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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.
When the question was raised a few years later as to the effect of that act upon the debts of the country, both Senate and House of Representatives passed a concurrent resolution declaring that United States bonds were payable at the option of the government in silver dollars of 4121 grains, and the author of that concurrent resolution was later made a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. And afterward Congress elected to accept a lower price for bonds, rather than give up this option to pay in silver.' Is it quite fair to call our western brethren dishonest for saying what Congress and our leading statesmen and greatest constitutional lawyers and other most eminent authorities have said ?
The Bible denounces those who “make the shekel large,” and who “nake the poor to fail.” Lincoln said : “To contract the volume of money before the debt is paid is the most heinous crime,” etc.
Blaine said: “The destruction of silver as money and establishing gold as the sole unit of value must have a ruinous effect on all forms of property except those investments which yield a fixed return in money. I believe gold and silver coin to be the money of the Constitution. No power
As stated in the New York Evening Post of August 7, 1896: “Yes, the syndicate of February, 1895, offered to lend $65,000,000 at 31 per cent. interest if it were payable in coin ; or at 3 per cent. if payable in ‘gold.' The difference to the government during the time the bonds had to run was over $16,000,000.”
Letters to “Springfield Republican.” 223
was conferred on Congress to declare either metal should not be money. Congress has, therefore, in my judgment, no power to demonetize either. If, therefore, silver has been demonetized, I am in favor of remonetizing it. If the coinage has been prohibited, I am in favor of having it resumed. I am in favor of having it increased.”
Webster said : “I am certainly of opinion that gold and silver at rates fixed by Congress constitute the legal standard of values in this country, and that neither Congress nor any State has authority to establish any other standard or to displace this standard.”
McKinley said : “ I want the double standard. I would have gold and silver alike.”
Hill said : “I am indignant at the rapacity of the gold monometallists, so reckless of both science and of public opinion. The bimetallic coinage is the demand of a vast majority of the American people. No wonder it made us the party of the silver dollar for eight years. To restore it safely, finally, and wisely is the mission of the Democratic party.”
Hamilton and Jefferson agreed in saying that the money unit must rest on both metals.
The Democratic National Convention of 1892 declared : “We hold to the use of both gold and silver as the standard money of this country, and to the coinage of both without discrimination against either metal.” The Republican National Convention of 1892 demanded “the use of both gold and silver as standard money."
Cleveland said in his letter of acceptance : “With this condition absolutely guaranteed, both gold and silver can be utilized upon equal terms in the adjustment of our currency.”
Carlisle said, in the House of Representatives, February 21, 1878':“... Mankind will be fortunate indeed if the annual production of gold and silver coin shall keep pace with the annual increase of population, commerce, and industry. According to my view of the subject, the conspiracy which seems to have been formed here and in Europe to destroy by le'gislation and otherwise from three sevenths to one half of the metallic money of the world is the most gigantic crime of this or any other age.
“ The consummation of such a scheme would ultimately entail more misery upon the human race than all the wars, pestilences, and famines that ever occurred in the history of the world. The absolute and instantaneous destruction of half the entire movable property of the world, including houses, ships, railroads, and all other appliances for carrying on commerce, while it would be felt more sensibly at the moment, would not produce anything
1 “On the Senate amendments to the bill (H. R., No. 1093) to authorize the free coinage of the standard silver dollar, and to restore its legal-tender character."
The extracts as here presented have been carefully compared with the official report of this speech, as printed in the Congressional Record, Vol. 7., Part 5., Appendix, page 41. Second Session XLVth Congress.
Letters to “Springfield Republican." 225
like the prolonged distress and disorganization of society that must inevitably result from the permanent annihilation of one half of the metallic money in the world. With an ample currency, an industrious and frugal people will speedily rebuild their works of internal improvement and repair losses of property, but no amount of industry or economy on the part of the people can create money. When the government creates it or authorizes it, the citizen may acquire it, but he can do nothing more.
“I am in favor of every practicable and constitutional measure that will have a tendency to defeat or retard the perpetration of this great crime, and I am also in favor of every practicable and constitutional measure that will aid us in devising a just and permanent ratio of value between the two metals, so that they may circulate side by side and not alternately drive each other into exile from one country to another. ... The struggle now going on cannot cease, and ought not to cease, until all the industrial interests of the country are fully and finally emancipated from the heartless domination of syndicates, stock exchanges, and other great combinations of money grabbers in this country and in Europe. . . ."
It would be easy to multiply such quotations. Many of them have been published.
I have steadily opposed the 16-to-1 idea, and "have always claimed that the ratio should be regulated by Congress at approximately the market ratio