Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of Java during the last century have been with the Netherlands. Since the entire control of production and the commerce growing therefrom were in the hands of the Dutch Government, which sent all products of the island to the Netherlands to be sold and naturally transmitted in exchange therefor the currency of the mother country, the currency of Java is therefore identical with that of the mother country—the Netherlands.

THE DOCTRINE OF “CURRENCY AREAS" RECOGNIZED.

tra

The tendency to accept and adopt for the colony the form of currency prevailing in contiguous countries with which large commercial relations are maintained is pointed out by Prof. Robert Chalmers, of Oriel College, Oxford, also connected with the British treasury, in his “Colonial Currency," 1893, in which he says that “from 1825 onward no doubt had been entertained by the British authorities that sterling (gold) was the best system of currency for all British colo trade relations, and the Imperial Government has shown itself anxious to perfect the introduction of sterling currency by imposing in 1852 a limit of 40 shillings on the tender of British silver, not only in Australia, but in such silver-using countries as Ceylon, Mauritius, and Hongkong. This doctrine of the universal applicability of sterling was abandoned, though with reluctance, when it was demonstrated by Sir Hercules Robinson that a gold standard was impracticable and mischievous in colonies such as Hongkong, the Straits Settlements, and Ceylon, where trade relations made the silver standard imperatively necessary. “It was thus the East which taught the lesson of 'currency areas' in colonial currency. Once recognized the new doctrine was warmly espoused, a mint being established at Hongkong in 1864 to coin instead of gold sovereigns silver dollars of the Mexican type. Mauritius was recognized in 1876 as falling, like Ceylon, within the currency area of India, and the rupee was accordingly established as the standard currency for the island. In 1887 the currency of British Honduras was changed by adopting as the standard the silver dollar of Guatemala, on the ground that it was by the neighboring republics that the currency of this British colony was necessarily dominated, and while the doctrine of "currency areas” was recognized by the Imperial Government and applied in the case of these lesser colonies the self-governing Dominion of Canada had in 1871 recognized the same doctrine for itself by assimilating its currency to that of the neighboring United States, a step which has been taken in part, though not in whole, by the Bahamas."

THE EXPERIENCES THROUGH WHICH THE CURRENCY SYSTEM OF THE BRITISH COLONIES WAS

ESTABLISHED.

Prof. Robert Chalmers, in his History of Currency in the British Colonies, published in 1893, describes the processes of evolution of the currency systems of the British colonies as follows:

In theory currency followed the flag; in practice it was only the denomination, and not the sterling coin, which followed the English settlers of the seventeenth century to the plantations” of the New World. The only coins they saw were of foreign silver, chiefly Spanish; and these foreign coins they rated in terms of sterling, thus originating the complexities of denominational currency which still survive in the quotation of Halifax exchanges. It was not that the colonists had any quarrel with the monetary system of the mother country; they were only too anxious to see sterling circulating among them. * *

The chief reason was that the early colonists were poor men, with new countries to develop by the slow processes of agriculture. As a consequence, they required, and received, commodities-not coin-from England in return for such part of their exported produce as was not already hypothecated to duties and other home liabilities. Hence coined money was rare among them; and the flow of such specie as they had was not from but to Europe. Staple commodities formed the normal medium of exchange. Even where coined money was plentiful, it was frequently used for external rather than for domestic payments. * * *

But with growing commerce with the Spanish main, and the rise of the Buccaneers in the West Indies, the plantations naturally and necessarily began to form part of a currency area dominated by the silver “ piece of eight” from Spanish America. Spanish coins now began to circulate to a greater or less extent in all the plantations, and the colonists through whose hands they passed proceeded to rate them concurrently with the sterling of which they retained only the denomination.

The sterling value generally accepted in the seventeenth century for the piece of eight was 4s. 6d., the rating subsequently stereotyped by Queen Anne's proclamation of 1704 and by Sir Isaac Newton's tables of 1717. But side by side with this silver parity there was a popular rating of the piece of eight by tale at 5s., partly due to the general resemblance of that coin to an English crown. * * *

Imitating the practices familiar to them in London, dishonest persons traded on the desire of the young communities for a metallio currency, by circulating clipped money at the full rate; and this malpractice was condoned by the colonies when it was found that the light money was more apt to stay with them than the “broad” pieces. Moreover, with silver as the colonial standard of value, while in England the real standard was gold, payment by tale at the English silver parity for the piece of eight entailed a loss on the remittance of these coins to England, a loss which was readily avoided by reducing the weight of pieces of eight to correspond with the dominant European ratio of gold to silver. Further, “the raising of the moneys” was an expedient well known and widely practiced in contemporary Europe, as was the dimunition of fine content, and clipping by the subject was the counterpart of the debasement of coins by the sovereign. Hence it came about that by the middle of the seventeenth century clipping was rampant in the West Indies, i and light Spanish silver coins became the general standard of value in the British possessions in the New World. * * *

Briefly, therefore, the currency history of the period prior to 1704 is marked (a) by the rise of the “denominational currency" systems as the result of competitive overvaluation of Spanish silver in terms of sterling, and (b) by the final predominance of the clipped, piece of eight. But it was not until the close of this period that coin superseded commodities even in prosperous colonies. In the more backward settlements barter continued to dominate the currency. Gold coins were of rare occurrence and were regarded as counters rather than real “money." * * *

[ocr errors]

o un wuucn they retained only the denomination

ATTEMPTS TO INTRODUCE BRITISH CURRENCY IN THE COLONIES.

In 1825 the home Government made its great attempt to introduce British silver into circulation throughout the British colonies. The shilling was to circulate wherever the British drum was heard. The causes of this revolutionary change were twofold, arising from circumstances affected—(1) the Spanish and (2) the British currency.

In the first place, the successful revolution of the Spanish colonies in America had cut off by 1820 the supply of the universal Spanish dollar, while for some half a century there had been a dearth of the fractions of the dollar for subsidiary circulation in the colonies. The home Government was also alive to the prevalence of dishonest paper and of cut” and “plugged” money, which was the curse of colonial currency in the West Indies.

In the second place, the act of 1816, establishing gold as the sole standard of value in the United Kingdom, had placed the home metallic currency on a sound basis, establishing a token silver coinage, which for the first time in centuries remained in circulation. And, further, the new mint was now in full working order and able to satisfy even greater demands than those made upon its resources for purpose of internal circulation.

1 Since this was written, British Honduras has adopted the United States gold dollar as her standard of currency.

erence, not to the general use of British be issued (at £103 per the commissar

Consequently the disease seemed almost to suggest its own remedy. The new shilling was a success at home. Why should it not prove as great a success in the colonies, and form a (silver) link between them and the mother country? And, apart from the interests of the colonies, the home Government had interests of its own to consult. The large payments to troops and officials in the colonies, amounting to several millions sterling a year, were made the heavier by the continual shipments of specie, necessitated by the conflicting and unsound systems of colonial currency. If British silver could be substituted once for all as the circulatory medium of the colonies, it would not only cave the expense of shipping specie, but also swell the imperial gain by seigniorage on subsidary silver. On grounds, therefore, of policy and expediency, it seemed desirable to introduce British silver coins into circulation in the colonies. The real justification of the measures of 1825 was one which was only vaguely felt at the time, and which required the subsequent experience of half a century to demonstrate and define. That justification is to be found in the fact that the Spanish dollar, the universal coin of three centuries, had lost its supremacy, and that its universal dominion was in process of disintegration into rival “currency areas,” chief among which was destined to be the area dominated by the British sterling.

A beginning was made through the commissariat-the department through which the troops, etc., were paid abroad. As the pay of the troops was fixed in sterling, it was decided to pay them in sterling silver and copper coins, and so to introduce these coins into colonies. In order to keep the money in circulation, an ingenious arrangement was devised. The bills which the commissaries were in the habit of drawing upon the treasury at thirty days sight for raising funds, were to be issued (at £103 per £100 bill) to any person tendering British silver. In this way it was hoped to insure the general use of British tokens as a circulatory medium in the colonies. These proposals, which so far had primary reference, not to the colonial public, but to the imperial troops, etc., were embodied in the treasury minute of February 11, 1825, the substance of which was communicated to the several commissaries by circular letter of February 12. In order to give legal currency to the British coins in the colonies generally, an order in council was passed on March 23, 1825, which proved as mischievous as it was intended to be beneficial. Its fundamental errors, derived from the treasury minute, were (1) its rating of the Spanish dollar for concurrent circulation with British silver, and (2) its omission to rate foreign gold coins.

(1) The treasury minute stated that “as the substitution of British silver and copper currency for the Spanish dollar, even in the payments from the military chests to the troops, can only be gradually effected, and as it may, in many cases, still be expedient to employ that coin as a medium of payment at a fixed rate as compared with British currency, my lords are of the opinion that it should (when necessary) be issued at the rate of 4s. 4d. the dollar, being a fraction of a farthing only above its intrinsic value at the rate of 5s. 2d. per ounce of standard silver.” But as this “mint price," which dated back to 1601, and had reference to a bimetallic standard, was 2d. higher per ounce than the gold price of silver in the open market, the effect of its application to the Spanish dollar was to overrate that coin, as measured by the gold sovereign, to which the shilling was now subsidiary. Had this blunder been confined to the mere rate of issue of the Spanish dollar to the troops in lieu of sterling coins, the evil would not have amounted to more than an unintentional fraud on the troops, etc., but, when the obsolete mint price was made the basis for rating British silver for concurrent circulation with the dollar, the overvaluation of the later coin by 33 per cent was fatal to the imperial scheme. By a familiar law, the overrating of the dollar sufficed to drive out the shilling.

(2) As has been shown above, the indirect effect of the proclamation and act of 1705 had been to establish a gold standard in the West Indies. Here, as in Spain itself, the gold doubloon (with the Portuguese johannes) had practically supplanted the silver dollar. Consequently, if British silver was undervalued 35 per cent, as compared with the dollar, it was still further underrated (by an additional 41 to 5 per cent), as compared with the colonial gold standard. In colonies where the doubloon (worth 64s. sterling) passed, as in Spain, for 16 silver dollars, the undervaluation of the shilling by about 8 per cent rendered its circulation hopeless. In Gibraltar, for example, where the doubloon was supreme, the newly arrived boxes of British silver were bought up at the price of 1 doubloon for 69s. 4d., and immediately shipped back to England “unopened and with seals intact.

Accordingly, by order in council of September 7, 1838, the order in council of March 23, 1825, was revoked, so far as respected the colonies in America and the West Indies, and it was ordained that throughout the West India colonies, including British Guiana, the doubloon and dollar should circulate and be received in payment equally with sterling, as being, respectively, of the full value of 64s. and 4s. 2d. Instructions were sent at the same date to the governors of the several colonies in the West Indies directing them to declare by local proclamation the "currency" values of the doubloon, the dollar, and the shilling, according to the relative values assigned to these coins in the royal proclamation. The doubloon being the real standard in the West Indies, was to be taken as the basis of the currency ratings, with a consequent leveling up of the values of the dollar and shilling. The new currency ratings were in most cases inconvenient for the purposes of ordinary life. The Bahamas and Jamaica at once proceeded to dispense with “currency” and adopted sterling denominations. And in this connection it is to be observed that the reign of the Spanish dollar being over, most of the West Indian colonies had come to form part of the rapidly widening “currency area” of Great Britain. Hence, even though in many cases the formal adoption of sterling denominations was postponed (by Montserrat until 1864), sterling coins steadily worked their way into general circulation in the West Indies. The success of the legislation of 1838 in the West Indies led, in 1843–44, to its application to colonies elsewhere—to Mauritius, the west coast of Africa, St. Helena, Malta, Gibraltar, and Hongkong. In the first two cases French and East Indian coins were also admitted to tender; in Malta the doubloon was not allowed to compete with sterling; and in Gibraltar (where only the Spanish doubloon passed current and where the silver dollar was in practice mere bullion), the rating of the dollar, as a denomination, at 4s. 2d. was allowed to be established side by side with the rating of the Spanish doubloon at $16, or 66s. 8d., instead of 64s.

EFFECT OF THE GOLD DISCOVERIES.

The great discoveries of gold in Australia in 1851, following as they did on those of California, profoundly affected the currency of the British colonies in common with the rest of the civilized world. A primary effect was to drive out the now appreciated silver dollar from circulation in places like the West Indies, where nothing but the hitherto steady gold price of silver had retained these coins in circulation side by side with the gold sovereign and its token representatives. Thus the second half of the century saw the banishment of the old silver dollar to the East. But the most notable effect of the Australian gold discoveries was the local demand for the establishment in Australia of branches of the royal mint, the first of which was opened at Sydney on May 14, 1855, whilst the second, at Melbourne, dates only from June 12, 1872. * * *

A MEXICAN VIEW OF THE CAUSES OF THE POPULARITY OF THE MEXICAN DOLLAR IN THE ORIENT.

Señor Joaquin D. Casasus, in a series of articles published in El Economista Mexicano, in 1901, says: “It is very hard to say at what precise date money coined in Mexico was introduced in the markets of the extreme Orient, though it is quite well known that about the end of the seventeenth century New Spain and the Philippine Islands were maintaining very important commercial relations, since the royal ordinance of April 14, 1579, had authorized the exports of merchandise—the product of the Philippines—to New Spain and Peru."

The government of the Philippine Islands, moreover, maintained friendly relations with China and Japan, and during the seventeenth century the custom became quite general to send to the rulers of Japan, Cambodia, the Tidoro or Molucca Islands, and of China, gifts and presents to continue these friendly relations. There is no doubt that the Mexican pesos penetrated into these vast empires by way, primarily, of the Philippine Islands, because the government of New Spain had to send there each year from 270,000 to 280,000 pesos, the revenue of the insular treasury not being sufficient to meet all the expenditures. The government, then. at an earlier stage than commerce, was instrumental in introducing the Mexican pesos in the markets of the extreme Orient. Chalmers,

No. 9- 16

'in his valuable study entitled, A History of the Currency in the British Colony, says the following on this question: "The silver dollar, in the earliest. Spanish form, had been familiar at such Chinese ports as Canton, Ningpo, and Amoy since 1571, in connection with Spanish commerce from the Philippines,' and in 1596 Linschoten, in his Itineraire Voyage, stated that at Goa "there are likewise rialles of eight which are brought from Portuigall, and are ‘paradawes de reales,' worth, at their first coming out, 436 reyes of Portuigall, and after are raised by exchange as they are sought for where men travelt for China” (p. 371).

There is good reason to say that, beginning with the seventeenth century, the Mexican peso was a very important civilizing agency and the chief exchange instrument in the international commerce of the peoples in the Orient. When European civilization came to knock at the doors of these great and populated empires, the peso became the tie of union between the Eastern and Western nations, and the only possible basis on which commercial peace might be reestablished.

The product of the Mexican silver mines, after being turned into coin, was distributed all over the world, taking two routes-that of the Orient, and that of the Occident. The commerce which New Spain maintained through the port of Acapulco, in southern Mexico, with the Philippine Islands never attained any real significance--although the merchandise of China passed through Mexico on its way to Europe-by reason of the prohibitory legislation of the kings of Spain in order to keep the commerce already established between the Philippine Islands, Guatemala, and Peru. Nor did the movement of precious metals ever attain any extraordinary importance.

The commerce with Spain was more important for the American colony, and the precious metals extracted from the mines were, as a rule, sent to Spain, Europe, however, did not keep all this gold and silver in circulation. International commerce transmitted part of it to Asia. The European precious metals flowed to the Asiatic continent by three principal routes—first, the commerce with the Levant, Egypt, and the Red Sea; second, the maritime commerce with the East Indies and China; third, the commerce of Russia with China and Tartary. The two trade currents of New Spain, by way of the East and the West, brought the silver and the coined peso pieces of Mexico to the great nations of the Orient. The East Indies and China are the countries which have absorbed the larger part of the silver extracted from the American mines. They are the bottomless pit into which the precious metals have been thrown forever, and the great receptacle of the production of the mines in the New World. China particularly has proved to be the chief consumer of Mexican silver. This country never had a monetary system in the proper sense of the term. As Savary says, in his Universal Dictionary of Commerce: “Gold and silver are not turned into coin in China, but are being used according to their weight for business and other

s are used by Voltaire in his Essay on the Customs: “For many years gold has not been a common medium of exchange in China, nor has it been a commodity as in Holland; nor is silver money in the strict sense of the term, its weight and fineness determining its price.

The peso thus found its way into China, not as money, but as simple commodity. Pesos were bought and sold in the market like any other product--for instance, tea and opium. The Diccionario de Commercio y de Navegacion, therefore, is quite right in saying: " The peoples of Asia and Africa take the coins, not according to the value affixed to them by the Government, which puts them in circulation, but according to the amount of fine silver contained in them. These people regard them merely as pieces of a fixed and constant weight and fineness, and do not cease to test constantly the weight and fineness.

CURRENCY AND BANKING SYSTEMS IN THE WORLD'S COLONIES,

The statements which follow show the currency and banking conditions in each of the colonies of the world wherever it is found practicable to state that information in concise terms. The banking system is so closely associated with the currency system that it has seemed proper to combine the two wherever possible in the statements presented. The statements are from the Colonial Office List, the Statesman's Year-Book, and other standard publications.

Queensland. There were on December 31, 1889, 11 banks with 167 branches. The value of the coin and bullion is given as £1,886,258; the deposits, £12,754,708. The government savings bank returns the number of depositors as 78,009, the amount of deposits as £3,171,047.

South Australia.--The legal tender and usual currency is exclusively British sterling. Eight banking institutions carry on business within the Province, all of which have establishments in the principal seaports and inland townships, numbering altogether 133 branches and agencies. The total average liabilities of the 8 banks amount to (December 18, 1899) £6,283,735; average note circulation, £397,616, and the total average assets to £6,752,772. The savings bank is managed by a board of trustees appointed by the governor, and has 134 agencies. The number of depositors. on December 31, 1899, was 106,122, and the total deposits amounted to £3,489,082; averaged credit of depositor £32 17s: 6d.; rate interest paid to depositor, 3 per cent. One in 3.09 of the population is a depositor in sayings banks.

Tasmania.-The legal tender and usual currency is British sterling. There are 4 banks established in the colony, viz: The Commercial Bank of Tasmania, the National Bank of Tasmania, the Union Bank of Australia, the Bank of Australasia, with, together, 39 branches. The total assets on December 31, 1898, amounted to £3,341,030; deposits, £3,105,562. The note circulation on same date amounted to £148,319. In addition to the above there are three savings-bank systems, one being located at Hobart, one at Launceston, and one having many branches throughout the colony, established by government in connection with the post-office department, total deposits at the time of last balancing, December 31, 1899, being £915,062.

Victoria.—The following banks had branches, numbering about 452 in all, throughout the colony during the last quarter of 1899: The Bank of Australasia, of New South Wales, of New Zealand, of Victoria, Colonial of Australasia, Commercial of Australia, English, Scottish, and Australia, London of Australia, National of Australasia, Royal of Australia, and the Union of Australia. The deposits at that period amounted to £3,050,429, and the value of the notes in circulation to £951,795. There are also more than 329 branches of the i savings banks throughout the colony. The number of accounts open on June 30, 1900, was 375,070, and the amount in deposit was £9,110,818. The legal tender and usual currency is exclusively British sterling. A branch of the Imperial mint is established at Melbourne, where gold to the value of over £5,000,000 is. coined annually.

Western Australia. The legal tender and usual currency is exclusively British sterling. The following banks have establishments in the colony: The Western Australian Bank, National Bank of Australasia, Union Bank of Australia, Limited, Bank of New South Wales, Commercial Bank, and the Bank of Australasia. The deposits in the banks during the year ended December 31, 1899, averaged £3,808,629.

A government post-office savings bank at Perth, with branch offices, was established in 1863. The deposits during the year

ended June 30, 1896, amounted to £520,016; during the year ended June 30, 1897, to £1,068,322; during the year ended June 30, 1898, to £1,231,638; during the year ended June 30, 1899, to £1,057,023, and during the year ending June 30, 1900, to £1,112,250.

A branch of the royal mint has been erected at Perth.

Bahamas.-The legal tender currency is British sterling, United States current coin, silver of the Latin Union, and gold doubloons. Accounts are kept in sterling. There is no colonial currency. A local bank, called the Bank of Nassau, was established on June 1, 1889. It had on December 31, 1899, a note issue of £6,500, and deposits amounting to £52,000. A post-office sayings bank was established in January, 1886, and had on December 31, 1899, £13,060 deposited.

Barbados.-Accounts are kept in sterling, and British coin is legal tender and the chief medium of circulation. There is no limit to the legal tender of British silver, and there is but little gold in circulation. The only bank doing business in Barbados is the Colonial Bank, capital paid up £600,000. Total number of branches throughout West Indies 13, with deposits of £1,530,000, and a note circulation ($5 notes) of £350,000. In Barbados the estimated circulation is £30,000. There is a Government savings bank which had on September 30, 1899, 13,313 depositors, and deposits amounting to £226,117.

Bermuda.—The coins in circulation are British currency, which are legal tender. There is no limit to the legal tender of British silver. The Bermuda Banking Company has recently established a bank at Hamilton. Messrs. N. T. Butterfield & Son have also a banking establishment at Hamilton, and several of the leading merchants do a considerable amount of business as private bankers and agents. A Government savings bank was established in 1871, and there are branches at Hamilton, St. Georges, and Sandys Parish. The number of depositors at the end of 1899 was 1,333; total amount of deposits, £31,686.

British Guiana.—Accounts are kept in dollars and cents. British sterling and United States gold coin are current and legal tender as well as Spanish and Mexican gold. Spanish, Mexican, or Colombian dollars are no longer legal tender under Ordinance No. 1 of 1876. There are also remaining some old silver tokens from one-eighth to 3 guilders (1 guilder being equal to 1s. 4d.). The Colonial and British Guiana banks have establishments at Georgetown, with branches at New Amsterdam. The British Guiana Bank on March 31, 1900, had a note circulation of £57,532, and the Colonial Bank £62,152. The total note circulation in the colony is about £129,684. The first government savings banks were established at Georgetown and New Amsterdam in the year 1836. A branch bank was opened at Suddie, Essequebo, in 1879, at Belfield, on the East Coast, Demerara, in 1884, and another at Fellowship, West Coast, Demerara, in 1887.1 The total deposits amounted on December 31, 1899, to £248,352 among 12,452 depositors. There are 27 post-office savings banks. At the end of that year these banks had 7,853 depositors, with £43,615 to their credit. British Honduras.-Up to October 14, 1894, the coins in circulation were principa

p to October 14, 1894, the coins in circulation were principally South and Central American silver dollars. There was no paper currency. The standard of value was the Guatemalan dollar, and Chilean and Peruvian silver coins were also current and legal tender as well as the colonial currency of 1-cent pieces at fixed ratings with the Guatemalan dollar. By Ordinance No. 31, of 1894, the currency has been established on a gold basis, the United States gold dollar being adopted as the standard coin. Gold coins of the United States mint are legal tender for the amounts of their respective denominations in silver dollars; also the British sovereign and half sovereign for the amounts of $4.867 and $2.433, respectively. There is a local subsidiary currency of 50-cent, 25-cent, 10-cent, and 5-cent silver pieces, and a Government note issue of the following denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $50, and $100; a bronze cent piece is also current. The limit of the legal tender in silver is $10, and in bronze at 50 cents. There are no private banks in the colony. The Government Savings Bank, established in 1846 at Belize (with branches at Corosal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Punta Gorda, and the Cayo), had on December 31, 1899, $31,320 deposited. : Dominion of Canada.-There is a uniform currency throughout the Dominion, consisting of dollars, cents, and mills, the same as that of the United States, $4.86being equal to £1. In addition to this Canadian coinage the gold coins of the United States are also legal tender.

There are Government savings banks in the maritime provinces and in Manitoba and British Columbia, having 49,320 depositors, with $15,470,110 on deposit. There are also post-office savings banks in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Northwest Territories, and British Columbia, having 142,141 depositors, with $34,771,605.

The total amount of savings-bank deposits, including two operating under special charters, was $66, 135,282, on June 30, 1899. The following banks are established in Canada:

Ontario (headquarters).-Bank of Toronto, Dominion Bank, Standard Bank, Imperial Bank, Bank of Ottawa, Ontario Bank, Canadian Bank of Commerce, Bank of Hamilton, Western Bank, Traders' Bank.

Quebec (headquarters). -Bank of Montreal, Molsons Bank, Banque National, Banque de St. Jean, Banque de Ste. Hyacinthe, Bank of British North America, Banque Jacques Cartier, Banque d’Hochelaga, Merchants Bank of Canada, Quebec Bank, Union Bank of Canada, Eastern Townships Bank.

Nova Scotia (headquarters).–Bank of Nova Scotia, People's Bank, Halifax Banking Co., Merchants' Bank, Union Bank, Bank of Yarmouth, Commercial Bank of Windsor, Exchange Bank of Yarmouth.

Other provinces (headquarters).-Bank of New Brunswick; People's Bank, New Brunswick; St. Stephen's Bank, New Brunswick; | Bank of British Columbia; Summerside Bank of Prince Edward Island; Merchants’ Bank of Prince Edward Island.

These banks have in all 641 branches, distributed as follows: Ontario, 306; Quebec, 117; Nova Scotia, 69; New Brunswick, 30; British Columbia, 47; Prince Edward Island, 6; Manitoba, 46; Northwest Territories, 20.

Paid-up banking capital has nearly doubled since 1870. In June of that year it was $32,050,597, and in June, 1900, it was $64,735,145. The bank-note circulation on June 30, 1900, was $45,577,387. In 1887 they held $69,763,668 of deposits, and in June, 1900, they held $279,579,150. In addition to the notes issued by the charter banks the government issues notes of various denominations, and the average monthly circulation in 1890 amounted to $15,501,360, and in 1899, $25,041,650. The maximum government issue is fixed at $25,000,000, and the minimum reserve in specie and British Government securities is fixed at 25 per cent, but for all amounts over $20,000,000, gold must be held dollar for dollar. No notes are issued below $5 except by the government.

Cape of Good Hope.-The legal-tender currency is British sterling, and this is also the money of account. Since the beginning of 1892 the banks having their head offices outside the colony are only allowed to issue notes supplied to them by the government, which holds securities deposited by the institutions for the total supply of such notes given to the banks. The notes are legal tender and guaranteed by the government, the banks having to redeem the notes in gold on demand at their chief places of business.

Banks having their head offices in the colony and having been registered on January 1, 1891, can continue to issue their own notes,

1 The branch banks at Belfield and Fellowship were closed on March 31, 1895.

which are neither guaranteed nor legal tender. There are 6 banks, with 102 branches. The total amount of notes in circulation on June 30, 1900, was £1,313,905; legal tender, £1,306,820; other, £7,085.

Ceylon.—The weights and measures in common use are British.

Accounts are kept in rupees, and the money in circulation is exclusively Indian and Ceylon rupee currency, which is alone legal tender. Ceylon cents take the place of the Indian annas and pice. The notes of the Chartered Mercantile Bank remained in circulation to some extent until 1888, when its charter expired, but since the failure of the Oriental Banking Corporation, in 1884, the government has instituted a note issue, of which the amount in circulation on December 31, 1897, was Rs. 10,008,700. These notes are legal tender, except at the Colombo issue office.

The exchange rates follow those of India, and have of late years somewhat improved. The exchange for remittances to England by a six months' bill was 1s. 43d. during 1899, while the average rate for demand drafts was 1s. 4d.

The Ceylon government calculates the rupee at ls. 10 d. for the purpose of the payment in the United Kingdom of half salary or pension in the case of officers appointed before February 19, 1897, and at 1s. 6d. in the case of officers appointed after that date.

The following banks have establishments in the colony: Mercantile Bank of India, Limited; Chartered Bank of India, Australia, and China; Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation; Bank of Madras; National Bank of India, Limited. None of these now issue notes in Ceylon. The Chartered Mercantile Bank had Rs. 4,355,600; the Madras Bank, Rs. 6,882,828; and the National Bank, Rs. 1,187,916 deposits in the island on December 31, 1890. The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank had Rs. 1,329,186 in deposit on December 31, 1898. The Ceylon Savings Bank was established in 1832, and post-office sayings banks were opened in 1885, and the two together had on December 31, 1898, Rs. 4,473,382 deposited.

Cyprus.—Under an order in council which came into operation on January 1, 1901, the following coins are legal-tender currency: Gold, the sovereign; silver, 18, 9, 41, 3, piaster pieces. Limit of tender, 540 piasters (9 equal to 1s). Bronze, 1 piaster, half piaster, quarter piaster; limit of tender, 27 piasters. (40 paras equal 1 piaster.) The Imperial Ottoman Bank has a branch established at Larnaca, and an agency at Nicosia. There is as yet no government savings bank.

The Turkish weights and measures are in use. The oke equals 2.8 pounds avoirdupois, and the donum equals about one-fourth acre. A law relating to weights and measures was passed in 1890.

Falkland Islands.—The legal-tender currency is British sterling and local £5, £1, and 5s. notes. There are no private banks in the colony. On April 1, 1888, a government savings bank of the usual type was established, in which, on September 30, 1899, the deposits were £44,000, belonging to 360 depositors.

Fiji.-The legal-tender currency and the only coin in circulation is British sterling. The bank of New Zealand has two branches in Fiji-at Suya and Leyuka. Provision is made by ordinance for the establishment of a government saving bank. There is no government note issue.

The Gambia.-The legal-tender and usual currency is that of Latin Union; there is no colonial coinage and no note issue. A government sayings bank was established in 1886, and had on December 31, 1897, £2,562, deposited by 169 depositors; in 1898, £3,882, deposited by 192 depositors; and in 1899, £5,083, deposited by 20

Gold Coast Colony.-The currency and legal tender is British sterling, with Spanish, American, and French gold coins, as fixed by Ordinance No. 2 of 1880. Gold dust was demonetized by Ordinance No. 9 of 1889, but still remains a medium of exchange in the districts of the interior. A number of United States silver half dollars are in circulation, but are not legal tender. German gold and silver coin circulates in the trans-Volta districts since the Customs Union. Copper coins are little used, owing to the dislike to them entertained by the natives in most places. Cowries are still in use, but only for the purchase of articles of little valųe. Accounts are kept in sterling. The bank of British Africa has establishments at Accra and Cape Coast.

Hongkong.-The currency of Hongkong consists of the following coins (vide order in council February 2, 1895): (1) The silver dollar of Mexico; (2) British dollar; (3) the Hongkong dollar, half dollar, and 20-cent, 10-cent, and 5-cent pieces, issued from the Hongkong mint (1866–1868); (4) half dollars, 20, 10, and 5 cent pieces imported from England and coined at the Royal mint and Birmingham mint; (5) copper coins representing one-hundredth part of the dollar (called 1 cent), and one-thousandth part of the dollar (mil or cash), imported from England.

There were issued from the Hongkong mint 2,108,054 dollars and 58,587 half dollars; and 20, 10, and 5 cent pieces to the nominal value of $402,671. There have been obtained from England and put into circulation up to December 31, 1898, subsidiary coins (which now include half dollars) to the nominal value of $21,778,125.

The coins issued from the Hongkong mint are never met with in the colony now, and of the coins imported from England it is estimated that not more than 10 per cent remain in the colony.

There are six principal banks (Chartered Bank of India, Australia, and China; Mercantile Bank of India, Limited; China, Hongkong, and Shanghai Bank, National Bank of China; the Bank of China, Japan, and the Straits; and the Yokohama Specie Bank); having a note circulation of $10,121,597 on December 31, 1898. There is no savings bank under government control, but one conducted by the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank.

Jamaica.—British currency, United States gold, and gold doubloons are legal tender. Accounts are kept in sterling, and the coin in circulation is almost exclusively British silver and Jamaica nickel pence. Total estimated coin, £300,000. The Colonial Bank and the Bank of Nova Scotia are the only private banking establishments in the colony. The Colonial Bank has one branch and four agencies; it has a note circulation estimated at £150,000. British silver coins above 6d. are legal tender to any extent; coins of 6d. and less amount to the extent of 40s. in any one payment.

Government savings banks were instituted in all the principal towns in 1871, the rate of interest allowed being at first 4 per cent, but this was reduced in 1881 to 3 per cent, and in 1897 to 27 per cent. The total deposits on March 31, 1900, were £468,616 78. 4d.

Lagos.—By Ordinance No. 2 of 1880 the legal-tender currency and that generally in use is British sterling, with gold dust and nuggets, and some Spanish, American, and French gold coin; but by Ordinance No. 7 of 1894 gold dust and nuggets were demonetized. Cowries (1,000 equal 3d.) are still occasionally employed for small transactions. Accounts are usually kept in sterling, but occasionally still in gallons of palm oil, or in cowries, by the smaller native traders. A government savings bank was established on January 1, 1887, under the management of the colonial treasurer, and on December 31, 1897, held deposits amounting to £16,553 13s. 1 d.

Leeward Islands.—The usual currency is British silver, a few British and United States gold coins being occasionally met with. In addition to these the gold doubloons are legal tender. The Colonial Bank has a branch in Antigua, one in St. Kitts, and one in Dominica.

« AnteriorContinuar »