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I O W A ,



Tuesday, August 22, 1893#




HON. W I L L I A M P. H E P B U R N .
The House having under consideration the bill (H. R. 1) to repeal a part of
an act, approved July 14, 1890, entitled "An act directing the purchase of silver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes thereon, and for other purposes"—

Mr. HEPBURN said:
Mr. S P E A K E R : This debate presents some novel features. It presents some gentlemen in new characters and playing new rdles.
There are some gentlemen of this House, more noted perhaps for
their intenseness of party love, of party zeal, than anything else,
who are now assuming a condition of absolute nonpartisanship and
urging all other men, especially Republicans, to get into that same
happy frame of mind, notably a gentleman who has recently taken
his seat [Mr. BYNUM], who tells us that "the time has now come
when cant and subterfuge should be driven from this Hall, and
patriotism be permitted to take its place."
Are we to understand that in the esteem of that gentleman, in his
experiences, cant has been the rule, and that now he is turning over
a new leaff Or does he, as a measure persuasive, to induce his opponents to adopt the new regime of nonpartisanship, suggest to
them that heretofore they have been indulging in cant and in the
hypocrisy of partisanship f A lecture of that kind seems strange to
those who have memories and who remember a scene in which a distinguished member of this House marched down the aisle, shaking
with violence his fist in the face of the organ of this House, its
Speaker, and denouncing him in all of the bitterest terms of vituperative declamation; a man conducting himself so that the censure of the House was placed upon him because of the extreme, indecent partisanship that he then was manifesting.
It is noticeable, Mr. Speaker, that those who most exhort Republicans to rise above party and aid the monometallists of the Administration to repeal the Sherman law, are those who on all occasions
are most intense and indecent in their assaults upon-everything that
Republicans hold to be most sacred in their creed; those who are least
fair to their opponents and who most strenuously labor for party advantage. They are partisans always, save now, when they want Republican votes. The President exhorts us to sink party, and then,
setting us an example—showing us how the thing ought to be done—
proceeds to shift responsibility justly belonging to his own party and
throw it upon the shoulders of Republicans, where it does not belong.
Intensely his nonpartisanship, he seeks to utilize a condition of public distress and by its use persuade Republicans in aiding his party to take the first step toward the permanent disuse of
silver as one of the money metals of this country* Note, if you please,



Mr. Speaker, the unfair and partisan methods adopted by the majority in the presentation of this question.
It is known that there is vital difference of opinion between the
wings of the Democratic party, but for the purposes of a vote agreement is reached by them. The free-silver wing is placated by permitting a vote on six propositions. Five propositions as to ratio,
and the Bland-Allison bill, are to be voted on to appease that wing
and to suppress filibustering. Then follows the vote on the repeal
bill. This is all agreed to among themselves by these patriots
who sink all partisanship in their godly efforts to secure the
nation's good. But what do they offer to the Republicans who are
abjured to be patriotic and come up to the help of the Democracy t
Why, sir, they bind them hand and foot by the tyranny of the previous question, and refuse them the poor privilege of making one
single amendment—not one amendment can any man on this side of
the House secure a vote upon. # We are invited to take your propositions of relief and that only. You want "the patriotism" of our
votes, and not "the patriotism" of our suggestion. Do you think,
gentlemen, that we can be patriotic in our votes, and that we can
not be in the plans we might offer tp relieve the distress ? Many of
my colleagues on this side of the chamber have plans to offer—
amendments to offer—but by the tyranny of your previous question
you debar us from this and tell us that while you want us to be
patriotic, yet we must exemplify that virtue on your lines, and in
manner that you prescribe.
In this great emergency why did you not treat us as coj>atriots?
Why did you not invite us upon terms of equality to aid in relief
measures, giving us the opportunity to suggest method and remedy ?
But, no; this did not serve your purpose. You thought by this
cant and twaddle about our'being nonpartisan and patriotic you
could cajole certain Republicans to vote with you, thus making
good the loss of votes the silver Democrats would not furnish, and
in this way start the Cleveland party on its march toward a single
gold standard and aid it in its effort to destroy silver as one of the
precious metals.
I am sick and tired, for my part, of all this nauseatingtalk about
nonpartisanship. I am a Republican because I believe Republicanism to be right to-day as in other days. I am a Republican because
I believe in the doctrines announced in its platform as the best of
all theories and principles to carry this Government and the people
to the highest mark of civilization and their greatest good; and I
am not to be driven from these ideas and from the doctrines of my
party because it suits some man's purposes now to urge aid from the
Republican party. I believe I am most patriotic when I adhere
closest to the doctrines of my party. I know of no sufficient reason
why this extraordinary action, the repeal of the act of 1890, should
be taken.
I remember that the Democratic convention when it last assembled had no words in its platform pledging the party to the repeal of
this measure that it is now said must De repealed in order to avert
the direst of all disasters. In its last national convention the Democratic party contented itself with this deliverance upon the subject: " W e denounce the Republican legislation known as the Sherman act of 1890 as a cowardly makeshift fraught with possibilities
of danger in the future, which should make all of its supporters as
well as its author anadous for its speedy repeal." This is all. No
pledge for its repeal; no declaration that it lias done harm—simply

