The Establishment of American Liberty & Independence has placed Happiness & Prosperity within our Reach; but to attain & preserve them must depend upon our own Wisdom & Virtue; judging of the future from the Past, the Prospect is not promising. But as Shakespear says—Something too much of this! The People, in this Part of the Country, are made very uneasy by the Reports from below,
that the Assembly will adopt some Measures, respecting British Debts, which may infringe the Articles of the Treaty, and involve us in a new Quarrel with Great Britain;2
who might make Reprisals upon our Coasts or Shipping, or station a Frigate or two to block up our Bay, without Danger of offending the late belligerent Powers in Europe, or even the other American States; who probably wou'd not be displeased to see us suffer for our Temerity & Folly. It is easy to foresee that in such an Event, our Situation wou'd neither be safe or honourable; a disgraceful & humiliating Submission wou'd perhaps not be the only Evils which wou'd befal us; but I trust that more prudent & dispassionate Councils will prevail, than to risque the smallest Infraction of the Treaty; which upon the Whole, is better than America had Cause to expect; all the great Points being ceded to us. In Conversation upon this Subject, we sometimes hear a very absurd Question—"If we are now to pay the Debts due to the British Merchants, what have we been fighting for all this while?" —Surely not to avoid our Debts; but to rescue our Country from the Oppression & Tyranny of the British Government, and secure the Rights and Liberty of ourselves & our Posterity; which we have happily accomplished. The Ministry in Great Britain, as well as the Torys here, have indeed constantly accused us of engaging in the War to avoid the Payment of our Debts; but every honest Man has denyed so injurious a Charge, with Indignation.