Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Notwithstanding Col. Fitzgerald's brig was delayed so long, by his negligence, I was prevented writing by her, when she sailed, by her going down the river, without my knowing it. I had wrote you by her, about a month before, at the time she was expected to have sailed, which letter, I hope has come safe to hand, but am afraid the bag of hominy I sent you by her had been so long on board, that it will be moulded or damaged. At the time I wrote you by the said brig I was extremely ill with the convulsive cholic complicated, I believe, with the gout in my stomach ; which continued with little or no intermission three days and nights, and left me in so debilitated a state, that I was not able to go out of the house for four or five weeks ; and it is not until within these few days that I have begun to recruit.

I enclose you a letter for Mr. Jefferson, respecting the French endeavoring to supply us (from patterns sent) with some particular articles of coarse manufacture, which hitherto have been imported only from Great Britain. It is a subject of much greater importance than you may at first conceive, and I think I should not exaggerate, in saying that the annual demand for them in the five Southern States, is not less than 10,000,000 of Livres. Judge then what effect the French being able to supply us with these articles upon equal or better terms than Great Britain, would have upon the commercial intercourse between the two countries, and the shipment of American produce to France. desired Capt. Fenwick to send you the patterns by the brig, but forgot to ask him about them when he was here last. He is now down the country, endeavoring to collect tobacco for a small brig of Messrs. Forrest and Stoddert, which he has chartered, and is now loading at Georgetown, so that he will not probably have an opportunity of writing by Capt. Gregory.

A violent storm of wind and rain, which we had about the 20th of August, with the almost continual rains for many days afterwards, has done great damage to the tobacco, and I think will shorten the crops much, as well as injure the quality of the whole, which I believe will in general be unusually bad this year. I think your brothers and myself have lost between thirty and forty hogsheads of tobacco in our own crops; our wheat has also suffered some damage, and our hay a great deal. The Indian corn appeared at first to be greatly injured, but has recovered more



than could have been expected, so that the crops of corn will be pretty good. The shortness of the crop of tobacco will considerably affect the interest of your house; if the crop of tobacco had been as good as it promised about the first of August, your consignments next summer would have been very considerable. I have written to my friends in the Eastern and Southern States in favor of your house, which I hope will have a good effect.

I did not apply (as you desired) to Mr. Alexander; my acquaintance with him was hardly sufficient to warrant such a request; and his character in France (as I have heard) being doubtful, I did not think letters from him would operate to your advantage. My late illness has hitherto prevented my writing to Doctor Franklin ; but I will do it soon, though I doubt whether letters from him will be of much service to your house, as his intimacies were more among the literati than the mercantile part of the nation. I sent you in my last letter lists of the firms of most of the mercantile houses in the lower parts of Virginia. I would recommend it to you, to endeavor to cultivate a correspondence with the American minister, Mr. Jefferson, which I think will be serviceable to you, and give credit to the house. I hope you determine to persevere in the line you set out, of giving no credits whatever in America ; and I wish you to be very careful and particular in purchasing the goods you send to your correspondents upon the best terms, it being a matter upon which your consignments will in great measure depend.

Pray write to me often, and particularly, respecting your situation, your success and prospects in business; what health you enjoy, how you like the country you are in and what progress you make in the language, or anything else interesting to you, and consequently to me.

I send you by the Brig the proceedings of the Virginia Convention. I have not yet seen a publication of the debates. Notwithstanding there was in the New York Convention a majority of two to one against the new Constitution without previous amendments, yet after the adoption by Virginia they thought themselves under the necessity of adopting also, for fear of being left out of the Union, and of civil commotions. They have drawn up amendments nearly similar to those of Virginia and recommended them unanimously in the strongest manner, and they have written a circular to all the other States soliciting their cooperation in obtaining the amendments by application to the new Congress at their first meeting which it is expected will be in March in New York, so there is still hope of safe and proper amendments. The North Carolina Convention has rejected the new Constitution unless previous amendments are made, by a great majority. I have not yet seen their amendments but am informed they are much the same as those recommended by Virginia. Your brothers have sent you a number of late newspapers, which will give you pretty full information of the present state of American politics.

All your brothers and sisters who are at home, have written to you by this opportunity. The family are all well, and desire to be kindly remembered to you. I am extremely anxious to hear of your safe arrival and am, dear John, Your most affectionate father,

G. Mason. P. S. Your friend Mr. Anthony called to see me, and spent an evening with me last week on his return from North Carolina; where he tells me he has been near three months, and is to return thither again in October. If I am not mistaken he is about committing matrimony with a Miss Hill, daughter of Mr. Whitmel Hill, the most wealthy man in the State of North Carolina.