the rhetorical flourish, that it is " fraught with possibilities of danger," And yet when this declaration was made the Sherman law
had been in operation nearly two years, and nearly one hundred
millions of Treasury notes had been issued under its provisions.
Four national conventions met last summer, and no one of them
thought to pledge itself to the repeal of this law.
We know that the Republican party, with that measure in force
for two years, bringing as I believe benediction and beneficence to
this land, had no word of rebuke; but, on the contrary, impliedly
indorsed it. It and every measure of the then administration received the approval of that convention of more than 800 Republicans, representing all parts of the party and every section of this
land. It was approved; and the measure that is now suggested as
a precursor of another—the establishment of a single money standard of gold-—was condemned by every Republican there assembled.
If there was any one utterance plainer than all others made by
that convention it was the declaration that the Republican party
of this country was in " favor of gold and silver as standard money."
Those were the words used—"standard money." [Applause.] That
money "proclaimed by authority as the measure of value," and
when anyone asks me to follow his leadership, be he Democrat or
be he Republican, and vote for the repeal of this act, a vote here
proclaimed on every hand to be the first step toward the discarding
of silver as a standard money, I want to ask him where does he get
his authority to reform the Republican platform and the party.
In view of the extraordinary absence of partisanship certain Democrats are talking so much about, I want to call attention to the
remarks made by my friend from Louisiana [Mr. B L A N C H A R D ] the
other day. I regret that he is not at this moment in his seat. He
was assuming to give the history of the passage of the act of 1873.
that is said to have demonetized silver—that act of " great iniquity"
as we sometimes hear it called. The gentleman gave its history.
He traced it down into the hands of the conference committee, and
then he tells us that " b y the surreptitious," and I understood him
to say " fraudulent,", but I find in looking at his revised remarks I
was in error, and that he did not say it was fraudulent; but " b y
the surreptitious action of six men the important words, eleven in
number, were injected into that law, which gave it all of its harmful and pernicious characteristics," and made it demonetize silver.
These words are:1
And no deposit of silver for other coinage shall be received.

The gentleman tell us that in the 21st section of the act the interlineation of these words, with the knowledge of no other men in
this land save six, this great crime against the nation and the age
was perpetrated; and he tells us this in the face of the fact that the
15th section of the act was unchanged, and that section provided
that "the silver coins of the United States shall be a trade dollar,
a half dollar^ a quarter dollar, a dime."
And then he tells us this in the face of the further fact that the
seventeenth section was not changed by the committee of conference, which reads:
That no coins, either of gold or silver or minor coinage, shall hereafter be issued from the Mint other than those of the denomin ations, standards, and weights
herein set forth.

