The shinplaster evil — no specie to be had.
Some months ago, when the banks suspended specie payment, the community was suddenly flooded with bills representing money, issued by parties responsible and irresponsible, generally upon very poor paper, and the people were forced to receive them for want of a better small currency in the ordinary transactions of business.
Had the practice been restricted to the issue of notes by persons or institutions competent to redeem their promises, it would have been borne with patience, notwithstanding its illegality, but myriads of little rags were thrust upon them, based upon no substantial foundation, and the lice and frogs of Egypt
were scarcely more offensive than the nuisance thus created in our midst.
After a long period of delay, the Grand Juries
took the matter up, and the hopes of the people began to revive.
A long string of indictments, in two different counts were held up to the public gaze, and some of us were verdant enough to suppose that the shinplaster evil would thenceforward be restricted to reasonable bounds.
Time has roiled on, but up to this day no further steps have been taken, and the circulation of ragged and worthless paper has increased rather than diminished.--In one Court it was suddenly discovered that the indictments were null, in consequence of the disqualification of a Grand Juror, and the whole work had to be gone over with again.
It is to be hoped that the Legislature will authorize the banks to issue fractional parts of dollar notes, and legalize the issues of the corporation of Richmond
By this means, and by the prompt enforcement of the law against illegal banking, we may find a relief from present evils, and at the same time have a safe and convenient currency.
There is but little encouragement to hope for any circulation of specie when even the banks pay our postage stamps for change if a cheque happens to call for dollars and cents.
Truly these are remarkable times.