87a. (p. 177) to Charles Wallace per Capt Miller via Philadelphia
2 July 1773
I wrote you 17 May, since which I have nothing from you. This will
serve to inform you that I have received £12:15:9 of Thomas Eden & Co.,
the net proceeds of 2 hhds. of tobacco per the Annapolis which I have
placed to your credit. I have wrote W.D.&J. so often and so fully of my
distressed situation that I would suppose it had roused every feeling and
exertion in their powers to save me by remitting, but, to my inexpressible
sorrow, I daily see the hour approaching and much fear a long confinement
will be my doom, which will be my award for the imprudent attempt to
make a competency too soon. . . . If I would ever so fane return home, I
cannot these 12 months for the tradesmen will by no means agree to my
going. And, suppose they would, how are we to be supplied with goods?
There is no one here who will agree to ship even small cargoes and that
will never do for us. Besides the saving made by my transacting the business,
there is more than a £100 a year clear in your pockets though I have
repeatedly wrote your house that to import less goods and solicit the
consignment of about 1,000 hhds. [tobacco] a year would yield us more
money than selling goods will. That quantity [tobacco] would yield us
£1,500 and the whole expenses of transacting the business would not
exceed £500. I think it our interest to fall in that business immediately;
you may depend on my assiduity and care.
87b. I apprehend your J.D[avidson's] time is taken up in the store and
about the books. I know he is exceedingly clever at collecting and therefore
do recommend that you'll employ some other person for that purpose (of
bookkeeping) and get him to take his horse and fall to work immediately
and not let those who has gone from this place so much outdo you.
I want a certificate to cancel a tea bond in the name of W. Purdy for the
tea shipped in the Eden, S. Nicholson; you'll have it made out before you
put this letter out of your hands and scold J[ohn] Muir [deputy naval
officer] for his neglect. Send them by way of New York, Philadelphia or
any way to me that I may obtain [i.e. recover] the penalty, which I am
obliged to pay down in money, and overhaul every cargo shipment and
send me the necessary certificates to cancel all my bonds. There must be 2
in the name of Nash, Eddowes & Martin to cancel wine bonds.
I am dunned and tore to pieces. Pity me and exert yourselves and,
although we have fallen so far off our original scheme and the remittance
has not been more than a quarter part of what I had a right to expect, yet,
can you manage to extricate me out of the present embarrassments, I see
no reason why we shall not conquer our original wish.
Geo. Cook wrote me that he had a subscription for 200 hhds. tobacco.
If they'll consign it to me, I would be glad you would charter him a ship.
It will be a £100 apiece [in profits for each partner] and serving of him. Do
Charles set down and write; that's a comfort if you can add nothing more
to him who is with love to Cathy and Polly, most truly. . . .
88. (p. 178) to the firm per Capt Miller 2 July 1773
The foregoing is copies of mine per Capt Jones via Philadelphia and
Mr Buchanan in Capt Mitchell via Virginia, which I hope will soon reach
I have omitted no opportunity of informing you that we are disappointed
in any assistance from Mr Hanbury, in which I am too fearful you have
rested satisfied and not exerted yourselves in that manner you otherwise
would have done and which has and will distress me beyond conception.
I too fear that instead of your pushing the ship home loaded that you'll
be indifferent about the matter, apprehending that it will be displeasing to
Hanbury as interfering with his interest; should which be the case, what a
fine situation am I in. Your worst constructions can't equal it and there is
no conveying a just idea without feeling it personally. It's cutting to have
a fellow tell you that you have not complied with promise and that you
must fix a day for payment and that he insists on it. In this situation, what
can I do when I have not five pounds in the world ? I do beg time, show them
the noted bills and promise to do all I can, but neither you nor I can suppose
they will long continue to be fed with mere promises, more especially as
there is no appearance of any produce coming home, which would weigh
much with them and which many of them have urged me to recommend to
you. Indeed, it has taught me whom to apply to again and whom not and
this you may be assured of, that there is a number of rascals in the City of
London who only wants to get hold of you and then make their advantage
of you. I will do every thing I can that's consistent to an honest man and
never betray you or lead you in dishonour.
Mr Purdy has just been with me about the [tea] certificate. We propose
to petition and bribe the officer for 3 months' indulgence and, if we can't
succeed in that, nothing will do but the payment of the penalty, the whole
of which I must borrow if I am obliged to give 10 per cent premium. I hope
this will be sufficient warning for the future. . . .
P.S. Capt Nicholson, in overhauling his old papers, has found the [tea]
certificates, and delivered them to me which will save the advance.
89. (p. 180) to the firm per New York packet 7 July 1773
The foregoing is a copy of my last per Capt Miller via Philadelphia since
which I have nothing from you. I am surprised I have not yet received your
orders. Other people's have been to hand some time and they are preparing
to go out with Nicholson who has bought Banning's ship and is afitting
out and will sail by the 1st of next month. If we miss that opportunity, I
know not of any other afterwards. There is no goods to Annapolis but a
cargo to the Williams's and some woollen goods for R. Cowden.
