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Smithfield Preston Foundation

Papers, 1784-1881, n.d., Ms1997-002

June 5, 1821 -- letter from Francis Preston to James McDowell

June 5th, 1821

Dear Sir

I have forborne to write to Mrs. Preston since she left me, in hopes I could say when I did write that I could for her, and have the pleasure of seeing you my dear Susan and pair of Grandchildren, but this is denied me. I am obliged to go to Richmond on that most unfortunate of all unfortunate business’s of my Brothers, I am pressed by the securities from every quarter to go on they believing it to be important for me to do so, but I think I can discover, that their principal reason is to pay the Lawyers who are hanging leach for their fees to the great alarm of these Securities who are most excited particularly Capt. Peyton, and who by his ---- managers mail prevents the payment of the fees out of the Gents money which he had in his hands, before it was taken out by an order of the court of Chancey. This business has cost me much pain, much time, and a good deal of expense, and God knows where it may end, perhaps in my ruin. I believe if it were not for the uneasiness I feel about it I should not go down as I am dissatisfied with the conduct of my Co securiters, who given them selves very little trouble, and less expense, they seem to look to me both for the trouble and the expense.

I find by one of your letters to my wife ---- a clause intended for me, that you and Mr. Wichliffe seem to dispair of my case with Reynolds, where Mr. Blackburns deposition. I confess I cannot but differ altho he may expressly prove that the bargain was to be void if the money was not paid at the time specified in the agreement, because Reynolds did not take advantage of it at the time, but obtained from my agent further time, and after the day of payment actually exercised an ownership over the property by making arrangements with the tenants and renting out the Terress. Acts of this sort have been regarded by our Court of Appeals (which is no ordinary Court) ---- taking the case out of the statute of frauds and therefore it has compelled the execution of contracts pretty similar to the present one. This after conduct of Reynolds too must manifest the intention of the parties clearly, and surely this manifestation of Reynolds construction of the ---- together with Mr. Castlemans construction who I imagine will swear that the affect of the writing was to compell him to secure the purchase in the land he having nor expressing any doubt of paying the money. I confess I shall be astonished if I lose the case, I think when Mr. Wichliffe sees the deposition of Mr. Castleman and McDowell at the mouth of Kentucky he will offer his opinion at all events I think I will trust the case to its fate if I can get you to take the deposition of Mr. Dowell, it will be some trouble to you but I will reward you in similar services or in any other way if you will be so good as to attend to it. What I wish to prove by him and indeed others at that place, is the ownership that Renolds exercised before as well as after the first of January, when the first paymet was to be made. Mr. Wichliffe has Mr. McDowells letter stating what he will ---- to.

I have written to Mr. Wichliffe to take Mr. Castlemans deposition himself, but in order that Mr. Castleman may have a full recollection of the affair, I wish you would the first time you go the Lexington get the Bell and answer, and Mr. Castlemans letters to me on the subject from Mr. Wichliffe, that he may thereby prepare his deposition her letters will refresh his memory of the subject, I wish him to be very explicit in relation to Reynolds application to him for further time as he will ---- his letters to me.

I have written to Mr. Preston of this date enclose two drafts on Baltimore from Colo. White of $400 each which I hope will get out in time to answer her purposes, but if it should not I will get you to take up the letter and resend it to this place again. If the drafts arrive in time I must ask the favour of you to assist ---- ---- negotiated, I presume any merchant ---- ---- will give the selves for them after negotiating the interest they will certainly be paid agreeably to their ----.

I got your ---- in a fine way of thriving when he within a few days has taken another back set with the destruction, indeed I fear it is the Glanders, if so she is gone.

Give my best love to Susan & kiss my Grandchildren for me.

I am ---- your friend and
Affectionate Relative
Francis Preston

We are all well here, and Williams
Wife seems to be entirely recovered
Which I hope may prove permanent.

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Last Modified on: Thursday, 29-Oct-2009 09:28:22 EDT