Shylock; as banker, bondholder, corruptionist, conspirator (1894)

Yamaguchy – by Gordon Clark

Treasury-notes are the only money that can afford the deceived, defrauded and abused American people sufficient and permanent relief. It has long been demonstrated beyond question that these notes, limited in volume to the needs of exchanges and equities, are “as good as gold”. There is absolutely nothing new or strange in this proposition to constitute gold, silver, and United States treasury-notes, the equal and self-redeemable currency of the American people. Thomas Jefferson –the most elemental American yet given to his country– laid down, in substance, the most pressing requirement of our own day. 

Perfect money –“scientific money”– while quite possible, is so far beyond the conception of to-day that even to indicate it is unnecessary. But the United States can at least adopt some approximation to the financial system of France, which insures industry and protects freedom, instead of following the English system to general impoverishment and “a new form of slavery” for the masses of mankind. The French system has nothing of what Napoleon called “ideology” in it, but rests solely on experience and “the rule of thumb.” The French, however, are so alert in their ways that they often reach a point better, by merely looking at it with the naked eye, than we heavy Saxons do with a Lick telescope or a Greenwich observatory.

The money of France is very largely metallic –gold and silver, both full legal tender to the extent of their issue, excepting a small amount of subsidiary silver. As a general thing the two metals are about equally divided in value, at the ratio of one grain of gold to fifteen and-a-half grains of silver. At present, the value of silver coin in circulation is said to be six hundred and fifty millions of dollars, the value of gold coin being somewhat more. As the territory of France is small and compact, and the population nearly stationary, her volume of money has become a pretty well known and pretty well fixed quantity. As she looks to it that her exports shall equal if not exceed her imports, and as she prefers trade with countries using gold and silver to gold alone, she keeps the money metals that have come to her from the store of ages — the largest proportion that any European country has accumulated. But, in case of war or other derangement of her affairs, her gold and silver flow out of her own domains. Then, as a Nation, as a Government, she turns to the Bank of France, and makes its paper-issues legal-tender money to supply any deficiency of metallic currency that may take place. Thus the volume of money — “the circulation of the life blood of the community,” as the London Times once called it [February 16th, 1849.] — is kept flowing and domestic industry is not strangulated. Financial panics are British and American institutions, and the French have no use for them.

A currency of gold and silver, with free-coinage and with treasury-notes to supplement the inevitable deficiency of the “precious metals,” would be our natural American modification of French currency. Treasury-notes, like the similar issues of France through her Bank, would be absolute legal-tender for all private purposes, and redeemable in government-dues — revenues and taxes. It is now settled in economics that such money would all stand equal –absolutely equal– in any country emitting it in properly limited volume.

Start the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *