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Title: Remarks on the production of the precious metals - and on the demonetization of gold in several countries in Europe
Author: Faucher, Leon
Language: English
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                                REMARKS
                       ON THE PRODUCTION OF THE
                           PRECIOUS METALS,
                              AND ON THE
                        DEMONETIZATION OF GOLD
                    IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES IN EUROPE.

                                  BY
                         MONSR. LEON FAUCHER.

                             TRANSLATED BY
                         THOMSON HANKEY, JUN.

                       SECOND EDITION, REVISED.

                                LONDON:
                  SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 65, CORNHILL.
                                 1853.



TO MONSR. LEON FAUCHER.


MY DEAR SIR,

I have fulfilled the promise I made you a few weeks since, by
translating, I hope intelligibly, your remarks on the subject of the
Production, &c., of the Precious Metals, which I read first in the
August number of the “_Revue des Deux Mondes_,” and which have been
subsequently published, somewhat amplified, in the reports of the
“_Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques_.” Since the date of your
remarks, the production of gold in Australia has been greater than you
anticipated; recent reports estimate the amount shipped, or ready for
shipment, from thence, at not less than £8,000,000 sterling; at which
figure, I think, we may safely place the produce of 1852.

A gentleman who was with me a few days since, just arrived from
Victoria, told me that the gold diggings at Bathurst were nearly at an
end, and that he did not believe that any more gold would be shipped
from Sydney. Although Sydney is only one of the ports of Australia
from which gold has been shipped, this would appear to confirm your
views, that the first gatherings cannot fairly be assumed as data
on which to found estimates of future production: at the same time
when we hear of so great an increase of production in other parts of
Australia, I can hardly agree with you, that there is so little ground
for alarm as to a depreciation in the value of gold, in consequence
of these late discoveries. The effects of the production in Australia
can hardly be felt at present, considering that the export of English
gold coin has been, up to this date, I think, equal to the amount of
gold we have received thence; but when the sovereigns lately shipped
are found to be in excess of the wants of the community in Australia,
and are re-shipped to this country, together with the produce of the
gold workings between this and next summer, I cannot but believe that
the supply in the market of the world will be found in excess of the
demand, and that ultimately a considerable and general alteration in
prices will ensue.

I shall be very glad if I find that by this translation I have in
any way contributed to increase the circulation of your remarks in
this country. The subject is one of considerable interest, and I
hope that you will, at no very distant period, give us some further
observations, and let us know how far your first impressions have been
then influenced by events which may have occurred subsequently to the
present time.

I am, my dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,

THOMSON HANKEY, JUNR.

_London, 30th November, 1852._



_The Foreign Weights and Monies have been converted into English, at
the following rates._


  Dollars and Piastres, at                 4s.

  Thalers                ”                 3s.

  Florins                ”             1s. 8d.

  Francs                 ”   25 to £1 sterling.

A kilogramme weighs nearly 2 lbs. 8 oz. 3 dwt. 2 grs. or nearly 15,434
grs. Troy.

Do. of gold at the standard value, viz. 77s. 9d. per oz. is worth about
£125.

Do. of silver at 5s. per oz. is worth about £8 0s. 9¼d.

Do. of quicksilver weighs 2·2055 lbs. avoirdupois.

Do. Do. is worth about 5s. 1¾d. or 2s. 4d. per lb.

A Spanish marc weighs 7 oz. 7 dwts. 22½ grs.

Do. of gold at 77s. 9d. per oz. is worth £28 15s.

1 lb. of gold is equivalent to 46²⁹⁄₄₀ sovereigns.

A poud is equivalent to 36 lbs. English, and worth about £1679.

The weights and measures not enumerated here are explained at the foot
of the page in which they occur.



REMARKS ON THE PRODUCTION OF THE PRECIOUS METALS, &c.


From the commencement of the 19th century, gold appears to have been
always esteemed in Europe above the price at which it has been legally
fixed in relation to silver; the commercial value of the metal has
remained on an average about 1 per cent. above its legal value. In
England alone gold circulates as money: in those countries which have
maintained a double standard, gold, rarely coined, became immediately
an article of merchandize, and disappeared from circulation. Gold
regions were discovered without restoring the equilibrium of value
between the two metals. Civilization, in its development from
historical times, has but realized the legends of ancient fables. Gold,
from its importance and constancy of value, appeared likely to remain
for ever the symbol and the essential agent of wealth.

In this regular course of the progress of the precious metals, a
pause, or rather a deviation, appears to have occurred. Gold seems
to be tottering in its monetary supremacy; the fortress appears to
have succumbed in a paroxysm of alarm. Ten years ago, every one was
frightened at the prospect of the depreciation of silver; during the
last eighteen months, it is the diminution in the price of gold that
has been alarming the public. Some countries, which, but a short time
since, were but too anxious to attract and retain gold in circulation,
even at great sacrifices, have already shown a feverish anxiety to
banish it altogether.

Holland took the lead in this movement, and in July, 1850, demonetized
the gold 10-florin piece and the Guillaume. Portugal has partially
followed this example, by prohibiting any gold to have a current
value, except English sovereigns. Belgium, which in order to increase
its gold circulation, had given a legal value to our 20 and 40-franc
pieces, and had struck, in 1847, a mixed coinage of gold and base
alloy, has demonetized its gold circulation, both home and foreign.
Russia, by a ukase of 29th December, 1850, wishing to maintain the
former equilibrium, has prohibited the export of silver. The French
Government itself, struck with the novelty, and the sudden change,
issued a commission for the purpose, as the Minister of Finance stated
in his minute of the 14th December, 1850, of examining the questions
connected with the simultaneous use of the precious metals, gold and
silver, as a circulating medium of value.

From public authorities, alarm has spread to private interests, and
the price of the precious metals has experienced in European markets a
very sensible disturbance in value. In the space of only a few months,
the premium of gold has given way to a reaction, only checked by the
tariff. From 1st July to the 25th December, 1850, the price of English
sovereigns in Paris has fallen about 2 per cent. On the Amsterdam
Exchange, the fall in the price of gold, in the same year, amounted
to 4 per cent.; at the same time silver rose in London almost as much
(from 4s. 11½d. the ounce, to 5s. 1⅝d.); the relative value of gold
to silver, which our laws had fixed at 15½ ounces of fine silver to
one of pure gold, and which the constant premium on gold in Europe had
raised in the Spanish tariff to 15¾, fell to 15¼ in Holland, Belgium,
and Hamburg; in all places where gold, from having been demonetized,
had become a mere article of merchandize; almost realizing, in fact,
the tariff of Russia, a country where the abundance of gold and the
scarcity of silver had induced a legal relative value of 15 to 1.

However great the present depreciation of gold, the depression appeared
likely to increase still further, and the gloomy forebodings of the
press have added to public alarm. Newspapers of all parties, and
of all countries, prophesied that, under the combined influence of
California and Siberia, the value of gold would soon fall to nine
times that of silver. Whilst crowds of emigrants were forcing their
perilous way across the Rocky Mountains, or doubling, for economy, Cape
Horn, or, in their impatience, taking the shorter but dearer passage
by Panama, hurrying on to the capture of the golden fleece, this very
treasure which they were unduly _appreciating_, was becoming as unduly
_depreciated_ in Europe; the article, which but six months before bore
the greatest fixity of value, seemed rapidly undergoing an important
change, and to the _Auromania_ of ages, an _Aurophobia_ appeared to
be succeeding. England alone has shown no sign of fear. During the
period of continental alarm, the Bank of England was not afraid even
to check the export of its gold; as in the beginning of 1851, the
directors raised the rate of discount from 2½ to 3 per cent., and
almost immediately the exchange turned. The pound sterling, which fell
for a short time to 24 fr. 70 cents., equal to a fall of 2 per cent.,
rose in a few days to 24 fr. 95 cents.; it oscillates now between 25
fr. 35 cents., and 25 fr. 45 cents., which is equal to a premium of
½ to ¾ per cent. upon gold. Again, the mint of Paris, which received
gold by millions in December, 1850, and January, 1851, has seen this
influx slacken until its weekly receipt now scarcely equals its former
daily supply. At the present moment, the oscillations of the market
seem to have terminated; a calm has succeeded the storm, and the value
of the precious metals seems to be in almost a normal state. The
present moment, then, appears to be a fitting one to examine if the
late disturbing causes were of an ephemeral nature, or whether they are
likely to be permanent in their effect.

On this important subject, the French Government, which at first
appeared ready to attempt an immediate solution of the question, did
not hesitate to recognize the necessity of more profound examination.
In the _Moniteur_ of the 15th January, 1851, it is stated, “that the
commission of 14th December, presided over by Mr. Fould, Minister of
Finance, for the examination of the subject of money, is of opinion,
that the late depreciation in the value of gold has been produced by
causes of an accidental nature, which are beginning to be less sensibly
felt; that influences of a permanent character bearing upon this
depreciation cannot at present be sufficiently ascertained; and in such
a state of affairs it is necessary to have precise information as to
the production of the precious metals in California and in Russia; and
that with its present knowledge of facts, the Commission is of opinion,
that there is no ground for a modification in our monetary system.”

This determination was a wise one, and subsequent events have justified
it; while on the one hand gold has again risen to nearly its former
value, and on the other, the discovery made in 1851 of rich deposits of
gold in Australia, renders the subject worthy of further investigation;
the present seems a suitable opportunity for the renewal of a
controversy by no means exhausted.

In default of official documents, we have the stories of the
adventurer, and the statistics of commerce. Sufficient light appears to
come from the north, the south, and the west, to enable us to form some
opinion of the results of the general movement regarding the precious
metals. I would add, that we can approach the subject now, freed from
some of the questions which appeared to encumber it; the trade in
the precious metals appears to be again in its natural channels. The
phantom of rise or fall does not appear to be materially affecting
trade: quite lately, to prevent the export of gold, the Bank of France
raised the premium for purchase. In London and in Paris, the metallic
reserves are full. The Bank of England has above [1]500,000,000 francs,
and the Bank of France above [2]600,000,000 in their vaults. The import
of the precious metals goes on but slowly. Nothing opposes, then, such
a patient and careful examination of the subject as can alone satisfy
the inductions of science.



I.


The value attached to the precious metals in their character of money,
is not of an arbitrary nature. Neither governments nor councils can
change it at their will and pleasure. The power publicly possessed
in this respect is but the organ of facts, which it submits to and
proclaims as law. The head of the Government stamped on the coin
creates a value only by the declaration of its intrinsic weight and
fineness; but the price of the gold and the silver is exactly that of
their commercial value in exchange. In this consists the stability and
the regularity of the circulation of money.

The cause which determines the value of the precious metals is the same
as that which affects the price of every other article of merchandize;
the supply and the demand--the comparative abundance or scarcity of
gold or silver in the market. The larger the metallic supply, the
smaller value will it bear; its commercial value will vary in exact
proportion to the increase in quantity. On the other hand, the smaller
the quantity of money in circulation, the larger will be the value
attaching to each separate piece; a smaller quantity of such money
will then suffice to buy a larger amount of goods, and goods are said
to be cheap--or what if in effect the same, money,--may be called
dear. This money, in the time of Charlemagne, possessed a power eleven
times greater than at present--that is to say, it was eleven times more
scarce. It is well-known that the discovery of America, in overpowering
with a fresh supply of the precious metals the metallic circulation of
Europe, brought about a sudden and large depreciation of their value,
which, notwithstanding a variety of oscillations, has been generally
maintained to the present time. Not only does the state of the market
mark the value of _gold_ and _silver_ with reference to other articles;
but there is positively no other base on which the comparative value
between the two metals can be determined, but the _abundance_ or
_scarcity_ of either.

The relation between gold and silver is variable in its nature. In vain
has Garnier, the commentator on Adam Smith, attempted to establish
his position, that the value of gold in ancient times differed little
from its value in our days; and that it then represented, according
to Herodotus, and under Darius in Persia; and again, during the time
of Plato, in Greece, weight for weight and purity for purity, about
fifteen times the value of silver. Criticism has not failed to demolish
entirely this ingenious but frail hypothesis. It has been clearly
demonstrated that silver did not hold in ancient days, the important
place it has obtained in ours, and which has subsequently rendered it
the all-powerful agent of circulation.

When we seek to examine minutely the various monetary changes which
have occurred, and to lay hold upon some principle to guide our
inquiry, we quickly recognize the fact, that the difference in value
between gold and silver increases in proportion to the development of
civilization and industry. It is not without some show of reason, that
mythology, transporting the analogy of the physical into the moral
world, made the age of silver succeed that of gold. Historically, in
fact, the discovery of and the working of gold preceded that of silver.
Gold is almost always found either pure or mixed with silver. In
searching the beds of rivers and streams, it has been obtained by the
mere process of washing. This work is within the reach of the rudest
state of society. It appears like a treasure spread over the surface
of the earth, under the very feet of the first occupier of the soil.
Silver, on the contrary, is embedded in rocks of primitive formation,
and is seldom found near the surface of the earth; its extraction
requires a combination of science, machinery, and capital. It is
the work of a state of civilization already far advanced and firmly
established.

In almost every age, whatever its social position, the use and the
value of gold has been known. From India to Iberia, and from Ethiopia
to the Poles, there is not a race which has not attempted to discover
this source of wealth on its surface. What country has not had its
Pactolus! What Prince or Satrap has not been a gold collector, like
Midas or Crœsus! The luxuries of ancient monarchs appear to prove an
abundance of metallic treasure, which has been subsequently unequalled,
but the sources of the supply have faded away in their turn. Dureau de
la Malle observes, that from the death of Alexander, the golden sands
of Asia and Greece appear to have been exhausted; those of Gaul and
Spain seem to have been abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Gold has long since disappeared from the surface of the older inhabited
countries; there is only now to come, in quantities of appreciable
amount, or capable of affecting the circulation, the produce of those
countries which have been unknown to European commerce, or which have
been discovered in modern times.

Referring to history, we find that the employment of silver as money
is of no very ancient date, and that it was introduced as a medium of
exchange, not by conquerors, but by people of industry and of commerce.
It would be sufficient to cite the Phœnicians, those planters of
colonies,--the Athenians, and the Carthagenians. On the first discovery
of America, silver money was found in use amongst only two nations
holding any political position--Peru and Mexico. And again, if silver
at a later period has taken the place of gold in circulation, it has
been maintained with more regularity and permanence. The mines--from
wherever it has been extracted, penetrating into and ramifying
throughout the bowels of the earth,--are almost inexhaustible. It
is thus shewn that the production of silver is found to continue
where that of gold is at an end, and hence the variations which past
experience has shown to exist in the relative position of the precious
metals.

The learned researches of Boeckh, Letronne, Humboldt, Jacob, and Dureau
de la Malle have thrown much light on the causes, and on the importance
of these monetary oscillations. They agree in the admission, that
originally the value of silver in some countries has equalled, if not
exceeded, that of gold. The laws of _Manon_ state a value of gold as 2½
times that of silver. M. Dureau de la Malle considers that between the
fifth and sixth century before our era, everywhere, excepting in India,
the relative value of gold to silver, had been 6 or 8 to 1, as it was
in China and in Japan at the end of the last century. It has been found
to have been as 10 to 1 in Greece, in the time of Xenophon, 350 years
before the Christian era; and even 100 years later, the treaty between
Rome and Etolia proves a similar ratio.

In the present day, the discovery and the working these new metallic
stratifications are the only causes which can materially change the
relative value of the precious metals. Formerly, conquest, by which one
nation became rich at the expense of another, or the pillage of those
great reservoirs of money called public treasures, throwing suddenly
vast sums of money into circulation, could not fail to depreciate
either one or other, if not both, of the precious metals. It was
thus that the conquests of Alexander, opening the gates of the East,
inundated the Greek world with the precious metals, which were lowered
in value by their abundance, and dissipated from their very excess.
After the capture of Syracuse by the Romans, silver, the foundation
of the treasure they had seized, fell suddenly in price, so that
seventeen pounds of silver were valued at one of gold. A little later
the relative price was as 12 to 1, when Cæsar, having plundered the two
milliards contained in the public chest, so reduced the value of gold,
which then predominated, that the proportion fell to 9 to 1. Under the
Roman Emperors, the production of gold began to slacken,--the progress
of mechanical science, on the other hand, gave a constant impetus
to the working of the silver mines of Asia, Thrace, and Spain. The
comparative value of the two metals again changed; it was as 18 to 1 in
the time of Theodosius the Younger, 412 years after the birth of Christ.

