View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.








Wednesday, March 23, 1892,



S P E E C H





The House having under consideration the bill (H. R. 4426) for the free coinage of gold and silver, for the issue of coin notes, and for other purposes-

Mr. WILLIAMS, of Illinois, said:
Mr. SPEAKER: The remonetization of silver is not a new subject in'this House or before the country; but since silver was demonetized in 1873, to the present time, it has been a matter of
much discussion both in and out of Congress. And* whatever
may be said for or against the remonetization of silver now, you
will find but few, if any, who will defend the act demonetizing it,
or the manner in which that act was passed.
But, Mr. Speaker, I desire to address myself more especially
to the present condition of our finances, and I wish to say that I
am in favor of a sound currency, but one of sufficient volume to
conduct with ease all the exchanges desired by the people. I believe that the volume of our money should increase as the volume
of exchangeable products increases. I believe it requires a
greater volume of money to conduct to the markets of the world
500,000,000 bushels of wheat than is required to market 250*000,000 bushels.
The same may be said as to the increase of other products.
And in order to have a fair and equitable dollar, the amount of
the currency should increase as the demand for it increases.
Much has been said of late about the depreciated, dishonest
dollar. If we have such a dollar in our currency to-day it was
created by Republican legislation and is maintained by Repubcan law. Sir * while I do not believe in a TO-cent dollar, neither
do I believe in an 140-cent dollar. Of the two the former is as
honest and equitable as the latter. [Applause on the Democratic
I believe in a 100-cent dollar * a dollar that has the same purchasing power to-day that it had last year and that it will have
next year* so far as it is possible to make it. I recognize that
the unit of value is a creature of law. The power to declare
what shall constitute the unit of value in the United States is
Vested in Congress alone, and it has no more important duty to
perform than to fix and maintain a unit of value that is fair to
the creditor and debtor alike, a unit of value by which every
piece of property and every day's labor must be measured when
offered in exchange or in payment of obligations.


In order, sir. that such a unit may have a constant and not an
increasing value, I say that the number of such units should increase as the demand for them is increased by the rapid growth
and development of our country. And when I refer to an increase
of these measuring units I refer to an increase of our primary
money, and not the credit money of the country, but the money
of final redemption, upon which all token money as well as our
entire credit system rests.
I know it is claimed that as a large portion of our business is
done upon credit that for that reason it is immaterial whether
the volume of our money increases or not, so it is sound: Yet
these gentlemen who give so much stress to our credit system
will hardly contend that a bank with a deposit of $50,000 can support as much of this credit and answer as many calls for money
as a bank with $100,000 of deposits operating under the same
Now, Mr. Speaker, if we are to have an increase in the primary money of the country, shall it come from gold or from
gold and silver? The report of the Director of the Mint shows
that the world's product of gold in 1889 was a little over $122,000,000. In 1890 it was $116,009,000. It is estimated by the best
authorities that at least $80,000,000 of this is consumed in the arts
and in dentistry, leaving $36,000,000 j>er annum to increase the
gold coin of the entire world, which is less than 1 per cent or
less than one-half of 1 per cent of the metallic money of the
world. Then we have no reason to expect that the world's product of gold will furnish a sufficient increase of our primary
money. If we are to increase it from silver, shall we increase it
by free coinage or shall we continue under the present law?
Before repealing or changing an existing law, it is well to understand its practical workings as construed by the officers who
are executing it. The present silver law as construed by this
Administration does nothing more than furnish a market for so
much silver bullion to be stored away in the vaults of the Government, paid for with Treasury notes redeemable in gold. It
does rfot increase the volume of our primary money. W e are
simply increasing the volume of our credit money without increasing the volume of money in which this credit money must
be redeemed. Gentlemen talk about the 30 cents of fiat in the
present silver dollar. I reply that we are increasing our volume of currency to-day with dollars which have 100 cents of fiat,
because you are not increasing the money in which they are redeemable.
The Secretary of the Treasury, as I understand, claims that
we are already on a gold basis, according to the policy of the
Government, and that he has the power under existing law to
issue bonds, to encumber the people with an interest-bearing
debt in order to buy gold with which to redeem the Treasury
notes now being issued. Sir, if we are upon the gold standard,
the Treasury notes issued under the present law is simply inflation, without any increase of the metallic money in which such
notes are redeemable.
The practical question before us is, can this country afford to
open her mints to the free coinage of silver without the cooperation of other nations. And it is not a choice between free coin3S3

