1774 (Apr - June)
130a. (pp. 320-1) to the firm per Capt Lewis 3 April 74
The foregoing is a copy of my last per Capt. Hanrick, since which I have
nothing from you. I have but this moment received a letter per the Somerset,
Capt Robinson, and am much surprised that I have nothing from you.
Indeed, I cannot imagine the cause unless you are sick. You are desired to
take notice that it cost us 8/6 postage of Hawkins & O'Neil's bills on Ireland
which you will be pleased to get back of Whitchcroft.
I am sorry that I have it not in my power to send out the sales of the
Kitty & Nelly's tobacco per this opportunity. I have been puzzled to get a
part of it shipped and I am afraid I shall not get the whole done next week,
which will still keep me backwards. However, I will exert myself and, if
possible, you shall have them by Capt [George] Buchanan who I mentioned
before was to go out in Capt Craymer.
I mentioned to you in my last that Lord North had brought in a bill
and which has passed the House of Commons to take away [close] the
Port of Boston until they made restitution for the tea belonging to the
India Company that was destroyed by the Bostonians. A few of the Americans petitioned the different branches to prevent its passage but it was to
no purpose. If it [i.e. the petition] had been general opinion [of the merchants], I am of opinion that it would have been effectual, but the blessed
public spirited merchants refused to step forward themselves and prevented
everyone else whom they could and yet I have not a doubt but they will
puff away with you what they have done. If they should, I desire you will
not hesitate in telling their agents and puffers that it is a lie of the most
vile, that I am your authority who has watched their motions and am willing
to justify what I say. Perhaps my zeal for my country may be arraigned by
their particular friends and dependents. If you should hear it, I request
and authorise you to tell them that what I have done I did from principle
and would do it a thousand times over again, that it was not from a selfish
motive as there will be enough ready to make the people believe. The consequences of the step taken by the legislature rouses all my fears as undoubtedly the people in America will come to some determination and
either resist or submit at once; and, supposing the former, what is to
become of poor me who is in debt and cannot get away unless he receives
remittances sufficient to discharge those debts? Figure to yourself and pity
130b. I should imagine that Mr W.M[olleson] would find some difficulty
this year in loading so many ships, as would old Russell [and] Eden & Co.,
from this circumstance, the latter's having no effects in the country and
the others being such milky court sycophants who, I am sure, would sacrifice the whole country [America] to the support of a single Scotchman or
for the gain of a halfpenny; and a pity it is that the people did not know
them a little better than what they really do. If they did, they would soon
be convinced that their [the Marylanders'] property is not the most secure
in their [Molleson's and Russell's] hands, nor have they an inclination to
serve them farther than interest, I do assure you.
I have just formed a rough sketch of our wants immediately and find
from Earle's not remitting that it is about five and thirty hundred, his
being sixteen and upwards of that sum. You will therefore pay attention to
this and let me have it with every farthing you can rake and scrape, that
we may be beforehand with the world by next January. I shall write you
by the packet in a few days; in the meantime, this goes out by Mr J[ames]
Mackubbin who has goods from Russell to set up in Annapolis. . . .
131a. (pp. 321-3) to the firm per the New York packet 6 April 177
The foregoing is a copy of my last per Capt Lewis which I must refer
you to. This chiefly is to inform you of the arrival of the packet and Capt
Hynson, by neither of whom I have no letters from you. I cannot imagine
the reason of it, especially as I understand that Hynson has tobacco on
board for us. Surely you must be ill or some accident has happened that
prevents your writing. For God Almighty's sake, inform me the reason of
it for I am very uneasy about the neglect and if you are well there can be
no reparation made me for it. I am just now informed by Hobson that you
were about chartering the Betsey, Capt Nichols, to load in Patuxent an
early ship. I wish it may be so; if it should, I have a right to expect her the
second ship and which will prove of great service to us, as, from every
appearance, the price of tobacco will be up considerably higher than it is
at present, though I have a pleasure in telling you that it is better than it
was a fortnight ago by full an eighth per lb. for dark brown and fine a
good deal more. So that I have not a doubt of establishing our reputations
in selling tobacco if she arrives before Sewal [Sewell] and much to the prejudice of Molleson and some others who have heretofore held a high hand.
From a letter I have received from Mr Daniel Dulany, son of Walter, I
understand that the Baltimore Company have ordered the goods for their
[iron] works from us. I wonder at your not mentioning of it to me. However, I will execute them as well as I possibly can and forward them by the
first ship after I get the order. I wrote you that Capt George Buchanan had
sold his ship to Molleson without her rigging and that he proposed to
carry the rigging to Maryland and sell it there; and which I thought would
do for the new ship. He has since sold it here for the same money that he
offered it me for, so that you must have no dependence on him for it.
131b. I am told that T. Eden & Co. is pushing with all their strength to
carry everything before them. I am amazed that the people [in Maryland]
will not attend to their not having any effects in the country [as security];
it would be well for them to take care of them. O. Hanbury's house is new
modelled; it is now O. Hanbury, John Hanbury & [John] Lloyd; the latter
is a young man from Birmingham and brother-in-law to O. Hanbury, quite
a young man and knows nothing of business.
I have heretofore told you that I was of an opinion that it would be
best to order insurance on the tobaccos generally and advertise it. Old
Russell and some others charge everybody insurance whether made or not.
