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included $565,275,000 (763,869,467 roubles) of paper money, or bills of credit.
On January 1, 1875, the total debt had increased to $2,149,995,000 in United States money. Of this amount $580,000,000 (797,313,480 roubles) was bills of credit, or paper money.
About $200,000,000 more of the total was treasury paper, which circulates to a considerable extent as money. The total paper circulation of Russia is therefore about $780,000,000, or over 1,000,000,000 roubles. While this shows an increase of about 250,000,000 roubles since 1858, it does not seem to warrant the assertion of the Statesman's Year-Book (London) for 1876, that “the paper money circulation of Russia has more than doubled in the last ten years.
Included in the above total debt there are about $200,000,000 of railway bonds, on which the interest is guaranteed by the government.
The Scientific Review, of Paris, for September 2, 1876, states the debt of Russia at 1,494,070,791 roubles ($1,097,047,960); but I presume this refers to the funded debt of the empire alone, and does not include either the treasury paper circulating as money nor the railway loans on which the interest is guaranteed by the government.
Paper currency in Italy is furnished mainly by the National Bank of Italy, whose present position and relations to the national government have existed since 1863. Its present powers to issue legal tender notes, etc., were the result of the financial embarrassments of the new kingdom finally established in 1861 as a result
of the Italian-French and Austrian war of 1859. The capital of the National Bank of Italy is 100,000,000 lire (a lire is of the same value as a franc, 19% cents), and in October, 1868, the outstanding circulation of the bank amounted to 775,879,712 lire, nominally equivalent to $147,417,145 in United States money, or at the rate of about $54% per capita of the nearly 27,000,000 of population in 1872. This does not comprise the entire paper currency of the country, but it is the greater part. There is but little specie in circulation, and the bulk of specie in the country is held in the National Bank, which, in October, 1868, held a metallic reserve of 178,000,000 lire, or equal to $83,800,000 in United States money. Silver being a legal tender for any amount in Italy, it is presumable that whatever metallic reserve may be in the bank now is mainly of silver, and also that whatever other coin there may be in the kingdom is almost exclusively silver.
The National Bank of Spain has a capital of 120,000,000 reals vellon (equivalent to $6,000,000), and issues circulating notes to the amount of 60,000,000 reals vellon, or equivalent to $3,000,000 in United States money. Besides this a portion of the large public debt, which in May, 1872, amounted to $1,511,000,000, has circulated as money. The national government became bankrupt in 1873, the payment of interest on the public debt having ceased in July of that year.
In Switzerland there are twenty-eight banks, nearly all of which issue notes to circulate as money, the legal limit of such notes issued by each bank being double the amount of its capital. The reform in the banking system of Switzerland, adopted in 1875, requires each bank to receive the notes of all other banks at par, and also that each bank shall keep a metallic reserve on hand equal to one third the amount of its notes in circulation. There has been a large increase of paper money in Switzerland in the last few years, and a corresponding decrease of coin, gold having almost disappeared. The aggregate of paper money in circulation at various periods has been as follows, viz. :
.47,000,000 1873 (October). ...
. 72,000,000 The 72,000,000 francs, equal to $13,800,000, gave a paper money circulation of $5.30 per capita of the 2,600,000 of population, and the legal limit to the aggregate circulation is 50 francs per capita, which would give at the utmost $26,000,000 of paper circulation. The coin circulation is mainly of silver.
The Bank of Belgium had a total of circulating notes outstanding June 1, 1872, equal to $44,712,000 in United States money, and against this held a specie reserve equal to $21,384,000. On February 1, 1873, the circulation had increased to $60,264,000 and the specie to $23,328,000.
In Sweden there is the National Bank of Sweden, with a circulation in June, 1872, equal to $14,924,870; also twenty-six private banks, with an aggregate circulation at the same date equal to $9,067,600. The notes, both of the national and private banks, are payable in silver. The above aggregate of notes is at the rate of about $5 per capita of the population. The coin circulation is almost entirely of silver.
TOTAL OF PAPER MONEY IN EUROPE.
We may now proceed to make an approximate estimate of the increase of paper money in Europe in twenty-two years by giving the amounts in millions of dollars (omitting six ciphers in each amount), giving the amount in each country for the year nearest to 1854 and again for the year nearest to 1876:
* This is only the notes of the Bank of Spain.
The average of the above periods is seventeen years, and the average increase of paper money something near $62,000,000 per annum. But a point of much significance is that of the total increase of say $1,200,000,000 of paper money in Europe, over $800,000,000 has been made since 1866, thus showing that the period of greatest contraction in the United States has been the period of greatest expansion in Europe.