previous next


The currency.

The Enquirer of yesterday and the day proceeding contained a very able paper from Mr. A. J. Marshall of Fauquier, a member of the State Senate recommending the adoption of the sinking fund system by the Confederate Government as an efficient means of strengthening its credit and accomplishing the ultimate liquidation of the public debt at the earliest possible period. Mr. Marshall who is a well-informed gentleman, argues the subject with clearness and force. The system he proposes, if property inaugurated, would no doubt achieve for the Government all he claims for it.

It is absolutely indispensable that some measure should be adopted that will strengthen the credit of the Government and at least impede the rapid increase of Government paper. The amount now afloat is so much in excess of the wan's of commerce that it has sustained a heavy depreciation. As great as it must be, as a matter of course from this excess, it is still further increased by speculators and extortioners, who find the currency a ready scape goat upon which to lay their enormous crimes.

As if these causes of the depreciation of the public credit were not sufficient, the Confederate Senate Finance Committee have gravely proposed a repudiation of the eight per cent, pledge upon all notes not presented by a certain day, and to repudiate, temporarily at least, all notes of a certain Issue not brought in by another date; these latter notes declaring on their face that they are receivable in all dues to the Government, and the committee proposing that they shall be rejected by the Government.

The financial expedients of the Treasury Department have proved abortive. The payment of interest in gold--the promise of eight per cent on the notes have had no more effect than the finances of the man in the moon upon the credit of the Confederate Government. If those expedients have had any effect at all it has been adverse. Either might prejudice the standing of the financial management of the Department, as well as the credit of the Government which was supposed to stand in need of the bolstering of such superficial measures.

Let Congress turn away from the ridiculous propositions to coerce a conversion of notes into bonds. They must fall in every respect except to injure most seriously the public credit. Let them pass a liberal tax bill, and immediately afterwards adopt measures looking to the retiring of the notes without compulsion and the ultimate redemption of the issues of the Government. The sinking fund would be an invaluable auxiliary if properly applied. To this might be added a plan for substituting State credit for a part of the floating Confederate currency. This would retire a great deal, and increase largely the public confidence since it would be a guarantee against repudiation. To these again might be further added a plan for the sale of the Confederate bonds; for these measures would so increase the standing of those bonds that they could be sold, if not at par, at a price so near it that it would be a great saving to the Government to sell them instead of issuing notes and buying stores and arms at the increased price of a further degeneration of the currency.

The Confederate Government has greater resources than any Government in the world. The war in a great degree prevents them from being available now. But if the public finances can be so managed as to check the dreadful depreciation of the paper currency now going on, the public credit will immediately after the war be equal to that of any country in the world. The grand staples of the country have partially been employed by the Government in its foreign operations, and could some plan be matured for using them to a greater extent much assistance would be given to other measures for enhancing the value of the Government paper. Governments are generally unfortunate speculators, and speculation is outside of the general duties and powers of Administration. Yet circumstanced as the country is, there is every excuse that a Government could have for adventuring upon a trade which must bring certain results.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Fauquier (Virginia, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. J. Marshall (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: