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PUBLISHED BY WIRTZ & TATEM, No. 97, SOUTH SECOND STREET,
DEVOTED CHIEFLY TO FINANCE AND CURRENCY, AND TO BANKING AND COMMERCIAL STATISTICS.
"It is the interest of every country that the standard of its money, once settled, should be inviolably and immutably kept to perpetuity. For whenever that is altered, upon whatever pretence soever, the public will lose by it.
Men in their bargains contract, not for denominations or sounds, but for the intrinsic value."-Locke on Money.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 5, 1837.
THE BULLION REPORT. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, Sth June, 1810.
The select committee appointed to enquire into the cause of the high price of gold bullion, and to take into consideration the state of the circulating medium, and of the exchanges between Great Britain and foreign parts-and to report the same, with their observations thereupon, from time to time, to the house-have, pursuant to the orders of the house, examined the matters to them referred; and have agreed to the following report:
Your committee proceeded, in the first instance, to ascertain what the price of gold bullion had been, as well as the rates of the foreign exchanges, for some time past, particularly during the last year.
Your committee have found that the price of gold bullion, which, by the regulations of his majesty's mint, is £3 17 10 per ounce of standard fineness, was, during the years 1806, 1807, and 1808, as high as £4 in the market. Towards the end of 1808 it began to advance very rapidly, and continued very high during the whole year 1809; the market price of standard gold in bars fluctuating from £4 9 to £4 12 per ounce. The market price at £4 10, is about 15 per cent. above the mint price.
Your committee have found that, during the three first months of the present year, the price of standard gold in bars remained nearly at the same price as during last year; viz. from £4 10 to £4 12 per oz. In the course of the months of March and April, the price of standard gold is quoted but once in Wettenhall's tables; viz. on the 6th of April last, at £4 6, which is rather more than 10 per cent. above the mint price. The last quotations of the price of gold, which have been given in those tables, are upon the 18th
*This standard was, at the period mentioned, and continues to be, twenty-two carats; that is, twenty-two parts of gold to two parts alloy.-Ed.
and 22d of May, when Portugal gold in coin is quoted at £4 11 per oz: Portugal gold coin is about the same fineness as our standard. It is stated in the same tables, that, in the month of March last, the price of new doubloons rose from £4 7 to £4 9 per oz. Spanish gold is from 4 to 4 grains worse than standard, making about 4s. per oz. difference in value.
It appears by the evidence, that the price of foreign gold coin is generally higher than that of bar gold, on account of the former finding a more ready vent in foreign markets. The difference between Spanish and Portugal gold in coin and gold in bars, has of late been about 2s. per ounce. Your committee have also to state, that there is said to be at present a difference of between 3s. and 4s. per ounce between the price of bar gold which may be sworn off for exportation as being foreign gold, and the price of such bar gold as the dealer will not venture to swear off'; while the former was about £4 10 in the market, the latter is said to have been about £4 6. On account of these extrinsic differences, occasioned either by the expense of coinage, or by the obstructions of law, the price of standard gold in bars, such as may be exported, is that which it is most material to keep generally in view through the present enquiry.
It appeared to your committee that it might be of use, in judging of the cause of this high price of gold bullion, to be informed also of the prices of silver during the same period. The price of standard silver in his majesty's mint is 5s. 2d. per ounce; at this standard price the value of a Spanish dollar is 4s. 4d., or, which comes to the same thing, Spanish dollars are, at that standard price, worth 4s. 114d. per ounce. It is stated in Wettenhall's tables, that, throughout the year 1809, the price of new dollars fluctuated from 5s. 5d. to 5s. 7d. per ounce, or from 10 to 13 per cent. above the mint price of standard silver. In the course of the last month, new dollars have been quoted as high as 5s. 8d. per ounce, or more than 15 per cent. above the mint price.