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BIMETALLISM.
"We denounce the Republican legislation known as the Sherman act of 1890 as a
cowardly makeshift, fraught with possibilities of danger in the future, wliii;h
should make all of its supporters, as well as its author, anxious for its speedy
repeal. W e hold to the use of both gold and silver as the standard money of the
country, and to the coinage of both gold and silver without discriminating against
either metal or charge for mintage, but the dollar unit of coinage of both metalamust be cf equal intrinsic and exchangeable value, or be adjusted through international agreement, or by such safeguards of legislation as shall insure the maintenance of the parity of the two metals, and the equal power of every dollar at all
times in the markets, and in payment of debts; and we demand that all paper currency shall be kept at par with and redeemable in such coin. W e insist upon this
policy as especially necessary for the protection of the farmers and laboring
classes, the first and most defenseless victims of unstable money and a fluctuating
currency.

SPEECH
OP

H O N . T H O S . C. M c R A E ,
OF

ARKANSAS,
IN THE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,




FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 1893.

WASHINGTON.
1893.




SPEECH
of

HON.

T H O M A S 0. M c R A E .

The House having under consideration the bill (H. R. 1) to repeal a part of
an act, approved July 14, 1890, entitled " A n act directing the purchase of
silver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes thereon, and for other purposes"—

Mr. M c R A E said:
Mr. S P E A K E R : I thank my friend, the gentleman from Texas
{Mr. BAILEY], for his kindness in asking, and the House for
granting me in advance an extension of my time.
1 have listened attentively to almost ail of the speeches in
this great debate, and have labored diligently to understand the
/acts and principles upon which the arguments rest, and to apply them firmly and faithfully to the present condition of the
country. I have heard no good reason why we should not pass
the substitute of the gentleman from Missouri [Mr. BLAND] providing for the free coinage of* silver at the ratio of 10 to 1.
I may not be able to add: anything of value to the able and eloquent arguments presented on the side of bimetallism, but I am
not willing to permit the statements of some of the opponents
of silver to go unchallenged. I intend to consider the propositions involved in the pending bills earnestly,but I trust with becoming candor and freedom. I will not be deterred from the
path of duty as I am permitted to see it by the frowns or favors
of anyone, nor by anything that the anti-silver press may say.
In my opinion this is one of the most important *and far-reaching questions that this Congress will be called upon to deal with.
It affects alike the mechanic in the shop, the merchant in the
store, the professional man in the office, and the farmer in the
field. It is international in its scope, and the decision of Congress will affect for good or evil in some measure, the welfare of
all mankind for ages to come. It is receiving the profouiidest
thought of some of the foremost statesmen of the Old World,
and is entitled to an earnest, fair consideration at our hands. It
should not be settled by epithets, by derisive references to" cheap
money," " 55-cent dollars," and " r a n k repudiation."
Those who have indulged in such arguments have shown
themselves wanting in all that is necessary for an intelligent
discussion of so great and important a question. The leading
papers of the North and East for months past have been full of
editorials and articles against the use of silver money. Extracts
from Europeah papers have been freely reproduced throughout
this country by monometallist American papers. Boards of
trade here and abroad have spent the most of their time for
353




3

4

manufacturing1

months past in
a sentiment against it. The
mails have been loaded with printed and written matter denouncing it. In a word, Mr. Speaker, there is now being made—
yea, is already made—the most powerful and aggressive combinar
tion that ever existed to eventually demonetize silver.
A cruel and heartless panic has been produced and maintained
for months. As the panic increases the clamor against silver
grows in volume. Those who make it do not represent public
sentiment, but they are bold and audacious and have the united
support of what Edmuud Burke thought " the most dangerous
of all parties, an extensive discontented moneyed interest." The
great newspapers of both parties in the East are owned by those
whose fortunes will be largely increased if silver can be completely destroyed as a standard money. Having produced the
Eanic they insist that it is due to silver money and the Sherman
iw, and that there can be no permanent business prosperity until
we make gold the only standard.
The people whose labor creates wealth and whose patriotism
preserves the sacred institutions bequeathed to us by our fathers
are to be the victims of this unholy co mbination. Because our
constituents favor silver coinage they have been referred to in
this debate as* the advocates of repudiation and cheap money.
Sir, I hurl back the slander with indignation. The people of
Arkansas and of the whole South are a contract-abiding people.
I know them and I know that they mean to pay every debt they
honestly owe. But it is a part of my duty to see if possible that
nothing is added to their debts by law.
They are for the fullest use of silver because they clearly fore*
see that with the present private and public indebtedness of the
country, a total destruction of silver as a money metal would
produce calamities and bankruptcies from which but few would
ever recover.
Why should we be asked to take a step which will imperil the
prosperity of the agricultural interest, upon which rests in a
large measure our progress? The farmers have declared for silver in district, State, and national conventions. They have
assisted in electing a Congress pledged to it, and they have a
right to insist that thesej>ledges shall be redeemed by their Representatives. So far as lean, I intend to redeem every personal
and platform pledge I made my constituents, and I am always
willing to give a reason for the faith that is in me.
Mr. Speaker, before I proceed with my argument, let us see
just what the pending question is, and the difference between
the proposition of the gentleman from West Virginia [Mr. WILSON] and the gentleman from Missouri [Mr. BLAND]. I have
the two bills here [exhibiting the bills]. I will print them at
the end of my remarks. Both of them in terms provide for the
repeal of so much of the Sherman aet as directs the purchase of
silver bullion and the issue of Treasury.notes. Neither of them
will directly impair or in any manner affect the legal-tender
quality of the standard silver dollars heretofore coined.
That part of the Sherman law which provides for the redemption and reissue of Treasury notes is not sought to be repealed
in terms by either bill, and whether the bill of the gentleman
from West Virginia or the substitute of the gentleman from Mis358




