Treasury of the Nation GOVERNMENT SERVICE—AND YOU

A glimpse into the counting house of our beneficent miser, the Department of Finance

NORMAN REILLY RAINE February 1 1927

Treasury of the Nation GOVERNMENT SERVICE—AND YOU

A glimpse into the counting house of our beneficent miser, the Department of Finance

NORMAN REILLY RAINE February 1 1927

Treasury of the Nation GOVERNMENT SERVICE—AND YOU

A glimpse into the counting house of our beneficent miser, the Department of Finance

NORMAN REILLY RAINE

FINANCE! To most of us the word has a chill, for-bidding ring. It brings before our mind’s eye, pictures of long sheets of foolscap, covered with stark, unwinking figures which we do not in the least understand. Of stern visaged, elderly gentlemen who sit in ornately furnished offices and whisk untold millions from the pockets of one section of the community to the other, allowing an odd million or so to adhere to their hands during the whisking process.

But, after all, the business of finance merely is the business of ordering and controlling the movement of those symbols of labor, mental or physical, which we call money.

Money! There’s a magic word for you, if you like. Do we ever have enough of it? Are we not all striving to get hold of more of it-—blacksmith and actor, railroad president and poet alike?

And if ever there was a subject which ought to breathe forth the very spirit and savor of romance it is the working of that giant treasuretrove, the Mint, and the imposing figure of the Department of Finance, with its minister and deputy-minister, which stands back of it.

Suppose you dig in your pocket or purse and take out a one-dollar bill. Smooth it out. You see a rectangular piece of paper bearing on its face the engraved likeness of His Majesty the King; the colored seal of the Department of Finance; beside the seal a letter and a figure, as,

H-I; an additional serial letter in each lower corner, and another serial letter and number, as, H-499044, or some other combination, nearer the top. On both front and back the words ‘one dollar’ and the numeral one are repeated many times. The paper is tough and rather stiff, and if you notice carefully, you will detect on it little green spots here and there. They are bits of foreign substance thrown in by design when the paper is being made to enable the department more easily to identify, damaged notes or counterfeits. You see the signatures of

the Deputy Minister of Finance, and of the Comptroller of Currency. Examination of the green border surrounding these, and a similar narrow border on the reverse side, reveals that it is not mere ornament, but the words ‘one dollar’ repeated a great number of times. There are other details, such as maple leaves, and a picture of one of the capitol buildings at Ottawa, which no doubt you will notice. All these are safeguards, or means of identifica-

But the thing that concerns you most is the wording on the face, without which the rest would be useless: ‘The Dominion of Canada Will Pay to the Bearer On Demand ment One Dollar,’ promises which to redeem means this that dollar the note—a Dominion promissory Governnote, therefore—in its equivalent of gold, and for this purpose keeps huge reserves of bullion at the Mint. Just what this balancing of paper money against gold reserves implies must, therefore, be of absorbing interest to every one of us.

There is in active circulation in Canada to-day, $204,123,317 in Dominion notes $29,534,756 in silver, nickel and copper coins, and $1,550,215 in Canadian gold coins of the five and ten dollar denomination, a total in circulation of $235,208,288. It is the duty of the Department of Finance to keep track of this great sum; to issue new Government bills when old, soiled or torn bills are returned; to regulate the flow of currency in accordance with the economic demand of the country; to supervise the deposit and safe-keeping of the gold and other reserves; to stabilize the monetary affairs of the Dominion, and in addition to be the clearing house for the financial transactione of every other department of the Government-.

It makes money, handles the public debt and floats loans. It receives our national Revenues and is responsible for our expenditure. It keeps a paternal eye upon banks and insurance companies, for their protection as well as for the protection of depositors and policy-holders and investors; it issues the interest checks on Government securities, and administers the intricate machinery of our war loans, involving a sum in excess of two billion dollars, or, to make that more readily comprehended, two thousand million.

Canada’s Treasure Trove

rACH year, many Canadians visit the Royal Mint at Ottawa and actually witness money in the making, and the meticulous care taken in the various processes. There are also many interesting stages in the making and issue of money, to be seen in the Currency Section of the Department of Finance which, unlike the Mint, is not open to visitors. Here one sees the colossal treasure in gold coin, shining yellow ingots and securities stored away in the huge vault in the bowels of the earth.

