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Saratoga Free-Coinage Debate.
the promise of the government to pay anything. But the coinage is limited. It is denied free and unlimited coinage, and is in no sense standard money. The government of the United Sates collects annually about $350,000,000 in the way of revenue. These silver dollars are a full legal tender for all those revenues. Consequently, every silver dollar now coined can find its way into the Treasury of the United States at least once every year. As long as the government receives, therefore, these silver dollars into its Treasury on an equality and on a parity with gold, and pays gold on its own obligations, it follows, as night follows the day, that the parity is maintained between gold and silver. · · ·
From Remarks of Foseph Sheldon, Esq. ... Ours was originally a government of law, and not of arbitary power in the hands of any President or Secretary of the Treasury. Till very recent times parties dealing with the government have been subject to the wholesome rule that they must take notice of the limitation of the powers of those assuming to act in behalf of the government. That rule must be restored, and must be inflexibly maintained.
The public faith has never been pledged to pay the obligations of the government in gold coin. Not a statute exists that by any possible legal construction supports that claim. Not a statute exists in regard to any form of the public debt or in re
gard to the coinage of silver dollars that does not positively show that this claim is utterly without foundation. . . .
From Address of Hon. Roswell G. Horr.
... To-day gold is the money of the civilized world simply because it is the best substance known to the human race for the large transactions of the civilized world, and for no other reason.
Of course, I dispute from begining to end the whole doctrine of the last speaker about the quantity of money governing prices. I cannot stop to argue such a proposition as that, but will simply say it is the worst humbug of this age of humbugs. What the people need is good money ; and, when you have good money, you cannot get too much of it. If you resort to poor money, you cannot have too little of it. . . .
From Remarks of A. B. Woodford, Esq.
... That then will produce the equilibrium. That movement of poor gold mines going out and poor silver mines coming in will produce it. Now the question arises, can an act of Congress achieve that? One group of economists maintain that bimetallism is a scientific impossibility. They insist that the government cannot give value to a commodity. I submit that it can by giving a new market. . . .
Saratoga Free-Coinage Debate. 213
From Remarks of Senator Higgins. ... The disparity of the metals operates as a tariff against the silver-using countries' imports, and a bounty upon the India exports to goldusing countries. . . .
I believe there is no solution of this question except by giving back to silver its imperial and royal function as a money metal of full debt-paying power. But I want my friends to restrain their enthusiasm when I couple that proposition with the other one, which I lay down with equal emphasis, that never can be done until all the world comes into a bimetallic agreement; and that is until England agrees. That is where I stand. I do not believe anything else is bimetallism. ...
I do not expect to see prosperity while the disparity of metals continues...
From Remarks of Anson Phelps Stokes.
I am opposed to the coinage of silver at 16 to 1. I am opposed to it, not because I believe in gold monometallism. I am equally opposed to that. I believe there is a solution of this whole difficulty which reasonable men in time may come to ; and that is the free coinage, on substantially equal terms, of both gold and silver, in quantities of equal value, at the ratio of their market values. ... This would work no injury to any just interest.
I would have the silver in new silver standard coins to be equal in weight to the gold in the gold standard coins; and I would open the mint to the free coinage of both gold and silver, when presented together in quantities of equal value of each metal, according to the government ratio of the time, which should be based always on the market ratio, and change only when the market ratio changed as much as one integer,—2.g., from, say, 25 to i to 24 to 1, or from 29 to i to 30 to 1. The true economic ratio would thus soon be arrived at, and would very seldom change ; and any change would not make recoinage necessary.
I would have a currency so based, half on gold and half on silver, legal tender for the payments of debts contracted after a date some months later than the passage of the act. . . .
The officers of the Association were kind enough to invite me some time ago to take part in this debate, and I then felt that the controversy had got to go on for some time under conditions unfavorable to any attempt at arrangement between the gold and silver parties, and that the time for compromise must be deferred.
To-day I am much encouraged to think that this time is more nearly approaching. I feel that those who have spoken here for gold monometallism are willing to have a larger use of silver, if it can be had safely and honestly, and those who have spoken for silver are willing that we should try 16 to 1, and then, if it does not succeed, to have a different ratio. My proposition is that the United
Saratoga Free-Coinage Debate.
States should decide to begin at a fixed future date to coin both metals, when presented together in quantities of equal value, and at the market ratio of the time when this new coinage begins, and to change the ratio when necessary.
The great thing that we have to consider now is the danger of the position in which we are at the present moment. That, it seems to me, has been lost sight of in this debate, except by the gentleman who has just spoken, and whose remarks I have listened to with the greatest interest. It is that to which we should address ourselves,-that position, which is degrading to our gold-using countries, making it impossible for them to compete with silver-using countries.
General prosperity in our country depends largely upon the prices obtainable for our chief exportable staples. The fall in these is directly caused by the demonetization of silver, because for every pound sterling which a planter in India, etc., receives for cotton or wheat sold in England, he can now employ twice as many native laborers as he could a few years ago, for their wages remain the same in silver coin.
That is what we come to in the end. What is our position at the present moment ? We are having to pay abroad $1,000,000 per day, and we cannot go on doing it unless we can export much more surplus products. We are getting less into condition to do this than we have been. The danger is that there is an appearance of prosperity which