I don't think that just, nor will I do it, but, of the two evils, I am for making
a general insurance and let the shippers stand the expense; it is very trifling
and not an object to them, but, if it should be lost, they will reap the
Mr [Abraham Lopez] Fernandes, a Jew gentleman, partner and nephew
to Vonseackn [Moses-Israel Fonseca] and Jacob [Israel] Brandon goes out
in Capt Richardson to settle their accounts with J. Plowman and others in
Maryland. They have applied to me for letters to my brother [Thomas]
which I shall give him. Tell T. J. that they are the greatest tobacco brokers
in England, to keep up appearances for our sakes, but, at the same time,
have it in remembrance that it is a Jew and that he is to deal with him as
such. I could wish that you would make much of him; tickle him up, it
may sometimes be a farthing per lb. advance to us [in tobacco sales]. I am
told that he proposes to purchase fine tobacco; if he does, he will raise the
price. You may take his bills [of exchange] with safety.
I want to know what is doing in your province about tea matters. It is
thought here by most people that you will enter into resolves not to have
any more goods and not to ship any more tobacco until the act is repealed.
Something I think is necessary to be done and that must be by the ruling
opinion with you. I shall be happy to see unanimity once more established
between you, but, whilst there is so much jealousy, I fear there never will
again. I am much in want of money; take care and secure some and send
it me. . . .
132a. (pp. 324-8) to the firm per the Camden, Capt Joseph Richardson
9 April 1774
The foregoing is a copy of mine per the packet since which Capt Hynson
is come up [the river] and delivered me yours of the 18 and 24 February
covering 14 first bills amounting to £669:2:0. All those on London is
accepted but the following: B. Fenwick, W. Williams and W. Cavenough's
on Mildred & Roberts; N. Hobbs on Russell; and Richard Green's on
West & Hobson; those on Glasgow and Whitehaven is gone for acceptance.
Last night I received a letter from Mr Potts' [Barbados merchant] attorney
[in Maryland], advising his having drawn on me two bills for £194:6:10
which two bills appeared and have our acceptance, they being for the
amount of rum you bought of him in Maryland and advised me of.
I understand by Capt Hynson that he has 52 hhds. of tobacco on board
for us. I have no letter or bill lading from Earle so that I am rather at a
loss, though I shall sell the tobacco and give him credit for it. They [Earle
& Co.] ought to have remitted me fully for the goods shipped them, but I
have, I confess, but very little expectations of their paying us in a hurry and
those disappointments will always keep us needy. I have been dunned more
since the arrival of this ship than I have for a long time before. I really
expected more. C. W[allace] was to have remitted for the copper by the
February packet and has not since said a word about it.
132b. I am glad you at last have said something about the country [Maryland] expenses [of chartered ships], as it enables me to tell Buchanan's
people that I will not pay them any port charges on the Elizabeth, [Capt]
Boog, though the mode of that account is very wrong as you ought always
to take the captain's bill or order on me for the amount and express that
it is for the port charges on tobacco per such a ship. In that case, the
tobacco will be debited to the amount of his bill and that will go to the
credit of your account but, as it is, I cannot tell him to charge the people
and what I have done is partly guesswork. You will therefore be pleased
to transmit me the accounts and express your charge against each ship
distinctly that I may pass it to your credit and debit the tobacco. You have
enclosed a copy of Capt [James] Buchanan's account which you will be
pleased to settle with him so far as transacted in Maryland and take his
draught on us here for it, which I will give you credit for and debit the
ship. You will be pleased likewise to make up the Kitty & Nelly's account,
settle the exchange and send it to me that you may have credit and she be
charged. Whatever you advance for Capt Buchanan, be pleased to take his
draught on me for it and let him account for the expense of the ship here
on settlement. I have taken the liberty of pointing out this mode in order
to keep our accounts clear and clever and wish you may attend to them or
indeed, if you do not, we shall all be in confusion. I wish you would say
something to me about an allowance to the captain in the country and
ship's stores. The general rule is £40 for all. I think it too little for a clever
fellow. Capt J[ames] Buchanan got a heavier anchor for the Kitty & Nelly
so that her old one will do for the new ship and, if I can buy the one that
was lost, you will only want a little one; them with the other part of the
materials shall come soon.
132c. Capt Geo. Buchanan hinted to me yesterday a desire of having a
ship constantly in our employ and that he proposed to decline shipbuilding
with Archy [Buchanan]. I do with pleasure tell you that he is a very clever,
steady fellow and much attached to our interests. Therefore, if you find
our interest sufficient to load a ship, I would wish you to seriously consider
of it and put one on the stocks for him to load against next year. However,
this I leave for your and his consideration when he gets in. But, in case you
close with neither him nor Hanrick, I would wish to decline building any
more ships for the price will not indemnify the outfit and expense.
I will pay particular attention to what you say about your bill [of exchange] to John Hammond which, by the bye, I hope you will take up. Mr
Dulany's bill on J[ames] Anderson was paid on the 22 March and not
before so that, if you borrowed it, you are not to pay interest only from that
time. I have been encouraged by [Silvanus] Grove to let Plowman's bill for
£80 odd pounds lay and, at last, I fear it will be protested. Your draught
in favour of D[enton] Jacques shall be attended to when it appears and
settled as you direct.
Damn Mauduits; I have done with them long ago. I will strive to engage
with a good house if possible for, I assure you, I do not like the one we do
business with at this time, though I know that no manufacturer can serve
us generally as well as we are served.
I am glad to hear that your sales has been so great though I confess that
I should have been glad of a sketch of the amount etc. and should have been
more so to have heard that your collections had been great. That, you are
sensible, is the mainspring and ought to be a principal object with you for,
unless you can support your credits here, it is all over with us.
132d. I am much pleased with your scheme in forwarding away the Peggy
Stewart with a load of new tobacco. It will be the very thing for us, more
especially as the price is up and there is a probability of the first new tobaccos
selling very high. I have only one wish, that is that she was larger, for I fear
of damage on her passage, which defaces and hurts the sale very much.
The account of it has made a buzz here and, although our ill-natured foes
would insinuate anything to our prejudice, yet this is of service to us and
makes them look very down in the mouth. Indeed, I know not if W.
M[olleson] will not hang himself; he seems more scared at our progress
than anybody else. I hope you will push him in Calvert County. Charley
[Wallace] ought to spend a month there with the people at least.
I shall look your order for insurance per the next packet or by the snow,
[Capt] Tanner, whom I am in hourly expectations of and, should she arrive
within a fortnight from this, I shall be able to sell her tobacco very high.
I am amazed you have mentioned nothing about some [changes in
partnership] terms. I wish you would be open and candid and let me know
what is your intentions, for, I confess to you, I don't understand being kept
thus in the dark. I am now looking out for a proper house where I can have
room and light for indeed, for the want of which, we have already suffered
much. I bless God I have an exceeding good state of health, wish you and
yours the same. . . .
133. (p. 328) to the firm per the Camden, Capt J[oseph] Richardson 9 April 1774
The above is the net proceeds of the 20 hhds. tobacco per the Elizabeth,
Capt Boog, as per account sales sent this day. I should not have sent them
by this opportunity intending to have sent them per Capt S. Maynard but
understand that he will not sail before the middle of next week. John Beale
Howard had 6 hhds. tobacco on board the Sally which cleared him
£25:15:6, for your government in the purchase of his bill on us. The quantity of trash in each ship hurt the sale very considerably. I hope the
Inspection Law will remedy it in future. I do not know what other people's
sales will average but this I am sure of: we have sold higher than any of
them have by one eighth per lb. I beg you will give me the most early
notice of what may be said by the people with you respecting my management.
134. (p. 332) to the firm per the Adventure, Capt Samuel Maynard 14 April 1774
The foregoing is copies of my last per the Camden, Capt Richardson,
which I refer you to. There is one lighter landed out of the Molly & Betsey
this day. We have only two hhds. in her which is sample enough to convince me what for kind of stuff it is; to add to it, she cuts [damaged tobacco]
like fury. However, I will do the best I can with it and hope to fully equal
anything of that sort that has been done yet. I cannot omit informing you
that I hear W. M[olleson] has reshipped 36 hhds. tobacco to Maryland;
if so, I apprehend that he has a squabble with someone or another there
and that he has returned it to them back. You may easily know from your
connections with the [customs and naval] offices. Therefore, be sure of it
before you give me up as your authority. If he has, I apprehend it will be
of no disservice to us. He looks very ill and I am of an opinion that he will
die soon. [Molleson lived till 1804.] If he should, remember to be diligent
amongst his best correspondents.
I am plagued for money; at this time we have £1,350 odd pounds locked
up in the Customs House [in claims for drawbacks and bounties] and cannot touch a farthing of it. You must exert yourselves and throw all you
possibly can in my hands and not consider that, because you have remitted
fully for the goods, that it will be sufficient. You must give me a command
of money or we cannot do as we should. Indeed our ships will sink [i.e.
cost] a great deal, which I fear you do not attend to. I will write you in a
few days by McKirdy . . . .
135a. (pp. 332-4) to the firm per Capt [Peter] McKirdy 18 April 1774
The foregoing is a copy of my last per Capt Maynard, since which I have
nothing from you. The wind being easterly so long has prevented Archy
Buchanan's snow from arriving which is exceedingly unlucky as it keeps
Capt George [Buchanan] here. However, I hope that it will shift soon and
bring her in. If she brings her cargo safe and free from cutting, I shall be
able to sell it for a good price.
I suppose that you are now about pushing off the Peggy Stewart full
loaded with good copper [coloured] and fine [bright] coloured tobacco; yes,
I take it that you are about putting the last seal to her clearance and that
the sky looks black and dismal, threatening a furious northwester, so that,
as soon as ever the captain goes on board, he will have nothing to do but
up anchor and away and in 24 hours Cape Henry will be astern.
I am very sorry to tell you that the upper part of the Somerset's cargo
is so very bad that I am afraid it will prejudice the sale of the whole. Poor
Hobson has been obliged to use stratagem to get off the first lighter at 17/8d.
and I am apprehensive that that is only a sham sale, from the persons who
are the buyers. You ought to be most cautious how you mix such tobacco
as old Barnes', Hawkins' and Rider's with good Patuxent; it will in the first
place ruin my credit as a seller and do us particular harm in obliging us to
give such poor accounts and protesting part of the people's bills. Mildred
& Roberts [of London] will suffer severely enough this year from having
so much of that kind last year. I communicate freely to you; make a proper
use of it.
