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Devoted to the Interests of the Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union and Other Kindred Organizations.
VOL. IH. NO. 48. TOPEKA, KANSAS, WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 1892. $1.00 PEE YEAH. MONETARY COMMISSION. Report of th United States Monetary Commission, Appointed by Act of Con gnu Anguit 15, 1870. NO. VI. All that can be safely said on the possl ble discovery of new and great bonan zas is that the chances are against such discoveries within any near period. More than three centuries elapsed between Potosl and the Comstock lode, and it is a fact of observation, both In respect to silver bonanzas and great gold fields, that they 'are separated by great spaces of geographical distance. It certainly can not be proposed to predicate legislation upon the possible discovery of new gold fields like those of California and Aus tralla or of new silver lodes like those of Potoel and the Comstock. So far as the future of silver mining In the United States depends upon the in creased working of ordinary silver mines, it is safe to assume a steady advance as capital and labor become more abundant and as the means of access to the regions In which those mines are found are mul tlplied and Improved. But experience has Bhown that raDldltv In such advance Is not to be expected. It takes time to inspire capital with confidence In such investments, and the more so because the needed capital must be drawn, to a large extent, from points remote from the localities of the mines. No increase in the yield of silver in the Immediate fu ture seems, upon the whole, to be prob able, and it is still less probable that that there can be such an Increase as will compensate for the continuing decrease in tne yield of gold. And even if this should be the case, there would be no Increase In the aggregate supply of the two metals, which la now scarcely suffi cient to meet the money needs of the world's advancing population and to Keep the existing stocks good against loss by accident and abrasion and consump tlon in the arts. According to the estimates of Tooke and Newmarch, the gold yield of the world during the first five years of the UUlfornia and Australian developments, ending with and Including 1858, averaged annually 29,176,000, and during the five years ending with and Including 1875, 20,308,200, showing an average annual reduction in the latter period of 8, 807,000. According to the estimates of Sir Flee ter IIay, the gold yield of the world in the five years ending with 1860 averaged annually 29,935,000, and In the five years ending 1875, 19,640,000, Bhowing the larger reduction of 10,295,000. The smaller of these two estimates of , reduction In the yield of gold is con siderably larger than the Increase In the yield of silver during the five years end Ing with 1875, but the silver yield of the United States is now greater than $23,800. 000, which was its annual average during the five years ending with 1875. By so much as it is greater,so much more nearly does the silver Increase offset the cold decrease. But on no estimate Is the olT set a complete one. It thus appears that.the aggregate pro duction of the two metals has declined since 1856, and that the probabilities are at least as strong of a future decline as of a future increase. But It has been urged that the yield of the two metals In 1856 was much too great, and that the yield for the last twenty years, on a scale somewhat but not much declining, has been In excess of the legitimate wants of commerce and increasing populations and that the continuance of the produc tlon on an equal scale would tend to de preciate the value of money and to In crease the prices of commodities to an injurious and dangerous extent. If this is true, It would tend to Indicate and ex cuse the demonetization of one of the metals as a measure necessary to pro tect the interests of creditors. Undoubtedly the largely Increased out turn of the two metals for the five years ndlng with 1856 produced a general In crease of prices throughout the com mercial world. But no evils resulted from this Increase, which, on the contrary, so stimulated productive Industry as to be of Immense benefit to all classes, in cluding creditors. But whatever re suited, the fact Is an accomplished one. The world has accommodated Itself to the new range of prices, and to demone tize either .metal in order to restore the old range would bring on evils vastly greater than those sought to be reme died. There Is no rule of equity or ex pediency which requires the world to go back to the prices of 1818, which would not require it to go back to the prices before the discovery of America. The vital questions to be decided are, whether the yield of the precious metals has been more than sufficient to maintain the range of prices attained from 1856 to 1805, and whether the present and pros pective yield promisee to do more than this for the future, and. whether It Is not more probable that the utmost yield of the two metals combined, which can rea sonably be eipected, may prove