At the commencement of the fall of the Roman Empire, in the 4th
century, the value of the precious metals approached that of our own
days. The invasion of the barbarians, in dispersing and dissipating the
accumulated treasures of the West, destroyed for a time the industry
required for their renewal. Money, on account of its scarceness,
acquired an extraordinary power; the price of every article fell,
or, in other words, the value of silver rose to a most extraordinary
degree. Not only did the value of money and of the precious metals
increase in that long dark night of the middle ages, but the relative
value between silver and gold, which had been established by the
progress of industry, again changed. The value of gold, in relation
to other commodities, was preserved longer than that of silver, owing
to its greater general value, and to its being the less destructible
metal; and also because its supply was fed by the washings of the
golden sands; a fit occupation for the knowledge and tastes of an
ignorant people. The working of the silver mines, on the other hand,
being a work befitting a civilized and scientific people, was naturally
interrupted, and languished during a period of spoliation and endless
warfare. Hence, as we may suppose, arose the scarcity, both relative
and absolute, of silver; the comparison with gold remained at 11 and
12 to 1 from the 9th to the middle of the 16th century. It required
the excessive and sudden abundance, springing from the working of the
mines of Potosi, and in Peru, and of Zacatecas in Mexico, to reduce
the proportion to 14 and 15, the average rate at which it remained in
Europe until the end of the last century.



II.


A change in the relative production of the precious metals does
not necessarily alter their monetary value. In order to create
an alteration in the relative values of gold and silver with the
quantities annually produced, the disturbing cause must be of a
somewhat permanent nature. Moreover, it is necessary to examine, in
connection, either with a greater or less production, the causes which
might add to or diminish these results; such as expenses in working,
the varied wants of consumption, and the greater or less destruction of
coin by wear and tear, &c.

Monsieur de Humboldt remarks, that during the ten years, from 1817
to 1827, there was coined in Great Britain, above [3]1,294,000
marcs of gold; that is nearly one milliard of francs, and more than
[4]100,000,000 francs per annum, without any influence having been
produced by such extensive purchases on the relation of gold to silver:
the proportion, which was as 1 to 14·97, never exceeded 1 to 15·60; or
shewing a rise of not more than 4²⁄₁₀ per cent. Such was the case when
England, which for above twenty years had had only a paper circulation,
re-established a metallic currency, and attracted the coin and the
bars of gold dispersed throughout Europe. During these ten years she
absorbed, or nearly absorbed, an amount of gold which perhaps equalled
the production of the whole world, and certainly exceeded the import of
gold, during that period, into all the great commercial depots in the
civilized world. It would not enter into our subject to examine at what
sacrifices England made this monetary revival; but the equilibrium once
restored, and the empire of Britain having placed herself in harmony
with the rest of Europe, it does appear wonderful that it did not
cost more than a premium of 4 per cent. to have attracted a quantity
of gold, probably equal to the half or one-third of that possessed by
the whole of Europe. And the wonder increases when we remember, that
the Mint of London, which in 1814, 1815, and 1816, had not coined a
single sovereign, issued at once, in 1825, £9,520,758 sterling (about
240,000,000 of francs), which must have been consequently abstracted
from trade in the course of a few months. Political commotions brought
about other variations in the price of the precious metals. It is well
known, that on the news of the landing of Napoleon in 1815, gold rose
10 per cent. in London.

To explain how this sudden collection of gold, effected by Great
Britain with as much perseverance as vigour, did not bring about a
general crisis; it has been said, and not without reason, that the
quantity of the precious metals now existing in the shape of money,
rendered the oscillations in its production and supply as money, less
sensibly felt. It should be recollected, that if the metallic values
were so greatly depreciated by the discoveries of America, this state
referred to the existing condition of Europe, exhausted both of silver
and gold. The difference thus exhibited between the two periods is
very evident; but it does not appear to be sufficient to account for
the facility with which the circulation may increase in the present
day, without affecting the price of silver or gold. It may be as well
to add, that this movement, which appears to convey life throughout
every artery of commerce, is not fed now solely, as in olden times,
and during the middle ages, by the precious metals. Metallic money now
forms but a small portion of the total circulation, if we take into
account the mass of bank notes, bills of exchange, drafts and bankers’
cheques, which complete the amount of a circulating medium of exchange;
this, at the present day, taken as a whole, is something almost
indefinite: it appears to defy all calculation; and we might almost
say that the excess in the production of gold and silver now need not
necessarily produce more influence than the waves of the sea on the
permanent level of the ocean.

At the same time that the depreciation of gold and silver under
any general form becomes less probable, the increasing facility of
communication, and the greater mutual dependence of nations in matters
of credit, renders any great local difference in the value of money
more improbable. Whenever the precious metals become in excess in
one country, the surplus quickly reaches its neighbour. Let a sudden
scarcity of food, or any other cause, create a drain of specie, the
consequently increased value of money will soon draw back that which
has been exported. The cost of transport, and the premium of insurance
of gold, are the limits of the variations in the rates of exchange; and
the charges are being diminished every day, thanks to railroads and
steam communications. Before the wonderful progress in the development
of industry from the commencement of the nineteenth century, we have
seen the changes occurring at different periods, in the relative
production of the precious metals, without any corresponding alteration
in their relative values. At the close of the fifteenth century, it is
true, that America, furnishing nothing but gold, and this metal having
accumulated in Spain, Queen Isabella of Castile was forced to alter
the relative standard of gold and silver. After the first half of the
16th century, the production of gold having ceased to preponderate, and
silver being imported in great abundance, the value of the inferior
metal underwent such a depreciation, that the governments of Europe,
yielding to the force of circumstances, changed its relative legal
value; but with these two exceptions in the monetary laws, one purely
local, and the other European, we observe the production of each metal
extend and diminish alternately, without any relative alteration in
value of sufficient importance to attract public attention.

“From the year 1645 to the commencement of the 18th century,” says
M. Michel Chevalier, “silver took the lead in a most remarkable
manner. Then occurred the bright days of the mines in Potosi, and the
production of silver exceeded that of gold, weight for weight, in the
proportion of 60 to 1; after that, and without any diminution in the
produce of silver, came the glorious time for the Brazilian gold mines.
Simultaneously appeared the auriferous regions of Chico, Antioguia, and
Pepayou. The commercial world received from America 1 kilogramme [5]of
gold for every 30 kilogrammes of silver. Thus passed the middle of
the 17th century. Then the silver mines of Mexico put forth all their
splendour, and the proportion increased to 40 to 1. The Brazilian mines
began to diminish, whilst those of Mexico continued to increase in
production; and, at the beginning of the next century, silver exceeded
gold in the proportion of 57 to 1. In 1846 the production of silver
still continued to predominate, and we are now at the proportion again
of about 40 to 1.”

Humboldt’s calculations differ but little from those of M. Michel
Chevalier. This great authority considers that the import of gold until
the first years in the 18th century, bore the proportion to silver of
1 to 65. Let either of these suppositions be true, there can be little
doubt, that the relative weight of supply of the two metals varied
by one half, without any serious alteration in their relative price;
which surely proves that gold was essentially required, and that the
increase of production did but fill up the gap, which, as far as the
18th century, the progress of civilization and of luxury had created,
without an adequate means of supply.

In ancient times, the relative value of the two metals appears to
have been almost entirely governed by the quantities produced and
brought to market. A pound of gold was worth eight or ten pounds of
silver, according as the quantity brought to market varied in the
like proportion. The simplicity of commercial interests, in a state
of society when neither luxurious arts or industry were thought of,
offered no inducements for the collection of gold or silver for their
use as money, excepting on account of their relative scarcity; but when
fighting ceased to be the principal occupation of mankind, and labour
began to be held in some estimation, an end was put to this patriarchal
state: if the people lost their primitive simplicity, the relation of
supply and demand no longer depended exclusively on the proportionate
production of the two metals; other causes affecting a rise and fall
began to operate on prices.

When the precious metals were nearly absorbed in the supply of money,
their commercial value had no other element to influence an alteration
than the requirements of circulation; the monetary value governed the
commercial price. But, at the present time the contrary is the case:
the greater the degree of civilization, and the greater the increase
of a taste for luxuries, the more does the demand for the precious
metals for other objects exceed the want of them for coin. Mr. Jacob,
whose work on the precious metals appeared in 1831, places a value of
[6]149,000,000 francs on the gold and silver annually used for articles
of jewellery and plate in Europe and America.

During the last twenty years the progress of luxury amongst the
industrious and commercial nations of the world has been enormous.
The moveable wealth of France and England has made prodigious
accumulations. What family is there so poor as not to have some article
of plate? Gilding is no longer confined to the decorations of temples
and palaces; it is found in the most humble cottage. To what a length
may it not reach if the taste should increase for gilding the dresses
of ladies, and for covering the uniforms of our men with gold or silver
lace?

On the whole, then, it appears that the demand for gold and silver, as
articles of commerce, is likely to exceed the demand for the precious
metals solely for use as money. This is a new point; and we must not
lose sight of it in endeavouring to appreciate the effect which an
increase or diminution in the production of the precious metals may
have, both on their price and on their relative value.

Without noting the variations which have occurred from one century
to another, in the production and in the importation of gold and
silver, in order to recapitulate the quantities of the precious metals
which America has poured into the European markets in 318 years,
from the discovery of Hispaniola to the revolution in Mexico, M. de
Humboldt considers the production of gold to have been [7]2,381,600
kilogrammes, and that of silver [8]110,362,222 kilogrammes: making a
total value of about [9]32 “milliards” of francs: the weight of gold
imported represents about ¹⁄₄₇th of that of silver. It does not appear
probable, that the produce of gold in other parts during these three
centuries has materially altered these proportions. Admitting that
when first the Mexican revolution retarded the working of their silver
mines, the amount of coined money throughout Europe represented a value
of [10]8 “milliards” of francs, of which [11]6 “milliards” were in
silver, and [12]2 “milliards” in gold, the relative quantity in weight
would still have been as 47 to 1; and yet the relative monied value,
thirty years since, varied in Europe between 1 to 14½, and 1 to 15¾.
Thus, in the value of the precious metals, the difference was three
times less than in their weight.

Nothing is more difficult in matters relating to money than to present
statistics which may be considered as an approximation to truth. It
would appear that as gold and silver are used as the denominators of
value, generally, throughout the world, all the phenomena connected
with their production and circulation ought to be noted with the
greatest precision: they ought to be the points to which the attention
of statisticians should be “_par excellence_” directed. What can be
more important, in an economical point of view, than to establish a
regular scale, indicating the rapidity of every movement connected with
the subject, and acting as a gauge of its extent?

Divers causes appear, however, hitherto to have prevented such a
desideratum. In the first place, gold and silver producing countries
have generally been in a rude state of civilization; and as unable to
apply rules for the public weal, as to employ machinery to aid their
industry. Thus, even in the registry in Mexico under the Spanish
rule, of all the money coined at their mint, and for ascertaining
the amount produced in the mines by the proportion of the tax due to
government, which ought to be levied thereon by the hundred-weight,--it
is absolutely necessary to take into account all that quantity which
escapes the vigilance of the tax-collector, and which is either sent
into the interior, or exported clandestinely.

What is the sum of the precious metals really produced at any given
time? What is the proportion of such production which, when exported,
acts as a regulator of the prices in Europe? How are the channels
formed which sometimes direct the stream of commerce towards the east,
and sometimes towards the west, in the distribution of the metallic
wealth of the world? All such problems, as regards the past, must
probably remain unsolved. The enquiry becomes more easy when referring
to our own times; but even then large allowances for incorrectness of
data must necessarily be made.

At the beginning of this century, according to M. de Humboldt,
gold and silver were imported annually into Europe in the relative
proportions of about 1 to 55; that is, [13]15,800 kilogrammes of gold
to [14]869,960 kilogrammes of silver. M. Michel Chevalier, stating,
not the import but the production, calculates it at [15]23,700
kilogrammes of gold against [16]900,000 kilogrammes of silver, or in
the proportion of 1 to 38; but the gold of Africa and Asia, comprised
in this statement, never really found its way into European markets
except in the smallest quantities, and in such amounts as could have
no appreciable influence on the commercial prices of the metals. From
1810 to 1830, according to Mr. Jacob, the produce of America diminished
by one half. As the reduction refers principally to silver, that is
to say, to those mines which required both capital and labor, it is
fair to assume that, at least during the first part of this period,
the relative proportion of gold to silver would have increased; but we
have no means of verifying figures which appear to justify what would
otherwise rest solely on the analogy of the case.

In 1847, when the general working of the auriferous region of the
Oural Mountains was at its meridian, M. Chevalier considers the annual
production of gold throughout the world to have been [17]63,250
kilogrammes, and that of silver [18]875,000 kilogrammes. This would be
[19]25,000 kilogrammes _less_ of silver, and [20]30,000 kilogrammes
_more_ of gold, than at the beginning of the century. At these figures
gold stands in reference to silver as 1 to 14. The return from these
gold regions appears to have been greatly over-estimated. I find in a
table, published in the “_Times_” of May, 1852, statements which appear
to be founded on correct data, and which bring the production of gold
up to 42,800 kilogrammes--that is, to [21]147,400,000 francs.

This result, then, is remarkable. The 17th century produced 1 lb. of
gold to 60 lb. of silver. In the 18th century the production was as 1
lb. to 30 lbs. At the beginning of the 19th century silver was again
abundant, and appeared in quantity as 1 to 50. Towards the year 1847
the production of gold again increased, and the relative proportions
were as 1 to 20. The development of the Siberian mines, which has
so materially changed the relative production of the two metals, has
produced no sensible alteration in price. Will it be the same with
the wonderful discoveries in California and Australia? To solve this
question, it will be desirable to examine accurately the actual state
of the production of gold and silver throughout the world.



III.


Before entering into this inquiry, it may be worth while to examine
a circumstance of late occurrence, relating to monetary statistics,
which has given rise to some discussion, but which has not yet
been explained; I allude to the fall in the price of gold, and the
corresponding rise in that of silver, throughout Europe, towards the
end of 1850 and the beginning of 1851.

At that period Russia had rather less gold than usual to exchange
against the produce of the West; and since 1847 the working of the
Altai mines had been on the decline: at all events, the government did
not appear inclined to allow gold to be exchanged; for in 1848 and
1849 its export had been forbidden. In 1850 the state of the exchanges
did not admit of an export of gold, and a part of the 4½ per cent.
loan, contracted at that period by the Cabinet of St. Petersburg, was
remitted to Russia, both in gold and silver, from England. Doubtless,
in spite of the prohibition, Russian gold found its way into other
parts of Europe; it was calculated that between 1849 and the first few
months of 1850, the great commercial towns in Western Europe must have
received from [22]60,000,000 to [23]70,000,000 francs from Russia; but
this was not equivalent to the large sums paid for grain imported from
Odessa and Riga during the famine of 1846-1847. There could have been
no real increase in the metallic reserves of Western Europe during that
period.

