« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
“Sec. 3. It shall be the duty of the president or vicepresident (either of whom shall be competent) and cashier to attach their respective names to all bills or notes issued by said bank to circulate as currency, and that the stockholders shall be each and individually liable for the full and final redemption of such issue, payable at the banking house in gold or silver, and that this charter shall have an existence and be in full force, if faithfully complied with, for the term of twenty-five years from the date of its passage and becoming a law of the Territory.”
“Sec. 4. The stock of said bank shall be assignable and transferable, according to such rules and under such restrictions as the board of directors may prescribe, who shall have power at all times to make such rules and regulations as may appear for the well-being of said bank, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States and the organic law of this Territory.”
“Sec. 5. The directors of the bank shall make, or cause to be made, through their cashier, under oath or affirmation, an annual report to the Auditor of the Territory or State (as the case may be), a full exhibit of the condition of said bank, which report shall be published in three newspapers of this Territory by said auditor."
“Sec. 6. This act shall be in force from and after its passage.”
'Approved January 18, 1856."
Very soon after this manufactory of credit money began to pour its product into trade channels, the superior money had, under the operation of the Gresham law, surrendered the field of exchange to the inferior. And from the date of the letter which Sir Thomas Gresham wrote to Queen Elizabeth in 1558, explaining that good and bad moneys could not remain concurrent in the same country, no more perfect verification of the Gresham law had ever arisen than that furnished by that Territory in the years of 1856, 1857, and 1858. The unyielding vigor of Principle and Truth was as pronounced in Nebraska then as it had been in the Kingdom of Great Britain 300
Thus after a brief period of pseudo-prosperity, in which all values were feverishly enhanced, there came, in June, 1857, the first warnings of the disastrous panic of that year. In New York the banking and brokerage house of John Thompson, who published a bank-note reporter and counterfeit detector, failed. In Ohio the great Life and Trust Company went under, and all over Nebraska, and throughout the whole Republic, the baseless, nonconvertible paper issues of "stump-tail” currency-as it was termed in the parlance of the time-became utterly valueless as tools of exchange.
To-day we stand perhaps upon the very verge of another era of fiatism. And if the free coinage of silver at 16 to i can be secured, we shall behold again, in the United States, and on a broader field, the unavoidable and disastrous effect of that law which inevitably prevents the circulation of an inferior and a superior currency, in the same markets, at the same time.
Having, under free coinage, made more silver dollars than the country can float, at a parity with gold, the latter metal will go to a premium. All that we sell to foreigners will be paid for in silver. All that we buy of them will be settled for in gold, and we will pay the premium. Bimetallism, as taught by the free-coinage-of-silver advocates, who maintain that the United States alone can float unlimited amounts of that metal, coined at a ratio of 16 to 1, on a parity with gold, logically leads to monometallism in the North American republic, and that one metal must inevitably be silver.
In the Nineteenth Century Henry Dunning McLeod says:
“Bimetallism is only part of a system which prevailed in every country for centuries. Statesmen thought that they could regulate the value of commodities by law, and the statute books contained many such laws. But experience showed that such laws were absolutely inoperative, and, after having been abandoned in practice, were, at length, expunged from the statute book. The attempt to restore bimetallism is simply the endeavor to revive this exploded economic fallacy.”
“If it were possible to establish a fixed ratio between gold and silver by international agreement, it would be equally possible to fix the value of all commodities. Innumerable catastrophes are caused by the unexpected change in the value of commodities; why not then fix the value of all commodities, and so remove the cause of multitudes of mercantile calamities?"
“Agriculturists are suffering the extremest depression from the fall in the value of their products. Why then not fix the value of wheat at a remunerative price by international agreement? If it were printed in all the statute books of the world that the price of wheat should be one dollar a bushel, does any person of common sense suppose that the price of wheat would rise one cent ?"
And if raising wheat could be made remunerative everywhere, would not everybody seek that line of production?
