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H O N . A L B E R T J. H O P K I N S .
The House having tinder 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
Bilver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes- thereon, and for other purposes"—

Mr. HOPKINS of Illinois said:
Mr. S P E A K E R : In the message which the President of the
United States submitted to Congress at the opening of this session he used this language:
The existence of an alarming and extraordinary business situation, involving the welfare and prosperity of all our people, has constrained me to call
together in extra session the people's representatives in Congress, to the end
that through a wise and patriotic exercise of the legislative duty with which
they solely are charged present evils maytoemitigated and dangers threatening the future may be averted.

And after speaking at some length of the peculiar and forlorn
condition in which the country is placed to-day, he said:

I believe these things are principally chargeable to Congressional legislation touching the purchase and coinage of silver by the General Government.
This legislation is embodied in a statute passed on the 14th day of July,
1890, which was the culmination of much agitation on the subject involved,
and which may be considered a truce, after a long struggle, between the advocates of free silver cpinage and those Intending to be more conservative.

This language of the President clearly indicates what to his
mind should be the subject of legislation at this extraordinary
session of Congress, and it also expresses the sentiment that
party considerations should not enter into the deliberations of
either of the great political parties in determining the remedies
for the evils portrayed in his message.
I had hoped, Mr. Speaker, that the Democratic party, as represented in this House, would accept of this message in the
spirit in which it was given by the Chief Executive, and would
emb trkupon the consideration1 of the legislation that is proposed to relieve the country from its present financial distress,
on broad and patriotic grounds. The Republican Representatives in Congress were ready and willing, and even anxious, to
meet their Democratic colleagues, not as partisans, but as patriots, to confer together, and from such conferences to evolve
some kind of legislation that would meet the demands of the
public in this great emergency, and that would show to the
country that in a crisis, such as is now experienced by the people, sectionalism and partisanship would not dominate and control either of these great political organizations.
This wish and hope that I have expressed was indulged in not


only by the Republican members of this House, but by the country generally. That we were fated to disappointment is now
known to all. On the 11th of this month the gentleman from
Missouri [Mr. B L A N D ] presented the following resolution for
adoption in the House:

Ordered by the House* That H. R. No. 1 shall be taken tip for immediate consideration and considered lor fourteen days. During such consideration
night sessions may be held, for debate only, at the request of either side.
The dally sessions to commence at 11 a. m. and continue until 5 p. m. Eleven
days of the debate on the bill to be given to general debate under the rules
of the last House regulating general debate, the time to be equally divided
between the two sides as the Speaker may determine. The last three days
of debate may be devoted to the consideration of the bill and the amendments herein provided fort under the usual five-minute rule of the Houses
as in Committee of the Whole House. General leave to print is hereby
Order of amendments: The vote shaU be taken first on an amendment
providing for the free coinage of silver at the present ratio. If that fails,
then a separate vote to be had on a similar amendment proposing a ratio of
17 to 1; if that fails, on one proposing a ratio of 18 to 1; If that fails, on one
proposing a ratio of 19 to 1; if that fails, on one proposing a ratio of 20 to 1.
If the above amendments fail, it shall be in order to offer an amendment reviving the act of the 28th of February, 1878, restoring the standard silver
dollar,1 commonly known as the Bland-Allison act; the vote then to be taken
on the engrossment and third reading of the bill as amended, or on the bill
itself if all amendments shall have been voted down, and on the final passage of the bill without other intervening motions.

This resolution was the result of a conference or caucus between
the Democratic members of the House representing the extremes
on the silver question. No Republican member had any voice
or vote in determining any of the propositions embodied in the
resolution which I have just had read at the Clerk's desk. It is
the result of Democratic partisan consideration. When it was
presented and itspassage demanded by the Democratic Representative having- it in charge, by authority of the caucus of the
party, various members on our side protested against its adoption because they believed, as we all believed, that, in a great
emergency like this, no Representative should be limited to
either of the extremes presented in this resolution.
I Bay either of the extremes, because the bill itself calls for a
repeal of the purchasing clause of what is known as the Sherman
law unconditionally, and without an^ legislation accompanying
it tending to the increase or expansion of the currency of this
country to meet the wants of a constantly increasing population
and a constantly increasing volume of business, while the amendments which are proposed in the resolution limit the vote to the
free coinage of silver upon some ratio varying from 1 to 16 to I
to 20, not, one of these ratios being in accordance with the commercial difference that to-day exists between the two metals.
Republicans have a right, Mr. Speaker, to be justly indignant,
as they are, at the treatment which has been accorded them by
their Democratic colleagues on this floor in forcing the adoption of this resolution, and the consequent limitation of the consideration of this great question, which is affecting every section of our common country, without any privilege of suggesting
any amendment, or embodying any proposition in the way of a,
substitute, that in the judgment of the Republican me mixers of
this House will aid in lifting this pall from the business of the
No political advantage can be gained by such partisanship.


