Gunston-Hall August 15th. 1786.
I am a little alarm'd at the report of Mr. Ridout's having fail'd, & think the eight Hhds. of Tobo., I lately ship'd him are in Jeopardy, for tho' I don't conceive that his Creditors can take them (The Tobo. consign'd him being the Property of others) yet I apprehend that, notwithstanding his Failure, he can take possession of the Tobo, sell it, & pay his Debts with the Proceeds.
I have lately heard (but from no Authority) that he has been assisted by some People in Bourdeaux, & is like to re-establish his Credit, & go on again. Pray be so kind to let me know if you have any authentic Information on the Subject; & give me your Opinion, what Method you think will be the best of me to take, to secure myself. If he has really fail'd, I shou'd think will be proper for me, without Loss of time, to write to some Merchant of Credit in Bourdeaux, authorizing him to take possession of the Tobo. & sell it on my Acct. for which purpose perhaps a Power of Attorney from me may be necessary; in Case the Authority merely of a Letter shou'd be disputed. Mercantile Transactions are so much out of my Line of Life, that I am really at a Loss how to proceed; and shall be much obliged to you for your advice. Another Difficulty is, that I have no Manner of Correspondence or Acquaintance (other than with Mr. Ridout in Bourdeaux); having never ship'd any Tobo. there, except a few Hhds. to Messrs. Delaps; who are the last Men in the World I shou'd chuse to do Business for me.
If it is convenient, you may deliver to my Son John, the Notes for the 4 Hhds. of Virga. Tobo. you was to pay me on Acct. of Mr. Robt. Adam. He will contrive them to me; as well as your Answer to this Letter: it goes to Alexandria, by Mr. McCarty; who will call there again, in a day or two, as he returns from the Falls. I am, with Mrs. Mason's Compliments, & my own to your Lady, Dr. Sir Your most obt. Sert
To Mr. Robert Adam, for four Hhds. Crop
Tobo. Nett Wt. clear of Caske