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FREE COINAGE OF SILVER.

SPEECH
OF

HON. ANTHONY HIGGINS,
O F

D E L A W A R E ,

IN THE

SENATE OP THE UNITED STATES,




THUBSDAY, JUNE

30,1892.

WASHINGTON,
1892,




Free Coinage of SHrer*
S P E E C H
OF

HON.

ANTHONY

HIGGINS,

OF DELAWARE.
IN THE SENATE

OF T H E U N I T E D

STATES,

Thursday, June 30,1892.

The Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, having under consideration
the hill (S. 51) to provide for the free coinage of gold and silver bullion, and
for other purposes-

Mr. HIGGINS said:
Mr. PRESIDENT: The agreement of yesterday afternoon to
take a vote on this bill and its amendments at 2 o'clock to-morrow was made in my absence. H a l I been present I should have
objected to it, because otherwise I find myself forced into the
presentation of some views on this question without having had
an adequate opportunity o* preparation.
I had not expect 3d, in addition to this difficulty, to be met by
the statement from any Senator, and least of all from the distinguished Senator from Alabama [Mr. MORGAN], that this bill had
already been discussed ad nauseam. To be sure, he had made at
least three set speeches upon it, and he followed up that declaration with another one to-day. While the Senator from Nevada
[Mr. STEWART], who has particular charge of this bill, holds the
Senator from New Jersey [Mr. MCPHERSONI and all the members' of this body to the rigid exactions of the agreement made
under these very peculiar circumstances, and almost, as the
Senator from New Jersey well said, in violation of an antecedent
agreement out of deference to the Democratic members of this
body and the necessity to attend the Chicago convention, the
Senator from Nevada, under those>circumstances, insists upon
our going on with this vote to-morrow, and accuses those who
desire adequate opportunity to debate the question of wishing to
perpetrate gag rule.
It may be idle to refer to these matters when I propose-to discuss the subject-matter of this bill, but I do so because this performance—if I may be permitted to speak of it as such—is in
keeping with the attitude of the promoters of this bill from the
605
3




4
time the question has been brought before the Senate. Those
who are opposed to it belong to a gang of wicked conspirators,
genuinely bad men, those who have been ascertained and found
out and marked and spotted—plutocrats, and I believe they havebeen called in the West Plutarchs—men who have their gripupon the gold of the country, upon its currency, upon its lifebiood, utterly wanting1 in regard for the interests of the people.
They are opposing this bill, it is said, in order to continue the
wicked exactions in which they have been indulging since 1873.
All this, Mr. President, is interesting. On the other hand, the
Senators who have particular charge of this measure and promote it find themselves in a position of peculiar, singular, and
most enviable self-satisfaction. They represent the people, the
people who are baing outraged. Somehow or other they have a.
special mandate from the people of this country. It may not be
impertinence on my part to inquire whence they got it. Are
they sent here in any manner other than all the rest of us? Doasthe Senator from Alabama, who has reiterated again and again
that the people are in his charge and he is thair savior, come
here othe/ than as the representative of the people of Alabama
and elected by its Legislature? Can the Senator from Nevada,
any more than myself, claim—coming from States as small
in population as we do—that we can speak for all the people of
this country?
The history of the relation of the people to the proposal for
ths free coinage of silver is a curious and most interesting one.
Two years ago, when the then pending bill, which afterwards
bcame the present act of 1890, was before this body, a majority
of ths Sanate tarned it intoafrea-coinagebill, passed it, and sent
it to the House of Representatives, elected by the people and not
elected by the Legislatures of the States. That body, then Republican by a majority of 20, did not pass the bill. For onca in
the history of this country it was startled by finding that the
Senate was no longer the conservative but had become the reckless branch of the Government, and the conservative interests of
this country were lodged with the popular branch, with the
House of Representatives.
In this Congress, with a two-thirds majority Democratic and
Farmers' Alliance together, the promoters of this measure, or
its equivalent, came forward with confidence which seemed U>
be justified by events; but lo, and behold, they role to a fall,
ani in a House of Rapresentatives thus constituted, elected by
the people and amenable to the people, that measure failed on
a tie vote, and those who are responsible for its action have seen
proper not to bring it up sinca. Thus, whether you consider one
Congress representing a majority of one party, or the present
House of Representatives when there is such an overwhelming
majority of Democrats, we find those amenable to the peopla
dare not pass such a measure.
But there is another branch of the Government, which is popular, that is the Executive, elected substantially by the vote
of the people. Both parties have held their conventions and
made their nominations. Each has put up a candidate about
whose opinions and in the expression of whose opinions there
has been no uncertain sound; and neither party dared put up any
605