5

souri is passed all of the Sherman law notes now outstanding
will still be a legal tender for all debts and receivable for customs, taxes, and other public dues, and when held by any national
bank may be counted as a part of its lawful reserve.
Under the proposition of the gentleman from West Virginia
there can be no further coinage of silver, except to redeem the
notes now issued. Under the substitute of the gentleman from
Missouri, silver is recognized as a standard or basic money metal
and its coinage made free to all holders of silver bullion to the
amount of $100 or more., The bill will stop the further coinage
of silver, while the substitute provides for the largest possible
use of it as money.
It is insisted by the friends of the bill that it is in accordance
with the Chicago platform. I deny it. That platform denounced
the u Sherman act as a cowardly makeshift, fraught with possibilities of danger,'1 and demanded its repeal—the whole of it—
with a declaration for the coinage of both gold and silver without discrimination against either. The pending measure only
repeals the purchase clause and leaves the other provisions of
the makeshift in full force.
But, sir, there is still another and more important difference
to which I want to call the attention of the House and country.
Many of our party associates in this Hall who have heretofore
voted in favor of silver now justify their votes against the pending substitute upon the erroneous idea that this is only the repeal of a confessedly bad law, which has been coudemned by the
national Democratic convention. They express the belief that
bimetallism will be advanced by the passage of this bill. Such
is not the case, and an examination of the platform and the bill
will show that this measure in its present shape will satisfy no
art of the demands of the Democratic convention. There is

E

idden in the last part of this bill enough financial dynamite to
shake this country from the Lakes to the Gulf if the fuse is ever
fired. Here is the clause I ask the House to examine and consider:

The faith and credit of the United States are hereby pledged to maintain
the parity of the standard gold and sUver coins of the United States.

Why is this remarkable declaration inserted in what is generally understood and has been discussed as simply a bill for the
unconditional repeal of the purchase clause of the Sherman act?
It is not there by accident, but with deliberation and design. It
could not have been inserted in order to establish the policy of
maintaining a parity between the two metals, because that policy
was emphatically declared in the concluding part of section 2 of
the Sherman act, which is not proposed to be repealed by this
bill. That we may the more clearly understand what this clause
means, let us see what was contained in the Sherman act and
how it has been construed by the Secretary of the Treasury. It
was declared in that act to be " t h e established policy of the
United States to maintain the two metals on a parity with each
other upon the present legal ratio, or such ratio as may be provided by law."
The Secretary of the Treasury construed this to give the holders of the Treasury notes issued under that act the option of
having them redeemed in gold or silver. The holders, of course,
358




6
elected to take gold, and nearly all of the notes that have been
presented have been redeemed in that coin. The effect was to
greatly depreciate silver bullion, and, instead of giving the people an increase in the money volume, as the friends of the bill
claimed, there have been added to their burdens $150,000,000 of
gold debt for silver bullion that the Secretary of the Treasury
can not or will not coin. In referring to this the President says
that:
This declaration so controls the action of the Secretary of the Treasury as
to prevent his exercising the discretion nominally vested in him.