age by the action of this Government alone or by international
agreement. There are no prospects of a settlement of this question by international agreement, and especially with such nations
as England and Germany, creditor countries. It is not likely
that they will join us in an arrangement which may prevent the
further increase in the value of the dollar in which their securities are payable. If we are to have free coinage in the United
States, the United States must take tho initiatory step.
Mr. Speaker, can we afford to take it'? Judging from the history of France on this question, a nation insignificant when compared with the United States in population, territory, or opportunities for using money, I believe we can.
If France were able for over sixty years to maintain a parity
between gold and silver and keep them at a ratio of 151 to 1,
I say that the United States, with her 05.000,000 of people, with
her vast resources undeveloped, and her inviting opportunities
for investment, is able to restore to the silver coin that confidence of the American people which it had before this Government itself in part destroyed it.
Mr. Speaker, what would be the scops of such an undertaking
on the part of the United States. How much silver would be
likely to come to our mints? As bearing upon this point I desire to read from the report of the late Secretary Windom, who
had taken great pains to investigate this question, and who was
opposed to the free coinage of silver. In his report for 1889, on
page LXXXII, he makes the following statement as to the world's
product of silver for 1888:
Annual product (coining value)


Required by India
Coinage of full legal tender by Austria and Japan (average).
Required for subsidiary coinages of Europe and South America and colonial coinages
Amount annually exported to China, Asia, and Africa (other
than used in Indian coinage)
Annual coinage of Mexican dollars, not melted
Amounts used in the arts and manufactures (estimate)
Surplus product


From the above it will be seen that the annual surplus product of silver,
which would probably be deposited at the mints of the United States, approximates 551,000,000 (coining) value. There is in fact no known accumulation
of silver bullion anywhere in the world. Germany long since disposed of hexstock of melted silver coins, partly by sale, partly by recoinage into her own
new subsidiary coins and partly by use in coining for Egypt. Only recently
it became necessary to purchase silver for the Egyptian coinage executed at
the mint at Berlin.

He says that the total product of silver in 1888 was $142,000,000,
coining value.
And we find from his table that after deducting for that year
all the silver used by countries outside of our own, and $15,000,000 for the amount used in the arts, there is a surplus of $51,000,000 of coining value left.
The report of the Director of the Mint shows that in 1890 the

world's product of silver was $166,677,000 coining value. Supposing, sir, that upon the adoption of free coinage, the world's
product should reach $175,000,000, deducting from that sura the
same amount consumed by outside countries in 1888, and the demand for silver in those countries is greater now th^an then, and
$15,000,000 for the amount used in the arts, we have a balance of
$84,000,000 to come to the mints of the United States. I am
speaking about silver bullion, the world's annual product of silver. Of this $84,000,000, it would take $20,000,000 to replace the
amount of national-bank notes retired during the same period.
If our population increases 2,000,000 per annum, it would take
$50,000,000 to maintain our present per capita circulation, leaving but $14,000,000 as the net increase of our per capita, which
would be less than 25 cents per head. I say, Mr. Speaker, this
is not inflation, but a very moderate increase of the currency on
what I regard as a sounder basis than the present law.
Jt will be observed that I have based these estimates upon the
report of the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of the
Mint. I havo assumed, however, that foreign silver coin will not
com© to our mints under free coinage because, as is well known
to this House, it is upon a much lower ratio than that of our own.
I desire in this connection to call the attention of the House to
the following table submitted by the Director of the Mint to the
Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures, January 27,1892,
which is ae follows:
Table exhibiting approximately the stock of gold and silver in the principal countries of the world.


