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THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL
POLICY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PRESENT APPALLING
SITUATION OF THE COUNTRY.

SPEECH
OF

HON. ELIJAH A. MORSE,
OK

MASSACHUSETTS,

I
N

HOUSE




TE
H

O F REPRESENTATIVES,

SATURDAY, AUGUST 12, 1893.

WASHINGTON.
1893.

S P E E C H

OF

HON". E L I J A H

A. MORSE.

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
Bilver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes thereon, and for other purposes"™

Mr. MORSE said:
Mr. SPEAKER: There comes down to us from mythological
times a story that Hercules on his journey once came to a point
where there were two roads. He did not know which to take.
From one there emerged a maiden in gaudy attire, beckoning
him her way. Hercules said to her, u What is thy name ? " She
replied, " My name is Pleasure, but my enemies call me Vice."
And from the other road there emerged another maiden in modest
attire, beckoning' him her way; and Hercules asked of her,
" W h a t is thy name ? " She replied, " M y name is Virtue. The
road to which I invite you is difficult, but the end is joy and
peace." Mr. Speaker, we have come to two roads. Sound
finance beckons us on to prosperity and national honor; " f r e e
silver " and a debased currency beckon us on to financial ruin,
dishonor, and disgrace.
Mr. Speaker, I begin my remarks by saying that I am most
heartily in favor of the repeal of the purchasing clause of the
so-called Sherman silver bill, but the remainder of that act which
declares that the Government shall maintain the metals at a
parity is wise statesmanship and should stand.
So much of the President's message as relates to gold, silver,
and the currency has my most hearty and unqualified approval.
So much of his message is good sound Republican doctrine, and
I believe is wise and far-reaching statesmanship, and meets the
unqualified approval of a large majority of the people of this
country, without regard to party affiliations.
One of the misfortunes of the present situation is that the socalled silver States have a representation in the other end of
this building entirety disproportionate to their wealth, population, or commercial importance.
The great States of New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts,
Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana have an aggregate population of
nearly twenty millions; and these great empire States have not
as much voice in the Senate, of the United States as the little
silver States, with an aggregate population of about two millions,
and who have sixteen votes in the Senate, and whose Representatives appear to see everything from, the mouth of the silver
mine.
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^ Mr. SIMPSON. Will the gentleman permit me to ask a quesMr. MORSE. I must decline to be interrupted.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Massachusetts declines
to yield.
Mr. SIMPSON. I would like to ask
Mr. MORSE. I have but twenty minutes, and with my time
so limited I am sorry to be unable to yield for the question of the
gentleman from Kansas.
Why the State of Nevada, with a population less than onequarter of the population of my district, has two Senators and
one Representative to vote to Mexicanize our currency and put
us on a silver basis.
So far as I have been able • to gather from the speeches that
have been made here, all the propositions before us upon which
we are to vote, all the speakers, are monometallists and lead to
a single standard, with the difference that the gentleman from
Missouri, Mr. BLAND, and his followers, advocate a policy that
would most assuredly place the country upon a silver fiasis, make
gold ,merchandise, and drive the six or seven hundred millions
of gold now in the country out of circulation as a basis of currency or as money.
I regard the proposition made upon this floor that this country
unaided and alone can fix the value of silver and its ratio to gold,
and compel other nations to adopt that ratio, as the veriest folly.
If this proposition is correct and that by an act of the United
States Congress we can fix the ratio of the world, why load down
the people with a silver dollar so large as 16 to IV Why not
make it one-half or one-quarter that size?
This proposition is so absurd that it answers itself . Some of
the speeches that I have listened to on this floor on this subject
make me think of the boy whose father was a clergyman, who
was asked by another boy if his father ever preached any of
his old sermons? "Oh, yes," he said, " but he does not holler
in the same place."
The arguments during this debate are the same old arguments
which have often been refuted by abler tongues than mine. The
only difference is that the Sp eaker does not "holler " i n the same
place.
Suppose that these gentlemen can succeed in passing a freecoinage measure, and suppose that the result which I have predicted should come to pass, % e., that the country should be put
.
on a silver basis; why, what then? Talk about the tariff increasing the price of foreign goods; why, the tariff*would be nowhere: tea, sugar, coffee, silk, and ten thousand things, necessities as well as luxuries, which we do not and can not produce
in this country, would have to be paid for in gold or its equivalent in our depreciated currency, and would immediately increase in American money 30 or 40 per cent.
The rich would not be the only or principal sufferers. No
class of our people will suffer so much from the depreciated currency as the poor and working people, the purchasing power of
whose money would bei immediately largely reduced.
And not only that, but the workingman's little savings, the
trust funds of widows and orphans invested in a railroad security,
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a bond, or a mortgage, or deposited in a savings bank, would
be reduced by one fell swoop the difference between a 57-cent
dollar of silver, if the ratio is fixed at 16 to 1 at present value of
silver, and a 100-cent gold dollar.
Whenever the great nations of the world, England,'France,
Germany, Austria, and Russia, agree upon a ratio for gold and
silver, then free coinage of silver will be wise and safe, and our
currency, either gold or silver, will be the money of the great
