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H. OF R.]
Deposite Bank Bill.
(Joxe 20, 1834.
contrary to the general sense and spirit of his report, Mr. (Mr. GILMER,) in answer to himself. If the State banks W. would leave to the justice and candor of the House. are unsound, wby has not the United States Bank cor. He did not mean to in'imate any intention on the part of rected them? We have had that bank sixteen years, the gentleman from Tennessee to misrepresent the opin. and its great merit is said to be the salutary control it ex. ions of Mr. Gallatin, but the gentleman himself must ad. ercises over the currency. Either the State banks, then, mit that the extract in question, by itself, did not convey are not unsound, or the United States Bank is faithless those opinions fairly.
or useless. The learned chairman has made a very extraordinary With due submission to so many high authorities, the use of another fragment of bistory. Quoting the pro-horns of their dilemma are not fatal or even dangerous. ceedings of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, in 1785, The question is not fairly stated. The State banks may against ihe Bank of North America, he had thought prop- be partly, but not utterly unsound. The United States er to stigmatize the originators and supporters of that Bank may have exercised a partial, not an absolute conbank as federalists, and predicts that Pennsylvania will trol. The love of peace may have restrained the use of come to the rescue, and put down the Bank of the United power. The true problem is, not how bad the currency States, as she put down the Bank of North America. is, despite the Bank of the United States; but how much Now, sir, what are the facts with respect to the Bank of worse it bas been, and will be again, without it. North America? In the very gloomiest period of our
When Mr. Wilde had taken bis seat, revolutionary , war, when the bravest only hoped on Mr. GORDON said that it was due to that portion of by main force, when the Government was bankrupt, the House who were opposed to the recharter of the and the army about to dissolve, some patriotic citizens United States Bank, and who, nevertheless, disapproved stepped forward to advance their money, and pledge their of the course of the Executive in removing ihe deposites, credit, and a bank was formed, called ihe Bank of Penn- that some of their number should submit a plan which sylvania, for the express purpose of supplying the army should be conformed to their views of this very important Congress, resolving that they entertained a high sense of question. It seemed to be a point given up, that the the liberal offer of the associales, accepted it as "a dis- present Bank of the United States was not to be rechar tinguished proof of their patriotism." The army, by tered; and that, so far as the action of that House was means of this bank, was supplied and recruited, and the concerned, the deposites were not to be restored to the hank was reinodelled and new.named, and from this ori- custody of that institution; and a scheme had thereupon gin arose the Bank of North America; "produced,' "been devised, which seemed as unsatisfactory to the says a contemporary, "by the distresses of the times, friends as to the opponents of the measure, by which the and the enterprising spirit of patriotic individuals;” and public money had been withdrawn from the bank. It he adds that the sudden restoration of public and private was said to be the opinion of the President that it was excredit, which took place on its establishment, is an event tremely desirable the revenue of the United States should as extraordinary in itself as any domestic occurrence du- be collected in specie and not in paper; and in connexion ring the Revolution. In 1785 an attack was made on with which opinion the House had heard a new name apthe charter of the bank in the Legislature of Pennsylva- plied to specie: it had been called “Jackson money.' nia, imputed, by the same writer, to envy, the spirit of He now called upon all who were in favor of "Jackson speculation, and a passion for State paper money. The moncy" to go with him in support of the old-fashioned, charter was repealed, with something of inconsiderate constitutional notion of a hard-money Government. His ness and precipitancy. This arbitrary proceeding, wbich object was to disconnect the Government entirely from the gentleman from Tennessee holds up to our admira- the system of banks, whether State or federal. it must lion, was warmly discussed by the people. The breach be obvious to every man acquainted with the times, that of public faith was loudly condemned, and the unconsti- the country could not get on with its present paper cirtutionality of the act clearly demonstrated, by the ablest culation. The Bank of the United States, the great sed. and most popular political writer of the day. The posi- eral monster, clused its doors against all investigation of tion he assumed was, thai the bank might forfeit the its concerns; and to rely upon such an institution was to charter by delinquency, but the delinquency must be sap the foundations of public liberty. The advocates of proved and established by a legal process, in a court of the State banks could not propose a system that was satisjustice and trial by jury; for the State or the Assembly factory even to themselves. All attempts to control is not to be a judge in its own case, but must come to the State banks were contrary to the constitution. All the laws of the land for judgment; for that which is law for House could do was to restore the public deposites to the the individual is likewise law for the State.
