Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

advantages, for it hinders the process just enough to prevent the presentation of paper for gold on too frivolous pretexts.

That the greenbacks make possible the endless chain” which has drained our reserve is a plausible argument, but not a sound one, though it is advanced by eminent financial teachers. Professor Dunbar, in a recent article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, suggests that, if the borrowing of gold was caused by the endless chain of notes redeemed and re-issued, it was the business of Congress to apply an appropriate remedy by modifying the system of re-issue. Does not the learned professor see that he is prescribing for the symptom rather than the disea ë? The endless chain is not the malady, but one of the manifestations by which

it is known. The maiady is the unhappy condition of impaired confidence which sends our obligations home for payment. Cure that and the endless chain ceases. But the professor sins against logic in the same way when he says : A currency which is exposed to such dangers as these cannot be called safe in any proper sense of the word.” Quite true, but neither can a man be said to be in good health when he is shaking with agne, but it is the ague we doctor and not the shaking. Equally unsatisfactory is the suggestion that all our financial difficulties could be solved by a properly constructed banking bill. No one has undertaken to explain how any possible banking system, in which notes are issued redeemable in gold, could afford relief when gold obligations greater in amount than the gold at command are pressing for payment. When conditions exist which are incompatible with the safety of any kind of currency, a change in its form or character with the view of relief would not be more suitable than to change a patient's clothing to stop the shakes while you do nothing to cure the disease which produced them. Symptoms disappear with the disease which causes them. While the malady lasts it is better that symptoms appear, else the patient might die without knowing what killed him.

Under normal conditions of faith and confidence, easily maintained when our people are under the dominion of right reason, there will be no endless chain. For thirteen years we bad none.

But when conditions supervene which require it, it will be created in one place or another as long as paper currency is issued redeemable in gold. In such a case the endless

VOL. CLXV.-NO. 488. 2

chain is the means of saving the nation's honor, for without it we could not obtain the gold to pay our foreign balances, and to condemn it when conditions require it is like condemning the pustules on a man's face when he has the small-pox, though they are the means of expelling the poison which otherwise would be fatal.

If the banks have the control of redemption, the endless chain will draw their gold as effectually as it draws it from the Treasury. When banks redeem their paper, it is issued to the next man who obtains a discount, and may come back for more gold ; and so the chain continues until the banks raise the rate or stop discounting. Indeed, the desire to escape the export of gold to pay our debts by breaking the endless chain betrays an insensibility to the real nature of the situation. The better way to get rid of the endless chain is to inspire all who have fiscal relations with us with a confidence in the stability of our standard that will induce them to leave their money in American investments, and so forego the demand which sets the chain in motion.

But there is another difficulty of still greater gravity which seems not to have been much considered. The government has undertaken, and Congress has declared it to be its established policy, to maintain the parity of the two metals. When we have retired the greenbacks and parted with our gold reserve, what means are left the government to perform that undertaking and redeem that pledge ? Having surrendered the means of performance, we must logically renounce the duty and relinquish all control over redemption-which is the agency through which we maintain the parity of our money--and thus voluntarily abdicate our sovereignty over our own money.

When this is done and the banks have assumed the responsibility, which the government has surrendered, of maintaining the parity of the metals, what facilities do they possess for this undertaking ? To keep up the credit of their notes, issaing banks would have to elect, as the government now does, to redeem in gold. They might, under certain conditions, be required to redeem silver in gold. Who knows whether, with half of their reserves in silver, they would not redeem in white metal, either from choice or necessity, when paper was presented for gold to use in foreign payments; and, if so, the parity would be gone and we would be on a silver basis, for the holder of the paper

would have no recourse but to go into the market and purchase the gold, which would at once put gold at a premium.

With the volume of our money consisting of three nearly equal parts, of gold, and silver worth half its face, and paper worth nothing except as it acquires value by convertibility, it is a Herculean task, to which private institutions are wholly unequal, to maintain their parity. Only the power of the federal government, with the people's wealth and faith upholding it, is commensurate with such a task. Silver is now equivalent to gold in purchasing power. It is held to that equivalence by the power of a people's faith in the nation's pledges. We have witnessed how at times the strongest faith warered and the stoutest hearts faltered in their belief in the power of the government to keep the metals at a parity. Does any one believe in the existence of a popular faith in the potency of private banking corporations that would be adequate to the undertaking? Is it not as plain as the way to parish church that while we are using silver on a gold basis with the disparity in value now existing, we must keep the government in a position to protect it or we will be liable under the pressure of a gold exigency quite within the range of possible occurrence to fall to a silver basis.

Ours is a new country with unrivalled resources, which have been and will continne to be, to a greater or less extent, developed by foreign capital. We will be a debtor nation for a long time. Our industrial activity, enterprise, and high rate of interest invite capital from abroad. The securitiesówhich cross and recross the ocean are American securities. In normal conditions . of confidence there will be no difficulties. Any system of currency will do under favorable conditions, as any boat will sail on a smooth sea. But adverse conditions are liable to occur and our system of currency should be modelled with that in view.

The conclusion seems, therefore, irresistible that to deprive the federal government of the means of maintaining gold payments and preserving the parity of all our money, and to relegate those important and responsible functions to private banking institutions, would be full of peril to our gold standard, and a serious and constant menace to our financial interests.

MARRIOTT BROSIUS,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Not least among the exhibits of civilization which the Republic of Hawaii is able to make to the world is its educational system. In the year 1896 about thirteen in every hundred, or a little more than one-eighth of the entire population of the group, were enrolled in the public and private schools. Taking by themselves the native Hawaiians of full and mixed blood, something like one in every seven of them was on the school registers last year. For many years in the past it was rare to find a native Hawaiian who could not read and write his native language. There is a change now, but without retrogression. It consists of a rapid advance toward an equally universal command of English by the native people. As will be seen by figures quoted later, schooling in the Hawaiian language has been all but abandoned.

Early in the civilized government of the Hawaiian Islands a department of education was instituted. It was an outgrowth of schools which were established by the American missionaries. At the outset, the public schools were taught in the Hawaiian language. Schools taught partly or wholly in English were started as the foreign population increased. In course of time, the better classes of Hawaiians, particularly those of chiefly rank, manifested a desire for an English education. Then English schools were instituted upon the request of a certain number of residents. The Royal School, now belonging to the public system in Honolulu, was established at that time and it was so named because there the young chiefs and scions of royalty were to be educated. Kalakaua and Liliuokalani studied there. Eng. lish was taught as a classic in the large mission schools at an early period. It was recognized as the vernacular in 1876 at the impor

1

tant Lahaina-luna seminary, afterward becoming in that institution the dominant medium of instruction. Gradually English came to predominate until last year, when teaching in this language became compulsory in all schools, private as well as public. The law requires that every child from five to fifteen years of age, inclusive, shall attend either a public or private school taught in English. Special police called “truant officers” are appointed in every district to enforce the compulsory attendance clause.

The following is a table showing the attendance of pupils, by nationalities, at all schools in the Hawaiian Islands for the year 1896 :

[blocks in formation]

The teachers and pupils of both government and independent schools, with the number of schools of each class, will be found separately enumerated in the following table :

[blocks in formation]

Of the foregoing there are two government schools taught in Hawaiian by as many male teachers, having 22 male and 26 female pupils, a total of 48. By nationalities, the teachers in government schools are classified thus : 49 Hawaiian, 53 part

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »