Paper Money


“If no check is put to the progress of events, no one will attain to wealth and honor, who does

not receive them at the hands of the bank aristocracy….And yet the paper system is applauded

to the skies, as the wing upon which England has soared to her present prosperous height…but

I have thought, and still think, that we owe all these things to the enterprise and industry of

our citizens, and the abundant resources with which it has pleased Heaven to bless our country.

And this brings me to the consideration of another evil of the paper [money] system, and that is,

its tendency to call men off from the most productive employments to those which are less so,

or not so at all; drawing them off from the cultivation of the soil to become speculators, bank

officers, shopkeepers, and livers upon their wits.

All values are created by the spontaneous production of the earth, by human labor, by animal

procreation, or by some or all of these united. The spontaneous production of the earth is,

of course, the most profitable to him who can avail himself of it of any other; and the

production of the earth, combined with human labor, furnishes at last the basis of all wealth.

Every thing, therefore, which has a tendency to divert a considerable portion of a nation from

agricultural pursuits, by turning them to speculation, professions, merchandise…where that

nation possesses a suitable field for agricultural pursuits, has, as a general rule, the effect of

diminishing the wealth of that nation. I conclude that Congress has not the right, and if it had,

it would not be expedient for it to undertake the creation and regulation of a common paper

medium through banks…

Sir, I have little hope that the paper system will soon be arrested…Its swiftly moving car may

roll on; but let it not drag after it every thing dear to the earthly hopes of man. Let the inflated

balloon ascend if it will; but let it not, in its ascent, wrench from their foundations

the institutions of our country.

(Speech of Robert Strange of North Carolina on the Independent Treasury Bill in the

US Senate, 6 March 1838, Congressional Globe, 25th Congress, 2d session, Appendix, 145-54)


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