Would YOU have signed the Declaration of Independence?

Historic interactions between participants at the Constitutional Convention of 1787


The Nature of Money

Sylvester H. Cain, Ph.D

The law that took us off the gold standard was "10 years temporary".  Therefore in 1943 we should have returned to gold.  Why haven't we?


Charles Grassley

Sen. Charles E. Grassley

Federal Register -December 21, 1982

Mr. Grassley. Mr. President, it is always encouraging for Members of the Senate to receive letters of encouragement and it is doubly encouraging when those letters stimulate one's thinking on a variety of important subjects.  I wish to have printed in the RECORD a letter from Mr. Sylvester H. Cain, a former Iowan now residing in Mechanicsville, Md.  In it Mr. Cain draws together a series of fascinating historic interactions between participants at the Federal Convention of 1787 which shed light on the nature of money as a mechanism of exchange and the pitfalls of poorly designed systems.

The material follows:

Dear Sen. Grassley:

Thank you for the fine job you are doing as Senator and for the expressed interest you have in today's economy.  I have had numerous occasions to contact your office and have always been served by you through Mrs. Berger very aptly and very faithfully.  My previous contacts have been limited to my interests, but this time I contact you with a point in everyone's interest.  This interest is in the economy and I have studied about our system only to find the same problems existed around the time the U. S. Constitution was being framed.  I take this opportunity to pass some of my findings on to you.

At the outset, let me recommend a very resourceful set of books (on which I depend heavily for this letter) to both you and Mrs. Berger.  I would like to give them as a Christmas present but I simply do not have the necessary thirteen dollars of Federal Reserve Notes.

The Miracle on Main StreetMiracle on Main Street , F. Tupper Saussy: Spencer Judd Publishers, Sewanee Tennessee 37375.

A Caveat Against Injustice: Or An Enquiry Into the Evil Consequences of a Fluctuating Medium of Exchange, Roger Sherman (signed the Constitution); Spencer Judd Publishers, Sewanee Tennessee 37375.

It is a common misconception that our country in its early days (1780's) took many years to settle down to using the new money (gold and silver).  It was quite the contrary according to statements I have discovered that were written about the time the Constitution was being signed.  Starting with a sad state of affairs less than nine months before the Constitution was signed, George Washington wrote to General Knox:

"Good God!  Who could have foreseen, or predicted the disorders which have arisen in these states?"

To a better state of affairs about two years later writing to Marquis de LaFayette, June 3, 1790 he stated:

"You have doubtless been informed, from time to time, of the happy progress of our affairs.  The principal difficulties seem in a great measure to have been surmounted.  Our revenues have been considerably more productive than it was imagined they would be.  I mention this to show the spirit of enterprise that prevails."

This was written one year after going to gold and silver coin.  Imagine that!

Again to LaFayette March 19, 1791, Washington wrote:

"Our country, my dear sir, is fast progressing in its political importance and social happiness."

To Catherine Macaullay Graham he wrote:

"The United States enjoys a sense of prosperity and tranquillity under the new government that could hardly have been hoped for."

And to David Humphreys:

"Tranquillity reigns among the people with that disposition toward the general government which is likely to preserve it.  Our public credit stands on that high ground which three years ago it would have been considered as a species of madness to have foretold."

So it can hardly be said that "it took many years for the new nation to settle down to using the new money".

I sincerely believe that President Reagan got his mandate from the people because in the campaign he referred frequently to the Constitution.  The people are interested in preserving the U.S. Constitution.  All of it!  I only pass this on to you because I know that you are diligent servants in President Reagan's administration which is desperately trying to kill inflation.  Our forefathers have shown the way.  Please use their experience to our advantage.

Let me point out that the Congress was not empowered by the Constitution to emit paper money.  Those who were involved at the time can give the best testimony to this.  Let me refer you to James Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio 1966.  Specifically, Article I Section 8 was proposed: "The Legislature of the United States shall have the power to *** coin money *** and emit bills on the credit of the United States" (Such as Federal Reserve notes).

