Letter from Gouverneur Morris to Nathanael Greene

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    [Gouverneur Morris to Nathanael Greene February 11, 1783 [RvW Box 1 Folder 16; MSS. – A.L.S.]] Philadelphia 11 Feb.y [February] 1783- Dr Sir Major Edwards just informs me that he shall go home To Morrow and proceed with all possible Dispatch to your Quarters. I cannot omit so good an opportunity of communicating to you some thoughts on the present Situation of Affairs. Knowing as I do that your Heart is actuated by the same Principles of Justice and the same Sentiments of Policy which influence my own I can venture a freedom of Communi- -cation which to most men would be imprudent. The approach of Peace cannot but give very serious thoughts to every Officer and Soldier of the American Army. The Promises made by the Public will, if performed, be of beneficial Importance and, if broken, extremly [sic] injurious. The main Army have had anxieties on this Subject and tho I do not pre- -tend to guess precisely at their Sentiments I am convinced that they will [End Page 1] will not easily forego their Expectations. Their murmurs tho not loud are deep and I do not think that the Committee they have sent hither will from their report allay the apprehensions which were excited from this Committee however I learnt that they were precipitating themselves in the Road to Ruin. I mean by pursuing a Recommendation to the several States for Compensation [and] ca. This which would have divided them into thirteen different Parts would have made it easy to elude the force of their applications or after a Compliance to have resumed any Grants made in Consequence of them when the army should have been disbanded. At present, however, the Committee are become so thoroughly persuaded that the army will be defrauded unless they unitedly [sic] pursue a common object that I believe it will soon become the general Sentiment. If the army in common with all the public Creditors insist on the Grant of general permanent funds for liquidating all the public Debts there can be little Doubt [End Page 2] Doubts that such Revenues will be obtained and there can be no Doubt that when they are obtained they will afford to every order of public Creditors a solid Security. The Half Pay promised to the officers is estimated to be worth five and an half years full Pay in Hand [Thus?] for Instance supposing an Officer entitled to three hundred Dollars per annum as half Pay the Composition for it is considered to be three thousand three hundred Dollars. I suppose you know that this Idea of a Composition originated with some of the Eastern States [and] arose from an Enmity to what they are pleased to call Pensioners. If such a Composition were made [and I believe it will be made] then the only mode of paying the amount would be by a grant of so much Stock in the funds that is to say an Entry in proper Books of the three thousand three hundred Dollars [in the Case above stated] to the Credit of the particular Officer bearing an Interest of six per Cent per annum untill [sic] paid and transferable under certain necessary formalities [End Page 3] admitting then that the proper Revenues were obtained the officer would be able always to selle [sic] their Stock for the value. It is needless to say that the United States have no other mode of paying the arrearages due to the army. It is also unnecessary to mention that this kind of Provision right to be made for Debts of every Kind. The Effects of it in all its Parts you will [I am sure] be at no Loss to trace and you will agree with me in opinion that Congress can by that means obtain a Degree of Influence essential to the Happiness of this Country. Now my dear Sir I am most perfectly convinced that [with the due Exception for Miracles] there is no Probability the States will ever make such Grants unless the army be united and determined in the Pursuit of it and unless they be firmly supported and as firmly support the other public Creditors. That this may happen must be the entire wish of every intelligently just man and of every real friend to our glorious Revolution – Be so kind as to present me to Mrs. Green's remembrance [and] believe me yours Gouv[erneur] Morris [P.S] I dare not begin another Sheet of Paper [Endorsed: sideways in MS.] From Governr. [Gouverneur] Morris Feb.y [February] 11th 1783 used 157 see within [End Page 4]
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    [Gouverneur Morris to Nathanael Greene February 11, 1783 [RvW Box 1 Folder 16; MSS. – A.L.S.]] Philadelphia 11 Feb.y [February] 1783- Dr Sir Major Edwards just informs me that he shall go home To Morrow and proceed with all possible Dispatch to your Quarters. I cannot omit so good an opportunity of communicating to you some thoughts on the present Situation of Affairs. Knowing as I do that your Heart is actuated by the same Principles of Justice and the same Sentiments of Policy which influence my own I can venture a freedom of Communi- -cation which to most men would be imprudent. The approach of Peace cannot but give very serious thoughts to every Officer and Soldier of the American Army. The Promises made by the Public will, if performed, be of beneficial Importance and, if broken, extremly [sic] injurious. The main Army have had anxieties on this Subject and tho I do not pre- -tend to guess precisely at their Sentiments I am convinced that they will [End Page 1] will not easily forego their Expectations. Their murmurs tho not loud are deep and I do not think that the Committee they have sent hither will from their report allay the apprehensions which were excited from this Committee however I learnt that they were precipitating themselves in the Road to Ruin. I mean by pursuing a Recommendation to the several States for Compensation [and] ca. This which would have divided them into thirteen different Parts would have made it easy to elude the force of their applications or after a Compliance to have resumed any Grants made in Consequence of them when the army should have been disbanded. At present, however, the Committee are become so thoroughly persuaded that the army will be defrauded unless they unitedly [sic] pursue a common object that I believe it will soon become