authority of the Treasurer of the United States. They The unanswerable arguments of that writer, (and he had no right to commit their funds to the State banks; could wish a copy of bis production was in the hands of they formed an instrument of power which he should be every one, for much of it was extremely applicable to very sorry to see put in the hands of the Government. the present state of things,) bad such an effect as one The country was in a very unfortunate condition. An ipwould suppose on the good sense of the people of Penn- terminable war had been declared by the President of the bylvania. They changed a large number of tbeir repre. United States against the Bank of the United States; but sentatives at the next election, and the Legislature re- who could doub: that a very different state of things stored the charter. This is the true history of the triumph would bave taken place if the bank had thrown its vast of republican Pennsylvania over the federal Bank of North power into the aid of the Esecutive? And should he America; and the federalist who defended the bank, and succeed in substituting any combination of banks in its attacked the arbitrary seizure of its charter, was Thomas stead, and consequently in obtaining a control over their Paine.
interests, it could not but prove a most dangerous instruIf the gentleman was not aware of these facts, the ment in the hands of any Chief Niagistrate. It would enquestion arises, how he could venture to quote that of able him to tamper with the pecuniary affairs of the which he knew so little? If he did know them, the in- States; and though its management might require more quiry occurs-what degree of jacobinism must that be, address than would be requisite to attain the control of a which denounces Thomas Paine as a federalist?
single institution, yet the consequences would be equally Mr. W. would advert to but one more topic. The dangerous to the security of liberty. Whichever way the Secretary in his letter, the committee in their report, and friends of a limited and constitutional Government turned the chairman in his speeclı, had all enlarged upon an their eyes, they saw equal dangers in the prospects before argument, first used, as far as lie knew, by liis colleague, I them. Let them, then, endeavor to siinplify the fiscal
machine: let them endeavor to get a simple system, which After some rather confused disputation about order, should be subject to the control of Government alone, the amendment of Mr. Gonnox was ordered to be printed; (he meant the control of Congress,) and which should be And the House adjourned. wholly disconnected with all paper money of every descrip. tion. If the various and conflicting opinions of the House could thus be compromised, an achievement would be
SATURDAY, JUNE 21. effected in favor of a limited and constitutional Govern. ment such as had never been witnessed before. "It must
DEATH OF LAFAYETTE. be evident to all, that the whole tendency of Government After the reading of the Journal, was to accumulate power. Whenever an election of Mr. J. Q. ADAMS rose to state that, on coming to the President was approaching, (and when was it at a great Mouse, he had been informed that, since the last adjourn. distance?) all great questions of policy were made to bear ment of the House, intelligence bad been received of the upon that all-agitating topic. All good men began to occurrence of a calamity wisich had befallen the whole tremble for our institutions. Amidst the strife and rude race of civilized man. Me harl not time to prepare a reswar of such mighty interests, virtue and patriotism shrank olution fitting such an occasion, but he presumed it would back in dismay. But would gentlemen make no effort to be obvious to every person that it was an occurrence pediminish this danger? Must there still be a war against culiarly becoming the Congress of the United States to internal improvements, a war against the tariff, a war adopt some suitable measure to express the deep sense against the Bank of the United States, or against the they entertained of the misfortune involved in the decease State banks, altogether distinct from any regard to the of one of the most eminent benefactors of the age and of happiness of the people? Was the President and the mankind. It occurred to him that such a duty should be bank to be left in deadly conflict? Must there be no end discharged in a manner suitable at once to the dignity of to these political contests? Who could go home, and the representatives of the people and States of this Union, leave things in their present condition, and not appre- and to the merits of hiin to whose memory this tribute hend the worst consequences? lle called upon the llouse should be paid. This he supposed would be in the form to make a generous, magnanimous effort to free the coun- of a joint resolution of the two Houses of Congress. He try; he invited, he invoked them, to give up something would now, therefore, submit a motion that a committee of their party prejudices, and to unite together to steer should be appointed to consider in what manner a tribute in a safe, middle course, the vessel of state, now in such of affection and respect may be shown by the Congress of imminent danger of rocks on the one side and whirlpools the United States, expressive of the sensibility of the naon the other.