Here is Madison's description of the debate so you will understand how diligently our forefathers tried to keep paper money out of our country's monetary and legal systems:

Mr. G. Morris moved to strike out "and emit bills of credit." If the United States had credit such bills would be unnecessary; if they had not, unjust and useless.
Madison. Will it not be sufficient to prohibit the making them a tender? This will remove the temptation to emit them with unjust views. And promissory notes in that shape may in some emergencies be best.
Morris. Striking out the words will leave room still for notes of a responsible minister which will do all the good without the mischief. The Monied interest will oppose the plan of Government, if paper emissions be not prohibited.
Colonel Mason, Though he had a mortal hatred to paper money, yet as he could not foresee all emergencies, he was unwilling to tie the hands of the Legislature. (Legislature = Congress)
Mr. Mercer. (a friend to paper money) It was impolitic . . . to excite the opposition of all those who were friends to paper money.
Mr. Elseworth thought this was a favorable moment to shut and bar the door against paper money.  The mischiefs of the various experiments which had been made, were now fresh in the public mind and had excited the disgust of all the respectable part of America. By withholding the power from the new Government more friends of influence would be gained to it than by almost anything else . . . Give the Government credit, and other resources will offer. The power may do harm, never good.
Mr. Wilson. It will have a salutary influence on the credit of the United States to remove the possibility of paper money. This expedient can never succeed whilst its mischiefs are remembered, and as long as it can be resorted to, it will be a bar to other resources.
Mr. Read, thought the words, if not struck out, would be as alarming as the mark of the Beast in Revelation.
Mr. Langdon had rather reject the whole plan than retain the three words "and emit bills".

George Bancroft's History of the United States of America, Vol. VI. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1886, Page 303 states it this way:

James Madison left his testimony that "the pretext for a paper currency, and particularly for making the bills a tender, either for public or private debts, was cut off." This is the interpretation of the clause, made at the time of its adoption alike by its authors and by its opponents, accepted by all the statesmen of that age, not open to dispute because too clear for argument, and never disputed so long as any one man who took part in framing the constitution remained alive.

When Article I, Section 10 was debated it was first worded: "No state shall coin money; nor grant letters of marque and reprisal; nor enter into any Treaty, alliance, or confederation; nor grant any title of Nobility."  Madison's account of the debate:

Mr. Wilson and Mr. Sherman (Roger, author of book cited above) moved to insert after the words 'coin money' the words 'nor emit bills of credit, nor make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts' making these prohibitions absolute, instead of making the measures allowable with the consent of the Legislature of the United States.
Mr. Sherman thought this a "favourable crisis for crushing paper money.  If the consent of the Legislature could authorize emissions of it, the friends of paper money would make every exertion to get into the Legislature in order to license it."

Paper money was thus absolutely prohibited by the Constitution.  That cannot be changed without amendment to the Constitution.  31 USC 371 prohibits the courts from keeping their proceedings in anything but the money of account of the United States, which is clearly intended by the Constitution to be gold and silver coin.

Let me cite jurisprudence on behalf of this administration because I sincerely believe that Mr. Reagan desperately wants to solve the inflationary problem as I sincerely want him to.  That is why I offer this information to you so you can sincerely help the President solve not only the problem of inflation, but the myriad of problems caused by inflation.

Now 16 American Jurisprudence 2nd S 155:

"Since the constitution is intended for the observance of the judiciary as well as the other departments of government and the judges are sworn to support its provisions, the courts are not at liberty to overlook or disregard its commands, or countenance evasions thereof. It is their duty in authorized proceedings to give effect to the existing constitution and to obey all constitutional provisions, irrespective of their opinion as to the wisdom or desirability of such provisions and irrespective of the consequences.

"If the constitution prescribes one rule and the statute another and a different rule, it is the duty of the courts to declare that the constitution, and not the statute, governs in cases before them for judgment."

