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with this? Only three things are possible: to force it into circulation, to sell it to the highest bidder, to hoard it as a stock from which to renew the subsidiary coinage, or to keep it for a possible rise in price. To put this amount of silver on the market would depress the price, and bring to the government a small sum, probably not more than thirty cents on the dollar. It would unsettle the finances of Europe. Possibly it might so raise the price of gold, and depress the price of silver, as to compel international bimetallism. To sell the silver would be a step in the dark that would risk altogether too much. To attempt to force a fifty-cent dollar into circulation would be as unjust as foolish. If redeemable in gold on demand, it could not be forced into circulation. If it were not exchangeable for gold, then it would be a debased coinage; it would depreciate at once and the innocent holders would be robbed. The only wise thing to do is to keep it on hand among the assets of the government. Some of it might be used as alloy in gold coins. It would be well to coin silver dollars as subsidiary silver, legal tender only for five dollars, and redeemable in gold at option of the holder. In this way from fifty to a hundred millions would be demanded by people who prefer a silver dollar to a one-dollar bill. The loss in the depreciation of silver has already been incurred. As the invention of a steel navy made wooden war vessels of little use, so the substitution of gold coinage for bimetallism necessitated a loss on silver coins. We may as well charge the depreciation to profit and loss, and hope that in the end our progress will more than compensate for the loss.
2. It may be objected that the proposed system will not provide a currency of sufficient elasticity. The answer is, that it will furnish all the elasticity that a currency as good as gold can possess. Stability of value and elasticity are not convertible terms, when applied to money, whatever may be their applicability to credit. We need to have
here precise distinctions between money and credit. There are two kinds of money under our present system,- standard gold coin and representative money. The latter is of two kinds,—coins and paper money. How much elasticity does a twenty-dollar gold-piece possess? It is true that one hundred of them will buy to-day as much of many of the necessaries of life as one hundred and forty would twenty years ago: its value compared with these commodities. has increased. But this fact is not an exemplification of the elasticity of our gold currency. It is true that, because of our pneumatic tubes in great stores, and our electric cars, express trains, swift ships, telegraphs and telephones, the gold eagle can do many times the business in a month this year than it did in 1850. But this fact is not what we refer to when we speak of elasticity of the currency. What then do we mean? We mean this: The demand for gold eagles in 1879 increased greatly: people worked goldmines, and sent bullion to the mint: the number of gold coins increased rapidly. Gold currency expanded. When the Bland bill and the Sherman bill were enacted, the demand for gold coin was checked; hence work in goldmines was suspended, and gold coins were made into jewelry and gold leaf for dentists; much was exported. So the gold currency was contracted as silver and paper currency was expanded.
These facts show the relation of stability of value in currency to its elasticity. Demand for currency increases its value. Increased value increases its supply by drafts on hoarded stock first, then by the melting of old plate and by increased production of gold-mines. When supply exceeds the demand, then export follows, the arts consume more gold, mining is depressed. The demand for money at certain times of the year is greater than at others. To move the cotton and cereal crops demands immense sums, increases the money work to be done in a short time. How
shall this increased demand be met: by increasing the number of pieces of money, or by increasing their rapidity. of circulation? To move the crops requires a greatly increased number of freight cars. How is the demand met? Do the factories turn out new cars and then, when the rush is over, destroy them? By no means. They make the cars they have travel faster, and they collect all those that have been at way stations and in repair shops and set them to work. So it is impossible to double the number of gold dollars at the harvest, and then, when the harvest is past, destroy or transform them. Exactly so with the $1,000,ooo,coo of paper money. It is not necessary to make it $2,000,000,000 at harvest time, and then burn a $1,000,000,000 in midwinter. It is not harvest everywhere at once. The same dollars that move corn and wheat in summer and autumn may be used to move oranges and ice in winter and spring. The remedy is not to be found in that elasticity of the currency which is to be provided by making pieces of money more or less in number, but in keeping each dollar constantly at work. A paper dollar as good as gold circulates not only as fast as gold, but much faster. A currency of this sort will possess just the elasticity needed. If after the crops are moved, there should be an excess of money, paper can be turned into gold and sent to Australia or India to move the crops there. If there should not be enough money to do the money work, gold could be imported or mined and made the basis of increased currency. Thus we should have money enough, and none too much, to meet the demands of legitimate business. The best money is by far the most efficient, and promotes those ends which men seek when they demand. an elastic currency.
Moreover with a $1,000,000,coo paper dollars, more or less, as good as gold, or better, as the basis, a system of sound banking may be established and operated which
would curtail or extend loans in proportion to the exigencies of business and the conditions of private, corporate, and public credit. Nine-tenths of the wholesale business of the country is done by means of checks, drafts, book accounts, promissory notes, and other credit instruments. To conduct this credit business, by means of deposit, loans and discounts, is a field ample enough and profitable enough for any bank and all banks of the United States, without their having anything to do with the issue of paper money or the expansion or contraction of the currency.
By means of a safe system of banking, that shall discover the men in a community who are worthy of credit, and shall bring these into coöperation, a cash basis of $100,000 will enable them to do a business of many times that amount. Money is not the same thing as wealth, nor the same thing as capital. It bears the relation to wealth and to capital that the lubricating oil bears to the locomotive engine. Comparatively little is needed, but that little is essential; without it the wheels of progress would cease to move. It is so essential that its quality should be of the very best, and its quantity no more than enough to keep things moving. Too much is almost as bad as too little.
VOL. LV. NO. 218. 9
THE PILGRIM FATHERS AND THE MESSAGE OF PURITANISM.1
BY THE REVEREND NEWELL DWIGHT HILLIS, D.D.
FOR full two hundred and seventy years and more have men assembled upon Forefathers' Day to celebrate the landing of the Pilgrim fathers; to revere their virtues, to sympathize with their sufferings, to recall the thrilling story of their first winter upon the bleak coast of New England; to marvel at their victory over the wilderness, famine, winter, disease, savages, and death itself, and for themselves and their children to swear anew fidelity to their fathers' God, to law and love, to liberty and learning, that these sacred fires may not die out upon the altars of the human heart. In scores of cities in our land, in church and hall, and around the banqueting board, the sons and daughters of the Puritans through oration and eulogy, through song and story, recall the famous men of old, with wit and laughing jest indeed hitting off their fathers' foibles, but in the secret heart reverencing their ancestors and emulating their example-for thus alone we prove that we are not the ignoble sons of a noble heritage. For if the giants of misrule and despotism may be forgotten, no race can afford to forget its heroes. God raised up the famous men of yesterday as soul food and stimulus for the youth of today. Standing at Plymouth rock, Webster looked up toward the fathers, that he might himself be lifted to their level. Lingering long upon those shores, where the first
1 Address given Forefathers' Day, Chicago, 1897.