The people of this country are too intelligent, and their attention is directed too strongly to the consideration of this question
in Congress now to be misled by any of these limitations which
have been imposed upon the representatives of the people in
this resolution on which we are called to vote on the 28th of this
month. What they demand now is legislation that will relieve
the country from its present stagnation of business. They wish
to see legislation th at will restore confidence to the business men
and to the manufacturers in this country. They wish to see the
wheels of industry again started, the factories thrown open and
the unemployed men who are to-day crying for bread or for
work, given their old employment, with the remunerative wages
to which they have been a ccustomed during the many years that
the Republican party has been in control of this country.
What is the remedy that is offered by Mr. B L A N D of Missouri
and the majority of the Democratic party as represented on this
floor? It is the free and unlimited coinage of silver on a ratio
of 16 to 1, or some ratio intermediate between that and 20 to 1,
including the latter number; and in case of the failure of any of
these propositions to receive the indorsement of this House then
the proposition is to reenact what is denominated the Bland
bill of 1478.
These, and these alone, are the propositions which are presented by the members of the Democratic party, as represented
on this tioor, as a' panacea for the ills under which the country
is suffering. It will require, Mr. Speaker, more than the faith
of the early Christians for any person to believe that a remedy
can be found in the adoption of any of them^ When they are
subjected to cold analysis, in the light of historical facts, they
fail utterly in furnishing the relief that is needed by the people
of this country.
I have noticed in all the speeches that have been made by the
friends of the white metal that they are more powerful in declamation than logical in reasoning, and that glittering generalities are substituted for substantial reasons to lead the public to
a silver basis. Each speaker who has followed Mr. B L A N D , the
great apostle of free silver in this country, on that side of the
question has prefaced his remarks with a statement that he is a
bimetallism and has assumed, without any reason therefor, that
those who are not prepared to adopt any of these ratios submitted in this resolution under consideration are enemies of bimetallism, if indeed they do not belong to that despised class denominated by our Populist friends " the Gold Bugs of Wall street."
Bimetallism can not be had in this country by arbitrary legislative enactment. The commerce and trade of the world can
not be commanded or changed by the American Congress alone.
It would be as easy to change the flow of water over the Falls
of Niagara by bill in Congress as to create practical bimetallism
of the two metals—gold and silver—in this country by legislative enactment, without taking into consideration the commercial value of the two metals and their condition and use in the
other civilized countries of the world.
These so-called friends of free silver are misleading the people. if not themselves also, when they insist that the adoption of
any one of the ratios proposed in the pending resolution will re7f


store practical bimetallism in the United Stntss. They say with
truth that gold and silver are recognized in the Constitution as
the money metals, and that in 1792 we established bimetallism in
this country by recognizing both gold and silver at a certo in
fineness on the ratio of 15 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold,
and that from that day to 1873 we were committed by acts of
Congress to bimetallism.
In all these statements, Mr. Speaker, I find myself traveling
the same road with the so-called friends of free and unlimited
coinage of silver. These are historical facts that are known
even to the school children of this country, but it is equally well
known that never for three consecutive days, from the adoption
of the ratio of 15 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold in the laws
of 1792, up to the present time, have these two metals traveled
in company upon the ratio fixed by law. The commercial values
of gold and silver have invariably controlled their legal value,
and the enactments of Congress upon this subject have been a
dead letter.
Whenever legislation interferes with the natural laws of trade
it becomes inoperative. You can no more fix and determine by
legislation adopted in this Congress the relative value of the
two metals than you can change and modify the laws of nature.
The laws of trade and commerce are as inexorable as the law of
These principles were well known to the founders of the Republic, and it was for that reason that Robert Morris, the great
financier of the Revolution, was opposed to the double standard.
He believed from the wide experience that he had had in financial matters, and from the profound study which he had given
the subject, that the two metals, gold and silver, could not by
legislation be held at a certain ratio for any length of time, and
hence in his discussion on the adoption of the laws relative to
this subject, and the establishment of a stmdard of value and
medium of exchange, he favored one metal.
It is true at that time he favored the silver metal. And why?
Because at that time silver was used as a standard of value in
all civilized nations oi the world. It was before the discovery
of gold in California and Australia, and before gold had become
the standard of value of the great civilized nations, as it is to-day.
Alexander Hamilton himself, while recommending, as he did
in his celebrated report to Congress, the adoption of the bimetallic theory, did it with grave doubts and many misgivings. He
saw with almost prophetic eye, that if the ratio established by
law of the two metals did not conform strictly with the commercial value of the two metals, that it would be utterly impossible
to have them interchangeable in the channels of trade in this
country on the ratio fixed by act of Congress. He stated, and it
is a well-known fact, a fact that will not bs disputed by any intelligent member of this House, that he held to the belief that if but one
mefcil should be adopted ae the standard of-value and the medium
of exchange, that metal should be gold, because of its less variable value.
What is the result, Mr. Speaker, of the adoption of bimetallism
in this country at the ratio of 15 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of
gold? The records from the Treasury Department, together with


