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The subjoined table (11.) gives the probable supply at the commencement of the present century. Table II. A comparative statement of the gold annually produced

by Europe, Northern Asia and South America, in the beginning of the 19th century. Europe, :

£185,020 Northern Asia,

76,770 New Spain,

£229,630 New Grenada,

672,300 Peru,

111,530 Potosi and the provinces to the east of the Andes, for

merly included in the vice-royalty of Buenos Ayres, 72,180 Chili,

400,550 Brazil,






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£2,729,050 The produce, on the average of the last few years, may therefore be assumed as not less than four millions annually, and for the preceding forty years we may consider that it reached at least two millions and three-quarters, so that the total amount for the half century may be estimated as follows: 8 years at £4,000,000 .

£ 32,000,000 40 years at 2,750,000

110,000,000-£142,000,000 It now appears that the addition of three hundred and fifty millions sterling in gold from America alone, during three centuries accompanied by great, sudden, and frequent changes in the relative quantity of gold and silver introduced, acting upon a capital stock of not more than a hundred and fifty millions, was needed to produce the effects on currency and on the price of labor already referred to. But it also appears that the quantity added within the last half century, amounting to much more than a third of that amount, has scarcely produced any marked result, or affected either the price of goods or the relative value of the precious metals. It is evident therefore that a very large increase indeed, even in comparison with the additional three or four millions sterling unexpectedly thrown into the market within the last few years, from Siberia, and which may no doubt be continued, would be required to produce any marked result that should require a modification of the standards of gold and silver in England.

Now let us consider how much of the capital stock of gold and silver, or the annual increment to that stock, is disposed of in successive years, and what proportion of it enters into circulation as coined money. It was supposed by Forbonnais that, between the time of the discovery of America and the year 1724, one-half the precious metals had been absorbed by the Indian and Levant trade, and one-fourth, or the half the remainder used in plate, or lost in melting, or by manufacture into trinkets; and M. Gerboux, who endeavored to verify and extend the calculations of Forbonnais, considers that the actual specie in circulation in Europe in 1766, and some years afterwards, amounted to upwards of four hundred millions sterling; but this estimate is probably too high.

However this may be--the loss by trade and absorption by the Indian trade has been gradually diminishing, the manufactures of Great Britain being now considerably more valuable than the produce imported from those countries. For many years past, therefore, the principal deductions to be made from the increasing stock of gold, would be from the loss by wear and the uses of this metal in the arts. We are not aware of any data that will aid us in calculating the amount of this deduction, but the uses of gold are numerous, and the quantity required for various purposes very large.

In 1810, it appeared from calculations made from the returns to government of the quantity paying duty, that the quantity of gold wrought in France by goldsmiths amounted to 7138 pounds weight avoirdupois, worth nearly £450,000. If this was the case during the time when the maritime war prevented importation, and in one country of Europe, it may well be imagined that the total consumption of gold in this way, in the whole continent, must have been very large. If we estimated it at two millions sterling at that time, it would probably be below the mark. No doubt a part of this supply was obtained from old plate, but there must still have been required an enormous amount of the precious metal to be taken out of the annual supply from mines. We must now add to this amount the quantity of gold used in gilding, and in other ways not paying duty, and also the increase in consumption during thirty years of peace and luxury.

The quantity of silver paying duty in the same year, in France, was about 176,500 pounds weight-value about £700,000. (Humboldt ante cit. Supplement.]

It is probable, therefore, that any very considerable increase in the amount of gold within certain limits would be readily applied in various useful ways; while on the other hand a large, though not, perhaps, an important quantity of the present supply would be withheld, owing to the cost of extraction not leaving a fair profit on the capital employed.

The gradual hoarding of the precious metals in the different countries of Europe must also affect to a very considerable extent the actual quantity of gold in circulation; but it does not seem to have had any influence upon the ratio, and has, perhaps, even assisted in diminishing the fluctuations. Many years ago, it appeared that the annual supply of both the precious metals together did not exceed one per cent. upon the whole amount of capital represented in that form.

