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of standard silver pieces was entirely suspended throughout the Union, and the course of the debates showed that the Governments of Sweden and Norway are averse to the re-establishment of silver as a measure of value. The delegates of Belgium made no formal declaration on behalf of their Government, but the subsequent speeches of M. Pirmez leave no doubt as to the adherence of the Belgian Government to the principle of the single gold standard.
The countries, therefore, which unreservedly announced themselves as favourable to the universal establishment of a double standard of gold and silver were France, the l'nited States, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.
In concluding this summary of the position taken by the different delegates, it only remains for me to record the important declaration made by Baron de Thielmann on behalf of the German Government. The representatives of the German Empire were instructed to state to the conference that, while the Imperial Government looked upon the German monetary system introduced in 1871 as firmly established, it in no way underrated the importance of the fall in the price of silver which has since taken place, and that if it were thought possible to re-establish the position of silver by permitting the free coinage of that metal in a certain number of populous states exclusive of Germany, the latter would be prepared to adopt certain measures which would guarantee those states against an undue influx of silver from Germany. With this object, Baron de Thiel. mann announced, the Imperial Government would be prepared to suspend the sales of silver entirely during a certain fixed period, and to restrict them within moderate limits during a further definite period. If an international arrangement of this kind were adopted the Government might further undertake to withdraw from circulation all gold 5-mark pieces (27,750,000 marks) and all Imperial notes of the same value (40,000,000 marks), so as to give more ample scope for the use of silver in the monetary system of the Empire, and might also withdraw all the 5-mark and 2-mark pieces in silver (71,000,000 and 101,000,000 marks respectively), and recoin them at the ratio of 15$ to 1 of gold, which would be adopted by a bi-metallic union of states. The importance of these concessions will be evident.
The reading of these declarations was immediately followed by the general discussion proposed by the Commission, which was continued during the six subsequent sittings. On the 19th May, after the last of these sittings, the general discussion having been brought to a close, the conference adjourned till the 30th June. The motion to this effect, which was made by the delegate of Spain and carried unanimously, was as follows .
“ After having heard a general discussion, and having examined the monetary situation from an international point of view; having regard to the declarations which have been made in the name of a certain number of Governments, and considering that several delegates have expressed a wish that the sittings may be suspended for a time, in order that they may be able to take instructions from their Governments, and that the latter may be in a position to pronounce an opinion upon the propositions which have been made at the conference, and the steps which they could take to co-operate in the re-establishment of the position of silver, the conference decides to suspend its sittings from the 19th May to the 30th June next.
The conference met again, as arranged, on the 30th June, and on the 2nd July entered upon the discussion of the “Questionnaire," or scheme of debate, which as already mentioned, had been prepared by a com
mission of its members. This suheme proposed the five following questions
" 1. Have recent changes in the value of silver been injurious to the gene al prosperity, and is it desirable that the relative value of silver and gold should be free from fluctuations ?
“ 2. Have the above-mentioned changes in the price of silver been due to increase of production or to legislative measures ?
" 3. Is it probable that, if an important group of states were to permit the free and unlimited coinage of standard pieces of both metals, having full legal-tender power, and containing a proportion of gold or silver uniform with that contained in the monetary unit of cach metal, practical stability would be obtained in the relative value of the two metals ?
" 4. If the preceding question be answered in the affirmative, what steps should be taken to minimise the fluctuations in the relative value of the two metals ?
** 5. In adopting bi-metallism, what should be the proportion between the weight of pure gold and that of pure silver in the
monetary units ?' The discussion of these questions was continued during two sittings of the conference, but they were not made the subject of any vote, and it only remains for me, therefore, to note the declarations made during these and the two remaining sittings by the delegates of several Governments, and to record the terms of the motion for adjournment upon which the conference separated.
The only formal announcement made by the German delegates tas to the effect that they had nothing to add to the declarations to be found in the records of the first sittings of the Conference, to the purport of which I have already called special attention.