5
candidate who was not known to be opposed to the isolated free
coinage of silver. Nay, more, go to the platforms of both parties, to the expressions of opinion made by the great na.ional
conventions, and you find that oar confident and daring friends,
who are ready here to tell the cat and dare do any thing, were in
those conventions as mild as sucking doves. They did not even
propose any platform or plank that carried out the principles of
this bill, knowing, as they did, that they could not on any such
ground successfully appeal to the verdict of the American people; and yet on this floor, back behind the ramparts of their Legislatures and their terms of six years, they can here be courageous and claim that they par excellence represent the people
and that everybody else misrepresents them.
When this measure came to -thisfloor,after the opening speech
of the Senator from Alabama shelling the woods, as it was said,
to find lurking Democratic candidates who were afraid to express themselves on this issue, an inquiry, the interest in which
seems to have evaporated by this time, he was followed by the
distinguished junior Senator from Colorado [Mr. WOLCOTT] in
a mortuary discourse, asking who killed this great bill, who
killed Cock Robin; and his colleague, the senior Senator from
Colorado (Mr. TELLER], apologized to the Senate for remarks
which he made, as he said, when it was no longer of any use;
but at last the junior Senator from Nevada [Mr. STEWART], with
infinite pluck, brought up his measure and put it before the Senate by a comfortable vote, and has kept it as the pending business; and now in rather a quick, I will not say a snap judgment,
has fixed it so that we must vote upon it to-morrow, and we find
ourselves face to f ce with ihis question.
I regret Mr. Pres-dent, that long as this bill has been before
the Senate, my other engagements have not permitted me to
give the time for the preparation of the views I entertain, so
that I can do satisfaction to myself in asking attention of the
Senate upon it.
As I understand the issue between the two sides of the discussion, it arises out of the fact of the disparity of the metals. Gentlemen on the other side would ignore and whistle down the
wind the fact that to-day the bullion in the American silver
dollar is not worth more than 70 cents. I have not the exact rate
of exchange of the price of silver to-day.
t
Before that disparity arose the metals had stood in equilibrium at one ratio or another from time immemorial. Within the
memory of man, from the time when statistics upon the subject
were first taken, as far as we know silver and gold have been the
immemorial currency of the race from the earliest dawn of civilization'and in times of which history no longer tells the tale. It
went on until the disparity arose and the dislocation of the two
metals took place on and after 1873.
I will ask to have printed with 'my remarks some tables which
I extrcctfrom the speech of the Senator from Alabama [Mr.
MORGAN], made on the loth day of June, showing the ratio from
3493 until 1890, and also I ask to have printed with my remarks
an extract from a speech made by ex-Senator Thurman as one
of the commissioners of this Government to the conference in
Paris on tlie money question.
605




6

The papers referred to are as follows:
TABLE D.~Sho wing the proportion of silver in the world's total production of
gold and silver in periods from 1493 to 1890; also their varying ratios of market
value prior to the mint enactment of France in 1803; and with special reference
to their remarkable approach to constancy of mutual value, under extraordinary
variations in their proportions of production, during the seventy years to 1873,
in which the mints of France coined gold and silver without limit, as legal-tender
equivalent, on her ratio ofl to 15.50*
Pounds avoirdupois.

Period.

Silver.
1493-1520
1521-1544.
1545-1560
1561-1580
1581-1600
1601-1620
1621-1640
1641-1660
.1661-1680
1681-1700
1701-1720
1721-1740
1741-1760
1761-1780
1781-1800
1801-1810
1811-1820
1821-1830
1831-1&10..
1&41-1850
1851-1855..
1856-1860
1861-1865....
1866-1870
1871-1875
1876-1880
1881-1885
1886-1890

..

....

