George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Mason, 9 November 1785

From George Mason

Gunston-Hall Novemr 9th 1785.

Dear Sir

The Bearer waits on you with a Side of Venison (the first we have killed this Season) which I beg Your Acceptance of.

I have heard nothing from the Assembly, except vague Reports of their being resolved to issue a Paper Currency: upon what Principles, or Funds, I know not; perhaps upon the old thread-bare Security, of pledging solemnly the Public Credit.1 I believe such an Experiment wou’d prove simular to the old vulgar Adage, of carrying a Horse to the Water. They may pass a Law to issue it, but twenty Laws will not make People receive it.

I intended to go down to Richmond about the 15th of this month, to have reported the Compact with the Maryland Commissioners;2 but I have lately had so severe a Fit of the convulsive cholic, or the Gout in my Stomach, that I dare not venture far from Home: it held me from Sunday Evening ’til Tuesday Morning, & has left me so weak, that I am hardly able to walk across the Floor.

We hope to hear that you, your Lady, & Family are well; to whom Mrs Mason & the Family here present their best Compliments, with those of Dear Sir Your affecte & obdt Sert

G. Mason


1James Madison reported to Jefferson on 22 Jan. 1786 that “no overt attempt” was made in the session of the Virginia legislature just completed to reintroduce paper money (Rutland and Rachal, Madison Papers, description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends 8:477).

2Both the Virginia and Maryland legislatures in their current sessions ratified the compact relating to the navigation of the Potomac that commissioners from the two states had entered into on 28 Mar. 1785 at the conference at Mount Vernon. The text of the compact is printed in Rutland, Mason Papers, description begins Robert A. Rutland, ed. The Papers of George Mason, 1725–1792. 3 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1970. description ends 2:816–22; for the act of the Virginia legislature ratifying the compact, see 12 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 50–55.

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