To Jeremiah Hill

    Philadelphia        21 December 1797

    My dear Sir —

    [. . . .]

    The Spanking given to the Duch by Admiral Duncan makes up all our foreign news1—The English are becoming as terrible on the ocean as the French are on the Land—The reports in some late papers that the French have declared war against the United States & given orders for an indiscriminate capture of American Vessells are not credited here—But we have no accounts of any kind from our Ministers at Paris2

    We remain tranquil—but the old disputes have left a sufficiency of seed which only waite for an occasion to vegitate3

    The duch Spanking is nuts for Peter Porcupine—who is really doing much good4—In his paper of last evening he addresses himself to the Author of the Centinal, & dresses him very well5—I confess I am surprised, myself, to see such an apathy, & whining cant in papers called federal, as they actually make about the French—Peter only understands the subject—He only is up to the mark of a true American— The other Printers are no more than Images of different mettle with considerable of clay—The Walpole paper excepted6—that is all American—

    * * *

    AL (closing salutation and signature cut out), TFP. Addressed to Biddeford; franked; postmarked. Omitted text relates to the payment of household expenses from GT’s congressional pay, advanced (by a receipt on the federal Treasury) against JH’s impost revenue as collector. The address sheet has various expenses that JH wrote out as “paid,” which must have served as GT’s receipt and may explain why it was returned to his papers; it is one of only four ALSs to JH in TFP. One of the enumerated expenses details the accumulation of real estate that would contribute to GT’s financial “embarrassment” three years later: JH was authorized to pay Prentiss Mellen (who had GT’s power of attorney) $100 “in part satisfaction of the Land I am to have of Mr. Hayes & Wife,” another $100 a month later, and one last payment in March 1798 (GT to SST, 21 Dec. 1797, 27 Jan., 24 March 1798, TFP).