But the bimetallists state their case paradoxically when they proclaim for the free coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1. That very phraseology is a confession that there is and can be but one unit of value. The fact that they compare their silver to gold, as the unit of value, as the test of exchangeability, contradicts their contention for the equal utility and facility of the two metals in mediating exchanges. It is a full confession of the bimetallists that the two metals are unequal. It is an avowal by law -mere statutory enactment--they propose to make equal, in value, by certain relations, those things which mankind do not equally desire and demand. They affirm that they will create value. They avow that they can stimulate the desire and enhance the demand of the world for silver by a simple “ Be it Enacted"-a formulation of fallacies into statutes. It is a plain concession that silver is a commod
ity which must be measured by a universally accepted measure; and, furthermore, that gold is that measure. Therefore, by implication, the professed bimetallist, in stating his case, admits that he is a gold monometallist.
But it is amazing to find ardent free traders among the zealous advocates of the free coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1, because the present tariff provides almost wholly for ad-valorem duties. Such duties, according to the law, must be paid upon the valuation of the commodity imported, computed in the currency of the United States.'
With free coinage, which, we are cheerfully and vehemently assured, will bring about a double price for all the farmers have to sell, there will also then come a double valuation upon all ad-valorem imports which farmers may wish to buy. Then a thousand pounds' worth of English manufacture, bought in London on a gold basis, being imported to the United States, while we are on a silver basis, valued in our market and our money, as the law compels, will cost twice as much denominationally, in silver, as it would in gold. That is, gold then being worth twice as much as silver, instead of paying, on each English pound, as to-day, on a valuation of $4.86, the consumer will be taxed for each English pound's worth of goods, reduced to United States currency, on a valuation of $9.72. Then, as silver declines and cheaper money becomes more and more plentiful, our Free Trade friends who have joined the crusade in behalf of free coinage will sorrowfully observe that they have, by their misinformed
1 Sec. 25. That the value of foreign coin as expressed in the money of account of the United States shall be that of the pure metal of such coin of standard value; and the value of the standard coins in circulation of the various nations of the world shall be estimated quarterly by the Director of the Mint, and be proclaimed by the Secretary of the Treasury immediately after the passage of this act, and thereaftor quarterly on the first day of January, April, July, and October, in each year. And the values so proclaimed shall be followed in estimating the value of all foreign merchandise exported to the United States during the quarter for which the value is proclaimed, and the date of the consular certification of any invoice shall, for the purposes of this section, be considered the date of esportation: Provided, That the Secretary of the Treasnry may order the eliquidation of any entry at a different value, whenever satisfactory evidence shall be produced to him showing that the value in United States currency of the foreign money specified in the invoice was, at the date of the certification, at least ten per centum more or less than the value proclaimed during the quarter in which the consular certification occurred. (Statutes U.S., Fifty-third Congress, Sess. II., Ch. 319, Sec. 25.
statesmanship, erected a mountain barrier to international trade, compared to which McKinleyism was a mere molehill. Free coinage, as advocated by its most enthusiastic and eloquent supporters—those who paroxysmally appeal for the poor people, as against plutocrats—will very soon, if it be attained, double and possibly treble the duties on all the imports which poor people purchase.
These same self-constituted attorneys for the poor, out of their tumultuous and cheerful vocabulary, also plead strenuously in the interests of those whom they felicitously, without definition or identification, call the debtor classes.” Money, they say, has appreciated since some debts were contracted, and, therefore, it is a great hardship upon some debtors to pay as they borrowed. But suppose the money had not been loaned by its owners? Suppose all the owners of money had securely hoarded it, instead of loaning it out, when asked, in each case, would not money, thus becoming scarcer, have appreciated still more by the hoarding? Is the bimetallist, then, in favor of a law providing a penalty for appreciating the purchasing power by hoarding money, and not loaning it? Why should there be no law to prevent enhancement of purchasing power brought about by hoarding, if there must be a statute to mitigate that enhancement which may occur by loaning money?
Frequently, in the early settlements of the West, farmers supplied the new-comers, arriving in the autumn, enough grain, payable in kind, quality, and quantity, to carry them through the next season, and to a matured harvest of their own cereals.
To illustrate. A loaned B 500 bushels of corn worth 25 cents a bushel, January 1, 1894, to be repaid with 550 bushels of corn on January 1, 1895. But, because of the drouth and scarcity of corn in the fall of 1894, it has doubled in price and sells on the first day of this year for 50 cents a bushel. Now by a similar process of reasoning, the bimetallist should call for a statute enabling