Manuscript/Mixed Material Image 2 of Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, October 15, 1814, with Table

About this Item

and so on. Observe, that although you emit twenty millions of dollars a year, you call in ten millions, and, consequently, add but ten millions annually to the circulation. It would be in thirty years, then, primâ facie, that you would reach the present circulation of three hundred millions, or the ultimate term to which we might adventure. But observe, also, that in that time we shall have become thirty millions of people to whom three hundred millions of dollars would be no more than one hundred millions to us now; which sum would probably not have raised prices more than fifty per cent. on what may be deemed the standard, or metallic prices. This increased population and consumption, while it would be increasing the proceeds of the redemption tax, and lessening the balance annually thrown into circulation, would also absorb, without saturation, more of the surplus medium, and enable us to push the same process to a much higher term, to one which we might safely call indefinite, because extending so far beyond the limits, either in time or expense, of any supposable war. All we should have to do would be, when the war should be ended, to leave the gradual extinction of these notes to the operation of the taxes pledged for their redemption; not to suffer a dollar of paper to be emitted either by public or private authority, but let the metallic medium flow back into the channels of circulation, and occupy them until another war should oblige us to recur, for its support, to the same resource, and the same process, on the circulating medium.

The citizens of a country like ours will never have unemployed capital. Too many enterprises are open, offering high profits, to permit them to lend their capitals on a regular and moderate interest. They are too enterprising and sanguine themselves not to believe they can do better with it. I never did believe you could have gone beyond a first or a second loan, not from a want of confidence in the public faith, which is perfectly sound, but from a want of disposable funds in individuals. The circulating fund is the only one we can ever command with certainty. It is sufficient for all our wants; and the impossibility of even defending the country without its aid as a borrowing fund, renders it indispensable that the nation should take and keep it in their own hands, as their exclusive resource.

I have trespassed on your time so far, for explanation only. I will do it no further than by adding the assurances of my affectionate and respectful attachment.

             Years.             Emissions.             Taxes & Redemptions.             Bal. in circulation at end of year.             1815             20 millions             2 millions             18 millions.             1816             20 “             4 “             34 “             1817             20 “             6 “             48 “             1818             20 “             8 “             60 “             1819             20 “             10 “             70 “             1820             20 “             10 “             80 “             1821             20 “             10 “             90 “             140           

Suppose the war to terminate here, to wit, at the end of seven years, the reduction will proceed as follows:

             Years.             Taxes & Redemptions.             Bal. in cir. at end of year.             1822             10 millions             80 millions             1823             10 “             70 “             1824             10 “             60 “             1825             10 “             50 “             1826             10 “             40 “             1827             10 “             30 “             1828             10 “             20 “             1829             10 “             10 “             1830             10 “             0 “             140           

This is a tabular statement of the amount of emissions, taxes, redemptions, and balances left in circulation every year, on the plan above sketched.

About this Item

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, October 15, 1814, with Table
Created / Published
Subject Headings
-  Correspondence
-  with Table
Call Number/Physical Location
series: Series 1: General Correspondence. 1651-1827
Microfilm Reel: 047
Source Collection
The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Digital Id
Online Format
online text

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is providing access to The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress for noncommercial, educational and research purposes. While the Library is not aware of any copyrights or other rights associated with this Collection, the written permission of any copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for reproduction, distribution, or other use of any protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with the persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.

The following items are included in this Collection with permission:

The essay "American Sphinx: The Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson" by Joseph J. Ellis was originally published in the November-December 1994 issue of Civilization: The Magazine of the Library of Congress and may not be reprinted in any other form or by any other source.

The essay "The Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London: A Conservator's Perspective" by Sylvia R. Albro and Holly H. Krueger was originally published in a slightly different form in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of the Institute of Paper Conservation, 6-9 April 1997 and may not be reprinted in any other form or by any other source.

Rembrandt Peale's 1800 Thomas Jefferson portrait on the Thomas Jefferson Time Line is from the White House Collection, courtesy of the White House Historical Association.

The image of Thomas Jefferson on the home page is from a photomechanical print held in the Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division, Presidential File, and is a reproduction of the popular 1805 Rembrandt Peale portrait in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, with Table. -10-15, 1814. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

(1814) Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, with Table. -10-15. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, with Table. -10-15, 1814. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.