The same remark will hold good towards America. The import of gold
thence in 1849 and 1850 could not have done more than replace the gold
coin exported to the United States two years earlier, in payment of
bread stuffs and salt provisions. A proof of this will be found by
examining the official reports of the mints of the United States. These
mints, which from the year 1834--that is, since the working of the gold
fields of Carolina, had coined gold at the average rate of 2,500,000
dollars ([24]13,500,000 francs) per annum, in 1847 put into circulation
about 20,000,000 dollars ([25]104,000,000 francs). At that time
Californian gold was unknown: the rich “_placers_” of that country did
not begin to kindle the gold fever, first in America, and subsequently
in Europe, until 1848. Californian gold, before it found its way to the
Old World, had to supply the wants of the New. It is exported thence
in the shape of eagles and double eagles, bearing the stamp of the
Republic. In 1848 the coined gold in the United States did not amount
to [26]4,000,000 dollars, and it did not exceed [27]9,000,000 in 1849.
With this small supply an export could not be expected. In 1850 the
Californian stream began to flow, and the mint of the United States,
having received gold dust and bars to the extent of [28]40,000,000
dollars, coined [29]32,000,000 (about 171,000,000 francs.) Supposing
that the bulk of this coin had been exported to Europe, such a supply
would but have restored the loss in the circulating medium which had
occurred in 1846. We had exchanged our gold against grain; it was
returned to us against the silks, wines, and other articles from
France. The monetary disturbance of 1850 must not therefore be set down
to the score of an excess of imports: the rich supplies from Siberia
and California could then only have acted prospectively. The real cause
is to be found in the measures hastily and somewhat rashly adopted by
various European governments. To prevent future evil they created
immediate mischief; and, in order to shelter themselves from the risk
of a future depreciation of gold, they directly produced it.

The crisis of 1850, thus examined, explains itself. On the one hand,
silver, being annually taken out of the market by circulation, was not
to be met with for other demands; on the other hand, gold, excluded
by some governments from their circulation, flowed to those countries
where it was still used as legal coin, and produced there, at least, a
temporary superabundance. Then occurred the fall in the price of gold,
and the rise in the price of silver; which together shewed a divergence
of 8 per cent. between their former relative prices.

The explanation we have endeavoured to give appears to become clearer
as we investigate further into the subject. Let us first examine the
facts relating to the scarcity of silver. England, the principal
market of Europe for the precious metals, witnessed, in 1850, a
reduction of about [30]27,000,000 francs in the ordinary import. This
applied principally to silver. Remittances from India, generally about
[31]20,000,000 fr., were almost completely stopped; those from Turkey
and Spain were materially diminished. At the same time about £1,000,000
sterling was required to be shipped to India, and remittances were made
by Messrs. Baring to St. Petersburg of [32]8,000,000 to [33]10,000,000
francs more, in silver. Germany and Holland required more than their
usual supply. The Société Maritime of Berlin had imported silver
to the extent of [34]3,000,000 or [35]4,000,000 thalers; so that,
altogether, the import into England, having diminished in 1850 to the
extent of about £1,000,000 sterling, the export had been in excess
by about double that amount; reducing the metallic reserve by about
[36]75,000,000 francs. In addition to which, Spain and Russia, having
prohibited the export of silver, the exchanges with those countries
could hardly be operated upon effectively by the transmission of
this kind of specie. It is easy, then, to conceive, that where no
modification of the monetary laws had taken place, the premium on gold
passed to a premium on silver.

This will explain the reason for at least a temporary abundance and
depression in the price of gold, especially on the gold market of
Paris. There is no ground for imputing the change to California, from
whence the supplies were of little moment, until the end of December,
1850. England so far had only received silver from the United States,
and the Californian gold, which had found its way by Panama, during
the year, did not exceed, according to official returns, £682,000,
or 17,050,000 francs. The Mint in London did not coin gold to a
greater extent in 1850 than £1,492,000, or 37,300,000 francs, which is
conclusive against any very large importation.

The market of Paris might have experienced a superabundance of gold, in
consequence of the demonetization of gold coin in Spain and Portugal,
and by the influx of Belgian and other foreign gold coin which had been
circulating in Belgium; and it should be added, that England imported
into France, for the payment of railway shares, probably to the extent
of £1,000,000 sterling; but the predominating cause of the depreciation
was undoubtedly the demonetization of gold in Holland, for that step
had the immediate effect of cancelling at once the value of the gold
coin there in circulation, and of throwing simultaneously an amount of
gold on the commercial market, almost equal to the whole of the annual
quantity of gold produced in California.

From 1816 to 1847 Holland had followed the example of France in
admitting a double monetary standard. Gold and silver were both
received in legal payment. The law of November 26th, 1847, altered this
state of things; one standard only was allowed, and the silver florin
of 3 grammes 450 milligrammes fineness, became the monetary unit: this
simplification of the national coin, however, was adopted in theory
only; the application of the system was postponed.

The article 23 of the law decreed, that before December 31st, 1850,
other legislative arrangements should be enacted concerning the gold
coins of five and ten florins, but that till these new arrangements
were carried out, the gold coin should continue in legal circulation.
The Dutch government might, therefore, retain the legal circulation of
the gold coin, by applying to the States-General to prolong the period
of the law of November 26th, 1847; but it preferred to carry out the
system to its fullest extent. On August 6th, 1849, the government laid
before the Assembly, the scheme of a law to “demonetize” the pieces
of five and ten florins, and leaving to the administration the moment
for its execution. At the same time the government demanded authority
for the issue of notes to the amount of [37]30,000,000 florins, to buy
in the gold coin, which although not in legal circulation, might yet
continue to serve as payment at its conventional value.

In the “_Exposé des Motifs_,” the Minister of Finance, M. Van Hall,
acknowledged that the depreciation of gold would not be immediate. “We
must examine the question,” he said, “in order to know whether the
proportionate value of gold and silver has undergone much variation in
consequence of the discovery of the Californian mines. The government
is of opinion that as yet this is not the case. In fact, a document
communicated to the Assembly proves that the proportion between gold
and silver of 1 to 15·60 has been found to exist but once. Sixty-eight
quotations of the Exchange of Paris mark the price of gold higher, and
only four lower than this proportion; at the Exchange at Amsterdam,
we find fifty-five quotations above, and fifteen only below. For the
present there is no fear of too much gold being imported for the
purpose of exporting silver. It should also be observed, that the high
price of gold in France has latterly been occasioned by political
events.

“It is well known that the price of gold in Holland is regulated by
the exchange on London. If England sends more gold to the Continent
than she receives from it, then the rate of exchange on London rises,
and gold is obtainable only at an agio. On the contrary, if England
receives from the Continent more gold than she exports, the exchange on
London is low in Holland, and gold is plentiful. Peculiar circumstances
may of course modify these general rules; for instance, it is possible
that England may have payments to make in Holland greater than Holland
has in England, while the case is the reverse between England and
the other countries of Europe; then the state of exchange in those
countries would naturally react upon ours.

“It often happens that other circumstances occur seeming to contradict
these principles. Thus in August last (1849), pieces of ten florins
were in demand in Holland for foreign remittances, although the price
of bar gold was only at 1¾ per cent. agio. Again, the influence of the
state of exchange on the importation of gold may recently have been
observed; not long ago, gold was exported from England to the United
States at the very moment that gold was supposed to be arriving from
America in great quantities.” I have repeated at full length these
remarkable admissions, to prove that the Dutch government was not
arming itself against a pressing or even nearly approaching danger,
and that their precautions were not even taken with foresight.
To theoretical errors were added practical faults; the Minister
of Finance had not measured the importance of the operation with
sufficient accuracy; he estimated the amount of gold coin in Holland at
[38]96,500,000 florins; it proved to be [39]172,000,000 florins.

The law was voted on September 17th, 1849, and the government received
the full power they had demanded. A royal command appeared on June
9th, for the execution of the measure. The following are the principal
articles: “1st. The pieces of ten and five florins shall cease to be in
circulation as legal payment from Sunday, June 23rd, 1850, but they may
continue to be employed in commerce: that is to say, that these coins
may be accepted in payment at a conventional value. 2nd. These coins
shall be received in payment by government, and by the collectors of
the revenues of the kingdom, at their nominal value, till July 31st,
1850, inclusive.”

At the time this notice was published, it appeared that the exchange
of gold for bank-notes would take place under the most favourable
auspices. Gold was at a tolerably high premium in the market of
Amsterdam, bills of exchange on foreign countries were scarce, and
consequently the payments of international commerce could very
advantageously be made in the precious metals. Moreover, the government
treasury was full, and the Netherlands bank declared itself ready to
assist efficiently in the operation. But all these chances of success
were destroyed by the precipitancy of the government. A complete panic
was occasioned by the short period granted to the holders of gold coin:
the people hastened to pour their gold into the state treasury, (which
could not receive it all) or else to send it abroad. The government
had imagined that the sum likely to be exchanged, would no exceed
[40]30,000,000 florins: they had miscalculated by two-fifths; for the
sum amounted to [41]50,000,000 florins. The 30,000,000 of paper money
that they had been authorized to issue, together with the money in the
treasury at their disposal, not being sufficient to pay for the amount
of gold presented, they were obliged to have recourse to the bank of
the Netherlands, and to borrow a sum of [42]6,500,000 florins, at an
interest, moderate it must be admitted, of 2½ per cent. per annum.

The exchange being effected, it was necessary for the government to
find a means of disposing of the gold withdrawn from circulation. It
could be sold only in foreign markets; and there, private industry
had forestalled the government, and the price of gold had fallen in
consequence of the number of Guillaumes brought for sale. At first
the Dutch government suffered only a small loss, owing to a momentary
reaction in favour of gold coin; but the first sales having increased
the depreciation, they were obliged, for fear of greatly adding to
their loss, to stop after having disposed of [43]21,836,000 florins:
the loss then amounted to [44]244,446 florins, being about 1¹²⁄₁₀₀
per cent. By the middle of October, gold had fallen in value 2½ per
cent. below the legal price, and by the middle of December, 4 per
cent. At this period, the pieces of five and ten florins, banished
from Holland, were scattered about in the different markets of Europe:
London had received them to the amount of £600,000; Paris to the amount
of [45]63,000,000 francs; Germany had absorbed the rest: excepting from
[46]28,000,000 to [47]29,000,000 florins, still lying unsold in the
treasury of the Netherlands.

The Guillaumes have continued to be melted and coined, in Paris, into
20 and 40 franc pieces; for I find in an official record furnished me
by the President of the Mint, that Dutch coin was exchanged at Paris in
the last six months of 1850, to the amount of [48]40,934,053 francs;
and in the first six months of 1851, to the amount of [49]70,901,597
francs,--altogether [50]111,835,650 francs.

The gold coinage of Holland, from 1816 to 1847, was 172,583,955
florins, equal to [51]362,000,000 francs. Supposing that of this only
two-thirds was in existence in this shape of coin in 1850, there
would be 115,000,000 florins, or [52]236,000,000 francs, all at once
withdrawn from circulation, and thrown upon the gold market: is it
possible that the price of gold could be otherwise than affected?
The gold thus suddenly demonetized equalled at least twice the annual
produce of the world, previous to the discovery of California. The
Mint of Paris alone, which had not struck above [53]27,000,000 francs
in gold during the year 1849, coined [54]85,000,000 in 1850, and
[55]269,000,000 in 1851.

Fortunately, the crisis was of short duration; the gold coined in Paris
rapidly flowed either towards Piedmont, to pay the first instalment
of their loan, or to Milan to pay for silks bought by Lyons and St.
Etienne. Credit is at a low ebb in Italy, there is little paper
circulation, tending to simplify accounts, and taking the place of
specie in the adjustment of debts; gold is therefore always in demand,
and the supply was speedily absorbed. Certainly, the apprehensions of
the Dutch Government have proved hitherto groundless, and the desired
object has been but partially attained: silver, having become the
sole standard, has found its way (somewhat in excess) throughout the
country, but the loss of gold coin has given rise to a small note
paper-circulation: there is now a paper money of 10 and 5 florins (21
francs and 10½), which, although at first but provisionally issued,
will probably become permanent circulation. Holland is following the
steps of Prussia and Austria. The Dutch Government supposed that,
notwithstanding the demonetization of gold, the coinage might remain
in circulation, and be voluntarily accepted for its _intrinsic_ value.
This was a misconception of the nature of money, which is accepted as
a circulating medium only on account of its _positive_ value. As might
have been anticipated, gold has ceased to circulate in Holland, and
paper has taken its place. It is doubtful whether the nation has gained
by the change.

We think we have sufficiently considered the subject of the fall in
price of gold in 1850. During the last eighteen months the production
of this metal has made immense progress. The crisis, which was then
imaginary, may have taken a more serious turn, and may become hereafter
a reality. This we will now examine.



IV.


The three great gold districts, which have lately grown into
importance, are, the chain of the Oural and Altai Mountains,
California, and its extensions to Sonora and Oregon, and the eastern
and southern districts of Australia; let us consider each in its order.

The washings of the Russian streams first aroused public attention
from the languor into which the question of gold-working had fallen.
The deposits of the Oural, where the first discoveries were made,
never gave any extraordinary results; the workings appeared almost
impracticable above the 60th degree of latitude, and although begun
on a great scale above half a century ago, they have remained almost
stationary for the last fifteen years; the annual returns, divided
about equally between the government and private individuals, scarcely
exceeded [56]5,000 kilogrammes.

The Altai gold district was in a very different position; in spite of
the rigour of an inhospitable climate, and the difficulties experienced
from any work of labour with a scanty population, the development of
produce was extremely rapid. Begun in 1828, the result, after the first
eight years, was [57]1,722 kilogrammes, but from that time it increased
in a geometrical proportion; it rose to [58]4,000 kilogrammes in 1840,
to [59]10,000 in 1842, and exceeded [60]20,000 in 1847.

The year 1847 appears to have been the culminating point of the
position of gold in Russia. The “_Administration des Mines_” report
a produce of [61]1744 pouds, or [62]28,521 kilogrammes, as the combined
working of the Oural and Altai; admitting that one-fifth of the produce
escaped the government tax, the result of the gold produce of 1847,
would be at least [63]110,000,000 francs. From that time the decrease
has been continuous. The official reports of 1848, give the figures
at 1,726 pouds, or [64]28,252 kilogrammes; 1592 pouds, or [65]26,077
kilogrammes in 1849; 1485 pouds, or [66]124,324 kilogrammes in 1850; and
1,432 pouds, or [67]78,000,000 francs in 1851. It is to be observed
that the reduction refers exclusively to Siberia, east and west; not
only has the activity of the workings in the Oural been undiminished,
but it has slightly increased: the produce of 1849 was 342 pouds, being
[68]244 kilogrammes more than in 1845.

The decrease of production appears to have been principally caused
by excessive taxation. The working of the Siberian gold districts is
divided between the Government and private owners, and in the division,
the eastern side of the mountains has been retained by the former,
whilst the latter have worked the western. The result has been an
immense loss to the public treasury, for whilst two-fifths of the
washings of the Oural are from the government reserves, the Altai
districts do not yield above 5 to 6 per cent. of this produce. The
Russian government has endeavoured to collect by taxation what is lost
either by abstraction or the washings. The tax was at first one-tenth
of the net produce; it was then raised to 15 per cent., and has since
been further increased. The new tax, however, only applies to Siberia,
east and west. It is a progressive rate, divided amongst ten classes,
the rate varying from 5 per cent. on the raw produce, when the working
was from one to two pouds, up to 32 per cent. when the working amounted
to 50 pouds per annum. The whole tax, however, was, in addition to
another tax called “minier,” also progressive, and varying, according
to class, from four to [69]ten roubles per pound of gold.

These exorbitant taxes may have acted in two ways, either as an
encouragement to fraud, or as a discouragement to production. At the
distance at which we live from Siberia, a country where the light of
public opinion has penetrated even less than the rays of the sun, it
is difficult to decide between these two consequences, both perhaps
equally probable. But the fact of the decrease remains undoubted, and
this decrease has been to the extent of one-seventh in three years, or
about [70]4,000 kilogrammes.