He makes this declaration of surreptitious crime in the face of

that other fact that section 15, unchanged by the committee, provided "that silver hereafter shall be legal tender only in sums of $5."
What becomes of the force and value of that charge in the presence of these other broad declarations with regard to the office that
silver is hereafter to accomplish in the financial economy of the
United States f
This is only important because it ought to stop forever this rot
and trash about the surreptitious character and the fraudulent
character of that legislation, and because when charges of that
kind are made by gentlemen against a great political party they
are not in the best possible position to urge nonpartisanship.
They say they want to allay strife, contention, zeal for party, and
then charge their adversaries with the gravest of crimes.
Mr. Speaker, nine months ago the condition of this country, while
perhaps not what every man would have desired, was certainly in
a most prosperous condition. The labor field was well filled, and
there were places everywhere where the toiling men of this land
could receive a fair wage. There were no idle mills; there were no
fireless forges; there were no silent looms; there were no untilled
fields. Everywhere the business of the country was satisfactory in
the main to those who were engaged in its conduct.
About nine months ago there was an announcement made. It
was announced that for the first time in very many years the Democratic party would have an opportunity of making good its
promises and establish as the law< of the land the theories of its
platform: It was the belief of men everywhere that when the
Democratic party announced that there Was to be a radical change
in the industrial system of the country that there were to be very
radical ohanges in the revenue laws of the country, that the tariff
of 1890, the McKinley tariff, was to be repealed, that those men
who made the declarations, with authority, were honest of purpose
and meant what they said.
Immediately, over all this land, there came paralysis. The mills
stopped; the fire of the forges died out; everywhere there was a
swarming multitude of idlers clamoring for labor but finding no
places in the great labor field. Its changed condition was the legitimate resnlt of that menace to the interests of this • country
that the Democratic party, with purposes such as it had announced,
will always present when it is found to be in power. [Applause on
the Republican side.] Gentlemen, there is no escape from this.
You had declared there was no warrant in the Constitution for any
element of protection to the industries of this country. If you were
honest men you meant what you said when you declared that the
McKinley bill, the sum of all infamies, should be repealed if the
people trusted you with power.
They have done that. They have placed you in the situation
where you said you would exert yourselves as legislators on these
lines. It is true that we in the North did not have much belief in
the sincerity of the Northern wing of the Democratic party, but we
did believe in the integrity, no matter how we might have doubted
the wisdom, of the Southern wing. We believed that you gentlemen
of the South had Constitutional convictions. You had given earnest
of it in the past. In support of views that you announced as your
Constitutional convictions you had risked all that honorable men
could risk.
We knew that, and when you said that, in your judgment, there
was an inhibition upon every man who had swfirn to support the

Constitution of the United States from engaging in legislation that
-would stimulate and protect the industries of this land we believed
you meant it, and so did the manufacturers., Hence, after you came
into power—controlling the Executive and Congress—as soon as
contracts then existing on the part of the manufacturers were filled,
as soon as existing obligations expired, came the difficulties of inaction, because men of business could not be apprised of what lay
in the future. Wool, in the country where I live, fell in price from
22 cents a little while before to 10 cents, and there was a general
business paralysis all over the country. „
This condition must be disastrous for the Democratic party.
But the President of the United States, with an. adroitness that
was wonderful, a political skill and sagacity that-mark him as the
great Democratic politician of his age, determined to shift the responsibility from the Democratic party to the one that had just
ceased to be in power, and he discovered that the evils under which
the country groaned from the dangers of Democratic legislation
were not, in fact, attributable to that cause, but existed because
the Republican party, three years ago, had passed the Sherman
bill. [Laughter.]
And, Mr. Speaker, strange to say, there are within the sound of
my voice Republicans who have extolled upon the stump every provision of that law, who have called it beneficent in all its operations, who have pointed to it with pride as the only method known
to legislation whereby there could be that increase of the circulating medium whicji was necessary to keep pace with the growth of
population and business—there are, I say, such Republicans here
who propose to aid the President in this shifting process of legerdemain designed to place the responsibility upon Republican
shoulders, who propose to aid that attempt by voting " aye/' a
confession that the Sherman act contains in itself all the iniquities
that the Democrats in their enthusiasm have charged that it does.
They tell us that we should vote for the repeal of this law because the whole country clamors for it, because the business interests of the country demand it. Gentlemen, where are the petitions
that have been sent to your desks from the people of this country
demanding the repeal of the Sherman lawf I am not disposed to
take aught from the importance of the place that boards of trade
and banking associations and chambers of commerce hold in our
business economies. I recognize them as essential to the successful
conduct of business upon pur methods. I have no assault to make
upon the gentlemen who compose them. They are necessary factors in the general business of the country and have their legitimate place. But they are not of first importance. They are not
u the people," and they may have interests opposed to the t*ue interests of the great mass of the people. They are as selfish as other
men, and often intent upon securing legislative measures that confer special benefits upon themselves that are not shared in by all of
the people.
And I want to remind you, gentlemen, that boards of trade and
chambers of commerce and bankers' associations do not do the real
business of this land. Their business begins where the great business of production ends. [Applause.] They simply levy toll upon
that which the real business men of this country create, [Applause.] They are necessary, but they are not all. The banks, for
purposes of their own, desire the repeal of this act. I have kfiown
but few bankers who were not monometallists. They are nearly

