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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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‘Your reason for travelling to make friends puts me in mind of what I have said.  I suppose you are to return, for what American stands a chance on the other side of the water? And what is there on this side worth your acceptance, until age has made you indolent, and ostentatious pride gets the e better of active, and generous, and noble ambition?

‘I wish you had already shot the Gulph.  I fear to persuade you to the attempt.  Remember your uncle Robin.[3]  He saw England thrice.  No man had better advantages, either from nature or education.  He began to figure with £30,000.  Be did not leave £5000.  I know others that never saw the east side of the great lake, who had no other friends than their own heads and their hands, to whom your uncle was in bonds.  What! Virtus post nummos? Curse on inglorious wealth.  Spare you indignation.  I too detest the ignorant miser.  But both virtue and ambition abhor poverty, or they are mad.  Rather imitate your grandfather,[4] than your uncle.  The first sought preferment here, and built upon his American stock.  The other there, and died the moment before the shipwreck.  Is it not an Apostle, who warns us against the sin that easily besets us ? If this is not inspiration, it is good sense.  Find out yours.

' Upon the whole, I must refer you to your mother.  She must spare a great deal before you can resolve with prudence.  And when the guineas lay at your feet, think! think ! think ! I love you with great sincerity, or I should not be so much puzzled.


From the tenor of his friend's hints in this letter, (for advice it can hardly be called) it is evident that serious obstacles stood in the way of his contemplated voyage.  Further reflection doubtless brought them in a stronger light to his own mind,

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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 19. 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


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Last modified August 20, 2006