A Short History of Paper Money and Banking by William Gouge (1835)

By William Gouge (1835)

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The principle should be preventive rather than corrective. His honorable friend opposite (Mr. Smith) seemed to think, that the convertibility of paper into gold would operate as a sufficient check to arrest its progress; and in this opinion he was certainly supported by high authorities, amongst whom were some of the wisest men that composed the BulliOll Committee. They all agreed upon the necessity of the convertibility of paper into gold, in order to establish 8. sound currency. The science of currency (for it deserved the name of a science) was every day acquiring additional light; in fact, it was now in a state of experiment.

They are neither standards nor measures of value. The am"ounts expressed in them are the estimations made of goods, by reference to the article which law or custom has made the standard of value. They may be conveniently distinguished as commercial medium, restricting the term circulating medium to money. An increase of these three kinds of commercial medium may have the same effect on prices as an increase of money. Where the spirit of speculation is excited, men, 20 OF BARTER, &c. after having exhausted their cash means, strain their credit.

Converting them into coin, does not change their nature. It only adapts them to a particular use-fits them for passing from hand to hand, without the trouble of weighinlj and assaying each piece at each transfer. An increase of the stock of gold and silver in our country, is very desirable; Lut it is for precisely the same reasons that an increase of other kinds of \\ealth is desirable. Some fancy that it is the authority of Government that gives money its value. But the true value of money, as measured by the amount of goods for which it will honestly exchange, cannot be affected by edicts of Princes or acts of Parliament.

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