I do imagine that old Russell's friends [in Maryland] will grow tired of
him this year as the trustees for the creditors compels him to protest his
best friends' bills [of exchange] where there is not effects [in hand to pay
such bills] and which bills he promised the people to pay when he was in
the country. Indeed, from what I can collect, they only want to get as much
home as will pay themselves, when they will give him up, for they are determined not to trust him much farther at any rate. I wrote you before that
he had postponed making a dividend [to his creditors] until June; I don't
believe he will make one then.
135b. There is a new house lately struck into the tobacco business and has
shipped a great many goods to your province; their firm is Kelly, Lot &
Co.; they are mere adventurers and I am most cordially of an opinion will
not stand long.
If the Kitty & Nelly meets with dispatch [to London] I suppose you would
wish to have her sent away very early without our friends' goods. I am of
an opinion that the smaller ship would do better if she can be here time
enough and the earlier she goes, the better, unless you think she is too large
and choose to get a smaller one. However, be your determinations whatever
they may, don't forget to make applications to the gentlemen [merchants]
in Baltimore Town for letters to their merchants here for to ship their goods
on board of our ships. If you will take that pains, we shall save considerably
by it. Indeed, I would apply for those [merchants etc., importing] in
Annapolis; it will not hurt you. Pray don't neglect Ussher and [Thomas?]
Neal; they can half load our ships, if you get their orders. I am the more
anxious about getting that [freight] business as the cash [for freight outward
bound] is always paid down and which would indemnify the outfit of our
ships. Mr Bowly on his return [to Maryland from London] will render us
services in that way. I am to ship their goods and I believe they [William
Lux & Bowly] will set in with us; if they do, they will add weight to our
tobacco schemes, as I am convinced they would go any lengths to push us
forward and obtain tobacco for us. Mr Bowly has been on treaty with
Hanbury's but they will not close, I am sure, owing principally to his
[Hanbury's] desire of not commencing an opponent in that business.
If you have not forgot it, I wrote you that a cargo of flour would sell
well here in June, July or August; it is now very high at Liverpool and
Bristol and if you are but so lucky as to have sent a load, we shall make a
genteel profit from it, or, if any of our friends are doing anything in that
way, advise them to send their ships to Falmouth for orders where to proceed. I apprehend that you expected a considerable remittance would have
been made in the tobacco per the Morning Star, Capt Demster. It's true,
it would, but, as it is lost, there is none and you ought to throw in every
shilling in your power to strengthen our credits. That cursed Earle has sent
me nothing more than 50 hhds. tobacco and not even a letter with that. I
have wrote and wrote till I am tired. This is to introduce [Capt] Peter
McKirdy and to tender my kind love to all. . . .
136. (pp. 336-7) to the firm per the Fonseca, Capt Parker 30 April 1774
The foregoing is a copy of my last per Capt McKirdy since which I
have nothing from you, although others have letters from their correspondents as late as the 18 March. I know not what can have come with
A[rchibald] Buchanan's snow. I wish to God she would arrive. I should be
able to make a great sale of her load, there being a considerable rise in the
price and no one to oppose me. I sold the Eastern Shore tobacco per the
Molly & Betsey the other day at 23/8d. which is by much the greatest price
obtained these 15 months past. When the people become acquainted with
this circumstance and know that it is higher by an eighth per lb. than
Molleson, Hanbury's and Kelly, Lot & Co. has sold theirs per the same
ship, I doubt not but they will think us worthy of their favours and I trust
you will take some pains in making it known. I shall forward the account
sales in a very little time. The sales of the tobacco per the Kitty & Nelly
is in great forwardness and [the accounts] will come with Capt Geo.
Buchanan with our friends' goods and in Capt Craymer and I have not a
doubt but that they will please, as some are as high as four pence per lb.
I am very fearful that there will [have to] be a purchase [of tobacco] in
the country [Maryland] this year [to fill the ships]; if there should, be aware
of Molleson's agents' bills [of exchange] for I am apprehensive that he
cannot stand a purchase, especially as he has ships out and agoing for the
small quantity of five thousand hhds. [about 10 shiploads]. I think it
requisite to extend your fears farther; there is several others that are very
weak. I am offered by Fonseca part of Capt Parker's ship; you will be the
best able to judge whether you can load the new ship of A. Buchanan and
put any aboard of Parker. If you can, you are to have a preference and I
am not bound farther; so that you have the bargain to make there. But,
one thing I desire, that you will take care and not put too much confidence
in your Scotch acquaintance, as I suppose, from that [ethnic] circumstance,
Christie cheated you most egregiously in allowing Molleson to ship tobacco
on board the Morning Star at £5 and made you pay £7. Enclosed you have
Plowman's bill on Grove for £81:10:5 with charges of protest which be
pleased to pass to my credit. I shall write you again in a few days per the
packet when I hope to inform you of the arrival of [A. Buchanan's snow]
the Farmer. . . .
