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a stop to the exportation of tobacco, there was a great accumulation of several years' produce in all the public inspecting warehouses and private stores of the planters. Arnold, Phillips, and Cornwallis, with British troops, then entered and overran the country, burnt all the inspecting and other stores of tobacco, to the amount of some hundred ship-loads; all which might, on the return of peace, if it had not been thus wantonly destroyed, have been remitted to British creditors. But these d-d Virginians, why don't they pay their debts?

Paper money was in those times our universal currency. But, it being the instrument with which we combated our enemies, they resolved to deprive us of its use by depreciating it; and the most effectual means they could contrive was to counterfeit it. The artists they employed performed so well, that immense quantities of these counterfeits, which issued from the British government in New York, were circulated among the inhabitants of all the States, before the fraud was detected. This operated considerably in depreciating the whole mass, first, by the vast additional quantity, and next by the uncertainty in distinguishing the true from the false; and the depreciation was a loss to all and the ruin of many. It is true our enemies gained a vast deal of our property by the operation; but it did not go into the hands of our particular creditors; so their demands still subsisted, and we were still abused for not paying our debts !

By the seventh article of the treaty of peace, it was solemnly stipulated, that the King's troops, in evacuating their posts in the United States, should not carry away with them any negroes. In direct violation of this article, General Carleton, in evacuating New York, carried off all the negroes that were with his army, to the amount of several hundreds. It is not

doubted that he must have had secret orders to justify him in this transaction; but the reason given out was, that, as they had quitted their masters and joined the King's troops on the faith of proclamations promising them their liberty, the national honor forbade returning them into slavery. The national honor was, it seemed, pledged to both parts of a contradiction, and its wisdom, since it could not do it with both, chose to keep faith rather with its old black, than its new white friends; a circumstance demonstrating clear as daylight, that, in making a present peace, they meditated a future war, and hoped, that, though the promised manumission of slaves had not been effectual in the last, in the next it might be more successful; and that, had the negroes been forsaken, no aid could be hereafter expected from those of the color in a future invasion. The treaty however with us was thus broken almost as soon as mide, and this by the people who charge us with breaking it by not paying perhaps for some of the very negroes carried off in defiance of it. Why should England observe treaties, when these Americans do not pay their debts?

Public injuries can Contracts between sacredly observed,

Unreasonable, however, as this clamor appears in general, I do not pretend, by exposing it, to justify those debtors who are still able to pay, and refuse it on pretence of injuries suffered by the war. never discharge private obligations. merchant and merchant should be where the ability remains, whatever may be the madness of ministers. It is therefore to be hoped the fourth article of the treaty of peace which stipulates, that no legal obstruction shall be given to the payment of debts contracted before the war, will be punctually carried into execution, and that every law in every State which impedes it, may be immediately repealed. Those laws

were indeed made with honest intentions, that the halfruined debtor, not being too suddenly pressed by some, might have time to arrange and recover his affairs so as to do justice to all his creditors. But, since the intention in making those acts has been misapprehended, and the acts wilfully misconstrued into a design of defrauding them, and now made a matter of reproach to us, I think it will be right to repeal them all. Individual Americans may be ruined, but the country will save by the operation; since these unthinking, merciless creditors must be contented with all that is to be had, instead of all that may be due to them, and the accounts will be settled by insolvency. When all have paid that can pay, I think the remaining British creditors, who suffered by the inability of their ruined debtors, have some right to call upon their own government (which by its bad projects has ruined those debtors) for a compensation. A sum given by Parliament for this purpose would be more properly disposed, than in rewarding pretended loyalists, who fomented the war. And, the heavier the sum, the more tendency it might have to discourage such destructive projects hereafter.

Among the merchants of Britain, trading formerly to America, there are to my knowledge many considerate and generous men, who never joined in this clamor, and who, on the return of peace, though by the treaty entitled to an immediate suit for their debts, were kindly disposed to give their debtors reasonable time for restoring their circumstances, so as to be able to make payment conveniently. These deserve the most grateful acknowledgments. And indeed it was in their favor, and perhaps for their sakes in favor of all other British creditors, that the law of Pennsylvania, though since much exclaimed against, was made, restraining the recovery of old debts during a certain time. For this

restraint was general, respecting domestic as well as British debts, it being thought unfair, in cases where there was not sufficient for all, that the inhabitants, taking advantage of their nearer situation, should swallow the whole, excluding foreign creditors from any share. And in cases where the favorable part of the foreign creditors were disposed to give time, with the views abovementioned, if others less humane and considerate were allowed to bring immediate suits and ruin the debtor, those views would be defeated. When this law expired in September, 1784, a new one was made, continuing for some time longer the restraint with respect to domestic debts, but expressly taking it away where the debt was due from citizens of the State to any of the subjects of Great Britain;* which shows clearly the disposition of the Assembly, and that the fair intentions above ascribed to them in making the former act, are not merely the imagination of the writer.

Indeed, the clamor has been much augmented by numbers joining it, who really had no claim on our country. Every debtor in Britain, engaged in whatever trade, when he had no better excuse to give for delay of payment, accused the want of returns from America. And the indignation, thus excited against us, now appears so general among the English, that one would imagine their nation, which is so exact in expecting

* Extract from an Act of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, entitled, "An Act for directing the Mode of recovering Debts contracted before the first Day of January, in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven."

Exception in Favor of British Creditors.

"Sect. 7. And provided also, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that this Act, nor any thing therein contained, shall not extend, or be construed to extend, to any debt or debts which were due before the fourth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, by any of the citizens of the State, to any of the subjects of Great Britain.'

punctual payment from all the rest of the world, musi be at home the model of justice, the very pattern of punctuality. Yet, if one were disposed to recriminate, it would not be difficult to find sufficient matter in several parts of their conduct. But this I forbear. The two separate nations are now at peace, and there can be no use in mutual provocations to fresh enmity. If I have shown clearly that the present inability of many American merchants to discharge their debts, contracted before the war, is not so much their fault, as the fault of the crediting nation, who, by making an unjust war on them, obstructing their commerce, plundering and devastating their country, were the cause of that inability, I have answered the purpose of writing this paper. How far the refusal of the British court to execute the treaty in delivering up the frontier posts, may, on account of that deficiency of payment, be justifiable, is cheerfully submitted to the world's impartial judgment.




Power of this Court.

IT It may receive and promulgate accusations of all kinds, against all persons and characters among the citizens of the State, and even against all inferior courts; and may judge, sentence, and condemn to infamy, not only private individuals, but public bodies, &c., with or without inquiry or hearing, at the court's discretion.

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