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A few THOUGHTS concefriin'g'e proper MONEY of ACCOUNT.
BY A GENTLEMAN OF VIRGINIA.
ALrHO, for various reasons, what are called ilie precious
Snetals lie more proper than any other commodity to be the ftand
;:rd, by>referenfce to which the value of other things maybe af
certainen. yet there seems to be forrie impropriety even in this ;
becaule neither gold nor silver carries the fame unchanging value
frl; all times, 2nd that which is to be applied as the measure of other
things ought itfel! to be fixed : It is still more improper that gold
artel lilver should both be admitted rs a conm> rt standard ; because
they arc not only liable to fWluate, but to fluctuate in relation to
each other; yet. svhen thus admitted, tho one us thetn Ihould fink
in value more thai) the other, and even tho one of them ftiOulrf
have funk* while the other may have rifei) 111 value, they are e
qually legal, however inconsistent, measure!.
That a debt, due now, be paid at an equal value, at whatever
distant time the payment be made, it lee**is necclfarv to adopt a
money ol account pUfely imaginary; fdr every thing, which is
real, is exposed to the danger of fluctuation: This might (rclpett
ing the various denominations, or the money-unit and its parts) be
framed on many different models. One, as eligible perhaps as
any Qther, would be to count in units, dimes, cents, and rftills, so
that each inferioi deoomination should be, to that next above it)"
:i? one to tan, It may be a matter ol no great what dc-
va ' ue we may think proper to mark by our money-unit ;
this is in itfelf arbitrary, bnt whert orfci bv arbitrary appointmetft
Jhat comes to be fixed, the rule of proportion obtains and from
that fixed point gives 0 scale for every superior or inferior value;
;i|(t as the thermometer is capable of graduations infinitfly diver
fified asto any particular degree of heat or cc/ld ; but wTiatcvfr df
gtce you may chufefor designating any certain rc
■'l ' must be had to that throughout the whoTe scale. SOppbfe
that at the prefenttime 4dwt. ol gold and 30c.. of silver fliould be
of equal value, and that such value were expressed by one unit
*considered merely as a measure, and not as equivalent 'tothe lhin'»
meafurcd. You would thus have a Heady immutable standard';
and a not confiding of a certain quantity of gold, but of a
certain vatur, measured in this imaginary money, and payable in
gold or filver,w ould at every period of time retain the fame value,
ivhatevermay be the intermediate fluctuations of gold, or silver, 01'
other commodities.—Suppufe for instance, a debt of j5 units,
S dimes, 7 cents, and 5 mills, or 15,87,5 units ; this according to'
the above hypothtjis would be now equal to 307.. 3dwt. 12 grs. of
gold, and to 470z. iidwt. 1» grs. of lilver, and ifprefent pay
ment be made Ibould bedifcharged in that ratio ; But let silver
fall in value 5 per cent, and <*old encreafe in like proportion, then
the fame debt would be jultly discharged by the payment of about
30Z. :mdn|grs.of gold,or 50 or. 2 dwt. lg grs. (nearly) of fil
vfr. This would be toconGdergold and silver (accordiri» to tHCir
real natures) as commodities, whose vibrating valuesare climated,
atvarious periods, by a fixed ftaridard. According to this idea
■we ought to forbear the co'n'nefting our imaginary unit with a
certain quantity of gold or silver, by any perpetual fie ; they may,
indeed, meet at particular times; but this is only an accidental
Concurrence, and will not juftify the assumption of them as equi
valent exprelfiom, or common measures. And if, in tHe pro
gress of human affairs, differences prevail in the value d( things
which once may have]been equal,or greater or lefTtr differences than
fpTmerly obtained, it is surely beyond the reach of pblitical power
it> alter the nature-os things ;no govcrnnicnt can by it's merfc fiat
lhake that valuable among men which men do not value, or give
to any thing a greater value than from genertl consent it bears.
Any piece of gold or silver is received in it's currency, not as a
certain value is fbmped on it by authdrity, but as it is known to
Contain a certain quantity of either metal ; and wlieri goVerilnifnt
unncceirarilv afligns to if a certain value,it but conforms (or ftiould
conform) to the anticedent opinion and appreciation of mankind.
The true use of coin seems to be nothing more tban to give a pub
lic aflurance of the finenefs of the rriefal, atid the quantity of it
contained in the piece at the time of doming. And if by fraud or
accident (no matter which) that quantity be impaired, the value of
the piece is lefiened, and it ought to be a tender for only it's pie-
J'ent quantity, according to the market value of gold or silver at
the time of the tender.
