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The Free Coinage of Silver.








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

Mr. BARTLETT said:
Mr. SPEAKER: It had not been my intention to address this
House at so early a day in the session, but the exigency of the
hour, the emergency of the situation, must be my excuse, if any
be needed.
The second article of the Federal Constitution, in its third
section, provides that the President shall, from time to time,
give to the Congress information of the state of the Union, and
recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall
judge necessary and expedient; and in accordance with this
constitutional mandate the Chief Magistrate of the nation in his
message, conveyed to us at the beginning of this extraordinary
session, has recommended the prompt repeal of the silver-purchasing clause of the Sherman act of July 14,1890; and that
other legislative action may put beyond all doubt the intention
of the Government to fulfill its pecuniary obligations in money
universally recognized by all civilized countries.
The Executive has in clear and direct language sketched the
financial and material condition of the Union, and has outlined
the legislation deemed essential, and with that message I am in
thorough accord. In my opinion, to follow the adjectives used in
the Constitution, it is not only most expedient, but vitally necessary , to repeal at once and without compromise, without condition,
without bargain or compact, the clause ordering the purchase of
silver bullion; and I regard the amendments providing for the
free coinage of silver at various ratios,, from 16 to 1 to 20 to 1, as
remedies more fatal than the disease—like deadly poison given
to hasten the moribund patient to his death.
To pass any free-coinage measure would be like digging the
spurs deep in the flank of the steed already rushing madly
towards the brink of a precipice.
And why should the free-silver men seek to extort from us the
passage of a law we believe to be iniquitous, as a condition to the
repeal of an act which they admit from even their own standpoint is pernicious? The words of the gentleman from Missouri,
who now leads the van of the white-metal men, are memorable,
for at the time of the passage of the Sherman bill, in July, 1890,
he said:
The whole bill is in the interest of the gold standard. The whole bill is a
murder of silver.

The gentleman from Missouri should not make, himself an accessory to the continuing murder of silver by refusing to vote
for the unconditional repeal of the law he once pronounced so
I represent an agricultural county, Richmond County, or Staten
Island, and the great water front of the city of New York, extending from Peck Slip on the east side, to West Houston street on
the North River, and containing within its limits all the great
exchanges—stock, consolidated, produce, cotton, coffee, real estate, and maritime, and that famous street which is the object
of almost daily attack upon this floor. I am proud, Mr. Speaker,
to represent Wall street; for, conceding that all the primitive
virtues exist in the mining^ gulches of the silver States, it is
nevertheless true that there is noplace in the world where there

is a higher standard of integrity and honest dealing than in Wall
street. And, sir, I assert that the animadversions and attacks
made upon the financial center of this country spring from unthinking and unintelligent prejudice, and are based upon a defiance of the elemental principles of political economy and an entire misapprehension of the relations of capital and labor.
Of course, in a district such as mine, although the wealthiest
in the Union by virtue of the aggregation of capital in its trust
companies and banks and in the vaults of its exchanges, the
great body of constituents is made up of poor men or men of
moderate means; and yet they are all united on this question, and
they all demand, in accents as fearless as those of the orator from
Nebraska, that the purchasing clause of the silver bill be repealed,
and that no free-coinage substitute be enacted.
Bankers and brokers, merchants and clerks, mechanics and
farmers, sailors and the longshoremen and the laborers on the
docks, all, irrespective of party, urge the repeal of this fatal
statute. And, sir, I should be recreant to the trust reposed in
me were I to allow my voice to be silent at this momentous time.
The gentleman from Colorado, who opened the debate on the
free-silver side, said:
When this vote comes two weeks from now you willfindthe Eastern Democrat and the Eastern Republican standing together.

