View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

OS G R S ,
The Financial Question,

H O N .


T . M O K G A N ,


Wednesday) September 6,1893.



The Vice-President laid before the Senate the concurrent resolution submitted yesterday by Mr. MORGAN; which was read, as
Concurrent resolution to raise a joint committee of tlie two Houses to consider questions of finance, etc.
Resolved by the Senate {the House of Representatives concurring), That a committee of the two Houses of Congress be raised, to consist of seven Senators,
to be appointed by the President of the Senate, and seven Representatives,
to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who together shall constitute a joint select committee on finance, the chairman of
which shall bfl chosen by the committee, by ballot, and he shall appoint a
clerk to said committee.
2. Said joint committee shall hold its sessions in the Capitol, and in such
other places as a majority thereof shall direct, and may employ a stenographer, and such messengers as shall be found necessary, and shall have
power to direct the administration of oaths and to send for papers and persons. Eleven members of said joint committee shall constitute a quorum
to do business.
3. Said joint committee shall examine into the financial and monetary condition of the Government and people of the United States, with a view to devising means for the betterment thereof, and, to this end, shall have full
jurisdiction to examine and report upon any financial or monetary question
that concerns the people or the Government of the United States.
4. Said committee shall make a special examination of the following subjects, and report upon each, separately, in their recommendations to Congress, and may submit one bill~or several bills to the respective Houses to
carry their recommendations into effect, that is to say:
f (1) The full or partial remonetization of legal-tender silver coins and the
ratio of legal value that shall be established between such coins and coins of
(2) The revision of the laws relating to legal tender, so as to prevent unjust
discrimination in the legal-tender quality of any descriptions of money
coined or issued by the United States, or for the redemption of which the
Government is pledged.
(3) The repeal of the taxes upon the issues of State banks that circulate as
money, and what restrictions upon the conduct of such banks are necessary
for the public security and welfare, and are within the competency of Congress to provide.
(4) The actual cause of the present embarrassed condition of the people
and the national banks, in reference to the character or the supply of circulating medium, and the consequent paralysis of trade and industry. And
what further legislation is required to prevent the national banks from
abusing their powers under the law, either by their separate dealings, or in
combination, concert, or conspiracy with other banks or persons to the
detriment of the Government 01* the people of the United States.
(5) Said joint committee may appoint subcommittees, to consist of not
less than four members thereof, three members to constitute a quorum,
who shall be empowered to sit in any place in the United States and to take
testimony on oath to be administered by the designated chairman of such
subcommittee, to be reported to the general committee. Such subcommittees shall be appointed under the resolution or order of the general committee, in such manner as they shall agree.
(6) The expenses incurred in the execution of the requirements of this
concurrent resolution shall be borne in equal sums by the respective Houses
of Congress, to be paid out of the contingent funds appropriated, or to be
appropriated by Congress.

The VICE-PRESIDENT. The question is on agreeing to the
resolution which has just been read.
Mr. MORGAN. Mr. PresidentMr. VOORHEES. What is the action desired by the Senator
from Alabama?
Mr. MORGAN. I desire a vote on the resolution.
Mr. VOORHEES. A resolution of so much importance, it
strikes me, ought not to be voted upon without reference to a
committee and its examination. It involves a question of the
greatest importance. I think it will have to be referred to the
Committee on Contingent Expenses, any way

Mr. VOORHEES. And at the proper time I shall move the
reference of the resolution to the Committee on Finance.
Mr. MORGAN. That will be a very proper motion, Mr. President, and whenever it is made we shall discuss it.
Before I submit the resolution to the Senate for reference,
however, I desire to modify it by striking out the sixth clause
of it.
Mr. VOORHEES. I give notice that the resolution can not
be taken up now unless it displaces the regular order. The
Senator from Texas [Mr. MILLS] has given notice of a speech
to-day, the Senator from Nevada [Mr. STEWART] has the floor
to conclude an unfinished speech, and I shall ask the Senate, in
all fairness and candor, to continue the consideration of the
pending business of the Senate, which is House bill No. 1.
Mr. MORGAN. Mr. President, I have been absent for some
time from the Senate, unfortunately
Mr. HARRIS. If the Senator from Alabama will allow me, I
will suggest to him that he has a right to modify his resolution,
and that he need not move to amend it.
Mr. MORGAN. I have already done that. I have modified
it in the particular I have indicated.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. That has been done.
Mr. MORGAN. Then I wish to strike out " eleven," where it
occurs in line 15, and insert "nine," so as to have a quorum consist of nine members instead of eleven.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. That modification will be made.
Mr. VOORHEES. I ask, and if necessary, I move, that the
Senate proceed to the consideration of the regular order of business.
Mr. MORGAN. The Senator from Indiana ought to know that
he can not take me off the floor by a motion of that kind. What
I desire to do is to inquire of the Chair whether the rules of the
Senate have been so far altered in my absence as that there is
no longer a morning hour? If there is a morning hour, I have
the right to occupy my position here now on the floor in the advocacy of a measure which comes up in the morning hour.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Chair will state to the Senator
from Alabama that there h°s been no change in the rules,
Mr. MORGAN. Very good. Then I am in order, and the
Senator can wait for his bill until 2 o'clock. That is the rule of
the Senate at least.
Mr. V O O R H E E S . I desire simply to say that, while that is
true, the Senator from Alabama, with exceeding delicacy, takes
two Senators off the floor who have given notice of their desire
to address the Senate. One of them, the Senator from Nevada
[Mr. STEWART], is on the floor with an unfinished speech, and
the other with a notice given of an intention to speak. That is
all I wish to say.
Mr. MORGAN. I shall be entirely delicate and respectful to
every Senator in this body, Mr. President, when he is in order'
but I am in order now, and no Senator has the right to the iioor
to supercede me speaking to a resolution which the President
of the Senate has laid before the Senate. This body has jurisdiction of the resolution because it is in the morning hour and
the President of the Senate has laid it before the Senate. Therefore I am not guilty of any indelicacy towards any Senator in
trying to assert what are my rights under the rules of the Senate.
The Senator from Indiana has given notice of a motion to refer this matter to the Committee on Finance. If the joint select
committee which I propose, Mr. President, were not expressly
intended to supercede the functions of the Committee on Finance
in both Houses that would be a very proper motion, but I do not
expect that the Senate will refer to the Committee on Finance
a measure which has for its purpose to supplement the powers
of the Committee on Finance, because the action of that committee up to this time has not been in conformity with, and it
does not entirely or properly cover the condition or the necessities of this country. That is not a friendly committee to any
general plan of financial relief or reformation.
In my own conception of the situation, there being no human
being responsible for this resolution but myself, I have thought
that there was an attempt made here to cure a great breadth of
financial trouble and evil and difficulty in the United States by
the administration of a certain nostrum to cure a particular
part of a complaint which the people of the United States reo-



