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In some parts of Ireland a small piece of pork used to be suspended by a string from the roof of the hut and the poor prasants sitting around in a circle on the earth floor would eat their potatoes and point at the pork, so that a whole family were supposed to derive satisfaction from a piece of pork sufficient for one individual.
The fact that the business of the world is done now so largely by checks and credits is an element of danger making it more necessary that there should be no
Mr. Gladstone's Frank Statement. 69 uncertainty as to the adequacy of the final basis of the currency.
The above are only some of the many dangers of the present situation showing the necessity for a thorough study and complete understanding of the question of the final basis of currency, and for prompt and efficient efforts to place our currency on a sound, adequate, permanent, and self-regulating basis.
It is neither necessary nor wise for us to wait for England to act. Her great banks, bankers, promoters, and holders of mortgages have a special interest in desiring a single gold standard as frankly owned by Gladstone. But the mercantile, manufacturing, and agricultural classes and masses there are beginning to understand the position, and are daily increasing their active work against monometallism.
There is one circumstance which would make my plan for Joint-Metallism' more easily understood in England.
The commutation of tithes in England is based upon the average market values
of wheat, oats, and barley jointly. may be called Joint-Cerealism.
The Evening Post is right in urging “intelligent men” “to engage heart and soul in the great work of public instruction as to the nature and functions of money.”
One of the most important of such teachings is that all sound currency must have a sufficient basis of precious metals so as to be always convertible into coin.
The people of the United States prefer to use sound convertible paper money instead of coin.
Probably not 5 per cent., perhaps not i per cent., of the present population, outside of the great cities, have ever seen a gold-piece.
The total amount of silver dollars November 1, 1893, was :
In circulation.......... 58,725,818 1
Total coinage..... 419,332,550 Pieces of 1000 “ Standards” would be more suitable than silver dollars to be
* July 1, 1896, 52,175,998. ? July 1, 1896, 371,303,176.
deposited in the Treasury for silver certificates, and, when deposited together with gold, would comply with the requirements of the Constitution of the United States.1
In discussions regarding monometallism and bimetallism, the terms Standard and Medium are sometimes confused.
A Standard may be purely ideal or intangible. But to be of practical use it must be expressed by, in, or through a Medium.
A certain portion of the arc of a great circle is an ideal or an intangible standard of length. When this is expressed by or in a metal measure, as a yard or a meter, the metal is the medium, and is longer when warm and shorter when cold. If the metal be of zinc, it will be too frail ; if copper, too soft. Brass, which is a mixture of these two metals, is more suitable.
Labor is an ideal standard of value. When it is stored up or expressed in gold, gold is the medium. As gold cannot be increased in proportion to com
1 See pages 24 and 80.
modities generally, it is not a just medium by which to express the standard of value.
Silver has increased more than most other commodities, and it is, therefore, not a just medium for this purpose. The excessive increase has been caused largely by the legal ratio between silver and gold having been permanently fixed, and below the relative costs of production.
But gold and silver together, half of cach, at values always based on market prices, make the best medium for expressing the standard of value, the most suitable medium for measuring and storing up energy.
The history of civilization shows that they have been used about equally as the money of the world.
Burke perhaps furnishes an illustration of a compound standard when he says :
“A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a Statesman.”
Believing that facts and plain statements are more needed than rhetoric, I have thrown together in the Appendix a