all such. Tliey see that the President of the United States is one.
They remember his letter to Mr. Warner eight years ago, in which
he took grounds against silver coinage. They remember his first
message to the Congress, and his letter of last summer, and his recent
message.' In all, he is the enemy of silver? and they can now recall
the closing sentence of this last message, in which he urges therepeal of the Sherman law and hopes " other legislative action may
put beyond all doubt or mistake the intention and ability of the
Government to fulfill its pecuniary obligations in money universally recognized by all civilized countries." They know that
this money is gold. They know that all of the earnest friends of
the Administration who have spoken in this debate tell us that the
repeal of the Sherman act is the first step to the demonetization of
silver, and they know that the act for the repeal and their declarations and arguments in favor of a single gold standard should be
construed together.
They believe that now is the favored time when this great " step
in advance," as they call it, can most successfully be undertaken.
The men who compose the boards of trade and chambers of commerce are creatures of the banks. They are the borrowers. When
they find that accommodations no longer come, and.when they are
gravely told by the bankers, who are supposed to be financiers, that
the reason why they can not have discounts is the presence of this
obnoxious law upon the statute book, and that the only way of securing relief and new accommodation lies in the direction of carrying this repeal, they pass at once the resolutions that are prepared
for them, and which, later, find their way to our desks. Then, too,
the great metropolitan press, representing home interests, the interests of the men who support them, assume to speak for the country,
and to say that the people make a demand for the repeal of this law.
There are 2,000,000 of people in the State of Iowa, but I know of
only one of my colleagues who has received a letter or petition requiring or asking him to vote for this measure. In the district in
which I live there are more than 180,000 people; agriculturists, all of
them. There is not an important manufacturing industry in the
whole district. And yet, Mr. Speaker, not one word has been said
to me in all of the days while at home I was inquiring, nor has anything come to me here in the shape of a petition, asking me to vote for
this repeal. I believe sir, there is no such public opinion as is asserted demanding this action.
But they tell us that it is " absolutely necessary to repeal this law
in order to restore the confidence of the people." The confidence of
the people in what? Not in the money that you propose to strike
down. What is there in all the varieties of money that we have
that equals in all the elements of value this same derided Treasury
noteof1890? Behind that Treasurynote lies the pledgeof a nation,
never dishonored, that its notes shall be redeemed in coin, and, as the
Secretary of the Treasury has interpreted his duty, it is redeemed in
gold. In addition to that, and behind it, it has, as a collateral, its
bullion value in silver. What other money have you got that is as
good? Not the greenback. Ithas but $100,000,000in gold to redeem
$346,000,000. Not the silver certificate. It is just the promise to return a silver dollar. But the Treasury note of 1890 has the same
pledge for its redemption that the greenback has, and in addition,
its full value in bullion silver. It is the best form of money that we
There is no distrust of that money on the part of the people.

