Lawrence John Lumley Dundas Zetland.

Cause of, and cure for, hard times: a definition of the attributes and qualities indispensable in money as a medium of commerce, and also an investigation of the effects of the banking system online

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Online LibraryLawrence John Lumley Dundas ZetlandCause of, and cure for, hard times: a definition of the attributes and qualities indispensable in money as a medium of commerce, and also an investigation of the effects of the banking system → online text (page 4 of 6)
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This vast continent, replete in every blessing, of every
soil, of every climate ; capable of every production of nature,
and this for ever ours I To go to work and enjoy the fruks
olour moderate and salutary labor, was all that was neces-
sary for us to do. But it seem to have been our misfortune,
that all or at leatrt the -worst propensities, that disgrace the
human character, predominate in our public councils ; or at
least have so far predominated as to produce all the political
evils which have befel and now await us, and particularly the
Tate war. The cupidity of bankers was the generating cause
of the opposition to the pacific policy of the immortal Jeffer-
son. Had the policy of that peerless patriot and statesman,
been seconded by the people of these states, with that degree
of energy,- which it merited. The thousands of human sac-



43

No sooner a bank is established in any place, than all
the cash disappears from circulation. It is taken to the
bank as a deposit, and for safety, as well as to obtain
favours from the bankers, even the revenue of the gene-
ral government is lodged in the bunks. Averaging
nearly twenty millions of dollars annually.

The Bankers are thus furnished with immense loan
capital. It becomes an immense fund to circulate their
notes upon ; and as the bankers set up the tra.de with
the sole view of gain, the more they issue the more
they will gain, und'ihe more is wanting to be done; it
is fair to infer, that lhny issue all they can. It may
perhaps be asserted that they are limited by law to
issue only a certain amount beyond the capital, and to
issue no more. But is not the temptation rather too
strong, with avarice for its auxiliary, for an inoperative
Jaw U> prevenJ, when the key to detection is in their
own pockets ? There is no arithmetical limits that can
be fixed to the amount of paper the bankers may issue
while their credit is good, (that is, while suspicion in
a sleep.) Paper can pay paper without end, while rags
are to be. had in this (soon will be) ragged country ; and
when likely to be pressed for large sums in specif, they
refuse payment. What amount of interest they draw
from the use of all their notes, it is difficult for any one,
not in their secret, id ascertain to any exactness; but
it must 1)* very great it must be immense. How else
can w r e account for their princely palaces, their plates,

rifices, whose blood has been shed upon the altar of banking
avarice and the consequent distress which fills our country,
would have been prevented, and our country at this day-
would have presented a spectacle of happiness of arts, sci-
ences, manufactories and agriculture, equal to the supply cf
every rational want or wish, and our country, truly in fact
(not as now) completely Independent. War is the Pharo,
1 able of statesmen, and a wheel of Fortune to bankers.



engravings, their stationary, their printing, their pos-
tage, clerks' salaries, their charters, rents, bonuses,
doeuers, &e. with the princely fortunes they retire
within a few years.

The profits of our Banks must he very great, much
greater than any European Banks. It has induced
foreigners to invest large sums in many of them ; they
have become principle stockholders in some of them.
Foreigners are thus enabled to draw from us every year
large sums of money as Interest, in specie, to the great
injury of internal improvement* and making us moi*c
dependent on them for every thing we need They are
tjjus promoting their own views and interests on Amer-
ican ground* Besides all this, they are attached tq
foreign habits and influence; they are enemies to our
republican institutions ; they agitate our councils, divide
our people, set law at defiance, and unrerve the arm of
our general government.

"We have nothing in our republican institutions that
t an balance this overwhelming foreign influence. The
imminent danger, from which we recently made hut a
hair-breadth escape, must be fresh in the memory of
of every man ; the conduct of bankers abundantly prove
their hostility to republican forms of government. >
They have already purchased a majority of the legis-
lative and judicial authority. Their remains only the
virtue of the people to prevent them from ingulphing
the continent in ruin. The management of the Banks
is placed in the hands of directors chosen annually by
the stockholders. They have great privileges and au-
thority, very little inferiour to the petty despots of the
earth. Their services as directors, entitle them to the
use of 10, 20, 30, or forty thousand dollars annually ;
by paying legal intr rest on it, those sums are allowed
according to the capital of the Bank.



