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for the three calendar years. The result corresponds within about $100,000. A similar computation gives for the silver bullion exported to Great Britain during the calendar years 1867, 1868, and 1869, by the method of deduction, $16,972,028, and by the method of proportion, about $18,750,000; the mean of the two determinations being about $17,860,000.
The British tables show 3,637,986 ounces of gold coin and bullion, with an aggregate value of £13,831,334 imported from the United States during the same period. To get at the value of the bullion separately, I have deducted that of 125,281 ounces British coin, at the rates given in the mint tables, amounting to £488,995, and that of the foreign coin, £10,433,410, leaving £2,908,929 as the value of 792,629 ounces of gold bullion imported from the United States. This corresponds with $14,089,216, or about $17 90 per ounce. As a large proportion of the exports is in the form of unparted bars, this value is certainly high enough.. We have, then, from British sources $14,089,216, and from our own reports $24,692,453, as the export of gold bullion to Great Britain during the calendar years 1867, 1868, and 1869.
The silver values cannot be so conveniently ascertained from the data given. Yet the discrepancy between the probable value of 10,530,501 ounces reported from Great Britain, and $17,860,000 reported from the United States, is suspicious.
Having been defeated in the attempt to obtain other data for comparison, and deeming the above results a proof that the British statistics are even worse than our own, I am obliged to conclude that the information afforded from such sources is neither accurate nor susceptible of correction by analysis and comparison.
It is but fair to add that attempts have been made to secure more careful returns from collectors of ports. The following table shows the exports of gold bars from the port of New York for a little more than the calendar year 1870; unfortunately, as I am informed at Washington, other ports make no returns by this schedule:
Export of gold bars from the port of New York.
89, 267 19,928 183, 822 2, 289, 943 2,854, 932 1,098, 151
860, 408 1,036, 909 499, 879
10, 869, 433
Having said thus much as to the imperfection of the data afforded by the reports of the Mint and the custom-house for ascertaining the amounts of domestic coinage and exports of gold and silver, I will add a few words, setting forth my general objection to the theory that these
amounts, if correctly ascertained, would give the aggregate annual product of the country. The article above quoted from the Alta California recognizes the fact that amounts of bullion in transitu, or in the hands of dealers at the end of the year, are not included in this method of calculating the product. But this is a small matter compared with the omis sion of sundry items, which are not made good, as is the one alluded to by subsequent reports.
In the first place no account is taken of the gold and silver exported in the form of ores and mattes. I have direct information of more than a million dollars in value thus exported during 1870. Yet the item appears neither in the merchandise nor in the treasure reports of the custom-house. Perhaps it is believed, to use the phrase of the Alta, that gold and silver shipped in ballast do not "affect the markets of the world." As my duty, however, does not concern the markets of the world, but the actual results of American industry, I think this item worthy of notice.
Another instance in point is the amount of gold dust annually lost by its use as currency. This practice has almost ceased, save in a few of our productive placer districts, where several million dollars are still annually passed from hand to hand in trade. I estimate the quantity produced and lost in this way during 1870 at $100,000.
Again, in several Western States and Territories there is a considerable local manufacture of jewelry from gold dust, without further preparation than that which the manufacturers give it. The small town of Helena, Montana, contains five establishments, some of which employ a considerable number of workmen, and all of which manufacture jewelry from native gold alone. A large amount of gold is annually hoarded, moreover, in the form of specimens. In one or two instances, the superintendents of mines have adopted the practice of selling specimens; and the amounts realized from such sales indicate a larger consumption in this direction than most persons would imagine. It is safe to say that $400,000 annually are worked up by local jewelers or hoarded as specimens.
But a far more important matter than any of these is the annual consumption of gold and silver by the manufacturing jewelers, watch-case, gold pen, and spectacle makers, dentists, and silver-platers of the country. Those who think they can obtain the aggregate product of the precious metals by adding domestic coinage and domestic bullion exports assume that all our gold and silver is either coined or exported, and that all the domestic gold and silver used in manufactures has been previously recorded under one of these heads. This very convenient assumption is totally untrue. Our manufacturing jewelers do not, as a rule, melt coin at all. They either buy mint bars, or they purchase gold prepared for their special uses, in bars, plate, wire, foil, etc., from parties who make a business of this part of the work.
These gold-preparing houses, of which there are several in the city of New York, take a large amount of fine bars from the Mint and assay offices; but they also refine gold for themselves before alloying it for the manufacturers. Their deposits at the New York assay office include foreign, worn and mutilated coin, unparted bars, and gold dust. The quantity which they refine for themselves it is impossible for me to state. Perhaps the manufacturing blanks of the census, when published, will throw some light on this point. At the present stage of the work in the Census Bureau no information regarding it is available.
Estimates as to the amount of gold consumed by jewelers, etc., vary considerably. The lowest I have obtained from those engaged in the business is $9,000,000 annually; the highest is over $13,000,000. That
this is mainly in mint and other bars, and not in coin, I am thoroughly satisfied by repeated inquiries of the trade.
It is equally certain that the silversmiths melt up large quantities of fine bars as well as coin, and that the silver-platers use silver bars to a great extent.
It is therefore undeniable that the assumption that the fine bars produced at the Mint and not coined are all exported is a great mistake. A large portion of these bars is consumed in this country by manufacturers, together with a still larger amount of other bars which never saw the Mint at all.
In conclusion, my estimates of production for 1870 amount to $66,000,000; of this $51,774,949 is accounted for by the Mint and export returns; but these returns are themselves imperfect, and if they were absolutely accurate, they are still inadequate to the case. The difference of $14,225,051 results from, 1, the errors of my estimates; 2, the errors of the calculated coinage and exports; 3, the amount of gold and silver reported as in ores and mattes, consumed in the mining districts, etc.; 4, the amount of domestic gold and silver, not coin, consumed in manufactures. It is scarcely profitable to discuss further a problem the elements of which are so imperfectly known. But so long as the production of gold and silver in the country is so difficult to ascertain by tracing its movements and final destinations, I cannot but think it my duty to furnish independent data from other sources. If the aggregates thus obtained show a remarkable excess over those otherwise obtained, the fact is one to be noted and studied, not obliterated by a cowardly alteration of one set of figures to suit the other set. For five years the estimates of the Commissioners of Mining Statistics have thus exceeded, by a nearly constant amount, the totals furnished by the Mint and custom-house. It is easy to sneer at the Commissioners as "statistical neophytes;" but it would be wiser for the statistical veterans to suspect their data and methods, and rise for once from the study of conventional figures to the contemplation of facts.
RECEIPTS OF TREASURE AT SAN FRANCISCO.
[From the Commercial Herald, January 13, 1871.]
The following_table comprises the receipts of treasure in this city, through Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express, during the year 1870:
The annexed table exhibits the interior and coastwise receipts, (Wells, Fargo & Co.,) imports foreign, and exports for the year 1868, 1869, and 1870:
TREASURE PRODUCT, IMPORTS, ETC.
The receipts of treasure from all sources, through regular public channels, during the past twelve months, as compared with the same period
in 1869, have been as follows:
The following table shows the value and destination of treasure shipments from this port during the past sixteen years, from 1855 to 1870, inclusive:
It will be seen that our treasure exports to eastern ports were $983,482 more than in 1869, while those to England decreased $2,051,181; also to China and Panama, $1,393,274; to other ports, $1,843,004.
EXPORTS OF GOLD AND SILVER BARS FROM SAN FRANCISCO. [From the Alta California.J
The exports east and to different countries for 1867, 1868, 1869, and 1870, were as follows: