Virginia Gunston-Hall October 28th. 1789.
My son John, whom you saw with me in Philadelphia, and who told me he had afterwards the Pleasure of meeting with you in Boston, and accompanying you to New York, has been setled, about a year & a half, as a Merchant in Bourdeaux, in the Consignment Business, in Partnership with two Maryland Gentlemen of the Name of Fenwick; Men of very respectable Characters & Connections in that State. Their Plan of Business is very different from most of the American Houses in Europe, as they give no Credits in America, and never advance more than the certain Value of the Effects in their Hands. They have hitherto been very successful, and I believe have now larger Consignments than any American House in France.
I beg Leave to introduce to you the bearer Mr. Joseph Fenwick, my Son's Partner in Bourdeaux; who is lately arrived, to transact some Business here this Winter, and will return to France early in the Spring. Upon his Return, I expect my Son will come over to America; and if he finds Encouragement, will probably establish a House in George Town, upon Potomack River. I think they wou'd have considerable Orders from Europe, as well as from the Northern States of America, for the Purchase of Tobacco Wheat & Flour; and that their two Houses, here & in Bourdeaux (in both which they mean to confine themselves to the Commission Business) wou'd be of Service to each other.
I think you will find Mr. Fenwick a discreet & well inform'd young Man; and I shall take as a particular Favour your introducing him to such of your Friends & Acquaintance as may be of Service to him in the Consignment Line. I am confident they can not confide their Business to safer or honester Hands than the House of Fenwick Mason & Compy., and that such of them as shall be pleas'd to make the Trial, will find their Commands executed with the utmost Care & Punctuality.
I took the Liberty, some time before Mr. Fenwick's Arrival, to recommend him to his Excellency the President, for the Office of American Consul in Bourdeaux, which I am sure he wou'd execute with Honour to himself, and Advantage to our Country. He is a native of Maryland, of an old & reputable Family there, and of the Roman Catholic Religion, a Circumstance which wou'd add to his Respectability in a Roman Catholic Country. He has been about three Years in France, has acquired the language, and is well acquainted with the Commercial Customs of the country; if upon conversing with him, you think him qualified to fill the Office, I shall hold myself extreamly obliged by your Interest in his Favour. Shou'd any thing ever occur, in which I can render you acceptable Service, I beg you will command me, without Reserve; being with the greatest Esteem and Regard, Dr. Sir, Your most obdt. Servt.