45

They may discount paper for whom they please and
to any amount, and the may ruin who they please by re-
fusing to continue their discount and compelling imme-
diate payment to the Bank And besides a political
vengeance, they have pecuniary vengeance also in the
ruia of any man they chose, towards accomplishing this
abominable design, their cash priviliges are of the great-
est benefit to them. It is to say the least of it, a scene
of Corruption from beginning to end ! !

A law to establish a Bank is a law to banish every
thing useful out of a country. The constant and pro-
digious increase of paper manufactured at the banks,
and set a float by speculators, raises the prices of all the
Commodities of life to an extravagant hight so (hat me-
chanics and labourers are forced by their necessities to
demand high wages in order to support themselves.
This opperates as a prohibition to many useful arts and
manufactories, from ever succeeding in this country.
The injury done to the nation in this point is incalcula-
ble, besides making us wholy dependant on foreign na-
tions for every thing we need, we shall always be em-
broiled in their wickedness and wars, while this course
of things continues to exist among us.* Besides all ihis,
it unnerves every kind of virtuous industry by folding
out temptations to speculations and monopoly., which i*
ten times worse to the morrals and injurious to society,

* The policy of the British government is directed against
our commerce and manufactories. It has been declared iu
parliment that it would be better for them to sacrafice some
millions than suffer American manufacturers to succeed,
their policy has been aided by the conduct of our anglefied
government, Merchants and Bankers, to the total destruc-
tion of our manufactories, and the immense sums drawn
from us annually in specie to pay for their goods is furnish-
ing them again with the sure means of the destruction of our
republican institutions.



4(5

than the increase of paper by the Banks , is to manufac-
turers. It promotes idleness and dissipation of every
description; foreign fashions, follies, waste and extrava-
gance. It drives industry and morality beyond the
sphere of its baleful influence, insomuch that a worthy
honest man is rare to be found among us. See the daily
papers filled with Insolvencies, Bankruptcies and For-
geries, an eternal disgrace to the nation. It is the high-
est species of gambling that ever was known, it is a
shame to any country calling itself civilized to permit it.
It is far worse than robery on the high road, for the
highway robber puts his life or liberty at stake, there
is a risk against Ac profit. But our Banking gentry,
avoid all dangers and prevent all escapes. The history
of banks is a history of monopoly, and a history of mo-
nopoly is a history of the worst species of rohery. The
history of paper currency among all nations, is a history
of rohery of the basest sort, it is much like the treach-
ery of a pretended friend. We place confidence in his
promise and become his security-^ he gives us the slip -
thus involving ourselves and families in distressing want
and poverty. This is exactly the case with Bank Notes,
\ve suppose they may be paid in cash at any time, but
when suspicion arises, the cheat is at an end, the pos-
sessors of notes must be the loosers, This has been
prooved to demonstration in this country already. Mil-
lions of Dollars in paper have been entirely lost, and
thousands of families ruined by it. Though strange to
tell we play the same game over again. It was expect-
ed when the Bank f the United States began its opper-
ations and the banking gentry removed the embargo on
specie, that it would again appear in circulation, but
there is scarcely any to be seen not even one dollar in
eash to a thousand of paper and it is growing scarcer
every day. Our Bankers are as true to their interest



47

as the needle to tlie pole. They sell the East India
merchants, at a premium, large sums of it anually, the
more specie that is shiped abroad, the better for them
the more need and room there is to issue and circulate
their notes.

The English nation had placed great ami strong cou-
ndence in their hank for more than two hundred years.
In the month of Feb. 1797 a publication was circulated
through England in which it was proved that the bank
had been insolvent for more than cue hundred and fifty
years before. In consequence of this publication, the
people who held their paper took an alarm and called
for payment of their notes in cash for which they had
given the productions of their labour, this step was
justifiable on every principle of equity and prudence.
Those who by the proxemity of their situation, or by
early information called first on the bank got their pay
but those who called last got nothing, the bank failed
the real fact was, that they could not pay one penny
on the pound for all notes' that they had issed.

