From the Preface.
THE lively interest aroused by the public discussions of the questions relating8 to our currency has given rise to a desire, greater than ever before, for accurate information on the subject. This has manifested itself in the form of inquiries upon every phase of the subject, coming from all parts of the country. The silver question, which for more than twenty years has maintained the first rank in this country, as well as in many of the other countries of the world, has recently been displaced, in a measure, by the bank-note question, first again brought to the attention of the public by the platform of the Democratic party adopted in Chicago in 1892, and subsequently discussed at great length in Congress and in a number of periodicals.
In the consideration of this phase of the money question, the systems of banknote issues existing in the United States prior to the inauguration of the Nationalbank system in 1863 and the systems employed by other nations, have naturally become the subject of much study and consequently of prime interest to all who endeavor to know something about them.
The inquiries received by me and by many other persons have not, therefore, been confined to the rather elementary top1cs which form the main portion of my previous publication, "The Money of the United States," but have been extended to matters upon which it is much more difficult to obtain comprehensive information, viz., the moneys of other nations. I have, therefore, enlarged the scope of the previous work materially, including the greater part of the matter therein contained in the present volume, bring1ng the statistics down to a later date and, especially, enlarging the account of our State banking systems prior to 1863. The information collated respecting the monetary systems of other nations is necessarily less exhaustive than the portion of the volume pertaining to our own country's circulating media; but sufficient is given in each case to provide the general reader, and the student as well, with a concise presentation of the obtainable data in compact form and therefore convenient for ready reference.
It is in this particular that the author of the work claims that its chief merit lies in the greater portion of the matter is accessible to any one in position to consult libraries of the first class; but it is scattered throughout many volumes, many of which are unknown, even by name, to the general reader, and some probably for the same reason unavailable to the persistent student. To bring together, within the space of comparatively few pages, all of the important points involved in the questions has been the aim of the author. In doing this a judicious selection from the mass of statistics with which such a volume might be filled at the expense of its utility, has been exercised, and attention has been given first of all to the character of the inquiries which, in an experience of many years, have been found to indicate the direction of the desire for information....show more