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320 Cong.....2p Sess.
The Coinage Question-Mr. Dunham.
Ho. OF Reps.
and Indian agencies with necessary goods and sisters in virtue, intelligence, enterprise, and devo double standard of gold and silver, a thing the provisions, the road would be very advantageous, led attachment to true Democratic principles, and committee desire to obviate. They desire to and incalculably decrease the expenditures of the to the Government under which we live.
have the standard currency to consist of gold Departments of the Government to which they
only, and that these silver coins shall be entirely belong.
subservient to it, and that they shall be used While these great benefits would accrue to the
rather as tokens than as standard currency; and Government by the opening of a railroad commu
they propose to maintain their credit and circulanication, Minnesota would thereby be enabled to SPEECH OF HON. C. L. DUNHAM,
tion not only by limiting the supply to the wants develop its boundless resources with great rapidity.
of the country, but by making them receivable for The southern portion of the Territory could then
all public dues to the United States, by providing send their agricultural productions to those of our IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, a customer ready at all times to receive them at citizens engaged in the fisheries and in mining and
February 1, 1853,
their nominal value to any amount. This would lumbering operations, and receive their commodi
undoubtedly be also sufficient, even was the inties in exchange. Now, as I have before stated, On the “ Act amendatory of existing laws relative
trinsic value of these coins much less than we all communication of that character is precluded
to the half dollar, the quarter dollar, the dime, by the impassable nature of the intermediate coun
and the half dime,'
propose to make it. I think this preferable to the
provision of the Senate, but I do not deem either try. St. Paul is already an important commercial Mr. DUNHAM said:
very essential; for the supply will be limited, and
Mr. SPEAKER: This is a very important bill, their actual value, as compared to gold, will be so a connection was formed between it and the two and therefore commends itself to the careful and little below their nominal value, that the conveniother places named as termini of the road and earnest attention of the members of this House. ence and necessity for them will be amply suffibranches on the waters of the Mississippi and It proposes a change in the small silver coins—the cient to sustain their credit and circulation without Lake Superior, a vast impetus would be given to half dollar and under-and also a very important either of the provisions. the trade of the Northwest, and to the prosperity || change in our'system of coinage.
Mr. HALL, (interrupting.) I wish to say, if of the Territory.
The proposed change in the small silver coins the gentleman's reasoning be correct, and if this In view of these facts, I trust that gentlemen || is, to reduce the weight of the half dollar from two change does not improperly change the relative will not vote against this project, because they are hundred and six and a quarter grains, the present value of gold and silver, it does appear very ex. opposed to general grants of a like character. Min- | weight, to one hundred and ninety-two grains; | traordinary that you should make this new silver nesota has not yet received an acre of land from and the quarters, dimes, and half dimes in propor coin a legal tender in discharge of Government the General Government, except for purposes oftion, leaving the metal at the present standard of dues, and not make it a legal tender in discharge education. The number of acres included in the fineness. This will make the intrinsic value of of debts from one individual to another; and it proposed donation, estimating the distance at two these coins 6.91 per cent.-not quite seven per appears to me very much as if it were an attempt hundred and sixty miles, is nine hundred and cent.-less than the value of the present ones, to give an individual an advantage over the Gove ninety-eight thousand four hundred. Should this and will make their relative value to our gold coins
ernment. bill be passed by Congress at its present session, about what it was prior to the passage of the act Mr. DUNHAM. I cannot see that an indithe work will soon be commenced and prosecuted l of 1834, as that act reduced the intrinsic value vidual has any advantage whatever over the Govto its completion. If the grant is not made, years of the latter 6.681 per cent. This reduction is
I think the gentleman's remarks are may elapse hefore a railway will be built, and rather more than the present difference between an evidence of what too often takes place in this meantime the Territory and future State must the nominal and intrinsic or market value of our House. The gentleman undertakes to catechise suffer great detriment, and the Government be silver coins, as they only bring in market, for pur me upon a subject to which he has evidently given subjected to vast expense and inconvenience, which poses of exportation, about fourand a half per cent., no attention whatever, and undertakes to raise might have been avoided by a timely liberality on and for use as small change five per cent. premium. objections and difficulties without really underthe part of Congress.
But as the same cause which has produced this dif- || standing the matter. He talks about this proIt is the duty of the General Government to pro- | ference in the relative value of the two metals, viz: | posed coin being worth about fifty cents to the vide for the common defense and for the common the cheap production of gold, and consequently the dollar, though I have just stated to the House that welfare of its citizens. How can this be discharged increased quantity raised and brought to market, it will vary but little more than one and a half so well, and so appropriately, as by opening the still exists, and indeed is increasing, this difference per cent. from the actual intrinsic market value great line of travel through the length and breadth will go on increasing, and it is to be apprehended of silver. Our present silver coins will bring in of its public domain? These works are national- that we shall soon find that the proposed reduction market five per cent.-not as bullion for exportanot local-in their character. They will contrib- || is too small rather than too great to enable the new tion, but as currency for change. This bill proute, in an eminent degree, to draw closer the coins to maintain themselves in circulation. So poses to reduce the intrinsic value only six and bonds of union between the East and the West, || far from there being any prospect of a diminution of ninety-one hundredths per cent It shows how the North and the South. The more rapid the the present stock of gold, each successive month much the gentleman understands the subject which means of intercommunication between the distant adds immensely to it from the increasing produc- || he undertakes so sharply to catechise me about parts of the country, the more will the people of tions of California, Australia, and Russia. this morning. the different sections realize their identity of in Mr. HALL, (interrupting.). I wish the gen Mr. HALL. I am exceedingly gratified at the terests with each other, and the more repugnant tleman from Indiana would explain the first amend lecture the gentleman from Indiana has delivered must be the idea of separation into distinct com ment proposed by the Committee on Ways and me; but if the gentleman would understand my munities. If this is a fact—and it cannot be con Means. The bill, as it came from the Senate, argument and take it into consideration—perhaps troverted—no stronger or more valid reason can be provides that this new silver coin shall be a legal it is not worth his consideration-he would see given or required for the adoption of a general sys- iender for all sums of five dollars and under. The that they are based upon sound principles. As to tem of railroad improvements by the Government Committee on Ways and Means propose to strike his idea that this silver coin is based upon a proper in the West. These are days of progress-I use that out, and provide that this new coin shall not standard, with reference to gold, he may be right the term in its legitimate sense-and Congress can. be a legal tender for debts due from one individual or wrong; but I say that if the principle is right, not, if it will, resist the spirit of the age. The to another, but that it shall be for debts due the this silver coin should be a legal tender in disuntold millions of acres of public lands were acGovernment of the United States. Now I ask
charge of Government dues, and a legal tender in quired for settlement, and for that alone, and the the gentleman, what is the meaning of this pro- i discharge of debts from individual 10 individual. penple will not permit that they shall be hermeti- | posed amendment? If it is proper that this silver If the principle is not carried out, you may make cally sealed to the pioneer, by obstinate persistence coin should be received in discharge of debts due a coin- I do not say that is the case here-worth in the present policy of the Government. France, the Government, why should it not be received
only fifty cents on the dollar, a discharge of public Spain, and England have always pursued a wise in discharge of dues from one individual to an dues, and which in the case of individuals would other?