Humboldt, to whose · Political Essay on New Spain' we have already so frequently adverted, says, in reference to the question which we are now chiefly concerned in discussing, namely: whether the interests of society would really suffer from a considerable accumulation of specie,

It is sufficient to observe, that the danger is not so great as it appears on a first view, because the quantity of commodities which enter into commerce, and which require to be represented, increases with the number of representative signs. The price of grain, it is true, has tripled since the treasures of the new continent were poured into the Old. This rise, which was not felt till the middle of the 16th century, took place suddenly between 1570 and 1595, when the silver of Potosi, Porco, Tasco, Zacatecas, and Pachuca, began to flow throughout all parts of Europe. But between that memorable period in the history of commerce and 1666, the discovery of the mines of America, produced its whole effect on the value of money. The price of grain has not in reality risen to the present day; and if the contrary has been advanced by several authors, it is from their having confounded the nominal value of coin with the true proportion between money and commodities.

Whatever opinion may be adopted as to the future effects of the accumulation of the representative signs, if we consider the people of New Spain under the relation of their commercial connections with Europe, it cannot be denied that in the present state of things, the abundance of the precious metals has a powerful influence on the national prosperity. It is from this abundance that America is enabled to pay in specie the produce of foreign industry, and to share in the enjoyments of the most civilized nations of the Old continent. Notwithstanding this real advantage, it is to be sincerely wished that the Mexicans, enlightened as to their true interest, may recollect, that the only capital of which the value increases with time, consists in the produce of agriculture, and that nominal wealth becomes illusory whenever a nation does not possess those raw materials which serve for the subsistence of man,or as employment for his industry.-Political Essay, vol. iii. p. 452-454. (Black's Transl.]

We have endeavored in the present chapter to illustrate and prove, as far as the subject admits of proof, several important matters, the heads of which we shall now briefly recapitulate :

In the first place, we have shown that the absolute and relative quantities of the precious metals bear no necessary relation to each other; or, in other words, that a large increase or diminution in the annual supply of one or the other, even for some time, affects only in a comparatively small degree their relative value.

In the next place, that even when the quantity of the precious metals in Europe, was enormously less than at present-probably not more than one-tenth part—the increase that took place on the discovery of America, amounting ultimately to the extent of tripling the amount of money given for the absolute necessaries of life (corn and meat,) only at one period perceptibly altered the value of money; producing its effect for the most part so gradually as not to interfere with the ordinary operations of commerce.

Thirdly, it appears that even should there be a very much greater increase in the total quantity of gold supplied than has ever yet taken place-as for example, if the quantity should be doubled for several years to come, yet this large increase must now be made to act upon so very large a capital stock already accumulated, as not to be likely to produce any immediate effect.

It also seems, that whatever the supplies of the precious metals have been, only a part, and even a very small part, has, at any time, entered into the circulation of Europe. It would appear that a certain absolute quantity is needed, to restore the loss by wearing and hoarding in coined money, and that this and the additional quantity called for by the increase of commerce to represent additional values, was all that really came into the market, so far as the circulation was concerned. The rest has been found useful in manufactures, and for plate and jewels, or has been taken by other countries, where it has perhaps been hoarded, and is thus lost sight of. Very little effect seems to have been produced by the enormous fluctuations that have from time to time iaken place in the annual supplies of gold and silver, or either of them.

Judging by the supplies which have been introduced within the last few years from Siberia, and the effect hitherto, it is clear that the fears of those who anticipate a rapid and considerable change in the market values of gold and silver are unreasonable and unfounded. At the same time it ought not to be forgotten, that the causes formerly in operation, tending to carry away large quantities of these metals into the East, have been gradually ceasing io act for a long time, and that we now depend, and have been for some time depending, on the actual demand for them in the arts, and the increased capital expended in the luxuries of gold and silver plate: (including under this head watches and jewelry.) The accumulations of the precious metals in the houses of the middle and upper classes cannot by any possibility be estimated; but that the stock of such luxuries rapidly increases with the increasing wealth pouring into the country, is certain from many other causes besides the total disappearance of so large a quantity. The steadiness in the price of the metals themselves, not only where their value may be considered as regulated by law, but also in countries where they are more openly marketable at prices regulated almost entirely by the demand, is additional proof of the truth of this position.

