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It is, at this time, at least one half more than at any period
prior to the revolution. The greatest number of vessels cleared out
of the port of Philadelphia, before the commencement of the war, was
between eight and nine hundred. In the year 1788, the number was upwards
of twelve hundred. As the State of Pennsylvania is estimated at an
eighth part of the United States in population, the whole number of
vessels must now be nearly ten thousand.]

[Footnote 26: When I saw Mr. Pitt's mode of estimating the balance of trade, in
one of his parliamentary speeches, he appeared to me to know nothing
of the nature and interest of commerce; and no man has more wantonly
tortured it than himself. During a period of peace it has been havocked
with the calamities of war. Three times has it been thrown into
stagnation, and the vessels unmanned by impressing, within less than
four years of peace.]

[Footnote 27: Rev. William Knowle, master of the grammar school of Thetford, in
Norfolk.]

[Footnote 28: Politics and self-interest have been so uniformly connected that
the world, from being so often deceived, has a right to be suspicious of
public characters, but with regard to myself I am perfectly easy on
this head. I did not, at my first setting out in public life, nearly
seventeen years ago, turn my thoughts to subjects of government from
motives of interest, and my conduct from that moment to this proves the
fact. I saw an opportunity in which I thought I could do some good, and
I followed exactly what my heart dictated. I neither read books, nor
studied other people's opinion. I thought for myself. The case was
this:--

During the suspension of the old governments in America, both prior to
and at the breaking out of hostilities, I was struck with the order and
decorum with which everything was conducted, and impressed with the idea
that a little more than what society naturally performed was all the
government that was necessary, and that monarchy and aristocracy were
frauds and impositions upon mankind. On these principles I published the
pamphlet Common Sense. The success it met with was beyond anything since
the invention of printing. I gave the copyright to every state in the
Union, and the demand ran to not less than one hundred thousand copies.
I continued the subject in the same manner, under the title of The
Crisis, till the complete establishment of the Revolution.

After the declaration of independence Congress unanimously, and unknown
to me, appointed me Secretary in the Foreign Department. This was
agreeable to me, because it gave me the opportunity of seeing into the
abilities of foreign courts, and their manner of doing business. But
a misunderstanding arising between Congress and me, respecting one of
their commissioners then in Europe, Mr. Silas Deane, I resigned the
office, and declined at the same time the pecuniary offers made by the
Ministers of France and Spain, M. Gerald and Don Juan Mirralles.]
I had by this time so completely gained the ear and confidence of
America, and my own independence was become so visible, as to give me a
range in political writing beyond, perhaps, what any man ever possessed
in any country, and, what is more extraordinary, I held it undiminished
to the end of the war, and enjoy it in the same manner to the present
moment. As my object was not myself, I set out with the determination,
and happily with the disposition, of not being moved by praise or
censure, friendship or calumny, nor of being drawn from my purpose by
any personal altercation, and the man who cannot do this is not fit for
a public character.

When the war ended I went from Philadelphia to Borden-Town, on the east
bank of the Delaware, where I have a small place. Congress was at this
time at Prince-Town, fifteen miles distant, and General Washington
had taken his headquarters at Rocky Hill, within the neighbourhood of
Congress, for the purpose of resigning up his commission (the object
for which he accepted it being accomplished), and of retiring to private
life. While he was on this business he wrote me the letter which I here
subjoin:

"Rocky-Hill, Sept. 10, 1783.

"I have learned since I have been at this place that you are at
Borden-Town. Whether for the sake of retirement or economy I know not.
Be it for either, for both, or whatever it may, if you will come to this
place, and partake with me, I shall be exceedingly happy to see you at
it.

