Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, May 10, 1838

Author: William Geddes

Date: May 10, 1838

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Palmyra May 10th 1838

Dear Brother, [John Geddes] Your last was rec’d. on the 25th April. Times with you it appears are bad very bad and with us bad enough although nothing like as bad as with you. We have still nothing but shinplasters [cheap type of paper currency] for to transact our daily businefs with and some of them very ragged having the appearance more of waste paper than money. A glorious experiment indeed of old Hickory’s to drive paper money out of circulation and put gold and silver in its place. But Michigan is likely to be a proverb for its yet more abominable experiment of general Banking and its result the rascally wild Cat money. You have got as many Banks as we have with but a trifling population in comparison leaving riches, resources etc etc altogether out of view. Notwithstanding the disastrous result of Jackson’s experiment: the general government is determined to continue experimenting in defiance of the popular will as exprefsed in all the recent elections and what is equally extraordinary there is still found those who can reconcile all with true democracy. Men who have no interest in [hole] such erroneous measures but are so blinded by party that they would [hole] Van Buren if he were to set himself up for a king. The day of judgment is at hand when I am persuaded our present rulers will be rewarded according to their des[s]erts. Our political campaign has commenced and promises to be a very warm one as the Van Buren party are determined to die as hard here as they have lately in the city of New York when the whole patronage of the General Government was brought to bear on the election and thousands of illegal votes polled. David R. Porter is the Masonic candidate in opposition to Joseph Ritner. Mr Porter lives in Huntingdon county and is a member of our Senate at present a lawyer by profefsion but now lives on a farm: being pofsefsed of too weak abilities for to succeed at his profefsion. His name will satiffy [satisfy] you of his english decent which will operate not a little against him as well as his once being a bankrupt. I feel confident of Ritner’s succefs by a handsome majority notwithstanding the common school system which he so strongly sustains will injure him in the german counties. We were defeated in our township by 42 of a majority on the adoption of the school system – upwards of two hundred votes were polled which was never known at a spring election before. Men who never voted before turned out and voted against the schools. The weather here is cold and wet. We had a heavy frost on the 1st inst. but none since notwithstanding it feels cold enough for it. The cool wet weather is favorable to the wheat & Rye and they look well. As if in defiance of the cold some have planted corn on the last day of April. I am teaching school at present two miles

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East of Campbellstown on the Horseshoe Turnpike at $2 per quarter with 35 scholars. They subscribers having been disappointed in their teacher gave me no rest until I consented which I was lazy to do as the wages were not as good as I have had: but as they find me in boarding & I can still make a living at it. James Clark and sister live in Hummelstown idle and independent as well as single. John Kettering, John Irwin Jr and Jacob Kremer [?] have left here lately for Illinois. Joseph Moody has sold out and intends moving in a few days to Ohio. Matthew Humes also is gone or about going west. Sawyer’s family are going in a few days to Ohio all but Samuel and Ann, who are I suppose to stay here to law with me. They could not give security for the title and had to leave the Bonds in the hands of another person as security which prevents their selling them as they had expected to do and which may be another reason for their not going west with the rest. The Newville folks are well at present but uncle has lost another of his children in January. Mrs Barr who died of a kind of consumption of Dr Elys [hole] I am ignorant but of his old printer our cousin Wm. G. Geddes [hole] learned by our brotherinlaw Wm. Johnson that he is bankrupt. [Thomas] had foolishly lent him $180 which William promised to pay him in specie when he would go west and accordingly Thomas sent his note with Mr Horstick of our town but William kept out of his way & did not pay. So that when Thomas left Newville his mother advanced the money on the note and sent it to Philadelphia with Mr Johnson sister Anns father[in]law who called on William repeatedly who still put him off with one excuse after another unto [until] he at last said he would not pay it but that they might look to Thomas’ executors for the money!! This conduct makes me believe that he is bankrupt and cant pay or he would not make such a mean come off. The prices of Wheat $1.40 pr. bu. Rye .70 Corn .55. Oats .33, Potatoes .31, Pork .8 to .10 per lb. William has no interest in your religious paper now and I wait further orders before I will pay this new editor any thing. I have not seen any of Graydons family lately but I believe all are well. I have received no news from Illinois from brothers, nor had their mother. They are such indifferent writers that it goes hard with them to put as much on a sheet of paper to make it worth 25 cents. That I suppose that that itself hinders them from writing.

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They have nothing more to receive from me which also has an effect of making them thus carelefs in writing. If I dont forget I will send you a copy of our amended constitution. The convention sat so long and made so much expense that the new constitution is very unpopular at present and its quite likely will not carry; but I hope it may and I mean to give it my support. I have not rec’d a letter from Uncle James for years and never have from any of the rest of the name but of our own family. I care very little for correspondents at present as I have to pay specie for postage which I do with great reluctance as it is hardy to be had. I think it doubtful that I will move west before 1840 for that year Robert Graydon will be of age and I can settle with him and be done with settling with the heirs of father unlefs I shall be put to more trouble than I anticipate by the Sawyer’s. I spoke with Samuel about it and said I thought it would be a folly for us to continue at the law all our lives like our fathers, to the profit of none but the [lawyers]. He said he could not compromise least the rest would not [be] satisfied, I then told him I never intended to pay any thing [for] a compromise but was willing to dropp the matter for ever and if he could not do that he should try to meet me and not put off a trial from time to time as his father did. He allowed he would do all he could to have it tried as soon as it could so that if he does not conclude to withdraw from the contest he will probably urge his lawyers to their duty and we will have a trial in the Supreme Court. I have wrote this by snatches since the first inst. being so busily engaged in my school as not to be able to finish it once.

All’s well Farewell

Mr John Geddes William Geddes

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