View original document

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




D E L A W A R E ,





S P E E C H




G R A Y .

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

Mr. GRAY said:
Mr. PRESIDENT: If the Senator from Mississippi does not object to this interruption in the'middle of his speech, I shall be
glad to a /ail myself of the opportunity he gives me.
Mr. GEORGE. I shall be glad to have the Senator proceed.
Mr. GRAY. I have listened to the Senator's remarks on this
question with a great deal of interest, as I always do. When the
Senator from Mississippi occupies the floor, I am very sure of
hearing what is worthy of attention as being the result of the
best thought of one of the ablest minds in the Senate. I have
been provoked, as it were, to say something at this late hour in
the evening by the very elaborate and interesting statement
which the Senator from Mississippi has made in the course of
his speech in regard to the enormous amount, measured5 in
money, of the transactions of this country for one year, one
month, or ona day, and he might have extended that same course
of reasoning to the business transactions of the world, which
would only have made the aggregate of a day's business or a
year s business, as the case might be, still more enormous, running into 'figures which entirely baffle the human intellect to
All that he said in that line was most true and most instructive. I have forgotten the figures, of course; but it does not matter, as he was dealing with billions in reference to the enormous
transportation business of this country and of the world. It requires bi lions on billions of dollars to measure the values of the
trans ctions which make up a year's business. He spoke of the
importing and exporting business, the steamship business, the
daily traffic in our marts of commerce and our great exchanges. All come in to swell this enormous aggregate, which
the Senator contrasts most happily with the comparatively insignificant amount of gold which is in existence or visible, or, I
may add, necessary, to do the world's business, and to measure
the enormous ebb and How of transactions between the civilized
peoples of this world.
I was very much struck with that comparison, but I draw a
very different lesson from it from the one which he has drawn;
and it suggested in my mind a very different train of thought
to that which was suggested, or seemed to be suggested, in the
mind of the Senator from Mississippi.


Mr. President, if that amount of gold is sufficient to measure
the transactions of which he spoke, and to serve as a medium of
exchange for the daily business of this country, which amounts
to sums so many tim^s more than all the gold and all the silver
and all the currency in the world, doas not the Senator from
Mississippi see that it is necessary somewhat to correct the proposition, which seemed fundamental in his argument to-day, that
this country or that the world is suffering now from a famine of
gold or silver or of currency, and that they are adequately performing their functions as mediums of exchange and measures
of value for this enormous amount of transactions which occur
every day throughout the length and breadth of our land and
throughout all the civilized world.
It is most true that all the silver and gold and all the currency, greenbacks, Treasury notes, and bank circulation of this
country, are not sufficient to liquidate a single day's transactions
in this country of ours. How, then, is that performed? Does
he not see that in the progress of our wonderful civilization we
have arrived at a period when the exchanging function of the
precious metals and of the currencies of the people is becoming
relatively less important, and the measuring function of the
standard money is becoming relatively more important?
Mr. President, we have advanced very far from that stage in
our civilization when everybody was obliged to carry about him
in a leathern girdle all the money that was necessary in order
to transact the day's business. We have advanced very far from
the condition of things which was depicted by Sir Walter Scott
in Ivanhoe, when Isaac of York had his wealth all in his iron
boxes that formed so great a temptation to Front de Boeuf that
he wanted to roast the old Jew on a gridiron in order to induce
him to part with some of it.
Our civilization and the civilization of that day can not be
better marked than by the change which has taken place in the
function of metallic money. Then every transaction must be
performed by the buyer and seller coming together and counting down the broad pieces that measured the value of the exchange. Now, we are told, and we know, that of all the transactions that were spoken of by the Senator from Mississippi today, and whose enormous aggregate he has collected with such
patient industry, 95 per cent are carried on without the intervention of any actual money at ail. How are they carried on?
They are carried on by the processes which have been evolved
by the magnificent civilization whose fruits we enjoy to-day and
in whose beneficent sunshine we bask, and which has brought
mankind to a point at which the exchange of commodities (which
after all in the last analysis every bargain and sale is, whether
conducted by means of money or not) is brought about in 95 per
cent of the transactions of the world without the intervention
of actual money, except as it may constitute the measure of their
value. They are carried on by the credit devices which the ingenuity of mankind and the improvement in the intercourse
that has taken place in these latter years by steamship, railroad,
and telegraph h^ye made available.
Mr. President, are we to take a step backward, as the Senator
from Mississippi would seem to indicate that we must, in order
to arrive at that golden age in which there shall be enough
metallic money to solve every day's business transaction as it
< 470

occurs? Are we to travel back upon our pathway? Are we to
give up all the fruits of the civilization that has been so conspicuous in no other respect as in the facilities which have taken
place in the exchanges between men of the commodities which
make the world's wealth?
Mr. HOAR. Would it disturb the Senator from Delaware if
I should state one fact in connection with what he is saying?
Mr. GRAY. No, sir.
Mr. HOAR. A very eminent member of the other House told
me that a few months ago he had a conversation with the manager of one of the largest New York banks, in which he was told
that the week before that bank had to settle transactions
amounting to a little over $35,000,000, and the debit and credit
of the transactions they settled were so nearly balanced that 38
cents paid the difference.
Mr. GRAY. I thank the Senator from Massachusetts for an
illustration such as is constantly, I have no doubt, occurring in
the business of the world.
Mr. TELLER. I should like to ask the Senator
Mr. GRAY. One moment, if the Senator pleases. But it is
worth while at this time, although it may be dealing with facts
that are of common knowledge, to dwell for a little while upon
the processes that modern civilization have evolved for the transaction of the world's business.
I have said, and I say again, that there is no more conspicuous
landmark on the pathway of civilization than the very matter of
which I have been speaking, to wit, the relegation of the metals,
both gold and silver, to a function of less use in the exchanges of
life and to an increase of their importance as a measure of value.
We need only to call to mind two or three of the great mechanical inventions that have signalized this century, and especially
the last half of it.
It is commonplace to say that steam has revolutionized the
business of the world. Long since steam had become a factor in
the world's civilization there have been improvements in the use
of that wonderful agent which in the last thirty years have pro-,
duced another revolution almost as wonderful if not quite as wonderful as the introduction of steam itself. As wonderful as the
superseding of the stage coach by the railroad has been the superseding by modern railroads with their steel rails and stone
ballast and improved engines of the first crude attempts which
were made in steam transportation. W e now have a wonderful
ocean transportation, the economy of fuel brought about by the
development of the expansibility of steam, the triple expansion
engines, the double and triple screws in the great steamships
that traverse the ocean. These have served to bring the civilized world together in one great business solidarity, so that communication now between this country and the remotest parts of
the civilized world is as convenient, as quick, as unembarrassed
as thirty years ago it was between the Eastern Sta tes of oiir Union
and the region west of the Mississippi, between the States on the
lakes and those on tbe Gulf. There is no difference, in a business sense, between the rules and conditions that govern exchanges between Boston and Denver and those that govern between New York and London.
Mr. DANIEL. Will the Senator allow me to ask him a question? I shall occupy only a moment.


Mr. GRAY. Certainly.
Mr. DANIEL. I understand tlie Senator is arguing to show
that there is no need for much money as a base of business?
Mr. GRAY. I am arguing to show that the whole course of
the progress of modern civilization has been such as to dispense
more and more with the use of actual money in the exchanges of
a country's wealth.
Mr. DANIEL. I so apprehend the Senator's argument. Will
the Senator allow me to ask him why it makes such a tremendous con vulsion of business when a few million dollars of gold go
from this side to England to settle the balance or a few million
coming back? If money volume is not needed why is it that the
transfer of a few million dollars of gold from one side of the
water-to the other throws one continent or the other into a convulsion?
Mr. GRAY. Could there be a better illustration of just what
I am saying, that after all, when we come to this wonderful fabric
of credit which has been evolved by the processes of the years,
a few million dollars at the last analysis does all the business
that is represented by the enormous figures, baffling the imagination to comprehend, cited by the Senator from Mississippi this
Mr, DANIEL. I understand that; but why is it that the passage of a few ipillion dollars from one side to the other creates
such a convulsion over a continent? Can the Senator account
for it upon any other idea than that there is not enough money
with which to do business?
Mr. G R A Y . I am not now just on the point raised by the Senator's question, but I wjll turn aside from the course of my somewhat desultory argument to say that no argument I have attempted to present nas been for the purpose of showing that actual
money and the precious metals are not necessary—and as necessary in their way as they ever were—to the business of the world,
but while the great bulk of the world's transactions are carried
on upon credit that credit is always expressed in terms of money;
that credit is always measured by money, and that money must
be the basis of the superstructure of credit that is erected upon
it. Therefore, when we come down in the last analysis to the
payment of the comparatively few dollars that make the differences in the world's transactions for a day or for a year, any disturbance in regard to the money that must actually pass from
hand to hand then does make trouble and does make the'convulsion which the Senator from Virginia speaks about. But that
has been minimized by the very processes of which I have spoken.
Mr. YILAS. Will the Senator from Delaware give me leave
for a moment?
Mr. GRAY. Certainly.
Mr. VILAS. I should like to ask the Senator from Delaware
if, directing his attsntion to the point of the question of the
Senator from Virginia, the true answer would not be that the
United States has issued its promissory notes, payable on demand in coin, nominally, but practically to be necessarily paid
in gold coin or we fall to the silver standard to an amount exceeding the money in the Treasury outside the gold of $950,000,000;
and the reason why the exportation of gold caused alarm and
fear in this country was because it came out of the Treasury of
the United States by the increase of the Treasury notes under


the act of 1890, as the President pointed out in his message, and
the alarm and distress were caused by the threat (so very rapidly culminating to a realization) of descending to the silver
standard in this country?
Mr. BLACKBURN. I do not want to complicate the interruptions to which the Senator from Delaware is subjected, but I
should like to ask the Senator from Wisconsin, in connection
with the question which he has propounded, to tell us whether
he construes the law so as to require the Treasury of the United
States to pay those promissory notes in gold. My understanding of the law as it stands to-day is that the Treasury Department will exercise its discretion and pay the notes either in gold
or silver, for they are payable in coin; and up to this blessed
hour, thank God, silver is a coin of this country, whatever it
may be a week hence. I want to know whether the Senator
from Wisconsin understands, or whether the Senator from Delaware understands, that under the law as it stands to-day upon
the statute books of this country the Treasury Department is required to do what may have been done, and what the Senator
from Wisconsin tells us was done, namely, to pay thos3 promissory notes in gold instead of silver.
Mr. GRAY. I will refer the Senator from Kentucky to the
Senator from Wisconsin at some future time, when I have no
doubt that they will have a most interesting discussion on this
matter, which, I beg leave to say, is outside of the trend of my
remarks at this time.
In what I was endeavoring to show I was provoked thereto, as
I said at the beginning, by the interesting statement of the Senator from Mississippi, in which he made plain to the Senate the
enormous disparity between the amount of gold in this country
and the amount, measured in dollars, of the country's transactions, as well as the amount of gold in the" world as compared
with the world's transactions. I said that nothing could be more
timely than to call our attention now to the fact that at this day
and in this last decade of the nineteenth century we have arrived
at a point where that disparity is more enormous than it has ever
been before or than it ever could have been before, and that so
far from being a disaster it is a blessing, a blessing that we have
enjoyed and are enjoying to-day, for along with this disparity
has grown the civilization of this country, has grown the capacity of the people of this country to get more and more things
which go to make up the happiness of life and conduce to its
comfort and well-being.
Mr. BUTLER. Right in this connection may I ask the Senator from Delaware a question?
Mr. GRAY. Certainly.
Mr. BUTLER., Whilst the statement he has made is of course
correct, is it not a fact that the large credit business of which
he speaks is confined entirely to persons who have, if I may use
the term, bank accounts; and are there not thousands and hundreds of thousands, millions of people in this country who do not
have that system of credit, and who must resort to the actual
delivery of money one to the other in the transaction of their
Mr. GRAY. I say the Senator from South Carolina is quite
right. The money that the people carry in their pockets is an
Important factor to be considered. The money that a simple


agricultural or pastoral people need is a factor in this problem.
But I am dealing now with very general propositions, because
the Senator from1 Mississippi was dealing with a general and
interesting proposition. I undertake to lay down tnis proposition, not original with me, but declared by every monetary
economist who has written on this subject, that a people in proportion to their civilization and refinement and possession of
those things which go to make up an advanced civilization, have
less and less ne^d of the actual money metals that a people require
who are less advanced or whose life is more simple and less
complex than theirs.
I have no doubt that in the country from which my friend
from South Carolina comes, a large class of population there—
the colored population—use an amount of silver money that is not
used in any other part of this country by1 a population of similar
size. It is a most useful thing to them, but' it marks the grade
of their civilization. It marks the grade of th -ir advancement
precisely as the use of silver money and silver ornaments marks
the position in the world's civilization of the simple people of
India and the dwellers upon the coasts of the unexplored continent.
Mr. BUTLER. If my friend from Delaware will permit me, I,
beg to correct him of a very erroneous impression under which
he seems to be laboring in supposing or saying that the use of
silver in my part of the country is confined to the colored people.
Mri GRAY. I did not say that its usa was confined to them.
Mr. BUTLER. But largely confined to them and very popular with that class. I say to him that situated as we and as
many other portions of the country are, actual possession of the
money, in hand, is indispensable for the transaction of their daily
business, and it is not confined to the colored population of the
South by any means.
Mr. GEORGE.' With the permission of the Senator from Delaware^ I will state that I stopped at that portion of my speech just
before I got to the point where I intended to show that in the
ordinary business transactions of farmers and laborers, the actual possession of money in their pockets and not in the banks is
absolutely essential to their prosperity.
Mr. GRAY. I agree with the Senator from South Carolina
and I agree with the Senator from Mississippi. I repeat that
the use of actual money has, by the progress I have just hinted
at, been largely relegated to change in the pocket for the daily
retail transactions of life; and just in proportion as a people are
advanced in civilization, in the production of wealth"and in its
accumulation, just so far do we find the actual use of money in
a smaller and smaller proportion of the transactions which illustrate the business of such a people for a year, a day, or a month,
or any other period.
Mr. TELLER. I understand the Senator from Delaware to
ay down the proposition that as a country bacomes civilized
and enlightened it uses less and less money. I ask the Senator
what he will do with civilized and enlightened France with $38
of metallic money, legal-tender money, per capita? Will he
class France with the countries of India and China?
Mr. GRAY. The question of the Senator from Colorado is
not exactly pertinent to the argument 1 am making, and yet allow me to suggest to him that I might use France as an illus470


tration. Between what he says is the $38 pet* cipita of France
and the $24 per capita of the United States you will find an expression of the difference which tells the superiority of the
civilization of this country, of which we are prqud. over that of
France. There is no development in France of the credit system in comparison with what we have in this country or what
they hive in-Englandt There is a use of metallic money to that
extent greater in France than in this country, but it does not
mark a superior civilization, and by its difference I grade the
superiority of my own country and of the Anglo-Saxon paojple
of this world over the Litin races that have a larger per capita
Of metallic money.
Mr. TELLER. I should like to ask the Senator if that is
the criterion which determines the civilization where he will
plac3 India with about $3 per capita? India, then, ought to be
highly enlightened and civilized.
Mr. GRAY. India is inh ibited by a very large population of
people just emerging into a higher civilization, whoss wants are
as yet comparatively few and simple.j
And she is one of the silver-using nations of the world. Just
so far as a people have advanced far enough to understand and
evoke and bring into use the great instrumentalities of credit
and exchange, just so far they dispense with the hard moneys
that are told down for each transiction as it occurs. We are
not, as I said awhile ago, in the condition of Isaac of York, who
carried a 1 aathern girdle and an iron box oa a sumter mule. We
have advanced to a point in which a hundred dollars to-day in
gold is more efficient in the world's business transactions than
ten thousand of the golden ducats in his leathern girdle or in his
iron box. I mean the efficiency of gold as a basis of credit and
as an instrument of exchange practical in the world?s business.
This whole question, in one aspect of it, resolves itsalf into
this: W e are dealing with the mental attitude of the civilized,
world as regards silver and gold. I canvnot control it; yox\ can
not control it:, no law of any lawmaking body in this wide world
•can control it. They may interfere with it; they may make
trouble; they may run athwart the great currents of the world's
business and so far produce dislocation and trouble; but you can
not change by legal enactment the mental attitude of the civilized world toward these two metals. If that attitude is one of
discrimination we may deplore it, but we can not remedy it: and
it is because it is largely a question of what the mental attitude
of the world is toward thes? two metals that I feel tharti any
'attempt by this Congress in its lawmaking function to defeat
or obstruct this .great trend of human progress can only work
mischief and can npt correct what it seeks to correct or accomplish what it seeks to accomplish, honestly no doubt.
What made gold and silver the money metals of the world?
Why are they precious metals? It is because we find that the
people of to-day and the people of the world as far b^ck as history t^lls us about human transactions regarded them as things
to ba desired, things that satisfied a human want, whether it be
for their beiuty, their durability, or whatever physical qualities
belong to them that made them desirable. That is the reason,
and not becausa congresses, or kings, or emperors, or governments have made them so.; Governments have found them so,
and have accepted them as th jy found them; and now; that there


has been discovered a disposition in the mental attitude of the
world to discriminate between the two, what are you going- to do
about it?
You are just as powerless in regard to the attitude towards
both the precious metals now as in all the years that have gone
before, making up the history of the world. Deplore it; say that
it is unfortunate; but this great current in the world's history
can no more be stsmmed by legislation than you can turn the
Gulf Stream by heading one of your ocean steamers down against
its current. You have got to recognize it. All these laws are
laws beyond the scope and beyond the competency of Congress
or of a Legislature to enact, repeal, modify, or evade. W e find
them in existence. The precious metals were the money metals
of the world, have continued to be the money metals of the
world, despite any hostile action of any government, however
Now, whjr not recognize p that fact? Why not recognize that
we are dealing with economic laws that we can not repeal as we
can repeal the Sherman act? We can not repeal Gresham's law.
I have no doubt if we could we would. We can not repeal the
law that has made gold in the last twenty years largely the
world's money.
Mr. President, I only started out to address myself to the
thoughts that were evoked by the speech of the Senator from
Mississippi, but while I am up I will venture to consume a little
more of the time of the Senate upon this general question, interesting as it is in all its phases. Silver and gold were made for man
and not man for silver and gold. There is no sacredness about
either metal. As long as it can be made to subserve the uses of
mankind, to promote its wants, to increase its general well being,
and perform those offices which are so necessary in the exchange
of the commodities of the world, just so long and just so far they
ate to be regarded and no further. There is no saoredness about
silver; th&re is none about goid.
The obvious question is how they can be b3st made to serve
our interests. I want to state this question fairly. It is not fair
to say that there is nothing in it. I do not say that. No one
who has listened to the eloquent speeches of the Senator from
Colorado [Mr. TELLER], interesting as they have always been,
will ever say, if he has bSen attentive to them, that there is
nothing in this question even though he may differ from him.
It is not fair to say that those who opposa the repeal of the purchase clause of the Sherman act are opposing it because they
want wealthy mine owners to get 129 cents for 73 cents' worth of
silver. That is not a fair way to put this question to them. Nor
is it fair to say that those who are in favor of repeal, or those of
us who are in favor of repeal and are opposed to the free coinage
of silver, are so in the interest of a so-called creditor class, who,
by the repeal or by the defeat of free coinage, are to reap a harvest of blood and tears out of the wronged and oppressed debtor
who owes them the money that he has borrowed. That would
not be fair. It would be no more fair than the other assumption.
Let us try to approach this question, then, in a little more judicial shape than either of the attitudes I have just described
would be. If the repeal of this law is to put us in a worse condition than we are now in we ought not to repeal it. But we
are told, and we are told on good authority, and it is a matter of

common knowledge and observation, that the present condition
of the country as depicted by the Senator from Indiana [Mr.
VOORHEES], as known and admitted by every man within the
sound of my vdice, is not a good one. We know that we have
passed through (I trust we have passed through), or we are passing through, what is called a business and-money panic. The
money of the country to which the Senator from Virginia [Mr.
DANIEL] alluded, has hidden itself. It has retired from the
banks,those centers of distribution, and has sought hiding places
in the strong boxes of safe-deposit vaults, or in the stockings of
a hoarding community.
That is known to all men. I do not care how it was produced.
It would be bootless to show the unreason of the struggling mob
in the theater panic-stricken by a cry of fire. But the fact is
that the money owned by depositors in the banks has left the
banks, and leaving the banks it has left the machinery of distribution and lies ussless, worse than useless, in the dark places in
which it has been hoarded.
That is a plain, obvious reason and cause of the present money
stringency. Nobody attempts to account for it otherwise. Senators talk about more remote causes, but why should we dispute
about them? My friend from Colorado has a theory that the
panic was ready made; that it is the result of a conspiracy to
take gold out of the country and make a run for gold. I do not
propose to dispute with him about it now. I want to recognize
the condition and not deal with causes more remote than those
I have alluded to. I feel that it is my duty to deal with the condition as I find it. I find that the reason for the disappearance
of the deposits from the savings banks and from the banks of
discount and deposit is that the depositors have been afraid that
they were not going to receive back the same money that they
had parted with.
That being true, why should we not apply a remedy which all
point to as a remedy, the repeal of the act under wnose operation useless millions have been piled up as a commodity in the
Treasury, creating widespread distrust in the ability of the
Government to make good ail its issues, whether of silver or
paper, by gold? Why. I ask, should we not repeal that act
when everybody confesses that it is a useless law, a law that
runs athwart everybody's theory as to what sound finance should
be, which is denounced by those who are opposed to free coinage as a measure worse than free coinage, and is opposed and
denounced by those in favor of free coinage as a degrading of
the commodity of silver, and as being entirely antagonistic and
hostile to any proper notions of a bimetallic currency?'
Mr. TELLER. Mr. President
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. G A L L I N G E R in the chair).
Does the Senator from Delaware yield to the Senator from Colorado?
Mr. GRAY. Certainly.
Mr. TELLER. I desire to ask the Senator a question. He
states,'in substance, that the panic was a fright as to the currency, and he believes the depositors would not have been afraid
of any proper kind of money. What was the money they were
afraid they were going to get? Will the Senator answer tliat?
Mr. GRAY. It is very easy to answer. I can only answer it
as I sae it everywhere and hear it everywhere. The depositor

in the savings bank was afraid after the panic started that if he
left his money there he would be paid, if paid at all, in a depreciated currency: that is, in a silver currency no longer capable
of being maintained on a parity with gold.
Mr. TELLER. I should like to ask the Senator another
Mr. GRAY. I am not saying whether the fear was well
founded or not.
Mr. TELLER. Did not the four hundred and odd million silver dollars and silver certificates doing money duty in this country
disappear quite as lively as gold, and does the Senator know
anywhere, or has he ever heard anybody state that there was
any distinction in the money paid over the counter and gladly
received by the people who wanted it?
Mr. GRAY. None at all. When a panic is started and is
once under way there is no use in talking about the reasoning
faculty. It is dormant in those who are subject to the panic.
The depositors drew out all their money—silver certificates, gold,
and silver alike. But I want to say to the Senator, as a matter of
personal knowledge, that this withdrawal commenced by the
withdrawal of gold coin or gold currency back in the spring and
early summer.
Mr. TELLER. For export?
Mr. GRAY. No; for hoarding.
Mr. TELLER. I will ask another question, if the ^ Senator
will allow me. Does not the record show that, on the contrary,
that has not been the case—that money which could have been
paid in gold has not been demanded at the Treasury; that the
gold has not been demanded?
Mr. GRAY. I do not know what the experience of the Senator from Colorado is. I have stated my own knowledge and information. He is at liberty to hold to his own view. We can
not very well argue about things of this kind when one can not
be brought to the book.
Mr. WHITE of Louisiana. Will the Senator allow me?
Mr. TELLER. But the Senator asserts that such facts exist.
Mr. WHITE of Louisiana. I understood the Senator from
Delaware to say the statistics establish the fact that in this
country from 90 to 95 per cent of the transactions are credit compared with currency. He has made that statement.
Mr. GRAY, that is the usual statement of monetary economists.
Mr. WHITE of Louisiana. If that statement were true, is not
the cause of the panic so plain that any business man who runs
may read it? The contraction which took place was not in th3
currency, which represented only 5 per cent o f the transactions
of the country, but in the great 95 per cent. Fear destroyed /the
credit of the country, and the destruction of the credit of the
country engendered the panic. People took their money and
hid it away because the credit of the country was gone.
Mr, GRAY. I think the Senator from Louisiana is quite
right, and he has stated very strongly what the genesis and
progress of the panic have been. When you destroyed the credit
of the country then you Look away 95 per cent, or whatever the
per cent is, of the debt^paying currency, ths currency that was
capable of transacting the business of this country.
Mr. BUTLER. I do not like to interrupt the Senator from


Delaware—lie is always so amiable—but we have reached a point
now where I think we can talk rationally about this matter. I
should like to go a little back
Mr. GRAY. I am not making a set speech, and if I may proceed in the line I am trying to pursue I would prefer doing so.
Mr. BUTLER. It is on that point that I should like to ask a
question. I should like to go a little back of the suggestion of
the Senator from Louisiana. He says that the destruction of
the public credit was the cause of the hoarding of the currency.
I should be very glad, if the Senator from Delaware will spare
the time, to have the Senator from Louisiana tell us what destroyed the credit of the country.
Mr. WHITE of Louisiana. If it would not interrupt the Senator from Delaware I could tell the Senator very quickly.
Mr. GRAY. If the Senator can tell it quickly, he can, no
doubt, tell it better than I could.
Mr. WHITE of Louisiana. We began with the Bland-Allison
act. W e continued by giving many votes for free coinage. All
over the country contracts began to be made for gold, because
people feared that the country was going on a silver basis and
hence depreciated. The Senator from South Carolina will not
deny that, because in the Senate at the last session of Congress
he expressed, I think, his opinion in favor of an act making it
illegal to insert in a contract the gold clause. It was stated on
this fluor that that practice had gone to such an extent that it
was necessary that the power of the Federal Government should
be brought in to make it illegal for a man to contract for what
he desired.
The distinguished Senator from Alabama .[Mr. MORGAN]
passed day after day in the Senate pointing out the necessity of
remedying this evil and the great trouble which it was bringing
to the finances of the country. In other words, the whole world,
seeing that we were precipitating ourselves, as they feared, towards a silver basis, began to withdraw their credit from us.
The withdrawal of credit led to a gradual contraction in the 95
per cent, which is the great volume of the currency, and whenever you contract that great volume you lead to fear, and fear
leads to the hoarding of money, no matter what kind of money
it is. That is the history of it.
Mr. BUTLER. I have not time to reply to the Senator from
Louisiana, of course, in the midst of the speech of the Senator
ffrom Delaware.
Mr. GRAY. Mr. President, whatever the cause may have
been, the fact must be recognized, and the only remedy that is
demanded by the people in tones that become more impatient
every day, is the repeal of the purchase clause of the Sherman
act. As I was saying a while ago when I was interrupted, it is
an act that is denounced by those who are in favor of free coinage and those who are opposed to free coinage. It is denounced
as degrading silver and being destructive of true bimetallism
on the one hand, and it is denounced on the other as being worse
than any measure of free coinage might be.
Then what is the objection urged by those who belong to a
party that has thus denounced this act, whose proposed repeal
has caused this protracted debate? They say that they are opposed to repeal, though they consider the act itself unscientific,
antibimetallic, because they want a condition (I am speaking of


those on this side of the Chamber) that shall give them a measure of bimetallic legislation for which the Democratic platform
adopted at Chicago is pledged-.
Now, let us consider that a moment. I have not the platform
here. We a*e all familiar with its phraseology. It has been
read over and over again. That portion of it with which we
are dealing commences with an unqualified and unconditional
denunciation of the Sherman act, whose repeal is now sought
to be had in the Senate. There is no room for a difference of
opinion about what that platform denounced, nor can there be
?ny room, I submit, for a difference of opinion as to what is the
duty of a Democrat seeking to conform his action to that platform in regard to that part of it. Certainly it means that the
act which is denounced ought to be repealed.
Now, they say there is another part of the same platform which
pledges the Democratic party to contend for a bimetallic coinage, io t^e equal use and mintage of both metals in such fashion
that they shall be of equal intrinsic and exchangeable value,
either by international convention or by some legislative provision. That opens up confessedly a domain of argument and of
opinion which must necessarily be variant. It was intended by
that language in the Democratic platform, if we can argue intention at all from language, that it should be broad enough to
hold every Democrat WI19 believed in bimetallism, whether by
international agreement or by legislative enactment. It did not
intend to read me out of the party, because I honestly believe
that the bimetallism aimed at in that platform can only be obtained efficiently, obtained usefully, obtained for the benefit of
the great masses of the people of this country, by an international agreement.
it did not intend to read out of the party my friend from Mississippi, who believes differently, and believes that an efficient
and useful bimetallism can be obtained by legislation in favor of
free coinage by this country alone. It intends to embrace us
both, and we both stand as we stood in that campaign. It is not
in his mouth now nor in my mouth to charge him or him me with
inconsistency or with falling away from the demands of that platform because we still hold to the"opinion we held then.
Mr. STEWART. Would it interrupt the Senator if I should
ask him a question?
The VICE-PRESIDENT. Does the Senator from Delaware
yield to the Senator from Nevada?
Mr. GRAY. Certainly.
Mr. STEWART. The Senator has been explaining the meaning of the term "intrinsic value." I do not understand it. If
he will be a little more definite I shall be obliged to him.
Mr. GRAY. The Senator will excuse me from going into metaphysics of that kind. I have only proposed to speak until about
ti o'clock. I should be glad to go into that at some other time.
It is entirely outside of what I am now discussing.
Mr. STEWART. At any time when the Senator has leisure,
if he would write out the definition of the term I should be
obliged to him.
Mr. GRAY. I should rather do that.
Mr. STEWART. I shall be glad to have it.
Mr. G R A Y . I want to dwell just a moment longer upon the
Democratic platform, because I do not disguise from myself the

