Monday, June 7, 2010

Par Voie Anglaise

This is a letter I bought from someone in Hungary. How it ended up there I do not know, as it travelled in 1866 to Valparadiso in Chile. It took the "English Route", la Voie Anglaise, I think this means that it took a steamship up to Panama and from there onwards. I could not have taken the Panama canal, since that was not started or let alone completed in 1866!

The letter is addressed to Thomas, Lachambre & Cie, a Parisian trading house.

They are known to have lost the contract of the century to Auguste Dreyfus on July 1869. This spectacular deal is to acquire the monopoly on sales in Europe of two million tons of Peruvian guano, with a resale value of 625 million francs, in exchange for a payment of 365 million francs!
Auguste Dreyfus signed this contract with Finance Minister Nicolás de Piérola Villena. A consortium led by Gibbs & sons, Thomas, Lachambre & Cie and Baron Émile Erlanger missed out on the deal, that made Dreyfus one of (if not the) wealthiest persons of his time.

This letter took about 20 days or roughly 3 weeks to travel from Le Havre in France to Panama.

From there it went to Chili, this letter does not give away when it landed there. The receiver in Chili did not have to pay anything as the letter is stamped PP or Port Payé.

I found two other letters on the internet that went the English Way, the Voie Angliase or "Via (de) Panama".

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