1845: James Regan to John Grace

This letter is addressed to John Grace (1801-1891), a native of Putlowes, England. John was married to Mary Bigg at Aylesbury Church, England, in 1830. John and Mary Grace immigrated to the United States in November 1833 on board the ship Samson.

Stampless Letter


Addressed to Mr. John Grace, Wayne, Steuben County, New York

Lancaster [Pennsylvania]
April 7, 1845

Dear Sir,

Page 1

Yours dated March 15th did not reach me before the 24th when the bustle of moving & a multiplicity of petty affairs combined with a faint hope of being able to make you a remittance, have prevented me from returning an earlier reply. The result is the painful necessity of adding another to your many disappointments, for I am now fully convinced that not one of your debtors here has any intention whatever of paying you a solitary cent, & were you even to attempt to enforce payment, they would find some means of evading your demands. Mrs. Peterman does not deny the obligation, nor express any purpose of evading it, but pleads inability in consequence of sickness & numerous unliquidated claims of her own. Hitz, however, with whom I had a conversation on the subject, assures me that you have no chance whatever of obtaining anything from that quarter. He also informed me that he had an interview with old Hayne a short time ago who declares a determination of paying nothing, telling him to sue if he pleases, as he now holds no property & can therefore set all claims at defiance. Another, of the name of Ruse, I believe, when requested to settle your account, told him “to be damned; he owed you nothing.” In short, Hitz is confident that nothing can be extracted from any of them.

Page 2

In addition to these discouraging details, my own embarrassing circumstances altogether preclude the possibility of advancing the sum you request. I have removed to S. Queen Street into one of the new houses Mr. Withers lately built, in furnishing which, I have incurred considerable expense & to meet it I wholly depended on the return of money I had entrusted to a friend in whom I had unlimited confidence. Disappointment has reduced me to the necessity of borrowing myself, & it is not without the most rigid economy that I can pay my way.

I shall be glad to hear from you at your early convenience when it will give me great pleasure to hear you have contrived some means of extricating yourself from your difficulties. Want of time compels me to conclude, but after I have heard from you again, I will endeavor to transmit a more lengthy communication with my sister’s kind regards to Mrs. Grace. In haste.

Believe me, yours very sincerely, — James Regan

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