Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, November 4, 1839

Author: William Geddes

Date: November 4, 1839

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Palmyra Nov. 4th 1839

Dear Brother. [John Geddes] Yours of the 21st Oct. was received on the 28th. It was postmark’d the 22nd so that it arrived in six days which is but half the usual time. The Rail Roads will shortly brings us within three days of [each] other in the way of news. Letters come from Chambersburg here in 8 hours. If it was not for Jackson & Van Buren’s cursed experiment on the Currency it would be incredible what amount of internal communication would have been in full operation in the United States, in a few more years. That Jackson was wrong does not admit of a doubt, but it is equally true that our country is pushing her improvements too rapidly, and that wholly on borrowed capital. Any individual that would go on in the same way as our state and some others would be set down as mad, and yet we have thousands who are for still continuing the borrowing system to no one knows what extent. Our State debt [about] 30 millions and in ten years will be 50 if the present [course] is pursued, which can never be paid by the works but must finally be by direct taxation. I would like you had told me the different amounts of my County, State, Road & School taxes for A.D. 1839. I mailed Bicknell’s Reporter for you on Saturday which will give you full accounts of the causes of the second suspension of our Philadelphia Banks. Our Elections have went against us worse than ever. The loco foco’s have one of a majority in the Senate and 39 in joint ballot so that they can do as they please this winter. We carried our whole ticket in Lebanon by about 175 majority. Londonderry stood 155 Antimason to 46 Van Buren 71 majority lefs than in 1838, & 105 votes lefs poll’d. The people are generally well pleased with the operation of our amended Constitution. And I am in hopes that it will break down party in a great measure and make Candidates stand more or lefs on their own popularity. What caused our total discomfiture throughout the State was the defection of the Whigs who dont wish to be under the Antimasons and I think a great many voted the other ticket in order to crush the party, and in some counties

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where they thought were as strong as the Antis they run separate tickets. In Chester County the Whig ticket rec’d. 400 votes and the Anti. 3000 & better and the Van Buren 3800 leaving a majority of 800 over the Anti’s where we had I think 400 last year. The certainty of defeat no doubt made many an Anti stay at home or we would not have been so scandalously beaten there. Notwithstanding all our defeat here and els[e]where this fall I firmly believe that if Harrison is settled by the National Convention that he will defeat Van Buren with all his patronage. New Jersey done well and hope New York will also. I will try and send on that paper as soon as pofsible. I have heard nothing of our Newville relations since my last. From James I learnt from Mr Early that he was well. Our legion has been middling healthy since my last and we have had our healths. Wheat is $1.10 Rye 60 cts, Corn 50 cts, Oats 25 cts, Beef 8 cts, Pork the same. Live stock of all kinds scarce and high Cows sell as high as 35 & 40 dollars. Money is very scarce but still change is not yet so much so as at the first suspension. I was out 3 days trying to collect tax and got but $150 out of Two Thousand that I have to collect between this and the first of January. I forget whether I told you or not that our old Teacher Abraham Philips Esqr. had fell into the Union canal and was drown’d in a drunken fit and that they brutes that found him and had known him for years buried him in an old Feedingtrough in the Bank of the Canal about two feet underground. Hat, Coat, Shoes mud and all as they found him. His children raised him and buried him decently. The Crops have been the most abundant that have been for years, Hay only excepted. Cloverseed was last year 15 dolls. and it will be no lefs this. You have never informed me how Clover & Timothy succeeds with Robert and generally in your state. I have never seen Judge Gibson’s decision on the Presbyterian Case but I am fully of your opinion for I have little confidence in any of his decisions. It was him who decided the McFadden case against father the first time in the Circuit Court of Lebanon

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County and Father appealed to the Supreme Court notwithstanding he was Chief Justice and the rest of the Judges unamimously reversed his decision and sent it back when it was tried by Judge Huston who made a much more favorable decision but still I am sure a long one, but to which father submited. And it was Judge Rogers who defended Father alone in that case of Haaks and to whom they all finally yielded and reversed all their first decisions. These facts I have from the best authority. All the hope I have is in that man to defeat the Sawyers. Judge Gibson’s decision on the McFadden Case would have forced father to pay McFadden his share of all the uncollected notes of the heirs to grandfather Joseph Sawyer’s among the rest and he was bankrupt before Grandfathers death. Such a decision would have played the very mischief. They tryed the same thing with me in the last trial in respect to the Boal note that remains unpaid but did not succeed. The other so outraged common sense too Far for them to attempt. What Mr Gibson is can be seen by the way he was appointed the second time to his present post. He was the first Judge that our amended Constitution would have removed from the Supreme Court Bench and in order to save himself he and Gov. Ritner made out that he should resign and be reappointed which was accordingly done before the new Constitution came into force. That was the only thing I condemned Ritner in, during his whole administration. There has nothing of consequence happened amongst your old acquaintance here of any import since my last. I think the Derry Church & [a] spring with perhaps Four acres that now remains might be bought for 600 dollars and Could be rented for Forty or Fifty yearly. All the hill out of which the spring ifsues has been sold some years. The walls of the yard wont stand long & when they are down there will soon be nothing more of the rest. I think the wall ought to be rebuilt and the property given in charge to some one who feels for the bones of his fathers.

Mr John Geddes Farewell William Geddes

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