not circulate at all. their colonial possessions, by making to them do
Mr. DUNHAM. I shall be happy to reply to nations of land. You, who profess to be guided | until I had arrived at that point in the due course the gentleman's argument. But before going on, by more just and liberal principles towards your of my remarks, he would have been saved the I will move to refer this bill to the Committee of own citizens, not only exact from them a fivefold | necessity of asking his questions, and I should the Whole House, in order to prevent its going to price for your public domain, but refuse to aid have endeavored to explain the point to his satis the Speaker's table, for if this course is pursued, them in constructing roads through it, the expense | faction. But as he has now brought it to the atten I shall not get through this morning. of which you ought exclusively to bear.
tion of the House, I will at once dispose of it. I I repeal, in reply to the gentleman, we propose, I respectfully submit, Mr. Chairman, that the think it is susceptible of a very easy explanation. || so far as these coins are concerned, to make the Territory I have had the honor to represent upon The only object of either provision is to give cur- | silver subservient to the gold coin of the country, this floor, hefore and since its organization, has not rency and credit to these new coins, and thereby We intend to do what the best writers on political been troublesome or exorbitant in its demands to maintain them in circulation. The provision of economy have approved; what experience, where upon Congress for grants of land, although, in the Senate for the accomplishment of this, is to the experiment has been tried, has demonstrated common with the West everywhere, we have had make them a tender in payment of small debts of to be best, and what the committee believe to be to struggle against the many and serious obstacles five dollars and under. This would no doubt be necessary and proper- to make but one standard and embarrassments of a new country, not the sufficient for the purpose, as the intrinsic value of currency, and to make all others subservient to least of which has been and still is, the lack of of the metal in them is so little below their nom it. We mean to make the gold the standard coin, proper facilities for inland communication. Give inal value, and as the supply is to be limited, and to make these new silver coins applicable and us your aid to free us from this difficulty, and I under the direction of the Secretary of the Treas- l convenient, not for large but for small transactions. can safely promise that Minnesota will soon be ury, to the necessity for them for change. This, I trust this sufficiently explains the reason of our knocking at your doors for admission into the however, would make them a standard in all small || pursuing this course. Union, with a population inferior to none of her Il transactions; we would thereby still continue the This can neither be unjust to the Government
320 Cong....21 Sess.
Coinage Question-Mr. Dunham.
Ho. OF Reps.
or to any citizen. Not to the Government, for it silver dollars or coins, but he gathers up the I know it is said that as gold, by the cheapness alone manufactures and puts them in circulation. silver coins, exchanges them for gold, and Iras of its production, has depreciated in value, therefore It should, therefore, as a matter of duty, maintain the gold made into dollars, and with them pays by increasing the quantity in the same nominal their credit; and as it cannot part with them his debts, or, which comes to the same thing, he coins in a like proportion, the creditor only gets without receiving their full nominal value, it should i exchanges his silver for the amount in gold coins the value of his credit notwithstanding he receives always be ready to retake them at that value. It that the gold bullion, which bis silver dollars would a greater quantity. This would be true of those is no hardship, because the Goverinnent will re- buy, would make, and with them pays his debts, debts contracted' before the depreciation of gold ceive them at precisely what it will have paid them saving 10 himself, by the operation, the increased commenced, but not of such as have since been out. It can, therefore, suffer no loss. It can be number of gold dollars which he gets for his sil- contracted, of which is by far the largest proporno hardship upon the citizen, because, as it is en ver. As our coins of gold or silver are regarded in tion of the private debts now in existence; and in tirely at his option whether he will take them from a foreign market simply as so much bullion as reference lo those contracted before, the loss must the Mint or not, he certainly will not take them merchandise, when debts are to be paid in those fall somewhere, either upon the creditor or upon unless they are worth to him their nominal value, markets, those will be taken which will bring the the debtor; for the debtor has probably received the price at which he receives them. A nominal most there in proportion to what they cost here. and saved up the means with which he proposes dollar of these coins must be worth a dollar in The intrinsic above the nominal value in a single to pay the debt since the depreciation commenced, gold, for they must be worth the price they will silver coin, or in a small number, being small, they and of course received them at the present nombring, and as no one can get them from the Mint, pass singly, or in small numbers, as a currency at inal value, and if he cannot at that nominal value the sole manufactory, for less, and as the Gov- | their nominal value only; but as in large suns ihis discharge his debe, he must suffer the loss. Is ment will stand pledged to redeem them at that difference amounts to considerable, there is a profit | this just? The poor deblor does not undertake to price, they must always bring it. They must in gathering them into large sums and selling them i insure the creditor against the silent, but no less therefore always be worth and pass for a dollar in as bullion, thereby withdrawing them from cir- | important and powerful changes of nature or of large or small sums. This we see verified by our culation. A like interest prevents the holder of natural causes. If the currency had appreciated, three-cent pieces and the Spanish coins now so large sums from paying them out as currency. the creditor would not have remitted one jot or extensively circulated in the country. No one As the advance received from the exporter by the tiltle of what was nominated in his bond. A condoubts but that when he receives a dollar in them person who gathers them up at their nominal value tract to pay in money is not different, so far as risk at their nominal value he is getting the worth of a is clear profil, he can sell them to him at such a li is concerned, from a contract to pay wheat or any dollar of gold or silver, because he can get them price as will enable him to make a handsome profit other commercial commodity. The contractors for no less, and he can readily exchange them for by their exportation to a better market. There is, stipulate the article, the quality and quantity. If the one or the other. Yet that nominal dollar in then, a constant stimulant to gather up every silver | it rises in value, the payor loses, and the payee three-cent pieces is intrinsically worth, of standard coin, and send it to market as bullion to be ex gains. If it falls, then the payee gains, and the silver, only eighty-three and one third cents, and changed for gold, and the result is, the country is payor loses; each takes his risk. If it was the in the Spanish coins usually in circulation only almost devoid of small change for the ordinary wheat contained in a hundred bushels instead of from eighty to ninety-four cents, according as it is small business transactions, and what we have is the gold in a hundred dollars, and that wheat was in fips, twelve-and-a-half-cent pieces, or quarters, of a depreciated character. This does not injure at the making of the contract worth one hundred the depreciation of these Spanish coins by abra- | your Wall street brokers, who deal by thousands; !| dollars, and before the time of payment wheat sion being from six to twenty per cent.
