Overflight, 156

“Just three months prior to the opening of the convention, [George] Washington voiced his reasons for rejecting the notion of fiat money. In answer to the complaint that there was not enough gold coin (specie) to satisfy the needs of commerce, he replied: «The necessity arising from a want of specie is represented as greater than it really is. I contend that it is by the substance, not the shadow of a thing, we are to be benefited. The wisdom of man, in my humble opinion, cannot at this time devise a plan by which the credit of paper money would be long supported; consequently, depreciation keeps pace with the quantity of the emission, and articles for which it is exchanged rise in a greater ratio than the sinking value of the money. Wherein, then, is the farmer, the planter, the artisan benefited? An evil equally great is the door it immediately opens for speculation, by which the least designing and perhaps most valuable part of the community are preyed upon by the more knowing and crafty speculators.»
This was the prevailing view held by the great majority of delegates to the Convention. They were adamant in their resolve to create a constitution which would prevent any state, and especially the federal government itself, from ever again issuing fiat money. And they said so in unmistakable terms.
Oliver Ellsworth from Connecticut, who later was to become our third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said: «This is a favorable moment to shut and bar the door against paper money. The mischief of the various experiments which have been made are now fresh in the public mind and have excited the disgust of all the respectable parts of America.»
George Mason from Virginia told the delegates he had a «mortal hatred to paper money.» Previously he had written to George Washington: «They may pass a law to issue paper money, but twenty laws will not make the people receive it. Paper money is founded upon fraud and knavery.»