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THE SHERMAN LAW AND SILVER COINAGE.

SPEECH
O
F

HON. CHARLES W. STONE,
OF

PENNSYLVANIA,

IN THE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

W e d n e s d a y , A u g u s t 2 3 , 1893.




WASHINGTON.
i8 9 3 .




SPEECH
OF

HON. C H A R L E S

W.

STONE.

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 the purchase of
silver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes thereon, and for other purposes"—

Mr. CHARLES W . STONE said:
Mr. SPEAKER: The condition in which we are placed to-day
is, in my judgment, too serious and the issues involved too grave
to justify an appeal to passion, prejudice, or partisan feeling, or
to be controlled by the varying interpretations which may be
put upon the Democratic platform, which has played so large a
part in the discussion of this question. What party platforms
may have said, or what parties may have done in the past, is a
matter of minor importance, in the anomalous and unprecedented
condition in which we find ourselves. What may have been entirely wise and proper in an emergency in 1890 may be unwise
and injurious in another emergency in 1893. Conditions change.
New occasions teach new duties.
Time makes ancient good uncouth.

The matter of importance to us now is present duty more than
past history.
The drowning man, as he buffets the waves, is much more concerned to know how he can get out than to investigate how he
happened to fall in, and the spectators on the bank do not need
to quarrel as to who shall reach to him a helping and a saving
hand. The important thing is to save the man, not who shall
do it. Hence, however, much we may be inclined to deprecate or
even resent that policy of the dominant party which has denied
to this side of the House the least voice or possible agency in
molding the pending legislation, that fact should not prevent
our giving to it that fair, unprejudiced consideration ana action
which its merits and the startling and serious emergency confronting us both require.
What is the proposition before us? Why, simply to stop the
compulsory monthly purchase, on a falling market, of tons of
silver bullion, for which we have no earthly use, and the giving
therefor of nates which investors seem to doubt our ultimate
ability or disposition to pay in the standard money of the civilized world. Why should we continue to accumulate this bullion? What use can be made of it? Let me answer in the words
of my valued friend from Missouri [Mr. BLAND], the distinguished
champion of the free-coinage cause, whose language always posm
3




4
sesses the merit of candor and courageous, straightforward earnestness. He said on this floor on the 22d day of March, 1892:
The law of the last Congress, July 14, 1890, provided for the purchase of silver at its market rate, measured in gold, ana for the use of bullion for what
purpose? As mere dead capital in the Treasury, which might as well be at
the bottom of the Potomac.

