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cluding those most highly protected, would not be enhanced; that labor would have a larger market and the products of the farm advanced prices; while the Treasury surplus and receipts would be adequate to meet the appropriations, including the large exceptional expenditures for the refunding to the States of the direct tax and the redemption of the 472 per cent bonds.
It is not my purpose to enter at any length into a discussion of the effects of the legislation to which I have referred; but a brief examination of the statistics of the Treasury and a general glance at the state of business throughout the country will, I think, satisfy any impartial inquirer that its results have disappointed the evil prophecies of its opponents and in a large measure realized the hopeful predictions of its friends. Rarely, if ever before, in the history of the country has there been a time when the proceeds of one day's labor or the product of one farmed acre would purchase so large an amount of those things that enter into the living of the masses of the people. I believe that a full test will develop the fact that the tariff act of the Fifty-first Congress is very favorable in its average effect upon the prices of articles entering into common use.
During the twelve months from October 1, 1890, to September 30, 1891, the total value of our foreign commerce (imports and exports combined) was $1,747,806,406, which was the largest of any year in the history of the United States. The largest in any previous year was in 1890, when our commerce amounted to $1,647,139,093, and the last year exceeds this enormous aggregate by over one hundred millions. It is interesting, and to some will be surprising, to know that during the year ending September 30, 1891, our imports of merchandise amounted to $824, 715,270, which was an increase of more than eleven million dollars over the value of the imports of the corresponding months of the preceding year, when the imports of merchandise were unusually large in anticipation of the tariff legislation then pending. The average annual value of the imports of merchandise for the ten years from 1881 to 1890 was $692, 186,522, and during the year ending September 30, 1891, this annual average was exceeded by $132,528,469.
The value of free imports during the twelve months ending September 30, 1891, was $118,092,387 more than the value of free imports during the corresponding twelve months of the preceding year, and there was during the same period a decrease of $106,846, 508 in the value of imports of dutiable merchandise. The percentage of merchandise admitted free of duty during the year to which I have referred, the first under the new tariff, was 48.18, while during the preceding twelve months, under the old tariff, the percentage was 34.27, an increase of 13.91 per cent. If we take the six months ending September 30 last, which covers the time during which sugars have been admitted free of duty, the per cent of value of merchandise imported free of duty is found to be 55.37, which is a larger percentage of free imports than during any prior fiscal year in the history of the Government.
If we turn to exports of merchandise the statistics are full of gratification. The value of such exports of merchandise for the twelve months ending September 30, 1891, was $923,091, 136, while for the corresponding previous twelve months it was $860,177,115, an increase of $62,914,021, which is nearly three times the average annual increase of exports of merchandise for the preceding twenty years; this exceeds in amount and value the exports of merchandise during any year in the history of the Government. The increase in the value of exports of agricultural products during the year referred to over the corresponding twelve months of the prior year was $45,846, 197, while the increase in the value of exports of manufactured products was $16,838, 240.
There is certainly nothing in the condition of trade, foreign or domestic, there is certainly nothing in the condition of our people of any class, to suggest that the existing tariff and revenue legislation bears oppressively upon the people or retards the commercial development of the nation. It may be argued that our condition would be better if tariff legislation were upon a free-trade basis; but it can not be denied that all the conditions of prosperity and of general contentment are present in a larger degree than ever before in our history, and that, too, just when it was prophesied they would be in the worst state. Agitation for radical changes in tariff and financial legislation can not help, but may seriously impede, business, to the prosperity of which some degree of stability in legislation is essential.
I think there are conclusive evidences that the new tariff has created several great industries which will, within a few years, give employment to several hundred thousand American working men and women. In view of the somewhat overcrowded condition of the labor market of the United States every patriotic citizen should rejoice at such a result.
The report of the Secretary of the Treasury shows that the total receipts of the Government, from all sources, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1891, were $458,544,233.03, while the expenditures for the same period were $421, 304, 470.46, leaving a surplus of $37,239, 762.57 The receipts of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1892, actual and
U. Ex. 1, pt 1-i
estimated, are $433,000,000 and the expenditures $409,000,000. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1893, the estimated receipts are $455,336, 350 and the expenditures $441,300,093.
Under the law of July 14, 1890, the Secretary of the Treasury has purchased (since August 13) during the fiscal year 48,393,113 ounces of silver bullion at an average cost of $1.045 per ounce. The highest price paid during the year was $1.2025, and the lowest, $0.9636. In exchange for this silver bullion there have been issued $50,577,498 of the Treasury notes authorized by the act. The lowest price of silver reached during the fiscal year was $0.9636 on April 22, 1891; but on November i the market price was only $0.96, which would give to the silver dollar a bullion value of 74% cents.
Before the influence of the prospective silver legislation was felt in the market silver was worth in New York about 0.955 per ounce. The ablest advocates of free coinage in the last Congress were most confident in their predictions that the purchases by the Government required by the law would at once bring the price of silver to 1.2929 per ounce, which would inake the bullion value of a dollar 100 cents and hold it there. The prophecies of the anti-silver men of disasters to result from the coinage of $2,000,000 per month were not wider of the mark. The friends of free silver are not agreed, I think, as to the causes that brought their hopeful predictions to naught. Some facts are known. The exports of silver from London to India during the first nine months of this calendar year fell off over 50 per cent, or $17,202,730, compared with the same months of the preceding year. The exports of domestic silver bullion from this country, which had averaged for the last ten years over $17,000,000, fell in the last fiscal year to $13,797,391; while, for the first time in recent years, the imports of silver into this country exceeded the exports by the sum of $2,745,365. In the previous year the net exports of silver from the United States amounted to $8,545,455. The production of the United States increased from 50,000,000 ounces in 1889 to 54,500,000 in 1890. The Government is now buying and putting aside annually 54,000,000 ounces, which, allowing for 7, 140,000 ounces of new bullion used in the arts, is 6,640,000 more than our domestic product available for coinage.
I hope the depression in the price of silver is temporary and that a further trial of this legislation will more favorably affect it. That the increased volume of currency thus supplied for the use of the people was needed and that beneficial results upon trade and prices have followed this legislation I think must be very clear to everyone; nor should it be forgotten that for every dollar of these votes issued a full dollar's worth of silver bullion is at the time deposited in the Treasury as a security for its redemption. Upon this subject, as upon the tariff, my recommendation is that the existing laws be given a full trial and that our business interests be spared the distressing influence which threats of radical changes always impart. Under existing legislation it is in the power of the Treasury Department to maintain that essential condition of national finance as well as of commercial prosperity—the parity in use of the coin dollars and their paper representatives. The assurance that these powers would be freely and unhesitatingly used has done much to produce and sustain the present favorable business conditions.
I am still of the opinion that the free coinage of silver under existing conditions would disastrously affect our business interests at home and abroad. We could not hope to maintain an equality in the purchasing power of the gold and silver dollar in our own markets, and in foreign trade the stamp gives no added value to the bullion contained in coins. The producers of the country, its farmers and laborers, have the highest interest that every dollar, paper or coin, issued by the Government shall be as good as any other. If there is one less valuable than another its sure and constant errand will be to pay them for their toil and for their crops. The money-lender will protect himself by stipulating for payment in gold, but the laborer has never been able to do that. To place business upon a silver basis would mean a sudden and severe contraction of the currency, by the withdrawal of gold and gold notes, and such an unsettling of all values as would produce a commercial panic. I can not believe that a people so strong and prosperous as ours will promote such a policy.
The producers of silver are entitled to just consideration, but they should not forget that the Government is now buying and putting out of the market what is the equivalent of the entire product of our silver mines. This is more than they themselves thought of asking two years ago. I believe it is the earnest desire of a great majority of the people, as it is mine, that a full coin use shall be made of silver just as soon as the coöperation of other nations can be secured and a ratio fixed that will give circulation equally to gold and silveri The business of the world requires the use of both metals; but I do not see any prospect of gain, but much of loss, by giving up the present system, in which a full use is made of gold and a large use of silver, for one in which silver alone will circulate. Such an event would be at once fatal to the further progress of the silver movement. Bimetallism is the desired end, and the true friends of silver will be careful not to overrun the goal and bring in silver monometallism, with its necessary attendants, the loss of our gold to Europe and the relief of the pressure there for a larger currency. I have endeavored by the use of official and unofficial agencies to keep a close observation of the state of public sentiment in Europe upon this question, and have not found it to be such as to justify me in proposing an international conference. There is, however, I am sure, a growing sentiment in Europe in favor of a larger use of silver, and I know of no more effectual way of promoting this sentiment than by accumulating gold here. A scarcity of gold in the European reserves will be the most persuasive argument for the use of silver.
The exports of gold to Europe, which began in February last and continued until the close of July, aggregated over $70,000,000. The net loss of gold during the fiscal year was nearly $68,000,000.
That no serious monetary disturbance resulted was most gratifying, and gave to Europe fresh evidence of the strength and stability of our financial institutions. With the movement of crops the outflow of gold was speedily stopped, and a return set in. Up to December I we had recovered of our gold loss at the port of New York $27,854,000, and it is confidently believed that during the winter and spring this aggregate will be steadily and largely increased.
The presence of a large cash surplus in the Treasury has for many years been the subject of much unfavorable criticism and has furnished an argument to those who hive desired to place the tariff upon a purely revenue basis. It was agreed by all that the withdrawal from circulation of so large an amount of inoney was an einbarrassment to the business of the country and made necessary the intervention of the Department at frequent intervals to relieve threatened monetary panics. The surplus on March 1, 1889, was $183,827, 190.29. The policy of applying this surplus to the redemption of the interest-bearing securities of the United States was thought to be preferable to that of depositing it without interest in selected national banks. There have been redeemed since the date
. last mentioned of interest-bearing securities $259,079, 350, resulting in a reduction of the annual interest charge of $11,684,675. The money which had been deposited in banks without interest has been gradually withdrawn and used in the redemption of bonds.
The result of this policy, of the silver legislation, and of the refunding of the 4/2 per cent bonds has been a large increase of the money in circulation. At the date last named the circulation was $1,404, 205,896, or $23.03 per capita ; while on the ist day of De