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Higginson, Stephen (1743-1828) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.04578 Author/Creator: Higginson, Stephen (1743-1828) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 7 April 1790 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 23 x 18.6 cm.

Requests an appointment in government for his son. Discusses his, and the general population's, views on the current government. Writes that judging from the past, "there appears too much reason to fear yet further fluctuation, if not changes, in the tempers & dispositions of the people toward the Government of the Union. But it appears to me, that a great alteration in the habits & feelings of the people has take place for the better; & that many new circumstances have arisen, tending to increase the force & respectability of Government, & to give a strong impression of the necessity of its being supported. - Habits of industry & frugality are taking place of those of luxury & dissipation, more generally & with more celerity than I expected. it is a growing Idea, that the manners contracted during the War must be done away; & that every class of Citizens must expect only to thrive by the means commonly successful in a time of peace..." Notes the ideas that the Secretary of Treasurer (Alexander Hamilton) is proposing, along with some general commercial arrangements, will prove advantageous to the people. Believes the situation of "individuals will become more easy & [eligible] & private happiness be more generally enjoyed..."

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Habits of industry & frugality are taking place of those of luxury & dissipation, more generally & with more celerity than I expected. it is a growing Idea, that the manners contracted during the War must be done away; & that every class of Citizens must expect only to thrive by the means commonly successful in a time of peace. - With such Sentiments impressed on the minds of the body of the people, & the advantages they will [desire] soon from the System proposed by the Secretary of the treasury, & from some general commercial arrangements, which may soon be expected, the situation of individuals will become more easy & eligible & private happiness [inserted: be] more generally enjoyed. from the same causes, I expect, the Government will be gradually increas.g in its energy & dignity, & will daily extend its protection and blessings. - The public mind, to judge from this part of the Union, has kept pace with the times; & has been prepared, with wonderful success & facility, for new Events. there seems to be a general conviction, that the Union must be supported, as the alone source of national Security; & that every [brethren] necessary to the Object must be cheerfully borne. - If the Secretarys report should be adopted, Government will receive a very great addition of strength, by the joint support of all classes of public [Auditors]; & will soon be possessed, exclusively, of every source of revenue, except direct taxation. this invidious resource will remain to the States, & by its operation, will produce an effect favorable to the Union. - in short the government [4] Government of the Union seems now to have a fair prospect. its measures, contemplated, have national & right objects in view. they are marked strongly with wisdom and decission [sic]; & they will, in my opinion, if adopted with [union], & requested with firmness & address, ensure permanent safety & happiness to this people.

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