ihey are making a profit by it; but it is a serious || should become scarce, and worth iwenty per cent. lf, then, the mere necessity and convenience of injury to the laboring millions of the country, who more in price, would the debtor expect to pay or the community maintain in circulation at their deal in small sums. I am not so much surprised, the creditor to receive any the less quantity; or if nominal value coins thus intrinsically deprecia- therefore, to find the gentleman from the city of it should depreciate in value, would the one expect ted, can there be any doubt that one of an in New York (Mr. Brooks) opposing the measure. to pay, or the other to receive any the less ? Each trinsic value of at least an average of twelve per This evil must be remedied; and I know of no has taken his risk and must abide the consecent. more, issued by and bearing the stamp of our remedy but to make the relative intrinsic value of quences. Or would gentlemen throw the entire own Government, which will also stand pledged to gold and silver coins correspond with their relative risk upon the poor laboring debtor, so that if it redeem them, will do so without loss to the citizen? | nominal value. You must diminish the intrinsic rises the creditor gains; if it falls the debtor must Your copper coin maintains its credit and circula- || value of the silver coins, or increase that of the lose? This would be the effect. There would be tion, though not intrinsically worth seventy per gold; you my diminish the quantity of silver in no reciprocity. cent. of its nominal value. You need no law | the silver coins, or increase the quantity of gold Besides, sir, what shall the Government do? It making these new coins a legal tender. The creditor in the gold coins. Which shall we do?—which has stamped and put into circulation these various will be but too anxious to receive them, as he now ought we to do? This we can only determine by gold coins at their nominal value. Shall it now is the old worn-out Spanish coins, which there is examining the effects of the one and the other; by repudiate its own currency, and refuse to receive no law to compel him to take, and, as he now is, | whether we should or should not interfere with the it at the price at which it was issued ? Shall those our three-cent pieces. Another reason why the present state of existing contracts; whether we who happen to have the present coin on hand at the Government should receive them in payment is, || should legislate for the benefit of the creditor at the time of the change suffer the loss, or will gentlethat, thongh—as these coins will only be issued expense of the debtor; for the benefit of the capi men vote out of the Treasury a fund which will enfrom the Mint upon the demand of our citizens talist at the expense of labor; whether we shall able the Government to receive these coins at their there can be but little danger of an issue beyond use the powers of the Government to advance the nominal value, and replace them with those of a their actual wants, yet if, by any possibility, there interests of the rich, or to protect the poor? greater intrinsic value? This will still throw the should be, they will immediately find their way And first, what will be the effect of increasing the burden upon the producing, the tax-paying people. back to the Treasury in the payment of public || quantity of gold in thegold coins? Our gold coins On the other hand, do any of these evil consedues, and thereby be withdrawn from circulation, are a legal tender in payment of debts at their quences follow the change of the silver coins proand the amount reduced to the wants and con nominal value. If the debtor has, therefore, given || posed by this bill? Not at all; for as our gold and venience of the people. They can then never be his note for a hundred dollars, that is practically a silver coins are both legal tenders in payment of a drug in the market; can never fall below their contract to pay the quantity of gold, of the stand-debts at their nominal value, the debtor has now nominal value.
ard fineness, now contained in a hundred dollars of the right to pay in gold at such value, which the So much for this change, and so much for the those coins. If you by law increase the quantity of creditor is bound to receive in discharge of his dues. "principle upon which it is to be made. Every gold in those coins seven per cent._about what This being the case, the debtor, although he may one who has given the least attention to this sub this bill proposes to decrease the silver coins—the tender silver if he chooses, which the creditor must ject must be satisfied that some alteration in the debtor musi then, to discharge that same debt, receive at its nominal value, yet as he can exchange relative value of our gold and silver coins is ne pay the quantity of gold contained in one hundred that silver for a larger nominal amount in gold, cessary, and must be made, or that we shall soon and seven dollars of the present coins—geven dol- | which his creditor must also take, no debtor will be without any of the latter. The value of coin, || lars more than he contracted to pay. Or, to give pay in silver at its nominal value. This change, like the value of anything else, is in proportion | a further illustration, suppose I borrow a hun. therefore, of the silver coins, does not injure the to the cost of its production; or, if gentlemen pre dred dollars, and receive it in the present legal gold creditor, especially as we do not propose to make fer the expression, in proportion to the supply coins, and gave my note payable len days after the new coins a legal tender in payment of debts, and demand, which comes to the same thing; for date. This note, if its terms were fully expressed, leaving it at the option of the creditor to receive if the amount of labor required to produce an means that I shall, ten days after date, pay the them or not. He, of course, will not receive them article is lessened, the production is cheapened, gold in quantity and fineness contained in one unless they will be of as much value to him as the and the amount produced, so long as there is hundred dollars of our present gold coins. Before only present practical legal tender, gold, because he a market for it, is increased. We are all aware it comes due you pass a law requiring that the may still insist upon the gold. If, ihen, he does rethat within the last few years it has required less legal gold coins shall contain seven per cent. more ceive them it will be because they will answer his labor than formerly to raise gold, whilst the cost gold than now. I have had no occasion to use purpose as well, and be therefore of as much value of raising silver has remained about the same. the money; it has lain in my desk; it has nei to him as the gold. He then can suffer no loss. It The quantity of gold raised has been increased as ther gained nor lost anything intrinsically; yet it will be no especial benefit to the holder of silver, a Consequence, and it has become cheaper, when will not pay off the very note which I gave for it is because he may now sell his silver for gold in the compared with silver, or other commercial com by seven dollars, saving nothing of interest. This, market at its increased market value, and as he will modities. Silver, then, when compared in gold, then, is not only violating the validity of contracts, not be permitted to take it to the Mint to be coined has appreciated in value, not only in our own mar but as the creditors are generally the wealthy cap- into these new coins for they will only be made ket, but in the markets of the commercial world. italists, and the debtors laborers, operators of out of bullion purchased in the market forthe Mint,
The same amount of silver bullion will now buy moderate means, it is using the powers of the under the direction of the Treasury-he can still more gold bullion than heretofore; but as it now Government for the benefit of capital at the ex only get for his silver the amount of gold it will takes no more gold bullion to make a dollar than pense of labor-of the rich at the expense of the ii bring in market. before, no man thinks of paying his debts in poor.
This bill will not enhance the value of the pres.
ent silver coins. They have already been en inal value, but it sells as a commodity at its market rior minds who cannot grasp so great a question hanced, when compared with gold, by natural || price. This was the case with gold before the as quickly as the committee to which he belongs.
It neither increases nor decreases their act of 1834; it is now the case with silver. Gen We should have an opportunity to examine. value. It will leave that value as it is, to be regu tlemen talk about a double standard of gold and Mr. DUNHAM. I am obliged to the gentlelated by the market, but it provides for making silver as a thing that exists, and that we pro man for his compliment. There are some gentlenew coins for the convenience of the people, whose || posed to change. We have had but a single stand men who; from their manner at least, think they nominal value shall correspond somewhat to their ard for the last three or four years. That has understand these questions as well as the Comreal value, and pass currently at that nominal been, and now is, gold. We propose to let it mittee on Ways and Means. I do not want to value by tale. It does not change the value of any remain so, and to adapt silver to it, to regulate it | force the House to anything, and if there be any thing, but it gives new coins, with their actual in- || by it. This is eminently proper. Gold is the general objection to the call for the previous questrinsic value marked upon them, which is not now production of our own couniry; silver is not. Lettion, I shall not make it. I designed giving the the case with the present silver coins.
us use our own productions, and, so far as that House the opportunity to pass this bill, or to refer I know, Mr. Speaker, we are told if we will use can, increase its value. Why should we leave it, which will be to defeat it, as to it seemed best. only wait patiently, this thing will soon regulate our own to use the productions of a foreign soil, I am sure there is nothing unfair or improper in itself, and ihat the two metals will soon return to when we can gain nothing by so doing?
that, their former comparative value. I think those Another important provision of this bill is, that But I wish to reply to one remark of the genwho thus content ihemselves have but little heeded | hereafter the Government shall make a charge of teman right here." I repeat, we do not change the the lessons of the past, and as little attended to one half of one per cent. for coinage at the Mint, whole present silver currency of the country. the prospects of the future. They have but little to defray the actual expenses. The bill also pro We do not depreciate it. We do not propose to Bludied ihe cause which has produced the diffi vides that the depositor may, at his option, have change its value in any way. We do not propose culty, or they would ser that it still continues, and his gold or silver cast into bars or ingots, or formed to recoin the whole silver coin of the country. We to all human probability must continue with an into disks of standard or pure metal, of one, two, propose to leave the existing coin where it now is; increasing power. The cause, as I have before three, five, or ten ounces, and upwards, with the where it has been for at least the last three years; stated, is ihe cheap production of gold. The value weight and fineness stamped upon them, for which that is, leave it to sell in the market for its value of a thing where the production is unlimited, is in the charge shall not exceed the actual cost of man as merchantable bullion. We propose to buy as proportion to the labor required to produce and ufacture. This is what is usually, though not much of this merchantable bullion, at its actual get it to market, compared to the labor required very properly, denominated a seigniorage. market value, as may be necessary, and out of it to produce other commercial commodities which Mr. BROOKS. 'I do not intend to interrupt the to make and put in circulation, for the convenience are ex .hanged for it.
gentleman, but would ask what he designs to do of those who want it, a new coin, of the same deThis is proved by the state of things existing in with this bill when he has finished his speech? If nominations, to be sure, but of a different weight California and Australia, where the effect of the he proposes to put it on its passage, it will be ne and value, the stamp upon which shall truly indismall amount of labor required to produce gold is | cessary to make some inquiries as he goes along.
cate its value. directly seen by the increased quantity necessarily Mr. DUNHAM. I am ready to answer any
Mr. MILLSON. I wish to make a suggestion given in exchange for every other commodity pro- || inquiry which may be put to me. I intend, at the to the gentleman from Indiana, which I trust will duced by labor—in the increased quantity which close of my remarks, to call for the previous ques meet with his approval, as I doubt not it will meet has to be given for labor itself in other pursuits. tion, and leave the House to put the bill on its with the concurrence of the House. This is really Why? Because if labor in other pursuits did not passage, continue the discussion of it in the House, a very important bill, and I am sure the gentleman command about the quantity of gold which that or to refer it to the Committee of the Whole on himself would not desire the House should pass same labor applied directly to raising the gold the state of the Union, as it may see proper. on it without the opportunity, for mature examinwould, it would immediately be withdrawn from Mr. FREEMAN. I will ask the gentleman | ation. I merely suggest to the gentleman that, those other pursuits and directed to raising the from Indiana whether he has the least idea of put- instead of terminating the debate and forcing the gold. Therefore, as much less labor is required. || ting a bill of this importance on its passage with- || House to a vote, he will allow the bill, by gennow to produce gold than before the discovery of out any discussion in the House?
eral consent, to be referred to the Committee of those mines, labor has been attracted to its produc Mr. DUNHAM. The question has been be- || the Whole. Then he may move a reconsideration, the supply has been vastly increased, and fore Congress for nearly the whole of two ses tion of that vote, which he may call up to-morrow, the value, when compared with other articles, sions.
and thereby make the bill the first one in order for diminished. If the production of these new mines Mr. FREEMAN. Before your committee, discussion, and give the House an opportunity of should now cease, the present supply of gold suppose.
examining in print the amendments which have would not be diminished; and as before their dis Mr. DUNHAM. It has been before the Sen- | been proposed to the bill by the Committee on covery the production of gold kept pace with that I ate, and this particular subject of seigniorage has Ways and Means, as well as those submitted by of silver, there is no reason why the present rel- | been discussed upon one side, at any rate, in this the gentleman himself. ative value of the two metals should not be main- || House, as the gentleman from New York (Mr.
