§ Mr. FIELD
asked the Under-Secretary for India whether he is aware that the average lowest price of silver as quoted in London from 1873 to 1887 was as high as 207W 50 l–16d. an ounce, as against only 39 5–8d. for the years 1888 to 1893; that 29 per cent. of the depreciation took place in a period of only fifteen months on the closing of the Indian mints in 1893, when all future contracts became subjected to a daily settlement for gambling differences; that the price gradually fell in a state of panic by 1902 to 24d.; and whether he will cause inquiries to be made as to whether there have been any other root causes at work to account for the price depreciation since 1888 other than the introduction into London in that year of this metal as a gambling commodity under the bear and bull systems of options and futures?
§ Mr. HAROLD BAKER
The average lowest prices of silver for the periods 1873 to 1887 and 1888 to 1893, as given in the first part of the question, appear to be approximately correct; but the calculation that 29 per cent. of the depreciation took place in fifteen months on the closing of the Indian mints cannot be verified. The lowest price reached in 1902 appears to have been 21 ll–16d. It would not be within the Secretary of State's province208W to institute inquiries such as are suggested in the latter part of the question.