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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - William Leggett, Democratick Editorials: Essays in Jacksonian Political Economy 
Democratic Editorials: Essays in Jacksonian Political Economy, Foreword by Lawrence H. White (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1984).
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
June 17, 1837.
A correspondent puts the following questions to us, in relation to the free-trade system of banking:
1. What guarantee can be given to the hard workingman, in need of money, that he will not be obliged to pay private bankers exorbitant rates of interest?
2. Is there bullion enough at command wherewith to supply a constitutional currency?
To the first question we answer, competition between money lenders; to the operation of the same principle which regulates the profits of all other branches of business. The banks, under a free-trade system, would be governed by the same motives, and subject to the same influences, which impel and guide men in other classes of occupation. There is just as much need for legislative regulation to restrain the dealers in other kinds of commodities from demanding enormous profits, as there is for restraining the dealers in money or credit. The relations of demand and supply fix the rates of profit in all callings, left free from the impositions of arbitrary enactments.
To the second question we answer yes. There is an ample amount of bullion for all the purposes of a currency. But freedom of trade does not imply the abolition of paper credit. It merely contemplates the separation of government from the credit system, whether in the way of restraint, regulation, or encouragement. There is an ample quantity of bullion in the world for an exclusive metallick currency, but prices would, of course, have to undergo a vast reduction, to adjust them to a hard money scale. But an exclusive metallick currency could only be instituted and maintained by the force of arbitrary government edicts, totally contrary to the first principles of natural justice. Bank-notes, in their intrinsick nature, are nothing more than the promisory notes of one individual to another, they are merely one of the forms which confidence between man and man assumes. So long as the laws do not interfere, and give an adventitious character to these notes, there is no reason, in natural justice or social expediency, why they should be interdicted. If left to themselves, they will not extend beyond the limits of a secure foundation, nor the demands of general convenience.