Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Relative value of Gold and Silver Bullion, &c.

220 Coxg. 2d Sess.]

practice, are greatly overbalanced by the loss which the ant or defendants to warrant the subsequent proceedings community suffers in being deprived of the services of its in the case: Provided, That no person shall be held to members, amounting, during the past year, to seven thou- bail on mesne process, except in the State or Territory sand six hundred and fifty-seven days, which would have in which the debt was contracted, or cause of action acbeen appropriated to productive labor in paying for their crued, or in the State or Territory where the defendant support while imprisoned, and in the baneful effects or defendants reside, or unless the debtor has absconded which imprisonment is calculated to produce on the indi- from the State or Territory in which he resided, or is viduals who are its subjects.”

about to leave the United States; which allegation, that Again, Number of debtor's

the debtor has absconded, or is about to leave the United for one dollar and less,

53 States, shall be made on oath or affirmation, in the nan. more than 1, and less than 5, 306 ner as hereinbefore provided for, and the truth of sail more than 5, and less than 10, 219 allegation shall in like manner be tried. more than 10, and less than 20, 179 Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That notliing in this more than 20, and less than 100, 168 act contained shall prevent the issuing the writ of ne erect more than 100,

34 by any court of the United States.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That, from and after

959 the 4th day of July next, no female whaterer, or male of A bill to abolish imprisonment for debt.

the age of seventy years, or more, who shall be sued for Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in virtue of any contract, express or implied, shall be held

any debt, damages, or claims, due, or alleged to be due, of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That to special bail, or bail on mesne process; but in all actions it shall not be lawful for any of the courts of the United on such contracts, express or implied, the process shal States to issue a capias ad satisfaciendum, or any other be by summons, or by summons and attachment of proprocess, by which the body may be subject to arrest or pertý, in those States where, by the laws thereof, proper. imprisonment, upon any judgment at law or final decree iy may be attached by mesne process; and the return of in chancery, for payınent of money founded upon any service of such process shall be a sufficient appearance of contract, express or implied, which may have been enter the defendant to warrant the subsequent proceedings in ed into, or upou cause of action, which may have accrued the case. after the 4th day of July next; and upon all such contracts Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, that the provisions of and causes of action after judgment, imprisonment shall this act shall extend to all cases of civil proceeding wikia be totally and absolutely abolished.

the District of Columbia and the Territories. Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That no bail or security for the appearance for any defendant or defendants shall, hereafter, be required upon the service of the ori.

GOLD AND SILVER BULLION, &c. &c. ginal or mesne process issuing out of the courts of the Ilouse of REPRESENTATIVES, January 14, 1833. United States, in any action or suit founded on any con- Letler from the Director of the Mint, transmitting, in de tract, express or implied, which shall be made or entered dience to a resolution of the House of Representatives, a into after the 4th day of July next, nor in any other suit report of the relative value of gold and silver bullion in the or action where the cause of action shall bave accrued principal countries of Europe and the United States, &c. subsequent to that time, unless the plaintiff or some other &c. person shall make oath or affirmation before the clerk, or

Mint OF THE UNITED STATES, officer attesting the said process, who is hereby empower

Philudelphia, January 12, 1833. ed to administer the same, or before some other person Sır: I have the honor to transmit, herewith, my report authorized to admininister oaths by the laws of the United to the House of Representatives, on the subjects referred States, or of the several States, that the defendant or de- to me under two resolutions of the 14th December fendants named in the process is, or are, justly indebted which report, with the specimens of coins alluded to to the plaintiff or plaintiff's in a certain sum stated in said therein, I have respectfully to request may be presented affidavit; and shall, moreover, make oath or affirmation to the House. that he, or they, have reason to believe that the said de- I have the honor to be, fendant or defendants intends or intend to remove from

With great respect, the State or 'Territory in which he or they reside at the

Your obedient servant, time such action was brought, or move his property out

SAMUEL MOORE, of the same, or conceal his property before judgment, or

Director of the Mint. otherwise abscond, so that the process of the court, after Hon. A. STEVENSON, judgment, cannot be executed; which oaths or affirma- Speaker of the Ho. of Reps. tions the said clerk, or other officer, shall endorse and certify on the said process: whereupon, the said officer

