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Ainsley Hall Letter, 16 February 1819, Columbia, S.C. to Robert Falconer, New York, N.Y.

Letter, 16 February 1819, of Columbia merchant Ainsley Hall (1783-1823) is addressed to his friend Robert Falconer in New York. Elsewhere, Hall's accounts make reference to the firm of Falconer, Stuart and Company. During the years immediately prior to his death, Hall was one of Columbia's most important businessmen. The papers he left behind consist mainly of ledger entries, contracts, land transactions, and court records.

At first glance, this letter concerns the closing of a boarding school where Hall's niece and ward Betsy was a student. Hall thanked Falconer for his advice regarding Betsy, but regretted that the "present unsettled state" of his family made it impossible to act on it. Then he spoke of plans for an upcoming trip to England. "Although Mrs. Hall is in some degree unwilling to leave this Country," he wrote, "yet I am making all my arrangements with a view of leaving this place in April and if the winter climate agrees with Mrs. Hall, I purpose spending a few Years in England."

When Hall died four and a half years later, his relations with his wife Sarah were at an impasse because she had discovered his affair with another woman. The Falconer letter may bear on the question of how long trouble had been brewing. Not only was Hall unwilling to postpone a trip abroad on Sarah's account, he was even hesitant to make a premature return voyage on her account.

Hall closed the letter on a political note-"This day Mr. [Langdon] Cheves left this place for Philadelphia with an expectation of being elected President of the U.S. Bank, from what communications he shewed me there can be no doubt of his election, he appears to be the wish of the Goverment as well as a considerable proportion of the Stock Holders, I sincerely hope matters will be conducted in a different manner under his administration." Before Cheves left the state, he had entrusted his business affairs in Columbia to Ainsley Hall's firm.

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