Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTERS I. to V.: on the part assigned to gold in the monetary legislation of france. - On the Probable Fall in the Value of Gold: The Commercial and Social Consequences which may ensue, and the Measures which it invites
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CHAPTERS I. to V.: on the part assigned to gold in the monetary legislation of france. - Michel Chevalier, On the Probable Fall in the Value of Gold: The Commercial and Social Consequences which may ensue, and the Measures which it invites 
On the Probable Fall in the Value of Gold: The Commercial and Social Consequences which may ensue, and the Measures which it invites. Translated from the French, with preface, by Richard Cobden, Esq. (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1859).
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CHAPTERS I. to V.
on the part assigned to gold in the monetary legislation of france.
This section is devoted to an inquiry into the origin of the monetary laws of France, with a view to determine whether its legislators contemplated the existence of the double standard which is now causing a substitution of gold for silver in the currency of that country. The question is of the utmost importance to the French reader, and its solution Is probably the main object which the author has had in view; but as England stands in a totally different position, having a well-defined gold standard and legal tender, with an expressed legal demonetisation of silver for sums above forty shillings, the argument has no practical bearing upon the interests of this country, and I have obtained M. Chevalier's consent to omit the detailed translation of this section. I refer, therefore, to the original work for an able, elaborate, and, as I think, conclusive argument, showing that all the leading statesmen who took a part in framing the existing monetary law of France, agreed in the propriety of having one standard, of selecting silver for that purpose, and of making the franc the monetary unit, and that it has been only by the unforeseen and unexpected increase of gold, owing to the new discoveries, that the obvious and avowed intentions of the French legislators have been defeated.
The author relies especially on the Report of the Minister of Finance, Gaudin, to the Consular Government, which led to the Act of the 7th germinal, year 11 (28th March, 1803), and which definitively constituted the present monetary system of France. He gives the following extract:—”Whoever lends 200 francs shall never at any future time be repaid with less than one kilogramme of silver, which shall always be worth 200 francs, and shall never be worth more or less,”
The conclusion to which our author comes, after an elaborate appeal to facts and official documents, is that “the creditor of the State who is entitled to 100 francs a year, for example, has an inalienable, imprescriptible, and absolute right to receive a hundred times 5 grammes of silver, of the standard of 9-10ths fineness. He would be despoiled of his property if he were paid with a quantity of gold less than this equivalent, in the same way as if his claim were discharged with only 80 or 75 discs of silver, of the weight of 5 grammes, of the fineness of 9-10ths, instead of 100; or as if he were paid with 100 discs containing 4 grammes of fine silver only, instead of 4½,” and he finally makes the following appeal to the conscience and self-respect of France:—
“It is “true that there is no tribunal before which the State can be made to appear and hear itself condemned to pay the arrears of its dividends in silver to the public creditor; or, if gold has been resorted to, to pay a real equivalent of the quantity of silver which corresponds to the number of francs borne upon the dividend warrant. But, if no such jurisdiction has been established, it is because it has been supposed that the State would interpret with exactitude the law, both when it is against and when it is in favour of itself, and is it well that society should have to repent that it has adopted this hypothesis? In this case exactitude assumes another name—honesty. and even if there be no precise jurisdiction before which the State can be summoned by the instrumentality of a bailiff, and be compelled to make an appearance, there exists, nevertheless, a tribunal by which it can be judged, and whose decisions, though tardily given, and involving no material consequences, are yet not Jess formidable, and strike with terror even the most powerful. It is the tribunal of history, by which all governments know they must one day be judged with an impartiality which they sometimes anticipate with hope, but which ought always to be felt as a restraint. In dealing with a government which respects itself, it suffices to invoke this august tribunal, the last argument of a people, the supreme support of right, and the bulwark of the feeble against the strong, to confirm it in the sentiment of justice even when it shall find itself under the temptation to swerve from it.”
consequences of the fall in the value of gold.