[John Diston Powles, South American speculator.] Autograph Letter Signed from Alexander Walker to him, describing the terms of his employment by Powles, in support of 'the interests of South America & of the Republic of Columbia in particular'.
1p., 4to. Bifolium, addressed on reverse of second leaf to 'J. D. Powles Esqr'. 15 lines of text, neatly and closely written. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper. Walker (not to be confused with the army officer in the East India Company) was the author of a work on Columbia, published by Baldwin, Cradock & Joy in 1822. For information on Powles, who employed a young Benjamin D'Israeli to write pamphlets supporting his interests, see the end of this description. Walker begins the letter: 'Dear Sir | In consideration of your proposals, & your engagements to pay me Two Hundred Pounds per annum, commencing from the 20th. instant (of which I have received in advance one months salary - £16 - 13 - 4), I engage to keep a vigilant eye on all the public journals, to see if anything appears in them which may affect the interests of South America & of the Republic of Columbia in particular, & to give you immediate notice in such case; - to procure to be inserted in the Newspapers such articles from time to time as may be calculated to advocate, by fair discussion & the communication of information to the public, the cause of South America'. He ends by undertaking to manage the publication of any pamphlet thought necessary on the subject, 'and particularly with a view to colonization', but with no liability to himself. According to Powles' entry in the Oxford DNB, 'His earliest speculations were connected with the movements of Spanish American emancipation at the close of the Napoleonic wars. In 1817 he sold arms and the corvette Emerald to the Venezuelan patriots. His operations became more extensive in the early 1820s, when the emergent Spanish American republics began to borrow large sums on the London market, and when many mining companies were promoted on the mistaken assumption that access to British capital and technology would transform the production and profitability of the gold and silver mines concerned.'