137. (pp. 378-9) to the firm per the New York packet 4 May 1774
The foregoing is a copy of my last per Capt Parker since which I have
nothing from you. I know not what to do or how to manage for want of
hearing of what you are adoing. I am at a stand to devise how to manage
my money matters, for fear of entering into engagements and not be able
to comply with them. I have looked every day for this month past for
Archy Buchanan's snow. We hear she sailed the 10 or 12 March; if so, it
is high time she was here. Indeed, if she was to arrive, it would be exceeding
lucky as there is no Maryland tobacco now in the market and the price has
taken a considerable start. I could wish she would for many reasons, but
particularly that of George's being here and having the direction of the sale
of her. I am now preparing to ship what goods there is ordered on board
of Capt Craymer and, if the copper can possibly be got ready, shall make
a finish in all next week. Capt [George] Buchanan is to go out in him and
by him I will send out the sales for the Kitty & Nelly's tobacco which are
very good and I hope will please. I am to deliver the tobacco that came in
the Molly & Betsey tomorrow; if it is possible, her sales [accounts] shall
go by the same opportunity which will be the greatest by much sent to the
Eastern Shore this year, as I assure you that I have sold that tobacco for
an eighth per lb. more than Hanbury and Molleson has sold theirs for in
the same ship. I think you ought not to omit making this known; it will
convince the people that we can do as much as they can and perhaps throw
some hhds. in our way, the consignment of which is worth accepting of.
I am afraid George Buchanan will be too late for Patapsco; if he is, I
shall be very sorry for it, for we must have some tobacco from there somehow or somehow. Therefore, I hope you will use industry and not let it
escape you. I hope Capt James Buchanan will be home [to London] early.
It will be a great affair for us and go far in establishing our credit, there
being many already beginning to have a high opinion of it and many as
afraid of it. . . .
138. (pp. 384-5) to the firm per the Brothers, Capt Craymer 14 May 1774
The above is a copy of my last per the packet, since which I have nothing
from you. This will be handed you per Capt Geo. Buchanan who goes out
in Capt Craymer and in whom I have shipped you some shoes for the
Nottingham and Annapolis stores, the goods ordered for Whitchcroft,
Chalmers, and Jacob & Claud and debited you therewith as per a particular
list at the foot of this letter. I have likewise sent you the rigging of the new
ship and charged it to her account, which you will be pleased to attend to
and not pass it through your books. I have shipped the following gentlemen
goods by this ship: Wm. Lux & Bowly [Baltimore], John Paca, Chas.
Carroll, barrister, James Johnson & Co. [brother's ironworks] and C.
Wallace, so that every order that has come to hand is now executed. And
I hope I shall not have another shipping before the fall, for it is not only
troublesome but you never know when you are done providing for payments.
I have delivered in Capt Buchanan's care one or two small parcels for our
friends, which you will be pleased to remember that he delivers. You have
likewise under cover three protested bills which I have placed [to] your
debit and which be pleased to pass to my credit. It frequently makes me
sigh when I think on the quantity of goods we are shipping. I hope in God
our friends will make punctual payments; if they do not, the Lord have
mercy on poor J.J. . . .
|Amount of goods for the Annapolis store
||Jacob & Claud
139. (pp. 386-7) to John Davidson per the Brothers, Capt Craymer 14 May 1774
I now send you, per Capt George Buchanan, Mrs Davidson's and Mrs
Harwood's gowns dyed agreeable to directions and which I hope will please,
the expense of which and the cost of the silk that was added is below. I
have had your watch in Allam's hands and Howes' [Charles Howse, watchmaker] and still find she runs false, which has determined me to exchange
her and by Mr Bowly I propose to send you a good one with a gold seal etc.
The wind has been ablowing for this month past easterly. We have not
had a line from that quarter [America] since the arrival of Nicholson's
ship, which put me to a loss to know what to do. God send Archy's snow
would arrive. It is more than hard her staying out so long. If she would but
pop in, I have a fair opportunity of doing something clever.
We have had the French king [Louis XV] dead and buried half a dozen
times within this week and nothing but war agoing on. I wish they would
war with anybody so that the Americans might rest in peace. . . .
|4 yards silk a 6/
|Dying 4 gowns
140. (p. 389) to Charles Wallace per the Brothers, Capt Craymer 17 May 1774
We now forward enclosed bill loading, bills parcels and invoice of copper
and plaster of Paris amounting to £1,069:6:0 to your debit on account of
the public building [Capitol] which we hope will arrive safe and please. We
heretofore mentioned the conditions on which we purchased this copper
and we therefore hope you will use your best endeavours to remit in time.
We have had a conversation with Colonel [Horatio] Sharp who much doubts
the ability of any person with you to lay on this covering of copper and
has recommended our sending out a proper person for that purpose. We
have considered the power your letters have invested in us and are of opinion
that we are not authorised in entering into any engagement with one; therefore, choose to decline it until we have your farther instructions. In the
meantime we will be on the lookout for one that we may forward him
immediately on your order. . . .
141. (pp. 390-1) to the firm per the Brothers, Capt Craymer 17 May 1774
I wrote you the 14th per this opportunity and was in hopes by this to
have been able to inform you of the Farmer's arrival, but misfortune runs
against us, the wind continues blowing strong easterly, where it has been
for these three weeks past. I much fear [Capt] Greig's popping in. If he
does, he will hurt my sale, but, if he does not, I have hopes of getting a very
great price for the cargo. The last advices from your place was 13 March
from S. West, who writes that he had wrote by the snow [Farmer] the 10th
or 11th; if so, it is high time she was here and, if she does not arrive soon,
I shall begin to fear she is lost. I have insured £1,200 on her [tobacco] cargo
and Capt George [Buchanan] has made £200 [insurance] on iron and 200
on freight which will bar a total loss.
