Joshua Johnson's Letterbook: 1774 (July & Aug)

Joshua Johnson's Letterbook, 1771-1774: Letters from a Merchant in London to his Partners in Maryland. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1979.

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'Joshua Johnson's Letterbook: 1774 (July & Aug)', in Joshua Johnson's Letterbook, 1771-1774: Letters from a Merchant in London to his Partners in Maryland, (London, 1979) pp. 145-156. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

1774 (July & Aug)

147. (p. 413) to the firm per the Elizabeth, Capt Boog 1 July 1774

I am favoured with yours of the 26 May—since writing you the foregoing copy [of that sent] per the Fortune, Capt Moore—covering 23 first and second bills amounting to £824:0:3, the fate of which you shall know by the next opportunity. The Peggy Stewart is not yet arrived; we look for her every day and hope from the late accounts of a hard frost to be able to push it [the price of tobacco] up a little at least so as to render pleasing accounts to the people. I was exceedingly pleased to hear of the Kitty & Nelly's arrival out. I hope she will meet with dispatch. If she does and is lucky in her passage, we shall set easy for some time to come. I am busied in shipping our friends' and our own goods in the Hope, Capt Howard, which is a very fine brig and whom will sail in a few days so that it is beyond a doubt you will have the fall goods in time for the Provincial Court.

There is a ship in from Boston in whom came passenger Governor Hutchinson and family. She left Boston the first day of June and brings an account of alls being quiet and easy. Bets is to be laid here that there will be no [non-intercourse] agreements entered into by the Americans. This will be handed you by the Elizabeth, Capt Thomas Boog, who goes out with servants for Macky. I observe what you say about loading a brig in company [with the Buchanans] with flour and wish you had ordered her to Falmouth instead of Cork. . . .

148. (pp. 415-16) to the firm per the New York packet 6 July 1774

The foregoing is a copy of my last per the Elizabeth, Capt Boog, since which and on this day I am favoured with yours of the 2nd June which and yours per the Peggy Stewart shall be the subject of another letter. I did not intend to have wrote you by this opportunity, but I could not restrain myself from telling you that your [non-intercourse] resolutions (fn. 1) has operated most powerfully on the minds of the people and which has almost answered the purpose of your resolves. I mean so far as to a nonexportation from here. Indeed, I tell you for a fact that I cannot conceive how matters may turn, but I fear badly. The arrivals of your [Annapolis] resolves are at an unlucky time for us; however, if they tend to a public good, I am content. Your J. D[avidson] and J. Muir's name has been handed here on the back of a handbill and recommended to the tradesmen to make their remarks on. You may judge of my sufferings; though still, if I have not power to cope with numbers, I have integrity to withstand and contradict all their aspersions. A certain set of North Country gentlemen [i.e. Scots such as Molleson, Russell, etc.] has been active in prejudicing the people against us, which I hope you will reward. The matter has turned here on that part of the resolution to pay no English debts and the tradesmen say that, unless the merchants have a right and can commence suits, their property is insecure and had better lay in their warehouses. Our order for the fall goods were in the tradesmen's hands. Whether I shall be able to ship them or not, a few days will determine, and, if I can, I will. But, in case I find many of my principal tradesmen reject executing our orders now in their hands, depend on it that I will not ship partially, especially as I think we are entitled to credit from them and that our rejecting the trifling bills [orders], if not shipped generally, will help the cause with you, through which with success may the Almighty Power direct you and fix you and the liberties of my country permanent and lasting forever. I shall be uneasy till I write you again which I likewise know you will. . . .

149. (p. 417) to the firm per favour of Mr McLure via Philadelphia 16 July 1774

The foregoing is a copy of my last, since which I have nothing from you. I am this moment informed of the arrival of the Calvert, Capt Sewell, and shall be anxious until I hear what news she brings respecting public matters with you. We have been all in confusion here about your fourth resolve [closing courts to British creditors] and I was once or twice of opinion that we should not have been able to ship our friends' goods, there being some industrious in making the tradesmen believe that you had not a desire of paying our debts. I have shipped part of the goods and shall make another shipping on Monday, when I shall have completed all our friends' orders and yours.

