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second were passed after undergoing sundry alterations. The clause in the second for allowing the expense of maintaining civil government within the ceded territory, was struck out by the committee, and an attempt to get it re-inserted in the House was negatived. It was surmised, that so indefinite an expression might subject Congress to very exorbitant claims. With respect to Virginia, I believe that expense has not been so considerable as to be much worth insisting on.
The principal expenses may properly be included under the military head. The consideration of the last resolution, annulling Indian purchases, was postponed, with an intention, I beliere, of not resuming it. It is supposed by some to be unnecessary; by others, to be improper, as implying that without such previous assurance Congress would have a right to recognize private claims in a territory expressly given up to them for the common benefit. These motives prevailed, I am persuaded, with more than the real view of gratifying private interest at the public expense. The States may annex what conditions they please to their cessions, and by that means guard them against misapplication; or if they only annul all pretended purchases by their own laws before the cessions are made, Congress are sufficiently precluded, by their general assurance that they shall be applied to the common benefit, from admitting any private claims which are opposed to it.
The Vermont business has been two days under agitation and nothing done in it, except rejecting a proposition for postponing the determination of Congress till Commissioners should enquire into the titles and boundaries of New Hampshire and New York. Congress have bound themselves so strongly by their own act to bring it to an issue at this time, and are pressed by New York so closely with this engagement, that it is not possible any longer to try evasive expedients. For my own part, if a final decision must take place, I am clearly of opinion that it ought to be made on principles that will effectually discountenance the erection of new Governments without the sanction of proper authority, and in a style marking a due firmness and decision in Congress.
TO JOSEPH JONES.
Philadelphia, October 17, 1780. DEAR SIR,
The post having failed to arrive this week, I am deprived of the pleasure of acknowledging a' line
Congress have at length been brought to a final consideration of the clause relating to Indian purchases, [by the land companies.] It was debated very fully and particularly, and was, in the result, lost by a division of the House. Under the first impression of the chagrin, I had determined to propose to my colleagues to state the whole matter to the Assembly, with all the circumstances and the reasonings of the opponents to the measure; but, on cooler reflection, I think it best to leave the fact in your hands, to be made use of as your prudence may suggest. I am the rather led to decline the first determination, because I am pretty confident, that, whatever the views of particular members might be, it was neither the wish nor intention of
who voted with them, to favor the purchasing companies. Some thought such an assurance from Congress unnecessary, because their receiving the lands from the States as vacant and unappropriated, excluded all individual claims, and because they had given a general assurance that the cession should be applied to the common benefit. Others supposed that such an assurance might imply, that without it Congress would have a right to dispose of the lands in any manner they pleased, and that it might give umbrage to the States claiming an exclusive jurisdiction over them. All that now remains for the ceding States to do, is to annex to their cessions the express condition, that no private claims be complied with by Congress. Perhaps it would not be going too far, by Virginia, who is so deeply concerned, to make it a condition of the grant, that no such claim be admitted even within the grants of others, because, when they are given up to Congress, she is interested in them as much as others, and it might so happen, that the benefit of all other grants, except her own, might be transferred from the public to a few landmongers. I cannot help adding, however, that I hope this incident in Congress will not discourage any measures of the Assembly, which would otherwise have been taken [for the object] of ratifying the Confederation. Under the cautions I have
suggested, they may still be taken with perfect security.
Congress have promoted Col. Morgan to the rank of a Brigadier, on the representations in favor of it from Governors Rutledge, and Jefferson, and General
Gates. The latter is directed to be made a subject of a Court of Inquiry, and General Washington is to send a successor into the Southern department. The new arrangement of the army, sent to the General for his revision, has brought from him many judicious and valuable observations on the subject, which, with the arrangement, are in the hands of a committee.
TO JOSEPH JONES.
Philadelphia, October, 1780. DEAR SIR,
I wish it was in my power to enable you to satisfy the uneasiness of people with respect to the disappointment in foreign succours. I am sensible of the advantage which our secret enemies take of it. I am persuaded also that those who ought to be acquainted with the cause are sensible of it; and as they give no intimations on the subject, it is to be inferred that they are unable to give any that would prevent the mischief. It is so delicate a subject, that, with so little probability of succeeding, it would perhaps be hardly prudent to suggest it. As soon as any solution comes out you shall be furnished with it.
We continue to receive periodical alarms from the commissary's and quarter-master's departments. The season is now arrived when provision ought to be made for a season that will not admit of transportation, and when the monthly supplies must be subject to infinite disappointments, even if the States were to do their duty. But instead of magazines being laid in, our army is living from hand to mouth, with a prospect of being soon in a condition still worse. How a total dissolution of it can be prevented in the course of the winter is, for any resources now in prospect, utterly inexplicable, unless the States unanimously make a vigorous and speedy effort to form magazines for the purpose. But unless the States take other methods to procure their specific supplies than have prevailed in most of them, the utmost efforts to comply with the requisitions of Congress can be only a temporary relief. This expedient, as I take it, was meant to prevent the emission of money. Our own experience, as well as the example of other countries, made it evident that we could not by taxes draw back to the treasury the emissions as fast as they were necessarily drawn out. We could not follow the example of other countries by borrowing, neither our own citizens nor foreigners being willing to lend as far as our wants extended. To continue to emit ad infinitum, was thought more dangerous than an absolute occlusion of the press. Under these circumstances, the expedient of specific requisitions was adopted for supplying the necessities of the war. But it is clear the success of this expedient depends on the mode of carrying it into execution. If, instead of executing it by specific taxes, State emissions or commissary's and quartermaster's certificates, which are a worse species of emissions, are recurred to, what was intended for our relief will only hasten our destruction.