Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, January 31, 1831

Author: John Geddes

Date: January 31, 1831

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Washtenaw January 31st 1831

Dear Brother, [William Geddes] Your letter of Jan. 4th and the Deed came to hand the 23rd The postage 25 cents which is nothing more than if there had been no deed within. There is no doubt but that the Deed will answer, and when the first of June arrives I shall present it for acceptance if he does not call on it; and if he will not pay I will prosecute for the penalty of non compliance with the articles of agreement. I did not impose the land upon him it was a bargain of his own seeking: for he called upon me again and again; until the writings were drawn. He offered me 50 dollars if he faild on his part. I then thought 25 plenty; considering it more a matter of form than anything else Because he was so anxious to bargain: I certainly thought he would never think of with drawing from the contract: But if I should ever have any businefs of this kind to do again either for myself or another I will accept all damages I can get. Parsons is able enough to pay, if he is so inclined. And I think will pay when the time comes. He has not been unfortunate. without you consider that man unfortunate who by the course of events has property placed in his hands; which he retains regardlefs of a just claim his brother may have for part. But I suppose you would consider that more a persons crime than misfortune when their integrity is unable to resist temptation of this kind. Parsons has said nothing to me about the land since I wrote to you. I dont thing that he has cut any timber and hauled it of[f] the land: at least I never heard he had: on the North part of it there is but little timber. where he has ploughed a field of about ten acres and fenced it. I was told by the man that owns the land directly North that he thinks from the course of his line: there is about four rods of that field on the aforesaid land that is four rods wide and forty long, and consequently the fence on one side. There was wheat in wheat in [sic] in this field last year I dont know whether there is this year or not. Their St Josephs tour prevented their sowing much grain. The Washtenaw Cash prices for grain is for wheat .62 •••. Corn .50 Oats .37 •••. In your last Flour was quoted 5.00 pr Barrel whether it is the Philadelphia price or the home price, you did not say. I expected that it was the home price

Here is the census of Michigan as published in the Newspapers

City of Detroit 2222
County of Wayne 4565
Monroe ----------- 3185
Lenawe ----------- 1491
Oakland ---------- 4910
Macomb ---------- 2414
St Clair ------------ 1114
Washtenaw ------- 4042
Cass --------------- 1249
St Joseph --------- 1313
Michillimackinac - 877
Chippewa ---------- 626
Brown ------------- 1409
Crawford ----------- 692
Iowa --------------- 1587
total 31,697

The three last mentioned Counties are on the west side of Lake Michigan leaving what may be the State of Michigan 28,010 in habitants. It is supposed by some that the increase of inhabitants in Michigan will be 10,000 yearly for three years when we will apply for the privileges of a State. This estimate would entitle us to but a small share of the overplus revenue of the United States according to the proposed plan of distribution according to the representation. This plan may be the most harmonius that can be adopted. But if I am not mistaken it is giving to the older States quite an advantage over those that are just bursting into birth and which like everything that is is young requires some fostering care to develop its vigor, and majesty, in regular season. But many (probably) think that we ought to be content with the advantages we do and will receive from the millions that has and will be laid out in internal improvements that direct their course to the west

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What does Jackson mean by coming out in such direct opposition to the United States Bank. which has given such general satisfaction He appears to be of that stamp of speculators who are not content with doing well. He finds as he deserves to find a decided opposition to his plan in the House of Representatives. Great a reformer as Jackson is it appears by his own report that some of his officers have not collected the census in the time allowed by the Act. and longer time is asked for to complete the same. His opposition to the Indians (the Cherokees) is more like Old Hickory, than the President of the United States. The appointment of John Randolph of Roanoke Minister to Russia if Newspaper report does not belie him (Randolph) very much: is an insult to the dignity of our Country. I mention these things to remind you that it is Old Hickory that is the President. But still if Clay and Jackson are to be the next candidates I would vote for Jackson on Antimasonic principles. When Jacksons term of eight years will be disposed of. I am in hopes that an Antimasonic Candidate may enter the lists with some prospect of succefs. There is but little prospect of an Anti. candidate succeeding at the next election for President. Because the spirit of Anti masonry is so hostile to the present order of things that no union can be expected to be made with it by the opponents of Jackson as many are merely political opposers of the one: but sworn enemies of the other. I was not any grieved at Wolfersbergers and Hummels defeat on the second Tuesday of Oct. last: and that such men have been shook for political existence But would much rather it had been done in some other way than at the expense of Antimasonry. They will now retire after being hifsd of[f] the stage, more chagrined [word crossed out] at the lofs of the office than that they have been the cause of defeat to the party that has supported them. There is a vast deal of intrigue in politicks. and to pursue an upright course is indirectly acknowledging that they have not entered the list according to it amounts to the same. I have an idea there is more underhand work practiced in a new Country than an older one. I have seen plenty of it here. A few men think they can manage the political ear without any assistance accept at the polls: in doing this independent men are not required they are rather feared: a few tools is all that is required to blazen forth the great merit of their patrons and approve of the course that is pursued. And if any person wishes to be noticed by these great ones he must fawn around them and say as the[y] do whether right, or wrong, this villainous course has divided the Antimasons in Washtenaw in some degree. And the Freemasons and Jacks are at this early day taking measure to bring into the field their candidates in opposition to us: a thing they had not confidence enough to do two years ago. But I think we shall defeat them. I shall support the leaders of Antim. notwithstanding I disapprove of their endeavouring to direct every movement. When our sworn enemies are beat down we will attend to them and let them know their place. I do not wish you conclude that our cause is desperate for I do not wish to convey that idea: neither do I think that is the case. No I am sorry and indignant to think that something like fair play cannot be practiced in politics. There probably [is] lefs principle in a new Country than in an older one and a greater seaking for office as well as greater unfitnefs for the same. Last fall was universally allowed to be an excellent fall for businefs the weather was pleasant for the time of the year until the twentieth of Dec. The 21st of Dec the Thermometer was -2º below Zero in the morning and 4 above the warmest part of the day 22nd - 11º and Zero in warmest part of the day 23rd 3o & 14º, 24th 26º in the morning it rained when the thermometer was six degrees below the freezing point. From the 4 of Jan. the weather has been cold up to the date of this letter. A regular spell of cold weather not too cold to work out