standard financial works treating of this subject, show clearly
that the two metals never for one day traveled in company under
that ratio. Gold was undervalued, and refused to keep company
with her white brother.
At that time the legal ratio between the two metals in France
and other European countries was 15i grains of silver to 1
grain of gold, and hence the silver that was coined drove out of
the channels of trade the yellow metal, and we were practically
a monometallist country on a silver basis from 1792 up to a revision of these laws, under the leadership of the great Senator
from Missouri, Thomas H. Benton, who, in 1834, secured a
change of ratio, making 16 ounces of silver the legal equivalent
of 1 ounce of gold.
This ratio did not conform to the commercial difference in the
two metals, but at this time England had established the gold
basis for her standard, and gold was coming into more general
use as the great money metal of the world. The country at the
time of this change felt the need of more gold in the channels of
trade in the American States, and this change in the ratio was
for the purpose of inducing gold to leave foreign countries and
seek our shores for investment. By the establishment of this
ratio of 16 ounces of silver to 1 of gold, silver was undervalued,
and it, in its turn, refused to circulate as a money metal on that
ratio with the yellow metal.
The commercial difference of the two metals at this time was
only 3 cents on a dollar. In other words, a silver dollar, on this
ratio, was worth 3 cents more, intrinsically, than a gold dollar,
and this difference was sufficient to send it abroad for investment, and leave gold as the sole metal for trade and commerce
in this country. The mints of the United States were open
equally to both metals on this ratio; yet, as a matter of fact, silver was practically unknown as a money in use. Whatever was
coined at, the mints was immediately shipped to other countries,
and there melted into bullion and sold at its market value.
At this time, Mr. Speaker, there was no cry raised in favor of
this white metal. By the establishment of this ratio this country was placed upon a gold monometallic basis as firmly and as
securely as it would have been had silver been demonetized.
Gold was the standard of value and our only medium of exchange, and was the circulating medium of this country up to
the time of the outbreak of the civil war and the issue of Treasury notes such as are now known as the greenback.
The crime of the demonetization of silver, if crime it be, antedated the legislation of 1873. It is true that up to the revision
of our coinage laws in 1873 the silver dollar was known upon our
statute books, but it was practically demonetized, as I have before said, in 1834, when the ratio of the two metals was changed,
and the legislation of 1873 was but recording what commerce
and trade had already done for this white metal.
On the ratio established in 1834 between the two metals, of
16 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold, the legal value of an ounce
of silver is $1.29. Under the old ratio that was established in
1792, of 15 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold, the ratio was fixed
upon the basis of silver being worth $1.38 an ounce. At this
time, as I have already said, all of the civilized countries of the


world had their mints open to the free and unlimited coinage of
silver; and yet, Mr. Speaker, because the legal ratio fixed in
1792 of 15 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold did not correspond
with the commercial ratio, the two metals refused to circulate
together; they varied in their commercial value from year to
year, but slightly, it is true, but in a sufficient amount to drive
silver from our shores and cause it to seek investment, not as
the coin of our country, but as bullion, in foreign markets.
In 1819 the commercial value of an ounce of silver was $1.35.
This, you will see, was within 3 cents of par, or the legal value
fixed upon an ounce of silver when bimetallism was established
in this country.
Now, bear in mind the fact that the mints of all the civilized
nations were open at this time to the free and unlimited coinage of
silver; bear in mind, also, the fact that every country in the then
known world was using silver as a money metal, and yet, with a
3 per cent difference between the commercial and the legal ratio,
the friends of silver were unable to bring it to par with gold,
and unable to keep it in the channels of trade.
In view of these facts, which are as plain and clear to the members of this House as the King's highway, I ask in the name of commonsense, Iask in the name of justice to the great laboring masses
of this country, I ask in the name of the great producing classes
of this country, when to-day there is a difference of more than
57 per cent between the legal and the commercial value of an
ounce of silver, and it has been demonetized in all the civilized
countries of the world, how is it possible for the friends of silver
to hope that by the re8stablishment of the free and unlimited
coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to J, as proposed in the pending amendment now under consideration, it will come to par, and
that an ounce of silver, which can now be purchased in the market for 72 cents, by a stroke of the Congressional pen can be
made of the value of $1.29?
The very statement of the proposition is its best refutation.
As well might you say that an act of Congress would cause the
waters of the Mississippi to stop their flow, or the rocks of the
Sierras to burst asunder at Congressional dictation, as to contend
that under present conditions the reSstablishment of the free
and unlimited coinage of silver in this country, on the ratio proposed, will bring the commercial value of silver up to its legal
Let us consider for a moment, if you please, Mr. Speaker, this
subject a little further in order to demonstrate the utter absurdity of the position of the so-called friends of bimetallism who advocate the free and unlimited coinage of silver on any of the
ratios that are proposed in the pending amendments. There
are in the world in round figures $4,000,000,000 worth of silver.
This to-day is worth about 72 cents an ounce.
Now, these free-silver advocates, the followers and supporters
of Mr. B L A N D of Missouri, in their efforts to force this legislation upon Congress, and its results upon the people of this country, tell us that by the very magic of free coinage by the United
States, standing separate and alone from sll the other civilized
nations of the world, it is going to raise this $4,030,000,000 worth
of silver from 72 cents an ounce to $1.29 an ounce. In other