Long, well-lighted corridors lead to heavy grilles, behind each of which is_a blue-clad, spike-helmeted constable of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Before admission is gained, no matter how well-known or exalted the official, a signed order must be secured by the constable from the official responsible for the department or territory he guards. Thus, progress to the holiest of these holies is a succession of jerks and halts, with stations by the way, of minor vaults, great steel doors, safes, depositories and guards, automatic alarms, and every device that makes for the greater security of the wealth within. And it is always possible to know, instantly, who is within every section.

It is impossible for any single official to gain access to any vault. Everything is under double control, the most intricate combinations are used, and every combination number is divided between at least two men, sometimes among three and in specific cases eight combinations have to be opened before certain securities may be obtained, necessitating the participation of ten to twelve officials. Theft would be impossible without collusion on the part of a considerable block of the staff, an arrangement manifestly improbable if not impossible, particularly as every official is selected on a basis of sound integrity.

A ponderous door is opened, after several mysterious individual rites with the combinations. It requires the united strength of two men to swing it back. One of the officials connects the air pipe and electric light to the inner vault. A metal foot-strip is thrown across the floor joint and we step inside. The vault is long and narrow, with a row of heavy, solid steel doors flanking one side, resembling a row of prison cells. The air is musty, through disuse, but not unpleasant.

Again, two officials work on the combination of a cell vault and the door swings on its hinges. Inside, is the soft, golden shine of solid ingots. Eighteen million dollars in gold, stacked in a narrow cell, from floor to roof! Each ingot, cast in the form and general size of a building brick, weighs forty-five pounds, and is worth about eleven thousand dollars. Each one; and there are more than sixteen hundred of them in that cell. The metal feels soft and even; smooth as butter! The door closes and two men spin the dials. My guide moves to another door. “We won’t bother with that one,” says his confrere, “its only got six million in it.”

Only six million. Hmmph !

Here is one cell with hundreds of bags of golden sovereigns; another, where one sees the stamp of the United States spread eagle; the coins press their outlined discs against the fabric, bursting full. Millions in coins, in coarse linen bags.

The total of gold in the vault is worth well over a hundred million dollars. Other vaults contain stacks of Dominion notes in sheets, others again, securities, such as federal, provincial, municipal and railway bonds to the value of hundreds of millions of dollars. A large amount belongs to the people of Canada, but the balance is made up of securities deposited by banks, insurance companies, and other interests, to guarantee' their financial stability, and as earnest that they are able to discharge their obligations to customers and clients if required. Collateral security, totaling more than two hundred million dollars, lies to the credit of insurance companies. The face value of the security given by the nationally owned railroads is more than five hundred million.

Altogether, the value of the various holdings in the national treasury, totals about two billion dollars held in vaults cased in solid steel and concrete, and set deep in the earth.

Some of the securities which make up this vast wealth may remain in the vaults for years, but in in the case of coupon bonds held for the protection of the puglic, the interest always is released at the proper interval, so that no hardship falls upon the insurance companies, banks, financial houses, contractors or provinces who have lodged the bonds as a deposit.

The Making of Metallic Money

THE Royal Mint at Ottawa is a branch of the Royal Mint in London, England, and is under Great Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Canadian Mint buys the raw material for each of the copper, nickel, silver and gold coins in circulation direct from the mines, and all profits •obtained from coining and refining go to the Dominion Government. Coins are struck by authority of the Governor-in-Council, and it is interesting to note that, although the gold coins are composed of nine-tenths pure gold and one-tenth copper, the value of the gold is exactly what the stamped valuation indicates. That is, a twenty-dollar gold piece would contain twenty

dollars worth of gold, and one-tenth content of copper besides. Silver coins,since January 1,

1920, have been eighttenths pure silver and two-tenths copper.Nickel is pure without alloy, and bronze cents contain ninety-five and one-half per cent, copper, three per cent, tin, and one and one-half per cent.

The limited population of Canada does not require the continual minting of coin; the activity of a week will produce sufficient coins to last us several years.

But when coins are needed the pure metal is placed, with the necessary alloy, in great crucibles, melted, and poured into molds twenty-four inches long, one-half inch thick, and varying in width according to the coins to be struck. The bars then are taken into a large,

well-lighted and spotless room where workmen in white linen coats pass them through powerful electrically driven rolling machines which press and roll the bars into long thin strips called fillets. These fillets pass through other machines which cut them into discs. The discs are stamped and milled in one operation in a battery of machines six of which can turn out 200,000 coins a day.