tion on the event of the decease, and of their veneration He observed that the measure he had proposed was for the memory, of the illustrious General Lafayette. one of extreme simplicity. He should not now attempt to Mr. A. then offered the following resolution: go into the details which belonged to it; if the principle Resolved, That a committee of be appointed on were approved, the details mig!it be easily arranged. the part of this House, to join such committee as may be He simply proposed to make those who received the rev. appointed by the Senate, io consider and report by what enue the agents for its custody, when not exceeding a token of respect and affection it may be proper for the given amount, and constituting them the agents, also, for Congress of the United States to express the deep sen. its disbursement. He was aware, indeed, that the mem- sibility of the nation on the event of the decease of Genbers of the House had so long been in the habit of con- eral Lafayette. sidering matters of revenue as matters pertaining to a Mr. ARCHER rose to suggest that the blank for the bank, that it was difficult, perhaps, for them to admit of number to be appointed on the committee should be fillany other idea. But Mr. G. did not propose to interfere ed up with “five" or “ seven." with the banking principle; he had nothing to do with Mr. J. Q. ADAMS would assent to any number the their notes, whether small or large. Let them regulate House might think proper to name. that as they could. He did not interfere with the Bank Mr. WATMOUGH suggessted the number of thirteen. of the United States. He went only for what was origin. Mr. CAMBRELENG proposed that the committee ally intended, and what alone was contemplated by the should consist of one member fro:n every State in the framers of the constitution, viz: that the revenue should Union. be collected in coin. Coin was the only legal tender Mr. E. WHITTLESEY expressed his hope that every now, yet Government had made paper substantially such. State would be permitted to be represented on the comHe was for putting an end to this.' He was most clearly mittee, in paying this tribute of respect. of opinion that the hard-money system was the simplest! After some further verbal modifications, at the suggesand best the Government could ultimately adopt. There tion of Mr. WAYNE, might be some objections urged against it. Some gentle. The committee on the part of the House was, on momen might apprehend that it would withdraw too large tion of Mr. HL'BBARD, ordered to consist of twentyan amount from circulation. But this objection was not four. well founded. As the duties on imports should decrease, The following gentlemen were appointed to compose the amount of surplus revenue would be less and less; it the said committee: would soon be but a few millions. It might be said that From Massachusetts, John Quincy Adams, chairman; the transfers of money could not be made as easily as by from Maine, Rufus McIntire; from New Hampshire, Hena federal bank with branches. All that would be requi- ry Hubbard; from Rhode Island, Tristam Burges; from site would be drafts from the Treasury, specifying the Connecticut, Noyes Barber; from Vermont, Heman Allen; place where the money should be paid. These drafts from New York, c. C. Cambreleng; from New Jersey, would not be at a premium, but would pass as money. James Parker; from Pennsylvania, Henry A. MuhlenThey would be a substitute for bank paper, and the Gov- sberg; from Delaware, John J. Milligan; from Maryland, ernment would thus be delivered from its connexion with Isaac McKim; from Virginia, William S. Archer; from the system of banking; a system which all knew to have North Carolina, Lewis Williams; from South Carolina, a corrupting tendency, and which must be a perpetual Henry L. Pinckney; from Georgia, James M. Wayne; instrument of party spirit. The whole world recognised trong Kentucky, Richard M. Johnson; from Tennessee, gold and silver as the representative of property; it was John Blair; froin Ohio, Elisha Whittlesey; from Louisiana, the only real money in existence. He hoped to see it the Philemon Thomas; from Indiana, John Carr; from Mismoney of this Government.