I have landed the Peggy Stewart's cargo and find that she has damaged the greatest part of it, which will hurt the sale considerably. However, I will do my best and forward them as soon as possible. The Annapolis arrived the day before she did and in two days after that the Calvert arrived, which has prejudiced the sale of each. Indeed, if we had been so lucky as to have had a week's start we should not by this time [have] had a hhd. The Nelly Frigate will sail in a few days as will the Hope, Capt Howard, by both of whom I shall write you and which it is probable will be at hand before this as it goes by Mr McLure via Philadelphia.

I have just got your letters of the 5th and 10th by Sewell and the 13th June per Capt Wickes. Go on and persevere coolly and moderately and you will yet be free. I am done till a proper time and then you shall hear from me fully on that subject; in the meantime, pray God bless your endeavours with crowning them with unanimity is the prayer of him who is ready to suffer anything for the restoration of my friends, my countrymen and country. . . .

150. (p. 421) to John Davidson per the Hope, Capt Howard 18 July 1774

The foregoing is a copy of my last per the Brothers, Capt Craymer, since which I am favoured with yours of the 14 May per the Peggy Stewart attended with two fine bacon hams from that good woman Mrs Davidson, to whom pray return my thanks. . . .

Your political disputes, I mean the division [in Annapolis] on the fourth resolve [on closing courts to British creditors] had like to have prejudiced us much. Yours, Joney Muir's and S[tephen] West's names were selected from amongst the rest and sent to some of our tradesmen, who was so intimidated and exasperated that I had much to do to prevail on them to complete our orders. Indeed, had I not behaved cavalierly to them, I should not have been able to have shipped them. But, when I found that persuasion would not do, I told them that I would not make a partial shipping, but that I would countermand my whole orders, and which, I told them, would effectually ruin all the merchants in the trade. Besides, if any were entitled to credit, that we were and that, instead of begging it, we demanded it. God, it gave the alarm and there was some of the merchants who was devilishly frightened and did everything in their power to have our orders completed. If anyone dare write over and make a merit of it, contradict it, for I assure you that they would rejoice to see us ruined. . . .

151a. (pp. 434-7) to the firm per the Hope, Capt Howard 18 July 1774

The above is a copy of my last, since which I have nothing from you. I acknowledged the receipt of 23 first and second bills [of exchange] amounting to £824:0:3 in my letter of the first inst. I have since received 8 first and second bills amounting to £268:10:7. All of both remittances are good but those listed and enclosed you have the list. The two on Durham is gone for acceptance and have received no answer yet. I now forward you enclosed two bills under protest amounting to £74:17:3 which you will be pleased to pass to my credit. I received the specie safe and now forward enclosed account sales of it, the net proceeds of which I have carried to your credits. Your bill [of exchange] £5:5:0 to E. Jennings has appeared and I paid it at sight.

Enclosed you have bill loading, bills parcels and invoice of goods for the Annapolis store amounting to £5,967:8:6 and bill loading, bills parcels and invoice of goods for the Nottingham store amounting to £619:16:10, which two cargoes I hope will arrive safe and quick. I have placed them to your general account and which you will be pleased to give me credit for. I have shipped on board the Hope all our friends' goods for up the Bay, Annapolis and Patuxent and which, when all put together, amounts to £6,587:5:4 which in my estimation is no inconsiderable thing. I was once of an opinion that I should not have been able to have executed the orders and to convince you have enclosed a few letters; indeed I was obliged to engage the payment of £500 to the woollen draper or should have been compelled to have left the goods out that was for A[rchibald] B[uchanan] and H[all], G[ilbert] & H[all]. The whole difficulty arose from ill-natured insinuations here about my brother's and Mr J. Davidson's conduct on the late resolves. It has done more; it has extorted a promise from me that [John] Tate [warehouseman] shall be paid and punctually, let what steps may be taken with you on that side of the water. Don't you construe this promise to be obtained by any foul means; so far from that, he has behaved genteelly and I have hopes you will enable me to fulfil my promise.

151b. I discharged the Peggy Stewart in four days, one Sunday included, so that I have retained £12 from the amount of demurrage that accrued with you and which still remains to be settled between you and Dick & Stewart [of Annapolis, owners of the Peggy Stewart]. I have examined her cargo and find that she has damaged on the whole upwards of 7,000 lbs. tobacco, which, you may judge, has defaced the greater part of it and which has played the deuce with its sale. It is hard to see the Annapolis cargo come out clean and pretty and sell immediately and the people turn up their noses at ours. I have insured on board the Kitty & Nelly 550 hhds. to recover £8 per hhd. clear in case of loss and three hundred pounds on our commission; if you inform me when she will sail I will cover the freight and the remainder of our commission. I have likewise made insurance £1,500 on the Isabella Ann, Capt Daschiel, whom you have a concern in.

