducted out of the country by a U.S. Navy officer. But the new Nicaraguan government refused to allow Vanderbilt to restart the transit business, so he started a line by way of Panama, eventually developing a monopoly on the California steamship business.

Date: 1856
Country (if not USA):
State: New York
Provenance: Ken Prag Collection