His prophecy was only half correct, for you will find all the
men, from North, South, East, and West, who believe in honest
money and the honest payment of debts, and the restoration of
credit, and the maintenance of this country as one of the great
solvent nations of the world, united in this battle for the right.
The issue is above and beyond a partisan or party question; it
is an issue of patriotism; and every man who loves his home and
country, and the Constitution of his fathers should hasten by his
vote to check the tide of impending ruin, and to relieve the
pent-up agony of the land.
And, sir, I am glad that I shall see every member of my native
State—Massachusetts—side by side and shoulder to shoulder in
the fight with every Representative from the State of my adoption—New York.
The gentleman from Colorado said that the dwellers in the
mining States went West 4 'under the protection of a law that
had been upon our books since the days of Washington, Hamilton, and Jefferson." The gentleman, it would seem, supposed
that the act of 1792 remained in force until 1873, and he overlooked the act of 1834.
The invocation of the names of our Revolutionary patriots is as
out of place as the constant allusion to the dollar of the daddies.
He had forgotten,too, that the framers of the Federal Constitution
were hard money men. The power given to Congress in the
great written instrument of 1787, " to coin money," means, as I
interpret it, the power to coin honest money, money which will
stand the test of the melting pot, money which is worth as much
after it is melted into bullion as its face value stamped upon the
coin represents it to be worth. The words u to coin money"
were not intended to grant the right to coin silver dollars worth
50 cents in silver, supplemented by 50 cents of fiat money.
I listened to the speech of the silver orator, the gentleman
from Nebraska, with admiration and regret, for I admire his
charm of utterance and the courage of his convictions while I
regret that eloquence and ferver, fancy and the imagination
should supply the lack of logic and the cold substratum of fact.
We have had graceful applications of the stories of the Punic
hostages, and of the drummer boy of Marengo who could not beat
a retreat, but nothing is said of the calmer, colder side of history which deals with the rise and fall of prices, and the increase
or decrease of wages; that greater branch of history which treats
of the progress of civilization rather than of the warrior and
the tented field, and from which are derived many of the inductions of political economy. I do not blame the silver advocates,
as the cruel logic of experience is against this visionary scheme,
and they would have scanned the pages of the Past in vain.
If a bimetallist be, as defined by the president of the Amen jan
Bimetallic League, one who wants the unlimited coinage of gold
and silver, then I am not one.
Without an international agreement bimetallism becomes
simply silver monometallism, and, believing such international
agreement impossible, I am in favor of a single standard of



value, and that standard gold. I believe that there can be but
one universal measure of value, but one ultimate medium of exchange.
I agree with the report of the special commission of the Austrian upper house, wherein it is said:
In every age there Is some metal dominant In the history of the world,
which forces its way with elemental strength in the face of any public regulation, and in our day gold is that metal.

And it was so as far back as the reign of King Solomon, for
we are told in the Book of Kings—
And all King Solomon's vessels were of gold and all the vessels of the
house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver; it
was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.

And again:
And the King made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones * * * for abundance.

The commercial price and the coinage value of the standard
metal must coirioide, and gold fulfills that test.
Gold is a proper standard by reason of its intrinsic value and
its light proportionate bulk. It is, as Andrew Jackson said in
one of his messages, both sound and portable. But silver, on
the other hand, is so cumbersome and bulky that the people do
not want it and will not use it for large payments, and because of
its constant fluctuation and enormous overproduction it is no
longerfittedto be a measure of value at any ratio, be it as 27 to 1,
28 to 1, or even 33 to 1.
Our people, when needing actual cash, prefer gold and paper
symbols, either representative of gold or backed by the credit
of the Government. They have no use for heavy silver coins, as
is shown by the fact that only 56,223,989 silver dollars are in
circulation, while $363,108,461 lie untouched in the vaults of the
Treasury. Were silver dollars coined of intrinsic value they
would be about twice as heavy as our present cart wheels, and
in quantity could be carried by the ordinary citizen only in
handbags and handcarts. [Laughter.]
The proposition to coin silver dollars at the ratio of 20 to 1 is
untenable. It is no more right to call 70 cents 100 cents than it
is to call 50 cents 100 cents. The dishonesty and deception are
there in both cases. There is but a si ight difference in the grade
of the offense.
The Chicago platform declares that—
The dollar unit of coinage must be of equal intrinsic and exchangeable
value or be adjusted through international agreement, or by such safeguards
of legislation as shall insure the maintenance of the parity of the two metals
and the equal power of every dollar at all times in the markets and in the
payment of debts.

