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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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tions, and to unite in devising any proper means of redress.  The letter states, that a due regard to the honor of the colony Would no longer permit a silent acquiescence in so odious a discrimination, which, if not resisted, might lead posterity to suppose, that it was founded on some just principles; for although the merit of the eastern forces was readily conceded, yet no one could pretend, that it was higher than that of the troops in the other colonies, or that justice did not demand them all to be put on the same footing.  ‘And it would neither be wise nor honest,’ continues the letter, ‘to conceal from the Congress the discontents, that have arisen from the continuance of this invidious distinction; they are too great and too general not to injure the service, and therefore merit the notice and attention of those, who alone can remove them.’  The evil was further increased by the custom, which had become common with the inhabitants of New York, of leaving that colony and joining the New England regiments, because they received higher pay.

Armed with this letter, and with private instructions, Mr. Morris appeared in Philadelphia, and laid the matter before the Continental Congress.  In so plain a case, to be sure, it could hardly require much force of reasoning, or of eloquence, to convince the members of that assembly of the justice and necessity of his demands.  The business was soon settled in accordance with his wishes, and a vote was passed, making the pay of all the troops in the middle and eastern colonies equal.  This was done by raising the former to a level with the latter.  The converse mode of reducing the higher to the lower, though better suited to the financial condition of the country, would probably have been a dangerous experiment.  Having effected the purpose of his mission, Mr. Morris returned, and after a week's absence resumed his post in the New York Congress.

The crisis of affairs was now becoming too critical and dangerous, to allow the New York Congress to deliberate or act upon any other concerns, than such as pertained to the immediate defence of the Colony.  Sir William Howe arrived at


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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 108. 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