his accounts, and was offered by Mr M.1 three months’
pay, and a certificate for the balance, which he would
not accept, because he really wanted the whole of his
wages to supply him with the necessaries of life.
I am sure that your own feelings of justice and humanity
will plead an excuse for my troubling you with this
detail. Perhaps his court-martial, by whose decree
he was broken, were too severe. If his conduct
in his last passage from France was blameable was
not his mind to the greatest degree irritated by the
treatment he met with there? and should not reasonable
allowances have been made? He thinks it was an
unrighteous decree. He may judge partially; I
know nothing of the matter. If it was, is not
the wound given to his honour sufficiently severe?
But even if it was just, should not a discarded officer
be immediately paid? Should not congress demand
the reason why the prize-money has not been paid to
those to whom it has been long due? Complaints
of this kind have to my knowledge spread from Philadelphia
to Boston. I am concerned for the honour of congress.
These complaints may appear of little consequence;
but I am afraid if they continue unattended to, they
will cast a dark shade over the public character.
The state of Landais’ affairs will appear in
his own memorial to congress, which was rejected,
and perhaps may be on the files. You will oblige
me if you will interest yourself (if leisure will
admit of it) as far as you may think just, in his favour.
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
[Ms., Chamberlain Collection, Boston Public Library.]
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.——