2,895,200
4,762,560
10,968,320
13,178,000
18,431,600
18,607,600
17,318,400
16,117,200
14,82,8000
15,013,600
15,646,400
18,972,800
23,458,380
28,720,560
38,678,640
19,671,300
11,896,940
10.132,320
13.121,900
17,169,130
9,747,265
9,954,890
12,112,650
14,729,935
21,663,675
24,200,088
29,333,894i
37,962,785

Gold.
537,380
378,048
299,552
300,960
324,720
374,880
386,200
385,880
407,440
473.660
564,080
839,520
1,082,840
911,020
782,760
391,116
251,790
312,752,
446,358
1,204,698
2,172,665
2,266,638
2,036,353
2,110,900
1,877,425
1,831,726
1,694,258
1,863,700

Proportion Average ratio
of total.
of market
value of
Silver. Gold. silver to gold.
89
93
97
98
98
98
98
98
97
97
97
96
96
97
92
98
98
97
97
93
82
81
86
87
92
93
95
95

11
7
3
2
2
2
2
2
3
3
3
4
4
3
2
2
f>
3
3
7
18
19
14
13
8
7
5
5

10.5-11.10
11.25
11.30
11.50
12.10
12.50
14.00
14.50
15.00
14.96
15.21
14.71
14,71
14.64
14.76
15.42-15.61
15.54
15.80
15.57
15.75-16.60
15.42
15.30
15.36
15.55
15.98
17.90
18.76
21.49

•Mints of Prance from 1803 to 1873 equally open to silver and gold on the
ratio of 15.50 to l.
Mr. President, and gentlemen, the general discussion having closed, we
are brought, by the previous orders of the conference, as I understand them,
to a consideration of the questionnaire. I propose to submit some brief observations on some of its uoints; but they1 will be little more than an expression of my individual opinions, with little or no argument.
The first question propounded is substantially as follows: "Have the
diminution and great oscillations in value of silver that have occurred, especially of late years, been injurious or not to commerce, and, consequently,
to general prosperity?
" I s it desirable that the relation of value between gold and silver should
be stable1:"
I do not see how it is possible to give any but an affirmative answer to these
questions; unless, indeed, the use of silver as money is to be wholly discontinued: and no one, here or elsewhere, advocates that. Although, according to the logic of gold monometallists, it might seem that if an exclusive
gold currency is the best for one country, it must be for all countries, yet I
do not understand that anyone proposes to inaugurate measures for the
universal demonetization of silver.
Silver, then, in a greater or less degree, is still to be used as money by
commercial nations everywhere, and, this being admitted, can argument be
required to prove that great fluctuations in its relative value must necessarily be injurious to commerce and to general prosperity? And as gold is
also to be used.is it not equally obvious that the relative value of the two
metals should be as stable as possible? The effect of an unstable and greatly
605




7
fluctuating currency upon debtors and creditors, at one time to the injury
of the former, and at another to the injury of the latter; the discouragement to production, the uncertainties of employment, and the difficulties of
exchange, to say nothing more, are sufficient to demonstrate how great are
the calamities that such a currency is sure to inflict, and how imperative is
the duty of Government to prevent, or, at least, to mitigate them.
We are next asked, "whether thefluctuationsin the value of silver of late
years are to be attributed to an increase in the production of that metal, or
rather to legislation?"
It seems to me very clear that they were caused by unfriendly legislation,
and not by increased production. According to the table presented by Dr.
Broch, the mean price of silver in 1845, in the London market, was 15.93 of
silver for 1 of gold, and the mean price, or ratio, in 1873, twenty-nine years
later, was precisely the same.
During this period there were some fluctations, not very great, however;
and, taking the mean of the whole twenty-nine years, we have the striking
fact that the relation was 15.54 to 1, being almost exactly the legal relation
(15* to 1) that has existed in France for about seventy-eight years, and that
now exists in the states of the Latin Union.
But, during the twenty-niile years above mentioned, the production of
gold was enormous, and was, in value, at least double that of silver; so that,
if either metal should have lost value as compared with the other, it would
seem that it should have been gold, and not silver. Yet their relative value
was precisely the same in 1873 that it was in 1845.
But in 1873 began, both in America and Europe, that course of legislation
to which, in my judgment, are chiefly to be attributed the monetary troubles
which this conference has met to consider. In the United States, by acts of
Congress of 1873 and 1874, silver was demonetized; and, although the error,
after the lapse of several years, was corrected, yet the coinage of full legaltender silver is greatly restricted.
In Europe, Germany and the Scandinavian states have become gold monometallic, while the states of the Latin Union have almost wholly suspended
the coinage of the white metal. That metal, being thus, by force of legislation. condemned and dishonored, its fall in value was inevitable, and the
only matter of surprise to me is that it is no greater than it is. Look at the
facts. In 1873 the relation between silver and gold was 15.93 to 1. Then commenced the legislation of which I have spoken, and its effect was instantly
seen. In 1874 the relation was 16.16; in 1875, 16.63; in 1876,17.80; in 1877,17.19;
in 1878,17.96: in 1879,18.39, and in 1880.18.06 to 1. Was ever a result more directly traceable to its cause?