I had once not a mind to have looked in your letter of the 11 May. However, as it was necessary for fear anything material should escape me, I have done it, and in justice to myself cannot but deny the charge of avariciousness, the cause of the loss of the tobacco per the Morning Star; that it was selfishness that prompted me to recommend the consignment business I too deny. I will only repeat and, if your memory does not fail, you recollect my proposition at the time of recommending that business 'to extend our copartnership to your own time' and that, so far from dragging you into the uncertain expenses attending the business, that I did not wish to have it left in my power to charge the concern as matters accrued, but that I wished and would stand by the determination of any two gentlemen who would say what you ought to allow me.

151c. You say that I have never given you a direct answer respecting the certain gains on the consignment of a hhd. tobacco but in general have told you that it would be a guinea. I confess I told you so; and was it possible to say more when our gains on that business depends upon the quantity? It requires no great cunning to find out that the King allows 10 lbs. tobacco for every thousand [as 'turn of the scale' and 'sample'], which, if not lost in weight, we are allowed to sell for town trade, and this, I presume, you allude to in saying you know of certain gains and which I had better divulge than leave you to find out. I will tell you of another gain and, as I am so very selfish, perhaps I am the proper person to obtain it and which is to bribe the weighers to call wrong weights. There is something made that way and I hope you will allow depends more on chance than anything else. You say that you know the bare commission on a hhd. tobacco is full a guinea. To convince you that your judgment may be corrected, I have here set down the amount of our commission account gross amount from 1 January to the 1 July, £840:13:3, including your own goods, out of which is the commission arising on the tobacco:

275 hhds. per the Kitty & Nelly £253:8:2
20 ditto per the Elizabeth 17:14:7
122 ditto per the Sally 110:2:3
52 ditto per the Molly & Betsey 46:14:5
469 £427:19:5

[i.e. 18s. 3d. per hhd., not 21s.]

Now I hope you will be convinced and know that the commission being more or less depends on the weight of the tobacco and there will likewise be a profit on the tobacco accounts per each ship in which the allowance will take its gains and all advantages at the scale; and [all] which [together] will more than pay three times the great and mighty expense incurred in carrying on the business which is £30 for house rent allowed per agreement £— per annum [sic] for bookkeeper, £40 for a clerk and pens, ink and paper, so that, in all human probability, you will pocket a clear thousand pounds each on this vile scheme on the close of our books on the end of the year, provided you send home the tobacco you tell me you shall. But, supposing you should not and that our gains are only £500 each, will not you admit that it is better than my doing nothing but furnish goods for the store? Most undoubtedly, and, if I was equally as suspicious of your integrity (which I call to God I am not) as you are of mine, we had indeed better wind up our affairs, though I still hope that you will see your folly and correct those illiberal reflections and insinuations you have vomited out in the height of obstinacy and passion. For you must know that, although it is my first object to cultivate a good understanding and to rise or fall with you, yet I can live without your assistance and perhaps support that dignity better than being a tobacco factor, as you are pleased to call me.

151d. You say that your house expenses have increased in consequence of our entering into the tobacco business. I admit it, but would you reflect one moment that you can furnish a better table for a dollar than I can for half a guinea, you most certainly would not persist. Recollect too that it is not my dear self, but that I represent you and, in doing which, I do no more than either of you would do, to ask those Americans who come here to dine with me now and then. If that is doing what I ought not to do, I now tell you that I shall persevere in it and, if you have not generosity to bear your quota, I am content to bear it; and in which sentiments I am determined to remain in until I fulfil the term agreed on between us, when, if you have no other terms to offer, I shall be prepared to render a just and fair account to you and the world of my factorship and transactions and meet you in an amicable settlement. So that you have now time to form your determinations and I expect you will regulate yourselves accordingly and act with that same openness with me by letting me know your ultimate determination as soon as possible. In the meantime, I could wish you to lay aside all bickering and let us push on with unanimity and confidence.

I wrote Messrs Lanton & Brown [Cork, Ireland] as you requested and forwarded them our prices current [of flour, etc in London] and, as they are much superior to theirs and our ports opened for three months longer, I do presume that they will send her [Isabella Ann, Capt Dashield] here, unless, as I hope, you attended to my letter by McKirdy and sent her to Falmouth for orders.

151e. I think the plan adopted in fixing a store at Queen Anne [on Patuxent] must succeed, unless you are anxious of selling too many goods; at any rate, it will assist our tobacco scheme.

I have attended most strictly to the time limited [by the American nonimportation agreements] for the shipping goods and there is not a package but one of ours but was on board on the 19th, and Mr Bowly has refused several to take in their goods that would have been ready on the 21st, amongst the rest a parcel of cloths from T. Williams. I will on no account ship anything more until I hear from you. I am glad to be informed that exchange is likely to keep down [because of non-importation] and from that circumstance I hope our profits will be very considerable.

. . . The necessary papers to enable us to recover [Isaac] Harris's loss was the other day delivered us by Mr Pool and I am apushing forward a settlement and which, when effected, I will inform you the sum that you may secure it in my hands.

I am very sorry that you misunderstood my letter per Maynard. . . . I before told you the reason why I did not send out the Kitty & Nelly's [accounts of sale sooner] was owing to my not being able to prevail on the [tobacco] buyer to receive it; indeed, it was not his fault, it was the want of shipping. Though I hope long before this that they are with you and that the people are pleased with them. However, I should have been happy to have had it in my power to have sent them before, especially as it would have promoted the Kitty & Nelly's fast loading. This I promise you, that I will in future avoid encouraging your making any promise to the people more than I will enable you to comply with. The demurrage appeared to me to be too great a drawback on our commission. I thought it prudent to give a genteel fee to the [blank], by which we shall make ourselves whole and pocket about fifty guineas on that ship. Those matters are not to be done every day; yet it is well to be in credit with those people. I have had an offer for part of the Peggy Stewart's cargo and, as it is a good one, I think I shall close. Archy's tobacco is trash and has hurt us or it would all have been gone. I shall begin to expect Capt Belt by the last of next month. I have settled the insurance on the Farmer and wrote each planter to settle with A. B[uchanan] as per his request. I shall write you from Gravesend where I shall go with D. B[owly] to see the ship away. . . .

152a. (pp. 438-9) to the firm per the Hope, Capt Howard Gravesend 23 July 1774

I came here last night with my letters to go by Capt Howard, which gives me an opportunity of informing you that I have sold half of the Peggy Stewart's load for a great price and hope in a few days to be able to sell the rest, though I don't expect for so much money as I have got for that I have sold. Indeed, I have got 4½d. per lb. for a few fine hhds. amongst which is one of our friend S[amuel] Tyler's and another of T[homas] Holland's. Molleson has landed two lighters out of the Calvert and I hear has sold them for a good price. The tobacco is better than mine, though I believe he sold for the same price; indeed, I am sure of it, so that I would not have you mind what is said about it with you, if anything is. I want and am anxious to hear from you when the Kitty & Nelly will sail. I hope she will be the next to [Capt] Coulson; if she is, it will be a most lucky hit for us.

I want to manage and will, somehow or other, to send out the account sales for the tobacco per the Peggy Stewart before T[homas] Eden goes, who, I hear, is determined to carry his with him. I am likewise told that they [Eden] are to carry out ten thousand pounds worth of goods with them and that Cooledge and Wootton is to have a store at Queen Anne [Town]; if that is the case, their push will be at us and I am determined to throw up the price of the Queen Anne tobacco. If we give away our commission, it will, I am of opinion, be of no prejudice to us in the long run.

152b. I have a hint that poor Jemmy Anderson [of London] is in a bad way and perhaps no longer a merchant. If so, by all means go immediately to Wye and Chester [on Eastern Shore, where Anderson's influence lay] and prevail on the people who has shipped him tobacco to consign it to us. He has one or two ships in the country and, if you are active, I think you may secure the greatest part. I am sure that W. Molleson is on the same plan, but I think you may have the start of him and to give you that made me post down here after the ship. This matter must be kept inviolable to yourselves for fear anyone should get hold of it and strive to punish me for saying so much. And one thing I would wish you would do, which is to give the barrister [Charles Carroll] a hint that he may secure himself. I know that he has money in his hands and have wrote us for our opinion of his circumstances and management, which I answered rather tenderly and which I did through tenderness to his [Anderson's] children and not knowing or doubting that it would come to this extremity. You will do it, but take care to do it so as not to prejudice him in case the surmise is wrong; and yet to bear me harmless. I will on my return today inquire very particularly and inform you by Captains Falkner and All via Philadelphia who sails on Monday.

152c. I was in hopes to have been able to [have] sent Mr T. Wright out a joiner, and came down partly for that purpose, the crimp having engaged to have one down for me, but he has disappointed me and I must wait patiently a little longer.

If the Kitty & Nelly arrives soon and I am lucky in getting remittances so that I shall have money to play with, I will send her out with upwards of a hundred servants as soon as possible; in the meantime, do you look out for a charter for her to Cadiz, Lisbon or any other port and give her dispatch that she may be in the country time enough for our second Patuxent ship [next year]. We shall by that means make a second freight, in which we shall have the ship left clear to us. In this case, I propose that the Nancy shall be our first ship and that she shall carry out the spring goods and sail about the first of February. Should this plan meet your approbation, you must acquaint our friends to send their orders early that their goods may go in her.

I have just been on board the Lovely Lass, Capt Waid, who tells me that he left Philadelphia the 16 June and that the people then seemed determined to stand by the Bostonians. If they do and will be hearty, the pomp of poor old England will soon be shook and reduced to do you justice. She is wheat loaded and which will come to a good market. I wish Daschield [Isabella Ann] was here; one more week will make him too late. . . .

153. (p. 440) to the firm per Capt All, via Philadelphia 27 July 1774

I wrote you the 18th and 23rd per the Hope, Capt Howard, since which I have nothing from your parts. I mentioned in mine of the 23rd that poor [James] Anderson was in a bad way; on Monday evening he had a meeting of his creditors and, from the warmth of them against him, there is reason to believe that they will show no mercy. They wanted to take everything out of his hands and give the management of his affairs in the hands of three of his creditors to be appointed by the whole. On his asking what provision [for his living expenses] they intended, they answered that should be an afterthought. He offered to go out to Maryland to collect his debts. When they demanded security for his return, he told them he would leave his wife and children as hostages, but they said that would not do. I am told that his determinations is not to submit to such usage and that he will be made a bankrupt first. After the recital of those facts, I leave you to make a proper use of the advantage. C. W[allace] knows a great number of his [Anderson's] correspondents; he must use industry to secure [consignment to us of] all the tobacco he can that is shipped on board of [Capt] Love; get the shippers' orders on the captain for bills loading filled up to us and we shall be secure. Molleson is after the same plan and is the only active one I fear.

I have sold the Peggy Stewart's cargo for a good price; I am adelivering it and tomorrow shall finish, when I will immediately set to and make out the account sales and forward them to you.

From the amazing quantities of goods now shipping for Boston, New York and Philadelphia, I cannot, I confess, guess the meaning. If it is through speculation from the people here, I hope they will burn their fingers, though, should it be on the account of those on your side the water, I hope it's from policy to lay in all they can before they close in resolutions. Time will convince. . . .

154. (pp. 440-1) to the firm per Capt Falkner, via Philadelphia 27 July 1774

The foregoing is a copy of what I wrote you this day per Capt All, but, for fear that should not reach you, I have embraced this opportunity per Capt Falkner, who is going immediately so that it will be hard if both should fail. Kelly, Lot & Co. [London firm] has chartered a ship and loading her with goods for Chester and Baltimore. I will write you by her and by the Peggy Stewart, who is taking in servants and will soon sail. . . .

155. (p. 441) to the firm per the Peggy Stewart 29 July 1774

On the other side are copies of Mr Johnson last per Capt All and Capt Faulkner via Philadelphia, at whose request I now write to inform you that the Hope, Capt Howard, by whom Mr Johnson has shipped the fall goods has run ashore on Dungeness Pier [on the south coast of Kent]. If the weather keeps moderate, I am in hopes she may be got off by unloading, but her situation is rather dangerous. Mr Johnson and Mr Bowly are gone down to give necessary instructions for the preservation of ship and cargo, on whose return will write the particulars.

