Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, October 21, 1839

Author: John Geddes

Date: October 21, 1839

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Ann arbor, October 21st 1839

Dear Brother [William Geddes] I have got behind hand again. Saturday I attended a Whig caucus and did not get home until nearly 12 of the clock at night. I with four others was appointed from the township of Ann arbor to attend a Senatorial convention at Unadilla about 27 miles from home. on the next Monday: got back on Tuesday: set down my former weeks accounts at night, intending to write one side next night. but Robert called to tell me the news that the U.S. Bank has suspended specie payments. which we were sorry to hear. But I see by the New York Evangelist that all the Philadelphia banks have suspended on the 9th of October. which mitigates any grief in some degree. I expect to hear before this letter is finished that the New York City Banks have likewise suspended: its rumored now: The New York Evangelist of the 12th instant says nothing about it Money matters are very close and tight in Michigan So much so that the Commissioner of Internal Improvement could not raise $10.000 to pay the hands for finishing the Rail Road between Ann arbor and Ypsilanti. (For its a fact that that part of the Rail-Road is finished at last. It was finished on the fifteenth instant) after having promised that they should have their pay in good money as soon as the road was done. They offered the hands post notes; payable one year from date: that offended them. And they threatened to tear up the road if they did not receive better pay. It is not settled yet and guards are kept on the road in the day time and the three bridges over the Huron are guarded day and night. To day (17th) four loco motives with their trains went through to Ann arbor and back again: (no the Brady Guards are still at Ann arbor) for the first time: it was a high day among them. I did not go: having lost so much time lately. I thought I must mind my own businefs on the Sawmill. The what was once the Philadelphian ceased to come: before the letter [from] you announced it in; come to hand. I was sorry it happened to be so convenient for you to stop the paper so promptly. As I never saw Judge Gibsons rascally decision on the Presbyterian case. which I would have been glad to see: however unjust I might think it was. I do not beleive that there was either reason, equity, or common honesty in that decision. Him and his colleagues had the power which they used utterly regardlefs of right. They allowed their prejudices to rule their minds. Shame on them I was taking the Michigan Observer at the same time. But it died unexpectedly about the same time. In the course of a month or so the New York Evangelist was sent to me and the other subscribers of the Michigan Observer. Michigan Observer failed not for want of circulation, for it had a numerous circulation, but for want of pay not one half of those that took the paper paid for it. It was first rate of the kind. I have been thinking of taking the “Weekly North American” of Phila. It is impartial but not neutral in politics. It costs two dollars pr year. If you will direct it to me I will try it one year. I take three papers now. The Mothers Magazine is one it costs one dollar pr year. I intend to stop it the first of January next

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We have had warm weather for the last two weeks it is fine now. Wheat is .75 pr Bushel in Ypsilanti but their is no buyers from the East as there was last year. The crops of Wheat were light: and the Wheat itself is light in Washtenaw which things keep up the price. Pork it is thought will not be more than five dollars pr hundred when killing time comes. It is doubtfull whether it will be that. Last year I paid $9 pr hundred but the hogs weighed over 300 lbs: which makes a difference, as 200 is called a hog If the hog weighs lefs deduction is made: if more than 250 something is added to the price pr hundred. I have to buy my bread and pork. And I am glad that pork has fallen for it has been too high. The prospect now is that the public improvements will make but little progrefs in Michigan next summer as we are sadly behind hand in money matters. Reform is greatly needed in State affairs it is acknowledged by men of all parties And the tories acknowledge it by saying that their candidates for office are in favor of reform. Both parties are in the field both are quietly doing or making efforts to carry the day. The Van Buren party thunder away in their papers in their usual manner; no matter for the truth. The people them selves are not raised to their customary pitch. The fact that things have not turned as was promised and expected has damped their ardor and made some falter in the course. But the name “Democrat” is the magic term that rules the great mafs. and makes them hope even against hope that things will yet turn for the best. In Michigan we hope that the Whigs will carry the day Notwithstanding. the tories appear to [be] gaining ground rapidly in other States The prospect is fair and I feel pretty sanguine of succefs. And I have not forgot that we have the dreadful and destructive name of Democrat to encounter which is itself an host. Does it not seem as if the Devil himself has taken that name and is going about seeking whom he may devour I have not heard how the Pennsylvania election has gone this fall, but I expect as a matter of course that you are defeated. And I expect the same of Ohio. Maryland has gone tory. New York now is the only hope of Troy And I do hope that the Whigs there may feel so. and put their shoulders to the wheel. And victory may yet crown their efforts. Our election days are the same days of the New York election. except they have three days and we two There is an amendment offered to the Constitution to be voted for this fall; which is to confine every voter when he votes to the township he resides in. which I think will carry and which I am much in favor of. There has been no failure in the Banks of Michigan since I last wrote to you. Robert was quite sick of an Intermittant Inflamatory fever. he has shook that off. but has something of the Ague now I have kept up by watchfulnefs and care. Roberts wife is unwell. And mine has been something sick never bad. and now not well. The fact is this has been a sickly season: probably the most so of any I pafsed in Michigan

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The Derry Congregation it seems is going the way of the Aborigines of the land and will shortly be extinct, though the country does not decrease in inhabitants. It is certainly on the whole a responsible situation to be placed in – if the question what shall we do is brought up and seriously urged. And that question or something like it seems now before you. I do not think much of their squandering away the means of the Society. If I understand right The pay for the Foreign Mifsionary Chronicle is taken from the funds of the Society. Are they not able to pay for their own papers. If I was there I would ask them one question What does each of them do for the support of the Gospel It does seem to me that instead of doing any thing they apply what has been appropriated for the benefit of religion to their own private use. What do you think I pay towards our preachers salary $40 pr year is what I subscribe and pay quarterly. Last year and this year both. I never allow my stipends to run one week over the time without handing over: And singing costs me five more a year. And the Sexton spoke a few days ago to me and said that $100 pr year is what he thought he ought have. To find wood, keep the fires, sweep the Meeting House &c Oil for the lamps, and Candles, was included. Their are many night meetings held in the Ypsilanti Meeting House. Singing here is so managed as to become a Society affair. Mr Rollo offers to sing Sundays and so many nights in the winter for a certain sum: one year. This thing of having so many salaries in a Society. I detest as much as you do. or my Old School brethren either. But what is to be done. The singer is poor and Proud has spent much of his time qualifying himself to sing. and cannot afford to practice for nothing. I think I do more than my part. but many do lefs. The support of Religion requires an effort in this country. Our minister is promised $600 pr year, dont get it all. Thinks his salary too small, and scarcely squeezes through on it. But he does not work like I do. and who does? This is a rascally world you know it. But still I would rather have the world the rascal, than myself. The truth is when you once become connected with a society be that Society small or great. If you pofsefs sterling integrity yourself. It is as certain that you will be imposed upon: as that you breathe such is the depravity of human nature. Its to be mourned over, but cannot be avoided I spoke to Robert about being partners in what you mentioned to me. After I had told him that there was some talk of selling the Derry Meeting house. He spoke against its being sold. but said nothing about going partners. I did not urge: it: but mentioned it when he was speaking against selling the property. I dont think he would do any thing about it. Robert you know has more Sawyer in him than in both of us. I would be willing to do my part. What do you think of buying? what do you call the Church and what would it cost. I still hope to see the day when I shall walk through the Derry grave yard once more. when that may happen if ever is not in the power of man to tell. I believe I may tell you that Robert does not pay a cent for the cause of Religion. I dont want you to think that Robert and me are on bad terms, for that is not the case We are on as good terms as ever we were Farewell, John Geddes

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Below – within fold

“Recd 28th Oct

also some addition

and subtraction