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Coin's First Falsehood

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Coin's first picture is that of Colum bus discovering Ainerica in 1492. lm mediately beneath it is a pretended qnotation from a public document which begins in this way : "At the Christian era the metallic money of the Roman empire amounted to $1,800,000,000. By the end of the flfteenth century it had shrunk to $200, 000,000. (Dr. Adam Smith informs us that in 1455 the price of wheat in Eng land was two pence per bushel. )" The statement in parenthesis, which is introduced by "Coin, " is false in four different ways, viz. : ( 1 ) It is false by conveying to the reader's mind the idea that a penny in 1455 was the same thing is u penny now ; (2) it is false. by conveying the idea that the price quoted was the average price at that period in the world's history ; (3) it is false in giving Adam Smith as authority for the statement; (4) it is false in conveying the idea that the quantity of money in the world was the cause of the low prico of wheat in 1455. ■ The first thing in the quoted paragraph is a statement thnt at the Christian era there was a plentiful supply of money as compared with the later period. Now, we can show, on the best possible authority that the rate of wages for laboring men at this happy period was one penny per day. See Matthew 20: 1-16, which tells us that a certain householder went out early in the rnorning to hire laborera for his vineyard, and that when he had agreed with them for a penny a day he sent them into his viueyard. They were all satisfied and uothiug happened to disturb their serenity nntil tliey learned that some others, who bad teen hired later in the day, were receiving also a penny. We need not concern ourselves with the sequel, since the only important point to our purpose is that the rate of wages at this affltient period was one penny per day. A penny in 1455 was not the same thing as a penny novv. The penny was originally the 240th part of a pounc weight of silver, but monarchs had the habit of cntting pieces off the pound of silver and coining the remainder into 340 pennies, putting the dfference into their own pockets. In this way the penny was constantly declining till the reign of Elizabeth. In 1455 the weight of the silver penny was twice as greal M it was in the time of Adam Smith, a fact carefully suppressed by "Coin". The other three falsities may be dispossed of in short order. The prices of -wheat quoted at the end of Book I of Smith's "Wealth of Nations" are not given on his own authority. They are noted as those of Fleetwood, and we are cautioned by Adam Smith, for variovb reasons, not to attach too much importance to them. Thus, referring to the previous writers who had taken Pleetwood's tables as a basis, he says : "Thirdly, they seem to have been misled too by the very low price at whieh wheat was sometimes sold in very ancient times, and to have imaginad, that as its lowest prico was then mach lower than in later times, its ordinary price must likewise have been much lower. They niight have found, however, that in those ancient times, its highest price was fully as much above, as its lowest price was below anvthing that had ever been known in later times. Thus in 1270, Fleetwood gives us two prices of the quarter of wheat. The one is four ponnds sixteen ahillings of the money of those times, equal to fourteen potrnds eight shillinsg of that of the present; the other is si x pounds eight shillings, equal to nineteen poxtnds four shillings of our present money. No price can be found in the ;md of the fifteenth, or the beginning of the sixteenth century, which approaches nhe extravagance of these. The price of corn, though at all times liable to variation, varies most in those turbulent and disorderly societies, in which the interruption of all commerce :ind communication hinders the plenty f one part of the country from relieving the society of another. Iu the disorderly state of England under the Plautagenets, who govemed it from about the middle of the twelfth, till towards ihe end of the flfteenth century, one district inight be in plenty, while other at no geat distance, by having its erop destroyed either by some accident, of the seasons, or by the incursión of some neighboing baron, might be suffer - ing all the horrors of a famine: and yet if the iands of some hostile lord were interposed between them, the one might not be able to give the least assistance to the other. Under the vigorous administation of the Tudors, who governed England dnring the latter part of the flteenth, and through the whole of the sixteenth ceutiiry, no baron was powerful enough to dare to distnrb the public secnrity. ' ' Finally, Fleetwood's tables give the prices of wheat in 1453 at 5s. 4d. and in 1457 at 7s. 8d per quarter, the intermediate year 1455 being Is. 2d. par qnarter, all being the money of the. period, not of Adam Smith's period. "Coin" wants