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customed to reside, a man cannot remove till he possesses spare capital to support him while he is travelling, and to discharge the expense of carriage, especially if he possess a wife and children. The more a man is oppressed by low wages, the greater will be his desire for removal, but, in the same degree, will be increased the impediments in procuring the means of removal ; to say nothing of the uncertainty of finding a better market when all are alike under the same oppressive disadvantages. And labor is further unable to protect itself, by reason that, unlike raw material, which can be aggregated for transportation abroad, every
laborer can affect the labor market by only his individual volition, oppressed by a necessity for present sustenance which forbids any prolonged contumacy; and so conscious is the law that labor must continue thus dependent if we would compete with foreign industry, that any attempt of laborers to coerce a concert of action among themselves with a view to control wages, is deemed a conspiracy punishable with fine and imprisonment; a law which is founded on the same public policy as the usury laws, and were one law to be repealed, both ought to be. The antagonism of labor and capital extends, in a modified degree, to the superintendents and clerks of factories, the captains of ships, and the book-keepers of merchants. Lawyers, divines, and physicians are paid for their skill chiefly, and hence are not within the category of persons who can obtain their compensation from only what remains after satisfying the requirements of capital.
AS THE RATE AUGMENTS OF INTEREST, THE MOTIVE OF
CAPITALISTS DIMINISHES FOR PERSONAL INDUSTRY.
I will advert to only one more general effect of the rate of interest. The higher we make the rate, the lower will
become the compensation for employing it, and consequently the less will become the inducement for active enterprises, no man being willing to employ his money personally in trade or commerce, if he can obtain, by the Joan thereof, all that can be earned in its employment. Such a maximum can, of course, never be realized ; but, in the extreme, we can understand the approximations thereto. So, again, if interest were wholly interdicted, every possessor of money would be compelled to actively employ it, or live on his capital, and thus gradually dissipate it. When the Jews of old forbade the taking of interest, the motive may have been to compel all men to labor; and no measure could better produce such an end. In England, however, an opposite policy permits capitalists to receive as much interest for money as can be obtained, encourag. ing thus the inactivity of capitalists, labor being there superabundant. In our country, a medium between these extremes seems best suited to our condition. We should not make interest so low as to discourage the old, the infirm, and unenterprising from loaning their money to the healthy, the vigorous, and the enterprising; nor should we make interest so high as to invite active money-holders into inactivity, and to so diminish the earnings of mere labor as to check immigration and exclude laborers from domestic enjoyments and the other common comforts of civilization. Our State is prosperous, and all classes of its citizens; thus evincing that our existing laws in relation to the interest of money are adapted to our condition; we may, therefore, well be cautious how we try any change in so pervading an element of prosperity as the legal limitation of interest.
THE PRESENT AND PROSPECTIVE VALUE OF GOLD.*
RISE IN THE PRICE OF SILVER.
Our laws make 10 dwt. 18 gr. of standard gold, coined into an eagle, equivalent to ten silver dollars; but the dollars will purchase in New-York about 3 per cent. more gold than is contained in an eagle—the silver being in demand for exportation. In England, the appreciation in the value of silver is still more apparent, by reason of her greater intercourse with the continental countries, whose currency is wholly silver. An English sovereign contains 5 dwt. 37 gr. of standard gold; and it has heretofore, in the intercourse between England and Amsterdam, been deemed an equivalent to 11 florins of silver, and 93 centimes; but now a sovereign cannot be exchanged in Amsterdam for more than 11 florins and 17 centimes. The rate of exchange between England and Amsterdam is, therefore, in England below what has heretofore been deemed par; and a like fall in London attends the exchange between England and every Continental country which employs silver as its legal currency. This fall is - particularly portentous of a rise in the price of silver, by reason that these countries are commercially in debt to England; and, therefore, the rate of exchange ought to be in favor of England.
In France the effect of the rise is still more apparent. Hitherto gold has not sought a re-coinage in France-the 8 dwt. 7
gr., compose a double Napoleon, being more valuable as bullion by 1į per cent. than the forty silver francs which the Napoleon represents ; but the premium is fallen to about a quarter of one per cent., while an expectation exists that the forty francs in silver will soon com
* Published February 1, 1851.
mand a premium over the Napoleon; and that the silver coins (of which nearly the whole currency is composed) can be retained in circulation by only discontinuing gold as a legal tender; or, at least, by arresting the further coinage of gold. Indeed, commissioners are now deliberating at Paris on this course ; hence, Frenchmen who possess money in England, and English merchants who are debtors to France, and both Frenchmen and Englishmen who desire to speculate out of the apprehended further rise of silver, are hurrying gold from England to France to obtain its conversion into French gold pieces, before the coinage shall be discontinued, and 8 dwt. 7 gr. of standard gold, in the form of a double Napoleon, cease from being equivalent to 40 silver francs. To repress the flow of gold, the Bank of England has advanced the minimum rate of its discounts to 3 per cent. (it was previously 24), while the French mint, to resist the influx of gold, refuses to receive it for coinage after nine o'clock in the morning; and so great is the pressure for admission, that a person has no hope of ingress, unless he take his stand at the gate of the mint as early as six o'clock.
HAS SILVER RISEN OR GOLD FALLEN?
The foregoing phenomena in the Continental exchanges of England, and the exportation of silver from that country and ours, are not conclusive proofs that silver is more val. uable than formerly; for they may be produced by a fall in the value of gold—a supposition believed by many persons, and countenanced by the great gold discoveries in the territories of Russia and in our California. The question is important to us, by reason that a rise in the value of silver will affect us less disadvantageously than a fall in the value of gold. But the question is as difficult of solution as it is
important. The change in the legal tender of Holland, from gold and silver to silver only, is adduced by some persons as a reason for a rise in silver, by occasioning therefor a temporary demand to supply an increased Dutch coinage; while other persons deem the change of currency an evidence that the sagacious Dutchmen are conscious that gold is depreciating, and that they mean to cut loose therefrom, before other countries shall become aware that gold, the ship of nations, is sinking. Indeed, English economists furnish us with as many, and as cogent, proofs on one side of the question as the other; showing thereby nothing reliable, except that they are groping in the dark for truth as much as we; though the subject is more discussed in England, and on the European continent, than it is with us; produced, probably, by their superiority over us in number of persons who possess leisure for speculative disquisition. Indeed, such a contingency as the present seems to be a sort of God-send to their literati—a sort of intellectual California, to which they rush with the same ardor as our more material people rush to the “ diggings.” Leaving, then, in their abler hands the topics on which they have descanted, and leaving, for the development of time, facts which time alone can accurately ascertain, we will glean from the already well-reaped field of speculation, a few ears that seem to have escaped the view of other laborers.
HOW AN APPRECIATION OF SILVER WOULD AFFECT US.
Our legal tender being silver or gold, at the option of the debtor, an appreciation in the value of silver will be no more injurious to the man who owns gold than an appreciation in the value of leather. To the consumer of silver or leather, the rise of either may be injurious in proportion to his use thereof, but in no greater degree in one article than in