John J. (John Joseph) Lalor.

Cyclopædia of political science, political economy, and of the political history of the United States online

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( silver to one of gold. He would explain how the
' 134 VOL. in. — 5



depreciation of silver affected the Indian govern-
ment. The government of India had to pay
£15,000,000 in gold in London annually. This
was the interest on the Indian debt contracted in
gold, the interest on railway and canal obligations,
also pensions and annuities, and that portion of
the military expenditure which relates to pay and
commissariat. These expenses were fixed by con-
tract, and could not be reduced. The loss result-
ing on these remittances by reason of the fall of
silver was £2,000,000 per annum. The govern-
ment could not increase its revenue materially,
the land revenue in Bengal being fixed in perpe-
tuity, and in other provinces for long periods. It
would be impossible, without serious political
danger, to propose new taxes for reasons which
the mass of the people would not be able to un-
derstand. But this actual loss was not the worst
part of it; it was the absolute uncertainty which
hung over the future, and which prevented any
accurate calculation of the resources of the gov-
ernment. Then, there was a loss in trade result-
ing from the uncertainty of the exchanges and a
loss of 20 per cent, on the great quantity of silver
hoarded by the natives. The great wish of the
financial authorities of India had been to have a
common monetary system with England. Silver
being impossible as a common standard on ac-
count of the English system, the choice must be
between bi-metallism and gold, and although the
latter was at present too difficult, it was certain
that if any opportunity should offer itself India
would seize it and enter into the struggle for the
sole metal left as a solid basis for an international
currency. Mr. Moret Y. Prendergast suggested
that England might second the undertaking of
Germany in behalf of silver by keeping one-fourth
of the bank reserves in that metal as authorized
by Sir Robert Peel's act. Mr. Fremantle replied
that his government would take into very serious
consideration the views put forward by the con-
ference, but he suggested that the proposals be
put in as definite form as possible. Mr. Forssell
(Sweden) said that it was vain to talk about the
sufferings and groans of this country and of that
country, of this great bank and of that great
bank, for the want of bi-metallism, so long as
England and Germany refused to be converted.
Notwithstanding all that had been said about the
growth of bimetallic opinion in Germany, here
was the imperial government absolutely inflexible
in its adherence to the single gold standard.
There was not one ray of hope in that quarter.
England was equally unmoved. Her Indian in-
terests were so far inferior to her general interests
that there was not the smallest prospect of her
entering into a bi-metallic union. It was said
that £2,000,000 per year are lost in the Indian
exchanges. Tliat was an ascertained sum, but
the loss to be sustained by entering into a bi-me-
tallic union was an indefinite and unascertained
sum. Was an exact amount of loss ever bartered
for an indefinite amount of risk? Was the mone-
tSiry supremacy of a country ever sold for two



66



PARIS MONETARY CONFERENCE.



millions sterling? Bimetallism would always
fail of adoption iu face of the disproportion be-
tween the comparatively slight ailings complained
of and the perfectly enormous remedy proposed,
and however skillfully those ailings might be
added up, the amount would never be deemed
sufficient to justify the remedy. Mr. Forssell
suggested three additional topics of discussion to
be added to the questionnaire, viz. : Has there been,
in the last ten years, a fall of general prices which
may be attributed to the demonetization of silver
and to a dearth of gold? Is there reason to be-
lieve that the successive adoption of the single
gold standard will lead to a contraction of the
metallic and paper circulation sufficiently great
to exhibit itself in a fall of general prices? Is
there ground for taking legislative measures to
economize the use of gold in view of the progres-
sive adoption of the single gold standard? Mr.
Moret T. Prendergast renewed his motion that
the conference adjourn from the 19th of May to
the 30th of June, in order that delegates who
desired to communicate with their governments
and receive further instructions upon propositions
formulated in the conference, might have the
opportunity to do so. Lord Reay (British India)
thought that the excellent speeches which had
been heard would be valuable contributions to
economic science, but when the conference should
reassemble it would be necessary to take practical
steps to come to an agreement. The habits of
English statesmen tended to make them give
attention to facts rather than theories. If it were
sought to persuade the United Kingdom to adopt
bi-metallism, gentlemen could not do better than
practice what they preached. They should begin
by adopting bi-metallism at home. It would
be another glory for the bi-metallists to accept
the slight burden of some inconveniences which,
on their own showing, would be only tempo-
rary. France and the United States were strong
enough financially to make the experiment of
bi-metallism. Great Britain had not waited for
other nations to join her in adopting free trade.
If other nations should show their faith in what
they professed by adopting bi-metallism. Great
Britain would be the first to render them the
homage which she had always paid to any work
tending to draw closer the bonds which unite
nations. Mr. Seismit-Doda (Italy) seconded the
motion for adjournment to June 30. The motion
was unanimously adopted. On motion of the
delegates of India the conference requested the
several governments to take the opinion of the
chief banks of issue in each on " the monetary
question. " Mr. Pierson (The Netherlands) asked
the delegates of the United States what meas-
ures that country would take, in the event of
the adoption of bimetallism, to require the
banks to receive silver on the same footing as
gold. In most European countries the obligation
could be imposed on banks of issue of buying
gold and silver at a fixed price. What analogous
steps could be taken in America? In short, what



could she do in order that bimetallism should,
exist there, not only in name., but in reality? He
did not ask an immediate reply, but requested
that a definite answer be made when the confer-
ence should reassemble. — After an adjournment
of six weeks, the conference held its ninth session,
June 30. — At the tenth session Mr. Horton re-
gretted that he was, as yet, unable to present a
response to the question which Mr. Pierson had
put to the American delegates at the eighth session,
or rather, to enter into the practical discussion
to which the question would necessarily give rise.
Mr. Thurman, reverting to the declarations of
Germany and British India, which he read at
length, said that these propositions required
Prance and the United States to keep their minis
open to the free coinage of silver of unlimited
legal tender, this being the condition upon which
Germany would agree to suspend her sales of
silver for a definite period of time. While the
United States would not reject any and every
proposition which comes short of perfect bi-metal-
lism, he was bound to say that a proposition
which would expose them to alternate drains
of gold and silver, according as the one or the
other should command a premium in the market,
would not be acceptable. The United States held
a large stock of gold at the present time, and
only a small stock of silver. They would hesi-
tate to enter into an agreement the effect of which
might be to lessen the amount of their gold.
They would cheerfully become parties to a great
bi-metallic union, but without such union would
not surrender their power over their ovjn coinage.
He said this without underrating the importance
of the German and English propositions, which
were entitled to most respectful consideration,
but which, in his judgment, fell far short of what
the exigency required. Mr. Schraut (Germany)
desired to combat the assertion that the sales of
silver by his government had been the prin-
cipal cause of the depression of that metal. The
largest sales had been made in the year 1877,
when the average price was one and three fourths
pence higher than in 1876, and two pence higher
than in 1878, showing that there were other and
more powerful causes at work than the sales of
silver by Germany. These causes, in his opinion,
were the increase of production, and the increase
of sales of India council drafts on the London
market, which, taking the place of silver as re-
mittances to India, lessened the demand for silver
by an equal amount. The sale of such bills in
London from 1871 to 1879 had exceeded the sales
of silver by Germany more than three to one.
Mr. Cernuschi contended that neither the more
plentiful issue of bills by the Indian government
nor the increased productiveness of silver mines
had caused the depreciation of silver. If Ger-
many had not adopted monometallism, France
would have continued to coin the two metals
freely: therefore the depreciation could not have
taken place. Germany was the sole author of
the silver crisis. Unless she had further declare'



PARIS MONETARY CONFERENCE.



