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The Legislature of Pennsylvania have unanimously adopted the recommendations of Congress, both as to revenue and a change of the Federal rule for apportioning the common burdens. They will also present an invitation to Congress, we understand, to resume their sessions at Philadelphia, if that place be judged most fit for the despatch of public business, until a permanent seat be chosen and prepared; giving at the same time explicit assurances of support in case it should on any occasion be needed. What effect this conciliatory proposition may have on the temper of Congress is precarious. With some, the complaisance shown to the late recommendations of Congress will be far from softening the dislike. With others, Philadelphia will ever be obnoxious while it contains and respects an obnoxious character. Annapolis has seized the present occasion to forward her views with respect to Congress, and has courted their presence in the most flattering terms. During this contest among the rival seats, we are kept in the most awkward situation that can be imagined; and it is the more so as we every moment expect the Dutch Ambassador. We are crowded too much, either to be comfortable ourselves, or to carry on the public business with advantage. Mr. Jones and myself, on our arrival, were extremely put to it to get any quarters at all, and are at length put into one bed in a room not more than ten feet square."
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
Philadelphia, September 8, 1783. Dear Sir,
The delay of the definitive treaty, although not fully explained to Congress, excites less disquietude here than I find it does in Virginia. Our latest official advices were from Mr. Laurens, of the seventeenth of June. The conduct of the British administration was far from explicit, according to his state of it, but probably proceeded more from the discordant materials of which it is composed, and doubts as to the commercial footing on which America ought to be placed, than from any insidious views. Why, indeed, a commercial treaty should be made to clog the treaty of peace, is left to conjecture. Perhaps the fact may not be true, and the delay of the latter may be owing still to the old cause, to wit, a discussion of the intricate points with the Dutch. The situation of Great Britain is such, that nothing but some signal change in the aspect of things in this hemisphere can inspire a fresh disposition for war; notwithstanding the menacing tone of Sir Guy Carleton.
The Legislature of Pennsylvania have taken every possible step to expiate the default of the Executive, short of an impeachment of its members, which the rigor of some members of Congress included among the terms of reconciliation with the State. They have expressly invited Congress back, assured them of honorable protection, and given up the State-house with the appendages for their tem. porary use. They have also made Germantown a competitor for the permanent abode of Congress.
Vol. I.-36 * :
The opposition in the New England States to the grant of half-pay, instead of subsiding, has increased to such a degree as to produce almost a general anarchy. In what shape it will issue, is altogether uncertain. Those who are interested in the event look forward with very poignant apprehensions. Nothing but some Continental provision can obtain for them this part of their reward.
Why did not the Assembly stop the sale of land warrants? They bring no profit to the public treasury, are a source of constant speculation on the ignorant, and will finally arm numbers of citizens of other States, and even foreigners, with claims and clamors against the faith of Virginia. Immense quantities have from time to time been vended in this place at immense profit, and in no small proportion to the subjects of our Ally. The credulity here being exhausted, I am told the land-jobbers are going on with their commodity to Boston and other places.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
Princeton, September 13, 1783. Dear Sir,
Our Ministers in Europe have made some amends for their long silence, by voluminous despatches brought down to the twenty-seventh of July. They were received yesterday by Congress. No definitive treaty had then been signed by any of the parties, though all had been ready except Holland and America. The former is said to have settled her difficulties. The American Ministers have been endeavouring to incorporate some important commercial stipulations, but in vain; and, in case of emergency, must come forward with the provisional articles to be signed as the definitive treaty. The conduct of Great Britain in the negotiation with America has shown great unsteadiness, if not insidiousness, on the subject of commerce; and the enclosed proclamation of the second of July is a proof that some experiment is intended on the wisdom, firmness, and union of the States, before they will enter into a treaty in derogation of her Navigation Act. Congress will probably recommend some defensive plan to the States. If it should meet with the fate of former recommendations, it will not probably be owing to Rhode Island, whose staple interest, more than that of any others, lies in carrying between the United States and the West Indies. If it fails at all, it will prove such an inefficacy in the Union as will extinguish all respect for it and reliance on it.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
Princeton, September 20, 1783. Dear Sir,
Your favor of the thirty-first ultimo came to hand yesterday. As the reason which chiefly urged my departure for Virginia has ceased, I have been led to protract my attendance on Congress by the interest I felt in some measures on foot, and the particular interest which my constituents have in them. Two of these were the territorial cession and the
permanent seat of Congress. The former was a few days ago put in a form which I hope will meet the ultimatum of Virginia. The first Monday in next month is fixed for a decision of the latter; after which it may still be necessary to choose a temporary residence until the permanent one can be made ready. I am utterly unable to foretell how either of these points will be determined. It is not impossible that an effective vote may be found attainable on neither; in which case the winter must be spent in this village, where the public business can neither be conveniently done, the members of Congress be decently provided for, nor those connected with Congress provided for at all. I shall lose no time in looking out for quarters for you, and entering into provisional engagements in your favor.
Our last information from Europe is dated the twenty-seventh of July. France and Spain were then ready for the definitive signing of the peace. Holland was on the point of being so. The American Plenipotentiaries had done nothing on the subject, and in case of emergency could only sign the provisional treaty as final. Their negotiations had been spent chiefly on commercial stipulations, from which Great Britain, after very different professions and appearances, altogether drew back. The ready admission she found into our commerce, without paying any price for it, has suggested the policy of aiming at the entire benefit of it, and at the same time securing the carriage of the West India trade, the price she at first bid for it. The supposed contrariety of interests among the States, and the impotence of the Federal Government, are urged by the