I can't say but that I am really anxious to see whether the tradesmen has
any confidence. Indeed, if we have such credit, I am desirous of pushing the
business, as sure I am that we shall never meet with another opportunity
to equal the present. I have nearly completed a state of my affairs and they
stand fair and ready for the inspection of our creditors whenever any one
choose to compel me to lay it before the whole. Though I hope that will
not be the case, as most of the tradesmen seem desirous of our going on
and indeed I find but very few troublesome and they are your cursed 8 or
10 pound gentry, in which I am rather misfortunate, having divided my
orders amongst a number in order to obtain our goods at the best terms,
some of whom is not acquainted with export business and dun my soul out
for their money at the very 12 month [limit]. I have paid every [bill of
exchange] acceptance I was under and satisfied a good many of the very
needy ones [among the suppliers] by which means I have been debarred
from doing that justice to some of the creditors whose debts ought to have
been paid in February and [as] I could [have] wished and there still remains
unpaid £1,835:9:0 of whose Nash & Co. debt makes £792:18:0 and which
they are willing to stay for till 1 January next. On a rough state I find the
amount of our debts due in course of the present year to amount to £9,600,
a much larger sum I fear than you'll be able to remit me and let alone anything to indemnify the returned protested bills [for] which you ought to
calculate a full half as much more. Though trust on your exertion to send
it me in bills, tobacco or somehow or other or my poor body must pay for
it, which I am the more ready to submit to, knowing the many advantages
I obtain in the management of our matters that any person would not
trouble their heads about. Tell [brother] Tom to make himself easy on my
account, that I grow more callous and begin to submit to fate with a good
grace. . . .
90. (p. 181) to the firm per Philadelphia Packet, Capt Osborne 17 July 1773
I wrote you the 7th per the New York packet a copy of which you have
on the other side. I have now to acknowledge receipt of your 7th ult.
which brought me 13 first and second bills amounting to £927:13:9 and
your order for the fall goods. As I have but just received your letter, I
can't as yet tell what will be the fate of the bills, but you thus much may
rely on, that Geo. F. Hawkins' must go back, likewise Orme's. Indeed, I
propose to have Orme's protested today and send it back that you may secure yourselves of Belt [an endorser] as I am told every farthing Orme has
is under a mortgage to Russell.
I have not had time to look over your orders but, from the bulk of
paper, I apprehend that they are large. I will set about making out the
orders immediately and offer them to the tradesmen and prevail on them
to execute them if I possibly can and send them to you or otherwise you
lay without until you can forward me a sufficient sum to discharge our
present engagements and re-establish our credit again. I am sorry for your
perseverance against Nash, Eddowes & Martin, as they are the only house
that I know would put up our linen goods, though you may rely on it that
I will not apply to them if I am obliged not to send the goods. I would not
have [you] to depend by any means on the goods coming for I rather incline
to think that I shall not be able to ship them out. Should I be able, they
will come by Capt Nicholson who will sail by the first of next month.
I observe you say that you had chartered the [new] ship to J[ohn]
Buchanan for £7 [per ton]. I thought I had given you a sufficient case not
to take less than £7:10:0 [per ton]. However, as Buchanan has failed, you
had better relinquish the charter and load her home to me. We shall make
a great deal more of her. You say that you expect she'll produce ready
money on her appearance here; it shows how little you know of matters.
She in the first place is to lay 20 days to deliver and then, if sold immediately, you have only ¼ part down and the remainder in 3 months.
I wrote you that I was about making out a state of our affairs. They
stand as follows: due to sundries in February last £1,835:9:0; in April
£234:1:4; in June £6,493:2:4; in July £300:2:7; in the course of the year
£563:0:6 so that I must have £9,500 between this and New Year's day to
make up our payments and which I fear is too large a sum for you to
accomplish, though this I again tell you, that you must get it and depend
no more on Hanbury nor anyone else. I will write you again today by the
same opportunity if the ship don't sail. . . .
91. (pp. 181-2) to the firm per the Mary & Elizabeth, Capt Mesnard
18 July 1773
I wrote you the foregoing yesterday per Capt Osborn. I omitted telling
you that I had not received your letter 22 May which I suppose was to
have come by the packet. I wonder at it, if so, because I received a letter
from I. Harris of the 28th and should have supposed that they would have
come together but there is a general complaint amongst the merchants of
having no letters from their Baltimore correspondents which makes us
incline to think that the letters have miscarried.
I have just received answers to all the bills presented for acceptance but
T. Reynolds on J. B[uchanan] & Son and C. Grahame on J. R[ussell]. A
list of the noted you have at the foot of my letter so that you will be able
to judge what I am to expect from such remittances. I well remember that
I desired you would send to Philadelphia to purchase your bills, that the
bills drew in Maryland was good for nothing or so much so that, if the
people had a right to draw, the merchants was not able to pay and would
in course protest. I again recommend it as the exchange [in Philadelphia]
is nearly the same [as in Maryland] and indeed I believe lower and you will
there get such bills as may be depended on. I am tore to pieces for money
and what to do I cannot tell. I wish to God it was possible to put you in
my place for 1 month; you would then feel for me and exert yourselves,
for I conceive that neither of you know the want of money and therefore
unacquainted with that companion called a dunner.
I have set about the orders and hope to have them in the tradesmen's
hands in the course of next week (if we have so much credit with them as to
put them up for us) and must if possible get them out in Nicholson who
is the last ship and who brings out all the Annapolis goods, amongst
whom T[homas] B. Hodgkin has a cargo from Kelly, Lot & Co. I have
but very little time and much fear they will be too late for the Provincial
Court. I shall write you again tomorrow by Capt All. . . .
£ 50:||G. F. Hawkins||on O'Neill|
|100:||E. E. Orme||on J. Russell|
|74:4||John Laveille||on W. Molleson|
|10:6||A. H. Smith||on ditto|
|8:||S. Hardesty||on ditto|
92a. (pp. 182-3) to the firm per Capt All via Philadelphia 19 July 1773
The foregoing is a copy of my last per the Mary & Elizabeth, Capt
Mesnard, via Philadelphia in which I promised to forward you a protest
for the non-acceptance of Orme's bill and which you have now enclosed.
You ought to forward it to Belt as soon as possible that he may fall on
some mode to secure himself of Orme, for I am told that he wanted C.