In this arrangement of a money account I fjave made no altera
tion in that lately chosen by Congress, except in the money-unit,
•which I fancied it better to call units than dollars, left as the latter
is the nameof a known coin, the use of that name Ibould lead us
to attach to it the idea of acertain piece of money; whichthepre
3*nt plan would cautiously avoid.
On a fuperficial view, it might feein to be a valid objection to
such a plan, that in cases of dispute about the just amount of the
payment to be made,thedebtor is deprived of the means of know
ing, with certainty, what quantity of gold or silver he ought to
tender, ai d the creditor what he ought to receive ; both which e
vils would be avoided by measuring the debt in counter*, which
Ibould also be equivalent to tV.and confequently,beingtransfered to the
creditor,would prcctfely difchaige it. We ought,however, to con
sider, that however certain a debt may be by the original contract
disputes may afterwards arise concerning the balance, either thro'
various reckonings of money paid, or various appreciations of
commodities received by the creditor, where no valuation has been
made of them between the parties, or there is a difference of be
lief as tothe valuation made; and that those, or fomc of those
things must be the mod usual source of disputation : In which
cases, aud in all thole where disputes happen about the value of
commodities fold, or of fei'vices performed, where they make the
basis of the Jemy/d, not of the difount, and have not been by the
contrast fixed in their value, it must unavoidably happen, thatthe
fame objc&ion (if it beonc) will recur. And every difputt be
tween debtoi and creditor, from whatever source it arise, supposes
a degree of uncertainty in the quantum of the debt. On all those
bpcafi'ons the debtor must take cafe to tertddr a payrrient at least
adequate, and the creditor not a fender vvhch ht is not fui'C
is inadequate : In that fine of conduct onfv there is fafety* if, con
fideringthe various judgments of men, absolute certainty can in
those cases be expelled— But if this uncertainty must be confidcr
*d as ar, evil, it is an evil not peculiar to this ptah ; for every o
therfiems to be exposed to it.
In laying piiblic taxes of any fort, defined by fnch a measure as
is here proposed, it might be convenient to define alio, by the
fame flandard, the value of gpld arid silver to be received by the
colleftor'r, that their emoluments may be neither more nor less
than were.mtended for them, and thfe burdens of the people nei
ther heavier nor lighter than the public needs require. This might
be annually adjusted at the time of imposing the lax ; in which
qdjufttnentv the acr.idrntal variations of the precious metals (if
thei c should be any)'might be attended to, and so all those incon
veniences, which would refuft frofh a permanent fixing of tliiir
values, be avoided.
(The remainder on Saturday.)
An ESSAY on FREE TRADE arid FINANCES.
(Cohcludcdfrom ou*' IdJi.J
I AM of opinion 'tis quite time to quit thischildifli minia
ture of councils, and adopt fonaethirig up to the full life, and pro
pose foirie fyltem to our people that wffl. when 6Secuted, be
cffe&ivr and fufßcient for its purpose. I imagine fiich a proposal i
•would find our people full enough of sense to discuss it, candour
to rpprove of it, and zeal to promote if.
Eut if you will continue to believe that my high scale of tax
will ftupify our people with tertor on firft fight of the dreadful,
dreary object, I will seriously afc you if you are acquainted wfth
one individual, think would be likely to nang-himfelf,
or run di ft rafted, or give up the Ainei ican union or independence,
on being told, that he nib ft fo'r the reft of his life pay a dollar a
gallon tax on diftill'd spirits and wine, a duty equal to the firft
cost on silks, cambricks, lawns, muftin, lace&, jewellery,., and so
on thro' all the grades of the tax I propose. Or how docs the
dreadful Ipe&re.affcft vour own eonftitution," does it make your
own blood run cold and ftiffen in your veins. As you are mostly
men of falhion and fortune, I conceive you will be as deeply in
tcrefted in the tax as the most of your conftituenis, and you may
pretty well judge of their feelings by your own. I do not ap
prehend that your anxiety is excited at all for youi felvcs, but tor
vour people ; but can't you suppose that your constituents have
lenfe todifcern the neceflity and utility of a public measure, judge
ment and patriotism to approve it, and firmutfsto bear the bur din
ot it, as well as you. Some obje&s, when feeri through a mist, or
at a distance, appear frightful and cloathcd with terrors, which all
vanilh on a nearer view, and more close iiifpection. Some dis
agreeable tilings, when they come home to our filings, are found
.to have lefspain thandiftant expectation painted out. Lei us fup
pofc and realize to ourselVes then, that my feale of tax was adopt
ed and become habitual to the people, eah you imagine that the
country would be thereby rendered a whit the worse, or more in
convenient to live in, than if the tax was not paid ? or if you can't
come quite up to this, do yOu conceive the inconveniencc of the
• tax paid inthis way, by any comparison so heavy and burdensome,
as the present tax on polls and estates, or any other that has ever
been praftifed or proposed of equal product, would be to the peo
ple at large.
