Gunston-Hall July 5th. 1792.
I approve much of your Plan of endeavouring to bring Mr. Banks up with you to Gunston; where I cou'd shew him Mr. Wm. Lee's Accts. of Sales of my Tobo. and not only receive from him all the Information he can give upon the Subject; but if upon conversing with him, I found him a proper Person, I wou'd endeavour to get him, when he returns to London, to undertake to trace, &collect the proper Evidence & Documents, to fix upon Mr. Lee his having rendered me fictitious Accounts of Sales, his keeping my Tobacco, upon his own Account, & afterwards taking the Advantage, for his own Emolument, of the great Rise in the price, the Summer following; if these are really the Facts; as I verily believe they are. I will therefore most readily pay the Expences of his Journey from Richmond, & back again. I beg you will present my Compliments to him, and tell him how very desirous I am to see him, how little able I am to undertake a Journey to Richmond, and how glad I shall be to see him at Gunston Hall. In a Word, prevail on him, if you can, to come up with you. I beg you will talk with Mr. John Marshall, upon the Subject of my Suit in the high Court of Chancery against John Hooe Banbury & others, & enquire whether it was called & put off at the last Term, or whether the Court did not reach it, on the Docket, & whether it is ready for Trial, & will probably be tryed at the next Term? I expected it wou'd have been tried at the last Term; and am afraid it is neglected by Mr. Marshall; who tho' a very worthy Man, is an indolent one. Please to enquire also of him, when he thinks my Suit with Hooe Harrison & Compy, in the Court of Appeals, will be tried? Don't forget to bring up with you, from the Land Office, copys of our Friend Colo. Fitzhugh's Plats & Certificates of Survey for his Land on Pohick Creek; which were return'd to the Land Office a little more than a Year ago.
My Cypress Scantlin is not yet come up; the Packet, Capt. Moore, I understand, is daily expected at Alexandria, from Norfolk; perhaps it may come in her; if not, we shall suffer exceedingly for want of it. And you must endeavour to procure it, & have it sent up, as speedily as possible, by some other Means than Mr. Brent; who is not to be depended on. If it is not already got, you must direct it, if possible, to be got out of seasoned Timber; which I believe will be attended with no Difficulty; as there are allways a great Many Cypress Trees in the Swamp, which have been long fallen, or blown down; and which, except the Sap, remain perfectly sound. As it must be work'd, & put up, as soon as it arrives, green Timber will answer very badly; which was my Reason for applying to Mr. Brent so long ago; that it might have time to season.
I am pleased with the Account you give me of your brother Tom. I wrote to him, some time ago; desiring to know how he was employed, &c, and particularly whether he was learning French, & what Progress he had made, or was like to make in it; but have received no Answer; which I don't take kindly of Tom. He wrote me a Letter, some time ago, expressing his great Desire of being established in some Business upon his own Account; at the same time expressing much Disgust at the Business & Profession of a Merchant; which after the time he has spent in the Pursuit, and which too was his own choice; shewed a Fickleness of Disposition, & want of Steadiness, that may prove highly injurious to him. He can't be more desirous of being established in Business, than I am of establishing him, as soon as it is in my Power. The Money (if not the whole, the greater part of it) which I intended for his capital, has been remitted to your House in Bourdeaux; that it might be ready for him, as soon as he was ready for it; indeed I wished him to spend a Year or two in your Counting House at Bourdeaux, in order to acquire some Knowledge & Experience in Shipping, & foreign Business. Unfortunately, the Affairs of France are, at this time, so circumstanced, that the Money can't be now drawn for, without a Loss of near 100 Ct. nor is France, in it's present convulsed & precarious Situation, a very desireable Country to go to; altho' I hope & believe, that Affairs there will soon be setled on a firm & safe Establishment.
To tell you the Truth, I am almost out of Conceit of sending another Son to Europe; for Fear of giving him a Distaste to his own Country. This is generally the Case with such Americans as have spent much time in Europe; it is, in some measure, the case with yourself; I see it with great Concern (and it is the only thing I have to regret in you) for in my Opinion, there can hardly be a greater Misfortune, that a Man's having a Distaste to that Country, in which all his connections are, and in which he is to spend his Life.
Your Knowledge & Experience in mercantile Affairs enables you to judge better than I can, what will be the most advantageous Prospects; where there [will] probably be the most favourable opening, [and] what will be the best, within my Power, to be done for your Brother Tom. I wou'd have you, with him, consider the Subject; and assure him, nothing on my Part, consistent with my circumstances, & Justice to his Brothers & Sisters, shall be wanting: for at my time of Life, my only Satisfaction and Pleasure is in my Children; and all my Views are centered in their Wellfare and Happiness.
I am, dear John, Your very affecte. Father