Stock of

Stock of silver.
Full legal


$680,845,000 $165,512,000 $76,566,000
United States
United Kingdom
900,000,000 650,000,000
500,000,000 102,000,000 102,000,000
ai, 200,000
40,000,000 " "96,"666,"666"
Scandinavian Union...
100,000,000 " "22,"666*665"
5,000,000 ""50,'600,"006"
Central America
South America
The Straits
ie, 666,666"
Cuba, Haiti, etc

3,711,845,000 3,395,412,000


544,166,000 3,939,578,000

It gives twenty-six leading countries; and I find the total to be
$3,711,845,000 of gold, and $3,395,412,000 of full legal-tender silver, and $544,000,000 of silver of limited tender. *
We observe from this table that there are $3,395,000,000 of
silver full legal tender in the countries where it is used, and that
portion of it in bimetallic countries is at par with gold. The
gentleman from Illinois [Mr. TAYLOR] said that this was not
worth over 91 cents per ounce. He can not buy an ounce of this
coined silver in the world for 91 cents. The silver that is worth
but 91 cents is silver bullion, which is not admitted to the mints.
[Applause.] Instead of being worth 91 cents, you can not buy
this silver coin for less, in many places, than $1.33 per ounce, and
even more than that where the ratio is lower. If it were not
worth over 91 cents, why did they not send some of it to the
United States when silver advanced to $1.21 per ounce under the
present law. To show how improbable it is that this foreign
silver coin would come to our mints, I desire to read from the report of the late Secretary Windom for 1889, beginning on page
LXXXII, as follows:
Nor need there he any serious apprehension that any considerable part of
the stock of silver cote in Europe would he shipped to the United States for
deposit for Treasury notes.
There is much less reason for shipping coin into this country thaji bullion,
for while the leading nations of Europe have discontinued the coinage of full
legal-tender silver pieces, they have provided by law for maintaining their
existing stock of silver coins at par.
In England, Portugal, and the states of the Scandinavian Union, there is
no stock of silver coin except subsidiary coins, required for change purposes,
the nominal value of which is far in excess of the bullion value. Germany
has in circulation about 8100,000,000 in old silver thalers, but ten years have
passed since the sales of bullion arising under the antisilver legislation of
1873 were discontnined. It is safe to say there is no stock of silver coin in
Europe which is not needed for business purposes.
The states of the Latin Union and Spain, which has a similar monetary
system, are the only countries in Europe which have any large stock of silver coins, and the commercial necessities of these countries are such that
they could not afford, without serious financial distress, to withdraw from
circulation silver coins which are at par with their gold coins to deposit them
at our mints for payment of the bullion value in notes.
The following table exhibits the stock of gold and silver in European banks
at a late date and the notes issued against them:
Stock of precious metals in, European banks and bank notes outstanding.

[Compiled from the London Economist.]
Bank of England
Bank of France
imperial Bank of Germany
Austro-Hungarian Bank
Netherlands Bank

Bank of Spain

National Bank of Belgium
Bank of Russia



Notes in

61,930,000 "£wf247,"666"

14,168, 000


400,349 740


The foregoing statement shows that not only the full legaltender silver coin in the leading nations of Europe is at par, but
even the limited-tender silver coins in those countries have a

nominal value far in excess of their bullion value, and in many
countries they too are at par with gold.
It must be remembered, as stated by Secretary Windom, that
silver coinage in these bimetallic countries is limited, and has
been for years; if they have been able to maintain a parity between gold and silver coins while the value of silver bullion was
going down, will it not be easier for them to maintain such a
parity after the United States shall have adopted free coinage
and the value of silver shall have increased?
Free coinage of silver in the United States would certainly
strengthen rather than weaken the confidence of these European
countries in silver as money. They have been able to maintain
it all these years when silver was going down in value. A dollar of coined silver in Europe, on a ratio of 151 to 1, is worth 100
cents in gold in the business transactions of the country.
Is it reasonable to suppose that the foreigner will bring a dollar worth 100 cents to our mints and exchange it for 97 cents?
Is it not as reasonable to suppose that if France should pass a law
agreeing to take our silver dollars at 97 cents, the citizens of the
United States would be foolish enough to engage in the business
of buying up American silver dollars at 100 cents and shipping
them to France for 97 cents? [Applause.] This bill would simply give the holder of foreign silver coin the right to bring it to
our mints and have it coined into dollars, which would be of less
value to him than his original coin, unless he desired to invest it
in the United States, and this would be to our advantage; or he
might exchange his foreign coin for coin notes which the Government would have the right to redeem in silver dollars.
But it is said that if we pass this bill we shall drive all our
gold out of the country. It seems to me, sir, that I recognize
that prediction as one which was made in 1878, when we began
the coinage o£ silver dollars. It was then predicted by these
same gentlemen that silver coin was so obnoxious to its yellow
brother that it would drive it all out of the country. At that
time we had less than $200,000,000 of gold. W e have coined over
$400,000,000 of silver, and we have to-day, in spite of these predictions, over $600,000,000 of gold. No, Mr. Speaker, silver will
not drive gold out. If the gold advocates could have had their
way^ since 1878 there would not have been a silver dollar coined
during that time, and we would have over $400,000,000 less in our
But the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. LODGE] said yesterday that if we want to force those European countries to the
double standard we should just stop coining silver. As though
the United States could force England, a great creditor country,
to abandon the gold standard. When would you force her to it?
You would not force her to a double standard until after she had
taken from the United States, by means of the securities which
she holds against it and against our citizens every dollar of
American gold. She has the power to send her American securities here any time and take away our gold, whether we are
on a gold or silver Btandard.
In 1890 she sent her securities to the United States in order to
relieve a stringency in her own money centers, and extracted
from our currency nearly $75,009,000 of gold. Hence, I sav free