Grahame [Russell's chief agent in Maryland] to endorse his bill, who
refused it and told him that it would not be paid as Russell would not
advance any more on the mortgage of his estate. And while I am thus
speaking of returned protested bills, let me desire you'll take some immediate step to secure ourselves against T[homas] Gassaway and J. Gone
[?]. You must admit that a continuance of renewments never discharges
the debt and, whilst you are persevering a hope, it often happens that the
principal proves good for nothing and I doubt we shall too severely pay
for that experience in the loss of Barnes & Ridgate bill, and I would not
say but Brown, Perkins & Buchanan. I have now enclosed you account of
sales of 104 hhds. of tobacco, the net proceeds of which I have carried to
your credit and which you'll be pleased to debit me with.
I have made out all the orders [for export goods] and are adelivering
them to the tradesmen. Who will and who will not execute the order I
can't as yet tell, but could wish with all my soul that the ship was to stay
another day that I might be able to tell you my fate. I am put more to it
than I ever was in my life to know what to do. You order me not to take
goods of such and such people. You most assuredly don't attend to my
situation. Those people we owe considerably and, was I to desert them, it
would be our immediate ruin, for I have it not in my power to pay them
and should therefore be arrested immediately; and indeed their whispering
on Change that we would not pay would effectually do our business.
Though thus [?] much I will do if I can: not to send the prints from Nash
& Co. and will take care to get rid of the others complained of by degrees
and as fast as I can, but until then you must adopt the old saying when
needs must, the devil drives and therefore be content with what you can
get in those hard times.
92b. I have but this moment received your letters 22 and 24 May and have
only time to remark your case, under hopes that Hanbury would do the
thing that's clever and, in case of his refusal, you desire I would point out a
house of reputation who will manage matters for us. I will only tell you for
answer that we are in as good (although bad enough) credit as any house
in our trade, that I have exerted myself, beyond what I thought possible, to
support us and it behoves you to take care of me, for even a hint of my
going would ruin us and nothing but my continuance can help us through
I have finished delivering out the orders or nearly so, and have the
pleasure to inform you that there seems the utmost willingness to execute
them and if they are done by some whom we would wish to have excluded,
you must be content and not scold me. I have only 10 days to ship this
cargo or I should lose Nicholson (by whom I propose to ship them) and
there is no other ship agoing after his. I will save her if possible and, if I
can, you may expect her by the last or I hope by the middle of September.
Under the rose [sub rosa] I have a hint that P[erkins], B[uchanan] &
B[rown] must stop, that Brown and his wife has left England and gone out
in [Capt] Mitchell to Virginia. Improve on the hint and secure ourselves
immediately. I will again tell you that I am determined to continue here
and face the worst of it, if my fate be to die in a dungeon. You'll therefore
regulate yourselves by exertion and extricate me. . . .
93a. (pp. 183-4) to the firm per the Catherine, [Capt] Sutton, via
Philadelphia 24 July 1773
The above is a copy of my last, per Capt All, via Philadelphia, since
which I have nothing from you, although Capt Caucard [Carcaud] is just
arrived from your place and by whom I did expect you would have wrote.
From my repeated requests and instructions what to give for tobacco, I
expected that the new ship would have come home loaded to me. It would
have been the only thing you could have done to have supported my credit
here, but, as it is, I see myself involved in a thousand difficulties and how
to extricate myself I know not. Indeed, it is impossible so long as you
continue to remit such vile, good for nothing paper [bills of exchange] and
in such small quantities. . . . It is only doing the part of a partner to give
you information for your regulation for the general interest. I meant that
in recommending to you to send to Philadelphia for bills, but so long as
you continue to take such as Buchanan's, etc., so long shall we be asinking.
Indeed I have to tell you this for your comfort, that it's thought Perkins,
Buchanan & Brown will not pay 10/ in the pound. Now where will you
secure yourselves? There is no Hemsley & Tilghman [whose endorsements
they surrendered] and my hints was not worth attending to.
I have delivered out all the orders and shall be able (from the people's
confidence) to ship almost all the goods, but the woollens; I shan't be able
to ship more than half of them, having not so much credit. I have exerted
myself in order to get them away by Nicholson who sails on the 1st next
month. That, add our bad credit, will probably induce complaints, but,
whenever it does, put your hands to your hearts, and ask if it is not your
own faults. I have not more than 10 days to make out the orders, and ship
the goods, yet you expect it done and you have months and yet could not
forward them before. Indeed it is equally as odd, your never sending me
the amount sales and expenses of storekeeping, although you order me to
call my creditors together and lay our affairs before them. Do you not
think it a natural question from our creditors, what is your sales, and what
is the expenses of carrying on our business? Most undoubtedly, and then
what a pitiable figure I should make in answering: I don't know; my
partners have not furnished me with the accounts. I have endeavoured to
convince you of the necessity, therefore hope you'll do everything consistent
and requisite even by writing by every opportunity and long letters; they
really are pleasing to our creditors.
93b. Capt Nicholson has not engaged his ship to any one; therefore, as I
apprehend it impossible to pick up bills [of exchange] sufficient to answer
our purpose, I think it prudent to buy two or three hundred hhds. tobacco
at Elkridge [on Patapsco], Indian Landing [on Severn], and from Pig Point
upwards, on Patuxent, provided it can be had at 10/ or 12/ sterling [per
cwt.]. That would help to discharge our debts here and at which prices we
should make a commission. I have mentioned my intention to him and
engaged his promise to give you a refusal. T. Reynolds' bill [of exchange]
on J. Buchanan & Son is good and C. Grahame will be paid; the others I
doubt must go back.
I am told today that Capt Carcaud is to sail for Maryland again on next
week; he will have but very few goods for our province, and I believe none
for Annapolis, those that are for Annapolis being engaged to [Capt]
Nicholson. . . . You tell me that goods are likely to be scarce and that we
should be able to sell any quantities. I will ask you what purpose it may
answer to sell those goods when our [debt] collections will not indemnify
the first cost of them. I will say none, and that we had better to end at once,
than be compelled to lodge our effect in trust and give 10 per cent for the
collection. Indeed much more depends on [debt] collection than sales, and,
after sinking our capital, if you can't remit so as to indemnify the purchase,
you may judge we are going behindhand, desist in time, [rather] than have
me locked up during the remainder of my life; and to avoid which I am
determined not to ship any more goods after this cargo, until you release
me from the present distress I am plunged in. I will write you again by
Carcaud, Nicholson, and the packet. . . .
94. (p. 185) to the firm per Capt Carcaud 2 August 1773
The foregoing is a copy of my last per Capt Sutton via Philadelphia,
since which I have nothing from and since which Frank & Bickerton [of
London] have stopped. The principal part of their connections were to
Virginia. Their creditors have had a meeting and their affairs appear so
fair and clear that they have determined to support them and have given
them 12 months, 18 months and two year to complete their payments in.
I was much alarmed at hearing of their stoppage as they undoubtedly were
saving, industrious, and very deserving.
The creditors of Perkins, Buchanan & Brown have had several meetings,
at some of which it has been proposed to make them bankrupts and opposed
for this reason, that they having assigned all their effects and debts over
both in this and your country to particular people, whom the creditors
think are not intituled to hold them and if they should [retain the assets],
which I am told [John] Dunning [the famous lawyer] says they will, there
will not be half a crown in the pound for the other creditors, and I fear that
we must come into that composition with the rest of their returned bills,
which you took in renewment for Hemsley & Tilghman's.
There has been several meetings of the creditors of Barnes & Ridgate's,
the event of which I can't as yet inform you of, though I doubt poor
Barnes is doomed to lay a long time here in gaol from the extreme inveteracy
of the tradesmen against the concern. The goods you ordered are shipped
on board the Molly & Betsey, Capt Nicholson, by whom I shall write you
very fully tomorrow. . . .
95. (pp. 186-7) to the firm per New York packet 4 August 
I wrote you the above by Capt Carcaud. I have only time to inform you
that Capt Nicholson clears today and that his ship goes down immediately.
I shall write you a very long letter by him and I fear a very disagreeable
one. However, it can't be hope [i.e. helped] and I have done my utmost
to send you the goods on any terms though you will think with me that it
is very hard to have them addressed to anyone besides yourselves as Mauduit
[& Co.'s goods] are to D. Dulany Esq, who is requested not to deliver them
before you lodge security. You no doubt will wonder at my submitting to
it. I knew not of his [Mauduit's] intention but the very day before we were to
have shipped, the goods packed and trimmings put up for them in a different package. Those circumstances, added to my not having time to try anyone else who could not have got them ready, made me acquiesce and it now
remains with you to settle the payment with Mr Dulany.
There was several others who solicited my orders, took them and even
went so far as to look out the goods, order the trunks to pack them in and
afterwards wrote me letters (which I will enclose you) of excuse for not
shipping of the goods. That being the case, and all of the other tradesmen
being ready, what was I to do ? I could not tell to omit sending the linens
and prints. I knew that would never do and who to apply to ? I was at a
great loss. However, I determined to try Nash, Eddowes & Martin who
very cheerfully undertook to get them ready and ship any quantity we
pleased to order, although they had but 3 day. I mentioned to them the
unhappy difference between you and them and that I was forbid to take of
them. They again repeat their sorrow and are willing to make any abatement
you think reasonable, and, more readily to convince you of their uprightness of intention, they agree that your having those goods or not shall be
optional. Therefore, should you not choose to have them, deliver them to
my brother Tom and William Lux, who are to sell them for their [Nash &
Co.'s] account. So much by way of preparing you. You see what a stroke
credit has received and what a struggle I have had to supply you. Indeed,
if any man breathing had told me once that I could have put up with such
treatment I should have told him he knew me not, but I am confined and
I must submit for the general interest of the whole and wait for a favourable
opportunity of retorting.
The following will nearly be the amount of the cargo shipped by me:
£5,172:16:6; by Mauduits—£421:4:7, which I hope in God will arrive
with you in all next month, doubting not of a ready demand for them and
your more than common exertion to forward me a remittance sufficient to
extricate me out of this cursed distress I am plunged in. A more ready step
I can't recommend than by sending me a quantity of good tobacco (of
Western Shore), for indeed all your bills [of exchange] are good for nothing
and while you continue to remit them, they must go back and I must be
distressed. I shall return you tomorrow near £300 under protest. Those
returned before and these have plunged me in the utmost distress together
with a dependence on Hanbury who absolutely refuses to do anything for
me. You must feel and pity my situation and you are in honour bound to
relieve me. . . .
96a. (pp. 188-9) to the firm per [Molly & Betsey], Capt [Samuel] Nicholson
5 August 
The above is a copy of mine of yesterday, per the packet. I now forward
you enclosed bill lading, bills of parcels and invoice of goods amounting
to £5,172:16:6 and 4 protested bills amounting to £298:3:1 which I have
placed to your debits. It being ill convenient to me to pay Capt Nicholson
the freight and primage here and he having occasion for money in your
country, induced him to take my draught on you of this date, payable at
ten days' sight for £124 which I have credited you with and which you'll
pay proper attention to and charge to my general account.
It has not been in my power to execute your order in every degree you
expected and I could wish, the following articles being left out: leather,
India chintz, worked muslin aprons, half the quantity of oznabrigs and
full or more than half of the woollen goods and one half of the porter.
