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Catalog Number 2015.02.0033
Object Name Letter
Date 1818
Title 1818 Sept 14 John Brown to Samuel Brown
Scope & Content Letter from John Brown (Frankfort, KY) to Samuel Brown (Philadelphia, PA) that discusses Samuel's trip to Philadelphia, and Mason's studies at Yale. Brown had planned to go with Orlando to New Haven or Princeton, but his plans were disrupted by a visit from John Mitchell Mason, who was participating in an Ecclesiastical trial in Lexington. John Brown discusses the trial of Rankin. Rankin was charged by Mr. Bishop with perjury.

John Mitchell Mason has convinced John to send Orlando to Princeton, where his own son Ebenezer also attends. Brown discusses James and Nancy Brown's trip to Europe, and his own desire to visit New Orleans and Mississippi. Brown discusses the corn and wheat crops in the area. Brown writes about banking and the issuing of notes, and how the banking system has effected the economy. He comments on the land in adjoining counties, and discusses the success of the steamboats upon the river.


Frankfort 14th Sept. 1818

Dear Brother

The last letter I have had the pleasure to receive from you was of 20 June from Phila. informing that you and your fellow Travellers had reached that city in safety, also that you had as might have been expected been well received by the Literati of that City. You gave me reason to expect letters from you from N. York & N. Haven but have not been favored with a line & the disappointment has been the more painful as I have been anxious to hear your plans & arrangements for yourself & your Children, & very impatient to hear from you how Mason conducts himself, how he progresses in his Studies etc. His letters inform that you have for some time been stationary at N. Haven.

I am at present in a state of much uncertainty as to our arrangements for the next winter. We had determined to break up here, place Preston & family in our stead & go on with Orlando about the 1st of October to Princeton or N. Haven but Dr. Mason's unexpected visit to this Country has broken in upon this project as an interview with him was a primary object with us, & how long he may incline to remain in this quarter is as yet uncertain. He spent about a week with us & preached to an admiring crowd. He is now at Lexington holding an Ecclesiastical Court constituted for the trial of Mr. Rankin charged by Mr. Bishop as guilty of Perjury, lying & slandering his Brethren. Rankin has protested against the Jurisdiction of the Synod, declared himself independent of the Seceder Church & took up his Hat & walked off contemptuously. The Court however is proceeding with the investigation as if he were present. What the result will be is uncertain. Dr. Mason has determined me to send Orlando to Princeton, where I expect he will be able to enter the Junior Class with credit, & finish the course in two years. In that case it is my intention that he shall spend one year at Cambridge as a Graduate which I think will be better than to enter Sophomore & remain three years at Yale. He will probably go on with Dr. M. who sends his own son to Princeton & will procure a Room for them in the house of the Teacher of Mathematics. If after providing funds for the Boys I can raise as much money as will be sufficient to defray the expenses of the trip it is probable we shall go in about the 1st of Novr. - if not we must defer it until next Spring & then go round by way of N. Orleans. I should prefer the latter were I certain that James Brown would return home the next Winter as the fatigue would not be so great & I wish to see the Mississippi & N. Orleans. I had a long letter from James of 10th.June from Paris. He & Nancy were well & had just returned from a visit to Italy, much delighted with the tour. They intended after a short stay in Paris to set out for England & proposed spending three or four months in the United Kingdom. I would inclose [sic] his letter but Preston has not yet seen it.

We have in this Country the prospect of a very large crop of corn. Wheat was good but the excessive rain which fell about Harvest injured it in part & destroyed much of the crop of Hay. All your Relations in this place are well with the exception of Mrs. Blair who is reduced to a shadow by Consumption & will not probably survive tomorrow. Billy Preston has not recovered from his attack of Cholic of his legs. He set out for the Sweet Springs, but when I last heard from him he was laid up at the lower Blue Licks, attended by Dr. Marshall in whom he reposes implicit confidence, & who I expect ere long will give a good account of him. When I last saw him he had lost in weight 140 lbs. - The greater part of our 43 Independent Banks are in operation & it might be supposed that their Notes would be as plenty as Oak leaves in Autumn. But that is not the fact. The pecuniary pressure of the Country has increased immensely since their establishment, & all now acknowledged the impolicy & wickedness of the system & many feel its ruinous effects. The facility of Obtaining accommodations induced many of our mechanics to turn Merchants & almost every man to become a speculator in something rather than labor with his hands. But the notes so liberally issued at first soon found their way into the U.S. Branch Banks in exch. for Bills to be remitted to Phila. & have been returned for Specie & have drawn out so great a part of their little stock of that article that the Independent Banks to avoid Bankruptcy have been compelled not only to stop discounting, but also to call heavily from their Customers few of whom are in a situation to pay, as they commenced business without Capital, depending solely upon Bank accommodations. This state of things is ascribed solely to the conduct of the U.S. Branches who have been so uncivil as to demand Specie & the public mind is so incensed against them that it is more than probable that an attempt will be made at the next meeting of the Legislature to banish them from the State.

Lands in this & adjoining Counties are up from $20 to $50 per acre. Many who had small lands have sold & are removing, some to Christian County but more to the Illinois, Indiana & Mississippi.

The Steam Boats upon the Rivers have succeeded admirably the last year. Their owners are making fortunes rapidly, & this Country is now supplied with a great variety of luxuries of other climates heretofore unknown to our citizens who will soon view them as necessities of life.

We are under promise to meet Dr. Mason today at Preston's & have no time to spare, therefore must conclude this letter which you may probably think already too long by uniting with Margaretta in Love & good wishes to you, & to Susan & James--
J. Brown

[Address Block]
Doctor Samuel Brown
New York
[New York post mark]
"Rec'd N. Y. Oct. 18"
People John Brown
Samuel Brown
Mason Brown
Preston W. Brown
Orlando Brown
James Brown
Ann Hart (Nancy) Brown
Margaretta Mason Brown
Susan Brown Ingersoll
John Mitchell Mason
Ebenezer Mason
Search Terms Banking
Real Estate Values
Philadelphia, PA
New Haven, CT
Princeton, NJ