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title:“George Mason to George Washington”
authors:George Mason
date written:1769-4-5

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:12 a.m. UTC
retrieved:March 4, 2024, 8:01 a.m. UTC

Mason, George. "Letter to George Washington." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 1. Ed. Bernard Bailyn and James Morton Smith. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 99-100. Print.
Recipient's Copy, Washington Papers, Library of Congress

George Mason to George Washington (April 5, 1769)

Gunston-Hall 5th. April 1769.
I have your favour of this day, inclosing the resolves of the merchants in Philadelphia &c. which I return by the bearer, as I had before received duplicates of them from our friend the doctor.
I entirely agree with you that no regular plan of the sort proposed can be entered into here before the meeting of the General Court at least, if not that of the assembly; when a number of gentlemen, from the different parts of the country, will have an opportunity of conferring together, & acting in concert; in the mean time it may be necessary to publish something preparatory to it in our gazettes, to warn the people at least of the impending danger, & induce them the more readily &cheerfully to concur in the proper measures to avert it; & something of this sort I had begun; but am unluckily stopped by a disorder which affects my head & eyes in such a manner, that I am totally incapable of business, proceeding from a slight cold's checking an attack of an arisipelas or St. Anthony's-fire (a complaint I am very subject to) so soon as I am able, I shall resume it, & shall then write you more fully, or endeavour to see you: in the mean time pray commit to writing such hints as may occur.
Our all is at stake, & the little conveniencys &comforts of life, when set in competition with our liberty, ought to be rejected not with reluctance but with pleasure: Yet it is plain that in the tobacci colonies we can't at present confine our importations within such narrow bounds as the northern colonies, a plan of this kind, to be practicable, must be adapted to our circumstances; for not steadily executed, it had better have remained unattempted. We may retrench all manner of superfluitys, finery of all denominations, &confine ourselves to linnens woolens &c, not exceeding a certain price: it is amazing how much this (if adopted in all the colonies) would lessen the American imports, and distress the various traders & manufacturers in Great Britain—This would quickly awaken their attention—they would see, they would feel the ppressions we groan under, & exert themselves to procure us redress: this once obtained, we should no longer discontinue our importations, confining ourselves still never to import any article that should hereafter be taxed by act of Parliament for raising a revennue in America;1 for however singular I may be in my opinion, I am thoroughly convinced that jJustice & harmony happily restored) it is not the interest of these colonies to refuse British manufactures: our supplying our Mother-Country with gross materials, & taking her manufactures in return is the true chain of connection between us; these are the bands, which, if not broken by oppressions, must long hold us together, by maintaining a constant reciprocation of interest: proper caution should therefore be used in drawing up the proposed plan of sssociation. It may not be amiss to let the ministry understand that untill we obtain a redress of grievances, we will with hold from them our commoditys, particularly refrain from making tobacco, by which the revennue would lose fifty times more than all their oppressions could raise here.
Had the hint I have given with regard to the taxation of goods imported into America been thought of by our merchants before the repeal of the Stamp Act, the late American Revennue Acts wou'd probably never have been attempted.
I am with Mrs. Mason's Compliments & my own to your lady & family. Dr. Sir your most obedient servant. G. MASON
P. S.—
Next Friday is the day appointed for the meeting of the vestry—

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