Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, October 27, 1831

Author: William Geddes

Date: October 27, 1831

Get PDF: geddes_letters/geddes_letters_18311027.pdf

View Text

Londonderry October 27th 1831.

Dear Brother [John Geddes] I have concluded not to come to Michigan this fall but will certainly next Spring if health and strength permit and bring Isabel with me. I intend to teach school this winter in Campbellstown if it will agree with me so long. My health has not been these two years past so good as formerly; although I have not been to day sick. I have not worked more than about the half of my time in that time which was owing more to the want of some suitable employment than aught else. I being unsuccefsful in getting into businefs of a suitable cast where I could realize any thing like a living profit; and otherwise I would not work: and so done nothing. I would have come to Michigan sooner but for the easinefs that I feel about getting rich against the many thousand chances that are against one. If I remain single I know from past experience that I can maintain myself in the best manner by labouring but the one third of my time. If my Education was something better I could realize as much Cash by teaching in some of the towns in one winter as would keep me for two years without being subjected to the half of the drudgery that a Farmer or tradesman or Country Schoolmaster is. What I shall do when I do come I scarce know but circumstance that unspiritual God will determine that as certainly as he determines all my other actions and the actions of all men. Let no man boast that he does this or that for it is the situation we are placed in: the Circumstances by which we are surrounded that compels us to all our actions; that makes us feel think [torn]. The Election is over and it has left Anti Masonry pretty much [torn] as I have learnt in the same situation that it was in last year. [torn] [Next] year will determine the destiny of the Anti’s in Pennsylvania it will then be seen whether Andrew Jackson’s popularity will bear down Antimasonry and secure the reelection of our present Governor if it does it will be a severe blow too severe for it to recover from. But I think still that the tax laws which have been passed will overthrow Jackson & Wolf and to all probability Elevate Antimasonry. Mr. David Mitchel was the Antis Candidate for Afsembly and was Elected by eighty seven of a majority but all the rest of the ticket was lost. In Londonderry he had 179 and his opponent 26. Which is all the vote they Wolf party could have raised if every vote had been polled. If it had been a good day the Antimasons would have had 240 of a majority in our box which must appear very extraordinary to any person who was acquainted with our politicks 12 years past. Federal & Democrat is nearly lost. I & father voted diametrically opposite in every particular. We have had tolerable fine weather since harvest but notwithstanding it has been and still is very sickly. James Wilson has lost his wife and mother the wife died in childbed and the child with her and the mother with a billous fever. Mr Sharon lost his fourth daughter & Thomas Bullock lost two of his Children & the third and last one

Page 2

is not expected to live. The profits that you will make on the land that was sold for taxes will not be much for the owners will certainly redeem it in time and in case they do not & would call after the time the law allows I could not feel myself justified in holding it to their lofs; especially if they would offer you or me or any holder of such; lawful Interest for the money so invested. Stephen Rigler and six or eight of his Millerstown neighbours have moved this fall to Ohio and a number of others from adjoining parts of the country. There appears to be more of a stir for Ohio at present than I ever knew, and that entirely among the Dutch. What few English that remain in this land appear to be spell bound to their old homes. Few or no alterations take place among your old acquaintances. James Clark and his lovely Nancy are still leading a lazy single life. Mary Kerr Ann Sawyer Mary Cathcart Sarah Sheller and an host of others are rusting away without a single string to their bow to harp upon let alone two. John Johnson is keeping store in Harrisburg. I have heard nothing since my last of our relations. The Prices are Corn 50 cents Rye 65 Wheat 115 & Oats [torn] The Corn crop is the most abundant that we have had these [torn] years past and yet the price will be good; owing to the small quantity of Rye that is in the land and that something damaged and the Wheat considerably so. A good many Farmers are under the necessity of sowing the second time. Some sowing grain that was too much damaged and others sowing old grain that was half eaten by the weavels. How I am to fill up the remainder of this sheet I do not know so I shall lay it by for awhile; till I consider – filled it must be with something; so do no grumble if it should be nonsense. I support a good man for a bad object but you support a bad one for a good object. Can any thing be more / contrary to right reason. If I thought the man I supported would serve the best interests of the Country and upon no other Consideration could he be termed a good man – certainly that is what entitles him to to [sic] the appellation of a good man and his goodnefs would at all times debar him from supporting bad men or bad measures. I shall say no more for it makes me half sick to reason on palpable contradictions. You in a former letter wondered how I calculated when I said that they tax laws of the Present dominant party in Pennsylvania would hurl them from Office. I calculate from the unwillingnefs most of men show for to pay the most just demands. Time after time is asked: delay after delay is made & excuse heaped on Excuse: untill you

Page 3

get not only illwill but abuse from the person you meant to oblige. The cry is now that the reign of terror is revived and worse; that our desks must be rumaged to search for the Bonds notes & Mortgages that we are supposed to be in pofsefsion of. Why a man should not pay for such as well as landed property I cannot see: one invests his money in land and the other puts it out to Interest which is his choice and why not pay taxes for it – is it not property and for the most part be more profitable kind. He asks more of the laws and uses them more to secure himself in such property and yet does not wish to pay for his request and protection such is the unreasonablenefs of many men. Landholders have heretofore paid all the taxes but I think the time is coming that it will not be the case; at least it will be their own faults if they do. Nothing more at present but that we are all well and have been since my last.

To John Geddes Wm. Geddes

I thought this was the last side of my sheet and so concluded but when I then went to read it over I found myself mistaken. Perhaps if I can find your last letter I may get a hint or two to write upon if not you must be satisfied, for I know nothing at present that is worth knowing. I have sent the Journal of health regular and one goes with this. I might have said something about the progrefs of our Canals & rail roads but thought it better to send you the official accounts which will be presented to the legislature in a month or two; which will be more satisfactory. Mr Mitchell bartered his Plantation or swapt it as we commonly say for a store in Millerstown taking the goods at first cost and and getting allowed 60 dollars per Acre for his land. It is considered by almost Every One a bad bargain. He could have had 60 dollars in Cash for his plantation. And then might have bought in a new Stock of Goods in place of takeing an old one. He it appears owed so much on his land after paying off they heirs that he despaired of ever being able to pay it and concluded that he would try storekeeping which he considered more of a money making businefs; but I fear it is a mistaken notion. I think his visiting disposition and
Gentlemanly inclinations had a great effect in inducing him to become a Storekeeper. He now has got what the long sought for Elevation to a seat in the Legislature how long he is going to live as a politician is hard to say. For Politicks have become very fluctuating. The old land-marks are broken down and no new ones firmly set up as yet People begin to look more too men than Party which is a thing I am Glad to see but which will I fear lay Mitchell by. crush his political career in the Egg. His noddle is to[o] empty to cut a figure. The three the two [sic] last Assemblymen were made yearlings & I fear it will be his fate

Page 4