網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

moins se trouvoit d'or que par avant 1'institution de la monnoie ne se trouvoit, et lors conviendroit qu'il fut plus chier en comparaison de 1'argent, et qu'il fut mué en pris et valeur." ORESME (about I 366). “ Opere precium autem erit quod he due monete unius sint grani, valoris et estimationis et vigili cura prematum reipublice juxta ordinationem nunc instituendam perpetuo perseverent." CoPERNICUS (in 1526),

“ Superius dictum est aurum et argentum esse basim in qua residet bonitas monete. Et que de moneta argenti exposita sunt, possunt etiam pro majori parte ad auream referri. Reliquum est ut ex transverso auri et argenti commutandi rationem exponamus. Primum igitur investigare oportet que sit ratio appreciationis meri auri ad argentum merum sivi purum : ut de genere in specie et a simplicibus ad composita descendamus.

COPERNICUS (in I 526).

The following letter appeared in the ΛVew York 7rzbume, Nov. 2 I, 1894.

Secretary Carlisle's Opinion. 171

“To the Editor of The Trzöume :

SIR : In a late letter addressed to Mr. Shreve, of Virginia, and published to-day, the Secretary of the Treasury says:

“My opinion is that whenever the coinage value of a metal, whether it be gold or silver, is greater than the intrinsic or commercial value of the bullion contained in it, the coinage of that metal, if it is coined at all, should be on Government account only. This is the only way in which the coinage of the depreciated metal can be restrained within safe limits, so as to maintain equality in the purchasing power of the two kinds of coins.”

Coinage on Government account was a favorite method of defrauding and oppressing the peoples of Europe for many centuries. That the Government should make a considerable profit on coinage is the worst of all monetary fallacies. Its iniquity was exposed by Cassiodorus in the sixth century, by Oresme in the fourteenth century, and by Copernicus in the sixteenth century, and later by Locke, Newton, Turgot, Adam Smith, Say, and many other great philosophical writers on money and coinage. These great authorities saw clearly that coin is only a convenient merchandise, the weight and fineness of which is guaranteed by authority. Oresme, the founder of the modern science of money, asks how a prince can punish forgers if he cheats by making a profit on coinage. Coinage of silver dollars on Government account would to-day pay a profit of IOO per cent. Some of the French kings made it pay a profit of several hundred per cent. Such profits, however, always come out of the people, and cannot be tolerated in any free country. In my book on joint-metallism, I have shown that gold and silver coins should always bear substantially the same ratio to each other as their bullion values, and that this ratio can be maintained conveniently by having a standard silver coin the same weight as a standard gold coin, and simply changing when necessary the Gov't Bonds and Legal 7ender Money. 173

number of these silver coins to be the just and legal equivalent of the gold coin, and that thus silver can be used equally with gold by making both together the metallic basis of a sound, honest, selfregulating and permanent currency, redeemable always half in gold coins and half in silver coins, and always at the relative market values of the precious metals. It is stated in the newspapers generally that they have received intimations from Washington that the Treasury Department will discriminate against those who try to make payment in Government demand notes for the new bonds. The history of the science of money shows that it is as impossible for a government to be benefited by discriminating against its own legal tender money as it is for prosperity to be produced by increasing the public debt in time of peace.

ANSON PHELPs STOKES.

NEw York, Nov. 20, 1894.”

This, so far as I know, is the first time the name of Oresme appeared in any American newspaper or in any American work. It does not even appear in the Century Cyclopedia of Names, just issued. My own copy of his treatise is the only one I ever found here, except the one in the Astor Library, although I have often asked for the work, and have been impressed with the feeling that “the battle of the standards” would finally be waged around Oresme's writings. On the evening of the same day on which my letter had been printed in that morning's Tribune, November 21st, 1894, the Evening Post said editorially : “It is good to read Prof. Hadley's protest in the Yale Review against making an occult science of political economy. He most justly says of some recent tendencies in economic literature that they may be part of a science intended to warm the hearts of antiquarians, dialecticians, or sentimentalists, but are only so much weariness of the flesh for statesmen and business men. They take some psychologic speculation and beat it up

« 上一頁繼續 »