Why now insist on continuing this senseless proceeding? If it
were iron or steel, the nation might some time have some use for
it in the construction of its Navy or the armament of its forts or
vessels. If it were coal, it might sometime be consumed in the
operations of the Government on land or sea, but silver can not
be consumed or used except for the single purpose of adding to
the three hundred and fifty million of idle dollars now clogging
the Treasury vaults, and which can not be forced into circulation.
^ The real purpose of the act, to sustain and enh.ince the price of
silver bullion by furnishing a large and certiin purchaser, has
not been attained, and if attainable such purpose can not be defended. As well may you ask the Government to bull the market for wheat, cotton, coal, oil, copper, or iron, by making enormous and unnecessary purchases of those articles.
But, sir, more than that, out of this purchase has arisen, in
the process of time, positive and serious danger. The purchases
under the Sherman law are entirely paid for in Treasury notes,
payable by their terms in coin, and by fair inference and the interpretation of the Government, in such kind of coin as the
holder thereof may desire. They have been issued to the amount
. of $148,286,348, and have gone into our circulation, and the volume is increasing from month to month. They have materially
swollen the amount of our paper currency; they represent a
practical reserve of silver- in the nation's Treasury; they call
attention to the increasing preponderance of silver in our currency, and now we are told in rotund tones, and with all the
graces of polished oratory, by the gentleman from New York
and others, that distrust pervades financial circles and reaches
the nations of Europe, and that as a result money is withdrawn
from the channels of trade and hoarded in banks and vaults.
Why this distrust? Is it senseless and baseless, the mere whim
and impulse of a panic-stricken public? The gentlemen have
not told us. In eloquent tones they have pictured the existing
condition of affairs and implored us to repeal the Sherman law.
Why? How is this condition traceable to that law? The gentleman from Nebraska [Mr. BRYAN] tells us that an alarm like
aery of fire in a crowded hall has been sounded, and. the whole
nation is panic-stricken. Who gave this alarm, which my friend
terms a false alarm, and what was its character? Who precipitated this panic? The gentleman says it was " the same forces
which have always opposed any legislation favorable to silver."
Let us see.
On the I2th of April, 1892, from his seat in the Senate, Senator S T E W A R T of Nevada, the great apostle of frefe coinage, uttered the following words:
It is manifest that gold cannot be obtained to redeem the Treasury notes Issued and to be issued under the act of 1890 under existing law. There is no
possibility of accumulating gold for that purpose, or for the purpose of sustaining the other denominations of paper and silver, above mentioned, in
circulation. Silver must be coined and used for the redemption of paper or
the Government must repudiate its obligations.
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And again on the 2d day of June, 1892, replying to Senator
SHERMAN, he uses the following language:
He tells us that free coinage will bring us to a silver standard just as he
predicted the Bland act would do. Now, our present law will do worse than
that. The present law on the statute book, which he approves to-day (he
may not approve it to-morrow) will do worse than that. It will inevitably
bring us to a paper standard or the market-value standard of silver, because
it is going to be utterly impossible—there is no use in our deceiving ourselves upon this subject—to maintain gold payments under existing laws.

These are not the words of a Wall street alarmist. They are
not the utterances of quaking capital. They come not from any
of the gentleman's baneful forces which have always oppo3ed silver. They are not even the timid utterances of the raw recruit
in the silver ranks. They come from the general of those forces;
from the grim veteran of many a hard-fought battle.
Such expressions from a Senator of the United States of long
service, an acknowledged student of financial questions, and the
spokesman and representative of a large element in our population, could not escape the attention of the investors in our securities at home or abroad. They would naturally produce uneasiness if not apprehension.
Then comes the widespread newspaper report, whether well
founded or not I do not assume to say, but going out to the public, that the Secretary of the Treasury in the early summer, when
the gold reserve dropped to a hundred million dollars, contemplated silver payments of Treasury notes, and it seemed to give
substance to the people's; apprehensions and fulfillment to the
Senator's prophecy that we were drifting tp a silver basis.
This is followed up by the President of the United States, who
makes formal and official public announcement of the impending
danger in his message, as follows:
Between the 1st day of July, 1890, and the 15th day of July, 1S93, the gold
coin and bullion in our Treasury decreased more than $132,000,000, while during the same period the silver coin and bullion in the Treasury increased
more than $147,000,000. Unless Government bonds are to be constantly issued and sold to replenish our exhausted gold, only to be again exhausted,
it is apparent that the operation of the silver-purchase law now in force
leads in the direction of the entire substitution of silver for the gold in the
Government Treasury, and that this must be followed by the payment of all
Government obligations in depreciated silver.

Whatever may have been the situation before this authoritative proclamation of danger, coming from the head of the Government and going through all business circles and to all financial centers, distrust and apprehension are now unavoidable.
Said a distinguished Secretary of the Treasury, when a financial crisis was threatened, on being asked if he was not alarmed?
" No, it would never do for the Secretary of the Treasury to get
scared when everybody else is," and there was solid wisdom in
the utterance. Would that the President of the United St ates
had realized it.
If, instead of the timid, halting, and irresolute policy of this
Administration, ending in the loud proclamation of. the serious
danger of the payment of all Government obligations in a.depreciated currency, there had come from the Administration at all
times and upon all occasions, from the inaugural utterances forward, the uniform, unhesitating, and bold expression of a determination that the integrity of every dollar of our currency should
196




