To [John Hobby]

    Philadelphia        3 March 1794

    My dear Sir,

    Your favor of the 19th. ultimo came to hand this morning—Your Letters are at all times agreeable, but this was peculiarly so; because, since you say nothing about a Town meeting in Portland on the subject of commercial regulations, instructions &c to your Representatives, I am led to conclude that, at the time you wrote, this measure was not in contemplation of the people of that town—And I now hope the subject will be so well understood, more especially as the rage in Boston seems to have subsided, that the people will waite till the proposed Regulations have had a fair discussion in Congress, & our situation with foreign powers are less critical, before they take this business out of the hands of Congress—

    I hope the genuine speeches of Messs. [Fisher] Ames, [William Loughton] Smith & [Samuel] Dexter will be printed at large in the Portland papers—When this is done, & the people having heard both sides of the question, I shall not be afraid to leave the cause with them—And I am persuaded, if some of the leaders of the populace, in Boston had possessed a little more patience to hear before they undertook to direct, together with a little less envy towards Ames & Dexter, they never would have called their first Town-meeting—I do not think I am mistaken in saying that the true interest of Massachusetts is extremely injured by the perpetual efforts of some to depretiate the character & services of Mr. Ames—I know him. I have lived long with him—And can say the reports so vigilently circulated among the people of his being a Speculator, connected with the English Agents, &c &c are false, & malicious—And I believe I may safely say they originate in pure antifederalism; & could the Authors have their will they would not stop short of a total destruction of the general Government—Mr. Ames is a man of very little property—& all he possesses is the acquisition of his own Labor & prudance—

    You enquire after [Edmond-Charles] Genet, & want to know why you do not hear more said about him? On this subject I need say nothing, because before this reaches you, accounts of his being recalled, & actually superceeded by Mr. Faucet [Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet] will reach you in all the public papers—And I will only say, that most of his particular friends begin to have their eyes open, & to distinguish between good & evil—while no body doubts but his great object was to involve this Country in a war with England & the combined powers—And had it not been for the vigorous, independent Conduct of the President, Jay, King & others in the Government, whom the pretended Democrats make their greatest merit in abusing, America would at this moment be suffering again all the calamities of War1

    Two Letters recieved here on fryday from Kentuckey inform that an expedition is on foot at that place Under a General Clark against New-Orleans2—That two hundred men had gone forward to the mouth of the Ohio to stop all communication down the River, & that the General with two thousand men was to march on the first day of march—This business has been set on foot & carried on by Citizen Genet—without any knowledge whatever of the Executive of the U. States—I dont hear of any official Information of this business to the President—Nor will I conjecture what steps he will take; but as Congress is now in Session I think it not unlikely he will refer the subject as to what measures shall be pursued to Congress—

    I will not say that the Commercial Regulations lately brought before the house is part of Genets system to bring us into a war—because many who have voted for them I think are averse to a war, but it is singular tho certainly true, that the party generally who have addressed & almost adored Genet, have been strenuous for the Resolutions—both in the house and out of it—This day was assigned for a further consideration of the Regulations, and the question is yet now under debate whether they shall be taken up or put off to some further day—they are postponed till this day week3

    I cannot close this Letter without a few observations relative to a subject that is of the last importance to the United States, & more especially & immediately interesting to Merchants & Sailors—’Tis the Subject of Algeriene depredations—as this more immediately concerns the Seaports & Seamen, you have my permission to communicate this part of my Letter to all your mercantile connections—But many strong reasons make me extremely averse to its appearing in any of the News-papers—Nor do I know that it could be of any service to publish it—

    I am sensible how very delicate it is to give advice on a subject that I pretend to no professional knowledge of; a subject to that which I have no practice or interest in—And upon a point too on which much gain or loss may turn according as circumstances may happen to agree or disagree with my predictions—

    Twelve American Vessells were carried into Algiers as early as the latter part of October, & uncommon preparations were making by that power for a second cruize—to which the great success of the first Cruise encouraged them to undertake, tho later than is usual for them to go to sea—And on the 19th. of November, I have good authority to say, there was no prospect of a peace with Algiers—but every reason to fear their Cruisers would, early in the Spring, extend to the British Channel, & even towards our side of the Atlantic—Now if this should be the case, I leave you & those who are interested in Commerce to draw such Conclusions as interest & prudence shall dictate—And that the Algerienes will rove as I have suggested I have no doubt—unless some great change takes place this winter among the combined powers & France—for from that source all our commercial evils flow—And I am sorry to say will continue to flow till peace, on some principle or other, shall take place between them—If any event comes to my knowledge on this subject you may rest assured I will give you the earliest information—

    It may be satisfactory to know, that the Court of Spain has ordered a Convoy to all American Vessells in their ports up to the about the sixth of December.

    The Fleet that brought Mr. Faucet to America is loading with provisions for France—this has given a start to all articles—Flower, superfine, is 6 Dollars 75 Cents—common 6 Dollars—&c. &c. Wheet in proportion—

    Accounts from the Western Army seem to look towards a peace—We daily expect news from that quarter in confirmation of these agreeable reports4

    I agree with you that tho the evils we now suffer are great—yet a War would be still greater—And if a war takes place Congress must resort to direct Taxes for means to carry it on—foreseeing this you will readily approve of our extreme caution in taking any steps that may lead the United States to that last of all evils—

    The Committee appointed some time ago to report on such Harbors & ports in the United States as require to be put in a State of defence, have included Portland in the number5—The report has not yet been acted upon [in] the House—The Committee have estimated the expence of fortifying the Harbor of Portland at Two thousand seven hundred & forty nine dollars—It is to be defended by twelve pieces of Cannon—Upon this subject I shall write you again as soon as it shall be taken up in the House—

    Since my last, the Secretary of the Treasury has reported upon your Petition favourably to your wishes, & I hope to get the Business compleated before we adjourn6—unless the urgency of more public measures, which seem every day to be crouding upon our hands, shall prevent our attention to private subjects—

    We have no foreign news but what you will find in the papers—

    I am, my dear Sir, yours &c

    * * *

    FC, TFP. The last page and a half of manuscript has been misdated as belonging to GT’s letter of 5 June 1794, and is misfiled under that date in TFP.