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The Dismall Accounts of the Misfortunes and Afflictions of our Friends in America, distress Us a good deal, but the Jewish avarice in the Loan of Money, which We hear of, much more. While such Interest can be obtained, much Property will be diverted from Trade. But this must have an End. The great Fish will have eaten all the little ones, and then they must look out for other Prey. The Multiplicity of Law Suits, is much like what I remember after the Peace of 1763, but when a certain Quantity of Property had shifted hands they diminished. it is generally agreed that our People have been imprudent and extravagant, but I hope that Profligacy and want of Principle have not taken any deep root. I wish it were in my Power to comfort them with any hopes of relief from this Country, but it is not. There is, instead of any Consideration of our Losses, Inconveniences, or Distresses, a visible and indecent Joy at all the Accounts of them. If Revenge is sweet our People will have it, in a few years, but that is no rational Consolation.
Captain Stanhope's Letters to the Governor, are by no means approved at this Court, as Congress will be informed Officially before this reaches you. With the greatest Esteem and respect I have the honour to be, Madam, your sincere Friend and humble servant,
NATHANIEL GORHAM TO JAMES WARREN
NEW YORK, March 6, 1786
DEAR SIR, Your esteemed favour of the 11th ulto. recd. and would observe in answer to the first part of it, that the Board of Treasury have (by order) laid before Congress a plan for expediting the settlement of the public Accounts 1 by which plan four or five thousand dollars will be Annually saved, and Mr. Pennet will consiquently be discharged, and some other Person employed for a short time to bring the accounts in that quarter to a close. but the great inattention and negligence of the States with regard 1 Journals of the Continental Congress, March 24, 1786.
to their representation renders it impossible for Congress to pass. upon this report and various other matters in which the wellfare of the Union is deeply interested - it being a money matter there being only seven States represented, R. Island Connecticut Delaware Maryland North Carolina and Georgia being absent. indeed the principle of the confederation as it respects representation and the mode of voting is calculated to encourage delinquency. there is no reason that Rhode Island, Delaware and Georgia should have equal weight in the federal councills with Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and if the representation had been apportiond according to numbers or property, and a suitable quorum established and the major vote to determine questions, this inattention would not exist. but as unanimity is now necessary upon the most trivial questions we feel all the inconveniences. of the liberum Veto of a Polish Diet. the applications from our foreign creditors are of such a nature as to make a deep impression with Congress and they have thought it their duty again to call the consideration of the States to the subject of an Impost, more especially as the situation of N. York enables them so to Tax their Neighbours of Connecticut and N. Jersey as to create such a temper in those States as will greatly weaken if not destroy the Union. The Assembly of N. Jersey have lately entered into a resolution that they will not comply with the last or any future requisition of Congress untill N. York gives up their Impost or applys it for the general purposes of the Union. indeed there is nothing but the restraining hand of Congress, (weak as it is), that prevents N. Jersey and Connecticut from entering the lists very seriously with N. York and bloodshed would very quickly be the consiquence. but however N. Jersey may suffer by her paying taxes, for N. York her refusal to comply with the requisition is unjustifiable, and unless she recinds her resolution must work the end of all federal Government. Congress sent an express to demand an attested copy of the resolution. he returned with it last night. tomorrow it will be very seriously considered. but as N. Jersey is one of the seven States now on the floor they may perhaps embarras Congress in their proceedings. they have however wrote in the most pressing manner for the attendance of the
delinquent States. Congress yesterday agreed on another application to the States on the subject of Commerce. it is plain from the whole tenor of Mr. Adams' letters, that unless Congress possess the power of restricting the British trade there is no probability of his being able to do any thing to purpose with that Court. I will endeavor as far as I am able to have an equitable adjustment of your account. we do not get any account of the President's state of health, we are therefore intirely at a loss when to expect him. Your Son Mr. Warren being returnd to Boston I inclose some letters which I red. under cover for him. please to make my best respects to Mrs. Warren and be assured that I am with esteem and regard your most Humble Servant,
JAMES WARREN TO JOHN ADAMS ADAMS MSS.