ognize as being a very serious one and having many different
An extensive combination of diseases needs a broader treatment than the measure reported by the Committees on Finance
of the two Houses.
I have not observed a greater difference between any Senators, since I have been in this body, than exists apparently between those Senators who are in the advocacy here of the repeal
of the silver-purchasing clause of what is called the Sherman
act of 1890. In regard to what shall take place after that repeal
has been accomplished they have no common purpose,[no agreement, no accord. There seems to be a great wildness of conjecture, a great want of concert of action amongst the gentlemen,
all of whom agree together to repeal that portion of that law, as
to what shall take place after it has been repealed; and the object of this resolution is to place it in the hands of the two committees of the two Houses to determine what is to be done in the
event the Senate shall concur or shall fail to concur with the
House in its proposition to repeal the purchasing clause of the
Sherman act.
Will any man undertake to say that there will be no necessity
for further legislation after that law has passed, or after it has
been defeated? Has any one hinted that that repeal is to be a
cure of the financial difficulties of the people of the United States?
Is it proposed to do anything more than to give a mere respite
to action until the country can right itself up, or until the legislation of Congress, which is necessary to bring the country right,
can be matured?
No one has suggested, I believe, as yet that tirn, particular
remedy is going to relieve the country of all thegi ° ^t evils that
we are experiencing now and have been experiencing for the
last few months, indeed for the last year.
Therefore, it is necessary not only to meet public expectation,
but it is a necessary duty devolving upon legislators of the
United States in Congress assembled that they shall take a broad,
general, and complete view of all the difficulties which have
been suggested in respect of the financial and monetary situation of the United States; that they shall in their wisdom fully
and completely investigate the whole subject, and when they
have understood-it that they will bring forward either one bill
or several bills for the purpose of rectifying all the troubles
under which we are living, or else dying.
The differences that exist, Mr. President, are very marked in
respect to the remedies which have been suggested. Some of
those men who claim to be par excellence Democrats, who have
enjoyed that honorable name for many years, and have fought
many valiant battles under the flag of the great Democracy,
think that one remedy, perhaps an all-sufficient remedy, to be
applied to the situation after the repeal of the purchasing clause
of the Sherman act has been carried through, is that which is
so emphatically and clearly stated in the Democratic platform
at Chicago, the repeal of the tax upon the issues of the State
banks. There are other Democrats of just as good standing, and
Republicans also of good standing in their own party, who believe
that the next measure that ought to be adopted after the repeal
of this purchasing clause will be the remonetization of silver.
When I speak of the remonetization of silver, I mean to have it
placed where it was in 1873.
There are both Democrats and Republicans one this floor and
in the other House who believe not only that that is a necessaay
-policy to be observed to secure financial smoothness and equability of financial operations, but that it is a constitutional right
of the people to have the free coinage of silver—not of the people en masse, but of every individual man in the United States to
have this, and upon the united basis of gold and silver coins to
reestablish the system of banks chartered by the States.
When you commence to deal with matters which appertain to
the constitutional rights of individual men in the United States
you begin to trench upon a somewhat delicate ground, and it is
necessary to be cautious and careful. At a more convenient
time I hope to discuss this question.
So there are men who believe that the action of Congress in
the demonetization of silver and the destruction of its constitutional and legal parity with gold has violated the Constitution
of the United States, and that this country has no chance of recovery, no possible hope for a remedy, until that violation has
been withdrawn and the evil which it has inflicted has been
healed. There are men of that sort here, and they are neither
few nor are they weak.
There are men here who believe that the common working,
laboring classes of the people of the United States, of Great
Britain, of France, of Germany, of Italy, of Austria, of Russia,
and of every civilized power in this world, are obliged to have a
silver currency in order to live; that they can not conduct their
daily operations, their small industries, and feed their families
without the aid of a silver currency. In most of the countries

