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when we do it is very general, that great preparations still continue to be made in France and Spain and of numbers of prizes carried into their Ports without any declaration of War, etc. with regard to us I presume the many Letters you will have by this opportunity will give you better Information than my Time and other Circumstances will admit off. The Campaigne is now fully opened, at least on the side of the Enemy, and seems to be carrying on with more vigour, and in a different Manner from former ones. they early made a descent on Georgia with a Considerable Force, where they have supported themselves much longer than was at first expected, and if the Climate don't do more for us than the Exertions and military prowess of the Southern States, I fear they will penetrate as far as Charlestown, tho we have no late Intelligence on which to ground any perticular Accounts of the State of things in that quarter. A strong detachment of the Army from New York with such Naval Force as they were able to Muster have made a Sudden Attack upon Virginia, destroyed Portsmouth in that State, and done considerable other damage, and as suddenly returned and gone up the North River, where they still remain fortifying some places and endeavouring to possess themselves of others. this military finess gives us reason to apprehend they may next play the same Game somewhere else, and perhaps some parts of the Eastern States may be the Objects of the next Maneuvre. we are therefore preparing for them, but the State of our Currency, and the selfish avaricious Spirit prevailing here, have almost extinguished the remains of Patriotism you left, created innumerable difficulties and rendered our exertions languid. However Means are taking and I hope will be effectual to rouse the People to a Sense of their true Interest and to excite them again vigorously to Unite in repelling the common danger. Near 3000 men are now raising here to join the Army as soon as possible and our Militia are all ordered to be held in readiness at a minutes warning, but our greatest difficulties are the amazing depreciation of our Money and the scarcity of provisions, especially Bread. you may form some idea of them from the price of Board in this Town from 45 to 50 dollars per week, and of the first from the prices of Molasses 8 dollars gallon, tho' plenty here
and every thing in the same or greater proportion, Bohea Tea 40 dollars per lb., and of the last from the prices of Indian corn 40 dollars per bushel, and meat from 6/ to 8/ per lb. all European Goods are also excessive high. if the Subject was not serious and melancholy, it would be laughable to hear the rates of Gauze and other Geugaws, and to see the eagerness with which they are purchased, and to observe the Vanity, Folly and Extravagance which infests all ranks of People in their Dress, and Liveing. Every Bodys Invention has been strained to find a remedy without success. Taxation seems to be the only one, and to that we have got pretty well reconciled. the General Assembly freely granted a Tax of £1,000,000. last winter that is now collecting with little grumbling, or difficulty. we have already this Session without much debate, voted another of £2,800,000. part of which is to discharge 6 Million of dollars, our proportion of 45 Million required of the several States by Congress, so you will understand that we deal in our Millions as well as Britain, and raise them as easily. it would require a volume to give you a minute detail of our situation. the above Sketch must suffice for the present. if you ask where our Army is I answer I believe the Main Body are in the Jersies. if you ask what they are doing, I cant tell.
With regard to our Naval Affairs, you may expect I should speak with more precision, as I am still drudging at the Navy Board for a morsel of Bread, while others, and among them fellows who would have cleaned my shoes five years ago, have amassed fortunes, and are riding in chariots. were you to be set down here you could not realize what you would see. you would think you was upon enchanted Ground in a world turned topsy turvy, beyond the description of Hogarths humourous pencil or Churchills Satyr. but to take up my thread.
The French Squadron has made such a diversion in the West Indies, that we have been but little troubled with their frigates, and indeed they have but very few Ships on these Stations. our frigates and privateers have succeeded accordingly and made many prizes, and among others taken several privateers and Vessels of Force as you will see by the Papers we send by this Vessel. Adams, Gerry, Lovel, and Holton are still at Congress.