At that time, in June, 1892, it looked as though an international
bimetallic agreement were possible. The result, however, of the
Brussels International Monetary Conference demonstrated the
impossibility of coming to such an agreement in face of the
opposition of every great European power; and since the defeat
of the bimetallists at that conference their prospect of final success has been dimmed by the secession of the last great remaining silver-standard country—India.
An adjustment through international agreement is, therefore,
at least for many years to come, out of the question. The dollar
unit of coinage is not of equal intrinsic value, and can not be
until the proper ratio be adopted—27.74 to 1 to-day—and be
altered with eachfluctuationof the market value of silver.
Every dollar is of equal exchangeable value with every other
dollar, as is demonstrated by the continuous and rapid exchange
for gold of the Treasury notes issued against the silver bullion.
Of course, the plank must be read as a whole, and, interpreted in
that way, it pledges the party to maintaining the equal power of
every silver dollar with every gold dollar in the markets and in
payment of debts. Strictly speaking, at the present rate of production, it is beyond the power of any legislation to maintain silver at parity, or, in other words, at $1.29 an ounce.
To maintain by trusts or other artificial means the price of any
commodity, says Ottomar Haupt, it is an indispensable condition of success that overproduction be avoided. Excessive production is not avoided by the mine-owners, and this furnishes
an additional reason why international bimetallism is impracticable. With improved: machinery the annual output of silver is
increased at a lesser outlay, and this, too, with a continuously falling market. Figures do not lie, and they prove that concurrent
with the fall in the market price of silver there has been a large
increase in production. The product of 1892 was some 157,535,000
ounces, as against an annual average of 78,766,000 ounces for the
quinquennium from 1876 to 1880.
Although it is sought to discount the action of India by railing at the administration of Mr. Gladstone, and by the assertion
that Mr. Balfour will some day come into power and undo all that
has been done, we may, I think, learn profitably one or two objectlessons from the experience of England in the East.
The great lesson taught is the absolute necessity of a fixed or
stable rate of exchange, and that with silver there can be no

permanent rate of exchange. A fall of 1 penny changed a surplus in the Indian budget to ah alarming deficit.
Owing to thefluctuationsin exchange, taxation could not be
adjusted. The merchants of India complained bitterly of the
injury to trade. The European officers whose salaries were paid
in rupees were in distress because of the loss on their remittances. And driven to extremity, Sir David Barbour, the financial adviser to the Indian Government, and a staunch bimetallist,
was forced to advise the stoppage of free coinage.
Delay was ruining India, and the silver standard introduced
into her subject country by Great Britain before the days of
Clive and Warren Hastings was forever abandoned. And it
must be noted that this course was found imperative in a country where the whole of the great internal trade of 300,000,000 of
people is carried on by the actual transfer of coin from hand to
hand, there being no system of payment by check or draft.
Let us take the experience of another silver country. In Mexico the shifting from the silver to the gold standard in exchange
makes the consumer pay 10 per cent more than he ought to pay
for imported goods, while the exporter of Mexican products loses
about 5 per cent through the charge made by the banks for converting the exchange into Mexican currency.
On the other hand, to use the words of Mr. Robert Hardie—
Between effective gold standard countries there is a fixed par of exchange
which does not vary beyond the narrow limit of the cost of transport of
money from one country to the other.

" But," say the silver leaders, " never mind about exchange.
We do not care for England or Germany or France. What, wait
upon England to fix the ratio for us? Let us build a Chinese
wall around our country and defy the outer world." These gentlemen, Mr. Speaker, do not seem to understand that we have
any foreign trade or commerce. They do not know that in point
of fact the great bulk of the world's commerce is conducted by
seven ports, of which New York stands second, coming between
London and Liverpool. We can not consume our wheat or corn
or cotton, and unless the crops of our farms and plantations decay
and diminish beyond conception we must continue to rely in part
upon the export of our cotton and breadstuffs.
London is the settling house for our foreign trade, practically
the clearing house of the world, and it will so remain in spite of
allusions to the Cobden Club and the battles of the Revolution.
Were free coinage to be established, the eventual loss through
fluctuating exchange to our planters and farmers, to our meatpackers and manufacturers, would amount to millions of dollars,
not for one year alone, but annually for all time. [Applause.]
What would happen upon the passage of a free-coinage act?
We should lose all our gold at once. The $187,000,000 in gold
coin and gold bullion in the Treasury would be immediately
drawn out, and gold payments would be stopped. Many, if not
all, the banks in the country would suspend payments. All our
securities held abroad would come tumbling back. Every one
would rush in panic-stricken haste to exchange silver for gold.
Coined silver would be poured in from India, where a billion five
hundred millions have just been turned loose; from Mexico,
where it has already dealt its paralyzing blow, and the uncoined
silver would pour in from every country of the civilized or semicivilized world; we should be compelled to buy gold to settle
our balances, as we did during the civil war—and instead of having lost some forty or fifty millions of dollars within three years,
we should lose hundred of millions of dollars within a few weeks.
The silver men would destroy at one fell blow all our present
system of finance, and they have no other scheme to present beyond the free coinage of silver. Nor have they any thought of
the morrow. They seem to think:
The present moment is our own;
The next we never know.