.With these notes now payable by Department construction
alone in gold, it would seem that nothing else would be asked of
Congress; but, notwithstanding this, we are called upon in this
bill to go one step farther and pledge our faith and credit to
maintain the parity of the gold and silver coins. If there was
nothing except the Treasury notes involved, perhaps this clause
would not be here. This pledge, you will observe, is " to maintain the parity of the standard gold and silver coins of the United
States." It means that tjie standard silver dollar, silver certificates, and bullion notes may eventually all be redeemed in gold
and retired.1
I am astounded to hear Democrats talk of redeeming the silver
dollars. Silver, Mr. Speaker, is a money of final payment and
needs no redemption. It is not a promise to pay, but is payment
itself. Sir, to whom is this pledge of faith and credit made?
It must be to those who by holding and hoarding the silver certificates and Sherman notes have forced silver to a premium.
What is pledged? Faith and credit! What does that mean?
During the last century Congress has legislated to meet almost
every conceivable emergency in peace, panic, and war. It has
coined all kinds of money and issued every character of notes
and bonds, funded and refunded the national debt, and yet, so
far as I can learn, no such indefinite, uncertain, and unreasonable
pledge has ever disfigured our statutes.
What, I ask again, is meant by " the faith and credit of the
United States"? As applied to theology, we understand that
'1 faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen." Applying this definition to this clause, I am
disposed to think that the' * faith " in fhis bill might be understood
to mean the interest on the gold bonds " hoped for" by the holders of our notes and certificates and the evidence of a pledge
" n o t seen" by the people's representatives. Can it be possible,
Mr. Speaker, that the silver coin in our Treasury is to be treated
as a public debt instead of real money?
Is it not possible to double the public debt and at the same
time contract our coin money nearly one-half under this bill?
What is the object of all this if it be not to sell bonds, increase
the public debt and perpetuate the national-banking system?
And, if so, why not have the courage to so declare in the body
of the bill? Is it not a contradiction to stop the coinage of the
silver dollar for the alleged reason that the parity between it
and the gold dollar can not be maintained and in the same bill
pledge the faith and credit of the Government to maintain such
parity? After doing everything that can be done to widen the
disparity we are asked to declare it shall be maintained.
358




7
Let tlie Treasury Department admit that silver is not money
and that it must be redeemed in gold, and that moment the
Government puts itself at the mercy of the holders of silver.
All that will then be necessary will be for the speculators and
gamblers who are demanding gold bonds to get control of and
present a large sum of silver notes and certicates for redemption.
The Treasury has no gold of any consequence to be used for such
purpose, and can not get it except by selling bonds. The gold in
that contingency must be purchased, or bonds must be issued directly to the holder of the notes and certificates when presented.
Either will serve the purpose of those who have inaugurated
this fight on silver. Their main object is to get gold bonds
and get rid of silver and silver notes and certificates.
These certificates and notes may then be again reissued by the
Treasury and new bonds issued as often as the Treasury may be
caught without gold. Gentlemen, is this what the people elected
this Congress to do? Mr. Speaker, if there is any one thing
that the great body of people in this country are agreed upon, it
is that the remaining public debt shall be paid at the earliest
possible moment and not another interest-bearing bond issued.
They are sick and tired of paying interest on a public debt, a
large part of which ought never to have been made and the
other part ought to have been paid years ago. They have complained bitterly of the methods adopted to change the character
and life of the bonds now outstanding.
After having paid and bought in at a high premium about
three-fourths of the enormous war debt, they will not, in my
opinion, tamely submit to an increase of it for the purpose of redeeming the silver coins. I hope there is no such purpose on
the part of the Administration. I trust the power given by this
bill may never be used. We all remember what a shout of approval came up from the people when the present Secretary
courageously informed those who urged upon him the issue of
bonds that he would use every dollar of the gold reserve before
he would issue a single bond.
Western and Southern banks rushed to his rescue with gold.
If he will adhere to this purpose and would only go one step further and use silver in the payment of these notes and the public
debt, the fight for the people on this question would in a large
measure be won. May the people not trust a Democratic Congress and a Democratic Administration to save them from the
humiliation of issuing bonds? I can not and I will not vote to
bring down upon this once happy and prosperous but now taxridden and bond-burdened people the dual ruin of a contracted
currency and a new public debt. This bold but most unjust experiment of changing the standard of value and increasing the
purchasing value and decreasing the debt-paying power of
money, and injuriously adding to the burdens of debt, ought to
be met by this House with positive condemnation.
Mr. Speaker, if I may be pardoned a personal reference. I will
say that when the Sherman law was pending in the Fifty-first
Congress I denounced it as a wicked conspiracy against silver,
and expressed the belief that it was the intention of the persons
who wrote it to prevent free coinage of silver under any and all
circumstances. The author of it has recently confessed that his
358