importance it has assumed, and properly assumed, in this argument. 1 have endeavored to bring to it an honest intention as a
Democrat to interpret it fairly, and to live by its commands loyally and faithfully; but I appeal to anyone within the sound of
my voice of the same political faith, whether the behests of that
platform are not different as to the two branches which concern
this financial question? The denunciation of the Sherman act
makes it the duty as well as the justification of every Democrat
to vote for its repeal. The other declaration in favor of bimetallism, either by international agreement or by legislative enactment, does offer a scope and breadth so wide that you, my friend
[Mr. GEORGEJ, and I can both stand upon it honestly and loyally,
without compromising our intelligence or our conscience.
If that be the case, what justice or what fairness is^ there in
the proposition, that you who differ from me on this matter
make, that the part of the platform in which we agree
shall not be carried out until your interpretation of the other
branch of that platform, which confessedly was made to accommodate us both, should be carried out according to your interpretation of it?
No, Mr. President, I am performing my duty as the President
has parformed his, loyally to the platform on which he was
elected when he recommended the repeal of the purchase clause
of the Sherman act, and stopped there, leaving it to every Democrat's conscience, to every man's conscience, as to what he considered to be a compliance with the behests of that platform in
regard to the attainment of bimetallism.
We belong to no narrow creed. The great Democratic church
is the broad church, a liberal church, and its creed accommodates my friend from Mississippi, who believes in free coinage,
and it accommodates me, who believe that free coinage is not
practicable in this country without the cooperation of other
countries of the world to attain to real bimetallism. We are not
called upon to walk up and pronounce the shibboleth of free coinage or of anti-frae coinage in order to be in full communion with
that great church, of which I have been an humble member during all my manhood.
Mr. President, so much for the partisan aspect of this question, and my only apology—and it ought to be sufficient—for alluding to it is that it has been dragged in here over and over
again by those who have attempted to use it as an argument to
those who agree with me, that we should consent to have put
upon us an abhorrent pressure in order to compromise our own
convictions and put conditions upon this measure of repeal. Let
us discuss those things afterwards.
Nobody has compromised his beliefs by advocating this repeal. The Senator from Indiana [Mr. VOORHEES] and myself,
I take it, differ as widely now as we have differed in the past
upon this free-coinage question. W e have neither of us compromised the opinions of our life-time in this regard by uniting
in the advocacy of this measure, as I understand.
Mr. PUGH. Mr. President, I am very much tempted to ask
the Senator a short question, if he thinks proper to answer it.
Mr. GRAY. I hope it is an easy one.
Mr. PUGH. I simply desire to know if we fail to get free coinage by an international agreement, what is to become of those
Democrats who want free coinage by Congressional legislation?


Mr. GRAY. Well, Mr. President, what is to become of those
Democrats who want free coinage by international agreement?
Suppose we fail, what is to become of us? I will tell you one
thing that will not happen to us. We will not be found denouncing the great party that existed before this question ever
arose; we will not be found deserting its ranks; wa will not be
found among those who proclaim to the people that there is
nothing left in the great creed of Democracy but adherence to
one view as to how the free coinage of silver may be brought
about and safely maintained.*
Mr. PUGH. Then the Senator has changed his position in
reference to the unconditional repeal of the Sherman law.
Mr. GRAY. SO much for the partisan aspect of this question
upon this great issue, which I have been in a measure compelled
to deal with, although it properly ought to have no rightful position here. We are dealing with a great question, which is above
partisanship; 'which is above it, and at the same time underlies
it. We are dealing with a measure upon which parties have not
divided; we are dealing with a question in regard to which both
political parties have made the same pronuneiamento; andUve
are, as I have demonstrated, at liberty to discuss this question
upon its merits, and to consider deliberately and calmly whether
this repeal is not required by the best interests of this great
country and the greht people who inhabit it, and whether we do
not owe them a duty that we can not disregard when we approach
the consideration of this question.
Mr. President, I have heard a great deal here about the people
and the people's rights; I have heard Senators for whom I have
the highest respect rise on this floor and speak as if those who
differ with them in regard to the expediency of this measure
belong to a heartless and oppressive class, or represent a heartless and oppressive class, who are always willing to imbrue
their hands in innocent blood, who are willing to reap where
they have not sown, who are willing to enjoy the fruits of labor
for which they have not paid. I tell those who indulge in
that sort of argument that they will make no advance before
an intelligent American public by so demeaning themselves;
that there is as much of the milk of human kindness in those
who are in favor of the repeal of the Sherman act as in those
who are opposed to it; that we are as anxious for the welfare
of the plain people of this country, of those whose sweat fertilizes the fields they till, as the opponents of repeal can possibly
be. They do not advance, I say, this argument at all, by indulging in invective of that kind.
Who are the people who demand the repeal, and who are the
people who are opposed to the repeal? I have heard it said that
nine-tenths of the people of this country are opposed to the repeal.
Who counted them? Who polled their votes? Who now dares
rise on this floor and say that he, in opposing repeal, represents
nine-tenths of the people, if he attempts to speak at all within
the limits that sensible and moderate men prescribe to themselves when speaking on important subjects of this kind?
I speak for the people; I speak for what I believe to be their
best interests; and I speak for what I believe to be their sentiments as I know them—the sentiments of this great populous
seaboard from here to Eastport, with its teeming, busy, and industrious millions. I speak for them when I demand the repeal


of the purchase clause of the Sherman act. I am speaking for
no Wall-street broker; I am not a bondholder nor the son of a
bondholder; but I speak, as I always try to speak, so that I may
have in mind the interests of those who make the wealth of this
country, those who rise up early and go to bed late, and do not
eat the bread of idleness. It is in their interests that I believe,
and honestly believe, I am speaking to-day. I am here to demand for-that great class of my fellow-citizens, whom I respect
and whose respect I crave, the very best dollar that can be
coined in the mint of the United States, a dollar whose purchasing power sh^ll be the greatest possible, a dollar which, when
translated into the comforts of life, means to them more of those
comforts than any other dollar can bring them. In their interests I believe that I am speaking.
I do not gainsay the honesty and truth of those who believe
that they represent a different sentiment. I repeat, there is a
different sentiment. I know there is a different sentiment and
opinion in this country, but I can not sit with patience and hear
thpse who assume to speak for the whole people of this country,
arraign those of us who are in favor of this measure as the advocates and representatives of a selfish, greedy, avaricious, remorseless band of Wall-street brokers.
Mr. ALLEN. Will the Senator yield for a moment?
Mr. GRAY. I suppose I must yield to my friend from Nebraska, as I have yielded to all others.
Mr. ALLEN. Is it not true that the great body of memorials
coming to the Senate from the Eastern section of this country
for the repeal of the Sherman act, comes from banks, corporations, boards of trade, and chambers of commerce dominated by
that class of people?
Mr. GRAY. I have not scrutinized petitions. I do not deny
the right of petition. I do not see why there should be a penalty put on success in American life, and I do not believe the
American people want to penalize prosperity. I do not believe
that a man who has gone into the business of banking, as the
Senator from Nebraska said very wisely the other day, a necessary business, a business that is for the good of the community,
should be stigmatized and denied the right of presenting in a
respectful manner his petition to the Congress of the United
States. Why is his stake in the community not as great as is
that of the Senator from Nebraska? Does he not contribute as
much to the common weal as the Senator? I suppose there are
good bankers and there are selfish bankers, as there are gcod
farmers and good artisans and wicked farmers and wicked artisans.
That is not the theory on which our institutions are built up.
The theory is equality of all classes before the law, and disability to none. If by reason of their greater familiarity with questions of this kind concerning the exchanges of life, they have
views which are worth considering, why should they not present them here? They present them as all such people do not
only for themselves, but in a representative character. They
represent the silept masses of whom the Senator from Nebraska
speaks, in a sense in which neither he nor I, so far as that is
concerned, represent them. But that has nothing to do with
the merits of this question.
What is for the banefit of the people? I say that my only de470


