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metals), it is still necessary, in popular discussion, to reiterate some oft repeated historical statements and well established monetary principles.
“ The fall of the Roman Empire ... was in reality brought about by the decline in the gold and silver mines of Spain and Greece.... And as if Providence had intended to reveal in the clearest manner the influence of this agent in human affairs, the resurrection of mankind from ruin which these causes had produced was owing to the directly opposite set of agencies being put in motion. Columbus led the way in the career of renovation ; when he spread his sails across the Atlantic, he bore mankind and its fortunes in his bark. The mines of Mexico and Peru were opened to European enterprise."—ALISON's History.
“The value of money, other things being the same, varies inversely as its quantity.”—JOHN STUART Mill.
“Money has to serve not merely as a medium of exchange, but also as a fair and permanent record of obligations ex
Hon. A. J. Balfour. 131 tending over long periods of time. In this great and fundamental requirement our existing currency totally and lamentably fails.”—A. J. BALFOUR.
“ Credit cannot permanently supplant money.”
All honest and permanent money must have an adequate metallic basis, as is shown by history.
Freight on gold and silver coin and on bullion is by value, not by weight.
Index number tables show how commodities have generally declined since the decline in silver.
Since the discovery of America the world's total production of gold and silver has been in weight about 5 per cent. gold and 95 per cent. silver.
Gold is somewhat more durable than silver.
A single year's production of gold or silver has little effect on the market values of the world's stocks, which are the accumulation of thousands of years.
The coinage ratio of 154 to 1 having been fixed by France, April 6, 1803, for
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3 A CER Icrasy year i excestinzios 2.4 16:2, when the vaca::was.ess than 4 per ceat, aud 1513, whea it was less than 5 per cent'), ashough the relatire production of the two metals varied esormously, being some years, in value, toree times as much silver as gold, and some years on y about one fourth as much si ser as zoid.
France long stood alone, but some other countries afterwards adopted her ratio in their mints, and in 1865 Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland joined her in forming the “ Latin Union,” which was joined by Greece in 1867, and continued free coinage at the ratio of 15} to i until 1873.?
i Napoleon's wars, and the cost and risk of transportation, and the suspension of specie payments in England account for maat of this variation.
* The Final Report of the Royal Commission on Gold and Silver, 1888, shows that all the twelve commissioners, the monometallists as well as the bimetallists, agreed in the following statement: “ Sec. 193. Nor does it appear to use priori unreasonable to suppose that the existence in the ' Latin Union' of a bimetallic system, with a ratio of 151 to I fixed
Some Powerful Interests. 133 By this time improvements in metallurgy, etc., had so greatly reduced the cost of producing silver that the “Latin Union” coinage ratio of 157 to i could not be maintained. There was very great difference of opinion as to the proper ratio, and some powerful interests hoped to benefit by the appreciation of gold which would result from demonetizing silver.
As the proper ratio could not be determined except by open competition between the metals in the market, and with a mint open to both metals, on the basis of their relative market values, and as no plan for this had been provided, the mints were closed to silver, and general disaster has resulted.
Joint-metallism would obviate such disastrous results, and would always act as an automatic regulator and as a safety valve.
between the two metals, should have been capable of keeping the market price of silver steady at approximately that ratio.
The view that it could only affect the market price to the extent to which there was a demand for it for currency purposes in the ‘Latin Union,' or to which it was actually taken to the mints of those countries, is, we think, fallacious. ..."
Under joint-metallism, when once established, no variation in the market value of gold and silver could ever make a recoinage necessary. Changes in the relative market values of the precious metals would only diminish or increase the number of standard silver coins that, together with one standard gold coin of same weight, should be legal tender as twice the amount of the gold coin, for debts contracted after a fixed future date.
Bimetallism, as commonly advocated, has the serious defects that a certain ratio is arbitrarily fixed without proper provision for keeping the ratio at all times just, and that it would be unjust to creditors or to debtors, and more plainly so as regards debts incurred before, but payable after, the law should go into effect.
This unscientific bimetallism with a fixed empirical ratio might be a constant menace to the whole community. For while the sanction of a legal ratio is able to overcome small changes in the relative costs of producing the two metals, it is