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Free coinage of silver under present conditions by the United States alone Is
fraught with danger. International agreement is essential to the safe use of
silver as standard money. The Sherman act has subserved a useful purpose, but
its continuance as an entirety is inadvisable; its purchasing clause should therefore be repealed, and all kinds of existing money be maintained at a parity.



I N D I A N A ,











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

Mr. JOHNSON of Indiana said:
Mr. SPEAKER : I do not rise at this late hour in the debate,
which has been occupying the attention of the House for nearly
two weeks, with any intention of discussing in dataii the merits
of the pending bill or of any of the amendments which have baen
offered thereto. The brief time allotted to me in which to speak
forbids this; but even if I had on this occasion the opportunity
for extended remarks, I very greatly doubt whether I should
embrace it.
During the progress of this discussion, Mr. Speaker, there has
been a great deal said, sincerely said, ably said, upon each side
Of the great monetary question which we have bsen considering,
and I am not vain enough to imagine that at this stage of the
the proceedings I can add anything new or original to that
which has already been uttered, or that I can rehabilitate the
arguments which have been made by others in such a way as to
give them any additional force or vigor.
Indeed, I have felt during the entire progress of this debate
that it was infinitely more important that I should arrive at a
correct solution of this financial problem than that I should simply inject myself into the R E C O R D through the medium of a
speech. I have felt thus because I have known that the question
with which we were dealing was one of great and paramount importance to the American people; because I have been conscious
of the fact that on the adjournment of Congress it would be
taken up again and fought over on the hustings, and because I
have realized that the money question from the very nature of
things was destined in one form or another to be present in this
Hall for legislative action during long years that are to come.
With a view, therefore, of reaching: a correct solution of this
Bubject, I have been among the most attentive of the listeners to
the discussion on this floor. I have read with painstaking care
most, of the pertinent literature that has come within my reach;
nor have I hesitated, to consult carefully the leading economic
works which I thought bsst calculated to elucidate the matter
which has been in controversy. After much reflection, sir, I
have been able to come to a conclusion entirely satisfactory to

myself; and it is simply for the purpose of stating1 this conclusion
and of giving a few of the reasons which have induced me to adopt
it, that I now ask for a brief time the indulgence of the House.
I may remark in this connection, Mr. Speaker, that I have not
been handicapped in coming to the conclusions which I have
reached by the declarations of the platform of the great political
party to which I have the honor to belong which was promulgated
by it when it recently assembled in convention at Minneapolis.
In this particular I differ from the distinguished gentleman from
Iowa [Mr. H E P B U R N ] , who addressed the House on day before
yesterday, and from the equally distinguished gentleman from
Illinois [Mr. C A N N O N ] , who spoke in this Hall just before the
adjournment yesterday. I have been infinitely more concerned,
sir, to square myself with the immutable truth involved in this
financial controversy than I have been to square myself with the
declarations of any party platform, whether Republican, Demo*
cratic, Populist, or Prohibition.
I am not going to permit either of those gentlemen to outdo
me in party zeal. I have been a loyal member of the Republican
party ever since I attained my majority; and I am glad now to
be able to announce that the conclusions which I have reached
in respect to this subject of finance are not such as put me outside of the pale of my party organization, but that I call cherish
and fearlessly declare them ana still walfe upon that highway of
intelligent progress which it has ever been the pride of this
grand party to pursue.
Any gentleman who will read, however cursorily, the declarar
tions of the last Republican national platform will at once come
to the conclusion that the primary thing therein declared for is
not so much bimetallism as an honest, stable, unfluctuating dollar, or standard of value. Bimetallism as there announced is
not the end sought to bs obtained, but the means whereby this
primary end is to be achieved. And, sir, if in the light of subsequent events it is apparent that this end can not ba attained
through the medium of bimetallism, then I am not here to stand
for the technical construction of the language employed in the
platform, but rather to bring myself within the scope and object
of the principle therein declared for, which is, I repeat, the establishment of a stable and unvarying measure of value.
What Republican, sir, has the hardihood to stand on this floor
and say in the light of events that have transpired since the Republican platform was adopted at Minneapolis that this platform
points unerringly to an impossibility?
Mr. Speaker, since this convention adjourned the nations of
the world have refused to enter into an international agreement
with us for the remonetization of silver, because we were obliged
to beg for it as suppliants, instead of demanding it as rivals. Since
this convention adjourned India has discriminated against silver, at least to the extent of closing her mints to its coinage
on private account; since this convention adjourned Austria has
gone upon a gold basis and silver has depreciated from a ratio of
26 to 1 to a ratio of 28 to 1.
Sir, I came to this session of Congress with my preferences all
in favor of silver. I recognized the fact that ours was one of the
greatest silver-producing nations on the face of the globe. I am

