Thomas Ruston to Moses Austin, 09-23-1794

Summary: Virginia land warrants and other speculations.

Philadelphia Sept: 23d: 1794.


The bearer Mr Jos: Burr is a gentleman, who has been in the practice of attending surveys of land, for the purpose of making observations on the soil, situation, climate, waters, rivers, timber, mines, and such other things as may tend to give a compleat and perfect knowledge of their nature and value. It is with this view I have sent him on to view the lands we are taking up in the neighbourhood of the mines, and have committed to his care Virginia Warrants for Two Hundred Thousand Acres of land in addition to the Ten Thousand Acre Warrants, which I forwarded before, and which you have recd-

In your letter of the 16th. of August which I have recd. you mention two propositions with respect to the terms upon which you wish the land to be taken up, one with regard to the first, the other respecting the second Two Hundred Thousand Acres, and you say that you had agreed to let the surveyor have 80,000 out of the first two Hundred Thousand Acres, he paying the expences. do you mean the surveyors fees, chain carriers, and other incidental expences. With regard to your two propositions, I do not see the propriety of your making any distinction betwixt them, the expense and trouble attending the one will be as great as that of attending the other; and no more, besides, in all the lands I have taken up in Pennsylvania, which have amounted to many hundred Thousand Acres, I have never been asked by the discoverers for more than a third, some times a fourth, sometimes a fifth, and it is always the business of the discoverers (in which capacity you and Mr Gnes [Gains?] are to be considered) to attend and to superintend the surveys. This third the discoverers divide betwixt themselves in such manner as they can agree, and as they think proper. In a former letter you hinted, that you thought it would be more agreeable to the Surveyor to have a compensation in money, to this I shall have no objection if we can agree upon the sum, and I shall have no objection to do the same thing with you if it is agreeable. I have accepted your draft for five hundred Dollars towards paying for the Kentucky Warrants as you desire. As soon as the Surveyor has made out the returns Mr. Burr will proceed with them to Richmond in order to obtain the Patents.

N. B. Mr Norwell has not brot the deed either from Lynchburgh or from Richmond-

Thos. Ruston

Take care you do not buy more Warrants than you can find land for.

Point out to Mr Burr those tracts in the neighbourhood that are to be disposed of, in order that he may be able to give me some account of them, and send me the lowest prices and the longest terms of payment which the owners will be willing to take—