The Proceedings of the Bimetallic Conference Held at Manchester, 4th and 5th April, 1888 (Classic Reprint)

The Proceedings of the Bimetallic Conference Held at Manchester, 4th and 5th April, 1888 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Proceedings of the Bimetallic Conference Held at Manchester, 4th and 5th April, 1888

Until the year 1873 the ratio at which Gold and Silver were interchangeable was steady, because the Mints of France and other European countries were open to all the world for the unlimited coinage of both metals on the fixed basis of 15 1/2 Silver to 1 of Gold.

Owing to this, the par of exchange between Gold and Silver Standard countries kept practically uniform, and Silver, as fully as Gold, performed the functions of money throughout the world.

The action of England in 1816, in adopting the single Gold Standard, did not disturb the steadiness of the ratio between the two metals, so long as the Continental Mints remained open to Silver; but when Germany in 1873 decided to adopt the Single Gold Standard the old equilibrium was destroyed, because France and the other bimetallic countries, in view of the heavy sales of Silver made by Germany, suspended their free coinage.

This action caused the price of Silver, as quoted in Gold, to fall, and it has since fluctuated violently, affecting all international exchanges between Silver Standard and Gold Standard countries. In the case of India the Rupee, formerly worth about 2s., has gradually dropped to 1s. 5 d. in English money, with increasing uncertainty as to its prospective exchangeable value as against Gold.

The substitution of Gold for Silver, and the greater amount of exchange work that is in consequence thrown upon Gold, has led to the appreciation of that metal, and to a fall in prices of commodities, as measured in Gold, which is everywhere visible, and everywhere baneful in its effects upon commerce, upon manufacturing and agricultural industry, and upon the growth of employment necessary to provide work for our rapidly increasing population.

Convinced of the evils resulting from existing conditions of our Monetary System, and of the hindrance to trade and agriculture which are largely due to the disturbed relation between Gold and Silver, we appeal to everyone for co-operation in carrying out the objects of the League.

There is every encouragement to press the matter, seeing that America, France, and Germany are willing and eager to co-operate.

These Powers, however, will not move without England, and, under an erroneous conception of the advantages of a single Gold Standard, this country till now has stood aloof.

It is necessary, therefore, to promote the intelligent discussion of the subject in this country, and to bring the force of public opinion to bear upon Parliament and upon the Government, so that England, instead of being a barrier in the way of an International Convention, may take her due share in the settlement of a question so vital to the well-being of the Empire and so essential to the interests of Commerce everywhere.

Any further information concerning the League may be obtained from the Secretary, 5, Cross Street, Manchester, who will also acknowledge Subscriptions and Donations.

The League comprises Members and Associates, the Annual Subscription of the former being One Guinea, and the latter 2s. 6 d. Cheques to be made payable to the Secretary.

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