Truth is ever incoherent, and when the big hearts strike together, the concussion is a little stunning.
He smote the rock of the national resources, and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth. He touched the dead corpse of the Public Credit, and it sprung upon its feet. The fabled birth of Minerva, from the brain of Jove, was hardly more sudden or more perfect than the financial system of the United States, as it burst forth from the conceptions of Alexander Hamilton.
Other misfortunes may be borne, or their effects overcome. If disastrous war should sweep our commerce from the ocean, another generation may renew it; if it exhaust our treasury, future industry may replenish it; It were but a trifle even if the walls of yonder Capitol were to crumble, if its lofty pillars should fall, and its gorgeous decorations be all covered by the dust of the valley. All these might be rebuilt. But who shall reconstruct the fabric of demolished government? Who shall rear again the well-proportioned columns of constitutional liberty? No, if these columns fall, they will be raised not again. they will be the remnants of a more glorious edifice than Greece or Rome ever saw, the edifice of constitutional American liberty.
Credit is the vital air of the system of modern commerce. It has done more, a thousand times, to enrich nations, than all the mines of all the world. It has excited labor, stimulated manufactures, pushed commerce over every sea, and brought every nation, every kingdom, and every small tribe, among the races of men, to be known to all the rest. It has raised armies, equipped navies, and, triumphing over the gross power of mere numbers, it has established national superiority on the foundation of intelligence, wealth, and well-directed industry. Credit is to money what money is to articles of merchandise. As hard money represents property, so credit represents hard money; and it is capable of supplying the place of money so completely, that there are writers of distinction, especially of the Scotch school, who insist that no hard money is necessary for the interests of commerce. I am not of that opinion. I do not think any government can maintain an exclusive paper system, without running to excess, and thereby causing depreciation.