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OPERATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES ASSAY OFFICE IN NEW YORK. Statement exhibiting quarterly the amount of bullion deposits, the amount of silver parted from gold, and the amount of fine silver and fine gold bars manufactured at the United States assay office in New York, from the year 1861 to the close of the year 1870, both inclusive.*
Statement exhibiting quarterly the amount of bullion deposits, &c—Continued.
Recapitulation from the organization of the assay office, October 10, 1854, to April 1, 1871, a period of sixteen years and six months.
Bullion transmitted from the assay office, in New York, to United States Mint, Philadelphia, for coinage, from October 10, 1854, to January 1, 1871.
Cost of transportation: For gold, at $1 per M., $131,519; silver, at $3 per M., $33,018.
BRANCH MINT AT CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA.
The operations of this establishment during the year 1870 amounted to $14,224 34, bullion assayed and returned to depositors in the form of stamped (unparted) bars. This is an increase of about 30 per cent. on the increase of the preceding calendar year.
In obtaining from the foregoing tables an approximate estimate of the amount of domestic gold and silver deposited for coinage in each calendar year, the most reasonable course is to add the total deposits at San Francisco and Carson City to the deposits of United States bullion at Philadelphia, since at the first two establishments all domestic deposits are actually turned into coin, (with slight exceptions,) and at the latter establishment it involves less error to assume that all the domestic deposits are coined than to assume that all the foreign and jewelers' deposits are coined. In this way I obtain
Total coinage of domestic gold and silver.
$24, 126, 023
19, 432, 339 *19, 464, 346*
23, 003, 650†
From the monthly reports of the Bureau of Statistics of the Treasury Department I have compiled the following
Tabular statement of exports, imports, and reëxports of gold and silver coin and bullion for the calendar years 1867, 1868, 1869, and 1870.
* Given as $3,168,610, by a clerical error, in No. 6, series 1869-'70, of the Bureau of Commerce and Navigation, but corrected in No. 6, series 1870-'71.
The silver coinage at Philadelphia in 1869 and 1870 being less than the domestic deposits, the amount of coinage is taken instead of the latter.
+ Deducting $1,274,458 Japanese gold, deposited as domestic bars at San Francisco.
Combining these tables of coinage and exports, we obtain
Table of coinage and export of domestic gold and silver for the calendar years 1867, 1868, 1869,
Whoever chooses to accept these totals as fairly representing the production of the country may do so; for my part, I cannot regard them as complete. I have already shown the impracticability of obtaining from the mint returns a correct account of the domestic gold and silver turned into coinage, (though a recent writer avers that this item is furnished by the reports of the Director "with absolute accuracy!"); and it may be added that there is grave reason to doubt the figures given for exports. In addition to private information received on this point from the Statistical Bureau, and conclusions drawn from personal inquiry into the manner of making up these figures, I may refer to the annual report of the Director of the Bureau of Statistics, dated November, 1867, where it is shown that the law under which the statistics of export are obtained refers to vessels only, and therefore takes no account of overland exports. In the year ending June 30, 1867, $6,211,752 in treasure was exported overland to Canada alone. Of course this was mostly coin, yet a part was undoubtedly in bars, and it must be remembered that this item (taken from Canadian tables and not found in our own) does not include any other of the then separate British Provinces; nor is there any record of the exports into Mexico, although the large amount of commerce carried on through the "free zone" must involve some movement of treasure.
Again, the Director says: "It will be observed that, although collectors of customs are forbidden to grant a clearance for any vessel bound to a foreign place unless full manifests of the cargo are previously furnished, there is no penalty in case a vessel obtains a clearance and departs without giving a full manifest. A comparison of our exports with the imports officially reported by the principal countries with which we trade, and a detailed examination of the export manifests at some of our large ports, established the fact that this is not unfrequently the case."
The British commissioners of customs remark, in a report upon this subject: "Exporters often endeavor, and not unfrequently with success, to ship their goods without clearance, in order to avoid the knowledge of their transactions which might be obtained through the bill of entry office." This motive has acted with greater force during the last seven years in the case of gold and silver than in that of any other commodities. The speculation in these two articles has been intense, continuous, and full of rapid fluctuations beyond all previous precedents. There has been the strongest possible inducement to conceal the true amounts of specie and bullion exported, and the weakest possible means of preventing such concealment. Finally, stories of surreptitious shipments are current in Wall street.
On the other hand, it is equally desirable sometimes, for purposes of speculation, to overrate the exports of treasure; although it seems less easy of performance, except by actual false swearing. I have attempted to compare our export statistics with those of the imports of some for
eign countries, but without much success. I introduce here a single instance. The following tables are furnished at my request by Mr. E. B. Elliott, chief clerk of the Bureau of Statistics at Washington:
Exports of gold and silver coin and bullion from the United States, 1867 to 1870, fiscal years ended June 30.
Imports of gold and silver coin and bullion into Great Britain, 1867 to 1870, (calendar
As the returns from Great Britain are those of calendar years, while those of the United States are of fiscal years, a direct comparison is impossible; but an approximation may be arrived at in the following manner: Deducting from the exports of gold bullion to Great Britain for the fiscal years 1867, 1868, 1869, and 1870, half of the first and half of the last item, we have $24,692,453 as the probable exports for the calendar years 1867, 1868, and 1869. This is confirmed by the following proportion: $67,105,311 (total exports of gold bullion for the fiscal years 1867, 1868, 1869, and 1870): $50,276,908 (total ditto for the calendar years 1867, 1868, and 1869, as per a previous table) :: $33,155,542, (exports of gold bullion to Great Britain for the four fiscal years,) ditto