Mr. DUNHAM. I have remedied the whole tained, at least for some time to come. The evil | Brooks) will recollect; and if he does not, I will difficulty. I have already made a motion which which we now endure would still continue and endeavor to remind him and the House of a speech will keep this bill before the House. I have no would need a remedy; but so far from the supply delivered by him upon it, at the last session. desire, I repeat again, to force this bill to a vote from these mines ceasing, there is every prospect, Mr. BROOKS. With the gentleman's permis- || in the House; and I say again, if there is any genas before observed, of its continuing in an increas sion, I will state that a proposition for seigniorage eral objection to my calling the previous question, ing ratio. On the other hand, what have we to was then introduced, and on a vole by yeas and I will not do it. Certainly, the House have it in look to for the increase of silver? Nothing, ex nays received only fifty votes in the affirmative.
power to vote down the call for the previous cept that quicksilver is a little cheaper from the Mr. DUNHAM. I am happy the gentleman question, or not. I hope that gentlemen will not discovery of new mines, the productions of which has reminded me of that fact; I'will endeavor to further interrupt me, until I get through with the are not subject to the monopoly which has con. give the gentleman some reasons why it then re general remarks which I wish to make in explanatrolled that article heretofore, and some little im ceived so little favor here. It will be recollected tion of this bill, and then I am willing to answer provements, perhaps, in the machinery with which that the gentleman made a speech against it, upon any question which may be put. the silver mines are to be drained and worked. an occasion which allowed no opportunity to re To return to the question, I repeat, sir, we proSo far, then, from the present evil remedying || ply. I will now endeavor to satisfy the House | pose to impose a charge or seigniorage upon the itself, it must be greatly augmented.
ihat his argaments were founded in fallacy, and coinage of gold and silver, to cover the actual exAnother objection urged against this proposed that he was much mistaken in his facts.
pense of the coinage, instead of defraying that exchange is, that it gives us a standard of currency Mr. FREEMAN. As the gentleman designs | pense, as heretofore, out of the public Treasury. of gold only. We sometimes become attached to putting this bill on its passage by calling for the This is a very important provision, and notwithold forms and usages, and obstinately insist upon | previous question, I desire to propound an inquiry standing the gentleman tells me there was at the continuing them, without considering the reasons io him. I consider any change in the metallic last session a vote of fifty only in favor of it, I for their adoption, or the propriety of their con currency of the country would interfere greatly trust gentlemen will give it their careful considtinuance. What advantage is to be obtained by with the interests of the people. Now, the gen- || eration, and that it will in consequence meet with a standard of the two metals, which is not as well, tleman has stated that gold is now the standard of much more favor at this time. What do we proif not much better, attained by a single standard, | value in this country, and that silver was much pose? I am unable to perceive; whilst there are very more valuable than gold, and, therefore, I take it, Mr. ·BROOKS. Let me correct the gentleman great disadvantages resulting from it, as the ex not the standard of value.
in point of fact. He proposes to levy only the perience of every nation which has attempted to Mr DUNHAM. Yes, sir; precisely.
actual expenses of the coinage. The amount of maintain it has proved. The constant, though Mr. FREEMAN. But in order to bring silver coinage at the Philadelphia Mint was, last year, sometimess low change in the relative values of the down to the standard of value, he proposes to de- | about $50,000,000. One half of one per cent. seigntwo metals has always resulted in great inconveni-preciate the silver currency of the country: Every corage will be $250,000 annually. The expenses ence, and frequently in great loss to the people. | member of the House will see that that is a very of the Mint at Philadelphia, as I stated and proved Wherever the experiment of a standard of a single important change, and one the people of this coun the other day, are now nearly obtained out of the metal has been tried, it has proved eminently suc try will not willingly submit to. The question of depositors, because the Mint, in the estimates, des cessful. Indeed, it is utterly impossible that you a change in the value of existing American coin, mands $250,000 as the expenses for maintaining itshould long at a time maintain a double standard. is not one, however much it may be discussed in self, and says, at the same time, that it only wants The one or the other will appreciate in value when this House, which has been assented to by the only $48,000 out of the public Treasury, leaving compared with the other. It will then command voice of the people of the United States. I hope about $200,000 to come out of the publio. Now, a premium when exchanged for that other; when
the gentleman will not undertake to cut off dis this bill proposes to add $250,000 more, to come it ceases to be a currency and becomes merchan cussion on this subject,- However well-informed out of the depositors, making $410,000. dise. It conses to circulate as money at ils nom he may be, he should recollect that there are infe Mr. DUNHAM. The gentleman has fallen
320 Cong.....20 Sess.
The Coinage Question_Mr. Dunham.
Ho. OF REPs.
into an error; in this, that he has taken the appro- allowed in receiving it for the enhancement of and the frequency of the exchange of that wealth, priation for the Mint at Philadelphia alone as the value which that manufacture caused. It can only | leaving no traces of its having passed through our appropriation for the whole Mint establishment be lost when the coin, by accident or design, skall | dominions other than an empty Treasury, and the the Mint at Philadelphia and all the branches. In be reduced to bullion again, and this labor evolved profits of Wall street brokers, ship-owners, insurdiscussing this question of seigniorage, I propose 1 (if I may use the expression) and lost to him who ance and express companies ? Might we not as first to inquire what coinage is, its object, and should be so unfortunate as to meet with accident, well at once pay these profits out of the Treasury? effect? I apprehend that much of the opposition | or so stupid as to conceive the design.
