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Letter from Alexander Elmsley to Samuel Johnston
Elmsley, Alexander, 1730-1797
March 24, 1774
Volume 09, Pages 828-830

[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Letter from Alexander Elmsley to Samuel Johnston.


London, 24th March, 1774.

Dear Sir,

It is now a long time since I heard from you and I am not in a Condition to write you a long letter at Present, 'tis a month to morrow since I was taken with a foolish Disorder which has confined me great part of that time to my room, and has not yet quite left me, it was no more than a pain in one of my Ears, the consequence of Cold I suppose, or perhaps the rheumatism, for I have not consulted a Physician on the Occasion, 'tis now near gone however, but want of Sleep has so much affected my nerves, that I can hardly hold the pen. This comes by the London Capt Robertson to Virginia. I have given in charge to Mr Gilmour, a passenger, a little Trunk contain'g some trifles for Mr Knox, in this Trunk is your watch and a ring case for Mrs Johnston, which Sir N: Duckingfield forgot to send out with the other things. The parcel is directed to the Care of Atchison and Parker at Norfolk to be forwarded to you, but as Mr Gilmour intends to be at Suffolk, In case he should go from Norfolk in a Carriage I have begged him and he has promised to take it with him, and leave it at Mr Gibson's, whom he knows, and in that case, I have requested of Mr Gibson to send it to you,

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but if you can I wish you could send for it, because I'm afraid Mr Knox will want the things for him, Our people forgot them in my Illness, the whole Trunk and all does not weigh ten pounds.

Your watch cost 20 Guineas, and is good work. You must take care when she is not in your Pocket to keep her lying horizontally, at present she is regulated and orderly and keeps very good time; if you hang her at night, instead of laying her on a table she must be be made to go about 2 minutes in the Day slower which you can easily do by altering the regulator, this is a secret in watch making I suppose you did not know before. You are also to take notice that in very hot weather all watches go slow, and in very cold weather fast, and must be regulated accordingly.

Dr Lenox I hear is gone back from Spain to America, I kept the watch expecting to send her by him.

The maker of the old watch has been dead near 2 years he was reckoned one of the Best watchmakers in England. I carried her to the widow's house, and she sent me to a poor Devil who had been foreman to her husband. I made him take her to pieces in my presence to find out the reason of her keeping so bad time which I had sufficient proof of myself, upon examining the horizontal work, he said that you had put her into the Hands of some unskilfull person who had ruined it and pointed out the Blemishes; I am not Connoisseur enough to know, whether the faults originated on your side of the water or on this, but as I knew the watch went badly, I have no doubt of their originating some where and Have given orders to make new wheels and a new Cylendar, and if I can make a good watch of her I shall keep her, if not she shall be disposed of to the best advantage; the man who made the new watch would not allow above 16 Guineas for her, and I would [not] take so little, as it is not above ten years since she was made, and must then have cost 25.

Yesterday the House of Commons passed for the second reading, a Bill for removing the Commissioners of the Customs from Boston to Salem, and for shutting up the port of Boston and removing the Collector &c. This as far as the public are informed Seems to be all that is at present intended by the ministry in respect to America.

We have had abundance of Bickering lately about the Massachusetts Bay and its Concerns. Dr Franklin as agent for it, by some means or other laid his hands on some Letters, wrote about 7 years ago by Hutchison and Oliver &c to a Mr Whately formerly a member

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of Parliamt, now dead, he sent them out privately to some of the Boston patriots. The consequence was an address to the Crown to remove the Governor and Chief Justice from their Offices. Franklin soon obtained a hearing of the petition before a very full Privy Council, which reported it Groundless and Seditious, upon which it was dismissed and Franklin turned out of his place of Post Master for reviving a Dispute which had been considered as dead and buried. The Letters were wrote on occasion of the riots that followed the passing the Tea Act in Charles Townsends time.

Tell Mr Charleton his son is very well and is a very fine Boy. I have got another Boy to provide for, which was one of my reasons for troubling you lately about McCulloh's Indian Lands, but I am too tired already to say anything on that subject.

I am D S ever your's
ALEXr ELMSLEY.

MrIredels Commissn is gone out.