"Your presence may remind Congress of your past services to this
country, and if it is in my power to impress them, command my best
exertions with freedom, as they will be rendered cheerfully by one who
entertains a lively sense of the importance of your works, and who, with
much pleasure, subscribes himself, Your sincere friend,

G. Washington."

During the war, in the latter end of the year 1780, I formed to myself a
design of coming over to England, and communicated it to General Greene,
who was then in Philadelphia on his route to the southward, General
Washington being then at too great a distance to communicate with
immediately. I was strongly impressed with the idea that if I could get
over to England without being known, and only remain in safety till I
could get out a publication, that I could open the eyes of the country
with respect to the madness and stupidity of its Government. I saw that
the parties in Parliament had pitted themselves as far as they could go,
and could make no new impressions on each other. General Greene entered
fully into my views, but the affair of Arnold and Andre happening just
after, he changed his mind, under strong apprehensions for my safety,
wrote very pressingly to me from Annapolis, in Maryland, to give up
the design, which, with some reluctance, I did. Soon after this I
accompanied Colonel Lawrens, son of Mr. Lawrens, who was then in the
Tower, to France on business from Congress. We landed at L'orient, and
while I remained there, he being gone forward, a circumstance occurred
that renewed my former design. An English packet from Falmouth to
New York, with the Government dispatches on board, was brought into
L'orient. That a packet should be taken is no extraordinary thing, but
that the dispatches should be taken with it will scarcely be credited,
as they are always slung at the cabin window in a bag loaded with
cannon-ball, and ready to be sunk at a moment. The fact, however, is
as I have stated it, for the dispatches came into my hands, and I
read them. The capture, as I was informed, succeeded by the following
stratagem:--The captain of the "Madame" privateer, who spoke English, on
coming up with the packet, passed himself for the captain of an English
frigate, and invited the captain of the packet on board, which, when
done, he sent some of his own hands back, and he secured the mail. But
be the circumstance of the capture what it may, I speak with certainty
as to the Government dispatches. They were sent up to Paris to Count
Vergennes, and when Colonel Lawrens and myself returned to America we
took the originals to Congress.

By these dispatches I saw into the stupidity of the English Cabinet far
more than I otherwise could have done, and I renewed my former design.
But Colonel Lawrens was so unwilling to return alone, more especially
as, among other matters, we had a charge of upwards of two hundred
thousand pounds sterling in money, that I gave in to his wishes, and
finally gave up my plan. But I am now certain that if I could have
executed it that it would not have been altogether unsuccessful.]

[Footnote 29: It is difficult to account for the origin of charter and corporation
towns, unless we suppose them to have arisen out of, or been connected
with, some species of garrison service. The times in which they began
justify this idea. The generality of those towns have been garrisons,
and the corporations were charged with the care of the gates of the
towns, when no military garrison was present. Their refusing or granting
admission to strangers, which has produced the custom of giving,
selling, and buying freedom, has more of the nature of garrison
authority than civil government. Soldiers are free of all corporations
throughout the nation, by the same propriety that every soldier is
free of every garrison, and no other persons are. He can follow any
employment, with the permission of his officers, in any corporation
towns throughout the nation.]

[Footnote 30: See Sir John Sinclair's History of the Revenue. The land-tax in 1646
was L2,473,499.]

[Footnote 31: Several of the court newspapers have of late made frequent mention
of Wat Tyler. That his memory should be traduced by court sycophants and
an those who live on the spoil of a public is not to be wondered at. He
was, however, the means of checking the rage and injustice of taxation
in his time, and the nation owed much to his valour. The history is
concisely this:--In the time of Richard Ii. a poll tax was levied of one
shilling per head upon every person in the nation of whatever estate or
condition, on poor as well as rich, above the age of fifteen years. If
any favour was shown in the law it was to the rich rather than to the
poor, as no person could be charged more than twenty shillings for
himself, family and servants, though ever so numerous; while all other
families, under the number of twenty were charged per head. Poll taxes
had always been odious, but this being also oppressive and unjust, it
excited as it naturally must, universal detestation among the poor and
middle classes. The person known by the name of Wat Tyler, whose proper
name was Walter, and a tiler by trade, lived at Deptford. The gatherer
of the poll tax, on coming to his house, demanded tax for one of
his daughters, whom Tyler declared was under the age of fifteen. The
tax-gatherer insisted on satisfying himself, and began an indecent
examination of the girl, which, enraging the father, he struck him with
a hammer that brought him to the ground, and was the cause of his
death. This circumstance served to bring the discontent to an issue. The
inhabitants of the neighbourhood espoused the cause of Tyler, who in a
few days was joined, according to some histories, by upwards of fifty
thousand men, and chosen their chief.



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