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Free Coinage of Silver*







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. SWEET said:
Mr. SPEAKER: The various theories and all of the statistics relative to this question have been presented. It is useless to repeat or review thein. I therefore prefer to submit the
condition of the people among whom I have lived, with their belief
and mine, that free coinage would at least right some of the wrongs
herein recited. In legislating upon this question, all classes of
the people, all sections of the country, all lines of business, and all
kinds of occupations should have a hearing. The producer, the
debtor, and the lender are the three great factors to which I propose to pay special attention to-day. The select creditor is of
course a great factor, but as the financial power of the Government has been dedicated to him and his service since 1873,1 leave
him out as an important special factor, and ask him, for once, to
take his chances with the rest of humanity.
When I declare that I am in favor of the free coinage of silver
I think I speak the sentiment of nearly every man in the State
I have the honor to represent. Our creditors and the creditors
of the nation live in the Eastern States and in the Old World;
and, confining the sentiment strictly to that class, it is as unanimous against the free coinage of silver as the debtor and producing classes are unanimous for it. There has been no change
of sentiment in the Northwest on this subject.

There has been a suspicion on the part of the people that the
politicians have been playing football with this great question.
That a minority would vote for and the majority against this
measure, as it was thought political capital would be won or lost.

A free-coinage bill passed the Senate at its last session, and
the universal opinion was and is that it would have passed the
House had the measure not been smothered in committee. The
Democrats in Congress had given the bill such generous support
that the Northwest expected much from that quarter. Soon
after the adjournment of the Fifty-first Congress, four distinguished leaders of the Democracy visited the uncultivated political fields of the new States. They came on an avowed educational
campaign. They made speeches to the people. They told the
people about reforms in general and tariff reform in particular.
They did not weary of talking about Thomas Jefferson—his simplicity, statesmanship, and every other phase of his public life,
except the excellent indorsement which that great statesman
gave to bimetallism at the beginning of our country's history.
But the people of the Northwest were not so much interested
in what they did say, as they were disappointed over what they
•did not say. Future politics came in for a full share of attention,
but on the subject of silver coinage never a word was uttered!
It was a great circulating constellation; and, although " one star
differeth from another star in glory," still each member of that
now famous roving group was a bright, particular star, and each
was of the opinion that tariff reform was the " logic of the situar
tion." It is needless to add that our borrowers, and interest-payers, and silver producers left their meetings disappointed.

Let me define what I mean by the term debtor and creditor
classes. In speaking of the people of Idaho as belonging to the
debtor class I do not mean that individually they are debtors,
although even that statement would apply to many. It is sometimes necessary to borrow money in the work of developing the
farm; but it is absolutely necessary to persuade capital to invest
in railroads, merchandise, banks, brick blocks, steamboats, etc.
Money is invested for the profit the investor hopes to realize out
of the investment, and the interest the investment will safely
produce is the sole and only guide of the capitalist.
In the broadest sense of the word, then, we are borrowers.
For as we are without the money at home with which to do all
the things I have enumerated, and many more just as necessary,
we must look to others for it, and our people must pay the interest on the investments made. What I have said of Idaho is true
of the West and South generally; for while the South is old, and
its industries were at one time fixed and prosperous, yet to-day
we find her confronted with a different life, a changed industrial
system, and, let us hope, a better and a brighter destiny.
To-day she is seeking money at a reasonable rate of interest
with which to develop her great, but, in many instances, dormant industries. In the sense I have mentioned, the West and
South are borrowers; and their creditors are the same. Note
this remarkable fact: The borrowers and the lenders are arrayed
against each other to-day over this question as clearly as Grant
and Lee stood arrayed against each other at the Wilderness.
What does it mean? Is it accident? worth while to inquire. It is charged that we lack patriotism, and that we would
ruin the nation's credit for the sake of " cheap " money.

This phase of the question can not he considered. We repudiate
the charge and those who make it. Indeed, it is not necessary
to discuss it; for any man can claim as much patriotism as can
be absorbed by one who seeks to contract the actual money of the
country for the purpose of increasing or maintaining a ruinous
rate of interest. But, for some reason, the borrower favors the
free coinage of silver, and the lender opposes it. Can it be that
their interests conflict?

The farmer is the most conspicuous interest-payer on account
of development money invested either in the South or West.
Why is he so persistent in his demand for the free coinage of silver? A glance at life on the farm and the price of farm products
explains it. The husband and wife are up before the sun, and do
not retire until after it is set. The team is in the harness at
dawn, and darkness alone drives the laborer from the field. This
round of toil has continued day after day, week after week, year
after year. It has been measured only by the changing of the
hours from darkness to daylight.
The years of labor have been rolled up against interest and
could not wipe it out. Old age comes early to these men and
women, and the mortgage is still with them unchanged, impregnable, and absolute in its demands. They have grown weary of
the hopeless struggle, but the note is past due, and the land itself
will not now pay the principal and accumulated interest. While
interest, transportation rates, and the price of money have been
maintained at a high figure, the farmer has witnessed a steady
decline in the price of his product and the value of his land.
He has revolted. Men laugh and say: " I have nothing to sell,
but I am in favor of voting money to everybody, particularly to
It may be amusing, but it does not explain away the causes of
the troubles I have mentioned. Besides, the farmer has had
something to sell. His granaries each fall have been filled to
overflowing with the necessities of life. The transportation
companies that carry his product to market publish statements
showing the enormous profits made in moving this produce from
and supplies to the farm. The bank statement shows that the
village bank is safe by reason of its splendid profits, and the
combination which buys and sells the grain is rich. Ah, but
you say: " I t is the supply and demand that regulates these
No matter what regulates it; but it is so regulated that everybody makes something out of it except the man who does the
work that produces it and pays the interest necessary to carry
on the work of production. There is something wrong, independent of the law of " supply and demand," when two or three
classes of people make a living, and often accumulate immense
fortunes, off the labor and capital of another class, while the producer can not possibly lift his face to the surface of the financial
sea. But let us look into this principle of " supply and demand "
a little further. When we propose to pass a usury law we are
met with the proposition that it is a question of " supply and demand."

Money will be cheaper as soon as it becomes a little more
plentiful, says the lender. If the proposition that money is
cheap or dear as supply and demand dictate is true, then let
us give to the people West and South sufficient money, since we
can do so and maintain a sound currency, to accommodate the
volume of business in those sections; let the supply be such,
from natural sources, since we have them, that the demand may
be met without needless, heartless sacrifices.
The farmers and miners of Idaho feel that injustice is being
done them in that their bank rate of interest is from l i per cent
per month to H per cent per month, while at the same time the
Government is making a profit of $1,000,000 per annum off of our
silver product. But to return. You can not regulate the price
of the farmer's grain, but you can say that the currency of the
country shall not be so constituted and regulated that it is irresistibly massed in the hands of the few and thus the price of
money dominated by the lender. And since I am on the subject of the money-lender, let me discuss him for a moment, passing thence to what I conceive to be the just grievance of the
farmer in relation to the price of his product as affected by the
question in issue.

The infamous transaction of 1873 has resulted in creating the
most dangerous and oppressive class that ever threatened the
general prosperity of America. It is the money-lender. His
scheme is to keep interest up to usurious rates as long as possible. I do not refer to the banker, nor the rich man, nor the business man. I am talking about the money-lender, pure and simple; the Shy lock of this day and age. He toils not, neither does
he spin. He is neither a* Jew nor a Gentile. He is without a
country or a conscience. His prosperity depends upon the misfortunes of humanity. Over the calamities of men he drives his
bargains in usury. A famine is his harvest. He is not true to
any political organization, and he belongs to no party. In politics he is for an " honest dollar." His note, on the coast, reads
about as follows:
" Five years after date, for value received, we promise to pay
to John Doe or order $1,000 United States gold coin, with interper cent per annum,
est thereon in like coin, at the rate of
payable semi-annually. If not paid at maturity, then the principal and interest to draw interest at the rate of
per cent
per annum until paid. In case default be made in the payment
of said principal sum, or interest, or any part thereof, then the
whole amount, both principal and interest, to become due and
payable at the option of the holder. And in case suit or action
is commenced to collect said principal sum, or interest, or any
portion thereof, we further agree to pay the sum of $250 as attorneys' fees in said suit."
This note must be signed by the family. They have secured
in the mortgage something that will be inherited by their heirs
or assigns, if the mortgagee does not take the farm before they
Yet the House begrudges time necessary for this financial debate. while the RECORD is sent out groaning under its biennial

load of tariff oratory. Kansas and Nebraska go to the devil; eighty
thousand old veterans disappeared after one battle in Kansas ana
the leaders of the Republican party looked at each other, shook
their heads, and said: " I t is the drought." "These sisters are
thirsting for our tariff-reform remedy," cry the Democrats. Iowa
threatens to join her sisters across the river, and the Republicans say: " The whisky question accounts for it." The Democrats hug themselves and say: " A h ha! Iowa is also thirsting for
a long draft of our tariff-reform remedy."
At the same time, the great tariff-reform remedy did not save
Wade Hampton in South Carolina, although the State had had
nothing else for years. The truth is, your long-winded tariff
speeches will never be read. The people are better educated
than is supposed; and are well enough educated to know that an
adequate volume of currency is needed—that the sam$ dollar for
all classes is the only ' 4 honest dollar " that can circulate with
justice to all.
I am informed by a shrewd business man in a great agricultural
county of a Western State, that the farmers of his county owe
about $1,000,000 secured' by farm mortgages held by moneylenders, drawing interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum, interest payable quarterly, principal and interest pay arable in gold coin. Every holder of such a mortgage is screaming for an "honest dollar!" This terrible usury keeps the
country drained of every surplus cent. This is only an illustration, but, according to the census returns, most of the Western
States are about as badly off.
In considering the following figures, it is well to bear in mind
that the circulation per capita mentioned means a per capita
based upon all the money in the country, inclusive of the actual
money, gold, and its various representatives in the form of silver
and paper. As everybody knows, there is only six or seven dollars per capita of actual money in this country. Considered
from this standpoint, the following information is absolutely appalling, but is bad enough to call for a halt, no matter what
standpoint it may be viewed from.
Prom Alabama and Iowa come the following alarming facts.
The real-estate mortgage debt in Alabama, in force January 1,
1890, was $39,027,983. The real-estate mortgage debt in Iowa, in
force January 1,1890, was $199,034,956. The average debt to one
of population in Alabama was $26; in Iowa, $104. Thus it will
be seen that the debt in Alabama was in excess of the circulation
of money per capita, and in Iowa the debt was in excess of the
circulation per capita more than 4 to 1. Kansas and some other
States can not make as favorable a showing as either Iowa or
Alabama, and have less than either with which to pay. And,
mark you, the debt of Iowa and Alabama above quoted is exclusive of crop or chattel mortgages or mechanics' or judgment
In some of the States the mortgage loan and trust companies
have been supplemented in their work by grasshoppers ana
cyclones; and as if these calamities were not sufficient, the people
themselves voted subsidies at nearly every crossroad, either to
railroad corporations or other schemes, until the burdens of tax307

ation are almost past endurance. In Iowa inquiry developed the
fact that 19 per cent of the indebtedness given was contracted to
purchase more land. Interest is quoted at from 1 to 20 per cent.
I need not add that farming can not pay any such rate of interest,
for no legitimate business can pay it.
No man can appreciate this money-lending scheme who has
notobserved its effects. Grasshoppers, cyclones, and droughtsare
blessings compared with those coupon, double back-action mortgages. They have proven an unmixed curse. The transaction
is unspeakably cruel. The farmer pays for his abstract, which
is right. Then he pays for making out two mortgages, which is
wrong. Then he pays for having two mortgages recorded, which
is robbery. Then he pays from $40 to $60 per thousand as a commission for the money. This is simply infamous and makes holding up stages respectable.
Mr. Lincoln said: "This nation can not endure half slave and
half free/' Borrowing the thought, I declare that it is equally
impossible for the Republic, as it was founded, to endure, with
two-thirds of the people toiling, struggling, barely existing, to
the end that the other one-third may live surrounded by luxuries that are supported and sustained by the sweat of other men's
If it is urged that some of the agricultural States have been
reckless in voting State, county, and precinct indebtedness, I will
admit it. If it is alleged that farmers have allowed themselves
to be talked into making injudicious and often unnecessary loans
at unreasonable rates, I will admit it. But are these facts an excuse for demonetizing silver in the interests of the lender? Is
the mistake of the farmer an excuse for the act of Congress that
has resulted in ruining the price of his product?

This condition of affairs as to the money market is but one of
the factors that have been instrumental in arousing the producers
of our land. Our farmers are competing with Russia, Egypt,
and India in the markets of the world for the sale of the two
greatest staples of the earth—wheat and cotton. Silver is a measure of value in Russia and India; and the truth has long since
been demonstrated to be that as silver goes up or down, wheat
and cotton, and all products in sympathy with them or either of
them, go with it. This statement can not be successfully disputed, notwithstanding the fact that occasionally, under extraordinary circumstances, such as a failure of a large portion of
the world's crop, as was the case last year, produce has advanced
regardless of all other conditions.
Mr. George O. Jones, of this city, submitted to the public the
following table, which presents the matter in so conclusive a
form that I have borrowed it for the purpose of illustrating the
statement just made.
Silver was demonetized in 1873. In 1872 it was worth in New
York $1.32 per ounce; at the same time wheat in Chicago was
worth $1.30 per busnel. Now, observe how the decline in wheat
followed the decline in silver:

Table showing average price of wheat and silver in, New York and Chicago
1872 to 1890.



Average Average Nearly average price
price in
price in
in Chicago.
Chicago. New York.
Silver per Wheat Silver per
per bushel, ounce. per bushel. ounce.
( 81.32




















1. tte








1. 11





























































0.96 J

. The silver question has been assuming increasing proportions
from year to year as the figures above set forth became better
understood by the producing classes. The foregoing table is a
great object-lesson to the farmer, and may, after the question can
be no longer dodged, receive the attention of the now exceedingly cautious statesman who is afraid he will disturb " business" circles, and is so horrified at the thought of again equipping for commercial warfare the old comrade of the "honest dollar."
The facts and figures apply to the prices of cotton covering the
same dates, and show that this great staple has been subjected
to the same influences.
Again, the enormous value of gold, used as a measure of value
of labor, land, or money, has made everything worldly insignificant as compared with it. It has annihilated land values.