coinage will not drive gold out of the country, but if gold goes
abroad it will go 'in payment of our bonds and of securities
against individuals or in settlement of balances of trade that may
exist against us with gold-standard countries, and it will go in
such cases and under such demands whether we have gold alone
or gold and silver.
But it is claimed, Mr. Speaker, that the free coinage of silver
will send gold to a premium. That might occur temporarily by
the combined influence of the Government and the money-lenders
of the country; but, without such encouragement from the Government I do not believe it would occur. Knowing the hostility
of this Administration to free coinage, I should not be surprised,
after this bill passes this House, to see every influence of the Administration brought to bear to force gold to a premium, in order
to defeat the measure at the other end of tho Capitol.
But, Mr. Speaker, the objection to the present silver dollar is
that its bullion value is below its coining value. It must be admitted by all that as soon as we adopt free coinage the parity between silver bullion and silver coin is established. If I can take
412i grains of standard silver to the mint and exchange it for a
dollar, the bullion value and the coining value will no longer remain apart. Then the question is, can we maintain at par gold
and silver coins under free coinage? I believe we can. And
when I say so I do not accept the position assumed forme by gentlemen on the other side, that this Government can declare 70
cents to be 100 cents and make it true. I do not seek to establish
the value of the silver dollar by any such course of reasoning.
But I take the position that this Government, by adopting free
coinage and by accepting silver coin and coin notes in payment
of its own dues, amounting to over $400,000,000 annually, by making them a full legal tender for all debts public and private, by
restoring to silver all the monetary attributes now enjoyed by
gold, and no longer making or recognizing any difference between gold and silver, can maintain silver coin at par with gold.
And these additional uses, these additional privileges, these additional demands for silver, will increase the value of silver bullion to $1.29 an ounce.
The distinguished gentleman from Maryland [Mr. RAYNER]
said he was opposed to coining 70 cents into a dollar. He wants
to coin 100 cents into a dollar. W e agree on that. The only
difference between the gentleman and myself is that he wants to
value silver bullion before free coinage is adopted, and I want
to value silver bullion after free coinage is adopted. [Applause.]
I say, sir, that the value of silver bullion, prohibited from the
mints, shut out from this new circle of usefulness, will increase
when it is admitted to these new privileges. The effect will be
to create a new demand for it and thereby increase its value,
and gold and silver will come to a parity in that way.
The opponents of this bill have no right to assume, as they do,
that silver bullion will have the same value after we have adopted
free coinage as now. The present low value of silver is caused
by the small surplus of silver bullion constantly on the market
without any demand for it. As soon as this silver bullion is permitted to go to our mints for coinage this new demand will at

once exhaust the supply of silver bullion now bearing upon the
market and increase the value of silver.
TO illustrate what a wonderful effect the friendly influence of
the Government would have in maintaining a parity between
gold and silver coin, I desire to call the attention of the House
to a circular published by Mr. SHERMAN while Secretary of the
Treasury, a short time before resumption took place, which is as

[1878. Department Ko. 141, Secretary's Office.]
Washington, D. (J., December 21t 1878.

