While the circulation of copper coins would thus have to be attended to, the subsidiary silver coins should also attract due attention. For the moment, the position is satisfactory; the provincial mints are not issuing small coins, and a good deal of the already minted coins have gone back into the melting pot. I have also mentioned that the new 20-cent and 10-cent pieces, or, 2-mace or 1-mace pieces, should be of the same shape and size as the present coins; only their value would be a third more than that of the present coins, without any discount, of course. It would also be advantageous to have a nickel coin of five cents, of a size and weight which can be easily decided upon. The raising of the value of silver subsidiary coins would be attended with a great deal more difficulty, than in the case of increasing the value of copper coins. It is certainly an anomalous position - to have a silver standard while at the same time having subsidiary silver token coins. The Chinese are accustomed to look for weight for value in silver coins; consequently, on account of the larger alloy, the present subsidiary coins have depreciated. How is this difficulty to be got over? The withdrawal of the present small coins would help to a certain extent; but would the Chinese accept any silver coin merely at its face value? The only manner in which it could be done is by the Government and the banks and merchants co-operating to keep up the value. All government tax offices, the district banks, native banks and even the foreign banks might be induced to take the small coins and pay the standard coins or notes in return, according to the value fixed by the law; at all offices, five 20-cent pieces or ten 10-cent pieces should fetch two five-mace coins, having the full weight of silver, or a tael or paper note. When people know that these token coins are worth their face value in silver, there would be no impediment to their free circulation. The argument that people would all go in for the unit of coinage, because it contains the full weight in silver, instead of the subsidiary coins, cannot hold much water, because the standard of living in this country is such that the use of the 5-mace piece can in no sense be so general as to replace the use of the subsidiary 1-mace and 2-mace coins. All that the people want is an assurance that the coins are worth their face value; once such an assurance is given, the ready acceptance of such coins at their face value is a matter of course.
The details of any scheme for the introduction of the new coinage must depend, of course, upon particular local conditions. But on the whole, in a country like China, the introduction would be attended with extreme difficulty, especially when any scheme proposed has to guard against the new coins becoming an addition to the already existing confusion, as also depreciation of values. For this reason, therefore, I am entirely opposed to the scheme of Dr. Vissering, who leaves the withdrawal of the old silver dollar, old sycee and the copper cash, and their subsequent demonetization to the very end. I have stated enough to show that the success of the introduction of the new currency would depend almost entirely on the success attending the withdrawal of the existing numerous currencies. For a time, of course, it is inevitable that the new currency should circulate side by side with the old, .in some places. But such a state of affairs should only be allowed on sufferance, and not serve as a step in the process of currency reform. The danger of allowing the old and new currencies to circulate side by side for any length of time lies in the possibility of the new currency becoming ultimately powerless to displace the old. Above all, especially with regard to copper and silver subsidiary coins, the principal object of reform should be to do away with the several discounts and raise their values which could only be done if the numbers of them circulating are reduced as much and as quickly as possible. But it may be asked: what could the authorities do if at the outset people refused to take in the unit coins at their face value? It is to avoid such a possibility that I have premised the introduction of these coins with the district banks, to be formed with the co-operation of the native banks. When the native banks accept the new coins without discount, it is only an easy step further to induce the public to accept it.