Inspection of the newly struck gold coins, half dollars, and quarters, is most minute, care being taken to see that there are no defects such as burrs, cracks or notches. An automatic weighing machine receives them and automatically rejects the overs and unders which are shot into separate chutes. The coins which pass muster then are scrutinized for color, and each individual coin is given the ring test—that is, it is dropped upon a steel plate by experts trained to detect the slightest deviation from the ring of the sound coin. Having passed this final test the coin is ready for circulation upon demand.

Great care is taken that none of the precious metal is

lost during the various operations. All floor sweepings carefully are garnered, and splashes and other dropped particles are recovered.

Prior to the establishment of the Canadian Branch of the Royal Mint all Canadian coins were produced in the Royal Mint in London, Eng and, and the first Canadian coin produced in Canada was struck by His Excellency the Governor-General, Earl Grey, on January 2, 1908.

While the Department of Finance has the authority to make and issue silver dollars, it has not done so, for that coin, by reason of its size, is not popular here. In like fashion, advantage has not been taken of the privilege of stamping two-fifty and twenty dollar gold pieces, the issue of gold coin having been confined to the five and ten dollar size.

Printing Paper Money

A STATUTE of 1914 authorized the Dominion Government to issue notes up to and including fifty million dollars, against a reserve in gold equal to one quarter of that amount. All notes issued over that sum are secured by gold dollar for dollar, with the exception of notes issued under the Finance Act to banks, upon their lodging securities approved by the Treasury Board. Any chartered bank may issue its own notes of five-dollar denominations, or multiples thereof up to the amount of its unimpaired paid up capital, plus any sum in gold or Dominion notes, deposited in the central gold reserves. In excess of this, a limited emergency issue is allowed in the crop moving period, upon which the banks pay interest to the government.

Let us continue the tour through the building and see Dominion bank notes in process of making. The notes are engraved by the government contractor, the Canadian Bank Note Company, in a modern fire-proof plant near the government buildings. The contract with this company provides for rigid safeguards at all stages of manufacture, and for the necessary control by officers of the Department of Finance, of the contractor’s operations and methods. Daily deliveries are made to the Department of Finance in great sheets, partially printed, the items omitted, and printed later by the Department, being the signatures, and the Department’s seal. The notes are run through the official press, and these completing items printed on. Every note is scrutinized by keen-eyed girls for defects in the printing—a signature a little too high or too low, a tiny ink smudge, the seal not precisely in place. The tiniest defect condemns the bill, and it is destroyed under supervision after this fact has been officially recorded.

The piles of notes flicker under the quick fingers of the girls. A note whips out. Another. But there is no break in the swift play of fingers. One marvels at their skill when the rejected paper is picked up and the almost invisible nature of the flaw is seen. Through training, of course, their minds or perhaps I should say, their objective vision, becomes photographic. The perfect note indelibly is printed there on, and the slightest deviation from perfection registers intuitively, precisely as a trained proof-reader can detect a typographical error on a page of print without actually reading it. The same is true of the printing of government bonds, and it is rarely indeed that the most minute flaw gets past those successive sentry posts of highly trained observers. Even the printing machine operators are so trained, and their sharp eyes pounce upon the defectives between revolutions of the fast moving machine.

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Again, one transaction, no matter how small the sum involved, is checked, double-checked and again cross-checked. If it is necessary to move gold or notes or securities from one vault to another, no one person is allowed to take the respon-

sibility. There must be three present.

Every batch of bills or securities has to be signed for with double and sometimes triple signatures, counted, checked and audited. The treasury is audited twice a day, by an internal audit staff. The clerks are locked in, those in the vaults or basement floor working continually under artificial light, and no one is allowed out to lunch at noon until everything has been checked and the books balanced. This vigilance is never relaxed.

The paper used by the government is specially manufactured under specifications furnished by the Department of Finance and is of all rag stock, the principal ingredient being cuttings from newly manufactured linen fabrics such as shirtings, table cloths, handkerchiefs, and so on. The making of bank note paper is a highly specialized branch of the paper industry, and the product must be such that the note in circulation will successfully withstand the hard usage, of daily wear under all the varying conditions of modern life. The seal of the department often differs in color on the finished bill.

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The Reason For ‘Dirty Money’

'T'HE main reserve of Dominion notes is

-L held by the Receiver-General, who is the Minister of Finance, at Ottawa, but additional six month reserves of notes, in varying denominations, are held by the Assistant Receivers-General, one in each province. Here, banks may exchange notes for whatever denominations they desire, or may add to their holdings by depositing gold or gilt-edged securities. In addition they may draw upon their own security, a useful provision in times of emergency. For example, a financially sound Toronto bank experienced a run, not many years ago, through one of those small, groundless panics sometimes precipitated by rumor. The institution met it with the notes it had on hand, until the supply was nearly exhausted, when the local office of the Assistant ReceiverGeneral was called upon. The staff worked day and night, supplying a neverfailing stream of currency, and disaster was averted.

