1798: J. F. Tuthill to John Imlay, Jr.

This letter was written by J. F. Tuthill of Philadelphia to John Imlay, Jr. who was aboard the Brig Rebecca. Nothing further found. Tuthill may have previously been aboard the Katy, a brig out of Philadelphia, reported to be at Arquin, Hispaniola, in March 1797.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mr. John Imlay, Jr., on board Brig Rebecca, Capt. Arnold, Baltimore [Maryland] ¹

Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]
February 4, 1798

Dear John,

Your favor of the 31st & 1st Inst. reached me yesterday and regret that but one of my letters had reached you at the time of writing as this is my fourth since your arrival, and now reply to yours so early not from any immediate necessity as from a hope that they may tend to beguile your stay where you now are, and make the time of absence from your friends less tedious (and without taking into view the small expense of postage). Reid & Forde ² yesterday informed me they should give you orders to sell immediately at which I am much pleased as well at your getting the commissions as an expectation that a few days will enable you to complicate the sale of the cargo & bend your course homeward as until them it will not be in my power to see you, being now most prudent to remain at home in the present state of things and hoping to see you by the last of this week.

As to what you mention respecting the time you was in possession of the Privateersmen being considered as lay days, I think I cannot even be supposed to bear the name of lay days, the vessel not being ready to discharge, & as to the insurance, as I mentioned in my last letter, none was made either by Reid & Forde or ourselves until you got down to Jaquemel [Haiti] from whence I covered D. 2000., — you do not mention how much it cost you to get cleared at the City of Domingo.

Mr. Montgomery mentioned to me this day that he had written you & informed of the judgement Mr. Ferguson had obtained against Rush & Forte & you. This was during the sitting of court in time of the Fever. He has now got out execution, but tells me he will not proceed upon any present harsh measures & I hope on your arrival here you will be able to make some compromise with him. I forbear saying anything further of your affairs until we meet, which hope may not be long. By a few lines from James just before your arrival, I am informed of the general health of your good family who no doubt are beginning to look for you with some degree of anxiety, but on hearing that the selling of the cargo will fall on you, they may not expect you so soon.

5th. I have omitted to tell you that the remains of the Katy’s cargo arrived a short time ago in New York & is now in the hands of our friend Mr. Warren. That with a letter I have just received from T. Robins (who is going to leave New York immediately) renders it necessary for me to go on there as soon as possible & expect to get away by next day after tomorrow and hope to so arrange as to be back by the time you arrive here or within a day or two, as my anxiety is so great to see you that it will render my stay there as short as possible, and let me urge you before your leaving Baltimore to endeavor to entirely complete your business so as not to return again although this may probably retain you a day or two longer. You will therefore, by all means, not fail to write me as soon as you receive this at New York to the care of Messrs. Peter Mackie & Son, and say what day you will likely come on.

I hope, my friend, you will not omit this as my calculation will be accordingly — with a union of regards of all the household, I am yours as ever. — J. F. Tuthill

¹ There was a Brig named Rebecca owned by Welcome Arnold out of Providence, Rhode Island, in 1798. This may have been the vessel on which Imlay was sailing.

² John Reed & Standish Forde were Philadelphia commercial ship owners. They imported dry goods from England and used their profits to speculate in western lands, purchasing thousands of acres in western Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.


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