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The Silver Question and the Sherman Law.

(Note. — On July 31st, last, the New York Herald asked my opinion on the silver question and the sentiment of the State on the repeal of the Sherman Law. Below is my answer, which the Herald refused to publish.)

The bankers and brokers of the large cities and the large daily papers favor repeal. I believe the general sentiment of the State wants something satisfactory substituted in case the law is repealed. Under the Sherman act nearly fifty million dollars per annum are added to the circulating medium of this country, and to this limited extent it helps to keep up prices. The idea that the Sherman act is the cause of our trouble is ridiculous. The present difficulty lies much deeper. It is not local to this country, but extends over the world. Mr. Goshen, the great ex-chancellor and banker of England, was right when he told an association of bankers some years ago that, as the country was already well banked and the credit system could not be much extended, therefore, to prevent the shrinkage in values there should be an annual increase in the volume of money; first, in proportion to the increase of population; second, increase of territory over which business was done; and, third, increase in the general industries of the world. At present 93 per cent. of the business of the country is done on the credit system, and rests, like an inverted pyramid, on the seven per cent. of money. The base being so small, a slight disturbance will destroy the great superstructure. Up to 1871 and 1873, the two metals had done the business of the world. It is true the English government demonetized silver in 1816, but this made no impression so long as the rest of the world used it. In 1873 Germany, by law, stopped the use of silver and threw four hundred million dollars upon the market.

Denmark and some smaller countries allied with Germany also by law stopped the use of silver. The same influence, that is, the money power, that secured this law in Germany got France and the countries of the Latin Union to, by law, stop coining silver, and got the United States at the same time to, by law, demonetize silver, so that the great commercial nations of the world by law stopped the use of silver and threw the entire burden of the business of the world onto gold. This leglslation was secured by the moneyed classes. Some years after that, in the address referred to, Mr. Goshen told the bankers of London that the effect of thus increasing the burden of gold and making


it alone do the work formerly done by both metals, would be to enhance its value and correspondingly reduce the prices of commodities. He also showed that the annual production of gold, instead of being on the increase, was at a standstill or decrease, and that the amount consumed in the arts was increasing. Since then the population of the world has steadily increased, making more money necessary; the area over which business was to be done has increased making more money necessary; the industries and exchanges of the world have increased, making more money necessary, while there has been no appreciable increase in the volume of gold — even much of the gold that is coined is soon used in the arts — and recently, Austria has by law, attempted to make gold the sole currency. Russia is calling for gold, and India has, by law, stopped coining silver, so that, while there should have been an enormous increase of the volume of money of the world every year, in order to keep prices at a standstill and have neither inflation nor depression, there has been a practical reduction in the volume of money and a consequent shrinkage in values all over the world. This has been going on for a number of years; stringency getting worse every year and prices falling as the stringency increased. The Sherman act is merely a small surface irritation of a disease that is constitutional and must receive constitutional treatment, or a long period of general bankruptcy must follow. I am not prescribing a remedy but am only giving the origin of the trouble. Money in the business world and blood in the body perform similar functions and seem to be governed by similar laws. When the quantity of either is reduced the patient becomes weak and what blood or money is left rushes to the heart, or center, while the extremities grow cold. Before the circulation of the blood was understood, volumes were written upon its functions and bleeding was the universal treatment. When a patient was already weak the doctor at once bled him. So with our money doctors. When the world is suffering because the volume of money is insufficient for the increased growth, all the remedies these learned doctors can prescribe is to take a little more blood out of the patient.