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tant when it would project itself on the country in a form independent of existing political parties.
One of the arguments most depended on by the free silver coinage men is to the effect that the discrimination of existing laws against silver creates the disparity between it and gold, and that the removal of such discrimination would make the bullion value of silver and the price of it with the Government stamp upon it the same. They say that whenever the mints are open to the free coinage of silver, and whenever the owner of such silver can have it exchanged at the rate of one hundred cents for three hundred and seventy-one and one fourth grains, silver will be worth as much without as with the Government stamp.
.Their opponents say, this argument quite loses sight of the fact that the moment three hundred and seventyone and one-fourth grains of silver which are worth in the markets of the world, say seventy cents, become worth one hundred cents by sheer virtue of the stamp upon it, all the world will pour its surplus silver into our mints and completely swamp our metal currency. Gold would flee and there would be no means of sustaining silver money at par. They also say that as our country is at present situated, with barely gold enough to sustain our present silver circulation, the moment free silver coinage was adopted it would be accepted by the Treasury and by the banks as notice to suspend gold payments. Unless such suspension were resorted to, it would be no time before the gold reserve would be exhausted and disaster ensue.
The arguments in favor of free silver coinage gain great plausibility and become far reaching when they are turned to the account of the debtor classes. As seen from the reasoning just above given, they could take advantage of the thirty per cent, difference between the market and mint value of the silver dollar and thus pay their debts at less than they had contracted to pay. The opponents of free silver coinage question the state of morals that sanctions this kind of repudiation, and add that it would be infinitely better for the Government to extend this difference as a charity to debtors, rather than run the risk of a dishonored currency and of the panics, disturbances and immense losses which would surely follow.
Again, the free silver coinage men say they are certain that their doctrine in practice will make the silver dollar the equal of the gold dollar. Their opponents say that if this be so, the silver dollar will be as hard to get as the gold dollar, and therefore, the debtor classes will be no better off than before, But, they also say, granting every advantage claimed by the free silver coinage men for the debtor classes, how about the creditor classes? They are by far the most numerous class. Every laborer is a creditor when his day's work is done, every pensioner, every saving institution, etc. If the cheaper dollar scales the mortgage on the debtor's farm, and makes it easier to pay, a thing the mortgagee might stand, would not the cheaper dollar equally scale the 'debt due at night to the miner, artisan, day laborer and servant?
No, says the free coinage man, for the dollar would still be a dollar. But, answers his opponent, it being a dollar whose intrinsic value" is worth only sixty or seventy cents, and being plenty, prices must rise, and the daily earning can only be exchanged for what was formerly much less in value.
It is somewhat lamentable that so momentous a question As that of silver and gold, or in other words, our currency of redemption, should in late years have become clouded with theories and visions. After all, there are but a few infallible laws underlying the whole question of metallic currency, and these have been stated in this article. All j else is "the stuff that dreams are made of," glittering but ephemeral, plausible but perishable. They may serve to whet a fancy for an hour, but never to nerve a judgment for a lifetime.
There are many who seriously deprecate the rapid drift of this question of metallic currency into partyism. As it seems impossible for it to escape this fate, judging from the tenor of latest sentiment, it were perhaps best for it to pass through the inevitable ordeal—that alembic of a popular campaign of square issues, which shall serve to separate the dross of theory from the pure ingot of fact. But in so passing, it should be a supreme study and superhuman effort on the part of all to keep it free from those animosities and acerbities that belittle its importance and shroud it with dangers. To make it a question of party, and to settle it on a basis of political sentiment, if such must needs be, it is surely not necessary to array the poor against the rich, the debtor against creditor, section against section; nor is it necessary to supplement argument and calm reasoning with threats to fire on another Sumter and force another secession and rebellion.
Above all it should not be forgotten that other countries have done with their silver just what it is proposed to do with ours, and that they—notably the intelligent, manufacturing and commercial countries of the Latin Union—had to give up iu despair their effort to sustain silver coin at par with gold, in quantities beyond the ordinary needs of trade. With a steady reserve of gold in our treasury, a fair, which means a large, quantity of silver can always be floated, but to give silver the preponderance by admitting it to free and unlimited coinage at a ratio not warranted by its intrinsic value, is to place gold at its mercy, if the experience of other nations, and all former experience of our own, is worth anything.
We are a young nation, independent of others politically, but unfortunately not yet so far on as to be independent of the world in a commercial sense. We are a debtor nation, and have a national credit at stake. If the nations that have dealt with us, and with whom we expect to deal on an honorable basis, were co-movers with us in a readjustment of metallic ratios and in the establishment of free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver, the question would rush quickly toward final and satisfactory settlement. It was with this view that the recent international monetary conference was instituted. It did not achieve its aim at a single session, but it set all the attending nations to serious thinking, and in its moral effects the conference won a greater success than was expected. It remains to be considered by friends and foes of free silver coinage whether the international method of settling the metallic currency question finally is not the quickest and surest, and therefore the one to be pursued to the end by a nation possessing our instincts of honor, and so intimately related to all the commercial nations of the globe.
Question—On June 22, 1896, silver bullion sold in New York for 69 cents per ounce of 480 grains; what was the price of a grain of such silver?
Solution—Divide 69 cents by 480 grains, and the result will be .01437+cents, as the price of a grain of such
Question—In a silver dollar there are 3714- grains of silver; what is the cost of the silver dollar if each of said 8714, grains is worth .01437 cents?
Solution—Multiply 371£ grains by. 01437 cents, and the result will be 53^ cents as the cost of the silver in a silver dollar.
Question—If a man gets one dollar, or 100 cents, for the silver which cost him only 53J cents; how much would he get for that ounce of silver bullion which sold on June 22, 1896, for 69 cents? I
Solution—As 53J cents is to 100 cents, so 69 cents to the answer, which is $1,294 per ounce for his silver bullion.
Question—When we speak of bullion value of silver or gold, what do we mean?
Answer—We mean the value of the pure metal, as found in the commercial bar, ingot or bullion.
Question—What is meant by standard value of silver or gold?
Answer—Standard value is that of the coined metal. That is, it is the bullion or pure metal value decreased by the amount of alloy—say about one-tenth—introduced for purposes of coinage.
Question—What does the ratio of 16 to 1 mean?
Answer—It means that if 371J grains of silver, as above, enter into a silver dollar, it shall correspond to the 23.22 grains of gold in a gold dollar; or, that since 23.22 grains of gold make a gold dollar, therefore 371^ grains of silver shall make a silver dollar. These two components, in grains, stand to each other as 16 to 1, uearly.