Mr. HIGGINS. I venture to read from tliefinalsentence of Mr.
Thurmaa's letter, as it is short, the facts as to when this disparity
arose.
But in 1873—

He s a y s -

began. both in America and Europe, that course of legislation to which, in
my judgment, are chiefly to be attributed the monetary troubles which this
conference has met to consider. In the United States, by acts of Congress
of 1873 and 1874, silver was demonetized; and, although the error, after the
lapse of several years, was corrected, yet the coinage of full legal-tender
silver is'greatly restricted.
In Europe, Germany and the Scandinavian states have become gold monometallic, while the states of the Latin Union have almost wholly suspended the coinage of the white metal. That metal, being thus, by force of
legislation, condemned and dishonored, its fall in value was inevitable, and
the only matter of surprise to me is that it is no greater than it is. Look at
the facts. In 1873 the relation between silver and gold was 15.93 to 1. Then
commenced the legislation of which I have spoken, and its effect was instantly seen. In 1874 the relation was 16.16; in 1875, 16.63; in 1876, 17.80; in
1877, 17.19; in 1878, 17.96; in 1879, 18.39, and in 1880, 18.00 to 1. Was ever a result more directly traceable to its cause?

The promoters of this bill claim that this disparity arose by
the act of Congress of 1873. I contend that it had nothing whatever to do with it; but on the contrary it does appear from the
figures given by this sage of Democracy and wise man in the
councils of our Government, Mr. Thurman, vouched for by the
distinguished Senator from Alabama when he prints with com605




8

mendation the letter in his speech, that the disparity arose
when the adverse legislation of Europe was enacted on this
question, and the disparity was fixed and established before we
ever resumed specie payments in 1878, and of course before our
act of 1873 could affect she question of the money metals in any
way whatever. W e did not resume specie payments until January 1, 1878. Silver was demonetized by Germany in acts running from 1871 up to 1873. It was followed by the Latin Union
in 1875; and before that, as I understand, by some of the other
•countries of Europe.
So by 1875 or 1876 all of Europe had ceased the coinage of silver
and the United States had not resumed specie payments. Whatever effect the act of 1873 by our Congress had, it could only
liave been at least in the way of inducement to the other nations
to take like action, though it is not to be presumed they knew
what was done here. W e were then under paper currency and
not on a specie basis at all. Thus we find that this dispaiity,
this dislocation of the metals was complete and established liefore any action touching the matter taken by our own Government.
It is claimed by the friends of this measure that we can safely
indulge in the free^ coinage of silver, that we can dare indulge
whai I should call isolated free coinage alone, and that such isolated coinage by the United States will restore silver to a parity
with gold. I conlerid that the depreciation of silver arises out
of the action of the European governments and that it can only
be restored by our joint cooperation with them or theirs with us.
I also ask leave to print with my remarks certain tables on the
ratio between the two metals, which Ttake from an ariicle in
the June number of the Porum by the Director of the MintThe tables are as follows:
Commercial ratio of silver to gold each year from, 1637 to 1872.
Year.

1687.
1688.

1689.
16S0.
1691.
169*2.
1693.
1694.
1695.
1696.
1697.
1698.
1699.
1700.
1701.
1702.
1703.
1701.
1705,
1706.
1707.
1708,
1700,
1710.
1711.

Ratio.

Year.

14.94
14.94
15.02
15.02
14.98
14.92
14.83
14.87
15.02
15.00
15.20
15.07
14.94
14.81
15.07
15.52
15.17
15.22
15.11
15.27
15.44
15.41
15.31
15.22
15.29

171 2
171 3
171 4
1715....
1716....
1717....
1718....
1719....
1720....
1721....
1722




1723™!
1724....
1725....
1726....
1727
1728
1729
1730
173 1
173 2
1733....
1734.. „
1735....
1736....

