To James Monroe
N. York May 13. 89.
I have been favored with yours of April .1 The newspapers will have given you some idea of our proceedings, though in a state always mutilated, and often perverted. The Impost is still the subject of deliberation. The general quantum of duties has at some periods been a source of discussion. At others, the ratio of particular duties, have produced still more of it. The proper one between rum & Molasses has been the last & the longest question of that sort. I fear it will not be possible to establish a due & politic proportion without admitting excises so far as to reach the distilleries. The dilemma between that expedient and a palpable inequality in the burden, and injury to the Treasury is a perplexing one.
I have no late letter from Mr. Jefferson. A British packet arrived a day or two ago, but without news that has come to my knowledge. She brings young Vanberkel in the character of a Public Minister.2 Your friends in B. way are well. I am Dr. Sir yours sincerely
Js. Madison Jr.
RC (DLC). Addressed by JM. Docketed by Monroe.
2. The Dutch minister, Franco Petrus (Pieter Franco) van Berckel, son of the former Dutch minister plenipotentiary, arrived aboard the British packet Tankerville on 10 May 1789 (N.Y. Journal, 14 May 1789).