Perhaps you may imagine that it was owing to want of industry that they
were not sent. In the first place, your order reached my hands so late that
I had but 12 days to save [Capt] Nicholson; in the next, the many failures
and shortness of our payments has given such a state to my credit that there
was the greatest indifference amongst the tradesmen whether they executed
one's orders or not; some absolutely refused and several (whose letters are
enclosed) who showed the utmost willingness, nay gave me the trouble to
look out part of their goods, ordered the necessary packages and then wrote
me letters that they would not ship the goods without security. The time
for shipping of them had nearly expired and what to do I knew not, for the
other goods were ready and indeed ordered down, so that it was impossible
to countermand them without alarming the town of our badness of credit
and to send a part without a regular assortment I know would not do, and
to apply to any new house I likewise knew would not do at this time. I
therefore thought it most prudent to closet with Nash & Co. who at that
instant solicited my order and this instance of confidence I hope you'll
pay proper respect to and, if their goods are not the best in the world, I
think the notice of only three days will apologise for them in a great measure
and again the many friendly services and indulgences given us at this time
of general want and distress. However, after all, if you should not agree
with me in opinion and decline taking the goods, be pleased to deliver them
to my brother Tom and William Lux to whom I have forwarded an invoice
(a copy of which you have enclosed) and empowered to sell them for the
account of Nash & Co.
96b. Mauduit's behaviour has been the most extraordinary I ever met with.
I, from owing them the greatest sum, made them acquainted with my disappointment with Hanbury and asked their opinions frequently and from
their apparent openness I thought I had secured a friend in any emergency.
On the receipt of your orders, I waited on them, told them that you had
ordered goods and asked them if I had not better try my credit to send
them. They was of the same opinion, but advised only to ship half of the
woollens. I thought it wrong to oppose them and acquiesced. Well, the day
before the goods were to be shipped, they sent for me and told me that the
debt we owed them was so large that they could not ship the goods unless
I could pay part or give security. I saw their drift, that it was to secure
themselves in preference of the other creditors and at once told them that
I had and would act alike to every man, that I would suffer imprisonment
rather than act partially, that [they] knew the step taken by you and that
the security individually was sufficient. They answered that that [letter of
credit] was void by my contracting for more than the sum offered as
security, which [it] undoubtedly is, the sum being exceeded by three or
four thousand pounds. They then proposed to send them out addressed
to some person there and several was mentioned. I objected to none but
they seemed to approve the most of Mr [Daniel] Dulany, to whom they are
come and to whom I think it advisable to make the best terms you can
with, for fear of aggravating them to egg on others to distress me, they
having it in their power to rule a number of people here, and it will be my
interest to act with duplicity in turn until I get clear of them. I scorn the
act, but revenge calls aloud for it. I hope you'll assist me through it. They
have wrote you a pompous letter which I now forward enclosed with the
rest. From the truth of the foregoing facts, I think you can't arraign my
conduct. I have done more than I thought I could for I have bore with
refusals, insults and meanness, all to support our credit with you and I
hope gratitude and honour will prompt you to use more than common
exertion to enable me to extricate myself with honour. . . .
97a. (pp. 190-1) to the firm per Capt Nicholson 9 August 1773
I wrote you the 5th by this opportunity but the wind being contrary
and the Pool so very full of shipping has prevented Nicholson from getting
down which gives me this opportunity of writing. And I'll add a disagreeable one it is, as the wind for these several days has been strong at east,
which would have shoved him in the trade winds, had he been lucky
enough to [have] been in the Downs, and shortened his passage very considerably, but, as it is, the Lord knows when he will get clear of the
There has nothing happened since my other letter except that Perkins,
Buchanan & Brown's creditors have had another meeting in which there is
no final resolution taken. It was strenuously urged by some to make them
bankrupts and opposed by others. However, the general opinion here
seems to be that there will be a statute [of bankruptcy] and, in case there
should, they will not pay 2/6 in the pound. I am told that Barlow,
Wigginton & Francis [London merchants and wholesale linendrapers] who
has assignments from them to the amount of thirty odd thousand pounds
in your country, sends out a ship directly and that Mr Wigginton is to go
out to collect effects to send home by her. From the number who are making
collections with you, I suppose we shall be shoved out. Don't submit to
it; get J. D[avidson] to put on his resolute size, get on his horse and stick
close to them [the firm's debtors] until you can collect a sufficiency to
support our credit. I presume it will not be amiss to caution you against
running too deep with Governor Eden; he owes very large sums here. They
tell me that [his debt to] Perkins, Buchanan & Browns amounts to £5,000.
Take the hint and get out as soon as you can for fear of the consequences.
97b. I have not as yet received a line from Richard Tilghman Earle & Co.
acknowledging receipt of their goods, much more a remittance to reimburse
the charges. I could wish that we may not have reason to complain of that
correspondence. I apprehend the account of [John] Buchanan's failure soon
would reach you and that it would make a material difference on the face
of matters with you for, ay, what will you do with your charter? Don't you
think you had better [have] followed my advice as matters have turned out ?
But the misfortune is, I can't see and therefore my hints are deemed useless.
Well, I will once more resume the liberty of advising you to be cautious of
entering into any considerable engagements on J[ames] A[nderson]. He,
poor fellow, is exceedingly pushed and, to tell you the truth, I am uneasy
for him. Take care how you speak, for you know it is death to your great
ones [Anderson's Lloyd and other relations on the Eastern Shore] to have
any such a thing said of their relations. The other few I believe will weather
through it from the exceeding exertion of their friends on your side and
insure to themselves and families fortunes.
I only wish to be master of one five thousand pounds money at this time
and clear of all other engagements. I most undoubtedly would employ it
in the tobacco business and think my risk covered with a fortune. I have
convinced you, I hope, of the exceeding ill treatment I have met with from
several tradesmen, therefore will not recapitulate, only that Mauduit's
behaviour to others as well as to me has been so exceedingly ungenteel that
I begin to fear the villainy of him and hope to get rid of him by all means,
therefore pray you to put it in my power. I have a whisper this moment
that two New York houses must give way today. Such times has never
been in the memory of man and what will and can be done there is no
telling, for the distress has proved so general that it has caught hold of the
tradesmen and they cannot wait any longer, so that I should not be surprised at a general revolution of the mercantile world. I will therefore again
beg you'll more than exert yourselves and send me a remittance of something or another that will save us from the common fate and save him his
liberty who is on all and every occasion. . . .