sure I was anxious, in so far as it could be done without plainly
flying in the face of all economic law, and without bringing distress upon my countrymen, to see silver utilized in the monetary
system of the country. I was strongly-inclined to its free coinage, but only at such a ratio to gold a» the silver bullion sustained
to the gold bullion in the markets.
But, Mr. Speaker, the careful study that I have since given to
the investigation of this money problem has led me to the sincere and honest conviction that I ought 'to modify the opinions
which I then entertained, and oppose the free coinage of silver
at any ratio.
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. HARTER. I hope the gentleman from Indiana will be
allowed further time.
The SPEAKER. How much more time?
Mr. HARTER. Sufficient to enable him to finish his remarks.
Mr. JOHNSON of Indiana. I shall not trespass long on the
patience of the House.
The SPEAKER. Unanimous consent is asked that the gentleman from Indiana be allowed sufficient time to finish his remarks. Is there objection? The Chair hears none.
Mr. JOHNSON of-Indiana. Mr. Speaker, my present opinion
is that for this nation alone to undertake under its present environments to remonetize silver at any ratio whatsoever, and
in this manner maintain it at a parity with gold, is an absolute
and utter impossibility. To attempt it will, in my judgment,
not only be apiece of foolishness, but will be absolutely suicidal.
This, sir, is my solemn and deliberate conviction.
Mr. Speaker, it is within the power of Government to say out
of what material its metallic money shall be made and how much
of that material shall be placed in a coin and also what shall be the
degree of its fineness. It can denominate its coin. It can even
go further. It can make its coin a legal tender and require the
creditor to receive it in payment of a debt, even if it be depreciated in value. But here the power of Government ends. The
mere stamp of the creative power, does not give the coin value.
I utterly deny, sir, that it is within the power of Government,
against the common consent of the people and by mere arbitrary
legislative enactment, to give one single particle of purchasing
power to its coin.
I do not wish to say, or to be understood as saying-, that the
Government does not, by making a metal money and thereby
creating a demand for it for use as money, to a certain extent and
within certain limitations appreciate its commodity value under
the operations of the law of supply and demand. But I do undertake to say that in fixing what shall be its money and determining what shall be its value the Government should follow the
previously expressed wishes and value estimates of the people and
not undertake to give the metal any greater value than the common consent of th0 people has bestowed upon it.
This has been the policy pursued in the history of our Government heretofore. When the fathers undertook to determine the
ratio they would give our coins they did not seek to give either
to gold or to silver an arbitrary statutory value, but they went
into the markets of the country and ascertained what value the

