Gold produced 1792-1892, inclusive... $5,633,908,000 Silver produced...................... 5,104,961,000 Excess of gold....................... 528,947,000
Thus are we confronted with the truly startling paradox that during all the century and a half when the production of silver was nearly twice that of gold, and the two centuries back of that when it was more than twice, the variation in coinage value never rose to 9 per cent., and for many years at a time corresponded with the ratio set by the mint; but at the end of a century during which the gold production was half a billion greater than that of silver, and at the end of half a century when it was nearly a billion and a half greater, the really scarcer metal has declined in terms of the other nearly one-half! And all this, the monometallist tells us, because there has been an excess of silver produced amounting to less than a quarter of a billion in twenty-three years. Belief in such a proposition would indeed be a triumph of faith over figures. And to add to the trial of our faith, we find, on bringing the figures down to the close of the year 1895—and we cannot bring them later on account of official slowness—the amounts of silver and gold in the world, as presented in values at our ratio, are almost exactly equal, the greatest divergence claimed by the most extreme monometallist being 16-3/10 ounces of silver to one of gold!
I do not indulge the hope that the figures herein presented will affect the opinion of any pronounced monometallist. There seems to be a mysterious power in gold which blinds the eyes to deductions from statistics and experience; the internal conviction of the monometallist that gold stands still while everything else changes in value resists all logic. In this country, that is. In England, where it has not become a political question, and no one is interested in denying the facts, monometallists almost universally concede the appreciation of gold and defend monometallism on that ground. It is to the laboring producers of the United States, still open to conviction, that I present these figures, which to me seem absolutely conclusive.
Can this great nation coin silver and gold on the same terms, at the ratio of 16 to 1, and maintain a substantial parity?
This question, like all others in political economy, may he argued theoretically or on the basis of actual experience. The monometallists say that one metal or the other always has been and always will be the cheaper at any ratio; that if both be freely coined, the dearer will be more valuable as bullion than as money, and will therefore go out of use. They say that, in spite of all devices to the contrary, we must have monometallism any how, and always on the basis of the cheaper metal.