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against emitting a large additional sum of paper bills in this province.
1. Since men will always be powerfully influenced in their opinions and actions by what appears to be their particular interest, therefore all those, who, wanting courage to venture in trade, now practise lending money on security for exorbitant interest, which, in a scarcity of money will be done, notwithstanding the law, I say all such will probably be against a large addition to our present stock of paper money; because a plentiful currency will lower interest, and make it common to lend on less security.
2. All those who are possessors of large sums of money, and are disposed to purchase land, which is attended with a great and sure advantage in a growing country as this is; I say, the interest of all such
en will incline them to oppose a large addition to our money. Because their wealth is now continually increasing by the large interest they receive, which will enable them (if they can keep land from rising) to purchase more some time hence than they can at present; and in the mean time all trade being discouraged, not only those who borrow of them, but the common people in general will be impoverished, and consequently obliged to sell more land for less money than they will do at present . And yet, after such men are possessed of as much land as they can purchase, it will then be their interest to have money made plentiful, because that will immediately make land rise in value in their hands. Now it ought not to be wondered at, if people from the knowledge of a man's interest do sometimes make a true guess at his designs; for interest, they say, will not lie.
3. Lawyers, and others concerned in court business, will probably many of them be against a plentiful currency; because people in that case will hare less occasion to run in debt, and consequently less occasion to go to law and sue one another for their debts. Though I know some even among these gendemen, that regard the public good before their own apparent private interest
4. All those who are any way dependents on such persons as are above mentioned, whether as holding offices, as tenants, or as debtors, must at least appear to be against a large addition; because, if they do not, they must sensibly feel their present interest hurt. And besides these, there are, doubtless, many well-meaning gentlemen and others, who, without any immediate private interest of their own in view, are against making such an addition, through an opinion they may have of the honesty and sound judgment of some of their friends that oppose it (perhaps for the ends aforesaid), without having given it any thorough consideration themselves. And thus it is no wonder if there is a powerful party on that side.
On the other hand, those who are lovers of trade, and delight to see manufactures encouraged, will be for having a large addition to our currency. For they very well know, that people will have little heart to advance money in trade, when what they can get is scarce sufficient to purchase necessaries, and supply their families with provisions. Much less will they lay it out in advancing new manufactures; nor is it possible new manufactures should turn to any account, where there is not money to pay the workmen, who are discouraged by being paid in goods, because it is a great disadvantage to them.
Again. Those, who are truly for the proprietor's interest (and have no separate views of their own that are predominant), will be heartily for a large addition. Because, as I have shown above, plenty of money will for several reasons make land rise in value exceedingly. And I appeal to those immediately concerned for the proprietor in the sale of his lands, whether land has not risen very much since the first emission of what paper currency we now have, and even by its means. Now we all know the proprietary has great quantities to sell.
And since a plentiful currency will be so great a cause of advancing this province in trade and riches, and increasing the number of its people; which, though it will not sensibly lessen the inhabitants of Great Britain, will occasion a much greater vent and demand for their commodities here; and allowing that the crown is the more powerful for its subjects increasing in wealth and number, I cannot think it the interest of England to oppose us in making as great a sum of paper money here, as we, who are the best judges of our own necessities, find convenient. And if I were not sensible that the gentlemen of trade in England, to whom we have already parted with our silver and gold, are misinformed of our circumstances, and therefore endeavour to have our currency stinted to what it now is, I should think the government at home had some reasons for discouraging and impoverishing this province, which we are not acquainted with.
It remains now that we inquire, whether a large addition to our paper currency will not make it sink in value very much. And here it will be requisite that we first form just notions of the nature and value of money in general.
As Providence has so ordered it, that not only different countries, but even different parts of the same country, have their peculiar most suitable productions; and likewise that different men have geniuses adapted to a variety of different arts and manufactures; therefore commerce, or the exchange of one commodity or manufacture for another, is highly convenient and beneficial to mankind. As for instance, A may be skilful in the art of making cloth, and B understand the raising of corn. A wants corn, and B cloth; upon which they make an exchange with each other for as much as each has occasion for, to the mutual advantage and satisfaction of both.
But as it would be very tedious, if there were no other way of general dealing, but by an immediate exchange of commodities; because a man that had corn to dispose of, and wanted cloth for it, might perhaps, in his search for a chapman to deal with, meet with twenty people that had cloth to dispose of, but wanted no corn; and with twenty others that wanted his com, but had no cloth to suit him with ; to remedy such inconveniences, and facilitate exchange, men have invented Money, properly called a medium of exchange, because through or by its means labor is exchanged for labor, or one commodity for another. And whatever particular thing men have agreed to make this medium of, whether gold, silver, copper, or tobacco, it is, to those who possess it (if they want any thing), that very thing which they want, because it will immediately procure it for them. It is cloth to him that wants cloth, and corn to those that want com; and so of all other necessaries, it is whatsoever it will procure. Thus he who had com to dispose of, and wanted to purchase cloth with it, might sell his com, for its value in this general medium, to one who wanted com but had no cloth; and with this medium he might purchase cloth of him that wanted no com, but perhaps some other thing, as iron it may be, which this medium will immediately procure, and so he may be said to have exchanged his cloth for iron; and thus the general change is soon performed, to the satisfaction of all parties, with abundance of facility.
For many ages, those parts of the world which are engaged in commerce, have fixed upon gold and silver as the chief and most proper materials for this medium; they being in themselves valuable metals for their fineness, beauty, and scarcity. By these, particularly by silver, it has been usual to value all things else. But as silver itself is of no certain permanent value, being worth more or less according to its scarcity or plenty, therefore it seems requisite to fix upon something else, more proper to be made a measure of values, and this I take to be labor*
By labor may the value of silver be measured as well as other things. As, suppose one man employed to raise corn, while another is digging and refining silver; at the year's end, or at any other period of time, the complete produce of corn, and that of silver, are the natural price of each other; and if one be twenty bushels, and the other twenty ounces, then an ounce of that silver is worth the labor of raising a bushel of that corn. Now if by the discovery of some nearer, more easy or plentiful mines, a man may get forty ounces of silver as easily as formerly he did twenty, and the same labor is still required to raise twenty bushels of corn, then two ounces of silver will be worth no more than the same labor of raising one bushel of corn, and that bushel of corn will be as cheap at two ounces, as it was before at one, ceteris paribus.
Thus the riches of a country are to be valued by the quantity of labor its inhabitants are able to purchase, and not by the quantity of silver and gold they possess; which will purchase more or less labor, and therefore is
* Franklin state* this doctrine in 1729, precisely as Adam Smith does forty-six years afterwards in The Wtatih of Nations. — W. Phillips.
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