67



tions to make to the conference, she had as yet
made no proposition which the United States and
France could- regard as a concession. Mr. Hor-
ton, while agreeing with Mr. Cernuschi as to the
mistalie which Germany had made in her mone-
tary legislation, could not look upon her as the
sole cause of the mischief. It dated further back.
^England began it, and the Paris conference of
1867, in which the United States took part, propa-
gated it. The responsibility was not only on
•Germany, but on the civilized world. Baron von
Thielmann (Germany) said that his government
had nothing to add to the declaration presented at
'the first session of the conference. Mr. Fremantle
said that at a later session of the conference he
rshould present a fresh communication which he
iad just received from his government. — At the
eleventh session Mr. Dumas (France) made an
■extended argument in favor of bi-metallism. But
•if bi-metallism were for any reasons found to be
impracticable, he would suggest the suppression
of small gold coins, in order to give greater em-
ployment and steadiness of value to silver. Mr.
iSchraut concurred in this suggestion, and would
add to it the suppression of bank notes of less
denomination than twenty francs, and of the one
and two dollar notes in the United States. Mr.
Brock (Norway) said that all monometallists
■would concur in those suggestions, but he pointed
■out that the proposal of Mr. Dumas diflfered from
i;hat formulated by his colleague, Mr. Cernuschi.
Mr. Cernuschi said that all such measures were
■ only half measures ; tliey only looked at small
.sides of the question, and could come to nothing.
' The internationality of silver at fifteen and one-
.half was the point to be arrived at. Without
that, nothing would be effected. ' ' We must have
all or nothing." Mr. Pierson plesented a decla-
ration of The Netherlands government saying
that it would join in a bi-metallic union consist-
ing of "all the great states of Europe and Amer-
ica," but could not engage to act thus if the system
were confined to a more restricted area. It would,
■nevertheless, give serious attention to a project,
if proposed at the conference, for estd,blishing
"bi-metallism in an area comprising only several
great states of Europe and America. — At the
twelfth session, Mr. Seismit-Doda presented a
•declaration of the government of Italy, saying
that Italy would unite with the other states of ,
■the Latin Union and the United States of America
" in resuming the limited coinage of silver " for
a fixed tei-m, provided Germany would agree
. -during the same term (which should be at least
five years) to suspend her sales of silver and re-
place her gold five-mark pieces and treasury
notes with silver money, and provided the British
government would increase the paying power of
its silver crowns. Italy could in no case agree to
the free and unlimited coinage of silver, unless
England and Germany, or one of them, should
unreservedly adhere to it. Mr. Fremantle pre-
sented a declaration from his government trans-
mitting to the conference a communication from



the bank of England. This communication was
in effect an agreement on the part of the bank
to receive silver and issue its (gold) notes there-
for, to the extent of one-fourth of the gold held
by the bank in its issue department, as authorized
by its charter, provided that the mints of other
countries would return to such rules as would
insure the certainty of the conversion of gold into
silver and of silver into gold. All its notes were
payable in gold on demand, and it was required
by law to receive all the gold offered to it in
exchange for its notes. The president suggested
that it would be well at the next session to con-
sider the subject of adjournment. After such
profound discussions it was not likely that any
fresh light would be thrown upon the subject or
additional eclat be given to the proceedings. — At
the thirteenth session (July 8) Mr. Evarts, in be-
half of the delegates of France and the United
States, and in the name of their respective gov-
ernments, read a declaration stating, 1, that the
depression and great fluctuations of the value of
silver relatively to gold are injurious to commerce
and to the general prosperity, and that the estab-
lishment of a fixed relation of value between
them would produce most important benefits to
the commerce of the world; 2, that a bi-metallic
convention entered into between an important
group of states for the free coinage of both silver
and gold at a fixed ratio and with full legal ten-
der faculty, would cause and maintain a stability
in the relative value of the two metals suitable to
the interests and requirements of commerce; 3,
that any ratio now or lately in use by any com-
mercial nation, if so adopted, could be main-
tained, but that the adoption of the ratio of fifteen
and one-half to one would accomplish the object
with less disturbance to existing monetary sys-
tems than any other ratio; 4, that a convention
which should include England, France, Germany
and the United States, with the concurrence of
other states which this combination would assure,
would be adequate to produce and maintain
throughout the commercial world the relation
between the two metals that such convention
should adopt. The president said that a consid-
erable number of delegates had expressed a desire
to see the conference suspend its labors and ad-
journ to some later date. He suggested that this
subject should be discussed. Mr. ForsseU (Swe-
den) objected to this proposal as likely to lead to
no ijractical result, while it would give a charac-
ter of permanence to the conference which was
not contemplated or authorized by the govern-
ments represented. It would be better to ac-
knowledge at once that the projects of bimetallism
had collapsed, and to reaffirm the conclusions of
the European delegates at the couference of 1878.
Baron von Thielmann (Germany) asked that the
reasons for adjourning the conference to a future
date be formulated. After a recess of twenty min-
utes, the president read an explanatory resolution
saying that, considering the speeches and observa-
tions of the delegates and the declarations of the