Their government in the true spirit and principles
of their fell system made their note? a legal tender, and
made them current by the point cf the bayonet Well
might their political orators declaim against French
assignats and maxemum laws. Well might the British
assist the national assembly of France in the manufac-
ture of paper and export it to Britany, and their liber-
ality is equally extended to our bankers by the intro-
duction of notes from their Canadian teritory.

How much better was the conduct of cur bankers in
their late refusal to pay their notes ? My fellow-citi-
zens may determine the question. The cash which
ought to have been apropriated to the payment of the
notes of the Bank of England had been shipped to the
Continent to pay foreign butchers to murder French



48

Citizens and destroy their republic and again enslave
France. The cash which ought to be apropriated to the
payment of the notes of our bankers is daily shiped off to
pay the dividends of foreign stock holders and the im-
mense balance against us for European and India ma-
nufactories to the utter ruin and destruction of our own,
and making our citizens slaves to foreign luxuries, and
sapping the very foundation of our republican institu-
tions.

If our Legislatures were in the least acquainted with
the history of our country they must have known that
in almost every instance of the emision of paper money
by whatever athority; it has been a scene of iniquitous
fraud depriving the poor of their bard earnings; and
of all classes the Republican Soldier has generally been
the greatest sufferer. In the year one thousand six hun-
dred and ninety the then colony of Massachusetts emit-
ed a large sum in bills to pay the soldiers who had been
employed on an expedition against Canada, these bills
were received by them in payment for their services ;
the value of them sunk immediately one third, though
the expedition against Canada failed the paper money
performed the exploit of robbing the soldier and soon
got into better hands when the gradually appreciated
by being made receivable on taxes. The success of
this speculation induced the assembly of Massachusetts
to make subsequent emissions, in 1711, and 1714, and
1716, amounting to about half a million of dollars for
defraying the expense of the war against Canada, these
with emitions for other purposes had greatly augmented
the sum and in 1 740 it had depreciated to about six
pence on a dollar.

South Carolina in 1702 projected and undertook an
expedition against St. Augustine the expedition failed
but a large debt was contracted, an * paper money was



49

issued to pay if, and afterwards in 1712 they issued
another large sum to defray the expence of the war
against the Tuscaroras, this so augmented the sum
that it immediately sunk one half and ultimately to one
seventh. Pennsylvania in 1 722 issued paper money to
the amount of fifteen-thousand pounds, which was af-
terward increased to eighty thousand ; this paper by
act of assembly was made a legal tender, so that credi-
tors were obliged to take it the same as gold and silver :
notwithstanding this, it depreciated to a degree that
alarmed the landlords. To silence their clamor the
assembly made them a grant to indemnefy them, and
secure the full value of their cents in sterling money :
in fine, all the Colonies at some time or other issued
paper money ; it all depreciated more or less ; that
which was made soonest payable on taxes, depreciated
the least. The effects and fate of the paper money
issued by Congress in the revolutionary war is not only
well known, but most severely felt by the war word
soldier to the present moment.* To paint the enormous
mischiefs and frauds of paper money in true colours,
would exceed the most exalted powers of human intel-
lect ; it can only be equalled by that moral depravity
and turpitude which has carried this paper system to its
present extent, ami the evils that await its final close.

* JSTo country on earth o\fes so much to the services of
the soldier as the United States of America.

By no nation on earth have they been so much defrauded,
and in a pecuniary point of view so inhumanly treated.
When I retrospectively view the flinty hearted Hessian at
tlerman town so melted into compassion for the sufferings
f his conqueror, as to bestow his own shoes in charity for
his relief, and compare him with my vaporing representa-
tive in Congress opposing the claims of the revolutionary
soldier, I blush and hang my head to think myself a man.



The assignats of Fiance notwithstanding the national
assembly robbed the church of her vast domains to
support their credit, and their maximum laws. To'make
them pass they fell down to nothing, by the assistance
of the British minister who caused a great quantify of
them to be made and shipped over to Brittany, for the
use of the royalists-

The British Canadians are constantly carrying on
the same trade against these states. They forge im-
raence quantities of paper on our different banks, they
with it obtain property of our citizens by fraud ; there
is scarcely a dealer in all our country, who cannot pro-
duce abundant specimens of the ingenuity of this kind
of banking gentry, and of, their own losses, andindeed the
person, whatever may be his condition in life, is ex-
tremely fortunate if be has not sustained loss by this
kind of paper. There is no safety for any man, under
this order of things. .The labour of ages is swept
completely away, and the real owners are left exposed
to seek for more, or beg their bread as many are com-
pelled to do.

Germany also has been seized with this same mad-
ness : her paper in 1809 and 1810, was worth nothing*

Had (he scheme of king James which he adopted in
Ireland been resorted to, it would have been wise com-
pared with the paper sy



* Brass and copperof the basest ; k ind, old cannon, broken
bells, household utensaaJs were collected ; and from every
pound weight of such vile melals were coined four-penny
pieces to the amount of five pounds nomenal value. What
a pitty our honourable and wise corporation had not made
use of such materials in their lute emissions of change ;
some of it would undoubtedly be preserved as a record of
their segacity and honesty to future generations. The
service of plate presented to their financier though of bet-
ter metal, is only one solitary evidence of their magna-
nimity.



5i

The la\vs of a country ought to be the standard of
equity, and calculated to impress on the minds of the
people the n;onil as well as the legal obligations of re-
ciprocal justice.

Money wLen considered as the fruilAf many years
industry, as the reward of labour sweat m!<JloiJ, as the
widows dower, and the orphans portion, the soldiers
compensation for dangers, htur-brcath escapes, pinch-
ing cold and hunger in his country's cause, as the
the means of alleviating affliction and obUining neces-
saries, and making old age comfortable and a seene of
rest, has something in it sacred that ought not to be
spoiled with or trusted to the airy bubbles of paper
currency, though under the control and immediate
inspection of the rulers of a state or nation, much less
to a set of men to manage as their interest, ambition,
or avarice may dictate : whose character is drawn by
an eminent statesman in nearly the following words,
Their counting-house is their church, the desk
their altar, their ledge 1 / their bible, their gain their
God, and have faith in none without a good indorser."

But what may be said, or rather what may not be
said of that government which is not only continually
chartering companies with bauk privileges, but suffer-
ing corporations, individuals, merchants, dram-sellers,
toll-gatherers, printers, and printers devils, to manu-
facture their own change as their wants or convenience
may require. This has been the case and the country
inundated with the paltry trash, so that like Egypt of
old, " the land stank, so numerous was the fry." Be-
sides the licenced and public money factories ; daily de-
tections prove that there are many very many private
ones who carry on the business in a private clandestine
manner to a great extent, and find means to get it into
circulation which cannot be a very difficult matter,



since they have brought the art to so great perfection
as to deceive the bankers themselves. Most surely it
is high time to look to these things ; but where or to
whom shall we look ? our legislative councils are sup-
posed to be tin source and guardeans of all political
justice, atitt mat is the fountain from which this evil
flows, it is here we trace the fellow home, find out his
birth-place and his dam.

Since it has been proved that issuing bank notes is
actually a public robbery, and is the cause of most of
the evils that torment society and humanity, and that
gold and silver are the only legitimate representatives
of property, and that they alone should be used for that
purpose in preference to ^all other materials, what
right or authority have congress, or state legislatures
to grant charters to banks, to pass paper instead of
gold and silver ? The constitution of the general go-
vernment forbids the creation of orders, or granting
titles of nobility, but it is silent on the subject of bank-
ing, and certainly gives no authority for granting bank
privileges, which in their operation and effects are as
abhorrent to republican or just principles, and more
perniceous in their effects on both the interests and
morals of society. An equal number of noblemen to
that of bankers in our country, with sinecure pensions
would be less expensive and far less injurious to the
morals of the citizens.

It is true that some of our citizens might ape nobility,
as our bankers and others now do ; but this would only
expose them to the contempt of all sensible men,
without making them liable to the pains and penalties
annexed to the horrible crime of forgery of bank
notes. The incumbents would be confined to the sti-
pulated amount of income, \vhich might probably be



53

burthen seme, but by no means equal to the sums rob-
bed from the public by bankers.

The constitution as before said, is silent on the sub-
ject, of banks, and that for the most evident of all rea-
sons, beeause the people had no such right to delegate.
A man may transfer his own personal right, but he can-
not transfer the right of society. The right to acquire
and hold property by virtuous industry is one of the
most sacred rights ef man : to deprive him of this right,
would be to deprive him of his existence, he can only
part with this right in his ceasing to exist. There fore,
A can have no right to deligate to B, the power to take
the property of C without an equivalent in exchange.

Pray what is the value of bank notes, or paper mo-
ney ? let the history of what has happened in our own
Country, and in every other country where the
fraud has been practiced, answer the question.
From these it is evident that the least breath of
suspicion would render a cart-load of them of less
value than a pinch of snuff. It therefore appears evi-
dent, that governments, general or local, have no such
right delegated to them, it is an assumed prerogative,
an act of arbitrary power, an act that tends to de-
stroy and dissolve the very government they have sworn
to maintain, it is an act that common sense, common
honesty, and common safety would revolt against. It
tends to dissolve the government and to set a drift ell
vhe property of the nation, like the barbarian, who by-
false signals dec 03 s the mariner on the rocks, that he
may have an opportunity of plundering the wreck.
This is the case at the present moment, there is proper-
ty to an immense amount HOW ingrossed by speculators
and bankers, by means of bank paper amounting to
many millions, and is continually augmenting. Here
chen the crime is fixed, which can be neither palliated



nor denied, and to which the right of the legislatures
do not extend. The people ought therefore to bring
those gentry to justice, those who proposed and those
who have voted those laws that went to establish
banks, they ought to be held amenable in their proper-
ty and persons, for all the injury the public have or
may sustain by the banking system. Honour and jus-
tice demand that the inquiry should be made ; to delay
it is to encourage them in it, and to invite others to do
the same, until no further attention is paid to the inter-
ests of the nation. There would perhaps be found
among some of those exclusive patriots of talents and
wealth, who have been in the habit of insulting the
nation with her distresses ; the people ought to know
them as the authors of her calamities. That this as-
sumption of legislative power has escaped the lynx eye
of the judiciary is impossible, unless they have been
veiled with the opake substance of bank paper, which
lias been before hinted.

This subject must have come before them in many
shapes, during the many years it has been in operation.
It is universally understood, that they were to be
judges of the constitutionality of those laws they were
called on to execute and enforce, and if they were not
made agreeable to that instrument, they ought not to
carry them into execution. This is what is generally
understood .by the independence of the judiciary. If it
does not mean this, it is an expression without auy
meaning, and if it does mean this, how do they recon-
cile it to their duty, to pronounce on the law against
forgery on the banks, and doom a fellow-rnan to a
long imprisonment at hard labour, for forgery on the
banks. If the laws by which banks are established
are not constitutional laws, they had no right to exist
as such : they are therefore no law, and consequently,



tUe forgery no crime. I believe thai some of the gen-
tlemen of the barr have serious scruples on this point,
but as I have never conversed with any of them on the
subject, I shall pronounce no opinion upon it, but leave
the subject with wiser beads to form their opinions on
this subject, and also how far the banking system have
influenced our judicial authorities.

There is no fact more evident, than that the bulk of
mankind have been the hewers of wood and drawers of
water, tor the use and pleasure of knaves and tyrants,
from the earliest ages to the present moment ; that
they have been imposed on since the institution cf legal
society, or in other words, ever since the bounds of
property have been established^ and that it is our situ-
ation as much as any other nation. AVe labour for our
bankers, our landlords, and merchants, and the feudal
power of our landlords are very little short of that in
most European countries.

But let me not be understood by this declaration, to
be an enemy or an opponent to merchants and com-
merce. I am on the contrary friend to both, with very
few exceptions, and thoe are in favour of the worthy


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Online LibraryLawrence John Lumley Dundas ZetlandCause of, and cure for, hard times: a definition of the attributes and qualities indispensable in money as a medium of commerce, and also an investigation of the effects of the banking system → online text (page 4 of 6)