« PreviousContinue »
warrant the title of the golden era of the world. The product of $93,000,000 per annum in 1850 shows the first effects of the discovery of gold in California in 1848. While the supplies from these new mines were increasing a gold-hunting fever prevailed all over the world, resulting in the discoveries in Australia in 1852. In 1853 the product of gold from the Australian mines alone was $60,000,000, or double the product of the whole world six years before, and nearly five times the annual product of the world for many years prior to 1830. "The annual product of gold," says Blake, "continued to increase until 1853, when it reached its maximum of $193,500,000. From that to the present time (1867) it has been decreasing." The amount of gold produced in the first twenty years of this era was probably as great as the whole product of the preceding century.
A table made by Mr. Newmarch,† in response to an
countries in the world, exclusive of China and Japan, for those years, with the following results (omitting 00,000 in each amount):
North and South America.
Totals, in millions of dollars
1849 to 1851, three years. 1852 to 1856, five years.. 1857 to 1859, three years. 1860 to 1863, four years.
*See Blake's Report, page 211.
+ The table prepared by Mr. Newmarch presented the following results: Total average annual product of gold and silver in the fifteen years from 1849 to 1863, inclusive:
Total. $357,000,000 967,500,000 347,500.000 670 500.000 $2,342,500,000
In the same table Mr. Newmarch estimated the product of silver for the same fifteen years at £251,000,000, or an average of $83,500,000 per annum.
inquiry of a French government commission, estimates the product of gold, in the fifteen years from 1849 to 1863, inclusive, at an aggregate of $2,342,500,000, or an average of $156,000,000 per annum.
The net result of Blake's inquiries on this point (which occupy a large part of his report) is that the total product of gold in the twenty years from 1848 to 1868, was $2,757,600,000, or an average of $137,880,000 per annum. The difference of $22,000,000 per annum in the annual averages, according to Newmarch and Blake, does not necessarily imply a disagreement, as the estimate of Newmarch is for the fifteen years of largest production, while Blake's includes five years more of diminished production.
The decrease in the production of gold noted by Blake in 1867, and which he predicted must soon cause a rise in its value,* has continued since at even a much greater rate than contemplated by him. At the time. Blake made this prediction (1867) the annual production of gold had only fallen to $130,000,000. Since then the annual product has fallen until it touched its minimum, somewhere about $90,000,000, in 1874. It
* With this continued decrease in the annual production, it seems probable that gold will soon begin to sensibly appreciate in value, unless some new and unlooked for discovery of placers shall be made, of which, however, there does not appear to be much probability.
It was argued by Chevalier and others soon after the great discoveries in Australia and California, that gold would necessarily depreciate in value; that its purchasing power was destined to be much lessened by the great influx of the metal from these new sources. But the relative value of gold has not changed as much as was expected, and it would now seem that the supply did not more than keep pace with the ever increasing demands of commerce and industry, stimulated as they have been by an increasing supply of gold. The wonderful increase of the industrial activity of the world, resulting chiefly from the varied developments and application of the physical sciences, has been sufficient to appropriate all the excessive production of the past twenty years.-Blake's Report on the Precious Metals, page 235.
is mainly to point out the great decrease of $40,000,000 per annum in the gold product of Australia and New Zealand from 1857 to 1874, and the decrease of the same amount ($40,000,000) in the annual gold product of the United States and Territories in the same years, that I have compiled the following table, viz.:
ANNUAL GOLD PRODUCT OF THE VARIOUS QUARTERS OF THE GLOBE AT VARIOUS PERIODS FROM 1850 TO 1874.
Territories. New Zealand.
Russia All the rest of
(McCulloch's Commercial Dictionary, estimate).
The amount of $26,358,776, for the total production of gold in the United States and Territories, is taken from the report of R. W. Raymond, United States Commissioner of Mining Statistics, for 1875, page 488. This table, showing such a great decrease, was not made by Raymond, but by Mr. J. J. Valentine, superintendent of Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express. Commissioner Raymond's report for 1875 was not given to the public until about July, 1876, and even then it contains no later estimate of the annual product of gold in the United States and Territories than the one above mentioned for 1874, and even for that year Commissioner Raymond does not himself venture to make any estimate of the amount of gold distinct from silver produced either in 1874 or 1875, though he corroborates Mr. Valentine's estimate by stating the total product of both gold and silver in 1874 at $72,428,206, whereas
Mr. Valentine makes the total of both gold and silver $74,461,055. The cause of the difference, however, is easily seen in the fact that Mr. Valentine includes $1,636,200 of gold and $357 of silver from British Columbia, and $84,635 of gold and $714,223 of silver from Mexico, none of which are included in Raymond's aggregate. It will be seen, therefore, that the known product of gold in the United States and Territories in 1874 was in fact only $24,637,941,* but as the silver
* The following are the tables from United States Commissioner Raymond's Report for 1875, page 488, viz.:
J. J. VALENTINE'S STATEMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF PRECIOUS METALS PRODUCED
MISSOURI RIVER DURING THE
States and Territories.
Gold dust and
bullion by ex-
Gold dust and
Wyoming and other sources..
$967,857 30,954,602 150
Grand total.. $24,114,833 $2 243,943 $35,681,411 $12,360,868
Ores and base
R. W. RAYMOND'S STATEMENT OF THE AGGREGATE PRODUCT OF GOLD AND SILVER IN THE UNITED STATES AND TERRITORIES IN THE YEAR 1874.
26,066 4,191,405 798,878 1,636,557
3,844,722 35,452,233 500,000
bullion in Valentine's table was presumed to contain a considerable amount of gold, I have accepted the larger figure as representing the gold product of the United States and Territories in 1874.
The gold product of Australia and New Zealand for 1853 I have derived from an official report to the French government. The product for 1867 is from United States Commissioner W. P. Blake's Report in 1868; the amounts for 1857 and 1872 are approximate estimates made by me from the official colonial reports of the exports of gold coin and bullion from Melbourne and Sidney in those years; the amount for 1874 is based upon a statement in the Melbourne Argus of the product of 1,102,614 ounces of gold in all Australia in 1874, and to which I have made an addition of 20 per cent for the product of New Zealand.
The amounts set down in the table made by me as the annual products of Asia, Africa and South America, are, like all other estimates ever made for those countries, merely conjectural. If, in regard to them, I have erred, I think it has been in setting them too high, so as to avoid the possibility of exaggerating the vast decrease in the world's product of gold in the period from 1857 to 1874, and it will be found that the amounts set down for Russia, Asia and the rest of the world, exclusive of Australia and North America, agree with the highest estimates made by others who have examined the subject.
Within the past year, since public attention has been drawn to the great decrease in the production of gold, several tables have been made and published, purporting to give the amount of gold and the amount of silver produced each year since the beginning of the era of