s
purpose was to defeat silver. I then warned the House against
the danger of the parity declaration in that bill, and predicted
that it would be construed to authorize the payment of gold for
the Treasury notes issued until silver bullion should come to a
parity with gold.
The Representatives and Senators from the silver-producing
States disre garded this warning and bartered away the free coinage of silver for the mere chance to sell 4,500,000 ounces of their
produ ct for gold. They voted for the bill as the monometallists
wrote it, and thereby made the way to the complete demonetization of silver easier. They aided the enemies of silver to substitute for the Bland act, which they could not repeal directly,
an odious makeshift that they can repeal. For the Representatives who became parties to this trade I have no sympathy.
To the credit of the Democrats in that Congress it can be said
that none of them voted for it. The law was bad in principle,
and has been made worse by practice; but it carried the repeal
of the onl^ silver-coinage act then on our statutes. The friends of
silver insist that with its repeal should come the restoration of
the Bland law or something better for silver.
I desire to now notice some of the objections urged against the
substitute of the gentleman from Missouri. I shall not at this
time attempt to elaborate at any length the reasons why we
should have free coinage. I have on several occasions since I
have had the honor to represent my district in this House, expressed myself fully upon the different phases of the coinage
question. The first speech I ever made in this Hall was in 1886,
in favor of free coinage and against a proposition to suspend further coinage under the Bland act. My views are well known
both here and at home. The two arguments most commonly
used by the gold monometallists are (1) that silver is cheap
money; (2) that we will be reduced to silver monometallism if
we open our mints to the silver of the world.
I deny both propositions. If I believed either of them I would
not favor free coinage. I abhor cheap or dishonest money and
reject alike the British silver monometallism of India and the
British gold monometallism of London as unworthy of this great
and growing Republic, now the home of one-half of the Englishspeaking people of the world, pledged to remove the barriers to
commerce and. ready to reach out at the same time for trade with
gold-consuming Europe and silver-using Asia. I repudiate in
toto the suggestion of the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. H A R T E R ]
that we have too much metallic money. Nearly all the writers
upon finance who are worthy of any notice agree that it is not
possible to have,a redundancy of gold and silver money. It has
been clearly shown in this debate that those countries which have
the largest per capita coin circulation are the most prosperous.
I am in favor of sound and honest money abundantly sufficient
in volume to supply the business needs. I believe in using gold
and silver as the dollar unit, and in addition to that as much redeemable paper money as we can keep at par with the coin.
But, in the language of the Executive, when he was the
Democratic candidate for President, whatever may be the form
of the money, whether f*old, silver, or paper, every dollar issued
should be of the same intrinsic or purchasing value. If I did
358




9
not believe that the closing of the mints to silver was the cause
of the decline of silver bullion, I would not favor its coinage at
the present ratio. The true cause of the depreciation in the
value of silver is, in my judgment, its demonetization by law.
-Fully one-half of the value of gold comes from the demand for it
for use as money. Let France, Germany, and the United States
close their mints to and demonetize gold and adopt the silver
standard, and gold would decline as fast as silver did when these
countries began to legislate against it.
Let the mints be opened to silver as they are now to gold without discrimination, and its bullion value will at once go to a parity
with gold. The United States, as the greatest producing, manufacturing, and mining country in the world, occupies such a
commanding position to the commerce of the world that it can
afford to take the lead in the great cause of bimetallism. No
one in this debate has denied that the coinage of both metals
would be best for us if we can maintain the parity. As Germany
and France followed the United States in demonetizing silver
after the act of 1873, may we not hope to have them follow us in
an effort to fully remonetize it if we will only have the courage
of our convictions and lead out? It is generally believed that
Germany demonetized silver before the United States did; but
this is not true. The German act was not passed until July after
the act of February 12, 1873. We want an American monetary
policy.
The standard silver dollar of the United States is worth as
much as the gol d dollar, both in this country and abroad. It will
buy as much of products and pay as much of any debt. These
facts are well known to all men, and yet there are those who inveigh against it in the name of the laborers as a dishonest dollar. Show me the person, be he rich or poor, who has been
cheated by the standard silver dollar, and I will confess my error.
There is, perhaps, a question of morals involved, but it is against
the gold dollar rather than the silver, and for the opposite of the
reason usually assigned. That gold has appreciated in value
there can be no question.
This has more than once been shown in this debate. A dollar
that has too much value is as dishonest as one that has too little.
One wrongs the debtor and the other the creditor. The creditor class, the self-constituted guardians of the public faith and
the morals of our people, have never protested against the changes
that have required the debtors to pay their debts in an appreciating dollar representing too much value. They have grown
richer standing guard over and shouting for the principles of
national honor, but the debtors have found that it is all the time
growing harder and harder for them to pay their debts. Our
public credit has been strengthened as that of no other country
under the sun, but the methods by which our bonds have been
run to a premium have to a large extent ruined and destroyed
private credit. Gentlemen tell us that gold is invariable and
stable.
Is it not a flat contradiction, Mr. Speaker, to assert this and
at the same time declare, as did the gentleman from Mississippi
[Mr. CATCHINGS], that it will now purchase more than at any
time in its history? Is it not true that a diminution of our money
358