of the world, and in the United States also—shame that it should
be said—this silver currency is called a subsidiary currency.
More than that, it is dwarfed in its metallic value. Two silver
half dollars, or four quarters, or ten dimes do not contain as
much silver bullion as a dollar of the fathers by 81 grains, I believe it is. That sort of money is supposed by a good many political economists and very sounding and resounding Democrats,
who boast themselves of being just and liberal to the people of
the United States, to say the least of it, to be good enough for
Our silver currency amounting to 4121 grains to the dollar,
nine parts fine, is under the law, except when it is superseded
by a contract, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private.
Your subsidiary coin, which the people must use every day in
their transactions, or go hungry and naked, is a legal tender for
$10, and only for '$10. There'are $100,000 of subsidiary coin
used in the United States in the daily transactions of the people
to $5,000 of full round silver dollars and gold coin, but that is
considered good enough for the common people of the United
States. Shovel off upon them four quarters for a dollar, two
halves for a dollar, ten dimes for a dollar, which contain 81 grains
less of silver than the dollar itself, and say, " W i t h this you can
pay a debt of $10, but no more; while with gold you can pay a
debt of any amount, and with any gold that has been coined. If
it is below the standard of legal circulation, you can take it and
weigh it out in the scales and make your creditor take it."
That is the legal-tender quality of gold. The silver dollar of
4121 grains you may pay your debt with, no matter what it
amounts to, unless the contract is the other way. All the subsidiary coin that you furnish to the people with less bullion in
it than there is in the silver dollar, where the functions of money
are equivalent to the face of the coin, you shovel upon the people and say " T h a t is good enough for you." And, in the jealousy of the holders of gold, even that is denied to the poorer
classes in proper supply.
Democrats have been accustomed, since I was a boy, to declaiming a gainst class legislation. You legislate for the wealthy
classes of this country by putting in your acts legal-tender
money, with a full quota of silver in it or gold in it, as the case
may be, and when you come to legislate for " the common masses
of the common people" you say, " Take your depleted half dollars and 3'our quarters and your dimes that you have to buy your
daily bread with and get for your wages. That is good enough
for you." I do not like that class feature in the legislation of
the Congress of the United States. I am very much in favor of
a proposition that has been made here, and argued and debated,
of making all the minor subsidiary coins of the United States
carry fully as much silver metal as the dollar of 4121 grains.
That is one of the things that we ought to be looking after.
There is a point where we can rectify the rights of the people.
There is the point where we can take care of the masses against the
classes. There is a clean-cut proposition making it necessary for
the action of some committee, and it ought not to be the Committees on Finance of the two Houses, for one House has passed
over this great subject and sent to us, having apparently exhausted their powers of wisdom and contrivance^ a bill that
contains a single proposition, without looking through the whole
field of legislative duty and providing for what the country so
urgently needs and demands and what justice requires. That is
a point that can be taken into consideration by this joint select
committee of the two Houses, as it has not been by the standing
committee of either House.
Another point may be taken into consideration by them, and
ought to be and must be considered and settled before the financial system of the United States can even claim moderate respectability. That is, the legal-tender laws of the country.
Mr." PEFFER. By way of suggestion to the Senator from
Alabama, I have the act of February 28, 1853, in my hand, in
which it is provided that the weight of the half dollar, or piece
of 50 cents, shall be 192 grains. If we double that we have 384
grains, which subtracted from the weight of the dollar, 4121
grains, leaves a difference of 281 grains.
Mr. MORGAN. That is not pure silver?
Mr. MORGAN. It is standard silver.
Mr. PEFFER. Standard silver.
Mr. MORGAN. I had reference to pure silver.
Mr. PEFFER, It is nine-tenths of that.
Mr. MORGAN. Nine-tenths. Now, we have quite a medley,
quite a patch-work, quite a crazv-quilt performance, here in our
statute books on the subject of legal-tender money. Under the
Revised Statutes, section 3587—
The gold coins of the United S tates shall he a legal tender in all payments
at their nominal value, when not below the standard weight and limit of
tolerance provided by law for the single piece, and, when reduced in weight
below such standard and tolerance, shall be a legal tender at a valuation in
proportion to their actual weight.

That is what the legal-tender laws of the United States do for
gold and gold coin. It is an advantage that is unseemly and unjust.
Under section 3587 of the Revised Statutes the minor coins of
the United States are legal tender for 25 cents.
Under sections 3473, 3475, and 5182 of the Revised Statutes:
A f t e r any such association shall have caused its promise to pay such notes
on demand to he signed by the president or vice-president and cashier thereof, in such manner as to make them obligatory promissory notes, payable on
demand, at its place of business, such association is hereby authorized to
issue and circulate the same as money; and the same shall be received at par
ill all parts of the United States in payment of taxes, excises, public lands,
and all other dues to the United States, except for duties on imports; and
also for all salaries and other debts and demands owing by the United States
to individuals, corporations, and associations within the United States, except interest on the public debt, and in redemption of the national currency,

Now, there is a limited, peculiar, legal-tender quality given to
the national-bank notes differing from all other legal-tender qualities given to all other species and descriptions of money.
Silver dollars of the weight of 412J grains troy, of standard silver * * *
which coins together with all silver dollars heretofore coined by the United
States, of like "weight and fineness, shall be a legal tender, at their nominal
value, for all debts and dues, public and private, except where otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract.—(Revised Statutes, sections 3009,3473,3474,
3513, 3586; Statutes, volume 20, page 25.)

Silver dollars are subjected there expressly to the stipulation
that may be made in the contract between the parties, whereby
they may establish for themselves a legal-tender rate and a legaltender law as they think, but no judge would ever think of executing it.
That the present silver coins of the United States of smaller denominations than $1 shall hereafter be a legal tender in all sums not exceeding $10
in full payment of all dues, public and private.—(Statutes, volume 21, page 8.)

Tho act of March 3, 1863, provides that—
Treasury notes issued under the authority of the acts of March 3,1863,
chapter 73, and June 30,1864, chapter 172, shall be legal te'nder to the same
extent as United States notes for their face value, excluding interest: Provided, That Treasury notes issued under the act last named shall not be a legal
tender in payment or redemption of any notes issued by any bank, banking
association, or banker calculated and intended to circulate as money. (Revised Statutes, section 3590; Statutes, volume 12, page 710; Statutes, volume
13, page 218.)

There is another entirely peculiar phase of legal-tender law
applicable to a particular part of our currency.
Then we come to Treasury notes:

SEC. 2. That the Treasury notes issued in accordance with t$e provisions of this act shall be redeemable on demand, in coin, at the Treasury
of the United States, or at the office of any assistant treasurer of the United
States, and when so redeemed maybe reissued; but no greater or less amount
of such notes shall be outstanding at any time than the cost of the silver
bullion and the standard silver dollars coined therefrom, then held in the
Treasury, purchased by such notes; and such Treasury notes shall be a legal
tender in payment of all debts, public and private, except where otherwise
expressly stipulated in the contract, and shall be receivable for customs,
taxes, and all public dues, and when so received may be reissued; and such
notes, when held by any national-banking association, may be counted as a
part of its lawful reserve. That upon demand of the holder of any of the
treasury notes herein provided for the Secretary of the Treasury shall,
under such regulations as he may prescribe, redeem such notes in gold or
silver coin, at his discretion. (Statutes, volume 26, page 2S9.)

That is the act of the 14th of July, 1890. Then comes the old
foundation act, the legal-tender law, in regard to United States

United States notes shall be Lawful money and a legal tender in payment
of all debts, public and private, within the United States, except for duties
on imports and interest on the public debt. (Revised Statutes, section 3588;
Statutes, volume 12, page 711.)