sissippi, Harry Cage; from Illinois, Joseph Duncan; VOL. X.--291
H. or R.]
(JUNE 21, 1834.
from Alabama, John Murphy; from Missouri, William H. ing the ratio of the value of gold to silver as 16 to 1. Mr. Ashley.
Wuste made a speech explanatory of his reasons for the Some other incidental business having been disposed of, proposed change, which opened a discussion of much Nr. POLK moved that the House should proceed to the learning and great interest, which occupied the House special order of the day.
till a late hour. Mr. E. WITTLESEY inquired what that was? Mr. SELDEN strenuously opposed the amendment, The SPEAKER: Private bills.
and went into an elaborate argument in desence of the Mr. LOVE explained that a bill for the relief of Jo bill as at first reported, and in opposition to the amend Bruce had been for two or three years before Congress, ment. He arglied to show that the practical effect of the and had been delayed under peculiar circumstances; he latter would be, in a short time, to banish the existing would, therefore, move a suspension of the rules, that silver currency of the country. He considered the pro. the House should resolve itself into a Committee of the portion proposed to be established as false in fact, and Whole thereon, in order to have the bill brought before contended that the true ratio was, not 1 to 16, but 1 to the House.
15 5-8; and he offered an amendment to that effect, as fole Mr. POLK resisted this motion, and maintained that lows: the special order of the day, as the unfinished business, "Strike out 232 grains, the quantity of fine gold in an was the deposite bill.
eagle, and insert 237 6-10-strike out 258 grains, the The SPEAKER decided that it was not.
quantity of standard gold in an eagle, and insert 264 grains. Mr. WHITTLESEY remarked that the honorable Strike out 116 and 129 grains, the quantity of fine and member should consider that although Fridays and Satur- standard gold in a half eagle, and insert 118 8-10 and 132 days were specially assigned for the consideration of pri- grains. Strike out 58 and 645 grains, the quantity of fine vate bills, yet for the last four months these days had been and standard gold in a quarter eagle, and insert 59 4-10 devoted to other business.
and 66 grains." After considerable struggle for precedency of business, Mr. CLOWNEY now rose and addressed the Chair 19 Mr. C. P. WHITE succeeded in getting a vote of two to follows: one to take up the gold coin bill.
Mr. Speaker: I am truly glad that the honorable chair
mar: of the special committee on coins has thought proper GOLD COINS.
to offer the substitute now on your table, which abandons The House then proceeded to take up the following the scheme of a debased subsidiary currency, as reported bill:
in the original bill, and enhances the value of gold rela. A bill concerning the gold coins of the United States and tively to silver in the proportion of one to sixteen. By for other purposes.
