of national credit, to carry on the war. But in a great country with unlimited resources, like the United States
, resort to forced loans would seem to be entirely unnecessary.
However this may be, and whatever may be the necessity in any case, a forced loan, without interest
, is simple robbery to the extent of unpaid interest, even if the principal is paid.
And a robber cannot expect to have much credit left after his character becomes known to the world.
The issue of legal-tender notes during the Civil War
was of this character.
The country received a deadly blow to its financial credit when that policy was adopted.
Nations or peoples cannot, any more than individuals, violate the established rules of honest dealing without suffering the just penalty.
If money is needed beyond current revenues, there is no other honest way to get it but by borrowing it at such rate of interest and upon such security as can be agreed upon.
Besides, to leave any room for doubt or cavil about the conditions of a loan, or about the standard of money in which principal and interest are to be paid, necessarily arouses suspicion of bad faith, and hence destroys or seriously injures national credit.
It is now perfectly well known to all who have taken the pains to study the subject that this false and practically dishonest policy, however innocently it may have been conceived, cost the United States
many hundreds of millions of dollars, and cane very near bringing disaster upon the Union
One of the most astounding spectacles ever presented in the history of the world was that presented by this country.
It went into the war practically free from debt, and came out of it with a debt which seemed very large, to be sure, and was in fact nearly twice as large as it ought to have been, yet so small in comparison with the country's resources that it could be paid off in a few years.
It went into the war practically without an army, and came out of the war