To W. Wallace Junior June 30th, 1783
From the original letter at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia June 30th 1783
As you have Congress, and consequently all the news and politics, in the Jersies, you will not expect anything very important from this side the Delaware. We have a report brought by vessel from Granada, of the assassination of the Stat-holder and the Duke of Brunswick, but as it is among the common rumors of the day, I would not wish to be quoted as the news-monger of the report.
The particular occasion of my writing to you is on a matter in which I have no other concern than friendship, and a wish to prevent inconveniences and mistake.
Mr. Harris, I find, has notice that some other person is coming into the house he now lives in, yet the affair is so wrapt in obscurity, that nobody appears to have any direct business with it; and at last I find that the woman, next door Mrs. Harris, is a principal manager in it.
That the owner of a House has a right to let it to whom he pleases, every body will admit, but it is one of those kind of rights which in the exercise of it, is so governed by the laws of Civility and Society, that a tenant never expects to have it let over his head. I have several times heard Mr. Harris mention, that he expected either yourself or some of your family to come into it, which would occasion his moving. But the present notice arises from a different cause and appears to me to be affected by the busy interposition of an ill natured neighbor, who, I can assure you, delights in noise and contention: thus I cannot help saying because I am too near not to be a judge of characters.
As the last half year has been very much against the shop-keepers, they certainly are entitled, on the principles of Equity, to every consideration which a Landlord can give them. A man when he buys a stock of goods has an Idea of a place to sell them in, otherwise he would not buy them, and his removal is a very different thing to that of a person out of trade.
But I need not mention these things to you who know them much better than myself — The person who was expecting to come in has, perhaps, from an apprehension that there is something uncivil at the bottom of the affair, signified an inclination to decline it — And Mr. Stamper, as I am told has spoken of it as a proceeding he should not have chosen to have had any concern in — Now if the person next door has been acting a busy unneighborly part (which I think her very capable of doing) you will not take it unfriendly in me in signifying my opinion to you, because while I would, on the one hand, wish to prevent an unnecessary or disagreeable removal to Mr. Harris, I am inclined by frienship to you to explain such of the circumstances as has come to my knowledge.
Mr. Harris has written to your father on the affair, and as it does not appear to me that there is any thing finally concluded on, (tho’ it is likely that the removal of Congress from Philadelphia may occasion some hesitation in newcomers at the present rents) I have seconded his letter with a wish to explain and settle the matter, and if there is no absolute occasion for her immediate removal, which I imagine there is not, that you would enter with your father and mother on the subject with the same ideas on the matter as if you were a tenant yourself.
I am with Compl to Mrs. Wallace and your family your affectionate friend and obt Hble Serv