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Saratoga Free-Coinage Debate, 215
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 2 We are having to pay abroad $1,000,ooo 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 has been brought about during the last few months by the operations of speculation in sterling exchange. The American people have got hold of some money, and think they are going to have a good time. In reply to his invitation, I wrote to our Secretary, July 27th : “The times are not propitious for moderate views or for efforts for accommodation between the partisans of gold and the partisans of silver. The artificial appearance of prosperity produced by the gold which government has borrowed at an exorbitant rate has intoxicated the people, who now expect to be saved by getting deeper in debt, and are unwilling to be reminded of the day of reckoning. “So I must wait to appeal to Philip sober, as he will be when gold exports commence again in earnest after the government's partnership in exchange speculation comes to an end. In this partnership the government put in its credit and the good-will of the business, and the other partners contributed experience.” It is well known that the bonds sold abroad are for the most part coming back. It is well known that we can, if we are willing to remain in such a dependent condition, go on for some years in that way, with frequent issues of government bonds. But, unless we can get into a position to export more of our surplus products, we cannot reduce our foreign debt nor get out of danger.
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 CURRENCY PLANK.
To the Editor of the “Springfield Republican " ":
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.
* This letter and the following letters were printed in a number of newspapers.
* 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.