At the sitting of the 4th July, M. Pierson, delegate of the Netherlands, read a declaration to the effect that, while advocating the universal adoption of the double standard, bis Government would, nevertheless, be willing seriously to consider a project for the adoption of that system over an area comprising only a certain number of large states in Europe and America ; and at the following sitting the delegates of Italy put forward a statement of certain conditions under which the Government of that country would be disposed to enter into a treaty for the limited coinage of silver.
At the same sitting I was able to lay before the conference, in accordance with my instructions, the text of a reply from the Court of Directors of the Bank of England to a question addressed to them by Her Majesty's Government in consequence of diplomatic action in London. This question had reference to the power given to the Bank by the Bank Charter Act of 1844 (7 & 8 Vict., cap, 32, secs. 2 & 3) to issue notes against silver bullion, and the reply of the directors was to the following effect :
“The Bank Charter Act permits the issue of notes upon silver, but limits that issue to one-fourth of the gold held by the Bank in the Issue Department.
“The purchase of gold bullion is obligatory and unlimited; tho purchase of silver bullion is discretional and limited, the distinctio.? being enforced by the necessity of paying all notes in gold ca demand.
“The re-appearance of silver bullion as an asset in the Issue Department of the Bank of England would, as is understood by the Foreign Office letter, depend entirely on the return of the mints of other countries to such rules as would ensure the certainty of conversion of gold into silver, and silver into gold. The rules need not be identical with those formerly in force ; the ratio between silver and gold, and the charge for mintage, may both or either of them be varied, and yet leave unimpaired the facility of exchange which would be indispensable to the resumption of silver purchases by a bank of issue whose responsibilities are contracted in gold.
“Subject to these considerations, the Bank Court are satisfied that the issue of their notes against silver within the letter of the Act would not involve a risk of infringing that principle of it which imposes a positive obligation on the Bank to receive gold in exchange for notes, and to pay notes in gold on demand.
The Bank Court see no reason why an assurance should not be conveyed to the Monetary Conference at Paris, if their Lordships think it desirable, that the Bank of England, agreeably with the Act of 1844, will be always open to the purchase of silver under the conditions
above described." 'The proceedings at the thirteenth and last sitting of the conference, on the 8th July, may be briefly described. At its outset Mr. Evarts, first delegate of the United States, read the following declaration on the part of the French and American Delegates :
"The delegates of France and of the United States, in the name of their respective Governments, make the following declarations :
:"1. The depreciations and great fluctuations in the value of silver relatively to gold which of late years have shown themselves, and which continue to exist, have been and are injurious to commerce and to the general prosperity, and the establishment and maintenance of a fixed relation of value between silver and gold would produce most important benefits in the commerce of the world.
"2. A convention entered into by an important group of states by whicij they should agree to open their mints to free and unlimited coinage of both silver and gold at a fixed proportion of weight between 'the gold and silver contained in the monetary unit of each metal, and with full legal tender faculty to the money thus issued, would cause and maintain a stability in the relative value of the two metals suitable to the interests and the requirements of the commerce of the world.
“3. Any ratio, now or of late in use by any commercial nation, if adopted by such important group of states, could be maintained, but the adoption of the ratio of 154 to 1 would accomplish the principal object with less disturbance in the monetary systems to be affected by it than any other ratio.
“4. Without considering the effect which might be produced towards the desired object by a lesser combination of states, a convention which should include England, France, Germany, and the United States, with the concurrence of other states both in Europe and on the American continent which this combination would ensure, would be adequate to produce and maintain throughout the commercial world the relation between the two metals that such convention should adopt."
Immediately after the reading of this declaration the president announced that, since the last sitting, a considerable number of delegates had expressed to him the wish that the conference should suspend its labours and adjourn, and that, should the conference be disposed to entertain such a proposal, the delegates of France and the United States would submit a motion suspending the meetings of the conference for a period to be determined. This course having been agreed upon, the following resolution was drawn up, and submitted to the conference by the president :
" Considering that in the course of its two sessions, speeches, declarations, and observations have been made by the delegates from the undermentioned states, viz.: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the United States, France, Great Britain, British India, Canada, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland ; and considering that many of the declarations of delegates have been made in the name of their Governments, that those declarations all admit the expediency of agreeing to take certain concerted measures, while reserving entire liberty of action to the different Governments ; that there is reason to believe that an agreement could be arrived at between the states which have taken part in the conference, but that it would be desirable to suspend the meetings of the delegates ; that the monetary situation might, in the case of some states, render intervention on the part of their Governments desirable, and that, for the present, scope might be given for diplomatic action ; the conference acl journs till Wednesday, the 12th April, 1882."
