Primary Source

Francois Guilbeau letter on Loredo trade


This source is a favor letter, one of the most common forms of communication among merchants along the Rio Grande in the nineteenth century. This is a longer form of that type of letter, but they all share a general format that includes letting the recipient know that their payment (favor) was received, how much remained on the account, and current market conditions. Guilbeau includes a wealth of information in this letter that helps us see the growing connections between Leyendecker in the small town of Laredo and the larger Atlantic market. Guilbeau explicitly outlines the agricultural products he can sell on the market at profits. These include “Mexican flour,” cattle hides, and beans. Guilbeau also includes a list of other merchants that are his customers, giving us insight into the growing regional network. Some questions for students might include: How might Leyendecker’s debt to Guilbeau encourage him to make broader connections outside of the borderlands? Why does Guilbeau, a French-born merchant, write his letter in a mix of English and Spanish to his German-speaking colleague?

This source is a part of the Connecting Local and Global History via Mercantile Networks teaching module.


San Antonio, 6th February 1857.
J.Z. Leyendecker, Esq
Dear Sir,
I have rec’d your favor 16th of $50 & I send you here inclosed (sic) a duplicate of your Bill amt. $1559-56/100 Charged to your acct.
The goods have been selected to the best of my knowledge & I hope they will prove satisfactory.__ Several articles I have not sent for want of them & hats, not knowing if they suit you. __ as for the prices, they are the same for my best customers as Duclos & Ryan, J.B. Rich, F. Groos & Co., etc….
I have cups & saucers, sugar bowls, coffee pots etc……__
If you send me Mexican flour, I will sale it for your acct.; de flor y con salvado; or anything you send:_But it is too hot for (illegible) y su del he blankets do not sale.__ D.R. have sent me beans at $9 fanega here; you could send some; they sell well.__ hides worth 15¢ at present.
Yours Sincerely,
F. Guilbeau


Source: Francois Guilbeau to J. Z. Leyendecker, February 6, 1857, General Correspondence, Box 2M315, John Zirvas Leyendecker Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

How to Cite This Source

"Francois Guilbeau letter on Loredo trade," in World History Commons, [accessed March 29, 2023]