These issues were legalized by a Confirmatory Act passed in March, 1915. It appears, therefore, that the sums advanced to chartered banks by way of re-discount of their securities can hardly have much exceeded, if indeed they ever reached, the total of ten million dollars.
By these means, which amounted to the placing of the Government's credit behind the two embarrassed rail-ways and behind all business enterprises which the bankers and the Minister might regard as legitimate, the necessity for a moratorium was avoided in Canada, and current trade went on with astonishing smoothness. Partial moratoria were enacted, it is true, by various provinces, but they were very limited in scope, designed for the most part for the relief of small debtors, and concerned with mortgages and other fixed forms of indebtedness rather than with the credit instruments of current trade. Not a day's notice was demanded even for withdrawals from the savings accounts of the chartered banks, which by the terms of the account are liable to a delay of from ten to thirty days. All the international obligations of Canada were settled when due, and the credit of the country in international markets, and particularly in the United States, the chief neutral money market of the world, was kept at a remarkably high level. The power to establish a Dominion moratorium, as a useful weapon in case of dire necessity, was vested in time of war in the Governor-General-in-Council by a clause of the Finance Act of 1914, but it was never exercised.
The problems of Government finance—of maintaining some sort of a balance between income and expenditure in the Dominion Treasury—were slight compared with the problems of public finance—the maintaining of the currency, the banking system and the fabric of credit generally—which had to be faced by the Minister of Finance; but they involved their own peculiar difficulties. The immense reduction in the volume of imports, due to the cessation of new capital expenditure, had a disas-