t
)
be maintained by the exercise to the utmost limit of every power
of the Executive, express or implied, the distrust and danger
aroused by injudicious utterances of leading-silver advocates and
by the character of our currency, would have been largely allayed.
Do not misunderstand me. I do not believe that the condition
of our currency was the primary or principal cause of our financial distress or business prostration. I agree with my friend
from Ohio [Mr. GROSVENOR] and the gentleman from Iowa [Mr.
HEPBURN] that the underlying cause of oui* business paralysis,
first operating and continuing to operate, was and is the threatening attitude of the Democratic party toward the productive
industries of this great nation, and this, with blinded judgment
and partisan temerity, the President emphasizes in his message.
In other words, the President alike threatens capital already invested and alarms capital seeking investment, and nothing but
business paralysis can result. In short, the nation is suffering
from an attack of Democratic statesmanship.
This fact does not, however, diminish the obligation of every
p triot, rising above the limits of party feeling, the pride of
personal opinion, and the irresponsibility of lack of power, to
cooperate in every measure which by any possibility may bring
returning prosperity to our suffering country.
The Sherman law, whether originally so or not, is now undoubtedly a factor in this business depression. Let us repeal
it. Let us take the President's panacea. If it cures the disease,
and returning prosperity follows, we shall all rejoice. If it does
not, the fact will be made clearly and indisputably evident that
the trouble is deeper than the Sherman law, and rests in the
threatening attitude of the Democratic party toward the protection of American labor and American enterprise.
But the President's remedy is not the only one proposed. Our
free-silver friends say, "Oh, yes; the ship of state is foundering in
a rough and troubled sea ana steering straight for the breakers,
but you shall not use the pumps or change her course unless you
let us load her down with the world's stock of silver, produced
and to be produced. That will give her steadiness of motion and
help to reach the unruffled sea of plenty and prosperity."
I do not concede the fairness of this position. I have no faith
In such seamanship.
Their views, however, are urged with earnestness and undoubted sincerity, and are entitled to candid consideration.
What are they? What do they propose? Simply, that the
owner of silver bullion, no matter who he is, American, Englishman, or Egyptian—no matter where it was produced, whether in
the United States, Mexico, or Australia—may deposit at any
mint of the United States 412& grains of standard silver, costing
him to-day and purchasable anywhere for less than 60 cents,
:md have it coined into a dollar for his benefit and, without cost
to him. This 60-cent dollar the Government agrees to receive
and forces all its citizens to take for 100 cents.
( Whatever may be the underlying principle of this legislation,
its practical operation, so long as the Government can sustain
this dollar at par, is to give through the agency of the stamp
nnd credit of the nation a substantial bounty of over 40 cents on
the dollar, at present prices, to every holder of silver bullion—
a species of class legislation that is entirely indefensible.
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7
On the other hand, if the silver dollar can not be maintained
at par, then the laborer's wages, the price of the farmer's crops,
and every debt and obligation not by its terms specifically payable in gold, will be paid in a debased and depreciated silver currency. Gold will disappear from our circulation, and we shall
reach an exclusively silver basis. Silver and gold can not both
be circulated one moment after the Government ceases to be able
to sustain their full and free interchangeability, dollar for dollar.
I do not propose to discuss these propositions, which have been
often stated and fully elaborated during this debate and on other
occasions,, but rather to consider briefly some of the reasons
advanced for adopting a system which must produce such results.
Why, it is claimed as a constitutional right, and the expression ' 4 gold and silver, the money of the Constitution," is rolled
as a precious morsel under the tongue of every silver advocate;
and in the very able, lengthy, and elaborate report from the
Committee on Coinage, made by the distinguished gentleman
from Missouri in the last Congress, a prominent heading in
capital letters is in these words: "Free coinage required by the
Constitution."
.What* justification is there for this? Is it provided anywhere
in the Constitution that gold and silver shall be coined without
limit and without cost? No sir, there is not one word to justify
that assertion. Why, sir, neither gold nor silver is mentioned
anywhere in the Constitution except in the tenth section of the
first article, and >then only in prohibiting the individual States
from making anything else a legal tender. Is there anything in
this prohibition from which an inference can be drawn of an obligation on the General Government, and an obligation different
from the prohibition?
In the same section and paragraph the States are prohibited
from impairing the obligation of contracts or granting titles of
nobility. Can any inference be drawn from such prohibition of
an obligation on the General Government to do the things prohibited to the States? The inference at most would be one of
power only, and not of obligation, and would be only coextensive
with the prohibition, namely, to make gold and silver a legal
tender, and that has been done and the silver dollar is to-day as
full and complete a legal tender as the gold dollar. Nowhere
else in the Constitution are either gold or silver mentioned, and
the claim of constitutional recognition of the silver dollar is the
thinnest and flimsiest pretense. It may be proper to coin it, but
it is not a constitutional requirement.
But, it is argued,*• a great wrong waa committed and a serious
outrage consummated in 1873, when the silver dollar was demonetized. Men talk flippantly and furiously, and even threateningly,
of the demonetization of" the silver dollar, and yet it is not demonetized, and has not been for the last hundred yearn, except
for a brief time, between 1874 and 1878. It is full legal tender
and possesses all the money qualities and uses it ever did. Its
coinage has simply been limited. In other words, the Government has assumed to decide for itself, instead of leaving it to the
cupidity of the bullion producer to determine, bow many of these
silver dollars the people need and can safely use in the convenm




8
lent transaction of their business and the conduct of their exchanges: and if any profit is to be made from its coinage that it
shall be for the benefit of the whole people, instead of the few
silver owners and speculators.
Finding over 350,000,000 idle dollars in the Treasury which
can not be forced into circulation, and finding that by the continuous operation of natural forces the intrinsic value of the
silver dollar has been reduced nearly one-half and that serious
danger of depreciation is believed to exist, it determined to stop
the coinage until the conditions change, but the legal-tender or
money qualities of the dollar are in no wise impaired.
But, gentlemen reply, we are not talking simply of existing
dollars, but of silver in general, and that was discredited in this
country and in the eyes of the world in 1873. and they did not
discover it for years afterwards. Why, the discredit of silver
in this country came in 1853, and gentlemen apparently have
not discovered it yet. It was then that the right of free coinage
was denied to the greater part of your silver used for coinage.
It was then that the full legal-tender quality was taken from all
your silver coins in actual circulation. It was then that, by
order of a Democratic President, the Government refused to take
even your standard silver dollars in payment of impost-' duties
due to the Government; and this refusal continued for twenty
years.
Talk about the wrong of the act of 1873, which simply dropped
from your coinage the silver dollar, which was not in circulation
and which had been discredited for twenty years by the refusal
of the Government to receive it in p iyment of debts! The blow
at silver was struck in 1853, when you debased your halves, quar^
ters, and dimes, closed your mints to their free coinage, and took
away their legal-tender quality. How is the right to have silver
coined into a dollar any more sacred than into two halves? What
is the difference in principle? The question is certainly not one
of degree, for up to 1853 we had coined over $51,000,000 in halves
and only $2,500,000 in dollars. Why, we had coined 50 per cent
more in value and fifteen times in number of the insignificant
dimes than of the grand old " dollar of the daddies," which only
the daddies of very modern times ever saw.
Why not be frank about these things? Why not give us the
facts? Why not tell us that by the order of Thomas Jefferson
the mints were closed to the coinage of the silver dollars in 1805
and for thirty years thereafter not a single silver dollar was
coined?
Do you forget that the entire coinage of silver dollars, in the
whole eighty years prior to 1873, only amounted to a little over
$S,000,000, and that we have coined since then over $400,000,000,
an average every year of nearly three times the entire aggregate coinage of the first eighty years, and that even last year we
coined more standard silver dollars than in the whole eighty
years before 1873?
The act of 1873 was passed in accordance with the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury, thrice repeated in his
annual reports, commencing in 1870. It was considered with
more than ordinary atttention in both Houses, its discussion filling 144 columns of the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, and was care196




9
fully examined by committees of both Houses and by a conference committee. It was pending for over two years, and printed
thirteen times by order of Congress, and it cijn not be impugned
now because some members can be found to say that they did not
know what was in it. They had abundant opportunity to know,
but the fact is that the dropping or retaining of the silver dollar
seemed a matter of little importance then, as we were on a paper
basis, and no Bilver was in circulation.
Let me quote from Secretary Manning's report, made in 1886:
The act of 1873 has been denounced and praised for demonetizing silver,
which it did not do. It retired no silver from circulation; it caused no cointo be sold as bullion; it withdrew the full legal-tender quality from no silver
coin. * * * The arguments that anything really injurious to silver was
done by the act ot 1873 are arguments offered only by those who are not quite
familiar with the subject.

From the report of Secretary Windom, in 1889:
As a matter of fact, the act of 1873 had little or no effect on the price of silver. The United States was at that time on a paper basis. The entire number of silver dollars coined in this country from the organization of the
mints in 1792 was only $8,045,838, but they had not been in circulation for over
twenty-five years.

But we are told that, by reason of some mysterious sympathy
between all other commodities and silver, prices from 1873 forward, of everything except gold, have gone down continuously
and regularly as the price of silver has fallen,and that adversity
and distress have followed in the wake of these falling prices,
and all for the lack of the vitalizing current of silver in our national currency. Gentlemen would have us understand that
prices were lower in 1878 than in 1872, as the value of silver was
less, and yet we poured into the currency twenty-two millions
silver dollars in 1878 against one million in 1872; that prices
were lower in 1879 than in 1878, and yet we added twenty-seven
millions of coined dollars to bur currency in 1879.
W e are told that prices continued to fall from year to year,
but our additions to the currency of coined silver dollars increased just as regularly, until in 18&0 we coined over $38,000,000.
Gentlemen tell us that prices were falling and the market
weak for want of silver sustenance, and ^et we were administering the coined silver dollars in allopathic and progressively increasing doses of thirty-odd millions a year, and the more Bilver
we coined the lower prices went. Yet in the face of this indisputable fact, and of the fact that the greatest depression in
prices occurred during that period when we were coining most
silver doll irs and coining them fastest, the only prescription
which gentlemen offer for better prices is more silver coinage.
But is it a fact that prices of ail articles except gold have
fallen regularly as silver has fallen? It may be true than an
ounce of silver will buy as much wheat to-day as it would twenty
ye irs ago; as much cotton, as much corn. An ounce of silver is
worth a little over one-half what it was twenty years ago, and.
the same may be true of a bushel of wheat. The area of production has been largely increased, the methods of cultivation
vastly improved,-and the cost of transportation to market greatly
lessened, and the same may be substantially true of silver, bat
I will not stop to discuss causes. Will gentlemen who urge this
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argument say that a day's labor—the basis of all values—is worth
only half what it was twenty years ago?
Have wages fallen as silver has fallen? Can the laboring man
buy no more wheat or flour for his day's work now than twenty
years ago? No more cotton cloth or clothing? Why, sir, wages
have not fallen as silver has fallen; and if you show the millions
of wage-earners of this nation that silver has dragged down with
itself the price of the food he eats and the clothes he wears, and
has left his wages untouched, will he regard that system as an
unalloyed evil? And if other influences have operated to affect
the price of labor, and they have, is it not also possible that other
causes may have operated to affect the prices of other articles,
as, for instance, of sugar, of iron, or of oil? This question of
prices, however, is too intricate and too remotely connected with
the question here for further discussion in the brief time allowed.
But, sir, my friend, the eloquent gentleman from Pennsylvania, asserts, and to be logical he must so maintain, that from
1873 on to this time we have been constantly sinking deeper
and deeper in the slough of national disaster and distress, but
no proof of this assertion is offered and none can be found. On
the contrary, the concurring testimony of all observers, as well
as the proof of census statistics, will sustain the assertion I now
make, that there has been no period in the history of this or
any other nation, from the beginning of recorded time, of such
marvelous growth and general prosperity as in this country between the years 1880 and 1890.
Other causes operated to produce this result, and I will not discuss them, but I want to emphasize the fact that we were prosperous to a wonderful degree, and that in all this time the lack
of free coinage did npt operate to stay this progress.
Gentlemen picture to us France as to-day the Utopian home of
peace and plenty, and attribute that condition to her financial
system. Will they be kind enough to tell us in what essential
particular that system differs from our own?
She uses both gold and silver as currency. So, do we, except
that we use a smaller proportion of silver than France, and are
increasing that element of our currency and she is not. Her
standard coins of both gold and silver are unlimited legal tender,
and so are ours. Her minor coins are of limited legal tender, as
are ours. Her mints are closed, and have been for years, to the
coinage of silver on private account, and so are ours. There is
no essential difference in the financial systems of the two nations.
W e have in our currency more silver than gold, while France
has more gold than silver. We have t»-day $664,573,320 of silver
to $603,723,903 of gold, while France has $700,000,000 of silver
and $900,000,000 of gold.
Will any one be kind enough to tell me what there is in this
comparative composition of the currency of the two countries on
which to base an argument for the unlimited use of silver? But,
they say, France maintained the free coinage of silver for seventy years. * Granted; but she abandoned it fifteen years ago because she could no longer maintain it. While she continued it
she was in the exceptional position of having Ehgland and Portugal on a gold basis on the one side, and1 Germany and the rest
of continental Europe on a silver basis on the other side. Be196