The effect of mechanical progress upon the average life of a note has become most marked in recent years. The growth of the motor car industry, with consequent spread of service stations, garages and filling points, and the oil and grime inseparable from them, have shortened the life of a one or two dollar bill from three to five months. After seven months of use it usually is dirty, torn or defaced, and must be replaced by new. Formerly, these bills would last ten months or a year.

Criticism is leveled sometimes at the government for allowing soiled money to remain in circulation, but the remedy lies altogether in the hands of the public. Obviously, the department cannot dip into the pockets of citizens nor the strong boxes of garages, shops and other business places and sort out the bills unfit for use. So it asks the people of Canada to cooperate with it by returning such bills to a bank, where they will be exchanged for new currency. All deposits to banks are sorted by the clerks, and soiled or defaced bills are immediately removed from circulation, the banks acting as clearing houses for the Department of Finance. They are returned to the Department through the offices of the Assistant Receivers-General, who verify and cancel them, and new notes are issued to replace them.

Upon arrival at Ottawa, the cancelled notes are checked and audited. Then they are cut in two and the halves are sent in different packages to different branches of the department. Next, the signatures are cut out by a machine that works like a corer. Again the separate halves of the notes are audited, and when the tally is correct, they are sent to the basement. Here is a huge horizontal cylinder, secured by three locks, which are unlocked by two officials from different branches of the Finance Department, and one representative of the Auditor-General. The condemned currency is locked in and cooked and then macerated thoroughly until no trace remains of its previous form. Then the pulpy mass is run through a roller and emerges in thick, tough sheets of pulp which are sold for the making of an inferior brand of paper or cardboard.

There is still outstanding in the Dominion $27,000 in provincial notes issued before Confederation, and which the government will redeem if returned.

When silver coin becomes smooth by natural wear or abrasion and is unfit for further circulation it, also, is redeemed at face value through the banks, and, as in the case of worn notes, the remedy lies with our citizens. If they will tender worn money to the banks it will be accepted and redeemed at face value. Note, however, that coin which has been mutilated by chipping, stamping or boring (plugged

money) is not redeemable at face value, but is accepted by the government at only seventy-five cents on the dollar.

Gold coin is accorded treatment somewhat different from silver, because, whereas the amount of silver is not the full value of the face, gold coin contains the full face value in pure gold, and is a circulating medium only while it retains a certain weight of the original amount. Thus, the standard weight of a ten dollar gold piece is 258 grains and the least current weight which it must contain to be considered fit for circulation is 256 grains. When, through wear, the coin has fallen below this standard it is worth only its actual weight. The value of one ounce of pure gold, by the way, is $20.67183462.

One of Our Tourist Problems

TkNE of the most pressing problems

facing the Department of Finance, is that of drawing United States money out of circulation and sending it back to Washington. The constantly increasing tourist traffic has brought from three to six million dollars’worth of United States money into circulation. In accord with the request of the government, the banks have co-operated in returning this money and more than a million dollars was redeemed in eight months.

But that is not enough, and the backing, of every Canadian should be given in this work. The reason is a sound economic one. As before pointed out, silver coins issued by Canada do not contain the face amount of silver, but the public of Canada, through the Finance Department, is credited with the balance, so that the Government actually makes money on every silver coin issued. But as the Government of the United States does the same thing, the turnover of United States money in Canada means less turnover of Canadian silver, and consequently less demand for additional coinage, with a consequent loss of profit to Canada.

Our American visitors are generous spenders and the foregoing should not predicate refusal of United States money from them, so long as the exchange is equitable, even though foreign money is not legal tender. But the thing to do is to exchange it at the banks for Canadian coin, and thus keep what profit there is from currency circulation, within our own borders. United States coin when returned by the banks to the offices of the Assistant Receivers-General, is redeemed from the banks at full face value, provided it is in issuable form and not mutilated, therefore no discount should be imposed upon customers thus proffering United States currency, other than that of normal exchange.

‘Wooden Money’

IN THE matter of protecting the public ■*against spurious coins and notes, strict watch is maintained by the banks. Cases of counterfeit currency are turned over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with all available information, such as the branch of the bank in which the bad money was received, or the name of the counterfeiter’s victim. Money destroyed or partially destroyed will be replaced, provided adequate proof and identification is furnished, but obviously it would be impossible to make good lost or destroyed money without such proof.