The gentleman from New York, (Mr. BROOKS, which exists to the charge of seigniorage results It is possible that coin may be remelted into bul- ll in a speech which he made a few months ago, from the want of a proper understanding of the lion without loss to the holder, notwithstanding a talked most learnedly about this seigniorage being a nature, purposes, and effects of coining. Coining charge for coinage may have been exacted; but “relic of feudality." He said that it ought to bedoes not fix or control the value of the currency. this can only happen when the production of | long to the Grand Seignior, because it is seignior. It is a simple manufacture of the metals into pieces gold is limited, and the demand for it for other age. Indeed, he talked so very learnedly about of a convenient form and size, and marking upon purposes than currency is greater than the need of feudalities and feudalisms, that I almost imagined each its respective quality and quantity. For in it for currency; and then the holder of the coins can that he was himself a relic of those ancient times stance, when we see an American silver dollar, suffer no loss, as the bullion in them will be worth when men talked most flippantly about that which we know by the stamp upon it that it has been as much for those other purposes, as the coin is they least understood. Does he not know, does not examined and tested by the proper officers, and worth for circulation. But so long as the pro this House know, that seigniorage then meant that it contains four hundred and twelve and a duction of the metal is unlimited this cannot hap. something very different from what it does as used half grains of silver nine tenths fine. When we pen, as the demand for those other purposes will in this bill? Then it was a tax upon the coinage see a gold dollar, we know in the same way that be met with the increased production of the raw to replenish the treasury of the feudal lord; here it it contains twenty-five and eight tenths grains of material. Impose a charge for coinage, then, equal means simply a charge, not for a revenue, but for gold of the same fineness of silver, (nine tenths.) to its cost, and there can scarcely be an over coin the actual expenses of the manufacture of the coin. This does not fix its value, but it simply marks age, as no one will ordinarily have an article fab The gentleman seemed to me to under-estimate quality and quantity, for the convenience of those il ricated unless its value when manufactured is equal
very much the intelligence of the House, when he who have occasion to receive or pay it, and saves to the value of the raw material added to the cost sought to appeal to your prejudices, by talking them the trouble of having to examine its quality, of manufacturing. There can be no danger of a about such a charge as being a relic of the feudal or weigh it to ascertain its quantity. The value short supply, because so long as the article is times of antiquity, in order to deter you from is then known by the market, and it is paid and worth this, it will be made. Impose this charge, | adopting it, though it might be ever 80 proper and received accordingly.
and you at once put a stop to our present immense judicious in itself. The law fixes the quality and quantity of metal coinage at such an enormous expense to the Govin our coins, and when parties do not themselves ernment, induced and fostered by our free system, in their contracts stipulate the quantity and fine merely that the coin may be put into boxes and
FEBRUARY 2, 1853. ness of these metals, which are to be paid and re sacks at the Mint and sent without emptying to The bill being again under considerationceived, which they may always do, but stipulate the melting pots of Europe. When an hundred Mr. DUNHĀM. I wish to inquire how much the name and number of the coins, the law sup ounces of coin has cost and is worth as much cime I have left? plies the hiatus by presuming that the parties mu more than an hundred ounces of bullion as it has The SPEAKER. About fifteen minutes, accordtually referred to the law, made it a part of their cost to make it into coin, that coin will no longer ing to the recollection of the Chair. contract, and meant the quality and quantity of | be remelted into bullion.
Mr. DUNHAM. I am sorry it is so short, and the metal contained in the stipulated name and We are coining over fifty millions a year. Who I will endeavor to condense my remarks as much number of coins. Thus, when one agrees to pay is so simple as to suppose that this is for circula as possible. and the other to receive a hundred dollars, the full tion among our own citizens? Who so simple Mr. Speaker, the first thing to which I wish to terms of the contract, as construed by the law, as to believe that even the largest portion of it is call attention this morning, is a matter to which are to pay and receive the number of grains of now in the country? Who does not know that the gentleman from New York (Mr. BROOKS) algold or silver of the legal standard (nine tenths we have been defraying the expense of this im luded on yesterday. His statement was, that we fine) contained in one hundred dollars. This be. mense coinage for the convenience and profit of did not require one half of one per cent. seignioring the case, who ought to pay the expense of the New York brokers? Is it not time to put a stopage to pay the expenses of the Mint, and stated coinage, of this manufacture? Should not those to this? Is it not time that those who derive the the fact that the Mint at Philadelphia only asked who are benefited by it, and in proportion to the profits of this coinage should pay the expense? an appropriation of $48,000 out of the Treasury benefit they receive? Will any gentleman tell me | But, sir, we are told that the Government mo- to defray its expenses for the next fiscal year, in why a man who only receives and pays out one | nopolizes and controls the coinage, and should, ll addition to the profits it now derives from coinage. hundred dollars of this coin in the course of a year therefore, bear the expense. That must be a cu It is very true that that Mint only asks an approshould pay as much and perhaps more of the ex rious monopoly where the monopolizer pays all priation out of the Treasury of $48,000 for the next penses of maintaining this Mint than the one who the expense, and those upon whom it operates fiscal year; yet its whole expenses will be considermay handle ten thousand or ten millions? And have all the profit. The Government forces no ably more than that. For instance, during the past yet this may be the case so long as we raise our man to bring his raw material to the Mint to be year--and it is a matter to which I wish to call the revenues by a tariff, and the expense of the Mint Il coined. He may bring it or not, as he pleases; especial attention of the House-there have been is paid out of the Treasury. It we charge upon he will not bring it unless it is to his interest. If coined at Philadelphia 18,663,500 three-cent coins, the coinage a seigniorage sufficient to defray ihat | he brings it, the Government puts its stamp upon making $559,905; as these coins are of the proporexpense, we make those who have the benefit of it, but it does not prohibit him from puuing his tionate weight to our other silver coins, and are the manufacture pay the expenses of it.