Land has become third-class secuz^ity, and can not be sold to-day
for its cost price twenty years ago. A gold dollar will almost
outweigh a man's eternal soul, even in church circles.
Our people do not ask for fiat money, but they do object to
producing silver for profit to the Government, and then to be
loaned back to us at usurious rates; or to be handed over to
Great Britain's grain speculators at a low price with which to
enter foreign markets, and there using it as a measure of value
in buying produce in competition with our own producers.
Fortunately for us, England's producers have discovered that
they are also injured by the same transaction and in the same
manner. Her Majesty's farmers are about to unite with ours in
this struggle for existence.

On December 6,1891, the Sun of New York published the following important telegraphic information, showing the progress
that is being made across the water,in preventing discrimination
in favor of speculation and against the producer:
Mr. Goschen's announcement of a scheme for issuing pound note3 has considerably Buttered thefinancialworld and has been the subject during the
week of animated controversies. The balance of opinion seems to be with
the chancellor of the exchequer, but some critics handle him roughly on the
ground #
that he is *
resorting unnecessarily to "American methods of #
The bimetallists do not attempt to conceal their satisfaction, and they
pray that the present Government may have another lease of power, and
with good reason, in view of the fact that several of its members, including
Mr. Goschen, Mr. Balfour, and Mr. Chaplin, are bimetallists more or less pronounced. Very little has been heard in London lately of the Bimetallic
League, but it has been working actively in the provinces, with, it is asserted, a large amount of success, especially in Lancashire, where the staple
industries are most injuriously affected by the constantfluctuationsin value
of the Indian rupee.
The league has evidently got hold of the Textile Factory Workers' Association, an important body which recently issued a manifesto practically
calling upon the workers to vote for only bimetallist candidates at the parliamentary elections. Mr. Moreton Frewen and other astute silver men who
started the agitation here only a few years ago, and have since kept it going
at considerable expense to themselves, now begin to see a prospect of getting
some return for their money.

But a greater than Balfour has spoken on the subject. That
class of the public in England technically known by the " four
hundred" as the " common people" has become so emphatic in
its demands that even Lord Salisbury has felt the pressure. His
lordship once declined to give audience to a delegation of bimetallists, it is said; but after the escape of England and America
. from bankruptcy last winter, he is quoted as having spoken as
Conditions materially modifying thefinancialsituation of the whole world
have been developed during the past twelve months. The world has been
growing faster commercially and financially than it has in population, and
to a greater or less extent old methods will have to be supplemented, and
the business machinery of the world developed and enlarged. It begins to
look as if there was not enough gold in sight to satisfactorilyfinancierthe
business of the world, and England must not be handicapped by prejudices
nor held back from her highest prosperity by the mere dogmas of political

Thus the principle of bimetallism is gradually forcing itself
upon the great commercial nation across the sea, although she
produces but 7 per cent of the world's product, and would naturally resist the innovation as long as possible.


There is a feeling in the West to the effect that it would be
beneficial to that section if the men who own the mines could
receive actual money for their bullion at its coin value. It is
believed a surplus would be thus acquired which would not be
subjected to the influences that so frequently corner the actual
money of the world by assaults upon gold contracts. Actual
money is needed in the West {for development purposes) that is
not subject to marching orders at any moment.
Last winter every dollar in the West was ordered East with
which to meet the demand for immediate settlement of gold contracts held and owned in England. It was impossible to obtain
a dollar of money, even upon the Eastern gold man's favorite security—" confidence." It is said we have money, but lack confidence. I beg to suggest that there never has been a sufficient
amount of confidence coined to supply the West and South with
the money necessary to meet business demands at such rates of
interest as could be paid without in the end surrendering the security given.
The business men of the East may be able to borrow all the money
needed at fair rates, provided they have sufficient " confidence "
or other collateral upon which to base the loan, but no fact is
better known than that capitalists who supply them will not place
their money at great distances and long time investments. The
money that is loaned cheap in business circles is held for loaning
purposes only, on short dates, gilt-edge securities, within the
range of observation, and where it is turned many times during
the year.
It is quite different from the volume of money held for long
loans or for business investment in distant and undeveloped parts
of the country. This fund is entirely too limited to meet the
demands of the people. Pardon me if I call your attention to the
fact that one great man perished because he could not realize
what a vast region of country lies west of Buffalo.

Again you say: W e consent to the use of silver. We buy the
entire American product. The purchase of the American product is of no value to the people at large except for the profit
made out of it by the Government. It is intended for class
legislation in the interest of the mine-owner. Like all class
legislation, it is in the end injurious to all. The antisilver men
have all along misunderstood the nature of the demand for
silver and whence it comes.
The gold men say: When will the silver millionaires be satisfied? It is a mistake. Of course all silver-miners will rejoice
when silver is again assigned its proper and lawful place as money.
But the demand from them is by no means as imperative as is
the one coming from the interest-payers—the pioneers of development of new enterprises, new markets for the East, and the
conquerors of new States for the Union.
On the 28th day of January, 1791, Alexander Hamilton submitted to Congress his celebrated report on the mint. After submitting a masterly argument against attaching the unit of value
exclusively to either metal, he said:
But upon the whole It seems to he most advisable, as has been observed

not to attach the unit exclusively to either of the metals; because this can
not he done effectually without destroying the office and character of one of
them as monev, and reducing it to the situation of a mere merchandise,
which, accordingly, at different times, has been proposed from different and
very respectable quarters; but which would probably be a greater evil than
occasional variations in the unit from thefluctuationsin the relative value
of the metals, especially if care be taken to regulate the proportion between
them with an eye to their average commercial value.