this amendment, all my objections to the original bill are Be it enacted by the Senale and House of Representatives ent ely removed. To raise gold in these United States of the United States of America in Congress assembled, from its present degraded state ay a mere article of mer. That the gold coins of the United States shall contain the chandise, to the rank of a coin destined to become a part following quantities of metal, that is to say: each eagle of our currency, meets with my most decided approbashall contain two hundred and thirty-two grains of fine tion. I fully concur in sentiment with the present Secre. gold, and two hundred and fifty-eight grains of standard tary of the Treasury, in his late letter to the Committee gold; each half eagle one hundred and sixteen grains of of Ways and Means, that the great evil of our present fine gold, and one hundred and twenty-nine grains of currency is the disproportion between the paper in cir. standard gold; each quarter eagle shall contain fifty- culation and the coin prepared to redeem it; and that the eight grains of fine gold, and sixty-four and a half grains first step towards a sound condition of the currency is to of stardard gold; every such eagle shall be of the value reform the coinage of gold." of ten dollars; every such half eagle shall be of the value In these views, the Secretary of the Treasury stands of five dollars; and every such quarter eagle shall be of supported by the high authority of several of his prede. the value of two dollars and fifty cents: and, also, gold cessors in office, such as a Gallatin, Crawford, Dallas, and coins to contain twenty-three and two-tenths of a grain of Ingham, each of whom in his day directed his attention to pure gold, and twenty-five and eight-tenths of a grain of this important subject. He also stands supported by the standard gold, are to be of the value of one dollar; and very able directors of our mint, Messrs. Patterson and the said gold coins shall be receivable in all payments, Moore, in their various communications to the committees when of such weight, according to their said respective of this House and the heads of the Treasury Department; values, and when of less than such weight, at less values, and also by the repeated reports of committees in both proportioned to their respective actual weights. Houses of Congress for the last fifteen years. Why all
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That all standard these efforts to reform the coinage of gold have heretogold and silver deposites for coinage, after the thirty-first fore entirely failed, it is not my object at this time to inday of July next, shall be paid for in coin, under the di- quire. It is sufficient for my present purpose to show rection of the Secretary of the Treasury, within five days that, in the opinion of the most competent judges, a ne from the making such deposite; deducting from the cessity for a change in our coinage has existed, and that amount of said deposite of gold and silver, one-half of one it must still exist, as nothing has been done to remove it. per centum; Provided, That no deduction shall be made I believe I may still go further, and assert, without fear of unless said advance be required by such depositor within contradiction, that this necessity not only exists, but that forty days.
it is greater now than at any former period in the history Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That all gold coins of of our country. What is the fact with regard to our presthe United States, minted anterior to the thirty-first day sent currency? It is, sir, literally a paper currency: Tlie of July next, shall be receivable in all payments, at the notes of the local banks and the Bank of the United States, rate of ninety-four and eight-tenths of a cent per penny- now in actual circulation, are estimated by the Secretary weight.
of the Treasury at eighty millions of dollars. Out of Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall be about seven thousand millions of specie now in circulation in force from and after the thirty-first day of July, in the in the world, the silver (for gold we have none) in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four.
vaults of all the banks of the United States, federal and Mr. WHITE, of New York, chairman of the commit- local, with which to redeem this eighty millions of paper, tee on coins, moved to amend the bill by striking out all does not exceed twenty-five millions. This fact, in conafter the enacting clause, and substituting a new bill, fix-nexion with the recent numerous bank failures, and the
JUNE 21, 1834.)
(H. OF R.
consequent evils every class of the community throughout England, for the last five years preceding his report, the Union is now suffering, afford the most convincing was 1 to 15.81; and in France, for the last thirteen years proofs of the rotten condition of our present currency, preceding his report, 1 to 15.82; in addition to this, gold uusupported as it is by a firm and broad metallic basis. has been frequently in value above this ratio, in England, Therefore, to restore the currency to a sound condition, ever since the year 1819. and furnish a medium of exchange adequate to the wants Hence we find, according to our present mint regula. of the people, when the Bank of the United States ceases tions, that gold is esteemed less valuable in the United to exist in 1836, and its notes are necessarily withdrawn States, as a coin, than in any other nation on the face of from circulation, I hold to be amongst the first, highest, the globe. and most imperative duties of the present session of Con Owing to this circumstance, our gold, whether in the gress.