MILTON, April 30th, 1786
DEAR SIR, I was a few days ago honoured with your favour of the 12th of Decr. I am much obliged to you for your Attention to my Son and your favourable, if not partial, Opinion of the Merits of his Family. Winslow left Lisbon and returned Home last fall, after a disagreeable residence there for more than Twelve months at a great Expense, fully convinced of the futility of Court promises, which his former Experience could no longer justify any future dependence upon. it has been my Opinion that Consuls should be appointed in several of the European Ports, and particularly at Lisbon, where we have had a great Trade till interrupted by the Algerine Corsairs. no resource is so natural and beneficial for the supply of that great Branch of Business, the Fishery, as the Trade with Lisbon and Cadiz, and I can scarcely conceive how it can be supported without it, unless by a dependence on foreigners for the Importation, which must defeat all the policy of our Navigation Acts, however founded in Policy or Economy. How we are to be relieved from the Injury of those Pirates I am at a loss to determine. their Generosity will not do it and our Poverty cant, and if it is not done the Fishery and Trade
must be depressed and discouraged. You who are acquainted with the Means the Agents to Algiers are possessed of can Judge of their prospects of Success. I can only wish them Success. I can form some Idea of the difficulty and delay of your Treaties which render their Completion uncertain even to the best Informed. The Trade with Britain, if it has been attended with the same loss and disappointment to them, has almost ruined us, and with their own Conduct may Justify a severe Navigation Act with regard to them. but I am not so well satisfied of the propriety of it with regard to any other Nation, tho' I think the policy of the French in their duty on our Fish and the Bountys on their own very absurd. I wish I could see for the Benefit of Mankind a fair Experiment made of a Government supported without Duties or Bounties. at least that they should operate only as prohibitions. or severe restrictions, without any regard to a revenue. in that case even those in question might not have existed.
if our Oil can find a Market in France it will, I think, disconcert the views of the British Ministry and be very advantageous to us as well as to the Commerce of France. I took great pains to impress the Marquiss de Fayate with proper Sentiments on that subject when here last, and have reason from his Letters to suppose it has had a good Effect.
I know you wish to be Informed of the situation of your beloved Country. it would give me pleasure to gratify you. in former Times, when you was absent, I used to attempt it; but it is now so novel and so extraordinary that I dare not undertake the Task. The constant drain of Specie to make remittances for Baubles Imported from England is so great as to occasion an extream Scarcity. Commerce is ruined and, what is worse, the husbandry and Manufactures of the Country cannot be supported. the only Branch of Business that promises any Success is the Fishery, and that is greatly Injured from the same Cause. No Debts can be paid, or Taxes collected. the first are severely demanded by multiplied Law suits; the last are become more necessary than ever by the wants of the public. Our General Court sets often and long, do little and give no satisfaction to their Constituents. Paper Money, Tenders of Lands, etc., sus
pension of Law processes, and a variety of Expedients are proposed and nothing adopted. A total Change in principles and Manners, Interest is the great Object, the only Pursuit, and Riches only respected. everything seems verging to confusion and anarchy and certainly great Wisdom and Address are necessary to prevent it. Our Elections have been much the same this as the last Year. indeed when a Man is once in it is for Life. A repetition annually is nugatory. few attend the Meetings and hardly one inquired further than who was in last and vote for him again without the trouble of recuring to Principles, or tracing Consequences.
Be assured no Body can wish you and Family more happiness, or desire more to see you in the Vicinity than your Friends on Milton Hill. make our Compliments to Mrs. Adams and Love to Nabby. I am your Friend and Servant,
Will you give me your Opinion of the Encyclopedia and whether it be worth purchasing.
if it would not be an Impertinent request to a Minister of State, I would ask the favour to send me the Gent'n pocket Farrier and Trusler's practical Husbandry.1 I will pay the Cost to your order here. R. Baldwin Pater Noster Row. A Charming Enthusiasm is prevailing for Agriculture.
ABIGAIL ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
LONDON, May 24, 1786
MY DEAR MADAM,- The affliction under which you are now laboring has been protracted to a much longer period, than I feard when I first left America. it was then I Buried the Dear and amiable youth,2 for whose loss your maternal Bosom heaves the sad sigh, and over whose urn, all who knew him must drop a tear of affectionate remembrance.
I John Trusler (1735-1820), whose Practical Husbandry was first published in 1780. 2 Charles Warren, who died at St. Lucar. Verses by the mother are in her Poems, 240.