civilized nations of the world.
It was believed by the advocates of the purchasing clause of
the Sherman act that it would have the effect to greatly enhance the price of silver, and place it perhaps on a parity with
gold.
How signally and mournfully this prediction has failed is patent to the humblest citizen. The act had the effect to stimulate
silver mining, new appliances have been invented like the steam
drill, new and more powerful explosives have been used, and the
direct effect has been to greatly cheapen instead of enhancing
the price of silver, and it is now proposed to jump out of the f rying pan into the fire, and pass a free silver bill, by which we give
notice to the world to bring all their old silver junk, pots, kettles,
and spoons, as well as bullion, to the United States mints and
put 51 cents' worth into a patent slot machine and have it come
out stamped a dollar of 100 cents.
The wisest man that ever lived forbid this operation, when he
said, under divine inspiration, " A false balance iskn abomination
to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.'*
I look upon this proposition to debase and degrade the currency as an effort very largely on the part of the debtor class to
repudiate a portion of the debt under the cover and sanction of
the Government of the United States.
Existing loans and indebtedness were created in the currency
of the world, which the President describes in his message as
gold worth 100 cents on the dollar.
And to pay them in a depreciated currency, worth 50 or 60
cents on the dollar, was forbidden on Mount Sinai, when the
Almighty said, amidst thundering and lightnings, and commanded Moses to write on the table of stone, "Thou shalt not
steal."
There is another important factor in the matter of this silver
problem that must not be lost sight of, and that is, the cost of
alluminum is being greatly cheapened, It is manufactured from
clay, and it is believed by those qualified to judge that it may
before long be produced for 10 cents per pound. The peak of
the Washington Monument, whose lofty summit pierces the sky,
fe capped with this beautiful metal.
It is a beautiful white metal, susceptible of a very high polish,
and I believe is destined to take the place of silver In the arts,
in tableware, and in the thousand uses to which silver is now
employed, and if this is so it can not fail to further greatly depreciate the price of silver in the near future, and exaggerate
the evils of silver currency.
Mr. Speaker, while I most heartily agree with the financial
utterances of the President in his recent message to this House,
I can not agree with him that the present appalling business
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situation is entirely due to the purchasing clause of the Sherman set. It is believed that the personal property in this
country has shrunk one and one-half billion dollars since his
election last November.
It is idle and preposterous to attribute this shrinkage, solely
and entirely, to the purchase of four and one-half million ounces
of silver per month.
The Sherman act was passed July 14,1890, and had been in
operation when the result of the election was known last November two and one-half years without apparent injury to business,
and the Government purchases of silver amounting in round
numbers to about one hundred and ten million dollars' worth
since the act took effect.
And had the Government lost the entire amount, instead of
the depreciation, it could in no way explain the terrible shrinkage in values to which I have referred,"or the slow panic that is
now upon the country.
This has been produced by an entirely different cause. The
country has discounted the threats of the Democ atic platform,
which declares all protection as unconstitutional, and proposes
to place the country on a free-trade basis, or a tariff for revenue
only. And the country has been getting ready for lower prices
promised by Democratic speakers in the last campaign. There
is no evidence of overproduction, the merchant has bought from
hand to mouth, the manufacturer declines to make goods in the
face of a falling market, and the uncertainty hanging overvalues
and the tariff has had the effect that every wise business man
foresaw when the result of the^election was known last November, i. e., to paralyze business and to throw thousands of workingmen out of work, to destroy our home market and principal
market for agricultural products, by driving thousands of men,
who were formerly consumers, into the business of last resort—
agriculture.
Mr. Speaker, it does not take a statesman to see that if the
promises of the Democratic platform are to be performed, and
if we are going to buy our goods in England or in other European markets, and if .all protection is to be wiped out, then we
can not at the same time manufacture goods in this country and
give employment to American workingmen.
Under similar conditions in 1847, when we had a tariff for revenue and bought all our goods in England, and had no business
in this country but agriculture, in the face of an abundant harvest one inhabitant in thirteen and one-half in New York State
was a pauper, and soup houses were opened in every ward in
New York City to feed the starving poor; and, unless all signs fail,
that thing will be repeated in all large cities in the Union next
winter.
God only knows how far the hand on the dial of progress was
turned backward at the election last November. The country
was at that time prosperous and enjoying unbounded prosperity
under the wise and far-reaching statesmanship of the McKinley
tariff act.
Never in the history of the world would an average day's
pay of a workingman buy as much of the necessities and luxuries. Money was abundant for all purposes. All this is now
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changed. Instead of expansion we have contraction and hoarding of money; instead of confidence we have distrust; instead
of progress in business we have stagnation; our factories are
closing, and thousands of workingmen are being turned into the
streets.
The home market for agricultural products is destroyed by the
very threat of a tariff for revenue only, and I call the attention
of the gentleman from Kansas [Mr. SIMPSON] to this fact.