Capt [George] Buchanan took his leave of me yesterday and this morning goes to Gravesend to embark on board Craymer for your place. I have
had several long conversations with him and are so much pleased at his
honesty and integrity that I am very much for fixing him constantly in our
employ. He promises me to exert himself in our interest and, if he finds it
sufficient to load a ship annually, will propose to you to build such a one
as you may agree on for him. I think it an object worthy of your attention
and do wish you to encourage it, provided you are sure it will answer and
I am almost morally sure that he will not request it unless he finds it can
be done. Indeed, I am of an opinion that, if it can be done this year, we
need not fear hereafter, for I assure you that I am of an opinion that it will
be a most trying one and that many who has sent out ships will be ruined
this year. Therefore, I repeat my caution and must insist that you do not
purchase a hhd. for no price here will indemnify more than ten shillings
sterling [per cwt.] with you.
I have sent out the account sales of the Kitty & Nelly's load and sales of
that tobacco per the Molly & Betsey, both of which I am of an opinion
will give satisfaction. You have under a cover a list of the net proceeds
[earned by consigning planters, etc.] for your government in settling with
those to whom you have advanced. The list has a debit column in which
the amount of goods and bills paid is against each man's name. I think it
would be advisable to get their draughts and orders for the net proceeds
as fast as possible to prevent their selling [bills of exchange] to others.
I have great hopes of Capt James Buchanan meeting with dispatch and
think there is not a doubt of your being able to load him without any
purchase. Exert yourselves in pushing him away; if he should arrive here
the next ship to Suill [Sewell], it will cut Molleson's comb most confoundedly. If the Peggy Stewart arrives here in all next month, you may expect her
account sales before the Nancy can get away from you and which will be
good if the tobacco is fine. . . .
142a. (pp. 395-6) to the firm per the Industry, Capt Magruder 30 May 1774
The foregoing are copies of my last per the Brothers, Capt Craymer,
since which I have nothing from you although the New York packet is
arrived and brings letters from other people as late as the first of April. . . .
I have several times hinted to you a desire of sending fewer goods to
Annapolis. You once wrote me that you agreed in opinion; I hope you
will adopt the scheme and only order an assortment and sell those you have
on hand, as I think it most advisable to be awinding up that concern and
that it ought to be done by degrees. I don't mean to break up the store, but
I mean to draw in a part of our money, for I think we have too much employed in that scheme. Besides, we must either do that or borrow if we keep
two ships of our own in the tobacco trade, for they will cost us a great deal
of money, and yet I think it more prudent than chartering, as we shall
not only have it in our powers to give bread to two clever fellows [the
captains] but shall make something by the ships and save squabbles in
demurrage which to each of us is disagreeable.
142b. I wrote you that I thought it necessary to make regular settlements
with the captains for all the disbursements; let him account with me and
do you take his draught for the amount of your accounts. And, in the case
of a new ship, you ought to make up her accounts at the time of sailing
and close it by debiting me with the amount and forward the account that
it may be filed. You will be pleased to render a proper account sales for
those servants per the Kitty & Nelly and either remit me the exact sum or
suffer me to debit you with them and credit the ship. In all cases whatever,
particular care ought to be taken that one's accounts should not be blended.
But, I doubt that [in] the mode you have fallen on, both in respect to the
ship's accounts and port charges, that you are in confusion; it appears
evidently so from Capt [James] Buchanan's account against the ship; he
gives you credit and charges the ship with whatever money he had and
orders drew on her account. You have charged the ship and I should be
glad to know whom I am to charge in order to credit Capt Buchanan. The
regular method is for you to charge the captain with whatever you let him
have and take his draught on the house here, remit and charge me with it.
I hope what I have said to you will prove the necessity of adopting this
method and that you will settle the account properly and let me have
I have said nothing to you about tobacco matters. The present appearance is against us; there is no sale in Holland or Amsterdam; the [Dutch]
manufacturers will not buy at the prices before given and the sellers [there]
hold it up; the former [the Dutch manufacturers] have sent their orders to
London, having information that the Farmer, Nelly Frigate, Betsey and
Annapolis is expected every day. The quantity coming at once will prevent
throwing up the price as we hoped, though I think it will not be lower than
it has been. Indeed, I should imagine if what I hear hinted is true, that
M[olleson] and C. C[ourt] both have a good deal in Holland etc. on their
own account; that they will hold up their two ships and, if so, we may do
something. . . .
143. (pp. 402-3) to the firm per the New York packet 1 June 1774
The foregoing is a copy of my last per the Industry, Capt Magruder,
since which we have nothing in from your part of the world. I begin to
grow uneasy about Archy's ship for fear she may be lost as we have accounts
of her sailing the 19 or 20 March. Should she arrive now, I doubt whether or
not I can obtain so much as I could twenty days ago by a farthing per lb.
