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Laurens, Henry (1724-1792) to William Alexander

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02532 Author/Creator: Laurens, Henry (1724-1792) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 24 November 1778 Pagination: 2 p. : docket ; 24 x 20 cm.

Laurens, as president of congress, writes to the Earl of Stirling about the distribution of "the Treaties of Amity & Commerce & of Alliance" with France and trade relations with the United Provinces. He also bemoans the loss of virtue and unity which America had in 1775, decrying avarice and profiteering.

Philadelphia 24th Novbr. 1778
My Lord -
I had the honor of writing to you the 21st. & yesterday of receiving Your Lordship's favor of that date with the papers referred to. It would seem as if the event fortunate to us in the dispersion & distress of the Admiral Byron's [inserted: Fleet] is nevertheless likely to be attended by the inconvenience of detaining the Enemy's Garrison at New York -
Your Lordship will receive with this two of Dunlap's Papers of the day & also a Copy of the Treaties of Amity & Commerce & of Alliance eventual & defensive between his Most Christian Majesty & the United States of America, this is part of my private quota of the Number Printed & distributed among the States & present Members of Congress, & as Congress have restricted the number of Copies & forbid a general Publication, I beg Your Lordship will keep this Copy in your own hands 'till we see what the States shall determinations for the information of their Citizens respectively, in my opinion the present situation of our affairs suggests that it ought to be so. & I wish it were in my power with propriety to send you a few spare Copies for the benefit of your Neighbors Mr. Rivington will otherwise soon poison the minds of his Readers with spurious prices.
By Letters [2] from a very intelligent correspondent in Holland of the 19th. August & anterior dates in the same Month we are assured that those United States will not renew their late prohibition to the exportation of Warlike Stores so these, that thus Ports are open for the exception of our Ships & products & that the Council were balancing on the great question of [struck: not] recognizing the Independency of North America.
Could we now or would we, reassume that Spirit of Virtue Patriotism & Economy which we pretended to possess in 1775. - Peace would soon be at our Command, but alas! avarice over flows, & indeed My Lord our circumstances are deplorable, Monopolizers, speculators, & delinquents for unaccounted Millions, together with a general supineness in all the States, alarm us with a prospect far more wretched than our strongest fears had presented at our first entrance into this arduous contest & unless patriotism [struck: arise] will arise & cleanse the Augean Stables we shall soon be huddled into a Chaos.
I have the honor to be
With the greatest Respect &
Sir Your Lordship's
Obliged & obedt. Servant
Henry Laurens
The Right Honble.
The Earl of Stirling
Elizabeth Town.

Novr. 24. 1774

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