Front Page Titles (by Subject) SPEECH IN THE VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES, NOVEMBER, 1786, AGAINST PAPER MONEY. 1 mad. mss. - The Writings, vol. 2 (1783-1787)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
SPEECH IN THE VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES, NOVEMBER, 1786, AGAINST PAPER MONEY. 1 mad. mss. - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 2 (1783-1787) 
The Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, including his numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900). Vol. 2.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
SPEECH IN THE VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES, NOVEMBER, 1786, AGAINST PAPER MONEY.1mad. mss.
Unequal to Specie. 1. being redeble at future day and not bearing interest. 2. illustrated by [obliterated] of Bank notes—Stock in funds—paper of Spain issued during late war [see Neckar on finance]. Navy bills—tallies. 3. being of less use than specie which answers externally as well as internally—must be of value which depends on the use.
Unjust. 1. to creditors if a legal tender. 2 to debtors if not legal tender, by increasing difficulty of getting specie. This it does by increasing extravagance & unfavourable balance of trade—& by destroying that confidence between man & man, by which resources of one may be coanded by another. Illustrated 1 by raising denomination of coin 2. increasing alloy of do. brass made as silver by the Romans according to Sallust.1 3 by changing weights & measures. 4. by case of creditors within who are debtors without the State.
Unconstitutional 1. Affects rights of property as much as taking away equal value in land; illustrd. by case of land pd. for down & to be conveyd. in future, & of a law permitting conveyance to be satisfied by conveying a part only—or other land of inferior quality—2. affects property without trial by Jury.
Antifederal. Right of regulating coin given to Congs. for two reasons. 1. for sake of uniformity. 2. to prevent fraud in States towards each other or foreigners. Both these reasons hold equally as to paper money.
Uñecessary. 1. produce of country will bring in specie, if not laid out in superfluities. 2. Of paper, if necessary, eno’ already in Tobo. notes, & public securities—3. the true mode of giving value to these, and bringing in specie is to enforce Justice & taxes.
Pernicious. 1. by fostering luxury, extends instead of curing scarcity of specie—2. by disabling compliance with requisition of Congs. 3. serving dissentions between States. 4. destroyg. confidence between individuals. 5. discouraging coerce—6 enrichg. collectors & sharpers—7. vitiating morals. 8. reversing end of Govt. which is to reward best & punish worst. 9. conspiring with other States to disgrace Republican Govts. in the eyes of mankind.
Objection. paper money good before the War.
Answr. 1. not true in N. Engd. nor in Va. where exchange rose to 60 per ct. nor in Maryd. see Franklyn on paper money 2. confidence then not now. 3. principles of paper credit not then understood. Such wd. not then nor now succeed in Great Britain &c.
[1 ]Notes on the back of a letter to Madison from Robt. Johnson, dated 23d September, 1786:
[1 ]Shortly after Cicero’s first great speech against Catiline, Catiline’s friend, Caius Manlius, despatched deputies to the Roman general, Quintus Marcius Rex, with instructions to say, among other things: “Often have your forefathers, taking compassion on the Roman people, relieved their poverty by their decrees; and very recently, within our memory, silver was paid with brass, owing to the pressure of debt, with the approval of all good citizens.”—Sallust’s Conspiracy of Catiline, ch. 33. The payments were in pursuance of a law proposed by L. Valerius Flaccus, Consul, A. U. C. 667. Only the fourth part was paid, an as for a sestertius, and a sestertius for a denarius.