Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

of other things, the supply and demand of which had not' varied: it would; therefore, be merely indicative of the relative variations of all other articles. Unlike the present circulating medium, which consists of gold and silver, or of paper,' regulated by its mixture with the precious metals, and partaking therefore of Their Aucluating values as articles of merchandise, it would not affect the price of other things." Those prices could, under such circumstances, only be regulated by the comparison of supply and demand, which seems to be the great desideratum in the transactions between man and man's - In fact, if we consider the way in which the value of a pure representative currency is created, it must be evident that, so far from affecting the prices of other things, 'its own value must be entirely regulated by the average of all other prices; for it is not by the pledge of one thing, but of all things, that such a cura rency must be created, and by the average of all prices, therefore, must its value be regulated. Now it seems 'rational to suppose that this average of all prices may be nearly a fixed point; that is to say, that as the supply and demand for certain articles increases that for others would decrease, and as this average or mean of prices, therefore, determines the value of the nominal pounid sterling, then, if this average is a fixed quantity, there can be ho variation in this nominal value, as affected in its capacity of the general représentative of all things. While, on the other hand, should it vary under extraordinary circumstances, it seems to follow, from the same causes, that the value of the nominal pound sterling will always vary in a due proportion to the general value and condition of the whole of what it represents, and not to that of a part of it only; as is the case in an intrinsic

currency, regulated by the partial standard of either gold or silver, in which the value of the currency may constantly fluctuate, according to the 'variations in the value of gold and silver, without any reference to the condition of other things, which it appears to 'me cannot be fit. Neither, indeed, can there be a perfect sympathy, as is con tended; even in the variations of such a currency and its standard; for money, in whatever shape, must be so connected with all property, that it cannot be influenced by that part alone which professes to be its standard : and hence the difference between the values of gold as specie and as bullion. If, therefore, there be auy thing like an approximation to a general standurd of value to be found," it must be looked for in a pure representative medium, and not in one, either consisting wholly of the precious metals, or in a mixed currency.

V.0.06 Siis It seems indeed, that a pure representative medium, thus supposed to be cregulated by the severage values of all things; but principally of those "articles actually essential to the existence and happiness of mankind, would, under all circumstances, forma con$tant measure of real wealth ; for such articles in fact, at all times, ponstitute the true busis of real wealth. The relative denominations of such a currency would, therefore, in all ages, indicate the same degrees of riches or poverty, and that which wasmad one period a competency, would not at another be beggary ş" as hias been and must be the case in a money system regulated by any single substance, in itself not forming one of the necessaries of life; the creation of which, moreover, depends not upon the roants and industry' of inankind, but which, being a natural and finite production, must, from the nature of things, be variable in its value; whereas there must exist a certain uniformity in tlæ value of the mass of those things which are created by the industry of munkind, due to their necessities; and though 'from accidental-causes their quantities, and consequently their values, may individuallybe

subject to fluctuation, they will still retum to the true standard fixed by the eternal and unequivocal calls of necessity. The pound sterling, therefore, thus regulated, 'would be no more an abstract or ideal quantity than that which is fixed by the Mint standardo el It may, hotrever, be said, that this regulating average of all prices is a quantity that cannot well be determined in numbers.

To this I answer, that if this really be the case, which I aml by no means prepared to admit, it does not seem necessary, so to determine it: inasmuch as it appears that the values of a pure representative currency will be, by creationy spontaneously regulated by it, that it is one of those operations in which the work proceeds correctly, though in the dark; and that if there be any fuctua

tions, those fluctuations will be in perfect unison with the general si condition of property. That such a currenoy should be payable at the, Bank, 'on demand, in gold or silver, AT THE MARKET l price, would jo no way counteract this operation ; 1 on the con"trary,

it would extend and confirmity inasmuch as the avetage value of gold, as of other merchandise, might thus, without inconAvenience, be' thrown into this general regulating average, from s which it is now excluded by the attempt to give it a forced and 9 unnatural value, by using it as money at a fixed price. 1; en en If, therefore, these propositionis be generally correct, it may be 5

inferred, that in civilised i society, under the guarantee of good laws, the true ciroulating medium is one of no value in itself;

while, iu uncivilised society, I admit that no medium but that of a intrinsic value can be established , and that in this consists the grand distinction of the different necessities of different states of society in this respect. And hence perhaps may be traced one of the causes for the disappearance of the precious metals, not only

any

in this country, but which is gradually operating all orer the civilised world. That in proportion as the government of country is settled and strong, the use of the precious metals is found dess necessary at home, and it is therefore exported to those scountries in a less civilised state, the relations with which can only u be carried on by actual value. Hence may we also account for e the greater abundance of the precious metals in France, and elsew where, than in England, from the late unsettled condition of the

Continents and if it be so, which I cannot but believe, how shortbsighted must we not be to mistake, as a cause of alarm, that which, - properly understood, is the surest proof of our stability and strength fri gljrizgys goi

10.Melo 9. It appears therefore, that we may with, safety, in the present

state of things abandon the idea of any extensive currency in the ii precious metalsah Let us, indeed, endeavour to produce a perfect 9 représentative currency by every means in our power, having its

standard regulated by the average of all prices. Let the redempbtion, on demand, of that currency in gold, at ihe market-price, be

duly guaranteed by law, under any regulation that may be most convenient ; so that igold may, in all its shapes, only be considered las merchandise niand that those fluctuations of its value which, aunder present circumstances, it is impossible to control, may be

állowed to regulate themselves, without affecting the values of the o circulating medium : ; but, above all things, as we have uot the smeans of supply for a cutreney in the precious metals, let us not buitbbolds an adequate proportion of the substitute, The worst evil that could befal the couniry, in the present moment, would be an

BENSÚPFICHEND CURRENCY, let that currency be of what it lumay! 411 din 1021m 12937- , ride The reduction of your circulating medium below that amount Ftwhich the actual state of the property in the country requires, - would operate at once like a reduction of that property; for if

the country possesses not the means of representing, in its trans- actions, the wealth it i possesses, vitris tantamount to a partial snanihilation of that wealth. The activity of intercourse between kuman and man; and of industry, must be crippled, and the value

of property, must consequently be diminished. How then is the country to meet those sengagements, in a state of means thus šu reduced, which were contracted under circumstances so different ?

