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M. VROLIK also preferred it, as itrwill allow the coinage of 15-franc pieces, and will suit the silver standard countries that have the thaler and fiorin.
M. MEINECKE could not say at present what gold coin would be best suited to Prussia and the German states, if they hereafter decide to change the silver for the gold standard; nor could he say that they would readily adopt any coin easily convertible into French gold pieces, as it might be against the interests and opinions of the people. They might adopt the crown of the convention of 1857, nine of which contain 310 francs in gold.
M. MEINECKE gave these reasons for not voting on the question of a denominator.
M. J ACOBI approved of adopting the five-franc piece as a. denominator, but inquired why a five-franc platina piece could not be coined with a weight of five grams, or 1,000 francs per kilogram. This was suggested, by M. Stas’s remarks.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS replied that the platina would have to be purchased from Russia, in the first place, and moreover that the experiments that have already been tried have failed. In any event, the platina piece would be considered as “billan,” and the conferenqe is not concerned with that articular kind of coinage.
M. J ACOBI replie that platina could be coined now under more favorable circumstances than formerly, considering the improved treatment of that metal, thanks to the labors of Messrs. Henri, Saint Clair Deville, and Debray. He adds that Russia is not the only country where that metal has been found: it has been discovered in considerable quantities in various parts of South America.
M. FEER HERZOG was surprised at M. Stas’s objections to the five-franc go1d'piece; it passes readily in Switzerland, it represents the piastro of many countries, which was the universal currency for a long time, and when brought into America by the Spaniards gave rise to the dollar. M. J acobi’s suggestion could not be adopted, as it would be dangerous to introduce a new metal, and platinum is too hard to take the place of gold and silver for money.
M. JACOB! replies that from his own experiments and others platina is easily coined, and is predestined by its nature to become the universal metal for money, when it shall be found in sufiicieut abundance. ‘
Mr. RUGGLES said the gold dollar, notwithstanding its dimensions, is well liked in the United States.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS proposed to put to vote the second paragraph of the new ques
tion eight, by adding to five francs the words, or its multiples, so as to allow Sweden to vote in the affirmative.
M. ARTQM thought the reduction too great, as there should be but one common denominator.
Mr. GRAHAM remarked that if five francs is adopted as a denominator, all accounts in England must be kept in dollars.
M. DE PARIEU thought the denominator should be certain; he proposed to vote on five francs as a denominator, leaving out “ or its multiples,” because a single figure is best for a denominator.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS put the question to vote, and it was adopted by 13 to 2. England and Sweden voted no; Prussia, Bavaria, the grand duchy of Baden, Wurtemberg, and Belgium did not vote.
The ninth question was next opened for discussion:
“In case gold is adopted as the international metal, would it be expedient for the types of the coins determined by the monetary convention of the 23d December, 1865, for the sake of unification and reciprocity, to be completed by new types; for instance, by pieces of 15 and 25 francs’! In this case, what should be their dimensions C!”
I On motion of his IMPERIAL HIGHNESS, the second part of the question was left out, because details. such as the dimensions of the coins, would be more properly discussed when the governments shall a ree upon executive measures.
Baron DE HOCK tiought we should first agree upon common coins, that is, money that would be a legal tender in all the states.
M. DE PARIEU replied that, laying aside the question of legal tender, the proposal of common types has been accepted by the fact of the adoption of the aflirmative on the preceding question. With a common denominator, it is evident there will be pieces and common types, practically, if not from absolute necessity. The interest, then, in question nine is reduced to technical explanations on the coinage of 15 and 25 francs solicited by the directors of mints, and the discussion of obstacles’ to the decimal system.
Viscount VILLA MAJOR thought it sufficient to admit 5, 10, 20, and 25 franc pieces.
Mr. RUGGLES particularly insisted upon the interest felt by the United States in obtaining the consent of France to coin pieces of 25 francs, thereby revising the convention of 1865. The American half-eagle and the English sovereign would readily circulate side by side with the French 25-franc piece, on conditions of perfect equality.
