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resources than at present, and yet were able to maintain a war of three years against us, with heavy loss to us in treasure and in blood.
But the moral results would be still worse in the evil feelings that would be perpetuated between the mother country and her former children and dependants, and above all in the check to that spreading of civilization in the other hemisphere which is the mission of the United States, however ill and imperfectly that mission has as yet been attempted.
One word for Ireland in conclusion. What is to be the result to her of the War, which we are happy to have reason to consider is on the point of termination. How is she to be repaid her sacrifices? The blood of her children has been poured out like water in this struggle; as it always has been whenever England needed her aid. Nay, we believe that in proportion to her population it will undoubtedly be found that, she has furnished more victims to the Demon of War than either of the sister countries. It would have been easy for her also to have distracted and divided the energies of England by menacing political demonstrations, and nothing of this kind has she done. With exceptions so few as to be utterly insignificant, her People and her Press have approved of the War, cheered on their countrymen to join in the strife, and freely pledged every effort of our Nation to support the part taken in it by Great Britain. And now having lost so many of our youth, suffering from the severe taxation which presses so much more in proportion upon our impoverished country than upon Great Britain, have we not a right to ask for some recognition of our services and sacrifices, some amelioration of our condition, some concession of advantages and privileges, soine practical proof that we are at length recognised as entitled to be placed on an equality in all respects with the more favored people of England and of Scotland.
We could markedly indicate the direction in which an honest effort for this end should be made ; but it would be foreign to the purpose of this paper to enter upon such a discussion ; especially when we have already reached our limits. We can however confidently leave it to our Irish readers to supply for themselves the suggestions and claims the Irish coinmunity is ncw so amply entitled to make and to demand.
ART. VI.-AN ADDITION TO THE CURRENCY.
Principles of Carrency-Means of Ensuring Uniformity of
Value and Adequacy of Supply. By Edwin Hill. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longman. 1856.
It would be idle to speak of the importance of the Science of Political Economy in each and every of its wide and difficult departments. There is hardly any science concerning which there has been until of late years such gross ignorance, and it must be confessed that even to the present it labours under a serious defect, it is involved in a certain amount of obscurity which presents difficulties quite sufficient to deter from its study most men; and, capable as it is in most of its great truths and principles, of popular illustration, it must be a matter of considerable regret that those who have written on the subject, have rather addressed themselves to adepts in the science, than to the great mass of readers with ordinary information and ordinary intelligence. Beyond question, in its higher branches and its more serious and intricate calculations, it is involved in such difficulty and complication, that it would be impossible in writing upon these, to address any but men who have long and carefully studied the science in its higher parts; but, at the same time, many, if not most of its great truths, are susceptible of proof by an easy and popular illus. tration, which would enable all to judge for themselves of the accuracy of reasoning of those who advance the propositions, and which would be more effectual than is generally imagined, in testing strange or absurd theories, and seizing upon the fallacies involved in apparently reasonable plans for reinedying existing defects and evils, obscure and metaphysical disquisitions ou value, currency, gold, exchange, such as most writers on this subject continue to fill their pages, or rather to enter upon their subject with, are quite sufficient to deter the great mass of readers. In this respect we think Mr. Hill is deserving of much credit, and though we differ with him as to the efficacy of his proposed plan, and as to portions of the reasoning by which he seeks to support it, we thank him for the clearness with which he proposes his views ; a ciearness
not alone desirable for enabling general readers to understand the subject, but a clearness which shews his honesty of purpose. Advocates of a theory which they have reason to suspect to be erroneous, or to which being wedded from any particular reason they seek to support --per fas aut nefas, take care to Use such obscure language, and to strain so unfairly, not to say in properly, facts as well as arguments, that it is somewhat difficult to detect their errors, and still more difficult to render that detection manifest to others. Mr. Hill enters on this subject in the spirit of one who seeks to investigate the truth, and to suggest what is useful. He does not desire to force a pet theory on us, or to magnify himself at the general expense, either by creating a sect or by effecting a change, unless he is right. Again, we think that this gentleman is entitled to consideration for devoting, with the best intentions, and with a singular honesty of purpose, much time and trouble in propounding a plan, no matter whether it may be considered effective or not, for remedying one of the most serious evils to which a country could be exposed. Compelled as we are to differ from Mr. Hill, we think these remarks due to him, and that we should enter on the consideration of his suggestions rather as one discussing a plan with a friend, when both have a common object, than as severe critic or a sectarian partizan. In our remarks on this subject we shall rat her address ourselves to general readers, as it is quite possible to do, at the same time that we communicate our views to those who bave made the subject their study, although in so doing we may depart from the general rule, and subject ourselves to the charge of writing inaccurately and carelessly on the matter.