10
supply will make it easier for the few to control it, and thus deepen
the chasm between the rich and the poor? Hum 3 has truly said
that " A nation whose money decreases^is actually at that time
weaker and more miserable than another nation which possesses
no more money, but is on the increasing hand." In the midst of.
the worst panic ever witnessed in this country shall we begin to
decrease our money and weaken our nation?
It is beyond question true " that money undergoing appreciation cheats, but not the holder; it cheats the one who hasn't it,
and, unfortunately, that is likely to be the producer and laborer."
The silver dollar is as honest as the gold dollar, and if it is
given a fair trial at the mints then its friends will be perfectly
willing to submit it to the test of fire; but until the mints are
opened to it upon equal terms with gold it is rank dishonesty to
call it cheap money because the bullion is worth less than gold
bullion.
It has been asserted by some that there are large quantities
of silver bullion in other countries which will be thrown upon
us as soon as our mints are opened to the free coinage of silver;
that the difference between the present price of silver bullion
and its coinage value will induce foreign silver to come to our
mints and gold will be carried away in exchange for it.
Is there an accumulation of silver ready to & dumped on the
United States? If so? where is it? The Secretary of the Treasury in 1889 in his report said: " There is no known accumulated
stock of silver in the world." When we come to search, for this
alleged a,nd large supply in the fresh product of the mines it is
not to be found. The report of the exports and imports of the
world show no large masses of silver bullion in existence at any
one place. The products of the silver mines is not increasing
more rapidly than gold and not as rapidly as the population.
For 1 , 5 0 0 , 0 0 0 , 0 0 0 people in the world all the silver mines last
year produced only $ 1 9 6 , 6 0 o . 0 J 0 , or about 1 5 cents per capita.
The United States produces nearly half of the world's supply,
and she could use it all without any danger to bimetallism.
Canada is the only English dependency that produces any silver,
and that is inconsiderable when compared with what she must
have for her India and China trade. Upon this point I desire
to quote from William P. St. John, president of the Merchants'
National Bank of New York, and in doing so I want to say that
I regard him as one of the ablest and most patriotic defenders of
bimetallism in the United States:
Europe's only stock of silver is her money. Europe's primary silver
money is the unlimited legal-tender equivalent of her gold. As such it circulates in settlement of every day's transactions. As such it constitutes a
liberal share of the coin reserves which Europe's great banks accumulate
for the liquidation of-their vast liabilities, including the redemption of their
circulating notes. This European standard coin values silver at 359.91
grains to the doUar. Our mints exact 371.35 grains pure silver for our standard dollar. Thus. 11.34 grains would be Europe's first sacrifice, with loss of
weight and transportation costs additional, in every dollar-for-dollar exchange of Europe's standard silver coin for ours. Or, more intelligibly:
Europe's silver money which circulates at home as 100 cents would recoin
at our free mints into less than 97 cents.
France does not threaten us with silver. And yet the estimated sum of
silver in bank and afloat in France exceeds $700,000,000, together with $900,358




11
000,000 gold, Her population is almost stationary at about 38,000,000. Her
traders establish such relations to the foreigner that France is the accumulator of the money metals among nations generally in her international
trade. Unless M. Leon Say has blundered, France has adopted * a waiting
•
policy * * * beingcommitted to the bimetallic s t a n d a r d . F r a n c e can afford to wait and contentedly permit her merchants to establish title to foreign gold. If by our legislation, .supported by the aid assured us elsewhere,
the United States enhances the market price of silver to a parity of value
for the gold and silver contained in our gold and silver dollars, the inducement to continue a waiting .policy, on the part of France, is made to disappear. The act of France will dictate the policy of her neighbors.
*

*

*

*

*

*

*

But if imagination is still unsatisfied that Europe's silver will not denude
ns of our gold, recollect that Europe's money is deficient by 3.05 per cent for
an exchange with us of silver coin for silver coin. Remember, too, that
Europe's silver circulates in coin, and her coin is old. It Will therefore
shrink importantly in melting. The very moderate total shrinkage of 5 per
cent of 81,100,000,000 of Europe's silver would contract her currency by $o5,000.000. Think of this minimum contraction of her currency as Europe's entirely voluntary sacrifice in rejecting silver to obtain our gold. Remember
that this sum exceeds by $25,000,000 the entire world's aggregate annual increase of money, if gold is the only acceptable coin. Allot to Europeans
about as little sagacity as we modestly accord ourselves. And, finally, if I
mistake not, " T h e Impending Avalanche of Europe's Silver" will rank
hereafter with "Alibaba and the Forty Thieves."

