No. 379.
Mr. Birney to Mr. Evarts.

No. 123.]

Sir: Referring to your No. 106, in which you say you have been requested by the Secretary of the Treasury to obtain certain information respecting the amount of gold and silver coin and bullion and paper currency in the Netherlands, and in which you instruct me to present interrogatories therein set forth to the minister of foreign affairs of His Majesty, I have the honor to state that on the 28th August last, I addressed a note to the minister for foreign affairs, a copy of which is hereto annexed.

The reply of his excellency, the minister, has been received, a copy of which, with a translation, is herewith inclosed, together with exhibits. On this subject, if reference be had to my dispatch, which should have been numbered 19 and to dispatch No. 21, a very full and elaborate report will be found, giving all the facts obtainable up to this date, viz, November 13, 1876. It was accompanied by a letter from the superintendent of the mint college at Utrecht, and the laws and decrees of Holland in regard to money. In the preparation of the report, I was favored with the personal assistance of Mr. Vrolix, ex-minister of finance, and regarded as the most reliable financier of Holland. This showing may be advantageously referred to.

The inclosed statement, while not so complete, gives the facts up to the present date.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in Mr. Birney’s No. 123.]

Mr. Birney to Baron van Lynden van Sandenburg.

Sir: My government requests me to obtain through you for the use of the chief financial officer of the United States, full and detailed information respecting the amount of gold and silver coin and bullion and paper currency in the Netherlands. It is desired that such statistics as you may deem proper to furnish may be, not only those of the past year, but also those of as many previous years as may be procurable. Answers to the following interrogatories will cover the ground contemplated.

(Here are set forth idem verbis the seven questions of No. 106.)

The request of my government herein expressed was forwarded to me in May last, with the suggestion that the Secretary of the Treasury desired to receive the information at the earliest practicable moment. It reached this legation after my departure for vacation, and has been awaiting my return.

As my absence has occasioned delay, may I ask, as a great favor, that you will make such reference of this communication as will secure a reply as soon as convenient.

Your excellency will please accept assurances of my high consideration.

[Inclosure 2 in Mr. Birney’s No. 123—Translation.]

Baron van Lynden van Sandenburg to Mr. Birney.

Sir: According to the desire that you have been so kind as to express to me by your note of the 28th of last August, I have the honor to send you, inclosed, accompanied [Page 852] by your annexes, marked A—D, a note prepared by the minister of finance, containing replies as exact as possible to the questions propounded by the Government of the United States relative to the amount at present in circulation in the Netherlands of gold, silver, and paper moneys.

Be so kind, Mr. Minister, as to accept the renewed assurance of my high consideration.

[Inclosure 3 in Mr. Birney’s No. 123.—Translation.]

memoranda of the minister of finance.

Answer to questions 1 and 2. A statement, even by approximation, of gold and silver at present in the country cannot be made. The two returns, marked A and B, contain a review of the coinage of silver since 1840, and of gold since 1875, the year in which the golden standard was introduced next to the silver standard. Besides this coinage, there has been from time to time some coinage of gold trading-money in small amounts, and chiefly on account of the Dutch East Indies, so that it may be taken for granted that none of that trading-money is at present in this country.

Of the gold coin, little has been exported. Of the silver coin, it is quite different; much has been exported, especially to the Dutch East Indies.

An approximation of the mint college as to the amount of silver coin that may be estimated as held in this country on the 1st of January, 1879, amounts to 144,160,855 florins (in dollars, 57,664,342). Of this amount there was, on the 1st of September, 1879, in the Netherlands banks 74,901,099.518 florins, which in American money would be $29,960,439. At the same time there was in the bank golden standard to an amount of 41,378,930 florins, and fractional silver money to an amount of 988,369.35 florins.

The stock of mint material amounted, on the 1st of September, to 22,424.5 kilograms (a kilogram being 10 ounces, or a Dutch or French pound).

Answer to third question. Of the ten millions paper currency, there was on the 1st of September, 1879, in the bank an amount of 3,909,950 florins (in American currency, $1,563,980). Of the issue of bank-notes, there was in circulation on the 1st September, 1879, 185,451,380 florins.

Answer to questions 4 and 5. There are no silver or gold mines in this country.

Answer to questions 6 and 7. The annexed returns, marked C and D, contain an answer to those queries.

On examining all these apparently dissimilar figures, one has to keep in mind that no coinage of silver has taken place since the 17th of December, 1874, and with regard to gold that it became standard on the 1st of July, 1875.