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CHAPTER IV.: on some inconveniences inherent in the combination, respecting a gold currency, recommended in this work. - 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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on some inconveniences inherent in the combination, respecting a gold currency, recommended in this work.
The plans recommended in this work, respecting a gold currency, are they absolutely free from all inconveniences? I do not pretend that they are. It would result that from the fact that the cashier had in his charge gold coins which he was justified, on the 31st December, in considering worth a certain sum, he would, without having touched, or added to or deducted from them, on the 1st January, when the periodical revision of the tariff took place, possess the same gold coins in true relation with silver. What is said of cashiers would also be true of every private individual having in his house or pocket any gold coin. In what concerns the receivers of the public revenues the objection is serious. It seems, in fact, that they would be placed in a false position, and every six months (I assume that the revision would be half-yearly) be exposed to a clear loss, or find themselves in the way of making an unmerited profit. This difficulty, however, is not insurmountable. Would it not suffice, for example, if the cashiers were to state the amount which they had separately in gold and silver coins? It would also be well if they distinguished the sums which they held in bank notes. Such a task need not be very difficult.
With regard to the public in general, it would not be impossible to prevent private interests from suffering a serious loss at the end of each six months, in consequence of the depreciation of the gold which each individual might have on hand. In fact, everybody might so arrange as only to have just so much as he pleased in his possession. This rule might be easily observed, if, adopting an idea which has been thrown out, the law were to limit to a certain maximum, such as the sum of a thousand francs, the amount which the creditor should be forced to receive in gold; so that in private transactions, beyond this sum, it should be left to the voluntary agreement of parties to decide the nature of the money in which payment should be made. But it is a clause which would give rise to great difficulties in regard to the State, and to certain large establishments, such as the bank.
In all this I do not trouble myself about those individuals who should have hoarded large sums to keep them indefinitely concealed. If, at last, after a long lapse of time, they experienced a great loss, they would have only themselves to blame.
In fine, we must not forget that the evil of which, at this moment, we are seeking the remedy,—that is, the loss which the holder of gold specie might in spite of himself encounter, in consequence of the fall of that metal in the course of six months, would not, in all probability, be anything considerable. In fact, the case we are examining is rather imaginary than real. It is one of those hypotheses which we discuss in books when we are in the mood for argumentation, but to which the administrator and statesman attach but little importance.
Let us, however, acknowledge, without hesitation, that the system which is here submitted to the appreciation of the public, and which is destined to maintain the parallel circulation of the two metals, without violating the sacred principle of a single standard, will not insure at each instant an absolute compensation or a mathematical equilibrium. It is a mechanism which in its movement may rub a little. But, I repeat, the question is not whether it be perfect. It is rather,—what is the combination which deviates the least from perfection, and which offers the fewest inconveniences? When once we have proposed and accepted a plan for maintaining, parallel with each other, the two metals in circulation, still remaining faithful to the principles which prescribe but one standard, and always respecting the law and the precedents which very opportunely in France assign this attribute to silver, the only question is,—are the accidental derangements which might affect the system, such as ought to frighten us, and are they comparable with the evil effects which we have reason to expect from the other combinations? There is the question, the whole question; and thus stated I think it wDl be answered in the negative. In any case, the worst of all systems is that of which France has offered the spectacle for several years, not in the name of the law, but in opposition to the letter and text of legislation, and in consequence of the inattention of the public authorities,—I mean that in which we see affairs proceeding as if the two metals were placed on the same footing in the currency, and were one as well as the other invested with the dignity of the standard.
I am acquainted with some intelligent persons who are of opinion that the best system would be that which has prevailed in Belgium, in Holland, in the Germanic Confederation, and in Naples, the principle of which is to leave absolutely to commerce the care of fixing the value of the gold coins in relation to silver recognised as the standard. The combination here recommended, has, in relation to the above plan, the fault of a certain degree of complication; but having regard for the habits and manners of life of the French public, I think it preferable. It is more in conformity with the traditions established by the law of the year 11, and with the object of that law,— to establish the parallel circulation of the two precious metale, while starting from the principle that silver is the standard. Doubtless, the system which I shall call Dutch, on account of the nation which was the first, in these later times, to put it into practice, presents itself with the authority of several governments who have adopted it after mature deliberation, and to whose enlightenment I render homage. Such a preference is an argument of great weight. This system subsists, and is in operation in several States which have adopted it to the satisfaction of their populations. But it must also be admitted that it is a weighty argument in favour of the combination which I have developed,—that it is the continuation of our antecedents, at the same time that it is in its whole extent desirable as consistent with scientific principles. Moreover, if experience should develop any unforeseen and grave inconvenience, we should always he able to revert to the plan which has been preferred by the above-named governments.