Forty Years of American Finance: A Short Financial History of the Government and People of the United States since the Civil War, 1865-1907

By Alexander Dana Noyes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE EXPULSION OF GOLD

SO far as the Silver-Purchase Act was designed to help the silver market -- and this we have seen to be its almost single purpose -- it was an early and complete failure. Mr. Windom's report and the subsequent Congressional moves were immediately reflected, it is true, by a violent advance in silver. The speculators promptly put their machinery in order, and by way of affording every possible facility to a speculative craze, the New York Stock Exchange arranged for the deposit of silver bullion and the issue, against such deposits, of negotiable certificates which could be bought, sold, and delivered on the Exchange like any other security. In 1889, the average price of silver in New York was 93½ cents per ounce.1 By July, 1890, it had risen to $1.04, and the enactment of the Silver-Purchase Law carried the price with a wild rush to $1.21 on September 3d. But the speculative movement ended, as such movements usually do, as soon as the earlier and shrewder speculators began to take their profits, and the reaction was even more rapid than the ad-

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1
Treas. Rep., 1889, p. lxxxvi.

-153-

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