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I am not "here to degrade the currency; but, while t h a t is true, I am not here to
obey t h e command of t h e extreme people who want gold and gold alone for currency ; t h a t means contraction and wrongs t h e debtor. Nor am I here to obey t h e
command of the extreme people who want silver and silver alone for currency,
and only 60 cents' worth in a dollar; t h a t would wrong the creditor. One would
bring us to t h e yellow metal alone for money; the other, in the name of bimetalism, would bring us to t h e w h i t e metal alone for money. I w a n t both metals.
M y party, in a national platform, pledges me to both metals. Good politics pledgo
me to both metals. I believe it is entirely practicable to have them.







Wednesday, August 23, 1893.




S P E E C H





The House having under consideration the bill (H. 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. CANNON of Illinois said :
Mr. S P E A K E R : In twenty minutes' time I can hope to do little
more than briefly to give some of the reasons for my vote as it
will be cast on Monday next. W e are in extraordinary session.
The country is in an extraordinary panic. The President convened the Congress, and, as in duty bound, sent to us his message,
in which he gave his reasons for calling us together, and told us,
what we all knew, t h a t there was panic and depression abroad
in the land.
The disease all recognized, he told us the cause of the disease
as he understood it, and stated it to be the purchase of silver
under the so-called Sherman act. He gave no uncertain sound,
and the remedy that he recommends is the immediate repeal of
the purchase clause of t h a t act. If the President has diagnosed
the disease properly and advised the proper remedy, then, without respect to that side of the House or this side of the House,
patriotism demands t h a t we should apply t h a t remedy. But if
he is not correct in his diagnosis and we apply the remedy, not
understanding the real cause of the disease, we shall but aggravate it. The President has performed his duty; we are now to
perform ours. I do not agree*—and I say it with respect and
modestly—I do not agree with the President in his diagnosis of
the disease.
I do not believe t h a t the purchase of silver under t h e Sherman
act or its coinage under the Bland act is responsible for the present depression throughout this country; and, not so believing, I
am not ready to help in giving the medicine which the President recommends. I may be mistaken. If so, I honestly mistake.
W e are told t h a t this cheap silver money is driving gold out
of the country. Is t h a t true? I think not. True, we lost a
large amount of gold from the 1st of January last to t h e 1st of
July; but the silver did not drive it out; we paid our debts with
it. Great Britain, under depression almost as g r e a t as ours (and
while ours has lasted but t h r e e or four months, h e r s has lasted
for three or four years), needed the money; we were in debt to
her; and she said " Pay "; and we did pay. And here is proof,

strong- as t h a t of Holy W r i t , that I am correct in this statement,
because while eighty odd millions of gold journeyed to the other
side to pay our debts, side by side with it wTent $17,000,000 of
silver for the same purpose.
Now, did t h e gold drive the silver out or did the silver drive
the gold out, or did they both go to pay the balance that was
against us? I need only to ask the question; the answer is obvious.
Again,within the last month nearly $30,000,000 of gold has returned to the United States from abroad. W h a t brought it back?
I t came in payment for our exports,largely wheat and provisions.
I t is said that good money hides because of the cheap Treasury
note issued under the Sherman act. I deny it. You can not find
with a search warrant amongst capitalists or laborers anywhere
in this country anybody who is afraid that his currency will not
be as good as gold, is not as good as gold now. I measure my
words when I so speak. Why? Because under the law, the
United States is bound to, and does day by day when demanded,
give the gold for any currency that we have. There has been
b u t very little of redemption—why? Because, first, the people
are satisfied of the honesty ofthe United States; and, second, they
are satisfied of its ability in the premises.
Think a minute. We have a panic the like of which I have
no recollection of (and I am on the wrong side of fifty). We have
a President (and I speak of him respectfully) that for eight long
years in office and out of office has followed the silver currency
i f the country with as great ferocity as Herod followed the inf a n t Savior when he commanded that all children under two
y e a r s of age should be put to death in order to make sure of the
destruction of the Infant King.
By letter, by message, in season and out of season, before the
•Chicago convention and after the Chicago convention—all the
time he has been against it. He is charged with the execution of
"the law. W e have a Secretary of the Treasury who, whatever he
may have done himself, was reported in the*public prints throughout the length and breadth of the country as having said that he
would redeem Treasury notes under the Sherman act in silver
alone. He does redeem them in gold. But that report begat
doubt arid fear.
Yet in the midst of all these surroundings, without the sale
of one dollar of bonds with which to obtain gold to maintain the
parity of our money, although there was full power in the premises, with an unfriendly administration, in the height of panic—
all this money—$1,600,000,000, nickel,copper, silver, paper, gold—
is all good; and from one ocean to the other you can not find
anybody who has any fear with regard to t h e ability or honesty
<of the Government in so maintaining this money according to
the pledge of the law. [Applause.] I submit that in view of
these facts the President's diagnosis of the disease is not correct.
W h a t are we called upon to do? To repeal the purchasing
clause of t h e Sherman act. I wish I had time to talk about t h a t
much-abused act. I t is not perfect. I have rarely seen any
legislation t h a t was perfect. Now, the Democrats are fully in
power. I expect to see soon some legislation that is absolutely
perfect. [Laughter.] Yet that Sherman act is a good act; it