I do not know how far our people at large are imprefltd with
a sense of the importance of our union ; it is, in my opinion, an
object of the utmost weight, I conceive that the very exigence of
our refpeftability abroad ; theintereft which we are to derive from
our connexions with foreign nations, and our security against
foreign anel domestic infuits ancf-invafions, all depend on it, and
even our independence itfelf cannot be supported without it, and
as I know well that the attachment of our people to their indepen
dence is almost universal, f should fappofe tfat our union, which
is so closely and inseparably conne&ed with it, would likcwife be
an equal object of their attachment and ccmcern; if this is the cafe,
I cannot be pfcrfuaded that oiir people will revolt against any lea
fonable and neceflary means of both the one and the
other, and as the tax I propble appears to me the only poHible and
pra&icable means, any how within our power, which cah be*ade
•quate to this great purpose, I cannot fay that I shudder to pro
pose such a tax ; but I think We may fafelv presume on the good
ienfe of our people, their patience apd discernment of their in
terests, enough to expect their concurrence in the meafurt, and
even chearfulnefs and zeal in firpporting it.
But if\his cannot be obtained, I can add no more, I have no
conception that the* Americans either are or ought to be governed
against their consent or that the collection of taxes, of any kind,
or in any mode, can be made with fuecefi, whilst an opinion be
comes general among the people, that the tax!es are unnecessary,
unjust, or improperly applied.
I thlrilc it would not be very difficult to make out the defail of
particulars neceflary to form the plan or system, both of the tax
and iiscolleftion, on the principles herein urged ; but the whole
is humbly (übinitted to the confideratioh of the public, who, I
hope, are enough imprefled with the importance of thefubjeft,
and the nedeflity of adopting some deciflons relating to it, with
out delay, to induce eVery ot)t tb give it that attention that its
nature and weight requires, and which our present critical circum
stances make indispensable to oui political salvation.
I do not set myielf up t<s propose fyfte'ms of political union, ,and
plani of revenue, becaufV I think myfelf the fitteft and most capa
ble man to do it j but bece'ufe I am convinced that every system of
this fort mull be the work of one mind, carefully and deeply com
prehending the whole fubjeft, and fitting Ml the parts tocach other,
so that every part may fori* a coincidence with the reft. It is
Icarcely pomble for twenty or thirty men of the best abilities eol
leftcd in a roOm together, to do this ; either of them might do it
alone, but all of them together cannot. The twenty together may
examine the system or plan, when made and proposed, and note
: its falilts, bbt eveh then they cannot mend them, without danger
|of destroying its uniformity, the)- must do as you do with your
•cloathes which don't lit, fend for the taylorwho made them, point
lout the faults, and dirett him to take them home, and make the
Any man of a cTear head mrfy comprehend his own thoughts,
but cannot so well enter into tHose of another. Ydu might as well
| set twenty watchmakers to make a watch, and afllgn to each his
; wheel; tho' each wheel (hould be exquisitely finiftied, it would be
j next to a miracfe if the teeth and diameters fitted each other, so
afe to move witli proper uniformity together; if this gi'dat work
is done, fomfe body must do it, some body must begin. A mo
derate genius may hit on, and propose a thought which a richer
mind rfiay improve to the greatest advantage. If I can attain this
honor, I iKall have my reward, and please myfelf with the hope,
tKat Tmay be, in some degree ufefirfto the country I love, which
gave me birth, and in which-1 extfeft to leave my posterity.
Philadelphia, 24M March, 1783.
F I N I S.
PROCEED INGS 0 F CONGRESS.
ABSTRACT o/JOfJRNAL of the first session cj the SENATE
*J the UNITED STATES.
TUESDAY, April 7, 1789.
The Senate proceeded 10 elect a Door-keeper, and James Ma
tners was chosen.
Ordered, That Mr. Ellfworth, Mr. Paterfon, Mr. MaclSy, Mr.
