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1780.br loaded with a debt for which it had not an equivalent. On the 20th of March, they resolved upon recommending it to the states, to revise their laws, making the continental bills a tender for the discharge of debts and contracts, and to amend the same so as shall be judged most conducive to justice in the present state of the paper currency.

A few particulars that chiefly respect the Massachusetts and New Hampshire states remain to be related.

When the Hampshire house of assembly (about sixty representatives being present) debated at Exeter in what way to raise their quota of men, a certain mode was proposed. About a dozen voted for it; however, no persons voting against it when called upon, the act of the former was declared to be a vote, and the measure established. But in case of its proving disgustful to their constituents, almost every member of the house could say, that he did not vote for it, which would pass with the inattentive for a sufficient apology.

The towns and districts of the Massachusetts, by the direction of the general court, made choice of delegates for the sole purpose of settling a constitution for the commonwealths who met in convention at Cambridge on the 1st of September 1779, and continued by adjournments Mar. to the 2d of last March: when having agreed upon a ** form of government, they submitted it to the revision of their constituents, in order to the completing of the same at a session to be held at Boston for that purpose, on the first Wednesday of the following June. Copies were ordered to be sent to the selectmen of each town, and the committees of each plantation, to be laid before 1 their their respective inhabitants. If the major part of them, H8* when legally assembled on the business, disapproved of any particular clause, they were to state their objections distinctly, with the reasons. The same were to be transmitted to the secretary of the convention, together with the number of voters in the said town and plantation meetings, on each side of every question; that so the convention, at the adjournment, might collect the general fense of their constituents on the several parts of the proposed constitution. If there did not appear to be two thirds of their constituents in savor of it, the convention were to alter it so as that it might be agreeable to the sentiments of two thirds of the voters through the state. It was also recommended to the inhabitants to empower their delegates at the next session, to agree upon a time when the form of government should take place, without returning the same again to the people; provided, that two thirds of the male inhabitants of the age of twenty-one years and upward, voting in the several meetings, agreed to the same, or the convention conformed it to the sentiments of two thirds of their constituents. When the convention met on the-7th of June as proposed, they agreed upon the last Wednesday \ of October, the 25th, for the commencement of the new form of government; as it appeared upon examination, that more than two thirds of the voters approved of it. Directions have been given for the election of governor, lieut. governor, &c. according to the mode prescribed by it against that memorable day. The constitution consists of two parts—a declaration of rights— and the frame of government. Upon reading it, you

rfio. 'will probably pronounce it equal, if not superior to any upon the continent.

Notwithstanding all die anxieties and avocations attending the war wherein they were engaged, the MaslaMay chusetts general court passed an act to incorporate and ** establish a society for the cultivation and promotion of the arts and sciences, by the name of—The American Academy Of Arts And Sciences. The number of the said academy, who are inhabitants of the state, are not to be at any time more than two hundred, nor less than forty. A bill to' the like purpose was brought into the house in a former session; but the names of the gentlemen inserted being unintentionally arranged by the persons draughting it, so as seemingly to give pre-eminence to another before Mr. Hancock, the last declared in the house against having any concern in it, and it fell to the ground: but an alphabetical arrangement in the new one removing the umbrage, the fame passed into an act. June The court agreed upon raising 3934 men for the con*' cinental army for six months; and on the 22d, 4726 more for three months, and the men were to be paid in gold or silver, or bills equivalent thereto. The selectmen of the several towns were ordered to collect shirts, shoes, stockings, &c. and subjected to penalties in cafe of non-compliance. They were also directed to draught and procure men. But notwithstanding these promising exertions, the general court will not have furnished gen. Washington by the beginning of August with men sufficient- to make good the state deficiency; for by his returns of the 23d, 5117 were wanting to complete the Massachusetts battalions.- That they might furnish the i9. provisions required by congress, they determined to borrow

row hard money upon the estates, or the.parts of estates 1780. of absentees, wherewith to make the purchases; and on the same day resolved, that in case the monthly supplies of beef and grain agreed upon, could not be procured by purchase, the same should be impressed. It was high time for something effectual to be done: for the Massachusetts and New Hampshire lines at and about West Point, though but a handful of men, had at times been many days without bread, on others without meat, and a long while on half allowance; and the officers in the same condition with the privates, having no money to purchase necessaries. ' New York, though consuming at both ends, and bleeding at every pore, had her compliment of continental troops in the field; beside having raised in the month of May 800 new levies to guard the frontiers. On the 21st of that month, Sir John Johnson made his appearance at Johnson-hall. He and his party the next day burnt about 33 houses and out-houses, together with a mill; destroyed cattle and sheep; and killed about a dozen persons. After digging up his plate, he marched off. While New York was thus suffering, and still exerting herself, several of her sister states that were in full and peaceable possession of their territories, seemingly flept in security, and had not a third of their quota of men in the field.

The American cruisers have been sending in occasionally valuable prizes to different ports; and the people of Boston particularly have been lately in high spirits, having heard within this fortnight, that nineteen ships of a very rich outward bound Quebec fleet were captured, and that the privateers were in pursuit of the _ .. . re.

1780. remainder. Several of them will undoubtedly be brought safe into one or other of the states *.

LETTER XII.

Rotterdam, Aug. 26, 1780. Friend G.

U79* T T I S British majesty went to the house of peers, and 25. -*- -** opened, the session of parliament. The royal speech was totally silent with respect to America and the West Indies: but stiled the present, one of the most dangerous confederacies that ever was formed against the crown and people of Great Britain. It recommended to the lords and commons the consideration of what further advantages might be extended to the. kingdom of Ireland, by such regulations as may effectually promote the interests of all the British .dominions. The necessity of the recommendation was evident from what had already happened upon the meeting of the Irish parliament in October. The further proceedings of the people of Ireland discovered a determination to secure to themselves substantial benefits from a crisis so peculiarly savorable to the views of the patriotic party. The associators being jealous, that if the supplies were granted as usual for two years, a sudden prorogation of parliament would put an end to all hope of amicable redress

* About fourteen were brought in.

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