shape of coin or bullion, has, for the last fifteen years, The particular evils, which it is the object of the bill even in England, where its standard value is considerably now under consideration to remedy, are to be traced to below that of most other nations, commanded a premium the act of Congress passed in 1792, establishing a mint, from four lo six and three-fourths per cent. The inevit and regulating the value of coins. According to this act, able consequences of such an ill-advised policy, or carethree denominations of gold coins are directed to be mint- less neglect in legislation, have long since been experience ed: the eagle, half eagle, and quarter eagle, all of equaled in the entire banishment of gold, not only from circufineness; the eagle to be valued at ten, the half eagle at lation, but also from our country; and in the complete five, and the quarter eagle at two and a half dollars. The counteraction of its tendency to return in the course of eagle is made to weigh two hundred and forty-seven and trade. That these are serious evils, none can deny; and, a half grains of pure gold, or two hundred and seventy if so, all must admit the necessity and importance of the grains of standard gold, eleven-twelfths fine; and the half immediate application of an appropriate remedy. eagle one hundred and twenty-three and three-fourths Having shown satisfactorily, I trust, that the cause of grains pure gold, or one hundred and thirty-five grains the present evils in our metallic currency, (the only curstandard; which, added together, makes the weight of rency known to our constitution,) is the undervaluation these two coins, valued at fifteen dollars, equal to three of gold by our lawy, it is evident that the nature of the hundred and seventy-one and one-fourth grains of pure remedy must be to remove the cause of the evils, by gold, or four hundred and five grains standard. By this raising the value of gold relatively to silver in our coinsame act the dollar is made to weigh three hundred and age. I must confess, however, that although the cause seventy-one and a quarter grains of pure silver, or four of the evils and the nature of the remedy are obvious, hundred and sixteen grains standard, being fourteen hun- yet, when we come to apply the remedy, we find it an dred and eighty-five parts out of sixteen hundred and six- extremely nice, difficult, and complicated question to dety-four fine, instead of eleven-twelfths, as in the gold termine what proportion of gold to silver in our coinage coins.
is necessary to place the two coins upon an equal footing Hence we find the relative value of gold to silver, as in commerce, and ensure their concurrent circulation, so established by our laws, to be one to fifteen; or, in other that the one may be readily exchanged for the other by words, that the three hundred and seventy-one and a tale, to suit convenience or pleasure. quarter grains of pure gold contained in an eagle and half There are those, and I am not surprised to find the eagle, are valued by law as worth fifteen times as much gentleman from New York, (Mr. SELDEN,] who has just as the three hundred and seventy-one and a quarter grains taken his seat, amongst the number, who not only deny of pure silver contained in a dollar.
the expediency of regulating the standard of value in The reason which induced Mr. Alexander Hamilton, both metals, but also the practicability of so regulating it the Secretary of the Treasury, in 1792, to recommend as to preserve both metals in simultaneous or promiscuous this ratio of gold and silver in our coinage, and Congress circulation. The gentleman from New York contends to adopt it, was because they considered it the average that it is inexpedient to establish what has sometimes been value of the two metals at that time, amongst the princi- called the double standard of value, because the legal pal commercial nations. While I admit the soundness of relative value of the two coins is liable to be changed by the principle, and do not feel disposed to deny the cor- a variety of causes beyond the reach and power of legis. rectness of the calculation at that time, yet does the cal. lative control. Amongst these causes he has enumerated culation no longer hold true. Since that period gold has the difference in the supplies of the two metals from the evidently risen in value relatively to silver, until their mines; the variations in the relative amount of labor ex. average relative value in the commercial world may be pended in their production; the different relative propor. fairly estimated at one to sixteen. The truth of this fact tions at different times applied to manufacturing