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COINAGE DEPARTMENT OF THE UNITED STATES ASSAY
OFFICE IN NEW YORK.
[To accompany bill H. R. No. 477.]
May 15, 1862.-Ordered to be printed.
Mr. WARD, from the Committee on Commerce, made the following
The Committee on Commerce, to whom was referred the memorial of
the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, representing the importance of conferring upon the United States assay office, in the city of New York, the privilege of coining into the national currency such portion of gold and silver bullion as may be deposited with the treasurer at New York for that purpose, respectfully report :
It should require no argument to prove that the most convenient place for the purposes of coinage by the government of the United States is the commercial centre towards which the chief lines of communication tend, bringing from various places, and more than to any other point, the precious metals, and distributing them again in pursuance of the natural and inevitable laws of trade. To send any article some hundreds of miles for the purpose of receiving a stamp or mark, as a guarantee that it is genuine, and returning it again to the place whence it was sent, and where it is to be sold or used, is so self-evidently an useless and improper expenditure of public money that little more is deemed necessary than to state the facts of this case in the form of accurate statistics. Tried by the plain rules guiding men of common prudence in every-day life. the singular extravagance of the present plan is manifest. No individual would tolerate a similar wastefulness in his own business.
It is the duty of this committee to report that the estimated expense of carriage alone for $58,000,000, being less than the actual amount of gold and silver sent from New York for coinage last year, (computed from October, 1860, to October, 1861,) was $71,755, viz: For gold, $1 per thousand ..
$64,855 For silver, $3 per thousand
When to this expense, unavoidable under the existing regulations, are added the loss of time to the depositor, and the risk which, un. der the most favorable circumstances, is attached to the frequent transfer of large sums, sometimes amounting to $1,000,000 at one time, for so great a distance, the injury sustained by the public in this one year is estimated at $100,000, the full amount of the appropriation named in the bill under consideration, and enough to put the present assay office in complete order for coining all the gold and silver that will probably be offered for that purpose by owners or depositors at New York for several years to come.
The reasons for selecting London, Paris, and Vienna as the best locations for coinage in their respective countries, sufficiently indicate that it is impossible, either in justice to New York or to the interests of the United States themselves, longer to withhold from that city accommodations already established in places where they are less needed and cannot be maintained with equal benefit to the nation. New York is not only the commercial metropolis of this coun: try, but, by its maritime and inland connexions, is particularly the local point of commerce in the precious metals. The extent of its foreign trade, in comparison with that of all other ports in the United States, is shown by the official commercial statistics for the year ended, June 30, 1860:
The total foreign trade of New York, compared with that of the whole of the United States for the year 1859–60, (the last of which we have official accounts,) was more than 48 per cent., while that of the State of New York was 54 per cent., or much more than one-half of the whole foreign trade of the country.
The probability of a continued increase in the trade of New York, and with it in the arrivals of bullion and foreign coin, is founded upon the experience of the last forty years, the results of which are shown in the following synopsis:
Imports and exports of the State of New York.
1821 to 1830....
$363, 379, 563
757, 571, 840
$215, 833, 356
385, 322, 935
$579, 212, 919 1,033, 509, 890 1, 142, 894. 775 3,028, 468, 833