Before proceeding to discuss the reasoning of Mr. Hill on particular evils and the sources to which he attributes them, it would be desirable to state a few of the principal propositions connected with currency, the truth of which all concur in admitting
The object of currency is to furnish a medium, by which exchanges may be effected. The farmer can consume but a small portion of his own crops, he cannot very well take a portion of his corn in kiud to his landlord to pay the rent, nor to tradespeople with whom he deals for the different necessaries and luxuries of life. For this purpose it is necessary to select some prodace having as nearly as possible an invariable
value, or some token representing Land Produce. The prin. cipal requirement of such a medium, a requirement in comparison with which all other considerations must sink into insignificance, is a fixedness of value. Gold, which has generally been selected for the purpose of discharging this duty of exchange, has been ascertained to be subject to less fluctuations than any other possible inetal. And for purposes of utility, gold is worth little or nothing. Value is however ascertained by the cost of production, and it is not because the gold in a sovereign is intrinsically worth the measure of corn which may be bought for it that it is considered an equivalent, but because the quantity of gold and corn mutually exchangeable, cost for their production the same amount of labor.
Gold then being, without the intervention of Government or legislative provision of any kind, what may be called the natural currency of every country, independently of its fixedness of value and portability, as compared with other metals or commodities, it has been taken as the basis of our currency. The same object of supplying a currency may be effected by the Government issuing a certain number of counters, and providing that they should be a legal tender for a particular sum, because the different exchanges required by the community require only a token, which token however, while it may be valueless in itself, must have a reference to a fixed standard as gold, that is a fictitious, by its purporting to represent a certain quantity of gold. It matters not to the farmer whether he is paid by his factor in tokens or sovereigns for his corn, provided those tokens being made legal tender and kept as before said at a fixed value, he can pay his rent with them, and procure everything that he could have procured with sovereigns. If the amount of these tokens or notes should be greater than is required for the purpose for which they were intended, that is for the necessary exchanges, the result will be that there being more tokens than are necessary, more of them will be given for the same quantity of produce than before, consequently a higher price will be paid for commodities.
On the contrary, if the tokens are not sufficient to discharge their required function of fully supplying the media of exchange on the country, a smaller number of tokens inust suffice to purchase the same quantity of corn than would suffice under a perfectly regulated and adapted supply.
At such a time prices are low, that is, commodities will not command in exchange as large a quantity of currency as at other times. The object of supplying a community with the required amount of currency might be effected without the circulation of a single sovereign or coin of any kind, by the issue of tokens to which the attribute of currency is given, by Government providing that such shall be legal tender. This, as regards economy, is by far the most desirable currency medium, as there is neither the waste occasioned by the circulation por the loss of interest by keeping up a valuable product like gold, when the same object might be effected by bundles of paper. An insuperable objection however presents itself to issuing tokens without some provision being made as to searing a fixedness of value, a fact only to be ascertained by a reference to the least variable in value of all products, namely gold. In an arbitrary government this object might be etfected without having a single coin in circulation, by the managers of that branch of the state direction, ascertaining from time to time, as might be convenient or necessary, whether the amount of gold which the note or token purports to represent can be bought for such note. If this be so and the note and the gold coin should be of equal value, the currency will be at its true level neither more nor less than the business transactions of the country require. If the note can purchase more gold than it purports to represent, there is a deficiency of currency because the currency not being sufficient for business demands prices are lower-that is a larger quantity of material value may be obtained for the note than under ordinary circumstances, and hence a larger quantity of gold which may be bought and sold as corn, manufactured or any other marketable articles. On the other hand, if the currency be in excess, by the same process the note will not be able to parchase the quantity of gold which it purports to represent.
Such a power even if it could be satisfactorily and successfolly exercised is so inconsistent with our constitutional ideas, that it may be put aside as one which could not safely be confided to any government or body of men. This being so, the meanest approximation to a purely paper currency, consistently with securing the fixedness of value of such currency, must be the most desirable. We object to placing the control of the currency, that is the exercise of an arbitrary discretion, as to the issue of paper or creation of currency, in any body in the