the general Sentiment. If the army in common with all the public Creditors insist on the Grant of general permanent funds for liquidating all the public Debts there can be little Doubt [End Page 2] Doubts that such Revenues will be obtained and there can be no Doubt that when they are obtained they will afford to every order of public Creditors a solid Security. The Half Pay promised to the officers is estimated to be worth five and an half years full Pay in Hand [Thus?] for Instance supposing an Officer entitled to three hundred Dollars per annum as half Pay the Composition for it is considered to be three thousand three hundred Dollars. I suppose you know that this Idea of a Composition originated with some of the Eastern States [and] arose from an Enmity to what they are pleased to call Pensioners. If such a Composition were made [and I believe it will be made] then the only mode of paying the amount would be by a grant of so much Stock in the funds that is to say an Entry in proper Books of the three thousand three hundred Dollars [in the Case above stated] to the Credit of the particular Officer bearing an Interest of six per Cent per annum untill [sic] paid and transferable under certain necessary formalities [End Page 3] admitting then that the proper Revenues were obtained the officer would be able always to selle [sic] their Stock for the value. It is needless to say that the United States have no other mode of paying the arrearages due to the army. It is also unnecessary to mention that this kind of Provision right to be made for Debts of every Kind. The Effects of it in all its Parts you will [I am sure] be at no Loss to trace and you will agree with me in opinion that Congress can by that means obtain a Degree of Influence essential to the Happiness of this Country. Now my dear Sir I am most perfectly convinced that [with the due Exception for Miracles] there is no Probability the States will ever make such Grants unless the army be united and determined in the Pursuit of it and unless they be firmly supported and as firmly support the other public Creditors. That this may happen must be the entire wish of every intelligently just man and of every real friend to our glorious Revolution – Be so kind as to present me to Mrs. Green's remembrance [and] believe me yours Gouv[erneur] Morris [P.S] I dare not begin another Sheet of Paper [Endorsed: sideways in MS.] From Governr. [Gouverneur] Morris Feb.y [February] 11th 1783 used 157 see within [End Page 4]
  • Image 01
    [Gouverneur Morris to Nathanael Greene February 11, 1783 [RvW Box 1 Folder 16; MSS. – A.L.S.]] Philadelphia 11 Feb.y [February] 1783- Dr Sir Major Edwards just informs me that he shall go home To Morrow and proceed with all possible Dispatch to your Quarters. I cannot omit so good an opportunity of communicating to you some thoughts on the present Situation of Affairs. Knowing as I do that your Heart is actuated by the same Principles of Justice and the same Sentiments of Policy which influence my own I can venture a freedom of Communi- -cation which to most men would be imprudent. The approach of Peace cannot but give very serious thoughts to every Officer and Soldier of the American Army. The Promises made by the Public will, if performed, be of beneficial Importance and, if broken, extremly [sic] injurious. The main Army have had anxieties on this Subject and tho I do not pre- -tend to guess precisely at their Sentiments I am convinced that they will [End Page 1] will not easily forego their Expectations. Their murmurs tho not loud are deep and I do not think that the Committee they have sent hither will from their report allay the apprehensions which were excited from this Committee however I learnt that they were precipitating themselves in the Road to Ruin. I mean by pursuing a Recommendation to the several States for Compensation [and] ca. This which would have divided them into thirteen different Parts would have made it easy to elude the force of their applications or after a Compliance to have resumed any Grants made in Consequence of them when the army should have been disbanded. At present, however, the Committee are become so thoroughly persuaded that the army will be defrauded unless they unitedly [sic] pursue a common object that I believe it will soon become the general Sentiment. If the army in common with all the public Creditors insist on the Grant of general permanent funds for liquidating all the public Debts there can be little Doubt [End Page 2] Doubts that such Revenues will be obtained and there can be no Doubt that when they are obtained they will afford to every order of public Creditors a solid Security. The Half Pay promised to the officers is estimated to be worth five and an half years full Pay in Hand [Thus?] for Instance supposing an Officer entitled to three hundred Dollars per annum as half Pay the Composition for it is considered to be three thousand three hundred Dollars. I suppose you know that this Idea of a Composition originated with some of the Eastern States [and] arose from an Enmity to what they are pleased to call Pensioners. If such a Composition were made [and I believe it will be made] then the only mode of paying the amount would be by a grant of so much Stock in the funds that is to say an Entry in proper Books of the three thousand three hundred Dollars [in the Case above stated] to the Credit of the particular Officer bearing an Interest of six per Cent per annum untill [sic] paid and transferable under certain necessary formalities [End Page 3] admitting then that the proper Revenues were obtained the officer would be able always to selle [sic] their Stock for the value. It is needless to say that the United States have no other mode of paying the arrearages due to the army. It is also unnecessary to mention that this kind of Provision right to be made for Debts of every Kind. The Effects of it in all its Parts you will [I am sure] be at no Loss to trace and you will agree with me in opinion that Congress can by that means obtain a Degree of Influence essential to the Happiness of this Country. Now my dear Sir I am most perfectly convinced that [with the due Exception for Miracles] there is no Probability the States will ever make such Grants unless the army be united and determined in the Pursuit of it and unless they be firmly supported and as firmly support the other public Creditors. That this may happen must be the entire wish of every intelligently just man and of every real friend to our glorious Revolution – Be so kind as to present me to Mrs. Green's remembrance [and] believe me yours Gouv[erneur] Morris [P.S] I dare not begin another Sheet of Paper [Endorsed: sideways in MS.] From Governr. [Gouverneur] Morris Feb.y [February] 11th 1783 used 157 see within [End Page 4]
