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Alexander von Humboldt: „Humboldt on the Precious Metals“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <> [abgerufen am 25.05.2024].

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Titel Humboldt on the Precious Metals
Jahr 1839
Ort Dublin
in: The Dublin Monitor 36 (29. Januar 1839), [o. S.].
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Spaltensatz.
Textnummer Druckausgabe: V.79
Dateiname: 1838-Ueber_die_Schwankungen-06-neu
Seitenanzahl: 1
Zeichenanzahl: 2949

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Humbolt on the Precious Metals.—In a tractupon the fluctuations in the production of gold, recently putforth by M. Von Humboldt, the following facts are given:—“We learn from the acute researches of Boekh, how on theopening of the East by the Persian wars, and by the expe-dition of the great Macedonian to India, gold graduallyaccumulated in European Greece, so that in the time ofDemosthenes, for example, the precious metals had sunk toa fifth of the value which they had in the days of Solon. Thestream then ran from east to west, and so copious was theinflux of gold, that its relative value to silver, which in thetime of Herodotus, was 13 to 1, was at the death of Alex-ander, only as 10 to 1. The less universal were the commu-nications of trade in the ancient world, the greater and moresudden must have been the alterations in the relative value ofgold and silver. Thus, in consequence of the local accu-mulations of the precious metals, we find that in Rome, justafter the conquest of Syracuse, gold was to silver as 17 1-7to 1: whereas, under Julius Cæsar, its relative value was, forsome time, but as 8 1-¾ to 1. The less the quantity of theprecious metals actually existing in a country, the more easilycan a sudden influx of them occasion these excessive varia-tions of their value. The civilized world is at present assuredof stability in the value of the precious metals, by the extentand rapidity of the commerce which establishes their equili-brium, and by the great quantities of gold and silver alreadycollected. After the revolution in Spanish America, the an-nual production of the precious metals fell, for some years,to one-third of its former amount, yet the oscillations of theirrelative value, during that period, were slight, and hardly as-cribable to the decreased production.” The writer furtherstates that the mass of the precious metals brought to Europefrom the discovery of America till the outbreak of the Mexi-can revolution, was 10.400,000 Castilian marks of gold,(worth about three hundred millions sterling,) and 533.700,000marks of silver; together worth 5,940 millions of piastres.The silver taken from the American mines in the above-mentioned period would be, when refined, sufficient to form aball, or solid globe, of pure silver, eighty-nine feet in diameter.The produce of the Russian gold mines in 1837 was valued at800,000l.. In the United States, the production of gold in-creased, from 1824 to 1834—from the value of 5.000 to thatof 898,000 dollars; since that time it has considerably de-clined. The gold was found chiefly in North Carolina andGeorgia. The amount of the precious metals drawn from themines of Siberia and of the United States are inconsiderablein comparison with that from the mines of Mexico and Peru;yet they are sufficient to disprove the supposition formerlyentertained, that large deposits were confined to tropicalcountries.