To David Sewall

    New York City        28 March 1790

    My dear Sir,

    Several of your favours are now before me—a certain uniformity of little matters, as they relate to the public, have been before Congress for ten or twelve days past that were hardly worth communicating1—I said little matters; this is true in all respects, but as they take up a great deal of time—of which I confess Congress is too lavish—And I fear always will be—there are so many who love to hear themselves speak, and measure wisdom by the number of words, that it is to be apprehended the evil will encrease; unless the people, to whom most of the orators burn Incense, shall, in some mode or other, shew themselves displeased with such verbal-worship—

    I believe the House will, some time this week, take up the subject of Finance, as reported by the Committee of the whole—a history of which, I have sent you in some former Letters—It remains yet uncertain what will be done touching the State debts—So far as I can calculate, the chances are equal, & perhaps rather in favour of the assumption—I believe eight will be for the measure from Massachusetts; and we are not without hopes of having three from N. Hampshire2

    Two Representatives from N. Carolina have taken their seats—one of them is certainly against the assumption—the other doubtfull.3

    The private Letters, as well as public papers from Massachusetts, are equally silent on the subject of electioneering—a subject, that in former years, has divided the Commonwealth into parties and factions—This state of things Silence I take it arises from one or other of two causes—and possibly from a combined operation of both—either there is such a very general predelection in favour of the present Governor, as to render all opposition not only ineffectual but contemptible4—or it begins to be a matter of less importance than heretofore, in the minds of the people, who is their Governor—I will not decide on this alternative of causes—because it is not only indifferent to me which, or whether either of them, be the true one—but tis equally indifferent who is Governor—However, I will speculate one inch further & say, by way of query—should the federal Government be hereafter administred with prudence & justice—should it manifest an economical disposition, & a sacred regard to the rights of the people and of the State Governments, will not this indifference as to Governor, in the minds of the people, become greater & greater; and in proportion as the general confidence of Citizens in the federal System becomes more fixed?

    I have, for some time, foreseen the scarcity, & great sufferings that must probably take place in the eastern Country this spring—However I have been lately told there are vast quantities of wheet in the Country that have not been brought to market, by reason of their being no sleighing; the mode generally adopted for that purpose—If I am not mistaken the crops of potatoes in our country were small the last season—Potatoes are the best substitute for corn & grain—And I begin to be of opinion we had better use them more than we do—I never eat bread either with meat, or milk, if I can get potatoes—Is it not a good thing for precept & example to go together?

    Yours. &c

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    ALS, Papers of David Sewall, Old York Museum, York