The damned rascals Herries & Co. [of London] who has the French
commission has purchased all the tobacco at Port Glasgow for 17/8d., picked
out three ships' loads, sent them to Dunkirk and offered the tobacco for
2¼d. which very tobaccos would have sold here a few days past for that
market at 27/8d. This stroke of theirs in order to keep down the price is of
the most villainous of acts; the people at Dunkirk has countermanded
their orders [to London] in consequence of it and I confess I have my fears
that his purpose will be answered in a great measure. I cannot help relating
a fact between him and old Russell. He applied to Russell for tobacco,
who sold him a parcel at 1¾d. to throw out a quantity, agreeing to allow
him two per cent discounts and take their notes at two months. Had the
other merchants agreed to it, they [Herries] would have paid their paper to
the amount of £80,000 and the merchants have had no security whatever.
The merchants refused to sell them any and protested against that method.
My reason for remarking this is to show the regard Russell has to the
interest of the [consigning] people. I wish the devil had the whole clan. It
is insinuated here that W. M[olleson, Russell's son-in-law] is to have three
parts [quarters] of the tobacco that is made in the country. Surely it cannot
be so; do tell me for I long to know. Indeed, if he has as much as he had
last year, I should be amazed at it and I think, if you are industrious, that
you may curtail a few from his quantity. You must consider this, that he
would strip us of every hhd. if he had it in his power and that you ought
to push our plan.
If you find our ships not sufficient to bring all you can get, I would
recommend your chartering one in preference of putting upon liberty [in
others' ships]. . .; and, if a new ship, address her to our house for the sale.
Those matters [owning one's own ships] gives a feeling [of importance] and
assists us; on the contrary, where you ship on board of a ship on liberty,
it is a dead and heavy payment in money. I would not have you to be in
any doubt about my being able to manage it. I assure you that I can manage
at least 2,000 hhds.; nay, don't hesitate to send me double the quantity,
if you can get it. I shall want nothing but money to pay up the duties and
a little to pay off all our old debts, which you ought to make a point of
sending me to enable me to establish our credits. . . .
144a. (pp. 405-7) to the firm per Capt Walker via Virginia 11 June 1774
The foregoing is a copy of my last per the packet, since which I am
favoured with yours of the 19 and 26 March and 19 and 29 April, covering
18 first and second bills amounting to £628:8:4, all of which are good but
those listed below. I have likewise received of W. Molleson £53:16:6 for
Earle's order and of T. Eden & Co. £32:18:10, which two sums making
£86:15:4 you will be pleased to debit me to [the credit of] Earle & Co.
I cannot at this time answer your letters fully and therefore you must
wait my next. The orders are making out for the goods that is as yet ordered
and will be shipped in all this and the next month, except a few that I am
afraid to meddle with until you instruct me what must be done. . . . I have
insured £300 specie, 160 hhds. tobacco and covered our commission on it
per the Peggy Stewart, Capt Jackson, whose arrival I shall begin to look
in the course of next week. The loss of the Farmer has been a heavy stroke
to us; if she had done well and arrived at her time, I should have made a
great sale of her cargo and have been able to have sent out the accounts in
this month, but, as it is, it cannot be hoped. The loss of our commission,
which would have been between £2 and £300, don't vex me half so much
as to see that cursed fellow W. M[olleson] exult at our misfortune. It has
been insinuated here, and I believe through S. W[est], that he West [a
merchant in Maryland] wanted a charter of 40 hhds. in the Peggy Stewart,
but that you had purchased [tobacco to make up shortage of consignments]
and at length could fill her up. If the rascal should ever say or write you
again on that subject, treat him with contempt, for both he and W.
M[olleson] will take every step to advance their interests at the expense of
our characters and well doing. Molleson tells the people that he is to have
three fourths of the tobacco that is made this year and that in a year or
two he is to have everything. Damn them, I hate them and will be done.
144b. I shall be able to give the shippers in the Farmer £6 clear per hhd.
[from the insurance] so that Archy will be no loser on the tobacco and
which was the only insurance entrusted to me; his brother [George] made
that on the iron and freight. I wish that he may be able to render me the
proofs and bills loading by the Peggy Stewart to enable me to recover the
insurance; if he does, I will write to each shipper a letter advising the sum
that they may settle with Archy.
Mr [James] Anderson has sold Capt Aitcheson's cargo at the mast
[before landing] for 2d. per lb. which I think is a great deal too low and
which I am of an opinion his friends will not thank him for; but that thing
called want I believe compelled him to it. Those orders of Earle's on
Molleson and Eden has give me an opportunity of judging in some degree
of our own sales and I do with truth tell you that ours for Eastern Shore
tobacco is 10/ per hhd. higher than theirs.
Mr Davidson seems fearful that the profits on the consignment business
will not indemnify the expenses; it is the strongest proof of his want of
knowledge in the business. I will tell him now at a venture that we shall
make twelve hundred pounds by our commission in this very year 1774,
after deducting the loss per the Morning Star and the Farmer. However, I
will make up the commission account the last day of this month and explain
matters not in general terms but to his satisfaction. As soon as you have
formed some judgment of the Kitty & Nelly's loading, you had better order
insurance on her cargo. I have not a fear but our sales will be found to equal
anybody's and which I hope will enable you to dispatch the Kitty & Nelly
very early and the Nancy soon after. . . .
|A. H. Smith's on Mildred & Roberts
|J. Bent on Russell
|E. B. Orme on ditto
145a. (pp. 409-10) to the firm per Capt Air 23 June 1774
The foregoing is a copy of my last per Capt Walker via Virginia, since
which I have had nothing from you. I have anxiously looked the arrival
of the Peggy Stewart for this week past; indeed my expectations have been
increased from the very quick passages other ships have had from Virginia
and the long continuance of southerly winds which ought to have brought
her in. If she does not arrive in a week from this, she will be deemed a
missing ship. You must use circumspection and not be concerned with
those old botched up ships; if they are not lost, they always damage their
cargoes. Molleson has sold the Nelly Frigate's cargo and I hear pretty well.