For the sake of trying a new evolution in the way of experimentalfinance,these admirals of thewhite would sink the whole
ship of state.
Mr. Speaker, I desire to call attention to only two acts in the
somewhat complex history of our coinage legislation—the Gold
Bill of 1834 and the Coinage Bill of 1873—for I consider those
measures the most creditable and the wisest of ourfinanciallegislation. Prior to 1834 gold had been undervalued by the overvaluation of silver, and as a consequence much of the more precious metal hadfledthe country. The then situation was summed
up by Senator Benton of Missouri:
A great amount of gold, both foreign and domestic, is now waiting in the
country to see if Congress will raise gold to its fair value. If so raised, the
gold will remain and enter into circulation; if not, it will immediately go off
to foreign countries, for gold is not a thing to stay where it is undervalued.

And Mr. Benton submitted a resolution for the appointment
of a committee to report what alterations were necessary to be
made in the value of the gold coined at the mint, so as to check
the exportation of that coin and to restore it to circulation in the
United States.

Mr. Benton believed in the axiom of Sir Thomas Gresham, the
money broker of Edward VI, that—
Bad money drives out good money.

In the following June the famous gold bill fixing the ratio of
16 to 1 was passed by overwhelming majorities in both Houses,
and Mr. Benton thus happily pictures the result:
The good effects of the hill were immediately seen. Gold began to flow into
the country through all the channels of commerce; old chests gave up their
hoards; the Mint was busy, and in a few months, and as if by magic, a currency banished from the country for thirty years overspread the land and
gave joy and confidence to all the pursuits of industry. * * # The instinctive feeling of the masses told them that money which would jingle in the
pocket was the right money for them; that hard money was the right money
for hard hands, that gold was the true currency for every man that had anything true to give for it, either in labor or property; and upon these instinctive feelings gold became the avidious demand of the vast operative and producing classes.


Were any further evidence needed, we might look at the sworn
testimony, before the Indian currency committee, of Mr. Robert
Giffen, the distinguished writer on finance:
This act (that of 1873) has been objected to by the bimetallic people in
the United States ever since, as a thing that was done sub rosa, without sufficient notice and discussion. I may say that so far from this being done
sub rosa, I was one of the people at the time who knew about it, and there
was really no mystery about it. It was openly discussed in the Economist
at that time.