Copies of his written argument, presenting the considerations in favor of the measure, were
distributed among the members. This document, containing many statistics, is annexed to the present minutes.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS informed Mr. Ruggles that France does not object to his proposition; but-the convention of 1865 being in force, the French government must have an
understanding with its associates; but that the revision of that diplomatic act, on the point in question, would undoubtedly meet with no difliculty.
M. ARTOM thought the Italian governmentwould not object to receive the 25-franc pieces, provided it was not required to coin them.
M. BROCII wanted the types of the universal coins to be as few as possible. He thought the states should not be required to coin, or even to receive, the 5- and I5 franc pieces. One ‘is too small, and hard to preserve of exact weight, as M. Stas remarks; the_ other is useless,
!as it would only suit Germany, where they are disposed to coin thepmarc, twenty of which would equal 25 francs.
Baron SODEN remarked that the 15-franc piece would suit the south German states.
As the ditferences of opinion seem to be confined to the 15-franc piece, his Imperial Highness proposed to vote first on the adoption of the 25-franc piece. ' ,
M. HERMANN, taking up Baron do Hock’s proposition, insisted that the conference first vote to know whether only one coin is to have legal currency in all the contracting states.
Baron DE HOCK said, in fact, the conference has not yet declared that the coins of one state hould be received by all the others. Without such reciprocal reception there would be no monetary community. After the committee has decided this general question, M. Hermann’s might be next examined, namely: “ Whether this acceptance is to apply to all the coins of the monetary system, or only to some of them?”
M. DE PARIEU, in reply to Baron de Hock, put this question : “Are the five-franc gold coins to be received in the public banks of the states that are bound by the monetary convention?”
M. STAS proposed to substitute the words legal circulation, for received in the public banks. He said, as the convention of 1865 only contained this last stipulation, the Bank of France, without giving reasons, refused to receive 155,000 francs in Belgian gold. If it feared a. surfeit of that kind of money, -it might rest quietly, as only 4.800,U00 francs in gold have been coined in Belgium since the convention. . p
M. FEER HERZOG said it is true the contracting states only obliged the public banks to receive the union money in 1865, because they did not wish to force their citizens to accept foreign money; but it was oflicially declared at that time by the board of directors of the public funds, that when the public banks in France received the union money their example would be followed by all the other large credit establishments.
M. DE PARIEU feared it might cause some trouble in remote localities if the union currency were now made a legal tender amon private individuals, instead of only being receivable in ublic banks. Tax collectors mig t readily recognize the different dies of the gold pieces
wit the denominator of five francs ; but individuals would be puzzled by the foreign effigies on the coins imposed upon them.
M. DE LAVENAY thought that inconvenience might result if small change, with intrinsic
value below the nominal, were forced into circulation ; but we are now speaking of coins of a. real value equal to their legal value. '
Mr. RIVERS WILSON had doubts about the words “legal circulation ;” he asked what would be the result of a limitation to the amount receivable in payment, as in the case of silver small change? '
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS said the question was not about coins with a limited circulation ; he approved of the words “ legal circulation,” because they mean that the international money must not be refused, and the people will then accept it willingly.
He proposed this new wording : “ Shall the gold coins with the common denominator of live francs have legal circulation in the states that are mutually bound by the monetary conlvention 1”
On M. Stas’s proposition, the word “ coins” was substituted in place of the words " the coins,” as being more restrictive, and expressing certain coins.
The question thus put was adopted unanimously.
The delegates from England, Prussia, Wurtemberg, and the grand duchy of Baden did not vote.
. His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS recalled the discussion of the 25-franc piece.
Mr. RUGGLES wished it to be well understood that the United States particuldrly desire the adoption of the 25-franc piece as a type.
Mr. GRAHAM thought there should not be so many diflerent ieces. The introduction of the 15 and 25-franc pieces into the French system would be a efect; it would be better to stop at the 20-franc piece. He inquired it Fance really intended to coin '25-franc pieces.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS replied that certainly, if France consulted onlyits own convenience, she would see no necessity for issuing this new coin; but to facilitate the work of unification, the object of the labors of the conference, itwould make the concession requested
by the United States. It also appeared that the coinage of the 25-franc piece would equally accommodate both England and Austria.
Count N AVA DE TAJO said that the coin would also accommodate Spain.
