A uniform currency.
The proposition of Mr. Caskin
, of Richmond
, in the Bankers' Convention, that all the Banks of the Confederate States
shall receive each others notes as currency, and that each institution shall limit the amount of its issues to its capital stock, strikes us as one of the most important that has been made in that Convention.--It is certain that such a measure would be productive of more convenience and advantage to the public than almost any that could be devised.
We are not prepared to say what trouble the measure would occasion to the Banks themselves.
But as Mr. Caskie
's proposition provides that all balances arising between them shall be liquidated in Treasury notes, we do not apprehend that the inconvenience could be very great.
In consideration of the vast benefit and convenience that the rendering current of the money of all reputable Banks
in every part of the South
would confer upon the community, it would seem incumbent on the Banks to undertake such a measure at some cost of trouble to themselves.
That merchants should be expected to receive from the people notes of distant Banks
, and should not be able with these notes to pay their own debts in Bank, would seem a heavy grievance to the merchants themselves.
It is in fact a grievance so far as the inconvenience of exchanging such money for currency is concerned.
But the cost of the exchange is charged of course to the public, and amounts to an immense sum of money.
While the public loses this heavy ‘"shave,"’ the Banks do not gain it. It goes into the pockets of the brokers, who devote themselves to the business of dealing in uncurrent notes.
Very probably the dealers in this paper do not themselves make much more than the cost of the trouble they are at in converting uncurrent funds into current.
The failure of the Banks, therefore, to receive the notes of sister institutions in other States imposes a heavy loss upon the public, a serious inconvenience upon the merchants, trouble without profit upon the brokers, and secures no benefit to themselves.
It is an unmitigated and unnecessary trouble and loss which they inflict upon the business of the country.
There is some obligation upon the Banks to provide a remedy for this evil, arising out of the system of paper money of which they are the creators, and from which they derive all the profit and advantage.
The function of supplying a currency to the community is a prerogative of Government.
The Government by special acts of incorporation, conferring the special power, turns over to the Banks the right of issuing money for the use of the people, sometimes charging them a small bonus but usually allowing them to reap all the profit ensuring from the privilege.
Reaping as they do this profit, which is considerable, there is a moral obligation upon these institutions to make such provision by arrangements with each other, that their notes shall have currency wherever the people who receive them as money are likely to want to use them as money.
It is morally wrong that a soldier who receives a bank note as money at home should not be able to pass it off at its full value, as money, wherever the exigencies of the war in which he is engaged may call him. The neglect of the Bank to give currency to its notes wherever they are likely to be taken, is as inexcusable in respect to any other holder as to the soldier.
The obligation, the duty, is the same as to all citizens, and they are amenable to public censure when they fail to make effectual provision for giving currency to their notes at a time like the present throughout a common country.
We are glad to see, therefore, the proposition of Mr. Caskie
. It alike looks to the correction of a great grievance suffered by the public, and to the compliance with a bounden obligation attaching to the Banks.
are in the habit of exacting from the public a compliance with all its obligations to themselves.
Obligations are reciprocal; and it is the duty of the Banks to make the notes which they put out as money current as such wherever its holders are called in the service of their country.--There never was a plainer proposition in political casuistry than this; there never was a more sacred and binding moral obligation than that of the Banks in this matter.
It is an obligation, however, which they have not complied with, and which they should make haste to make good with the public.
The Treasury notes of the Confederate Government happily afford an admirable medium of exchange by which this obligation can be discharged.
If the Bank in Richmond
refuses to receive the note of the Bank in Augusta
from unwillingness to trust that Bank, surely the objection is removed when informed that any balance of debt due will be discharged by its amount in Treasury notes, based on cotton in the hands of the Government
This security, and the additional one that the notes of no Bank are issued in excess of its actual capital stock, affords a guarantee of reimbursement, which no Bank will pretend to be insufficient.
deserves great credit for suggesting the Treasury notes as a medium of universal exchange throughout the South
; for as such, not only will the transactions of the Government
be greatly facilitated, but the community itself will be relieved, upon the basis of Mr. Caskie
's proposition, of a heavy grievance.