In the same line I desire to quote from the St. Louis Republic,
one of the few great daily newspapers that has thrown its great
influence and power on the side of bimetallism in this fight:
Before our financiers hastily conclude that this country would become the
dumping ground of the world's silver if we alone adopted a bimetallic standard they should take into account the legal-tender quality of European and
Asiatic silver. Latin Union silver is legal tender at 15$ t$ 1, and India's
rupees are legal tender at 15 to 1. Both Europe and Asia have a use for
every ounce they possess. Gold is not legal tender in India, and the present
instruction of the government in London is that it shall not be. India will
not dump silver on us as long as it is the common money of the people and
the only money. The rating of India council bills at Is.
per rupee will
not bring silver from India to the United States. Nor will European silver
come until the legal-tender quality is taken away, for the coins are worth
more there than they would be as bullion here. W e would have, as far as
the mass of silver to take care of is concerned, to count only upon our own
accumulated stock and the annual increase.
This reminder of the legal-tender value of silver elsewhere does not lessen
the reasons for the repeal of the Sherman act, but rather strengthens them
by emphasizing the fact that it is not in any sense a bimetallic measure.
The silver in circulation among the East Indians is not a commodity. It
is money. The stock kept in circulation by France is money. Coinage has
been suspended, but the silver coins are money, and they will not leave to
become bullion. India will not coin on private account, but the government
will assume a coinage monopoly and will regulate it as seems advisable.
Silver will probably still be coined in India, and every rupee coined will be
money.
A bimetallist who weighs his words will not thus early undertake to say
what silver movements would follow a free coinage in which the United
States would be alone. The production of the mines, the requirements of
the arts, and the course of trade with Asiatic and South American countries
are only some of the factors which he would need to know. But he can say
with confidence that the legal-tender silver money of Europe and Asia would
not be melted and shipped here.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to say a word about the ratio. I do
not think it necessary to change from that of 16 to 1, but I prefer to have free coinage at an increased ratio rather than no
coinage at all. To my Democratic associates I appeal for the
preservation of the principle of bimetallism. We should agree
upon some ratio. I want it at 16 to 1 if possible, but if I should
fail in this I will then make the best terms I can. There is not
a Democrat here who does not believe in the use of silver monej
358