serves a good purpose. Under the Bland act, so much condemned, and the Sherman act, there has gone into the currency
of this country since 1885, when Grover Cleveland was first
elected, $300,000,000 of money as good as gold and redemable in
gold and circulating side by side with it.
But, asks somebody, are you in favor of " c h e a p money?" No;
God knows I am not in favor of cheap money. The little record
I have made in the Congress of the United States shows t h a t I
am not in favor of cheap money. I am not here to abuse people
who have money. I frequently wish I had more of it myself.
Abuse of that kind is no argument. I am here in view of all the
interests of all the people, to " cry aloud and spare n o t " in favor
of good money.
Why, think of it. The total deposits in the banks, according
to the last official report, were over $4,600,000,000; in the saving
banks alone the deposits were over $1,700,000,000, with nearly
five million depositors, representing nearly twenty-five million
beneficiaries, counting each depositor as representing a family.
Think of it! The life insurance companies (stock and mutual)
are under obligation to pay their policy-holders this day o^er
Those policy-holders represent 1,000,000 families, scattered
throughout the length and breadth of the country. The assessment life-insurance companies are bound under their agreements
to pay their policy-holders nearly $5,000,000,000 to 5,000,000 of
people. These men are to be paid in good money; and in the aggregate the credits and property of the common people of the
United States by the side of the credit and the property of the
capitalists are as the mountain to the molehill. If there is anybody in God's world who is interested in stable and sound money
it is" the people who live through the sweat of their face. The
people who are in the mine, on the railway, on farm, and in factory produce annually in t h e United States products to the value
of $12,000,000,000. Oh, no.
I am not here to degrade the currency; but, while that is true,
I am not here to obey the command of the extreme people who
want gold and gold alone for currency; that means contraction
and wrongs the debtor. Nor am I here to obey the command of
the extreme people who want silver and silver alone for currency, and only 60 cents' worth in a dollar; that would wrong
the creditor. One would bring us to the yellow metal alone for
money; the other, in the name of bimetallism, would bring us
to the white metal alone for money. I want both metals. My
party, in a national platform, pledges me to both metals. Good
politics pledge me to both metals. I believe it is entirely practicable to have them.
W h a t would I do in the meantime? I would let the purchase
clause of the Sherman act stand until the other side of the House
can meet this side of the House calmly and cooly; not under the
influence of panic or excitement or prejudice; not without
power even to offer an amendment, but with the full power of
amendment and debate, and after full consideration enact a provision that would utilize all the silver t h a t may be offered for
use as money at its commercial value. In my judgment this can
be done by allowing any and all owners of silver bullion to de«

posit the same in the United States Treasury at the world's
m a r k e t price and receive therefor certificates or Treasury notes
redeemable on demand, in sums of $100 or any multiple thereof,
in silver bullion at the market price, or gold coin, at the option
of the Government, making the Treasury notes a legal tender
for all debts, public or private.
I believe it can be done. But why do you not offer the amendment, says some one. Because, Mr. Speaker, the extreme silver
and fiat money men in this House met and shook hands with the
extreme gold men on the Democratic side of the House, and
adopted t h e rule under which you are now proceeding, that says
I shall not have, as the representative of my people, the poor opportunity of offering a single amendment of any character on
this subject. [Applause.] That is the reason. I am powerless.
The ship is at sea, and I can not help it. Sixty-five millions of
our people are on board ship, and we stand here to-day without
power to help man a boat or unfurl a sail.
I listened with much interest to one of Georgia's favorite sons
[Mr. TURNER], strong on that side of the House and strong always, a few moments ago, whfen he proceeded to exhort the
Democratic party to come together and unite upon a proposition
t h a t would solve the question and be just to all. Oh, how my
ear was inclined, watching and waiting for that proposition.
But, Mr. Speaker, he hid his proposition under a bushel. If he
had proposed it, the House could not consider it under this castiron rule, made by the Democratic side of the House, cutting off
all amendments. W h a t does wisdom counsel us to do? I will
answer in a sentence. There are six hundred millions of gold
and about that much silver in this country; we have over 65,000,000 of people; the population is increasing at the rate of 2,000,000
every year; we now have power to sell bonds to maintain all the
money at a parity.
W i t h o u t the sale of one dollar of bonds, I am satisfied that during the Administration of Grover Cleveland under existing law
we can go on and have an increase in the currency of nearly
$40,000,000 a year, and that all the money will be as good as gold
after four years of the Democracy under President Cleveland.
1 think the people, having tried"a new experiment, will turn
back to their first love. [Applause on the Republican side.] In
any event I will not help change existing law unless you put
something better in its place.
Gentlemen say there is a congestion of the currency. Yes;
but the great trouble is a congestion of credits. Nine-tenths and
over of t h e business of this country is done on credit. T h a t
credit being destroyed, t h a t much more work is thrown on the
currency. Of course, then the currency is scarce and inadequate. But with all that—with this scarcity of currency, with
^noney all good and millions to follow just as good, under the
operation of the present Sherman law—it is gravely proposed to
stop t h a t increase of the currency by a repeal of the purchasing
clause of t h a t law which puts it in circulation and substitute
nothing in its stead. Mr. Speaker, for one, my judgment from
every standpoint is against it, and I will vote against it. [Applause.]
coinage of silver?
But, says somebody, will you vote for fr

