Gunston-Hall January 11th. [1785?]
Mr. Johnston deliver'd me your Favour of the 8[th . . . ] to whom I have given eve[ry consider]ation in [ . . . ] He has since ha[ . . . ] indeed every-body, who kno[ws ... ] The Terms upon which he ha[d unde]rtaken the [ . . . ] are lower than I have known any Instance [by] £100 . . . besides Surveyor's fees & all Charges, for [ . . . ] 60,000 Acres, before any Pa[tents or] Warrants were located, &consequently when [ . . . ] were much more easily [ . . . ] Price for locating Lands in that Country was [ . . . ] Pence Acre, or one half the Lands; th[e owner] paying all charges. If you cou'd have [found an . . . ] Agent in Sept. or Octor. I think you migh[t have been . . . ] pretty certain of getting good L[and]s but I fea [r it may] be found very difficult t[o do much this] lat[e. How] ever much may be done by an active diligent Man; [ especia]lly if he can engage in your Service two or three [skill] ful Woodsmen; & in doing this, you must not regard a little Expenc[e a]s much will depend upon it.
[W]hat I [ . . . ] the Agreement with Capt. Imlay, [ . . . ] re a Quantity of Land [ . . . ] Imlay the same premium [ . . . ] as now [ . . . ] ating the 60,000 Acres only, without [med]dling with any other Warrants; but the Contract had [progres]sed too far, for Mr. Johnson to alter this; and I ob[serve] he has taken Care that the first 60,000 Acres [wi]ll have Preference.
[I doub]t the Mode you proposed, of making Entries [ . . . ] of the Surveyor's Books along [with] other Locations, cou'd be trusted to; the Surveys [in su]ch Locations will generally be made by Surveyors [interes]ted in other Warrants; who will run them out [so as t]o answer their own Purposes, if they can, in doing [ . . . ] satisfy the owners; who are frequently interested also with [the] Surveyor[s . . . ] Warrants; besides it wou'd have delayed your Business too long; and until such P[atents] had been surveyed, your Agent cou'd not brave known] how far his Entries might be depended on, [and in the] Mean time, the Lands now vacant wou'd have [been] secured by other People; [this wo]u'd have b[een] a Risque of involving [ . . . ] which of all th[ . . . ] perhaps corn [ . . . ] in that Manner; but in [ . . . ] to depend upon exploring the [coun]try, & en[deavor] to steer clear of other Locations. Your Age[nt, (if] a sensible cautious Man) when he gets i[ . . . ] will be best able to judge, & ought to have [very] extensive Powers. Colo. Marshall ha[s spent many] months in that Country. He was to [have returned some] time in Novemr. & I am co[nfident he will grant your agent] free Access to his Books, & render him ever[y service] in his Power; but further than the free Ex[amination] of his Books, I don't think he can be of an[y use to] him in marking the Locations; but when y[ou do] survey the Lands, it will then be in Colo. [Marshall's] Power to make Matters ea[sier tha]n, by app[ . . . ] such times for [s]urvey [s . . .]r Agent; and if I am not greatly mistaken, he will be [ . . . ]verted with the Commission you have sent him.
[If in] the further Progress of your Affairs in the back Country, [or] on any other Occasion, I can be useful, I beg you [to] command [with all] the Freedom of a Friend.
[ . . . ] to h[ea]r of your Son William's [ . . . ] his Constitution in such a Manner, [ . . . ] feel the Effects of it.
[Mrs.] Mason & the Family here join with me in a Tender of [ . . . ] affectionate Compliments to your Lady & Family, and [your] Son & his Lady. I am Dear Sir Your affecte. Kinsman & obdt. Sert.