Confident I am, if the election were to be held to-morrow, in the
light of our present experience the Republican party would sweep
every Northern State.
There is no school like the school of experience, and if the
people of this generation will learn in no other, they must learn,
what past generations have learned, that a tariff for revenue or
free trade means paralysis and death to every material interest
of the country.
Mr. Speaker, in 184?, the period I have mentioned, Horace
Greeley wrote in the New York Tribune as follows: " W h y is it
that the skilled laboring men, willing to work, are going to the
soup houses to get enough to sustain themselves and family,
when we are paying ninety millions in gold to buy the goods
that we could produce with our own labor?"
And, Mr Speaker, when the free trade promises of the Democratic platform are performed, that will mean three hundred
millions of gold sent to Europe to buy goods we could and should
make ourselves.
Mr. Speaker, a great Virginia statesman, Patrick Henry, in
his immortal argument in favor of independence, in the Virginia House of the Assembly, "in 1775, exclaimed, " W h y stand
we here idle? The clash of resounding arms is already heard
on the plains of Boston." The Virginia patriot was moved with
pity for his distressed and oppressed countrymen in the then far
distant Massachusetts colony. A national calamity is upon us,
the cry of distress goes up from an afflicted country. Why this
delay by this Democratic Congress? *' Why stand we here idle? "
The situation of the country is appalling; the eyes of the country and the world are upon us as never before.
The President has wisely pointed out a financial danger which
threatens us, and the majority of this House should proceed at
once to define and declare its economic and financial and tariff
policy, especially its tariff policy, that the uncertainty be removed, and that the great business interests of the country may
know the worse, and the conditions which will confront them as
, regards finances and the tariff.
In the words of Patrick Henry " Why stand we here idle?"
Now, one word in regard to the relations of the two parties to
this financial question. The preposterous claim is made in
Massachusetts by the Boston Herald and other Democratic papers and speakers that the Democratic party is in favor of the
gold standard and the Republican party is the party of free coinage of silver. And, say they, " Did not we send a stripling from
Massachusetts to the Fifty-second Congress to fight this Goliah?"
Any man who would make such a claim on this floor would be
laughed to scorn.
One of the Democratic speakers on yesterday oalled attention
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to the fact that the Democratic conventions in every State in the
Union, save Massachusetts, who had made any expression had
declared for free coinage of silver. And I shall be happily disappointed if, when the votes are counted, it is found that the
President can command the vote of 20 per cent of his party to
repeal the purchasing clause of the Sherman act.
But, did not the Republicans pass the Sherman act ? Yes.
And did not the Democrats vote against it? Yes; but for an entirely different reason than the Democrats in my section would
have the country believe.
The Sherman act was a compromise to prevent the passage of
a free-coinage measure by the nearly solid vote of the Democratic
party aided by a few Republicans from the silver States. I say
the Sherman act was denounced on this floor and in my hearing,
in the Fifty-first Congress, by the gentleman from Missouri [Mr.
BLAND] and others, as a gold-bug measure, hostile to silver.
Could the Republican conferees have gotten into the bill the
provision making- the purchasing clause inoperative after two or •
three years, which we were prevented from doing by the solid
ojgjosition of the Democratic party, all would have been well.
W'hy, Mr. Speaker, the moment you say "honest money,"
"board of trade," " chamber of commerce," "national bank"
on this floor that moment the Democratic party on this floor
cries out " shylock," " gold-bug," " Wall street "—as though the"
great business of this country could be done without these institutions.
All honbr to the President, who has simply taken Republican
ground on the subject of finance, and all honor to those Democratic members on this floor, like the gentleman from Maryland
[Mr. RAYNER], who break from their party and vote with the
Republicans to sustain the President in his defense of our national financialhonor.
The last Democratic campaign in Massachusetts was run on
the poor man's, dinner pail. In the next campaign the Democratic speakers will please tell him how to get something to put
in his dinner pail under the policy of free trade.
The Democratic rallying cry last November was " Retrenchment and reform." In the light of present experience I submit
that these words will be a stench in the nbstrils of the American
people before this Administration closes. Its imbecility is seen
not only in the management of the Treasury Department, but in
the State Department as well—witness its imbecility with reference to the Sandwich Islands matter, endangering and threatening* foreign complications. Witness the same with reference to
the Chinese-exclusion act—a hoodlum Democratic measure
sprung on the last House of Representatives on suspension day.
The Supreme Court has declared the act constitutional. Why
does not the Administration enforce the act? No, the American
people are learning in the dear school of experience that the
Democratic party is incompetent to run this Government. Until
the country shall show, by town, city, State, and Congressional
elections, that the country repudiates that party, there can be
little relief from the awful Democratic nightmare that now sits
upon the vitals of this fair country of ours.
Does the House or the country want proof of the effect of the
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principles and policy of the Democratic party upon the welfare
and prosperity of the country? Read lt A deadly parallel," one
an extract from President Harrison's message near the close of
his administration, and the other an extract from President
Cleveland's message six months after his administration began:
A DEADLY P A R A L L E L .

