To Nathaniel Wells

    Philadelphia        1 February 1792

    Dear Sir—

    Your favor of the 11th Jany came to hand by the last mail—for which I thank you—I wrote you some time last week inclosing two reports of the Secretary of the Treasury which I calculate will reach you on the ensuing saturday1

    You appear to be supplied with business enough to lengthen your session into April or May, were I to judge of your progress in Law-making to our own2—but I cannot help observing that we have hitherto afforded a striking instance of repugnance to the common received idea that Legislative Bodies will turn off business in an inverse ratio to the number of members they are composed of—for tho we rarely exceed fifty five in number, I believe there is not a State Legislature, in the Union, tho consisting of more than double three times that number, but what will pass three Laws to our one—How this principle will operate in case of an increase of our the federal house I confess I am not able to determine; But sometimes I am inclined to the opinion that as the number of the members increase the number of speakers will decrease—should this be the case the delay of business apprehended from a numerous house will not take place—

    I join you most feelingly in lamenting the circumstances that seem to make a war with the Indians, at this time, necessary. This, in a great measure, destroys the pleasing prospect with which this Session commenced[.] We were told by the President, & the report of the Secretary of the Treasury inclosed in my last, evinces that the existing Revenue would be adequate to all the Demands upon the Union for the present year—

    You ask me if a War with the Indians is a just one—and say that doubts prevail in the minds of many on this head—This is an hard question; and I had rather answer that it seems necessary—than that it is just—if there can be a distinction between these ideas—On this subject you shall hear the what the President sais to the public thro the Secretary at War in the inclosed paper3—My own sentiments are that if the Inhabitants of the United States had observed the Golden Rule, in their intercourse with the Indians, this war would not have happened—And that the Indians have come much nearer to this Rule than the whites—

    A Bill is this moment on its passage from this House to the Senate making further provision for the Defence of the Frontiers of the United States4—The doors of the House, during the whole of this business, have been shut; but I will, however, observe to you that if this Bill passes into a Law it will create a demand, for the present year, of near eight hundred thousand Dollars in addition to the existing expences, & for the raising of which the ways & means are yet to be provided for—

    On the subject of assumption I am at a loss to make up a judgment at this time—I am of opinion, however, that some events will turn up in the course of a few weeks that will enable me to form a probable idea of its success, this Session—which I shall not fail to write you5

    I am, dear Sir, with esteem & Respect, yours &c

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    FC, TFP