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Memorandum to James Monroe, 21 December 1791

Memorandum to James Monroe

[after 21 Dec. 1791]

The Spanish dollar dwt   grs. dwt
  till 1728. had  11– 4 of pure metal in every 12 of mixed.
  from 1728. to 1772.  10–21
  since 1772  10–17
Extract from the Encyclopedie.

The dollar of 1728–1772 being taken as our standard, we have this

grs mixed grs alloy grs mixed grs alloy
proportion 288 : 27 :: 416 : 39
so that the dollar proposed of 416. grains should have but 39 grains alloy.

The base dollar of 1772 gives this

grs mixt grs alloy grs mxt grs alloy
proportion 288 : 31 :: 416 : 44.77
so that it appears they have taken the base dollar for their standard.

Quere, whether it will not be better to let them retain their base alloy, because, if the bill passes the Senate, the extravagance of the alloy will render alteration in the lower house more probable, and also because an opposition which it is previously known will be unsuccessful, draws disreputation without doing any good.

MS (NjP: Andre deCoppet Collection); entirely in TJ’s hand; undated, but see note below; addressed: “Colo. Monroe”; endorsed by Monroe.

TJ must have composed these notes after a Senate committee headed by Robert Morris reported a bill to establish a mint and regulate coinage on 21 Dec. 1791 and before the proposal passed the Senate on 12 Jan. 1792 (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales, 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , i, 359, 373–4).

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