As before stated, the government was authorized to issue notes up to fifty million dollars, against a gold reserve of twelve and one-half million. In time, through the destruction or loss of notes which the Government will never be called upon to redeem in gold, the outstanding notes against this gold reserve decrease in number, and the gold protection against the balance grows. Every note lost from circulation is so much to your credit as a citizen. So there is a comforting thought, if your store of green or yellow backs goes up in flames!

During the war, the vaults of the

Finance Department held over one billion three hundred million dollars in gold for the British Government, and from Ottawa the Bank of England transacted its business on this continent. Two hundred millions of this great gold store was brought from Russia in a Japanese manof-war, and carried across the continent in trains supposed to be laden with fish.

Mention of the war, brings about discussion of one of the most important functions of the Department of Finance, for the war directly was responsible for giving it birth—the administration of Dominion loans. The total amount of loans issued by the Government covering the period of the war, from 1914 to 1919 inclusive, was $2,017,558,850 and the number of bonds in the original issue approximated five and one-half million. Since then, the department has handled, in exchange, redemptions and issues, a total of eighteen million bonds.

War broke out of a clear sky and found our Federal Efepartment quite unprepared, and without the experience to handle the tremendous issues immediately involved. It must be that swift adap ability is a national characteristic, for, despite this, organization was rapidly formed, equipment installed, and the whole business of financing a nation in time of war was put through without a hitch. Experience is an intensive teacher, and the department learned its lessons quickly and well, and at no time was the system so rapidly inaugurated found wanting.

This sudden financing of great loans exercised a profound and lasting effect upon the monetary organization of the Dominion. It familiarized with bond-buying, thousands of people who, prior to the war, had clung to the strong-box, the bank or the old-fashioned sock. It opened markets never before thought of, for the sale of securities and created a nationwide confidence in the integrity of the government. Bond houses and trust companies found their customers among people whom they had hitherto deemed it useless to approach, and as the business grew, so did their own capacity for handling things on a stupendous scale increase. Those financial houses have never gone back to the old order.

In a period of twelve years, the business of private finance has become established on so firm a foundation that nothing is too big for it to undertake. If the Minister of Finance wished to float a loan of from ten to one hundred million dollars, he could have tenders, within twenty-four hours, from firms capable of putting it across. If he wished to float a two hundred million dollar issue, he could have men around his table within twelve hours, with the experience and the standing sufficient to market the full amount. The Canadian public has been educated in the buying of bonds. Clerks, stenographers, small shop-keepers, housewives, even children, own them, and understand the rudiments of their handling. And the story of how the government safeguards these people so suddenly initiated is worth knowing.

Bonds: Lost, Stolen or Strayed

DOMINION OF CANADA bonds are

of three kinds: coupon bearer bonds, with interest payable by coupons attached to the bonds, and both interest and principal payable to the individual holding the bonds and coupons; coupon registered bonds, the interest coupons of which are payable to the holder, the principal, however, registered and transferable only on execution of a proper transfer form by the registered owner; fully registered bonds, with interest payable by check from the Department to the registered owner, and the principal also registered and transferable only on execution of a proper transfer form.

Every precaution is exercised by the Department of Finance to protect the interest of all bond holders, whether of registered or bearer securities, and no transfer of a registered bond ever is made unless the signature of the owner is guaranteed by specified officials of a chartered bank, a firm which is a member of the Montreal or Toronto Stock Exchange, or a firm which is authorized by the government to guarantee, after having submitted to the government an approved financial statement.

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It is possible to indicate only the salient points of the routine followed when a registered bond is received for transfer, but again the double checking of the actual receipt of the bond is enforced as soon as it arrives. Through an intricate system of card filing—intricate, that is, to the outsider—trace is kept of every security issued by the government, and every transaction in connection therewith is noted. The signatures of the bank officials guaranteeing the transfer, are compared wit*h the signatures on file in the department. The signature of the owner is compared with the sample held by the government. Then, if an error is made, and the bond has fallen into wrong hands, the bank or those who guaranteed the signature of the client on the transfer form are responsible for any loss involved.

