MATERIAL: Hand-Written/Painted
TYPE: Documents (Loose)
DIMENSIONS: 6-1/2" x 7-3/4."
COMPONENTS: Autograph Letter Signed "P.Henry," 1pp.
NOTES: Rare.
ITEM ID: 667

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Patrick Henry Letter on Selling Slaves

Year: 1790
Decade: 1790s
Century: 18th (1701-1800)

A letter from Patrick Henry about selling slaves in order to raise money for his part of the Yazoo affair. In 1789 three companies, The South Carolina Yazoo Company, The Virginia Yazoo Company, and the Tennessee Company were formed to buy land from the Georgia legislature. Governor Telfair signed a deal to sell 20,000,000 acres of land to the Yazoo companies for $207,000, or about 1 cent per acre. The deal fell through when the companies attempted to pay with worthless old currency. The Virginia Yazoo Company was headed by Patrick Henry. Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was an American patriot and lawyer from Virginia. Henry was a member of the first Continental Congress. He acted as governor of Virginia during the war. He was dissatisfied with the federal constitution and opposed its ratification in 1788. He is best known for his “Give me liberty, or give me death.” speech. Most of the letter reads as follows: “P. Edward, Jan. 12, 1790, Dear Sir, John Hurt has been here and has not hired any negroes. They went so high that he would not give the prices, nor does he know where to get any that will suit – I having tried but to no purpose … A women and 2 children are offered for L6 – I think it too much, especially as corn is scarce… I refer you to my last by T. Walker for the Yazoo Affair. W. Ross failing to come up has prevented our having a meeting yet – Next Monday I hope we shall and conclude upon the steps necessary for treating with the Indians and paying the money to the State of Georgia. The latter puzzles me very much and I must sell some Negroes or some Tobacco, or contrive some way to make out my part…..”

Name: Patrick Henry
Type: Author