Front Page Titles (by Subject) III.: FURTHER SUGGESTIONS ON THE FALL IN SILVER. - The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, vol. 6 (Lombard Street, Essays on Guizot & Cairnes, The Depreciation of Silver)
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III.: FURTHER SUGGESTIONS ON THE FALL IN SILVER. - Walter Bagehot, The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, vol. 6 (Lombard Street, Essays on Guizot & Cairnes, The Depreciation of Silver) 
The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, ed. Mrs. Russell Barrington. The Works in Nine Volumes. The Life in One Volume. (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915). Vol. 6.
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FURTHER SUGGESTIONS ON THE FALL IN SILVER.
The grave difficulties which the Indian Government finds in consequence of the fall in silver, and the much graver ones which it has to apprehend if that fall goes further and further, have naturally led to various suggestions, two of which are important enough to deserve notice. First, it has been suggested that the Indian Government should compel the ryots to pay the land revenue in gold at a fixed rate of exchange, say, 10 rupees to the sovereign, and it has been thought we shall so obtain most of the advantages of the demonetisation of silver without any of the disadvantages. But this we believe to be a mistake. The measure, in the first place, would augment the depreciation of silver as compared with gold. Silver is at present the medium in which the land revenue is paid; if it is excluded from that class of payments and gold substituted, the rejected metal will fall and the adopted one rise in comparative value. The ryot who has silver ready to pay his land-tax, finding that silver useless, must exchange it for gold, and an incessant series of such transactions would augment the depreciation which is complained of.
Secondly, the ryot would complain, and justly, of breach of contract. The Government agreed with him to take so much silver for so many years, but now, in effect, it says it must have so much more silver. Suppose the silver rupee were only equal to 1s. 8d. in gold, and you make him find gold at 2s. a rupee; this is equal to an addition of one-sixth to his taxation, and this will be a great hardship. If, indeed, the prices which the ryot gets for his commodities in silver had risen, he would be benefited as much as he lost, but as yet this is not so. The effect upon the relation of silver to gold has been much quicker than that upon the silver prices of miscellaneous commodities, and it would be a severe tyranny and real breach of faith, to increase the stated land-tax upon the ryot when his means of paying that tax had not been augmented.
Thirdly, the Indian creditors of the Government, who are paid in silver, would say that their contract ought to be put on the same footing as the ryot’s contract; that as he is to pay in gold, at a fixed rate, so ought they to be paid. And their case will be stronger, because, as we have seen, the depreciation of silver will be increased by this action of the Government; and, therefore, its creditors may justly claim not to suffer by that which is, in part, at least, the act of their own debtor.
Fourthly, the officials of the Indian Government will at once say that they ought to be paid in gold too, at a fixed rate. And there would be a real claim to it as far as the English officials are concerned, for they are in much the same position as the Government; they have to make large remittances to England for the investments of their savings, and often for the maintenance of their families. The prospect of making these savings has very much induced them to go to India, and, therefore, it would be unfair by any act of Government materially to lessen their power of making them.
Other objections might be urged, but these are, we think, enough to show that the plan cannot be adopted.
The second scheme is even less plausible; indeed, we notice it rather because it has been spoken of in the market than for any merit it has. It is that the English Government should abstain from drawing on India, and should negotiate a loan in London. But this would only augment the evil, for the interest on the new loan would have to be paid in gold, and would be so much more if the gold was to be bought by the Indian Government in depreciated silver.
In so far as the evil is real there is, as we before showed, nothing to be done, except to endure the evil for the present, and to have confidence that the slow action of economical causes will in the end cure it. How far the present apprehensions are well grounded, and in what proportion on the contrary exaggerated, it would be as yet very premature to give an opinion.