11
tween the rivalry and the counteracting forces of the two systems, and with the relative production of silver and gold not out
of proportion, an equilibrium was easily maintainable. No nation to-day stands in that position, and neither France nor any
other nation can now, alone, open her mints to the unlimited
coinage of silver and continue on any other than an exclusively
silver basis.
But, we are told that the silver dollar will buy 100 cents worth,
of any commodity, and hence is an honest dollar; that an inert
piece of silver bullion, worth yesterday but 57 cents, by the potency of the Government stamp is worth to-day 100 cents. Yes,
and the piece of paper worth yesterday one one-hundredth of a
cent, by the potency of the s|ime stamp is worth to-day a dollar.
The process of transformation is essentially the same, by which
has been infused the element of the nation's faith and guaranty,
but because the piece of paper is now worth a dollar, dare you
open the Government's printing presses to anyone who will
bring paper 3 inches wide and 7} inches long?
Why not, if the mints are to be opened to anyone bringing 412i
grains of silver? The difference is not one of principle, but simply of degree, and where will you draw the line? If you make a
dollar out of 57 cents worth of silver, why not out of oO, 40, 20 or
10? Why waste 57 cents worth of material when one one-hundredth of a cent's worth will do as well? The safety in each case
is the limit of the issue, and that limit must always be within the
limits of the nation's credit and of its ability to meet all its obligations and guaranties.
Issue paper money without limit, and it will have only the value
of the paper on which it is printed. Coin silver without limit,,
and it will have only the value of the bullion of which it is composed.
I agree with you that the silver dollar is worth 100 cents today, for the same reason that the greenback is, viz, because the
Government will give you 100 cents for it, and while the Government does that everybody else will, and when the Government ceases to do that nobody else will; and the Government must
inevitably cease to doit when you remove the limit to its coinage
and leave it to be flooded with the accumulated silver of the world
for coinage into money at a profit of 40 per cent to the owner.'
I want every silveir dollar worth 100 cents, now and always, and
I want that hundred cents made up of silver, and not 56 cents'
worth of silver and 44 cents of argument, for argument is cheap;
and it would be no consolation to the people when the dollar of
unlimited coinage declined to its bullion value, that eminent
gentlemen had argued long and earnestly and eloquently that it
never could so decline.
We may declaim about what ought to be, may theorize about
what would have been, may speculate as to what will be or would
be, but must not shut our eyes to the controlling facts of actual
and potential present existence* W e have got more silver in
our currency to-day than gold, and more proportionately than
any other civilized nation of the world. Their mints are all
closed to silver, and they have long since stopped such additions
to their currency. We have not.
•
;»
The value of silver has diminished about one-half, while its
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12
production "has much more than doubled in the last twenty
years, and is now nearly twenty-four times that of gold, and its
relative value has dropped to one twenty-eighth that of gold.
The strongest and richest nations of Europe, after a persistent struggle, have given up the attempt to sustain free coinage
as hopeless. The greatest silver using and absorbing nation of
the world has abandoned that basis, and- the nightmare of the
competition of India and the delusive puzzle of selling for gold
and buying for silver is eliminated from the situation.
In the face of these facts, and of the warning of careful students of financial laws and observers of financial movements in
