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giving way, and thawing, as a higher civili- | a mine and quarry have been abandoned un-
pie furnished from the garden of the HesBut, all these extraordinary accidents al- perides-not but the apples might have been lowed for, it cannot surely be my intention good bakers ;” but then the dragon was to (the reader will say) to raise doubts upon be taken into consideration. And over many the main inference from all that we have a mine in this world there is, in effect, a heard—viz., the prospect of a new influx dragon of one kind or other watching to preinto our supplies of gold, setting in with a serve them from human violation. And supforce and a promise of permanence that, five pose the prohibition not to be absolute, but years ago, would have read to the exchanges that with proper machinery for pumping out of Europe like a page from the “ Arabian water, &c., and with improved arts of workNights."
ing, you could raise the precious metal, still, The first principle of change in our pros- if every pound weight of gold, which, at pects-first in importance, and likely to be modern prices, may be valued roundly at the first chronologically in tempering our de- £50 sterling, cost you in raising it £70 sterlusions, and taking the shine out of our various ling, it is presumptable that you would not El Dorados—is one which never seems to long pursue that sort of game. Both in have occurred in the way of a remote scruple England and Ireland, we have fallen upon to the blockheads who report the different silver and gold many scores of times. local discoveries as they explode in California, have had boxes and trinkets, and very large one after another, like the raps from a school. vases, wrought out of this native metal; but boy's cracker. One and all, they are anxious invariably we have been obliged to say adieu only about one solitary element of success, to these lantalizing game-preserves. To work viz., the abundance of the gold. They seem them was too costly. One or two more never to have heard that diamonds and em- such victories,” said Pyrrhus the Epiro, eralds are not scarce as they are for want of “and I am a gone 'coon.” And five discopo known diamond and emerald mines, nor eries of gold mines in Ireland are supposed pearls for want of vast unworked pearl fisher- to be as ruinous as two potato famines. In ies. Some of these have scarcely been opened California there have been evidences not to for want of even a delusive encouragement; be misunderstood that, let the gold be as others, having been worked for ages, are now plentiful as the periodical romances state it closed without hope of returning to them. to be, nevertheless the exhaustibility of that Emeralds and sapphires are lying at this gold which could be worked profitably was moment in a place which I could indicate ; indicated not only as certain but as very and no policeman is on duty in the whole near. This term, when approached too neighborhood to hinder me or the reader nearly, has again been thrown to a distance, from pocketing as many as we please. We in several cases, by fortunate and critical are also at perfect liberty to pocket the discoveries of other gold more accessible (as anchors of her Majesty's ship the Victoria recently at Mariposa). But whenever I read (120 guns), and to sell them for old iron. of men digging down to depths of sixty or Pocket them by all means, and I engage that seventy feet, I know by that one fact that the magistrate sitting at the Thames police- the general reports, describing gold as a office will have too much respect for your thing to be picked up for stooping, must be powers to think of detaining you. If he fraudulent fables circulated on behalf of men does, your course is to pocket the police and on the instigation of men who have office and all which it inherits. The man houses to let, building-ground to sell, and that pockets an anchor may be a dangerous “water-privileges” to mortgage. No man customer, but not a customer to be sneezed would patiently be digging to vast depths, at. What need of laws to intercept acts who knew that others generally won their which are physically unapproachable ? Many gold as easily as a man digs up potatoes,
unless he also knew that such enviable prizes most young vagabond of South America, to were sown as thinly as twenty-thousand- deny that his labor is at the best (i. e. is pound prizes in our English lotteries of the most productive) when it is starting. His last generation.
