Gunston-Hall Novemr. 18th: 1791.
Pre[sumi]ng upon the many Instances of Friendship, & goodwill, [whic] h I have experienced from you, I take the Liberty of enclosing, & recommending to your Attention, a spare Copy of a Petition, which will be presented to the Assembly now setting, against a new Ferry over Occoquan River, proposed by one Colo. John Hooe of Prince William County. The Petition (of which the inclosed is a Copy) is signed by the most respectable Characters in that Part of Fairfax County affected by the new supernumerary Road, which the proposed new Ferry is designed to introduce; it was not offered in the remote Parts of the County, nor was it set on Foot, until after the Meeting of the present Assembly; which will account for it's not having a more numerous Subscription. Colo. Hooe's Petition, on the Contrary, has been in Circulation the greater Part of the Summer; and considering the Pains that have been taken to procure Signers to it, and the great Number of Maryland Boats, which this uncommonly dry Summer & Fall has brought to the Occoquan Mills, that the Names of the Marylanders, wou'd serve, as well as others, to swell the List of the Signers. How easy it is to persuade Men to sign any thing, by which they can't be affected, and that even a Promise to dispatch their Work wou'd be a sufficient Inducement, it is no wonder that the sd. Petition shou'd have a numerous Subscription. The Scheme of a new Road from Dumfries to Alexandria was originally, I believe, a Contrivance of Colo. Harry Lee's, to induce some Quakers, to whom he sold the Mills, to offer him a high Price for some of his adjacent Lands.
The Petition against the new Ferry not having been advertized, or it's being presented after the Day fixed for offering new Petitions has passed (shou'd that be the Case) can be no Objection to receiving a Petition, which relates to, &contains Information upon, a Subject already before the House. I trust it will sufficiently demonstrate, that the proposed new Ferry is not only unnecessary, but in it's Consequences, injurious & oppressive to the People, and that it will appear, as it really is, a mere local Party-Job. We therefore Flatter ourselves, if our Petition against it meets your Approbation, it will be favoured with your Interest, in it's Support. If the Business is not already too far advanced, I presume upon this Petition being presented, the other will be recommitted; that the whole Subject maybe properly considered; but if it is too late to do this, I think our Petition may notwithstanding, be referred to the Committee of Propositions, and used as an Argument against passing the Bill for establishing the new Ferry. I am, with great Regard, Dr Sir, Your most obdt. Servt.