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family number among them some of the leaders of the commercial life of London, Edward Sassoon, like his father, Sir Albert Sassoon, is prominently identified with the bimetallist movement in England, and is held in high esteem by its leaders as a bulwark of the agitation. He wrote out the following as his reply to three questions:
"First. It would contribute powerfully to bring about an international agreement, because the fact of American silver ceasing to compete with that of other countries would tend to raise the price of the metal generally. This rise, by bringing market ratio nearer to the traditional ratio, would bring a universal convention within a measurable distance of achievement, regard being had to the circumstance that it is the great divergence between the two ratios that constitutes the insuperable obstacle to it. It would most probably also lead to a reopening of the Indian mints.
"Second. Not necessarily, because with a protectionist tariff you would always command sutlicient gold for all purposes. There would, however, be a continuation of the tendency now prevalent on the part of the banks to prevent gold from leaving their coffers as a precautionary measure.
"Third. It would help the efforts of the dual standard advocates by showing the world that with a persevering and continuous financial policy the scheme is perfectly feasible, even though it be tried in a relatively restricted field of operation.”
"WARNITZ, July 4, 1896. "In my opinion, which is in agreement with that of my bimetallist friends, Dr. Otto Arendt and Count von Mirbach, the immediate consequence of the victory of the silver party in the United States would be that a bimetallic union between the great commercial powers would be restored much more rapidly than can otherwise be the case.
"The general increase in prices which would result from the free coinage of silver in the United States would benefit the producing classes of the whole world, and would convince large traders and capitalists that fluctuations in the ratio of gold to silver may have unfavorable consequences for them also, and that a fixed ratio between the two precious metals is a necessity for the world's commerce.
“Our opinion is based upon the view that such a step taken by the United States might possibly induce France and Russia to take similar steps; that. even if Germany and England did not immediately adopt the same monetary policy, they would, nevertheless, most probably be ready to enter into binding engagements to buy up their own silver produce in order to relieve the American silver market of pressure of foreign metal.
"I am of opinion that an energetic silver policy on the part of the United States could only promote the cause of international bimetallism, of which I am a partisan. I further believe that the credit of the United States would be improved, not impaired, by such a policy, whereas the maintenance of the present system would necessitate continuance and heavy loans of gold, which
must ultimately lead to a gold premium. Such a prospect may not be entirely unwelcome to the large banking houses, but it would, under any circumstances, imply a weakening of the credit of a people-even though it should appear to result from the failure of the attempt to maintain a gold standard.
"Free coinage of silver would have the opposite effect, namely, it would begin by producing a gold premium, which would, in my opinion, rapidly disappear.
"Banks and gold magnates urge exactly the contrary, but one must never forget that financiers have or imagine themselves to have the greatest interest in the continuance of an unhealthy, unstable state of the currency which induces violent fluctuations in the ratio of the precious metals and consequently in the prices of all wares. They pretend that the great and daily increasing monetary obligations in international commerce can be dealt with by perfecting the present system of credit, upon which their power and influence repose.
"I am of the opinion that the great producing classes of the population can only secure their rights and can only obtain their legitimate economic and political influence if the precious-metal basis, upon which rests the entire external and internal commerce of a country, is as broad as possible. For this reason I believe that the effect upon Europe of an energetic silver policy in the United States can not be other than favorable, because it must lead to the restoration of bimetallism that is of the broadest basis for the commerce of the world.
• “VON KARDORFF-WABNITZ,
“Member of the German Reichstag."
Edouard Fougeirol. In France still further opinions were secured to the same effect, a portion of which we reproduce here, as follows:
Edouard Fougeirol, Senator, president of the League Nationale Bimetallique, and a member of the Superior Council of Commerce and Industry, said:
"In my idea it is not the ratio of 16 to 1 that must first be established, but that of 1542 to 1, which would be a matter of re-establishment. As a matter of fact, Europe at the present moment possesses about six milliards (6,000,000,000 francs) of silver money. The establishment of the ratio of 16 to 1 would cause a ready-money depreciation of about 200,000,000 francs. The United States, who, themselves, possess in round figures three milliards (3,000,000,000 francs, or $600,000,000) of silver money, would see their silver money depreciate in the same proportion. Therefore, in my humble opinion, the ratio to fix upon between gold and silver, if we wish to bring about an International monetary entente, is that which existed prior to 1873, viz, that of 1542 to 1, which remains in force with all nations who continued to authorize the free coinage of silver.
"I consider that the return to the free and unlimited coinage of silver ly the United States, even without any intervention on the part of Europe.
would have a decisive influence for the ultimate success of international bimetallism. . "The principal adversaries of bimetallism at the present time are the great English bankers. This is not the case with the British Government, for at a sitting of the House of Commons on March 17 last Sir M. Hicks-Beach and Mr. Balfour declared that if bimetallism did not seem to them applicable for the time being to the United Kingdom, the situation was not the same throughout the whole of the British Empire. India, they said, notably had a real interest to see this system established, and you must remember that India represents a population of 250,000,000—that is to say, a population superior to the whole of the nations of the Latin Union, with Germany combined.
"The only resolute adversaries of bimetallism are, I repeat, the great British financiers, but their conviction, as I will explain, is perhaps not impossible to modify, and I am persuaded that it is precisely modified by the adoption in the United States of the free coinage of silver.
“I am absolutely convinced that the free coinage of silver in the United States would have such an effect in Europe that the monometallist nations, which, for the most part, like Germany, France, and the Latin nations, hesitate to re-establish the old monetary laws, would not be long in following the example given them by the New World.”
