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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2 3 , 1 8 9 3 .








The House having under consideration the bill (H. R. 1) to repeafa 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. R Y A N said:
Mr. SPEAKER: In accordance with what I believe to be the
earnest wishes of the majority of my constituents, as well as with
my own conviction of what is right, I intend to vote for the unconditional repeal of the silver-purchase clause in the so-called
Sherman bill and against the substitute or series of substitutes
therefor offered by the gentleman from Missouri;
Perhaps, having made this statement, it were better that I
should refrain from any further claim on the attention of the
House at this time; and it was my intention at the beginning of
this debate not to say even this much, but to let#the record of my
vote on the too-long deferred roll-call alone express my convictions and the desire of my district on the pending measures.
But, sir, in view of some statements that have been made during the discussion, I should like to briefly express some thoughts
that have occurred tome while listening to the eloquent speeches
delivered on these all-important subjects.
It has seemed to me, sir, as if the people of the United States
are presenting at this moment for the consideration of mankind
two simultaneously panoramic views of the present condition of
their country; the description of which by future historians as
cotemporaneous photographs of the same subject must tax to
the utmost the credulity of their readers.
The one is an exhibition of strength more than gigantic; of
widsom almost Godlike; of plenty beyond the power of even
prodigality to consume; of wealth immeasurable, and of genius
out little less than that of a creator.
The other presents the same subject with the weakness of infancy, lacking power to reach the hand for the acceptance of
proffered necessary life-giving sustenance; lacking even the comprehension necessary to loosen its hold and let fall the burden
which it is conscious is dragging it to destruction; afflicted with
poverty so pinching and so debasing that it cries aloud from
hunger and flaunts unashamed its nakedness in the public places;
while its perception of cause and effect is so rudimentary that it
stands helplessly bewailing the agony produced by wounds its
own fol2y continues to inflict.


At the head of the grandest system of land-locked seas on
earth, within the borders of the central city of the future American Republic—that city herself one of the prodigies of the age—
we behold, outrivaling in realistic" splendor the brightest creations of fancy's fairy dreams, a vision from the contemplation of
which no American citizen worthy the name can retire without
feelings of increased love and admiration for his country.
In that materialized fairy land, the White City of the Lake,
where are collected from all times and nations the choicest gems
of the product of human genius, the most signal triumphs of
mind over matter, specimens from all lands and waters of the
bountiful offerings of mother earth for the maintenance of her
children, from her mines, her forests, her soil and her seas, there,
where man's progress is traced from a plane hardly above the
level of the brute to his present elevation but "little lower than
that of the angels," where is shown how the"means of existence
have increased, from the scanty need that nature unassisted
gives, to the bounteous plenty that is more than the ample reward she returns as the wages of* toil—there the citizens of our
country have shown, in friendly competition with all other peoples, that their favored land is, in the closing decade of the
nineteenth century, as to whatever contributes to the material
comforts and to the elevation of humanity, incontestably first,
let what nation may be second.
Now, sir, for another exhibition of the condition of the same
country at the same time.
Within the walls of this Capitol, from every portion of the nation, within whose broad borders at this time, thank heaven,
is neither plague*, pestilence, nor other unusual providential affliction, more than sixty-five millions of people assemble through
their representatives and daily, before God and man, bewail, u in
all the matchless eloquence of woe," their unhappy condition,
their almost unbearable miseries—miseries all the more poignant
and galling in that they are admittedly unnecessary, even selfinflicted, and removable at will.
Professing fear lest they die of starvation in the granaries
their own labor have filled with food to the bursting, or perish
with cold on the steps of the storehouses their own looms, spindles, and strong arms have filled to overcrowding with fuel and
And all this suffering, present and impending, caused by lack
of intelligence to secure a measure that shall iustly and properly
divide the united products of their various labors.
Surely, Mr. Speaker, these are most contradictory exhibits of
coexisting conditions, and it will be scarcely credible, in future
years, that they faithfully depict concurrent conditions of the
same ppople. ^Certiinly, the proud notes of exultation with
which we are in one place celebrating our wonderful triumphs
and progress should be stilled until we prove ourselves equal to
the solution of what should be among the simplest of all questions in domestic economy, or at least until we shall have found
a remedy for the present deplorable situation to which our own
folly and stupidity have led and are leading us.
The President of the United States in his message conveying
to Congress his reasons for convening this extraordinary session,

