insight into the mazes of finance. Their honest prejudices were averse from duties of impost and excise, which were, at that time, supposed to be antirepublican by many judicious and influential characters. these measure, therefore, could be adopted, at first, but partially, and to small effect. The necessary arrangements at the treasury were wanting. The paper currency was failing, and, though from the great and complete exertions of Massachusetts to redeem her proportion of the continental bills of credit, their decay must have affected her faith as little as that of any state in the union, yet consequences of this expiring medium could not be unfelt. Under so many discouraging circumstances, it was not, perhaps, within the compass of human power, to rescue the publick credit, on which the means of happiness in every community so essentially depend.
Such disposition of this debt, however, was made as the situation of things
would admit. Compliance was at length had with the resolution of Congress, for
laying an impost duty of five per centum, for the purpose of paying the foreign
debt ; and in impost and excise was adopted for discharging the interest of
the debt of the Commonwealth. But these measures could reduce the tax upon polls
and estates, at that time, in a small degree only. The former expedient could