No; not under existing conditions unless you put a dollars' worth
of silver in a silver dollar. And I will tell you why. W i t h the
nonuse of silver by the principal commercial nations in the
world, and the late action of England with regard to the India
mints, I do not believe that the free coinage of silver on the
ratio of either 16 to 1 or 20 to 1 will assure us both gold and
My judgment is that such coinage of silver would drive the
gold out of the country, and we would have silver in cheap dollars alone for money. In the fullness of time I believe the coinage
ratio of gold and silver will be settled by agreement between
the principal commercial nations of the world. When that is
done, we can safely have free coinage of silver. In the meantime
it is our duty to utilize silver at its commercial value for currency. Silver always has been, is now, and in my opinion always
will be, one of the money metals. [Applause.]
" A h ! but," says somebody, " w e want to repeal this act to
strengthen our credit." Strengthen it where? I ask; in Europe
or at home? Mr. Speaker, the Government's credit does not need
strengthening at home. You can not find any citizen of the
United States who does not believe that the credit of the United
States is now first class; in Europe the credit of the United States
is first class. I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, and gentlemen present,
when the obligations of your and my Government, standing side
by side in London, are worth as much money as is the English
consol,that our credit is as good abroad as their credit is at home.
Oh! But says somebody, They are afraid they are going to be
paid in cheap silver. Oh, no; the laws of this country can be
read of all men, and the construction given to those laws by both
Democrat and Republican administrations, tells everybody everywhere t h a t all the money Uncle Sam has in his hands, and all
his obligations, as well as all the circulating medium, is to be
gold and that which can look gold in the face and say, " I am as
good as you are." [Applause.]
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. W A L K E R was recognized and yielded five minutes to Mr.
C A N N O N of Illinois.
Mr. CANNON of Illinois. My friend is always very kind to
I do not know that I can enlighten the House in five minutes
much f u r t h e r in addition to what I have already said. There
are many things to strengthen my position in my own mind, that,
given time and opportunity, it seemed to me I might have urged.
But to conclude in that five minutes the matter of which I was
talking when the hammer fell. They say, repeal the Sherman
law in order that you may strengthen our credit abroad.
I repeat, it is already as good as that of any nation on this
earth. " W e l l , " but say some of these gentlemen, " repeal the
Sherman law and we will give you something to go in its place."
Will you? Is there a man on that side of the House who can
say that any proposition touching the utilization of silver as
money can be written upon the statute book with the approval
of your President, Grover Cleveland? I pause for an answer; if
anybody is authorized to speak for him let him answer here and


The gentlemen from New York [Mr. WARNER] and from Ohio
[Mr. HARTER] both stand pledged to repeal the tax on the circulation of the State banks. The last Democratic national platform pledges such legislation. T h a t would give us old-fashioned
Democratic wild-cat money. Mr. Speaker, for myself I am free
to say that if I have to choose between silver at the ratio of
either 16 to 1 or-23 to 1 of gold on the one hand, or the revival
of the wild-cat currency that cursed this country up to 1860 on
the other, I will be found for silver every time. [Applause.]
To my Republican friends, in conclusion, I say, to what feast
are we invited? To the repeal of this act that we wrote upon
the statute book, and that has been beneficent in its operation;
and when it is repealed, with a contracting currency and an increasing population, we have full notice that there is to follow
fast and furious upon its track the performance of the pledge
made by the Democracy, upon which they say they won full
power, namely, to strike down the last vestige of protection to
American industries and American labor, and place upon t h e
statute books in lieu thereof a tariff that will yield revenue only,
but no protection to any American citizen who walks upon our
soil and breathes our air.
In full competition with labor abroad, importing that which
we heretofore made, with a contracting currency instead of an
expanding, safe currency—that is the feast to which we are invited by our Democratic friends. For one I will go hungry
before I dine at such a table, for that matter I would go hungry
if I dined at such a table. [Applause on Republican side.J