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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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his doctrines at the beginning of the great revolutionary struggle, throughout which it will appear that he acted a bold, consistent, and distinguished part.  His love of liberty and of country remained as ardent as ever, and his loyalty as firm, though devoted to a different object.

Towards the close of the year 1769 the Assembly of New York had a project for raising money by issuing bills of credit, to be put out on a loan, with the view of appropriating the interest to the payment of the debts of the colony, and for other public exigences.  It was understood, that the government in England would approve such a bill, if it should pass the colonial legislature.  It was a measure highly acceptable to the people, because it would make money more plenty, and they looked no farther.  Some of the sensible men of the province, however, took up the other side of the question, and were opposed to the issuing of a new paper currency, foreseeing no absolute relief in the scheme, and an increase of embarrassment in the end.  It would encourage farmers to borrow beyond their necessities, and merchants to contract new debts on an artificial credit, and the last scene of the drama, whenever it came, must be Wound up with renewed instances of bankruptcy and distress.

In the midst of the general excitement produced by these discussions, young Morris found himself drawn into the current, and though at that time but barely eighteen, he resolved to try his hand at the generous task of conveying light to the public mind.  He wrote anonymously against the bill, and deprecated the evil of a paper currency, as no other than a mischievous pretence for putting off a day of payment, which must come at some time, and which ought to be met promptly by substantial funds collected from the resources of the province.

He went into an elaborate calculation, founded on the existing debt of the colony, and the annual amount of exports and imports, to show the ill effects such a measure would have on trade,


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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 13. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to jvinci@colonialhall.com.

 
 


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Last modified August 20, 2006