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Now we assent to free banking and to the right of the people to issue paper currency, but contend that it shall be left free to indi viduals to receive or reject it at their option. The receipt of such currency in public payments, places the whole community under the absolute control of a few speculators. Whenever our state and national legislators shall be prepared, by whatever appliances, or under the influence of whatever motives, to authorize the receipt and custody of paper currency which is not clearly and beyond all doubt equivalent to gold and silver, for paying the expenses of our public establishments, the great work of destroying the measure and value is accomplished. The universal imposition of depreciated currency then is achieved. Public creditors are compelled to accept it or get nothing—for no suits can be brought against the State or General Governments to compel the payment of their debts in the only medium recognized by the Constitution. When this degree of “steadiness and security” shall have been reachedto produce which, throughout the country, such incalculable distress, deprivation and loss have been inflicted within the last two years upon all our productive interests—who will venture to refuso paper of any or no value whatever in discharge of claims?
The peculiar insidious art of the publication on which we have thought it worth while to devote so much of our space, consists in this—that it takes up the unquestionably sound arguments in favor of free trade in banking, when organized on sound and proper principles, and attempts to pervert them to the support of the mischievous and rotten paper currency with which our country has heretofore been cursed. Mr. Carey would found his paper system on the basis of confidence alone, and is utterly hostile to the precious metals. The transparent object of his publication is to aid the great paper-money interests of the country in the desperate struggle they have so long been 'waging, to overthrow the Administration, and to counteract its policy of disconnecting itself from the papermoney system, and of introducing into its midst the regulating check of a moderate but steady demand for and circulation of specie through its fiscal action,-for the purpose of compelling the manufacturers of paper "currency," whether corporate or individual, to keep down their emissions in reality and bona-fide truth, to that equivalency to specie which they profess, as their highest merit when in their most perfect state. We have at present about the worst paper-money system in the world, and to it Mr. Carey, joining in the common partisan slang of the “hostility of the Administration to credit and commerce,” would apply the abstract arguments which would be applicable to one of perfect freedom, and would denounce the "interference of government,” even to protect itself from its acknowledged evils. Our views of free trade in banking would lead eventually to the circulation of a large proportion of the pre
cious metals, as the only staple and uniform measure of value, and would keep all the paper currency in circulation down to the standard of real “equivalency” and “convertibility.” We would have the Federal Government conduct all its fiscal operations in that medium. Mr. Carey on the other hand would banish specie ; considers a universal circulation of paper-money the best possible state of things; and while he perpetually invokes the name of freedom, yet by compelling the government and all public authorities to deposite the public revenues in banks, and to conduct all their transactions in paper, and by denouncing any attempt to promote the circulation of specie as hostile to that confidence which he makes the Alpha and Omega of his doctrines of currency, would maintain a system of exclusive paper currency practically, and to all intents and purposes, compulsory upon all classes of the community.
It can require no gift of prophecy to foresee the consequences which must result from abolishing the most cssential safeguard of property, by the operation of the demoralizing influence of an exclusive paper currency upon the people. An insatiate thirst for gain, at the expense of the common welfare, would soon pervade our halls of legislation. Have not its indications already too often manifested themselves? Did we not witness, even on the floor of Congress, during the last session, a deliberate and concerted attempt to deprive the public service of the means of support in order to compel the public officers to accept the depreciated notes of the Bank of the United States, in payment for its bonds to the United States? While we are writing this, we notice the introduction of a resolution into the Legislature of one of the Western States, which will probably be adopted, declaring the right of its citizens to pay for public lands in the paper currency issued by that State, and asserting that the currency so received ought not to carried out of the Slate for expenditure, since in that case the public creditors might require its redemption in specie, or its equivalent. Whenever the people of the United States shall have generally adopted such notions of their rights and obligations, a universal competition cannot fail to arise between the several States for increasing their respective issues, with the view of depreciating their own paper currency at the expense of the others. Jealousies and disorders of a more formidable character than any we have recently seen cannot fail to spring up, and every day will increase their aggravation. The period will not then be far distant when those who have enjoyed the plunder which a general state of pecuniary embarrassment has enabled them to extort from the productive classes, will probably evince the same predilection as that described in our former article, for the organization of a strong government. This will be advocated on that occasion as the only effectual remedy for the very evils which its projectors have endeavoured
by such an infinite variety of expedients to bring upon the country. The vigilance, patriotism, and courage of those noble spirits by whose counsels and exertions our independence was achieved, prevented this result when the nation was before brought to the verge of anarchy by the abuse of paper currency. A specimen of the policy which will doubtless be adopted by the friends of the paper money system, was recently displayed in Pennsylvania, in an attempt, which was concerted under the influence of the Bank of the United States, for seizing upon the government of that State by fraud, sustained by military force. Happily this force was not composed of mercenaries, and the citizen soldiers of that State could not be made subservient to this suicidal project. And yet the contrivers and upholders of an experiment in legislation similar in principle with those performed by Cromwell and Bonaparte, are hypocritically declaiming against the evils of a strong government!
The concentration of the experience of all ages, that legalized fraud leails to violence, is furnished by the origin and result of the French Revolution. Dr. Bowring, in his reports upon the public finances of France, made to the British Parliament under a special commission, ufficially states, upon the highest authorities, that it was the disordered condition of the finances which overthrew the monar. chy. This condition was undoubtedly brought about by the use and consequent abuse of paper currency, first introduced by John Law. 'The Republic, in its turn, was destroyed, mainly by the issue of Assignats in the name of the people, and the anarchy which this currency of the people produced subsequently enabled Bonaparte to establish his stupendous despotism.
