The Papers of Henry Laurens

[Page 413]

Henry Laurens to James Laurens

My Dear Brother_

I beg leave to refer you to the above duplicate of my Letter the 19th. Inst. per the Swallow particularly to that part relative to your Nephew J.L. intreat him, enjoin command him to continue Steady & diligent in his Studies, Surely he must have undergone an amazing change Since last October, if he is become So hardy as to disregard the advice of a Father & an Uncle who have ever been his friends, I had intended to have written very fully to himSelf by this opportunity but I fear I Shall not be able to do so_ tis now near 10 oClock at Night just returned from the State House where I have been detained to day upwards of nine hours, & have had very little Sleep for three nights past_[1] your expostulation therefore I trust will prevail upon him to be his own friend & to act the part which all his friends have a right to expect from him_ if he enters upon the plan of Life which he Seemed to pant for when he wrote the 5th. July, I Shall give him up for lost & he will very Soon reproach himSelf for his want of Duty & affection towards me, for abandoning his Brothers & Sisters, for disregarding the Council of his Uncle, & for his deficiency of common understanding, in making Such a choice_ if these reflections prevail not over him, nothing will_ he must have his own way & I must be content with the remembrance, that I had a Son._
As every Step which we take here draws us nearer & nearer to confusion I have judged it best for your Interest to give 770. per Cent Excha. for £790. Stg in Bills of Exchange which you will find[Page 414] under this cover & a particular account of which Shall be Subjoined. I wish I could Exchange all your Carolina Estate & remit the Amount to you upon as good terms.
We have lately been busy in talking & Some attempts to fortify Sullivants Island, to equip Armed Vessels & to make places for retreat from Charles Town_ at present the Scheme for Stopping up the Channels to this Harbour is revived & intended for debate to morrow_ this was reprobated by the Representatives of the whole Colony in June last, & I counted mySelf happy in being Instrumental in procuring its its overthrow_ now the Same destructive measure is introduced by a Committee & I have Some fears of their Success_ it would take many Sheets to contain & days to write the History of our proceedings Since you left Charles Town I have not time to give you even an abstract_ you must learn what you can from other hands & from News Papers_ I wish I had time to relate to you what has been doing it might Save you the trouble of believing many lies which will be told by our Enemies_
We have had an exceeding bad Harvest down to this time but the weather Seems now to be Settled & I hope we Shall Still Save ¾ths of a Crop of Rice, but what Shall we do with it? a place
Mr. Thomson[2] has given warning to provide a place for Auba_ Betty came here a few days ago with a list of greivances, I recommended contentment, to be careful that She did not turn herSelf out of a good place & oblige me to Send her in the Country_ many families have already removed their goods from Charles Town many more following the example & in the course of next Month the families themSelves will follow among others my Neighbor & Tenant J. Smith[3] & your Mrs. Clarke[4] who has given notice that She intends to return Lezit._ many people now feel the effect of our unhappy dispute with Great Britain & bear their Sufferings with amazing patience_ if we Struggle through the approaching Winter the worst will be over, we Shall emerge again by our own Strength_ God grant a Speedy & happy reconciliation[Page 415] that we may return to our former State of dependance which will be best for both parties_
present my Love to my Dear Sister & the Children_ My Dear Brother


Henry Laurens.

4 Bills__
John Rose on William Manning Esquire, dated 16. Septem˜ 1775 payble 40 days after Sight to Philip Tidyman[5] by him endorsed to Henry Laurens & by him to James Laurens & in his absence to Wm. Manning_

£350. £200. £150. & £90 is £ 790._
£790 Sterling at 770 per Cent Exchange is Currency £6083._
thereof paid for by me which brings you abot. £800 in my debt_
bought of Mr. edmd. Petrie for which I have promised at leisure to give him a good Bond bearing Interest or other wise to allow him interest or otherwise to allow him Interest from this day 22 Septem.˜ 1775_
CopySigned, HL Papers, ScHi; addressed on cover "Mr. James Laurens / to the care of Wm. Manning / Esquire / London. / per Portland, / Capt Wilson / QDCt Capt Kelsick_"; addressed below close "Mr. James Laurens."; dated "Charles Town So Carolina. 22d. Septem.˜ 1775_"; docketed "Henry Laurens / Chas. Town 22d Septemr 1775"; endorsed by HL above salutation "Duplicate / Orig. per Wilson". LB, HL Papers, ScHi; addressed "James Laurens / London / Pr. Capt Wilson / Copy / pr. Capt Kelsick"; dated "22d. Septem.˜ 1775.".
[1.] HL's long hours at the state house had been occasioned by the highly charged atmosphere in Revolutionary Charleston. Faced with problems on every front, the General Committee and the Council of Safety agonized over the means of maintaining Cherokee neutrality, averting a retaliatory British naval bombardment of the city after the capture of Fort Johnson, and a way to assure the dependability of the Charleston militia. The most immediate problem was to prepare for an expected attack from the British warships Tamar and Cherokee.
[2.] James Hamden Thomson.
[3.] John Smyth had rented HL's Ansonborough tenement since January 1773. The Papers of Henry Laurens, VIII, 506.
[4.] Perhaps Catherine Inglis Clarke.
[5.] Philip Tidyman (d. 1780), John Rose's son-in-law, was a Charleston silversmith. Rogers, History of Georgetown County, p. 298.