Mixt OF THE UNITED STATES, executing the same shall take bail, in double the amount

Philadelphia, January 11, 1835. so sworn to, and proceed as if this act had never passed. In obedience to the resolutions of the House of Repres But the defendant or defendants may contest the allega- sentatives of the 14th of December, requiring the best tion of said oaths or affirmations before the court in which rector of the Mint

to report to the House, as far as in his the said suit or action is instituted, or before the judge of power, the present relative value of gold and silver beds said court in vacation, in such form as the court shall pre lion in the principal countries of Europe and the United scribe; and if the court shall be of opinion that the said States; that is to say, if 371.25 grains of pure silver com allegations are not well founded, it may make an order to worth one dollar, what is the worth of the same be entered on record, discharging said bail or security pure gold?" not authorized by this act, the first process shall be by gree of fineness or proportion of alloy the best fitted in

And, also, to report to the House his opinion of the de summons, or by summons and attachment of property

, in gold coins, to give durability and continued brightness those States where, by the laws thereof, property may be the metal; and, also, in his opinion, what is the most suitaccording to the laws of the State in which the process the honor to submit the following report: has issued, shall be a sufficient appearance of the defend- In accomplishing the objects of the first resolution, it.

1

weight of

[ocr errors]

Relative value of Gold and Silver Bullion, &c.

[22d Cong. %d Sess. has been considered desirable to ascertain, not only the duced from the most authentic quotations of the premium relative value of gold and silver bullion in the principal on gold above the mint ratio in France of 15.5 to 1, for countries of Europe and the United States at the latest the last seven years, with a correction thereof for the dif. dates to which authentic data apply, but also the average ference in the charge of coining gold and silver. Column proportional value during a series of recent years, ade- five contains the proportional value of gold and silver in quate to determine the vibrations to which it is liable the United States, deduced from the premium on gold from transient causes. This latitude of inquiry seems par- over the mint ratio of 15 to 1, wbich premium is exhiticularly expedient in regard to the United States, where bited in column six. Column seven exhibits the exchange the relative value of gold and silver has exhibited conspi- of the United States on London, extracted from the Phicuous fluctuations within the last twelve years.

ladelphia Price Current, estimated according to the nomiThe period proposed to be assumed as the basis of an nal par of $4 44. Column seven gives the above quotainstructive average, is the interval from the year 1821 totions reduced to the medium actual par of $4 80, which the year 1822, inclusive. About the commencemen: of is 8 per cent. above the former. this period, the effects of a general peace, and the conse- It will be perceived that the proportional value of gold quent new order of commercial relations, began to deve- to silver bullion in England, as exhibited in table B, is lope their full influence on the currency both here and in singularly diverse from that established in the coins by Europe. The effective return to specie payments in the mint regulations, and given in table A. Under this aspect Voited States occurred between 1817 and 1819, and in of the relative value, gold would seem to be underrated. England about the year 1820. To these considerations By a peculiarity of the monetary system of England, howare especially to be added the new mint regulations of the ever, gold, of which the coinage is free, is made the only latter, adopted in 1816, but only carried into full effect general legal tender, while silver, after being subjected about the year 1821, which appear to have exerted a very at the mint to a seigniorage of more than 6 per cent. de. sensible control over the relative value of gold and silver ducted from the weight of the coins, is limited, in its apin the bullion market.

plication as money, to payments not exceeding forty sbil. When, at the commencement of the mint in 1792, the lings. Gold is, by this regulation, rendered indispensa. ratio of fine gold to fine silver was established at 15 to 1, ble to the national currency, while silver, except for mi. it was supposed to be conformable to their relative value nute transactions, can be regarded only as an article of in the principal commercial nations of Europe, and it pro commerce. It results, therefore, that the nominal mint

bably was nearly conformable to the mint regulations then ratio of gold to silver in England of 14.28 to 1, expresses, la prevailing. How far the value of those metals in the fo- in fact, only the proportional value of fine gold in two so

