Although the advantages of the gold standard system were enumerated in detail by Professor Jenks, as also the method by which introduction of the new system was to be facilitated, the authorities were certainly not enamoured of the proposal. The Government had not made up its mind as to what to do with the suggestion when it received a memorial from Viceroy Chang Chih-tung opposing completely the gold standard plan. Viceroy Chang's memorial pointed out the inadvisability of employing a foreign comptroller, the impracticability of the gold standard system for China and the benefits of a silver standard for a new uniform coinage. Some of the objections of Viceroy Chang were forceful and others showed insufficient knowledge of currency and finance. But on the whole, he showed a much better appreciation of the interests and possibilities of his country with regard to currency than Professor Jenks, or any other foreign financial expert, who has so far proposed a scheme for reform. The following criticism of the plan regarding the fixing the ratio of silver to gold under the American plan showed Chang's want of knowledge of modern economic concepts:
"What your minister cannot understand is that in the proposed new silver coinage the gold price of 32 to 1 is arbitrarily fixed, alleging that profits amounting to about 20 per cent, would thereby accrue to the Government in the form of seigniorage. If the gold price of 32 to 1 could be made to prevail both in and out of China, and if likewise China could reckon at that rate in remitting foreign indemnities, payable in silver, then it would surely be a proposition fair to all parties. But according to what the said Commissioner has decided, the regulations concerning these silver coins minted at the ratio of 32 to 1 could apply only to places within the confines of the Chinese Empire: and in buying drafts or purchasing gold from abroad the value of the coin must depend upon the decision of the comptroller who would accept the rate current on the day when the actual purchases were made. In the memorandum submitted it was expressly stated that these silver coins are to pass at the ratio of 32 to 1 in China, but if payments abroad are made with these coins they must be valued according to their bullion contents, that is, at the ratio of 40 to 1. This regulation would therefore compel the Chinese people to pay over to the Government a tael gold, worth 40 taels in silver, as the equivalent of 32 taels in silver, while foreigners upon entering Chinese territory could with 32 taels silver, get the equivalent purchasing power of one tael gold. Even with Chinese silver to buy drafts or to pay for foreign gold, it would be necessary to give 40 taels silver in order to secure 1 tael gold."
Chang's argument was certainly not based on any sound economic theory; but his viewpoint was that of the Chinese people, whose assent was necessary to introduce any system of financial reform. He mistook Mr. Jenks' proposal as an effort to fix the gold price of silver bullion or the silver price of gold, which is an act which no Government or even a number of Governments could ever succeed in accomplishing.