own upon it and selling it, or from having it man made of metal only seven hundred and fifty thouWhen you change bullion into coin, into a formufactured into plate or jewelry. The Government sandths fine, instead of nine hundred, the proper which you may more conveniently use, it is just as stamp may increase its value, but it cannot diminmuch manufactured as if you had manufactured ish or limit it, for we see silver with that stamp their intrinsic value, or in other words, they are actit into jewelry, He who has the benefit of the upon it selling above the stamped price. The law ually worth but two and a half cents each. Theremanufacture should pay the expenses in one case says that his creditors shall take this coin in pay. fore, as silver is received at the Mint at its proper as much as in the other. When the bullion mer ment of their debts, but it does not say that they value, and made into these coins, which are then chant takes his gold or silver bullion to the Mint, shall receive no other. It says that they shall take paid out by tale at their nominal value, the profit and has it manufactured into coin, that coin is it at the value marked upon it; it does not say they from this source last year was over $100,000. This worth just as much more than the bullion as the shall allow no more for it. It may, therefore, be is what I call a seigniorage, and a very heavy one, labor is worth which has been expended in its to his advantage to have his bullion manufactured too. There is also a profit of the same character manufacture, and consequently he should pay for into coin, but it cannot be to his disadvantage. arising from the copper coinage, and a charge for that labor. It is for his convenience when he Why, then, should the Government coin it free any refining or parting the metals. These profits go comes to pay it out to others. It saves him the more, I repeat, than it should make it into plate or towards defraying the expenses of the Mint. time and labor which would otherwise have been
The estimated profits from the coinage of threerequired to weigh it. It saves him the time, labor, But we are told it is for the general good of the cent pieces, for the next fiscal year, is $70,000; if, and annoyance which it would have taken to people that there should be plenty of coin; there however, we should change the fineness of that ascertain and agree upon its fineness. It saves fore the Government should pay for the manufac coin to the regular standard, which I think we all dispute as to quantity or quality. This is ture. So it is that there should be plenty of iron, ought, by all means, to do, we must add this worth more than the cost of manufacture. It flour, and salt. Shall the Government pay for their amount to the $48,000 to be appropriated out of makes his commodity worth that much more. He manufacture also, or shall those pay who use them, the Treasury; and if the gentleman had taken the can, therefore, afford to pay for it, and he ought that have the benefit of them? 'And if because it pains to examine, he would have discovered that to pay for it. When he parts with it, it will bring is useful to have an abundance of gold coin, the ihis sum was asked upon the estimate that there him that much more; for as the person who will expense of the manufacture should be paid out of would remain, unexpended, of the present year's receive it will have all the convenience of the manu the Treasury, so as to encourage gold to come into ll means, to commence the next, $38,000, which facture, he will allow for its enhanced value. The the country to be coined, why should not the freight | must also be added, making, in all, $156,000, to labor employed in the manufacture becomes incor from California and Australia be also paid out of come out of the Treasury for Philadelphia alone. porated into the article as much as the raw material, the Treasury? Why should we not pay a pre If we pass this bill making these new coins, and and like it contributes to its intrinsic value, and like mium for its production ? Nay, why not have it I do not change the standard of the three-cent it passes from hand to hand in its circulation. dug at public expense? And all to what good, when pieces, there will still be less demand for them, There can be no loss of the seigniorage so long as the irresistible laws of trade immediately sweep and hence less profit from their manufacture. the coin remains, for whoever possesses that has it away, and distribute it among the commercial || But, sir, this bill does not propose to apply the the benefit and value of the manufacture, and has | nations of the world, in proportion to their wealth Il revenues from this seigniorage entirely to the
New SERIES.—No. 13.
320 Cong.....20 Sess.
Delay of Public Business-Mr. Houston, of Alabama.
expenses of that particular Mint or branch at which thus to go on, and compel the people to use these worth as much more than the bullion as that cost, they are raised. It will make them a common old, worn-out, depreciated coins, to have the coun will derive a profit. The result will be, that in a fund, out of which the expenses of the coinage try filled with these debased three-cent pieces, or few years we shall have an abundant supply of at the Mint, and all of the branches, are to be to make a currency of the proper standard, ade specie currency for the convenience of the couniry, defrayed, irrespective of the place of collection. quate to the wants and conveniences of the people? | and a comparatively small coinage will be suffiNow, sir, we know that it will cost a larger per || The manufacture and circulation of these three cient to maintain it, whilst now we have an imcent. to coin money in California, where provision cent coins should satisfy gentlemen that even a mense coinage at great expense, but a deficiency has already been made for a branch Mint, than at high seigniorage will not drive the metals from of specie for circulation. Philadelphia, as it now does at the branches at your Mints, when the business and wants of the New Orleans, Dahlonega, and Charlotte. Whilst people require them to go there for manufacture, it costs less than one half of one per cent. at Phila- and that a small reduction of the quantity of metal
DELAY OF PUBLIC BUSINESS. delphia, it costs about three per cent. at Dahlonega in a coin does not prevent its circulation when it and Charlotte. And I will suggest here, that the is made up by its convenience. That convenience
SPEECH OF HON. G. S. HOUSTON, Booner we abolish those two, the better for the causes circulation as well as the intrinsic value.
OF ALABAMA, Treasury and the country. We are continuing We are told if we make this charge for coinage them at a large annual expense, when neither of we shall drive the productions of our gold mines
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, them coins in a whole year as much as the Mint from our own to the British Mint for coinage.
February 16, 1853, at Philadelphia does in two days. They ought to Well, sir, if it must eventually go to the Eng. be abolished at once.
In reply to Mr. STEPHENS, of Georgia, concerning lish market, is it not better that it should
there The ordinary expenses of the Mint at Philadel- i directly, rather than it should be brought this way
the causes of delay in the transaction of the
Public Business. phia for the fiscal year '51-'52 was $271,213 95, | merely to be stopped here in transitu long enough of which $75,000 was appropriated out of the to be coined, at such immense expense, and then
The CHAIRMAN. The time fixed by the House Treasury, and the remainder was obtained from its go immediately to that market?" If it must go
for the termination of debate on this bill has now profits or reductions, of which, as before stated, there—if the laws of trade require it to go there, arrived, and the gentleman from Alabama, having over one hundred thousand dollars were received it will go, and it is better to let it go as bullion reported the bill, is, under the rules, entitled to from the coinaye of three-cent pieces. The amount than as coin, when, as the gentleman from New
address the committee on it for one hour. expended out of the Treasury at the Dahlonega | York himself shows, the impress of our eagle is
Mr. HOUSTON said: Mr. Chairman, on yesbranch, was $10,800; at the Charlotte branch effaced so soon as it touches British soil. This | terday when this bill was taken up, it was not my $10,615, and at the New Orleans branch about charge for coinage will send no more gold to Eng- intention to occupy any portion of the hour to $98,000. If we abolish the three-cent profits, the land, will not control the laws of trade, will not which I am entitled under the rules; but the charamount to be met during the next fiscal year out cause importations or exportations. Gentlemen acter of the debate which has taken place makes it of the Treasury or by seigniorage, for ordinary ex will find proof of this in silver. We coin silver to some extent necessary that I should make, at penses, according to the estimates of the Treasury here free, but in England they charge a seigniorage least, a brief explanation, and, at the same time, Department, will be, for Philadelphia $156,000; l of some nine per cent. If you take a pound of to give, with all proper respect to other gentlemen, for Dahlonega $11,000; for Charlotte $11,600; for standard silver to the Mint, they coin it into sixty- | my opinion as to the causes of obstruction of the New Orleans $121,000; making the whole amount six shillings and give back sixty-two shillings— public business. of expenditures to be met from the Treasury or keeping four
shillings to pay for the coinage; or, I regret that the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. by seigniorage $299,600. I presume it is known which is in effect the same thing, they buy silver at STEPHENS) thoughi it proper for him to make an to the House that three-cent and cent coins are sixty-two shillings the pound by tale, and coin that assault upon the organization of this House. It only made at Philadelphia.