Here are nine different legal-tender laws applicable to the different kinds of money issued by the United States.
Now, I submit, Mr. President, that there never was such a
medley of legislation upon one vital topic as that which now infests the statute books of the Unittd States. If there was a
ground of distrust of the value of the currency of the United
States, of its actual money value, that ground would be firmer
and stronger under the feet of the objector in respect to the legaltender laws than any other part of the whole fabric of our patchwork of finance and monetary system. It is a crude, ill-digested,
contradictory, elaborate, almost impossible-to-be-understood system of legal-tender laws, applying to all the various aspects of
money that from time to time we have had occasion to put'forth
to meet the exigencies of our political and financial situation.
Ought that not to be .remedied? Ought not any money issued
by the United States or any money redeemable by the United
States or any money coined by the United States (unless, perhaps, it is the minor coins made of nickel and copper) to be an
equal legal tender for the payment of debts? If you have a legaltender value attached to money at all, why is it that every dollar in the United States issued or coined by its authority is not
of equal legal-tender value? Who, in framing a monetary system, would ever think of making this gross batch of inconsistencies and absurdities a part of that system? Until we get rid
of that, discriminations are necessarily to be made, and will always be made, between the different classes of money issued by
the authority of the Government of the United States.

That is a very important subject for the consideration of the
Congress of the United States, one that we can not pretermit.
W e can not forbear to act upon it without disappointing just expectations and without impeaching the wisdom, if not the integrity of our action upon this financial question.
Our national-bank system stands between the people of the
United States and the Government as the almoner, I will call it,
the distributor of the promises of the Government of the United
States that stand for money. While it has been guarded with
all the care and supervision that has been possible by the wise
men who have dealt with it heretofore, it is still an utterly insufficient system for the protection of the people against just
such calamities and troubles as we are emerging from to-day.
Now, is that the fault of the system itself? Have we a system
that may be abused by the adroitness of financiers here and in
Europe to such an extent as that the national banks may violate
all of their duties to the people and to the Government with absolute impunity, and yet, as the honorable Senator from Texas
[Mr. COKE] told you the other day, and the honorable Senator
from Missouri [Mr. COCKRELL] told you also, require the people
of the United States to pay interest upon every dollar of nationalbank notes that goes into circulation? They furnish the credit;
they furnish the representatives to enact the laws; the laws are
enacted; and the laws impose upon the money the people handle
every day, taxation and interest. The people have to bear all
these burdens; the banks bear none of them; and while the people are in this condition, the banks at will and pleasure perform
or violate their duties, according to their best interests, and not
according to the obligations either of oaths or public duty. Is
that the fault of the system, or is it the fault of the administration of the system? That there is a fault no man denies, no man
can deny.
I will not this morning, Mr. President, undertake to go over
what has been so well portrayed here by the Senator from Colorado [Mr. TELLER], from facts that he has brought in evidence
before the Senate, and by the Senator from Missouri [Mr. C O C K RELL] upon an equally strong statement of facts, to show the
criminal responsibility of the national banks of the United States
in their dealings with the people of this country in these latter
days, and especially during the last five or six months. There
is no necessity on this occasion for me to do that. I hope to
speak of this at a later date. There is not a man who can read
the promise on the face of a bank note in the United States who
does not understand it. W e may think that this subject is so
clouded up that the common people of this country can not understand it, but they all understand it perfectly, and they have
at last learned, at the expense of a terrible experience, that
they are to be made the sufferers of every financial calamity that
can be brought upon this land.
They are beginning to understand that their representatives
in the Senate of the United States and in the other House, either
because of their being tied up with political affiliations that they
dare not break through, or because of their indisposition to take
the responsibilities of their high and awful position, stand by
and refuse to grant them relief. They even stand by and refuse
to consider the subject of relieving them. The House committee has had this subject before it, and the Senate Committee on
Finance also; and with all of this startling development of cruel
disappointment to the people of the United States, bringing almost actual starvation into the houses of thousands and hundreds of thousands of good people, they have been standing by
and witnessing the refusal of the banks to pay their depositors
when they had the money in their vaults and did not deny it;
refusing all discounts upon paper and securities, it made no difference how good they were; locking up all the avenues of trade
and industry, so that no man could do more than feed his family,
and a great many could not do that,
These Representatives have stood by and seen the whole of it,
and they have been as dumb as statues upon the subject of the
interests and rights of the people, and of their responsibilities
to them. Tliey come for ward with one single proposition where
there are many to be considered, and demand of us that we shall
consider that, and only that; and after we have received from
them this modicum of what they claim to be a temporary relief,
and not a complete and thorough and satisfactory relief to the
people, then we are compelled beseechingly to ask them if
they will not, in their goodness and benevolence to the people,
after a while take up these other subjects for consideration and
lend a helping hand.
I can not do my duty unless I demand more of the Senate of
the United States than that, and I do demand it. I demand it,
sir, as a Democrat. More than that, I demand it as an American Senator. If any party tie stood in the way of my making
this demand and enforcing it I would strike it from me with delight and go as an honest r^nd a free man to the fearless repreresentation of an honest and free people. I could not be bound