As to the mare's nest discovered by a gentleman in this House
the other day, that the words " and no deposit of silver for other
coinage shall be received" were surreptitiously added to the
section providing that any owner of silver bullion could deposit
the same to be formed into bars or trade dollars, it is sufficient
to say that, according to a familiar principle of statutory construction, the alleged sinister words added no force to the provision.
Practically this law was the establishment by the United States
The record and the testimony thus make it manifest that the
of the gold standard after its initial trial of silver for forty years. only conspiracy in connection with the act of 1873 has been that
Silver then went out of general circulation—from 1853 to 1862 of the silver men to distort, pervert, and falsify the history of
there were no silver dollars in circulation—and so it remained its enactment.
until the coinage act of 1873 made the law conform to the exThe law itself was sound in finance and right in commercial
isting state of things by formally and explicitly demonetizing morality. It needed then—it needs now—no apology, and had
our coinage legislation stopped right there the country would
This much-abused law of 1873 has, ever since 1876, been de- to-day be prosperous.
nounced as a conspiracy against silver, but in my judgment there
Enough has already been said by others about the fatal laws
never was a charge more absurd and unjust. A conspiracy is a of 1878 and 1890. It was declared by a well-known writer that
secret combination to effect an evil purpose. Here there was the clock of Europe went back fifty years after the battle of
no combination save the union of able and expert minds on the Waterloo. The clock of this country, sir, turned back a quarter
wisdom of the measure, and there was no wicked or sinister pur- of a century upon the passage of the Bland-Allison act of 1878.
pose, but merely the intent to do that which was for the good of
We have heard, Mr. Speaker, a great deal of solicitude exthe nation. A conspiracy is committed in secrecy, covertly, by pressed in this House for the miner and the agricultural lastealth, not in the broad light of the noonday sun, openly, and borer, who, we are told, cry for free coinage of silver. But, sir,
with full publication and on due notice, as was passed this salu- I believe and I know that the farm laborers of the country taken
tary law. The simple truth is that the silver dollar was then at as a whole are on our side, and I feel certain that the miners
a premium of 3 or 3£ cents, and no one cared whether it was de- would be with us were they permitted to understand the issue.
monetized or not.
It would be a narrow view to assume that the only laborers in
Secretary of the Treasury Boutwell first drafted the bill omit- our vast territory are upon the farms of Nebraska or in the
ting the silver dollar in April, 1870, and sent it to the Senate, mines of Colorado or Montana. The blacksmith at his forge,
where it was passed in the next session, in January, 1871, by a the mill hand at his loom, the carpenter, the mason, and all the
vote of 36 to 14. The House Committee on Coinage, Weights, higher classes of mechanic, artisan, or artificer, the banker, the
and Measures reported the bill favorably, but no action in the merchant, the clerk, the clergyman, the doctor, the lawyer, the
editor, the reporter, in fact, everyone who is not an idler, all are
House was then taken.
Gen. Warner has recently denounced the axst of 1873, and has laborers in the broad, generic sense of the term; all earn their
stated that Mr. William D. Kelley, then on the Coinage Com- bread by the sweat of their brow, and they are entitled to just
mittee, knew nothing about it; yet, in fact, Mr. Kelley intro- as much consideration as the miner who drills the hole for the
duced in the next session a bill similar to Secretary Boutwell's, dynamite cartridge, or swings the pick in the mountains of the
far West.
and omitting the silver dollar, and in debate Mr. Kelley said:
The relations, too, of capital and labor are misunderstood by
1 again call the attention of the House to the fact that the gentlemen who
oppose this bill insist upon maintaining a silver dollar worth
cents more some of these gentlemen. Capital and labor are not antagonistic;
than the gold dollar, and that so long as these provisions remain you can they are supplementary the one to the other, for without the
not keep silver coin in the country.
cooperation of both, nothing can be achieved. All industry is
Mr. Thomas W . Stoughton, of Michigan, another member of limited by capital; and without the new investment of capital
there can be no increase of industry. So, the capitalist, or large
the Coinage Committee, said:
employer of labor, who, instead of spending his money in selfish
The time has come in this country when the gold dollar shall be distinc- pleasures, consumes his capital in the purchase of machinery, or
tively declared to be the coin representative of the money unit.
a plant, and in paying the wages of his employes, receiving in
The bill was passed in the House on May 27,1872, with a silver return the interest on his money and a fair compensation for his
risk and his own labor—is, in reality, a great benefactor.
dollar of limited-tender quality.
And yet, Mr. Speaker, the other day the gentleman from ColThe Senate substituted the trade dollar, and a conference was
ordered. A long debate, in which Senators Cole and Casserly orado attacked Massachusetts because she had largely increased
of California and Senator SHERMAN of Ohio were most con- her wealth. There are, sir, in many States statutes against vaspicuous, took place on two occasions, the debate being principally grancy, but I know of no community in which the honest acquiupon the recoinage of abraded gold and the charge for the origi- sition of wealth, the outcome of industry and thrift and economy,
nal coinage of gold. But in this debate, in which Senator James is held to be a crime.
In this country there is great divisibility of ownership. We
W . Nye, of Nevada, also took part, Senator Casserly used this
are a nation of small landowners, of small householders in the
W e have more silver than we want. Nevada apppears to be getting ready to main, a nation of taxpayers, not a country of insolvents and
deluge the world with silver. I see that her silver product last year was bankrupts, and most of our people desire the full and honest
probably over $20,000,000.
payment of their debts, to pay and to be paid one hundred cents
The conference report was signed by Senators JOHN SHERMAN, on the dollar. And it was with astonishment that I listened to
of Ohio, John Scott, of Pennsylvania, and Thomas P. Bayard, the strange theory advanced by the gentleman from Nebraska
of Delaware, and by Representatives Samuel Hooper, of Massa- last week, that the debtor can select the mode of payment of his
chusetts, and Thomas W . Stoughton, of Michigan—men of na- debts, and that he can pay back the gold he borrows in the way
tional reputation, clear sighted and strong headed. Their report which shall inure most to his own advantage without regard to
was concurred in by the Senate, agreed to by the House, and finallythe creditor.
Let us see how this system would operate with the miner, who
the coinage act became a law on February 12,1873. The bill had
been passed in the House by a vote of 110 to 13, and in the Senate at the end of his week's work, when he, the creditor, appeared
unanimously. In bringing up the bill in the Senate on January for his wages before his employer, his debtor, should be told, if
17, 1873, Senator SHERMAN stated, " I t passed the Senate two not in words in substance, " Here, take your pay in this silver
years ago, after full debate," and thereupon the bill was read by which is worth in purchasing power 50 per ceift of gold. Take
the Chief Clerk of the Senate. And the Senator from Ohio, in a it because I am your debtor for your labor and to me belongs
the choice of mode of payment. I know that the purchasing
speech in 1891, said:
power of our currency has been so scaled down that you can not
The act of 1873 was not the act of the party then in power, but it was the now buy half the food and drink and clothing for the same
act of all parties. It was voted for by Republicans and Democrats alike, nominal amount of wages, and that your wife and children are
after full consideration for three years in Congress. It was voted for by
on the verge of starvation, but remember that you are a wageevery representative from the silver States.



