Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO MR. CALKOEN. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 7 (Letters and State Papers 1777-1782)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO MR. CALKOEN. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 7 (Letters and State Papers 1777-1782) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 7.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO MR. CALKOEN.
Amsterdam, 4 October, 1780.
You desire an exact and authentic information of the present situation of American affairs, with a previous concise account of their course before, during, and after the commencement of hostilities.
To give a stranger an adequate idea of the rise and progress of the dispute between Great Britain and America would require much time and many volumes; it comprises the history of England and the United States of America for twenty years; that of France and Spain for five or six; and that of all the maritime powers of Europe for two or three. Suffice it to say, that immediately upon the conquest of Canada from the French in the year 1759, Great Britain seemed to be seized with a jealousy against the Colonies, and then concerted the plan of changing their forms of government, of restraining their trade within narrower bounds, and raising a revenue within them by authority of parliament, for the avowed or pretended purpose of protecting, securing, and defending them. Accordingly, in the year 1760, orders were sent from the board of trade in England to the custom-house officers in America, to apply to the supreme courts of justice for writs of assistance to enable them to carry into a more rigorous execution certain acts of parliament called the acts of trade (among which the famous act of navigation was one, the fruit of the ancient English jealousy of Holland) by breaking open houses, ships, or cellars, chests, stores, and magazines, to search for uncustomed goods. In most of the Colonies these writs were refused. In the Massachusetts Bay the question, whether such writs were legal and constitutional, was solemnly and repeatedly argued before the supreme court by the most learned counsel in the Province.
The judges of this court held their commissions during the pleasure of the governor and council; and the chief justice dying at this time, the famous Mr. Hutchinson was appointed, probably with a view of deciding this cause in favor of the crown, which was accordingly done. But the arguments advanced upon that occasion by the bar and the bench, opened to the people such a view of the designs of the British government against their liberties and of the danger they were in, as made a deep impression upon the public, which never wore out.
From this moment, every measure of the British court and parliament and of the king’s governors and other servants confirmed the people in an opinion of a settled design to overturn those constitutions under which their ancestors had emigrated from the old world, and with infinite toil, danger, and expense, planted a new one. It would be endless to enumerate all the acts of parliament and measures of government; but, in 1764, Mr. George Grenville moved a number of resolutions in parliament, which passed, for laying a vast number of heavy duties upon stamped paper; and, in 1765, the act of parliament was made, called the stamp act. Upon this, there was a universal rising of the people in every Colony, compelling the stamp-officers by force to resign, and preventing the stamped papers from being used, and, indeed, compelling the courts of justice to proceed in business without them. My Lord Rockingham perceiving the impossibility of executing this statute, moved, by the help of Mr. Pitt, for the repeal of it, and obtained it, which restored peace, order, and harmony to America; which would have continued to this hour, if the evil genius of Great Britain had not prompted her to revive the resistance of the people by fresh attempts upon their liberties and new acts of parliament imposing taxes upon them.
In 1767 they passed another act of parliament laying duties upon glass, paper, and painters’ colors, and tea. This revived the discontents in America; but government sent over a board of commissioners to oversee the execution of this act of parliament and all others imposing duties, with a multitude of new officers for the same purpose; and, in 1768, for the first time, it sent four thousand regular troops to Boston, to protect the revenue officers in the collection of the duties.
Loth to commence hostilities, the people had recourse to nonimportation agreements and a variety of other measures, which, in 1770, induced parliament to repeal all the duties upon glass, paper, and painters’ colors, but left the duty upon tea unrepealed. This produced an association not to drink tea. In 1770, the animosity between the inhabitants of Boston and the king’s troops grew so high, that a party of the troops fired upon a crowd of people in the streets, killing five or six and wounding some others. This raised such a spirit among the inhabitants, that, in a body, they demanded the instant removal of the troops; which was done, the governor ordering them down to Castle Island, some miles from the town.
In 1773, the British government, determined to carry into execution the duty upon tea, empowered the East India Company to export it to America. They sent some cargoes to Boston, some to New York, some to Philadelphia, and some to Charleston. The inhabitants of New York and Philadelphia sent the ships back to London, and they sailed up the Thames, to proclaim to all the nation, that New York and Pennsylvania would not be enslaved. The inhabitants of Charleston unloaded it and stored it in cellars where it could not be used, and where it finally perished. The inhabitants of Boston tried every measure to send the ships back, like New York and Philadelphia; but not being permitted to pass the castle, the tea was all thrown into the sea.
This produced several vindictive acts of parliament,—one for starving the town of Boston by shutting up the port; another for abolishing the constitution of the Province by destroying their charter; another for sending persons to England to be tried for treason, &c.
These acts produced the congress of 1774, who stated the rights and grievances of the Colonies, and petitioned for redress. Their petitions and remonstrances were all neglected, and treated with contempt. General Gage had been sent over with an army to enforce the Boston port bill and the act for destroying the charter. This army, on the 19th of April, 1775, commenced hostilities at Lexington, which have been continued to this day.
You see, sir, by this most imperfect and hasty sketch, that this war is already twenty years old. And I can truly say, that the people, through the whole course of this long period, have been growing constantly every year more and more unanimous and determined to resist the designs of Great Britain.
I should be ashamed to lay before a gentleman of Mr. Calkoen’s abilities so rude a sketch, if I had not an equal confidence in his candor and discretion, which will induce me, as I may have leisure, to continue to sketch a few observations upon your questions.
Your first proposition is, “to prove, by striking facts, that an implacable hatred and aversion reigns throughout America.”
In answer to this, I beg leave to say, that the Americans are animated by higher principles, and better and stronger motives, than hatred and aversion. They universally aspire after a free trade with all the commercial world, instead of that mean monopoly, in which they were shackled by Great Britain, to the disgrace and mortification of America, and to the injury of all the rest of Europe; to whom it seems as if God and nature intended that so great a magazine of productions, the raw materials of manufactures, so great a source of commerce, and so rich a nursery of seamen, as America is, should be open. They despise, sir, they disdain the idea of being again monopolized by any one nation whatsoever; and this contempt is at least as powerful a motive of action as any hatred whatsoever.
Moreover, sir, they consider themselves contending for the purest principles of liberty, civil and religious; for those forms of government, under the faith of which their country was planted; and for those great improvements of them, which have been made by their new constitutions. They consider themselves not only as contending for these great blessings, but against the greatest evils that any country ever suffered; for they know, if they were to be deceived by England, to break their union among themselves, and their faith with their allies, they would ever after be in the power of England, who would bring them into the most abject submission to the government of a parliament the most corrupted in the world, in which they would have no voice nor influence, at three thousand miles distance from them.
But if hatred must come into consideration, I know not how to prove their hatred better, than by showing the provocations they have had to hatred.
If tearing up from the foundation those forms of government under which they were born and educated, and thrived and prospered, to the infinite emolument of England; if imposing taxes upon them, or endeavoring to do it, for twenty years, without their consent; if commencing hostilities upon them, burning their towns, butchering their people, deliberately starving prisoners, ravishing their women, exciting hosts of Indians to butcher and scalp them, and purchasing Germans to destroy them, and hiring negro servants to murder their masters;—if all these, and many other things as bad, are not provocations enough to hatred, I would request Mr. Calkoen to tell me what is or can be. All these horrors the English have practised in every part of America, from Boston to Savannah.
2. Your second proposition is “to show that this is general, at least so general, that the tories are in so small a number, and of such little force, that they are counted as nothing.”
If Mr. Calkoen would believe me, I could testify as a witness; I could describe all the sources, all the grounds, springs, principles, and motives to toryism through the continent. This would lead me into great length; and the result of all would be, my sincere opinion, that the tories throughout the whole continent do not amount to the twentieth part of the people. I will not, however, obtrude my testimony, nor my opinion; I will appeal to witnesses who cannot be suspected, General Burgoyne and General Howe. Burgoyne has published a Narrative of his Proceedings, in which he speaks of the tories. I left the pamphlet at Paris, but it may easily be had from London.
General Howe has also published a Narrative relative to his Conduct in America, to which the reader is referred.1
I have quoted to you General Howe’s words; and one would think this was sufficient to show how much or how little zeal there is for the British cause in North America. When we consider that, in the period here mentioned, the English army had been in possession of the cities of Boston, Newport, New York, and Philadelphia, and that they had marched through the Jersies, part of Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and with all their arts, bribes, threats, and flatteries, which General Howe calls their efforts and exertions, they were able to obtain so few recruits, and very few of these Americans, I think that any impartial man must be convinced that the aversion and antipathy to the British cause is very general; so general, that the tories are to be accounted but a very little thing.
The addresses which they have obtained to the King and his generals, when their army was in Boston, Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Savannah, and Charleston, show the same thing. It is well known that every art of flattery and of terror was always used to obtain subscribers to these addresses. Yet the miserable numbers they have obtained, and the still more despicable character of most of these small numbers, show that the British cause is held in very low esteem. Even in Charleston, the capital of a Province which contains two hundred thousand whites, they were able to obtain only two hundred and ten subscribers, and among these there is not one name that I ever remember to have heard before.
I am sorry I have not Burgoyne’s Narrative, which shows in the same point of light the resources the English are likely to find in the tories to be nothing more than a sure means of getting rid of a great number of their guineas.
To learn the present state of America, it is sufficient to read the public papers. The present state of Great Britain and its dependencies may be learned the same way. The omnipotence of the British parliament, and the omnipotence of the British navy, are like to go the same way.