by sncb slight obligations to party ties while refusing to do my
duty to a suffering constituency.
What are we to do about the rehabilitation of the State banks?
There is not a wealthy man in the Senate who is in favor of it—
not one. There is not a wealthy man in the United States I
have ever heard of, who is in favor of it. If it depended upon their
votes we would never get it, it would be an impossibility, notwithstanding that great pledge of the Democratic platform. Is
that to be recalled? Is it to be swallowed whole? Is it to be
ignored? Have we no responsibility of a party kind connected
with the consideration of that question? Yet, Mr. President, if
I were to offer such an amendment to the bill from the House
pending here it would be voted down by the friends of the repeal
of the Sherman act.
It would be voted down without hesitation. It would be voted
down by them with the same unanimity of feeling that they
would vote down the free coinage of silver, and so the rectification of the legal-tender laws would be voted down by them. If
I should have the temerity to bring into the Senate a proposition that every dollar coined and issued by the United States Government should be an equal legal tender for the payment of debts,
it would be voted down. So would any proposition to restrain
the banks from destroying the industries of the people be discarded.
What we must do, if we do any thing at all for the sake of the
people, is to do all that is in our power to consider the whole
length and breadth of these great questions and determine them
at one time and by one committee, and also in one session of
If this committee is properly constituted it would consist of
representative men from every political party in this country.
It would consist of seven members of the House and seven members of the Senate. Amongst that membarship of seven there
would be ample room for all the parties who are represented on
this floor, the Populists, the free-coiuage Democrats, the antisilver Democrats, the free-coinage Republicans, and the antisilver Republicans. They could all have a full and fair representation upon that committee in both Houses, and when they
have met together for the purpose of considering the measures
that are necessary for the welfare of the people of the United
States we would find no mere party assemblage there.
W e would find an assemblage of every interest represented on
the floors of the two Houses. A just representation of the people of the United States, and every man would have his voice,
could bring forward his facts and his views and make his report,
and when the reports came into the two Houses the House and
the Senate would have nothing to do but to adopt that report
which will best coincide with its views of the requirements of
the general situation and the welfare of the whole country.
Now, if we want to get at this question in a nonpartisan spirit—
and almost every gentleman who has discussed this question in
either House, I observe, has attempted to have the country believe that he approached it in an entirely free and nonpartisan
spirit—if we want to get at this question in a nonpartisan spirit,
let us have a committee upon which all of these respective interests are directly and distinctly represented. After such an
examination of this great and comprehensive subject, it will be
the duty of all parties to acquiesce in the wishes of the majority
and to aid in carrying their plan of finance into full execution.
Then the people of the United States will have confidence in
your patriotism and your impartiality. Then they will say you
are conferring in a friendly spirit with all the people and all their
representatives, and you are trying to bring them into harmony
of action upon this great question of finance. You are trying in
good faith to relieve the people.
Is there any reason why that should not be done? It ought
not to disappoint the expectation or wound the pride of the Committee on Finance in the Senate or in the House that this should
be done, for the reason, if there were no better reason, that you
can not get concert of action between the two Houses otherwise
than by the action of a joint committee. These two Committees
of Finance, although they are Democratic in majority both in the
House and in the Senate, are not in concert of action in every
There has been but one point upon which they could meet.
There has been but one point that they were willing to discuss
or could afford to discuss. They have either ignored or else they
have refused to consider every other proposition except the
single one of coalescing with the honorable Senator from Ohio
[Mr. SHERMAN] in destroying the act which he was so proud of
here, and for several sessions after it had been enacted. That is
as far as they can get.
Well, that does not go far enough to suit me as a Democrat.
I never recognized the honorable Senator from Ohio as my fileleader as a Democrat. There were some other Democrats in
the United States whom I preferred to affiliate with in former

times. I will name one of them—Allen G. Thurman. Allen G.
Thurman was always a free-coinage Democrat. I believe he has
not lived until he has been forgotten as a Democrat. His teachings and his honorable labors in behalf of Democracy, as well as
free coinage, will survive in the memory of men the history of
90 per cent of the members on this floor to-day, or who have been
here in the last thirty or forty years. When you speak about
great and good and consistent men who are Democrats I may
proudly refer you to Allen G. Thurman, the Old Roman; not the
modern Roman, who is represented in the person of the Chairman of the Committee on Finance.
I took up the Washington Post this morning, which I always
read with satisfaction, because it is a bright paper, and it usually
holds the front row, I may say, upon the news that is current
through the United States. I find the following special to the

NEW YORK, September 5.
The last trace of acute stringency in the money market disappeared today, there being no premium on cash. The banks are now paying out cash
freely. The steamships Umbria, La Champagne, and Saale brought about
$1,500,000 in gold.
The whole amount of the profits of the dealers in currency while the premium lasted aggregates $1,000,000, the statement of the representative of one
firm being that their profits were $600,000. The profits of the remaining
brokers are easy of estimate. The firm making the largest established a
lead from the beginning, though forced by two banks to withdraw their accounts. The third bank accepted their account only on condition that currency should never be demanded of them. This and other discouragements
offered by the banks intimidated many from engaging in the business, else
the aggregate of profit might have been larger and the banks themselves
forced to buy currency. The railway and express corporations helped the
banks out by refusing to sell their cash receipts, and the premium on currency thus ended to-day and sooner than would otherwise have been the
The premium will not return in half a century. Banks say that the conditions producing the scarcity were unusual, and will never occur again in
ordinary circumstances.
The most valuable of the influences against a premium is the growth of
the sentiment against the sale of currency in hard times. The banks have
been supported during the struggle to keep the premium down by the leading mercantile and stock houses.
Those who have had to buy the money have been principally large employers of. labor, and the immediate effect of the dropping of the premium will be
that more factories will start up, and concerns that have failed will not have
to postpone resumption of business longer than is absolutely necessary.
Bankers at the uptown resorts said this evening that they had for the first
time in five weeks been paying merchants and business men currency on demand and in whatever denominations were desired. Their customers were
delighted, and the bankers assured them that henceforth they may expect to
get currency of whatever denomination they asked for on their checks.

What has produced that marvelous relaxation, that sudden
brightening up of the zenith and the horizon around the monetary world? What has so inspired these gentlemen as that they
at last give their consent that the people of the United States
shall have the use of their own money; that the depositors shall
actually have their drafts honored when they are sent to the
banks, and that "gilt-edge paper" maybe discounted in the
banks? What has produced this marvelous toning up of the
confidence of the banking institutions in the United States? Is
it the passage through the other House of the bill to repeal the
Sherman act? It has not passed the Senate yet. We are invited
to pass it. We are urged to pass it. W e are commanded to pass it.
W e are threatened if we do not pass it. Our Democracy is questioned if we hesitate to pass it; but there seems to be quite a disposition on the part of the Senate to look into the subject before
they pass it: they want to examine into it. These gentlemen
who have become so confident in the monetary situation in the
United States are not counting with absolute confidence upon
the action of the Senate. No, sir: it is a different thirg
Four or five months ago this movement was commenced. It
was commenced in Great Britain. It was commenced by a determination in Great Britain that the monetary system of the
United States should be brought down to the English basis.
Money had been loaned here upon bonds and securities of various kinds, put up as collateral, and if they could make money
scarce in the British markets and hard to obtain, of course the
collaterals would go down in value and would have to be sold.
They made the cinch upon the monetary world in Great Britain
and Germany, but chieily in Great Britain. They got these
securities on the down grade. The bears were triumphant.
The speculators in lower prices had the rule of the money market,
and the control of the bond market, and* the margin market, and
everything connected with the pledge of stocks as security for
loans; and down and down went the securities that had been
pledged in Great Britain for the loan of money.
These securities, it is said, were sent home for sale, and they
were sold, and they were bought, and as soon as these men got
hold of enough of them to make themselves rich, as soon as they
had secured the market in their own hands and could buy them
almost at their own prices, then they relaxed the money market
and said to the people, " W e have confidence now: we will relax
the money market and prices will go up; ease and comfort will
come into the monetary situation: bonds will rise, and we will
reap a tremendous harvest out of this situation."