reign market deviated from the mint proportion during vereigns to the fine silver in forty shilling pieces. This fito the interval from 1792 to 1821, the means are not po.. is the actual proportional value of gold and silver to that

sessed to determine. No deficiency, however, in the extent, and both are thus far equally a legal tender. BeX, mint ratio of gold to silver in the United States became yond this sum the comparison in coins ceases, and the

early apparent. Gold and silver coins remained at par proportional value of those metals is to be sought for in with each other throughout that period. Both were the the market price of gold and silver bullion, measured in objects of a premium measured in the actual currency gold coins, which will be found in the third column. during the suspension of specie payments, but both of the From the above peculiarity in the coinage of Great Bri. same premium.

tain, which, though authorized by law in the year 1816, The first notice of a premium on gold measured in sil- was not in such effective operation as to test its ultimate Xer, in the United States, appears late in 1821. Before influence until 1821, has probably resulted, more directthe end of that year it had advanced to 55 per cent. Since ly than from any other cause, the advance on gold in the Abat time it has occasionally been as high as 7 per cent., United States, which began to be observed in that year. and, at intermediate intervals, as low as 2 per cent. Dur- In order fulfil the requisitions of a resolution of Parliaing the past month it has been from 3 to 4 per cent. The ment of 1819, for the restoration of the currency, as ap; above fluctuations evince the propriety of adopting the pears from the published reports, an amount of gold equal interval mentioned as the range of the present inquiry. to about ninety-five millions of dollars, was required to be

The annexed tables, A and B, present the facts which, imported within the succeeding four years. This opera

is presumed, will be considered as of most importance tion, which was accomplished, could not fail to be sensiin regard to the objects of the first resolution, as far as it ble in the United States, intimately connected as they are has been found practicable to obtain them, with a satis- by commercial intercourse with England, and setting a factory assurance of their correctness.

value on gold, in proportion to silver, lower than the other Table A exhibits the proportional value of gold and sil-nations from which this supply was to be drawn. It was ver coins as established by the latest ascertained mint re- accordingly felt in a premium on gold, paid first in 1821: pulations of the several countries of Europe named there. the expanded currency of England, and the continued in, contrasted with those of the United States. Where demand for gold resulting from her exclusive regulations actual assays, at the mint, of perfect gold and silver coins in regard to silver, together with her extensive intercourse of the several nations could be made available, the results with the United States, may be regarded as exercising a

of these have been exhibited in the second column as the constant influence to maintain the premium on gold, * practical illustration of the legal coinage to which they which, from that period to the present time, has not ceas

belong. The regulations of the other foreign mints have ed in this country, though subject to many Auctuations in been tested by results deduced from the tables of foreign its amount. assayers, particularly those given in Kelley's Cambyst, and Much less satisfactory data have been found for deter. the "Traite des Monnaies, of Bonneville, a distinguished mining the relative value of gold and silver in the bullion assayer of Paris.

market of the other nations of Europe. It has seemed, Table B exhibits the relative value of gold and silver therefore, preferable to rely on the more accessible and bullion, calculated from the most authentic quotations of well-ascertained facts of the case, in regard to England the market price in England, France, and the United and France. From their extended commercial relations, States

. Columns one and two give the price of gold and and the great mass of the precious metals employed by silver, of British standard, per-ounce, in London, from them in currency and the arts, these nations, and espe which are deduced the relative value of gold and silver cially the former, from the peculiar structure of her

cur- "Sullion, exhibited in column three. Column four exhibits rency, may be regarded as presenting the measure of the

proportional value of gold and silver in Paris, de proportional value of gold and silver for the adjacent

