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That "enormous Contraction."

That "enormous Contraction." image
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Kruin the Detroit Free Press. By whom the statement was iirsi started that the currency of the country ha9 been contracted froiu f 1,060,000,000 or $1,800,000,000 to its present volume it is impossible to say. It is almosl equally impossible to say upon what grounds tho " Nationals" base their reiteration oi' that statement. As a rule they give no grounds, but ïmike the statement dogmatically, as if their authority were quito sufficient. And yot, if the .statement is as important as they deern it, they ought, in justice to themselves, to ascertain very clearly what the i'.n;ts are, and present thein in convinciug form. Failing to do this, thoy musí be set down asdelibcmteinisleaders of tho public ; i'or in a matter of this kind the man who uiakes a statement that he has not soine good reason to beliove true, is as much the enouiy of society as the man who makes a statoment that ho kiiows false. In tho absence of any figures to show tho truth of the statement referred to the public might well bo asked to diBcredit it upou the strength oi' the official reports, or at all ëvents to suspend their judgmont uutil those who use the statement as a basis for argument and appeal present their proof. But as the statement is of a character calculated to deceive, it niay be well to show that the only grounds that have ever been assigned for making it are absolutely worthloss. As givon in Michigan the story of this immense volume of curreucy is traceable, probably, to the egrogious blunder of a former State official, who reached a total of #1,818,317,000, by adding together the treasury notes and postal currency reported outstanding at tour different periods in two years prior to January 1, 1866. The stupidity of the blunder has been often cxposed, but the porsistency with which it is ïepeated leaves no room for doubt that there are still thoso quite silly onough to believe it as woll as those wicked enough to repeat it for purposes of decoption. Whether anything can be said to make the íesult attained by tho Michigan official appenr any more ridiuulous than the bare statement of the method by whicli it is reached, we doubt ; at all es-ents, we shall make no attempt to improve upon the demonstration of absurdity which the method fiirnibhos. A more plausible ground for the " imluense oontraotion" theory is that furnished by the Chicago líder Occan and still reliod upon by that journul as well as other8. The later-Ocean based its represeutation as to the amount of currency formerly in circulation on tho assumption that the " seven-tbirties" of 1864 and 1868 to the aiuount of some #830,000,000 wore a "cirouUling medium." And as there actually was such an is.Mii' of soveu-thirties, and us some of them undoubtedly wout into circulation, tho aasumptiou has been accepted by a great many as a f uil demonstration of the fact that the currency has been enormously contracted. A brief oxamination of the real facts will show tbat this is an egregrious error. '. There is no preteuse whatever on any hand that there was not currency enough to transact all the business of the country iu 1869. The most enthusiastic of the inflationists and advocates of absoluto inoney concede this, and the " enormous contraction," which has laken place is always spoken of as having titkon place sinco that year, though s a matter of faot in 1869 tho total amount of the seven-thirty troaaury notes of ltSG4 and 186." outstanding was lesa tDftu $2,000,000, instead of being $830,000,000 as tho Inter-Ocean assumes. The whole amount of tho issue was payable by July 14, 1868, and the [humen reports show that nearly all of it - all but $1,166,500 - had been taken np or xohauged for bonds by the 30th of June, 1869. Moreover it is a matter of liistory that the seven-thirty treasury notes, even when the ontire volume was out, had an exceodingly limitod circulation :is curruncy. Tho great bulk of tho issue was in drnominations of #50 and over - the law providing for the 184(16 of only $100,000 in deuominations ms low as ten dollars ; and the fact that each $ö0 uota drew interest at the rate uf a cent a day would have caused the notes to be hoarded as an invostmont instond of being used as a legal tender it their face value, even if the law had providcd for so using them, as it did lot. The terms of the law authorizing Lhe issue of these notes exprossly restiicted the legal tender character to such uotes as were made payable, principal and interest, at maturity. This ought to be sufficient to explode the false and absurd claim which has aeen made concerning tho " enormous contraction" since 1869. Like most of ;he claims upon which lhe National party is based it provea utterly worthess wheii confronted with the facts.


Old News
Michigan Argus