Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE PREFACE. - A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
THE PREFACE. - John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money 
A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money from the Originals of Vaughan, Cotton, Petty, Lowndes, Newton, Prior, Harris, and Others, with a Preface, Notes, and Index (London: Printed for the Political Economy Club, 1856).
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.
IN the preceding part of this essay, I have endeavoured to explain the theory and nature of money, in such a manner, as to leave no room for any doubts or difficulties concerning it. But notwithstanding all my care, I do not expect universal approbation: Such are the infinite diversities and warpings of the human mind; and such are the inadvertencies, perversenesses and prejudices of many, that unanimity in any one point is hardly to be expected. And unfortunately, money is a subject wherein men in general have given themselves the least trouble of enquiry; and yet a subject upon which they think themselves best qualified and best entitled to decide: A subject upon which, more jejune, incoherent and dangerous positions have been held, and more glaring absurdities advanced, than, perhaps, upon any other whatsoever. But truth is mighty; and to as many as can think freely for themselves, and have considered what I have already laid before them, I hope that what is here offered will appear evident and incontestible.
The design of this second part is a very arduous and important one: It is to defend and preserve every man’s right and property; to preserve unsullied the national faith, honour and credit; to preserve a reign hitherto distinguished by equal laws and equal administration of justice, from a blot that would remain to all posterity: To vindicate and defend all these, I say, from an assassination in the dark, by a debasement of the long established standard of property. Some of our opponents in this question, no doubt, mean well; and persist in their errors for want of understanding the subject, and that perhaps too, only from their not having duly considered it. Others, it is to be feared, seek only their own private gain; in competition with which, it is not to be expected that with such men, either the dishonour or distresses of their country, should have much weight.
Towards the close of the last century, this country swarmed with projectors, who were for debasing the standard of money. These were fully answered, if they would have taken an answer, by the great Mr. Locke, as to the point then in debate. The very ill state of our coin at that time, might mislead many well meaning people into wrong notions, as to the means of redressing that great evil, which the nation then labour’d under: But, after what was then said and done, to have the same false doctrine maintained and propagated at this day, is truly matter of astonishment.
Mr. Locke seems to have been called to this work, before he had considered the subject at large; and although he was perfectly right as to the main point then in debate; yet it must be owned that his tracts upon this subject, though voluminous, if considered as a system of the theory of money, are very deficient and imperfect, if not in some places bordering upon mistakes. It is with much reluctance, but it is with a very honest design, that I say thus much to the disparagement of this truly eminent author: It is to guard the reader against trusting too far to a guide, that would scarce be able to conduct him clear of many obstacles that might fall in his way.
I have endeavoured to supply this defect, to remove all those difficulties which seem to have misled people upon this delicate, complex, and important subject, and to frame the whole structure upon self-evident principles. It should not be here concealed that we have on our side of the question, some of the most distinguished names that this or any other country hath produced: No less than the great Lord Burleigh, Lord Halifax, Lord Sommers, Sir Thomas Rowe, Mr. Locke, Sir Isaac Newton, Martin Folkes, Esq.; &c. Some of these are quoted, in their own words, in the first ensuing chapter; and it is but fair and equitable, that those who will not or cannot think for themselves, should pay a due regard to such venerable and great authorities.
Before I conclude, I ought in justice to acquaint the reader, that this tract was not undertaken from any apprehension, that our government now hath or is likely to have any design of altering our standard; it is rather with a view to the quiet of those in power from the importunities of wrong-headed politicians, as well as to the safety of the whole from the intrigues of wily projectors.