people had previously conferred upon the metals, and settled
upon that as the value to be placed upon the coins they provided
I hesitate not to avow,31r. Speaker, that if, in the effort to remonetize silver, you fix the value of silver coin higher than the
bullion value of the metal which composes it in the market, instead of appreciating1 the bullion to the coin value of the dollar
you will find that the coin will depreciate to the market value of
the bullion.
Bimetallism by one nation, as a practical fact, is, in my opinion, an impossibility and an absurdity. You may have a legal
ratio, you may have a theoretical ratio, you may enact bimetallism into a statute, but practice and our experience as a nation
clearly proves that you will have, as a matter of fact, the cheaper
money only in use and circulation, and this will give you monometallism. Why, sir, early in our national history, one of the
precious metals passed out of circulation, and we did our business on the other alone for years.
Owing to a subsequent change in our coinage laws the condition
was reversed, and the money which had previously gone out of
circulation came back again, and the money on which we had
before transacted business in turn went out^f circulation. And
yet, during all this period we had each coin established by law
upon our statute book as a unit of value at a fixed ratio to the
other. But the market value of the metal in the coins ditfered
from that fixed by law, and under the invariable operation of
Gresham's law the more valuable coin was retired and the
cheaper one remained.
Mr. Speaker, the question with which we have to deal to-day
is not whether the demonetization of silver was wise or foolish,
right or wrong, whether it conferred benefits or inflicted evils,
but the question is rather one of power and resources. We are
face to face with a condition. Have we the strength and ability
at this time by ourselves to free coin silver and thereby establish and maintain it on a parity with gold ? This is the material,
the decisive inquiry.
Let us stop, sir, and consider for a moment what is proposed
by the advocates of the free-coinage system upon this floor.
They are utterly ignoring the present status of silver in their
demands. They forget that it has been dishonored throughout
the civilized world by the leading nations; that England has
been upon a gold basis since 1816; that Italy has turned her face
against silver at least to the extent of denying it free coinage on
private account at her mints; that Germany has gone on a gold
basis; that France and the Latin Union, after vainly having tried
to stem the tide of silver in its downward progress, have stepped
aside for fear that the avalanche would bring ruin upon them;
and that France has at last reluctantly closed her mints to its
free coinage.
They fail to observe that Austria is now adopting a gold standard. They seem to forget that twice in our history we have
tried by legislative enactment to bring silver to par, or to keep
its value from further declining,and have signally failed on each
occasion. W e tried it in 1878, by means of the Bland-Allison
act, and were unsuccessful. We repeated the experiment, re179

gardless of the teachings of our experience, in the year 1890 by
the enactment of the Sherman act. It thereupon rose slightly
in value, but soon commenced to fall again, and has ever since
depreciated in price until to-day it has fallen lower than ever
before in our national history.
The advocates of free coinage seem ta ignore, too. the fact that
the production of silVer has within the last ten years increased
enormously. Now they are asking that we shall try the very
experiment which the Latin Union, including the French Government found itself unable to carry out successfully under circumstances more favorable than those by which we are at present
surrounded. They are asking that we shall undertake to lift this
enormous burden without aid or intervention from any foreign
Mr. Speaker, the moment that anything of this kind is attempted, in my honest opinion, it will result in the operation of
Gresham's unvarying rule. You will find that instead of being
able to maintain these coins of gold and silver at the parity fixed
by law, they will separate. Silver will depreciate and remain.
Gold will fly. It will retire from circulation and be hoarded,
and instead of being upon a bimetallic basis of gold and silver,
this nation will be upon a silver basis alone. You will have a
contraction instead of an expansion of your currency. Not only
that, but such silver legislation will stimulate the production of
your American silver mines. It will induce foreign nations to
make a sacrifice of their silver and pay a premium for your gold
to the end that they may strengthsn their gold reserves, they
being upon a gold basis; and you will find that it will take the
utmost capacity of our mints, constantly operating for two or
three years, coining depreciated silver dollars with which to
supply this deficiency in the currency occasioned by the retirement of gold.
And when you get that additional coinage of silver you will
find that you have descended to a silver basis, not to bimetallism, but to silver monometallism pure and simple, and that,
while you are not reduced to the intellectual or industrial status
of the semicivilized nations of the world, yet that you have descended to the same metallic system which they employ, and have
deprived yourself of those monetary advantages which are the
highest products of the leading and prosperous commercial nations of this globe. And you will not only have descended to
this depth, but in your descent you will have depreciated the
value of every dollar of the paper money and the silver coin that
is deposited in your savings banks,,in your national banks, and
in in your private banking institutions throughout this country.
You will have depreciated the value of every particle of that
money in the hands of the people, and have brought loss and
privation and entailed suffering upon them. You will find yourselves. too, as I have already said, not upon a foundation of bimetallism, but upon a foundation of silver monometallism, with
a constantly fluctuating standard of value, than which there can
be no greater curse in the monetary affairs of a civilized nation.
Mr. Speaker, the objections that I have urged to the remonetization of silver at any of the ratios provided for in the amendments to the measure now under consideration can be urged with