after a mo9t clear and vivid description of the financial situation, and after offering advice as to the proper remedy, called
to our attention the proverb that " H e gives twice who gives
quickly." And, Mr. Speaker, if ever there was a time in the
history of the country when that proverb was trite and applicable, when the nation's hopes were centered on her representatives, ,when she begged for action prompt and immediate, it
was on the day when the message containing that admonition
was delivered at the opening of the present session.
Perhaps, sir, as those versed in parliamentary procedure assert, we are moving with commendable celerity, or as fast at
least as is consistent with careful and considerate legislation, and
with due regard for all the vast interests involved. That may
be the fact, sir; but there is no doubt whatever of another fact,
which is that the country's hopas have been cruelly deferred
and disappointed, that untold misery has accrued, and unknown
millions' worth of the people's substance has vanished through
this alleged necessary procrastination.
Mr. Speaker, should these remarks of mine delay, even for an
instant, action on the questions now before us, I should have remained silent; but the House having appointed the hour for recording its decision, which may be neither hastened nor hindered, I desire to indicate some of the reasons why I shall vote
as I stated in the beginning of these remarks. First, because
the silver-purchase clause of the Sherman act of 1890 hasprpved
a disappointment even to its authors. It is admitted on all sides
to be a failure in securing what it was designed to accomplish,
that is, to maintain the price of silver; it is therefore impotent
for good, productive only of evil.
In the second placs, I am satisfied that the passage of the bill
offered by the gentleman from West Virginia [Mr. WILSON]
will help to restore public confidence in the financial policy of
the Government, and, notwithstanding ail that has been said in
derision of "confidence"'during this debate by the gentlemen
who hold the opposite view on the pending measure, there is
nothing that is of more importance, either to the individual or
to-the Government.
Sir, but for confidence in the ability of the State to maintain
order, chaos and anarchy would speedily ensue. But for confidence among neighbors, society would speedily disintegrate;
but for confidence within the family circle domestic bliss would
be an unknown quantity; but for self-confidence how long could
we individually maintain successfully the battle for. existence?
From a financial standpoint we have an example to-dav of the
value of confidence. The city of Boston, as we learn from the
newspapers, finds no difficulty in floating, at or above par, its 4
per cent bonds at this time when money is in demand on time
loans at 10 to 12 per cent in the money markets of the United
States. This shows, sir, the value, even from the low plane of a
dollars-and-cents point of view, of the much-derided "confidence." Yes, that which we understand by confidence is the
most potent factor in the advancement of the human family that
the world possesses. Again, I shall vote for the repeal bill for
the reason that I am opposed to a contraction of the currency.
I am not a monometallism if I thought the effect of repeal

would be to drive silver and silver certificates out of circulation,
with my present information I would oppose it.
But I am firmly of the opinion, that so soon as we terminate our
present most unwise financial course of exchanging' our. gold for
silver, and with our declared purpose to maintain silver coin at a
parity with gold, we shall be able to keep in circulation from six
hundred millions to eight hundred millions of silver and silver
certificates at the present ratio. France isable to keep, relatively to population, even a much larger sum than the greater of these,
at par, with a lower ratio thi n ours; and I see no valid reason
why we, with a rapidly increasing population, and with a probability of continued development, should not be able to maintain,
at least, as large a silver circulation as she.
Now, if we adopt gold as a standard, for, except by international agreement, it is generally conceded that we can not have
two standards, we shall have m this country the use of both
gold and silver, and we shall be, as we ought to b3, financially
on a par with the most advanced commercial nations; white if
we attempt the free coinage of both metals only the cheaper
will remain in circulation, the dearer will goto a premium; half
the money of the country will disappear; the very condition
which our free coinage friends are striving to avert will be
brought about by their success, and universal bankruptcy will
ensue. Assertions have been made here with much vehemence
and patriotic fervor that we should manage our finances in our
own way, and without reference to, or, rather to show our independence, in opposition to well-ascertained laws and principles of finance as illustrated by the experiences of other peoples.
But, sir, in my humble opinion we shall just as effectually,
and much more advantageously to ourselves, manifest our complete freedom from foreign domination by showing that we have
learned from the experiences of others, by avoiding their errors,
and by following, wherever practicable, along the lines that lead
them to success. To refuse to avail ourselves of the experiences
which the nationsyof Europe have proved to be beneficial, simply because we dislike to follow where Europa leads, were unworthy a youth in his teens, much less a nation well along iuits
second century.
Mr. Speaker, our people desire to have, deserve to have, and
can have, if they will, the best of everything, including currancy.
I believe we shall eventually return, in some way, to a free bimetallic basis and a currency based thereon, and I believe the
speediest way to produce that desirable result is for the United
States to adopt the single gold standard and let the effect be
felt, as it will be very quickly, by those nations which have been
swift to avail themselves of our mistakes in the past. In fact, I
believe in that way alone lies the path to an international agreement as to a standard of value.
And here let me say, Mr. Speaker, that as necessity is the
mother of invention and of evolution, I believe there will be
evolved from this, or from one of the regularly recurring monetary stringencies,some practicable idea of a system of exchanges,
or of a measure of values, which will practicably eliminate both
of the so-called precious metals as necessary elements of currency—of course, this only by international agreement.


