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Owing to the present revulsion in trade and commerce, the Secretary accompanies these estimates with a statement of facts and principles upon which they have been made. The exports and imports have usually borne a relative proportion—the amounts, respectively, not differing greatly from each other. For the year ending June 30, 1857, the exports were $362,949,144, and the imports $360,890,141. The average rate of increase of importations for the past ten years has been ten per cent a year, excepting for two years, attributable to temporary causes. For the quarter ending September 30, 1857, the importations were a little less than $89,000,000, and the customs received were $18,573,729 37. The merchandise entered for duty during the last three-quarters of the previous year was valued at $210,000,000. Adding ten per cent, the importations for the remaining three-quarters of the current year would be $231,000,000. The commercial pressure will reduce this amount one-fourth, or to $174,000,000. Under the tariff act of 1846, this amount would produce forty-three millions of dollars of revenue. Under the act of March 3, 1857, the duty received will be one-fourth less, or thirty-three millions of dollars.
The revenue írom importations during the balance of the fiscal year will be sufficient, when paid, to meet the expenditures during the same period. A large portion of the goods imported are warehoused, and the duties are not payable until entered for consumption, which may be deferred by law for three years. To meet this temporary exigency it is recommended that authority be given the Treasury Department to issue treasury notes, pot to exceed twenty millions of dollars in amount, payable within a limited time, and carrying a specified rate of interest.
It is recommended that hereafter annual appropriations be made for the expenses of collecting the revenue, and that the same mode of defraying such expenses be authorized for the Pacific coast that now regulates the collections on the Atlantic coast. The amount of these expenses has been greatly increased by the erection of new custom-houses, the construction of revenue cutters, and the salaries of persons required to take care of them.
The public debt on the 1st of July, 1857, was $29,060,386 90. Since that time there has been paid the sum of $3,895,232 39—leaving the public debt at this time $25,165,154 51. Since the third of March last there has been paid of the public debt $4,878,377 53.
A protective tariff is examined at some length, and the Secretary concludes that “ a policy so partial and unjust in its operations cannot command the approval of the country.” The day has passed for increased restrictions on commerce. He regards it as an error to suppose that the occasional revulsions which have so seriously affected our manufacturing interest are attributable to the want of a high protective system. It needs“ steady prices, a sound currency, and protection against the ruinous effects of expansions in the credit system.”.
No change is recommended in the tariff act of March 3, 1857. It has been in operation less than six months—a period too short to judge of its workings even under the most favorable circumstances.
The report then proceeds to examine specifieally the cause of the present revulsion in trade, and refers it to an undue expansion of the credit system, of which the banks constitute an important part. . The operations of individuals and of other corporations besides banks have contributed 10 the present condition of things.
To restrain banking and railroad corporations from exceeding their proper bounds, a compulsory bankrupt law is proposed, which shall apply to such corporalions alone.
The success of the independent treasury system, and its advantages to the government and the country over the former deposit system, are fully set forth. It is suggested that the States of the Union should conduct their financial operations on the same plan. It would increase the demand for gold and silver, and tend to retain them in the country. The suppression of all bank notes under twenty dollars is suggested.
The director of the mint recommends that the same seigniorage of one-half
per cent be charged on bullion withdrawn in the form of bars for export that is paid on coin, in which the Secretary concurs.
The act for the better organization of the treasury has been executed so far as practicable. A modification is suggested.
Professor J. H. Alexander is now in London, consulting with an English commissioner relative to a decimal arrangement of the coinage of that country and of the United States, so that the units of each shall hereafter be easily and exactly commensurable.
The report concludes by referring briefly to the various reports from the heads of offices under the Treasury Department, and recommends the suggestions contained therein to the consideration of Congress.
PAMPHLETS ON THE CURRENCY AND BANKING. We have published, since the commencement of the financial crisis of 1857, several original papers connected with that all-absorbing subject, and we have received a number of printed pamphlets from different sections of the country. We can, however, do little more than give the titles of these pamphlets for the benefit of those who wish to examine the subject.
I. The Hon. Nathan Appleton has republished “ Remarks on the Currency and Banking, having Reference to the present Derangement of the Circulating Medium in the United States." The substance of this treatise appears to have been written in the summer of 1841. This pamphlet, which covers sixty-three pages, octavo, treats of the circulating medium, the suspension of specie pay ments, a National Bank, and improvements in the banking system. In an appendix to the same, Mr. Appleton gives copious extracts from a pamphlet which he published in 1831, entitled, “ An examination of the Banking System of Massachusetts, in Reference to the Renewal of the Bank Charters." The appendix also embraces the article by the same writer, “ The Money Crisis and the New York Banks," which was published in the Merchants' Magazine for November 1857, (vol. xxxvii., pages 593–598,) under our “ JOURNAL OF BANKING, CURRENCY AND FINANCE."
II. The Hon. WILLIAM Gregg, member of the Legislature of South Carolina. from the Edgefield District, has sent us a speech on resolutions he offered on the Bank Question, December, 1857, occupying forty-three pages. These resolutions set forth-
1. That the distressed state of the country, and the unprecedented derangement of monetary affairs, render it necessary for this Legislature to pass some act to amend the bank charters, which shall in future restrain bank issues.
2. That the money pressure everywhere, and general want of confidence, render it necessary at present to remove all unnecessary restrictions upon the banks, that they may have freedom of action, and be able to so far expand as to give a forward movement to the produce of the country now waiting to be sent to market.
3. That we have full confidence in the solvency of our banks, and in their disposition to resume specie payments as speedily as circumstances will permit.
The closing resolution recommends the appointment of a committee of seven to take ioto consideration the whole subject of banking in South Carolina, and the report of a bill for the action of the House. Mr. Gregg is, it will be recollected by many of our readers, the founder of the Graniteville (S. C.) Cotton Manufactory, some account of which we gave in a letter from that gentleman in the Merchants' Magazine for December, 1849, (vol. xxi., pages 671-672.) It was
established some years previous, and has, we learn, been in successful operation ever since, conferring great benefits on the poor white population of that State. Mr. Gregg is a sound, practical thinker, and his views in monetary and business matters will com mend the respect of the citizens of that State and wherever he is kpown.
III. A third pamphlet is “ An Address on Banks and Banking : delivered by W. N. Bilbo, Esq., at the State Capitol, Nashville, Tennessee, November 16, 1857. Mr. B. enters into a wide range of discussion, treating of the coustitutionality of the State system of Tennessee, the expediency or policy of banks, what he deems a natural constitutional currency, the issue of small bills, and recommends the gradual suppression of bills under twenty dollars. He suggests several remedies for the existing evils of the banking system in that State; among these is a law that, after a certain period, po bank in the State should issue or circulate any notes or bills not redeemable in specie at their own counters. Another remedy is that no banks in Tennessee should in future be allowed with a capital actually paid in of less than $200,000, and that all banks now existing increase their capital to that amount. The other remedies recommended relate to the meeting of credited agents at some point, the payment of balances in specie, etc. He discusses the legality and justice of bank suspensions, and closes with arguments directed against banks of
circulation. IV. “The Present Crisis or the Currency : a Tract of the Times for Every Man who can Read,” by an anonymous writer, who styles himself “ Bank Crash, Esq.” This pamphlet is copyrighted. The author, after discussing “ the cause," divides his subject into the following heads :
1. The evil from which we now suffer is simply a derangement of the currency. 2. The currency is the measure of the value of all other things. 3. W bat that is which gives to money its value. . 4. Equation of value between the whole currency and the whole of that for which it is used as a medium of exchange. 5. A currency in order to be sound must be stable. 6. The reason why the trouble came upon us just when it did. 7. The remedy.
V. Several other papers on similar topics, which we have not received, have been issued during the last two or three months, and among them is one entitled, · The Radical Deficiency in the Existing Circulating Medium, and the Advantages of a Mutual Currency," by William B. Greene, of Boston. The merits of Mr. Greene's plan are freely discussed in the papers of that city.
SUGGESTIONS FOR A NEW SYSTEM OF BANKING. The following communication from Mr. E. B. Bishop, of Shreveport, La., presents the outlines of a plan for improving the various systems of banking, now in existence in the United States, and for making them uniform, (or nearly uniform,) in their operations : Freeman Hunt, Editor of the Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review :
DEAR SIR :--Thinking that a communication on banking would command more respect and attention appearing in your valuable Magazine, than in any other American journal, I solicit a place, provided you think anything I should say would have any useful effect. Having passed through the crisis of 1837, and thought much on the subject of banking, and suffered twice by the commercial troubles, I cannot but think that confidence is the great desideratum to be attained.
The "old or independent," the “ New York safety fund," " the State," and the
" free or general” bank systems, have proved to be imperfect. No plan has yet established such perfect confidence in the bill-holder and the depositor, that de. signing anti-bank men, brokers or editors, may not frighten the people.
To establish full confidence in the bill-holder, is the first object, and I think that it can be done to such an extent, that there will never be another run upon the banks. I would suggest the following amendments to the free banking law:
1st That none but Stale and United States stocks paying interest semi-annually be the basis of bank issues, and these bonds be received at their market value when deposited—and that the circulation allowed to each bank, should not exceed the amount of bonds pledged for its redemption.
This fund will secure the bill-holder better than any other class of assets in the bank. Whenever a State authorizes banking on its bonds, the capitalists of that State will buy up and deposit all of its bonds for banking deposits or basis. This will prevent the bonds from being hawked about in other States and foreign countries, subject to the fluctuations of the “bulls and bears." Citizens of each State would prefer to invest capital in the bonds of their own State. Thus, each State would borrow from its own people, 'paying interest to them, and thus its people would aid in sustaining the credit of their own State.
2. Make each and every bank in the State under the law bound for the immediate redemption of each other's bills of issue, whenever officially notified of a suspension of specie payment by any one of them.
This would give the bill-holder confidence that his bills would be redeemed by some bank. If a bank should be run on, the bill-holder would be delighted in stead of frightened, for this provision would make his bills payable everywhere, and they would be received by every merchant and trader in the State ; thus his bill is better than when first issued, better than local paper, being now State bauk paper. In fact, if it was as good as gold or silver before suspension, it is, aftur suspension, better than gold, and always would be preferred, being lighter of carriage and transmission.