to make it appear that the price of wheat in one particular year, 1455, was due to the shortage of money at that time. Let us apply that method of reasoning to another case. It is in the recollection of naany persons now living in Illinois and Iowa that the corn erop of some years before 1860 would not pay the cost of hauling it to market, and consequently that it was consumed for fuel on the farms or sold for fuel in the adjoining town.s. I have been warmed by such flres myself. And this ocenrred at a time which Coin 's Financial Fooi would cali "bimetallic" that is prior to 1873. Now the price of coal in those particular years, when corn was burned for fuel, did not exceed in the country towns 2.00 to $2.50 per ton. It wasacommon estimate in those times that there was as niuch fuel in a ton of corn as in a ton of coal. If this was true the value of com must have been between six and eight cents per bushei, being less than the price of wheat in 1455 as quoted by Fleetwood. What could be said of auy future historian who should take that for the trne price of corn in Illinois in the middle of the 19th century? We. have not got through with this pretended quotation yet. Beginning where we left off above. it continúes thus: ' 'Population dwindled, and commerce, arts, wealth and freedom all disap peared. The people were reduced oy poveity and misery to the most degraded conditions of serfdom and slavery. The disintegration of society was almost complete. History records no such disasfcrous trausition as that from the Roman Empire to the Dark Ages. The discovery of the new world by Coltimbus restored the volume of precious metáis, brought with it rising prices, en-vbled society to reunite its shattered links, shake off the shackles of feudalism, and to relight and uplif t the almost extinguished toi-ch of civilizattion. " - (Report United States Monetary Commission of 1878. ) There was a monetary commission in 1878 composeed of Reuben E. Fenton, W. S. Groesbeck, Francia A. Walker and S. Dana Horton. The editor of the Indianapolis Journal looked through the report of that year and finding nothing of the kind here quoted pronounced it a forgery. Then a reply was made by "Coin" or somebody for him that 1878 was a typographical error ; that it should have been 1876. That rneant the report of Senator Jones, of Nevada, and his commission. So the Journal took up that report and discovered that the last sentance in the paragraph, the one referring to Columbus and the discovery of America, the only thing which gives any point to the pretended quotation is itself a misquotation. W.e present below the sentence as it stands on page 50 of the report and as it stands in "Coin's Financial School." - Report Page 50. ' 'Various explanations have been given of this entire breaking down of the franiework of society but it was certainly coincident with a shrinkage in ;he volume of nioney which was also without historical parallel." - Coin's Financial School - "The discovery of the New World by Columbus restored the volume of precious metáis brought with it rising rices, enabled sooiety to reunite its sliattered links, shake off the sbackles of feudalism, and to relight and nplift :he almost extinguished torch of civilzation." - Horace White. According to the New York Tribune t has been discovered thxough experiments made by officials of the Agricnl;ural Department at Cornell Univeirsity ;hat the whey that is left after the manufacture of cheese contains a considera)le aruount of the material of which ratter is made. Also that the butter made f rom it is equally as good as that made from the cream at first hand. The nly quesion which the experiments eem to leave unsettled is as to whether here is a sufficient amount of the bntte; rinciple in the whey to make it pay foi lie labor that would necessarily have o be expended upon it. The following tatistics bear upon that question : Dnrng 1892 there were made in New York state 180,991,310 pounds of cheese. i From (he manufacture of one pound of cheese 8 % pounds of whey are obtained. The amount of whey obtained from the cheese made in thin one state : is 1 , 1 1 3, 420, 1 35 potmds. The fat lef t ■ in the whey is said to be 39-100 of 1 per cent, or from the ainount above narued, 4,342,319 pounds. Butter is said to co itain about 85 per cent of fat - henee the whey wonld be capable of produc( ing 4, 776, 598 pouuds of butter. This at twenty cents a pound would be worth $955,319. This would seem to indícate 1 1 at fiere issufficient profit in the utilizatioa of the whey in butter making to at least make it worth whiie to have a farther investigation. Investigations of this kind are movements in the right direction ; if profits are to be secured, in times to come, every product in the various lines of maunfacturing must be utilized. The methods which have prevailed in some lines in the past must be revised and greater attention given to economy.


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