Thomas Jefferson Papers

VI. Notes for Reply to Robert Morris, [7–9 May 1784]

VI. Notes for Reply to Robert Morris

[7–9 May 1784]

Whether the parts of the Unit had better be a measure of the [curre]nt money of account or of the dollar.

Obj. Easy to make any coin circulate at it’s value.

Ans. Still it is a duty to make it’s introduction easy as we can to the people.

Obj. The dollar is no money of account. No merchant keeps his books in dollars. Therefore the adoption of the dollar as the Unit will not save him the trouble of converting his accounts and the Fin[ancier]’s Unit will enable him [to do i]t1 with most accuracy.

Ans. The conversion of the merchants acc[ounts is bu]t1 a single operation. Once done it is done for ever. He is skilful and equal to the t[ask. Tho’ t]he1 adoption of the Fin[ancier]’s Unit may relieve this one operation of the merch[ant yet it]1 throws the difficulty on the farmer who knows what a dollar is but [not what]1 the Fin[ancier]’s Unit is. The farmer is ignorant.

Obj. That ‘my subdivision goes [not far enough?].1

Ans. It goes in infinitum [in theory? but I o]nly1 go to 1/100 because as yet the people in some states could [only be in]duced1 to that and in no state have they demanded a lower. If [they wish it?]1 they may have a peice of 50/10002 or 5/1000 or 1/1000

Obj. The lowest fractional p[eice is not]1 equal to established weight in grs.

Obj. The coins should cont[ain a number]1 of dwts. or grs. without a fraction and an integral number of grains [of pure metal]1

Obj. Proportion of val[ue between g]old1 and silver.

Obj. Assays unnece[ssary.]1

Obj. Coinage price.

MS (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand; undated and erroneously placed with the rough draft and notes of TJ’s report to the House of Representatives of a plan for establishing uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures, 4 July 1790; the report as a whole is in DLC: TJ Papers, 233: 41948–60 and the present MS occupies a single leaf at p. 41952. It is obviously an outline made after TJ received Morris’ letter of 1 May. Since TJ assigned the date “Annapolis, May 9, 1784” to the “Supplementory Explanations” which replied to Morris’ letter and since that letter was received on 7 May, 1784, it is clear that the present MS was written in the three days embraced by these two dates.

1MS mutilated by a long inch-wide tear through middle of leaf; one to three words missing and supplied conjecturafly.

2TJ deleted this fraction since it was the .05 silver piece that he had already proposed.

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