Strong, Mr. Lef, Mr. Baffett, Mr. Few, and Mr. Wingate, be a
committee, to bring in a bill for organizing the Judiciary of the
Ordered, That Mr. Ellfworth, Mr. Lee, Mr. Strong, Mr. Mac
lay, and Mr. Baffett, be a committee to prepare a fylfem Of rules
to govern the two Houses in cases of conference, and to take under
consideration the manner of electing chaplains, and to confer there
upon with a committee of the House of Representatives.
Ordered, That the fame committee prepare a fyftcm of rules for
coridufhng bufmefs in the Senate. Ad joutned
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8.
The Senate proceeded by ballot to the choice of a Secretary
Samuel Allyne Otis, Esq. was elected.
The refpeffive petitions of Abraham Okce, Cornelius Maxwell
and Abraham Mitchell, praying to be employed as attendants On
the Senate, were read, and ordered to lie on the table
The Senate proceeded to elefta meffcrtger, and Cornelius Max
v. ell was appointed. Adjourned.
THURSDAY, Apr'I L 9 .
Thimemorial of John Bryce was read, praying to be employed
as BoOk-bmdtr, &c. to the Senate and House of Representatives
Ordered, That Mr. LaJigdon, Mi. Johnson, and Mr. Few be a
committee to mjke the necelfary arrangements for receiving the
President; and that they be empowered to confer with any com
mittee of the House of Reprefenfatives, that may be appoiiKcd for
thstptfrpofe. Adjourned to Safurdav next. '
SATURDAY, April n.
The Senate a (Tern bird : Prefent-From Neu-llampfkire, Mr
l.angdori, and Mr. Wingate-Ma/Jachfel/,, Mr. Strongi-Cw^,'-,
" A '?/' it ' c and^ r - k |lfworth — Mr. Paterfon,
and Mr. Elmer-Penvfylvania, Mr. M.clay-OtlabHre, Mr. Baffei
v irgima, Mr. Lee—Georgia, Mr. Few.
Adjourned until Mbqddy next.
MONDAY, April 13.
absence ' S '" U, ' dsy ' c,cr P t Mr - Paterfon, who had leave of
R r lph , r " rd ' f ? m thc Sta,c of South Carolina, the
Hon. Charles Catrol from the State of Maryland, and the Hon.
George Read,, from the State of Delaware, severally produced their
credentials, and took their feats in tlie Senate.
ThcTtpo.t of iht*CodlsAittli.*.aneoin:(ii the'-rt,
Sfyftetn of rules for conducing bufmefs , llc Stnw'e, 5
ordered to he until to-morrow forconfideration " srf *W
On inot.o.i, Ordered, That a committee of thrV» n„,i,
the Senate, be appointed to confer with any PMt ?
part of the House df Representatives, rn/trufted to th» "" C
|upon the future disposition of the papers in the rrffice '
Secretary of Congress, and report; ' r uV^ 1 ' 1 '
8 and ' v,r * be the committee on the paa oi ncT
,On ,not,on, Ordered, That the committee £*»*■
j ffahV, to determine the ceremonial proper to lie oblVrW 'l'
| r, ception of the Prdident, be to«&?■
I raiments are neccfliry for the ,ecep>.,on of the Vice PrrfdZ~
purpose. W 4 any COmmHUe lh > *»>& «™y , 0 that
j On motion, Ordered, That Mr. Lee, Mr. Kllfwotth, and Mr
• Few, be a conmnftee to conhder and report unon rht- r™.
canons made on the 6th in ft'. from the Itavor, &c. of the cm""■
New-York, tendering to the uicot the City-Hall '
On motion, Ordered, That an addition of one from ca'ahSme
not hiving a member already on the Committee, be added to t(
Committee of the 7 t h of April, to bring in a brll for organW
I the Judrciaryof the United States, and Mr. Carrol, and Mr l lt J
were joined. Adjourned. '
TUESDAY, April I
The Hon Tnltram Dalton, from the .State of Massachusetts an
prared, produced his credentials, and took his feat in the Senate
On the report oftlw- Committee appointed the 13thi1.fl. intake
into confederation the letter and communications from the Maror
o! the city of New-York, '
Ordered. That the following letter be written to the Mayor of
the City ofNew-Y ork, by the Prefidtnt; and that noting farther
lor the present be done in thi Imnicfi.
SIR NewYorh, APRIL J4,, , 7 8 ? .
THE Sena" have corf,d,red the letter that you were pteof.i to aiird,
■.tofnen Hol'ft on the 6th tnjl. and they entertiin a ptoplr seise oflhi rtf.