  • Image 01
    [Gouverneur Morris to Nathanael Greene February 11, 1783 [RvW Box 1 Folder 16; MSS. – A.L.S.]] Philadelphia 11 Feb.y [February] 1783- Dr Sir Major Edwards just informs me that he shall go home To Morrow and proceed with all possible Dispatch to your Quarters. I cannot omit so good an opportunity of communicating to you some thoughts on the present Situation of Affairs. Knowing as I do that your Heart is actuated by the same Principles of Justice and the same Sentiments of Policy which influence my own I can venture a freedom of Communi- -cation which to most men would be imprudent. The approach of Peace cannot but give very serious thoughts to every Officer and Soldier of the American Army. The Promises made by the Public will, if performed, be of beneficial Importance and, if broken, extremly [sic] injurious. The main Army have had anxieties on this Subject and tho I do not pre- -tend to guess precisely at their Sentiments I am convinced that they will [End Page 1] will not easily forego their Expectations. Their murmurs tho not loud are deep and I do not think that the Committee they have sent hither will from their report allay the apprehensions which were excited from this Committee however I learnt that they were precipitating themselves in the Road to Ruin. I mean by pursuing a Recommendation to the several States for Compensation [and] ca. This which would have divided them into thirteen different Parts would have made it easy to elude the force of their applications or after a Compliance to have resumed any Grants made in Consequence of them when the army should have been disbanded. At present, however, the Committee are become so thoroughly persuaded that the army will be defrauded unless they unitedly [sic] pursue a common object that I believe it will soon become the general Sentiment. If the army in common with all the public Creditors insist on the Grant of general permanent funds for liquidating all the public Debts there can be little Doubt [End Page 2] Doubts that such Revenues will be obtained and there can be no Doubt that when they are obtained they will afford to every order of public Creditors a solid Security. The Half Pay promised to the officers is estimated to be worth five and an half years full Pay in Hand [Thus?] for Instance supposing an Officer entitled to three hundred Dollars per annum as half Pay the Composition for it is considered to be three thousand three hundred Dollars. I suppose you know that this Idea of a Composition originated with some of the Eastern States [and] arose from an Enmity to what they are pleased to call Pensioners. If such a Composition were made [and I believe it will be made] then the only mode of paying the amount would be by a grant of so much Stock in the funds that is to say an Entry in proper Books of the three thousand three hundred Dollars [in the Case above stated] to the Credit of the particular Officer bearing an Interest of six per Cent per annum untill [sic] paid and transferable under certain necessary formalities [End Page 3] admitting then that the proper Revenues were obtained the officer would be able always to selle [sic] their Stock for the value. It is needless to say that the United States have no other mode of paying the arrearages due to the army. It is also unnecessary to mention that this kind of Provision right to be made for Debts of every Kind. The Effects of it in all its Parts you will [I am sure] be at no Loss to trace and you will agree with me in opinion that Congress can by that means obtain a Degree of Influence essential to the Happiness of this Country. Now my dear Sir I am most perfectly convinced that [with the due Exception for Miracles] there is no Probability the States will ever make such Grants unless the army be united and determined in the Pursuit of it and unless they be firmly supported and as firmly support the other public Creditors. That this may happen must be the entire wish of every intelligently just man and of every real friend to our glorious Revolution – Be so kind as to present me to Mrs. Green's remembrance [and] believe me yours Gouv[erneur] Morris [P.S] I dare not begin another Sheet of Paper [Endorsed: sideways in MS.] From Governr. [Gouverneur] Morris Feb.y [February] 11th 1783 used 157 see within [End Page 4]
Title:
Letter from Gouverneur Morris to Nathanael Greene
Creator:
Morris, Gouverneur, 1752-1816
Date:
1783-02-11
Description:
Letter from Gouverneur Morris to Nathanael Greene regarding the issues the government encountered when attempting to pay the soldiers of the Revolution and discussing possible solutions.
Collection:
Charleston Museum Collection of Revolutionary War Letters
Contributing Institution:
The Charleston Museum Archives
Media Type:
Manuscripts
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Morris, Gouverneur, 1752-1816--Correspondence, Morris, Gouverneur, 1752-1816, Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786--Correspondence, Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786--Military service, Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786--Military leadership, Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786
Topical Subject:
War, armed forces, and society
Geographic Subject:
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783, United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--American forces, Santee (S.C.)
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications:
600 ppi, 24-bit depth, color, Epson Expression 10000XL, Archival Masters are tiffs.
Copyright Status Statement:
Public domain.
Access Information:
For more information contact The Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403.