equal effect, in my humble opinion, to the remonetization of silver at the ratio which the silver bullion sustains to-d?y in the
markets of the world to the gold bullion. Unfortunately, sir, by
the terms of the resolution under which we are operating, and
under which at 12 o'clock on next Monday we are to take our
vote, which resolution was adopted by the Democratic party
within the secret chambers of its caucus, from which I and my
colleagues on this side of the Chamber were rigidly excluded,
no member will be able to vote for the remonetization of silver
at any other ratio than that named in this order of proceeding;
but, sir, I shall not attempt to hide myself like a moral coward
behind this bulwark.
Recognizing the fact that the need of the hour is men of convictions; men, too, who have the courage of their convictions,
and are not afraid to express their ssntiments, and who are far
mora anxious to maintain the right than they are to preserve
their consistency—I hesitate not to declare that if under this
order of procedure an opportunity to vote for a different ratio
were afforded me, I would not vote for it.
In addition, Mr. Speaker, to the evils which I have already
pointed out as being incident to the remonetization of silver, let
me call attention to others which apply more particularly to
remonetization at other ratios than 16 to 1. Let me say that, in
my humble opinion, the only hope of bimetallism is to obtain an
international agreement for the restoration of silver, but when
you remonetize silver at the ratio of 20 to 1, or at the present
market ratio of gold and silver bullion, you lessen the chances
of ever securing an agreement from foreign nations for international bimetallism, because of the great expense it would entail
upon them to meet you anything like halfway as to ratio in the
recoining of their silver.
Again, after you have remonetized silver at a different ratio
from that of 16 to 1, and the metals have separated under the invariable operation of Gresham's law, you will not only be attempting to maintain your new gold dollar and your new silver dollar
at a parity under your new ratio, but you will be seeking also to
maintain on a parity with these two dollars the existing dollars
now in circulation, thus complicating the difficulties of. the situation in proportion to the number of dollars that you are trying to keep at a parity. Here we have the spectacle of the nation with three standards of value. Sir, there can, in the very
nature of things, be but one standard of value. Trade and commerce can be successfully carried on in no other way.
Not only this, but there is the letter of the Secretary of the
Treasury [Mr. Carlisle], addressed to Senator VOORHEES, which
has clearly demonstrated the fact that to make your present
silver dollar contain as much silver as your new silver dollar,
if you adopt remonetization of silver at the proposed ration of 20
to'l, you will be obliged to entail an enormous expense upon the
American people to supply the,silver, to pay the expense of returning the present coin to the mint, to make up the loss from
its abrasion, and the depreciation in the process of melting.
Mr. Speiker, passing from these propositions, I want to say,
in addition, that I am absolutely opposed to and shall not cast
my votefoi* an amendment which looks to the reenactment upon

