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Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson was a patriot and a ítatesman of the highest order. It is proper for all trae Democrats to celébrate his birthday, April 13, and te commemorate his many excellent qualities, but why should those who voted in 1896 to repudiate debts and to cheapen our dollar by attempting to fix au artificial ratio between gold and silver widely different from the market ratio meet to honor, or dishonor, Jefferson' name? Is there anything in his writingi or his condnct to indicate that he would have been a cheap money and repudiation Democrat? In 1783 Mr. Jefferson wrote: The proportion between the value of gold and silver is a mercantile problem altogether. Just principies will lead us to disregard. legal proportions altogether, to inqnire into the market price of gold in the several countries with which we shall principally be connected in commerce and to take an average from them. Does this sound like the silver plank of the Chicago platform? In a letter to Mr. Hamilton in February, 1792, Mr. Jefferson expressed his opposition to cheapening the dollar or reducing the monetary unit. He said of the dollar: I very mueh doubt a right now to change the value, and especially to lessen it. It woulá lead to so easy a mode of paying off their debts Should it be thought, however. that congress may reduce the value of the dollar, I should be for adopting for our unit, instead of the dollar, either one ounce of pura silver or one ounce of Standard silver, so as to keep the unit of money a part of the system of measures, weights and coins. The original "demonetization of silver" was effected by the following order from Thomas Jefferson: Department of State, May 2, 1806. SiR- In eonsequence of a representation from the directors of the Bank of the United States that considerable purchases have been made of dollars coined at the mint for the purpo of exporting them, and as it is probable further purchases and exportations will be made, the president (Thomas Jefferson) directs that all silver to be coined at the mint shall be of small denominations, so that the value of tba largest piece shall not exeeed half a dollar. James Madison. Robekt Patterson, Esq., Director of the Mint. Except 1,000 pieces, no more silver dollars were coined till after Andrew Jackson retired from the presidency. It is clear from Jefferson's writings that he favored the use of both metáis, but only at their natural ratio in the world's markets. He seems to have had an instinctive f ear that people who wished an "easy mode of paying off their debts" would attempt to fix our coinage system independent of the world'e markets. His policy at all times was te stick close to the natural ratio. His desire to ascertain the market ratio between gold and silver and adopt that as the legal ratio is shown agait in his supplemental notes, Works, edition of 1853, volume 1, page 170, written in 1783 or 1784, when he suggests that the committee of the states be instructed: To appoint also proper persons to inqnire what are the proportions between the values of fine gold and fine silver at the markets oí the several countries with which we are c may probably be connected in commerce, an what would be a proper proportion here, having regard to the average of their values at those markets and to other circumstancea, and to report the same to the committee, by them to be laid before congress. Jefferson framed and had passed by the Virginia assembly a law by whiclz. the value of the paper money of America was settled "in sterling money or the lawful money of England. " If Jefferson had been compelled to choose between the two metáis, he would undoubtedly have taken gold. Ia his "Notes" he observed that the higk price which Spain paid for gold had tendency to draw away gold and to leave us only silver. He thought, theref ore, that "we might with safety leaa to a proportion somewhat above par for gold." Free silver Democrats are not Jefferson Democrats. They should either abandon their f alse doctrines or worship at another shrine.


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier