To David Sewall

    New York City        11 April 1790

    Dear Sir

    Since my last the house have been employed in considering the Bill, defining crimes & punishments against the U. States, which was sent them, some time ago, from the Senate; and yesterday they returned it with a few amendments—

    It was attempted to insert a clause directing by whom death-warrants should be signed, but it could not be carried—so it is left for the Court before whom judgment of Death is had to issue a Warrant1

    On the morrow, I believe, the question of assumption will, again, be taken up—And I am very apprehensive it will pass in the negative. It is said, the Pennsylvanians will vote against the motion; but in case the Massachusetts will hereafter, in this Session, vote with them for adjourning to the City of Philadelphia, they will then agree to the Assumption—To the truth of this I cannot vouch; tho I strongly suspect something of the kind is on foot—Now I have told several Gentlemen, in conversation on this subject, that if this be their Trick, I would sweare in my wrath Congress should never settle in the State of Pennsylvania, if my vote could prevent it—I would go to the Delaware, Jerseys or even to the Potomack, before I would suffer myself to be Jockied in measures so evidently just, & for the general wellfare, as the assumption—

    There is more Locality in the Pennsylvanians, than in all Congress besides; excepting one or two, their mental Horrison [horizon] closes with the Limits of the State—To them Pennsylvania is the world, & Philadelphia the centre.

    Pennsylvania is so situated that it will always hold the scale between the northern & southern States. It is now, and probably always will be the largest manufacturing as well as importing State. Hence, perhaps, it would not be good policy to add to its consequence and means of aggrandisment, that of being the seat of Federal Government.

    I well know you view these things on a large and liberal scale; and, justly droping the ideas of States, consider them only as component parts of the great whole; but among the parts of every whole there ought to be observed a certain proportion—An arm, a head, or a leg may be too big for the other parts of the body; and a State may have such influence, from its situation, commerce, manufactures &c as to disturbe the general System. Are not the United Netherlands merged in politics as well as name into the State of Holland[?]

    The two last nights past we have had very heavy Thunder, sharp Lightning, with much rain—especially last night—The Tempest, for I can call it nothing else, began about ten; and for an hour or better I scarce ever heard heavier thunder, or saw such continued flashes of Light—during which time the rain fell in vast quantities.

    Since I have resided in this city, I have noted, that Thunder and Lightning do not have the effect on the general state of air here that they have in our part of the Country—There they generally clarify the air; and after a Tempest, we are almost sure of a clear, serene sky—but the reverse is the case here—I hardly recollect an instance when after a thunder storm the air was more clear, or less hot and sultry than before—The last Summer, Squalls of Thunder and Lightning were very frequent, but the air was generally more sultry after than before—

    Yours. &c

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    FC, TFP