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Office of Finance, Philadelphia, June 11, 1782.
As I have ever considered it to be a most essential point to have men of approved abilities and character employed in the public offices, you will readily conceive my gratification on the receipt of your letter of the thirty-first ultimo, wherein you tell me, not only of Mr. Webb's acceptance of the appointment of Receiver of the Taxes, but also of his integrity and sufficiency. I expect that such appointments will be agreeable to the States wherein they are made, and very acceptable to Congress.
Mr. Webb has written on the same point which you mention, to which I reply by this post; and as the publications have commenced in other States on the first of June, it may be expected that they should have been general; I hope it will not be delayed longer than the first of July, and then the receipt for April, May and June, must be particularized in the manner it has been done here, where you will find them delinquents for the two past months; they do not like this appearance, and are now stimulating the tax-gatherers. New Jersey and Rhode Island are the only States that have made payments. Surely a different spirit will be roused. For Heaven's sake let us owe our freedom to ourselves! We have the means, if we dare to use them. I am, with great esteem and respect, Dear Sir, your obliged and obedient
Rob. MORRIS. The Hon'ble EDMUND RANDOLPH, Esq.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
Philadelphia, June 18, 1782. DEAR SIR,
I received no letter from you yesterday, nor shall I receive any for that week, unless it be through the channel of Rivington's Gazette, the post having been robbed of his mail on Saturday evening last in Maryland. I hope your letter did not contain any thing not in cypher which is unfit for the public eye. The policy, however, which seems to direct Carleton's measures, renders it probable that he will decline the mean expedient pursued on such occasions by his predecessors for giving pain to individuals. It will be proper for us to take from this accident an admonition to extend the use of our cypher.
The trade with New York begins to excite general indignation, and threatens a loss of all our hard money. The continued drains which it makes from the bank must at least contract its utility, if it produces no greater mischief to it. The Legislature of New Jersey are devising a remedy for this disgraceful and destructive traffic, and a Committee of Congress are also employed in the same work. I have little expectation that any adequate cure can be applied, whilst our foreign trade is annihilated, and the enemy in New York make it an object to keep open this illicit channel.”
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
Philadelphia, June 25, 1782. Dear Sir,
Your favor of the fifteenth, being more fortunate than the preceding one, came safe to hand yesterday. The loss of the mail is the more provoking, as it is said to have contained a packet from New York, which had been intercepted on its passage to England and carried into North Carolina.
The illicit trade with the British lines has been pushed so far, under the encouragement of the enemy, as to threaten a deep wound to our finances. Congress have renewed the exhortation to the States on this subject, and recommended to the people, through them, a patriotic co-operation with the public measures. This trade, we have also discovered, is carried on with considerable effect, under collusive captures. This branch of the iniquity falls properly within the purview of Congress, and an ordinance for its excision is in the hands of a committee.
A letter from Mr. Adams, of the eleventh of April, informs his correspondent that five of the seven provinces had decided in favor of a treaty with the United States, and that the concurrence of the remaining two might be expected in a few days. A Leyden paper, of a subsequent date, reduces the exception to a single province. It would seem, from a memorial from the merchants to the States General, that this resolution had been greatly stimulated by an apprehension that a sudden pacification might exclude their commerce from some of the advantages which England may obtain. The memorial appeals to the effect of the American trade on the resources of France, and to the short and indirect experience of it, which Holland enjoyed before the loss of St. Eustatia, as proof of its immense consequence. It observes, also, that the ordinance of Congress against British manufactures presented a precious crisis for introducing those of other nations; which ought to be the rather embraced, as nothing would be so likely to dispose Britain to the Independence of America and a general peace, as the prospect of her being supplanted in the commercial preference expected from the habits of her lost provinces.
The present conjecture with regard to the fleet mentioned in my late letters, is, that it conveyed a parcel of miserable refugees, who are destined to exchange the fancied confiscations of their rebellious countrymen, for a cold and barren settlement in Nova Scotia or Penobscot.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
Philadelphia, July 2, 1782. DEAR SIR,
The confidential and circumstantial communications, in your favor of the twentieth of June, have afforded me much pleasure. Those which relate to the scheme of garbling the delegation were far from surprising me. In a conversation with Mr. Jones, before he left Philadelphia, it was our joint inference, from a review of certain characters and circumstances, that such a scheme would be tried.
No addition has been made to our foreign intelligence in the course of the past week. Some of the republications from the European papers herewith sent throw light, however, on the general state of foreign affairs. Those which relate to Ireland, in particular, are very interesting. The Empress of Russia appears, by the memorial of her Ministers, to be more earnest in forwarding a reconciliation between England and Holland, than is consistent with the delicate impartiality she has professed as mediatrix, or with that regard which we flattered ourselves she felt for the interests of the United States.
One article of our late communications from France was, that the interest on the certificates is no longer to be continued, and that provision must be made within ourselves. This has caused great commotion and clamor, among that class of public creditors, against Congress, who, they believe, or affect to believe, have transferred the funds to other uses. The best salve to this irritation, if it could with truth be applied, would be a notification that all the States had granted the impost of five per cent., and that the collection and appropriation of it would immediately commence. It is easy to see that the States whose jealousy and delays withhold this resource from the United States, will soon be the object of the most bitter reproaches from the public creditors. Rhode Island and Georgia are the only States in this predicament, unless the acts of Virginia and Maryland should be vitiated by the limitations with which they are clogged.
No step has yet been taken in the instructions prepared before your departure. I expostulated a few