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I have yours of the 21st.
Perhaps no man was ever so morbidly sensitive about advising another to put money into anything as I. I have had a perfect horror of doing so, all my life. I am willing to give any one my opinion, and explain the reasons of it, but beyond that I would not go if I knew a man could get the Kohinoor for five cents.1
Yet with this confidence, I should by no means have been desirous of trying the experiment even with such a capital provided, and should have expected it to require at least 5 years of tremendous exertion and the most ridgid economy, to secure success, and I doubt if 7527 2 I could have been induced to undertake it at all.
Now, I have no sort of doubt that by the use of $2,000 or $3,000 in circulars and postage, I can secure a circulation of 10,000 and a sale of stock (aside from the Promoter's stock) of $30,000 within 60 days, and get a circulation of 50,000 and a capitalization of $100,000 within a year.
I believe the colored people can and will take $25,000, in stock and give us 10,000 subscribers. I have no doubt the members of the Association will give us three dollars for every dollar thus taken, and five subscribers who are white citizens and believe in justice for every colored man put on our list. And I believe this can be done within 90 days and with an expenditure of less than $5,000.
I do not believe there is any man who can do it but me; and I could not but for a strange combination of circumstances which are partly the result of my unremitting exertion and unyielding faith, and partly the result of concurring conditions over which I had no control.
In order to do this most certainly and readily, I ought to be able to say in the circulars I am about to put out, that a colored man or a company of colored men, were the first to act by taking one half the Promoter's stock,1,000 shares of $5. each for $25,000.
This I am going to say; and it is going to be true to the letter when I do say it
., for I shall hold back white subscribers until it is true, if necessary.
I do not care whether one or two, or ten or twenty or a hundred do it; whether they pay it all down or pay $500, and secure the balance in 30 and 60 days; but it must be done squarely and made reasonably secure. If this is done, three of the seven directors for the first year will be colored men ; and if the man who secures this desideratum is a man of good literary ability, character, and is one with whom I can get along with personally, he can be Associate Editor if he desires. As such, he will not be required to leave any business he may now be engaged in for about one year; but should write something ever now and then to let the readers get acquainted with 7527 4 him. After that, it will require his whole time.
Now, whether you can or wish to make such an arrangement or not is purely a matter for you to decide. If you should telegraph me that you would do it, I should act on your statement and say in the circular I am getting ready to send to Cincinnati, to the colored convention there, next Tuesday, that a little group of colored men have taken one-half this stock. If not I shall wait until some one does.
I should be glad to have you come down and stay over Sunday with me, though I never talk business on that day, no matter how pressing it may be. I can give you Saturday evening, however, though I do not know as I could say much more. You might see some thousands of letters each of which has been a grain in the conclusions, I have reached.Very sincerely yours,
Correspondent: Albion Winegar Tourgée (1838–1905) was a White activist, author, and judge. During Reconstruction, he settled in North Carolina and became an advocate for racial equality. Tourgée wrote his bestselling autobiographical novel, A Fool's Errand (1879), before moving to Mayville, New York, in 1881. He published 15 more novels in the next 17 years, and several times attempted to found magazines, often inviting Chesnutt to serve as editor. In 1891, he founded the National Citizens' Rights Association, an organization devoted to equality for African-American citizens, and in 1896 served as Homer Plessy's lead counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).