The working of the gold regions of Siberia has not been of the
democratic character which it has assumed in California and Australia.
There the first comer, provided he were furnished with a pickaxe, a
bowl, a cradle, and a small store of provisions, might, without further
capital, pitch his tent over some square yards of land, and dig until
he has made his fortune. With a license costing 60s. in Australia,
and with a tax of 20 dollars a year in California, he may go where he
pleases. It is not the government which fixes his boundary, but the
regulations of the republic of miners, forming a community along the
banks of a river, or at the foot of a hill, forbidding one man to usurp
a greater space than he can work with his own hands; the miner himself
possessing nothing, and therefore, risking nothing, may dispense with
all calculations of profit and loss. If the spot he has selected does
not answer his expectations, he shifts his ground, or his occupation.
Under any circumstances, the tax, not bearing upon capital, and being
moderate in amount, is easily paid; a few days work is sufficient for
it; the remainder of his time during the year with his bad or good
luck, is at his own free disposal. Such is not the case, in the Altai,
where the aristocratic forms attaching to all industry, either at the
will of the state, or from the force of circumstances, have exerted
their influence over the first commencement of working the mineral
districts. By the terms of the imperial decrees, concessions are only
obtained on special application, and for a term of twelve years, and
the portion assigned to each person never exceeds 100 sagenes (about
[71]250 metres) by five wersts, (about 5335 metres); the same person
may, however, take several lots, provided they are separated by a
distance of five wersts. These contractors engage a certain number
of workmen, whom they provide with utensils and machinery, besides
feeding them and paying them high wages. Everything connected with the
arrangements entails considerable advance of capital, and when the
chance of a small return, or sometimes of no return at all, is added to
the heavy deduction to be paid to the state, out of the raw material,
is it surprizing that members of this community are frequently
unwilling to extend their operations, and almost always anxious to
conceal the magnitude of their working?

It is said, that in keeping up the amount of the tax, the Russian
Government has had less in view the advantage of a larger participation
of interests than a desire to check a kind of industry very
demoralizing in its nature. If such is really the motive, it might be
less critically censured. Whatever the reason, so long as the Russian
Government considers it advisable to keep up the present taxation,
it is not likely that the increase of production of gold will be
considerable; it appears to be limited for the present to an amount
probably not exceeding [72]90,000,000 to [73]100,000,000 francs per
annum.

The Spaniards--those indefatigable treasure-seekers--who discovered the
hidden riches of the Cordilleras, had been in possession of California
for above two centuries. From the year 1602, Sebastian Viscaino, the
founder of Monterey, had learnt from the Indians, dispersed throughout
that country, that it abounded in gold and silver. Nevertheless,
instead of planting a colony of miners to examine the soil, the
Spaniards sent thither a body of missionaries, who proclaimed the
gospel, and at the same time instructed the natives in the rudiments of
civilization and of agriculture.

In 1846 there was scarcely 10,000 of the original Spanish creoles,
when a body of some hundreds of adventurers from the United States,
under General Taylor, invaded and took possession of the country. The
Government of the Union, in demanding its cession from Mexico, thought
chiefly of an aggrandisement of territory; they wanted ports on the
Pacific and a rival colony to Oregon. Little was it expected that in
the valleys which descended from the Sierra Nevada would be found mines
of gold likely to become the principal attractions to colonization,
and a district whose exuberant products would be shortly disseminated
throughout the markets of Europe, as well as of America.

The extension of the population of California which so speedily
occurred, is greatly due to the truly fabulous success of the first
washings; the miners naturally first planted themselves on the richest
“placers,” they rather culled the produce, than exhausted it; they
frequently discovered “pépites” weighing several ounces, if not pounds
of gold; a clever workman made his fortune in a few days.

In June, 1848, Mr. Larkin, Consul of the United States at Monterey,
valued the day’s work of a gold seeker at an average of 15 to 25
dollars ([74]133 to 267 francs). Colonel Mason, in his report of
August, considered the produce of a day’s work of 4,000 European or
Indian miners at [75]30,000 to 40,000 dollars, giving an average of
about 10 dollars [76](53 francs) to each workman. Captain Folson writes
about a month later, “I do not think that there can exist richer
deposits in the world. I have myself ascertained that an active workman
can collect from [77]25 to 40 dollars per day, valuing the gold at 16
dollars the ounce.” Mr. Butler King, whose report is of still later
date, places the average day’s work per man at about 16 dollars, or one
ounce of gold.

During the second period of working, when the miners flocked to the
“placers,” and disputed every inch of the golden soil, the yield
began to diminish in a very marked degree. A local mining journal,
the “_Placer Times_,” of 26th October, 1850, giving a _resumé_ of the
proceedings of the season, including the encampment from the River
de la Plume to the River Consumnes, covering an extent of about 100
miles, and occupied by 60,000 gold-seekers, estimated the mean result
of a day’s work at from six dollars on the River de la Plume, to four
dollars on the l’Yuba and Ours, and five dollars on the American Fork.
The information collected by our consuls at the beginning of 1850,
gives a result of one to two ounces per day in the Valley of the
Sacramento, and from one to four in the newer regions of St. Joaquim.
The diminishing produce, comparing one year with the other, was not
without some compensation. If the miner gained less, he did not spend
as much. The extravagant rise on all sorts of provisions, clothes,
and tools, had been brought down to a more reasonable limit:--they no
longer paid [78]one dollar for a pound of bread; [79]eighty dollars
for an outer covering; [80]fifty dollars a-day for the use of a cart
with two oxen, or [81]5000 dollars for a cask of brandy. An artizan
could no longer command sixteen dollars for a day’s work. Europe, the
United States, and other nations, shipped to California cargoes of
provisions and of manufactured goods; competition soon lowered the
prices. Roads were made from the “placers” to San Francisco; bridges
were thrown over the rivers; they established stores of provisions
and merchandize at every canteen. Towns sprung up like mushrooms, and
in 1850 San Francisco numbered 50,000 inhabitants. The production of
gold in California appears to have now arrived at its third period.
The miners have acquired a certain experience, their modes of working
are less primitive, and they are more settled. The want of order is
diminishing, and the average produce is increasing. The accounts from
San Francisco in April, 1852, mentioned “placers” in the valley of the
Sacramento, where a day’s working yielded from [82]fifteen to twenty
dollars, and others on the frontier of Oregon, where the average was
from [83]five to ten. On the frontier of Sonora the washings of the
auriferous clay yielded [84]seven to eight dollars a day with the
roughest description of work; all agreed that eight hours hard work
should produce everywhere from six to [85]eight dollars, if the plain
be rich; and as the miner could live on from [86]two to three dollars
a day, he might reckon on a gain of from [87]400 to 500 dollars during
the season. However, by the latest accounts, it would appear that the
“placers” are beginning to be exhausted. 100,000 miners turning over
continuously for three years the alluvial sands, (already successfully
explored by the first comers in 1848 and 1849,) could hardly fail to
extract everything of value. It remains now to explore the auriferous
quartz veins which may extend to the centre of the Sierra Nevada. This
new work, however, requires large capital, and extensive combinations.
The success of such operations has hitherto been but moderate.

The auriferous richness of the quartz rocks in California appears
sufficient to remunerate the speculator; and foreign capital is not
deficient at St. Francisco. Whence is it, then, that the quartz mines
have hitherto been but slightly attractive? It has arisen from the want
of the requisite and essential conditions for the progress of such
undertakings.

Property in “placers” or in mines is not yet sufficiently secure; it
is neither yet placed fully under the safeguard of law, nor is it
protected by police regulations. Anarchy still reigns in this new
country;--not only have the miners to defend their persons and their
acquisitions against the incursions from Indian tribes; not only are
crimes and offences common (lynch law maintaining a permitted existence
instead of laws and police); but every one appears to hold his property
by right of first comer: a miner chooses the spot he likes best; a
strong arm and a carbine, with a steady eye, are his title deeds. To
seize upon a rich “placer” from a miner too weak to resist, is called
in the slang of the district, to “jump a claim.” The President of the
United States himself, stated in his last message, that “The mineral
lands should remain free to every citizen;” and the Secretary of State
has added, “that the right of occupancy should be submitted only to
such laws as the miners themselves thought fit to make.”

The continuous flow of emigration, and the continuous working of the
gold districts, appear to indicate, that in spite of many reverses
and sufferings, the mass of emigrants consider the result as likely
to be profitable. Without approaching to the fabulous accounts of the
early adventurers, these results have certainly largely exceeded in
magnificence those of any former period in history; let us endeavour to
particularize some of them.

Mr. Butler King, in his report to the Secretary of State, in 1850,
after a careful examination of California, values the washings and
gold working of the two years, 1848 and 1849, at [88]40,000,000
dollars. The basis of this calculation, the first officially presented,
was a produce of 1000 dollars ([89]5350 francs) per miner, per annum.

According to Mr. Butler King, American emigration hardly began to
flow towards California until September, 1849; up to that period,
foreigners, principally from Mexico and Oregon, had reaped all the
profit of the washings. The _San Francisco Herald_ estimated, that at
the end of 1850, the gold produce of California, for the twenty-one
months between 1 April, 1849, and 31 December, 1850, at the sum of
68,587,591 dollars (nearly [90]367,000,000 francs). According to the
documents published in France by the Minister of Commerce, which appear
to have been derived from local statistics, the produce was rather less
than the above. From 1 April, 1849, to 31 March, 1851, in two years, it
was raised to [91]329,000,000 francs.

Monsieur Emilie Chevalier, who has just returned from a government
mission to Panama, in a report to the Minister for Foreign Affairs,
considers the result as having been much larger. The gold brought as
freight by steamers in 1850, he estimates at [92]50,306,525 dollars.
The author of the report adds, on the testimony of a person whom he
considers as competent to give a sound opinion, that the sums carried
by passengers are not less than three fourths of the amounts brought
as merchandize; and thus he arrives at the extraordinary figures of
88,000,000 dollars (more than [93]470,000,000 francs) for a single
year. At St. Francisco, where they are able to form probably a more
correct estimate on a subject so difficult to trace accurately,
they do not value the amount of gold carried by passengers at above
one-fourth the amount taken in freight. Even on this supposition there
will be a sum of 25,000,000 dollars, or above [94]133,000,000 francs
to be deducted; but it appears to me very doubtful, if the produce of
1850 exceeded this figure of [95]329,000,000 francs, according to the
French documents already referred to. We have more valuable documents
of another kind to rely upon, in the quantities of gold coined at the
United States’ Mint; the following are the official figures:--

               SENT TO THE MINT.                       COINED.

  1849     12,243,175 dollars £2,448,635     9,007,761 dollars £1,801,552
  1850     38,365,160    ”     7,673,032    31,981,737    ”     6,396,347
  1851     56,867,220    ”    11,373,444    62,812,478    ”    12,562,496
          -----------        -----------   -----------        -----------
   Total, 107,475,555    ”   £21,495,111   103,801,976    ”   £20,760,395
          -----------        -----------   -----------        -----------

All the gold sent to the Mint did not, however, come from California.
A part consisted of specie sent from Europe, in exchange for American
stocks or merchandize. The treasure found in 1848 in the Valley of the
Sacramento, belonged, as it has been stated, principally to foreigners.
Up to the month of March, 1850, the United States’ Mints had not
received above 11,000,000 or [96]12,000,000 dollars of Californian
gold. At the end of August in that year the amounts paid in did not
exceed [97]24,500,000 dollars. A year later, the mints had received in
gold from that source [98]80,000,000 dollars.

The United States have naturally sent the larger number of the
emigrants to California. It is with the United States principally that
the trade is carried on. It would appear, then, to be natural that
the principal flow of gold from the Sierra Nevada should take that
direction. Doubtless a portion of the gold found annually in California
will remain there, and form the circulating medium. Considerable
amounts also will have been spread throughout South America, and
amongst the various commercial countries of Europe, either in payment
of goods shipped, or as the free capital arising from the accumulations
of labor. I shall not be exaggerating, however, in supposing, that
seven-tenths of the gold annually produced is coined in the United
States, and that one-tenth of the produce only is shipped directly to
Europe. Thus, then, the United States having received from California
[99]100,000,000 dollars up to the end of 1850, the total produce of the
four years, including 1848, (during which year there did not appear to
have been any coinage from Californian gold), ought to have been from
[100]750,000,000 to [101]800,000,000 francs.

The gold exported from California in 1851 is estimated by the Custom
House returns at [102]56,000,000 dollars. According to the calculations
of the _St. Francisco Herald_, for the first three months of 1852,
the total produce amounted to [103]14,656,142 dollars; at this rate
the produce of the year 1852 would not be less than [104]62,000,000
dollars. The export of April is estimated at St. Francisco, at
[105]3,422,000 dollars, rather more than [106]18,000,000 francs. The
produce of the “placers,” according to the latest reports, although
still abundant, is decreasing; nevertheless, if Australia does not
attract the most experienced and the most greedy of the work-people,
the mines of California appear likely to yield this year not less than
about [107]300,000,000 of our money; that is six times the amount of
the production of gold at the beginning of the century, throughout the
civilized world. It is twice the amount of the production of gold in
1847. It is hardly needful to exaggerate these figures, as many writers
on both sides of the Atlantic have already done, in order to prove that
a change is occurring in our monetary values, and that the _status
quo_ which has lasted for above half a century, is not necessarily to
continue for ever.



V.


Of the three great gold-producing countries of modern times, New South
Wales is the one now most attracting public attention. This country
enjoys several advantages over the others.

The climate is mild and healthy, the land is neither occupied by savage
tribes nor infested with wild beasts. In a country where drought is
the principal obstacle to successful cultivation, the gold regions,
situated on the slopes of the highest mountains and near the sources
of the principal streams, are naturally the best watered. They appear
to extend from north-east to south-west, following the direction of
the Murray, the largest river in Australia, and over an extent of 1,400
miles, [108](2,452 kilomêtres) by 400 miles (643 kilomêtres). This
surface is larger, by four times, the extent of California, and five
times larger than Great Britain.

The effects of the Californian gold have been principally felt at a
distance from the producing country. The valleys of San Joaquim and
the Sacramento were, before the extraordinary discoveries of 1847, but
a desert, with but an occasional “oasis” of cultivation; California
had neither population, agriculture, commerce, or industry. The
“rancheros,” half farmers, half hunters, raised cattle for no other
purpose than for the value of their hides; the discovery of gold could
hardly disturb any existing trade. The production itself was then the
cause or the motive power, creating a new state of society, a new order
of things.

In Australia, on the contrary, and long before the consequences of the
discoveries could be appreciated in Europe, the working of the mines
was of itself a revolution. The first washings occurred in May, 1851;
at that time the English colonists in that part of the world were in a
flourishing position. The population of European origin did not exceed
400,000 in the whole Australian group of islands. New South Wales, in
which division Victoria was included, recently elevated into a separate
colony, numbered more than two-thirds of this total, and formed the
chief seat of its industry and wealth. The inhabitants, principally
the descendants of convicts of the last century, obtained, in 1850, a
representative form of government, and now make their own laws. They
have upwards of fifty-one newspapers, and they have also public schools
and banks. Their principal harbours are on a large scale, and the
inter-communication by steam-boats and roads excellent. Their principal
cities are Sydney, with its 50,000; and Melbourne, with its 35,000
inhabitants, which are lighted with gas, and have an organized police,
as in London.

The luxury of living and of dress defies comparison, and affords large
profits to tradesmen; they have already begun to make two railroads.
Australia has its commercial fleet, which entered into competition
for the supply of flour to California in 1850. The trade with England
is of twice the magnitude to that which existed between England and
her American colonies at the time of their separation. The colonial
revenue, exclusive of the sale of the Crown lands, which forms the
foundation of the emigration fund, nearly amounts to £1,000,000
sterling, per annum.