earner and that was:es are the last thing to advance, although
the cost of living has been much enhanced. Do not complain,
for the great cause of free coinage has triumphed." [Laughter.]
The mine owner himself, however, when he becomes the creditor, will not yearn for the depreciated metal, as is illustrated by
the story that the billheads of a prominent silver Senator bear
the legend, " A l l bills payable in gold."
This is an issue between a small section of the country, the
silver States on the one hand, and the great body of the federation on the other. Out of 66,000,000 of people but a small
proportionate number ask for free coinage, and sordid selfinterest is arrayed against the common weal of the Republic.
It is an effort to protect the silver industry at ruinous cost to the
whole people, and it is, therefore, as asserted in our Chicago
platform, unconstitutional and undemocratic.
When we reflect that Colorado last year produced $31,000,000 of
silver out of the total product in the United States of $74,989,000, we can understand why the governor of that State desires
that his horse should wade in blood, and why a clergyman at
Aspen the other day impiously announced that the silver men
were on the side of God, although it is a marvelous creed which
asserts that the All-wise Creator is in favor of any but the highest standard of intrinsic worth.
The attacks, Mr. Speaker, upon the banks of New York and
the East are as wild and frantic as is the assertion that New York
and Boston and London would gain an undue advantage by the
defeat of free coinage. London and our own cities would gain
no more and no less than the full, honest payment of the moneys
due them. And this is what the silver men do not wish, for, as
one of them confessed a few days since, they want to pay their
debts for fifty cents on the dollar. The sale at a fancy price of
the output of the silver mines, which can be produced at a cost
of 30 cents an ounce, and the evasion of just debts would seem
to be the cardinal objects of the silver crusade.
And I ask the silver leaders if it be not somewhat ungenerous
to use Northern and Eastern capital to build your railways, lay
your water pipes, open your mines, and in every way develop
your country, and then to assail the money-lenders because they
expect simply the honest fulfillment of the bond.
Why do they attack our banks? Do they not comprehend that
it is for the interest of the banks and of Wall street that the
market should be full, fair, buoyant, and elastic, that their success depends upon the general prosperity throughout the country?
Their interest is the common welfare; they are trustees for the
citizen in the preservation of his money, and money-lenders to
the producer in time of need; and without the aid of our Northern and Eastern banks the enormous cotton crop of the South
could not be moved, for millions of dollars ai'e advanced by these
banks every summer and autumn. Without the great central
reserve cities of our national banking system and its twenty subordinate reserve cities the commerce and trade of the Union
would become so retarded and clogged as to languish and decay,
and yet, while the banks of one of the great central reserve cities
(New York) are frequently attacked in this House, those of the
other two, Chicago and St. Louis, which are engaged in exactly
the same business, are never criticised. Is this because some
outlying votes are hoped for in the West?
I apprehend, Mr. Speaker, that no legislation can at once restore the country to complete prosperity, but as the causes of
the money famine which now afflicts the land are, first, the withdrawal of confidence, and second, the hoarding of money consequent upon such failure of confidence, it is clear that any measure which restores confidence will bring forth all the money we
need, and such a measure is that introduced by the gentleman
from West Virginia, repealing absolutely the silver-purchasing