Your attention Is called to the provisions of the third section of the act of
Congress approved January 14,1875, providing that, on and after the 1st day
of January, A, D. 1879, the Secretary of the Treasury shall redeem, in coin,
the United States legal-tender notes then outstanding, on their presentation
for redemption at the office of the assistant treasurer of the United States
in the city of New York, in stuns of not less than $50.
By reason of this act, you are authorized to receive United States notes, as
well as gold coin and standard-silver dollars, in payment of duties on imports on and after the 1st day of January, 1879.
Notes thus received will in every instance he deposited with the Treasurer, or some assistant treasurer of the United States, as are other collections of such duties, to be redeemed, from time to time, in coin, on Government account, as the convenience of the service may demand.
JOHN SHERMAN, Secretary.

It is a circular which authorized the officers collecting customs
dues to no longer make any distinction between United States
Treasury notes and gold coin. Sir, when this Government no
longer recognized any difference between gold and United States
notes, the people themselves made none, and although it was
well known that we did not have within our borders enough
gold to redeem the Treasury notes then outstanding, yet when
the confidence of the people was established in these notes by
the action of the Government, they no longer required redemption, but resumption took place without it.
If, Mr. Speaker, we are to use both gold and silver, I believe
we should use them at a fixed ratio. I believe in having a fixed
ratio between the two metals. But can we expect such a ratio
while we treat one metal as a commodity and the other as a money
metal? In discussing my objections to the Windom bill during
the last Congress I then said:
The first one is. it entirely eliminates from silver its monetary attribute,
and treats it as a mere commodity. It really demonetizes silver, gives us a
single gold standard, and every debt, every bushel of wheat, corn, and all
other products, even silver itself, must be measured by the gold dollar at its
present high value. Without stopping to observe how much gold has appreciated or how much silver has depreciated in comparison with all other commodities, the Secretary sees a difference in their value and undertakes to
bring them together by leaving gold where it is, and increasing the amount
of silver in a dollar until it shall equal the present high value of gold. The
honorable Secretary, in his report, makes the same mistake that all other advocates of gold standard make in assuming that gold has a fixed value; that
the value of everything else changes, but the value of gold always remains
the same.
It must be remembered that the gold dollar has two values, its nominal or
coinage value and its relative value or purchasing ppwer. Its nominal
value is considered when used in paying debts, but in all other transactions
its relative value controls. Its nominal value is fixed, but its relative value
changes. When we speak of the value of gold in this discussion we mean its
relative value, for that is its true measure or purchasing power.
Gold is always the same value in what respect? It I s always the same
value in gold. In their efforts to prove that gold has afixedvalue, the gold323

bugs will say that 25.8 grains of gold nine-tenths fine is always worth a gold
dollar. Why? Because our mints are open to the free and unlimited coinage of gold at this ratio, that is, you can always have coined at our mints,
free of charge, 25.8 grains of gold into a gold dollar, or can exchange it for
a gold dollar. Now, is it strange that always at the same time and place
one gold dollar should be worth another gold dollar.
Does this prove that gold has a fixed value? Upon the same theory we
might say one bushel of wheat is always worth another bushel of wheat
of the same kind at the same time and place; that is, the value of wheat,
valued in wheat, never changes, therefore wheat has a fixed value. If you
open our mints to the free and unlimited coinage of standard silver dollars
of 412£ grains, so the holder of silver bullion can have 412.} grains of standard
silver coined into a legal-tender dollar or exchange it for a legal-tender dollar, under such conditions
grains of standard silver will always be worth
a silver dollar, and in that sense silver will have afixedvalue.
If it were true that gold had a fixed vaUie then you might destroy all the
silver and paper money of the world, which is about two-thirds, and the
value of gold would still remain the same, though it would exchange for
three times as much property as before. Then if you go further and destroy
one-half of the gold coin in the world the value of a gold dollar would remain the same, though it would buy much more of all kinds of commodities
than before. We must not misunderstand the meaning of value. When we
speak of the value of a thing we do not mean its value—valued in itself—but
its value in something else. Value is a relative term, and nothing has a fixed
value. The value of a gold dollar depends upon what it will buy or exchange
for in all other commodities. The value of money largely depends upon the
amount of money in the country, compared with the demand for it.

Hence, I say, Mr. Speaker, that if we place ourselves upon the
single gold standard we increase the demand for gold; we increase the value of the measuring unit composed of gold; it will
then require more products to buy a dollar, that is, the price of
products will become. lower. I would remind my friend from
Massachusetts that it is no greater harm to scale debts than to
scale debtors in the United States. [Applause.] I do not know
that there will be any scaling. I think that under free coinage
there would be established a parity between gold and silver bullion at the present coinage ratio; and after it has been reached
the value of the gold dollar and the silver dollar will be the
Mr. WIKE. Does my colleague hold that the passage of this
bill and the adoption of the free-coinage policy by this Government will have the effect that he speaks of upon bullion throughout the world, without a monetary conference and agreement
between the nations of the earth?
Mr. WILLIAMS of Illinois. I say it will have that effect upon
the silver bullion of the world. I have shown that of the entire
product of the world less than one hundred millions would come
to our mints. It must be remembered that the necessities and
demands for silver in foreign countries will be just as great after
we adopt free coinage as they now are. I say that the silver coin
of Europe is already at par with gold.
Mr. WIKE. How about the bullion?
Mr. WILLIAMS of Illinois. The bullion is not; but I say the
United States is capable of taking care of the bullion. [Applause.]
After deducting from the world's product of silver the amount
used in foreign countries, and that used in the arts and manufactures, there would be but about 884,000,000 to come to our
mints, and I think we could safely absorb that amount and even
But it is said that we make a profit by buying the silver and
coining it into money. I say there never was a more unsound

principle embodied in a law of finance than for the Government
itself to become a bidder in the open markets of the world for the
material out of which it coins its money. So long as you do that
the metal will have what gentlemen on the other side call a
speculative value.
But, Mr. Speaker, one of the arguments strongly urged against
this bill is that it is in the interest of the " silver kings " and the
silver-miners. It must be plain to any gentleman that after free
coinage is adopted silver bullion and silver coin or the currency
for which it is exchangeable will have the same value. If free
coinage fails to advance the value of silver bullion the mineowner will not profit a single cent by the passage of this bill.
Under free coinage the silver dollar and the silver that goes into
the dollar will be of the same value, because they are exchangeable
one for the other. The opponents of this bill first declare that
free coinage would depreciate our currency to 'a 70-cent dollar;
' they then say that the silver-holder will take 70 cents' worth of
silver to the mints and exchange it for one of these depreciated
dollars, worth 70 cents and make 30 cents in the transaction.
This is the absurd position in which these gentlemen place themselves. [Applause.]
But, Mr. Speaker, suppose their position that it will depreciate the currency is not correct. Then it must increase the value
of silver bullion to $1.29 an ounce, and the 4121 grains of silver
which the silver-holder takes to the mint will be worth 100
cents before it is coined; he exchanges it for a dollar worth 100
cents, and makes nothing off the Government by the transaction.
So you can take either horn of the dilemma you please, the
holder of silver bullion does not make a cent off the Government
by the free coinage of silver. This bill simply gives the holder
of silver bullion the right to have his silver coined into standard
dollars at the present ratio, or he may exchange it for coin
notes, which notes the Government may redeem with the same
silver for which they were issued.
But they say that the silver king will get a special benefit by
the passage of this bill. Why, he certainly will if the value of
silver bullion is advanced. I admit that it will be in the interest
of the silver king if the silver bullion is advanced. And such an
advance in the value of silver would be a public benefit and no
loss to the Government. Shall we deny ourselves of a great public benefit, because some parties receive a special benefit from the
same law?
Sir, are we to oppose a measure of a public benefit because it
may be of special interest to a small per cent of our people? If
I believed in such a narrow doctrine I would not let a night go
by without supplicating the Divine Providence to cease sending,
his growing showers on the lands of the farmers, because it gives
them a special benefit over those not engaged in agriculture.
[Applause.] I would overlook the great public blessing in the
production of food.
No, Mr. Speaker, the question with us should be, will the passage of this bill be a public benefit to the country? That is the
question with which we have to deal. Some gentlemen in the
course of this discussion have gone so far as to say that this 70
cents' worth of silver costs hut 41 cents. This is simply a specu323