Australia produces wheat, Indian corn, and barley, in abundance; they
have planted vines, from which they are making good wine; tobacco is
successfully and extensively cultivated; but the principal source of
wealth is derived from the growth of wool, for the production of which
the lands watered by the tributaries of the Murray are as well adapted
as the valley of the Mississippi is for the production of cotton.
Australia takes a prominent position with respect to civilization, in
the midst of the pastoral employment of her population. It is a vast
arcadia, the poetical side being cast into shade by the industrial
occupation of its inhabitants, and perhaps somewhat damaged by a very
natural corruption of morals. It has been called a mine of wool and
tallow; 20,000,000 of sheep are said to be pastured on its plains.
In England the use of Australian wool has almost entirely superseded
that of Germany and Spain, and the Yorkshire manufacturers cannot now
dispense with it. In 1850 Australia exported 137,000 bales, and in
1851, 130,000; 130,000 bales are worth about [109]65,000,000 francs.
The mother country receives, then, from Australia about £3,000,000
sterling of raw material in exchange for £3,000,000 of English
manufactures; the result is most profitable for capital and labor; it
is to this beneficial and flourishing trade that the sudden appearance
of gold has threatened a most unexpected and alarming interruption.

Sir Roderick Murchison, whose opinions are considered as of high
authority, commenting on the writings of Count Strelecki on the geology
of New South Wales, announced, in the year 1845, that gold would be
found in the sides of those great chains of hills, which may be called
their Alps or their Pyrennees. At different times, fragments of the
precious metal had been brought either to Sydney, or to Melbourne,
without having excited the belief in the minds of the public that they
were really the product of their own soil. In the month of March,
1851, a person, less incredulous than his neighbours, a Mr. Hargraves,
struck with the similarity of the geological features of the country to
California, whence he had lately arrived, made up his mind that gold
must be to be found in New South Wales, and set himself resolutely to
work to hunt for it at the foot of the mountains, and in the beds of
the adjacent rivers. Having found some small portions, he followed the
pursuit until he had satisfied himself of the existence of gold in a
great number of places. He then went to Bathurst, an advanced post in
the country, called a public meeting, openly announced his discovery;
and in order to give practical proof, took many of his hearers to the
seat of his own exploits, in a little valley at the foot of Mount
Sumner, where he employed nine miners to dig actively, and to wash
the earth. Four ounces of the purest gold were brought to light, as
the produce of three days’ labor; each man had gained £2 4s. 4d. (61
francs) per diem; but this was not considered by Mr. Hargraves as above
the half of the probable gain to be obtained by an experienced workman,
and with proper implements.

This happened on the 8th May, 1851. The result of the experiment was
immediately blazoned forth: three persons started for the washings, and
returned in a few days with several pounds of gold. At the same time
a geologist, ordered by the local government to attest the statements
of Mr. Hargraves, at once stamped an official authority on the actual
existence of gold mines. This news created an immense sensation, not
only in Bathurst, but beyond, and in the capital of the colony. On
the 19th May, there were 600 miners at the “_placers_;” an enormous
immigration to a district where the population was but thinly scattered
over an almost indefinite extent of land. On the 24th, some of the
people wrote to their friends, that they were collecting from £3 to
£4 per day. One party of four miners had in one day, obtained thirty
ounces of gold, and had found a “nugget” weighing one pound. In three
weeks time, one workman alone amassed £1,600 sterling.

We would remark, in running hastily over the account of these early
experiments, that from the first, the inhabitants of Australia
foresaw the serious consequences of the revolution about to occur.
The colonial journals were filled with lamentations and direful
forebodings, and cursed, both in prose and in verse, the mania for
gold. The solitude of the towns, at the expense of which the deserts
were peopled, the abandonment of labour, the disruption of all social
ties, flocks left without shepherds, and crops destroyed for lack of
harvestmen: in short, every kind of misfortune from which the colonies
are now suffering, were seen in perspective. The greediest seekers
for gold might well take alarm; the epidemic, however, stopped not,
and soon spread in all directions. The Government took the lead, by
largely rewarding Mr. Hargraves, and appointing him the “explorer of
the mineral districts.” A proclamation immediately appeared, claiming
the precious discoveries as Crown property, and announcing a rate of
license for working gold mines at 30s. per miner per month. A wild
spirit of speculation soon sprang up in every direction. The municipal
authorities everywhere followed the example of the Government.
From the Bay of Newton to the Gulph of St. Vincent, over an extent
of 2,000 miles of shore, there was no town or village without its
sought-for neighbouring “placers.” In many districts, associations were
immediately formed, offering premiums for the earliest discovery of
gold.

The locality of the first operations was situated at the junction of
two little valleys, whose water-courses fell into the River Macquarie,
a tributary of the Murray, and which soon received the scriptural
name of Ophir. The early successful workings in these “placers” were
soon cast into shade by the more brilliant result of the works on the
Turon, and its tributaries; here gold was found not only in scales,
but in pépites or nuggets. Whilst the Ophir digger was making his 15s.
or 20s. on an average day’s work, the people at Turon were counting
their gains by ounces. The more primitive process of washing had given
way to the more philosophical system by amalgamation. The operation
was sufficiently remunerative to repay a simple mechanic at the rate
of 20s. a day in addition to his keep; but the miners no sooner
obtained money enough to buy a license, and some implements, but they
set to work in a more business-like manner. They formed themselves
into parties of three or six, the day’s work of each party sometimes
producing several ounces of gold. The weight of the pépites varied from
one-fifth of an ounce to many ounces.

Towards the middle of July, Doctor Ker found in the valley of Meroo, a
few miles from Wellington, a lump of quartz weighing 3 cwt., containing
more than 100 pounds of gold. Later, again, they found three “nuggets,”
each weighing from 26 to 28 pounds. In the month of August, the export
to England commenced; the first remittances of gold dust amounted to
£50,000 sterling. The washings at the Turon and Mount Ophir were then
producing £10,000 to £12,000 sterling per week.

The treasure of Doctor Ker, exhibited first at Bathurst and then at
Sydney, soon drove everybody wild. The very newspapers which had first
maligned the discovery, now sounded the trumpet in praise of this
wonderful piece of good fortune. “The news,” says the _Morning Herald_
of Sydney, “will astonish Australia, will astonish England, Ireland,
and Scotland, will astonish California, and will astonish the whole
world. On the arrival of the packet in England, when every newspaper
throughout the United Kingdom shall have repeated the news of the
discovery as the wonder of our age, the sensation will be profound,
and will exceed anything hitherto talked of, or thought of; from the
queen on the throne to the peasant in the fields, there will be but one
united exclamation of surprise and astonishment; from the palace to the
cottage, from the drawing-room to the stable, from the schoolboy to the
philosopher and the statesman, there will be one universal talk of this
mass of gold, and of the country whence it came; from all the ports in
Great Britain and Ireland, ships will be freighted with passengers and
goods--population and wealth will rush to Australia like a torrent.
Port Jackson will be the best filled and the most flourishing harbour
in the world, and Sydney will take its rank amongst the most opulent
cities. New South Wales will be looked upon in England as the queen of
her colonies.”

Waiting the impression to be produced in the mother country by the
news of the “golden land,” to use again the expression of the _Morning
Herald_, the population of Sydney flocked to the diggings; the numbers
who left were about 400 a day. Sailors deserted their ships in the
harbours. Government, on account of the dearness of provisions,
doubled the salaries of their officials. In every direction there was
a general hunt in quest of new “placers;” and the districts South and
West of Sydney were explored by miners to the extent of 200 miles.
Auriferous deposits were discovered in the counties of St. Vincent,
Argyle, Dampier, Wallace, and Wellesley, as well as in the basins of
Murrumbedgee Shoalhaven, the River Hume, the River Peel, and the Snow
River. At the extreme north of New South Wales, in the district of
Moreton Bay, the diggings are in full work at the several branches of
the River Condamine. Nearer to the capital, in New England, gold has
been found in abundance in the basin of the River Macdonald. 200 miles
south of Sydney, at Braidwood, one miner realized £30 sterling in five
weeks; another £42 sterling in fifteen days; and a party of three £200
sterling in one week. Nothing was more common than a produce of two
ounces per man per day; and not unfrequently it reached as much as one
pound. Women also set to work. One widow and her two daughters are
said to have collected an average of two ounces a-day.

The district of Turon did not lose its repute. Such was the attraction
for gold hunting, that a labourer at Meroo would not undertake to work
for hire at a lower rate than £3 a-week, in addition to his food. Up
to October, 1851, the Government had given out 8,637 licenses; 10,000
miners were at work in the province of Sydney, and £215,866 sterling,
(about 5,500,000 francs) had already been shipped to England.

In December, the yield of the “placers” averaged £40,000 sterling per
week, a sum equivalent, after deducting the stoppages during extreme
drought and rain, to £2,000,000 sterling per annum.

These results, however brilliant they appeared, were soon eclipsed by
the accounts from the province of Victoria. Gold was first discovered
at Ballarat, where it was found at some considerable depth from the
surface; then at Mount Alexander, where it was dug up merely by the
pickaxe, almost on the ground; at Caliban, fifteen miles further, at
Albany, on the Murray, and on the east coast at Gipp’s Land.

It is asserted that the chain of hills which separates the province
of Victoria from Sydney, and which are known by the name of the Snowy
Mountains, is one vast mine of gold. Every day announces some new
discovery, and that of yesterday is almost always surpassed by that of
to-day. The mines of Mount Alexander are in extent about ten miles,
and the earth is said to be full of gold; they find the precious metal
in a gravelly clay, and in the interstices of a slatey formation. It
is sufficient to dig six inches of soil; and already, in the month of
December, 1851, there were 15,000 miners at work, and the deposits
appeared inexhaustible.

Here occurred the most extraordinary events. Amongst ordinary cases,
seven workmen were cited, who amassed 500 ounces of gold in three
weeks, which at £3 sterling per ounce, the then current value of gold
in the colony, was about [110]260 francs per day each; at another
time, two miners, in the same space of time, collected 400 ounces, or
[111]735 francs per day each. One carman, who had never even removed
the earth, made up a bag of £1,500 sterling in five weeks. A convict,
but just freed, made £150 sterling in sixteen days. A workman, who had
never exercised any trade but that of shoeing horses, was somewhat
less fortunate, but brought home £100 sterling, clear, after paying
all expenses, and working five weeks. A boy of fourteen, in less time,
collected £400 sterling; and another of the same age, £120 sterling;
but the ambition of the workmen knew no bounds; there was scarcely a
man who set to work digging a hole who did not expect to come home at
night with £40 or £50. These expectations were kept up by some most
wonderful instances of fortune, the recital of which, repeated from
group to group, amongst the diggers, soon became matters of history.
One spot of a few feet square produced [112]45,000 fr.; four sailors,
after six weeks’ work, loaded their cart with a case containing
two hundred pounds of gold, about [113]260,000 francs; four other
workmen, after two months’ labour, divided [114]1,000,000 francs.
One workman was spoken of who gathered twenty-five pounds in two or
three weeks, and another was known to have amassed eleven pounds in
forty-eight hours; another, in less than one hour, made up a package
weighing thirty pounds, worth at least [115]38,000 francs. It was said
that the miners would no longer pick up gold-dust, it was not worth
while; anything smaller than a pin’s head was thrown aside as too
insignificant for notice. There must have been fine gleanings from
these fastidious reapers.

In the “placers” of Mount Ophir, and of the Turon, where the profits
and the workings were on a more moderate scale, there was less
difficulty in preserving order and good behaviour. Captain Erskine,
of the Royal Navy, who was there about the end of July, 1851, reports
most favourably in this respect. The miners received him with the most
perfect civility; order and good feeling was the general rule. Captain
Erskine only saw one man drunk on the placers. The sale of spirituous
liquors was forbidden, and the Sundays religiously observed. There even
appeared some traces of regular industry. The neighbouring “placers”
of Port Philip presented a perfectly different scene. There, mining
appeared to be considered as a complete lottery. The coolest heads soon
grew as wild as the steadiest--passions and extravagance broke loose in
all directions. The consumption of wine, beer, and spirituous liquors
was enormous; gambling tables, quarrels, and prize fighting, desecrated
the Sundays. One man was quoted who placed a £5 note between two pieces
of bread and butter, and ate it as a sandwich. Another rolled up two £5
Bank notes, and swallowed them as a pill. A third went into a pastry
cook’s shop to eat a cake, threw down a Bank note, and refused to take
up the change. The miners appeared to have no idea of the value of
money; they bore their losses with the most perfect philosophy. One
man, who had had a draft of [116]3760 francs stolen from him, and on
enquiring at the bank, finding it had been already cashed, exclaimed,
“Bah! there is no want of money now.”

A “_placer_” in the colony of Victoria presented the appearance of an
immense encampment, with thousands of tents of all sizes, colours,
and shapes; the bivouac during the night was illuminated with fires
in all directions, and noisy with the discharge of guns and pistols;
every miner was armed to the teeth, and could only trust to himself
for the protection of his booty and his life; every one kept himself
on the _qui vive_, and took even the precaution of daily discharging
and reloading his firearms every evening at sunset. Government offered
a weekly transport to Melbourne at a charge of 1 per cent.; but as,
notwithstanding so exorbitant a charge, this transport was without
any guarantee against robbery, the miners formed themselves into
parties, when tired with making their fortunes, and escorted their own
treasures. The bandits from Van Dieman’s Land came down like birds of
prey, and fell upon the miners, and in such numbers and with such fury,
that when a murder was committed the local police were not unfrequently
afraid to go amongst them to seize the murderer. The authorities of
Melbourne were unable to give effectual aid under such circumstances;
for their own city police, with the exception of six, had all gone off
to the diggings. A cry of despair and indignation was universally
raised. “The imbecility of our Government,” says the _Argus_, “has
compelled us to take the police into our own hands, and to make lynch
law the rule of action.” The _Morning Herald_ says, “The Government
must act with energy, and without loss of time, or we shall become a
second California, with mutiny and lynch law established, and crime in
its naked deformity.” The Governor, Sir G. Fitzroy, responded to this
appeal by sending home for more troops, and by recruiting his police
by discharged soldiers. Will it be sufficient for the preservation
of this community, scarcely yet formed, from the threatened danger
of disorganization, to send a vessel of war to the station of Port
Jackson, and to Port Philip, and to reinforce the garrisons of
Australia, as Sir John Packington proposes, with some 400 or 500
soldiers?

Fortunately, such a state of disorder is not likely to become chronic;
when public authority, which ought to suppress it, is declared
incompetent, society, alarmed for its own existence, steps in and
at all hazard gets rid of turbulent characters. What is to be as
much feared, especially in a community of such recent formation, is
the attraction to a spirit of gambling, from fortunes thus suddenly
acquired. Men, fascinated by such a magnet, abandon all productive and
useful employment. Neither their ordinary vocations or their known
duties will retain them in their ordinary habits; no rates of pay can
follow the progressive chances of the miner with his pickaxe; the
trade of gold-seeking supplants every other occupation; a whole people
are bowed down to the earth, and absorbed in a work which brutalizes
them, and they abandon to others all the cares of and attention to the
cultivation of the soil.

From the beginning of November last, the towns of Melbourne and
Geelong were forsaken. Out of this numerous population the women alone
remained stationary. The proximity of the “placers” at two or three
days’ journey rendered the access easy. It was not necessary, as at
Sydney, to equip for a long journey, or to lay in a stock of provisions
and money. Men deserted, in crowds, flocks, farms, ships, workshops,
counting-houses, and shops; no wages would induce them to remain. They
flocked in from Sydney, Van Dieman’s Land, South Australia, and even
from California. Vessels arriving could not discharge their cargoes
for want of hands; goods perished on the quays, where they had been
piled up. In many districts of the colony business and cultivation
were suspended; hands were wanted everywhere. When shearers were to be
met with, they asked the enormous price of 3s. 6d. for twenty fleeces.
A month later, and Adelaide, the capital of Australia, realized the
picture of the “Deserted Village.” Traders, artizans, proprietors, and
capitalists, all were either ruined or had emigrated to Port Philip,
to escape from inevitable ruin. The shares in the celebrated Burra
Burra Copper Mine, which had been sold for above £200, found no buyers
at £60, and their 700 workmen had disappeared; prices of all goods and
wages rose in a frightful degree.

