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stant daily redemptions at par with gold, it would require that an aggregate of $850,000,000 of gold should be evenly and constantly distributed in all the countries. But with so small a stock, outside of banks and national treasuries, the movements of foreign trade would soon disturb this distribution of the metal and cause suspension again, in one country or another.*

Even if we state the problem upon a broader basis, it is equally difficult of solution, viz.:

Europe and North America are now using an aggregate of about $7,300,000,000 of gold, silver and paper money as mediums of exchange. Of this amount over $3,100,000,000 is paper promises to pay gold or silver. But on just about three fourths of this aggregate of over $3,100,000,000 of paper money, specie payments

*Early in the current year (1876) the London Economist, referring to the situation of the Bank of France as compared with its position in 1860, said:

And here, just as in 1860, the principal component in the reserve is the comparatively appreciated metal. The metals have, indeed, changed places: in 1860 the metal which had augmented in value was silver; now the metal which has increased in value is gold. But the position of the Bank of France is, for the purpose now in hand, identical. It now holds an enormous amount of gold, which it would be dangerous to pay away; just as in 1860 it held a much smaller, though still considerable, amount of silver, to pay which would have been equally dangerous.

Of course, as long as the Bank of France suspends specie payments it does not feel this difficulty. If we may be permitted to say so, it is on a lower level altogether. It is not perplexed by the possibility of having to pay in the appreciated metal, for it does not, except in minor sums, and when it chooses, pay in any metal. But as soon as the Bank of France performs its legal obligations, the problem which the defective currency system of France sets before it must be solved. There is, indeed, one obvious mode of solving it. There is something very singular in a difficulty which is caused by holding a commodity which has enhanced in value. The obvious remedy is to sell it in the market and to obtain the advantage of that value. If the Bank of France could sell its gold for silver at the present price, it would get a large profit; it would have done a capital bullion transaction on a magnificent scale, and the shareholders would be large gainers in consequence. In 1860 the Emperor Napoleon, to whom the accounts of the Bank of France were then constantly submitted, would not permit the natural remedy to be tried, and, therefore, the Bank of France had to forego the profit, and to change away the dearer metal with the Bank of England. But now there can be no choice; the sums to be dealt with are so large that no such palliative by exchange can be thought of. If cash payments are to be resumed in France, large sales of gold for silver must precede and accompany it. And the effect of such sales will, of course, be to raise the price of silver as compared with gold. The circumstances of the Bank of France will make the possession of much silver constantly essential to it, and the effect of this new large demand will be a rise of price.

have been suspended for many years. Even if it were possible for Russia, Austria, Italy, France and the United States to acquire the coin with which to resume specie payments on their respective amounts of paper currency, the amount of coin that would be drawn into national treasuries for that purpose would cause a contraction of over 20 per cent in the aggregate volume of circulating medium in the hands of the people of Europe and North America. It is beyond reasonable doubt that such a change would cause a proportionate enhancement of the vast volume of war debts, which would be shown in the corresponding decline in the prices of commodities. It would require that the peace of Europe and America should remain undisturbed for at least ten or fifteen years before the industry of the people could produce wealth enough to pay off this increase in the burden of debt and so adjust the values of commodities and the value of money to the new basis. The improbability of such a peace is the measure of the improbability of the resumption of specie payments in all the countries where they are now suspended.


Statement of the Character and Amount of Bonds and Other Forms of Indebtedness, July 1, yearly, from 1861 to 1876 inclusive (omitting

the years 1871-2-3-4).


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Union P. R.R. bds July 1, 1862..|
Treas. notes (old) Prior to 1857.
Treas. notes of '57 Dec. 23, 1857.
Treas. notes of '60 Dec. 17, 1860.
Treas. notes of '61 Mar. 2, 1861..
Treas. notes of '61 Mar. 2, 1861...
Treas. notes of '63 Mar. 3, 1863..
Treas. notes of '63 Mar. 3, 1863..

52 years. 560 days..... Three years notes July 17, 1861.7.30 Aug. 18, '64. Three years notes July 17, 1861.7.30 Sept. 30, '64 Three years notes June 30, 1864. 7.30 Aug. 14, 267. Three years notes Mar. 3, 1865..7.30 June 14, '68. Three years notes Mar. 3, 1865.. 7.30 July 14, '68.

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U. S. notes

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780 472 272 150,000 431178 432,687 400,619 371,783 356,000 356,000 356,000 375,771 369,772 89,879 20,192


N. B.-None of the "Trust Funds" are included in the above statement, such as the Navy Pension Fund, the Indian Annuity Funds, the Smithsonian Fund, etc., which are provided for by annual appropriations.

The following statement of the outstanding principal of the public debt on the 1st of January each year, from 1791 to 1876 inclusive, is taken from the annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury (B. H. Bristow) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1875, the amount for June 30, 1876, being added from the official monthly debt

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