M. Edmond Thery. "M. Edmond Thery is leader of French bimetallism, founder of the French Bimetallic League, of which MM. Meline, Loubet, president of the Senate, and Maguin, governor of the Bank of France, are members. He is also editor of Economiste European, and author of a number of works on cur. rency. He said, in reply to the three questions:
"Free and unlimited coinage of silver by the United States at 16 to 1 would esercise a considerable, even decisive, influence. The fall of silver in 1893, after the closing of the Indian mints and the repeal of the Sherman act, with their effects on agriculture, first created popular interest in international bi. metallism. At the money congress of Paris in 1889 we were all monometallists. At Brussels in 1892 we were absolutely indifferent. But the fall of agricultural and commercial prices in 1893 produced a strong French movement, which ended in M. Meline bringing forward, on March 17 last, a motion in the Chamber, signed by 347 Deputies, in favor of a fixed ratio. At least two-thirds of the Senate approved this motion, among others M. Loubet, its president.
"Why were no further steps taken? Well, neither France, England, nor Germany dared take the initiative. All the great newspapers of Europe were monometallists, and every one thought the United States to be the same. The recent convention at St. Louis gave them reason. Then the desired ratio -1512 to 1-talked of by French and Germans, frightened the English banks.
“But, you see, if the United States took the initiative, with a ratio of 16 to 1, the ice would be broken, and all Europe would then have to obey the man
dates of their respective parliaments. For the argument that the United States, with all its personal interest in silver, is still gold-monometallist would be gone.
"Finally, the action of the United States would instantly raise the gold price of silver. Of course, the idea of a sudden return to the old ratio scares people, who forget that after the closing of the Indian mints the value of silver dropped 25 per cent. in two weeks, and certain English bimetallists propose a temporary ratio of 22 or 25 to 1, but for myself I am persuaded that silver would rapidly rise to a ratio of at least 18 to 1.
"To be brief, I am of the opinion that the free and unlimited coinage of sil. ver in the United States at 16 to 1 without the participation of Europe will help international bimetallism. Of course there would be a premium on gold. and all internal business would be done on a silver-dollar basis because the holders of gold would want their profit, but this would not lead to silver monometallism, because the economic conditions of your great country are totally different from those others who can not keep gold in circulation."
OPINIONS OF EMINENT AMERICANS.
Hon. John G. Carlisle.
I shall not now enter into an examination of the causes which have combined to depreciate the relative value of silver and to appropriate the value or gold since 1873, but I am one of those who believe that they are transient and temporary in their nature, and that when they have passed away or been removed by the separate or united action of the nations most deply interested in the subject, the old ratio of actual and relative value will be re, established on a firmer foundation than ever. I know that the world's stock of the precious metals is none too large, and I see no reason to apprehend that it will ever become so. Mankind will be fortunate indeed if the annual production of gold and silver coin shall keep pace with the annual increase of population, commerce, and industry. According to my view of the subject, the conspiracy which seems to have been formed here and in Europe to destroy by legislation and otherwise from three-sevenths to one-half of the metallic money of the world is the most gigantic crime of this or any other
The consummation of such a scheme would ultimately entail more misery upon the human race than all the wars, pestilences, and famines that ever occurred in the history of the world. The absolute and instantaneous destruction of half the entire moveable property of the world, including houses. ships, railroads, and all other appliances for carrying on commerce, while it would be felt more sensibly at the moment, would not produce anything like the prolonged distress and disorganization of society that must inevitably result from the permanente annihilation of one-half of the metallic money in the world. With an ample currency, an industrious and frugal people will speedily rebuild their works of internal improvement, and repair losses of property, but no amount of industry or economy on the part of the
people can create money. When the Government creates it or authorizes it the citizen may acquire it, but he can do nothing more.
I am in favor of every practicable and constitutional measure that will have a tendency to defeat or retard the perpetration of this great crime, and I am also in favor of every practicable and constitutional measure that will aid us in devising a just and permanent ratio of value between the two metals, so that they may circulate side by side, and not alternately drive each other into exile from one country to another. Our ratio, as recognized by the present bill, is 15.98 to 1, while the ratio established by the States composing the Latin Union-France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and, I believe, Greece also-is 15 to 1. We therefore undervalue silver as compared with the valuation put upon it by those countries. Silver is now appreciating in the market, and its remonetization and restoration to the coinage by this country will undoubtedly accelerate its appreciation in the future. * * * For fifteen years the people have been on the defensive, and, although fortified by the plainest provisions of law and the clearest principles of equity, they have been continually driven from one position to another until they stood at last upon the very verge of financial ruin. Gathering all their energies for this struggle, they have advanced-not very far it is true but they have advanced far enough to recover a part of the ground lost in previous conflicts; and, sir, I trust that their representatives will faithfully hold it for them.
Our power of legislation over this subject, will not be exhausted by the passage of this measure, and we ought not to halt for a single moment in our efforts to complete the work of relief inaugurated by it. The struggle now going on can not cease and ought not to cease until all the industrial interests of the country are fully and finally emancipated from the heartless domination of syndicates, stock exchanges, and other great combinations of money-grabbers in this country and in Europe. Let us, if we can do no better, pass bill after bill, embodying in each some one substantial provision for relief, and send them to the Executive for his approval. If he withholds his signature, and we are unable to secure the necessary vote, here or elsewhere, to enact them into laws notwithstanding his veto, let us, as a last resort, suspend the rules and put them into the general appropriation bills, with the distinct understanding that if the people can get no relief the Government can get no money.-From speech in House of Representatives February 21, 1878.
Hon. James G. Blaine. I believe gold and silver coin to be the money of the Constitution-indeed, the money of the American people anterior to the Constitution, which that great organic law recognized as quite independent of its own existence. Nə power was conferred on Congress to declare that either metal should not be money. Congress has, therefore, in my judgment, no power to demonetize silver any more than to demonetize gold; no power to demonetize either any more than to demonetize both. * * * Few persons can be found. I appre.