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“Bimetallic money is formed by admitting gold and silver to free coinage and making each an unlimited legal tender at a certain relation in value to the other.”
Monometallic money is formed by admitting one precious metal alone to free coinage” and making it the only unlimited legal tender.
Joint metallic money is formed by coining silver coins of the same weight as gold coins, admitting gold and silver both to free coinage when presented together, in quantities of equal value, according to a
*See preface to Second Edition.
*Under “free coinage” a small mintage charge (seigniorage) is made. This amounts on gold to about one sixth of one per cent. in England, more than one fifth of one per cent. in the Latin Union, and one half per cent. (maximum) in Germany. It amounted to two thirds of one per cent. on silver dollars in the United States prior to 1873.
Government ratio declared periodically, as being that integral number of standard silver coins which, in the market value of the silver they contain, most nearly equals a standard gold coin of like weight ; and making a gold coin, plus such number of these standard silver coins as shall be equal thereto, according to the current Government ratio, legal tender as twice the amount of the gold coin, for all debts contracted after a fixed future date." In the United States the Treasury would receive these silver coins and gold coins, when presented together in quantities of equal value, according to the current Government ratio, and issue therefor Joint Legal-Tender Currency Certificates, payable half in gold and half in such quantity of these silver coins as may be equal thereto, according to the Government ratio current at the time of presentation. Joint-metallism would continue the decimal system here, and permit a continued use of our present silver coins. These are now token money. When *See page 5.
Seigniorage. I 23
the ratio becomes settled it may be best to recoin the 50-cent, 25-cent, and IOcent pieces, so that they may contain nearly full intrinsic value. No more silver dollars ought to be coined. After a time all our silver dollars could be converted into silver standard coins, and multiples thereof. A silver coin as heavy as $5,000 in gold would be more suitable than silver dollars for deposit in the Treasury. Under joint-metallism the minting charge might provide a fund to meet any possible Government loss from decline in silver. In the United States, most of the new silver and gold coins would be deposited in the Treasury, for the people in this country prefer to use sound convertible paper money, instead of coin, for all sums of one dollar and over. Among us, gold coin is seldom seen in common use, and five sixths of our silver dollars remain in the Treasury, while the circulation of the remaining one sixth is confined mostly to colored laborers in a few States.
Joint-metallism conforms to the principle of our Constitution that gold and silver shall be our legal tender." It promotes the use of silver equally with gold as the metallic basis of currency, making that basis adequate without impairing the obligation of contracts. It conveniently adjusts changes in market ratio by altering the number of silver standard coins to equal a gold standard coin of the same weight. These alterations can be made more or less frequent and exact according to whether a larger or smaller gold coin be taken as the gold standard coin.” It permits nations establishing it to continue to use their own present gold coins and subsidiary silver coins, while it tends to the ultimate establishment of international gold and silver coins, and * “I am certainly of opinion that gold and silver, at rates fixed by Congress, constitute the legal standard of values in
this country, and that neither Congress nor any State has
authority to establish any other standard or to displace this standard.”
DANIEL WEBSTER. * Such a proportion as 3 gold standard coins to equal IOo silver standard coins might also be admissible.