M. S'rAs agreed with Mr. Graham in believing if a new system is not to be adopted we ought to adopt the French system, without change, and not multiply subdivisions.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS thought the bases of the convention of 1865 ought to be enlarged, in order to effect assimilations that it has not yet offered the means of realizing.
' M. STAS thought the bases of the convention of 1865 were too large already, and that the five-franc piece ought not to remain in it.
M. J ACOBI said 1f experience shows the five-franc piece to be too small for convenient circulation, it will soon disappear.
The question on the 25-franc piece being ut to vote it was unanimously adopted. Prussia, the grand duchy of Baden, and Wurtem erg abstained from voting.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS then proposed the opening of debate on the 15-franc piece.
- M. VROLIK insisted on the admission of the 15-franc piece in the universal monetary circulation. »
M. DE PARIEU seconded the motion, because he thought it would prove acceptable to many densely populated states.
Baron SODE-N answered for Wurtemberg in accepting M. Vrolik’s proposition.
Baron DE HOOK thought there was no present necessity for adopting the 15-franc piece. because Holland has not yet come into the monetary union, and the coin in his opinion would be of no use in.the German states. '
M. VRULIK replied, that without speaking for his government, he indicated the 15-franc piece as a means of inducing a certain number of states to join the monetary union.
M. DF. PARIEU did not see why Austria objected to the 15-franc piece when it was demanded by Holland, and suited south Germany. The Austrian commission of April last adopted the 10 and 9'5-franc pieces. By adding a I5-franc piece to the 10-franc piece, Austria would have the two elements com osing the piece of 25 francs in gold.
M. ARTOM demon ed that, in any event, it be laid down that the states should be bound to accept the 25-franc piece, but not to coin it.
M. MEINECKE regretted that he could not vote on this question any more than he could on the other; but to come to a decision it will be necessary to know what Prussia wants. Now there is no fixed opinion in that country, but a monetary uniformity is certainly desired. All he can do is to vote for the gold standard, but in minor questions he can take no part. H6 has no idea of their effect, for he does not know when or how Prussia will pass from the silver to the gold standard. It could not be done now without producing a monetary crisis in Prussia. which is not in the same situation as France in that particular. The latter would not have so many sacrifices to make as the former in the transition to the proposed monetary unification.
- M. KERN came to the conference intending to vote personally and without committing his government for all propositions that would contribute to the formation of a monetary union more extensive than that of 1865, but resting a-lways upon the same basis. He did not speak for his government. Without regard to preference to the country he represents, in a spirit of conciliation, he voted for the 25-franc piece because the delegates from Austria and the United
States made this concession, and he believed England would do the same. But he was sur
prised to hear the delegate from Great Britain say the 25-franc piece did not appear to him to be useful. , , '
- M. KERN did not see the convenience of adopting the 15-franc piece so long as the states particularly interested, and especially Prussia, have not pronounced in its favor.
Mr. RIVERS WILSON, speaking for Mr. Graham, said the delegate from Great Britain placed himself in a purely theoretical point of view when speaking of the acceptability of the 25-franc piece. It would be rather injurious than useful to the general economy of the French system, but it would not be so in a monetary union between England and France.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS sincerely regretted this disagreement. If the discussion of the members is theoretical, it is only in the sense that it does not bind their governments, as if they had plenary powers; but this conference is not here for speculative studies ; its aims are definite and practical, to which it is the duty of all its members to direct their efforts.
Mr. RIVERS WILSON- replied that England could not but appreciate the intention with which it has been proposed to introduce the 25-franc piece.
M. DE PARIEU remarked that the words by reason of reciprocity were designedly inserted in question nine, new under discussion. They are always understood, and with this reserve M. de Parieu saw no inconvenience in-coining and circulating 15-franc pieces. To repeat the lively remark of his Imperial Highness in respect to the 25-franc piece, it would be an invitation to the states that think they are not yet prepared to decide. '
M. HAINDL, while confessing that the 15-franc piece would suit the German states, remarked that there would be a difference between it and the seven fiorin or four-thaler piece of 111: per cent. in favor of the former. It would therefore be necessary to increase the value of the thaler or florin, which is their present monetary unity. That, perhaps, explains the hesitation of the German states.
