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much wanted in adjusting the Colony accounts. I under stand they are left with Deacon Cheever.
I cannot help inculcating the necessity of attending to powder, and carefully preserving it; for, should the enemy remove, and the Army follow them, our Colony may be destitute of this article; and what a situation will it then be in? One thing further I will beg leave to hint: the Assembly, some time since, passed a resolve relative to fire-arms; and I cannot learn that any great number have been yet manufactured. Is it not necessary to inquire into the cause of it, and appoint a Committee to contract with individuals, who manufacture for a certain number in a convenient time? The Southern Colonies give a higher encouragement than we have offered; and it may be of great importance to follow their example. This the Assembly will decide.
Pray give my best respects to Major Hawley, Colonel Orne, Messrs. Sullivan, Cooper, Freeman, and all our other friends, believing me to be sincerely, sir, your friend and very humble servant,
To the Honourable James Warren.
P. S. Pray forward the enclosed letters.
Committee-Chamber, March 6, 1776.
The several District Committees having returned their Reports, relating to the engrossing Salt, Rum, Sugar, Spice, Pepper, Molasses, Cocoa, and Coffee, it clearly appears that the scarcity of those articles is artificial, and that several persons, whose names are returned to this Committee, but from tenderness to their families are not published, have formed a cruel design to add to the distresses of their suffering fellow-citizens and country, by collecting great quantities of and exacting exorbitant prices for the above articles; a conduct at any time shameful, but at a period of publick calamity most barbarous and oppressive, more especially on the poor and middling ranks of life.*
Resolved, therefore, That this Committee are bound, in duty and justice to the inhabitants of this City and Province, to give an immediate check to such base and mercenary practices; and for that purpose have fixed the undermentioned prices as just, reasonable, and generous, respect being had to the publick as well as the seller of such goods; and if any persons shall be so lost to virtue, honour, and the publick good, as to demand greater prices for the above articles, now imported, than are hereinafter limited, or shall refuse to sell such articles under false pretences of exportation, pre-engagementj or otherwise, in order to avail themselves of the scarcity of such goods, and enhance the price, this Committee do declare that they will expose such persons, by name, to publick view, as sordid vultures, who are preying on the vitals of their country in a time of general distress.
The Committee, therefore, do request all persons, of whom demands are made above the prices limited, or who shall be refused to purchase as above, immediately to make their case known to some of the Committee, when such offender, being convicted before a general meeting of the Committee, will soon experience what are the feelings and resentment of an injured and insulted people.
Common West-India Rum, four Shillings and six Pence per hogshead, or greater quantity.
Molasses, two Shillings per hogshead.
Country Rum, two Shillings and six Pence per hogshead.
Coffee, eleven Pence by the bag or bale.
Cocoa, five Pounds per hundred.
Chocolate, sixteen Pence per pound.
Pepper, five Shillings, per pound, by the bag or bale.
Loaf Sugar, single, fourteen Pence per pound.
Lump Sugar, one Shilling.
Muscovado Sugar, first, sixty-five Shillings per hundred, and other qualities in proportion.
Salt, Lisbon, four Shillings per single bushel, or greater quantity.
Liverpool Blown Salt, five Shillings per single bushel, or greater quantity.
Jamaica Spirits, of common quality, five Shillings and six Pence per gallon.
The prices of goods, hereafter imported, will be put on a proper footing by the Committee, according to the circumstances of such importation.
Ordered to be published by the Committee of Inspection and Observation for the City and Liberties of Philadelphia.
J. B. SMITH, Secretary.
TO MESSRS. HALL AND SELLERS.
Philadelphia, March 6, 1776.
After premising, that in the following Essay you are by no means to expect a formal answer to the piece signed Rationalis, I would inform you, that in a company, where the important doctrine of Independency was pretty thoroughly agitated a few evenings ago, I gathered the plan of the moderate man to be for bearing arms and repelling the force that might be sent against America, till Great Britain would grow weary of the enterprise, and be willing to make up with us on equitable terms. This he urged to be necessary, for the reasons commonly produced to maintain that position: as our descent from Britain, our connection by blood, interest, language, laws, constitutions, religion, commerce, &c., with its inhabitants; our need of the national protection, if attacked by any foreign power, and the lulaby of our having been a very happy and flourishing people during our dependance upon the Parent State.
To all this was answered, that there were certain times when minor States, as well as persons, became capable to judge and act for themselves; that the obligations for parental care and protection could never extend so far as, to entitle the former to oppress the latter in demands of an indefinite consideration for such a favour; and finally, that unless the minor State should at some certain time be allowed to have power to debate, and settle the quantum due for protection, and choose whether it comply with such certain terms, or give up the protection offered, they were by no means on an equal footing with natural persons, who, at a moderately early age, were at full liberty to leave their parents, and do the best they were able for themselves. America, it was observed, was not sent out a Colony at the charge of Great Britain, and, for all the protection afforded her, might well be esteemed an orphan instead of a child; and with all the clamour raised on that head, with intention to lull the people into a submission to the most ruinous exactions, were a fair account stated, it would be found that the balance in favour of America would amaze all mankind! It was further observed, that the efforts used to persuade the Americans they are in a state of perpetual non-age and
* PHILADELPHIA, March 7, 1776.I was yesterday greatly disturbed by an incident which fell out in this city. A gentleman was brought before the Committee of Inspection, for refusing to take a Maryland Convention Bill. The Committee, on hearing the matter, were obliged to dismiss the complaint as without their commission. Every good citizen must be distressed with the contemplation of grievances they cannot find means to redress. Certainly these several Colonial currencies are of this sort. The great intercourse we are obliged to have with each other, from Georgia to Canada, renders these currencies very troublesome, I may indeed say distressing; and, notwithstanding the expense of striking a bank, sufficient to sink every penny of these emissions, I must beg leave to propose it to the consideration of the honourable Continental Congress, whether this grievance docs not absolutely demand this sole, adequate, and effectual redress? A sufficient number of hills might be struck in Philadelphia, even of the lowest value judged necessary, and sent in sheets to each Colony, where Committees, of their respective Conventions or Assemblies, would sign each for themselves. Their respective proportions can be as easily settled by Congress as any other general charge; and should an overplus remain to some, after sinking all the bills they have emitted, they would have so much in bank for future emergencies. To this plan, if the establishment of a Mint were added, where the plate, with which many families abound, could be fitted for a ready exchange with foreigners, for commodities of which the most opulent will soon be in want, I flatter myself the salutary consequences would soon become sensible to every one. I shall trouble my readers with no arguments to enforce these measures, as the inconveniences on the one hand, and the advantages on the other, are too obvious to need them.
Though the Committee of Inspection, cannot be accused of entire inattention to the publick safety, in the late villainous attempt made to injure us by a set of monopolists, I cannot think the sore has yet been probed to the bottom. A gentleman, some time since from Great Britain, informed me that, on a like occasion, the regrated commodities were forcibly taken from the monopolizers, and put into the hands of gentlemen of character, who sold them at a reasonable price to all men alike, and returned the money to the owners; and, by that means, that abominable practice has never since existed in that part of the country, the people being resolute to recur to the remedy as often as the disease appears.
Resist beginnings, late is physick used,
LUKE, THE PHYSICIAN.