Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ticular article of clothing, or necessary for family use, and have recourse to such a tedious and uncertain way of relief as this, when possibly a tradesman would deny the goods and consequently refuse them? It is not to be done. We are obliged to acquiesce in the present loss, and hope for future redress.

These, Gentlemen, are my sentiments, fully and candidly expressed, without any design, believe me, of giving you offence; but, as the selling of our tobaccos well, and the purchasing of our goods upon the best terms, are matters of the utmost consequence to our well-doing, it behoves me to be plain and sincere in my declarations on these points, previous to any change of measures, that I may stand acquitted of the imputation of fickleness, if I am at last forced to a discontinuance of my correspondence with your house.

Twenty hogsheads of my tobacco from this river make up fortyeight, which I have in Boyes; the remainder, which is trifling, shall be sent by the first ship that gives liberty; and, as I have not been able to discover any advantages we obtained by our tobaccos lying so long upon hand unsold, I should be glad to have the present crops (and so of others if more be sent) disposed of to the first good chapmen, and the sales returned, unless there is a very probable prospect of a rise of price to warrant the keeping of it.

By this conveyance you will receive invoices of goods wanted for our plantations on York River; and those for this river will no longer, I hope, be sent in by Boyes, for, when they come into that river, we really suffer by the strange mistakes that continually happen. Last year several parcels of goods designed for York River were sent to this place, and others for me left down there, and in going backwards and forwards some were lost; (things, too, of no inconsiderable value, for one of the parcels was a bale of linen;) and this year all my plaid hose for this river came in a package to Mr. Valentine, and I have to send for them one hundred and fifty miles. These mistakes and inconveniences would necessarily be avoided, if the goods were to come by ships to the respective rivers; and they would also escape those frequent damages, which are the consequence of shifting them from one vessel to another, and transporting them from place to place. Opportunities of doing this cannot be wanting, as many vessels come to this river annually from London, some of which lie at my door.

It appears pretty evident to me, from the prices I have generally got for my tobacco in London, and from some other concomitant circumstances, that it only suits the interest of a few particular gentlemen to continue their consignments of this commodity to that place, while others should endeavour to substitute some other article in place of tobacco, and try their success therewith. In order thereto you would do me a singular favor in advising me of the general price one night expect for good hemp in your port, watered and prepared according to act of Parliament, with an estimate of the freight, and all other incident charges per ton, that I may form some idea of the profits resulting from the growth. I should be very glad to know, at the same time, how rough and undressed flax has generally, and may probably sell. This year I have made an essay in both; and, although I suffer considerably by the attempt, owing principally to the severity of the drought, and my inexperience in the management, I am not altogether discouraged from a further prosecution of the scheme, provided I find the sales with you are not clogged with too much difficulty and expense. I am, &c.*

TO ELIZABETH HAYNIE.

Philadelphia, 27 December, 1780. Dear Cousin, Your letter of the 19th of October never reached my hands until a few days ago. I am very sorry to hear of the distressed condition in which you are, and have written to Mr. Muse, to whom the management of my tenements in Berkeley, Frederic, Loudoun, and Fauquier is committed, to let you have any one of them that may be unoccupied rent-free, during your own and the life of your daughter, Sally Ball Haynie, and moreover to afford you some aid towards putting the place in order.

It is incumbent on me, however, to observe to you, that, if there are not in either of those counties above mentioned any vacant lots belonging to me, it is out of my power to assist you in this way; first, because I have no lands in either of the counties above mentioned, except such as have been laid off into tenements and offered on leases; and, secondly, because the lands round about my dwelling-house in Fairfax County, are occupied by negroes for my own support.

My nephew, Major George Augustine Washington, will endeav

• It appears by an entry in his ledger, that, in the year 1767, he received from the treasury of Virginia the sum of £10 8s. as a bounty on hemp.

our to see and deliver this letter to you, if you live anywhere in the neighbourhood of his father in Berkeley County, and will receive from you and report to me a more particular statement of your circumstances than your letter has done. In the interim, I can assure you of the good dispositions towards you, of your asfectionate kinsman.

TO JOHN WITHERSPOON.

Mount Vernon, 10 March, 1784. REVEREND Sır, The recourse, which I have had to my papers since I returned home, reminds me of a question, which you asked me in Philadelphia, respecting my lands to the westward of the Allegany mountains; to which I was unprepared at that time to give a decided answer, either as to the quantity I had to let, or the terms upon which I would lease them.

Upon examination, I find that I have patents under the signature of Lord Dunmore (while he administered the government of this State) for about 30,000 acres; and surveys for about 10,000 more, patents for which were suspended by the disputes with Great Britain, which soon followed the return of the warrants to the land-office.

Ten thousand acres of the above thirty lie upon the Ohio ; the rest on the Great Kenhawa, a river nearly as large, and quite as easy in its navigation, as the former. The whole of it is rich bottom land, beautifully situated on these rivers, and abounding plenteously in fish, wild-fowl, and game of all kinds.