12

If there be one, he is here by false pretenses. As Demqcrats we
may honestly differ as to the ratio and disagree as to whether
we should have free and independent coinage or an international
agreement, but we all agree that silver money in some shape is
a necessity, and we are squarely committed to its use.
If the ratio of 16 to 1 should be rejected, I would then regard
a vote against an increased ratio as a vote against bimetallism.
We are reminded that it will cost about $70,000,000 to recoin the
silver dollars at 20 to 1. Mr. Speaker, why should the present
dollars be recoined at all? If the Government declares its purpose to receive the 412i-grain dollar in exchange for that of the
516 grains, the lighter dollar will continue to circulate upon the'
same principle that the silver certificates now circulate side by
side with gold. But suppose we should have to recoin and should
lose this large sum, it is a mere bagatelle when compared to losing the whole of silver.
The gentleman from New York [Mr. FITCH] in his lecture to
a portion of the Democratic party said that the President of the
United States was elected on nis'first-term record and not on the
Chicago platform. He read from the Warner letter of 1885 and
the messages to the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses. The
gentleman is very unfortunate in his reference to this record.
Does he not know that his own State, th« great Empire State,
and the Electoral College as well repudiated Mr. Cleveland in
1888 when he went to the country on his record, without any
declaration in the platform on the financial question? I believe
that his record and the failure of the St. Louis convention to
make positive declaration on the coinage question did more than
anything else to defeat him.
Mr. FITCH. Do you want me to answfer that?
Mr. McRAE. Not now; I have no time to give you to answer;
I am answering you. I would remind the gentleman that Mr.
Cleveland, for whose courage and ability I have the very highest regard, and whose honesty and integrity of purpose I would
not question, was never defeated by the people of the United
States except when he ran on a gold record without a silver platform. In 1884 he proudly carried the banner of the Democracy
to victory on a bimetallic platform against the ablest and strongest man in the Republican party.
Again, in 1892, he carried the country by an overwhelming
majority on a bimetallic platform, against Gen. Harrison, who
defeated him in 1888. Mr; Cleveland on a bimetallic platform
has always been invincible.
The gentleman from New York, my friend [Mr. CCJMMINGS],
has felt called upon to lecture the Southern Democracy upon this
question because it assisted in nominating Mr. Cleveland, and
will not now consent to strike down silver.
Mr. CUMMINGS. They assumed to lecture the New York
Democrats.
Mr. McRAE. The Southern Democracy has never undertaken to lecture that of your State, except in convention, and
then only when you were about to go wrong. The vote of Arkansas has been referred to. In 1884 I had the honor to be a delegate to the national convention, and it was my privilege and my
pleasure to vote for the nomination of Mr. Cleveland. He was
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supported by the organization in New York. He was elected
and gave the country an honest Administration. He united the
party upon the tariff question.
Again, in 1892, the delegates from Arkansas voted for his
nomination, as did many others from the South. For this reason
the gentleman from New York says that Mr. Cleveland was
essentially the candidate of the South. In a measure this is
true. We accepted and elected him upon the platform and his
letter and the gentleman can not point to anything in his utterances since that nomination that is inconsistent with the use pi
silver. In his recent message he is silent as to silver coinage.
I deeply regret this. I would like to know his plan for using
silver. It is said by some who do not assume to speak by authority that he is in favor of this, that, and the other, but I prefer
to hear from him his own plan for carrying out the pledges of
the party. The gentleman says no man, friend or foe, has ever
accused him of being untrue to his convictions. I believe it, and
all I ask him to do is to adhere to.his convictions as expressed in
his letter of acceptance in 1892 and the platform upon which he
was elected.
I will not undertake to say whether Mr. Cleveland will sign a
free-coinage bill or not. None of you have authority to say that
he will not. Suppose he is opposed to silver and that the South is
responsible for his nomination, does'that require us as Representatives to repudiate our pledge to our constituents? Are we assuming a 44 treasonable attitude toward the Democratic party "
when we are only insisting on redeeming the whole of our platform
pledges? I repudiate the suggestion that any man, or set of men,
can control the Democratic party or have aright to expect Democratic Representatives to surrender their convictions upon this
or any other question.
The great States of the South and the Mississippi Valley that
marched to victory under the Democratic banner last year, did
so not alone because of the men at the head of the ticket, but
because the people had made up their minds to turn their backs
on the class legislation of the Republican party. They were determined to defeat the Republican and elect the Democratic candidates, and it could have been done as successfully with Hill,
Gorman, Boies, or Morrison at the head of the ticket.
The people were in earnest and meant to win. They did win,
and it was a grand and complete victory for our party. The people voted for a change in financial and tax laws. The gentleman
in speaking of the New York Democracy says they " merit
praise, not denunciation." I have indulged in no denunciation
of the New -York Democracy. For the gallant, courageous, and
successful fight by the organization in that State last year our
people have nothing but praise. There is no occasion for this
talk about dividing or splitting the Democratic party in the
South. If there? are differences we should settle them inside of
the party and in the next convention.
The last Democratic convention and the election that followed
settled two things of great importance to our party: (1) That
the organization in the State of New York is loyal to the nominees,
whether it gets its candidate or not; (2j that it is possible to
nominate or elect a Democratic candidate without the vote of
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New York. I want no differences in our party, and hope we
shall have none; but if our Eastern friends are determined to
destroy silver ^noney in this country, we will measure strength
with them upon that issue in the next convention. W e do not
propose to be read out of the party, nor pushed off of the platform, but will assert our rights at the proper time. I make no
threats, but I notify the Eastern Democracy now that if the
pledges of last year are not redeemed that they will find the
South and West solid in the next convention insisting upon naming the candidate and writing the platform.
The issue I make now is with the Democrats of this House, not
the President. And that, sir, is the issue the people will
make. Representatives will not be allowed to take shelter behind the President's broad shoulders and great personal popularity. His responsibility as Executive has ceased. Our duty
as Representatives has just begun. It is not a question of what
he will do, but what is our duty and what are our pledges to our
constituents upon the coinage question ? As honest men and
loyal Democrats, we should sacredly live up to every pledge we
made the people when we solicited their votes. Our duty and
responsibility will not cease until we send to the President a bill
providing for the use of both gold and silver upon equal terms.
The gentleman from New York [Mr. HENDRIX] attributes the
prosperity of the six years beginning in 1879 to the foreign gold
that came into our country. It 4s unfortunate for the gentleman's argument that this prosperity followed so soon after the
passage of the Bland act. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that this little
spurt of prosperity of which he talks so eloquently was in a large
measure due to the partial remonetization of silver. The gentleman accounts for the depression that followed that period and
culminated in the present panic, by saying that English capitalists saw the rising tide of silver and began to withdraw. If
that is true, it is a strong argument against borrowing money
from abroad. But I think there were other causes that were
steadily and effectively at work.
As soon as the national banks saw that silver was popular with
the people they began the clamor against it. To neutralize the
effect of the increase in the silver circulation they began calling
in the bank circulation. Whjr, sir, in 1883, the year the gentleman says the tide turned against us, the bank circulation was
$356,073,2S1. Year by year since then it has been contracted,
although the number of banks and the capital invested have
largely increased. The last report of the Comptroller shows a
circulation of only $172,683,850. During this same period we
have added to our volume of silver about $200,000,00(1. As silver
was coined the banks contracted. The deposits and loans of the
banks have steadily grown in volume until we find that when
this panic came the national banks alone had $1,765,422,984 of
individual deposits, and had outstanding loans find discounts to
the enormous sum of $2,153,498,829.
While the banks are receiving the money of one cla$s of people
on deposit, and loaning it out to another class, they are contracting
their own circulation. Is there any wonder, sir, that the banks
are in trouble and are now running on their credit? Do you wonder that they are unable to return the money to the depositors?
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Are you surprised that the people should become alarmed and
distrust the ability of the banks to pay them? Here lies the reason for the lack of confidence of which we have heard so much
recently. The credit of the banks and the people have been
overtaxed. We have had too much speculation and watered
stocks.
Let us, sir, consider for a moment the immense power and influence these associations can exercise upon the business and
legislation when they owe to one class of our people a sum larger
than the aggregate of all our silver and Treasury notes and
have the merchants and business men in debt to them for over
$2,000,000,000. To the depositors who want their money they
say we can not pay because of the panic, but for the same reason
the poor fellows who owe them are told that no extension of time
can be granted and they must pay up* Truly, gentlemen, " monopoly and exclusive privileges have already struck their roots
deep in the soil, and it will require all your efforts to check its
further growth and to eradicate the evil." Disguise it as you
may, this contest is a fight between the national banks on one
side and silver and Treasury notes on the other. Which do you
prefer? If the policy of which this is a beginning is voluntarily
submitted to or by fear or favor enforced, the coinage of silver
will cease, Treasury notes will be retired, and we will have nothing but gold and bank notes for our money.
Our friends from New England are much concerned about the
deposits of their constituents held by the savings banks lest
they may be paid in silver. They talk feelingly of the hard
times now upon their people. The hearty and sincere sympathy
of the people of the South goes out for the laborers who are out
of employment in the North. Our people know what hard
times are. For thirty years they have heroically struggled
against them, and but few haye ever known what it is to have a
credit in bank. But that maniy, independent, and hopeful spirit
of the farm^of the South is fast breaking down under the increasing burdens of tariff taxes and unreasonable pensions. The discouraging and destructive restriction upon trade is bearing its
bitter fruits in the cotton States. Instead of prosperity and
contentment, we witness at every turn an appealing picture of
distress/
May a kind Providence soften the hearts of those who have
set to work the forces that have produced this panic and brought
distress upon our country. If it is true, as has been said, that
"when calamity comes down soul rises up," then this financial
affliction, destructive as it is in some sections of our common
country, may not be without its lesson. It may serve to arouse
the better feelings of the soul of the people and unite them in
an effort for financial and commercial freedom. Let us hope
that it may serve to unite in closer bonds of sympathy and friendship the industrial and agricultural classes of every section of
our country.
If this Congress desires the approval of the people of the
United States it must fearlessly resist the spirit of jjreed, monopoly, and trusts; shift some of the burdens of taxation from the
shoulders of the poor to the backs of the rich; provide an adequate money volume; dissolve the partnership between the
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Government and the national banks and remit the banking business to the people and the States: allow the States the right to
hold their own elections without Federal interference; adhere
strictly to the Constitution, and secure to the farmers North and
South free access to all the markets of the world. [Loud applause.]
wilson

