By William M. Gouge
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Additional resources for A Short History of Paper-Money and Banking in the United States: Including an Account of Provincial and Continental Paper-Money. to Which Is Prefixed, an Inquiry Into the Principles of the System
If the mer.. cury in the barometer did not fall, as we ascend mountains, we should not be able, by that instrument, to measure heights. For an absolute standard of value, we should have to find something, the cost of production of which should 14 OF REAL MONEY. be the same at aU times, and in all places, and the demand and supply of which should never vary in the smallest degree. It is impossible even to fancy such a thing. It would be as reasonable to wish for a pendulum which should beat seconds in all latitudes, and in all elevations.
It is no longer possible for the merchant to buy and sell for ready money only, or for real money. He mllst give and take credit, and give and take paper money, or give up business. Bank paper is not a legal tender in the discharge of private debts: but it has become, in point of fact, the only actual tender, and the sudden refusal of creditors to receive it would put it out of the power of debtors to comply with their engagements. Credit, the great rival of cash, is completely controlled by the Banks, and distributed by them as suits their discretion.
It does not depend on their scarcity alone. Money is, simply, that valuable by reference to which the value of other things is estimated, and by the instrumentality of which the interchange of other things is effected. There is nothing mystical in its nature; nor is it likely that its character WQuld ever have been misunderstovd in the United OF REAL MONEY. 9 States, if the avoirdupois ounce of silver had been made the unit of reference, and if coins had been struck of the weight of an ounce, and of aliquot partslof the ounce.