Stephen Austin to James Austin, 11-16-1798

Summary: Yellow fever epidemic. John Read, Daniel Hall, etc.

Philada 16 Novr 1798

Mr James Austin

Dear Sir I have the pleasure to inform you of our Safe return with my family to this City 3 days ago—after being Exild 3 months by the most distressing Calamity that has ever before Visited this City—50 Thousand of the Inhabitants were soposd to have left the City notwithstanding which upwards of 3000 persons have Died since the first of August— I have this day recevd a Letter from Charles of the 5th Inst. which informs me of his being prepared to Set out with 3 or 4 Tons of Shot for Lynchbourgh—to be forwarded to this Place and of his Intentions of Comming to this City before he again visits the Mines—he has some time informed me that from John Reads inatention to Bussiness he is Quite Discouragd with him and says I need not forward any more furs nor anything els to Carry on that Bussiness he says he is in Our debt—but I hope you may be able to make him pay us what he owes since after all this Troble with him that nothing is to be gaind by him it will be Painfull to Suffer by him—and since he Can not be confided in and is not fit to be his own Master it is best he should return here and work under some Master I am obligated here for him for Money he Borrowd of his old Master Mr Pearson —35 Dollars— he gave me some Accounts to Collect here for him but I cant get one Dollar therefore he had better Come here and Settle his own affairs since he will do no good for us—

I have been Preparing to Send out a Loaded Waggon with Sundry Goods etc and one Daniel Hall a Blacksmith who I engaged and enterd into Writeings with when I was at New Haven at 180 Dollars pr year-—but instead of his Coming On Agreeable to his Contract I have this day receivd a Letter from him informing me that in Consequence of a Pain in his Breast he is unable to Comply with his engagement with me and that some Doctr has told him he must not labour until he is Quit of it etc—this is a great Disapointment to me as he Was so well recomended as a good Workman and steady man and as strong and hearty looking young man as Ever I See— this Induces me to believe there is some Deception and that some of those Medling Tatling Durham folks has put him out of Conceit of going out and to Get Quit of his Contract he has Started this Pretence but as I have him Very strong [ly] Bound for Twelve Months I shall hold him and fathom it to the Bottom—I daly expect young Hary Elliot who was to go out in Company with him and the Waggon but this Bussiness of Halls will retard the movement for the Present Charles informs me that Mr Sanders has Rebuilt the Furnace to good advantage which gives me much Pleasure and that all things goes on well you thot you had Contracted for Twelve Thousand of Beef and I hope you will be able to Procure the Same Quantity of Poark and I expect you will receive a supply of Salt by the return of the Waggons which goes with Charles—Indeed Let me beg of you to Procure all the Beef and Poark you Possibly Can this fall so that we need not next Summer be so Perplexd for Provisions and as our exports of Provisions is so much shut up, I should Conclude that you may Procure a great Plenty of Beef and Pork in your Part of the Country this Season—-I hope you have plaed old Prime and Patty at the Mill and that all our hogs in future may breed there and with good Manegement I have no Doubt we Can Vitual our People and to prepare for this I wish you to save all the Breeding Sows you Can so as to Bring Pigs in the Spring—this is a matter of the first Consideration and which I beg your attention— I hope you have been able to get Harrison on Binghams Bottom as I should be vexd to Loose him as a Tennant I have not heard a Word respecting Proceedings against Frisbie as 4 Months ago I sent you his Acknowledgd Account to Put in suit as I found the Suit Must be Commencd in the County where the original Dept was Contractd etc. I also sent his note of 3000 Dollars to Samll McCraeat Richmond With request to Commence a Suit in the Federal Court and to Send the Sheriff Directly out to Wythe but of this I have not heard a Word from McCrae am Just Now going to write him respecting it—as to Read you must do the best you Can With him— I beg you to Write me by the return of Post and give me Particular information of all these things and how you go on the Particulars Respecting your Situation wants (if any) etc.—the Weather is now Very fine and I hope will admit of your Working until Christmas—Make my best respects to Mrs Austin in which all my family Joins, also to Mr Sander and to Mrs Jenkins and Billey etc.—

S. Austin