sire is to preserve to them the purchasing power of the dollar
that rewards their day's labor. I say that the dollar which is in
the pocket of the laborer to-day as the reward of the toil which
has produced it shall continue, so far as my vote is concerned, to
purchase for him all that it purchases to-day. I believe that
the monometallic silver standard, which would be the.result of
the policy advocated by the Senator from Nebraska, would diminish that purchasing power and would deprive labor of a
part of its just reward.
Mr. STEWART. Will the Senator allow me?
Mr. GRAY. I can not yield now. I want to get through.
Mr. STEWART. The Senator has* just stated that he had
yielded to everyone.
Mr. GRAY. If I yield further I shall not be able to get
through to-night. '
Mr. STEWART. All right.
Mr. GRAY. I want to assure my friend that there is no one
toward whom I feel more kindly than to him, and rather than
submit to his imputation I will yield.
Mr. STEWART. * I wish to ask a very simple question. The
Senator says he is in favor of maintaining the purchasing power
of the dollar and continuing it at the same value. Is he in favor
of increasing its purchasing power?
Mr. GRAY. Yes.
Mr. STEWART. Increasing the purchasing power?
Mr. G R A Y . Yes, I am in favor of increasing the purchasing
power of the dollar which rewards the toil of the laborer by every
legitimate means that can be used. I am not in favor of obstructing any of the legitimate processes which have been increasing
that purchasing power; and that is the sense in which I said I
wa£ in favor of increasing its purchasing power. I am not in
favor of any of the obstructions, whether they be of tariff or of
silver legislation, which interfere with the sum of the comforts
that the dollar which has been earned'by labor can secure.
We can not by our legislation increase the real returns of agricul ture, and I will not consent, by my vote, to diminish the amount
of the necessaries of life for which those returns can be exchanged.
Something has been said in the Senate already in regard to
the matter of the purchasing power of gold. There is a distinct
proposition which has'run through all the arguments of those
who oppose this repeal, and it is the only distinct proposition
which I have been able tp find that merits sferious discussion.
I do not mean to speak disrespectfully of the arguments of those
who have opposed repeal, but I mean that, so far as 'I can discover, the only one which merits serious consideration is the
proposition that by the demonetization of silver over the world
about 1873 and then on up to 1876 the value of gold all over the
world had so appreciated as to lower the prices of commodities
and thereby inflict injury upon the business and weilbeing of
the people of this country, as well as other countries, which
ought to be corrected by restoring silver, or doing something
which'would decrease the value of gold and prevent its further
appreciation, if not bring about a depreciation.
That is a sex*ious proposition. If it be true that gold has appreciated, then I feel that I ought to pause. If this common
measure of contracts to be performed in the future, this common
measure of the value pf all the commodities which go into tho


use of everyday life, has appreciated in such a way as to reduce
their prices, to reduce their value, and make those contracts
harder to ba performed, that is a serious thing, and if it can be
remedied it ought to be remedied.
But 1 want to say at the outset that the proposition has never
been supported, so far as I have observed, by a single scintilla
of proof. The burden is on those who declare the appreciation
of gold to show it, or at least make it more than probable that
it is true: but I have read in vain the arguments of the ablest of
those who have opposed repeal, and I have nowhere fo md one
of them who has been able to adduce a single circumstance or a
single fact or to create a single argument to prove that mo3t important proposition.
Lknow how difficult it is to find a standard for a standard.
Gold is the world's universal standard, and it'is very hard to
get anything by which to measure it that will be satisfactory
all around. Senators point us merely to the fact that since 1873,
l or about that epoch, when the general demonetization of silver
took place, there has b^en a gradual fall in the prices of commodities. That is admitted. There has been a fall in the price
of commodities which in one sense is an appreciation of gold.
That proposition is proved if that is all you have to point to, for
the lowering of the prices of commodities which gold buys is in
one sense an appreciation of the gold which buys them. There
is no doubt about that. But is it true that relatively to those
commodities gold has appreciated in the sense that the commodities have remained stationary and have been produced by
the same amount of effort, or require no more effort, or the same
amount of effort to obtain them, while gold requires a great
deal more? I say it is not: and not only is it not proved that this
is so, but I think it can ba shown affirmatively that it is not so.
Mr. President, the Senator from Texas [Mr. MILLS] yesterday
called attention in a sbmewhat passing way to this very important topic. I wish he bad dwelt upon it more at length. If gold
has appreciated really then we must find a remedy for it: if it
has not, then we must consider what the condition of the country
is and what accounts for these falling prices.
The theory that the fall in prices for the last twenty years has
been occasioned by the appreciation of gold leaves out of sight
the enormous advance which has been made in the capacity of
production all over the world, and to which I alluded in the opening of my remarks. < It leaves out of sight Bessemer steel; it leaves
out of sight the improvements of the steam engine; it leaves oi\t
of sight improvements in communication by telegraph; it leaves
out of sight the greater efficiency that gold has obtained in the
use of ail of these improvements; it leaves entirely out of view
the fact that a given amount of gold to-day is Enormously more
efficient than it was fifty years ago, or even twenty years ago;
that the gold you have in your bank here in Washington may be
made more efficient than ever before by the electric telegraph
within two hours from the time you have made up your mind to
use it.
I heard a gentleman say the other day—and I think it was repeated here in the Senate—that he wjs riding with a gentleman
from Boston, who told him that before he left home he had telegraphed to his agent in China or India, 1 forget which, to buy a
certain amount of gunny bags, many thousand dollars worth; to


get a ship, and load them for Boston; aijd by the time he got to
his rooms in Washington a telegram was here that the whole
transaction had been completed, that the gunny bags had been
bought, the bill of exchange drawn, the ship chartered, and the
loading had commenced.
Compare the efficiency of the money required to make that
transaction to what it would have been forty or fifty years ago,
or even twenty years ago. That is only one result of the advance
in modern civilization; but are we to disregard it all, and are we
to go back on our tracks, point to a less complicated civilization,
and point to the time when transactions were more simple as
the golden age to which we should direct all our efforts?
There is one measure of value of commodities, of gold and silver, which has been adopted by all the economists as the most
certain and least variable, and the one most likely to tell us a
true story when we ask the question of it, and that is the labor
it takes to produce a given quantity of commodities or of wealth.
I find, measured by labor, measured by the labor cost of commodities, measured by the wages of the artisan and the toiling
people of this country as well as of Europe, that gold has not appreciated, and I have yet to hear why that test is not the best
test which can be applied to ascertain whether it be appreciated
or no.
I find here compiled by the same Mr. Walker to whom the
Senator from Mississippi alluded to-day, a table in addition to
the one read by the Senator from Texas showing what the principal commodities in use by the farmers cost in the grain which
he raises. While it is a little aside from the point I was on it
recalls a most interesting statement made by him as tq what the
farmer could do with the money he received for his crops even
at the decreased price that we all admit he receives for his products. The table contains a list of semis twenty or twenty-five
articles, principally farming implements, things that the farmer
must have. The table is as follows:
Prices agreed upon by Messrs. Kingsland tfc Douglas, successors of Kingsland,
Ferguson & Co., Simmons Hardware Company, and Mansur& Tibbetts Implement Company, all of St. Louis, Mo.
Money in—



