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dence does not exist; and no man will part with property, without having its actual value delivered to him in return. But when once society is established on a solid foundation, if the buyer give to the seller, representative value for any commodity the latter parts with; for instance, if paper money be received in payment of the taxes imposed by the government, or any debt due to an individual, or if it will purchase any article wanted, it is to the seller, fully as useful, and in many respects more convenient, (more especially in regard to large sums), than if the payment had been made in the precious metals. The circulation of paper not convertible into coin, is perhaps the most important of all political discoveries. If coin be used, it must be purchased from foreign countries, unless by those who have mines of the precious metals at their command. If fifty millions of gold and silver must be employed in circulation, the country is, to that amount, impoverished, without any real necessity. The metals must be bought, but they cannot be sold or exported, without cramping the circulation, and doing infinite mischief, consequently they cannot be accounted available wealth.
7. A circulation ofcoin, except for smaller payments, is not necessary for internal commerce.
This is evidently proved by the experience of the Chinese, the most numerous and most commercial nation in the universe. The precious metals are by them considered merely as merchandise; and when foreign coins are imported into China, they are immediately converted into ingots of silver, and what are called shoes of gold. Small payments are made in a kind of money consisting of six parts copper, and four parts lead, which is not coined, but cast, with a square hole in the middle, by means of which it is carried about like beads on a string or wire. In this country, it is ascertained by our own experience, that a moderate quantity of silver and copper answers every necessary purpose.
8. A circulation in coin, is not necessary for foreign
The solidity of this maxim is proved by recent experience. The rate of exchange depends upon the balance of payments among the commercial nations; and those who deal in exchange, find no difficulty in adjusting that rate, whatever may be the nature of the circulation in any particular country.
9. A circulation in coin, so far as it may be judged necessary, ought not to occasion any expense to government.
The only use of metallic currency is, to act as a medium of barter, and when the transaction takes place, it is of no consequence whether the coin delivered, is exactly of the estimated weight, provided it will pass current from one individual to another at its nominal value. Hence, the silver tokens issued by the bank, answer the purposes of circulation as well as if they had been of standard value, and any issues in gold, ought to be on the same principle, namely, as tokens and not as coin. Any attempt to keep up the value of coin, at its full purity, and standard of weight, is productive of infinite trouble and expense, the coin being immediately melted down, when, from the price of the metal, it furnishes even a moderate profit. As a proof how much a circulation in coin impoverishes a nation, it may be stated as an undoubted fact, that the expenses we have been at for coinage, since the revolution in 1(>90, if accumulated at compound interest at 5 per cent., would have paid Five Hundred Millions Of 3 Per Cents., at the average price of 70/. in money, per 100/. of stock. What proof can be more decisive of the absurdity of a contrary system?'
10. Silver coin is a better basis, or unit for computation, than
The standard, or basis of computation, ought always to be in the metal that is the most abundant, being the least liable to change. Gold being the scarcest, and containing the greatest value in the smaller bulk, is apt to be hoarded in times of alarm, and hence its value increases so much, as to render it unfit to be a permanent standard. Silver is preferable; for though it varies, it does not, as will afterwards be proved, vary to the same extent.
11. Tokens or coins in circulation, ought to be in decimal propor
tions to each other.
This maxim is adopted in France with great advantage. The franc, a nominal value, equal to about tenpence English, is assumed as the basis or unit of all their computations, and all values are reckoned upwards, by tens, hundreds, and thousands of francs,
'During the reign of King William alone, our coinage expenses exceeded Thret Millions sterling, which, accumulated at compound interest at 4 per cent, would have yielded, in the course of a century, 250 millions in money, and at 5 per cent, almost 400 millions in money.
and downwards, by tenth parts, and hundredth parts of francs. In this country the shilling, if coined worth ten copper pence, might answer the same purpose, and the system would be improved, if our gold coin contained the value of twenty shillings in silver, instead of twenty-one. It would be, however, a still wiser plan, to have our circulation solely in paper, and if convertible at all, not into coin, but into ingots or masses of gold.
12. It is incumbent on the government of a country, in times of difficulty, tosupport the commercial and agricultural interests, by public loans.
There is no circumstance, in the course of an active and eventful life, which, on recollection, furnishes me with more real satisfaction, than having been the happy instrument, of prevailing on government, to issue loans for the benefit of the commercial interest; and if the same measure had recently been taken, for the support of our agricultural, as well as commercial interests, many of the distresses we now experience, would have been prevented. The plan has already been tried thrice; and has never failed to produce the most beneficial consequences. It appears, indeed, from the reports of the several commissioners under whose direction the business was conducted, that it was attended, instead of loss, with a pecuniary profit to government; and that the effects of such issues, in restoring credit and confidence, were immediate and most extensive, whilst no possible disadvantage has ever been attributed to, or could possibly arise from them. Indeed, after having given loans and subsidies to so many foreign nations, why not subsidise ourselves?
It is necessary to add, that in the distressed state to which we are reduced, no substantial relief can be derived from palliatives merely: some great measures, such as the one above alluded to, some coups d'etat,1 adequate to subdue the evils which have arisen, and to prevent their increasing, ought speedily to be adopted, otherwise the most serious mischiefs are to be apprehended.
Such are the general principles of circulation and coin, according to modern improvements. To the solidity of these principles, the intelligent practical statesman cannot refuse his assent, since they are sanctioned by the experience of this great country, during
1 Among these coups d'itat, might be included, the plan of borrowing money by the public, and lending it again on good security, and at a moderate rate of interest, for carrying on public works, as roads, canals, harbors, &c. The poor, who might otherwise be tempted to acts of violence, might thus be furnished with the means of subsistence.
the most critical period, that perhaps any nation ever brought to a successful conclusion.
The following statement proves the great superiority of silver over gold, (being subject to the least variation) as a permanent standard of value.
1. Lowest prices of silver and gold since 1792-3.
1793. 28th June. Dollars, - - 4s. Wd. per oz. - 5s. 10£rf. per oz. standard. Bar Gold, - - 3/. 17s. 6d. per oz. - - -standard.
2. Highest prices for the same period.
1813. 6th August. Portugal Gold, - Ills, per oz. - - - to standard.
Dollars, - 7s. Old. per oz. - - 7s. 3d. per oz. standard. Bar Silver, 7s. Id. per oz. - standard. 21stOct. Doubloons, Ills, per oz. - . 116s. 6d. per oz. standard.
Advance on dollars, from the lowest to the highest price, 44.8 per cent.; if calculated on standard silver, about 1 per cent. more.
Advance on standard gold, calculating on the price of doubloons at 11 Is. per oz., 50.64 per cent.
Hence the difference in favor of silver over gold, as an invariable standard, is 6.56 per cent.; a fact which ought to put that question for ever at rest.
Qrmly Lodge, Ham Common,? 10th July, 1816. 3 A
THEORY AND PRACTICE
BEING A PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT OF THE SECOND EDITION OF THE COMPLAINTS OF THE POOR PEOPLE OF ENGLAND, BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
BY GEORGE DYER, A. B.
"But 'tis not that Compassion should bestow
TO BENEVOLENCE.—BOWLES'S POEMS.