XI/38/81B, 1 box
Benjamin Davidson was the son of Meyer Davidson. In 1847 he set out to St Petersburg with several boxes of bullion and the early letters detail the gruelling journey through Europe in the harsh months of February and March. The letters are mainly addressed to the firm, but in interspersed private correspondence he details the hardships of the journey and records his impressions of the city of St. Petersburg. It is apparent, though never explicitly stated, that Davidson was sent there to assess the potential for establishing a Rothschild house under his direction, replacing the services of Baron Stieglitz and F. C. Gasser, the existing agents, whose activities on behalf of the joint houses are chronicled in detail. The plans for the house were not realised.
In the following year, Davidson set out on a journey that was to take him, via the West Indies, Panama, Peru, Chile and Mexico to San Francisco, where he arrived at the end of August. He writes from Lima with details of the journey, promising that he will "not repeat what every one must write of the Life on Board Ship, nor complain of the badness of the accommodation of which people form much too favorable an opinion upon visiting the Steamers at Southampton, particularly when they see the fine repast which is served before starting, and for a repetition of which the Passengers vainly looked forward to when once out at sea." Many of Davidson's letters tell of the miseries of travel. In Valparaíso, he receives consignments of quicksilver and writes back with details of the market in this commodity. He writes with great enthusiasm about San Francisco and its potential for business and discusses in some detail the prevailing economic and social conditions. Much of the routine correspondence to the house details bills and remittances. From June 1850, Davidson is joined by May (see below, Davidson & May), possibly as a result of some dissatisfaction felt by NMR about Davidson's handling of the business, particularly his desire to buy property which shows an alarming tendency to burn down. Davidson however always feels the burden of the responsibilities placed upon him, and seems to welcome a colleague.