Gunston-Hall Septemr. 4th. 1791.
I received your's of the 28th. of August; and am glad to hear you have such Success on James River: so good a Beginning may be the means of establishing you an advantageous Correspondence there. I think your Purchases good ones; such as will give Satisfaction, & yield considerable Profit to the Parties concern'd. Your Brandie was sold low (it having sold lately at a Dollar & a half Per the Hhd. in Baltemore) but it's increasing your Stock of ready Money for the speedy Purchase of Tob. is a Circumstance, perhaps, of more Importance & advantage, than a possible Addition to the Price of the Brandie; & if a Dollar Per Gal. will pay the first Cost, with Freight, Insurance, the Duty here, & Commissions, the Shipment of it will turn to good Account. I presume you have a Commission of 5 per Ct upon the Sales of the Brandy, & the Purchase & Shipping charges of the Tobo. [. . .] that being the customary Commission here, & the same Commission for all Disbursements for the Shipper tho' this last, I imagine, is a Debit against the Ship's Freight. A Pilot Boat lately from Norfolk, reported, that the Hands were all men all run away from the French Ship (Louis the fourteenth) which I am afraid will occasion Delay, & give you some Trouble; but such Accidents can't be helped.
The 50 Hhds. brought at Petersburg wth. Bills, I presume are for Kunkle, for the other 600 Hhds. I would recommend your paying Cash, as far as the Proceeds of the Brandy, added to the Money you brought over will go; and drawing Bills only for the Balce. due you, upon the Acct. rendered, after debiting Corns. & other Charges; for in the present critical Situation of Affairs in France; I shou'd think it prudent to avoid, as much as possible, drawing Bills on, or thro', the Merchts. there. I am very much afraid what has lately happened will [or] may be the Cause of setting the Emperor, & the princes of Germany, upon France. If it does not, the King's foolish Conduct will be the Means of confirming and establishing the new Form of Government. And from what I see in the Public Papers, the National Assembly are acting with great Temper & Firmness. Have you see the Marquiss Bouile's Letter to the National Assembly if it is genuine (which I can hardly think) the man must be a Fool, or a Madman.
I am a Stranger to the Circumstances you mention respecting a new french Treaty; not having seen the extract of the Letter you put into the public papers. I wish you would explain it to me. If you get the Ships you have ordered from Martinique, in any short time, there can be no Danger of loading them, upon a Freight of 50 provided there is no Invasion or Convulsion in France; & of the latter there seems to be little Danger, but in Conjunction with the former, by some of the great Powers of Europe. You should endeavor to make some Provision, in the Number of Lie-days, in Case of the Ship's arriving late, & being detained by the Ice in the Rivers.
If you shou'd receive any Information respecting the Market for Wheat, I shou'd be glad to be advised of it. I read, with a great deal of Pleasure, the Account of the good Offices you have done the french Emigrants in Richmond; as it thoroughly marks that Benevolence, & Goodness of Heart, which I always highly valued in You; and which I had the Satisfaction of discovering, at a very early Period of your Life. The Familys here, & at Lexington, are all well. Your Sister Johnson, & your Brother Thomson, & his Family, are now with us, upon a Visit; and all desire to be affectionately remembered to you. I expect your Brother George Home, in four or five days. He is said to have received great Benefit from the warm Sulphur Springs, and to be in better Health, than he has had at any time, for these dozen Years. I am picking up what Tobacco falls in my way at 12/6 upon Speculation, to keep 'til next Year; and shall also reserve my own Tobo. (except the 33 Hhds. which were ship'd Per the Washington) & buy my Family Goods with Cash; being convinced that Tobo. will be high next year; the last Crop being but a short one; and from the extreme Drought this Summer, there will be hardly any made this Year, in this Part of the Country. I wish you wou'd inform me, what is the general Opinion of the growing Crop of Tobo. upon James River, & Roanoke; and if you have any Accounts of it from the Southward, South Carolina & Georgia. The present Crop of Corn here will be extreamly short; fortunately I have Soo Bars. of old Corn bye me to Spare. I expect to see you in Richmond, in the Course of this Month; in the Mean time, let me hear from you, whenever your Leisure & Convenience will admit, and let me know whether you have met with the Civilities, I have Reason to expect you would find in Richmond. I am dear John Yr. affecte. Father
P. S. We have no Account yet of the Washington. I don't know in what Part of the Town Mrs. Younghusband's boarding House is; but I wou'd, by all Means, advise you to take Lodgings upon the Hill; for I know the vale under the Hill in Richmond to be, at this Season of the Year, the most sickly Hole in Virginia; Petersburg not excepted.