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may be wanted, but it may not be necessary to have appeals in matters of small consequence, such as seamen's wages and the like.

I would further suggest that as the courts before mentioned must be supported at the public expense,


may be prudent to order a small sum per cent. of all goods that are adjudged prize into the public treasury, to defray the charges.

I am sensible that it is impossible to form a new system, which at its birth will be perfect. Nor is there any one of another nation perhaps, that will so aptly apply to our genius and circumstances as to admit of no improvement; but if your supreme courts consist of men of industry, ability and enterprising minds, they will from time to time adopt such rules as may tend to the perfection of the practice. But these rules should all be submitted to congress, to meet their approbation, and that the practice may be uniform throughout the whole republic.

In cases of property claimed by the subjects of neutral powers, a complaint ought to lay to congress.

I will not give you further trouble on this matter; the importance of it must before now have engaged the notice of congress, and so great is my confidence in their ability and uprightness, that I think they can stand in no need of my assistance.

Be kind enough to present my respectful compliments to the honourable Messrs. Holton and

Partridge, and believe me to be, with the most perfect esteem, your most obedient, and very humble servant,


The appointment of commissioner had been preceded by the renewal of Mr. Gerry's election as a delegate in congress, which in the November preceding was had for the fifth time, and continued him as a representative for the year 1730.

The treasury board, of which he still continued at the head, was brought constantly in collision with rapacious creditors of the public, who, not contented with the appropriation liberally made by congress, contrived to obviate the losses of depreciation by extravagant accounts.

The most daring of these was general Arnold, who, having run a long race of profligate dissipation at Philadelphia, was desirous of covering his deficiencies by a claim on the government.

The true character of the man had not then been developed. He was known only as a gallant soldier, whose skill and courage had been conspicuously exerted for his country, and the liberality with which such talents and activity were then readily rewarded inclined men to a favourable consideration of his claims. His accounts were referred by congress to the board of


treasury, where a very slight inspection was sufficient to show the injustice, extravagance and fraud by which they had been prepared.

The general relied on his military character rather than on the accuracy of his vouchers. He could not indeed, like Brennus, throw his sword into the scale, but he was desirous that his professional reputation should give equal efficacy to his wishes. The chairman of the board of treasury was acquainted with no arithmetic, which permitted fraud or extortion to state an account current in their favour, and the general's demands were no sooner examined than rejected.

Angry and impetuous, he immediately made his appeal, not in a very parliamentary way, to congress, and in no measured terms attributed his disappointment to the improper interference and the unjustifiable influence of the chairman.

The reply of Mr. Gerry to this abuse, as impolitic as it was gratuitous, calmly and dispassionately stated the reasons of his decision, but having disposed of the matter in controversy, he turned with fierceness on his aggressor, whom he did not fail to chastise as well for the extravagance of his accounts, as for the folly of the attack, under cover of which he had expected to carry them.

“ If,” said he, “the faithful discharge of official duty, unpleasant enough in itself, is to bring with it the liability of personal attack from men who have neither honesty in their public dealings nor

courtesy in private life, it might be well to abolish all guards upon the treasury, and admit rapacity and crime to help themselves at pleasure.”

The further progress of this dispute was arrested by the interference of friends who had influence with the parties. The accounts of general Arnold were reduced within a reasonable amount. Congress omitted those expressions of its displeasure, which a regard for its own authority, violated by disrespect to one of its members, would ordinarily have required; and the general, obliged unwillingly to put up with the severe remarks, which his conduct had elicited without gratisying his revenge, lest Philadelphia for that station, which will perpetuate his infamy to all future time.

The commencement of this year relieved Mr. Gerry from that part of his duty in congress, which had for so long time placed him at the head of the treasury. A new arrangement was adopted, which established distinct boards of admiralty, war and treasury, on each of which were two members of congress and three persons selected at large ; and on this organization being made, Mr. Gerry, preferring his duties within the hall of congress to the confinement, which this department required, declined to retain his former situation.


Remonstrates against a Decision of Congress......Leaves Con

gress and prefers a Complaint to the General Court of Massachusetts........Resolve of the General Court........Remonstrance........ The Decision of Congress considered........Pay of a Member of Congress.......

... State of the Currency........Letter from John Adams.........Mode of Living at Congress........American Mail captured........Mr. Lovell's Letter to Mr. Gerry published by the Enemy........ Correspondence with General Washington.

CIRCUMSTANCES now occurred, which terminated for a time Mr. Gerry's services in the congress of the United States, and induced him to appear in person with an appeal from their proceedings, to his immediate constituents.

These circumstances, so singular in themselves, and so inconsistent with the present better established notions of parliamentary practice, we proceed to relate.

On February 19, 1780, congress had under consideration the report of a committee for estimating the supplies to be furnished by the several sta for the current year, and the prices at which the several articles should be credited to the states which procured them.

This subject was fruitful in vexation as often as it occurred. Its adjustment determined the contingent required of a state. It was in the nature

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