Cruel fortune for keeping out the Peggy Stewart; would she but arrive I
could sell her cargo immediately and I think for a good price.
I am afraid everything will run in confusion from the sundry late acts
which have been passed lately against the American colonies. The cry of
the people here has been too generally against you, and nothing less (you
would hear uttered), than that you were rebels and deserved punishment.
Under these sentiments the people have remained, until the passage of the
Quebec Government Bill, which seems to alarm them and the cry begins
to be pretty general against government for a stretch of power. They too
now begin to think seriously that there will be a general [non-intercourse]
association, and that all business will cease between this and the colonies;
and should it be the case, you will have the best advocate in the [London]
people's apprehensions and fears, which you may rest assured I will
aggravate all that is in my power, though I am assured from your silence
that no such scheme is in agitation with you. And I hope that you will
immediately inform me whenever such a matter is proposed and tell me
how to act with respect to our business, as I am most willing at any rate
to suffer for a general good.
145b. This comes by one Capt Air, who is chartered by C. Court, but where
to load I know not and I question if he does. The Nelly Frigate sails for
Maryland about the 6 of next month, by whom I will ship what few goods
our friends have ordered, unless Mr Bowly gets a ship he is now about
purchasing and which will be determined either way in a few days. I have
not time to get any goods from the country and must pick them up here on
the best terms in my power. From the great number of ships that is gone
out, I am fearful that the Kitty & Nelly will be late home this year; if she
is lucky enough to get away any time before the last of August and arrives
here in October, I am not fearful of rendering good sales for her cargo,
though I hope to be informed by you from time to time of her movements.
I did expect Earle & Co. would have remitted me per Aitcheson but I
neither had anything or heard from him; it is time to look after them. I
long for your letters by Capt Jackson; I do not know what to write until
I get them. Pray forward me the papers from [Isaac] Harris to recover the
insurance on his schooner. I am afraid I shall lose it unless you do. . . .
P.S. Enclosed you have two protests:
|B. Fenwick on Mildred & Roberts
|W. Williams on
which be pleased to give me credit for.
146a. (pp. 411-12) to the firm per the Fortune, Capt Moore 25 [and 28] June 1774
I wrote you the 23rd inst. per Capt Air, a copy of which I now forward
you on the other side. The Peggy Stewart is not yet arrived. I fear she has
gone the same way as the Farmer. Hard fortune indeed! If the Morning
Star and Farmer had but arrived safe, all our debts would have been paid
up and we should have been in top credit, but, as it is, we are not behindhand too much. That, added to a general fear of the Americans opposing
the late measures, has wounded credit afresh and I fear will prevent me
from putting up those goods now ordered on such good terms as I could
wish. Indeed, it will compel me to stick by some of the tradesmen that you
desired might be exchanged, but, believe me, it is not the time to look out
for new credits. If it was, my own inclinations leads me to chastise the
insolence of a number and which I most assuredly will do if good fortune
ever puts it in my power, but, until then, we had better rest content with
consoling ourselves that we are served on full as good terms, if not better,
than other people.
Mr Bowly has not got a vessel yet. Monday next determines it. If he
does not, I shall ship our goods and our friends' goods in the Nelly Frigate
who is to sail the 10th of next month.
Tuesday the 28th. Mr [James] Anderson's ship [Fortune] having not
sailed as expected, by whom I intend this, affords me an opportunity of
informing you that Mr Bowly has purchased a ship named the Hope by
whom I shall ship you your goods with the rest of our friends'. The orders
are all in the tradesmen's hands and the goods agetting ready as fast as
possible so that I hope she will sail by the 10th of next month.
146b. We have ships in from Virginia who brings accounts as late as the
21 May, and by them we are informed that there had been a severe frost
which had destroyed the tobacco plants, wheat and fruit; we fear it was
general from the same accounts from Philadelphia and which, should it
be, I am sure will compel a purchase and which will ruin whoever makes it.
I think W. M[olleson] has over witted himself this year in sending out so
many ships and that it will prove his destruction. He begins to look down
for fear that he has stretched the string too tight and, if it should break,
what sad havoc there will be made. O planters, have wisdom and take care
in time. I have all along cautioned you against purchasing; don't by any
means whatever. And, if you cannot fill up your ships with tobacco, you
had better with lumber or, in short, anything better [than] to buy, as we
must sink everything by doing it.
Since my writing you per Air, I have obtained the real prices that Molleson sold the Nelly Frigate's cargo for and which I find not so good as I
there informed you and which are as follows: 3 hhds. for 4d., 9 or 10 for
2¾d., the remainder of the cargo for 2d., except about 20 hhds. that is on
hand and which he has offered at 17/8d. but cannot obtain it. The wind continues to blow at S.W. No Peggy Stewart; if she sailed at the time I have
a right to expect she would, I am afraid she is gone. We look the arrival
of the packet every day, when I hope to be informed the day she did sail.
There is several vessels going shortly, by all of whom I shall write you. . . .