I have been applied to by some of the inhabitants of the island of Nantucket, and have promised them to write to my friend respecting the whale fishery. These people have been usually employed in that branch of business chiefly. They have greatly reduced the number of their vessels, since the commencement of the war, by which means they say they are reduced to great distress and wish for some indulgence from congress. Whether this can be consistently granted, and in what manner, you will judge. The delegates of this state, I believe, can inform you more particularly of this matter. You are sensible of the absolute dependence of this state upon the fishery for its trade, and how great an advantage will accrue from it to the United States, if they intend ever to have a navy. I hope our peacemakers are instructed by all means to secure a common right in it.
My respects to the Hon. Mr. Izard, if at Philadelphia, and other friends. Adieu, and believe me very affectionately yours,
TO THE SELECTMEN OF BOSTON.
[Ms., Chamberlain Collection, Boston Public Library.]
MARCH 10 1783
Having been just now made acquainted by your Messenger that the Freeholders and Inhabitants of Boston assembled in Town Meeting,1 have chosen me their Moderator, I beg the Favor of you to inform them, that I esteem my self greatly honourd by their Choice; but my Engagements in the Senate, which it is not in my Power to dispense with, lay me under a Necessity of praying that I may be excusd by the Town.——