first crop of gold is taken off the surface, Here, then, is the first thing to pause upon, as with us poor old women and children are viz., that however “handy" this gold may hired at sixpence a day to pick stones off the lie in California or in Australia, however land. Next comes the ploughman: it begins "sweetly" it may work off for those meri- to be hard work, my friend, that ploughing torious vagabonds who first break ground in for gold. And, finally comes the sinking of the virgin fields, one thing is undeniable- shafts, and going down for hours into mepthat the course of further advance will not bitic regions of carbonic acid gas, and after be upwards from good to better, but down- damp, &c. Neither is there any dispensation wards from good or very good, or charming, from this necessity of going downwards from to decent, to rather bad, and lastly, to dis- bad to worse, except in the single case of gusting. This is a very ugly fact; and the crushing quartz. Machinery must prodicunning amongst the workers, or rather giously facilitate that labor ; and so long as amongst those who have something to sell the quartz holds out, that advantage will apamongst workers, attempt to break the force parently last. But this quartz must, I susof this fact, by urging that as yet the aids pect, be one of the rare prizes in the lottery; of science and machinery have not been ap- and amongst quartz itself, as amongst vagaplied to the case ; so that any advantage bonds, there will be a better and a worse. which is now possessed by the vagabonds And the signs of these differences will soon must soon be greater. That is true : past become familiar, and the best will be taken denying it is that concert, and combination, first; and thus here again the motion forand the resources of capital, will tell upon
ward will be from bad to worse. the gold-fields, and reduce the labor, which But now, as I can afford to be liberal, and already is reduced by comparison with other leave myself ample means, in Yankee phrase, gold-fields. Certainly, in ihe first stage of to "whip" the vagabonds after all, let me all, the progress will, by means of machinery, practice the graceful figure of concession. I lie from good to better. But that momen- will concede, therefore, what most vehetary period of success will not avail to alter mently I doubt, that for a few years these or to hide the ugly truth, that in all future new gold-fields should work so kindly as stages--that is, in every stage subsequent to seriously to diminish the cost of producing that in which the gold is found upon the sur- marketable gold. In that case, mark what face—ihe inverse course must take place, will follow. You know the modern doctrine that is, not from good to better, but from of rent, reader? Of course you do, and it good to something continually worse. What would be presumption in me to doubt your is it that ultimately and irresistibly deter- knowing it. But still, for the sake of a foolmines the value of gold? Why is it, for in- ish caprice that haunts me, suffer me to talk stance, that in modern times gold has gener
did not know the doctrine ally ranged at about fifteen times the value, of rent.* I will state it in as brief a comweight for weight, of silver? Is it, as igno: pass as perhaps is possible. In a new colorant people fancy, because there is fifteen nr, having a slender population, the natural times as much silver in the market of the order in which the arable land is taken up world as there is of gold ? Not at all, my
must be this : in the first stage of the propoor benighted friend : it is because any cess, none but the best land will be cultured; given quantity of gold, say a hundred weight, which land let us class as No. 1. In the serequires fifteen times as much labor (or, cond stage, when population will have exmore comprehensively, fifteen times as much panded, more wheat, and therefore more capital) to bring it to market than an equal land, being wanted, the second best will be quantity of silver; and nothing will perma- brought into culture; and this we will call nently alter that ratio but what alters the No. 2. In the third stage, No. 3, will be quantity of labor involved in one other; and nothing can permanently reduce * Very grievously, I suspect myself here of plathe value of gold but what reduces the cost giarism from Moliere. In one of his plays, Mons. of bringing it to market.
