The Papers of Henry Laurens


[Page 310]

Henry Laurens to Richard Lawrence

Dear Sir_

Capt Nichols[1] was obliging enough to bring me your favour of the 16th. June & I hope he will be so good as to deliver a Small Packet which will accompany this into your own hands_ I request you to forward it in Such manner as may not expose it as a Ship Letter, to be opened at the Post Office it contains no more than advice of the common occurences of this place & private concerns between my Self my Brother & other branches of my family who are now in England_ therefore I recommend it to your protection.
If you could form an Idea of the Circumstances of this Country you would not talk of Sending your Son into it,[2] before we are restored to tranquility & good order again; I Shall therefore Say nothing more on that head until a favorable change of[Page 311] times, which must Soon happen if any Wisdom remains in the Rulers of the Kingdom_ if they persevere in their present pursuits, inevitable destruction must follow, first perhaps to this Country, next, to yours_ but this, will after a temporary obscurity, emerge & come forth never to be trampled down again_ the people here are not insensible that destruction may be the consequence of their righteous opposition_ but they are determined to prefer Such destruction to a base inglorious Submission to unrighteous Acts of Parliament crammed down by the Reasoning of Bombs & Boyonets_ The Appeal is now to God._
Inclosed you will find Peter Lepoole's first Bill dated 10 Inst. on Joseph Wilson Bristol at 60 days Sight payble to you or Order for £110. Sterling_
Excha.˜ being 749 per Cent amounts to          £823.18.__

also a Copy of Capt Wm. Nichols's Rect. for      81.18.
for which he promises to pay you in Falmouth £11.14/.Sterling_ this is the Amount except a few Shillings Currency, which I Shall balance by Profit & Loss of Mr. Edward Oats's[3] Bond to Mr. Thomas John[4] & Interest thereon to this day_ My Commission thereon for receiving & paying is £9.2.6_ therefore there will remain due to Mr. John £112.11.6_ which you will be pleased to pay him & in due course acknowledge the Same in order to acquit me_ as to the Commission I desire you will present it to your Son Mr. Edward with my Compliments & good wishes_ you will perceive that I was obliged to pay a præmium of 7 Per Cent for Mr. Lepoole's Bill, which Mr. Oats absolutely refused to admit as a charge against him_ he argued that his original debt was in Currency at 7. for 1_ & that he would pay no more_ I did not think it would have been prudent to dispute the point with him when the Law is Suspended & when perhaps by delay the whole might have been lost besides I considered that the extravagant Re exchange is allowed as a Consideration for the Rise of Excha˜ & that Mr. John will even now have his own Money restored with near 10 per Cent profit
I wish I could convert all the debts due to me here into [Page 312] Sterling even with 10 Per Cent Loss_ I have done the best in my power in this Case & have appropriated as benefit to my Self therefore I hope Mr. John & you will both be Satisfied_ I Shall be obliged to you if the Packets continue to come here to Send me by each the latest London paper or Papers provided the Captain will be so good as to deliver your Packet the day he arrives without putting it into the post Office._

I am with great regard &ca_

LB, HL Papers, ScHi; addressed "Richard Lawrence / Falmouth / per Eagle Packet / Copy per Captain Carter"; dated "19th. August 1775_".
[1.] The Eagle packet, William Nichols, arrived at Charleston July 27 from Falmouth after a passage of thirty-eight days. The vessel sailed for Falmouth August 22. S. C. General Gazette, July 28, Aug. 25, 1775.
[2.] Richard Lawrence, a Falmouth merchant, had requested in 1774 that HL take his son Edward with him on his return to South Carolina and employ him there as a clerk. HL had declined because of the uncertainty attending both Anglo-American politics and commerce at that time. Lawrence, however, persisted and HL replied "I thought I had explained my Self . . . I transact so very little business . . . that the whole has been conducted Since my arrival here on a Table in my Dining Room—I have not a Counting House—therefore it would [be] doing the Young Gentleman great injustice to take him a Clerk when I should be obliged to keep him Idle nine tenths of his time for want of business to employ him in." HL's next correspondence with Lawrence was at the end of the Revolutionary War when he informed the Falmouth merchant that he did not expect to take a diplomatic post in England and that he had no control over the secretaries appointed to serve with American ministers. HL to Richard Lawrence, Feb. 22, 1775, June 28, 1783, HL Papers, ScHi.
[3.] Edward Oats (ca. 1728-1781) was a vendue master in Charleston. South Carolina Historical Magazine, XVII (1916), 158.
[4.] Thomas John of Penzance, England. HL to Richard Lawrence, Feb. 22, 1775, HL Papers, ScHi.