It may be observed that we have not estimated any particular quantity as likely to be introduced annually from California. What evidence there is on this subject we shall consider in the next chapter; but it is very small in amount, and of very little value. That all estimates hitherto made are hypothetical, there cannot be the smallest doubt, and we believe that nothing like the quantities assumed will be obtained, at least for some time, even if the quantity of auriferous alluvium is as large, and the produce as rich as is expected. [The last accounts from America (Jan. 23) state that as much as 100,000 dollars' worth per month was then supposed to be the rate of supply. We may salely refer a large proportion of this to exaggeration.]

If however we are mistaken, and if the large quantity of 100,000 lbs. weight avoirdupois, of standard gold per annum (or the value of about £5,500,000 sterling at present prices) should by any possibility be raised from these alluvial sands, which as far as they are at present known to be auriferous, are confined to a few small streams and an area certainly of a few hundred square miles of country, the effect produced would be after all only that of an average addition of less than one per cent. per annum, calculated upon the whole stock of gold existing in the world. We may venture to assert, without much fear of contradiction, that the additional quantity would be to a large extent absorbed and taken out of circulation very rapidly, and that what remained would not for many years tell upon the coinage so far as to affect the standard values of gold and silver in Great Britain.

By the time that this change begins to be felt, it is quite certain that the alluvial deposits, if so rapidly worked, must be showing symptoms of exhaustion, for such deposits are neither inexhaustible, nor are they rapidly recruited; and the mines that succeed, vaunted as they now are, will be found to resemble other mining operations, and can by no means be expected to yield continuously large supplies without great labor, risk and expense.

In point of fact, there is no reason whatever to fear that the quantity of the precious metals, or either of them, will multiply greatly beyond the deinand, or that they will become much deteriorated in value. On this subject again we have the opinion of the author of the “Wealth of Nations" to back our own, and with one more quotation from his work, we shall close the present chapter.

The quantity of brass and iron annually brought from the mines to the market, is out of all proportion greater than that of gold and silver. We do not, however, upon this account imagine that those coarsc metals are likely to multiply beyond the de. mand, or to become gradually cheaper and cheaper. Why should we imagine that the precious metals are likely to do so? The coarse metals indeed, though harder, are put to much harder uses, and as they are of less value, less care is employed in their, preservation. The precious metals, however, are not necessarily immortal any more than they, but are liable too to be lost, wasted and consumed in a great variety of ways. The price of all metals, though liable to slow and gradual variations, varies less from year to year than that of almost any other part of the rude produce of land, and the price of the precious metals is even less liable to sudden variation than that of coarse onea. The durableness of metals is the foundation of this extraordinary steadiness of price. The corn which was brought to market last year will be all, or almost all, consumed long before the end of the year. But some part of the iron which was brought from the mine two or three hundred years ago, may be still in use, and per. haps some part of the gold which was brought from it two or three thousand years ago. The different masses of corn which in different years must supply the consumption of the world, will always be nearly in proportion to the respective produce of those different years. But the proportion between the different masses of iron which may be used in two different years will be very little affected by any accidental difference in the produce of the iron mines of those two years, and the proportion between the masses of gold will be still less affected by any such difference in the produce of the gold mines. Though the produce of the greater part of metallic mines therefore varies perhaps still more from year to year than that of the greater part of corn-fields, those variations have not the same effect upon the price of the one species of commoditics as upon that of the other.-Smith's Wealth of Nations, book i. chap, zi.

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Opinions of the London and Paris press upon the probable changes which will be

produced by the discovery of Gold in California.

From the London Times, February 22d. The question whether a change in the relations of property is to take place from the discoveries in California still remains unsettled. For the past month or two anticipations of a social revolution have flitted before us, until they have come more or less to be entertained by the majority. There are still, however, a large number whose personal interests are involved, or who are indisposed to credit extraordinary events at any time, who resist the whole affair as an exaggeration. On the relative correctness of either party the accounts of yesterday will not throw much light, and we must therefore, perhaps, wait another fortnight for more definite means of judgment. One fact, however, to be strongly remarked is, that all the accounts, come through what channel they may, tell the same tale. Up to the present time not a single instance has been made known of any individual upon the spot, or in its neighborhood, whether at San Francisco or Monterey, having put forth & word of dissent or disappointment. This uniformity would be a striking

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