John Jay Papers

To John Jay from Richard Price, 9 July 1785

From Richard Price

Newington=Green near London
July 9th: 1785

Dear Sir

I hope you will excuse the liberty I take in introducing to you the bearer of this letter, Mr. Curtauld. He and his mother and Sisters have for Several years made a part of my congregation at Hackney, and his character is unexceptionable. He has converted his little property into money which he intends to employ in purchasing land in Some of the interior parts of America with no other view than to occupy it himself and to become an industrious farmer. Any information or assistance which you may be So good as to give him will confer an obligation upon me as well as upon him. The united States must be in Some danger from needy and worthless adventurers who will be often going over to them from Europe. There is, in the present instance, no danger of this kind; for Mr Curtauld’s views are laudable, and he will, I am fully persuaded, make an honest and useful member of the united States.

I directed to you in Autumn last Some copies of my pamphlet on the American Revolution.1 This was an effort of my zeal to promote, according to the best of my judgmt:, the improvmt and happiness of mankind in general and of the united States in particular. The recommendations in it of measures to abolish gradually the Negro=trade and Slavery and to prevent too great an inequality of property have, I find, offended Some of the leading men in South=Carolina; and I have been assured from thence that Such measures will never be encouraged there. Should a like disposition prevail in many of the other States, it will appear that the people who have Struggled So bravely agst: being enslaved themselves are ready enough to enslave others; the event which had raised my hopes of Seeing a better State of human affairs will prove only an introduction to a new Scene of aristocratical tyranny and human debasemt; and the friends of Liberty and virtue in Europe will be Sadly disappointed and mortify’d.2

I rely, Dear Sir, on your candour and goodness to excuse the liberty I now take with you. I am afraid that the acquaintance which I had the happiness to commence with you when in London is not Sufficient to warrant it—With every good wish and great respect for your character, I am, Your most obedt: and humble Servt:

Richd: Price

ALS, NNC (EJ: 8609). For JJ’s personal acquaintance with Price, see JJSP, description begins Elizabeth M. Nuxoll et al., eds., The Selected Papers of John Jay (3 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2010—) description ends 3: 491, 515, 516n4, 619.

1See Price to JJ, 22 Oct. 1784, JJSP, description begins Elizabeth M. Nuxoll et al., eds., The Selected Papers of John Jay (3 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2010—) description ends 3: 619–20.

2Price, who had learned about the southern response to his tract Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution from Henry Laurens, made similar remarks to TJ on 2 July 1785. See Price Correspondence, description begins W. Bernard Peach and D. O. Thomas, eds., The Correspondence of Richard Price (3 vols.; Cardiff, Wales, and Durham, N.C., 1983–94) description ends 2: 262–65, 289–90, 292–95, 298–99, 313–14; PHL, description begins Philip M. Hamer et al., eds., The Papers of Henry Laurens (16 vols.; Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003) description ends 16: 531–35.

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