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title:“John Mason to George Mason”
authors:John Mason
date written:1790-10-10

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:00 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Feb. 21, 2024, 9:11 p.m. UTC

Mason, John. "Letter to George Mason." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 3. Ed. A Rutland. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 1207-08. Print.
Recipient's Copy, Mason Family Papers, Library of Congress

John Mason to George Mason (October 10, 1790)

Bordeaux 10th Octr. 1790
I wrote you some days since a long Letter by way of one of the northern States since which I have recd. yours by the hands of Mr. Fenwick who arrived with me from Portland about ten days ago in good health. His arrival gave me no small Joy, as besides the comfortable reflection of relieving me unwell disgusted & wearied out with business, he gave me very great Pleasure on telling me of the healthy Situation of all my friends. For every thing that is to be sd. on business I refer to you [a] Letter of this date from the house. I am not yet entirely restored in health several days having been closely occupied in getting away the Ship. I am very much discouraged—a few weeks will determine me what I shall do with myself this winter. My physicians seem to think a small Trip to Sea wd. be of Service to me if they recommend it I may go to Marseilles by way of the Straights if a good french Ship offers. The Vintage is now making all round us. I want only to get away [on] the Ship to go out & try [to see] if Grapes & Country air will do me any good for some days, for I have at the moment a fever in me.
The great & much contested Decree of the national assembly on paper money is passed & they have pronounced that 8 hundred million more of paper shall be put into Circulation in addition to the 4 before emitted making 12 hundred million of livres—which being less than 1/2 the Summ talked of had much relieved the anti-assignats (so are termed those who opposed the Paper). This quantity of paper will I believe support well its credit—as it will be moderate compared to the value of its fund & every day it will be extinguishing by the Sale of the National Land which is now going on in Payment of which this Paper only is received & immediately publickly burnt—and there has a Decree passed that no more shall be emitted untill this is taken out of Circulation (or in other words no larger Summ than the present shall ever be out at a time [)]-20 hundred millions was first Proposed & recommended even by the City of Bordeaux. You will see by my last how much I was alarmed at it but I think this Summ (say the [Press ? ]) tho' perhaps to[o] large will do no material mischief. There has been a dreadful panic prevailing among our Neighbour when the Large Summ was in discussion & all foreign Exchanges gained on us beyond measure. In London 14 days ago it was negotiated on Bordeaux a[t] 90 Days as low as 24 7/8 __ Stg. [illegible] 3tt—and the Post after Paper on france could not be done at all—but since the Decree it is getting up. I wish through the organs of the British papers badly translated & misrepresented as every Peice of french news has been in those papers since the Revolution—that same Panic may not reach America—and [do] us injury by making people afraid to Ship produce—for I can readily conceive how Paper money will alarm an american year. Indeed see an Instance of it now the american Capts: in Port are afraid both [to] look at it and handle with Contempt and are afraid to go to sleep with it in their Pocket but it should depreciate 1000 to 1 before morning.
The great armaments that are making in England begin to alarm the french Politicians and seem of the most clear sighted have now little doubt that an attempt is intended against their Islands and that it is all a game between the Courts of Madrid & St. James's to lull [in] to unsuspecting tranquility the national assembly—and that at least one perhaps both those fleets are to be directed against the french Colonies. The Club of this City of the friends to the Constitution (to which I told you in my last I belonged) recommended last week to the national assembly to take immediately the most energetic Steps to prepare for Such an Event—& recommended the arming in the Course of the winter compleatly the 45 Ships of the line before decreed, that 60,000 regular troops be held on readiness to embark & that 400,000 Volunteers of the national guard be put directly into training to garrison all the frontier towns on the borders of Germany Italy & Spain. I felicitate myself very much of having been admitted a member of this Club—it is a Society formed. . . .

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