Finally, I shall vote for unconditional repeal of the silver-purchase clause of the Sherman bill, bec.iuse my constituents undoubtedly desire me to do so in their interests, and in that* of
the whole country, including, as we believe, even the silver
States themselves. , This alone, sir, would be sufficient warrant
for my action, for X am here only to express the desires and obey
the wishes, so far as in my jjower lies, of those by whose favor I
am permitted to speak within this Hall. [Applause.]
And here, Mr. Speaker, let me say a final word in answer to
some bitter things that have been said of us on this side of the
question during this debate by gentlemen whose reasoning has
not led them to the same conclusions at which we have arrived.
I. believe, sir, that of all times this is the occasion when we
should, if possible, avoid anything like recriminations and appeals to passions, whether of classes or of sections. It seems to
me that the man who at this trying hour appeals to the baser
passions and seeks to arouse animosities between our people of
different occupations gives good ground for questioning the sincerity of his devotion to the supreme welfare of his country.
For this reason I have listened to some of the brilliant speeches
delivered here during this debate with delight, surprise, and
regret.1 Delight at their charming and fascinating eloquence,
surprise that their able authors should manifest such apparently
willfully contracted views and sympathies, and regret that American legislators of deservedly high reputation for learning and
ability should at this time and on this occasion season their
speeches with bitter sectionalism and spice them with blistering
class vituperation.
Mr. Speake", I have the honor to represent a district whose interestsand industries are as varied, I venture to say, as any other
district represented on this floor. Among its quarter million people every species of industry or occupation of which our climate
profitably permits has its following, and among them are many
bankers'and brokers, even those having offices in Wall street,
and millionaires, and multimillionaires (but I believe not so
many dt these latter as a few months since), and I know that I
reflect faithfully the wishes of the great majority of my constitruents, regardless of conditions or of occupations, when I say that
what they desire is that we pass this bill, pass it quickly, go
home and stay there until the time arrives for the regular Session. Now, from many of the speeches delivered here it would
be inferred that we from and near New York are the special
representatives and champions of Wall street. But l ean siy
for myself that were the suffr ages of these gentlemen to decide
an election I certainly should not be allowed to fepeak in this
I am permitted to appear here, sir, by favor of the farmers
alongside some of whose fathers I labored in the fields in my
childhood days, by the suffrages of the laborers and mechanics
of my district with many of whom I have been a fellow toiler,
whose confidence I enjoy and hope to merit as long as I live.
These constituents of mine, Mr. Speaker, and their interests are
as dear to me as can possibly be those of any other member of
this body, whether he comes from Pennsylvania or from Kansas,
from Georgia or from Nebraska, Their home is my home; their

interests aie my interests; their destiny is my destiny. I may
say in the words of old, "Their God is my God." But I am
proud to pay a deserved tribute to their intelligence and their
patriotism by saying that the entrance to their favor lies not
through denunciation of their fellow citizens of any honest calling or occupation.
But this is no hour, Mr. Speaker, in which to hurl stinging
epithets or indulge in recrimination. Let us, from whatever
section we come, heed only the voice of public opinion, calling
aloud to us to give the country the relief it needs, and to give it
quickly. Let us, as was so generously said on the 4th of March
last by the distinguished leader on the Republican side of this
Chamber, "place patriotism above partisanship, " and whether
we were sent heire as Democrats, Republicans, or Populists, accept equal responsibility for the present deplorable situation,
join hands to repair the present and avert impending disaster to
our common country, and show that we regard the whole of it
as of greater importance than any part; all its people more than
any portion; and so, by drawing an irremovable veil over the
condition of the United States as now reflected at this Capitol,
cause the dark picture to become only as the memory of the reflection of a lowering but transitory cloud, and transmit for the
contemplation of future ages our country as now portrayed in tha
Magic City by Inland Sea. [Loud applause.]