Opening of President Harrison's
message to Congress, December, 1892:
" I n submitting m y annual message to Congress I have great satisfaction in being able to s a y 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 be"fore enjoyed by our people."

Opening ol President Cleveland's
message to Congress, eight months
later, August, 1893:
" T h e 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 may be mitigated and dangers threatening the
future m a y be averted."

Aaron said to Moses, "Their rock is not as our rock, our enemies themselves being judges." The laboring people are coming
to see that they were lied to and deceived in the last campaign
and that the prosperity of the manufacturer is their prosperity,
his misfortune their loss and misfortune.
Mr. Speaker, I have two minutes of my time remaining. In
that time I desire to send to the Clerk's desk the following resolutions of the Boston Chamber of Commerce; I asgure you a
body of very great respectability and entirely a nonpartisan body.
The Clerk read as follows:
The following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted at a
meeting of the Chamber of Commerce held on July 12,1893:
Whereas since the passage on July 14,1890, of the so-called Sherman act,
this country has fairly tried the policy of purchasing silver bullion, and as a
result finds its Treasury depleted by the withdrawal of gold, and filled with
silver which it can neither circulate nor sell, and which is rapidly depreciating in value, the confidence of the nation and of all who deal with it greatly
shaken, and business everywhere checked; and
Whereas while this policy continues no man feels safe in making contracts,
investing capital, or undertaking new enterprises, and unless confidence can
be restored the gravest disasters, depriving capitalists of their property and
laborers of their livelihood, are likely to ensue; and
Whereas it is the merest folly for this country with its enormous natural
resources, its unexampled credit, its annual income of thousands of millions,
its magnificent crops which other nations must buy to live, its great and
thoroughly organized industries, and everything that can make it rich and
prosperous, to allow its whole business life to be paralyzed bysuicidal laws:Therefore
liesolved, That the Boston Chamber of Commerce inpublicmeeting assembled hereby calls earnestly upon Congress, which is soon to convene, for the
Immediate and unconditional repeal of the silver-purchasing clauses of said
act.
Resolved, That a committee of three members, of which the president shall
be one, be appointed by the chair to cooperateWith other commercial bodies
representing similar interests, at Washington, with power to use all legiti
mate means for the prompt repeal of the purchasing clauses of the Sherman
silver act.
A true copy.
E D W A R D K E M B L E , President.
E L W Y N G. P R E S T O N , Secretary.
BOSTON, July 20,1893*

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