TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
Edinburgh, October 1847. Sin—Among the causes which have operated to produce our present monetary difficulties, there are two which have hitherto been unnoticed, but which I believe have bad no inconsiderable share in the result.
Brat, the farmers, instead of occupying the home market last year, as they ought to have done, gave it up entirely to the foreigner. They retained in their repositories their grain, holding out for higher prices. This was the case to a eery great extent, indeed I believe to the value of millions. Had they parted with their produce, the gold would have been kept in the country, and been cir- culating to a very considerable amount. Suppose that only a million was lost (temporarily, I mean) or swamped in this way, this was a serious thing, espe- cially when it was lost in gold. What surplus stock the farmers have now it is impossible to know; but it must be very large. This is an item which has affected the state of our currency. The second cause is this, several millions have been withdrawn from circula- tion, and put out of sight in the old stockings of railway "navvies" and other labourers connected with railways. Those who have given attention to the cha- racter and habits of the above class know that its members are all more or leas a saving body. Every Irish navvy saves something when he can; and the extrava- gant wages he has been getting so long has enabled him to save considerably. His mode of saving is to put gold into the bottom of an old stocking, or some
such convenient purse. As the number of this class is now so t, a withdrawal of gold in this way by them must tell on the circulation. There cannot be less than fear or five millions locked up in these hoards.