That is how it happened; and the wise gentlemen who fancythat they understand all about finances and financial operations
can not deny these statements. Neither can they state any other
ground for the terrible conflict and depression that we have
passed through than that I have just stated.
The money of the United States, Mr. President, is not used
for the purpose of developing agriculture, or mining, or the interests of forestry, or even of shipping and navigation, and
scarcely for railroads. The great bulk of the money of the
United States that is employed in Wall street is handled by the
gamblers in stocks. They get the first call on the money market. They go there with their bonds, their securities piled up,
and pledge them as collateral for the purpose of getting money
to buy more with, and to speculate upon them, for that is the
whole routine of their life and their business—speculation, and
nothing else. When a merchant in good standing, I care not
how good he may be, or a manufacturer with large industries
under his control of the greatest possible advantage to the country and all the way from 1,000 to 10,000 employes and operatives
to be taken care of, goes to one of these banking institutions and
asks for a loan upon any kind of mortgage or pledge that he can
possibly put up, they will not let him have it.
Now, there is a reason for that, and a good banking reason. The man who handles stocks can always throw them upon
the market, and his money is borrowed upon call. It is a call
debt. When the market shows that the stock which is put up
as security is depreciating, and is likely to go below the proper
margin for the payment of the amount loaned, the banker has
not anything to do but to take it and put it upon the market and
sell it and realize. A merchant goes to one of these banks that
has had perhaps a million dollars loaned upon call, fortified by
stocks as a collateral security, and asks for a loan. '' What length
of time do you want?" " Why, I want thirty days (or sixty days
or ninety days) time. I am obliged to have some credit. I can furnish you ample security, of good indorsers, but I am obliged to have
somecredit." Theansweris: " W e can not take your paper at all,
for the reason that we can make more money upon our call loans.
W e can handle our money two or three times over in a month,
perhaps; at all events, it is always ready when we demand it, and
if it is not paid we can go into the stock market and sell securities and realize." So that the great mass of the money of the
country is employed continually in supplying funds for stock
This thing reaches across the ocean, and there must be points
where there are accumulations of capital sufficient to supply this
great demand for money. Where are they? Go and unlock the
vaults of the Rothschilds treasury, and you will find one of them;
unlock the Seligman vaults, and you will find another; unlock
the vaults of four or five of the great banking houses of Europe,
and you will find them all. They are all there.
The fountain sources of the supply of money are there. They
control the money, not of individuals merely, but of governments;
they control the whole financial system of Europe, and our banks
go there to borrow money to lend to the stock gamblers, and not
to lend to the people. So when there comes a tightness in the
money market of Europe we find that the first effect is to place
these bonds and securities upon the market at the loss of the
stock gamblers, and we find that the next effect is that no commercial or industrial man can get a shilling on any paper that
he can offer; no credit that he had been a lifetime building up
is worth a cent to him; nothing is worth anything to him, because the power of the banks is controlled almost exclusively
by the gamblers. That is why the people can not get in contact
with their own institutions and their own money. That congestion is passing away, it seems. They have bought their stocks
at great depreciation, and now they begin to want to realize, and
money is let loose and prices rise. Prices rose 10 per cent in a
week on stocks sold in the markets in New York.
Mr. HOAR. I should like to ask the Senator from Alabama,
with his leave, if his statement of facts as to the course of the business of the national banks as to their preference in loans is made
as the result of his observation of the national banks of his own
State? Is that their course of business, so far as he is informed?
Mr. MORGAN. My observation, Mr. President, of course has
been confined to the national banks of my own State pretty much,
but the national banks of Washington also do the same thing,
and I have some acquaintance with what they do. I know that
a merchant can not go here in Washington city and get his bill
discounted, no matter how good he makes it on the security of
indorsements, and get the money for the purpose of carrying on
his business. He can not make a loan in a national bank in Washing ton, but a man who can go and put up certain stocks for security can do so.
Mr. HOAR. If the Senator will permit me, I do not think it
would be proper to rise to controvert his statement of fact about
what comes within his personal observation, but I think I can say,

