Governor Glen (South Carolina)
to the Board of Trade (1749)


Governor Glen wrote to the Board of Trade, December 23, 1749, transmitting information on the Paper currency of the South Carolina requested for a Parliamentary enquiry. In his cover letter, Glen argued that South Carolina needed paper money. The portion of his letter dealing with paper money is reproduced below. Source: Records in the British Public Records Office relating to South Carolina, XXIII, pp. 426-9.
I have also inclosed a State of the Paper Currency in this Province prepared by the Council and Assembly, by which your Lordships will see that our Paper money of all denominations amounts to no more than thirteen thousand and six pounds seven shillings and ten pence Sterling, including both what is legal Tender, and all other kinds, a sum so small that it is surprising that any person acquainted with the circumstances of this Country would have complained of more especially when it is Considered how punctually we have for many years kept the Public faith by sinking it at the proper periods fixed by Law: We are [p. 427] a new and improving Province, and are yearly adding to our wealth, but it is impossible and it were improper that our Increase or Profit, our Surplus or Ballance from abroad should be immediately turned and converted into Cash and Bullion, since it may be more profitably returned in other things that bear a better price. I make no doubt but that our exported Produce is sufficient to pay for all our Importations from Great Britain, and to leave an Annual Ballance due to us of several thousand Pounds Sterling, but instead of purchasing Gold and Silver with this Ballance, the Planters immediately lay it out in more slaves, these slaves raise more Rice and Indigo to pay for more Cloaths and to purchase more Slaves, and this is certainly a more profitable way of employing the Ballance, for when the Interest of money was at ten per Cent it was near Eight years before they could double their Capital or principal sum, whereas a Planter expects that Slaves will pay for themselves in four or five years, and whatever is most profitable for the Planter, will in the end prove so for the British Merchant, and it is to be wished that they were of that Opinion, but some of them seem to think that nothing is to be regarded [p. 428] but Gold or Silver. They may at length repent the pains they have taken to teach the Planters to love these tempting metals, for should they ever prefer Gold or Silver to British Manufactures the Cloaths and Household furniture that they are at present fond of and be forced to make such things as they have not money to purchase Britain will reap far less benefit from her Provinces. A Considerable quantity of Cordage has hitherto been Annually imported into this Province from England, but a Rope walk has been lately Established here and there can be no doubt of Success. The amount of sugars sent us Annually from Britain is hardly to be credited, but we have a Sugar house lately finished and the Sugars are equal to the London Sugars and are much cheaper, the Merchants here clearly see the consequences of these things, and I think it were easier to Silence the Merchants at home, who make a noise about paper Money, by arguments unanswerable, but I consider that I write to your Lordships whose superior knowledge makes any observations from me unnecessary, for tho' it may be pernicious to permit small Colonies such as Rhode Island to issue immense Sums without Limitation [p. 429] and without settled Funds to call it back into the Treasury again, yet that is not the case of Carolina and therefore I shall only add that a larger sum in Paper Money upon a good Fund and to be sunk at different Periods, seems to me to be Absolutely necessary, without which it will be difficult for the people to pay the Taxes for the support of his Majestys Government, to pay the King's Quit Rents to carry on their Commerce, or even to drive their little domestic Trade, all intercourse between Man and Man must for some time be at a stand and they must deny themselves the most common and ordinary necessaries of life, not for want of means but for want of a Medium. The Planter must give the Merchant a Slave for a Suit of Cloaths, which the Merchant must sell again to the Spaniards for silver to send home.

See the reply of the Board of Trade

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