Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from John Brown Cutting, 18 September 1789

From John Brown Cutting

London 18 Sepr 1789

My Dear Sir

Owing to the tardiness of the penny post man I did not receive your letter of the tenth timely enough to answer it on tuesday evening.

I mistook the papers you had the goodness to send me for copies, and supposing the originals were of record with you, did not forget, but omitted to return them to you in Paris. I now inclose them to you with many apologies for an omission that has cost you a very natural anxiety considering the scientific toils which these most valuable papers must have cost you. With these apologies [I] must be permitted to mingle the homage of my most sincere admiration of the financial nicety and skill unfolded in your statements, and my acknowledgments for being allowed to peruse them.

I wish it were practicable for the United States to make such an arrangement with any opulent money lenders in Holland as might enable our country to confer a signal benefit upon France now bending under the pressure of fiscal poverty. Such an arrangement wou’d I am persuaded cancel and more than cancel our debt of gratitude to France for pecuniary succour as well as ulterior forbearance. Beside this it wou’d probably be in the power of Congress to obtain from the Individuals who might incline to undertake a business of this magnitude such new terms as to the time and mode of reimbursing the capital of the French debt as the interests of our country might be suppos’d to require. For my own part, even if all other circumstances were put out of the question I shou’d prefer to owe our foreign debt to private citizens rather than to any nation in Europe. It has been hinted to me, but I know not whether from good authority, that Mr. Neckar has said he wou’d be glad to sell the debt due from the United States at a discount of fifteen or even twenty five per cent. I cannot avoid thinking somewhat might be done in this business advantageously both for France and America. What that shou’d be I hope you will have pleasant weather enough to ascertain on ship board this Autumn.—I have not yet learnt your decision when and where you embark. In a very few days I shall know whether I sail with Mr. Trumbull or not. We somewhat expect to visit you at Cowes.—As an american curiosity I inclose you an authentic account of The Population of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, from 1763 to 1784, a period of twenty years, during eight of which (from April 1775 to Decr. 1782) a bloody and distressing war was waged by our common country: The effect it had on population will be seen by the small increase of inhabitants during the period of its continuance with former years.

I learn nothing new from any quarter since my last, except the demand of his prussian majesty upon Holland for thirty six million of florins to reimburse him the expence he incur’d in subjugating them to the will of the Stadtholder and the British Court.

A dissolution of the parliament of this country is talked of and believed about Christmas. I know not why. Mr. Pitt has poured several dozen of english and irish peers into the respective kingdoms, among the former Mr. Eden.

Mr. Payne, Mr. Trumbull and Mr. Rutledge concuring in belief that you will not have left Paris when my next shall arrive in Paris, I postpone my adieu, and am Affectionately & with the greatest respect Yours,

John Brown Cutting

Number of rateable Polls, or Males above sixteen years of age

Counties 1772 1777 1784 Increase or decrease from 1772 to 1784. Proportional increase or decrease
Increase Decrease
Suffolk 8440 9059 9417 977 Increased 11/100
Essex 11457 11620 11023 434 Decreased 4/100
Middlesex 8987 9642 9633 646 Increased 7/100
Plymouth 6163 6781 6425 262 Increased 4/100
Barnstable 3587 3544 3148 439 Decreased 12/100
Bristol 5843 5699 6197 354 Increased 6/100
Dukes County 692 707 718 26 Increased 4/100
Nantucket 1180 1106 813 367 Decreased 31/100
Hampshire 6746 8781 11497 4751 Increased 70/100
Worcester 8896 11179 12075 3179 Increased 35/100
Berkshire 2693 4541 5892 3199 Increased 19/1002
York 3268 3880 4856 1588 Increased 48/100
Cumberland 2473 3287 3810 1337 Increased 54/100
Lincoln 1354 3136 5071 3717 Increased 74/1003
71779 82962 905721 20036 1240 Mean Increase } 28/100

N.B. The eight first counties are old Counties; the three next are western counties and have many new Towns and the three last are in that tract of and lying east of New Hampshire, called the Province of Maine. Lincoln County in June last was subdivided into three Counties-Lincoln, Washington and Hancock Counties.

Number of Inhabitants Whites Blacks Indi[ans]
1763. Males above 16. 58509
Females ditto 64154
Males under 16 57777
Females ditto 55370
Males Negroes 2998
Female 2256
Male Indians 656
Female 837
235810 52144 ——
1776. 343845 5249  1493
1784. 353133 4377 
Increase from 1763 to 1776. 108035 355
Ditto.   from 1776 to 1784 Only 9288

RC (DLC); endorsed. Recorded in SJL as received 22 Sep. 1789. Enclosure: Presumably TJ had lent Cutting a copy of his “state of the debt due from the U.S. of America to France, and of the sums of Principal and Interest paiable each year” (see Vol. 14: 201–9), though it cannot be determined which of the various texts was returned with this letter.

1An error for 90,575.

2An error for 119%.

3An error for 275%.

4An error for 5,254.

5An error for a decrease of 5 instead of an increase of 35.

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