The unit was based upon the two metals. For nearly one hundred years our national currency rested upon that basis, and then
one of the metals was deprived of its great character as money,
and how soon the Secretary's prediction was fulfilled. One stride
sent silver from money to merchandise. To-day it is said (criticising the present silver law), if the Government is to purchase one
man's product, why not buy another's? The question can not be
successfully answered.

Congress adopted the double standard, but in 18*73, under the
leadership of England, as I verily believe, and by deceit skillfully played, this Government changed its basis from genuine bimetallism to gold monometallism. I might have more faith in the
statement that many prominent men were deceived and did not
know of the change, if, since that time, some of them had repudiated their action, thus obtained, and sought to reestablish the
old standard. Hence I have concluded that many were deceived
into voting for that bill.
I am also satisfied that many were not. England is great. She
seems to have been the genius of commerce. Her ships, liberally assisted by the Government, are always burdened, carrying
to this wonderful land the wealth of the world. She produces
about one-seventh of the world's silver; we produce about half.
She has simply outgeneraled us, and has, by ways that are peculiar to diplomacy, and which I do not understand, contrived
to make a handsome profit out of one of our greatest resources.
Whenever we are on excellent terms with England she is making money off of us.
England is a land of concentrated wealth, and of landlord and
tenant. A laborer had better kill a farmer than a grouse or a deer.
Our theory of government, as regards the financial and property
rights of men, is distinctly opposed to that of England. I am not
in favor, therefore, of following our English-speaking neighbor
either in real-estate or financial legislation.

At the time of adopting bimetallism in this country we had
just emerged from the Revolutionary war. We were without
money or credit as a nation. The United States then was the
West of to-day in the following respects: The nation was a borrower. The people were without money with which to build up
their industries or develop their resources. Under those conditions the double standard was considered safest and best. New
England and the East have in turn become lenders to the South
and West; and, naturally perhaps, seek to control the price
and movement of money. I love New England for the history
she has made and for the patriotism of her sons and daughters.
But she has changed in many respects since 1770. She used to

advocate reform by striding down to the sea and throwing the
tea overboard.
Now she adjusts her gold-rimmed spectacles, figures up the interest due on her coupons, orders that collections shall be pushed,
and then meets with the Society for the Protection of Cruelty to
Civil Service Reform, and insists that every thing and everybody
must be " reformed." She now impresses the outside world with
the thought that if she is as good as she is determined everybody else shall be, heaven is a superflous creation.

But let us account for her sentiment. She holds mass meetings
now and then to protest against the free coinage of silver; yet
she became rich under the munificent provisions of bimetallism.
She did no protesting against it until she became the lender.
Now she can build railroads, own mines, develop manufacturing
resources, and take mortgages in the West, and naturally seeks
to continue to dictate what profit we shall pay on the money she
invests with us—and she wants all of our raw materials admitted
to her factories free of duty besides! New England's great industrial system was built up under financial legislation based
upon the following paragraph from Hamilton's report:
To annul the use of either of the metals as money is to abridge the quantity of circulating medium, and is liable to all the objections which arise
from a comparison of the benefits of a full with the evils of a scanty circulation.

Even though the vaults of the money centers be overflowing
with money to be used for commercial purposes, yet if you deplete that supply by taking from it money to meet the demands
of the South and West for permanent investments, the financial
strength of the East would be so crippled as to subject the
country to a panic upon the slightest jar in financial circles.
But the question is asked: Why does the poor man of New
England oppose free coinage? In all cases he does not, but on
this subject the sentiment of New England is dominated by capital and theory. Hence it is that both political parties in New
England protest against the free coinage of silver in their party
platforms. Wealth brings leisure, and leisure and wealth combined have produced scholars, magazines, and newspapers devoted to theories. A theorist is rarely practical, no matter how
learned. The man who has spent his life in a library cries: Buy
where you can buy the cheapest, sell to him from whom you can
obtain the highest price, and thinks he has exhausted the subject of a protective tariff.
The man working in a factory and receiving a dollar per day
for his labor, knows that if other factories around him pay 50
cents per day for labor, and his factory and all the rest manufacture the same article from the same material, buy at the same
figure, and sell at the same price, it is only a question of time
until his employer must reduce his wages to 50 cents per day or
close the factory. The manufacturer desires protection for his
manufactured article, and so he combines with his employe, and
the two united prevail.
In colonial days, the philosopher Locke prepared a constitution for a southern colony. It was perfect in mechanism, and
every theory for a just and equitable government was carried