12.75 $6.50



12.00 20.00 16.4


1873, irUnishels


One-horse steel plow (wood
Two-horse steei plow (wood
» beam)
One-horse iron plow (wood
Tvyo-horse iron plow (wood"
beam) ,1
Two-horse side hill or reversible plow
One potato-digger
Old-fashioned tooth harrow.
One-horse cultivator
Two-horse corn cultivator
One-horse mowing machine _
Two-horse mowing machine.
Horse rake (sulky)

a 7


8.00 13.00 10.9




10.00 18.00
7.50 20.00
6.50 15.00
3.50 7.00
15.00 28.00
45.00; ;85.00
50.00; 90.00
20.00; 30.00j







50.0 19.6







33.3 12.7










Prices agreed upon by Messrs, Kingsland <£ Douglas, etc.—Continued.
Money in— 1889, in bushels











$3.50 $6.50











Common Hunt rake (horse).
Common iron garden rake
(10-tooth steel)
One-horse horse-power
Two-horse horse-power
Corn-sheller (one hole)..
Fanning mill
Common hoes (cast-steel
-socket), per dozen
Common rakes (wood), per
Scythes (Ames* grass), per
Scythe snaths (patent), per
Shovels (Ames), per dozen...
Spades (Ames), per dozen . . .
Crowbars (steel)
Crowbars (iron)

1873, in bushels


11.7 | 15.6 11.7 35.2 50.0
78.1 104.1 44.1 132.3 187.5
184.9 421.8* 562.5 277.7* 769.2* 857.1*
11.50 8.2 18.7 * 25.0 11.2 33.8 47.9
25.00 20.5 46.8
62.5 24.5 73.5 104,1
















7.50 16.00 10.2
9.50 21.00 (*)


31.2 15.7
(*) . (*)



18.7 10^8
39.5 17.6
41. e 18.1

32.3 45.8
52.9 75.0
54.4 27.0

4.50 11.00 6.1 14.0
9.50 18.00 13.0 29.6
10.00 18.50 13.7 31.2
(*> (*>



•For 1880.

Now, I wish to call the attention of the Senate to the wage
matter, aAd I have here a table showing the amount of wages in
this country between the years 1860 and 1885, compiled by Hon.
J. H . WALKER, of Massachusetts:

Wages in i860 and in 1885 in dollars and in weight of gold and in grains.
Wages In


Factory hands:
Giggers „ _ - „ „ . —
Plain weavers
Leather factory, beam and yard
Leather factory, whiteners and
Common laborers.
Blacksmiths' strikers
1 1.75
Locomoti\ e engineers
Locomotive firemen........



.92 ,








1.50 • 25.8



Average percentage of increase in weight of gold, 38.

't? o

Wages in 1 o ©
grains of gold.1 — ©
lC s rt



The wages in 1860 of factory hands: dyers, was 62 cents a day;
in 1885, $1; giggers, in 1860, 62 cents; in 1885, 82 cents; shearers,
in 1860, 69 cents a day, and in 1885, $1; and so on, giving the
wages in leather manufactories, th;e wages of blacksmiths, carpenters, machinists, locomotive engineers, and locomotive firemen. The wages of blacksmiths in 1860 was $1.50 per day; in
1885, $2. Then the wages are given in grains of gold. It seems
to me that Ought to be a pretty fair test.
In 1860 the wages in grains ot gold of blacksmiths was 38.7
grains, and in 1885 51.6 grains. That does not look as if gold
had appreciated, measured by the wages of labor; and what better test is there, or can there be, or ought there to be, than
what labor is able to procure in order to sustain the laborer and
those who are dependent on him? It means that much more of
the comforts of life: It means, as we have shown, that inasmuch as more grains of gold are obtained for a day's labor and
those grains of gold will buy more commodities .which are
necessary to the comfort of life, the wages of labor hav3 been
increased at both ends; the laborer gets more gold, and the gold
will buy more. If these commodities have decreased in price
just as silver has decreased in price, because the greater facilities of production have lowered the cost of production, as the
greater production in proportion to the demand has decreased
the price, then it seems to me that we have proven the proposition that gold has not appreciated; and we do not rest merely
upon the negative proposition that the other side have failed
to sustain the burden of proof, which, I think, was upon them.
Mr. President, what does civilization mean, and what does its
progress mean, if rt does not mean that each year and each decade we who toil for our daily bread should be able with the
wage of labor to procure more and more of the comforts and
necessaries of life? What other test under Heaven can you apply which shows the progress we all boast of so surely, so beneficently, a$ that the wages of labor as the years roll by will
buy more and more of those things which are absolutely necessary for the welfare and comfort and well-being of those who
must live on wages?
Mr. GEORGE. Would that result be accomplished by the
free coinage of silver by international agreement:'
Mr. GRAY. Yes; but I am not talking about free coinage by
international agreement. I want to say to the Senator from Mississippi that these great forces which have lowered the cost of
production and have made cheaper the necessariesof life, which
have given to labor an increased reward, lie outside of the domain of bimetallism or monometallism. They are the great
forces which govern the civilization of the world, and while they
may be retarded by blundering legislation their mighty current
can not and never will be entirely obstructed or stopped.
Mr. President, I should like anybody to tell me in what practical way—do not let us deal in abstractions—a civilized people
can become better off if it is not by being able
buy more with
the rewards of their h\bor?
Mr. LINDSAY. That applies to the farmer, too.
Mr. G R A Y . And th3 farmer, too. How. can a civilized people become better off,* except by becoming able to buy more of
the comforts of life with the rewards of their toil? I leave the
question for some one of my friends in his own time to answer.