I am, gentlemen, with due respect
your very humble servant
H. C. [Johnson's clerk]

156. (pp. 442-3) to the firm per Capt Nairn 1 August 1774

I received information on Friday morning that the Hope, Capt Howard, was on shore at Dungeness. Mr Bowly and I went off immediately, rode all night and about 9 o'clock on Saturday morning got to the wreck. Such another sight God keep me from ever beholding. We found her stripped, the water up to her under deck and they then asculling of her to get out what of the cargo they could, which was landed on an open beach under a guard of soldiers. We stayed by her till night and gave necessary instructions how to manage and arrived home last night under a resolution to deliver up the whole to the underwriters, but find they will not allow me. I have therefore ordered the goods to London and must employ proper people to wash, dry and sell them for account of the insurers; and I do not imagine, from £11,000 which we have insured, that there will be £3,000 saved, a most unfortunate accident to us, deprived of your goods and, from every appearance, will continue to be so, as I cannot on any account think of reshipping them until I know your determinations [on non-importation] at the general meeting on the 22 June. I cannot as yet say what will be our loss or gain, though I think that it will be in our favour about £220 or £230, as I have covered a commission on all the goods and, if I can obtain the loss soon from the underwriters, it will be serviceable to us. I am fatigued out of my life, therefore cannot be so particular as I could wish and, indeed, I have but a few hours to save this [mail] opportunity.

I have enclosed you the protested bills that was agoing by Howard and some other papers. I have likewise sent all the letters we had wrote that does not respect goods which you will be pleased to forward immediately. I had shipped those goods Mr Wallace ordered for the public building which is under the same situation as other people's. I had likewise sent Joney Muir's paper, but he will lose nothing by it. Had this ship arrived safe, you would have had your goods in an exceeding good time, but a cruel fortune seems to run counter to all we have done for a long time, and this stroke has nearly knocked me up, for I declare to you that I never felt so much before in all my life and I hope that I never shall again. . . .

157a. (pp. 446-7) to the firm per the packet 4 August 1774

The foregoing is a copy of my last per Capt Nairn, since which I have called a meeting of the underwriters and have got three of them appointed to take the management of those goods per Howard. I have not given up my right entirely in the disposal of them and my reason is for not doing it that I think I can forward the sale, by which means it will expedite the settlement and recovery with the underwriters. I have had a great deal of trouble and plague with this business already and most sincerely wish that the accident had not happened, though we shall be no losers in the whole, but gain nearly £400, as I have taken the residue, which is £383:13:0, and wrote the policy for that sum, so that we are equally entitled to every advantage that the underwriters are and which will save perhaps 50 per cent of that sum.

What to think of reshipping the goods I cannot tell. I have looked over your letters and some others who caution me not to ship anything after the 20th ult. and which, together with the report of the steps taken with you, will determine me against doing anything until I hear what are your determinations at the general meeting. If I find the time for your receiving goods from here prolonged to a farther day, I will directly forward them but this be assured—I will not for any consideration directly or indirectly do anything that shall fly in the face of your resolves. I look upon the time as a very critical one and the fellow who would take an advantage at such one would at any other sacrifice you all for the sake of that very thing called gain. If I am lucky enough to recover this money quickly for the goods that was lost in the Hope, I shall have enough to make instant entries on whatever tobacco that comes home to us and be enabled to keep it by us for next spring's market, when we shall be able to obtain our own price for it, provided the exports are stopped with you. And, in that case, I think you ought to purchase whatever you can so that it is good and the price don't exceed 20/ per cwt. your money. I am of an opinion that the people being made acquainted with this matter would influence some of them to ship to us, especially as there is not one, except Hanbury and Grove, who is able or can lay out of the duties but are obliged to sell immediately on the ship's arrival.

157b. I am informed by some of Anderson's creditors that his affairs are in a very bad situation and that he must wind them up so that I think you ought to be industrious amongst his friends and secure whatever of their tobacco you can. Perhaps you may get Love loaded to us; the Wye and Chester River [Eastern Shore] tobacco will sell very well and pay us a commission that is worth accepting of. You will have nobody to encounter but Molleson; his friends will be active, you may be assured.

I wrote you before that I had sold the Peggy Stewart's cargo. I am now amaking out the sales and which I think will please our friends on Patuxent. They shall come as soon as ever they can be got ready and which will not be long first [sic]. Indeed, if it had not been for this plagued accident, they would be ready by this time.

If the communication is stopped between this and your country, I imagine that you will be attentive to your collections that we may begin, on the accommodation of matters, with a strong capital. And, if you manage clever and remit so as to pay punctually for what is past, we shall be in top credit [here] and beyond the reach of envy.

I should not be surprised to hear that you made a bonfire of the Peggy Stewart as I have a hint that a certain T[homas] W[illiams] has shipped tea on board of her and that Capt Jackson applied to old Russell [the owner's agent in London] and told him that he was suspicious of it, but Russell told him it was not his business so that he got the 2½ per cent freight. On Jackson's persisting to be uneasy, Russell satisfied him by telling him it was linens. I am suspicious that it is done up in that way to deceive. If he has been hardy enough to do so daring a thing, I hope you will adopt a proper punishment for him and old Russell who has been suspicious [?] in the affair.

157c. We look up for the packet every hour and most heartily wish she would arrive that we might have some accounts how the Kitty & Nelly goes on loading.

There is a stop to the purchase of tobacco. The people in Holland etc. thinks their friends [correspondents] here has given too much and have ordered them to buy no more till the ships arrive. I sold that per the Peggy Stewart, as bad as it was, for 25/8 round and for a few fine hhds. can give 5d. per lb. Our friend S[amuel] Tyler has one of them and T[homas] Holland another. Molleson has sold 4 lighters of Sewel's very high but is left in the lurch with the other. Court has sold his very well and shipped [i.e. exported] it together on their own accounts. Both he and Capt Eden [now partners] is gone to Holland, I suppose to solicit orders. They are expected to return soon, as the Annapolis is to sail on the 20th without fail. What think you of the ten thousand pounds worth of goods that she is to carry? Do you think that they will be in time? It would be an ugly affair to be sent back; I fancy it would cause another stoppage.

You requested that I would get the merchants' conduct authenticated respecting their behaviour about petitioning. I am now about that business and shall do it to your satisfactions; I could not before for particular reasons. Capt Nearn [Nairn] refused to take 11 chests of tea after Kelly, Lot & Co. had sent them on board his ship, and this day old Russell has been trying to prevail on Capt [Lambert] Wicks of Chester to take them, who much to his credit positively refused to take them.

We have accounts here from Boston by a man-of-war that came express as late as the 6 July, and we are all in confusion in consequence of the steps taken by General Gage, everyone dreading the terrors of a civil war, which we fear is before this begun. Your cause is noble; it's for liberty you struggle. Persevere, be steady and faithful to each other and the Almighty will conquer for you. I will write you in a few days by Clark from Bristol. . . . [P.S.] J. Barnes is out of gaol.

158. (p. 459) to the firm per the Speedwell, Capt Clark 8 August 1774

The foregoing is a copy of what I wrote you per the packet, since which I have nothing from you. I am informed that Court intends to send out the sales of the Annapolis cargo by her, which has made me pursue this step in order to have ours [accounts of sale] at hand before his, and we now send them by way of Bristol in Capt Clark, who is a fast sailing ship and whom we hope will soon be with you. The step taken is expensive, though you may judge that it is a matter of consequence to us, their being in first and which has made me very desirous in getting ours away. They in my opinion are as good as [the accounts of sale by] either the Annapolis [Court & Co.] or Calvert's [W. Molleson] will be, notwithstanding we had a great deal of trash amongst the quantity and that, added to the ship damage, hurt the sale considerably. We on the whole average £6:5:9 per hhd. which undoubtedly will be admitted a very great sale and which I shall be happy to hear has given general satisfaction. I forward you enclosed a list of the net proceeds to each person for your government in the purchase of their bills on us, which be pleased to attend to. [Richard] Graves' and [Thomas] Lansdale's are to the credit of A[rchibald] Buchanan and H. Sothoron's [Henry Greenfield Southerton] is laid out in a lottery ticket which be pleased to be advised of. Enclosed you have two protested bills amounting with charges to £32:11:6 which you will be pleased to pass to my credit. I would recommend it to you not to renew Smith's [protested bill of exchange] as I am apprehensive that he is going to the dogs.

Mr J[ames] Anderson's creditors has had a second meeting and I hear that they have agreed to take 10/ in the pound payable in three years and that Mrs [Anne Tasker] Ogle [mother of Mrs J. Anderson] and his mother [Rebecca Lloyd Anderson] are his securities for the faithful performance of the agreement and, under these circumstances, I suppose that he is done doing business. I could wish that you may have profited by my former hint.

Daschild is not yet arrived [with flour at Cork]. I wish he was as the prices are tumbling down everywhere and wheat and flour must soon be a drug. . . .


  • 1. This letter refers to a resolution adopted at public meetings at Annapolis on 25 and 27 May. Article iv of the resolution called for closing the courts to suits by British creditors. It is printed in David Ridgely, Annals of Annapolis (Baltimore, 1841) 150-1. Cf. Charles Albro Barker, The Background of the Revolution in Maryland (New Haven, 1940) 370.