pound into sixty-six shillings. You may call it seemed to me that his remarks did not come legiti. Now, sir, the coinage for the calendar year seigniorage, or just what you please, but they make mately within the range of a proper debate, and 1852 was: so much by the coinage.
so far did he, in my view, travel out of the line of At Philadelphia... $52,403,669 Mr. BROOKS. You said upon gold.
pertinent discussion, that I am almost led to believe At New Orleans.
4,622,000 Mr. DUNHAM. Oh, no; you misunderstood he had some other than the ostensible object in At Charlotte.
396,739 me. They buy an ounce of gold at £3 178. 9d., view. I did not suppose that the relations between At Dahlonega.
473,815 in Bank of England notes, and they coin that the honorable gentleman and the Speaker, or be
ounce into L3 178. 101d., which is one and a half tween him and the committees of the House, were Total......
$57,896,218 penny, or about three cents seigniorage upon the of such a character as to induce so severe a critiA seigniorage of one half of one per cent. would
cism as that in which he has seen fit to indulge. be $289,481 09. So that supposing the future Mr. BROOKS. Will the gentleman allow me I am willing to admit that I have not discharged rate of coinage to continue equal to that of the to interrupt him for a moment?
my duty to my own entire satisfaction. I take it, past year, the gentleman from New York and Mr. DUNHAM. I should be glad to do so, we have but few members who have discharged the House will see, that if you hereafter make but I cannot, for I have very little time left. There their entire duty. We all have short-comings. your three-cent pieces of standard metal, the seign- | is also a seigniorage of one and a half per cent.
The frailties of our nature are such as to render it iorage proposed by this bill is not exorbitant, and upon the coinage of silver in France, and there is almost impossible for any of us to come fully up to will not defray the actual expenses of the coinage, a seigniorage upon the coinage of silver by every our sense of duty. The gentleman possibly reaches much less yield a profit to the Treasury. It is other civilized Government, so far as we have any the standard fixed by himself. If he does, I contrue if this bill shall pass, so as to authorize this reliable account. Yet we find this silver bullion gratulate his constituents on having a representaproposed new silver coinage, an income by way not coming to the United States where we coin it tive here who, at all times, discharges his duty as of profits will, for two or three years, be derived free; but forcing its way to Europe, or being drawn the representative of their interest in this House. from that, in addition to this seigniorage, but this thither by the wants of commerce and the irresist I desire to say, in the beginning of my remarks, will not long continue. The expenses of the Cali- | ible laws of trade, to Mints imposing this enormous that upon no occasion during this Congress have fornia Mint will also have to be added, when it seigniorage. This shows that seigniorage cannot I made a motion or given a vote for the purpose shall be put into operation.
control the exportation or importation of silver of delaying business or postponing proper action There is another large loss to the Government bullion. Every man who at all understands the on any proposition; and for the correctness of this from the present system of coinage. The bullion principles of political economy, must see in a mo statement, I appeal to the members, as well as to fund kepi at the Mint for the convenience of dement, that where property has to be exchanged by the Journals of this body. I have usually been positors is about $6,000,000. This fund is to en means of a circulating medium-where commercial punctual in my attendance upon the meetings of able the Mint to receive the bullion of the depos- necessities require a circulating medium, there will the Committee on Ways and Means, and also of itor, assay it, and ascertain its value, and at once be the demand for the material which composes,
this House. I have generally voted upon propopay him for it in coin, which is usually done in a and there will it go.
sitions that have arisen, and in everything (I feel few hours, thus saving him from delay and loss The gentleman says that where the bullion of that I can properly say) I have faithfully
labored of interest. The interest on this fund alone is a the world goes, there will go the commerce of the to discharge my duty, and to prove myself worthy loss to the Government, for the benefit of the de world; and he seems to infer that the gold takes of the trust which has been confided to me by my positors, of $360,000, for which no charge is now with it the commerce. But is not that a most ab constituents and by this House. made, nor is proposed to be made by this bill. surd proposition? Does not the bullion go where Mr. Chairman, I hope I may be excused for
Sir, I wish, before leaving this subject, to again the commerce exists, and where it requires that recurring very briefly to the action of this concall the attention of the House to the enormous bullion for a circulating medium for the conveni gress. At the first session, after the formation of coinage of these depreciated three-cent pieces—ence and necessity of that commerce? The gen committees, every member knows, and none better over half a million of dollars in a single year. Why, tleman takes the cause for the effect. This seign than the gentleman from Georgia, that the public sir, if we do not soon make some change in our iorage will have only this influence upon the export printing (necessary to enable committees to invesother silver coins, the whole silver currency of the ation and importation of gold and silver: it will tigate subjects committed to them) was not execountry will soon consist of these three-cent coins | induce those who desire to make payments in Eu cuted in due season. The printing of that session and the old worn-out clipped Spanish coins, whose rope to make them in bullion; or, if made in coin, is not, up to this period, entirely completed. All intrinsic value is depreciated about twelve per cent. it will tend to cause the reimportation of that coin; of the bills upon which the Committee on Ways on an average.
for if, as before stated, it is worth as much more and Means could act, in the absence of that printMr. OLDS. And yet such is the demand for than the bullion from which it was made as the ing, were reported to the House within the thirty small coin they pass current.
cost of manufacturing, he who exports it to a days prescribed by the rules; and I, as its chairs Mr. DUNHAM. Yes, sir; the demand for market where it is only recognized as bullion, will man, was instructed to report to this body, that silver coin for change is so great that they readily lose that much, and he who reimports it from such the reason why some of the bills could not be pass current, notwithstanding this vast deprecia- | a market to where it can again be used, and is reported within the prescribed time, was, that we tion. Which is the best, I submit, to leave things I needed as currency, and therefore where it is again could not examine the various items which they