Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/284

This page needs to be proofread.


252

BIMLIPATAM — BINGEN

by the Government reported in favour of closing the Indian mints to the free coinage of silver, with a view to the establishment of a gold standard. This policy was adopted, but the effects hoped for were not produced as quickly as was anticipated, and a second committee was appointed in 1899. They reported in favour of keeping -the mints closed to the free coinage of silver, of maintaining the rupee at a value equivalent to 16 pence, and of taking other steps in the direction of establishing a gold standard in India. The bimetallists were much dissatisfied with these decisions. Bimetallism has in recent years attracted more attention in the United States than anywhere else. Although gold had been adopted for some time as the standard of value, nevertheless in 1878 the Government of that country commenced a systematic coinage of silver without regard to the quantity of silver coin required by the nation. This plan was adopted partly because it was regarded as a step in the right direction by convinced bimetallists; partly as a result of pressure applied by the silverproducing States, and partly through the unreasoning advocacy of “ cheap and abundant money.” The agitators were not satisfied, and in 1889 and 1890 the agitation in favour of the free coinage of silver became formidable. In the latter year, as a further palliative measure, the Sherman Act was passed, by which the Treasury was bound to purchase a large quantity of silver every month. This Act was repealed in 1893. The agitation, however, continued in full force, and the presidential election of 1896 turned largely on the bimetallic question. Mr McKinley, the Republican candidate, upheld the maintenance of the gold standard, but only until an international agreement should sanction the free coinage of silver. Mr Bryan, the Democratic candidate, was in favour of the free coinage of silver at a ratio of 16 to 1, Avithout Avaiting for the co-operation of other nations, and used the famous phrase, “You shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold.” McKinley was elected by a large majority, and in his inaugural address again expressed his adherence to international bimetallism. In 1897 the Wolcott Commission visited Europe, and advocated the reopening of the Indian mints; but their mission produced no results. In 1898 the Spanish Avar drove the currency question, for the time being at all events, out of the field of American politics. In 1900 its revival by Mr Bryan produced no effect on the Presidential contest, except perhaps in rendering the re-election of Mr McKinley the more overwhelming. The above are the principal events connected with the bimetallic controversy in recent years. It is far more difficult to indicate Avith any certainty the changes of opinion Avhich have taken place during this period. Perhaps a majority of economists noAV admit the validity of the theoretical arguments brought forward by bimetallists to prove that the relative value of gold and silver might, Avithin limits, be fixed by legislation. Many keen opponents of bimetallism, Avho believe that legislative arrangements would break down in practice, agree with those monometallic members of the Gold and Silver Commission of 1888, Avho admitted that “ in any conditions fairly to be contemplated in future, a stable ratio might be obtained if ” the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and the Latin Union “ Avere to accept and strictly adhere ” to bimetallism at a ratio approximating to that obtaining in the market. On the other hand, though bimetallism thus defined Avould probably tend to increase the stability of the standard of value, yet Prof. Edgeworth has given reasons for believing that no great change would be produced in this respect. The benefits thus obtained would be much the same in the .long, run Avhatever ratio of value were adopted. But it is evident

from the writings of bimetallists that, with feAV exceptions, they would only be satisfied with such a ratio as would cause a great inflow of silver into the currency of the world; and, as this would certainly tend to make prices rise, it is fair to conclude that the hope of producing this result is the true stimulus Avhich keeps the bimetallic controversy alive. The benefits and evils likely to arise from rising and falling prices have been much discussed. Rising prices would, so it is argued, increase the volume of trade. But in reply it is urged that the main reason for anticipating such a result from an inflation of prices due to currency legislation is that the real Avages of labour Avould thus be reduced, a result in itself always most objectionable. Bimetallists, however, contend that, even if the labourer should suffer at first, he Avould gain in the long run because he would eventually share in benefits arising from the increase of trade. At present the value of gold appears to be diminishing, and if the desire for a rise in prices is the true underlying force of the bimetallic movement, this agitation is likely to be less vigorous as long as this fall in the value of gold continues; for the desired effect will thus be produced without the aid of exceptional legislation. Bibliography.—Report of Royal Commission on Recent Changes in the relative values of the Precious Metals, 1888. [C.-5512.] Report of Committee on Indian Currency, 1893. [C.-7060.] Report of Committee on Indian Currency, 1899. [C.-9390.] Report of Commission on Agricultural Depression, 1897. [O. -8540. ] W. A. Shaw, The History of Currency, 1252 to 1894, London, 1894. The Gold Standard ; issued by the Gold Standard Defence Assoc. 1895-1898. Lord Farrer, Studies in Currency, London, 1898. H. H. Gibbs, A Colloquy on Currency, London, 1894. F. A. Walker, International Bimetallism, London, 1896. L. Darwin, Bimetallism, London, 1897. Prof. Edgeworth, Journal oftheRoijal Statistical Soc., Sept. 1897. (l. D.) Bimlipatam, a toAvn of British India, in the Vizagapatam district of Madras; situated in 17° 53' N. lat. and 83° 30' E. long., on the sea-coast 18 miles jST. of Vizagapatam. Population, about 10,000; municipal revenue (1897-98), Rs.13,840. It Avas formerly a Dutch factory, and is noAV the principal port of the district. The anchorage is an open roadstead, Avith a lighthouse at Santapalli. In 1897-98, the total seaborne trade of this and the subordinate ports amounted to Rs.94,17,240, of which nearly half Avas conducted with foreign countries. The principal exports are oil-seeds and sugar. Binang, a town in Luzon, Philippine Islands, on a small river flowing into the Laguna de Bay, and distant about a mile from its Avestern shore. It is one of the most important towns of the province of Laguna, and is surrounded by an extensive and extremely fertile plain, Avhich produces very large quantities of rice, as well as a great variety of tropical fruits. A ready market for these products is found in Manila, Avhich is reached by way of the Laguna de Bay and the Pasig. The language is Tagalog. Population, 20,000. Binche, a t0Avn of Belgium, in the province of Hainaut, 11 miles S.E. of Mons by rail. It has ironand glass-Avorks, tanneries, and an important industry in boot- and shoe-making, and the making of Brussels lace {applique) employs many Avomen and girls. Population (1880), 8252; (1897), 11,121. Bingen, a town of Germany, grand-duchy of HesseDarmstadt, on the left bank of the Rhine, 19 miles W. from Mainz. The Rochus chapel, where thousands of persons gather on the first Sunday after 16th August, was rebuilt in 1889-94 after a fire. Of late Bingen has grown in importance as a trading-place, and nerv quays and a harbour have been built. Coal and iron enter largely into the trade. Population (1885), 7178; (1900), 9670.