Gunston-Hall Novemr. 28th. 1786.
I beg Leave to trouble you with the inclosed Letter to Mr. Robert Brent, & to request your particular care of it. I don't know whether he now resides in George Town, or at Mr. Youngs. I have had the longest, & most severe Fit of the Gout, I ever experienced; having been constantly confined for more than a month, & the greatest part of the Time with the Gout in both feet; & am still very lame in one of my Feet. If it pleases God to restore me tollerable Health, I will still attend the Assembly; there being several things in Agitation there, which I think will be very injurious to the public. I am lately inform'd there is now a strong Party for establishing only one Port, at Norfolk; & that a Bill was brought in last week for that purpose. I always knew (& have often told the Gentlemen of Alexandria) that this was the original Scheme & Purpose of the contrivors & patrons of the Port-Law; which they wou'd persevere in, whenever a proper Opportunity presented itself; however they might find it necessary to temporize in the meantime; to bring them, Step by Step, into it; who were actuated (upon a smaller Scale) by motives as partial & local as their own. Such a Law will ruin the Trade of Virginia upon Potomack River, & force it into a smugling channel with Maryland: indeed the former Port Bill wou'd have done this, tho' in a much smaller Degree. The only Comfort is, that while our People retain any Spirit of Freedom, it is impossible such an unjust & oppressive Regulation can remain long without defeating itself.
Be pleased to present Mrs. Mason's Compliments & mine to Your Lady, and believe me Dr Sir Your most obdt Servt.