Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/430

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414
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

coinage of copper free, everybody owing a dollar would buy ten cents' worth of copper, have it coined, and pay his debts with it. In this way a man owing $1,000 could pay up with $100, and pocket $900. Were the coinage of nickel free, and legal tender for the same unlimited in amount, he would buy $200 worth of nickel, pay off $1,000 of debt, and pocket $800 profit. The same thing, with diminished ratio of profit, might be looked for with the free coinage of silver.

Now the question is. How long can the Treasury issue certificates for silver without destroying the force which keeps it on a parity with gold? This depends on the amount of necessity there is for currency. The moment that the daily pressure of currency is such that a considerable portion may be conveniently withdrawn and held in safe-deposit boxes, or sent to Europe, that portion will without doubt be gold. If, then, 550,000,000 silver dollars or certificates should be suddenly put forth (that being approximately the amount of gold in circulation), gold would no doubt disappear, because business transactions are adjusted to the existing amount of currency, and the surplus amount thus made would be unavailable here, at least to a large extent. Now, how long can the silver certificates be issued without a corresponding result? Several facts are required to answer this question: 1. How great is the natural expansion of the demand for money per month?

2. How great must be the preponderance of silver before gold is hoarded in quantity?

3. When the hoarding begins, will it accelerate, from alarm or panic?

Without trying to answer these questions, upon which the best informed differ widely, it may be granted that there is danger in the continued issuance of so large an amount of currency based upon silver. Assuming this to be a fact, what is the probability of a modification of the law? The opponents of silver having failed for twelve years to repeal the Bland law, will they be more successful with the Sherman law?

Upon this point I hazard the suggestion that the silver movement, which seemed so dangerous a year ago, may have been a blessing in disguise. It led directly to the insertion of the gold clause in contracts, as before stated, with all the consequent effects. It led to the division of the Democratic party; to the justly famous silver letter of ex-President Cleveland; to the defeat of Governor Campbell in Ohio; and to the necessity of choosing an Eastern man, or one opposed to any form of fiat money, for the presidential nominee of the Democratic party. Thus the recoil from the silver agitation has far exceeded in importance of effect the original momentum. The continuous effect of the "gold clause" goes marching on to an irresistible issue in a stable single standard; and it would not be surprising if the final result of the silver movement of the past year would be the relief of the country from the dangers of the compromise law made in the fury of the recent silver agitation.

Charles S. Ashley.

 

 

COLORS OF NAMES.

Editor Popular Science Monthly:

Sir: An article in a recent number of The Popular Science Monthly, by President D. S. Jordan, on The Colors of Letters, assigning colors more or less pronounced to the different letters of the alphabet, reminds me of a childish fancy of my own, of which I have often thought, but to which I had never before attached any significance. The days of the week were as distinctly marked or colored in my early conception as the objects about me. Sunday was red; Monday a light pink; Tuesday gray, with irregular streaks of a darker hue; Wednesday was green, with interstices of a dull white; Thursday was yellow, but not of deep tone; Friday was pink again, and of deeper tinge than Monday; and Saturday was green. What is there in these names to suggest colors? The associations of the days do not seem to offer any explanation, with possibly one or two exceptions, and, if it be a mere freak of imagination, it would be interesting to know the experience of others touching the same matter. Again, as I think over the names of the months and the seasons now, there is a suggestion of color in each, but more, I think, the result of association than in the days of the week.

J. H. Chapin.
St. Lawrence University, Canton, N. Y.,
November, 1891.
 


EDITOR'S TABLE.

 

EVOLUTION AND ITS ASSAILANTS.

THE doctrine of evolution teaches that the changes which take place in the universe both of mind and matter follow an orderly sequence, and that each preceding stage potentially contains the succeeding one—that every succeeding change can only be explained and understood through a comprehension of the preceding one. It incites us, therefore, to a study of cause and effect, and encourages us to believe in the possibility of a rational interpretation of Nature, Strictly speaking, evolution is nothing more than a generalization of the idea of cause. Every man within