Time and again your attention has been called here to the fact that
a day or two ago it was selling at a premium in the markets of New
York for gold. No matter what the cause may be, there is something in the way of evidence in that fact. It shows that the people who are pledged to its redemption have not lost faith in their
pledges or in their power. There is no trouble with the money.
The distinguished gentlemanfromOhio [Mr. HARTER] a few daya
ago gave the true key to the whole difficulty. In extolling the beneficent action of the banks he told us that we had $24 per capita of
money furnished by the Government, but the banks by their processes and their methods had enlarged that volume until there was
$72 per capita in circulation among the people. Twenty-four dollars of it was the cash capital on which business was done—it was
supplied by the Government; $48 of $72 per capita was the credit
capital supplied by the.banks—the debts of the banks, and on
which they were doing business. The want of confidence is not in
the money of the Government, it is in this substitute for money
furnished by the banks. [Applause.] There is where the trouble
is, gentlemen—not with the Treasury notes.
Gentlemen tell us that the presence of this Treasury,note of 1890
is a menace to the money interests of the country; that it drives
the gold out of circulation. How is thatf Every dollar of our
Treasury notes, treated as they are to-day by the Secretary of the
Treasury—redeemed at the pleasure of the holder in gold—is in effect a gold dollar added to the circulation. - Does the presence of a
newly issued gold dollar drive out the present gold dollar t Will
the dollar that we have become alarmed because its brother is
brought up as a reenforcement to stand side by side with it in the
battle of commerce t To my mind there is an absurdity about this
that only needs to be stated in order to show its folly.
I believe, Mr. Speaker, that this law has been beneficial in it»
operation at all times and that it is not harmful to-day. A million
and a half is added to the population of the United States every
twelve months. The business of this country increases rapidly every
twelve months. Ever since 1861 there has been a demand for the addition of about $63,000,000 annually to the circulation. To the foui
hundred and forty odd million dollars that we had in 1861 we have
made such additions that now we have in the Treasury and in circulation more than twenty-three hundred million dollars. There has
been since 1861 an average increase of about $63,000,000 each year
This increase is necessary for thefuture. If you repeal the Sherman
act how do you propose to get itf
There is not a law upon the statute books, save the Sherman act,
that enables you to get more. You can not have more silver certificates. You can not have more gold certificates, because the tendency is to decrease them. You can not have more greenbacks,
because of the pledge of the nation. You can not have more
national bank notes under present legislation, because the period
for ultimate redemption of the bonds grows so near. The only hope
of meeting this demand for an increase of currency, as the statutes
are framed to-day, is in the maintenance intact of this muchabused act of 1890. It gives us more of circulation. It gives us
a most desirable circulation. It gives us the best form of money
that we have. It is our only hope for expansion.
A gentleman who recently spoke on thisfloorannounced as one of
the reasons why this act should be repealed that under its operation there was a constant exodus of gold from this country. Does

he assume that this act has aught to do with thatt I remember
that from 1819 to 1860 more than $600,000,000 of gold fled from our
shores to other lands. Why! Because the balances of trade were
against us; because we were a debtor nation and because we paid
in gold, not because gold was then the only standard, but because
commerce so elected. No Sherman act was in existence then, gentlemen; but there was a free-trade tariff; and it gave the balauces
against us and made it necessary for us to ship something that other
nations would accept inpayment, and that was gold. These balances are against us now.
A gentleman quoted a little while ago from the Treasury a statement to show that the balance was in our favor. Seemingly this is
so; but that is the custom-house balance from which he read, that
is made up from the aggregate of the invoices of incoming merchandise on the one hand arid the aggregate of manifests of outgoing
vessels on the other hand. It simply shows the custom-house transactions of this country. To that aggregate of invoices it is necessary you should add the undervaluations of the port of New York,
estimated at from twenty-five million to forty million dollars each
year. In addition you must add the sum that represents the cost
of foreign travel of this countrv. The year before last 99,000
cabin passengers landed at the port of New York. Ninety thousand of them were American citizens. It is estimated that each
one of these in journeying abroad expends a thousand dollars, making an aggregate of $90,000,000 more which you must add to that
balance against us.
You must remember that the foreign commerce of this country is
carried on in foreign bottoms—all but 12 per cent. Its cost is
estimated at from $130,000t000 to $200,000,000. Eighty-eightper cent
of either sum (whichever may be correct) must be added in order
that you may find what the true balances are. Then to these sums
you must add interest and dividends every year paid to foreigners.
I undertake to Bay that in no year during the last fifty has the
true balance, taking into account all transactions between ourselves and foreign nations, ever been in favor of the United States.
This simple feet does away with the value of all illustrations
drawn from England, from France, from Germany, for our guidance. They are creditor nations;' they, can have whatever money
they choose. All that is needed in such a country to give efficiency
to money is to give it the legal-tender quality. They have no balances to settle beyond the jurisdiction of their own laws where
the preferences of other persons must be heard. They are the dictators; and so they can make whatever money they please. This
is important here fori he purpose of suggesting that this vast fund
of illustration given to us for Godly example perhaps is not so valuable as in the minds of some gentlemen it may seem.
The true way for us to solve this financial question, gentlemen, is to
compel, by wise, judicious legislation, the balances of trade to be in
our favor. [Applause.] That will do it. I hear gentlemen who
seem to think that this financial question is important above all
others inveighing against the only means within our power to
effectuate that which they assert they want. Let us buy less abroad;
let us patronize less the labor fields of other lands, and more our
Let us by judicious measures increase the merchant marine of
this country and conduct our own foreign commerce and thus save
more than $100,000,000 each year. Let us encourage by proper

