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The French Funds. In the year of grace, 1805, before the battle of Austerlitz, the public (French) funds stood at 61 francs. On the arrival of the news of that great victory they fell to 59 francs 80 centimes. A glorious peace raised them to 60 fr. 60 centimes.
Before the birth of the King of Rome 20 April, 1811,) the price was 81 francs 50 centimes. The day following that event the price fell to 78 francs 75 centimes.
In 1814, before the fall of the emperor Napoleon, the funds stood at 45.25. After the entrance of the allied armies into Paris they rose to 49.50. A provisional government was appointed and they rose to 52 francs. The deposition of the emperor was decreed and they rose to 55.75. His abdication raised them to 63.50.
In 1815, before the landing of the ex-emperor at Cannes, the funds stood at 84.61. On the news of his arrival they fell to 77.60. After his re-entry into Paris they stood at 73. He set out for the army, encouraged by a fall to 54.75. He gained the battle of Ligny, and they declined to 53.50. Yet after the disaster at Waterloo, they rose to 59.75.
On the second abdication of the emperor, and the re-entrance of the allied armies, the funds rose to 61 francs. So that, in point of fact, the price of stocks was lower, by 1.20 after the battle of Austerlitz, than after the re-entrance of the allied armies into Paris.-[La Presse.]
There is every promise that the monetary history of 1849, will prove as fertile in singular events as the two years just passed, and such as will differ from both as widely as those have differed from each other. The commencement of a new era in France, the final development of our free trade in grain, and many other causes, are sufficient to insure this. If, however, a new element, such as could never have entered the mind in its wildest guesses, had been wanted to make us look to the future with lively wonder, nothing could have been presented more calculated to do so, or more curious as a termination of all the broad and heterogeneous occurrences we have recently witnessed, than the discovery of the gold mines of California.—[ The Times.]
THE CALIFORNIA GOLD MINES.
From the London Economist, Jan. 6, 1849. We cannot pass by such an extraordinary circumstance (as the discovery of these mines,) without bestowing a few passing reflections on the probable consequences. It must hasten, to an incalculable degree, the communication with all the distant parts of the globe. A railroad across the Isthmus of Panama is to be commenced, or a road of some kind, under a grant from New Grenada, to certain merchants of New York. The company have arranged with an eminent engineer, who is to make a farther survey at once, and it is thought the road can be in
operation by January, 1851. It must, by the hopes it excites, give for a time new life to trade, and multiply the elements of commerce. It will unite in traffic an increased number of people; and must be so influential as at once to make regulations for trade, which now so much disturb some persons, appear trivial, petty, and worthless. It will drain off some of the population of the United States, and make an opening there, and a demand for the services of Europeans.
But the principal effect will be the operation on prices, raising them first in the United States, inducing an additional influx of goods into that country, and ultimately raising, to some extent, the money price of commodities throughout Europe. What quantities of gold may be found, it is impossible to say: one estimate puts the additional sum poured into circulation at £6,000,000 a year. There was within about two months, on its way, consigned to New York and Philadelphia, from California, gold dust, amounting from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 dollars, or from £300,000 to £400,000. A great increase of seekers, and more easy methods of cleaning the gold, will probable add to the quantity. We will, however, make no estimate of its probable amount. Mr. Jacob, according to the tables published in his work on the precious metals, estimated the quantity of them in use as coin in Europe and America, in 1829, at £313,388,560, and the average annual supply of the previous twenty years, at only £5,286,300.
Since that period the gold mines in the Ural Mountains have become more productive, without affecting the value of gold; and the stream of the precious metals has stopped flowing into, if it have not turned back from, Asia to the Western world. There is no reason to believe that either of these causes have had any effect in raising prices in Europe. The quantity of gold now brought into the market, in addition to the present supplies—though how far they may be affected by the new discoveries is a part of the problem-must be considerable before any very marked effect will be perceived. The addition for the first year or two of £6,000,000 to the stock of at least £320,000,000, little more than the fiftieth part, would not at first be felt. But as the loss by wear and tear, and for arts, appears not to be quite the eighth part of the supply, the accumulation of such an addition year after year, must in a few years make itself felt seriously in the value of gold. What may be the effect of the discovery, in relation to silver, of which we have no word of any additional supply, we will not attempt to say; but it must be remembered that the finding cannot continue to be extensive without adding much to the commerce of the world, and increasing the effective and necessary demand for the precious metals. We do not, on the whole, anticipate any sudden depreciation of our standard of value from the quantities of gold already obtained, nor any great permanent depreciation from any quantity which seems likely hereafter to be continually obtained.