[ocr errors]

the

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

220 Cong. 2d Sess.]

Relative value of Go'd and Silver Bullion, &c. countries. This conjecture is amply confirmed in the evi- differs only a half per cent. in London, and only one-third dence of N. M. Rothschild, Esq., given before the com per cent. in the United States, from that of the whole pemittee of Parliament on the Bank of England. A special riod. That, during those three years, no annual average is fact stated on that occasion, by the individual above men- so high, but that within the whole period a higher has octioned, seems not undeserving of notice under this aspect curred; nor any so low, but that within the whole period of the subject. On the 24th of July last, it appears that there are examples of a lower. In regard to France, the 1,400,000 francs in gold were purchased in Paris for his same comparison applics, except that the average of the last account, at a premium of one per cent., and transmitted year is the highest of the whole range. The fluctuations are, to London. This premium on the ratio of gold to silver however, less than either in England or the United States. in France, is equivalent to the proportional value of 15.66 The result of actual shipments, within recent years, of to 1. If to this be added one-quarter of one per cent. gold and silver from the United States to London and PXas the minimum charge on the transaction, it will give ris, are conformable, with but slight inequalities, to the for the proportional value of gold to silver in London deductions on which the columns of the relative value in 15.70 to 1. If one-quarter per cent. profit be supposed, table B have been constructed. the relative value in London becomes 15.75 nearly to 1. It appears, therefore, rational to conclude that the ave

The report of the above committee, made in August rage of the whole period from 1821 to 1832, inclusive, last, and of which the evidence mentioned forms a part, may be regarded as exhibiting the result of all the fucpresents many indications of a controlling influence de-tuations incident to a state of peaceful relations. Within rived from the monetary system of England over the price this interval, all the ordinary causes of irregularity seem of fine gold in the other countries of Europe, including to have worked their effect more than once, and to have France, in all of which silver is admissible in the curren- yielded again to those countervailing equivalents which cy as freely as gold, and in some of them preferred to it. limit their disturbing power. The commercial exchanges The general tenor of the columns of relative value in ta- appear, also, during this period, to have passed through ble B, illustrates, also, this superior influence of the bul- all the vibrations to whichi, under ordinary circumstances

, lion market in London on the relative value of gold and they are exposed; and the relation they bear to the prosilver. In regard to the United States, this superior in- portional value of gold and silver bullion is exemplified in Auence seems unquestionable. Gold is occasionally ex- the annual averages presented in the table. ported to France at the current premium, but far more In regard to Spain, in which gold is valued by mint refrequently, it is believed, to England. The fact, indeed, gulations higher than its value relative to silver is found is familiar at the mint, that gold coins often remain in the at any time to advance in the bullion markets, of which vaults, unclaimed by the depositors, until the day of the quotations have been given, the information obtained is departure of one of the packets for Liverpool.

very limited. No evidence, however, has appeared of a The conclusion seems, on full consideration, to be sus- special influence on the value of gold and silver in gentained, that the proportional value of gold and silver in eral derived from that quarter. The ratio of gold to sil. London and Paris, and especially the former, expresses ver in Spain appears to be sensible in the United States the extreme measure of the relative value of those metals, only as it regards the price of doubluons and their diviunder the present state of supply and demand, in that sions, which, for employment in the Spanish markets, are community of nations to which the United States pertain. usualiy at a premium above silver, exceeding the current The facts sought for by the present resolution in regard premium on any other form of gold. For the same mas; to those nations, and their effect on the ratio of gold to kets, however, other descriptions of gold, either coined silver in the United States, it is believed, are exhibited in or uncoined, do not bear a premium equal to that elicited the table, with a near approximation to truth.

by the demand for export to England or to France. The proportional value of gold and silver bullion in co. On the whole, it may be assumed that the relative value lumns three, four, and five, it will be perceived, expresses of gold and silver bullion in Europe may, as far as regards the value of 3711 grains of pure gold, according to those the United States, be sought for in England and France. proportions severally, the dollar of 3711 grains of pure That, in the

former, the relative value at the present time silver being the unit.

may be estimated at about 15.85 to 1, being equivalent The average relative value of gold and silver bullion in to å premium on our ratio of 5 2-3 per cent. That, in London, for the whole period of twelve years, it will be France, the relative value may be estimated at about found, is 15.77 to 1, so that 3711 grains of pure gold would 15.73 to 1, which is equivalent to a premium on our ratio be of the value of $15 77--the dollar unit consisting of of 43 per cent. In the United States, the relative value 371+ grains of pure silver. The average of the last three of gold and silver at the present time may be estimated years gives the proportion of 15.85 to 1. The relative at about 15.65 to 1, corresponding to a premium of 4 value for the last year alone, it appears, has been 15.96 per cent. on our present mint ratio. to 1. The average relative value of gold and silver bullion in regard to the fineness and alloy suitable for gold coins