Your third proposition is “to show that America, notwithstanding the war, daily increases in strength and force.”
It is an undoubted fact that America daily increases in strength and force; but it may not be so easy to prove this to the satisfaction of a European who has never been across the Atlantic; however, some things may be brought into consideration, which may convince, if properly attended to.
1. It may be argued from the experience of former wars, during all which the population of that country was so far from being diminished or even kept at a stand, that it was always found at the end of a war that the numbers of people had increased during the course of it, nearly in the same ratio as in time of peace. Even in the last French war, which lasted from 1755 to 1763 (during which time the then American Colonies made as great exertions, had in the field as great a number of men, and put themselves to as great an expense in proportion to the numbers of people, as the United States have done during this war) it was found that the population had increased nearly as fast as in times of peace.
2. If you make inquiry into the circumstances of the different parts of America at this day, you find the people in all the States pushing their settlements out into the wilderness upon the frontiers, cutting down the woods, and subduing new lands with as much eagerness and rapidity as they used to do in former times of war or peace. This spreading of the people into the wilderness is a decisive proof of the increasing population.
3. The only certain way of determining the ratio of the increase of population is, by authentic numerations of the people and regular official returns. This has, I believe, never been done generally in former wars, and has been generally omitted in this. Yet some States have made these returns. The Massachusetts Bay, for example, had a valuation about the year 1773 or 1774, and again the last year, 1779, they had another. In this period of five years, that State was found to have increased, both in number of people and in value of property, more than it ever had grown before in the same period of time. Now the Massachusetts Bay has had a greater number of men employed in the war, both by land and sea, in proportion to the numbers of her inhabitants, than any other State of the thirteen. She has had more men killed, taken prisoners, and died of sickness, than any other State; yet her growth has been as rapid as ever, from whence it may be fairly argued that all the other States have grown in the same or a greater proportion.
4. It has been found by calculations, that America has doubled her numbers, even by natural generation alone, upon an average, about once in eighteen years. This war has now lasted near six years; in the course of it, we commonly compute in America that we have lost by sickness and the sword and captivity about five-and-thirty thousand men. But the numbers of people have not increased less than seven hundred and fifty thousand souls, which give at least an hundred thousand fighting men. We have not less, probably, than seventy thousand fighting men in America more than we had on the day that hostilities were first commenced, on the 19th of April, 1775. There are near twenty thousand fighting men added to the numbers in America every year. Is this the case with our enemy, Great Britain? Which then can maintain the war the longest?
5. If America increases in numbers, she certainly increases in strength. But her strength increases in other respects,—the discipline of her armies increases; the skill of her officers increases by sea and land; her skill in military manufactures, such as those of saltpetre, powder, firearms, cannon, increases; her skill in manufactures of flax and wool for the first necessity increases; her manufactures of salt also increase; and all these are augmentations of strength and force to maintain her independence. Further, her commerce increases every year,—the number of vessels she has had this year in the trade to the West Indies; the number of vessels arrived in Spain, France, Holland, and Sweden, show that her trade is greatly increased this year.
But, above all, her activity, skill, bravery, and success in privateering increase every year; the prizes she has made from the English this year will defray more than one half of the whole expense of this year’s war. I only submit to your consideration a few hints which will enable you to satisfy yourself by reflection how fast the strength and force of America increase.
Your fourth question is,—“Whether America, in and of itself, by means of purchasing or exchanging the productions of the several provinces, would be able to continue the war for six, eight, or ten years, even if they were entirely deprived of the trade with Europe; or their allies, exhausted by the war, and forced to make a separate peace, were to leave them?”
This is an extreme case. And where is the necessity of putting such a supposition? Is there the least appearance of France or Spain being exhausted by the war? Are not their resources much greater than those of England, separated as she is from America? Why should a suspicion be entertained that France or Spain will make a separate peace? Are not these powers sufficiently interested in separating America from England? All the world knows that their maritime power and the possession of their Colonies depend upon separating them. Such chimeras as these are artfully propagated by the English to terrify stockjobbers; but thinking men and well-informed men know that France and Spain have the most pressing motives to persevere in the war. Besides, infractions so infamous of solemn treaties made and avowed to all mankind are not committed by any nation. In short, no man who knows any thing of the real wealth and power of England on one hand, and of the power and resources of France, Spain, and America on the other, can believe it possible, in the ordinary course of human events, and without the interposition of miracles, that France and Spain should be so exhausted by the war as to be forced to make a separate peace.
The other supposition here made is equally extreme. It is in the nature of things impossible that America should ever be deprived entirely of the trade of Europe. In opposition to one extreme, I have a right to advance another. And I say, that if all the maritime powers of Europe were to unite their navies to block up the American ports and prevent the trade of Europe, they could not wholly prevent it. All the men-of-war in Europe would not be sufficient to block up a seacoast of two thousand miles in extent, varied as that of America is by such an innumerable multitude of ports, bays, harbors, rivers, creeks, inlets, and islands; with a coast so tempestuous, that there are many occasions in the course of the year when merchant vessels can push out and in, although men-of-war cannot cruise. It should be remembered that this war was maintained by America for three years before France took any part in it. During all that time, the English had fifty men-of-war upon that coast, which is a greater number than they ever will have again; yet all their vigilance was not sufficient to prevent American trade with Europe. At the worst time we ever saw, one vessel in three went and came safe. At present, there is not one in four taken. It should also be remembered, that the French navy have never, until this year, been many days together upon the American coast. So that we have in a sense maintained the trade of the continent five years against all that the English navy could do, and it has been growing every year.
Why then should we put cases that we know can never happen? However, I can inform you that the case was often put before this war broke out; and I have heard the common farmers in America reasoning upon these cases seven years ago. I have heard them say, if Great Britain could build a wall of brass a thousand feet high all along the seacoast, at low-water mark, we can live and be happy. America is, most undoubtedly, capable of being the most independent country upon earth. It produces every thing for the necessity, comfort, and conveniency of life, and many of the luxuries too. So that, if there were an eternal separation between Europe and America, the inhabitants of America would not only live but multiply, and, for what I know, be wiser, better, and happier than they will be as it is.
That it would be unpleasant and burthensome to America to continue the war for eight or ten years is certain. But will it not be unpleasant and burthensome to Great Britain too? There are between three and four millions of people in America. The kingdom of Sweden, that of Denmark, and even the republic of the United Provinces, have not each of them many more than that number; yet these States can maintain large standing armies even in time of peace, and maintain the expenses of courts and governments much more costly than the government of America. What then should hinder America from maintaining an army sufficient to defend her altars and her firesides? The Americans are as active, as industrious, and as capable as other men.
America could undoubtedly maintain a regular army of twenty thousand men forever. And a regular army of twenty thousand men would be sufficient to keep all the land forces, that Great Britain can send there, confined to the seaport towns, under cover of the guns of their men-of-war. Whenever the British army shall attempt to penetrate far into the country, the regular American army will be joined by such reinforcements from the militia, as will ruin the British force. By desertions, by fatigue, by sickness, and by the sword, in occasional skirmishes, their numbers will be wasted, and the miserable remains of them Burgoyned.
The fifth inquiry is, “Whether a voluntary revolt of any one or more of the States in the American confederation is to be apprehended: and if one or more were to revolt, whether the others would not be able to defend themselves?”
This is a very judicious and material question. I conceive that the answer to it is easy and decisive. There is not the least danger of a voluntary revolt of any one State in the Union. It is difficult to prove a negative, however; and still more difficult to prove a future negative. Let us, however, consider the subject a little.
Which State is the most likely to revolt, or submit? Is it the most ancient Colony, as Virginia, or the Massachusetts? Is it the most numerous and powerful, as Virginia, Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania? I believe nobody will say, that any one of these great States will take the lead in a revolt or a voluntary submission.
Will it be the smallest and weakest States that will be most likely to give up voluntarily? In order to satisfy ourselves of this, let us consider what has happened; and by the knowledge of what is passed, we may judge of what is to come.
The three smallest States are Rhode Island, Georgia, and Delaware.
The English have plainly had it in view to bring one of these States to a submission, and have accordingly directed very great forces against them.
Let us begin with Rhode Island. In the latter end of the year 1776, General Howe sent a large army of near seven thousand men, by sea, under a strong convoy of men-of-war, detached by Lord Howe, to take possession of Newport, the capital of Rhode Island. Newport stands upon an island. It was neither fortified nor garrisoned sufficiently to defend itself against so powerful a fleet and army, and, therefore, the English made themselves masters of the place. But what advantage did they derive from it? Did the Colony of Rhode Island, small as it is, submit? So far from it, that they were rendered the more eager to resist; and an army was assembled at Providence, which confined the English to the prison of Rhode Island, until the fall of the year 1779, when they were obliged to evacuate it, and our army entered it in triumph.
The next little State which the English attempted, was Delaware. This State consists of three counties only, situated upon the river Delaware, below Philadelphia, and is the most exposed to the English men-of-war of any of the States, because they are open to invasion not only upon the ocean, but all along the river Delaware. It contains not more than thirty thousand souls. When the English got possession of Philadelphia, and had the command of the whole navigation of the Delaware, these people were more in the power of the English than any part of America ever was, and the English generals, admirals, commissioners, and all the tories, used all their arts to seduce this little State, but they could not succeed; they never could get the appearance of a government erected under the King’s authority. The people continued their delegation in congress, and continued to elect their governors, senate, and assemblies, under their new constitution, and to furnish their quota to the continental army, and their proportion to the militia, until the English were obliged to evacuate Philadelphia. There are besides, in this little State, from various causes, more tories, in proportion, than in any other. And as this State stood immovable, I think we have no reason to fear a voluntary submission of any other.