Note.-In order to gratify the wishes and to reply to the numerous queries of several correspondents, a large space of our present No. is occupied with articles upon the Consumption, Supply, &c. of the Precious Metals, and Statistict of Coinage. We do not believe that more appropriate matter than these for the present time could be furnished to our readers.—[Ed. B. M.]
IMPROVED BANK NOTE PAPER.
Report upon a new process of manufacturing Bank Note Paper and other papers
whereby forgery may be prevented. The manufacture of a safety-paper is of considerable importance in a financial and commercial point of view. A means of protecting commercial and other documents against forgery has long been sought after. Such progress has been made in engraving, lithography, photography, and chemistry, that, supposing forgers to be in possession of all the secrets of science, society would have no protection against their devices; but happily these secrets are in a measure kept sealed against those who would make so dangerous a use of them; and, moreover, the efforts of the initiated are constantly directed to the frustration of the plans of such men. This honorable warfare would now appear to be iriumphantly terminated, if we may rely upon a work which has just been submitted to the Academy of Sciences by M. Dumas, in the name of a Commission, of which MM. Thénard, Pelouze, and Regnault, were the members.
We may add that this interesting communication has evidently been brought about through M. Seguier, who had, at a former sitting, given very favorable inforniation respecting paper money, which, as it is at present, or has been hitherto made, may be easily counterfeited; but by means of the novel processes and safety-paper, which has just been approved of by the Institute, counterfeit would be impossible, so that we may be led to hope that the crime of forgery will one day disappear from the penal code.
M. Dumas' communication regarding safety-paper is as follows: we give it entire on account of its importance.
The undersigned members of the Commission of Safety-Paper and Ink, persuaded from long study that the question proposed to them by the Academy, has at length been solved, conceive it to be their duty to put the Academy in possession of the results obtained, and submit to them the conclusions arrived at.
Having been called upon to form part of the government Commission charged with this subject, they have been enabled to follow, step by step, and day by day, the progress made in the solution of this question by the skilful persons successively employed upon it. To overcome the difficulties by which they were surrounded, they spared no trouble, but kept in view the necessity of maintaining, in all its purity, notwithstanding the practical difficulties attending it, the fundamental principle which had been sanctioned by the Academy upwards of ten years ago.
The Academy will doubtless learn with interest that not only have all the obstacles which stood in the way of the application of the process which appeared to be the best, been overcome, but that experience has also shewn this process to be the only one which offered the desired protection. The work has been long and arduous, for, by a letter, dated 13th February, 1826, the Minister of Justice consulted the Academy on the means which might be employed by government for
the purpose of preventing the serious consequences resulting from the forgery of public or private documents, and of preserving the public treasury from the fraudulent erasure of writings upon stamped papers.
After lengthened researches, the Commission charged with the examination of this important and delicate question, made known in a report, dated June 6th, 1831, two methods of rendering the fraudulent erasure of writing impracticable; one of which, at least, might otser great obstacles to the commission of forgery.
The Academy, adopting the views of the Commission, proposed to the government to prescribe or to advise the employment of an indelible ink, which should resist all attempts at forgery, by erasure or other means. This ink, which may be obtained at a very moderate price, and is made by diluting Indian ink with water, acidulated by nieans of hrdrochloric acid, in such quantity as to give it a density of 1,010, resisis, in fact, very well, all chemical agents, and even mechanical erasure, providing the ink has sufficiently penetrated the paper. Seeing, however, the difficulty of making the generality of persons who have occasion to use stamped paper employ a particular kind of ink, the Academy advised a device to be printed with ordinary ink in the middle of each stamped sheet, which would disappear on any attempt being made to efface the writing, in order to use the paper over again.