words, that by the enactment of this proposed amendment for
the re Establishment of the free and unlimited coinage of silver
in this country on the ratio of 16 to 1 they are goiug to add a
value of more than $1,500,000,000 worth to the world's supply of
Was ever a more astounding proposition presented to any legislative body or to any intelligent, sane men? Does not the simple
rehearsal of these facts demonstrate to those who are least familiar with this subject the fact that the position they assume is
utterly untenable, and that if it were carried out it would instantly put this country upon a silver basis and would drive the
six hundred and odd millions of dollars of gold that are now in
circulation in this country into safe-deposit vaults, and to other
secret places where trade and commerce would know it no more
Mr. Speaker, it does not lie with the gentlemen who are advocating the free and unlimited coinage of silver upon this ratio,
or even upon any of the ratios that are suggested in the amendments, to claim that those who are opposed to their propositions
are the enemies of bimetallism in the United States. These
men, while they are professing to be desirous of carrying out the
provisions of the Constitution and the principles of the early
fathers in establishing and maintaining the two metals at a parity,
know when they make these professions, that if their propositions are adopted that this country will become a monometallic
and not a bimetallic country, and that it will be a silver monometallic and not a gold monometallic country.
I have not the time nor the inclination to stop here and portray to the members of this House or the country the direful
results that would follow from their successful efforts in this
session of Congress. The first result would be to contract the
currency to the amount of the six hundred and odd millions of
gold which are now in circulation.
We are to-day, Mr. Speaker, experiencing the sad results" of a
contraction of the currency. This legislation, instead of proving
a relief, would still further aggravate the disease that it seeks to
remedy. Whenever this country substitutes a silver for a gold
basis our stocks and bonds and other obligations held in European
countries will be immediately sent over here for liquidation, and
what we are now experiencing in the way of a practical cessation
of all business will become complete, and this country would go
into general bankruptcy.
I shall take no time to demonstrate the impracticability of
adopting either of the other ratios proposed in the pending
amendments. Neither of them conforms to the commercial ratio
between the two metals. The commercial ratio, as shown by
the report of the Director of the Mint, dated August 1,1893, is
as 1 to 28.52. How long that ratio will remain it is impossible
for any man to state.
If the legal and commercial ratio should be made identical in
this legislation by the adoption of 28.52 of silver to one ounce of
gold, a week after the adoption of the law the commercial ratio
would be different. The report which I hold in my hand, made
by the Director of the Mint on the 1st of this month, shows
that there has been a steady decline in silver since 1873, and