The next small State that was attempted was Georgia. This State is situated at the southern extremity of all, and at such a distance from all the rest, and such difficulties of communication, being above an hundred miles from Charleston, in South Carolina, that it was impossible for the neighboring States to afford them any assistance. The English invaded this little State, and took the capital, Savannah, and have held it to this day; but this acquisition has not been followed by any submission of the province; on the contrary, they continue their delegation in congress, and their new officers of government. This Province, moreover, was more immediately the child of England than any other; the settlement of it cost England more than all the rest, from whence one might expect they would have more friends here than any where.
New Jersey is one of the middling-sized States. New Jersey had a large British army in Philadelphia, which is on one side, and another in New York, which is on the other side, and the British army has marched quite through it; and the English have used every policy of flattery, of terror, and severity, but all in vain, and worse than in vain; all has conspired to make the people of New Jersey some of the most determined against the English, and some of the most brave and skilful to resist them.
New York, before the commencement of hostilities, was supposed to be the most lukewarm of the middling States, in the opposition to the designs of the English. The English armies have invaded it from Canada and from the ocean, and have long been in possession of three islands, New York Island, Long Island, and Staten Island; yet the rest of that Province has stood immovable, through all the varieties of the fortune of war, for four years, and increases in zeal and unanimity every year.
I think, therefore, there is not even a possibility, that any one of the thirteen States should ever voluntarily revolt or submit.
The efforts and exertions of General Howe in New York, Long Island, Staten Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, to obtain recruits; the vast expense that he put his master to in appointing new corps of officers, even general officers; the pains they took to enlist men, among all the stragglers in those countries, and among many thousands of prisoners which they then had in their hands; all these measures obtaining but three thousand six hundred men, and very few of these Americans, according to General Howe’s own account, shows, I think, to a demonstration, that no voluntary revolt or submission is ever to be apprehended.
But even supposing that Rhode Island should submit, what could this small colony of fifty thousand souls do, in the midst of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire?
Supposing Delaware, thirty thousand souls, should submit, what influence could it have upon the great States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, among which it lies?
If Georgia, at the extremity of all, should submit, what influence could this little society of thirty thousand souls have upon the two Carolinas and Virginia? The Colonies are at such vast distances from one another, and the country is so fortified every where, by rivers, mountains, and forests, that the conquest or submission of one part has no influence upon the rest.
The sixth task is to show, “that no person in America is of so much influence, power, or credit, that his death, or corruption by English money, could be of any namable consequence.”
This question is very natural for a stranger to ask; but it would not occur to a native American, who had passed all his life in his own country; and upon hearing it proposed, he could only smile.
It should be considered, that there are in America no kings, princes, or nobles; no popes, cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, or other ecclesiastical dignitaries. They are these, and such like lofty subordinations, which place great bodies of men in a state of dependence upon one, which enable one or a few individuals, in Europe, to carry away after them large numbers, wherever they may think fit to go. There are no hereditary offices, or titles, in families; nor even any great estates that descend in a right line to the eldest sons. All estates of intestates are distributed among all the children; so that there are no individuals nor families who have, either from office, title, or fortune, any extensive power or influence. We are all equal in America, in a political view, and as much alike as Lycurgus’s haycocks. All public offices and employments are bestowed by the free choice of the people, and at present, through the whole continent, are in the hands of those gentlemen who have distinguished themselves the most by their counsels, exertions, and sufferings, in the contest with Great Britain. If there ever was a war, that could be called the people’s war, it is this of America against Great Britain; it having been determined on by the people, and pursued by the people in every step of its progress.
But who is it in America that has credit to carry over to the side of Great Britain any numbers of men? General Howe tells us that he employed Mr. Delancey, Mr. Cortland Skinner, Mr. Chalmers, and Mr. Galloway, the most influential men they could find; and he tells you their ridiculous success.
Are they members of congress who, by being corrupted, would carry votes in congress in favor of the English? I can tell you of a truth there has not been one motion made in congress, since the declaration of independency, on the fourth of July, 1776, for a reconciliation with Great Britain; and there is not one man in America of sufficient authority or credit to make a motion in congress for a peace with Great Britain, upon any terms short of independence, without ruining his character forever. If a delegate from any one of the thirteen States were to make a motion for peace upon any conditions short of independency, that delegate would be recalled with indignation by his constituents as soon as they should know it. The English have artfully represented in Europe that congress have been governed by particular gentlemen; but you may depend upon it it is false. At one time the English would have made it believed that Mr. Randolph, the first President of Congress, was its soul. Mr. Randolph died, and congress proceeded as well as ever. At another time, Mr. Hancock was all and all. Mr. Hancock left the congress, and has scarcely been there for three years; yet congress has proceeded with as much wisdom, honor, and fortitude as ever. At another time, the English represented that Mr. Dickinson was the ruler of America. Mr. Dickinson opposed openly, and upon principle, the declaration of independency; but, instead of carrying his point, his constituents differed with him so materially that they recalled him from congress, and he was absent for some years; yet congress proceeded with no less constancy; and Mr. Dickinson lately, finding all America unalterably fixed in the system of independency, has fallen in like a good citizen, and now supports it in congress with as much zeal as others. At another time, the English have been known to believe that Dr. Franklin was the essential member of congress; but Dr. Franklin was sent to France in 1776, and has been there ever since; yet congress has been as active and as capable as before. At another time, Mr. Samuel Adams was represented as the man who did every thing; yet Mr. Samuel Adams has been absent for the greatest part of three years, attending his duty as Secretary of State in the Massachusetts Bay; yet it does not appear that Mr. Adams’s absence has weakened the deliberations of congress in the least. Nay, they have sometimes been silly enough to represent your humble servant, Mr. John Adams, as an essential member of congress; it is now, however, three years since congress did him the honor to send him to Europe, as a Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Versailles, and he has never been in congress since; yet congress have done better since he came away than they ever did before.
In short, sir, all these pretences are the most ridiculous imaginable. The American cause stands upon the essential, unalterable character of the whole body of the people; upon their prejudices, passions, habits, and principles, which they derived from their ancestors, their education, drew in with their mothers’ milk, and have been confirmed in by the whole course of their lives; and the characters whom they have made conspicuous, by placing them in their public employments,
The same reasoning is applicable to all the governors, lieutenant-governors, secretaries of state, judges, senators, and representatives of particular states. They are all eligible, and elected every year by the body of the people; and would lose their characters and influence the instant they should depart, in their public conduct, from the political system that the people are determined to support.
But are there any officers of the army who could carry over large numbers of people? The influence of these officers is confined to the army; they have very little among the citizens. But if we consider the constitution of that army, we shall see that it is impossible that any officer could carry with him any numbers, even of soldiers. These officers are not appointed by a king, or a prince, nor by General Washington; they can hardly be said to be appointed by congress. They have all commissions from congress, it is true; but they are named and recommended, and are generally appointed, by the executive branch of government in the particular State to which they belong, except the general officers, who are appointed by congress. The continental army consists of the quotas of officers and troops furnished by thirteen different States. If an officer of the Massachusetts Bay forces, for example, should go over to the enemy, he might, possibly, carry with him half a dozen soldiers belonging to that State; yet I even doubt, whether any officer whatever, who should desert from that State, could persuade so many as half a dozen soldiers to go with him.
Is it necessary to put the supposition, that General Washington should be corrupted? Is it possible, that so fair a fame as Washington’s should be exchanged for gold or for crowns? A character so false, so cruel, so blood-thirsty, so detestable as that of Monk might betray a trust; but a character so just, so humane, so fair, so open, honorable, and amiable as Washington’s, never can be stained with so foul a reproach.
Yet I am fully of opinion, that even if Mr. Washington should go over to the English, which I know to be impossible, he would find none or very few officers or soldiers to go with him. He would become the contempt and execration of his own army as well as of all the rest of mankind.
No, sir! the American cause is in no danger from the defection of any individual. Nothing short of an entire alteration in the sentiments of the whole body of the people can make any material change in the councils or in the conduct of the arms of the United States; and I am very sure that Great Britain has not power or art sufficient to change essentially the temper, the feelings, and the opinions of between three and four millions of people at three thousand miles distance, supported as they are by powerful allies.
If such a change could ever have been made, it would have been seven years ago, when offices, employments, and power in America were in the hands of the King. But every ray of royal authority has been extinguished now between four and five years, and all civil and military authority is in hands determined to resist Great Britain to the last.
Your seventh inquiry is,—“Whether the common people in America are not inclined, nor would be able to find sufficient means to frustrate by force the good intentions of the skilful politicians?”
In answer to this, it is sufficient to say, that the commonalty have no need to have recourse to force to oppose the intentions of the skilful; because the law and the constitution authorize the common people to choose governors and magistrates every year; so that they have it constantly in their power to leave out any politician, however skilful, whose principles, opinions, or systems they do not approve.