If their money incomes, from lubor of all kinds, labor of the
hands, labor of the brain, go further in the purchase of commodities, then I say we have an index, and a sure one, that civilization is not retrograding but advancing; but yet I hear it
gravely argued here by friends of my own political faith that it
is wise statesmanship to obstruct this mighty progress, to
throw obstacles under the wheels of the car of civilization in
order that it may not proceed upon the magnificent pathway
upon which it is proceeding for the betterment and blessing of
I hear them say that we ought to resort to some legislation
that will cheapen money and raise the prices of commodities
which are necessary for the comfort and enjoyment of life—that
is, though they may not mean it, make it harder for the poor
man to feed his family and clothe his wife knd daughters in the
respectable manner in whiph he wishes to clothe them, and h. s
a right to wish to clothe them. I he ir them using the same argument that my friends on the other side used two years ago,
when they said that things were too cheap, and they proposed
obstructions in another way. They siid we will place a barrier
on our shores; we will prevent the commodities, the goods of the
world coming in; we will make things higher, and we will bring
greater rewards to the manufacturers of this country. Things
are too cheap, said a President of the United States; it is not respectable to wear a cheap coat. So, by a strange transformation,
we find the arguments of 1890 on the other side repeated upon
this side of the Chamber.
I say that no man can properly interfere with this grand progress, which I have s"o imperfectly described; You can not interfere with the operations of economic laws; you can not by legislation clog the wheels of this magnificent progress. You may
interfere with it temporarily, you may run athwart its passage,
but you will find that your laws will go down, and the eternal
arid immutable laws which govern human intercourse and human
traffic and human business will vindicate themselves and assert
their potency and sway, notwithstanding the pigmy efforts which
are intended to thwart them.
Mr. MITCHELL of Oregon, Will the Senator all ow me to ask
him a question?
Mr. GRAY. I am nearly through. The Senator can take the
floor, if he will just wait a moment. I do not wish to be short
to my friend, but I really meant that.
Mr. MITCHELL of Oregon. I may take the floor later.
Mr. GRAY. In support of what I said, if it needed authority,
if what I said does not appeal to the intelligence and knowledge
of my friends, especially on this side of the Chamber, let me
read to them what a very thoughtful observer, a very patient
student of economic questions, one whom we all respect—we do
not believe him to be infallible—but whose declarations on any
such subject are entitled to the greatest weight and consideration. I mean Mr. Edward Atkinson. In an entirely different
connection, long before this silver question was brought to the
front, writing in a book called the Industrial Progress of the
Nation—surely a theme noble enough and worthy enough to
occupy his best thought—he says in the chapter on The Struggle for Subsistence:
By drawing from every source as yet available, the writer has recent lv
presented statistics which can not be gainsaid, proving, so far as figures

suffice for proof, that greater progress than ever before has been made during the present generation dating from 1865, when this nation first truly attained its independence, in providing for the means of subsistence, shelter,
and clothing, and in organizing the machinery for distributing the necessaries of life. Computations have been given which go far to prove not only
that since the dangers, difficulties, and destruction of the civil war were surmounted, and since slavery was abolished, there has been a more equal distribution of the necessaries of life among the masses of the people of this
country, but also that there has been a more equitable distribution since the
standard of value of the country was reestablished on a specie basis.
No attempt has yet been male to compile or to compare the statistics of
*he hours of labor, but figures are not needed to prove to anyone who has
even a moderate faculty for observation that the hours of labor as a whole
have been diminished, while much of the hard handwork has been displaced by
labor-saving mechanism. In the factory, either by way of legislation or in
spite of legislation, it matters not which for our present purpose, ten hours
have become customary in place of eleven or twelve; the usual hours of work in
textile factories forty or fifty .years ago having been thirteen and even fourteen. In the building trades, either by way of trade unions or in spite of
them, nine and ten hours have become customary in placa of eleven and
twelve, or even more. In all the great retail shops and wholesale warehouses in which goods are distributed, the hour of closing is earlier and the
hour of opening is later than it used to be. In the factory the rooms are
better lighted, better ventilated, and in winter more uniformly heated than
ever before.
Attention to sanitary conditions has become necessary even to pecuniary
success. In the field the farm laborer rides upon the plow or upon the mowing machine, the hay-rake, or the tedder, freed from the hard labor of guiding the plow by hand, mowing the hay with the scythe, or reaping the
harvest with the sickle. The steam harvester and thresher have rendered
the work of saving the grain crop vastly more effective and much less arduous to each person. In the building trades the small hoisting engine lifts
the men and the materials to the tops of the highest buildings, while much
of the heavy work of preparing the timber and other materials, which formerly required long and arduous work by hand, is done by steam or water
power in the factory.
The optimist can thus find on every side facts which sustain his view that
the general struggle for life is becoming easier and not harder, while the
statistics of the life-insurance companies prove that the duration of life is

I am sure the Senate will excuse me when I read anything
from David A. Wells. I^esays in his book on Recent Economic
Changes, published three or four years ago:
If there is a progressive fall of prices without a corresponding fall of
wages, profits must fall progressively, and interest also, since the rate of interest is governed by the profits which can be made from the use' of capital. Now this is exactly what has happened in recent years. Profits and
prices of commodities have fallen, but wages have not fallen, except in a
few special departments. •

Mr. Wells is one competent to speak by authority, because he
is an original investigator and statistician. He continues;
Consequently the purchasing power of wages has risen, and this has given
to the wage earning class a greater command over the necessaries and comforts of Ufe, and the purchases of all this great class have supplemented any
forced economizing of the employing and well-to-do classes. " The latter
are the, ones who make the most noise in the newspapers and whose frequent
bankruptcies most fill the public eye. But they are not those whose consumption of commodities most swells the tonnage of the railways and steamships. They occupy the first cabin and their names are the only ones printed
in the passenger lists, but the steerage carries more consumers of wheat,
sugar, and pork than all the'cabins together."

Mr. President, I have spoken of the evidence which goes to
sustain the affirmative of the proposition that gold has not appreciated, but that, on the contrary, as I have shown, the increase in the amount of wages which has gone on steadily in
these thirty years and the increase of the purchasing power of
those wages show a condition that we ought not to change if we
could, and which I am almost sure we would not if we could.
There is another matter that I intended/ to speak of in speak470


ing of the tremendous forces which have governed these economic changes, or the evidence of those immense forces, and that
is the railroad extension of the United States. In 1868 one of
the great trunk lines of the United States running east and west,
one of the great grain, provision, and transporting lines, received 2.743 cents per ton per mile and in 1888 received .77 of a
cent per ton per mile; and another great trunk line in 1868 received 1.906 of a cent per ton per mile and in 1888 received .634
of a cent per ton per mile.
Now, think of what that means to the business of the country!
Think what that means to the hungry mouths which are to consume the crops of your great prairies and steam-plpwed fields of
the West! The fall from 1868 to 1888 in the cost of transportation is from over 2f cents per ton per mile to a little over one-half
of a cent per ton per mile—.634 of a cent per ton per mile. That
has made the purchasing power of these millions of dollars that
much more valuable to them when they are translated into the
wages the people receive, into the bread and meat and clothes
and wool, and all the products which are raised in the great
agricultural districts of the country.
Mr. President, I have spoken somewhat longer than I intended,
rising as I did merely to speak in the line of thought suggested by the. interesting and able speech of the Senator from
Mississippi, but I want to say before I sit down that I do not belittle or disregard the arguments in favor of bimetallism; I do
not depreciate the force of the eloquent advocacy which has
been heard in this Chamber. I have desired to address myself
as respectfully and as intelligently as I was able to what seemed
to me the issue and the only issue of vital importance which had
been evoked in this discussion. In what lawyers call their pleadings, they seek to arrive at an issue, and in seeking to arrive at
an issue which I could discuss in this argument, it seemed to me
that the one deserving the utmost attention I could give, and
the bestattention that the ablest Senator in this body could give,
was the one to which I have alluded, that gold had been in all
these years so appreciating as to depress the prices of commodities and deprive labor of its just reward.
I think, even in the short time I have given to it, I have been
able to present something of argument which will deserve the
attention of those who still differ wjth me upon that subject. I
do not believe that there is a Senator within the sound of my
voice who could gain his own consent to knowingly emtiark
upon a scheme of legislation / which would destroy or even diminish the purchasing, power of the wage of labor. W e must
proceed, then, very cautiously in the line pointed out by tho^e
who are opposed to this repeal if we would not interfere with
this grand result of all the ages to which we are the heirs.