The Problem Of The Currency -- By: C. S. Waiter

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 055:218 (Apr 1898)
Article: The Problem Of The Currency
Author: C. S. Waiter


The Problem Of The Currency

C. S. Waiter

The Secretary of the Treasury reports the circulation of representative money, October 1, 1897, as follows: —

Silver dollars…………………….. $57,145,770

Subsidiary silver…………………… 61,176,415

Gold certificates…………………… 36,898,559

Silver certificates………………….. 374,620,299

Treasury notes, 1890………………… 89,816,063

United States notes………………… 251,795,544

Currency certificates………………… 52,825,000

National bank notes………………… 226,464,135

Total………………………………… $1,150,741,785

It is evident that all of this is representative money, kept in circulation at par, because the United States has pledged itself to redeem directly or indirectly every dollar on demand in standard gold coin. As to gold certificates the law is explicit. Subsidiary silver and minor coins may be redeemed in sums of twenty dollars in lawful money. Currency certificates are receipts for so much lawful money and are payable on demand. All United States notes, both of the issue of 1890 and of former years, are payable in coin; and the government has decided that coin obligations are redeemable in gold, if it be demanded. National bank notes are payable in lawful money of the United States by the treasurer. Silver certificates are redeemable in standard silver dollars.

It is true that standard silver dollars are not redeemable nominally in gold, but really they are. They are receiva-

ble by the United States for all dues to itself. They are legal tender for all debts both public and private. By the act of 1890, commonly called the Sherman bill, it was declared “to be the established policy of the United States to maintain the two metals, gold and silver, on a parity with each other upon the present legal ratio, or such ratio as may be prescribed by law.” If the government should persist in the refusal to redeem silver dollars in gold, it would be guilty of debasing its silver coinage fifty per cent and of thereby cheating innocent holders of these coins out of more than $200,000,000. Should it do that, it would at one blow destroy the public credit and we should have all the evils, without any of the advantages, of free coinage of silver. The treasury has, in fact, declared that, should the redemption of the silver dollars in gold be demanded, it would not hesitate to grant the demand in obedience to the law requiring gold and silver co...

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