Year.
15.31
15.24
15.13
15.11
15.09
15.13
15.11
15.00
15.04
15.05
15.17
15.20
15.11
15.11
15.15
15.24
15.11
14.92
14.81
14.94
fl5.09
15.18
15.39
15.41
15.18

1737..
1738..
1739..
1740..
1741..
1742..
1743..
1744..
1745..
1746..
1747..
1748..
1749..
1750..
1751.
1752..
1753..
1754..
1755..
1756..
1757..
1758..
1759..
1760..
1761 j,

Ratio.
15.02
14.91
14.91
14.94
14.92
14. S5
14,85
14.87
14.95
15.13
15.26
15.11
14.80
14.55
14.39
14.54
14.54
14.48
14.08
14.94
14.87
14.85
14.15
14.14
14.54

Year.
1762
176 3
1764
1765

1760____
1TC7 ! _.

1768
176 9
1770....
1771....
1772
: 1773....
1 1774....
! I7r5._..
; 1776....

| 17i'ilIII

! 1779....
! 1780.,..
S 1781....
1783*111
1784
1785...,
1786.-..

Ratio.
15.27
14.99
14.70
14.63
14.80
14.85
14.80
14.72
14.62
14.66
14.52
14.62
14.62
14.72
14.55
14.54
14.68
14.80
14.72
14.78
14.42
14.48
14.70
14.92
14.96

Commercial ratio of silver to gold each year from 1687 to 1872—Continued.
Year.
1787.
1788.
1789.
1790.
1791.
1792.
1793.
1794.
1795.
1796.
1797.
1798.
1799.
1800.
1801.

1803.
1803.
1804.
1805.
1806.
1807.
1808.

Ratio.

Year.

14.92 1809
14.65 1810
14.75 1811
15.04 1812
15.05 1813
15.17 1814
15.00 1815
15.37 1816
15.55 1817
15.65 1818
15.41 1819
15.59 1820
15.74 1821
15.68 1822
15.46 1823
15.26 1824
15.41 1825...„_
15.41 1836
15.79 1827
15.52 1828
15.43 i 1829
16.08 1 1830
1

Ratio.
15.96
15.77
15.53
16.11
16.25
15.04
15.26
15.28
15.11
15.35
15.33
15.62
15.95
15.80
15.84
15.82
15.70
15.76
15.74
15.78
15.78
15.82

Year.
1831.
1832.
1833.
1834.
1835.
1836.
1837.
1838.
1839.
1840.
1841.
1843.
1843.
1844.
1845.
1846.
1847.
1848.
1849.
1850.
1851.
1852.

Ratio,
15.72
15.73
15.93
15.73
15.80
15.72
15.83
15.85
15.62
15.62
15.70
15.87
15.93
15.85
15.92
15.90
15.80
15.85
15.78
15.70
15.46
15.59

Year.
1853.
1854.
1855.
1856.
1857.
1858.
1859.
1860.
1861.
1862.
1863.
1864.
1865.
1866.

1867.

1868.

1869.
1870.
1871.
1872.

Ratio.
15.33
15.33
15.38
15.38
15.27
15.38
15.19
15.29
15.50
15.35
15.37
15.37
15.44
15.43
15.57
15.59
15.60
15.57
15.57
15.63

The decline in the price of silver, as compared with gold, commenced in
1873. The relative value of silver to gold since that period has been as
follows:
Year.

Ratio.

Year.

Ratio.

Year.

Ratio.

Year.

Ratio.

17.94 1883
15.92 1878
18 64 1888.
21.99
. . . 18.40 1884.
18.57 . 1889
22.09
16.17 1879
18.05 1885
19.41 1890
19.76
16.59 1880.
18.16 1886
20.78 1891
20.92
17.88 1881
18.19 1887
21.13
17.22 1862
.. i —
The average price of silver in 1873 was 59} pence per ounce (British standard), equivalent to about $1.30 per fine ounce, the exact equivalent of the
French ratio being 6013*16 pence, or $1.33, per fine ounce. The lowest price
of silver was reached on March 28, 1892, viz, $0.85J per fine ounce, a decline
in the brief period of nineteen years of 47£ cents an ounce, or over 35 per cent.
Forty years ago, England ana Portugal were the only countries in Europe
which had the gold standard. Silver was practically the money of Europe.
To-day the situation is entirely reversed.

1873
1874
1875
1876
1877

Mr. HIGGINS. Mr. President, I contend that silver can be
restored to its parity with gold only by the joint action of the
nations of the earth.
When we consider the importance of this iss - e we may well
ask the friends of this bill to support their contention by some
argument or some demonstration, because if they could show to
the satisfaction of the country, if they could show to the satisfaction of the Senators who are opposed to this measure that their
contention is rig-ht, they surely would have no opposition to it.
Whether there have been at any time in this country doctrinaire
monometallists or not/those who believe that other countries as
well as this covntry will be hotter by having gold alone as the
money metnl of the world,Iconfessthatnow Idonotknowuf any.
I have but one man in my mind who ventures to make that




10
contention. America has come freely and fully to adopt and accept the principle of bimetallism, and the promoters of this bill
have no right to claim that they pai- 'excellence are its friends and
its only friends. Least of all have they any right to impugn the
motives and cover with wanton and unnecessary abuse and reproach those who want silver to be made equal with gold as a
money metal, but fail to £ee how the United States can do it alone.
When we ask them for arguments they indulge in prophesy.
They say it will be donc ibecause it will be done.
"We have had prophecy from that quarter before. When the
bill of 1890, which afterwards became the act of that year, was
pending the Senate was hypnotized by the genius of the distinguished Senator from Nevada [Mr. JONES] into the belief that
by the purchase of four and a half million ounces of silver per
month by our Government silver would go to a parity. They
said at first, buy four and a half millicn dollars, but afterwards
they said only give *us ounces and that will make it sure. So
the question was, I think in a conference committee, whether it
should be four and a half million dollars or four and a half million ounces that was to be purchased, and at last we conceded
that it should be ounces, and that was put in the bill. Some indulged in speculation and bought and got their fingers burned.
Silver went up to 119 if not to 120 cents per ounce, and then it
went back and lower than it ever did before. The act would
provide for a larger measure of purchase of silver to-day if it
had been four and a half million dollars instead of that many
ounces, because the price of silver is about 90 cents per ounce.
Thus have the prophecies of our friends on the other side been
confounded. Have they any standing room on which they can
ask us any longer to indulge in their reading of the future?
Shpll we venture a^ain to take their prophecies on the great financial interests of this country, reaching to every man's home and
touching the*pocket of every p:rson, interesting the people, interesting the workingman, who sells his labor and^is the largvst
creditor in the world, interesting the laboring man who is thrifty
enough to save his money and put it in savings banks, interesting that large class who are the object of the bounty of this Government, its pensioners. All those are interested. Have we
any justification in taking the prophecy of these gentlemen?
I confess I know of but one argument that they have urg^d,
and that is not an argument, it is an illustration. They say that
France opened its mints to coinage in 1803 under the control of
Napoleon, and keeping them open to free coinage until 1873
maintained the parity of the metals during all that time. Their
argument is, and I want to put it with perfect fairness and as
strong as any of them can do it, that because France maintained
the parity from 1803 to 1873, when they ceased the coinage of
silver, therefore the United States can do the same thing.
Mr. President, the trouble with the argument or illustration
is that is does not accord with the fact. It is not candid. It is
not true. It is true that France during that time had her mints
open to free coinage, but it is not true that upon the free coinage
of France alone the parity of the metals rested during those
seventy years. On the contrary, every government in Europe
was on a* silver basis except England and Portugal, which was a
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sort of appendage to England^ The real statement of tne situation as it subsisted during those years is that England was upon
a gold standard. That is, under the act by which they resumed
specie payments in 1816, passed, I think, about 1806. gold alone
was a legal tender, except silver for 40 shillings. So England
was on the gold basis. Yet they made a very large use of silver
during that time, amounting to considerably ov^r a hundred
million dollars of our money. Portugal. I believe, was on a gold
basis, but she is so small that she does not count. All the rest
of Europe with France was upon a silver basis. So the true proposition is that silver was maintained at a parity with gold by the
joint cooperation of the rest of the world in the free coinage of silver
and gold, whether England and Portugal cooperated with them
or not, bacause all of that time, of course, besides the rest of
Europe the United States also was coining silver, and upon a
silver basis, and a large user of silver.
So, when we come to what is, ag> far as I can see, the only and
the final argument urged here, you discover that it is no argument at all. With absolute confidence, berating us with all the
flourish of broomsticks like a virago, one and another Senator
comes at those on this side and says the United States can restore the parity of silver with gold by coining silver alone and
isolated from the rest of the world. If that is true we have already an example of free coinage which ought to bring about
this result, namely, in India. India is now coining silver freely.
All the miners of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains can send
their silver there if they want to do so. India is open to free
coinage. Why does not that restore parity? We have free
coinage in Mexico and South America as well.
Oh, but they say India is in Asia. Suppose it is. Its population is fast growing up, approximating to 300,000,000 people, and
while individually they are poor, in the aggregate they represent enormous wealth and enormous exchanges. It is not the
India that Burke described in his great speeches on Warren
Hastings. It is not the India of the mutiny. It is the India
of the close of the nineteenth century, radiating with i ail ways,
all its vast population in peaceful avocations, and going forward
with enormous strides in the march to wealth under the protection and the a?gis of th3 British Empire. If those 300,000,000 people with free coinage can not restore the parity of silver
with gold, how can gentlemen here say to us that we alone can
doit?
There is one other thing to be said, and that is that India has
gone to a silver basis. Or rather she has never been on anything
else, and it differs radically from the proposition to coin silver
freely in America, for we maintain the silver we have already
coined at a parity with gold. Why? Because we coin silver in
a restricted amount, in an amount so restricted that it can always obtain a dollar in gold. It is virtually, if not directly, redeemable in gold. The silver dollar of our coinage is virtually
a bill of exchange or draft drawn upon cur Treasury Department to pay a dollar in £old. and as long as you can get a dollar
in gold the parity is maintained,
But it is argued by our friends on the other side that we can
throw our mints open to free coinage and have all the silver of
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the world come here and keep that vast mass at a parity with
gold. Of course, so long as any man can bring here 70 cents'
worth of silver bullion and get a dollar in gold with it he will do
it. Hence you may expect that the vast mass of foreign silver
will be brought from abroad when this measure passes. We
know we can not respond Already there is more anxiety than
we like to admit as to the effect of the present law of 1890 upon
our gold reserve.
The junior Senator from Nevada himself has argued here that
under the operation of the present law there is danger of the
gold going out, and yet in the face of that we are told that by
our own fiat we can lift the vast mass of depreciated silver of the
world to a parity and keep it there, so that the relatively small
reserves of gold that we have will not be drawn out and that we
will not b3 carried to a silver basis.
Mr. President, I have stated as far as I know the arguments
that have been made in support of this phase of the question by
the friends of this measure and the reasons that there are against
it. If this bill should be passed and free coinage were decreed and
•enacted by this Government, either silver would be b. ought to
and maintained at a parity with gpld, on a ratio of 16 to 1, or it
would not. If it did not come to such a parity and were not maintained there, then our gold would go ou$ and we would come to
a silver standard. One of the results would be that instantly our
stock of gold, from 8600,000,COO to $700,000,000, would cease to be
currency and would become a commodity. By one fell stroke
you would contract our currency to that extent, and we would
have to wait until the silver was brought here from other countries in order to fill the vacuum with it, or we would have to meet
it by larger issues of paper money or fiat money.
The senior Senator from Colorado [Mr. TELLER], who is not
in his seat, ventured the remark that if we had to choose between a gold or a silver standard he would welcome the silver
standard. As ^understand it, he considers that we arc on a gold
standard now, and therefore if the free coinage of silver continued the disparity he would prefer to bring this country to the
silver standard, to the use of silver alone, to the expulsion or
the hoarding of our gold, rather than to maintain the bimetallic
arrangement that we now have, by which we have gold and silver in almost equal amounts in furnishing the currency of the
country in addition to our greenback notes.
It se .ms to me that any^man who takes that ground, who takes
it advisedly and takes it after study of the question, is taking
with it a grave responsibility and is acting with infinite rashness. I do not propose to detain the Senate or to cumber the
pages of the RECORD by an attempt at the story of even America
under depreciated currency. No one the traditions of whose
family go back to the Revolutionary period can but carry in his
mind the burning recollections of the losses suffered by continental money. The very act of Napoleon in the free coinage of
silver was taken when he cast out the wretched paper money
issued by the French democracy during the reign of terror.
Take the experience that we had before we resumed specie
payments in 187$. Take the warnings that were given on this
iloor when the legal-tender act was first passed, done under a
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war necessity and costing this people more almost in treasure^
and loss suffered by it than by the direct outflow of money on account of the war of the lefcellion. I know of my own experience that before we came to the resumption of specie payments,
a::d especially before the panic of 1873, when gold was at a premium of from 50 to 100 per cent, it in my State cost' the farmer
more to raise a bushel of grain than he could get for it. Farm
after farm, the product of prosperous agriculture in former years,,
went under the hammer of the sheriff.
Intel est came to be 18 per cent per annum and the usurerthrove. When at last this country resumed specie payments and
drove out an irredeemable and fluctuating currency, the worst
scourge of mankind, it brought about a general prosperity and
crowned the Senator from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN], who has been,
subjected to such defamation by the promoters of this measure,
with undying fame. He had the double honor to project that
measure on this floor and to administer it in the executive
branch of the Government. Yet it is after such experiences
that Senators assume the people of this country can be drawn
into another trial of an irredeemable and fluctuating currency.
Mr. President, we have had one battle on that field and that was
on the greenback question. The Greenback party has gone out,
and I think it has gone out to stay. When we see both of the
great parties going into national c nvention this year, and, notwithstanding they have had so much of training and declaiming
and objurgation from the Senator from Alabama and the Senator
from Nevada, planting themselves before the people firmly upom
the principle of honest money, I have no doubt as to what the
answer will be from the people of the United States. It is no
way for our friends from the Western praiiues to recoup whatever losses they may think they have suffered and to supply
whatever wants they think they may have for more money to
launch themselves on this dangerous sea of irredeemable and;
fluctuating currency.
But there is another class whose representatives are advocating this bill and who have been most, severe in their denunciations of all who have been opposed to it, and they are the representa • ives on this floor of the silver States. I do not mean by that
to include all of them.- I am very glad to except all from that
remark who have not seen proper to indulge in the violent language of the Senator from Nevada and the Senators from Colorado as well as the Senator from Alabama. But, if I am correct
in the assumption that isolated free coinage by the United Stateswill not bring silver to a parity, then I claim to be a better friend
to the silver miners of America than their representatives here.
It was their representatives who induced the Senate to vote forthe purchase oi four and a half million ounces of silver per month
on the claim that it would send silver to a parity. It has not
done it. Suppose isolated free coinage by the United States does
not do it, are they in any better case?
But suppose, on the other hand, that cooperation by the nations
of the world should do it, then every dollar mined by the miner of
Colorado and the Rocky Mountains will be worth its dollar in
gold and not worth 70 cents.
Yet after the President of the United States has called a con605




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ference of the nations to take such action, and after he has had
favorable responses from all and such conference is about to
meet, when the names of its members for this Government are
about to be sent to us for confirmation before we disperse, we
have the Senator from Alabama and the Senator from Nevada
on this floor denouncing1 this great measure of relief before it is
put in operation and saying that we must have isolated free coinage or nothing.
I have been told in conversation by gentlemen of one branch of
'Congress or the other from the South and from the West thnr
constituents did not care so much for silver as that they wanted
more money. There are, of course, large classes in this country
who believe in the doctrine that lay behind the greenback heresy,
that the Government should emit fiat money. Cheap money has
no terrors or no horrors for them, however much it may affect
their interests. Whether they are wrong or rierht, it is a matter of great and dire concern to the owner& and the laborers in
silver mines. What they want is that their product shall be sold
for the most that it is worth, and they can not afford to have'this
country go to free coinage and put it upon a silver standard and
have the price of silver no higher than it has been made by free
•coinage in India.
Believing as I do, and submitting this argument in all fairness
to the other side, I say here with the utmost deliberation, and
I only wish that my voice could go into every mining camp and
into the office of every smelting works in the West, they have
•enemies, deadly enemies, and those enemies are the gentlemen
who misrepresent their interests on this floor by endeavoring to
precipitate our Government and people into an isolated free coinage of this nation alone, when, judging from all in the past as
-well as the priesent, and in all reason, there is no probability that
it will advance the price of silver at all beyond its present price.
Mr. President, I have something to say to the Republicans
from the silver States. I believe what was said by my friend
from Wyoming in conversation on this subject. When Senators
stated tnat their people were in favor of the free coinage of silver he said that no man was worthy of a seat on this floor who
could not mold the sentiments of his people on a question where he
was right, and it would be better to have them against him and
have it go the other way than to tamper with a subject of such
dire concern as this or one which so infinitely affects the interests of the people.
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