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I kept the saw mill going until the 25th of Jan. hoping the cold weather would take its departure that not being the case and the ice still increasing. I thought I would leave it untill the weather would moderate. I attended it in the day time only: the days being short and cold I did not do much. To prevent the mill from (the wheel I mean) freezing fast at night I blocked the saw gate and let the water on it. In so doing I often found on starting the wheel that fish by venturing too near the throat had been forced down on the wheel, and when the mill started were thrown off. I have caught three Suckers and two Pickerel in a morning sometimes none. The Pickerel is something like a Pike in apperance, the largest we caught was 30 1/2 inches long: and weighed before it was cleaned 5 1/4 lb. Sunfish are caught in the same way sometimes. They are always dead when I see them. The sunfish will float off on the top of the water. The Pickeral and Suckers sink to the bottom. I sawed last year 450 logs which made 119.345 feet of lumber. The saw-mill was more profitable last year; than the year before. It was worth something last year: It was not the year before. From the 4th of January the sleding has been good to the present time: except that it was too slippery the first two weeks for cattle that were not shod: and a great number of logs is hauld in to the saw-mills. The blacksmiths have 3 dollars for shoeing a yoke of cattle 2 do when the owner of the yoke finds the iron. I have not had the ague since I last wrote to you but have been unwell two or three times, and find on trial that choping and sawing, saw logs is too had work for me: and strange as it may seem though I want rest. I keep to work Robert has no hired hand and hands appear to be scarce. is one reason why I have to keep doing. Maria is getting the better of the Ague slowly The rest of the family have been in good health since I wrote. Before my letter of June I shall be 30 years of age a period of life which it is supposed that a Bachelor ought to pause and consider on his single or singular course of life and ask himself whether he intends to persevere in what the worlds actions disapprove. But the actions of the world is no true criterion to regulate by: for its actions sustains corruptions that reason disallows And the worshipers of the Godless Reason drenched France in blood. at the thought of which Humanity shudders. Such Cynical speculations are more unprofitable than even Bachelors. As to myself I am perfectly unconcerned whether I am destined to be a Bachelor or not and for choice at this present time would choose a single life. Not being in good health this fall I stay pretty steady at home, and go but seldom to meeting itself. I stay too much at home: I never was a great rambler. and our Bachelor establishment strengthened my home habits But these home habits are a benefit to the married man: and no injury to the morals of a Bachelors. so virtue loses nothing by them and of course they can be no cause of Complaint, as “Virtue alone is Happinefs below.” I would read more than I do but our Library is trifling. We take three Newspapers. The Philadelphian The Ariel, and Emigrant. The Ariel is a semi-monthly paper, printed in Philadelphia it is of a Miscellaneous nature; and costs 1.50 pr Annum it is too trifling for my use. The Emigrant has been more worthlefs yet The Emigrant has had 600 subscribers. It has lost 150 which may in a great measure be attributed to the indifference of the Editors. who though[t] Dexter and Allen issued an uninteresting paper. And if we had not been Antis and it an Anti prefs we should not have taken it. The reduction of the subscription list has opened their eyes and it is better lately, and is to be e[n]larged next spring

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There was no thunder here the last day of December the weather was warm for the time of year. The 22nd of Dec. was the coldest day we have had here in four winters The Thermometer being Zero in the middle of the day last year 5o above Zero was the coldest day. You dont tell me how Alexander and little Robert are doing. My next letter will be dated between the first and tenth of June.

to William Geddes John Geddes