Fairfax County, Gunston-Hall, May 6th. 1783.
I congratulate you, most sincerly, upon the Establishment of American Liberty & Independence; Happiness & Prosperity are now within our Reach; but to attain & preserve them, must depend upon our own Wisdom & Virtue.
It behoves the Assembly to revise many of our Laws, & to abolish all such as are contrary to the Principles of Justice, and by a strict Adherence to the Distinctions between Right & Wrong for the future, to restore that Confidence & Reverence in the People for the Legislature; which by a contrary Conduct has been so greatly impaired; and without which, their Laws will soon become a dead-Letter.
We are greatly alarm'd, in this Part of the Country, least the Assembly shou'd make some Laws respecting British Debts, which may infringe the Articles of the Treaty, & involve us in a fresh Quarrel with Great Britain; who may make Reprisals upon our Ships or Coasts, without Danger of offending the late belligerent Powers in Europe, or even the other American States; who in all Probability wou'd not be displeased to see our Folly & Temerity punished. In such a Situation a disgraceful & humiliating Submission might not be the only Evil which wou'd befal us; but I trust that more prudent & temperate 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.
I hope the Assembly, as soon as it meets will postpone the Payment of all the Taxes until August or Septemr. The War being ended, the Delay can occasion no material Inconvenience to the Public; and tho' it will not diminish the Revenue a Shilling, it will lessen the Taxes upon the People 100 Per Ct. by enabling them to pay with one half the Tobo. or other Country-Produce, which it wou'd at present require.
One of my Sons & one William Allison have Lately erected a Snuff Manufactory in this County and have already made a large Quantity of Snuff; which will soon be sent into different Parts of the Country. Apprehending the Attempts of the British Merchants to ruin such a Manufacture here, they have presented a Petition to the Assembly for laying a Duty upon Snuff imported from foreign Countrys; the Reasons in Support of this request are fully stated in their Petition; which I beg the favour of you to examine; and if you think the Petition just & reasonable, I flatter myself it will be favoured with your Patronage in the Assembly. I am, with much Regard, dear Sir, Yr. most obdt. Servt.