The difference, however, in that country, is not so great as it is in some others, between the common people and the gentlemen; for noblemen they have none. There is no country where the common people, I mean the tradesmen, the husbandmen, and the laboring people, have such advantages of education as in that; and it may be truly said, that their education, their understanding, and their knowledge are as nearly equal as their birth, fortune, dignities, and titles.
It is therefore certain, that whenever the common people shall determine upon peace or submission, it will be done. But of this there is no danger. The common people are the most unanimously determined against Great Britain of any; it is the war of the common people; it was undertaken by them, and has been, and will be supported by them.
The people of that country often rose in large bodies against the measures of government while it was in the hands of the King. But there has been no example of this sort under the new constitutions, excepting one, which is mentioned in General Howe’s Narrative, in the back part of North Carolina. This was owing to causes so particular, that it rather serves to show the strength of the American cause in that State than the contrary.
About the year 1772, under the government of Tryon, who has since made himself so obnoxious to all America, there were some warm disputes in North Carolina concerning some of the internal regulations of that Province; and a small number of people in the back parts rose in arms, under the name of Regulators, against the government. Governor Tryon marched at the head of some troops drawn from the militia, gave battle to the regulators, defeated them, hanged some of their ringleaders, and published proclamations against many others. These people were all treated as having been in rebellion, and they were left to solicit pardon of the Crown. This established in the minds of those regulators such a hatred towards the rest of their fellow-citizens, that in 1775, when the war broke out, they would not join with them. The King has since promised them pardon for their former treasons, upon condition that they commit fresh ones against their country. In 1777, in conjunction with a number of Scotch Highlanders, they rose; and Governor Caswell marched against them, gave them battle, and defeated them. This year they have risen again, and been again defeated. But these people are so few in number, there is so much apparent malice and revenge, instead of any principle, in their disaffection, that any one who knows any thing of the human heart will see that, instead of finally weakening the American cause in North Carolina, it will only serve to give a keenness and an obstinacy to those who support it.
Nothing, indeed, can show the unanimity of the people throughout America in a stronger light than this,—that the British army has been able to procure so few recruits, to excite so few insurrections and disturbances. Nay, although the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech are carried to as great lengths in that country as in any under the sun, there has never been a hint in a newspaper, or even in a handbill, nor a single speech or vote in any assembly, that I have heard of, for submission, or even for reconciliation.
The eighth inquiry is,—“What England properly ought to do to force America to submission, and preserve her in it? How much time, money, and how many vessels would be wanted for that purpose?”
I assure you, sir, I am as much at a loss to inform you in this particular as Lord George Germaine would be. I can fix upon no number of men, nor any sum of money, nor any number of ships that I think would be sufficient. But most certainly no number of ships or men which Great Britain now has, or ever can have, nor any sum of money that she will ever be able to command, will be sufficient.
If it were in the power of Great Britain to send a hundred thousand men to America, and they had men-of-war and transports enough to convey them there in safety amidst the dangers that await them from French, Spanish, and American men-of-war, they might possibly get possession of two or three provinces, and place so many garrisons in various parts as to prevent the people from exercising the functions of government under their new constitutions; and they might set up a sham appearance of a civil government under the King; but I do not believe that a hundred thousand men could gain and preserve them the civil government of any three States in the Confederation. The States are at such distances from one another, there are such difficulties in passing from one to another by land, and such a multitude of posts are necessary to be garrisoned and provided in order to command any one Colony, that an army of a hundred thousand men would soon find itself consumed in getting and keeping possession of one or two States. But it would require the armies of Semiramis to command and preserve them all.
Such is the nature of that country, and such the character of the people, that if the English were to send ever so many ships, and ever so many troops, they never would subdue all the Americans. Numbers, in every State, would fly to the mountains, and beyond the mountains, and there maintain a constant war against the English. In short, if the English could conquer America, which they never can, nor any one State in it, it would cost them a standing army of an hundred thousand men to preserve their conquest; for it is in vain for them ever to think of any other government’s taking place again under the King of England, but a military government.
As to the number of ships, it must be in proportion to the number of troops; they must have transports enough to carry their troops, and men-of-war enough to convoy them through their numerous French, Spanish, and American enemies upon the seas.
As to the sums of money, you will easily see, that adding two hundred millions more to the two hundred millions they already owe, would not procure and maintain so many ships and troops.
It is very certain the English can never send any great numbers more of troops to America. The men are not to be had; the money is not to be had; the seamen, and even the transports, are not to be had.
I give this to Mr. Calkoen as my private opinion concerning the question he asks. As Mr. Calkoen observes, this is a question that had better not be publicly answered; but time will show the answer here given is right. It would, at present, be thought extravagance or enthusiasm. Mr. Adams only requests Mr. Calkoen to look over this letter a few years hence, and then say what his opinion of it is. Victories gained by the English, in taking seaport towns, or in open field fighting, will make no difference in my answer to this question. Victories gained by the English will conquer themselves sooner than the Americans. Fighting will not fail, in the end, to turn to the advantage of America, although the English may gain an advantage in this or that particular engagement.
The ninth question is, “how strong the English land force is in America? How strong it was at the beginning? And whether it increases or diminishes?”
According to the estimates laid before parliament, the army under General Howe, General Carleton, and General Burgoyne, amounts to fifty-five thousand men, besides volunteers, refugees, tories, in short, all the recruits raised in Canada, and all other parts of America, under whatever denomination. If we suppose that all these, in Canada and elsewhere, amounted to five thousand men, the whole, according to this computation, amounted to sixty thousand land forces.
This estimate, however, must have been made from the number of regiments, and must have supposed them all to be full.
General Howe, himself, however, in his Narrative, page 45, tells us, that his whole force, at the time when he landed on Long Island, in 1776, amounted to twenty thousand one hundred and twenty-one rank and file, of which one thousand six hundred and seventy-seven were sick.
By a regular return of General Burgoyne’s army, after its captivity in 1777, it amounted, in Canadians, Provincials, British and German troops, to upwards of ten thousand men. We may suppose, that four thousand men were left in Canada for the garrison of Quebec, Montreal, and the great number of other posts in that Province. To these numbers if we add the officers, we may fairly allow the whole land force at that time to be forty thousand combatants.
This is all the answer that I am able to give from memory to the question “How strong the British army was?”
In order to give an answer to the other,—“How strong it is?”—let us consider—
1. There has been no large reinforcement ever sent to America since that time. They have sent some troops every year; but these never amounted to more than recruits, and, probably, rather fall short of filling up the vacancies which were made in the course of the year by desertion and death, by sickness and by the sword; so that, upon the whole, I think it may be safely said, that the army never has been greater than it was in 1776.
But we must deduct from this ten thousand men taken with Burgoyne, one thousand Hessians taken at Trenton and Princeton, and indeed many more, taken by two or three hundred at a time, upon other occasions.
In the next place, we must deduct, I suppose, about ten thousand more sent since the French war to Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbadoes, and the other West India Islands.
So that, upon the whole, I think we make an ample allowance, if we state the whole number now in New York, Carolina, and Georgia, including all refugees, &c., at twenty thousand men, officers included.
This is, in part, an answer to the question, “Whether their force increases or diminishes?” But it should be further considered that there is a constant and rapid consumption of their men. Many die of sickness, numbers desert, there have been frequent skirmishes, in which they have ever had more men killed and wounded than the Americans; and now, so many of their troops are in Carolina and Georgia, where the climate is unhealthy, that there is great reason to expect the greatest part of that army will die of disease. And whoever considers the efforts the English have made in Germany, Ireland, Scotland, and England, as well as America, for seven years successively, to raise men, the vast bounties they have offered, and the few they have obtained; whoever considers the numbers they must lose this year by the severity of duty and by sickness, in New York, Carolina, Georgia, and the West India Islands, and the numbers that have been taken going to Quebec, North America, the East and West Indies, will be convinced that all the efforts they can make, will not enable them for the future to keep their numbers good.
The tenth head of inquiry is, “How great is the force of America? The number of men? Their discipline, &c., from the commencement of the troubles? Is there a good supply of warlike stores? Are these to be found partly or entirely in America? Or must they be imported?”
The force of America consists of a regular army, and of a militia; the regular army has been various at different times. The first regular army, which was formed in April, 1775, was enlisted for six months only; the next was enlisted for one year; the next for three years; the last period expired last February. At each of these periods, between the expiration of a term of enlistment, and the formation of a new army, the English have given themselves airs of triumph, and have done some brilliant exploits. In the winter of 1775-6, indeed, they were in Boston; and although our army, after the expiration of the first period of enlistment for six months, was reduced to a small number, yet the English were not in a condition to attempt any thing. In the winter of 1776-7, after the expiration of the second term of enlistment, and before the new army was brought together, the English marched through the Jersies. After the expiration of the last term of enlistment, which was for three years, and ended last January or February, the English went to their old exultations again, and undertook the expedition to Charleston. In the course of the last spring and summer, however, it seems the army has been renewed; and they are now enlisted, in general, during the war.
