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he has at length accomplished his Herculean labour, and the revenue of Britain is now greater by one third than it ever was at any former period. Foreigners, seeing our inflexible faith, pour in their wealth upon us. Exchange is in our favour from every kingdom of Europe; bullion is cheaper than it ever was at any former time; manufactures, commerce, and agriculture flourish in all their branches; the East India Company have completely retrieved their credit, and the property of the planters in the West Indies has again become firm and secure. In one department of merchandize only is misfortune to be traced, but in this department it is universal. The merchants and manufacturers trading to America are almost all ruined. Of course you will see that, in the present state of things, there is little chance of a treaty of commerce being made between England and the United States; and the hopes which I see are entertained of an infringement of the Navigation Act in your favour, by admitting American ships to a direct trade with the British West India islands, are founded on air. Your remarks in respect to our incapacity for treating with France I do not think well founded. Our negotiators have, I believe, greatly surpassed theirs in knowledge and skill; and the treaty which has now taken place, is in fact so egregiously favourable to England, that this circumstance may perhaps affect its stability.* The comparative state of Britain and France cannot be better illustrated than by examining the situation of their funds, which in the former are firm and strong, in the latter bankrupt.
By this time I fear you are heartily tired of my political speculations. I have been the more diffuse, because I suspect that your public papers do not admit such representations as have made, and of course that they seldom find access to your ears. But though I have given a favourable picture for England, rest assured that it is founded on truths that are incontrovertible. The conclusion I wish you to form, is a resolution to endeavour, as far as circumstances will permit, to make the investiture of some property in this country. The condition of a nation at large affects the prosperity of individuals more than may be imagined on a slight view. A property established in a flourishing community is committed to the flood-tide which
* The stipulated term of the treaty expired during the war with France, and of course all renewal then was out of the question. But since the peace of 1815, the French government, far from feeling a desire to renew such a treaty, has gone into the opposite extreme, and unwisely adopted regulations, which have almost annihilated the commercial intercourse between France and Great Britain. (1829).Editor.
leads on to fortune, but when it is vested even in the most solid articles, under a state going to decay, it must infallibly be carried away by the ebb, and lost in the general wreck.
But a truce with this subject.
Since I last wrote to you, I have enjoyed perfect health: I am grown fat and strong: I have a great deal of exercise both of mind and body, and bear it very well.
I am, my dear Sir, yours always,
Liverpool, Sept. 18. 1787.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
In the political world we have had the appearance of a storm lately, and the clouds still hang over our heads. You will see that the cause ori. ginates as far back as the late war. The Dutch suspect the Stadtholder of favouring England, when they joined the alliance of France, Spain, and America, and reaped, instead of honour and profit, misfortune and disgrace. Finding no other way of venting their chagrin, they have fallen into domestic broils of a very desperate nature; the object of one party being the dismission of the Stadtholder from all his offices, of the other, the preservation of his power. The one party is supported by England and Prussia, the other by France and her allies, of which number the States of America may be considered.
The uncommon vigour of Prussia, and the firmness of the great man who wields the democracy of England, have at present totally deranged the measures of France, where a spirit dangerous to absolute monarchy begins to spread very widely, and has debilitated the executive government in a wonderful degree. The politics indeed of that nation are wretched; and the blow which their finances received by their exertions in the last war, seems almost irremediable.
I wish you would say something of your Virginia politics. It cannot be a dangerous subject
You have now no committees of safety that open private correspondence; and if they do, the people who have founded their government in freedom, cannot mean that the minds of individuals should be held in chains. I wish to
hear who are your great orators, and what the character of their respective elocution is. You have daily opportunities of hearing them, and can oblige me when you please.
You will say this is a dull letter; it is so, but that is not my fault, Remember me to my fair correspondent, and tell her I long to hear from her. Farewell, my dear Friend,
Liverpool, January 21. 1789. MY DEAR FRIEND,
Of our friends in Annandale, I hear very little. They are, indeed, fast wearing away. Eight years'absence has lost me most of my connections in that country, and much changed the face of society. I seldom hear from any person in that quarter, excepting your father, whooccasi onally writes a letter of introduction to me by some young man coming to this quarter to push his fortune.