Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779)
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TO GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VII (1778-1779).
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TO GOUVERNEUR MORRIS.
I was yesterday favored with your letter of the 31st ulto. The one you allude to, came to hand about five days before.
I thank you much for your very polite and friendly appeal, upon the subject of half-bounty in solid coin.1 The measure, I have no doubt, would produce an instant benefit, so far as the engaging of drafts might be concerned. But I am certain that many mischievous and pernicious consequences would flow from it. It would have a tendency to depreciate our paper money, which is already of no value, and give rise to infinite difficulties and irremovable inconveniences. Nothing after this would do but gold or silver. All would demand it, and none would consider the impracticability of its being furnished. The soldiers, seeing the manifest difference in the value between that and our paper, and that the former would procure at least five or six fold as much as the latter, would become dissatisfied. They would reason upon the subject, and, in fine, cast their views to desertion at least, as a very probable and the only expedient from whence it might be derived, and similar and greater advantages arise. As the express is now waiting, I will not enter upon a long detail, or into an enumeration of the evils, that would result from the grant. I am satisfied they would be many, and of an obstinate and injurious kind, and that they would far overbalance, in their operation and effect, any present good. We have no prospect of procuring gold and silver to discharge more than a mere scruple of our demands. It is therefore our interest and truest policy, to give a currency to fix a value, as far as it may be practicable, upon all occasions, upon that which is to be the medium of our internal commerce and the support of the war. I am, &c.1
[1 ]The Continental bounty for each recruit who enlisted for three years or during the war was twenty dollars. It had been proposed by some of the members of Congress to pay one half in specie, and the other half in paper currency. The idea was abandoned in consequence of the above representations of the Commander-in-chief. But Congress voted an augmentation of ten dollars to the bounty already given, which was to be applied in such cases as General Washington should deem expedient.—Journals, September 8th.
[1 ]Washington wrote to Richard Henry Lee on the same subject as follows:—“An advance in silver dollars, of part of the bounty money, might facilitate the business of recruiting; but I conceive, that it would be attended with very pernicious consequences; not from the cause you speak of, to wit, discontenting other soldiers, but from another source, namely, opening the eyes of the whole and setting them to reasoning upon the difference between specie and paper. At present they know, that every comfort and necessary of life is insufferably dear, but do not inquire much after the causes; and, having no specie among them to fix the comparison, they do not attribute it to the depreciation of the paper money; but let them have ocular proof, that they can purchase as much with one silver as with four or five paper dollars, and have forestallers and the disaffected at work among them in purchasing up the specie, while the latter class of people are painting in lively colors the difference, and using at the same time every art in their power to poison their minds and sow the seeds of discontent, and then judge of the event. At any rate, I think the experiment would be dangerous, and ought not to be tried but as the dernier resort, lest by obviating one evil a greater be involved.”—September 23d.