bill.

Be it enacted, etc.t That so much of the act approved July 14, 1890, entitled
" A n act directing the purchase of silver bullion and issue of Treasury notes
thereon, and for other purposes," as directs the Secretary of the Treasury
to purchase from time to time silver bullion to the aggregate amount of
4,500,000 ounces, or so much thereof as may be offered in each month at the
market price thereof, not exceeding $1 for 371.25 grains of pure silver, and to
issue in payment for such purchases Treasury notes of the United States,
be, and the same is hereby, repealed; but this repeal shall not impair, or in
any manner affect the legal tender quality of the standard silver dollars
heretofore coined; and the faith and credit of the United States are hereby
pledged to maintain the parity of the standard gold and silver coins of the
United States at the present legal ratio or such other ratio as may be established by law.
bland

substitute.

Be it enacted, etc., That from and after the passage of this act all holders of
silver bullion to the amount of $100 or more, of standard weight and fineness,
shall be entitled to have the same coined at the Mint of the United States
into silver dollars of the weight and fineness provided for in the second section of this act.
Sec. 2. That the silver dollar provided for in this act shall consist of 412J
grains of standard silver; said dollars to be a legal tender for aU debts, dues,
and demands, both public and private.
S e c . 3. That the holder of silver dollars herein provided for shall be entitled to deposit the same and to receive silver certificates in the manner now
provided by law for the standard silver dollars.
Sec. 4. That so much of the act of July 14, 1890, entitled " An act directing
the purchase of silver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes thereon, and
for other purposes," as requires the monthly purchase of 4*500,000 ounces of
silver bullion, be, and the same is hereby, repealed.
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