■ pofljhetbn to the General GovetnnreM of the United States, hi prtmdtnt
Uocommodtois a building for the accommodation ofCongnfs, as the Mac-
Aldermen, and Commonalty of the city hat* appropriated to that ]:!,'
j The appointment of Mr. Skautt t u the 'care of the public Hull mM ic
■ very agreeihle to the Senate ; but in their idia such appointment mult J,.
rjendnffma kgtjljtire aft/or creating the office, and'then theofctrtt
• L II Wt ' cm " con/lit,rtitnwlly from the nomination of the Pltfidtntof
i the United States, with the approbation of Stnate. in the mean turn tit
Senate have no iijcßion to the Mayor ami Aldermen appointing fudttr
•jott to the care ojthe nail as they deem worthy of such trill.
IhUve tfie hontr tsic. &t.
(Si on Eft.) The PRESIDENT of the SIN ATI.
ihf Hon. James Duane, Esq.
I he rules and orders as reported by the Committee were again
ji read, and ordered to l«e for confederation.
[ motion, a Committer, confiftmgof Mr. Read, Mr. Elfvrorth,
Pand Mr. Lee, were appointed toconfider of the utility of printing
• j journals weekly, and turmihm# the members -with copies;
I committee are infliu&ed to determine the mode of
. keeping the journals and report. Adjourned
W E D N ESD AY, April 15.
II Tc Committee appointed the 7th of April, to prepare a system
of rules to govern the two Houses in cases of conference, to take
into consideration the manner of electing chaplains, andtocon
; le. thereon with a Committee of the House of Representatives,
Reported, That they had conferred on the bufmefs with a Com
mittee of the House of Representatives for that purpose appointed*
\\hereupon, Rejvhed\ That? in every cafe of an amendment to a
bill to ' n one House, and dilTentcd to in theotber, if either
House Hiall retjuefl. a conference, and appoint a Committee for
that and the other House fball' also appoint a Committee
to confer, such Committees a convenient-time to be agreed
on by their Chairman, meet in the conference Chamber, and ibte
to each other, verbally, or in writing, either shall choose, the
reasons of their refpc&ive Houses, for andagainft the amendment,
and Confer frdcly thereon.
The Committee above mentioned further reported^
" That two Chaplains of different denominations be appointed
to Congress, for the present feflion, the Senate to appoint ene, and
give notice thereof to the House of Reprefentatives,who shall there
upon appoint the other, which Chaplains shall commence their
lervices in the Houses that appoint them, but shall interchange
weekly. Which was also accepted.
(To be continued.) ,
CONGRESS OY the UNITED STATES.
Begun and hcldat the Ci ty of on Wednesday the Fouitlr
of March, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-Nine.
An AC I for allowing certain Compensation to the
Judges of the Supreme and other Courts anit»
the Attorney-General of the United States.
BE it enabled by the Senate and Hon ft of Rtfn
fentatives of the United States of America in Csngrtft
assembled, That there shall be allowed to the
judges of the supreme and other courts of the
United States,the yearly compensations hereinaf
ter mentioned, to wit ; to the chief juflice four
thousand dollars ; toeach of the justices of the
supreme court three thousand five hundred dol
lars ; to the judge of the diflrici of Maine one
thousand dollars ; to the judge of the iliftrict of
New Hampshire one thousand dollars ; tothejudgt
of the diftriCl of Maflachufetts twelve hundred
dollars ; to tliejudgeof the diftri<S:ofConnetlicut
one thousand dollars ; to the judge of the diftrktot
New-York fifteen hundred dollars ; to the judge
of the diflridl of New-Jersey one thousand dol
lars ; to the judge of the diflUdt of Pennfyl* 2-
nia sixteen hundred dollars ; to the judge of the
diltridl of Delaware eight hundred dollars; to
the judge of the diflrici of Maryland fifteen hun
dred dollars ; to the judge of thediftricft of Vir
ginia eighteen hundred dollars ; tothejudge"
the diftri»sl of Kentucky one thousand dollar®;
to the judge of the diflrici: of South-Carolina
eighteen hundred dollars; to the judge of di
ftriifl of Georgia fifteen hundred dollars ; and to
the attorney-general of the United States fifteen
hundred dollars ; which compensations fliall com
mence from their refpetftive appointments, an
be paid at the treasury of the United States i
quarterly payments. r
FREDERICK AUGUSTUS MUHLENBEM-
Speaker of the Iloufc of
JOHN ADAMS, Vict-Prefidnt of the
snd Prefidint ojtkc
Approved, September 23, 1789.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, Prefidevt of th
JOHN FENNO, No. 9>
La n f., near the Ofwgp-Market. N *k • [3' •