that it has been more rapid since 1890 to the present date than
for any like period in the history of our country.
Some gentlemen majr say that this decline is attributable to
the demonetization of silver in 1873; but I would ask all such to
bear in mind the facts which I have stated already, that the demonetization of 1873 was only recording in a legal way what had
been practically a commercial demonetization of silver for a period of nearly forty years prior to that date.
The chief reason, in my judgment, that silver has steadily
declined in value is the fact that during this period its annual
production in this country has more than doubled, and its use
as a money metal has been destroyed in the leading countries of
Europe. In 1871 Germany suspended the free coinage of silver
and adopted a single gold standard. In 1873 the German Empire
provided for the retirement of silver coins in circulation and
the sale of its silver bullion. This threw about $140,000,000 of
silver bullion upon the market and still further depressed the
market price of silver.
France also, in 1873, by a Treasury order limited the amount
of silver to be accepted; and in 1874 silver was demonetized in
Sweden and Norway. In 1875 Holland suspended free coinage
of silver and established a gold standard. In 1876 France discontinued the further coinage of silver, and Russia, in the same
year, suspended free coinage of silver and adopted the gold standard; and in the same year Spain, by her royal decree, stopped
the further coinage of silver.
In 1892 Austria-Hungary adopted the single gold standard and
discontinued the use of the white metal as a money metal. Then
in 1893, just previous to the assembling of the members of Congress in this extra session, India, the great silver country of the
'world, suspended the free coinige of silver.
Under these circumstances it requires no metaphysical arguments and no philosophizing to show to the people of this country that silver has constantly and steadily fallen in its commercial value in the great countries of the world; and these facts,
too, must demonstrate to all alike the utter futility of any effort
upon the part of this Congress or any subsequent Congress, while
the other countries which I have just named maintain a gold
standard, to attempt to establish free and unlimited coinage of
silver in this country on any ratio whatever.
It is a practical impossibility, and, as I have said, the men who
advocate it upon this floor or in any other place, in the limits of
our broad Republic, are not the friends of bimetallism, but for
selfish motives, or from misguided reason, they have adopted
this theory with the knowledge, unless they are blind to all the
facts, that the adoption of it upon any ratio whatever will place
the greatest Republic of all times upon the silver basis of our
sister Republics in Central and South America.
Mr. Speaker, I would not be representing the intelligence of
my district were I to vote, under these conditions, for any of the
amendments proposed by the honorable member from Missouri
[Mr. BLANDJ, Not only, sir, would I be misrepresenting the
intelligence and the interests of my immediate constituency, but,
in my judgment, I would be false to the best interests of our common country if I yielded to any of the seductive arguments which


have been portrayed in such eloquent terms by members who
have spoken on that side of the question, and vote in favor of
any one of the propositions which they present. This is a
crisis which calls for intelligent action; not only intelligent action, but for prompt action, if we would benefit our country in
this its hour of commercial peril.
The reasons in part assigned for my objection to the indorsement of any of these ratios for the free and unlimited coinage of
silver lead me also, Mr. Speaker, to vote against the proposition, which is suggested in the last amendment of the gentleman
from Missouri, for the reSnactment of the so-called Bland-Allison act of 1878. That act, Mr. Speaker, provides for the purchase by the Government each month of not less than $2,000,000
worth of silver and not more than $4,000,000 of silver bullion for
coinage into silver dollars, at a rate of 412£ grains of standard
Bilver or 37 l i of fine silver for each dollar.
It was left in the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury,
between these limits, to determine the amount of silver bullion
that should be purchased under that act from month to month.
It was upon the statute books of our country until the enactment
of the so-called Sherman law on the 14th day of July, 1890. That
it was a menace to the continuance of our maintaining our paper
currency and silver on an equality with our gold currcncy is
evidenced by the letter of President Cleveland, In 1885, to Gen.
Warner of Ohio, a letter which has become somewhat celebrated
in the consideration of the silver question, and which affirmed,
in substance, that the continuation of that act Upon the statute
books would lead this country to a silver basis.
This agitation, Mr. Speaker, of the silver question was begun
by the opponents of the resumption of specie payments, which,
under the act of 1875, was to take place on the 1st day of January, 1879. It was, in one sense, a demand for more money.
That demand for more money first found expression in what is
called the inflation bill, which was passed by both Houses of
Congress in 1874, and was subsequently vetoed by President
When the friends of an inflated currency were foiled in their
attempt by our great military chieftain, who was then the President of the United States, they took up the subject of the demonetization of silver under the act of 1873, which agitation
continued with varying success until 1878, when, as a compromise with the friends of free and unlimited coinage of silver,
the Bland-Allison act was proposed, and finally enacted into a
law. It never met the hearty approval of the able financiers of
the country, but was then regarded and has since been treated
as a temporary makeshift between the advocates of sound money
on the one hand and the inflationists on the other.
There was nothing in this act, Mr. Speaker, when it became
a law, that pledged this country to maintain the silver dollars
which were to be coined under that act at a parity with gold,
and that is one of the reasons why President Cl¥veland, as early
as 1885, believed that it was a pernicious law, and that the continued coinage of silver dollars under that act would drive gold
to foreign countries and place us upon a silver basis.
The much-abused Sherman law, in my judgment, is in many