purposes will satisfactorily appear from a table furnished by the di- and to the currency; and the great diminution or increase rector of our mint, to be found in the report accompany of demand for one of the precious metals in preference ing this bill. According to this table, we find that in the to the other, arising from a change in the usual course of coinage of the two metals, in Antwerp, Netherlands, Por- trade, or from an alteration in the circulating medium of tugal, Brazil, Spain, and her former colonies in South some wealthy nation. He, and those of his faith, also America, the proportion of gold to silver is 1 to 16; while contend that it is impossible to maintain both metals in in Hamburg it is 1 to 16*; in Denmark 1 to 163; in Swe- circulation together, because the fluctuations in their relden 1 to 16 3.7; in Russia 1 to 17; and in Vienna and ative value, which no legislation can prevent, will drive Trieste 1 to 18. It is true, standard gold to silver, in from circulation that metal which becomes the most valu. England, is 1 to 15.7, in France 1 to 15.5, and in Hol- able in commerce, and preserve in domestic use that land 1 to 15.8. But, notwithstanding this legil or stand which is the cheapest, and in this way not only impair the ard value of gold to silver in England and France, yet obligations of contracts, but also convert the cheapest has the relative market value of gold to silver, in these metal into the practical standard and currency; and that two nations, for a number of years past, considerably ex. the practical standard and currency are again liable to be ceeded its value at the mint. Mr. Ingham, in his report changed as the causes which produce the fluctuations in to this House, while Secretary of the Treasury, in 1830, the relative value of the two coins may from time to time lays it down as a rule that "it is only from the market operate. Hence they conclude that one metal alone can price of both metals, without regard to the mint price, the be made the standard of value in any country; that for true relative value is to be found,” He also states the this purpose public and mercantile convenience unite in historical fact, that the average value of gold to silver in I favor of silver; that gold may and ought to be coined
H. OF R.]
[June 21, 1834.
merely with the view to ascertain its fineness and weight, Roman empire. During the whole of this time, as is staand stamped by public authority with a value under its ted in another part of the same document, upon the au. market price. Such, indeed, appear to have been the thority of Humboldt, the average proportion in weight of views of the committee on coins when they adopted in the two metals was 1 of gold to 40 of silver. their original bill the ratio of 1 to 15.625, for which the The rich mines of America, soon after its discovery, genileman from New York (Mr. Selten] is now so stren- aclded greatly to the annual supplies of both metals, and uously contending.
considerably varied their relative proportions in weight, That such were the principles that governed the com- so that when the gold mines of Brazil were discovered, mittee in recommending, in the original bill now on your near the end of the 17th century, the quantity of silver in table, the proportion in the eagle of 1 to 15.625, may be weight exceeded that of gold 60 to 1. The productivefairly inferred from the express language of the report ness, however, of the mines of Brazil reduced the proporaccompanying the bill. In the report they say: “Your tion in weight of silver to gold 30 to 1. In the latter part committee desire to raise the relative value of gold to of the 18th century, the silver mines of Mexico produced silver, so as to approximate its estimate in general com- fourfold the quantity derived from them at the commencemerce, and preserve silver as the practical standard; and ment; so that, from 1750 to 1800, the quantity of silver imto authorize the assay and stamping of domestic gold in ported from America into Europe bas been to that of gold ingots, at the lowest charge.” The honorable chairman 40 to 1; the increase of silver from Mexico having fully of the committee on coins has thoughit proper, for rea-counterbalanced the former increase of gold from Brazil. sons satisfactory to his own mind, and I trust to this House, In order to sustain the production of gold to silver in this rato change his ground, and the gentleman from New York tio, it has been found necessary, every where in the civili[Mr. SELDEN) has taken his place, and is now contending zed world, 'progressively to strengthen the inducement for for what the honorable chairman has abandoned.
