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Zetters 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 when both metals should have substantially equal access to the mint. But this question of ratio is quite distinct from the question of constitutional right to have both metals coined at rates regulated by Congress and available as money in payment of debts.
Suppose it were found possible by some new test to distinguish the gold mined in Australia and Africa from all other gold, and that laws should be made in Europe and in America excluding from the mints all Australian and African gold,—would not this be an injustice to debtors on a gold basis? Would it not impair that obligation of the contract which had compelled creditors to accept any gold 2 Would not Australian and African gold decline to half their former value * Would not all other gold greatly increase in value 2
The Constitutional Convention refused to give Congress the right to print paper money, but did give it the right to coin money, and the power to regulate the ratio. It is ultra wires for any political convention to attempt to fix the ratio. That duty belongs to Congress. The States agreed to leave the matter of rates or ratio to the arbitration of Congress when they adopted the Constitution. Our present trouble comes from the failure of Congress to alter the ratio on one of those very rare occasions when an alteration was necessary to make the ratio approximately accord with the market ratio, while both metals had free access to our mints.
Letters to “Springfield Republican.” 227
It would be unfair to take the market ratio for our government now while one of the precious metals is demonetized. But if a reasonable future date were fixed when both metals should be admitted to free coinage at the then market ratio, no wrong would be done to any just interest. Massachusetts used to be proud of being called the silver colony, and strict bullionist views have been held by many of the most enlightened citizens of this commonwealth since it became a State in the Union.
If we will now take the only real sound-money ground—opposition to all credit money, Land patiently and fairly contend for this great principle, that “money must be an equivalent as well as a measure,” and that nothing should be money that does not honestly represent labor, the East may yet lead in carrying the country for this great reform of the currency as the East has led in other reform movements.
While most of my interests are in the East, I have interests in the West, and go there every year, and I think I know something of the real feeling there. It is that the East has been more prosperous than the West, and that in so far as this inequality springs from adroit legislation in our favor they intend to have this changed, so that opportunities, so far as law is concerned, shall be made equal, that the government shall not give advantages to manufacturers and bankers that it does not give to farmers and miners. As I have long pointed out, we are in danger of silver monometallism because we would not listen to reasonable complaints. The East has pushed the pendulum so unfairly toward gold monometallism that it has swung too far the other way.
Let us now do what we can to promote a campaign of education. Let us have a fair debate between the two champions, McKinley and Bryan. They are both thoroughly reputable men, while both the party platforms are faulty. I cannot vote for McKinley for I am opposed to monopoly, but I would claim for him a respectful hearing. Bryan is accused of being young. He may outgrow this fault. Some of us would like to have half his complaint.
ANSON PHELPS STOKES. . LENOx, July 6, 1896.
AFTER THE ELECTION, WHATP
To the Editor of the “AWew York Times " : Whatever the result, we will still have a goodly heritage in the rich land and free institutions of an honest people devoted to the Union and with much real mutual respect between the different sections which are now ignorantly abusing each other. But the success of either party in the present election will not bring prosperity. If either of the platforms be enacted into law, the industries and business of the people must continue to suffer so long as either gold or silver monometallism is maintained and until we come to use both the precious metals jointly and at about their relative market values, to be regulated when our mints shall be open to both. The total quantities of gold money and of silver money in the world have been for many years of about equal value at the coinage ratio of about 15% to 1. Thus the last report of the Treasury Department, July 1, 1896, estimates in the approximate stocks of money in the principal countries of the world : Gold, $4,068,8oo,ooo; silver, $4,070,500,ooo. Adding these together, we get a total of, say, $8,000,ooo,000 as the world's stock of real money.