Now I defy any
Y. says to Mons. X., “ You understand Greek, I vagabond whatever, whether old vagabond believe !". To which Mons. X. replies—“Oh, yes
understand Greek perfectly. But have the goodof California, or young vagabond of Austra
ness, my dear friend, to talk to me as if by chance lia, or younger vagabond of Owhyhee, or I did not understand Greek,"
to you as if
used : and so onwards. Nor can there rea- 1 ation of advantages, some yielding more, sonably be any deviation from this order, some less, some still less, on the same basis unless through casual error, or else because of cost. Now, before California entered the occasionally an inferior soil may compensate gold-market, to what quarter did Europe its intrinsic inferiority by the extrinsic advan- look for her chief supply of gold? Ancient tage of lying nearer to a town, or nearer to gold, melted down-some of it, no doubt, a good road, or to a navigable river, &c. By gold that had furnished toilet equipages to way of expressing the graduations of quality Semiramis, and chains of decoration to Nimupon this scale, suppose we interpret them rod or the Pharaohs, entered largely into the by corresponding graduations of prices: No. market. But for new gold, innocent gold, 1, for the production of a given quantity (no that had never degraded itself by ministering matter what,) requires an outlay of 20s. ; to acts of bribery and corruption, we looked No. 2, for the same quantity, requires 258. ; | chiefly to Russia. I remember an excellent and No. 3, which is very perverse land in- paper, some four years back, on these Rusdeed, requires 30s. Now, because 20s. paid sian gold-mines in the chains of the Ural the full cost of No. 1, then as soon as the Mountains. It was in a French Journal of 25s. land is called for by the growing popu- great merit, viz., the “Revue des Deux lation, since in the same market all wheat of Mondes ;” and, to the best of my rememequal quality must bear the same price, which brance, it reported the product of these mines price is here 25s., it follows that a surplus 5s. as being annually somewhere about four milarises on No. 1 beyond what the cost of cul- lions sterling. But it would be a great misture required. For the same reason, when take to suppose that the whole of this proNo. 3 is called for, the price (regulated of duct rested on the same basis of cost. necessity by the most costly among the sever- There can be no doubt that the case which al wheats) rises to 30s. This is now the price I have just imagined as to wheat had its exfor the whole, and therefore for No. 1. emplification in these gold mines. No doubt Consequently, upon this wheat there is now there are many numbers in the scale which a surplus of 10s. beyond what the culture are not worked at all nor could be profitably required ; and upon No. 2, for the same rea- worked, unless science should discover less son, there is a surplus of 5s. What becomes costly modes of working them. But, even of this surplus ? It constitutes RENT. And, as things now are, with many parts of the amongst other corollaries, these two follow : scale as yet undeveloped, it is certain that a first, that the lowest quality of land under considerable range of numbers, in respect of culture, the last in the descending scale, costliness, is already under culture. Suppays no rent; and, secondly, that this lowest pose these (as in the wheat case) to be Nos. quality determines the price for the whole ; | 1, 2, 3. Then, if California or Australia should and the successive development of advant- succeed in seriously diminishing the cost of ages for the upper qualities, as the series producing gold, the first evidence of such a continues to expand, always expresses itself revolution would show itself in knocking off in successive increments of rent. As here, No. 3 in the Ural mines. Should the change if No. 4 were taken up at 35s., then rent continue, and in the same direction, it would would immediately commence on No. 3, next knock off No. 2. And, of the whole which would pay as rent the difference be- Ural machinery, only No. I would at length tween 30s. and 335.--viz., 5s. No. 2 would survive; or, in other words, only that particnow pay 10s., and No. 1 (I am happy, on cular mine, or particular chamber of a mine, its owner's account, to announce) would pay which worked under the highest natural ad, 15s.
vantages, producing a given weight of gold Well, this is that famous doctrine of RENT at a cost lower than any other section of the which drew after it other changes, so as, in works, producing, suppose, an ounce of gold fact, to unsettle nearly all the old foundations at the cost of 13 ounces of silver, when elsein political economy. And that science had where the same quantity cost 14 ounces
, 143, in a manner to pass through the Insolvent &c. Always, therefore, any bona fide action Court, and begin the world again upon a very of California upon the cost of gold, would small remainder of its old capital. What í show itself, first of all, in a diminishing supwish to observe upon it in this place is, that ply from Russia.* But, then, for a considthis doctrine takes effect, not merely upon arable land, but also upon all mines, quarries, data I know not, is often rated at one million ster
* The supply furnished by Borneo, upon what fisheries, &c. All these several organs of ling. So that the two great annual influxes of gold wealth involve within themselves a gradu- I do not apparently exceed five millions sterling.