as a man who has had some large experience in business affairs
in my own State and large observation as a professional man, that
that statement is not true of the banks of Massachusetts or New
England. The class of speculators described by the Senator are
the terror of the national banks. They never like their paper,
and they get rid of it and reject it when they can. The business
of the banks is almost exclusively confined to discounting the
business paper of manufacturers and merchants at moderate rates,
and these banks have been paying dividends of late years of about
5 or 6 per cent only. The panics, which the banks are charged
with getting up, light upon the banks with more severity than
on any other kind of capital invested in business.
Mr. MORGAN. Does the Senator from Massachusetts know
how many savings banks in his State have demanded thirty
days' notice from depositors?
Mr. HOAR. I do not, but I suppose they all do when they are
expecting a run.
Mr. MORGAN. Every one. They demand time; they will not
pay, and they can not pay. Their resources are locked up.
Mr. HOAR. That is entirely another question, which I will
not interrupt the Senator to go into at this time, but I shall discuss it at the proper time.
Mr. MORGAN. It is not by any means another question. It
is a part of the same troubles. The savings banks in Massachusetts and in all of New England have been remarkable for their
punctuality in their dealings, and for their meeting all the demands brought upon them by the poor people who put their
money in their charge; and now, even those honest New Engenders, who have handled the money of the people with so much
care, so much circumspection heretofore, are forced by conditions which they can not possibly obviate or correct to demand
thirty days' time when a poor fellow who has a deposit of $5 in
the savings bank goes there to get his money to buy bread for
his family.
Mr. HOAR. If my honorable friend will pardon me I think
1 know something of that also. What reputation I can give as
a voucher for the statement I give, that the poor fellow whom
the Senator describes will always get, does now get, and has
through this panic got his money.
The thirty days' notice is a mere protection against a run, a
panic, an excitement, an utterly unfounded delusion, but during
all this time, as a rule in our savings banks, persons wanting
their money to pay their taxes, to support their families, or to
meet obligations which they had contracted depending on the
savings bank deposit to meet them, have got their money.
The Senator is aware that the banks can only take to the
amount of $1,500 from any one person in Massachusetts.
Mr. GRAY. With the permission of the Senator from Alabama, m ;y I ask the Senator from Massachusetts a question?
Mr. MORGAN. I am in hopes that the Senator from Delaware and the Senator from Massachusetts will both come in and
debate this resolution, for the reason that I want it carefully examined before it is acted upon.
Mr. HOAR. The Senator should remember that my last
statement was made in reply to his question.
Mr. MORGAN. I want this resolution adopted because the
Senator from Massachusetts and myself, without either of us
desiring to make an incorrect impression in the slightest degree,
find ourselves at cross points, at loggerheads, on a very important stale of facts; and I want the proposed committee to examine into the facts and give us the truth, and let us see who is
right and who is wrong.
Mr. GRAY. May I make a single observation in line of what
the Senator is saying?
Mr. MORGAN. Yes.
Mr. GRAY. If I understand it—I do not know how it may be
in Massachusetts—all of the savings banks of which I have any
knowledge have it as a rule, it is one of their by-laws, that when
a deposit is made it is made subject to the understanding or contract that thirty days, or some specified number of days, notice
shall be given before the deposit is withdrawn.
Mr. MORGAN. Of course, Mr. President, that is the way it
is done.
Mr. GRAY. It is part of the contract with the depositor.
Mr. MORGAN. Otherwise they would be put into bankruptcy, or perhaps their officers would be put into the penitentiary for not having complied with their obligations to pay
the money, and so they have a reservation of thirty days; but
when do they ever use that right?
Mr. GRAY. Only in times like these.
Mr. MORGAN. Yes, in times like these. It is because these
times exist that the necessity has been forced upon the banks to
claim thirty days before paying the deposits of these poor breadwinners.
Mr. HOAR. Ninety days.
Mr. MORGAN. 1 want to investigate. I want the country in-



formed, and I want the country relieved in respect to these
matters, not that I have any particular pet measure which I am
advocating- here or anywhere else, hut I want the Congress of
the United States to look into the whole subject and do everything that can be done for the purpose of rectifying these evils.
I thought, Mr. President, that I would read some extracts
from the letter of the president of a national bank in Alabama
to me upon the subject of the depression which exists in that
State amongst the laboring people. It is not necessary that I
should read the letter at large, and I find also that one sheet of
it is missing. I thought I had it here.
This gentleman goes on to state that in those splendid iron
industries in Alabama, which have been so prosperous and have
done so much good to the people there and to the United States
and to the world, the payment of wages of laborers is made daily
or weekly in meat and bread. They do not ask any money; they
do not expect to get it; they are working for a bare subsistence—enough to support them and their families. Men who
could ordinarily get their $2.50 to $5 a day are working in the
mines and in the iron establishments in Alabama upon a contract that they will receive from the companies enough meat
and bread to feed their families. They can not get any money,
and could not get any.
The people of the State of Alabama, through their newspapers,
are sending up supplications and prayers to, heaven, and also to
the national banks for some relaxation of the stringency of money
matters. Once in a while a paper will come out in triumph and
glee and say, " W e are to have money to buy cotton; ; ' and that
carries a cheerful thought to the hearts of these poor laboring
people of my State—money to buy cotton, as if the world did not
need that staple as much almost as it does food; cotton, which
has always commanded gold as well as currency whenever it
might be landed at a railroad depot or on a steamboat, or on any
place where it is accessible to navigation, from the time of its
foundation as one of the leading industries of the United States;
cotton, which has been crowned as a king in some of the days of
this present generation, is a poor pitiful beggar wanting to
know whether there is to be money to buy cotton.
W h o has the control of the money so that the people who raise
cotton for the clothing of the human family can not find a market
for it, can not find money to sell it for? W h o has got the money
locked up? W h o has got the control of it? Do you not know
who has it? Has anybody ever suggested a doubt or a question
that the money was locked up in the hands of banks and of bankers,
that they have got the control of all the monetary system and the
entire finances of the people of the United States? More than
that, they bring their pressure to bear in this instance, as they
have frequently before, just at the time when the wheat, cotton,
and corn crops are maturing. Corn and wheat and cotton are at
prices now which are discreditable to the Congress of the United
States, which are a disgrace and a shame to these bodies, because
we have not stood by our people and enabled them to have a sound
currency for the purpose'of carrying their crops to the markets
of the world.
Wheat down even below 50 cents a bushel, cotton 5 to 5} cents
a pound, corn at less than 30 cents a bushel, and all because the
banks and bankers have got the money locked up in their vaults
and treasuries and will not let the people have it, while they
are taxing them to pay interest on it, and we stand idly by here
and dream of party success raid party allegiance and party fidelity,
and see our people starve and go naked, and never raise a hand
or a voice to undertake to care for them. I am not of such,
th. nk Almighty God. [Manifestations of applause.]
I could go on, Mr. President, and show from the papers I have
before me—but I shall not now refer to them—other very important facts to prove the necessity of our taking hold of this
subject in a strong and earnest way.
Now, I have no pet policy or purpose about it. I am willing
to go with and abide by my people after they have had a full
hearing and after a free conference upon any system of measures
which will make our people secure henceforth against these outrages and wrongs from which we are just now escaping. I care
not whether it may be called a Republican, a Democratic, or a
Populist measure—it makes no dffference. If it will give the
relief to the people, in accordance with the Constitution of the
United States, which they have a right to demand at our hands,
I v ill unite with whoever it is that brings that measure forward
if it commends itself to my judgment. I am not going to be
illiberal or stringent about it, either. I am not going to inquire
whether somebody outside of this Chamber wants it done or does
not want it done. I am not going to ask persons who have no
legislative power whatsoever to form joint commissions to investigate this question. I feel upon this question the responsibilities of a representative of my State and people; I feel the
necessity of action. I desire broad, catholic, orthodox action in

