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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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A letter from Mr. Morris to his mother, written while the Convention was sitting at Fishkill, may properly be introduced in this place.  It is alike honorable to his patriotism, and to his feelings as a son and a man.

‘Fishkill, December 19th, 1776.

‘Dear Madam,

‘It is with inexpressible concern, that I am this day informed of the death of my sister.  We all sustain in her a great loss, but you in particular, who are thus bereft of the companion of your age, must feel it most severely.  Would to God it were in my power to alleviate the pangs of a sorrowing parent.  But this is not my lot.  My friend Wilkins will, I am sure, on this occasion do the duties of a child and a friend.  There is one comforter, who weighs our minutes, and numbers out our days.  It is He, who has inflicted upon us the weight of public and private calamities, and He best knows when to remove the burthen.  I am sorry it is not in my power to see you at present.  I know it is your wish, that I were removed from public affairs; indeed, as far as relates to my own ease and enjoyments, I wish so too.  But I know it is the duty of every good citizen or man to preserve that post, in which by a superior order he is placed.  Where the happiness of a considerable part of our fellow creatures is deeply concerned, we soon feel the insignifcancy of an individual.  And whatever lot that individual shall experience, while a conscious rectitude of conduct inspires and supports him, though be may be unfortunate, he cannot be miserable.

‘What may be the event of the present war, it is not in man to determine.  Great revolutions of empire are seldom achieved without much human calamity; but the worst, which can

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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 119. 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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