the statute book of what is known as the Bland-Allison act. That
act, in my humble opinion, contains the very features that from
this time forward will render the Sherman act objectionable.
Aye, more, it contemplates a continued purchase of silver and
the minting therefrom of a short-weight dollar, to be carried on
indefinitely. The danger here is that after a while there may
arise in the public mind doubt of the ability of the country to
maintain its silver dollars'at a parity by payment in gold, and
thus there may come a depreciation of these dollars which will
entail loss upon the people.
One word, Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, with respect to the repeal of the purchasing clause of the Sherman act and I am
through, and will not longer tax the kindly indulgence of the
I am not one of those who believe, with the President, that
this act is mainly responsible for the present deplorable condition of affairs in which we find ourselves. I firmly believe, and
I say it with all respect to the Executive, who is doubtless honest in the expression of his opinion, that there is a disposition
manifested upon the part of some persons to make the Sherman
act the scapegoat for the present evils, with a view of distracting public attention from the real cause of our calamities.
I think the source of our financial trouble can be found in other
directions. It is a recognized fact that since 1873 there has been
a universal depression throughout the entire civilized world,
affecting all nations, regardless of their financial or economic
policies. There has been almost everywhere upon the globe a
money stringency, a depreciation of products, and a falling in
land values; and it can be possible, sir, that this evil which has
afflicted foreign lands, and which has heretofore been kept away
from our marvelous strength and material resources, has
at last crossed the billowy Atlantic and laid its blighting hand
upon us. Is it not possible that the presentation by foreign
holders of American securities for payment, in order to secure
the money to pay their own indebtedness and stem their own
reverses, may have drained us of our gold, and thus helped to
bring on our financial embarrassment?
Is it not possible, sir, that a conspiracy may have existed in
the city of New York and in London to force this Government
to issue bonds, to the end that they might be taken up for good
financial investments, and that a run upon the national Treasury
has been inaugurated and the gold drawn therefrom with this
object in View, and that this has contributed to our distressed
condition? Is it without the range of possibilities that in an effort to give the country an object lesson, in order to force the repeal of the Sherman law, the persons in the scheme have gone
too far and have precipitated a panic which has passed beyond
their control and reacted upon themselves? ^
Mr. Speaker, I hesitate not to aver that, in my humble opinion, there is another cause that has tended as much as anything
described to bring about the present condition. The Republican party, by the wisdom of its enactments, has built up the
business of this country on the basis of a protective tariff, and to
that legislation all business interests have conformed and adjusted themselves. The dread on the part of the manufacturers

and business interests of the country that the Democratic party
would undertake to reverse this economic policy under which
prosperity had been obtained is, in my humble opinion, one of
the most far-reaching- of the local causes that has induced the
difficulties which now beset us.
Mr. Speaker, I do not think there existed in the breast of a
single intelligent human being, either on this continent or across
the water, any belief that the Government of the United States
was lacking either in the intention or ability to keep at par and
redeem in gold every single silver dollar that was out, every silver
certificate that was issued, and every Treasury note that was
issued under the Sherman act. I believe that the national credit
both at home and abroad has been above reproach.
I would like to call your attention, sir, to ,the fact that under
the wise monetary legislation of the party that has controlled
this nation for so many years the national credit of this country
is higher than that of any nation on the globa. Does any gentleman doubt for one moment that any issue of bonds by this Government made this day would be snapped up with avidity in every
monetary center in the world as safe and profitable pecuniary
investments'? This is a test of the public credit.
The Sherman act never drore gold abroad. If it clid, how
does it happen that gold is now returning to our shores, although
the act still stands unrepealed? The people have not lacked
confidence in the money of the country; they have lacked confidence in the banks which had possession of it. They have not
repudiated the silver or the paper currency of the country. They
have hoarded silver and silver certificates as well as gold. It is
said that those very certificates are at a premium to-day.
I protest, Mr. Speaker, against this unfair endeavor to put
upon this one legislative enactment the burden of all the ills to
which we are heir at the present time. The history of the passage of the Sherman act is within the recollection of every intelligent man upon this floor. That act was passed to avert in this
country a terrible calamity—the attempt to remonetize silver
and bring upon the country the evils of a depreciated coin. It
did its perfect work in this respect. It added to the circulating medium of the country a sound silver and paper currency.
To this extent it is tq be commended.
But, Mr. Speaker, it has met the emergency that called for
its creation; its mission is now ended, and I shall vote for its
repeal for reasons which I now ask leave of this House to assign.
In the first place, sir, while X believe that the confidence of
the people in the ability and intention of the Government to redeem our short-weight dollars that have been coined under that
act has not yet been disturbed, yet I do believe that to continue
to purchase silver and pay for it by the issuing of Treasury notes
for an indefinite period under this act, with the possible further
coinage of short-weight dollars and the further depreciation of
silver, might go to such an extent that the people would finally
lose faith in the capacity of the Government to keep the silver
dollars and Treasury notes at par with gold, and thus bring
about a depreciation of them, with all the evils that usually attend a depreciated currency.
But there is another reason, Mr. Speaker, why I shall vote for

the unconditional repeal of the Sherman act. However unjust
that feeling may be, discriminating men are compelled to admit
that there has gone abroad in the land a feeling which is very
general among the people, that the Sherman act has really been
the main cause of our present condition. This belief did not
bring on this financial trouble. It has arisen since it was precipitated. The condition which confronts us, while it should
not excite a panic on our part, ought certainly to be viewed with
This presents, sir, an opportunity for the exercise of the highest and most patriotic st atesmanship. Contemplate for a moment
the condition by which we are confronted. Banks have everywhere toppled or failed and gone into liquidation. Some of
them have refused to pay over their counters the money of their
depositors. They have locked up the currency, which is the lifeblood of all trade. The music of the spindles is no longer heard
in the land. The furnace fires are banked. Business is stagnant.
Commerce is arrested.
The fear of one man, like wildfire or contagion, has communicated itself to another, and everything is in
condition of
doubt, perplexity, and fear. Unemployed laborers by hundreds
and thousands are standing idle on the streets of our cities, in
need of employment and of the necessaries of life. I can pay no
higher tribut3, sir, to this brawn and muscle of our population
than to say on this occasion that these men have so far borne
themselves under these trying circumstances, under these conditions of distress which attack them more vitally than any other
class of our people, with genuine conservatism and patriotic
American obedience to law.
But, Mr. Speaker, while up to this time they have turned a
deaf ear to the insidious appeals of the communist, while they
have refused to be led from the path of duty by the wild declamation of the anarchist, who would reduce everything to chaos
and substitute the law of might in lieu of the law of the land,
yet with the lapse of time the condition of the unemployed will
grow more desperate, and in view of their good conduct I would
greatly hesitate to strain the quality of their moderation too far.
To do this involves danger.
This is no time for hesitation. Relief, while it should not be
extended in the shape of illy considered and unwise legislation,
should nevertheless be afforded at as early a .day as possible.
And, sir, if it will contribute to the restoration of public confidence and release the money of the country from the vaults and
pockets which hoard it, into the avenues of trade, that it may
there perform its proper functions and lift the pall from the
land, to offer up the Sherman act, even though it be an innocent
victim upon the altar to the public demand, I for one am not
going to stand against such a sacrifice.
After the repeal of the Sherman act, Mr. Speaker, what? I
would preserve, sir, at a parity, every silver dollar now in existence, whether it was coined under the provisions of the BlandAllison act, or under the Sherman act; I would preserve at an
absolute parity every silver certificate and every United States
Treasury note that is now in the hands of the people or that has
been issued.

