To Gouverneur Morris
White-plains Sepr 5th 1778.
I was yesterday favoured with your Letter of the 31st Ulto—The one you allude to, came to hand about five days before.
I thank you for your very polite and friendly appeal, upon the Subject of half bounty in solid Coin. The measure, I have no doubt, would produce an Instant benefit, so far as the engaging drafts &ca might be concerned; but I am certain, many mischievous and pernicious consequences would flow from it—It would have a tendency to depreciate our paper money, which is already of little1 value—and give rise to infinite difficulties and irremoveable 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 paper—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 & 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 & of an obstinate & injurious kind; and that they would far over ballance in their operation & effect, any present good. We have no prospect of procuring Gold & Silver to discharge more than a mere scruple of our demand. It is therefore our interest & 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 Dr Sir Yrs Very Affectionately
ALS, NNC; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. GW first wrote “no,” which was the word on Robert Hanson Harrison’s draft, before substituting “little.”