On the questions embraced in the second resolution, in France, during the last seven years, it appears, has been the following observations are respectfully submitted: 15.68 to 1, so that the value of 3714 grains of fine gold would be $15 68--the dollar unit being as before. The of fine gold possesses very superior beauty. In this styles

It appears to be generally conceded that the complexion average of the last three years gives the proportional va- also, it is capable of resisting in a high degree, the action lue of 15.73 to 1. The relative value for the last year is of those agents to which a coin is ordinarily exposed in 15.79 to 1. The average relative value of gold and silver bullion in ties, very desirable in a coin, viz. an attractive color and circulation, tending to impair its brightness. Two quali

, the United States, for the whole period, it will be observ- enduring brightness, would be therefore attained by eine ed, is 15.63 to 1, so that the value of 3711 grains of pure ploying fine gold; and if no other considerations were gold would be $15 63--the dollar unit consisting, as be involved, gold, in this state, would be entitled to a pre fore, of 3714 grains of pure silver. The average of the ference for coinage. In other particulars, bowever, last three years gives the proportional value of 15.59 to 1. appears to be less suitable for this purpose than gold comThe relative value of the last year alone is 15.70 to 1. bined with certain other metals.

On comparing the above res for England and the United States during the whole period,

with that during rection of the British Government, by Mr. Hatchett, deo

An extended series

of experiments was made under dis the last three years, as also with that of each year sepa determine the effects of attrition on gold in its pure states rately, it appears that the average of the last three years and gold alloyed in various proportions with different 20

Relative value of Gold and Silver Bullion, &c.

[22d Cong. 2d Sess.

allic substances. The result of these experiments, con- mation to the color of fine gold produced by various proucted with much care, appears to establish the conclu. portions of silver and copper employed as an alloy of a on that fine gold is less fitted to resist loss by the attri- gold coin, a number of specimens of the quarter eagle are on to which a coin is liable in circulation, than when forwarded with this report, to which the House is respectombined with particular alloys; that an alloy of silver and fully referred. opper, or of either alone, improves the quality of gold *No. 1 consists of 61 7-8 grains of pure gold, being the n this respect; that if this alloy amount, as in the gold quantity at present required in the quarter eagle. oinage of Great Britain and the United States, to one- No. 2 contains 61 7.8 grains of pure gold, and 5 5-8 welfth part of the weight of the coin, its efficacy is great-grains of alloy, making 67 1-2 grains the weight of a quarr than if the proportion were diminished; and that, if ter eagle of our present standard. The alloy in this spehis grade of alloy be constituted of equal parts of silver cimen consists of

' silver alone. nd copper, its efficacy can be no further improved. Tri- No. 3 is of the same weight and fineness as No. 2, but ial deviations, however, from the above proportion of the alloyed with silver and copper in equal proportions. alloy, or of its constituent parts, occasion no appreciable No. 4 is of the same weight and fineness as the preced. difference.

ing, but alloyed wholly with copper. A writer of much distinction and great research, Jacob, No. 5 weighs 66 grains, of which 59.4 grains consist of in bis history of the precious metals, advances, indeed, an pure gold, and 6.6 grains of alloy; which alloy consists of opinion adverse to the above, in regard to the capacity of silver and copper in equal proportions. fine gold to resist waste by attrition in lise. No reference No. 6 is of the same weight and fineness as the precedis, however, made to the data on which this opinion is ing, but alloyed with silver and copper in the proportion stated. It is, on the whole, believed that the prevailing of one part of the former to two parts of the latter. impression on this subject, confirmed by the ample expe- The first four specimens are of the intrinsic value of riments alluded to, and conformable to analogy, may be our present quarter eagles. The fifth and sixth are conregarded as correct.

