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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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and the actual loss that must eventually be sustained, by throwing into circulation a paper currency in the manner contemplated by the bill.  The first fruits of his financial abilities, afterwards so clearly developed, are clearly seen in these juvenile essays.  Among  his closing remarks are the following.

'It is said, that the imported foreign manufactures into this colony exceed the exports.  If so, what will be our situation twenty years hence, should this paper currency take effect? A question may naturally arise here, why are the inhabitants of the colony so desirous of having it, if it be so pernicious in its consequences? The answer is really, because they know not those consequences, because they will not know them, because they are in debt, and because, from a selfishness they ought to be ashamed of, they would pay their debts at the expense of the province.  The farmer owes money to the merchant, and will be able, if this takes place, to pay it by taking up money at interest two per cent cheaper than he can now.  The merchant, if the farmer pays him, can buy bills at an exorbitant price to pay part of his debts in Great Britain, and can gain credit to run himself further in debt.  To make up his loss in sterling bills, he will of course raise the price of his sterling manufactures; and thus, that the debtors in this province may clear two per cent on the money they owe, the province is to be ruined; and, that the present generation may live in ease, posterity is to be involved beyond the probability of redemption.  Before this happens, may you, my countrymen, be convinced of your own interests and steadily pursue them; may you be induced with patience to bear present small evils in preference to great ones yet to come; and may you have the fortitude to resist the importunities, and arguments to refute the fallacies, of those schemers, who with specious appearances decoy us into ruin; for however they may gild the pill they persuade us to swallow, and whatever show of reason drawn from our necessities they may produce to make us swallow it, still truths stand uncontroverted, that a multiplied paper currency


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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 14. 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