To George Clymer, Esquire December 29, 1787

To George Clymer, Esquire December 29, 1787



I received your favor of . . . when at London, from which place I returned a fortnight since. I am obliged to you for the account you gave me of the steamboat, the bridge and the plan of the newly proposed Constitution. There are many excellent things in the new system. I perceive the difficulties you must have found in debating on certain points, such as trial by juries, because in some cases, such for instance, as that of the United States against any particular State, if the trial is to be held in the delinquent State, a jury composed from that State, would be a part of the delinquent, and consequently judges in their own case.

It seems a wish with all the Americans on this side the water, except Mr. John Adams, that the President-General has not been perpetually eligible. Mr. Adams, who has some strange ideas, finds fault because the President is not for life, and because the Presidency does not devolve by hereditary succession. Too long a continuance in the presidency would probably introduce some attempt at foreign influence, such as that in Poland and Holland.

The Academy of Sciences presented me their report on the model the twenty-ninth of August. I went to London the day after, and intended sending you a copy from thence, as I shall reserve the original to bring with me. The Academy has given the same opinion as we formed in Philadelphia. The report recommends the execution of the work, with their reasons upon which that opinion is founded. While I was in London Mr. Beaumarchais has been applying for a patent or privilege for erecting an iron bridge over the Seine, opposite the King’s Gardens, where the river is wider than at the middle.

The model is at present in London in charge of Sir Joseph Banks.

But it is very possible that after all the pains I have taken, and the money I have expended, that some counterworking project will set itself up, and the hope of great gain, or great interest, will attempt schemes, that after some less pains will end in no bridge at all.

Just after I got to London the tumults of war began. T h e viciousness of that nation (Great Britain)-is inconceivable. They supposed France unprepared for war, and her attention engrossed by domestic circumstances. And this was reason enough for England to go to war!

But a great deal of this kind of cowardly bravery has disappeared since England has discovered that a treaty is in a probable train of execution between Russia, the Emperor (of Austria), France and Spain. The probability of this Quadruple Alliance already extends to retard the progress of a treaty proposed by England with Russia and Holland, so that it is likely John Bull will be at last left in the lurch.

I intend staying here until the Spring, and embarking for America in the April or May packet. This letter will probably reach you soon enough to send me a little news. Remember me with much affection to my friends around you.

Your much obliged and obedient humble servant,