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Banking and Currency.
BEING A NUMBER OF SELECTED ADDRESSES DELIVERED
FINANCIERS AND ECONOMISTS
With an Introduction by the
of New York
All Rights Reserved
A FEW months ago the editor had occasion to investigate several addresses delivered by prominent bankers and economists, and as an outgrowth of this study he decided to compile a number of the more important and valuable of these into book form, believing such a work to be a significant addition to banking literature. He was further encouraged in this work by the assurance of both bankers and educators that such a compilation would be welcomed as a reference book in connection with studies in banking and currency.
That the bankers' associations of this country have accomplished much that is praiseworthy from an educational view-point remains unquestioned. Their annual conventions have been devoted to the discussion of practical problems as they affect actual conditions. If the
currency question, the trust company controversy, or any other vital topic was confronting the general banking situation, it was sure to receive consideration at some bankers' convention by an able authority, trained through years of experience. As a result we find association proceedings containing many excellent papers treating subjects that standard works on banking have either omitted or inadequately handled.
The addresses contained in this volume cover the period since 1900. The years since that date have been remarkable for several reasons. First, the perennial currency agitation has made several strides, that is, as far as the discussion of the subject is concerned. The controversy over asset currency and branch banking has attained prominence that previously had not been achieved. During the years 1902 and 1903 this contention was at its height, and many practical bankers and students of finance undertook a solution of the question. The lull in the discussion following these two years was only temporary, as the question was revived in 1906, and such organizations as the New York Chamber of Commerce and
the American Bankers' Association diligently sought a remedy for the monetary evil.
Second, the rise to prominence of the trust company as a factor in finance created considerable discussion both from a positive and negative view-point. With the popularizing of this form of banking naturally came the accompanying problems. Many difficulties that never had menaced the commercial or savings bank were left to the trust company for solution. That this form of banking is here to stay no one now questions. Its advantages are its freedom and magnitude of scope, characteristics not possessed to the same extent by commercial or savings banks.
In selecting the papers to be contained in this volume the editor deemed it prudent in several instances to choose more than one address on the same subject, believing that the reader should be given an opportunity of understanding the various opinions maintained by the leading authorities. Especially is this true of the discussions on elastic currency, branch banking, bank supervision and one or two additional topics. . Questions like the foregoing of vital moment to both the banking interests and the commercial world can be solved only after considerable examination and sifting on the part of capable and experienced men.
It has been a source of deep regret to the editor that the size of the volume limits the number of addresses to be contained herein. There are many papers, carefully prepared, thorough, lucid and specialized on some important topic, that are omitted merely on account of the fact that the volume was severely crowded for space. Some of the papers originally requested for publication have been omitted also for this reason. If, however, there appears a sufficient demand on the part of those interested in this branch of commerce, it is hoped that the conditions will be favorable for the publication of a second volume, by means of which a large mass of valuable material may be brought into accessible form for the banker or student of finance.
The editor is especially indebted for valuable assistance and timely suggestions to Professor Herbert J. Davenport of the University of Chicago and to the Honorable Charles G. Dawes, exComptroller of the Currency and President of the Central Trust Company of Illinois, Chicago. To the Honorable Charles Francis
Phillips of New York City, the editor wishes to acknowledge his thorough appreciation for contributing, in addition to his address, the Introduction. President S. R. Flynn of the National Live Stock Bank of Chicago and Dr. Robert Morris of the University of Chicago were both indulgent in giving aid and encouragement at the time the volume was first contemplated. To the contributors as a body the editor feels deeply indebted for their courtesy and willingness in giving their time and offering ideas that made the compilation of the volume a much easier task.
WALTER HENRY Hull, Editor.