erable time, this increased supply from Cali- next, as to the construction of the facts, a fornia, having Russia to pull against, would misgiving comes over him, that possibly so far neutralize and counteract any sensible there may be too much of a good thing. impression that otherwise it might produce Many people remember the anecdote conin Christendom. This would happen even if nected with the first importation of Brathe product of California had really been 10 zilian emeralds into Europe. This hapmillions sterling for the first three years, and pened at an Italian port, viz., Leghorn; 15 millions for 1850—that is, 45 millions in and the jeweller, in whose trade none but all. According to my own view, as already Oriental emeralds were as yet known, struck explained, it is not likely that California could with admiration at the superior size of reduce the cost of gold, except for the first one offered to him by a stranger, bought year or two: after which the cost would it for a very high price, upon which travel the other way, not by decrements, but the stranger, exulting in his good fortune, by increments sure, if slow. No greatly in- displayed a large trunk full of the same creased quantity of gold could continue to jewels. But, on this evidence of their abunflood the gold-market, unless the cost were dance in certain regions of Brazil, the jewelseriously reduced. The market of Europe ler's price sank in the ratio of 7 shillings to would repel it; and this discouragement 25 guineas. At present, however, the pubwould react upon the motives of the produc- lic mania travels in an opposite direction. tive body in California. But were it other. The multiplication of gold is to go on at a wise, and supposing the cost reduced by 8 rate accelerated beyond the dreams of roper cent., or, in round terms, from its present mance ; and yet, concurrently with this enormint price in London to 70 shillings an ounce, mous diffusion of the article, its exchangeaa stimulus would be thus applied to the con- ble value is, in some incomprehensible way, sumption of gold for various purposes, which, to be steadily maintained. This delusion is in defiance of the lowered natural price, doubtless but partially diffused. But another, would quicken and inflame its market price.equally irreflective, seems to prevail generIt is clear, from what has already happened ally, viz., that, under any circumstances in the United States and in France, that gold whatever, and travelling towards whatever would enter more largely into the currencies result, the discovery must prove a glorious of nations. It is probable, also, that a very one in respect to the interests of the human large quantity, in the troubled condition of race. And the rumor of other and other the political atmosphere throughout Europe similar discoveries, in far distant regions, for many years to come, will be absorbed by equally sudden, and equally promising to be the hoarders of Christendom. Certainly I inexhaustible, is hailed as if it laid open to do not deny, that unexpected discoveries of us some return of a Saturnian age. Jam gold-fields, apparently inexhaustible, have redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna. I, been made, and almost simultaneously made, on the contrary, view this discovery as in in regions as remote from each other as some any event almost neutral with respect to of them are from ourselves. In several human prosperity, but in some possible events quarters of the American continent, both as likely to be detrimental. Fighting, with north and south, in the Sandwich Islands, in Mr. Cobden's permission, will go on for milAfrica, in New Zealand, and, more notori- lions of years yet to come; and, in pure symously (as regards impressions on Europe), in pathy with the grander interests of human Australia (viz., in the island of Van Diemen, nature, every person who reads what lies but on a still larger scale in the continental written a little below the surface, will
say regions of Victoria and Port Philip), gold is (as I say), God forbid that it should not. In now presenting itself to the unarmed and that day, when war should be prohibited, or uninstructed eye upon a scale that confounds made nearly impossible, man will commence the computations of avarice. " There is his degeneration. But if we change not (as some trick in all this," is the natural thought change we never shall) in respect to our of every man when first hearing the news. fighting instincts, we shall change, if the He wonders how it was that many people did gold fable prospers, a good deal as to the not read such broadcast indications twenty fashion of our arms. Like Ashantees, not a years ago. That thought raises a shade of corporal nor a private sentinel but will have suspicion upon the very facts in limine. And a golden hilt to his sword, and a golden But all this must give way, or must be greatly scabbard. Still
, as people to be plundered lowered in coșt, before any great impression could
by marauders in the nights succeeding to a be produced by California.
great battle, we shall not rate much higłer.
A pound of gold more or less will make a , (it is well known) are all ordered for another little difference. “I consider it no object,” place, we have reason to fear that the truswill be said by the plunderer. And, even if tees of every road, the contractors and the buried in a golden coffin, we shall not be paviers upon it, would abscond nightly with more worth looking after by the resurrection- as much high-road as they laid down in the man ; but on a morning parade, under a day. There are at this moment three openbright sun, we shall be far prettier to look ings, and perhaps no more, for an enlarged at. Such would be the up-shot if the gold use of gold, in the event of its becoming fable were realized.
materially cheaper. Many nations would Seriously, let us calculate the probable and extend the use of gold in their currencies. the possible in the series of changes. What Secondly, the practice of hoarding-once so I infer from the whole review, taken in com- common, and, in Oriental lands, almost unibination, is, that in one half the anticipations versal, but in Europe greatly narrowed by in respect to the revolutions at hand are the use of paper currencies, and by the growvague and indeterminate, and, in the other ing security of property—will for many years half, contradictory. One may gather from revive extensively under the action of two the arguments and the exultations taken causes : first; under the general political together, that some dim idea is entertained agitation of Europe ; and, secondly, under of the California supplies uniting with the the special doctrines of communism, so avowprevious supplies (from Russia and Borneo edly friendly to spoliation and public robbery: especially), and jointly terminating in the La propriété c'est le vol, is a signal held result of making gold in the first plentiful, aloft for all Christendom to take care of and then (as an imaginary consequence) cheap their pockets. The fine old miser, therefore, in relation to all other commodities. In this of ancient days, brooding night and day over one reads the usual gross superstition as to his buried gold, will again revolve upon us, the interaction of supply and demand. The should gold really become cheap. Finally, dilemma which arises is this : California, does the embellishment of human persons by gold or does not, produce her gold at a diminished trinkets, ornaments, and the more lavish use cost. If she does not, no abundance or re- of gilding in the decoration of houses, furnidundance could be more than transitory in ture, &c., would forther enlarge the new deits effect of cheapness; since the more she mand. But all this only in the case of a sold on the terms of selling cheaper, and real cheapness. And, even if that were producing no cheaper at all, which is the realised (whereas bitherto there are no signs supposition, the more she would be working of it), this unfortunate check to the extended for her own ruin. But, on the other hand, if use of gold would inevitably arise intermitshe does produce at a diminished cost, which tingly : the diminished cost of production, is the only ground of cheapness that can last, | by the supposition, reduces the price of gold then she drives Russia effectually out of the that is, reduces the natural price. But, in market—No 3, 2, 1, in the inverse order the meantime, every extra call for gold, on the illustrated above; and the effect of her extra large scales supposed, would instantly inflame supplies is simply to fill up a vacuum which the market price of gold, and virtually canshe herself has created. At least that will cel much of the new advantage. This counbe the final effect to the extent of five millions teraction would again narrow the use of gold. sterling per annum. But if she and Aus- | That narrowing would again lower the market tralia jointly should really supply more than price of gold. Under that lowering, again, this sum, it does not follow that, because the extra use of gold would go ahead. Again produced at a lower cost, this extra supply the extra cheapness would disappear, and will command an extra market. The demand consequently the motive to an enlarged use. for gold is limited by the fixed and traditional And we should live in the endless alternations, ušes to which it is applied. Mr. Joe Smith, hot fits and cold fits, of an intermitting fever. the prophet of the Mormons, delivered it to But, on my view, there will arise that prehis flock, as bis own private and prophetic liminary bar to such a state which I have alcrotchet, that the true use of gold, its ulti- ready explained. In the earliest stage of male and providential function on this planet, these new gold-workings, one and all
, the rewould turn out to be the paving of streets sult will be this—a tendency to lower the and high-roads. But we poor non-Mormon producing cost of gold; and this tendency ites are not so far advanced in philosophy as will, in the second stage, be stimulated by all that; and, unless we could simultaneously the aids of science : and thus, finally, if the pave our roads with good intentions, which tendency could act long enough, the price