Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5

Document 4

Wharton v. Morris

1 Dall. 125 Pa. 1785

The bond is made payable in current money of Pennsylvania; but, I would ask, what is the current money of Pennsylvania? For my part, I know of none, that can properly be so called, for current and lawful are synonymous. In Great Britain, the king, by his proclamation, may render any species of coin a lawful currency. But here, it can only be done by an act of assembly; and except in the temporary laws for supporting the former emissions of paper-money, there is no pretence that the legislature has ever interfered upon this subject. The expressions in the 2d section of the act of the 27th January 1777 (P.L. p. 6), cannot be construed to make the Spanish milled dollars a legal tender, as they are only mentioned by words of reference; but that which was declared to be a lawful tender, and consequently became the legal currency of the land, was the money emitted under the authority of congress.

To that species of money, therefore, the bond must be taken to relate; and the jury will either reduce the penalty to gold or silver, according to the scale of depreciation; or, if they think it more equitable, they will find a verdict for the value of the tobacco, and give the plaintiffs legal interest from the day of the sale.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 3, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5, Document 4
The University of Chicago Press

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