The wide-spread hoarding of our money would indicate that
with all our boasted civilization we are no more intelligent than
the natives of India, who hoard the gold ingots which come out
from England. While there the disposition to hoard is dying
out, here within the past few months the disease has shown an
extraordinary development.
Let the Sherman law be repealed and coin no more silver except as subsidiary coin; at least no more for the present. Our
circulation per capita is $24.02, which is sufficient, and nearly
twice as great as in 1860. In gold and silver, in paper representatives of gold and silver, such as certificates and Treasury
notes, in greenbacks, and in national bank notes we have a circulation of $1,611,000,000; and as 95 percent of our business is
done with checks, and drafts, and notes we need in reality no
largely increased volume of money. Repeal the law, and gold
will pour in from Europe, confidence both at home and abroad
will be renewed, money in hoard will come forth, and foreign
capital once more will seek investment on our shores.
At an appropriate season I should favor, Mr. Speaker, the bill
introduced by the Senator from Indiana, authorizing national
banks to issue circulating notes up to the par value of their bonds
deposited, and I can see no objection to a law permitting the
issue of notes equal in amount by the Comptroller of the Currency to anyone who shall deposit United States bonds, thus
giving direct relief in time of stringency without the necessity
of applying to a bank. Since July 1 the circulation of our national banks—in notes issued or ordered and to be issued—has
been increased by some $34,000,000, and it will soon be over
Owing to the mistakes of the past our system of currency is
not perfect. Like France and Germany, we have the '' etalon
boitevx," or limping standard. That is to say, we have in reality a gold standard, but with a large, although not unlimited,
amount of silver circulating at gold value.
" One leg," as Dr. Ludwig Bamberger, a high German authority, expresses it, "which is the gold currency, has a free and
healthy motion, while the other, the silver currency, is lame and
drags behind and thus proves more or less of a hindrance to its
healthy brother." Our silver in the Treasury, like the thalers
in the German Reichsbank and the five-franc pieces in the Bank
of France, serves only to appeal to the imagination as a last reserve. In reality the only security we have is our gold and the
faith of the Government or its pledge to redeem its obligations.
W e must stop right here and not go on increasing them beyond
the possibility of redemption.
The gentleman from Colorado asks: "Can you afford to vote
to increase the value of the dollar? " 1 answer: W e do not vote
to increase its value; but we vote not to degrade or depreciate
it. W e can never afford to do that which is wrong; we can always afford to do that which is right.
The silver men all tell us that they are but following the behests of their constituents. It is true'that this is a representative
government, and that we are the representatives of the people—
but our sense of responsibility to our constituents would not
justify obedience to the dictates of selfishness or folly.
Any other view would be to reduce the function of constitutional government, indeed, to a very low level.
I say, therefore, in answer to these gentlemen, " It were far
better to forfeit your renomination, to lose forever all chance of
reflection, than to vote for any scheme of dishonest finance.
The unanimous suffrage of your district, the mad plaudits of all
the miners in your State, could not excuse or palliate t i e injury
done to the whole country. Cast back the dread of your constituents. Vote right. Vote for repeal, and so shall ye die not
at your death, but shall live in the glad hearts of the people
saved. [Applause. J