To state the numbers of the regular army according to the establishment, that is, according to the number of regiments at their full complement, I suppose the continental army has sometimes amounted to fourscore thousand men. But the American regiments have not often been full, any more than the English. There are in the war office, at Philadelphia, regular monthly returns of the army, from 1775 to this day, but I am not able, from memory, to give any accurate account of them; it is sufficient to say, that the American regular army has been generally superior to that of the English; and it would not be good policy to keep a larger army, unless we had a prospect of putting an end to the British power in America by it. But this, without a naval superiority, is very difficult, if not impracticable; the English take possession of a seaport town, fortify it in the strongest manner, and cover it with the guns of their men-of-war, so that our army cannot come at it. If France and Spain should coöperate with us so far as to send ships enough to maintain the superiority at sea, it would not require many years, perhaps not many months, to exterminate the English from the United States. But this policy those courts have not adopted, which is a little surprising, because it is obvious that by captivating the British fleet and army in America, the most decisive blow would be given to their power, which can possibly be given in any quarter of the globe.
What number of regular troops General Washington has at this time under his immediate command, I am not able precisely to say; I presume, however, that he has not less than twenty thousand men, besides the French troops under the Comte de Rochambeau. Nor am I able to say, how many General Gates has to the southward.
But besides the regular army, we are to consider the militia, Several of the Colonies were formed into a militia, from the beginning of their settlement. After the commencement of this war, all the others followed their example, and made laws, by which all the inhabitants of America are now enrolled in a militia, which may be computed at five hundred thousand men. But these are scattered over a territory of one hundred and fifty miles in breadth, and at least fifteen hundred miles in length, lying all along upon the sea-coast. This gives the English the advantage, by means of their superiority at sea, to remove suddenly and easily from one part of the continent to another, as from Boston to New York, from New York to Rhode Island, from New York to Chesapeake or Delaware Bay, or to Savannah or Charleston; and the Americans the disadvantage, of not being able to march either the regular troops or the militia to such vast distances, without immense expense of money and of time. This puts it in the power of the English to take so many of our seaport towns, but not to make any long and successful marches into the interior country, or make any permanent establishment there.
As to discipline, in the beginning of the war there was very little, either among the militia or the regular troops. The American officers have, however, been industrious; they have had the advantage of reading all the books which have any reputation concerning military science; they have had the example of their enemies, the British officers, before their eyes a long time, indeed, from the year 1768; and they have had the honor of being joined by British, German, French, Prussian, and Polish officers, of infantry and cavalry, of artillery and engineering; so that the art of war is now as well understood in the American army, and military discipline is now carried to as great perfection, as in any country whatever.
As to a supply of warlike stores: at the commencement of hostilities, the Americans had neither cannon, arms, or ammuni, tion, but in such contemptible quantities as distressed them beyond description; and they have all along been straitened, at times, by a scarcity of these articles, and are to this day.
They have, however, at present, an ample field artillery; they have arms and powder; and they can never be again absolutely destitute, because the manufactures of all sorts of arms, of cannon of all sorts, of saltpetre and powder, have been introduced and established. These manufactures, although very good, are very dear, and it is difficult to make enough for so constant and so great a consumption. Quantities of these articles are imported every year; and it is certain they can be imported and paid for by American produce, cheaper than they can be made.
But the Americans, to make their system perfect, want five hundred thousand stands of arms, that is,—one at least for every militia man, with powder, ball, and accoutrements in proportion. This, however, is rather to be wished for than expected. The French fleet carried arms to America; and if the communication between America and France and Spain should become more frequent by frigates and men-of-war, and, especially, if this republic should be compelled into a war with England, America will probably never again suffer much for want of arms or ammunition.
The English began the war against the northern Colonies; here they found the effects of ancient militia laws; they found a numerous and hardy militia, who fought and defeated them upon many occasions. They then thought it necessary to abandon these, and fall upon the middle Colonies, whose militia had not been so long formed; however, after several years’ experience, they found they were not able to do any thing to the purpose against them. They have lastly conceived the design of attacking the southern Colonies; here, the white people, and consequently the militia, are not so numerous, and have not yet been used to war. Here, therefore, they have had some apparent successes; but they will find in the end their own destruction in these very successes. The climate will devour their men; their first successes will embolden them to rash enterprises; the people there will become inured to war, and will finally totally destroy them; for, as to the silly gasconade of bringing the southern Colonies to submission, there is not even a possibility of it. The people of those States are as firm in principle, and as determined in their tempers against the designs of the English, as the middle or the northern States.
Your eleventh question will give an opportunity of making some observations upon a subject that is quite misunderstood in every part of Europe. I shall answer it with great pleasure, according to the best of my information, and with the utmost candor.
The question is,—
“How great is the present debt of America? What has she occasion for yearly to act defensively? Are those wants supplied by the inhabitants themselves, or by other nations? If in the latter case, what does America lose of her strength by it? Are they not, in one manner or other, recompensed again by some equivalent advantage? If so, in what manner? What would be required to act offensively, and by that means shorten the war?”
All Europe has a mistaken apprehension of the present debt of America. This debt is of two sorts,—that which is due from the thirteen United States, in congress assembled; and that which is owing from each of the thirteen States in its separate capacity. I am not able to say, with precision, what the debt of each separate State is; but all these added together, fall far short of the debt of the United States.
The debt of the United States consists of three branches:—1. The sums which have been lent them by France and Spain, and by M. Beaumarchais & Co. These have been for purchasing some supplies of cannon, arms, ammunition, and clothing for the troops; for assisting prisoners escaped from England, and for some other purposes. But the whole sum amounts to no great thing.
2. The loan-office certificates, which are promissory notes given to individuals in America who have lent paper money to the congress, and are their securities for the payment of the principal and interest. These the congress have equitably determined shall be paid, according to the value of the paper bills, in proportion to silver, at the time of their dates.
3. The paper bills which are now in circulation, or which were in circulation on the 18th day of March last. These bills amounted to the nominal sum of two hundred millions of dollars; but the real value of them to the possessors is estimated at forty for one, amounting to five millions of Spanish dollars, or one million and a quarter sterling. This is the full value of them, perhaps more; but this estimation of them has given satisfaction in America to the possessors of them, who certainly obtained them in general at a cheaper rate.
These three branches of debt, which are the whole (according to a calculation made last May, and sent me by a member of congress who has been four years a member of their treasury board, and is perfect master of the subject) amount in the whole to five millions sterling and no more. The national debt of America then is five millions sterling.
In order to judge of the burden of this debt, we may compare it with the numbers of people. They are three millions. The national debt of Great Britain is two hundred millions. The number of people in England and Scotland is not more than six millions. Why should not America, with three millions of people, be able to bear a debt of one hundred millions as well as Great Britain, with six millions of people, a debt of two hundred millions?
We may compare it with the exports of America. In 1774, the exports of America were six millions sterling. In the same year the exports of Great Britain were twelve millions. Why would not the exports of America, of six millions, bear a national debt of one hundred millions, as well as the twelve millions of British exports bear a debt of two hundred millions?
We may compare it in this manner with the national debt of France, Spain, the United Provinces, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, and you will find that it is but small in comparison.
We may compare it in another point of view. Great Britain has already spent in this war sixty millions sterling; America, five millions. Great Britain has annually added to her national debt more than the whole amount of her annual exports; America has not added to hers in the whole course of five years’ war a sum equal to one year’s exports.
The debt of Great Britain is, in a large proportion of it, due to foreigners, for which they must annually pay the interest by sending cash abroad. A very trifle of the American debt is yet due to foreigners.
Lord North borrowed last year twelve millions; and every future year of the war must borrow the same or a larger sum. America could carry on this war a hundred years by borrowing only one million sterling a year.
The annual expense of America has not hitherto exceeded one million a year; that of Great Britain has exceeded twenty millions some years. America may therefore carry on this war a hundred years, and at the end of it will be no more in debt, in proportion to her present numbers of people and her exports in 1774, than Great Britain is now.
There is another consideration of some weight; the landed interest in America is vastly greater, in proportion to the mercantile interest than it is in Great Britain. The exports of America are the productions of the soil annually, which increase every year. The exports of Great Britain are manufactures, which will decrease every year while this war with America lasts.
The only objection to this reasoning is this,—that America is not used to great taxes, and the people there are not yet disciplined to such enormous taxation as in England. This is true; and this makes all their perplexity at present; but they are capable of bearing as great taxes in proportion as the English; and if the English force them to it, by continuing the war, they will reconcile themselves to it; and they are in fact now taxing themselves more and more every year, and to an amount, that a man who knew America only twenty years ago would think incredible.
Her wants have hitherto been supplied by the inhabitants themselves, and they have been very little indebted to foreign nations. But, on account of the depreciation of her paper, and in order to introduce a more stable currency, she has now occasion to borrow a sum of money abroad, which would enable her to support her credit at home, to exert herself more vigorously against the English, both by sea and land, and greatly assist her in extending her commerce with foreign nations, especially the Dutch. America would not lose of her strength by borrowing money; but, on the contrary, would gain vastly. It would enable her to exert herself more by privateering, which is a mine of gold to her. She would make remittances in bills of exchange to foreign merchants for their commodities; and it would enable many persons to follow their true interest in cultivating the land, instead of attending to manufactures, which, being indispensable, they are now obliged more or less to follow, though less profitable. The true profit of America is the continual augmentation of the price and value of land. Improvement in land is her principal employment, her best policy, and the principal source of her growing wealth.
The last question is easily answered. It is,—“What would be required to act offensively, and by that means shorten the war?”
To this I answer, nothing is wanted but a loan of money and a fleet of ships.
A fleet of ships, only sufficient to maintain a superiority over the English, would enable the infant Hercules to strangle all the serpents that environ his cradle. It is impossible to express in too strong terms the importance of a few ships of the line to the Americans. Two or three French, or Dutch, or Spanish ships of the line, stationed at Rhode Island, Boston, Delaware River, or Chesapeake Bay, would have prevented the dreadful sacrifice at Penobscot. Three or four ships of the line would have prevented the whole expedition to Charleston. Three or four ships of the line more, added to the squadron of the Chevalier de Ternay, would have enabled the Americans to have taken New York.
A loan of money is now wanted, to give stability to the currency of America; to give vigor to the enlistments for the army; to add alacrity to the fitting out privateers; and to give an ample extension to their trade.
The Americans will labor through, without a fleet, and without a loan. But it is ungenerous and cruel to put them to such difficulties, and to keep mankind embroiled in all the horrors of war, for want of such trifles, which so many of the powers of Europe wish they had, and could so easily furnish. But if mankind must be embroiled, and the blood of thousands must be shed, for want of a little magnanimity in some, the Americans must not be blamed; it is not their fault.
We are now come to your twelfth head of inquiry, which is, “What countenance have the finances? How much does the expense exceed the yearly income? Does the annual revenue, deriving from the taxes, increase or diminish, in the whole, or in any particulars? and what are the reasons to be given for it?”
Here I am apprehensive I shall find a difficulty to make myself understood, as the American finances, and mode of taxation, differ so materially from any that I know of in Europe.
In the month of May, 1775, when the congress came together, for the first time, after the battles of Lexington and Concord, they found it necessary to raise an army, or, rather, to adopt an army already raised, at Cambridge, in order to oppose the British troops, and shut them up in the prison of Boston. But they found that the Colonies were but just got out of debt, had just paid off the debts contracted in the last French war. In the several treasuries of the Colonies they found only a few thousand pounds. They had before them a prospect of a stagnation, or interruption of their trade, pretty universally, by the British men-of-war. They had a thousand perplexities before them, in the prospect of passing through thirteen revolutions of government, from the royal authority to that under the people. They had armies and navies to form; they had new constitutions of government to attend to; they had twenty tribes of Indians to negotiate with; they had vast numbers of negroes to take care of; they had all sorts of arms, ammunition, artillery, to procure, as well as blankets and clothing and subsistence for the army; they had negotiations to think of in Europe, and treaties to form, of alliance and commerce; and they had even salt to procure, for the subsistence of the inhabitants, and even of their cattle, as well as their armies.
In this situation, with so many wants and demands, and no money or revenues to recur to, they had recourse to an expedient, which had been often practised in America, but nowhere else; they determined to emit paper money.
The American paper money is nothing but bills of credit, by which the public, the community, promises to pay the possessor a certain sum in a limited time. In a country where there is no coin, or not enough, in circulation, these bills may be emitted to a certain amount, and they will pass at par; but as soon as the quantity exceeds the value of the ordinary business of the people, it will depreciate, and continue to fall in its value, in proportion to the augmentation of the quantity.
The congress, on the 18th of March last, stated this depreciation at forty for one. This may be nearly the average, but it often passes much lower. By this resolution, all the bills in circulation on that day (and none have been emitted since) amount to about one million and a quarter sterling. To this if you add the money borrowed upon loan certificates, and the debt contracted abroad in France and Spain, the whole does not amount to but little more than five millions.
Yearly income we have none, properly speaking. We have no imposts or duties laid upon any articles of importation, exportation, or consumption. The revenue consists entirely in grants annually made by the legislatures, of sums of money for the current service of the year, and appropriated to certain uses. These grants are proportioned upon all the polls and estates, real and personal, in the community; and they are levied and paid into the public treasury with great punctuality, from whence they are issued in payments of the demands upon the public.
You see then that it is in the power of the legislatures to raise what sums are wanted, at least as much as the people can bear; and they are usually proportioned to the public wants, and the people’s abilities. They are now constantly laying on and paying very heavy taxes, although for the first three or four years of the war the obstructions of trade, &c., made it difficult to raise any taxes at all. The yearly taxes, annually laid on, have increased every year for these three years past, and will continue to be increased in proportion to the abilities of the people. This ability, no doubt, increases in proportion as population increases, as new lands are cultivated, and as property is in any way added to the common stock; it will also increase as our commerce increases, and as the success in privateering increases.
But by the method of taxing, you see that it is in the power of the legislature to increase the taxes every year, as the public exigencies may require; and they have no other restraint or limit than the people’s ability.
Your thirteenth inquiry is, “What resources might America hereafter still make use of?”
There are many resources, yet untried, which would certainly be explored, if America should be driven to the necessity of them.
1. Luxury prevails in that young country, notwithstanding all the confident assertions of the English concerning their distress, to a degree, that retrenching this alone would enable them to carry on the war. There are expenses in wheel carriages, horses, equipage, furniture, dress, and the table, which might be spared, and would amount to enough to carry on the war.
2. The Americans might, and, rather than the English should prevail against them, they would, be brought to impose duties upon articles of luxury and convenience, and even of necessity, as has been done by all the nations of Europe. I am not able at present, and upon memory, to entertain you with accurate calculations; but in general it may be said, with certainty, that, if as heavy duties were laid upon articles of consumption and importation as are laid in England, or even in Holland, they would produce a revenue sufficient to carry on this war without borrowing at all. I hope, however, they will never come to this. I am clear they need not. Such systematical and established revenues are dangerous to liberty; which is safe, while the revenue depends upon annual grants of the people, because this secures public economy.
3. If there should be hereafter any accession to the population of America, by migrations from Europe, this will be a fresh resource; because, in that country of agriculture, the ability to raise a revenue will bear a constant proportion to the numbers of people.
4. There are immense tracts of uncultivated lands. These lands are all claimed by particular States; but if these States should cede these claims to the congress, which they would do in case of necessity, the congress might sell these lands, and they would become a great resource; no man can say how great, or how lasting.
5. There is a great deal of plate in America; and if she were driven to extremities, the ladies, I assure you, have patriotism enough to give up their plate to the public, rather than lose their liberties, or run any great hazard of it.
6. There is another resource still. The war may be carried on by means of a fluctuating medium of paper money. The war has been carried on in this manner hitherto; and I firmly believe, if the people could not find a better way, they would agree to call in all the paper, and let it lie as a demand upon the public, to be hereafter equitably paid, according to its fluctuating value, in silver; and emit new bills to depreciate, and carry on the war in the same way. This, however, would occasion many perplexities and much unhappiness; it would do injustice to many individuals, and will and ought to be avoided, if possible.
7. A loan in Europe, however, would be the best resource, as it would necessarily extend our trade, and relieve the people from too great a present burden. Very heavy taxes are hurtful, because they lessen the increase of population, by making the means of subsistence more difficult.
8. There are resources of agriculture, manufactures, and labor, that would produce much, if explored and attempted.
9. The resources of trade and privateering ought to be mentioned again. The real cause of our doing so little hitherto, is this:—The congress, in 1774, agreed upon a non-exportation, to begin in September, 1775. This induced the merchants in every part of America to send their ships and sailors to England, from whence the most of them never returned. The consequence of which was, that the Americans have been distressed for want of ships and seamen ever since. But the number of both has increased every year, in spite of all that the English have taken and destroyed. The vast number of ships and seamen taken this year will repair those losses; and no man can say to what an extent trade and privateering will be carried the next and the succeeding years.
The fourteenth question is,—“What is the quantity of paper money in circulation? What credit the inhabitants have for it in their daily business? What designs the inhabitants have, by maintaining its credit? What by preventing its increase? And in what manner do they realize it?”
The quantity of paper bills in circulation on the 18th of March last, was two hundred millions of paper dollars.
The congress then stated the value of it, upon an average, at forty for one; amounting in the whole to five millions of silver dollars, or one million and a quarter sterling. This they did, by resolving to receive one silver dollar in lieu of forty paper ones, in the payment of taxes. This was probably allowing more than the full value for the paper; because, by all accounts, the bills passed from hand to hand, in private transactions, at sixty or seventy for one.
The designs of the inhabitants, in preserving its credit as much as they can, are very good and laudable. The designs are, that they may have a fixed and certain medium, both for external and internal commerce; that every man may have an equal profit from his industry and for his commodities; that private and public debts may be justly paid; and that every man may pay an equal and proportional share of the public expenses. And this is their design in preventing its increase; because it is impossible, if the quantity is increased, to prevent the depreciation of the whole in circulation.
They realize it in various ways. Some have lent it to the public, and received loan-office certificates for it, upon interest, which are to be paid in proportion to their value in silver at the time of their dates. Some purchase with it the produce of the country, which they export to the West Indies and to Europe; and, by this means, supply the French and Spanish fleets and armies, both upon the continent of America and in the West India Islands. Others purchase merchandises imported with it; others purchase bills of exchange upon France, Spain, &c.; others purchase silver and gold with it; and others purchase houses and lands. Others have paid their debts with it, to such a degree, that the people of America were never so little in debt, in their private capacities, as at present.
Your fifteenth quære is, “Does not the English army lay out its pay in America? At how much can the yearly benefit be calculated? Are not the prisoners provided for in America? Who has the care of their maintenance? How was Burgoyne’s army supplied?”
When the English army was in Boston, they bought all that they could, and left considerable sums there in silver and gold. So they did at Rhode Island. Since they have been in New York, they have purchased every thing they could, of provisions and fuel, on Long Island, Staten Island, New York Island, and in those parts of the States of New York and New Jersey where they have been able to carry on any clandestine traffic. When they were in Philadelphia, they did the same; and General Howe tells you, that he suspects that General Washington, from political motives, connived at the people’s supplying Philadelphia, in order essentiallly to serve his country, by insinuating it into large sums of silver and gold. They are doing the same now, more or less, in South Carolina and Georgia; and they cannot go into any part of America, without doing the same.
The British prisoners, in the hands of the Americans, receive their clothing chiefly from the English; and flags of truce are permitted to come out from their lines, for this purpose. They receive their pay, also, from their master, and spend the most of it where they are; they also purchase provisions in the country, and pay for them in hard money.
I am not able to ascertain exactly the yearly benefit; but it must be considerable; and the addition now of a French fleet and army to supply, will make a great addition of cash and bills of exchange, which will facilitate commerce and privateering. And the more troops and ships Great Britain and France send to America, the greater will this resource necessarily be to the Americans.
The sixteenth inquiry is, “Who loses most by desertion? Do the English and German deserters serve voluntarily and well in the American army? How can those who do not enter into the army subsist?”
These questions I answer with great pleasure. There has been, from the beginning of the war to this day, scarcely an example of a native American’s deserting from the army to the English. There have been, in the American army, some scattering Scotch, Irish, and German soldiers; some of these have deserted, but never in great numbers; and among the prisoners they have taken, it is astonishing how few they have ever been able to persuade, by all their flatteries, threatenings, promises, and even cruelties, to enlist into their service.
The number of deserters from them has been all along considerably more. Congress have generally prohibited their officers from enlisting deserters; for some particular services permission has been given, and they have served well.
Those who do not enlist into the army have no difficulty to subsist. Those of them who have any trades, as weavers, tailors, smiths, shoemakers, tanners, curriers, carpenters, bricklayers, in short, any trade whatsoever, enter immediately into better business than they ever had in Europe, where they gain a better subsistence and more money; because tradesmen of all denominations are now much wanted; those who have no trade, if they are capable of any kind of labor, are immediately employed in agriculture, &c., labor being much wanted, and very dear.
I am not able to tell the precise numbers that have deserted; but if an hundred thousand were to desert, they would find no difficulty in point of subsistence or employment, if they can and will work.
The seventeenth inquiry is, “Whether we have any information that we can rely on, concerning the population? Has it increased or diminished, since the war?”
In some former letters, I have made some observations upon the subject of the increase of mankind in America.
In the year 1774 there was much private conversation among the members of congress, concerning the number of souls in every Colony. The delegates of each were consulted, and the estimates made by them were taken down as follows:—
This, however, was but an estimate, and some persons have thought there was too much speculation in it. It will be observed, that Georgia was not represented in the first congress, and, therefore, is not included in the estimate.
In a pamphlet published in England about a year ago, entitled, “A Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, on the present State of Affairs, between the Old and New World,” written by Mr. Pownall, a member of parliament, and formerly Governor of Massachusetts, and Lieutenant-Governor of New Jersey, we are told, that “The Massachusetts had, in the year 1722, ninety-four thousand inhabitants; in 1742, one hundred and sixty-four thousand; in 1751, when there was a great depopulation, both by war and the smallpox, one hundred and sixty-four thousand four hundred and eighty-four; in 1761, two hundred and sixteen thousand; in 1765, two hundred and fifty-five thousand five hundred; in 1771, two hundred and ninety-two thousand; in 1773, three hundred thousand.
In Connecticut, in 1756, one hundred and twenty-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-four; in 1774, two hundred and fifty-seven thousand three hundred and fifty-six. These numbers are not increased by strangers, but decreased by wars and emigrations to the westward and to other States; yet they have nearly doubled in eighteen years.
In New York, in 1756, ninety-six thousand seven hundred and seventy-six; in 1771, one hundred and sixty-eight thousand and seven; in 1774, one hundred and eighty-two thousand two hundred and fifty-one.
In Virginia, in 1756, one hundred and seventy-three thousand three hundred and sixteen; in 1764, two hundred thousand; in 1774, three hundred thousand.
In South Carolina, in 1750, sixty-four thousand; in 1770, one hundred and fifteen thousand.
In Rhode Island, in 1738, fifteen thousand; in 1748, twenty-eight thousand four hundred and thirty-nine.
As there never was a militia in Pennsylvania before this war, with authentic lists of the population, it has been variously estimated on speculation. There was a continual importation for many years of Irish and German emigrants, yet many of these settled in other provinces; but the progress of population, in the ordinary course, advanced in a ratio between that of Virginia and that of Massachusetts. The city of Philadelphia advanced more rapidly,—it had, in 1749, two thousand and seventy-six houses; in 1753, two thousand three hundred; in 1760, two thousand nine hundred and sixty-nine; in 1769, four thousand four hundred and seventy-four; from 1749 to 1753, from sixteen to eighteen thousand inhabitants; from 1760 to 1769, from thirty-one thousand three hundred and eighteen to thirty-five thousand.
There were, in 1754, various calculations and estimates made of the numbers on the continent. The sanguine made the numbers one million and a half; those who admitted less speculation into the calculation, but adhered closer to facts and lists as they were made out, stated them at one million two hundred and fifty thousand. Governor Pownall thinks that two million one hundred and forty-one thousand three hundred and seven would turn out nearest to the real amount in 1774. But what an amazing progress, which in eighteen years has added a million to a million two hundred and fifty thousand, although a war was maintained in that country for seven years of the term! In this view, one sees a community unfolding itself, beyond any example in Europe.
Thus, you have the estimates made by the gentlemen in congress, in 1774, and that of Governor Pownall for the same epocha. That made in congress is most likely to be right. If, in their estimate, some States were rated too high, it has been since made certain that others were too low.
But, admitting Mr. Pownall’s estimate to be just, the numbers have grown since 1774 so much, notwithstanding the war and the interruption of migrations from Europe, that they must be wellnigh three millions. If the calculation made by the members of congress was right, the numbers now must be nearer four millions than three millions and a half.
I have observed to you, in a former letter, that the Massachusetts Bay has been lately numbered, and found to have increased in numbers as much as in former periods, very nearly.
I now add, that in Delaware, which in 1774 was estimated at thirty thousand, upon numbering the people since, they appeared to be forty thousand.
Pennsylvania is undoubtedly set too low in both estimates.
Question eighteenth. “Do sufficient tranquillity, contentment, and prosperity reign in those places where the war does not rage? Can one sufficiently subsist there without feeling the oppression of the taxes? Does plenty abound there? Is there more than is necessary for consumption? Are the people well affected and encouraged to pursue the war and endure its calamities? or is there poverty and dejection?”
There has been more of this tranquillity and contentment, and fewer riots, insurrections, and seditions throughout the whole war, and in the periods of its greatest distress, than there was for seven years before the war broke out, in those parts that I am best acquainted with. As to subsistence, there never was or will be any difficulty. There never was any real want of any thing but warlike stores and clothing for the army, and salt and rum both for the army and the people; but they have such plentiful importations of these articles now, that there is no want, excepting of blankets, clothing, and warlike stores for the army.
The taxes are rising very high, but there never will be more laid on than the people can bear, because the representatives who lay them tax themselves and their neighbors in exact proportion. The taxes indeed fall heaviest upon the rich and the higher classes of people.
The earth produces grain and meat in abundance for the consumption of the people, for the support of the army, and for exportation.
The people are more universally well affected and encouraged to pursue the war than are the people of England, France, or Spain, as far as I can judge.
As to poverty, there is hardly a beggar in the country. As to dejection, I never saw, even at the time of our greatest danger and perplexity, so much of it as appears in England or France upon every intelligence of a disastrous event.
The greatest source of grief and affliction is the fluctuation of the paper money; but this, although it occasions unhappiness, has no violent or fatal effects.
Question nineteenth. “Is not peace very much longed for in America? Might not this desire of peace induce the people to hearken to proposals, appearing very fair, but which really are not so, which the people might be too quick in listening to, and the government forced to accept?”
The people, in all ages and countries, wish for peace; human nature does not love war; yet this does not hinder nations from going to war, when it is necessary, and often indeed for frivolous purposes of avarice, ambition, vanity, resentment, and revenge. I have never been informed of more desire of peace in America than is common to all nations at war. They in general know that they cannot obtain it, without submitting to conditions infinitely more dreadful than all the horrors of this war.
If they are ever deceived, it is by holding out to them false hopes of independence, and Great Britain’s acknowledging it.
The people of America are too enlightened to be deceived in any great plan of policy. They understand the principles and nature of government too well to be imposed on by any proposals short of their own object.
Great Britain has tried so many experiments to deceive them, without effect, that I think it is scarcely worth her while to try again. The history of these ministerial and parliamentary tricks would fill a volume. I have not records nor papers to recur to; but if Mr. Calkoen desires it, I could give him a sketch from memory of these artifices and their success, which, I think, would convince him there is no danger from that quarter.
Question twentieth. “Have there not been different opinions in congress, with regard to this (that is,—to proposals appearing fair which were not so,) from whence animosities have arisen?”
There has never been any difference of sentiment in congress since the declaration of independency, concerning any proposals of reconciliation. There have been no proposals of reconciliation made since the 4th of July, 1776, excepting twice.
The first was made by Lord Howe, who, together with his brother, the General, were appointed by the King commissioners for some purpose or other. The public has never been informed what powers they had. Lord Howe sent a message by General Sullivan to congress, desiring a conference with some of its members. There were different sentiments concerning the propriety of sending any members until we knew his Lordship’s powers. A majority decided to send. Dr. Franklin, Mr. John Adams, and Mr. Rutledge were sent. Upon their report, there was a perfect unanimity of sentiment in congress.
The second was the mission of Lord Carlisle, Governor Johnstone, and Mr. Eden, in 1778. Upon this occasion again there was a perfect unanimity in congress.
Before the declaration of independency, Lord North moved several conciliatory propositions in parliament, in which a good deal of art was employed to seduce, deceive, and divide. But there was always an unanimity in congress upon all these plans.
There were different opinions concerning the petition to the King, in the year 1775; and before that, concerning the nonexportation agreement. There have been different opinions concerning articles of the confederation; concerning the best plans for the conduct of the war; concerning the best officers to conduct them; concerning territorial controversies between particular States, &c.; but these differences of opinion, which are essential to all assemblies, have never caused greater animosities than those which arise in all assemblies where there is freedom of debate.
Question twenty-first. “Are there no malcontents in America against the government, who are otherwise much inclined for the American cause, who may force the nation, or congress, against their resolutions and interests, to conclude a peace?”
There is no party formed in any of the thirteen States against the new constitution, nor any opposition against the government, that I have ever heard of, excepting in Pennsylvania, and in North Carolina. These by no means deserve to be compared together.
In Pennsylvania there is a respectable body of people, who are zealous against Great Britain, but yet wish for some alteration in their new form of government; yet this does not appear to weaken their exertions; it seems rather to excite an emulation in the two parties, and to increase their efforts.
I have before explained the history of the rise and progress of the party, in North Carolina, consisting of regulators and Scotch Highlanders; and General Howe has informed you of their fate. This party has ever appeared to make North Carolina more stanch and decided, instead of weakening it.
The party in Pennsylvania will never have an inclination to force the congress, against their interests, to make peace; nor would they have the power, if they had the will.
The party in North Carolina, whose inclination cannot be doubted, is too inconsiderable to do any thing.
Questions twenty-second and twenty-third. “General Monk repaired the King’s government in England: Might not one American general or another be able, by discontent or corruption, to do the same? Would the army follow his orders on such an occasion? Could one or more politicians, through intrigues, undertake the same with any hopes of success, should even the army assist him in such a case?”
I have before observed, that no politicians, or general officers, in America, have any such influence. Neither the people nor the soldiers would follow them. It was not attachment to men, but to a cause, which first produced, and has supported, the revolution; it was not attachment to officers, but to liberty, which made the soldiers enlist. Politicians in America can only intrigue with the people; these are so numerous, and so scattered, that no statesman has any great influence but in his own small circle. In courts, sometimes, gaining two or three individuals may produce a revolution; no revolution in America can be accomplished without gaining the majority of the people; and this not all the wealth of Great Britain is able to do, at the expense of their liberties.
Question twenty-fourth. “The revolution must have made a great change in affairs, so that many people, though at present free of the enemy’s incursions, have lost their daily subsistence. Have the occupations, which come instead of their old ones, been sufficient to supply their wants?”
All the difficulties which were ever apprehended, of this sort, are long since past. In 1774, some were apprehensive that the fishermen, sailors, and shipwrights would be idle; but some went into the army, some into the navy, and some went to agriculture; and if there had been twice as many, they would all have found employment. The building of frigates and privateers has employed all the carpenters. Manufactories, besides, have been set up, of cannon, arms, powder, saltpetre, salt. Flax and wool have been raised in greater quantities, and coarse manufactures of cloth and linen been increased. In short, the greatest difficulty is, that there are not hands enough. Agriculture alone, in that country, would find employment enough for millions, and privateering for thousands, more than there are.
Question twenty-fifth. “Do they who have lost their possessions and fortunes by the war, endure it patiently, as compatriots, so that nothing can be feared from them?”
Losing fortunes in America has not such dreadful consequences, to individuals or families, as it has in Europe. The reason is obvious; because the means of subsistence are easier to be obtained, so that nobody suffers for want. As far as I am acquainted with the sufferers, they have borne their losses, both of property and relations, with great fortitude; and, so far from producing in their minds a desire of submission, they have only served to irritate them, to convince them more fully of the precarious and deplorable situation they would be in under the government of the English, and to make them more eager to resist it.
Question twenty-sixth. “How has it gone with the cultivation of the land before the troubles, at their commencement, and at present? What change has taken place?”
Agriculture ever was, and ever will be, the dominant interest in America. Nevertheless, before this war, perhaps, she ran more into commerce than was for her interest. She depended too much, perhaps, upon importations for her clothing, utensils, &c., and indulged in too many luxuries. When the prospect opened, in 1775, of an interruption of her commerce, she applied herself more to agriculture; and many places that depended upon the lumber trade, the fishery, &c., for the importation of even their bread, have turned their labor and attention to raising corn, wool, flax, and cattle, and have lived better, and advanced in wealth and independence faster, than ever they did. For example, the towns in the neighborhood of the sea, in the Massachusetts Bay, used to depend upon the fishery and commerce to import them their wheat and flour from Philadelphia, Maryland, and Virginia, and rice from South Carolina and Georgia; the communication being interrupted by sea since the war, they have planted their own corn.
The eastern parts of the Massachusetts Bay, before the war, depended on the commerce of lumber for the West India market, and of masts, yards, and bowsprits for the royal navy of Great Britain, to procure them clothes, meat, and strong liquors. Since the war, they have cultivated their lands, raised their own corn, wool, flax, and planted the apple tree instead of drinking rum, in consequence of which, they are more temperate, wealthy, and independent than ever.
North Carolina depended upon the commerce of pitch, tar, and turpentine and tobacco, for the importation of many things. Since the war, they have turned their labor to raise more of the things which they wanted.
Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina depended upon the trade of tobacco to import coarse cloths for their negroes. Since the war, they have raised less tobacco, and more wheat, wool, and cotton, and made the coarse cloths themselves.
So that, upon the whole, the lessening of commerce, and the increase of agriculture, have rendered America more independent than she ever was.
Question twenty-seventh. “How was the situation of manufactures, manual art, and trade in general, at the beginning of this war? What change have they suffered?”
Manufactures in general never flourished in America. They were never attended only by women and children who could not work in the field, and by men at certain seasons of the year, and at certain intervals of time, when they could not be employed in the cultivation of the lands; because that labor upon land, in that country, is more profitable than in manufactures. These they could import and purchase, with the produce of their soil, cheaper than they could make them. The cause of this is the plenty of wild land. A day’s work, worth two shillings, upon wild land, not only produced two shillings in the crop, but made the land worth two shillings more. Whereas, a day’s work of the same price, applied to manufactures, produced only the two shillings.
Since the war, however, freight and insurance have been so high, that manufactures have been more attended to. Manufactures of saltpetre, salt, powder, cannon, arms, have been introduced; clothing, in wool and flax, has been made, and many other necessary things; but these, for the reason before given, will last no longer than the war or than the hazard of their trade.
America is the country of raw materials, and of commerce enough to carry them to a good market; but Europe is the country for manufactures and commerce. Thus Europe and America will be blessings to each other, if some malevolent policy does not frustrate the purposes of nature
Question twenty-eight. “Has America gained, or lost, by the mutual capture of ships? How much is the benefit or prejudice of it, by calculation?”
America has gained. She took early, from the English, ordnance and ammunition ships, and supplied herself in that way with those articles when she had them not, and could not otherwise obtain them; she has taken, in this way, a great number of British and German soldiers; she has taken a vast number of seamen, who have generally enlisted on board our privateers; she has taken great quantities of provisions, clothing, arms, and warlike stores; she has taken every year more and more, since 1775, and will probably continue to take more and more every year, while the war lasts. I have certain intelligence, that there have been this year carried into Boston and Philadelphia only, ninety-nine vessels, in the months of July and August. On board of these vessels there were not less than eight hundred seamen; many of the ships were very rich. The vessels the English have taken from the Americans were of small value; this year they have been few in number.
I am not able to give you an exact calculation. The Quebec ships were worth from thirty to forty thousand pounds sterling each, and there were two-and-twenty of them in number.
Privateering is a great nursery of seamen; and if the Americans had not imprudently sacrificed such a number of their frigates and privateers in the attack and defence of places, these alone would, by this time, wellnigh have ruined the British commerce, navy, and army.
I believe you will be pleased, when I tell you, that we are now come to the twenty-ninth, and last question, which is, “What are the real damages sustained, or still to be suffered, by the loss of Charleston? And what influence has it had upon the minds of the people?”
An interruption of the commerce of indigo and rice; the loss of many negroes, which the English will steal from the plantations, and send to the West India islands for sale; a great deal of plunder of every sort; much unhappiness among the people; and several lives of very worthy men will be lost; but the climate will be death to European troops; and, at an immense expense of men and money, they will ravage for a while, and then disappear.
The effect of the surrender of Charleston, and the defeat of Gates, has only been to awaken the people from their dreams of peace.
The artifices of the English, holding out ideas of peace, seem to have deceived both the Americans and their allies, while they were only contriving means to succor Gibraltar, and invade Carolina. The people are now convinced of their mistake, and generally roused. But these disasters will have no more effect towards subduing America, than if they had taken place in the East Indies.
I have the honor to be, sir,