68



PARLEY.



several governments, there is ground for believing
that an understanding may be established between
the states which have talten part in the confer-
ence, but that it is expedient to suspend its meet-
ings; that the monetary situation may, as to some
states, call for governmental action, and that
there is reason for giving an opportunity for
diplomatic negotiations; therefore the conference
adjourns to Wednesday, April 13, 1882. The
resolution of adjournment was supported by Mr.
De Normandie, Mr. Pirmez, Lord Reay, Count
von Kuefstein and Mr. Brock. Mr. Forssell with-
drew his objection. The resolution was adopt-
ed. On motion of Baron von Thielmann, the
thanks of the conference were awarded to tlie
president for the impartiality with which he had
directed the proceedings. The conference then
separated. It did not reassemble at the time
fixed in the resolution of adjournment. There
has been no public statement of the reasons why
it was not reconvened. Horace White.

PARLEY. Two hostile armies often have
need, even in the very midst of hostilities, of hold-
ing some correspondence with each other; for
example, concerning the burial of the dead or the
exchange of prisoners, or to propose a capitu-
lation, to arrange for a suspension of arms, etc.
This correspondence is effected by means of
persons charged with the parley. In antiquity,
at least in Greece and Rome, as well as in the
middle ages, the persons sent to conduct the par-
ley were always heralds, that is to say, men who
held that office, not only for a special mission,
but, in a way, permanently. Heralds fill a large
place in Homer's poems, and many passages bear
witness to the profound respect which was paid
them in those remote times. For example, Tal-
thybius and Eurybates, sent by Agamemnon to
demand Briseis from Achilles, stopped overcome
with terror at the door of the hero's tent ; but the
latter saluted them with tliese words: " Welcome,
sacred heralds, ministers of gods and of men, you
are innocent of the insult which I receive." For
a long time the custom has been simply to send as
parlementaires, officers accompanied by a drum-
mer or a fifer, bearing a while flag. — The inviola-
bility of the parlementaire (person of truce),
which appears to have been founded in antiquity
upon the sacred and almost priestly character of
the herald, rests today upon international law.
It is one of the oldest, most elementary and most
essential regulations of thislaw. " Nbmenlegati,"
says Cicero, "ejusmodi esse debet, quod rum modo
inter sodonim jura, sed etiam inter hosUum tela
incolume versetur." Whoever attacks this prin-
ciple, not only injures his adversary of the mo-
ment, but, to use Vattel's expression, " he in-
jures the common security and safety of na-
tions; he renders himself guilty of an atrocious
crime against all peoples." It would not do to
allow any departure from this sacred rule, even
in civil war and toward the envoy of a party
which is considered, rightly or wrongly, as rebell-



PARLIAMENT.

ious; but there is always the right to refuse to
admit a parlementaire, or person of truce, or to
make his admission subject to such conditions as
may seem proper; for example, that he shall be
introduced into the lines with his eyes bandaged.
Once admitted, the pa/rlementaire should be pro-
tected, not only against all bad treatment, but
against all insult.* The parlementaire is not
obliged spontaneously to close his eyes and ears
during the course of his mission, and he has a
perfect right to observe what he is allowed to see,,
sometimes with design, and to let his side take
advantage of his observations. But if he should
abuse hi^ character to act as a spy and to concoct
plots, he would expose himself to be ignomin-
iously expelled; he might even, in certain cases,
be deprived of his immunities, be detained as a
prisoner, or even be put to death. The rigor of
the law can even go to this extremity; butitia
almost always not only more humane, but even
more politic, not to have recourse to it, and to
respect the character of the pa/rlementaire, even
in those who have abused it.

Gaston de Bouroe.

PARLIAMENT, The British, is the supreme
legislature of the United Kingdom, and its history
is, to a large extent, the history of the growth of
political freedom. The attempts to trace the ori-
gin of this parliament to the Saxon period fail to
connect the Witiena-gemote (meeting of wise men)
with the representative principle, the hereditary
character.or the royal summons, tlu'ee character-
istics of the present British parliament, which are
deemed essentials of its constitution. It is by act
of the crown alone that parliament can be assem-
bled ; only twice have the lords and commons met
by their own authority — first, before the restora-
tion of Charles II., and again at the revolution in
1688. Parliament is also prorogued (adjourned
to a certain day), or dissolved by royal proclama-
tion only. — While the main constitution of par-
liament, as Blackstone says, was marked out .
in magna cTiarta, A. D. 1215, when King John
promised to summon the nobles, bishops, etc., to
council, its actual first existence is commonly re-
ferred to the year 1265, when the writs of Simon
de Montfort first summoned knights, citizens and
burgesses to parliament. Prom that time parlia-
ment has consisted continuously of two houses,
the lords and the commons, while the Saxon
Wittena-gemate and later councils consisted of one
chamber only. The creation of a house of com-
mons elected by the people (or by the property
element), may be said to have had its birth in that
jealous care of the rights of property, so all-pervad-



* The institution of parley is useful to the strong as well
as to the weak ; not to respect it is not only a crime, hut also,
for each, a very grave fault against his own interest. It
sometimes happens in war that a parlementaire is killed;
we believe this is always by mistake. The ilag has not, per-
haps, been seen, or, if the envoy presents himself during a
battle, which is generally a very inopportune moment, be
may ho accidentally wounded.— M. B.



PARLIAMENT.



69



ing in the British mind. The early kings had so
abused the power of raising money, and the lords
and bishops were so subservient to the royal will,
that it became necessary to have the check of an
elective body to assert and jealously maintain con-
trol over the taxing power. This control, claimed
and exercised by the lower house of parliament
for centuries, is so absolute that all bills, whethei
for the raising or the expenditure of money, must
originate in the commons. The successive steps
by which the important power over the public
purse was transferred from the king to the com-
mons, is a history of determination on the one
ha,nd and of stubborn resistance on the other, the
English monarchs using every wile to secure sup-
plies, which the parliament stubbornly refused
■except on condition of redress of grievances.
The steady, increase of the power of parliament
during the reigns of the arbitrary house of Tudor,
■culminated during the Stuart dynasty in that
struggle for supremacy between Charles I. and his
parliament, which ended in the complete victory
•of the latter, the subversion of the monarchy,
the abolition of the house of lords, and the estab-
lishment of the commonwealth. — The duration
■of a parliament, outside of the seven years' limit-
ation embodied in the act of 1715, is dependent
upon the policy and measures of the ministry
•commanding a majority in the lower house.
Practically, the average life of a parliament in
the present century has been less than four years;
the shortest one having lasted only four and one-
half months (in 1807), and the longest a little
•over six years. The "appeal to the country,"
caused by the resignation of ministers who fail
to command a majority, is made through writs of
■election. The last general election was in 1880,
returning 338 liberals, 289 conservatives, and 60
home rulers. Members are chosen by what is
regarded in England as nearly universal sufErage.
There are, however, but 3,181,701 actual voters
<in 1883) out of the population of 35,346,633, or
about one in every eleven inhabitants: while in
France and in the United States, where manhood
sufErage is really universal, the proportion of
voters to the population is one in every four or
five inhabitants. The reform act of 1867-8 was
a large extension of the franchise, giving it to all
householders in boroughs (cities and towns), and
to occupants of lands or houses bringing £13 rent
■or upward in counties, or in the country. This
leaves the large class of agricultural and other
laborers unrepresented. Since 1873 parliamentary
•elections are by secret ballot. (See Ballot.) —
The omnipotence of parliament is regarded as
the great feature in British polity. "The power



Online LibraryJohn J. (John Joseph) LalorCyclopædia of political science, political economy, and of the political history of the United States → online text (page 18 of 290)