Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 Back to the Exhibit

Rep. Abraham Baldwin of Georgia to Governor Edward Telfair, June 17, 1789

New York 17th June 1789

Dear sir

      Your favour of the 2d of May I have just received from Philadelphia. Your conjectures pointed exactly at the place on which we were labouring at the time you wrote. The anxiety to provide supplies to carry on the government, without having recourse to excise or direct taxation has, I fear, carried us rather too high in our Impost law. It is just returned to us from the senate, with their amendments. In my opinion, their amendments are according to the present fashionable use of the word, for the worse. They have lowered the duties one third on rum, wine and such like bulky articles of general consumption, the proper subjects of revenue; and have raised one third on all articles for the protection of American manufactures & commerce. Our house had set that class at seven @per@ cent the senate has raised it to ten, which is the worst thing they could have done to the bill. These protections and commercial regulations will surely lead us a wild dance.

      One law only is yet passed in manner & force, viz, a law prescribing the oaths agreeably to the 6th article of the constitution. We have now before us a bill containing the machinery for the collection of the impost, also bills for the establishment of the principal executive departments. It is agreed that the treasury department shall be again put under the direction of an individual; experience has wrought a very general conviction that a board of commissioners will not answer for that duty. The senate has under consideration a bill for the judiciary department.

      We have just received from Charleston the disagreeable intelligence of the Indians having renewed their hostilities. We collected all the information we could, and laid it before the President, representing the distressed state of that part of the country, and the importance of immediate attention to their situation. I am sure he will not want a disposition to do every thing for us in his power.

      My compliments to Mrs. Telfair and believe me with great regard, your obedient humble servt.

Abr. Baldwin


(Letter courtesy of the Duke University Library)

digitized from DHFFC transcription   
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