this country and all over the world, dare we attempt alone the
task from which other nations have recoiled? Dare we place the
obstacle of another national failure ^n the only way that leads to
the full restoraton of silver, viz, by international cooperation?
Mr. Speaker, I am in favor of the fullest possible use of silver
as money, consistent with the certain maintenance of its value
in the hands of the people. They must, however, be protected
from all d nger of loss and depreciation, and this can only be
done by confining its coinage within the limits of the nation's
ability to redeem it on demand at 100 cents on the dollar, or by
'putting into the coined dollar 100 cents worth of silver at its
market value.
That a measure can not be drawn that, while enlarging the
uses of silver, shall do it on safe lines and with due precaution
against depreciation and loss in the hands of the people, or its
being made an instrument of injury to one class for the benefit
of another, no man can safely assert. And opposition to this bill,
which contains no such safeguards, and which, under the order
adopted by the majority of this House, we are powerless to amend
or ch mge, does not imply opposition to any measure which does
contain such safeguards, if presented.
I desire, in conclusion, to call attention to the fact that this
pending bill is radically different from the laws existing prior
to 1873, for it does not contemplate putting into actual circulation a single additional dollar of silver. It practically provides
for the unlimited issue of paper money, based on and secured by
the deposit of silver worth to-day in the markets of the world
only 56 or 57 per cent of the face value of the paper issued, and
this percentage may any day be further reduced.
Is this a safe and rational business proposition? Will this
tend to restore confidence? Will it tend to diminish the distrust
of our ability to meet all our paper on demand in the standard
money of the world?
Mr. Speaker, we have been told again and again that we stand
at the parting of two ro ids, and must determine which we will
travel;, that the one leads by free silver to the bright and blossoming fields of prosperity and plenty; that the other, by gold
monometallism, leads to narrow streets and the stifling atmosphere of general want and misery. Gentlemen do not read the
inscriptions on the guideboard aright. The one leads surely to
an exclusively silver basis, with its constant fluctuations of
values, by which the poor and honest and simple-minded always
suffer and the shrewd, crafty, and rich always are benefited.
The beautiful view that rises up along that route is but the*
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unsubstantial, enticing-, and delusive mirage which covers and
obscures the tempestuous sea of a silver basis with its high
waves, deep depressions, and stormy winds. The other road
leads to the rough, rugged, barren, and forbidding mountain
height, which stands as a barrier in the way of industrial development and true progress, and up and over its sharp crags
and dangerous heights only the strongest and the boldest can
climb, while the weak and timid languish and starve at its base.
But, gentlemen, there is a middle road which you have failed
to mention; which leads along the level plain between the mountains and the sea, through green pastures and beside still waters,
where all may walk and none need faint. It is built on the safe
and solid middle ground of a judicious union of gold and silver,
and it is molded by the intelligence, honesty, and faith of a
great nation. It leads by fruitful l'arms and peaceful homes; by
teeming mines and humming mills; through busy marts of trade
and commerce, and to the safe grounds of national honesty and
prosperity; and that is the road lor this nation to travel.
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