Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, January 31, 1832

Author: William Geddes

Date: January 31, 1832

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Campbellstown January 31st 1832

Dear Brother [John Geddes] I have been so busily employed that I could not write as soon as I promised by a week and have now to do it by candle light or you would have to wait another. I have 68 scholars to attend to through the day which is too much for any man and obliges me to be at half work half of the nights or evenings which leaves me little time to attend other businefs too little to read the news of the day of which I get a tolerable quantity having subscribed for a Washington paper which is published three times a week and contains the proceedings of Congress which are of considerable importance this winter. Your member Mr Wing has presented a goodly number of petitions from the Inhabitants of Michigan for divers[e] objects none of which are of much Consequence to you or I should not have forgotten them and should have let you know their import. I wrote to William about your paper directly after I received your letter and intended to have written to you after I had given him a reasonable time to answer me whether he did or not knowing his tardiness in matters indifferent. But was not able and now having received his answer further delay would be criminal. He says you [torn] his paper first in 1826 and that he received $2.50 cents in Feb. [torn] which was for the first years subscription which I suppose was the money that was sent with me as he says he was forbid sending it for the future which I did do at one time. He says he would be satisfied with 10 dollars but I shall pay him the full amount as soon as I can conveniently send it which will hardly be before in March some time or perhaps not till April as none of our Storekeepers will go to the city before that time – he has waited so long and may that much longer. If you write before that time you may correct his account if you think it not right. Otherwise I will pay him 15 dollars which would be the whole amount paying a year in advance. A sum of money his papers never was worth and would not be for as many years to come: but that is nothing to me and I care not You have got to be a blue stocking now and doubtless will think but a light matter. I suppose I shall have to listen to a considerable quantity of religion when I arrive but I am getting tolerable used to such things. I attend regular to hear our reverend gentleman but still think more of the man than his opinions. I pity him as much as an unregenerate man can that he has been so unfortunate as to preach all his life to a thought-less Care-less prayer-less people as he often says

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I spoke to Alexander about that tract and he promised to send it as soon as he should get any of them how soon that may be is hard to say for he had heard nothing of such tracts as yet. He and his family were well and Robert begins to stretch himself a little he has started to grow a little. Politicks is beginning to be the order of the day but I am still a moderate politician and will it is likely be condemned by both parties this campaign if I should happen to stay in Penn. for I am still a staunch Jacksonman and possibly may vote against Wolf & for Old Hickory which may appear in the eyes of men wholly absorbed by party to be as inimical to consistency / or to principle as supporting a bad man for a good purpose. It may happen that I will support both for Wolf has done as well as could be done in his Circumstances. Father has become a stronger party man than formerly: him and Uncle James could not agree at all and I believe that Uncle went away offended at father about politicks. Father is one of the delegates from Lebanon County to the Jackson & Wolf Convention to be held at Harrisburg on the fourth of March for to Choose a Candidate for Governor & President and Vice President. There is but little said [torn] tax law in our township and I think it will go [torn] better than was expected. The four days meetings were put off till spring I think there has been no alteration in the mode of admitting church members they were always made [to] give an account of their faith. It is owing to your ignorance of church affairs makes you imagine so. Winter has commenced again it snowed yesterday 10 inches the day before it was. William says his brothers John & Robert are well and doing as usual a great business they have a Store at New Orleans & one at Mobile. He has heard that they are worth 50000 dollars but not from them – these are his own words. You may make your own comment upon this. His own business he allows is unprofitable though he has abundance of work but he never was made to be rich he ought to go and study under his brothers. Prices are as they were. There has been a great many sick this winter but few died in our neighbourhood. I saw doctor Wilson at church he looks the worse of the wear and is still roving from place to place. James is going to sell off his stock and rent out his farm and live private Gentleman. James Clark is still living as heretofore.

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Walter has become a daddy his wife had a son not long ago Polly Sawyer was delivered a few days ago of a daughter which makes six daughters and five sons a goodly number for one pair. No Bachelor ought to despair after such succefs. Berryhill has his health better than formerly and seems to enjoy himself well. He does considerable businefs on the Union Canal which has been a source of renewed exertions in him it appears to have created him anew. His wife is childlefs and is likely to remain so. Hugh Sheller’s Wife has had two or three but they all died shortly after they were born. Of Moses Wilson’s family I can say nothing. There is considerable ado in Congress about the public lands there are a great many projects or plans are laid to take them off the hands of the Government. The projectors say Congress have no need of them any more since the National debt is nearly paid. Some are for [beginning of a long vertical tear] them to the States that they [?] others for having the money [torn] distributed among the States to be applied by them [torn] may think fit. I think that the Government ought to [torn] and sell as heretofore if it was but to prevent lawsuits [torn] titles and speculators who never intend to settle on them [torn] manner land was disposed off in Penn. was a mighty source of law suits many of which are not as yet adjusted. I had frequently a notion of sending some of my Washington papers but I find so many that are willing to read them that I have not. If there is any thing of consequence done about the lands I will let [you] know. It was debated in the house about giving nonresidents longer time to redeem their land but I think it did not pass I will be more careful to remember any thing on that point for the future. You will have to make some allowance for this letter for it is with pain that I write for I scarce know what to write to fill up this blank. I would say something about your bad Presbyterianism but do not wish to unsettle your oppinions I care not to make converts to my creed if any attack me I defend but I attack no one. Farewell All is well.

To John Geddes William Geddes