The exact position of the currency in this country has been treated in detail in the earlier chapters of this book. At present, I purposely refrain from making in detail any remarks on currency in relation to foreign trade, in order not to confuse my readers. No country in the world has had so complicated a problem, as China has with its currency question to-day. In Europe the choice was between gold and silver and there was a certain amount of fixity in the relation between the two metals, with a slight elasticity, of course. Owing to the particular interest of each country to draw as much precious metal to its snores as possible, and also to the fact that the distance between one state and another in Europe was not half as great as that of one province and another in China, the adjustment became easy. Copper or bronze never entered into European currency polity. At least within recent years, there was never any trouble in the internal currency in India, and Japan. The problem was limited in its scope because the purpose of reform in these countries was limited to the adjustment of local currency to international commerce. Even in Java, which Dr. Vissering quotes as the nearest parallel to China, there was little silver to trouble about when the question first came into prominence.
It is not always clearly understood that while the experience gained in other countries should be of benefit to China, local conditions and the ancient tradition of the country should have a sufficient, if not paramount, influence in the shaping of currency. I have already enunciated that all reform in China, or, for the matter of that in any country, should be in consonance with the conditions prevailing and the accumulated traditions handed down from generations past. In the application of the experience gained in other countries, any proposal for reform should take sufficient account of the difference of conditions prevailing in one country and another.