網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

A. Wells, Edward Atkinson, General Walker, President Andrews, and five eminent financiers and business men, to be selected by these six, with power to call for papers and to summon witnesses, and authority to prepare and recommend a plan for such treatment of silver as would best promote the interests of our country.

The political positions of members of Congress generally preclude their usefulness upon such a commission.

Questions as to votes to be gained or lost in a member's or in an office-seeker's district must be excluded.

The science of money is one of the most profound, abstruse, and subtle that has ever engaged the human mind. Only those who have been trained by special study, and are accustomed to keep their understandings open, and to patiently investigate, and to seek truth as the greatest good, are fitted to settle the question of the best treatment of gold and silver as regards money.

I am confident that such a commission, A Commission Necessary.

as I have suggested, would establish the real facts of the case to the general satisfaction. Like the Royal Commission, which has accomplished more than had ever before been done to elucidate the gold and silver problem, they might present two reports on some points ; but I think they would agree in recommending a plan, and, naturally, I think this plan would be joint-metallism.

To compare large things with small ; for a long time it was impossible to arrange for international yacht races, because of different standards of measurements.

The English claimed that length and breadth made the proper standard. We generally claimed that displacement was the proper standard, and some insisted that sail area was the proper standard.

I moved in the New York Yacht Club, February 1, 1883, for a committee to consider the whole subject, and served on this committee. We had many sessions and many difficulties and disagreements. But after thoroughly threshing out the matter,

we agreed to recommend a joint standard of measurement consisting of half the length added to half the square root of the sail area, with some minor modifications; and I presided at the meeting of the club when this report was adopted, May 28, 1883.

The joint system of measurement is now generally approved, although when it was first talked of many thought it absurdly complicated.

It must be admitted that joint-metallism is more complicated than either monomet allism or bimetallism. The natural course of development is from the simpler to the more complex. “ Clocks are more complicated than hour-glasses.” Civilization is more complicated than barbarism. Just legislation is more complicated than

ore

“The good old rule, the simple plan,

That he should take who has the power,
And he should keep who can."

Mr. Wells and Mr. Atkinson above all others have adequately studied and set forth the effects of the increased produc

Walter Bagehot. 145 tiveness of labor ; but it seems to me they have not sufficiently considered and expounded the effects of the increased "preciousness imparted to gold” by monometallistic legislation.

Walter Bagehot, if living to-day, would be, I think, a joint-metallist. He wrote in February, 1877, shortly before he died :

“ As yet no one can prove that the permanent value of silver, whether in its relation to gold or to commodities at large, will change so much as to render any alteration necessary.”

Since 1877 silver has declined from $1.20 per ounce (the average for that year) to .63 per ounce, November, 1894, and the index number of gold prices of general commodities has declined, according to Sauerbeck's tables (45 leading commodities average per year), from 94 to 65 (to February 28, 1894); or, according to the London Economist's tables (22 leading articles January 1, 1877, to January 1, 1894), from 88 to 67.

Joint-metallism is strictly a merit sys

1OON

tem, based upon equal opportunities for competition, and upon the limitation of the arbitrary power of the Executive. At present the Secretary of the Treasury has the power to put the country, any day, upon a silver basis. Under that part of the act of 1890 which is still in force, he is authorized to pay out “ gold or silver coin at his discretion.”

Civil-Service Reform, Tariff Reform, and many other reforms are bound up with this question of monetary reform.

Gold monometallism increases the attractiveness of official salaries, and thus promotes office-seeking and political corruption.

Countries on a gold basis cannot trade freely with countries on a silver basis, unless the relative values of the two metals are controlled and ascertainable by having, in some great country, a mint open to both gold and silver at some calculable and 'nearly just ratio.

Mr. Samuel Smith, M.P., has ably shown how gold monometallism is protection to “ those who enjoy without working at the

ONI

« 上一頁繼續 »