formable to a coinage in which the eagle would contain In another respect, which also belongs to the question 264 grains of standard gold, consisting of 237.6 grains of of durability, fine gold is found less adapted to the purpo- pure gold, and 26.4 grains of alloy.. This would correses of a coin than when alloyed as above mentioned. Its spond to a proportional value of gold and silver of 15.625 softness and flexibility render it liable to have the de- to 1-an alloy in the decimal proportion of one-tenth of vices and inscriptions defaced or obliterated, and its form the standard weight being substituted for the present alloy distorted by the pressure to which it is occasionally ex- of one-twelfth. posed in use, independently of any loss of substance. of these specimens Nos. 2 and 4 are regarded as the It is further to be observed, that nature presents us with least attractive, the former being of a complexion too no gold in a pure state, but always associated with an al- pale, and the latter too high. Both of these defects frelöy, exceeding in quantity, generally, that of our present quently occur in foreign gold coins. Without being enstandard, and consisting chiefly of silver and copper. The titled to a preference on any account, gold coins thus alseparation, moreover, of the last minute portion of silver loyed are liable to special exception, as being more disfrom gold is only to be effected with great care, and by posed to suffer a deterioration of color by use, than gold processes involving an expense for which the silver, when alloyed with any of the intermediate proportions of silver recovered, is no equivalent; so that the cost of rendering or copper. the gold pure, would be greater than the value of the sil- Specimens Nos. 3 and 5, in which the alloy consists of ver retained as a constituent of its alloy.

equal parts of silver and copper, exhibit a more satisfacThe above considerations appear to render it inexpedi-tory approximation to the appearance of fine gold; which eut to use pure gold alone in coinage. All nations, it is would be but little impaired by an increase in the proporbelieved, retain in their gold coins, at the present ne, a tion of copper to that of two parts to one of silver, as exportion of silver. The celebrated ducat gold, the most hibited in No. 6. A higher proportion of silver in the pure employed in currency, usually contains silver in the alloy than one-half would not improve the coin either in proportion of one-eighth to one-half of a carat.

regard to complexion or durability, and is objectionable The only other metal usually employed as an alloy for as involving an expenditure of silver without an object. gold is copper. This, as before mentioned, is also found Gold readily gives up its silver to the ordinary process of in native gold, and its use to supply the deficiency of alloy parting within this limit. wben gold is above a given standard, is recommended by Either of those proportions, viz. the one-twelfth, as in the circumstance, that there is no metal so economical as No. 3, or the one-tenth, as in No. 5, may be regarded as copper for this purpose, that can be employed in a gold at least equal to any other combination of alloy with pure coinage, in the requisite proportion, without rendering gold, in resisting loss from wear in circulation. the metal too fragile, or impairing, in a greater degree, With respect to the continued brightness of the coin, its resemblance to fine gold.

an alloy of one-twelfth or of one-tenth, if constituted of The above considerations appear sufficient to recom. silver and copper in equal proportions, as in Nos. 3 and mend the employment of an alloy in the coinage of gold, 5, or in any inferior proportion of the former to the and the selection of silver and copper as the most suitable latter, not less than one-half

, as in No. 6, appears to prematerials for that purpose. The proportion of the whole sent the

limits within which the object may be most saalloy to the fine gold, will have regard more especially to tisfactorily attained. Gold thus alloyed is considered by the durability of the coin, while the proportion of its con- the chief coiner of the mint, whose long experience gives stituent parts may be adjusted with the reference to the much value to bis opinion, as possessing great aptitude for complexion of the coin, and their tendency to maintain, bearing the various operations incident to coinage, and in a good degree, that complexion in circulation. retaining its brightness well, under the ordinary exposure

In regard to the durability of the coin, it is believed to of a coin in circulation. No proportion of the constitube established by the experiments before referred to, that ent parts of the alloy, it is believed, would be in any sena gold coin alloyed with about onc-twelfth of its weight sible degree preferable in these regards, unless associated of silver and copper

combined, resists the effects of attri. with a standard fineness, approaching so near to pure gold Son at least as effectually as any other proportion; and as to be liable to the exceptions before stated in regard to at an alloy, slightly greater or less, is not sensibly infe- a coinage of that grade.

The numbers are designated by minute points impressed on the For the purpose of exhibiting the degree of approxi-S reverse or each coin above she head of the eagle.

a

rior in this respect.