Stopping the purchase and storage of depreciating silver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes in payment therefor and of
the possibility of any further coinage of short weight dollars by
the repeal of the Sherman act will all the more strengthen public confidence in the ability of the Government to keep at par
the money already created under it.
Mr. Speaker, the demand of the hour is not so much an inflation of the currency, a new issue of money by the Government,
as it is to turn into the avenues of trade the money which we
already have, and which is now locked up ana hoarded and withheld from use and circulation among the people. We have today plenty of money if we can only get it into circulation—$9
per capita of gold, $9 per capita of silver money, $6 per capita of
paper money, making a circulation of money, all of which is at a
parity, of $24 a head—more money per capita, sir, than any other
leading civilized nation on the face of the earth except the
French Government. If it should soon become necessary to enlarge the currency, as it probably would, I would doit by proper
measures which can be devised.
I would do it by recognizing silver and by using it as an auxiliary to the existing standard at the gold valuation by some
wisely devised method. If further expansion is desired, possibly
it can be obtained by conferring upon the national batiks the
right to issue notes to the par value of the bonds which they have
deposited to secure their circulation, or by allowing any citizen
to take Government bonds and deposit them in the Treasury,
receiving in exchange therefor paper money, or by some other
method—surrounding whatever plan is adopted with proper
legislative precautions and safeguards.
Mr. Speaker, when we have done this I entertain no doubt of
the capacity of this Government, in the competition for gold, to
obtain more than itfc share among the nations of the earth. Let
gentlemen stop and reflect that we are among the greatest gold
producing nations of the world. Let them stop and. reflect that
our resources are boundless; that we stand in the morning of
our national life, whereas the canker worm of dissolution is already eating at the hearts of the governments of the old world
and that they are passing along the meridian and toward the
decline of their national existence.
I have faith in the power and strength of this young Republic,
standing on a sound monetary basis, to maintain its own in the
money markets of the world. Sir, our failure heretofore to obtain an international agreement with the great nations of the
earth, whereby we might by united action restore silver to its
monetary power, has, in my humble opinion, been owing to the
fact that we have approached them from disadvantageous
grounds as suppliants and as mendicants*
When we have once placed ourselves in the conditiou in which
I believe the measures Ihavesuggestedwill place us, and we can
approach, them in the arena of the world's conflict armed cap-apie, as rivals, not as suppliants, and convince them that under
the economic principle of the "survival of the fittest" our opportunities for survival are equal to if not greater than theirs,
we can exact from them as being in the line of their interest, j?s
I certainly believe it is in the line of our interest, an interna179

tional agreement by virtue of which silver can be restored as
standard money throughout the civilized world.
Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, this foolish, this unnecessary, but,
nevertheless, this very destructive panic has precipitated upon
us an issue. We stand where the roads part. There is no intermediate ground. There is no byfield to which the moral coward may retire to shift from himself responsibility. There
should be no temporizing, no vacillation. The man needed at
this critical hour is the man of positive convictions who, when
he believes that he is right, hesitates not to go ahead in the fearless and patriotic discharge of the duty which he owes to the
people. I shall not follow the road which requires this Government, in contradiction to all human experience ,to undertake alone
and unaided the impossible task of lifting silver from the depths
to which it has descended and maintaining it at a parity with
gold by its free and unlimited coinage.
I shall not follow that road, because, speak of it in as glowing
language as you may, prophesy for it as kindly as you please, all
the finger boards of history and civilization point in the contrary direction. I believe that it turns not into the highway of
national progress and prosperity, but away from that highway
into the morasses of doubt and perplexity, of individual and national loss and dishonor. I prefer, sir, recognizing the fact, of
course, that there are some difficulties in the way, to turn my
face hopefully and courageously towards that other road along
which every nation that has most escaped monetary failure and
dishonor in the past has bean accustomed to travel.
I have in my breast an abiding conviction that if I hold to the
proposition that the stability, the unfluctuating character of a
coin, as well as its volume, is essential, and push resolutely forward, sooner or later I shall reach the destination to which
every patriotic man on this floor, regardless of party belief or
geographical location, desires to attain—a governmental system
of finance which preserves a stable and unfluctuating standard
of value, sufficient in volume to answer all legitimate demands.
To such a systam silver and paper at a parity with the standard
are necessary. But until silver can safely be used as a standard,
1 earnestly submit that it is folly to invest it with such a func*
tion. [Applause.]