98a. (pp. 192-3) to the firm per Capt Deane via New York
20 August 1773
The foregoing is copies of mine per Nicholson since which I have received
yours 20, 24 and 30 June, covering 19 first bills amounting to £479:12:6,
all which are good and passed to your credit, but Richard Green's on West
& Hobson for £10, J. Mackall's on O. Hanbury & Co. for £20, and Reeder
on J. Russell for £21, all of which will be protested and must go back.
Stewart's on Dunlop is gone to Glasgow for acceptance so that I can't say
what may be its fate. I have now forwarded you six protests amounting to
£268:6:11 which you will be pleased to pass to my credit.
I have received one thousand Spanish [silver] dollars per Capt Wilsoon
and shall sell them as soon as it is in my power. The ship's arriving but
the day after my knowing you had sent them saved to us the insurance,
which would have been one guinea per cent. The Clipping Act has produced
such a plenty of gold, and the scarcity of bills from the West Indies such
quantities of silver that the gold and silver smiths will not give the standard
prices for it, and the most that is given is £3:17:6 per oz. for gold and 5/2¼
per oz. for silver so that, after reducing foreign gold to the English standard,
there will be a loss of near 10 per cent on the nominal valuations. The
dollars will neat about 4/61/8 a ¼ so that they will not bear freight and insurance, but should there be any alteration either way, you may rely on my
informing you of it.
98b. You fall on me without mercy for proposing to you to enter into the
consignment business, and ask me if I do not think we are already engaged
in as much as we can well manage, that if I am not afraid of tiring out our
friends by being security for us, without engaging them for the further sum
of £3,000 to carry on that scheme, where there can't be a further probability
of success. I could say a great deal to confute you, but think that this will
be sufficient. I did not recommend to you to borrow three thousand pounds
for the purpose of carrying that scheme in execution. I told you that a
capital of £3,000 was sufficient to answer every purpose here to the extent
of my scheme. Supposing we had two ships in the trade, that would bring
us home five hundred hhds. each and which quantity, I did apprehend,
was to be had amongst our friends, at this general time of distress amongst
the merchants in the trade and the fear on the parts of the people to
entrust their tobacco in their hands. Add their [the merchants'] determined
resolutions not to ship any more cargoes [to American traders], nor pay
their draft where there is no effects in hand. Those were my reasons, together [with] the great opening at this time and an intention to contract the
immoderate extent we are giving credit on retailed goods, to establish ourselves a snug comfortable trade and to release our friends of their engagements for us. I confess I proposed the scheme and am still so far from being
wavering in my opinion that I have the most sanguine expectations of its
answering and indeed much better than I had a right to have hoped at
that time. However, as it unhappily has been the case of different opinions,
I will promise not to trouble you again on that head, nor presume to chalk
out schemes to you in future.
98c. From a rise in exchange [rates] with you and the fall in specie here, I
know not what to recommend as a remittance, unless it be flour or wheat;
the first is now selling for 48/ per barrel, which is ready money and yields
a very considerable profit to the speculator. Mr Molleson was offered the
cash for Wilsoon's load [of flour] by several before he arrived. There is a
great want and everyone seems to be of the opinion that it will continue,
the more so from the exceeding heavy rains we have had lately which has
destroyed a good deal of the present crop. I think it your interest to barter
goods for one or two thousand barrels [flour] and forward them immediately.
Capt Christie is arrived in whom has come passenger Mr Dundass. I
have seen him, but from his shyness I can't find out his errand here, though
apprehend it to be on a similar plan of mine. Pray what do you think of
Mr [John] Buchanan's affairs? Do you not think they have made a fine
kettle a fish of it? Indeed, I am pleased that the Kitty & Nelly has escaped
their clutches and am glad I shall have nothing to do with them. I understand T. Reynolds [of Maryland] has £1,100 in his [Buchanan's] hands. If
you can get his bill at sight, it will be paid. I would wish to caution you
against putting any belief in Mr [James] Russell [of London, then visiting
Maryland]; he will tell ten thousand lies and make as many promises which
will induce the planters to draw [bills of exchange] and the trustees are
determined to protest [such bills] where there is not effects.
You seem exceedingly anxious to know the fate of your letter of credit
[to Hanbury]. I am not surprised at it, especially at this time, but the fate
of which I so often mentioned and sent you different ways, that it is almost
impossible but some of my letters must have reached you before this and
will only caution you not to attempt that scheme again, especially on one
of the same cloth [i.e. another Quaker], for I will tell you now as I have
always done, that there is no trusting them. If you should incline to do
anything in the flour way, I would have you to be close and expeditious as
you will have the advantage of the difference of time between this and the
packet's sailing, by whom I expect many orders will go. I am dunned very
hard; exert yourselves and extricate me, or I shall not say what may be my
fate after next term, perhaps a gaol. I have heard my brother Tom is ill.
Pray for God sake let me know for, if he is and there is a probability of his
death, I will set off immediately, [even] if I am obliged to run away, that
I may have it in my power to assist his children. . . .
99a. (pp. 194-5) to the firm per New York packet 1 September 1773
Above is a copy of my last per the Sir William Johnson, Capt Deane,
via New York. I received a letter a few days ago from Duff & Welsh [Spain]
informing me that their crops had failed and they should want very considerable supplies in the course of next winter and spring from America
unless Barbary and Sicily permitted a free export. In that case, they say
American wheat may rule from 36 to 40 and flour from 38 to 40 rp [reals
of old plate, per—?] which prices, I hope, will induce speculation, and
procure a considerable remittance. They tell me that they cannot procure
anything more on account of [former firm of] Charles Wallace & Co., so
that you may now know the ultimate [fate] of that transaction. I pretty
well informed you what was doing in wheat and flour here; the prices still
keep up and some of the new crop has been sold for 8/6 per bushel Winchester measure. Mr Molleson sold his best flour for 46/ and the other for
45/ per barrel, which prices must neat the owner seventy or eighty per cent.
