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sufficient quantity, it becomes necessary to use something else, the fittest that can be got, in lieu of it. Gold and silver are not the produce of North America, which has no mines ; and that which is brought thither cannot be kept there in sufficient quantity for a currency. Britain, an independent great state, when its inhabitants grow too fond of the expensive luxuries of foreign countries, that draw away its money, can, and frequently does, make laws to discourage or prohibit such importations, and by that means can retain its cash. The colonies are dependent governments, and their people having naturally great respect for the sovereign country, and being thence immode rately fond of its modes, manufactures, and superfluities, cannot be restrained from purchasing them by any province law; because such law, if made, would immediately be repealed here, as prejudicial to the trade and interest of Britain. It seems hard, therefore, to draw all their real money from them, and then refuse them the poor privilege of using paper instead of it. Bank bills and bankers' notes are daily used here as a medium of trade ; and in large dealings, perhaps the greater part is transacted by their means; and yet they have no intrinsic value, but rest on the credit of those that issue them, as paper-bills in the colonies do on the credit of the respective governments there. Their being payable in cash upon sight by the drawer, is indeed a circumstance that cannot attend the colony bills, for the reasons just above mentioned, their cash being drawn from them by the British trade; but the legal tender being substituted in its place, is rather a greater advantage to the possessor, since he need not be at the trouble of going to a particular bank or banker to demand the money, finding (wherever he has occasion to lay out money in the province) a person that is obliged to take the bills. So that even out of the province, the knowledge that every man within that province is obliged to take its money, gives the bill a credit among its neighbors nearly equal to what they have at home. And were it not for the laws here, that restrain or prohibit as much as possible all losing trades, the cash of this country would soon be exported; every merchant who had occasion to remit it, would run to the bank with all its bills that came into his hands, and take out his part of its treasure for that purpose; so that in a short time it would be no more able to pay bills in money upon sight, than it is now in the power of a colony treasury so to do. And if government afterwards should have occasion for the credit of the bank, it must of necessity make its bills a legal tender; funding them however on taxes, by which they may in time be paid off, as has been the general practice in the colonies. At this very time, even the silver-money in England is obliged to the legal tender for part of its value; that part which is the difference between its real weight and its denomination. Great part of the shillings and sixpences now current are, by wearing, become 5, 10, 20, and some of the sixpences even 50 per cent, too light. For this difference between the real and the nominal, you have no intrinsic value: you have not so much as paper ; you have nothing. It is the legal tender, with the knowledge that it can easily be repassed for the same value, that makes threepenny-worth of silver pass for sixpence. Gold and silver have undoubtedly some properties that give them a fitness above paper as a medium of exchange, particularly their universal estimation; especially in cases where a country has occasion to carry its money abroad, either as a stock to trade with, or to purchase allies and foreign succours. Otherwise that very universal estimation is an inconvenience which paper-money is free from, since it tends to deprive a country of even the quantity of currency that should be retained as a necessary instrument of its internal commerce, and obliges it to be continually on its guard in making, and executing at a great expense, the laws that are to prevent the trade which exports it. Papermoney well funded has another great advantage over gold and silver ; its lightness of carriage, and the little room that is occupied by a great sum ; whereby it is capable of being more easily, and more safely, because more privately, conveyed from place to place. Gold and silver are not intrinsically of equal value with iron, a metal in
itself capable of many more beneficial uses to mankind. Their value rests chiefly in the estimation they happen to be in among the generality of nations, and the credit given to the opinion that that estimation will continue : otherwise a pound of gold would not be a real equivalent for even a bushel of wheat. Any other well-founded credit is as much an equivalent as gold and silver, and in some cases more so, or it would not be preferred by commercial people in different countries. Not to mention again our own bank bills, Holland, which understands the value of cash as well as any people in the world, would never part with gold and silver for credit (as they do when they put it into their bank, from whence little of it is ever afterwards drawn out') if they did not think and find the credit a full equivalent.
The 5th reason is, “ That debtors in the assemblies make paper-money with fraudulent views." This is often said by the adversaries of paper-money, and if it has been the case in any particular colony, that colony should, on the proof of the fact, be duly punished. This, however, would be no reason for punishing other colonies, who have not so abused their legislative powers. To deprive all the colonies of the convenience of paper-money, because it has been charged on some of them, that they
"Perhaps Dr. Franklin had not at this time read what Sir James Stuart says of the Amsterdam bank re-issuing its money. B.V.
have made it an instrument of fraud, is as if all the India, Bank, and other stocks and trading companies were to be abolished, because there has been once in an age Mississippi and South Sea schemes and bubbles. · The 6th and last reason is, “ That in the middle colonies, where the paper-money has been best supported, the bills have never kept to their nominal value in circulation, but have constantly depreciated to a certain degree, whenever the quantity has been increased." -If the rising of the value of any particular commodity wanted for exportation, is to be considered as a depreciation of the values of whatever remains in the country, then the rising of silver above paper to that height of additional value, which its capability of exportation only gave it, may be called a depreciation of the paper. Even here, as bullion has been wanted or not wanted for exportation, its price has varied from 5s. 2d, to 5s. 8d. per ounce. This is near 10 per cent. But was it ever said or thought on such an occasion, that all the bank bills, and all the coined silver, and all the gold in the kingdom, were depreciated 10 per cent.? Coined silver is now wanted here for change, and 1 per cent. is given for it by some bankers, are gold and bank notes therefore depreciated 1 per cent.!—The fact in the middle colonies is really this : on the emission of the first paper-money, a difference soon arose between that and the silver, the latter having a property the former had not, a