To the Honarable Thomas Fitzsimmons November 19th, 1786

To the Honarable Thomas Fitzsimmons November 19th, 1786



I write you a few loose thoughts as they occur to me. Next to gaining a majority is keeping it. This, at least (in my opinion), will not be best accomplished by doing or attempting a great deal of business, but by doing no more than is absolutely necessary to be done, acting moderately and giving no offence. It is with the whole as it is with the members individually, and we always see at every new election that it is more difficult to turn out an old member against whom no direct complaint can be made than it is to put in a new one though a better man. I am sure it will be best not to touch any part of the plan of finance this year. If it falls short, as most probably it will, it would be (I speak for myself) best to reduce the interest that the whole body of those who are styled public creditors may share it equally as far as it will go. If anything can be saved from the Civil List expenses it ought not to be finally mortgaged to make up the deficiency; it may be applied to bring the creditors to a balance for the present year. There is more to be said respecting this debt than has yet been said. The matter has never been taken up but by those who are interested in the matter. The public has been deficient and the claimants exorbitant-neglect on one side and greediness on the other. That which is truly Justice may be always advocated. But I could no more think of paying six per cent interest in real money, in perpetuity, for a debt a great part of which is quondam than I could think of not paying at all. Six per cent on any part of the debt, even to the original holders is ten or twelve per cent, and to the speculators twenty or thirty or more. It is better that the matter rest until it is fuller investigated and better understood, for in its present state it will be hazardous to touch upon.

I have not heard a word of news from Philadelphia since I came to this place. I wrote a line to Mr. Francis and desired him to give me a little account of matters but he does not, perhaps, think it very necessary now.

I see by the papers that the subject of the Bank is likely to be renewed. I should like to know when it will come on, as I have some thought of coming down at that time, if I can.

I see by the papers that the Agricultural Society has presented a petition to the House respecting building a bridge over the Schuylkill-on a model prepared for that purpose. In this I think they are too hasty. I have already constructed a model of a bridge of cast iron, consisting of one arch. I am now making another of wrought iron of one arch, but on a different plan. I expect to finish it in about three weeks and shall send it first to Philadelphia. I have no opinion of any bridge over the Schuylkill that is to be erected on piers-the sinking of piers will sink more money than they have any idea of and will not stand when done. But there is another point they have not taken into their consideration; which is, that the sinking three piers in the middle of the river, large and powerful enough to resist the ice, will cause such an alteration in the bed and channel of the river that there is no saying what course it may take, or whether it will not force a new channel somewhere else.