But it is said, that by the neduction of our internal facilities 2prices will fall, and our foreign commerce consequently increase ; ou that then the balance of trade will be in our favor, the exchanges tu 915145197 ftib 290149 Jogo il 10 ghd shall endeavour bereafter to shew the public, that this may possibly

zob bona ribe best efected.192 non-intrinsic metallic currency, formed on new print

plesi

will, rise, and gold flow in abundantly! To ine, lown, this appears to be working in a circle-it must all come tound to the same thing ; for if exchanges are thus to be raised, the prices which the foreigner will therefore be made to pay for our manafacțares will not oltimately fall : therefore, he will take no more of us than before, and the end will be, that we shall have created distress at home without any increase of trade abroad. But, even if we could, at this price, ensure an increase of foreign commerce, "let is not forget that we may thus be sacrificing greater interests at home. Let us remember how spiall a part of our resources depends on our foreign commerce, compared to those involved in our own empire and its dependencies,' and that the great objeet of our solicitude, therefore, should rather be to legislate with a view to the prosperity of our domestie than of our foreign concerns. ix L. If prices must be reduced, let it rather be done by increasing than diminishing our internal facilities, and thereby augmenting the uctual quantity of our produce. ?

I cannot, for one, be persuaded of the trutla of the proposition, as it is generally received, that the bank-note system has produced a rise in prices. To suppose tirat it could raise prices by any direct operation, would be to suppose that the community at large would purchase bank notes at a certain price one moment, and pass them the next at a reduced value. So far, therefore, from thus producing a rise, 1 say that the real operation of this systeint has been to produce a fail, and that all manufactured goods in this country are actually muCH CHEAPER than they were before our increased facilities :-look at our Manchester cotton goods, our Glasgow muslins, our Birmingham and - Sheffield hardware, and other such commodities.' That the prices of corn and land have increased is true, because the consumers are increased, and labor drawn into other channels; but in all those articles which are partly produced by labor and partly by machinery, and they form the bulk of our erport trade, in those, with a few exceptions only, from partial causes, the prices are fallen by the inerease of the facilities of production, and will fall by the continuation of that

system, and, by that system only can they be reduced without misery and ruin: and not by compelling our manufacturers, by distress, to sell their produce at prime cost!

On the contrary, give the manufacturer encouragement and facility,'his inexhaustible ingenuity will still find cheaper meats of increasing his produce, and his prices will fall. Such' a fall may be effected without danger, because the increase in quantity will be 1 1.369 Most of these articles have fallen word dit us of" Chirty 'per cent during the period in question,

equivalent to the reduction in price, Nor is there any dapger that the foreigy. manufacturer will be able for many years, if at all, to compete with us in the cheap production of those compodities, the manufacture of which depends on the vast extent of our capital and machinery, whatever advantages he may possess in the price of labor, wuless we ourselves destroy those very, means and facilities which now exclusively belong to us, and on which our exertions depend. But if, on the other hand, prices are to be reduced, as contemplated, by withholding the means of exertion, (for such, in other words, is the withholding the present facilities of trade, so that with the reduction of prices a reduction of produce will also take place, what is to become of the country with its present incum, brances! The probability of such an event has already shrunk the value of property in an alarming degree what may, we not dread from the reality ? Let it be remembered that the numerical ampunt of our debt is recorded in figures that cannot be changed, though tae numerical value of the property of the country may be so. If then, with the present proportions of these numbers, the interest of the debt is sufficiently burtbensome to the people, what will it not be if you diminish their means of paying it? What would the country say if it were proposed to collect another million of taxes ? and yet, if we are not careful how we reduce the prices and values of things, the debt not being reducible in the same way, we may commit some fatal financial error, which shall be equivalent to ibe laying on of ten millions of new taxes !!! I must repeat, again and again, that the worst of all evils that can befal the country, in the present moment, would be the want of an AMPLE CURRENCY, let that currency be of what it may. The crisis is most eventful, and the doctrines that are abroad dangerous and fallacious in the extreme; and to say the least of them, of doubtful origin. False

theory and sophistry will bave done their worst, if they pull down the financial and commercial supremacy of this country!

England has hitherto been the only nation, the strict administration of whose laws, and the inviolability of whose good faith, bas enabled it to call furth energies in proportion to its general wealth; wbile other nations bave been confined, or very nearly so, to the limited resources of their wealth in specie. Lel us beware, therefore, how, from not duly appreciating the immense power that we thus derive from our unparalleled public credit, we commit an act of suicide - upon our greatness, by any unnecessary sacrifice of the advantages of a system to which we are so much beholdep.

Let me not be misunderstood.-It is not the Resumption of Cash Payments that I fear, if that measure were practicable to such an extent as to render it a permanent arrangement, which I sincerely believe it is not. What I dread is, lest we should commit some

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »