SIR. Gunston-Hall, August 22d. 1777.
The Commonwealth's Tobacco purchased here has been a long time on board Mr. Pliarne's Ship; but there being no prospect of getting her out soon, I delayed taking the Bills of Lading 'til this Week; one of which (together with a Manifest Containing the Shipping Marks Nos. & Weights of the Tobo.) I have inclosed, per the Ship, to Messrs. J. Gruell & Compy., and now transmit you the other three, with a Copy of my Letter to them.
Herewith you will also receive a Manifest of the Tobo. distinguishing the Planter's Marks & Nos. with the different Prices at which it was bought, and my Acct. by which you will see there remains in my Hands the Sum of £174..5..6; which I will return by the first safe Opportunity to Wmsburg.
To save the Board the Trouble of a tedious Examination of the Addition and Extension of the Tobo. at the various Prices, I have annexed to the Manifest a seperate Acct. stating the Quantity bought of each Person, & the Price; in which the Arrangement of the Tobo. and the Prices is so different from that in the Manifest, that both agreeing, it is impossible either can be wrong; & by this Means, I believe the Accts. may be thoroughly examined in three Minutes.
The Purchase, upon the whole, I think is a cheap one, and I flatter myself will give Satisfaction.
The Inspectors in this Part of the Country, not having received their Commissions at the time, & not thinking themselves answerable, were careless of the Condition in which they received or delivered Tobacco; which has occasioned some Charge in relanding Part of it, repairing Caskes &c. but I thought it better to incur this Expence, than risque sending the Tobacco to Europe in bad Order.
The Trouble I have had in this Business has been much more than I expected; but it was oweing to an unavoidable Accident, the Small-pox at all our [ware] houses; which not only rendered it extreamly difficult to procure Tobacco, but furnish'd many, upon [prices] rising, with a Pretence for avoiding their Contracts. Shou'd any Quantity of Tobacco be hereafter wanted for public Service, I wou'd beg Leave to recommend it to the Board to give Orders some considerable time before the Tobo. is wanted; which will always make the Purchase easier, and the Commodity cheaper.
I am, with the greatest Respect, Sir Your most obdt. Hble Sert.