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tiation. An unwilling but silent assent was given by Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Report shews that Jay viewed the act of seven States as valid, and has even adjusted with Guardoqui an article for suspending our use of the Mississippi during the term of the treaty. A subsequent report, on a reference of Western information from Virginia and North Carolina, denotes little confidence in the event of the negotiation, and considerable perplexity as to the steps proper to be taken by Congress. Wednesday is fixed for the consideration of these reports. We mean to propose that Jefferson be sent, under a special commission, to plead the cause of the Mississippi at Madrid.“
TO EDMOND RANDOLPH.
New York, April 22, 1787. DEAR SIR,
I have the pleasure of yours of the eleventh instant, acknowledging mine of the second. In some of your letters I observe you do not say whether any have been received from me or not. I have not omitted to write, in a single instance, since our correspondence commenced.
The time approaches so nearly when I shall have an opportunity of making verbal communications on confidential points, that I forbear to commit them to paper.
Congress are deliberating on the plan most eligible for disposing of the Western territory not yet surveyed. Some alteration will probably be made in the ordinance on that subject, in which the idea of townships will not be altogether abandoned, but rendered less expensive. An act passed yesterday providing for the sale of the surveyed lands, under the direction of the Treasury board. The price to be one dollar at the lowest; the sale is to be duly advertised in all the States, but the office is to be opened and held where Congress shall sit. The original plan of distributing the sale through all the States was certainly objectionable. To confine it to one place, and that so remote as New York is, both from the centre of the Union and the premises in question, cannot be less so.
The inhabitants of the Ilinois complain of the land-jobbers, particularly Pentecost and Clarke, who are purchasing titles among them. Those of St. Vincent's complain of the defect of criminal and civil justice among them, as well as of military protection. These matters are before Congress, and are found to be infinitely embarrassing.
A copper coinage was agreed on yesterday to the amount of two hundred and odd thousand dollars. It is to be executed under a contract between the Treasury Board and the Coiner, and under the inspection of a person to be appointed on the part of the United States,-fifteen per cent. to be drawn from this operation into the Federal Treasury.
A great revolution is taking place in the administration in Massachusetts. Bowdoin is displaced in favour of Hancock. A great proportion of the Senate is already changed, and a greater is expected in the other branch of the Assembly. A paper emission there also is much feared by the friends of
justice. I find that the fetter originally put on the Deputies from that State to the Convention was taken off in consequence of the recommendatory act of Congress, and that the commission was adjusted to that act.
Connecticut has not yet been in Assembly, and, of course, has not decided on the Convention. I am told the changes which are taking place in her elections are far from strengthening the probability of her concurrence.'
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
New York, April 23, 1787. DEAR SIR,
Congress have agreed to Mr. Jay's report on the treaty of peace, and to an address which accompanies it. Copies of both will no doubt be sent you from his Department. The Legislature of this State, which was sitting at the time, and on whose account the acts of Congress were hurried through, has adjourned till January next, without deciding on them. This is an ominous example to the other States, and must weaken much the claim on Great Britain of an execution of the treaty on her part, as promised in case of proper steps being taken on ours. Virginia, we foresee, will be among the foremost in seizing pretexts for evading the injunctions of Congress. South Carolina is not less infected with the same spirit. The present deliberations of Congress turn on, first, the sale of the Western lands; secondly, the government of the Western
settlements within the Federal domain ; thirdly, the final settlement of the accounts between the Union and its members ; fourthly, the treaty with Spain.
1. Between six and seven hundred thousand acres have been surveyed in townships, under the land ordinance, and are to be sold forthwith. The place where Congress sit is fixed for the sale. Its eccentricity, and remoteness from the premises, will, I apprehend, give disgust. On the most eligible plan of selling the unsurveyed residue, Congress are much divided; the Eastern States being strongly attached to that of townships, notwithstanding the expense incident to it; the Southern being equally biassed in favor of indiscriminate locations, notwithstanding the many objections against that mode. The dispute will probably terminate in some kind of compromise, if one can be hit upon.
2. The government of the settlements on the Illinois and Wabash is a subject very perplexing in itself, and rendered more so by our ignorance of many circumstances on which a right judgment depends. The inhabitants at those places claim protection against the savages, and some provision for both criminal and civil justice. It appears also that land-jobbers are among them, who are likely to multiply litigations among individuals, and, by collusive purchases of spurious titles, to defraud the United States.
3. The settlement of the public accounts has long been pursued in varied shapes, and with little prospect of success. The idea which has long been urged by some of us, seems now to be seriously embraced, of establishing a plenipotentiary tribunal for
the final adjustment of the mutual claims, on the great and simple principle of equity. An ordinance for this purpose has been reported by the Treasury Board, and has made some progress through Congress. It is likely to be much retarded by the thinness of Congress, as indeed is almost every other matter of importance.
4. The Spanish negotiation is in a very ticklish situation. You have been already apprized of the vote of seven States last fall for ceding the Mississippi for a term of years. From sundry circumstances it was inferred that Jay was proceeding under this usurped authority. A late instruction to him to lay the state of the negotiation before Congress has discovered that he has adjusted with Guardoqui an article for suspending the use of the Mississippi by the citizens of the United States. The report, however, leaves it somewhat doubtful how far the United States are committed by this step, and a subsequent report of the Secretary on the seizure of Spanish property in the Western country, and on information of discontents touching the occlusion of the Mississippi, shews that the probable consequences of the measure perplex him extremely. It was nevertheless conceived by the instructed delegations to be their duty to press a revocation of the step taken, in some form which would least offend Spain, and least irritate the patrons of the vote of seven States. Accordingly a motion was made to the following effect—that the present state of the negotiation with Spain, and of the affairs of the United States, rendered it expedient that you should proceed, under a special com