lation, a matter of guesswork, for they liave no reliable data on
w h i c h it can be based. T h e y have no reliable information upon
which to found any such conclusion.
T h e Director of the Mint, w h o is as well informed on this question as any man in the United States, says that every estimate
upon the average cost of silver is based upon the productive
mines in operation. N o account whatever is taken of the millions of money which is squandered in prospecting f o r silver and
in operating mines that prove to be worthless. N o w , when y o u
estimate the average cost of silver, if you could take into account
the vast amount spent in searching f o r silver and in operating
unsuccessful and nonpaying mines, instead of basing your calculations exclusively on succesful mines in operation, I do not
doubt that the cost of the silver would be nearer to $2 than $1.29
an ounce.
B u t there is another feature of the case that I desire to call attention to, and that is the effect that the l o w price of silver has
upon the competition of our farmers with the farmers of silverusing countries. Take, f o r instance, India, as an illustration,
India being a silver standard country. T h e rupee of India today, it is said, will buy just as much there as it did twenty years
ago. I t is well known that England is to-day buying much more
wheat f r o m India and less f r o m the United States than she once
did. I believe she is encouraged in this b y the low price of silver.
Suppose England to-day could e x c h a n g e an ounce of silver in
India for a bushel of wheat, and buy that ounce of silver f o r
91 cents. S h e would g e t h e r bushel of wheat f r o m India f o r 91
cents, the present price of silver. Suppose the free coinage of silver, as w e claim, would increase the value of this silver bullion to $1.29 an ounce, and England had to pay that f o r the
ounce of silver which she sends to India f o r wheat. T h e n the
bushel of w h e a t would cost h e r $1.29 as against 91 cents now,
paying f o r thej wheat as she does in silver. W i t h such an increase in the value of silver England would buy less wheat f r o m
India and m o r e f r o m the United States. [Applause on the Democratic side.]
B u t it is said, sir, and that argument is still repeated, that silver will not circulate. T h e same objection may be made against
g o l d to a certain extent. T h e people, as a matter of convenience,
prefer the paper representative to either metal. Gentlemen
w h o allude to the vast amount of silver dollars coined and stored
in the Treasury, well understand that f o r nearly e v e r y dollar in
the Treasury there is a silver certificate in circulation, and the
law does not permit the two to circulate at the same time.
I desire to call the attention of the House to another important
element in this discussion. A recent statement of the Secretary
of the Treasury shows that on the 1st of this month there was in
the Treasury, of gold, $198,000,000; of standard silver dollars*
$352,000,000; there were outstanding at the same t i m e in cireu
lation paper money that has no intrinsic value, but redeemable
in coin, the following sums: Gold certificates, $160,000,000; silver
certificates, $325,000,000; paper notes, $75,000,000; United States
notes, $322,000,000; old coin certificates, $29,000,000; total amount
of redeemable money outstanding, $912,000,000. W h a t I desire

to say is that the $912,000,000 of credit currency is sounder and
safer, based upon $198,000,000 of gold and 352,000,000 of silver,
recognized as primary money in which it is redeemable, than
based on the gold alone. [Applause.]
It is, Mr. Speaker, because I believe that this bill will give us
a sounder currency and a greater increase than the present silver
bill that I favor its passage. If we should only receive at our
mints the amount of silver produced in the United States it would
give us about $75,000,000 per annum; an increase of about $25,000,000 over the present law. A large majority of the people I
have the honor to represent on this floor are in favor of the free
coinage of silver, and it is their sentiment which I am here to
represent in the consideration of this bill. I do not believe that
it will produce the evil results predicted by its enemies. I believe it is a sound measure, in the interests of the whole people,
and I come to it with my hearty support.
Yet, Mr. Speaker, as I have said before I say now, that in my
judgment it will not bring the people as great a measure of relief as many of them anticipate. There are many who really believe to-day that the remonetization of silver will be a complete
remedy for all their troubles; but they will find, sir, after we have
remonetized silver and they have received the benefits from it
which I believe they will, that it has not relieved them from the
oppressive burdens of protective taxation. [Applause on the
Democratic side.]
But, Mr. Speaker, the fact that relief from those burdens has
been so long refused is no justification, in my judgment, for
longer delay in the remonetization of silver. [Applause.] I am
not one of those who believe that the passage of this bill will defeat the determined efforts of the American people to reduce
taxation and wipe out forever the system of protection. [Applause on the Democratic side.]
Gentlemen on the other side may close their eyes to the division in their own ranks on this question and congratulate themselves ujion the division here, but they will find that their consolation is of very short duration. They will learn long before
November comes in sight that the same supreme issue that led the
Democratic party to an overwhelming victory in 1890 will again
unite the Democracy of this country in one grand and successful
effort to place in the Executive Mansion the nominee of the Chicago convention and return to this Chamber a good Democratic
majority. [Applause on the Democratic side.]