Have speculators like Mr. Carey, and those who adopt their opinions without reflection, ever asked themselves, what is the oilice for the performance of which government is established and maintained ? The habit of denouncing Government for enforcing those laws which have interposed obstacles to the success of their schemes, seems to have wholly blinded them on this question. So far as writings and speeches are evidence of feelings, they appear to be ready to involve society into its original elements. The public interests are made the subject of jest and amusement.
Not only is the enforcement of laws essential to the existence of organized society resisted; but where violations of public duties of the most flagrant character have been exposed, impunity is attempted to be given to such offences in future, by preventing the adoption of efficient remedies.
These individuals seem to have wholly forgotten that government is mainly established for the protection of the just rights of property against the invasions of fraud or force. Among a peaceable and commercial people, this protection is most essentially and practically exercised by a rigid adherence to an equal and impartial measure of value—which in our country was so wisely established by the Constitution of the United States. Excepting such unfortunate persons, either with or without souls, as may have incurred a greater amount of debt than they possess means of payment, measured by the existing standard of value, every class of society is vitally interested in its sacred preservation. Perhaps we ought to add another exception--those who have purchased property for the purpose of sale at an advanced price, who may hope to increase their nominal gains by the depreciation of the measure of value.
But should the security and permanent prosperity of the whole community be sacrificed for the exclusive benefit of these two classes? If an individual, in whatever condition of distress, knowingly offers false coin for the purchase of the necessaries of lifeor a dealer lessens his weights or measures of capacity, for the purpose of increasing his profits—such individuals are denounced as guilty of frauds upon society, and are justly punished by its penal laws. But those who depreciate the measure ordinarily employed in the transactions of property, between man and man, by making it more plentiful, and consequently less valuable, than the constitutional standard, were that exclusively in use, are not merely tolerated, but held out as benefactors of society. Instead of being punished by law, as happens to those who commit trifling invasions upon the security of the community, laws are passed for the purpose of enabling them to perpetrate fraud, not merely with impunity, but with secrecy, and upon a scale so magnificent as to invade all the pursuits of life. Mr. Carey insists, that “the people will not use bank notes unless they are satisfied that the gain on the one hand is equal to the loss on the other.” Where has he lived for the last two years? Does he suppose that within that period every person who received bank notes in payment instead of gold and silver, has been induced to do it from absolute preference for the former? Has not specie been expelled from circulation as currency, and become the subject of purchase and sale, at a large premium, by the combined action of those whose interest it was to keep paper currency at a depreciation ? Besides, on this principle, why punish an individual for uttering counterfeit money--its acceptance being wholly voluntary? No one is compelled to receive it in payment, unless the gain on the one hand is equal to the loss of the other! Nor is any body compelled to purchase by short weights and measures. A grocer who buys a hogshead of sugar as a thousand pounds, might sell it for fisteen hundred pounds, by simply diminishing his weights. Why should he not be permitted to do so as well as the speculator, who purchases a thousand lots of land at two hundred dollars a lot, who combines with others for the purpose of increasing the issue of paper currency, by which he is enabled to sell them at three hundred dollars a lot? There is no moral difference between the two operations, excepting that the latter, by affecting the transactions of the whole of society, is incalculably more injurious to its highest interests. Yet the individual who reduces the intrinsic weight of the measure by which he retails his sugar, is brought to condign punishment as a cheat, while the person who reduces the actual value of the dollar, by increasing the paper currency in circulation 30 or 40 millions in six months, is complimented and eulogized as a "great financier!” Into such strange confusion have notions of right and wrong become involved in the minds of many intelligent persons, that while they denounce an act as fraudulent in an individual, if the same act is perpetrated by a powerful corporation it becomes praiseworthy in the highest degree!
Mr. Carey says, “the many desire to see the powers of the government diminished, and trade released from the shackles which have heretofore been imposed." We will not inquire as to the fact alleged, since it wholly turns upon the signification of the word many. The shackles to which he refers are those imposed by a settled measure of value. As he professes to speak in the name of the Whig party, which comprises many honest and well-meaning individuals, we would take the liberty of suggesting for the consideration of that portion of the party, whether, before adopting the measures advocated by Mr. Carey, for the total overthrow of the standard of value, upon the prospect of which he so warmly congratulates them, whether it might not be advisable to begin by releasing trade from the shackles imposed by a uniformity of weights and measures. The consequences of this release would be trifling, compared with the effect upon all property, by allowing every individual to fix the measure and value for himself. By way of trial it might be best to ascertain the effect of abolishing the small protection afforded to the industrious and unprotected classes by the standard measures for commodities of subsistence, before undertaking to subvert the main foundations of property among civilized communities.
We have thus far regarded Mr. Carey's expressions, repeated throughout his performance, as to the steadiness, security, and advantages to be derived from paper currency, issued by “the whole people,” to have been intended, in good faith, to convey the meaning indicated by the ordinary acceptation of the terms. But from his constantly referring to the currency of New England, and of the Bank of the United States, as instances of such paper currency, it seems most likely that the phrase "the whole people," is used but as a mere figure of speech. He probably intended only the currency of banks, and possibly the currency alone of the Bank of the United States, agreeably to the suggestion contained in Mr.