too small for the world's rapidly growing wants and cause a fall rather than a rise In gen eral prices. It is not proposed to enter upon the question still in dispute as to the most accurate mode of calculating an average of prices, but'to state the conclusions upon which there Is a substantial agree ment These conclusions are 1. That from the beginning of the revolutionary troubles In South Ameri ca In 1809 to the opening of the Califor nia mines In 1849 there was a continuous rise in the value of money and a corres ponding fall in the price of commodl ties. According to Jevons, money in creased in purchasing power during this period 145 per cent 2. That after 1849 there occurred a fall In the value of money and a rise In the pnee of commodities, which reached their maximum about 1865. During this period, according to the same authority, tco purchasing power of money de creased 15 per cent 3. That this decrease la the purchas log power of money has since then been quite overcome, and that its command over property is at least as great as it was In 1849, and very much greater than it was In 1809. These conclusions relative to values and prices refer solely to the relation be tween money and property, and not to tne relation between money and labor. It Is plausibly maintained by many economists that an Increasing volume of money has a greater and more immediate effect In Increasing the wages of labor tnan it has In increasing the prices of commodities. One reason given for this Is that an Increasing volume of money, wnile It stimulates Industrial enterprises, at the same time furnishes the means to so organize and classify labor as to make it more effective, so that, although there may be a nominal, and, so far as the workman Is concerned, an actual ad vance In wages, the real cost of labor to the employer is not Increased. It Is probable that the main and governing cause for the Increased efficiency of labor Is to be found la the moral effect which Increased wages and steady employment have on the workman. They inspire him with a confident hore of bettering hla condition. This hope Imparts vigor to his arm and willingness to his mind. It stimulates his mental and especially his inventive faculties. Every period of in creasing money has been marked as the most fruitful In the inventions of labor saving machinery. These Inventions, while they cheapen the cost of commodi ties, increase the demand for them to an extent fully as great, and do not dimin ish either wages or the demand for labor. There ia a diversity of opinion as to the exact dates at which prices may have risen or fallen and as to the exact extent of such rise or fall; but It is universally conceded that the great increase of the world in commerce, In wealth, and In the population of Its civilized portions, fol lowing and caused by the California and Australian discoveries, has more than kept pace with the yield of the precious metals since 1885, and that In or about that year the rise In general prices caused by these discoveries was distinctly checked and that they have since shown a large decline. This decline has been undoubtedly aggravated by the demone tization of silver in several commercial countries. The suspensions of specie payments in Russia (1857), In the United States (la 1862), and In Italy (in I860), all within twenty years, not only liberated a very large amount of specie, which was ex ported to specie paying countries, but cutoff the demand of the suspending countries for the supplies of gold and silver which would have been required to keep up their stock of money if it had remained metallic Were It not for this extraordinary supply and decreased de mand, it is more than probable that the specie prices of commodities would now range lower than they did In 1&49. It Is certain that a resumption of specie pay ments In all or either of the three coun tries named would make such a demand for specie as would greaJy appreciate its value, and force prices to a much lower level. The still continuing suspensions which occurred In the Argentine Confederation (In 1&77), In Teru and Austria (In 1808). and In France (In 1870), also diminished tne demand for specie and increased its supply to the specie paying countries, out in much less measure than the sus pensions In Russia, Italy and the United states. The Increase of the world In popula tion, wealth and commerce Is still con tinuing. The stock of metallic money will consequently become Inadequate If it remains stationary, and still more sud denly and greatly Inadequate if It should be reduced by the demonetization of either of the precious metals. The prog ress of mankind In the particulars men tioned has a most important bearing on tne question of demonetizing sliver. It will require the highest possible produc tion of both metals if that progress is to continue In the future as great and rapid as it has been in the past In general. we know that this progress has been very great during recent years, but the state ment of certain particulars may 'give a more exact and Just Idea of It (To be continued.) SunaoBisi for Thj Advocatj.