We read, in a letter from Melbourne, of the 17th January, 1852:--“In
the Banks and at the Post Offices, the clerks work double tides; other
public services are at a stand for want of hands. There are no male
servants to be found, even at exorbitant wages, and women will not
remain, unless at considerable increase of pay. I requested first the
waiter, and then the maid, at the hotel where I was stopping, to send a
small parcel of linen to be washed. They told me that they could find
no one who would wash. I was obliged to go to a shop and buy some new
things. If you want a pair of boots, you must pay £2 10s. (63 francs).
A pair of shoes cost 20s. (25 francs).”

Another letter, of the 1st January, adds again to the picture:--“In my
opinion, this town is threatened with complete ruin. Last night, two
men arrived, announcing a discovery of gold deposits in the district
of Gipp’s Land; they had brought £10,000 sterling in gold, and said
there was enough there for all the world. What shall we do for want of
labor? Suppose that 100,000 immigrants were to arrive here next year,
would one of them remain in the towns or at the farms, earning a few
shillings per week, when they can go to the diggings and gather £50
in one day? At this very moment I cannot find one man in Melbourne who
can mend a pair of boots at any price. I get bread from Collingwood, as
a great favor, and the baker will not engage to supply me regularly.
I pay 5s. for two buckets of water, and 30s. for as much wood as a
horse can carry. One can hardly find a man with a handbarrow to carry a
portmanteau, even at any price he chooses to ask. The servants of the
Judge have all left him, and he cannot use his carriage; his sons clean
the knives and shoes, and drag their invalid father to the court in a
wheel chair.”

An inhabitant of Melbourne, himself reduced to the necessity of looking
after his horse, whilst his wife attended to cooking the dinner,
writes:--“One of the members of our club, a large sheep-owner, and who
cannot obtain shearers, is gone to the diggings to try and hire some
men. He asked them what wages he should pay them, they replied that
they must have all the wool; and, as he was leaving them, they called
him back to say. ‘We are in want of a cook; we will give you £1 a day
if you like to take the place yourself.’”

At the “placers,” a mechanic is worth at least £1 a day. The people who
return to the towns with their little fortunes will no longer work, and
consider that they have a right to live on in idleness. All provisions
are dear. At Mount Alexander, flour was sold at 5d. a pound (which is
equal to [117]60 centimes the demi-kilo.); oats at 18s. the bushel,
or [118]64 francs the [119]hectolitre. In August last, wheat was not
higher than 3d. a pound, and oats 4s. the bushel, in the Sydney market,
a higher price than in any famine year in the European markets.

Two causes have been acting simultaneously in creating this great rise
in the price of all the necessaries of life, in those countries where
the gold finders have become suddenly enriched by the discoveries of
these “placers.” In the first place, population increasing more rapidly
than the supply of food, has necessarily caused a rise in price, and
this consequent increase in price, is out of all proportion to the
deficiency of supply. Who does not know that a deficiency of one-sixth,
or even of one-tenth of the crop of grain, frequently doubles, or even
trebles, the price during the famine. Such was the case in France and
England in 1846; and without facilities of communication, and the
cheapness of carriage, the result, even at that period, would have been
much more calamitous. Can we be astonished, then, that in a country
where civilization is but just established, where roads, canals, and
railroads are wanting, the evils must be felt in a greatly increased
degree?

Another cause is the very abundance of the precious metals. Gold,
when amassed by handfuls, instead of being collected in very small
quantities, and with great labour, must necessarily lose a large part
of its value. The diminution of the price of gold and silver is,
generally, only shewn by the increase in the price of every other
article. The nominal value of the monetary sign remains the same, but
its power diminishes in proportion to its increase in quantity, unless
some counteracting cause, such as an excessive supply of provisions,
&c., should step in and re-establish the equilibrium.

Up to the present time, every progress in mining in Australia is
retarding the proper care and attention to the breeding of cattle. Van
Dieman’s Land, which produced food for other districts of Australia, is
likely, it is said, to require an import of food for her own people. It
was true that the crops at the end of 1851, presented every appearance
of a magnificent harvest, but how could a harvest be got _in_ on an
island inadequately supplied with labour, and where the people are
deserting daily for other places?

The position is certainly critical; with any other people than those
of Anglo-Saxon race, it might be desperate: a few months more delay,
and the wool shearing will be lost; for the flocks, no longer watched,
will have strayed away, and possibly will have perished. It was the
work of a quarter of a century to have accumulated the capital employed
in Agriculture in Australia; without an immense immigration, not of
gold seekers, but of shepherds, and persons accustomed to a pastoral
life, before the end of 1852 all this capital will be inevitably
destroyed. England has awakened rather late to the danger, but she
has now to work in good earnest to apply the remedy. The Governor of
Australia witnessed the daily arrivals of emigrants with alarm, so
long as they added only to the crowds of miners, and who by their
competition still further increased the price of provisions; he even
pressed the Colonial Secretary to try and turn the stream of emigration
to other colonies. But independent of Government emigration, voluntary
associations for the same object have not been inactive. Liverpool
alone has been shipping at the rate of 2,000 a month for Sydney or
Melbourne. Ships are wanting in all the ports of Great Britain and
Ireland, for the transport of emigrants. Shipbuilding yards are all in
the greatest state of active employment.

Nor has this want of an agricultural population in Australia been
overlooked. The islands to the north and west and the Highlands of
Scotland, contain a population far too numerous for their means of
adequate support, so that in spite of hard and constant work, there
is frequent mortality from famine in this poor and barren country.
Twenty or thirty thousand of these labourers, engaged for agricultural
occupations in Van Dieman’s Land, and for sheep tending in New South
Wales, would cease to be a burthen on English charity, and would avert
the ruin of Australia. Subscription lists are opened in England for
this object, and the colony itself is in a position to lend its aid, as
Sir John Packington informed Sir G. Fitzroy that the government would
place at the disposal of the local legislature the revenues which might
accrue from the workings of these gold regions. At this time the port
of London contains a fleet of vessels ready to sail for Australia,
capable of conveying 23,000 persons and 30,000 tons of merchandize.
It is clear, that by abandoning all the rights of the Crown to the
treasures of the “placers,” the British Government has saved Australia.
By this arrangement, the Colonial revenues have been almost doubled;
30s. a month levied on 60,000 miners, working eight months in the year,
would produce [120]18,000,000 francs. A tax of 60s. which was attempted
to be established, but which the miners resisted, might have produced
[121]36,000,000 francs. In default of English labourers, the expenses
of whose voyage must necessarily be great, and whose willingness to
work could not be depended on, there would be funds enough to import a
whole population of Indians or Chinese.

The production of these gold regions in Australia does not appear to
have exceeded £1,500,000 sterling in 1851, from all the “placers” then
worked; but we know that the working in the province of Sydney did not
begin until the middle of May; and in Victoria, not until the end of
September. In January, 1852, they reckoned 10,000 miners in the Sydney
gold districts, the produce of which oscillated between 12,000 and
15,000 ounces per week. For eight month’s work this would give about
[122]31,000,000 francs at the Colonial price, and [123]35,000,000 at
the English price of gold; but the population will certainly have
increased in 1852, and it will be a moderate calculation to estimate
the produce of this province at [124]40,000,000 to 50,000,000 francs
during this year.

In the province of Victoria, 30,000 miners were at work at the
“placers,” at the end of December; and the number was daily increasing.
They probably would have received, by the spring of this year, a
reinforcement of 10,000. Mineral working is a lottery, in which very
few gain the great prizes. A letter from Sydney, dated 4th February,
thus sums up the result of the work, and of its uncertainty and
irregularity. “They calculate, that out of every ten speculators who
hire workmen for the gold-washings, only one repays his expenses,
and of those who work on their own account, the proportion who are
successful is about one in five.” It is not to be expected, then,
that the quantity of gold collected by so many miners should equal
the brilliant, the extraordinary, profits made by many of the first
adventurers. It is a liberal calculation to suppose that the 40,000
miners of the province of Victoria might obtain on an average 10s. or
12s. each for their daily work. At 200 days’ work this could give about
[125]3,000 francs each, or about 120,000,000 francs per annum. Thus,
these two provinces would yield a produce in 1852, of [126]40,000,000
for Sydney, and [127]120,000,000 for Victoria, together about
[128]160,000,000 francs.

In following the scale of progress of California, these results might
be doubled the third year: but it should be remarked, that up to March
last, notwithstanding the immense increase of the workings carried on
for nearly a year in Sydney, and for six months in Australia-Felix,
the colony had not shipped, of all the gold it had collected, above
£819,000 sterling (20,537,000 francs) to England.

Uniting the products of the three great gold regions, we find that
Siberia, California, and Australia, are expected to supply in 1852,
about [129]600,000,000 francs: a mass of gold equal to about 175 tons
in weight. It should be borne in mind, that China and Japan have
also their mines of gold and silver in full work; the produce of
which does not appear, however, to leave those countries. The Chain
of the Himalaya possibly contains mineral wealth equal to that of
the Cordilleras, the dorsal division of South America, from Chili to
Oregon. It is also said, that the inhabitants of Thibet have begun
to work their golden alluvial deposits. All the mines in the world,
therefore, are not yet fully worked; and there will, probably, be
an ample supply for some generations to come. The gold supplied by
America, independently of California, can hardly be estimated at
above [130]8,000 kilogrammes per annum. Hungary is the only country
in Europe, excepting Russia, which is producing about [131]2,000
kilogrammes of gold. The quantity from Africa is very small; and
[132]3,000 or 4,000 kilogrammes is the whole of the known produce of
the washings in the Straits of Sunda, and in the peninsula of Malacca.
From all which sources united, an approximative value may be fixed at
from [133]40,000,000 to 50,000,000 francs. To sum up the whole, then,
it would appear that the gold production of 1852 may be estimated at--

  For California         300,000,000 francs = £12,000,000
   ”  Australia          160,000,000    ”       6,400,000
   ”  Oural and Altai     90,000,000    ”       3,600,000
   ”  rest of the world   50,000,000    ”       2,000,000
                         -----------          -----------
  Making a total of      600,000,000 francs = £24,000,000

It has been already stated, that California produced [134]750,000,000
francs during the four years 1848 to 1851. Russia, during the same
period, at the rate of [135]100,000,000 fr., will have produced
[136]400,000,000, and the other gold districts [137]200,000,000. Thus,
in the five years ending with 1852, the total production including
Australia, will probably amount to nearly [138]two milliards of francs:
a result unexampled in history; gold has never previously flowed from
such numerous channels, and from such abundant sources.



VI.


What will be the effects produced by this expansion of gold on those
countries where the discoveries and working have occurred, and on the
great centres of wealth and industry, where competition is in active
operation, and where the gold may, when in the shape of coin, fix a new
value on commodities? First, as regards the gold-producing countries
themselves. It is clear that the attraction to the “diggings” must
retard, if not put a temporary stop, to really productive labour, that
of the cultivation of the land: but this demoralizing influence may
not be of long duration. The “placers” will become exhausted, the gold
of alluvial deposit, that which the rains and other causes have spread
over the surface of the soil, has hitherto been the chief feeder of
the supply. The thousands of miners working at the various sources,
and turning over and over again every part of the surface, will soon
have picked out every particle of the metal. The remainder of the gold
must then be sought for in the quartz; whence it can be obtained only
by the aid of scientific processes, and effectually extracted only
by the application of capital: which is hardly likely to be supplied
to an adequate extent, excepting by companies, in the same way as
has been the case in the working of silver mines. Then individual
enterprize will be again directed to the cultivation of the soil. Out
of the crowds of emigrants in Australia and California, now attracted
to the “diggings,” the number required for agricultural purposes will
no longer be deficient. Amongst the adventurers who are expatriating
themselves to seek fortunes in new countries, there will be numbers
of poor families who will consider themselves adequately repaid by
being able to obtain in a distant land, a fair remuneration for their
services, and the ownership of land, with the means of a comfortable
livelihood.

The Spaniards, in the early days of conquest in South America, began
by abandoning all other pursuits than the search of gold and silver;
they ended however, by building cities, forming harbours, constructing
churches, planting the land, and rearing flocks. After the soldiers
came the miners, after the miners came the colonists: swords were
turned into plough-shares. That which occurred in the 17th century
will recur in the 19th. Australia, California, and the colder regions
of the Altai, will be covered with people. It may readily be believed
that Providence, in the accumulation of treasures like loadstones in
the hearts of the mountains and in the depths of the valleys, has
contemplated the attraction of a superabundant population, and of the
genius of colonization throughout the civilized world.

Thus much for the producing country itself. Let us now consider the
effect of this superabundance of gold on the importing countries. The
first and most important question is, whether the relative proportions
in value between gold and silver is likely to be materially disturbed.
We have been considering the present production of gold, let us now see
how the case stands as regards silver.

Mons. de Humboldt estimates the amount of silver annually produced
at the commencement of this century at 870,000 kilogrammes (about
[139]193,000,000 francs). In 1847, M. Michel Chevalier, considered the
annual production to be 775,000 kilogrammes, (about [140]172,000,000
francs), but there is reason to suppose that this writer
under-estimated the returns of the Mexican mines, which he placed at
[141]18,500,000 piastres, and in a later work, the same authority
states the production at [142]900,000 kilogrammes. The English paper,
_The Economist_, estimated the return of 1850 at [143]191,772,000
francs; the actual production, however, appears to have been much
larger. It cannot be placed at a lower figure than 1,000,000 of
kilogrammes for 1851, or at about [144]230,000,000 francs. The
following is the table of details:

  Mexico                   133,000,000 francs = £5,320,000
  Chili                     22,000,000    ”        880,000
  Peru                      25,000,000    ”      1,000,000
  Bolivia and New Granada   12,000,000    ”        480,000
  Russia and Norway          5,000,000    ”        200,000
  Saxony, Bohemia,
    Hungary, &c.,           12,000,000    ”        480,000
  Spain                     16,000,000    ”        640,000
  The rest of Europe         5,000,000    ”        200,000
                           -----------          ----------
              Total        230,000,000    ”     £9,200,000
                           ===========          ==========

We do not think we shall be exaggerating in supposing that the
production will have reached [145]250,000,000 francs in 1852, and that
it will consequently have exceeded [146]1,100,000 kilogrammes. At this
rate the accumulated value of the precious metals produced in 1852 will
have reached the figure of [147]850,000,000 fr., of which silver will
represent the proportion of about 30 per cent; the weight of gold will
then be in the proportion of 1 to 6³⁄₁₀ to silver.

In estimating a gradual increase in the production of silver, we
have some data for our supposition. In 1843, there was scarcely
[148]16,000,000 piastres from Mexico; in 1849, the silver coined
at the Mexican Mint amounted to [149]20,000,000 dollars, without
reckoning that portion which escaped duty, and which probably amounted
to [150]3,000,000 or 4,000,000 more; [151]we are certainly quite
within the mark, it is even more probable that the production this
year may again reach the sum of [152]27,000,000 dollars, to which
it had attained in 1805, under the Spanish Government. In Chili the
progress has been still more rapid, the mines which in 1841 produced
[153]821,000 piastres, and in 1845, [154]1,534,000, having in 1849
given [155]3,343,000, and in 1850 [156]4,070,000 piastres.

One cause of a purely local nature has contributed to this result.
It is known that the process of amalgamation is almost the only one
employed by the miners in extracting the ores of Chili, Peru, and
Mexico. To obtain 1 cwt. of silver it is necessary to employ 1½
cwt. of quicksilver; it is evident, therefore, that the price of
quicksilver must have a great influence on the cost of extraction.
When it has become too dear, the working has been confined to the
richest mines; when it has fallen the increase in the working of the
poorer ores has soon followed. Before the war of independence, the
Crown of Spain, preserving the monopoly of the sale of quicksilver,
gave it out at all their depots in Mexico at [157]35 to 40 piastres the
cwt.; thence arose the immense increase in the workings of the silver
mines, notwithstanding the coarseness of the ores. Since the Spanish
Government, however, has, pressed by the miserable position of its
finances, farmed out the produce of the Almaden mines, the lessees who
had agreed to pay a very heavy rent, and who had no competition to fear
for a long period of time, raised the price of the quicksilver beyond
all bounds. A few years since the price at Guanaxuato rose to [158]150
piastres the cwt. In 1850 the agent of Messrs. Rothschild fixed the
price at [159]103 piastres in Vera Cruz, and at [160]105 at the depot
in Mexico. At the same date the price was [161]120 at Mazatlan. The
cost price of the quicksilver at Almaden is [162]18 dollars the cwt.,
and it is sold at the rate of [163]45 dollars for extraction of the
ores in Spain.

The high price will cease with the monopoly. Spain has no longer the
exclusive privilege of furnishing quicksilver for the mines in the New
World. California possesses mines of cinnabar in abundance, and they
are now in full work. Those of New-Almaden, situated at some leagues
from San Francisco, are now producing [164]400 kilogrammes a day. At
300 day’s work this could give a provision of [165]120,000 kilogrammes,
sufficient to work at least [166]80,000 kilogrammes of silver. At
the mine itself this quicksilver is worth [167]25 piastres the cwt.;
brought to Fresnillo, near the rich veins of Sombrerete, and on the
backs of mules from the port of Mazatlan, it has been sold at [168]93
piastres in 1850. The proprietors of New-Almaden undertake to reduce
the price whenever the price of Spanish quicksilver shall be lowered.
They have sent some of it to Chili, where silver-mine working has
taken a fresh start. They can sell it advantageously in Peru, for the
quicksilver of Huancavelica cost at Pasco in August, 1850, [169]104
piastres the cwt. The mine of New Almaden is not the only one being
worked in California; cinnabar is met with in several directions, and
hereafter it is probable that California may be looked to as a country
producing quicksilver as well as gold.

The news of the discovery of quicksilver mines in Mexico, in the
neighbourhood of San Luis de Potosi, was confirmed by accounts received
in London in March last. Are they old mines formerly abandoned on
account of their poverty, or have they really discovered an ore which,
as at New Almaden, yields a produce of 50 per cent. of quicksilver?
This is a point yet to be cleared up. In the meantime the price of
silver has fallen in the district of Guanaxuato to [170]40 piastres
the hundred weight, and it is now varying between a price of [171]55
and 56 piastres. In short, one of the conditions connected with silver
mining has materially changed. An economy of [172]60 or 70 piastres per
hundred weight in the cost of amalgamation can hardly fail to kindle a
fresh spirit of enterprize.

Another cause will necessarily act on the production of silver, and
that is the very abundance of gold. When silver is found to be more in
demand, fresh activity will ensue, both in reopening old galleries,
which have been closed as not sufficiently remunerative, and in pushing
on the work in those actually in operation. If the mines, feeding the
present supply, are becoming exhausted, and other sources are not
forthcoming, in a few years silver will reach the price of gold, or
the value of gold will descend to that of silver; but as the limits of
silver working are but the price of labour, the power of machinery, and
the application of science, so, every increase in the quantity of gold
which is not caused by accidental circumstances, or by an extraordinary
demand, must produce a corresponding increase in the production of
silver. Is not this a fact which we have been witnessing since 1850?
Who can venture to affirm that Californian gold has had no influence in
stimulating the workings of silver in Mexico and Chili? Besides this,
the extraction of gold is generally accompanied with a production of
silver. Silver mines are not always auriferous, and the richest in gold
contain but a small quantity of it, but gold mines are almost always
argentiferous. The proportion of silver in a “nugget” of gold is about
⅛th in California, ¹⁄₁₀th in Siberia, and ⅕th in New South Wales. So
that for every [173]four kilogrammes of gold in Australia, there is
about one of silver. This is an important fact resulting from chemical
analysis.

The production of silver is in the course of increase. Will that of
gold be kept up? It is reasonable to entertain considerable doubt
on this point. In Siberia we have seen it retrograde since 1847.
The extraction appears stationary--perhaps rather on the decrease in
California. Australia alone, with gold fields yet unexplored, appears
likely to produce much more than heretofore. Auriferous strata may be
discovered elsewhere, and add to the general stock. Combining these
various circumstances, we incline to the opinion that the quantities
now forming the annual production of gold will not be diminished for
a certain number of years; but when the miners have exhausted the
gatherings from the alluvial deposits, and it becomes necessary to seek
the golden ore in the rocks and mountains, in which nature appears
during the various revolutions and convulsions of the world, to have
deposited it; then the working of the mines will depend upon the amount
of capital and the degree of science, which may hereafter be brought to
bear on that description of enterprize.

In a paper read in 1848, before the Royal Institution of London, Sir
Roderick Murchison remarks that the principal deposits of gold are
found in auriferous “detritus,” and that the same degree of success
must not be expected to ensue from exploring the veins, which are
ramified through the quartz rock. The result hitherto shown in
California fully confirms this theory, as is shown in the following
letter from an engineer at St. Francisco, dated 4th April last, after
an expedition amongst the localities occupied by the gold diggers:--

“I send you the result of experiments made upon fragments of rock. In
each we have operated upon three tons of quartz, reduced to powder, and
carefully worked by amalgamation. We have made five experiments upon
as many veins in the county of Bath, which is situated between l’Yuba
and the River de la Plume. No. 1 has produced [174]3 dollars 53 cents
per ton; No. 2, [175]9 dollars 50 cents; Nos. 3 and 4, [176]11 dollars
each; and No. 5, [177]17 dollars.

“In the county of Nevada, experiments have been made on four different
points. The first has given [178]15 dollars per ton; the second,
scarcely any gold; the third, [179]14 dollars per ton--this mine, upon
which a company had established works, has been abandoned;--and the
fourth has given [180]59 dollars, the vein being of an extraordinary
richness, and having yielded large returns to the proprietors.

“In the county of Eldorado, three different veins did not give a larger
return than [181]17 dollars per ton; a fourth equalled the richness of
No. 4, in the adjoining county.

“In the county of Mariposa, out of eight experiments, three veins
gave hardly [182]3 to 7 dollars per ton; three more gave [183]7 to 20
dollars; one gave [184]24 dollars; and one more, [185]38. The two last
veins have attracted miners, who are going to work them. No enterprize
requires a more careful and a more expensive examination than an
auriferous quartz mine. A good vein, yielding [186]36 dollars per ton,
may be considered, by moderate people, as worth working; sometimes they
are found much richer; but out of all the quartz-crushing mills which
have been set up in California, I do not think that one-third are used
for mines which are yielding, for any continued period, [187]30 dollars
the ton; so that one-half of the works of this nature are suspended.”

From the above account, it would appear that a vein of quartz, to be
considered productive, should give 36 dollars, or [188]192 francs
per ton. This return represents a weight of 55 grammes upon 1000
kilogrammes, or 5½ parts of gold out of 100,000 parts of quartz.
Mineral of iron stone will give 10 to 15 of metal per 100; and the
production by melting is infinitely less troublesome or expensive than
the extraction of gold. In Australia, it was at first supposed, after
an analysis of some ounces of quartz, taken from Mount Ophir, that
the ton would yield more than £1100 sterling; but these experiments,
made on so small a scale, are of little value. It is not likely that
Australia, when the miners find themselves reduced to the necessity of
working the quartz rocks, will show any considerable increase of yield
over California.

The extraordinary abundance of gold, then, does not appear to be of
permanent duration. It is a sudden outbreak which we, accordingly,
have to meet. It does not appear to be, as far as we can now form
any opinion, a reign of one metal, which is likely to take the place
of some other; nevertheless, there will most infallibly be a very
marked fall of gold in comparison with silver, unless met by a most
extraordinary activity in working the silver mines; other causes,
however, although secondary in themselves, appear, concurrently, likely
to neutralize part of the effect of this superabundance.

It is of little importance to ascertain the amount of the annual
production of the precious metals, unless we investigate the
proportions in which they are distributed between the two hemispheres.
Silver gives rise to a regular trade, and, coming from sources
long open, it is sent almost exclusively to Europe, as an article
of exchange, against the produce of her soil, or of her industry.
Gold in California, on the contrary, a source of unexpected wealth,
starting up in a new country, is first absorbed by the wants of a local
circulation. A new society, formed in the midst of a desert country,
necessarily requires some medium of exchange: some money. Next to
the immediate necessities of California come the wants of the United
States. These States have, for some years past, been endeavouring to
introduce a greater amount of the precious metals into their monetary
circulation. The gold of California has powerfully contributed to
effect this object. Silver coin now circulates, but in small amounts,
throughout the Union. They have coined gold pieces of 20, 10, 5, and
even of one dollar. Out of [189]400,000,000 to 500,000,000 francs,
brought in during the three first years, not more than [190]70,000,000
or 75,000,000 have found their way to Europe. The import of 1851 has
been more sensibly felt. According to the returns of the American
newspapers, the quantity of gold shipped to Europe from New York and
New Orleans, was, during last year, [191]200,000,000 francs.

The like result is obtained from other channels of information. The
Mint of London, which ordinarily coins gold at the rate of about
£2,000,000 sterling per annum; and which, in 1850, had not coined
more than £1,492,000 sterling; in 1851, increased their operations
to the extent of a coinage of £4,200,000 sterling (above 105,000,000
of francs). The moiety of this gold must have come from California.
In the same year, the mint of Paris coined in gold [192]269,709,570
francs, of which about half was supplied by the conversion of
100,000,000 of Dutch Guillaumes into French money. In the accounts of
the German Mints, we find about [193]200,000,000 of Californian gold.
If we are to judge from the operations of our own mint, the import
of 1852 will be smaller than that of 1851; for we have coined but
14,000,000 pieces in gold during the first three months of this year.

Australia sends regularly large amounts of her gold to England; but
a part of the export of gold dust, or “nuggets,” is returned in gold
coin. Many vessels have lately cleared from London with £200,000
sterling; and this at a time when England had barely received £800,000
sterling, from Sydney and Melbourne. Considerable amounts will likewise
be imported in plate and jewellery. The more wealth increases in
the colony, the more gold will be employed both for circulation and
for luxuries. The producing country will be most certainly, _par
excellence_, the country of consumption. Europe contains 200,000,000
inhabitants, of whom not one-half are adequately supplied with metallic
money. It would require, certainly, an addition of many milliards of
francs to the quantity of the present metallic circulation, to put many
of these countries in an equally favourable position in this respect
with France, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, and Great Britain. We
know, that only nations of industrious habits are in want of a larger
supply of gold and silver because they alone carry on trade to any
extent. Abundance of production precedes and gives rise to a demand
for money. Wealth must exist in a country before the sign of that
wealth is required; but, at the same time, it cannot be denied that
the circulation of the precious metals stimulates, to a great degree,
the creation of richness; it acts like roads, canals, or other modes
of transport, which, by opening the means of reaching markets, extend
the radius of operations, and give additional value to commodities. One
half of Europe has a trade of inconsiderable importance, and derives
but a small part of the benefit of the produce of its own soil. It has
neither industry nor credit. In many countries now, gold and silver are
replaced by the use of paper-money, often discredited in its own, and
in all cases valueless out of its own country.

Austria has just made, partly in London, and partly in Frankfort, a
loan of £3,500,000, intended principally to restore the credit of her
paper money. This will be the first step towards the restoration
of metallic money, which had disappeared to such an extent, that
the smaller notes were often divided into four, to use for change.
Prussia, Poland, Russia, and Turkey, have experienced, in different
degrees, the like embarrassment. Before these various markets are
all superabundantly supplied with gold and silver, the treasures of
Siberia, Australia, and the two Americas, may be diffused for many
years over the continent of Europe.

The scarcity of gold had restricted its use; in France, for example,
the smallest gold coin was [194]20 francs. Since it has become more
common, the Mint have coined pieces of [195]10 francs, which are much
liked, and are convenient for use. These smaller coins appear likely
to take the place of a portion of our silver, which is needlessly
cumbersome. It is supposed that the use of Bank-notes of [196]200 and
100 francs has economised the use of several hundreds of millions of
the precious metals. The 10-franc pieces, when more generally used in
circulation, will take the place of, and drive out a portion of silver
coin. The demand for silver then will diminish, whilst that for gold
is increasing. Silver will be used as change for gold--as gold is for
bank-notes. This is the case to such an extent in England, where the
silver circulation is small, that the Mint in London, which coined
£1,492,000 sterling in gold, in 1850, only coined £130,000 sterling
in silver in the same year, whilst, in the same year, [197]86,000,000
francs in silver were coined at the Mint in Paris. It must not be
forgotten that the use of the precious metals is not confined to the
limits of Christian civilization. The Chinese import Peruvian and
Mexican dollars in exchange for their silks and teas; they attract
by their trade the gold produced in the neighbouring Islands, and in
the Straits of Sunda. This industrious nation has sent its contingent
of labourers and traders both to California and Australia. A portion
of Californian gold has already gone to China, but Australia appears
better situated for the purpose of supplying the eastern regions and
the southern portions of Asia with the precious metals. The Australian
gold, however, sent there will be as so much lost treasure; for whilst
the precious metals which are thrown into circulation in Europe
continue in use as coin for a long time, that which is sent to China,
or India, or Africa, altogether disappears; it is not required for
circulation, but seems to be consumed.

Nothing appears more likely to restore the confidence of those who
have taken alarm at the abundance of gold than the consideration of
the almost unlimited extent of its market. What people, civilized
or uncivilized, agricultural or manufacturing, do not enter into
competition for a supply! What are the millions of francs extracted
from the Cordilleras when compared with the capital created by the
labour of the inhabitants of the whole globe?

The combined washings of the Altai, California, and Australia, during
a quarter of a century, would be required to produce a sum equal
to the annual revenue of England alone. This unexpected harvest of
the precious metals is but an addition to a common fund of wealth;
it cannot produce a deep or a durable impression on the almost
incalculable mass of wealth already existing in the world.

After all, Europe herself does not preserve gold and silver as
relics. Money is used by wear and tear to such an extent that it must
from time to time be recoined, and the consequent loss falls on the
community at large. The use of silver and gold plate, of gold work and
jewellery, is increasing every day, as a distinguishing mark of the
rise of the middle classes; the manufacturers of France, England, and
Switzerland are at work for all the world. English statisticians have
estimated the loss, from use, disasters at sea, and export without
return of the precious metals, in the United States and Europe, at
more than [198]125,000,000 francs a-year. A more moderate estimate
reduces this sum to [199]75,000,000 francs. As to articles of luxury,
the sums of gold and silver employed therein annually, have been
estimated by Mr. Jacob, at [200]148,000,000 francs, without including
the consumption of the United States of America. Mr. M’Culloch, who
embraces the United States in his calculations, puts the amount at
[201]150,000,000. France, herself employing upwards of [202]30,000,000
francs, it may be admitted, without fear of exaggeration, that the
sum of [203]125,000,000 of gold is used for domestic purposes. Here,
then, we have an annual consumption of [204]200,000,000 francs; the
proportion borne by gold in this absorption of the precious metals
is every day becoming more important. What remains, at the present
time, of the enormous masses of the precious metals which Mexico and
Peru have poured forth during the last three centuries? The amount
of gold and silver now in the form of circulation would scarcely
equal the produce of the mines during the last fifty years. The 30
milliards which America sent to Europe, from the Spanish Conquest to
the beginning of the 19th century, has almost entirely disappeared. It
would appear as if industry, in its contact with gold and silver, must
have volatilized it. France converted into coin a large amount of the
precious metals; but when coined, it did not remain there. Exportation
appears constantly to produce the effect of banishing it from the
country. Thus, in twelve years, from 1840 to 1852, we have imported
[205]123,012 kilogrammes of gold, and we have exported [206]71,217
kilogrammes; the difference in favour of the import being [207]51,795
kilogrammes, equal to [208]181,138,000 francs, showing an average of
[209]15,000,000 francs per annum. Jewellery, goldsmith’s work and
gilding, employ, annually, in France, quantities of gold exceeding
that sum in amount. The excess, then, is taken from the coinage, which
accounts for the ordinary premium on gold in our market. The average
would be considerably reduced if we except the year 1851, during
which the import has exceeded the export by [210]34,503 kilogrammes;
but the results of 1851 may be considered as exceptional. Already,
the greater part has disappeared; gold finds its way from France to
London. The Bank of France, whose metallic reserve in 1851 included
an amount of [211]100,000,000 francs of gold, now does not hold above
[212]15,000,000 to 20,000,000. French gold coin, common enough in
Paris, is scarcely seen in the provinces.

From 1840 to 1852, French commerce imported [213]10,175,312 kilogrammes
of silver, and exported [214]3,688,279 kilogrammes. The excess of
import, [215]6,487,033 kilogrammes, represents a sum of 1,303,893,633
francs, or 108,657,802 francs a year. Admitting that [216]15,000,000
are annually absorbed in the demands for articles of luxury, and
[217]10,000,000 or 12,000,000 for wear, our monetary reserve of silver
would have increased at least [218]1,100,000,000 since 1840. This
leaves a large margin in the circulation of France for the displacement
of silver by gold coin. When the import of gold shall have exceeded
the export by an amount equal annually to [219]200,000,000 francs,
with this accumulated reserve of [220]1,100,000,000 and with an annual
excess of [221]80,000,000 to 90,000,000 francs over the import and
consumption of silver, it will require at least ten years to restore
the equilibrium between the two metals, to the state in which it was in
1840.

No subject has given rise to more rash and speculative opinions
than that connected with the trade in gold and silver. Amidst the
great variety of conflicting phenomena, statistics appear almost
valueless; but so long as gold continues to bear a premium, in spite
of the apparent superabundance, and notwithstanding its partial
demonetization, it may well be considered doubtful whether the relative
proportions, established by law between gold and silver in so many
countries, will be materially affected for at least some years to come.

Various remedies have been proposed by alarmists, to prevent the evils
of the influx of Californian and other gold. Some have desired that
government should limit the quantity of gold to be annually coined.
This expedient, in the event of a depreciation in value, would be of
little avail, for the quantity imported and kept in the shape of bars,
would equally augment the general stock, and weigh down the price.
Others have thought of altering the legal value, but this plan would
be useless as long as gold remained at a premium. If gold became
depreciated it would be injurious only until the fall was ascertained,
and considered durable; this once determined, things would go on as
before.

Then comes the question as to the demonetization of gold; doubtless no
point is of greater importance for a standard of circulation than a
fixed value. It is a fact that in all those countries where a double
standard of gold and silver is established, one or other has always
obtained the ascendancy, and maintained a premium, and has ceased to
appear in the shape of money; logically, it would appear quite enough
to regulate all prices by the value of one metal, without exposing
trade to the uncertainty of an alteration in value of two. In the
adoption of one only, however, it is desirable to examine which of
the two has, over any given period of time, been subject to the least
variation. Before the discovery of California, silver would certainly
have had little chance of being selected. Even now it appears to me
that the question has not so materially changed as might at first sight
be supposed.

It should be remembered also, that it is not so easy for all countries
who may have adopted the double standard to exclude one from their
monetary code. The example of Holland has proved that gold, having
lost its character as legal money, will no longer be used as a token.
To demonetize gold is to exclude it from the market. For a great
commercial country like Holland, living in the greatest freedom, and
carrying on its trade by exchanging and carrying the products of all
the countries in the world, to exclude one of its habitual means
of exchange, may not be attended with great risks. England, though
little disposed to imitate Holland at present, might perhaps do so
with less danger, from having the commerce of the whole world in its
hands. France, unless under pressing necessity, could not demonetize
her gold without exposing herself to a complete disturbance in all
her relations, both at home and abroad. Our trade is tied up by
a completely protective system, without alluding to those direct
prohibitions which disgrace our customs’ tariffs; almost all the duties
which affect articles of primary consumption are, in short, disguised
prohibitions. In exchange for the products of our own country, which
we have to sell to the foreigner, we can hardly purchase in return
anything but raw materials. Thus, bar and pig-iron, those articles of
primary importance, have been subjected to duties at the rate of 100
per cent. on their value. In those countries enjoying a legislation
attentive to the wants of trade, and where the custom-houses are only
for the objects of revenue, the imports and the exports will show an
even balance. In our country, where we have been desirous of opposing
a barrier to the free course of exchange, goods exported have always a
preponderance in value over those imported. In 1850, for example, the
imports represented a value of [222]790,000,000 francs, and the exports
[223]1,068,000,000 francs, showing a difference of [224]278,000,000.
England and the United States, together, receive of our products an
excess of [225]236,000,000 above the exports we receive from them;
and as those countries with which we trade cannot pay us in goods,
they must make their return in gold and silver. This was the reason
of the import of [226]220,000,000 francs in coin in 1850, as shown
in our official returns. So long as the system of protection is the
ruling policy of France, so long will it be impossible to deprive gold
of its value as money; to attempt it would be to withdraw from trade
one of its most useful means of exchange. It would check, if not stop,
all intercourse with those countries who can only pay in gold, or who
can only sell us those commodities which we endeavour to exclude by
our tariffs. Gold flows naturally only to those countries where it is
marketable; and it is only so where it is in use as coin as well as in
commerce. A profit of half per thousand is sufficient in the present
day to turn the current of the precious metals. This circumstance ought
not to be lost sight of in the consideration of monetary legislation.

In fact, the change in the relative value of gold and silver, which
was so strongly anticipated, appears anything but imminent; if any
great change is now taking place, it appears rather to be that of a
simultaneous depreciation in the value of both metals. Deep thinking
persons are not content with expressing their fears; they are already
providing themselves with the means of averting the evils which they
anticipate. This is one of the causes which have raised the value
of railroad stocks, and of landed property; and this explains the
comparative abandonment, not of speculation, but of capital ordinarily
seeking investment in government stocks. Alarm is felt at placing money
on security, of which both the capital and the interest may remain
at a fixed value; these may be the more sensibly affected, if the
value of the precious metals is altered; whereas the shareholder of a
railroad would have a chance of having his income increased; and the
landed proprietors that of having their capital augmented in the same
proportion in which the value of money would be depreciated.

In dwelling on these facts, I have no idea of setting myself up as a
prophet. I would confine myself to the wish to indicate some of the
symptoms of the present position of these matters; the danger, if any
exists, is certainly not very near at hand. We have already seen the
use of bank notes in France increased to an extent which, owing to the
stability of their value, has largely taken the place of specie. It
is but reasonable to suppose, that the present abundance of gold and
silver will make no greater disturbance within a short time, than has
the great increase of paper money.

The influx of the precious metals has been, in a certain sense, a
providential occurrence during the revolutionary state of Europe.
Credit had either disappeared, or had at least become stagnant.
Everywhere, amidst the tempest of the times, both past and
prospective, business had been suspended, or carried on only for
ready money. Affairs had assumed an aspect of a primitive state of
exchange. An increase of metallic circulation might again restore
confidence, and calm agitation. The average excess of money imported
over that exported, which, before 1848, was not above [227]80,000,000
to 100,000,000 francs, amounted in 1848 and 1849 to nearly
[228]300,000,000 francs for each year. Specie in these times supplied
the wants of trade, and maintained prices; but, in more easy times,
when used not alone, but concurrently with paper money and bills of
exchange, for the purposes of circulation, gold and silver would
naturally be in use in proportion to the movements of trade. The reason
why [229]600,000,000 of francs in coin now encumbers the vaults of
the Bank of France, is, because capital is only employed in the stock
markets, and that the restoration of trade on a large scale is still
confined to a sort of anticipation; but let the industry of the country
experience a complete restoration of confidence in the future, and we
shall soon see the metallic reserve of the bank diminish; and, as a
natural consequence, our market will attract an import of the precious
metals from abroad. In short, gold and silver will then be wanted; the
state of trade will improve, and we shall have to seek for an increased
supply.

Let us not then either despair or be too confident; the world is not
entering on an Eldorado, nor is it on the eve of a state of ruin.
Those who consider gold and silver as positive wealth, who confound an
abundant supply of the precious metals with an abundance of capital,
and who affirm that the gold imported from California must lower
the rate of interest, should remember that the rate of interest is
determined by the state of confidence, as well as by the general rule
of the supply and demand for loanable capital, and that confidence
depends upon the good order existing throughout the civilized world.
California itself shows the delusion of such an idea--for there, where
gold is strewing the land, interest has risen as high as from eight to
ten per cent. per month. Those on the contrary, who, at the idea of the
galleons seeking freights in the western continent, dream only of ruin
and catastrophes--who anticipate that the day will arrive that the Bank
of France will pay persons to take away her gold--should not forget
that she sells it now without difficulty even at a small premium, and
that this increased trade in gold has not hitherto ruined anybody.

PARIS, _August, 1852_.



FOOTNOTES


[1] £20,000,000

[2] £24,000,000

[3] lbs. 797,629=£37,209,423

[4] £4,000,000

[5] A kilogramme is equal to about 2 lbs. 8 oz. 3 dwts. 2 grs., and is
worth about £125; 30 kilogrammes would therefore weigh about 80 lbs.
3oz. 20 dwts. 12 grs., and would be worth about £3750.

[6] £5,960,000

[7] lbs. 6,381,530=£297,700,000

[8] lbs. 295,717,106=£887,151,318

[9] £1,280,000,000

[10] £320,000,000

[11] £240,000,000

[12] £80,000,000

[13] lbs. 42,336=£1,975,000

[14] lbs. 2,331,070=£6,923,210

[15] lbs. 63,504=£2,962,500

[16] lbs. 2,411,562=£7,234,686

[17] lbs. 169,479=£7,906,250

[18] lbs. 2,344,574=£7,033,792

[19] lbs. 66,989=£200,967

[20] lbs. 80,386=£3,750,000

[21] £5,896,000

[22] £2,400,000

[23] £2,800,000

[24] £540,000

[25] £4,160,000

[26] £800,000

[27] £1,800,000

[28] £8,000,000

[29] £6,400,000

[30] £1,080,000

[31] £800,000

[32] £320,000

[33] £400,000

[34] £450,000

[35] £600,000

[36] £3,000,000

[37] £2,500,000

[38] £8,041,666

[39] £14,333,333

[40] £2,500,000

[41] £4,166,666

[42] £514,583

[43] £1,819,666

[44] £20,370

[45] £2,520,000

[46] £2,333,333

[47] £2,416,666

[48] £1,637,362

[49] £2,836,064

[50] £4,473,426

[51] £14,480,000

[52] £9,440,000

[53] £1,080,000

[54] £3,400,000

[55] £10,760,000

[56] lbs. 13,397=£625,000

[57] lbs. 4,614=£215,250

[58] lbs. 10,718=£500,000

[59] lbs. 26,795=£1,250,000

[60] lbs. 53,590=£2,500,000

[61] A poud is equal to about 36 lbs. English; and is worth about £1679.

[62] lbs. 76,422=£3,565,125

[63] £4,400,000

[64] lbs. 75,705=£3,531,500

[65] lbs. 69,873=£3,259,625

[66] lbs. 65,176=£3,040,500

[67] £3,120,000

[68] lbs. 653=£30,500

[69] A Russian rouble is worth about 3s. 2d.

[70] lbs. 10,718=£500,000

[71] A metre is equal to 39.371 English inches, a sagene is equal to
about 7 English feet, and a werst contains 1,166⅔ yards, or 3,500 feet,
equal to about ¾ of an English mile.

[72] £3,600,000

[73] £4,000,000

[74] £5 to £10

[75] £6,000 to £8,000

[76] £2 2s. 6d.

[77] £5 to £8

[78] 4s.

[79] £16

[80] £10

[81] £1000

[82] £3 to 4.

[83] £1 to 2.

[84] 28s. to 32s.

[85] 24s. to 32s.

[86] 8s. to 12s.

[87] £80 to £100.

[88] £8,000,000

[89] £214

[90] £14,680,000

[91] £13,160,000

[92] £10,061,305

[93] £18,800,000

[94] £5,320,000

[95] £13,160,000

[96] £2,400,000

[97] £4,900,000

[98] £16,000,000

[99] £20,000,000

[100] £30,000,000

[101] £32,000,000

[102] £11,200,000

[103] £2,931,228

[104] £12,400,000

[105] £684,400

[106] £720,000

[107] £12,000,000

[108] The kilomêtre is about ⅝ of an English statute mile.

[109] £2,600,000

[110] £10

[111] £30

[112] £1,800

[113] £10,400

[114] £40,000

[115] £1,520

[116] £150

[117] 6d.

[118] £2 8s.

[119] 22 Imperial Gallons.

[120] £720,000

[121] £1,440,000

[122] £1,240,000

[123] £1,400,000

[124] £1,600,000 to £2,000,000

[125] £120 each, or about £4,800,000 per Annum.

[126] £1,600,000

[127] £4,800,000

[128] £6,400,000

[129] £24,000,000

[130] lbs. 21,436=£1,000,000

[131] lbs. 5,359=£250,000

[132] lbs. 8,038 to lbs. 10,718=£375,000 to £500,000

[133] £1,600,000 to £2,000,000

[134] £30,000,000

[135] £4,000,000

[136] £16,000,000

[137] £8,000,000

[138] £80,000,000

[139] £7,720,000

[140] £6,880,000

[141] £3,700,000

[142] lbs. 2,411,562=£7,234,686

[143] £7,670,880

[144] £9,200,000

[145] £10,000,000

[146] lbs. 2,947,465=£8,842,395

[147] £34,000,000

[148] £3,200,000

[149] £4,000,000

[150] £600,000 to £8,000,000

[151] According to the information of M. Rosales, the production of
Chili in 1850 should have been 4,070,000 piastres.

[152] £5,400,000

[153] £164,200

[154] £306,800

[155] £668,600

[156] £814,000

[157] £7 to £8.

[158] About £30

[159] About £20 12s.

[160] About £21

[161] About £24

[162] £3 12s.

[163] £9

[164] lbs. 882=£103

[165] lbs. 264,660=£30,875

[166] lbs. 214,361=£643,083

[167] About £5

[168] About £18 12s.

[169] About £20 16s.

[170] About £8

[171] About £11 and £11 4s.

[172] About £12 or £14

[173] 4 kilogrammes of gold are equal to lbs. 10·7212=£500. 1
kilogramme is equal to lbs. 2·6803=£8·0409.

[174] About 14s.

[175] About £1 18s.

[176] About £2 4s.

[177] About £3 8s.

[178] £3

[179] £2 16s.

[180] £11 16s.

[181] £3 8s.

[182] 12s. to 28s.

[183] £1 8s. to £4

[184] £4 16s.

[185] £7 12s.

[186] £7 4s.

[187] £6

[188] £7 5s.

[189] £16,000,000 to £20,000,000

[190] £2,800,000 to £3,000,000

[191] £8,000,000

[192] £10,788,383

[193] £8,000,000

[194] Say 16s.

[195] 8s.

[196] £8 to £4

[197] £3,440,000

[198] £5,000,000

[199] £3,000,000

[200] £5,920,000

[201] £6,000,000

[202] £1,200,000

[203] £5,000,000

[204] £8,000,000

[205] lbs. 329,612=£15,376,500

[206] lbs. 190,827=£8,902,125

[207] lbs. 138,785=£6,474,375

[208] £7,245,520

[209] £600,000

[210] lbs. 92,451=£4,312,875

[211] £4,000,000

[212] £600,000 to £800,000

[213] lbs. 27,264,889=£81,794,667

[214] lbs. 9,882,794=£29,648,382

[215] lbs. 17,382,095=£52,146,285 or £4,346,312 per annum.

[216] £600,000

[217] £400,000 to £480,000

[218] £44,000,000

[219] £8,000,000

[220] £44,000,000

[221] £3,200,000 to 3,600,000

[222] £31,600,000

[223] £42,720,000

[224] £11,120,000

[225] £9,440,000

[226] £8,800,000

[227] £3,200,000 to £4,000,000

[228] £12,000,000

[229] £24,000,000





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