respects preferable to the adoption of the proposed amendment
for the reenactment of the so-called Bland-Allison act; because,
while it authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase
4,500,000 ounces of silver per month, and issue silver certificates
for the market value of this bullion, it also pledges the property
and the credit of the Government to maintain these silver certificates at a parity with gold.
And it is that pledge, and that pledge alone, which has been
faithfully carried out by each Republican Secretary of the Treasury, which, iii my judgment, has enabled this Government to
maintain this vast sum of silver dollars and silver certificates at
a parity with gold. You divorce these silver dollars and silver
certificates from'gold, and allow them to circulate upon their
own merits without the pledge of the Government's property
and its credit to maintain them at a parity with gold, and they
would sink instantly to their commercial value.
At the present price of silver more silver dollars would be
coined under the Bland-Allison act per month than would be by
the purchase of silver bullion under the Sherman act of 1890. As
I have already shown, under the Bland-Allison act the Secretary
of the Treasury is to purchase not less than $2,000,000 worth of
silver per month and coin the same into dollars. At the present price of silver, which I estimate at 72 cents per ounce, $2,000,000 worth would produce $3,685,714, while 4,500,000 ounces of silver at the same price cost only $3,150,000.
Thus you see that the purchase of silver under the act which
it is proposed to repeal, at the present price, is $515,714 a month
less than would be coined under the so-called Bland-Allison bill.
Under the present condition of the Treasury the reenactment of
the law of 1878 would put us upon a silver basis as quickly as the
enactment of a free, unlimited coinage bill on any of the ratios
suggested in the pending amendments. Indeed, Mr. Speaker,
the facts andfigureswhich I have here presented furnish a sufficient reason, for me at least, to vote against all of the propositions
that are contained in the proposed amendments to the pending
bill for the repeal of the purchasing clause of the Sherman act.
This leads me to a consideration of that act. I remember well
the discussion which took place in this Hall, and in the Senate,
which resulted in this legislation. My friend from Missouri
[Mr. B L A N D ] was then contending, as he is now, for the free
and unlimited coinage of silver. His party associates then were
not, as now, divided upon this question. We then had a Republican President, and men who to-day on that side of the House
denounce the free and unlimited coinage of silver as a menace
to the maintenance of our commercial prosperity, were then
agreed to follow him in his efforts to secure legislation of this
Whether since that time, by a careful study of this subject,
they have abandoned the heresies which they then professed to
believe in, or whether they permitted partisanship and their
desire to embarrass the Republican party to control voices
and votes, I shall leave to them to say. In the discussion of this
uestion at present I s hall not stop to indulge in any partisan
ebate or to array unnecessarily the Democratic party for its
peculiar position upon this question in the years that have gone.


The impending crisis is too grave and the necessity for prompt
action too great to stop in the midst of this effort; to relieve the
country from this condition to indulge In crimination or recrimination.
It is due to the facts of history, however, to state that by an
almost united vote the Democratic members of the House of
Representatives voted for the free and unlimited coinage of
silver on the ratio as proposed in thefirstof the pending amendments. It had passed the Senate by a combination between the
Democratic Senators and the Republican Senators from the
silver States. The Republican members of the then House of
Representatives believed then, as they believe now, that the
true interests Of this country would be imperiled if such a bill
were enacted into law, and they refused to approve of the bill
that was sent to the House from the Senate and sent a substitute
to the Senate therefor.
This resulted, as those who are familiar with legislation will
understand, in a conference committee, composed of a certain
number of members selected by the House and another number
selected by the Senate. After mature deliberation it was deemed
by a majority of this conference committee that this act, as it is
now found on the statute book, would be better for a temporary
measure than to adopt the then Democratic idea of free and unlimited coinage. No man who had favored this measure believed that it was to long remain on our statute books.
The hope was then indulged that time and experience would
lead a sufficient number of Democratic Representatives and
Senators to understand that the prosperity of our country must
depend upon sound financial legislation, and that under the facts
that exist in the world to-day regarding silver it would be utterly
impossible for us to maintain it at any ratio on a parity with gold,
and these considerations would induce them to desist from their
efforts to secure the legislation that has always been championed
by Mr. B L A N D of Missouri.
That hope, Mr. Speaker, has been partly realized by the firm
stand that has been taken by President Cleveland upon this
question. Many members of this House who three short years
ago were loud in their declamation in favor of the free and unlimited coinage of silver are now arrayed on the conservative
side, under the leadership of their President, a position which
has been held for so many years alone by the Republican |>arty.
I am not one of those, however, Mr. Speaker, who are willing
to confess that nothing but unmixed evil has followed from the
adoption of the Sherman law. That legislation, as I have shown,
was an improvement over the legislation ^that was given to the
country in 1878, known as the Bland-Allison law. The question
may arise, then, why should I vote for the repeal of the purchasing clause? The answer, to my mind, is clear and simple. The
President of the United States, by his message to Congress, has
said, in substance, that he is unable to maintain the^ parity between the two metals because of the constantly increasing amount
of silver that is stored in the Treasury under this law.
There is no doubt in my mind that the attitude of his party as
a free and unlimited silver-coinage party has added to the complications of this question. The people of Europe who have been


