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C[ornelius] P[eter] Van Ness to MVB, 25 July 1820

Dear Sir 

I have concluded to trouble you once more about my business with my brother William. I am sorry to be under the necessity of doing this, as I know you have as much business of your own as you can attend to, but there is no other person who can assist me so effectually as you can, and you may rely upon it, that if ever an opportunity occurs, I will return the favor.

I understand that my brother has moved to the vicinity of Newyork & has abandoned his property, as I have been informed to the mercy of his creditors. Now can it be possible that his situation was such last fall that $1500 could not be recovered from him? He must have had personal property enough to satisfy that amount. But at any rate can it be believed that a Ca sa would not have brought the money. And would he now go to Jail for that sum? It seems as if there is a determination to screw this money out of me. I was singularly & unexpectedly led into the difficulty. If the Bank had not thought that they had me fast, they would have collected their debt fast enough out of me William. It may appear to some that under my brother’s circumstances, I am rigid in this business. But the truth is my brother owes me more than the amount of this Bank debt, for Cash had of me. That I shall not trouble him for. It is further true that I lost large sums of money last year. The burning of the Steam boat & other losses took from me at least $15000. In addition to this I purchased & fitted up a place for myself at an expence of about $12000. All these things put it out of my power to pay $1500 for another person without great sacrifices. And the manner in which my brother has treated me in respect to this affair, disinclines me to use so much delicacy as to injure myse[lf] & family by the payment of his debts. I wis[h] to know plainly whether a straight forward co[urse] of collection would not inevitably press this money out [of] my brother. I expect all his large & principal debts are either by Mortgage or Judgt, by which his body will be let alone, as they hold the property. It appears to me there can be no doubt on this subject. If I am correct why has not this course been pursued by the Bank, or why will they not yet pursue it? What has become of my brothers personal property, his stock & other articles? My dear Sir, if you had a debt against him of $1500 would you not find ways to collect or secure it? And will you not try to do the same for me? Do write me about this business.

Yours cordially

C. P. Van Ness

Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)