respect of this question, consistently with the Constitution of the
United States, and that is all I desire.
If you want to take the tax off the State-bank system, and that
is the judgment of Congress as being one of the useful remedies
or one of the best remedies which can be adopted, do so. If you
want to remonetize silver as a means of restoring confidence and
as a means of giving to the people a basis of credit and power of
redemption, do that. I should be delighted if you were to do it.
If you want to strike both gold and silver to death, if necessary,
do it, if it is for the welfare of the people; but let us, Mr. President, hold the reins over our own institutions and our own establishments; let America furnish to Americans the proper currency to circulate in their business, let us not be dependent upon
Great Britain or Germany or France for anything in respect of
our currency. W e have the material here to build up a system of
finance better than any that exists in this world.
W e already predicate a system of finance which requires us
to redeem $800,000,000 of circulating paper on less than $100,000,COO in gold, and we sustain it without difficulty. What supplies the great vacuum between $100,000,000 of gold in the Treasury and $800,000,000 of paper in circulation in the hands of the
people, for the redemption of every dollar of which the United
States is responsible? What supplies it? The credit of the people. Their taxpaying power, their labor, their toil, their^economy, their suffering, their patriotism supplies all that great
breadth of disparity between $100,000,000 of gold in the Treasury and $800,000,000 of paper to be redeemed.
i say, let us help those people to bear these burdens; let us give
them, as far as it is possible to do so, all the relief that we can.
While we are here in Congress, while this question is up, while
it is absorbing the public attention, while it is engaging the utmost efforts of everybody connected with government, while it
is making demands upon our time, upon our talents, upon our
energies, our industry, and our honesty and courage, of the most
supreme character, let us not refuse to take the whole subject
into consideration, and so deal with it and dispose of it that this
country and our noble toilers shall have a monetary system suited
to our greatness.
Mr. President, I could broaden this view of the question, if I
had time to do so and felt that I was warranted in doing so, upon
one idea or line of thought, which I shall merely suggest. The
States of the western hemisphere from Mexico and Central
America down, including all of South America, have a monetary system which is somewhat akin to ours—pretty close kin—
based chiefly upon silver. They have also free republics and
constitutional governments, which are copied after ours; they
have sympathies in common with us; they are becoming more
and more great producing peoples; their contributions to the
commerce of the world are becoming exceedingly important.
Those contributions ought to be interchanged in New York, and
not in London.
There is enough of financial wealth and power in the western
hemisphere to make of New York a city greater, within a comparatively short period of time, than London is in its financial
and commercial power.. If we will, in the effort to adjust our
financial system, accommodate it to the interests and conditions
of the people in South America, we can draw them right to our
homes, with all their trade and credit. They are suffering as we
are, perhaps in a worse degree, from the same causes; they have
not got the credit that we have, and if a great joint committee of
the two Houses would also take that subject into consideration
and act upon it there would be brought int o the Treasury of
the United States and into the reach of the people an amount of
wealth and power that we little dream of. That is one of the
matters which this great committee ought to consider. It has
not been considered heretofore, or, if so, in such a perfunctory
manner that nothing has come of it. The subject has been
slurred over.
Within what length of time, Mr. President, could this committee prepare itself to act upon all the leading propositions
which I have suggested, or others, if you please, and report
either separate bills or one bill to cover the whole question? I
can take the honorable Senator from Missouri [Mr. C O C K E E L L ] ,
whose seat is now occupied by my colleague [Mr. PUGH], and
put him at the head of a committee of that kind, and in twenty
days he would have all the facts before this body which would
be necessary for the purpose of having the subject perfectly understood and acted upon with wisdom, caution, and security.
There would be no trouble about that.
By the time that in decency and in order the debate in this
body would end upon the proposition which is now before it by
the passage of the bill of the House as amended by the Committee on Finance of the Senate, the Senator from Missouri in
charge of a committee of 14 members of both Houses—I designate
him merely because his qualities and characteristics, his energy
and his power entitle him to be designated—the Senator from

Missouri could take such a committee as that, ana, under his
leadership, be prepared, within thirty days, to submit a plan
which would cover the whole field of financial and monetary legislation in which we ought to engage.
I am entirely unambitious in this matter, and if the Senate of
the United States should raise this committee, I give notice now
that I would not accept a position on it, my notice being predicated upon the fact that 1 can look around me and see half a
dozen Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who are better
fitted for such work than I am.
I want, Mr. President, that our people shall come together; I
want that the finances of the people of the United States shall
not be knocked about, like a weaver's shuttle, between politicians
while they are suffering and starving; I want that they shall
have relief, and that the politicians shall not stand in their way.
I am as much a politician as any of them; but when I get upon
a question of this sort, I am willing to surrender my politics for
the welfare and interests of the people. So I announce that if
the Senate should pass the resolution in the form I have it, or in
any form whatsoever, I will not be a member of that committee,
I want to stand upon ground where I can recommend this


measure to the consideration at least of the Senate of the United
States en-tire-ly aside from all party and personal considerations.
Now, is there any reason why we should not do this? Can any
man, from pride of opinion or otherwise, rise in his place and object to having a groat joint committee act 011 this subject? Have
we not on many occasions when our country was imperiled, when
the people were suffering, raised great joint committees to consider questions like this, before whom everybody could be heard
and in whose body almost every feature of opinion in the Senate
and Rouse of Representatives was distinctly represented? That
is all I ask you to do. It makes no difference whether the bill
which is now before the Senate shall pass or shall not pass, the
duties of this committee would be just as vital in the one event
as in the other. The committee would be ready with its investigation, ready with its report, to take up this subject after the
pending bill had passed or failed to pass, and enter upon the
consideration of the broader view of the duty of the Congress of
the United States toward the people. Then hope would revive
in the hearts of the people, and we should inspire them with
confidence, so much iteeded, in the justice of their own Government.