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values. By this it was hoped, and rightly so, to impart a fixity of legal exchange to the currency of the two metals. Such a stability was then considered eminently desirable. With the extension of the knowledge of political economy, and greater ramifications of commerce, new and hitherto unknown needs had been created. These needs had to be provided for, and safeguarded against any probable dislocation of metallic values. Larger and more multifarious became the demand. on the monetary functions of the two metals. The floating of loans, which has since risen to the dignity of modern financial science, began to be contemplated and undertaken. Discoveries promising yields of untold wealth of mineral ore also threatened to throw seriously out of gear the harmonious and satisfactory working of currency laws having prescription and an unwritten charter, so to speak, for their guidance. It is therefore evident that a serious attempt had to be made to secure these, on which depended the delicate and complex fabric of domestic currency and international exchange. France boldly took the lead, and, as the result of her initiative, the various European nations unanimously decided that 15 of silver should be the exchangeable value of that metal for 1 of gold. This law received the necessary assent, and, though not considered immutable, was, nevertheless, loyally adhered to, and enjoyed an untroubled existence, snug under the sanction it derived from the force of international compact and reciprocal benefit. The virtual effect of this fiscal law of the year 1803 was that Great Britain became, by tacit agreement, a supporter of its provisions. In 1816 Lord Liverpool's Government, on the resumption of specie payments, elected the exclusive employment of gold for the discharge of this monetary function. Silver was therefore summarily repudiated, and a momentous social change effected, with the consequence that the interest of the creditor was directly favoured, to the detriment of the debtor class. This untoward contingency might have been foreseen, on consideration of the fact that the debtor class, having contracted their indebtedness while the country's currency standard was practically Bi-metallic, had imposed on them (by a stroke of the legislative pen) onerous obligations, in having to pay in a metal which this very legislation helped to make the rarer, costlier, and more likely to be appreciated of the two. The presumption of the contingent enhancement of gold has since been too well verified. It may here be incidentally remarked that, consequent on the discoveries of goldfields in California and Australia, a reversal of the present metallic conditions had depreciated gold ten per cent. Professor Jevons said in 1863 The country may be said to be looking calmly on while every contract, including that of the National Debt, is being violated against the intention of the contracting parties.'

The oppressive and injurious features of this reliance on a single hard-worked metal were not felt at the time, owing, probably, to

Great Britain being then a kind of 'close' territory, and they were relieved by the fact that the white metal could be obtained in France at a fixed ratio. With the disappearance of Protection and retaliatory tariffs the old state of things gave way to a one-sided, yet healthy system of commerce, benefiting those of our population who most needed the advantages of Free Trade. A low basis of prices is an undoubted boon to the community at large, but an abnormal and incessantly fluctuating basis is quite another thing. It does not even possess the proverbial virtue of an 'ill wind.'

To resume thanks to progressive improvements in the arts and sciences, and to the opening up of new markets-and in spite of monometallism-immense strides were made in our agricultural industries and manufacturing enterprises. Our commerce, aided by British pluck, endurance, and colonising aptitude, struck root all the world over. The nation, at the commencement of the decade of 1870, was on the verge of the unexampled prosperity which culminated in 1874. Bismarck, in the flush of the colossal indemnity from France, beheld with covetous eyes this marvellous exhibition of our national development. The Iron Chancellor, with characteristic impulsiveness, persuaded himself that he could start a fierce rivalry against us, so as to establish Germany's prowess by sea as well as by land. Beati possidentes' was not then in fashion. The order went forth that Great Britain was to be aped in every way. Colonies were to be founded, coaling stations and places of arms to be maintained and garrisoned, destructive ironclads were to be commenced, and finally, a gold standard was henceforward to be considered the only fitting one for such proud victors. The ideas' of national aggrandisement were to be as thorough in execution as they were high and mighty in conception.