22d Cong. 2d Sess. ]

Relative value of Gold and Silver Bullion, &c.

of the two proportions of alloy, viz. the twelfth and the served, in regard thereto, that the standard of 9.10 parts tenth of the standard weight, the latter, as represented fine would be preferable to the present proportions. This in Nos. 5 and 6, is, after much reflection, regarded with circumstance may be regarded as strengthening the conpreference. It is in no respect inferior to the alloy of siderations in favor of adopting the proposed modification one-twelfth, which is the present gold standard of the of the gold standard. In the silver coinage it would be United States, while it is preferable thereto on some con- still more sensibly felt as an improvement. The alloy in siderations entitled to regard, which have been tran- the latter differs more than in the former from a suitable siently alluded to before, but demand now more particu- proportion. lar notice.

The silver standard of the United States is at present The decimal proportion of 9.10 parts fine, and 1-10 part unlike that of any other nation. It is below that of Eng. alloy, corresponds more nearly than our present standard land, France, Spain, and the Netherlands, and most of the with the prevailing fineness of gold presented for coin. other Governments of Europe. It is inferior in fineness age. An average of all the gold assayed at the mint dur. to the bullion received from commerce, which requires to ing the past year is found to contain 878-1000 parts fine, be alloyed, at some expense, preparatory to coinage. and 122-1000 parts alloy; which is nearly 2} per cent. be. The average of the silver assayed at the mint during the low the decimal standard in question, and more than 4 per last year, including the various classes of foreign coins

, 4 cent. below the fineness of our existing gold coinage. The was of about 914-1000 parts fine, which exceeds the finefineness of the gold coinage of Spain may be stated at 870-ness now suggested by about 15 per cent., and exceeds the 1000 parts fine, which is inferior to the above average. existing standard for silver by about 24 per cent. The In the mint regulations of the Netherlands, adopted in fineness of the bullion received in other forms than that 1816, the decimal standard of 9-10 parts fine has been of foreign coins, exceeds our present standard by more preferred for gold. It is the established standard, both than 5 per cent. Deposites of silver, therefore, would for gold and silver, in France, and appears likely to pre- require sensibly less alloy if the standard were raised to vail in the neighboring countries. 'A late assay at the the fineness proposed. Another result, not undeserving mint of the gold coins of fifteen Governments of Europe, of regard, would be secured by a change: the silver of the gave an average within less than the half of one per cent proposed standard would bear better the various processof this decimal standard. All were slightly inferior, but es of coinage. none of them so much as 14 per cent. inferior. An incli- In regard, therefore, to the expediency of changing nation toward this proportion seems thence apparent as the standard of our gold coinage, it is satisfactory to per the prevailing tendency of European coinage.

ceive that a similar change is admissible in the standard By the existing mint regulations, definite proportions for silver with equal or greater advantage. of the constituent parts of the alloy for gold are not pre- Our gold and silver coinage would thus be in harmony scribed; they are controlled only by the provision that the with each other, and conformable to our decimal system. quantity of silver shall not exceed that of the copper. The proportional value of the fine metal in the coins Experience has amply confirmed the expediency of some would be the same as the proportional weight of the coins latitude in this respect. Exact proportions of the silver themselves. The dollar in silver would counterpoise that and copper could only be attained by a complex analysis amount in gold coins expressed by the ratio of the fine and adjustment, not required for ascertaining the fine metals to each other: thus, if the proportional value of ness of the gold, and unsuited to the current operations fine gold to fine silver were established at 15.625 to 1,3 of the mint. A process much more facile determines the dollar of the improved standard, containing, as at presentla constituent parts of the alloy within the above limits. In 371.25 grains of fine silver, would weigh $15.625 in gold i La the gold coins of all nations having a standard near to of the improved standard, and any multiple of these would be that of the United States, the variable proportions of sil- be in equipoise. ver and copper in the alloy are manifest on inspection. All which is respectfully submitted. Though a consideration of the proportion of alloy most

SAMUEL MOORE, fit to be employed in our silver coinage does not come

Director of the Mind within the terms of the resolution, it is respectfully ob.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »