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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

262   THE REGULATION OF THE CURRENCY

his currants, the draper measured out his broad-
cloth, the hum of buyers and sellers was as loud as
ever in the towns, the harvest-time was celebrated
as joyously as ever in the hamlets, the cream over-
flowed the pails of Cheshire, the apple juice foamed
in the presses of Herefordshire, the piles of crockery
glowed in the furnaces of the Trent, and the
barrows of coal rolled fast along the timber railways
of the Tyne. But when the great instrument of
exchange became thoroughly deranged, all trade,
all industry, were smitten as with a palsy, . . .
Nothing could be purchased without a dispute.
Over every counter there was wrangling from morn-
ing to night. The workman and his employer had a
quarrel as regularly as the Saturday came round.
On a fair-day or a market-day the clamours, the
reproaches, the taunts, the curses, were incessant;
and it was well if no booth was overturned, and no
head broken. . . . The price of the necessaries of
life, of shoes, of ale, of oatmeal, rose fast. The
labourer found that the bit of metal which, when
he received it was called a shilling, would hardly,
when he wanted to purchase a pot of beer or a loaf
of rye bread, go as far as sixpence."

From some of the evils thus dazzlingly described
we are happily free in these times. We are not
cursed with a currency composed of coins which
are good, bad and indifferent, with the result that
the public gets the bad and indifferent while the
nimble bullion dealers absorb and export the good,
There is nothing to choose between one piece of
paper and another, and all that is wrong with them