To John Hobby

    Philadelphia        4 February 1794

    My dear Sir—

    Your favour of the 22d ultimo came to hand yesterday—In this you mention a Letter you wrote me about four weeks before inclosing your Account as Marshall upon the Treasury of the United States—this Letter was recieved in due time and the account allowed & a post note for the Balance transmitted to you in my Letter dated —— which I hope has come safe to your hands before this time—

    The papers respecting Broadstreets pension shall be attended to1—The Secretary at War has not yet made report to the house an account of invalids, either on the List for pensions—or of those examined under the last Law for that purpose—

    The general war in Europe as well as the Corsairs of Algiers will throw many impediments in the way of American trade & navigation—But I do not yet see much danger of our being drawn into the War—It is very true that our merchant vessells are frequently taken by British & French cruisers—however this is not done by either of these powers because of any hostile disposition they bare towards America—And when they take American property they do it on account of some connection they discover or think they discover, with their respective declared enemies—We have also had pretty solid assurances from France & England that they are extremely averse to a war with America—Notwithstanding those friendly dispositions, such is the object of the war now carried on by the Combined powers against France, & such is the necessity which the principle of self defence reduces France to & will fully justify, that unless some change of circumstances should take place on one side or the other, before the next campaigne opens, it is to be feared our commerce to Europe & perhaps elsewhere will be very much still more embarressed—But all this is a less evil both to the merchant & farmer than a war—So long as the present war continues we must suffer—it is one of those general calamities that admits of no specific remidy—Patience to bare, & coolness to compare our situation with the belligerant powers, by which we shall be satisfied that our situation is infinitely the most elegible, will afford some consolation, and warn america to avoid a War—

    We have no later news from Europe than what you see in the papers—The dredfull combination against France makes me fear every thing while I endeavour to hope for the best—Early in eighty nine I entered deeply into the nascent Revolution in that Country—& I have travled, with their leaders step by step in its progress to its present crisis, where I stand almost alone—a defender of their measures & the admirer of their principles—

    But enough of this for the present—

    You ask how Mr. [Alexander] Hamilton comes off respecting the charges of Mr. Andrew G. Frauncis? I answer—like Gold after a seven fold refining—His character, if possible, has appreciated in all good & great qualities, by the investigation occasioned by Frauncis petiti[on.]2

    The commercial regulations, some time ago brought forward by Mr. Madison, are now the subject of daily examination3—Upon this subject I have not time now to say much—And will only add, that I am inclined to think that many some merchants as well as many of other classes are mistaken when they say that America is injured by their trade with England—Whereas, on an accurate examination, America is more favoured in her trade with that nation than any other nation4

    Adieu—& believe me to be, dear Sir, your friend & humble Servant

    P.S. You may be assured the other parts of your Letter, not particularly noted in this, shall be duly attended to—

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    ALS, TFP. Addressed to Portland; franked; postmarked.