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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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But notwithstanding the tone of sentiment, which we have seen to prevail in this first Provincial Congress, the members agreed, as it would seem by a unanimous vote, to subscribe the Association, and they recommended the same to all the county committees and their constituents.  They likewise instructed the committees to return to the Congress the names of all persons, who should neglect or refuse to sign the Association; but at the same time they added, that no coercive steps ought to be used, as the propriety of the measure, the example of the other colonies, and the necessity of union, were presumed to be sufficient arguments.

Among the first subjects of deliberation in the Congress was the means of raising money to defray the expense of military preparations, and other arrangements, for separate government and defence.  Mr. Morris was one of the committee for devising a plan, and it is understood that an able and elaborate report presented by them to the Congress was from his pen.  The report sets out with the position, that the crisis of affairs demanded an extraordinary supply of money from some quarter, and that this supply could not be raised by taxation.  An emission of a paper currency, therefore, opened the only way of meeting the difficulty, and the question to be settled was, in what manner this could most easily be effected.  After a series of remarks on the pecuniary condition and resources of the colony, and the general operations of a paper medium, three methods are suggested in the report, by which such a currency might be put in circulation.

‘First, that every colony should strike for itself the sum apportioned by the Continental Congress.

‘Secondly, that the Continental Congress should strike the whole sum necessary, and each colony become bound to sink its proportionable part; or,

‘Thirdly, that the Continental Congress should strike the whole sum, and apportion the several shares to the different colonies, each colony becoming bound to discharge its own particular part, and all the colonies to discharge the part, which any particular colony shall be unable to pay.’

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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 38. 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