Elmira, Aug. 1.
My Dr Bro.—
Pamela has at last sent your various letters to me. You must have known that would be the final result, for you knew she could not spare the $200 from her living.
I have tried for 24 hours to write, but I am too infernally angry & out of patience to write civilly.
You can draw on me for two or three hundred dollars, but only on one condition, viz: that you consider yourself under oath to either sell or at some price or other, or give away, one full half of the Tennessee land within 4 months from date—but it must be honestly parted with, & forever.
The family [ has have ] been bled for 40 years to keep that cursed land on their hands & perpetuate our father’s well intended folly in buying it. I washed my hands of it 5 years ago, & I never will have anything more to do with its care or its sale.1 I have always contended that the family were too poor to keep a luxury like that worthless land, but I never expected to convince them of it. If any stupid fool will give 2,000 for it, do let him have it—shift the curse to his shoulders.
I want you to consider yourself under oath to offer Mellon2 as follows:
25 per cent. if he sells
half or all the land in 60 days.
20 per cent. if in 90 ″
15 ″ ″″ ″ 120″
10 ″ ″
And Mr. Mellon to be hampered by no set price, but get what he can., & to sell the land out-&-out, without mineral reservations.
On these terms a man can be hired to sell the land, & on no other.
My idea is to to that all the land be sold (& that you bind yourself so,) within 4 months if possible—every effort to be made to do it—& in any case one-half of it to be sold or given away in that time.
I prefer that you telegraph the amount of money you want, so that you need not write me never mention that land again to me by [letter. I] will never read another letter, from anybody, that mentions it. You cannot form even a faint idea of how I malignantly I hate that vile subject.
Now if you draw any portion of this money from me, it is with the understanding that you are under oath to the whole programme laid down in this letter, in all its details. Otherwise the trade is “off.” If you are not prepared to subscribe to these requirements, I would much rather put the money in the fire than in Tenn. land. I particularly call your attention to the programme of commissions (& the fact that no mineral reservations are to be [ insisted ] made.) to be paid to Mellon (or other agent, tho’ I think Mellon ought to have [it),. ] No man can afford to sell this [wildcat ] at lower commissions. [in bottom margin: ([over].)]
Provenance:see Moffett Collection in Description of Provenance.
Emendations and textual notes:
has have • hasve
to. I • to.—ǀI
f • [partly formed]
letter. I • letter.—ǀI
insisted • [‘d’ partly formed]
it), • [deletion implied]
wildcat • wild-ǀcat
over • [small capitals simulated, not underscored]
the that • theat