James Madison Papers

James Madison to Littleton Dennis Teackle, 15 March 1831

Montpellier Mar. 15. 1831

Dear Sir

I recd. in due time the copy of your Report on a State’s Bank: for which I offer my acknowledgments, with the apology for the delay furnished by the unsettled State of my health.

The Report certainly does justice to the plan which it espouses. But I am not yet weaned from the opinion long entertained, that the only adequate guarantee for the uniform and stable value of a paper Currency is its convertibility into specie, the least fluctuating and the only universal currency. I am sensible that a value equal to that of specie may be given to paper or any other medium, by making a limited amount necessary for necessary purposes; but what is to ensure the inflexible adherence of the Legislative Ensurers,  to their own principles & purposes. Among such a number of Independent States, the danger of aberrations is sufficiently suggested by experience, and to say nothing of the internal effects, the tendency of Mal examples of that sort, to imitation or irritation among the Co-States, as they may be relatively debtor or creditor to each other, is a consideration also suggested by experience. Should you succeed in bringing your modification of a Bank into experiment, it will be an interesting one, whether its result be a guiding, or a warning light. For the present it affords an occasion of which I avail myself, to repeat the expression of esteem and good wishes, which I pray you to accept.

James Madison

RC (NN); draft dated February 28, 1831 (NN).

Index Entries