If you should incline to speculate, I would recommend flour, that you ship
it in a fast sailing ship and let there not be too large a quantity of it together,
1,500 barrels being enough in one vessel. Again I would recommend not
to ship very heavy barrels, as we find a barrel to answer as well of 212 lbs.
as those of two hundred and forty.
Mr [John] Buchanan has sold Capt Christie's load of tobacco, I am told
for tolerable good prices. His friends has had many meetings since
Christie's arrival to consult and fix a plan for his going on again, but there
was such dissension amongst the trustees that that frustrated everything
and has fixed a determination for his winding up.
99b. By Capt Eden, who is just arrived, I am favoured with yours 15 and
17 July which brought me seven first, second and third bills amounting to
£991:16:5, all of which are accepted but the Adams on J. Bell for £9:6:0
that is noted for the want of advice. I observe what you say respecting of
the people's sending home specie. In the first instance, I am sorry for the
occasion, in the next, for their loss which will fully equal 72½ per cent
[? recte 12½ per cent] with you and therefore recommend to you not to
think of sending home anything but silver and guineas that will weigh 20/.
The latter I can pass for 21/ and which by much is the most profitable. I
am sorry that you took my request of your sending me ten thousand pounds
amiss. I am now sensible that it was not to be done but, at the time I wrote
you that letter, everything bore the appearance of destruction, and I was
much afraid that we must suffer in the number. However, your activity has
kept up our credit beyond what I had a right to expect and [I] hope, with
the renewment of the protested bills and the sale of the ship, [it] will make
us square with our creditors up to the next year, when you must begin to
think of that and push your Mr Earle & Co. whom I have not heard a word
from as yet.
I have settled a great many accounts by hook and by crook and the interest account does not as yet bear that terrible appearance I was fearful of.
On the whole I have done my utmost and am almost positive you'll be pleased
with my management, as I can prove to you that I have saved to the concern
very considerably by sticking to it and managing business by myself. The
greatest part of our creditors are thoroughly satisfied with our exertion and
very ready to indulge us. There is some scabby sheep whom I have put a
proper mark on and, as soon as I am clear of them, will tell them my mind. I
have taken every step in my power to prevent Mr [Charles] Carroll's [of Carrollton] bills from being returned and think there is no doubt of my accomplishing of it. I have wrote him by this opportunity telling him so, to whom
I refer you. You complain of the largeness of the charges on protests and
hint that the notary does us wrong. If you will attend to them, you'll observe
they are on people out of the city which occasions it. But to convince you
that there can be no fraud, I would wish you to compare notes with your
neighbours. The notary's fees are established by law; they are sworn and
dare not take more than the stipulated sums by that regulation. I will write
you again in a few days by Capt Greig. . . .
100. (p. 195) to John Davidson per the Nelly Frigate, Capt Greig
4 September 1773
I have now before me your favour 16 July and in consequence of which
have settled for you Mr J. Addison's account with Capt Wray and paid
him 48/ sterling. . . .
I am the more desirous of knowing how my private matters stand, that
I might regulate myself respecting other matters, but did not expect that
you would or could take up your time about them and let the concern
suffer, though was in hopes [young] Tom [Johnson] could have managed
that business without neglecting the store as he might have done that by
candlelight. From his total neglect in writing me, I fear he has turned
indolent; if so, pray exercise your authority and push him on to industry.
It will be adoing him a friendly act. Be pleased to make him take copies
of my accounts and send me a list of balance of my old books. For it will
not do to lose what we had obtained by industry and I think for the sake
of each and the whole of our interests that you had better get some steady
person to keep the books and for you to attend to the collecting of the old
and new debts. It is a matter of full as much and more consequence than
selling, for you are and must be sensible what sums are lost in neglect of
that kind. When you consider this, you will agree with me that it avails
nothing in labouring so hard when the whole profits are sunk in losses. I
don't mean to insinuate that it is the case with you but I mean to advise
a step to prevent it in time.
I was a little surprised to hear that Lloyd Dulany had married B[etty]
Brice, but much more so to hear that [brother] James [Johnson] had
married Miss [Margaret] Skinner. You accuse me of slyness and hint that
some of my good friends had been busy with me and the Crehold ladies.
A man must possess true courage indeed to engage the matrimonial way,
in those hard time, especially with your thousands. It requires a longer
sighted one than I am to penetrate through the gloss that sixteen thousand
would give and am content to let the more enterprising enjoy the charmer
with all her charms. . . .
101. (pp. 197-8) to the firm per the Nelly Frigate, Capt Greig
4 September 1773
The foregoing is a copy of my last per the packet, since which I am
procured with yours 4 July per Captain Love, enclosing me a certificate for
the tea per Lynch. Colonel Sharpe [former governor of Maryland] and
Mrs Ogle [widow of former governor] came up yesterday. I only saw them
in the post-chaise. The colonel looked just the same as usual. I observe
what you say about the legislative body and am exceedingly vexed at the
conduct of the Upper House [probably on church taxation]. This step must
evince the least discerning of their determined resolution to distress the
community by opposing every and the most salutary offers from the Lower
House. I have taken the liberty of communicating that paragraph of your
letter to a public coffee house, and given a gentleman a transcript for
[secretary of the province] Mr Hamersley's perusal.
You [Marylanders] are very wrongfully represented here and much want
an active person [i.e. an agent] to contradict misrepresentations and state
them in a proper light; but, as it is, the very trustees [of Maryland's paper
money reserve fund] are arrant courtiers and their whole view is emolument
and contracts. But, so far as I have been able to discern, there is an infatuation amongst you to a certain O[sgood] H[anbury] whose connections
[with Lord Baltimore] alone ought to raise in you a jealousy, a removal of
whom I apprehend would be a means of removing a considerable grievance.