These propositions became the subject of attentive consideration on the part of government—as to whether they should be carried into effect. A well-executed work, addressed, on the 18th July, 1836, in the Minister of Finances by M. de Colmont, Inspector of Finance, and M. Cordier, Inspector of Domains, shows that the device in delible ink, proposed by the Academy, may be easily applied, either by means of a block engraved in relief, or by the ordinary typographical characters.
At about the same period, the government and the Academy were taken with the idea of using a paper the pulp of which should contain invisible re-agents, but which should be susceptible to the action of the agents affecting the ink, and be thereby changed in color. Another plan was also proposed, which consisted in forming each sheet of paper with two thin sheets, and placing between them a device printed in ordinary ink, which would be effaced by the same agents employed to take out the ink.
Two reports, adopted by the Academy in 1837, made known to gor. ernment and to the public the results of the further researches of the Commission in these various plans. The paper impregnated with chemical re-agents did not meet with their approbation; most of them, both those at first and recently proposed, contain cyanoferrurets, and acquire therefrom many remarkable qualities with regard to sensitiveness to the re-agents ordinarily employed for effacing and forging writings; but when the cyanoferrurets are insoluble, it would not be impossible to find agents capable of effacing ink without changing the color of the secret test in the paper. When the cyanoferrurets are soluble, the sensitive material may always be removed before effacing the writing, and again introduced into the paper after effacing or altering the writing
Besides, as it is possible that a re-agent introduced into the paper will, under the influence of the atmosphere more or less damp, cause a slow action, which would, in a few years, affect it considerably, it would be necessary, before advising the adoption of any one of them, to ascertain, by long experience, that it is really free from all injurious properties in this respect. Lastly,--cyanoserrurets, which constitute the most sensitive and consequently the most efficacious re-agents, increase (even when small quantities are used) the combustibility of the paper; sometimes even to such an extent that it will burn like tinder.
For these reasons the Coinmission rejected the employment of this kind of paper in 1837; since which time, notwithstanding the numerous and most persevering attempts which have been made, none of the persons experimenting on this plan have succeeded in meeting the serious objections just mentioned.
About the same time the double sheets, furnished with a delible internal device, were rejected, as it was found that these sheets might either become detached spontaneously, or might be very easily separated intentionally. It had also been proven that the writing could be etfaced without effecting the interior device. These kinds of papers had been counterfeited with ease by means of the ordinary lithographic processes.
Lastly, the Commission did not find, in the mode of manufacturing such papers, the degree of durability requisite for stamped paper. This paper, with interior devices, has, however, been advantageously employed by companies and commercial houses; to whom this latter consideration is of no moment, and to whom it matters but little whether the paper they use was manufactured by hand or by machinery, or prepared with vegetable or animal gelatine,—to what degree it was sized, and whether it was durable or not. When made thin, and but slightly sized, this paper takes up the ink freely, and renders forgery more difficult. It is not, however, applicable to the manufacture of paper to be stamped, as the government very justly prefer using stiff hand-made paper, sized with gelatine, and of a durable nature, so that deeds written ihereon may be kept for many years.
The researches of the Commission, nominated by the Academy, have coincided in a transformation which took place in the art of manufacturing paper; and this circumstance gave rise to an apparent contradiction between the conclusions to which they were led in their first report and those which arose from the subsequent reports. This may be easily accounted for:-At the time when the first report of the Commission was adopted by the Academy, the paper used in commerce was principally hand-made, and sized with gelatine;—on this paper acidulated Indian ink will sink very deep, and produce indelible marks; the Academy was therefore justified in recommending its use. But, in a short time, paper made by machinery and sized with fecula and resin monopolized the market, by reason of its low price; and it is at present almost the only sort in use.
Acidulated Indian ink is not very readily absorbed by this kind of paper, and consequently characters written upon it may be easily effaced by washing or by mechanical means, although perfectly unattackable by chemical agents. It was attempted