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paper for them, the silver having gone hand in hand with the paper at the rate above mentioned, and therefore it might as well have been said that the silver was depreciated.
There have been several different schemes for furnishing the colonies with paper-money, that should not be a legal tender, viz.
1. To form a Bank in imitation of the Bank of England, with a sufficient stock of cash tp pay the bills on sight.
This has been often proposed, but appears impracticable under the present circumstances of the colony trade, which, as is said above, draws all the cash to Britain, and would soon strip the bank.
2. To raise a fund by some yearly tax, securely lodged in the Bank of England as it arises, which should (during the term of years for which the paperbills are to be current) accumulate to a sum sufficient to discharge them all at their original value.
This has been tried in Maryland, and the bills so funded were issued without being made a general legal tender. The event was, that as notes payable in time are naturally subject to a discount proportioned to the time, so these bills fell at the beginning of the term so low, as that twenty pounds of them became worth no more than twelve pounds in Pennsylvania, the next neighboring province; though both had been struck near the same time at the same nominal value, but the latter was supported by the general legal tender. The Maryland bills however began to rise as the term shortened, and towards the end recovered their full value. But as a depreciating currency injures creditors, this injured debtors, and by its continually changing value appears unfit for the purpose of money, which should be as fixed as possible in its own value, because it is to be the measure of the value of other things.
3. To make the bills carry an interest sufficient to support their value.
This too has been tried in some of the New England colonies, but great inconveniencies were found to attend it. The bills, to fit them for a currency, are made of various denominations, and some very low for the sake of change; there are of them from 10/. down to 3d. When they first come abroad they pass easily, and answer the purpose well enough for a few months; but as soon as the interest becomes worth computing, the calculation of it on every little bill in a sum between the dealer and his customers in shops, warehouses, and markets, takes up much time, to the great hindrance of business. This evil, however, soon gave place to a worse; for the bills were in a short time gathered up and hoarded, it being a very tempting advantage to have money bearing interest, and the principal all the while in a man's power ready for bargains that may offer, which money out on mortgage is not. By this means numbers of people became usurers with small sums, who could not have found persons to take such sums of them upon interest, giving good security, and would therefore not have thought of it, but would rather have employed the money in some business if it had been money of the common kind. Thus trade, instead of being increased by such bills, is diminished; and by their being shut up in chests, the very end of making them, (viz. to furnish a medium of commerce) is in a great measure, if not totally, defeated.
On the whole, no method has hitherto been formed to establish a medium of trade in lieu of money, equal in all its advantages to bills of credit —funded on sufficient taxes for discharging it, or on land-security of double the value for repaying it at the end of the term, and, in the mean time, made a General Legal Tender. The experience of now near half a century in the middle colonies, has convinced them of it among themselves, by the great increase of their settlements, numbers, buildings, improvements, agriculture, shipping, and commerce. And the same experience has satisfied the British merchants who trade thither, that it has been greatly useful to them, and not in a single instance prejudicial.
It is therefore hoped, that securing the full discharge of British debts which are payable here, and in all justice and reason ought to be fully discharged here in sterling money, the restraint on the legal tender within the colonies will be taken off, at least for those colonies that desire it, and where the merchants trading to them make no objection to it .
CAUSES OF THE AMERICAN DISCONTENTS BEFORE
[Referred to in Memoirs of the Life, Part II.]
The wares never rise but when the winds blow. Prvc.
As the cause of the present ill-humor in America, and of the resolutions taken there to purchase less of our manufactures, does not seem to be generally understood; it may afford some satisfaction to your readers, if you give them the following short historical state of facts.
From the time that the colonies were first considered as capable of granting aids to the crown, down to the end of the last war, it is said, that the constant mode of obtaining those aids was, by requisition made from the crown, through its governors, to the several assemblies, in circular letters from the secretary of state, in his majesty's name; setting forth the occasion, requiring them to take the matter into consideration, and expressing a reliance on their prudence, duty, and affection to his majesty's government, that they would grant such sums, or raise such numbers of men, as were suitable to their respective circumstances.
1 This letter first appeared in a London paper, January 7, 1768, and was afterwards reprinted as a postscript to The true Sentiments of America, printed for Almon, 176&.
The colonies being accustomed to this method, have from time to time granted money to the crown, or raised troops for its service, in proportion to their abilities; and during all the last war beyond their abilities; so that considerable sums were returned them yearly by parliament, as they had exceeded their proportion.
Had this happy method of requisition been continued, (a method that left the king's subjects in those remote countries the pleasure of showing their zeal and loyalty, and of imagining that they recommended themselves to their sovereign by the liberality of their voluntary grants) there is no doubt, but all the money that could reasonably be expected to be raised from them in any manner, might have been obtained, without the least heartburning, offence, or breach of the harmony of affections and interests that so long subsisted between the two countries.
It has been thought wisdom in a government exercising sovereignty over different kinds of people, to have some regard to prevailing and established opinions among the people to be governed; wherever such opinions might, in their effects, obstruct or promote public measures. If they tend to ob