its production, so that it has advanced, since the reign of I must confess my inability, as well as the want of in. Queen Elizabeth, from 1 to 11 to 15.7 in England, and to clination, were I able, at this late hour of the day and 16, 17, and even 18, in other countries. From this brief advanced period of the session, to attempt to answer all history of the two metals, we have but little reason to ap: the objections which have been or may be urged against prehend any great change in their present commercial the use of gold and silver in the same country as the value, occasioned by a sudden increased difference in the standard of value. I cannot, however, consent to pass in quantities produced, and labor employed in their producsilence what I conceive to be the most formidable of the lion. From it we are also authorized to conclude, with objections, to wit: the fluctuations in the relative value of the director of our mint, Mr. Samuel Moore, in his letter the two metals, arising from the difference in the supplies to Secretary Ingham, in 1829, that "it results from past from the mines, and the variations in the relative amount experience, and is conformable to analogy, that the proof labor expended in their production. I frankly admit portional value of gold to silver must be progressively inthat, as the specific qualities of the two metals are nearly creased from time to time, to elicit from the mines its pres. the same, which render them equally useful in the orna- ent average relative production in weight, or countervail mental arts, and equally fit to answer all the purposes of its diminution. money, their relative value must chiefly depend upon the The theory as to the expediency and practicability of relative supplies. Were gold and silver produced in adjusting the proportions of gold to silver in our coinage, equal quantities, and with the same amount of labor, 1 so as to make them together the standard of value, and can conceive of no good reason why there should be any preserve their concurrent circulation, has not only been difference in their values. I can, however, reaclily con- advocated by the highest authority, but its truth has been ceive, were this the case, that the quantities produced practically illustrated by the example of one of the wealth. might so far exceed the demand for the uses to which liest nations on the globe. Mr. Gallatin, in his letter to they have been applied, as to render them together unfit the Secretary of the Treasury, in 1829, in speaking of the to be the standard of value or medium of exchange. But monetary system of France, where gold and silver coins happily for the good of society, nature in her wise econo- circulaté simultaneously, and where the gold is rated too my has otherwise provided. Neither of these two metals low in proportion to silver, states “that, during the last appear to exist in nature in sufficient abundance, without thirteen years, there never has been a premium on silver the aid of the other, to supply the commercial world with coins; and never, during that period, has the premium on a medium of exchange, nor is the labor employed in their gold reached one per cent.” He also maintains that the production equal; hence, from a species of necessity, fluctuation in the legal relative value of the two coins, bave both metals, in all ages of the world, been used as arising from the demand exceeding or falling short of the money, the gold being esteemed the most precious, not supplies of either of the metals, is less in amount than the so much on account of its superior utility in coinage or in Aiciuations in the value of both or either of the precious the ornamental arts, as on account of its greater scarcity, metals, as compared with that of all other commodities: and the greater amount of capital and labor expended in and hence the fluctuations in the legal relative value of the its production.
two coins, when well adjusted, are a quantity that may be Although the law which governs the supplies of gold neglected; and is, in fact, never taken into consideration and silver is not invariable, yet have the quantities pro- at the time of making contracts. duced borne such a uniform relative proportion in weight The changes, therefore, in the rela:ive value of the two as to preserve for centuries in succession a degree of uni- coins being inconsiderable, when compared to the simultaformity in their relative value, sufficient to render them Ineous rise and fall of both metals, in relation to all other together the fit measure of property. According to a commodities, it follows, as a necessary consequence, that statement by Lord Liverpool, in his letter to the King of whenever such a rise or full takes place, it would be of an England, to be found in State Papers, 1st session, 21st immense advantage to a nation to be able to resort to both Congress, vol. 4, doc. No. 117, we find that, from long of the metals instead of one. But in case the rise should before the Christian era until the reign of Queen Eliz:- he only on one meta), and that should be the only lawful beth in 1560, a period of more than iwo thousand years, currency, the increased demand for it would occasion its the proportion of gold to silver was never below 1 io 10, exportation, and thus the whole amount of specie be greatly except once in Rome in the days of Julius Cæsar, and diminished; the evils of which might have been prevented once in England in the reign of Henry III.; and never ex- by a resort to the other meta). Amongst the many and ceeded the proportion of 1 10 12}, except once in Greece great advantages arising from the use of both metals in the in the days of Herodotus, and twice for a short time in the same country as money, besides increasing the moneyed