Baron SODEN said that while favoring the 15-franc piece, he did not forget that the treaty of 1857 still binds Wurtemberg and the states that have signed it, with the exception of Austria.
M. DE PARIEU observed there is no other gold piece but the 15-franc piece that can bring Prussia, south Germany, and Holland into the monetary union. Now what ought the conference to propose? It ought to prepare a common ground and point out all possible communications between the existing systems. *
Count D’AvILA approved of this, and said the conference ought to decide at once, either for or against the admission of the 15-franc piece, so that the decision might serve hereafter as a point of departure in further governmental resolutions.
M. KERN, for reasons already given, thought the states interested ought to wait for more precise declarations than have been given.
M. ARTOM, not wanting to see the 15-franc piece positively rejected, proposed to decide by vote if the question should not be reserved.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS consulted the delegates to know if any state wished to exclude the 15-franc gold piece from the monetary union.
The conference replied negatively to the question, with the exception of Sweden and Norway.
His IMPERIAL HIGHNESS then put the question: “Shall the 15-franc piece be mentioned in question nine, or shall it be reserved '1”
Seven states voted for the mention, seven against it, and six did not vote.
Those in favor were: France, Spain, the United States, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Russia.
Those against were: Austria, the Grand Duchy of Baden, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
These states did not vote : Bavaria, Belgium, Great Britain, Prussia, Turkey, and Wurtemberg.
Question ten, in relation to silver or alloyed coins, was next read. The conference decided that the question could not be settled then.
The proposal of Baron de Hock and M.-Jacobi, relative to the principle involved in question ll, concerning the control to be exercised in the coinage of the common types of the international money, was approved by a unanimous vote. As to measures of verification and control, they will be specified in the arrangements between the states, and the negotiators may refer to the conventions of 1857 and 1865.
M. DE PARIEU, observing that the Baron de Hock had prepared a note upon the question, it was voted that the note be annexed to the minutes.
The VICE-PRESIDENT of the conference said the 12th question was proposed in case the delegates did not agree on any of the principles laid down in the first part of the list. As this did not happen, and the question of a standard was unanimously agreed upon, the conference decided that the l2th question be suppressed.
On motion of his Imperial Highness, the conference adjourned till Tuesday, the 2d of July, in order to come to an understanding upon the best means to realize the desires of the conference.
The sitting closed at half past 12, noon.
~ NAPOLEON, (JEROME,)
Prince President of the Convention. CLAVERY, Secretary of the Conference.
ROUX, Secretary Adjtl/TICC.
FIRST APPENDIX TO THE MINUTES OF THE SIXTH SITTING.
Note, or written argument, presented by Mr Ruggles, delegate from the United States of America, at the s'i:|:L/| sitting, on the 28th of June, 1867.
The delegate from the United States of America proposes that France shall issue a 25-franc old iece. '
g If be objected that such a piece, not containing an even number of grams, would impair the symmetry of the metric system, it need only be stated that France has not, and never has had, a gold coin containing an even number of grams. The relation in value between silver and gold having been fixedby law at 15-} to I, it became impossible to establish a decimal relation between the two metals : or, in other words, between the number of francs which represent only silver, and the number of grams in the coins of gold. This legal relation of 151} to 1 is itself fractional, and must be doubled and carried to =1} to make even numbers.
The frank is simply a monetary word. which expresses 5 grams of silver nine-tenths fine. It is the French monetary unity. Gold having a value of 15} times greater than silver, it requires 15% francs each of 5 grams of silver (say 5 + 151}: 77-} grams) to buy 5 grams of gold, or 155 grams of silver to buy 10 grams of gold. As 31 is the smallest even number of this relation, 31 is the smallest number of francs which can be represented by a piece of gold having an even weight of grams. No enlightened government would consent to confine its gold coinage to pieces of 31 francs and its multiples. VVe therefore perceive that France has made complete abstraction of metrical weight in its gold coins, not one of which weighs an even number of grams. ‘
The proposed 25-franc piece would weigh grams .0625, and, in fact, would more nearly approach an even metrical weight than any French gold piece now existing.