All holders of bonds whether bearer or registered, immediately should notify the Department of Finance in case of loss or theft. Immediately upon this information arriving a large red STOP! is placed in the filed card governing the first movement of the bond, and no further action ever will take place on that bond until clearance has been received from the owner. It can be seen how essential it is that owners of such lost or stolen bonds should notify the department of their recovery without delay, so that the block may be removed. The department has received numerous indignant letters from owners of bonds who wished a transfer to be expedited and found it unaccountably held up They had forgotten that in the past they had notified the department of loss of the bond, but had neglected to write of its recovery.

Missing bonds have their numbers placed immediately upon a special list kept in the department, and every bond coming in for transfer is compared with this list. Owners of bonds reported lost or stolen, are, at once, notified of any application for transfer or other activity connected with them. Registered bonds presented by a party not entitled to them, are held by the department, and new bonds subsequently issued to the properly registered owners. Bearer bonds, however, being transferable by the act of delivery, must be accepted if presented by an innocent purchaser, and no relief can be given in the case of stolen bearer bonds other than to place them on the list of lost bonds, and notify the owner if they should be presented for exchange, or coupons be received by the department for redemption. When such coupons are received, information is given as to the bank and branch at which the coupors were cashed. This frequently is of value in. tracing thieves. About six thousand cases of lost stolen or destroyed bonds have been reported to the department. Relief has been granted in the majority of cases of registered bonds, and a number of bearer bonds have been recovered for the owners. In ail, securities totaling more than a quarter of a million dollars have been recovered.

About five million coupons a year are handled by the department, and every one is carefully checked and audited. Since the loans first came on the market, fifty million coupons have passed through the official hands, each involving an amount ranging from $1.37 to $2.000. Through the system of cross checking and audit, each is handled several times before being filed away.

Interest on bonds is paid every six months, and at each interest period about 350,000 checks must be written and despatched to holders of fully registered

bonds. Every precaution is exercised to see that they reach the proper owners on time, but the public’s indifference to matters concerning itself is notorious, and numbers of people neglect to inform the department of changes of address, but do not hesitate to send acrimonious letters if the checks do not arrive. The department receives each day about one hundred notifications of changes of address, which will indicate the corrections to be made to the government records between each interest date.

The Department of Finance is the comptroller and paymaster for the other government departments. It is responsible for checking the national income and expenditure, for issuing checks to cover every phase of government activity, and for the balance and audit of those hundreds of thousands of checks when they are returned finally to the department. It does not come as closely in touch with the public as do our other branches of government, and in this it may be likened to the book-keeping department of a great business firm. Its main interest is with the interior economy of the concern.

As its head, Hon. James Robb, Minister of Finance is responsible for the making of the budget, the control of receipts and expenditures, the flotation of loans, the financing of public enterprises and the imposition or reduction of taxes. He also is chairman of the Treasury Board whose work is centered in the Department of Finance, the Deputy Minister being secretary, ex officio. The other members are cabinet ministers—five in number. They function as a sub-committee of the Privy Council, dealing with various financial matters assigned to the board by statute or the Governor-in-Council.

To assist him, the minister has a staff of men, shrewd, hard-headed, capable; men who can talk to big financial interests on more than even terms, in their job of keeping safe and stable the wealth of the Dominion. The whole intricate machinery of auditing the accounts of a nation, keeping our money stable on the foreign exchanges, keeping a watchful eye on the extension of our favorable balance of trade and securing to Canadians the financial soundness of their country’s affairs rests with them.

Conscience Money

'T'O EMPLOY the vernacular, it’s a man’s size job, a job which requires hard heads, cool brains and many of the attributes of a first class miser, and yet there is room for sentiment in the Department of Finance.

Does your conscience—if you will pardon the assumption—bother you around Easter time? Well, it does some good Canadians, for the department officials will tell you with twinkling eyes, that always, at that season, there comes in more conscience money than at any other time of the year. It is seldom that any particulars are obtainable, as to the origin of the debt which the repentant is expiating. Generally, the remittance is accompanied only by the notation ‘consseience money.’ Occasionally, someone of a poetic or sentimental turn will add something more, as in the case of the man who gave a biblical reference to explain his change of heart, and the one who—so they say—pinned a bill to a note which said: ‘Enclosed find five dollars. My conscience has been trubbling me. When it trubbles me again I’ll send you some more.’

But the total of conscience money received is not so large as popular fancy has imagined. The largest amount ever received was $4,000 in thousand-dollar bills, and the total received in the past five years does not exceed $2,000. Money so received is credited to casual revenue. Here is a little thought for our friends in Upper Canada to ponder over, however; that of conscience money received, only one sum has ever come from Toronto. Now what does that prove?