This motion was supported in an able speech by M. Denormandie, Governor of the Bank of France, who brought under review all the declarations made by different delegates, which, in his opinion, indicated a general desire on the part of the nations of the world to arrive at some agreement on the monetary question. After setting forth the work done, and the results which appeared to him to have been already obtained, by the Conference, M. Denorizandie insisted upon the advantages to be gained by an adjournment, which would give the Governments interested an opportunity of exchanging views on a subject of such vital importance. The adjournment was, after some debate, unanimously voted, M. Forssell, delegate of Sweden, not wishing to press the views which he had at first expressed in favour of bringing the conference to an end.
The above statement of facts shows how far the assembling of the conference can be said to have as yet produced any practical result. Your Lordship will perceive that, while tlie discussions were conducted withi much ability, and gave rise to some practical suggestions, the representatives of Powers favourable to the adoption of bi-metallism did not apparently feel that they were in a position to embody their views in the shape of a formal proposal. It is right to add, on the other hand, that the position assumed by England, if not approved by delegates from countries favourable to the double standard, was generally understood and appreciated. It could hardly indeed have been otherwise. This country was able to come into the conference with the experience of a monetary system which has been in full vigour, and has undergone no change, for a period of sixty-five years. Almost all the other countries represented have during that period, on the contrary, made radical changes of standard, of coinage arrangements, and of general monetary policy. In some States a complete change of standard has been even more than once introduced It has been the policy of this country to emancipate commercial transaction. as far as possible from legal control, and to impose no unnecessary restrictions upon the interchange of commodities. To fix the relative value of gold and silver by law woull be to enter upon a course directly at rariance with this principle, and would be regarded as an arbitrary interference with a natural law, not justified by any pressing necessity. It may confidently be asserted, therefore, that England would not herself take the initiative in making changes which would have the effect of disturbing a monetary system under which she has enjoyed much prosperity, and which has generally commended itself to publie men of all parties. ller position is one of quiescence, from which she would not be likely to be mored by influences within the pale of her own political or commercial sphere. In these circumstances it would seem only reasonable that, before being called upon to abandon her present monetary policy, she shoukl be put in possession of the views deliberately adopted by a consensus of important states, and should be able to consider them in the light of her own experience and interests. To such a statement of views Her Majesty's Government have more than once expressed their willingness to give respectful attention, and, as regards details, they have already given practical proof of their readiness to consider measures which have been suggested as likely to have a beneficial effect upon the price of silver.
No formal proposal, however, of a change of monetary system generally acceptable to other nations has as yet been put forward for acceptance or rejection by this country. Her Majesty's Government have frankly intimated to the Conference the position which England must necessarily maintain in reference to this important question, and it is for them to consider whether it would be advisable that until such a proposal is made to them, they should take any further part in an international discussion of the subject.
I have, &c., The Earl Granville, K.G.,
C. 11, FRENANTLE.
REPORT ON THE MONETARY CONFERENCE BY THE DELEGATES
OF THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT.
This report has also been lately presented to Parliament, and it is interesting to note how widely it differs from its companion. Mr. Fremantle, the English delegate, sees our currency just what it should be, and recognises no need of change. He confines himself, therefore, to a simple history of the proceedings at which he was instructed to be presént, merely linting at its close that it is the part of the English Government to examine any propositions made to it. Sir Louis Mallet and Lord Reay, on the contrary, desirous of any change which will lessen the anxieties of the Indian Government, seize this opportunity of pressing their views, and of placing before the world the difficulties which it was the object of the Conference to lessen. Their able report of twenty pages is far too long to re-produce here, but some extracts may be of interest.
In regard to the supply of the precious metals they say, “A glance at the history of the last ten years will show how completely