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3-038 (Original)

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author,male,Young,un addressee,male
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Clark, 1975
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I am informed, on good authority, that unless the Bullion Assay Act had been passed the losses of the bankers and merchants would have been three-fold the amount now anticipated. The Act has enabled rates of exchange to be fixed, which prevent mere speculations in gold in Adelaide, unless the proceeds are used for investment in South Australia; it has stopped the drain on the banks for coin, has facilitated time being given to debtors, has promoted the shipments of overstocks of merchandise to Melbourne, and the return of gold dust in payment; it has given a strong inducement to the South Australian diggers to return to the colony with their gains; has secured to the farmer a remunerating price for his produce; and nearly the whole of the gold thus attracted to Adelaide is the property of the merchants and diggers of this colony, and is legitimately available for meeting their overdue and current engagements. [89] The amount of current paper under discount in the three local banks as compared before and, after the panic is reckoned: thus: - South Australian Bank, £280,000, now £120,000; Bank of Australasia, £160,000, now £60,000; Union Bank of Australia, £120,000, now £70,000, that is, £560,000 reduced to £250,000 in about three months, an improvement quite unprecedented, and which before its actual occurrence might have been deemed almost impossible. As the bullion increases in the banks the surplus not, required to cover their circulation will be shipped to England, and a first shipment has already been made by two of the banks, which will, no doubt, return them a profit of from four to five per cent. An ingot of pure gold, assayed and stamped at £7 1s. per ounce, possesses an intrinsic value, free from the evils and dangers of a depreciated or worthless paper currency, and not only is equal to the coin it represents, but, as compared with the invariable British standard, is ample to cover interest and exchange on its way to the mint in London. The amount that has been received into the assay office since the 10th February 1852 is 87,740 ounces, or, at £3. 11s. per ounce, £311,477; and the amount brought by the escort on the first two journeys from Mount Alexander is ounces, or £89,584 The per-centage charged on the assay, and that paid for the protection of the police escort overland is reckoned, and has hitherto proved, more than sufficient to cover the cost of the respective new establishments The future is of course only a subject of conjecture; but present appearances warrant the expectation that a million will reach Adelaide before the termination of the year, to which the Bullion Act is at present limited. However impolitic is any semblance even of interference with the currency, it is equally certain and notorious that the Bullion Act and overland escort were rendered necessary, by a formidable financial emergency, and that they have operated to give stability to our banking establishments, to revive trade and commerce, to afford great relief to all the monetary and industrial pursuits of the colonists, and to confer on South Australia much of the advantage, unalloyed with any of the inconveniences, attendant on the locality of a gold field. The population of the colony on the 31st March 1852, was reduced to 61,218 white inhabitants. The migrations to the gold fields, chiefly of our adult male population, still continue, and exceed 16,000.