December 18, 1788. DEAR JOHN :

Capt. Fenwick's letter from George Town last week, per the post, having miscarried (as most of my letters via Alexandria do), I knew nothing of the ship Washington being so near sailing, until I was informed, this evening by express from Capt. F. that the ship would be down to-night, or early to-morrow morning, so that I have very little time left to write to you by her. I have not received any letter from you since your arrival at Bordeaux, but one of the fifteenth of August per the Coulteana, Capt. Limebourg, via Norfolk; and that so soon after your arrival that you were then able to give me little account of your affairs or situation, or how you liked the place. I hope to be particularly informed in your next letters.

[blocks in formation]

I wrote you by Fitzgerald's brig, and also by Capt. Gregory who was so obliging as to call on me on purpose, and promised to deliver the packet with his own hand. By one of these opportunities (I now forget which), I sent you the proceedings of the Virginia Convention, and informed you of the then state of American politics. North Carolina has rejected the new government unless previous amendments, almost the same with the subsequent amendments proposed by Virginia, can be obtained. Rhode Island has yet done nothing decisive on the subject. New York discouraged by the adoption in Virginia, with a majority in their Convention of two to one against the new form of government, received it upon the minority's agreeing to recommend unanimously amendments similar to those in Virginia, and voting a circular letter from their president Governor Clinton to invite the concurrence of the other States in an immediate application to the new Congress for calling another Federal Convention to consider them. The other States have all adopted ; Connecticut, Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland without recommending any amendments ; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, South Carolina and I think Georgia, with recommendation of amendments. The Virginia Legislature now sitting have taken up the subject upon the ground of the New York circular letter and by a large majority have voted an application to Congress for immediately calling a Federal Convention to consider the amendments proposed by this and other States. Their address to Congress for this purpose is a very firm, and in my opinion, proper one. They have also wrote a circular to the other States desiring their concurrence.

Colonel R. H. Lee and Colonel Grayson are appointed members of the Senate for this State. Virginia is divided into ten districts as nearly equal as circumstances will permit, the rule of computation being the number of militia in each county, each district to choose one representative (who has been a resident of the district for twelve months last past] to the new government, and it is thought the elections will go very generally in favor of men who are for calling a Federal Convention to make amendments. Our district consists of the counties of Loudon, Fairfax, Prince William, Fauquier, Stafford, and King George. Several candidates are talked of by the other party, to wit Ludwell Lee, Dr. Stuart, Mr.

Fitzhugh of “ Chatham," Leven Powell and Martin Pickett; but they will hardly, I suppose, be foolish enough to start more than one. The gentlemen for the amendments have not yet fixed upon a candidate and I doubt we shall be at a loss for one, several who have been applied to having refused. If we can prevail upon a proper person to offer I think there will be little doubt of his succeeding. Mr. James Monroe of Fredericksburg (late member of Congress) opposes Mr. Madison in the Spottsylvania and Orange district and it is thought will carry his election. Beverley Randolph is chosen Governor of Virginia in the room of young A-d.

Several of our late Convention acquaintance are appointed members of the Federal Senate; John Langdon, Esq: from New Hampshire, Caleb Strong, Esq: from Massachusetts, Dr. Johnson and Oliver Ellsworth, Esq: from Connecticut, Mr. Paterson from Jersey, Robert Morris from Pennsylvania, George Read and Richard Bassett, Esqurs: from Delaware. So much for politics. For domestic occurrences I refer you to your sisters, who I make no doubt will give you a satisfactory detail.

Your partner Mr. Joseph Fenwick has written to me to desire my interest in getting him the appointment of Consul in Bordeaux. Upon talking with your brother George upon the subject, I find he had recommended the same thing to you, before you left Virginia, a circumstance I was not before apprised of. But as Mr. Fenwick has written to me to recommend him, before he knew of your previous intention (indeed before your arrival in Bordeaux) your brother George and I are both of opinion that it will be proper to make the application for him, in preference to you, for several reasons ; first because he is an older man, and consequently has more experience; secondly because he will probably remain longer in France ; and above all, because we would avoid giving the smallest cause for any jealousy or misunderstanding between you. You may therefore assure Mr. Fenwick that what interest I may have, with our new rulers, shall be most cordially exerted in his favor, as soon as the new Congress meets ; though I have no reason to expect my interest will have much weight in the new government, having, as you know, warmly opposed it, in its present shape, both in the Federal Convention and our own. In my opinion a letter of recommendation

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »