The monometallists profess to be great sticklers for experience and demonstrated fact; to have a horror of “theory.” We present them the example of France as an unanswerable proof that one great nation can maintain bimetallism, and that by maintaining it she escaped the worst evils that have affected the monometallic countries, and assured for herself an extraordinary progress and prosperity. We present them, in contrast, the example of England, and point them especially to the great difference in the progress of the common people of the two countries. We ask them, with this experience, to consider the present condition of this country, and the evils that have affected it since 1873, and seriously to consider the question as to whether something is not radically wrong; whether some malign influence has not gone between us and the reward of our work, and robbed us of that to which we are honestly entitled.
Many monometallists start with the assumption that what they call the “silver craze” is a mere fad, temporary and local; that the advocates of bimetallism are confined chiefly to the United States, and to the western part of it, and that, if they are thoroughly defeated at the November election, the discussion will be at an end.
“Mistaken souls that dream of heaven.”
They do not realize that, although it has not taken the same popular form, the discussion is quite as serious in monometallic Germany and England, and in the latter country opinion has so far advanced that both parties agree on the enormous enhancement in the value of gold. There is now scarcely a difference of opinion in England on this point, but there is as to the effect. British monometallists assert that as England is a great creditor nation, the world owing her, as estimated, $12,000,000,000, every advance in the purchasing power of money is greatly to her advantage. In Mr. Gladstone’s last public speech on the subject he stated that fact with great frankness, claiming that it was to England’s interest that money should remain as now in purchasing power, and that if she should abandon the gold basis, because gold is worth far more than it was a few years ago, the world might applaud her generosity, but it would sneer at her wisdom.
The bimetallists of England, on the other hand, assert that the enormous losses of traders owing to the dislocation of the par with silver-using countries, of manufacturers by reason of the rapidly increasing competition of the same countries, of home debtors and of many other classes, and especially the loss to agriculture, far outweigh any gain made by the creditors as such.
The national debts of Europe now amount in round numbers to some $22,000,000,000. Including all other countries, the total of national debts exceeds $26,000,000,000, and the growth for many years averaged $500,000,000 per year. The local public debts of England and Canada are set at $1,735,000,000. According to the best authorities, the mortgage indebtedness of the principal European nations is as follows: