Letter to Benjamin Clark, February 21, 1818

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Washington Feb, 21, 1818Dear Sir,

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I have just received your very friendly letter of the 27th of January, for which you will please to accept my sincere thanks. It gives me much satisfaction to learn by it that my friends at Craftsbury are in the enjoyment of health, and particularly your family. I am sensible that an apology is due from me for not writing oftener; it is not, because my friends being out of sight, they are also out of mind; they still occupy that place in my affections, which I trust that neither time nor distance will have power to efface. I have found my situation here much more arduous than I had anticipated. Beside the common business of legislation, I received innumerable applications from every part of Vermont, to obtain soldiers land warrants, pensions for widows, commutations for heirs of deceased soldiers, accounts to settle, etc., etc., all these are to be attended to at the different departments, each of which requires considerable time, care and patience. The business of legislating for a nation is a very important and responsible employment. we have in congress many men of the first talents and virtue, we have also many who are very visionary - and every subject which is brought forwarded must be closely examined in all its relations, and bearings upon the different classes of society, and are often supported from views which are enti[    ]rely local, and would prove injurious to other sections of country. It is necessary therefore to be attentive to every thing that comes before us, and to this part of my duty I have paid the

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strictest attention. I am sorry to learn that money is scarce in Vermont, but I must confess that I did expect it. If I am not very much disappointed in my calculations there will soon be a general scarcity in the U.S. It is a solemn fact, that for the three years which have passed since the termination of the late war, our imports have exceeded our exports about 70 million of dollars, which must be paid for in something besides the products of our country - this has in a great measure been paid, by selling in [Europe] our national [stock], as in [otherwords], selling the evidence of our national debt, and [stock] in the United States bank, in England - at present we do not feel the inconvenience of this transfer - but the debt must be paid, and in many too; and the time is at hand when the payments will become due - and then if our exports shall not exceed our imports, the money which shall have remained in the country must necessary leave it, and our only currency be [      ], without specie to keep its credit up. But I hope by anticipating this state of things, there will be [wisdom] sufficient to provide for it in season, by lessening our importations and by doing all in our power to increase the amount of our exports. But I must end. I have enjoyed good health, can give you no information when I shall get home probably in April - I think I shall succeed in getting Mrs Clark claim through -

Mr B Clarks

Be pleased to present my best respects to Mrs Clark, and your daughters, with the rest of your family, and believe me to remain your friendS C Crafts