Letter to Jacob Green

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Letter to Jacob Green  (1783) 
by Nathanael Green

Source: Richard K. Showman, editor.The papers of General Nathanael Greene (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), pp.34-36.

To Jacob Green[edit]

Dear Sir Head Quarters Charlestown [S.C.] June 17. 1783

I have got your Letter of the 4th of May and am Very truly and Sincerely Sorry for your Misfortune. But much more on your Account than my own although it will be an heavy Loss to me. My Expenses from a Variety of Causes have multiplied upon my Hand & press Hard upon Me. I was about to draw on you for about Four Hundred pounds Sterling before I Received your Letter. But shall not trouble you now, Let my Occasion be ever so pressing. Hearing nothing from you for more than a year left Me totally in the Dark as to your situation. Griffin I find is gone to England. I have forwarded him Letters to Several characters and have laid a Foundation. I am in Hopes to give him a Credit for Two Thousand Pounds Sterling. I have also endeaverd to interest M Hunter of Virginia in his Affairs who is gone to Europe on Business and is a Man of honor and Great Experience. If Cousin Griffin happens to fall in with him it is probable he will take Part of the Ship and fit her immediately. The connexion offerd him an Extension in Credit on Mr [illegible]. Besides M Hunter I have written to the Marquis de la Fayette and to Mr Laurens the Ambassador. But these are great Folks and don’t feel the Importance of Little concerns. However they may be of use to him. Don’t send any vessels to this place until after next Crop. Everything is dull here and sells for less than the first Cost, come almost from what quarter it may. Little Business is done but a Vendues and the Difficulty of Selling to advantage at these you know as well as I do.

With unwearied Diligence & by bold Adventure and the good offices of some of my Friends in this Quarter I have got my Interest voted me by this state in a tolerable good Way. I am in hopes to raise this year 400 Casks of Rice and a Large Quantity of Provisions for the Plantation Use. Next year I expect much more. I begin with this. My Interest in Georgia I am obliged to let out for a very Trifle not hav[in]g the means to improve it. If I coud improve it it would neat [i.e., net] me a Thousand Sterling a Year. But for this is required an Advance of another Four Thousand Pounds and this I have not nor cannot command. Indeed I don’t choose to run largely in Debt at this Time for any Advantages. My Plan of Living must be proportiond to my Income and I must be sure [of] Part of my Interest as I cannot conserve until a future day.

M Greene is gone to Philadelphia and from thence she returns to Rhode Island. She thinks she can [live?] cheaper at Newport than anywhere else and I have written to M George Gibbs and also to M Nicholas Tillinghast to take a House for her, Two Rooms on a Floor with chambers and a part of a Kitchen will be Sufficient for her Purpose. M Garden one of my Aids accompanies her and I don’t know wht [i.e., whether] Col Koscieusko will not. They are particular Friends of mine to whom I beg you Invitations may be extended. M Thomas Farr also introduce him to your Friends in Newport. I have given him Letter to a Number of my old Acquaintances in Newport, Providence & Boston.

I rejoice to hear your children are in such a happy Way. Education is the Foundation of all Business and the Corner Stone of Reason and Consequence in Life. I would rater have Education than Fortune. One is easier obtained than the other after you arrive to years of Maturity, but both may be got by great Application unless opposed by a current of Endless misfortune. Fortune often serves to hand, for natural Abilities come with the Advantages of a good Education.

It gives me singular Pleasure to hear Miss Polly begins to feel the Dignity of her own Standing and to judge properly between mere Pleasure and solid Improvement. A just Task for the Polite Arts and Prospects and such only as are ornamental to Human Nature. The best way of living is to mix Business and Pleasure. One sweetens the other to your scheme of putting Jabez to Study Pysick. All depends upon the natural Bent of his Genius. If he has a Taste for it he may be eminent, without it he will only be a paltry Conjurer. Tom will make a fine Fellow notwithstanding his Aversion to his Books. Age will redeem his Geniuss and as he enters into Life Pride will provide a Spur to his Industry. He appears to have a Generous Nature and I doubt not will be an eminent Character.

Great changes have happend at Potowomut within the last year. Kitt I find is married again. Miss Polly I think will make him an Excellent Wife. Nature has not been so bountiful in the Beauties of her Person, but for good Sense and a happy Disposition she has made her ample Amends. I had a Line from Kitt; but none from either of the other Brothers; nor have I since I have been to the Southward. Aunt Greene and Col. Ward write me now and then or else I should have known little mor of you than if you had all lived on the Moon. I intend to be in Rhode Island in September if possable but it is yet uncertain, and will enter more particularly into your Future Plans for Life.

I congratulate you on the happy Issues of the War. Everything has terminated agreeable to our Wishes. It has been a doubtful Struggle: and I remember you entered upon it with Fear and Trembling. I was always persuaded of a happy Issue if the People had but Virtue to Suffer and Courage to persivere. Of these I sometimes doubted; and cannot help thinking now how much has depended on the active Zeal of a few than on the generous Exertion so f the great mass of the People. Be that as it may it is Sufficeint for all the we gaind the Point and brought the Dispute to a happy Issue. The Army has much merit and many Citizens have no less and all may pride themselves on the Revolution as one of the most Glorious and most important that History affords. Remember me affectionally to Sister Greene, Miss Polly & all the Family. Be assured my Affection will never forsake you; and in every Situation in Life you may hope for every Aid in my Power to give for the Benefit of the family consistent with my other Duties & Calls in Life. I am dear sir with affectionate Esteem your most Obed humble Servt


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.