This relation of 151} to 1 is practically prescribed by the French law, which enacts that 155 (5 + 31) pieces of 20 francs, being 3,100 francs, shall weigh 1,000 grams, or one kilogram ; but the same ratio would exist between 124 (4 + 31) gold pieces of 25 francs, which would also contain 3,100 francs, and would also weigh one kilogram.
The United States have never-attempted to fix a decimal weight for their gold coins, although they were among the first to adopt a decimal monetary system. The present gold dollar weighs 25.8 grains troy, which is about equal to 1.671 milligrams, and exceeds the metrical weight of the French 5-franc piece about 581} milligrams.
A gram of gold nine-tenths fine is equivalent in round numbers to 30 pence English, or 60 cents of the United States. Consequently 58} milligrams taken from the dollar would reduce it about 31} cents, or 292} milligrams taken from the half eagle of five dollars would reduce it 171} cents, being about 31} per cent.
It is needless to expatiate on the comparative merits of a decimal, a duodecimal, or a binary system, for the reason that the decimal system has become a fixed fact in a large portion of the civilized world, rendering any change practically impossible. In like manner the unification of the coinage of the world has become a question of a nature more practical than scientific in character, chiefly falling within the domain of commerce and finance.
The “international committee on uniform weights and measures and coins.” charged with the preliminary study of the question, took _into consideration not only what is theoretically and abstractedly possible, but what is commercially and financially practicable. The subsequent duty of fixing a common coin as the monetary unitrequired an international conference, composed of representatives duly accredited, from the various nations, and
vested with diplomatic powers. ,
If the labors of the international committee were to prepare the subject for a diplomatic conference, it might well state that so large a reduction as 3} per cent. in the gold coin of the United States would seriously affect existing contracts, and that such a change would only be sanctioned by the government and the people of the United States in order to assure to mankind the greater and more important benefit of a common currency throughout the globe. As the expense of recoinage would be considerable, and will increase in proportion to the production of gold in the United States, the change must be made immediately if made at all. It should be remembered that the population of the United States, now near 40 millions, will probably exceed 100 millions [at the close of the present century, in the short
space of thirty-four years. Long before that time the annual product of gold and silver in the United States will be
greatly facilitated and increased by the completion of the Pacific railroad across the continent, and now in rapid progress, which will open outlets to both of the oceans for our wide-' spread metallic interior, now so diflicult of access. Its annual product, now nearly 100 millions 'of dollars, may eventually reach 300 or 400 millions. The money of the world must be unified now or never.
It is fortunate that the gold sovereign of Great Britain, around which the prejudices of the English people naturally cluster, only requires to be reduced to the value of 25 francs, a diminution of 64 milligrams in weight of fine old, being a reduction in value of only 2 pence English, or 4 cents of the United States. In truth, the reduction to be made by Great Britain is less than one-fourth of that required from the United States.
The great and inevitable injury that must result from undue delay in unification in an epoch like the present, when the product and coinage of gold is so rapidly increasing, will more clearly appear from the following gold statistics of the three largest coining nations.
1. The United States of America, in the fifty-seven years from 1792 to 1849, next preceding the great discoveries of gold in California, coined in gold
only $55,588,038; being in francs, at five to the dollar . . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . . . . 427, 940, 190 From June 30, 1849, to June 30, 1851, the two first years of the auriferous , era, the issue was $94,596,230; or in francs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 472, 981, 150 In the fifteen succeeding years, ending June 30, 1866, it was $665,352,323; or in francs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..' ..., .............. .. 3, 326,761,615 Total in dollars, $845,836,591 ; or in francs .................... .. 4, 227, 682, 955
(Of this amount, $146,923,622 was stamped in bars.)
II. The present gold coinage of Great Britain dates from 1816, the year of its reform. From 1816 to 1851, thirty-five years, there was coined in gold £96,021,l51; being in dollars, at five to the pound,’ $480,105,755; in
francs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _ . - . - . - . . - . . . . - . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _ . . .. 2,400,528,775
In the fifteen years from 1851 to 1866, £9l,047,l39; being in dollars, $455,233,695; or in francs ........................................ .. 2,276,178,475 Total dollars, $935,341,450; or in francs ................. . ._ 4, 676,707,250