out to the utmost detail. It was found not to be practicable.
" It was a condition and not a thepry " with which this constitution came in contact, and as the theory was not applicable to the
condition, it failed. New England, with her numerous colleges,
magazines, and with her literary surroundings, is the favorite
abiding place of " reformers," and is swarming with theorists,
who, like Locke, are ready to submit plans and specifications for
a perfect system of finance upon a moment's notice. When not
arrayed against her capital invested in actual business these
gentle "reformers" are a power in New England,
On the question of free-silver coinage, the theorist and the
capitalist unite and prevail. The capitalist is against free coin*
age for practical reasons. If the single-standard policy can be
maintained and the volume of actual money kept within control
it will be many years before he will have any competition in the
West or South, while the interest his Western investment pays
him is the richest and surest income of all, notwithstanding he
may make an occasional mistake. It is a part of luxury and
leisure to be against free coinage, entirely independent of the
political and business view of the question. It is " English, you
know;" and that is reason enough for the u reformer " and theorist to be on that side.
Bright, able men who occupied seats in this Chamber as mem
bers of the last Congress were not returned for no reason on
earth save that they supported the greatest and most equitable
tariff bill ever given to the country. Is it possible that the New
England manufacturer only cares for himself? If so, then one
step more, and the greatest section of our country in the field of
education, the section that all lovers of liberty have been taught
to revere, wi?\ Iiave gone over to free trade and gold monometallism. England will have her old colony back at last.

The New York importers are against us. They fear free coinage would result in sending gold to a premium. Two things are
assumed: First, that the balance of trade will be against the
United States, and payable in gold; second, that the free coinage of silver would drive gold from the country. The first proposition depends entirely upon the vicissitudes of commercial life.
Some years it will doubtless be against us, and other years in our
favor. Silver legislation could not bring the balance of trade in
our favor, nor can it make the sheet balance the other way. I
have never learned why silver was demonetized. Certainly I
never heard given as the reason that it was driving gold from
the country.
If the prediction that the free coinage of silver would result
in establishing a premium on gold should be verified, then what
is the worst that can follow? There would unquestionably be
some hardships to be endured by those who have gold notes outstanding. The money-lender would drive it to a premium if
possible. But the producer could well afford the loss. It would
increase the value of his property and the price of his product
more than enough to offset the threatened premium. And the
producer must also face the fact that he has this danger to encounter some day:

Whenever the old position is resumed, the gold men will no
doubt bring to bear every means of financial torture at their command to compel the bimetallists to cry enough. If we are prosperous now, it is the time to make the fight. Financial freedom
will not be regained in this country without a considerable struggle and more or less of a loss.
Again, if the balance of trade is against us the premium which
the importer will be obliged to pay for gold with which to meet
it must come either out of his profits or out of the pocket of the
purchaser of imported goods. It must lessen the profits of the one
or increase the price for the other. To the rank and file of the
United States it makes but little difference which pays it. American products would be good enough for our debtors until such
time as the business of the country became adjusted to the new
It is also possible that large business corporations have outstanding foreign debts payable in gold, and that some inconvenience, or even loss, might be suffered in that direction. However, I have never heard this phase of the auestion raised, and
it is perhaps unnecessary to" anticipate difficulties that the
money-lenders have overlooked.
If, then, we are to make some losses in the directions mentioned, the policy of the greatest good to the greatest number
would still demand the free coinage of silver. But I do not apprehend any evil results from the causes specified. I have never
seen nor heard facts nor logic to demostrate the much-talked-of
deluge of foreign silver, while, in place of gold becoming so valuable as to hide itself to avoid use, it would, in my judgment,
walk out into the marts of trade, its majesty having departed,
because its tremendous power over the destinies of nations and
of men could no longer be absolute. Assertion has always been
the form in which the silver deluge and gold stampede theories
have been mentioned, and I do not believe they actually exist.

Boston meets in the old hall dedicated to liberty and equality
for all, and demands "honest" money. The inference is that
we ask for dishonest money. Boston used this "dishonest"
money for a hundred years. Her citizens got rich under the
system. She has become wonderfully virtuous all of a sudden.
It is not the first time people have become rich by dubious means,
and then joined the church, become virtuous ana charitable, and
attended all meetings for reform, protesting at all times the most
wonderful sanctity. It is unadulterated nonsense, conceived in
the interest of more interest and endless coupons.

Not only is silver " honest" money under the history and laws
of our country, but it is deprived of its just place in our monetary life by absolute dishonesty. The farmers have been told:
First, that silver is money now: and, second, in direct opposition thereto, that a silver dollar is worth but 80 cents, and that
it passes for a dollar only because the Government will exchange a gold dollar for it. But the lenders have not explained
why it is necessary to use silver at all, if it is valuable only on

the basis that each dollar will bring a gold dollar. A paper
dollar will do as well under that theory.
The fact is, these men dare not tell the people that silver is
not money; that as a matter of fact we have only about five or
six hundred millions of dollars of actual money in the country,
as a basis for about two billions two hundred and fifty millions of money issued in one form or another: that gold is liable
to be sent to a premium at the first crisis in our financial affairs,
owing to the tremendous issue beyond the reasonable basis of
redemption. If these " great financiers/' as the money manipulators are pleased to term each other, were to tell the people the
truth, they would be annihilated without benefit of clergy.
Again, the farmers are told that the silver-miners are endeavoring to make the Government pay more for silver than it is
worth; and, say the lenders, continuing the thought, why should
not the Government pay the farmer a certain price for his wheat
as well as pay the miner $1.29 per ounce for his silver? This is
not an honest statement of the case, and the men who make it,
I must believe, know it is not honest. The effort has been and
now is to make silver money and to take it from the list of commodities. What does the Government pay per ounce for gold?
But why discuss this phase of the question?
The advocates of a contracted currency know full well that the
object sought by the advocates of free coinage is to make silver
money, and to take the question of price entirely away from it,
jus® as there is no price for gold except as it may be necessary
to fix a ratio. But misrepresentation of the question has won
so far. The antisilver men dare not submit to the people the
simple question: Shall silver be money? They hope now to
prejudice the farmer against his own interests by prejudicing
him against the miner, and the means used are neither fair nor
The people of the West are very unjustly accused in connection with the silver question. Among other things it is said we
are dishonest, in that, it is alleged, we are endeavoring to pay
our debts in a depreciated currency, when in truth we are seeking to establish a more generous distribution of money per capita and by sections. Did not Congress deprive us of one of our
most valuable resources from which to meet our obligations? If
it is unfair to the creditor—which it is not—to remonetize silver,
was it not first unfair to the debtor to demonetize it? If it is a
bad step to remonetize silver now, it simply proves the old adage,
one bad step begets another.

While the act of 1873 made hundreds rich, it made thousands
poor. It3 effect was described by Henry Clay in his speech made
m September, 1837, when, speaking like a prophet, he used the
following language:
Assuming the currency to consist of two-thirds of paper and one-third of
specie; and assuming also that the money of a country, whatever may be its
component parts, regulates all values and expresses the true amount which
the debtor has to pay to his creditor, the effect of the change upon that relation (that is, to contract the volume of money by canceling the paper currency) and the property of the country would be most ruinous.
All property would be reduced in value to one-third its present nominal
amount, and every debtor would, in effect, have to pay three times as much

as lie had contracted for. The pressure of our foreign debt would "be three
times as great as it is, while the six hundred millions, which is about the sum
probably duo to the banks by the people, would be multipled into eighteen
hundred millions.

No living man can better describe the result of the antisilver
legislation of 1873.
The purchase of the American product under the present law is
not a test of what silver will do for the country under free coinage. To make silver of value to the people it must be accepted
as money—it must ba made a measure of value. Indeed, the
present law is of but little value even to our Western States.
The profit on silver, which, if we received it in the form of cold,
cash, would be invested in the development of our country, now
goes to the Government, transportation companies, speculators
in bullion, and finally reaches us, its producers, if it reaches us
at all, in the form of a loan at the same old rate.

During the President's tour last summer he said many patriotic
and many statesmanlike things. Speaking at Omaha on the subject of finance, the Associated Press reported him as follows:
Whatever money the Government issues, paper or coin, it must be good
money. I have an idea that every dollar we issue should be as good as any
dollar; for whenever we have any money, paper or coin, the first errand it
does is to pay some worldngman for a day's toil.

The same thought, in much the same language, appeared in the
President's late message. The sentiment expressed meets with
general approval. But the capitalists of the country do not seem
to consider' 'one dollar as good as another." If a depression should
come to us; if gold should go to a premium, as it might do at
any time, if called upon to redeem one-third of its pledges, the
first errand a paper dollar would do would be to pay some
laboring man for a day's toil, and the first thing a gold dollar
would do would be to pay interest on gold bonds or upon farm
mortgages given to secure gold notes. But the President's statement ought to be the law, and will be the law, when this contest
for equal money for all is over.

On one of the bills issued under the act of July 14, 1890,1 find
the following:
This note is a legal tender at its face value in payment of all debts, public
and private, except when otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract.

I do not understand the purpose of this exception. The usual
statement is, that this class of money shall be a legal tender in
a m e n t of all debts, public or private, except interest on the
lie debt and duties on imports. It must be that it is intended
for the laboring man, to the end that he may demand gold in
payment for his daily toil! If one dollar is to be as good as any
other dollar, why not? If the dollar issued by the Government
is to be as good for one as for another, why not ?
If the banks can demand gold contracts; if the great landlords
are to hold gold leases; if the money-lender is to have a gold
note; if the "four hundred" in finance are to have gold, and
the laborer, farmer, small merchant, etc., are to take whatever
they can get, what a farce it is to talk about one dollar being as

good as another! Yet the laborer, farmer, or artisan who would
preface his application for work or proposition to sell with a
statement that he must be paid in gold would bs laughed at.
And if all these classes were to do what the banks and capitalists
are doing the country would be bankrupt in a month.
These capitalists of ours are hardly fair in this: They propose
to pay in that unseen, mysterious factor in finance known as
"confidence" and at the same time collect in gold coin. Not
until we have the same dollar for all, rich and poor alike, shall
we have an " honest dollar."

The Treasurer of the United States, in his report for 1891,
gives the total stock of money in the United States as follows:
Gold, $653,308,095; silver, $529,019,947; total specie, $1,182,328,042.
Paper, various issues, $1,068,272,910, the entire stock of money
in the United States, in September, 1891, being $2,250,600,952.
Such are the component parts of our currency at this time. In
money of ultimate redemption; in absolute, full legal-tender
money, receivable in payment of ail debts, public and private;
as an actual basis for all this money we have $653,308,095. If silver were money our specie basis would be superb. As it is, no
man can contend, in the light of experience and common sense,
that $653,308,095 is a safe basis for a volume of money aggregating $2,250,600,952 in times of adversity or business disaster, whatever it might be in the sunshine of success. It is equally clear
that with gold and silver as money we would be invincible and
ready to trade in products or money with all the nations of the
The pressure upon Congress for silver legislation is not now
quite as marked as it has been. The utter failure of crops abroad
and the bouyancy of markets at home accounts for the change.
But the pressure will return. Notwithstanding all the talk about
his great prosperity the farmer can not pay his interest. He
will go in to settle and the interest will take all he has left after
paying his store bill It is the old story, as old as usury, as inexorable as fate.
Another phase of the question: If silver is not money, then
the Government is squandering 95 cents per ounce for every
ounce it buys. If it is money, then the miner is being robbed of
30 cents per ounce on every ounce purchased.

The miner is charged with avarice, and is being roundly abused
by the money-lenders and some of their advocates. They forget
that he furnishes them with gold as well as silver. But the
miner does not care for it. It is his boldness in making investments and his fearlessness in sustaining his judgment with the
money necessary for development that has made the nation rich
in mineral wealth and resources. He needs no eulogy and asks
none. Gold and silver are his money. Rich or poor, he makes
his money like a man and spends it 'like a king. He is as necessary to the Government as the Government is necessary to him.
He is a stranger to the man who lives upon the fruits of usury,
and by the very laws of nature they will never become acquainted
with each other.

Every gold and silver dollar in the world today is a monument to the prospector who found it, the miner who mined it,
and the man who furnished the means with which to explore the
unknown quantities that lie beyond the face of the tunnel. The
coin and the mines are left to their countrymen as an inheritance
by these men; and no class of our citizens think so lightly over
the toils and dangers to which they are subjected in the work of
building up their country and exploring its resources.
Still the farmers are urged to indorse the present silver law,
because,since the passage of the Bland act, the Government has,
by the arbitrary exercise of power, filched from the Western
States $72,000,000. Men having the most votes can do such things,
but imagine the howl that would go up from five or six Northeastern States if one of their leading industries were subjected
to such a tax. But the miner is patient. He has no doubt of
ultimate justice. I am satisfied that my lot has been cast with
him, and with the farmer who can almost see the ships as they
sail in from the sea to receive and bear to distant markets the
products of our soil.

In conclusion, the supply of gold is wholly inadequate to the
business demands of the world; yet we have presented to us the
remarkable spectacle of the entire world gathered around a pot
containing a few millions of gold, each nation striving to secure
the contents, and each possessing full knowledge that ruin awaits
those who fail to grasp the prize.
Still the struggle goes on; great nations continuing to measure
the products of the earth by gold, with the supply so limited
and the measure of value occupying a position so exalted that a
bushel of wheat is of no value compared with it; so limited in
quantity that the shipment abroad of a few millions creates consternation in our business circles; so precious that it is hoarded
by Government and people alike; so scarce that land, the necessities of life, and the sweat of man's brow weigh as a feather
against a stone when placed in the opposite scale.
These farming States have suffered so long from this monetary
wickedness that now they are likely to become so radical as to
demand not only the restoration of the equality of gold and silver, but to make such extremely radical demands as to play back
into the hands of the single-standard men and money lenders.
I am for the free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver, because I am a bimetallism Everybody claims to be for it about
election time, but think the matter should be put off to a more
convenient season; put off until something comes to pass that
never will happen. It is the plea of the sinner when the duty of
repentance stares him in the face. I am for the free coinage of
silver, because it is impossible for a structure of $2,250,000 to rest
in safety on a foundation of $600,000.
I am for the free coinage of silver, because we can not maintain
the gold standard in the face of adversity; and we can not hope
that we shall always be blessed, and that the disasters of the
world will be forever visited upon other nations for our benefit.
It now requires a famine in the rest of the world and a bountiful
crop in our own to enable the producer to pay his interest. Our
turn will come some day. Are we ready for it? I am for gold

and silver as money and as a basis of money, giving the Secretary authority to pay our debts in either, because it would give
us the foundation for a sound and adequate volume of currency;
a system of finance that would be a sure and safe anchorage in
adversity as well as in prosperity.