Alas for the frailty of human calculations, and the infirmity of human will! The portion of these ideas that admitted of being carried out, failed to produce the brilliant results anticipated. Huge armaments and halycon times do not usually consort together, and the adoption of a costly policy, with the object of pacifying and conciliating Socialism, proved a dismal and unmitigated failure. Into the question of the Colonies and the extension of the Navy it is not our province to enter, but a bold move is certainly to be recorded in the effort to discard the white metal for the yellow. Silver, which had stood at 607d. per oz. with infinitesimal variations for fifty years or more until 1873, rapidly dwindled under the baneful influence of German sales to the unprecedented price of 464d. per oz. three years later. At rates between these prices Germany succeeded in disposing of one moiety of her silver thalers. The loss resulting from this transaction-always in furtherance of the same Imperial policy, be it remembered is computed, according to all reliable sources, at no less than 5,000,000l. Patriotism for the Fatherland is a good ticket

on which to go to the electorate, but when it was found that in the pursuit of even an insignificant part of this patriotic scheme such heavy lossess were being incurred, a suspension of these ruinous sales was summarily decreed. Left with 25,000,000l. worth of silver thalers, which pass current as legal tender at the nominal gold equivalent, Germany thus, by sheer force of circumstances and probably by the change of opinion of her Chancellor, once more became a full-blown Bi-metallic State. In the Reichstag an influential representative of the Conservative party expressed the belief of his friends, as well as that of the Clerical party (associated together to agitate for a real-in place of a hybrid-Bi-metallism) that the adoption of mono-metallism has been, and is, the ruin of Germany.' Of course, we are aware that the other side stoutly deny this assertion, but it is nevertheless an open secret that Prince Bismarck's belief tends in the same direction. A powerful league has been started there to agitate for a free coinage, and the establishment of a double standard.

Germany's sales of silver regardless of the sacrifice involved naturally awakened the fears of France and the rest of the Latin Union. They were imbued with natural alarm at the threatening prospect of being inundated with a disused and discredited metal. A general stampede was anticipated, and a universal sauve qui peut ensued. France and her associates resolved out of hand to bar their mints from any further coinage of silver. Gratuitous and unlimited coinage was relegated to the planets. In 1876 matters reached a crisis, the metal became a drug, and there were 'none so poor to do it reverence.' From that time silver has oscillated between 53d. and 461d. per oz. with incessant and disturbing fluctuations rendering its prospective exchangeable value in relation to gold-and in fact, to all commodities-a matter of as great uncertainty as the future prices of copper or pig-iron.

The history of metallic standards in the United States, America, briefly summarised, is this. Ever since the foundation and consolidation of the United States, down to 1873, gold and silver were freely coined, and as freely used, in their recognised ratio on the strength of the then existing European custom and monetary law-expressed or implied-that of 15 to 1 until 1834, and thence down to 1873 at the ratio of 16 to 1. Mr. Alex. Delmar-a United States officialgraphically described, at the Institute of Bankers, the accidental circumstance out of which arose the necessity for the passing of the Bland Bill. The official who was charged with the duty of codifying the various currency regulations surreptitiously omitted the word 'dollar' from the list of coins that the mint was authorised to produce. This strange suppression of the blessed word' was detected by Mr. Delmar two years after, and Mr. Bland's attention being drawn to it, the famous Bill bearing his name was formulated and passed by the United States Legislature, after a sharp wrangle between the partisans

of the two metals. His leading provision was the authorisation to coin yearly a maximum of 5,000,000l. worth of silver dollars.

Having shown the salient and positive contributory causes which led to the disturbance of the time-honoured metallic relations, it is instructive to note one fact of a negative nature with respect to the production of silver. Although a strongly debated point, a cursory glance at statistics would help to dispel the debatable view that is taken of it. People jump to the conclusion that it must have increased beyond all reckoning because there is a fall in its price. This is surely begging the question with a vengeance. To attribute an effect with a sublime indifference to the cause which it is alleged contributed to it may be a convenient mode of argument, but it labours under the disadvantage of running counter to common sense and the plainest logic. Irrefutable figures point to the fact that so far from silver having been overproduced, stocks have virtually remained stationary. From Mulhall's History of Prices we find that whereas the stock of gold, coined and uncoined, in 1870 was 1175 millions sterling, as against 2715 millions sterling of silver, in 1885 the figures are gold 1504 and silver 3054 millions sterling. This shows clearly that the depression of silver, ascribable as it may be to its growing disuse as a money unit, and to its substitution by electroplate for art and ornamental purposes, or to other causes, can assuredly not be owing to over-production. Mr. Mulhall points out, in further proof, that the quantity of silver is now only nineteen times that of gold, whereas in 1850 it was thirty-two times, and yet, strange to say, silver has fallen.'

Thus, on a survey of the whole of the foregoing, sufficient evidence has, we think, been adduced-in the limited space at our disposal to prove that in this abnormal condition, in a monetary sense, to which we find silver reduced, and the consequent powerful combination arrayed against it for the annihilation of its legaltender capacities, we trace Germany's wrong-headed action as the fons et origo mali. Hers is the unenviable distinction of having let loose the flood-gates of every disintegrating element under which mono-metallists cherish the belief that silver bids fair to succumb. Not only that, but the defensive attitude of the other States, has naturally aggravated the rush of the avalanche which any one of them was as powerless as reluctant, single-handed, to stem.

With a prognosis of the problem down to its latest development before us, we shall now endeavour to diagnose the acute symptoms which the diseased state of an important member of the currency system has produced on the trade of the world. The reader will be in a position to discriminate and appreciate the accurate nature of the effects resulting from the very general displacement of silver as an essential auxiliary to gold, since these effects refer to existing facts, and can be verified by a glance at statistics; while the

causes for the most part may be regarded in the light of controversial historical statements. In France we have a country with a bi-metallic standard-gold and silver circulating side by side, both being legal tender to unlimited amounts; and but for the policy pursued by its formidable rival it would have still had its free-mintage laws in active operation. Complaints, loud and deep, come from across the Channel of stagnation of trade and agricultural enterprise. How far these troubles can be assigned to the oppressive octroi duties and the other burdens of taxation, or to the fall in silver, may to some extent be a moot point-although the French bankers appear to incline unmistakably to the belief that the disturbed relations between the two metals have conduced in a great measure to the actual condition of things. It cannot, however, be denied that the unrestricted rivalry which India, aided and abetted by a phenomenally profitable exchange, is enabled to wage against French indigenous productions, exerts a most baneful influence on Gallic industrial activity.

These observations apply, mutatis mutandis, to the economic position of Germany and Italy. Little wonder, then, that they, in common with the other constituents of the Latin Union, should be eager for a termination of this unstable and mischievous factor in their exchanges. Austria and Russia are the one wholly, the other partially -silver mono-metallic countries, and appear to fare better than their neighbours in the prevailing cataclysm of low prices. This may be accounted for by the circumstance that the result of their products, as measured by their values in the gold-paying countries, bears a decidedly favourable comparison with that of countries not similarly situated. The inelastic character of their resources, however, and the absence of any indication of immediate improvement, lead us to hope that they will adhere, nolens volens, to their silver standard.



In America, the state of feeling disclosed during the agitation to suspend the operation of the Bland Bill, and the signal failure which has happily attended it, show the importance which the bulk of that enterprising nation attach to the necessity of upholding silver at all costs. Bankers, and other gold bugs,' desirous of turning an honest penny' by securing an artificial enhancement of their bonds and other gold-bearing obligations, have, for the present at least, to bow their diminished heads, and submit to the inevitable. The idea of the necessity of arresting the degradation of silver is growing in importance, not through any influence-insignificant at the best-of the silver-mining interest, but by the awakened intelligence of the masses themselves. In this connection, it may be noted that the Americans display greater acuteness and foresight than the British public. They recognise the close relation which silver, in its monetary capacity, bears to the prosperity of their staple products. They clearly perceive the expediency of the proper recognition of a metal on which depends the maintenance of their industries, and the neglect of which would sorely embar

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