The Virginia Gazette

January 18, 1770. Number 193. Page 3, Column 1, No. 1

Mr. Severn Eyre,

SIR,

I RECEIVED yours, by Mr. James Mercer, dated the 21st of last month, wherein you inform me that you are advised the Trustees are not liable for my contracts on Mr. Grymes's estate's account, and that you are not safe in giving me credit. Therefore as prudence directs you to be cautious, you advise me you shall not send the 3000 bushels of oats contracted for, unless I will give you such security as you approve. The advertisement I put into the papers, soon after my being appointed agent by the Trustees in 1768, being disputed by some, that the Trustees would be liable for my contracts, I put in another to clear up the doubt, declaring they were not. The reason why they were not was this, they were prepossessed that no profit could be made from the estate, as the late agent had left them upwards of 3500 to pay for the two years he was in the business, and only about 800 to pay the same with, about 200 of which has only been received, and as Col. Thornton's indisposition prevented his giving the least attention to the business, and the other Gentleman did not care to concern in the least without him, the business has suffered by the interruption of some pressing creditors, and others, who were enemies to the estate, as instance a passage in a letter from a Gentleman on your side of the Bay, who disappointed me in about 2000 bushels last spring. "I was cautioned by many Gentlemen in your neighbourhood to act carefully in my dealings with you, they having understood that it was difficult to get either iron or money from you." The agent at the Bank has sworn that he should, in his opinion, have raised 300 tons of ore more than he did, if he had had grain for his creatures, being in a manner idle for six or seven weeks in the prime of the season, owing to that and further disappointments in the article of corn, which I did my best to recover, by going to Norfolk myself to get a note to a Gentleman for 500 barrels before I could get it; and then the gust brought on a further disappointment, by the vessel's bilging that took in what was destined for the Bank. By the above relation you may see what disappointments the article of grain is to us, that expend about 50 barrels per week; and I must now inform you, that I have laid myself out in such a manner, especially in providing ground to sow, to raise forage for our teams, to prevent the trouble, expence, and risque of getting hay and fodder, that the disappointment will be very great. I will send you pig or bar iron to be shipped on the estate's account, by the return of every vessel: If you doubt my credit I cannot give any other security than those who have iron of me, not having any right to ask any person at this time, while such a cloud hangs over the estate, in whom the right of the works will be next April General Court, which, though to clear me, is not so to others, until the point is settled. The dispute I must inform you is this: Whether Mr. Grymes's estate shall have the works, or some Gentlemen in Fredericksburg, and near it, who have since Col. Champe's promise to Mr. Grymes, made a purchase of the works, as I am informed, and believe to be too true. The money I expect will be ready by April for Col. Champe, the time agreed on, and should have been paid out of the last blast, if I could have foreseen any such unnatural dispute to have arose. I can, with truth and pleasure, inform you that I have paid upwards of 1000 debts due before my entry on the business, and delivered 130 tons of pig iron to the Trustees and their order, and 40 tons to pay for Negroes sold by the late Treasurer's administrators, and have paid upwards of 1000 for slaves, horses, oxen, and a vessel, to get the estate in a proper way to carry on the works to advantage, which is like to turn out to considerable profit, as we have upwards of 500 load of coal in stock, and about 2000 tons of ore. In short, we have made more coal this year than was made in 1766 and 1767, and have raised double the quantity of ore, within 20 tons, this season, that was raised in 1766 and 1767. I flatter myself, if nothing gives way, that I shall clear the Trustees engagements soon after I have provided for the expences of the year, and then begin on a new account for the creditors. I do not mean; Sir, to give you any uneasiness by writing to you in this manner, but I knew not how to get a letter to you in time, and by this means I hope I shall, and my necessity at this juncture really compels me. If I offend any person who has busied himself, and interrupted me, I hope he will not meddle with me again, while I am concerned in the business, for the estate has suffered too much already. I am,

Your obedient humble servant,

JOHN HOLLADAY.
January 2, 1770.