The uppermost tract upon the Ohio (which I incline to lease) contains 2314 acres, and begins about four miles below the mouth of the Little Kenhawa (there are two rivers bearing that name, the uppermost of which is about one hundred and eighty miles below Fort Pitt by water), and has a front on the water of more than five miles. The next is eighteen miles lower down, and contains 2448 acres, with a front on the river, and a large creek which empties into it, of four miles and upwards. Three miles below this again, on the same river, and just above what is called the Big Bend in Evans's Map, is a third tract of 4395 acres, with a river front of more than five miles.

Then going to the Great Kenhawa, distant about twelve miles by land, but thirty odd to follow the meanders of the two rivers, and beginning within three miles of the mouth, I hold lands on the right and left of the river, and bounded thereby forty-eight miles and a half; all of which, being on the margin of the river, and extending not more than from half a mile to a mile back, are, as has been observed before, rich, low grounds.

From this description of my lands, with the aid of Evans's or Hutchins's Map of that country, a good general knowledge of their situation may be obtained by those, who incline to become adventurers in the settlement of them ; but it may not be improper to observe further, that they were surveyed under the Royal Proclamation of 1763 (granting to each commissioned and non-commissioned officer according to his rank, and to the private soldier certain quantities,) and under a yet older proclamation from Mr. Dinwiddie, then lieutenant-governor of the colony, issued by the advice of his council to encourage and benefit the military adventurers of the year 1754, while the land-office was shut against all other applicants. It is not reasonable to suppose, therefore, that those, who had the first choice, had five years allowed them to make it, and a large district to survey in, were inattentive either to the quality of the soil, or the advantages of situation.

But supposing no preëminence in quality, the title to these lands is indisputable; and, by lying on the south-east side of the Ohio, they are not subject to the claims of the Indians; consequently will be free from their disturbances, and from the disputes, in which the settlers on the northwest side (when the Indians shall permit any) and even on the same side lower down will be involved; for it should seem, that there is already location upon location, and scarce any thing else talked of but land-jobbing and monopolies, before Congress have even settled the terms upon which the ceded lands are to be obtained.

Having given this account of the land, I am brought to another point, which is more puzzling to me.

I have been long endeavouring to hit upon some mode, by which the grantor and grantees of these lands might be mutually considered and equally satisfied, but find it no easy matter ; as it is to be presumed that all adventurers, especially emigrants from foreign countries, would not only choose but erpect leases for a long term. In this case, it is difficult in an infant country, where lands rise progressively, and I might add rapidly in value, to fix upon a rent, which will not, in the first instance, startle the tenant by its magnitude, or injure the landlord in the course of a few years by the inadequacy of it. What course then is to be taken ?

To advance the rent periodically, in proportion to the supposed VOL. XII.

34

increasing value of the land, is very speculative ; and to leave it to the parties, or their representatives, or to persons to be chosen by them, at like stated periods to determine the increase of it, would not only be vague and uncertain, but more than probably open a door for many disputes, and prove very unsatisfactory to both sides. Yet, difficult as the case is, private and public considerations urging me thereto, I have come to a resolution, which I am going to promulge in the gazettes of this country, by inserting an advertisement of which the enclosed is a copy, leaving it optional in the grantees to make choice of either.

Whether the terms there promulged are sufficiently encouraging to the people of this country, and inviting to strangers; or whether the latter might think so in the first instance, and change sentiments afterwards, upon seeing a wide, a wild, and an extensive country before them, in which they may, for ought I know, obtain good, though not so valuable and pleasant spots upon easier terms, is not with me to decide. Experiment alone can determine it. But it is for me to declare, that I cannot think of separating for ever from lands, which are beautifully situated upon navigable rivers, rich in quality, and abundantly blessed with many natural advantages, upon less beneficial terms to myself.

The leases for short tenures, if these should be preferred to either of the other two, could be attended with no great injury to me, because the improvements, which (according to the conditions of them) are to be made thereon, will enable me, if I am not too sanguine in my expectation, to rent them thereafter upon more lucrative terms, than I dare ask for either of the other two at present.

It has been my intention in every thing I have said, and will be so in every thing I shall say on this subject to be perfectly candid; for my feelings would be as much hurt, if I should deceive others by a too favorable description, as theirs would be who might suffer by the deception.

I will only add, that it would give me pleasure to see these lands seated by particular societies, or religious sectaries with their pastors. It would be a means of connecting friends in a small circle, and making life in a new and rising empire (to the inhabitants of which, and their habits, new comers would be strangers) pass much more agreeably than in a mixed or dispersed situation.

If a plan of this sort should be relished, it would be highly expedient for an agent in behalf of such societies to come out immediately, to view the lands and close a bargain; for nothing is more probable, than that each of the tracts here enumerated may,

« AnteriorContinuar »