Mr. Adams has been unwell and is expected here every day. he is returned a Member for this Town and is chose a Councellor, so he has his option of two Seats. which he will take I dont know. Mr. Dana returned last August, and has remained ever since and I believe will not go again. H[ancoc]k has been once but was gone but about six weeks. he tarried at Congress but about 2 weeks. the air of Philadelphia did not suit him on a Common Seat, he returned for better Health. he is now Speaker of our House, and a sinecure delegate of Congress. the last serves as a feather among others in his cap, to decorate an Illustrious Speaker. Mr. Edwards was chose last winter, has resigned. Gen'l Ward is chose in his room whether he will go I cant say. Your Friend and Servant who is now a Member of the House might have been chose but prevented it, and promoted the other. The Letters I forward from your good Lady will inform you of her welfare. I can only add that I am as I ever was Your Assured Friend and Humble Servant,
Do let me know what you are, a Plenipo., a Commissioner, or what, that I may address properly, be you which of them you may you are an object of Envy. There is a Combination Political and Commercial that would supplant you and all your Brethren in Europe if they could. they wish to be able to establish their Aristocratic Principles and to make their fortunes at the same time. this Party neither like the political principles, or manners of N. England, and at the same time they fear them. you know them. part of their policy therefore is to reduce their trade, and consequently their power and influence. what would more effectually do that than by ceding all right and claim to the fishery to get a Peace. rather than see us flourish, they would be content that America should never be a Maritime Power. I want to say more on this Subject, but I think I wont. if our Allies should fall into their views, they must dismiss all expectations of Trade from us, we shall have nothing to give them. Your Predecessor has made a great racket here, and blew up a flame that I apprehended Mischief from, but the poor Man is fallen by his own devices, and
the Characters of the Lees are established. if I had a good Memory I should quote a Text from the Book of Proverbs applicable to this matter.
JAMES LOVELL TO JAMES WARREN
June 15th, 1779
GENERAL WARREN,—As Mr. Adams is on his Journey to Boston it is not essential that I should now write minutely, relative to the Points which have been agitated here lately; all proper Communications will be made to you by him in a Way to which an Epistle is only a secondary Satisfaction. He will also give you the whole of what has reached us yet from Sth. Carolina, touching the good Fortune of Genl. Lincoln. But these Considerations would not acquit me to myself if I neglected thus early to acknowledge my Obligations to you for the obliging Expression of your "Desire to be considered as my Friend," contained in your Letter of May 30th which reached me the Night before last. Be assured, dear Sir, that you have hereby liquidated a full Page in my Book of Sufferings. There was a Season when I counted upon Thousands and Tens of Thousands; but, for several Months back I have been fully persuaded that all my Hazards Toils and Watchings were to be recompensed by the Approbation of a virtuous Few. I wish the "unusual Anxiety and Weights upon your Spirits" may be thrown off so far as it was occasioned by the Ultimata which are one time or other to be debated here: I cannot but think a decent Coalition would take Place among such as it is supposed will differ, from local Interests or varied Degrees of Resolution. I believe our Ally intends well for us. But such Belief does not warrant the laying aside political Watchfulness: Nor should the Exertion of this occasion any Disgust in those who feel themselves to be thoroughly well intentioned. If, after Conversation with Mr. S. A[dams] you wish Informations may be sent from this Place respecting the Result of Points not quite decided when he left us relative to Cod and Hadock, I will endeavor to give you all the Satisfaction my Circumstances will allow. You will always consider the Distinc
tion between catching and drying, being Rights with widely differing Foundations.1
As to our Money, it cannot be mended but by stopping the Press. Taxes, if the States should even comply punctually with our Recommendations, which their past Conduct does not warrant us to look for, will not answer by themselves. We are about to borrow 20 Millions of the People on probable temptations.2 But can we offer Interest in exact Proportion to Exchange to such Persons as now may be disposed to lend, and not pay the same to those who have formerly lent. I think not. We did equal Justice when we offered Bills on France. We must do the same at this Time. Give 6 per Cent conditional, to rise in proportion to the Quantity in Circulation at the Date of the Certificate and the Due of Interest; as, unavoidably, Something of an Emission must go on, till we are otherwise supplied. For my Part, I think such a Measure would alone be sufficient to obtain much Money.
Some Thoughts are suggested of holding the Principal till the Currency shall be 1/8 appreciated; but this is holding up no Temptation, for, if the Press is stopped, the Appreciation would inevitably be 1/8 in a very short Term indeed.
If the "Sacrifice of Consistency" which you justly notice was made in a Case where there were Abilities of a Size to produce any great Events, I should be more chagrined than I am at observing the public Want of a republican Delicacy in the Case stated.
I am sorry that the Opportunities for Holland were not the Carriers of my Letters as I have been unlucky here. Our worthy Friend John Adams must think I neglect him in his very odd Situation. We are ripening towards Measures which must induce an immediate and definite consequential Disposition of him, and I have no doubt of an honorable one. As to the Assents and Dissents in our tragicomical Journals, the Grounds of them are hard to be fathomed; and the Case you mention is a very delicate one; I dare venture, however, to say that it is not to be accounted for by Want of Honesty, but rather by the Quantity of that Species
I Fishery provisions in the treaty of peace.
2 Journals of the Continental Congress, XIV. 717.
or Depreciation" is written in the margin.