Excerpt from "Greenbacks," or the Evils and the Remedy of Using "Promise to Pay to the Bearer on Demand" As a Measure of Value
We hold that the practices of men, when they differ from their pro fessions, and are not wrongfully interpreted, are a better index of their opinions than their words.' Following this as a rule. We have been nu able to discover that either the Secretary of the Treasury (whom we hold to be a statesman and a patriot), or the bankers of New York city, Boston, and Philadelphia, were in favor of the Pledge Banking scheme in 1861. Most of those of Wall street, it is true, had previously conformed to it, but only as a necessity imposed by a State law, in the making of which they had no agency they were obliged to conform, or to discon tinne their business of receiving interest on money owed. But those of State and Chestnut streets have neither conformed to it nor adopted it. We, therefore, conclude that these parties did not intentionally impose the Free Banking scheme on the Nation; yet, what they did seems to have culminated in the National Currency Act. Those who will ex amine and consider the present financial condition of the Nation, may possibly find the origin of the present National Pledge Banking scheme in some of the early efforts made by the Government to fill its treasury.
When the rebellion commenced, men, ships, munitions of war, and pro visions were needed for the preservation and protection of our Govern ment. These had to be supplied by patriotism and credit. At that time, the Nation's treasury was empty, or nearly so, and extra efforts had to be made to fill it. Among men, there are two methods of using credit - one by borrowing money and paying for its use, the other by making pur chases to be paid for at some future day, at a price that will compensate for the delay in payment. Governments have no other just methods. At the outbreak of the rebellion, our Government sought means by the first of these, and we think it acted wisely in doing so. It asked for a loan, the amount of which we deem of but little importance, for our object is to consider mainly the principle of action, rather than the details of par ticular acts we, however, shall endeavor to call attention to the differ ent methods that have been adopted to use and sustain the credit of the Government, in the order they have followed each other.
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