trade coin cannot be imported, and gold and silver have become articles of commerce like iron and lead. They cannot, therefore, take their usual as absolute measures of value. Difficulties somewhat of the same kind attend other tests, such as bills of exchange, real estate, or commodities in general use and of which there is no scarcity. Ordinarily the average price of wheat, grain, and other like articles of prime necessity would furnish a guide. But the want of transportation causes a fluctuation of demand and supply from day to day and thus deranges prices. Making all due allowances for fluctuation, we find that the present prices of such articles range as nearly three times the usual peace prices.
Notwithstanding the interruption of commerce, we find also that the foreign exchanges and even coin stand at nearly the same rate. Reasons of a different character, but of equal force, apply to real estate and prevent its price from being a proper guide. The general increase, however, in its nominal value confirms the conclusions deduced from the other tests. These facts unite in establishing beyond doubt both the actual redundancy of the currency and its probable rate of excess. The remedy which is required in order to be effective must therefore withdraw two-thirds of the entire volume of the currency. The measures already adopted by Congress were intended to act in this direction. The Treasury notes were all made findable originally in 8 per cent. securities, and it was supposed that the holders of notes would prefer investing them in bonds rather than hold them when depreciated. To stimulate investments the holders have been notified by the act of last session that after the 22d of April they can no longer invest in 8 per cent. securities. These measures, although judicious and well timed, are overpowered by the necessity which compels the Government to increase its issues. Notwithstanding the large and daily investments in bonds, the currency continues rapidly to grow in quantity. This increase causes a daily advance in prices, and the necessities of the Government compel it to purchase at these prices. The payment of enhanced prices again compels a further increase in these issues, and an ascending series of action and reaction is thus established between prices and issues which if not arrested must result in consequences disastrous to the best interests of the country. These effects are hastened by the injurious operations of the excess of currency upon the bonds of the Government. These bonds are offered as absorbents for the Treasury notes and the high rate of interest which they bear is the inducement to take them. In our present circumstances this interest must be paid in Treasury notes. By depreciating these notes the interest suffers equal depreciation and an 8 per cent. bond becomes in effect a 4 or 3 per cent., according to the scale of issues of Treasury notes. The inducement to take the bonds is thus destroyed and the bonds themselves cease to afford relief to the currency. They offer still less inducement to any foreign purchaser, because he is informed by the rate of exchange that his interest will be paid a currency which must be exchanged for his own at the rate of $3 for $1. It is plain, therefore, that the changerompt reduction of the currency to its normal condition.
The question recurs, is this practicable? At the last session of Congress an effort was made to obtain this result by the proposal for a loan of one-fifth of all gross income to be paid in Treasury notes in exchange for bonds. The adoption of this measure would have retired a large amount of Treasury notes at an early period, and would thus have checked the advance of prices. It is the misfortune of every