However, I submit to superior judgment about the men [trustees], but I
will not give up my knowledge in a fact that the business [of the trust] is
wholly transacted at a banking shop [Hanbury, Taylor, Lloyd & Bowman],
where neither of the other trustees [Grove and Russell] attends or knows
anything about it.
Mr Molleson has had three tobacco ships, one flour ship and another
hourly expected, a most lucky man. . . . Mr Bickerton, a partner to Mr
Frank, having occasion to go to Virginia and Maryland, to settle their
affairs and my knowledge of him here, induces me to give him a line to
you, and your friendly reception of him will particularly oblige me. Capt
[Thomas] Eden has put the Annapolis up for the 25 of this month for your
place, by whom I shall write you again. The distribution [to the suppliers]
of the last remittance [from Maryland] has revived our credit somewhat
and a continuance of your exertion will soon put us upon top credit.
Enclosed I now forward you an account sales of the 1,000 [silver] dollars
and which can't but please as it is higher by a farthing per oz. than any
sold here for a long time. You'll be pleased to charge me with £224:10:10
the net proceeds. . . .
102. (pp. 198-9) to the firm per the Annapolis, Capt Eden
22 September 1773
The foregoing is a copy of mine per the Nelly Frigate, Capt Greig, since
which I am favoured with yours 24 July. I observe that you say the Kitty &
Nelly was ready for launching but that you had fixed on no plan of her
loading. I wish you had as the season has pretty far advanced and I would
wish her to avoid a winter's passage. Indeed, I am the more anxious from
a report circulated here by Capt Lane of your loading her [with tobacco]
on our joint account and he adds that [Capt] James Buchanan is to have
her. For God sake, why could you not say so much by some opportunity
or another, for there has been enough of them. It has been productive of
one good, I have not had three duns since he reported it on Change, for I
believe it has had pretty general credit given it.
You told me that Capt Eden brought certificates to cancel the tea bond
for that sent out by him. If he had them they are mislaid or lost, for I can't
get them, so that it will be requisite that you write Mr Briscoe to forward
me duplicates by the first opportunity.
Enclosed you have two protested bills amounting with charges to
£34:14:5 and bill parcels for two mourning rings ordered by your J.
Davidson for Miss Turner price £4:4:0 which you will be pleased to add
to the bills and pass to the credit of my account. The rings are in a little
box and in Capt Eden's care. All the bills are good and the only one whose
fate is not known is the Adams's on J[ohn] Bell. . . . I much want a copy
of Banks & Lowden's bill parcel of the hats that went by Capt How. There
is a difference between us of £5 which is much too great a sum to lose.
Let me beg of you to attend to those matters; they are really of more
consequence than you heretofore have thought them. Capt Sewel is just
arrived; there is no letters up from him, only two or three for Molleson.
I hope I have some from you, I am exceedingly anxious to know what you
are doing. . . .
|J. Mackall on O. Hanbury & Co.||£20:5:9|
|T. Reeder on J. Russell||14:8:8|
103. (p. 200) to the firm per the Annapolis, Capt Eden 28 September 1773.
I wrote you the 22nd per this opportunity, since which I am favoured
with yours of the 20 August covering 10 first bills amounting to £1,091:4:8.
which are all accepted but the following, A. H. Smith for £20 and Hudson
& Lawson's for £350. Should they be good they shall be applied as directed,
otherwise returned by the first opportunity.
I observe what you say about the Kitty & Nelly and that Hanbury is to
have a preference to others for what you can't fill up. I am suprised that you
should thus stick so close to a man who cares not a fig for you nor your
interest, but you must do as you will. I have not, nor shall not, deliver him
your letter as he did not do the thing he ought to have done. You tell me
that you have forbid the people's drawing [on the firm in London] or you
could load her [with tobacco consigned] to my address. Let them draw at
the rate of £5 per hhd. provided it be after the ship sails. I will manage to
pay the bills somehow or other. If this trial is encouraging, I shall send out
an early ship to Patuxent with what goods you order and the planters'
goods that she may be early at home next summer.
I shall sign all my letters in future by the names of Wallace, Davidson
& Johnson that I write to our correspondents and it would be well you
would attend to the same and not sign by the names of Wallace & Davidson.
I observe that you have agreed with J[ohn] Ball [Annapolis shipbuilder] for
another ship. I think you are very right, but pray have her ready by June
at farthest. I shall pay particular attention to your draughts when they
appear. Pig iron as well as bar depends more on the place of its make than
anything else; if from Baltimore, pig from £5:5:0 to £6:5:0 [per ton], if
from anywhere else, £5; bar from £14 to £16:16:0. To those whom you
advance [payments on tobacco consigned], you had better take their bills
on us [in London] at about £5 per hhd. and get what tobacco in every ship
to us you can after our ship is full.
Depend on my care, assiduity and attention for our friends' interest. We
are again in credit and shall keep it, in spite of O. H[anbury] and all the
rest of our foes. Let Charles attend to the tobacco business and J. D[avidson] to the store and we shall do well. You must keep a list of insurance
and take care to order it in time. I can't transact the business here for the
allowance you make me, as I must have two clerks and house room. Therefore shall charge all the expenses to charges of merchandise unless you
forbid it and say what you will allow me. Depend on me, I will die before
I forsake you. Push the scheme and I am sure of success unless you agree
to ship cargoes [of British goods on credit] which I beg you'll not. Only
establish one [store] at Pig Point on our own account and another at
Marlboro or Queen Anne [all on Patuxent]. Both of you go to every warehouse and declare our intention. I will write you in a day or two by Jarrold
and by the packet. . . .