3d. Ang bank or individual redeeming the issue of any suspended bank, may deniand of said failing bank ten per cent interest on the same from the time of purchase antil paid. or may demand of the Bank Controller the same bonds, at the same price at which the suspended bank deposited them with him, and may receive a new issue in favor of any other bank upon the same.
In this there is a double and valuable inducement to redeem the circulation by sound banks of any suspending banks, giving them a high rate of interest, or buinds upon which the sound bank may receive an additional issue, and perhaps make a speculation upon the rise or value of stocks.
Ath. That there should be one-half of one per cent assessed and collected of the Det earnings of all the banks, deposited in one “ clearing house" in each State, to pay any deficit of any depositor, (not a stockholder,) of any failing bank, and that said fund shall not be liable for any other demand, until at the end of ten years, when said fund shall be returned to the banks paying it in.
5th. That the depositors of any bank should have a right to appoint a committee of three or more of their members, who shall have a right to examine the books of their bank, and report monthly or oftener to the balance of the depo. sitors, and have a right to say what amount of the deposits may be loaned out by the directors from time to time.
The 4th clause is like the safety fund of New York, but intended only to protect the depositors, the bill-holder being fully protected in former clauses.
The 5th clause inspires confidence in the depositors of a bank, and as the billholders would never run on a bapk, tlie depositors would have no interest in depositing money oue week, and next week drawing it out again. Thus in the first clauses the bill-holders are amply provided for against depositors, brokers, editors, or anti-bank men. The latter clauses secure the banks in sustaining each other's eredit, and in the reports by the depositor's agents they may have implicit conAdence; so that it appears to me that confidence must be established in banks by every class.
In addition, I would suggest that there may be a meeting of the bank presidents ouce a year, to devise ways and means to direct and protect American
bank credit, and report any improvement in banking, and may, if they see proper, establish one United States Clearing House, to act in connection with the State Clearing Houses, and may have the right to buy and sell bills of exchange on every other clearing house. The proportion of the profits falling to the credit of each State Clearing House, after paying expenses, loses, &c., should be reg: ularly paid to them. By this, the rate of exchange would be equalized throughout the Union. If these State or United States Clearing Houses make money in exchanges, or the half per cent fund increases in the State, it would be divided out every ten years to banks paying it in proportionably.
My object is to consolidate the state and United States stocks, establish a permanent and fixed value on the same ; change the basis of banking from specie to stocks; (believing that a few, if any, States will have more bonds out than would be required for banking purposes,) to pay no interest to any foreign country; to prevent the fluctuations of the value of stocks ; to protect the bill-holder and depositor; to regulate exchanges, reducing them to a paying standard ; and to make bankers indorse and protect each other's interest and credit. In a word, to make paper money better than gold or silver.
E. B. B.
VALUATION, TAXATION, AND FINANCES OF SAN FRANCISCO. The San Francisco Bulletin, of September 23, 1857, published a lengthy statistical account of the assessment of the taxable property of the city and county of San Francisco for the fiscal year 1857–58, prepared by Mr. Clement Ferguson, one of the deputy assessors, of which we have prepared an abstract.
According to the California State Register for 1857, (a very valuable book.) the city and county of San Francisco were consolidated by the act of the Legislature, 19, 1856, which went into operation July 1856. In 1856, also, the county of San Francisco was divided, and the new county of San Mateo was organized. The latter has an area of 127,223 acres, while the present county of San Francisco has about 22,040, (exclusive of the bay and the islands in the same belonging to the county,) of which 1,000 are occupied by the city proper. In 1856–57, the valuation of these counties was
Real estate. Improvem'ts. Pers. property. San Francisco..
$17,827,617 $8,345,667 $4,194,970 $30,368,254 San Mateo..
669,303 184,975 466,055 1,320,333 The subjoined table shows the rate of taxation on the hundred dollars, and the assessments of property for the eight fiscal years since the organization of the city government:Years.
Improvem'ts. Pers. property. Total. 1850-51..... $2 00 $16,859,054 In person'l $4,772,160 $21,621,214 1851-52.. 3 10 11,141,463
2,874,441 14.016,903 1852-53.. 4 41 15,676,366
2,805,381 18,481,737 1859-54..
3 881 17,889,850 $6,158,300 4,852,000 28,900,150 1854-55..
3 851 19,765,285 9,159,935 6,837,607 34,762,827 1855-56.....
18,607,800 8,394,926 5,073,847 82,076,572 1856-67....... 2 30 17,827,617 8,345,667 4,194,970 30,368.254 1857-68....... 2 30 16,106,890 7,814,920 15,794,295 39,706,105
It will be seen that, although the valuation of real estate is lower for the present year than any preceding year since 1852–53, the total valuation of property is much larger. This is owing to the new revenue law of 1857, which provides that all real estate and other property shall be assessed to not only to the known owners, but also to “all owners and claimants, known or unknown." This provision will give confidence to purchasers at tax sales, over whose property there may be Spanish titles pending.
Ås contrasted with last year, there is an increase in the present, on the gross