“…knavish tricks, will turn vice into legal virtue; and will sanctify iniquity by law.”
The papers of America's founders are replete with acute criticism of paper money not convertible to a fixed weight of gold. Take, for example, William Paterson.
The Supreme Court Historical Society informs us that:
WILLIAM PATERSON was born on December 24, 1745, in County Antrim, Ireland. His family emigrated to America two years later and eventually settled in Princeton, New Jersey. Paterson was graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1763 and earned a graduate degree in 1766. He read law, was admitted to the bar in 1769, and established a law practice. During the Revolutionary War, Paterson served as an officer with the Somerset County Minutemen and was a member of the Council of Safety. He was elected a delegate to the Provincial Congress of New Jersey in 1775 and to the State Constitutional Convention in 1776. After helping draft the New Jersey Constitution, he became Attorney General of that State, serving from 1776 to 1783. Paterson was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and, as a Senator in the First Federal Congress, he helped to draft the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the federal court system. He left the Senate in 1790 to become Governor and Chancellor of New Jersey. President George Washington nominated Paterson to the Supreme Court of the United States on March 4, 1793, and the Senate confirmed the appointment seven days later. Paterson served for thirteen years on the Supreme Court and died on September 9, 1806, at the age of sixty.
Paterson wrote, in 1786:
‘An increase of paper money if it be a tender, will destroy what little credit is left; will bewilder conscience in the maze of dishonest speculations; will allure some and constrain others into perpetuation of knavish tricks, will turn vice into legal virtue; and will sanctify iniquity by law.’
C. Warren, The Making of the Constitution (Littleton, CO, 1993), p. 551
[with appreciation to Prof. Farley Grubb, within whose erudite work these trenchant observations, among many others, are reproduced.]