Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JOHN TAYLOR, OF CAROLINE. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
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TO JOHN TAYLOR, OF CAROLINE. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 10.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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TO JOHN TAYLOR, OF CAROLINE.
Quincy, 12 March, 1819.
The painful difficulty of holding a pen, which has been growing upon me for many years, and now, in the middle of the eighty-fourth year of my age, has become insupportable, must be my apology, not only for terminating my strictures upon your Inquiry, but for the necessity I am now under of borrowing another hand to acknowledge the receipt of your polite and obliging letter of February 20th.1 I have never had but one opinion concerning banking, from the institution of the first, in Philadelphia, by Mr. Robert Morris and Mr. Gouverneur Morris, and that opinion has uniformly been that the banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquillity, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation, than they can have done or ever will do good. They are like party spirit, the delusion of the many for the interest of a few. I have always thought that Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Locke, a hundred years ago, at least, had scientifically and demonstratively settled all questions of this kind. Silver and gold are but commodities, as much as wheat and lumber; the merchants who study the necessity, and feel out the wants of the community, can always import enough to supply the necessary circulating currency, as they can broadcloth or sugar, the trinkets of Birmingham and Manchester, or the hemp of Siberia. I am old enough to have seen a paper currency annihilated at a blow in Massachusetts, in 1750, and a silver currency taking its place immediately, and supplying every necessity and every convenience. I cannot enlarge upon this subject; it has always been incomprehensible to me, that a people so jealous of their liberty and property as the Americans, should so long have borne impositions with patience and submission, which would have been trampled under foot in the meanest village in Holland, or undergone the fate of Wood’s halfpence in Ireland. I beg leave to refer you to a work which Mr. Jefferson has sent me, translated by himself from a French manuscript of the Count Destutt Tracy. His chapter “of money” contains the sentiments that I have entertained all my lifetime. I will quote only a few lines from the analytical table, page 21. “It is to be desired, that coins had never borne other names than those of their weight, and that the arbitrary denominations, called moneys of account, as £, s., d., &c., had never been used. But when these denominations are admitted and employed in transactions, to diminish the quantity of metal to which they answer, by an alteration of the real coins, is to steal; and it is a theft which even injures him who commits it. A theft of greater magnitude and still more ruinous, is the making of paper money; it is greater, because in this money there is absolutely no real value; it is more ruinous, because, by its gradual depreciation during all the time of its existence, it produces the effect which would be produced by an infinity of successive deteriorations of the coins. All these iniquities are founded on the false idea, that money is but a sign.” Permit me to recommend this volume to your attentive perusal.
Although an intimacy and a friendship existed between Mr. Patrick Henry and me in 1774, and continued till his death, yet I would not strip the laurels from other men to decorate his brows. Indulge me, Sir, in the vanity of inclosing to you a copy of an original letter from Mr. Henry to me, now in my hand, dated May 20th, 1776.1 I had sent him a copy of that marble-covered pamphlet, which I once sent to you, entitled “Thoughts on Government,” and it is of that he acknowledges the receipt, and expresses his opinion.
If you can contribute any thing, Sir, to convince or persuade this nation to adopt a more honest medium of commerce, you will have my most cordial wishes for your success.
[1 ] This letter is printed in vol. iii. p. 58, note.
[1 ] Printed in vol. iv. page 201.