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Alexander von Humboldt: „Humbolt on the Precious Metals“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <> [abgerufen am 23.07.2024].

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Titel Humbolt on the Precious Metals
Jahr 1839
Ort Devizes
in: The Devizes & Wiltshire Gazette 24:1203 (31. Januar 1839), [o. S.].
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Spaltensatz; Auszeichnung: Schriftgradvergrößerung.
Textnummer Druckausgabe: V.79
Dateiname: 1838-Ueber_die_Schwankungen-08-neu
Seitenanzahl: 1
Zeichenanzahl: 2938

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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 expeditionof the great Macedonian to India, gold gradually accumulatedin European Greece, so that in the time of Demosthenes, forexample, the precious metals had sunk to a fifth of the valuewhich they had in the days of Solon. The stream then ranfrom east to west, and so copious was the influx of gold, thatits relative value to silver, which in the time of Herodotus, was13 to 1. was at the death of Alexander, only as 10 to 1. Theless universal were the communications of trade in the ancientworld, the greater and more sudden must have been the altera-tions in the relative value of gold and silver. Thus, in conse-quence of local accumulations of the precious metals, we findthat in Rome, just after the conquest of Syracuse, gold was tosilver as 17 1-7 to 1: whereas, under Julius Cæsar, its relativevalue was, for some time, but as 8 1-¾ to 1. The less the quan-tity of the precious metals actually existing in a country,the more easily can a sudden influx of them occasion these ex-cessive variations of their value. The civilized world is at pre-sent assured of stability in the value of the precious metals, bythe extent and rapidity of the commerce which establishes theirequilibrium, and by the great quantities of gold and silver al-ready collected. After the revolution in Spanish America, theannual production of the precious metals fell, for some yearsto 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 further statesthat the mass of the precious metals brought to Europe from thediscovery of America till the outbreak of the Mexican revolu-tion, was 10,400,000 Castilian marks of gold, (worth about threehundred millions sterling,) and 533,700,000 marks of silver;together worth 5,940 millions of piastres. The silver takenfrom the American mines in the above-mentioned period wouldbe, when refined, sufficient to form a ball, or solid globe, ofpure silver, eighty nine feet in diameter. The produce of theRussian gold mines in 1837 was valued at £800,000. In theUnited States, the production of gold increased from 1824 to1834—from the value of 5,000 to that of 898,000 dollars; sincethat time it has considerably declined. The gold was foundchiefly in North Carolina and Georgia. The amount of theprecious metals drawn from the mines of Siberia and of theUnited States are inconsiderable in comparison with that fromthe mines of Mexico and Peru; yet they are sufficient to dis-prove the supposition formerly entertained, that large depositswere confined to tropical countries.