in the habit of purchasing our bonds and stocks have seen a party
placed in power by the votes of the people whose cardinal principle for many years upon the financial question has been the
free f.nd unlimited coinage of this white metal, and with this
legislation upon the statute book, and that party in power, they
have felt that the President himself would not be able to control his party on this subject, and the result has been an effort
upon their part to dispose of all obligations in this country that
might by legislation be required to be paid in silver instead of
being paid in gold.
The President's message to Congress, as it is interpreted by the
Republicans, is an appeal to them to come to his aid and assist
him in reestablishing thefinancesof this country upon the stable
basis upon which they had been maintained for more than a generation by the Republican party, and as lovers of our country we
are willing to respond by our voices and votes, and repeal this
clause, thus placing it beyond the power of this Democratic political organization, committed to the free and unlimited coinage
of silver, td destroy the equality between the metals as they
have been maintained under Republican administration.
Not only that, Mr. Speaker, but the bill by which we repeal
the purchasing clause of the act of July 14,1890, reaffirms a determination upon the part of this Government to maintain the two
metals at a parity. We have a vast amount of coined silver dollars and a large amount of silver certificates, aggregating in
round numbers six hundred million dollars. Those silver dol Lars
and those silver certificates must be maintained at their par value.
This bill, as I have said, pledges the property and the credit of
the Government to that policy.
I am reminded, however, by gentlemen who sit around me,
that the repeal of the purchasing clause of-this Sherman law as
is proposed under the pending resolution gives no legislation
for the future of silver, and leaves us without an expanding circulating medium to meet the wants of the country.
I appreciate that to its full extent, Mr. Speaker, and am one
who believes that this country should have legislation that will
utilize both of these metals for the benefit of the people. It will
not do after the Republican party, through its members in the
House and the Senate, have aided in securing the repeal of the
purchasing clause of the act of July 14,1890, thus enabling the
President of the United States to maintain our present volume
of silver and silver certificates at a parity with gold, for him and
his party to stop there.
The people of this country expect the President and the Democratic party, by proper legislation, to present some scheme of
finance that will utilize these metals, and will furnish to the
country a sufficient supply of money to meet the wants of trade
and commerce; and if they fail in that the people will condemn
them as false to the interests that they pledged themselves to
protect and maintain when they were placed in power.
Now, sir, had this resolution that has been adopted here not
limited us to the amendments upon which I have spoken, I should
have bean glad for one to have suggested proper and germane
amendments to this bill looking to an increased circulation, expanding and elastic in its character, to meet the wants of a con77


stantly increasing- population in this country, and the needs of a
growing commerce and trade. My views might not meet with
the approval of all this House, but a discussion along this line
would certainly lead to the adoption of some proposition that
would meet the requirements of this occasion.
As I have said, Mr. Speaker, the great cry that is made by the
friends of the free and unlimited coinage of silver in this country
is that if it is treated simply as a commodity, and its money qualities taken away from it or limited or impaired in any manner,
that the people will suffer because of a scarcity of a circulating
medium, and have argued with a good deal of justness that the
prices of all commodities will fall n there is a contraction in the
standard of value and medium of exchange.
In my judgment their objections can be met by legislation that
will continue the gold dollar as established by the law of February 12, 1873, as the unit of value of the United States. Instead of from this date coining gold at the mints, I would use the
gold bullion as a basis for the issuing of gold certificates. That
could be managed, Mr. Speaker, in this manner: Whenever the
holder of gold bullion in an amount of $100 or more should deposit that in the Treasury of the United States, or at any mint
or assay office, that the Secretary of the Treasury might designate the depositor should receive, instead of gold coins therefor/ registered Treasury notes, of such denominations as the
Secretary of the Treasury might designate, called Treasury notes,
for an equal amount toj the number of dollars of the bullion deposited.
Upon these notes I would have certified by the Secretary of
the Treasury that there had been deposited in the Treasury of
the United States an amount of gold equal to $100, or the amount
that the depositor had placed in the Treasury of the United
States, and then have the notes certify that they are redeemable in
an amount of gold equal to $100, or whatever was deposited, on
demand of the holder thereof.
I would treat silver in precisely the same way, and whenever
the holder of silver bullion in quantities aggregating a hundred
dollars' worth or more deposits that bullion with the Treasurer
of the United States, or at any assay office of the United States
that might be designated by the Secretary, of the Treasury, I
would permit him to receive therefor a Treasury note certifying that the depositor had left in the Treasury of the United
States an amount of silver equal to $100, or whatever sum the
silver bullion was worth according to our standard of value on
the day of its deposit, and then have that silver note certified by
the Secretary of the Treasury that it is redeemable in an amount
of silver equal to $100 or whatever amount was deposited at the
time it was issued, on the demand of the holder thereof.
You will see, Mr. Speaker, from this that neither the gold nor
the silver certificate is redeemable in any number of dollars, or
at any specified time. The unit of value in this country, as
fixed by the law of 1873, is the gold dollar of 23.22 grains of pure
gold; and these gold and silver certificates would be measured
in the market by that unit of value. Under this plan, as it
seems to me, properly elaborated and carried out by well-considered legislation, both of the great money metals can be util77


lzed by the Government of the United States to furnish a suit able
and elastic and constantly increasing- currency to the people of
this country.
There is no danger under legislation of this kind of a silver
certificate depreciating in the market—that would be utterly impossible. It would, be as valuable in the markets of Europe as a
gold certificate. It would be as valuable in any section of the
United States as the gold certificate. Why? Because it evidences upon its face that it is good for a quantity of silver equal
to its face value.
I would make these certificates legal tenders for all public and
private debts.
Under this system, as I have said, there can be no-question
but what those silver certificates would circulate as money in
the country as readily as gold coin or gold certificates.
In this manner the product of the American mines can be
utilized for the benefit of the whole country* and at the same
time the certificates that are issued upon bullion that is deposited with the Treasurer of the United States will circulate in
New England or through the Middle States or in any section of
the country as well as the greenback of to-day or as gold coin.
It has been demonstrated, Mr. Speaker, I think, by experience,
that gold and silver coins do not circulate among the people.
They seek places of deposit in our banks and subtreasuries, arid
there is a demand among the people for a paper money. It is
more convenient. It is easier to handle. It is cheaper to transport from one point to another, and in every respect, almost, the
people of this country have shown that they prefer this kind of
money, where they can be satisfied that it is as good as gold coin.
And when they are assured that back of each one of these certificates there is gold or silver bullion of sufficient qualities, so
that that bond can be taken to the Treasury of the United States,
or any of our subtreasuries, and redeemed at its par value, there
will be no question about the people of this country reeeiving it
in all the channels of trade.
If a bill could be prepared and passed in this Congress, embodying this idea, it could be elaborated, Mr. Speaker, so as to
meet any objections arising from the fluctuations in value of
either of the metals. I shall not take the time here to demonstrate to the House and the country how that can be done. Prom
the study I have given this subject, and from the opinions of the
men who are well versed in the science of finance, this is one of
the most feasible plans that can be adopted by the people of this
country to utilize hoth gold and silver as money.
By the adoption of this we shall avoid all the troubles and inconveniences and hardships of a single gold standard, that have
been so picturesquely and so eloquently portrayed to the people
of this country tyy the gentleman favoring the free and unlimited coinage of silver. By the adoption of this method we will
also escape the equally dangerous ground of placing this country upon the single silver standard, and thus from a monetary
standpoint place us on a par with the second-class powers of the
No friend of either of the metals can object to a method of the
character here suggested, because it takes the metal that he


specially favors and utilizes it to the full extent of the needs of
the Government. It makes no distinction between gold and
silver, but treats both alike.
I am confident, Mr. Speaker, that with the growing demands
for paper circulating medium in this country and a standard of
deferred payments, that the time will come when gold and silver
will have to be treated in the form here suggested, and a paper
money based upon the intrinsic value of these metals will take
their place; and it seems to me now is the proper time for Congress to consider this great question. Early action is called for,
not only by the President of the United States, but by the people.
The picture of the condition of this country, as portrayed in
the message of President Cleveland, is one that should challenge
the attention of every thoughtful man. It is in such marked
contrast to the condition of this country as presented by President Harrison in his last annual message that I can not refrain
from quoting a few of the opening sentences in the last message
to Congress from that Executive:

In submitting my annual message to Congress I have great satisfaction in
being able to say that the general conditions affecting the commercial and
industrial interests of the United States are in the highest degree favorable.
A comparison of the existing conditions with those of the most favored
period in the history of the country will, I believe, show that so high a degree of prosperity and so general a diffusion of the comforts of life were
never before enjoyed by our people. * * * There never has been a time in
our history when work was so abundant or when wages were as high, whether
measured by the currency in which they are paid or by their power to supply
the necessaries and comforts of life.

This, Mr. Speaker, was the condition of the people of this
country under the last Republican Administration, and has been
the condition of the people practically for nearly a generation,
during which period the Republican party has been in actual
continuous control of the Government.
I trust, Mr. Speaker, that by wise and conservative action the
President of the United States will be enabled to restore to the
people of this country the happy, contented, and successful condition that they were in under the last Republican Administration. The Republicans, certainly in this great emergency, will
rally to his support, and whenever he indicates, by message or
otherwise, that owing to divisions in his own party, or for other
causes, he needs the support of the Republican party to protect
the best interests and welfare of our people, he will find them
unitedly and patriotically responsive to his call.