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Saratoga Free- Coinage Debate. 217
Our greatest danger is our greenback currency, which is at least twice as dishonest as our silver currency, for there is more than half a dollar of real value behind each silver dollar or silver-dollar note.
I have enjoyed this debate very much indeed, although I do not agree with either side. I do hope that we shall not think only of the simple proposition of 16 to 1, but that we will think of the greater proposition of putting our currency on a safe basis. If credit money is good money, then fiat money is the best money, because the government's credit is the best credit. What we want is more real money and less credit money. What we want is that no dollar shall be issued that does not have a specie dollar behind it. As the human character is constituted, we shall never have any safety except on that basis.
PROPOSED CURRENXY PLANK.
To the Editor of the "Springfield Republican "1:
Sir: How would the following do for a Democratic currency plank?
The Democratic party asserts again its historic belief in hard money—gold and silver freely coined at a ratio regulated by Congress—the only legal tender contemplated by the Constitution'—and demands that the greenbacks and paper money based on bonds and issued for the benefit of banks and speculators shall be replaced by coin and coin certificates of deposit, and that in this country nothing shall be money that does not honestly represent labor.
The Democratic party, which has always opposed monopolies, denounces the gold monopoly as the most oppressive of all.
Anson Phelps Stokes. Lenox, Mass., June 26, 1896.
1 This letter and the following letters were printed in a number of newspapers.
s Constitution of the United States, Article i, Section viii. Paragraph 5. See page 80.
THE BIRDS AND THE FARMERS.
To the Editor of the "Republican ":
Most of the political platforms are claiming to favor bimetallism. Some demand it now, others want us to wait until European nations help us to attain it.
This brings to mind the old fable of the mother bird telling her young that they must leave soon their nest in the wheat fields, as it was time for harvest. The little birds said : "Mother, we overheard the farmer tell his sons to go and ask his neighbors and friends to come and help him reap to-morrow." The mother bird replied: "There is no danger yet." The next day the little birds reported that the farmer had sent for his relations to come and help him cut the grain. But the mother bird would not take her little ones away. The following evening they heard the farmer say to his sons: "We will come ourselves to-morrow and reap this field." Then the birds left. "Who would be free, himself must strike the blow." When you hear a man say that undoubtedly your claim is just, but that you had better wait and sell him some more produce on credit and wait until he can conveniently pay you and others all together, you will do well to look out for your own interest.
As a Berkshire farmer I am considering whether we farmers had better now buy and pay for silver bricks to be delivered when England adopts bimetallism.
Anson Phelps Stokes.
Lenox, June 29, 1896.
AS BETWEEN SILVER AND GOLD.
AND AS BETWEENo WEST AND EAST.
AXSOX PHELPS STOKES OF XEW TORE AXD LEXOX ARGUES FOR A FAIR HEARING, IX GOOD TEMPER, AXD ESPECIALLY SPEAES FOR SILVER AXD THE WEST.
To the Editor of the "Republican ":
In these times of angry dispute over an old problem in economics, it is pleasant to find a leading journal keeping its head, giving each party a fair hearing, promoting kindly feeling between the different sections of our common country and disdaining all opportunity to gain popular applause by abetting partisan strife; saying ever, respectfully and firmly: "Sirs, ye are brethren. The Union is more important than any question of money."
I am glad that such a journal is published near my summer home, that my first reading of the news these lovely mornings is not colored and distorted by sensationalism, hatred, and violent appeals to partisan passions.
One of the most serious of the dangers that threaten our national welfare is the temptation that 22a
Letters to "Springfield Republican" 221
presents itself to politicians to express extreme sectional views when selfishly seeking partisan votes. Many also find it easier to call names than to maintain their cause in fair debate. This spring I have visited most of the States, and I am painfully impressed by the bitterness of feeling that abounds, and which, I regret to say, finds such violent expression in New York and in Massachusetts.
I am convinced that our Western fellow-citizens have no more dishonest intent in their protest against the artificial legislative enhancement of the burden of their debts than have our Eastern citizens in their mistaken demand for gold monometallism.
Is it fair to say that the debts have been contracted on the present gold basis when these debts have been generally continuous, because necessarily renewed from time to time in the currency provided by law?
Is it fair to say that the debtors knew of and consented to the demonetization of 1873? How many of the leading business men of the East can assert truthfully that they knew of and understood then the momentous meaning of that act, which was ostensibly an act of 71 sections to regulate details " relative to the mint, assay offices, and coinage, etc." I was a somewhat attentive student of political economics at that time, and I cannot recollect that the importance of that act attracted my attention.