Therefore, since Article I Section 10 of the United States Constitution has not been amended, it is quite clear that we are happily obliged to gold and silver in the United States.  Please ask Congress to return to gold and silver and do away with the Federal Reserve System.  The law that took us off the gold standard was "10 years temporary".  Therefore in 1943 we should have returned to gold, why haven't we?  Because the friends of paper money were content with eroding the U.S. Constitution and everything in the United States.

Further simplifying the problem, let me quote the United States Attorney General's published opinion, attached to 31 U.S.C. 311 in the federal statutes:

"The President has authority to proclaim and put into effect a plan for the unlimited coinage *** of domestic silver produced after the effective date *** " 1933, 37 Op. Aty. Gen. 344, at 31 U.S.C. 311.

Still further clarification are the words of Bruce A. Budlong, Acting Director, Special Financing Staff, Department of the Treasury, Fiscal Service:

"The same monetary system that was established on April 2, 1792, is in effect today."

This is true, but it seems to not be enforced by all of our leaders.

So, it seems just returning to gold and silver would solve inflation, and it would help the President and all people in the United States.  The President has taken the first steps toward this goal which is to back off inflationary interest rates. This would be solved naturally by returning to gold and silver.

"Federal Reserve notes are legal tender for all debts."  Notice that the word "for" is used rather than "in payment of."  Now it is well known that lawmakers are presumed to have selected each word that makes up a statute carefully and deliberately, lest the statute be considered void for vagueness.  Therefore, it is for sure that Congress chose not to use the phrase "in payment of," the reason being that no debt can be paid in the eyes of American jurisprudence unless paid in gold and silver coined and regulated in value by Congress. (Refer to: The U.S. Monetary System Page 148)

The advocates of irredeemable "paper money" (Federal Reserve Notes) use the Supreme Court citation of Juilliard v Greenman. This was a March 1884 decision where it stated Congress had the power to impose a standard of paper currency upon the citizens of the United States.  But only two months later May 5, 1884 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Hagar V. Land Reclamation District No. 108, 111 U.S. 701, that "the acts of Congress making the notes of the United States a legal tender do not apply to involuntary contributions in the nature of taxes or assessments (fines)."  The reason is clear of course in Article I Section 10 of the U. S. Constitution, and 31 USC 371.

Further, Olmstead v United States 277 US 438, 48 S.Ct. 564 (1928):

"In a government of laws, existence of the Government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy."

Also in this connection Simmons v United States, 390 US 394

"It is intolerable that one constitutional right should be surrendered in order to assert another."
In this context should I have to surrender any constitutional right at Article I Section 10?

Thus, is it possible that the breakdown of law and order plaguing our land originates not in the streets, as the media would have us believe, but in our public offices?

Bronson v Rodes, 74 US 229 defines lawful money:

"Lawful money of the United States could only be gold and silver coin, or that which by law is made its equivalent, so as to be exchangeable therefore at par on demand, and does not include a currency which, though nominally exchangeable for coin at its face value, is not redeemable on demand."

There are so many citations available that it seems like every citizen is required to go all the way to the Supreme Court before he or she can get a ruling in favor of gold and silver. The citizens would not have to go to this expense if they were not hoodwinked by previous administrations.

It is quite clear from the earlier quote from American jurisprudence that the Constitution prevails over conflicting court orders, conflicting Presidential orders, or even conflicting laws from Congress.  Of course it belabors the point to suggest that any lesser office, or any lesser law can supersede the supreme law of the land.

If I can be of assistance to you in this matter please feel free to enlist my services.

Thank you for your endurance.

Sincerely Yours,

Sylvester H. Cain

EXCERPT FROM: Federal Register dated December 21, 1982 certified true copy shc Transcribed by Sylvester H. Cain, Ph.D. for RCI 7854373787 NBs and comments within parentheses are those of the transcriber.

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