I wanted to share a letter with you that George Washington sent to his stepson, J.P. Custis
A moments reflection must convince you of two things: first, that lands are of permanent value; that there is scarcely a possibility of their falling in price, but almost a moral certainty of their rising exceedingly in value. And, secondly, that our paper currency is fluctuating, that it has depreciated considerably, and that no human foresight can, with precision, tell how low it may get, as the rise or fall of it depends upon contingencies which the utmost stretch of human sagacity can neither foresee nor prevent.
By parting from your lands, you give a certainty for an uncertainty, because it is not the nominal price - it is not ten, fifteen, or twenty pounds an acre - but the relative value of this sum to specie, or something of substantial worth, that is to constitute a good price. The advice I give is that you do not convert the lands you now hold into cash faster than a certain prospect of vesting it in other lands more convenient requires of you.
This will, in effect, exchange land for land, for it is a matter of moonshine to you, considered in that point of view simply, how much the money depreciates, if you can discharge one point with another, and get land of equal value to that you sell.
But far different from this is the case of those who sell for cash and keep that cash by them, put it to interests, or receive it in annual payments; for, in either of those cases, if our currency should unfortuneately continue to depreciate in the manner it has done in the course of the last two years, a pound may not, in the span of two years more, be worth a schilling.
It may be said that our money may receive proper tone again, and in that case it would be an advantage to turn lands, etc., into cash for the benefit of the rise. In answer to this, I shall only observe that this is a lottery; that it may, or may not, happen; that, if it should happen, you have lost nothing; if it should not, you have saved your estate, which in the other case, you may have been sunk.
George Washington - October 12, 1778
The President is with us more than ever !
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