the coinage clauses of the Constitution, including the prohibition on the States. Webster also found it in the power to regulate commerce. Chase, C. J., in 12 Wall. 574, 575, puts the power to emit bills on the borrowing clause, and the power to regulate commerce; and as to the power to exclude from circulation all but government notes, he says that it “might perhaps be deduced from the power to regulate the value of coin”; and that “this was the doctrine of the Veazie Bank v. Fenno, although not fully elaborated in that case.”
Now, in furnishing the currency, what may the government do with it? Why may it not, as a question of legal power, make it do the full and usual office of money; that is, make the tender of it the legal equivalent of a tender of metallic money? If, as we see reason to believe, this was not prohibited, and not inconsistent with any provisions of the Constitution; and if, at the same time, it was a power which had been frequently exercised by those legislative bodies with which the framers of the instrument were most familiar, and was generally deemed by them to go along with that power of furnishing a paper currency, which they did confer upon Congress; if, like the power of conferring upon coin the legal-tender quality, it be a power which naturally, and according to the usage of nations, is included in that complete
- “The exclusive power of regulating the metallic currency of the country would seem necessarily to imply, or, more properly, to include, as part of itself, a power to decide how far that currency should be exclusive, how far any substitute should interfere with it, and what that substitute should be,”— Works, Ⅲ. 395. “Let me ask whether Congress, if it had not the power of coining money, and of regulating the value of foreign coins, could create a bank, with the power to circulate bills. For one, I think it would be difficult to make that out.” Ib. 413. See Legal Tender Cases, 12 Wall., at p. 545, per Strong, J. Also “Observations on Mr. George Bancroft’s Plea for the Constitution,” by Richard C. McMurtrie (Philadelphia, 1886), pp. 16-24.
- “It is clear that the power to regulate commerce between the States carries with it, not impliedly, but necessarily and directly, a full power of regulating the essential element of commerce, namely, the currency of the country, the money, which constitutes the life and soul of commerce. We live in an age when paper money is an essential element in all trade between the States; its use is inseparably connected with all commercial transactions. . . . . I understand there are gentlemen who are opposed to all paper money, who would have no circulating medium whatever but gold and silver. . . . . I would ask this plain question. Whether any one imagines that all the duty of government in respect to currency, is comprised in merely taking care that the gold and silver coin be not debased? . . . . If government is bound to regulate commerce and trade, and, consequently, to exercise oversight and care over that which is the essential element of all transactions of commerce, then government has done nothing, etc.” Works, Ⅳ. 315, 316.