methods, "by subsidies or bounties, the production of all the sugar
that we need and save $130,000,000 to our own people. [Applause.]
Let us pursue such courses and secure the industrial independence
of America, and then all the other things that you gentlemen have
been extolling as most desirable, and praying to God that you may
have, will be given to you. It will not be absolutely necessary that
you should then resort to prayer, because you could nelp yourselves;
and the Allwise One encourages and commends this Belf-help.
Mr. Speaker, I have heard with very great regret gentlemen on
this side of the House, whose opinions I have regarded as valuable,
and whose example I wanted to follow, indulging in a line of discussion which seems to me, for them at least, is unwise. There is
no party that has ever lived that contains multitudes of men but
which, in order to secure unity of action and maintain the purpose
of the organization, does not need the coercive or cohesive influences of party declarations. [Applause.] I want to suggest to
gentlemen who have much at stake, because of party lines and party
declarations, as well as party aspirations—I want to suggest to
these gentlemen the impolicy of weakening the cords of cohesion
found in the platforms that bind us together. £ Applause.] I want
it to be remembered that while it may be of interest to you just
now to lose sight of party declarations on the money question, that
there are coming up other questions; and you ought not, and you
can not afford later on, to let other men exercise the same discretion
and set at naught the declarations of the party that you are exercising in the present case. [Applause.]
The declarations of the Republican party in favor of the protective system are no stronger, they are no less subject to hypercriticism, and to the possibilities of interpretation, than are the declarations with regard to the double standard. We believe in them as a
party in their entirety. We mean to stand by them in all their
parts, and it appears to some of us most unwise and unseemly, where
there may be such advantage to all, when all are observed, that men
should take upon themselves to set aside a part that is just as dear
to the Western heart as any in the entire declaration to be found,
from first to last, in the platform, [Applause.]
We are here, Mr, Speaker, asked by the President of the United
States by voting for the repeal of the act of 1890, to cast a vote of
want of confidence in Republican statesmanship and Republican
methods. I will not do it. [Applause.] We are asked to admit
by a vote in this House, when all we have said in the way of prophecy is now fulfilled; when all that we said would come upon this
country, when the Democratic party armed with the full power of
the Government and the authority of the people has happened, and
we are asked to say that these prophecies are not true, but are requested to declare by our action here that all of the evils that the
country now labors under come solely from the Sherman law—from
Republican legislation. I repeat, I will not do it. I do not beliave
it to be true.
I may as well state now that the Democratic party has either to
go back upon its pledges with reference to the tariff made a year
ago or else it is going to bid farewell to the prosperity of this land.
And I want to hold you gentlemen to that issue. You took it upon
yourselves and I don't propose, so far as my humble voice is concerned, to allow you by any kind of legerdemain or political trick149

cry to get away from tlie issue as you presented it and the conditions
as they afe. [Applause*]
The Republican party has taken its position on the question of
the free coinage of silver. It has said that it was in favor of the
use of the two metals as money and that it would pledge itself to
maintain them at a parity that now exists. But it proposes to do
so in a statesmanlike way; and I for one desire that there shall be
no variation from that purpose. It proposes that through an international convention an agreement is to be secured from the nations
of the earth controlling in this matter that will fix the question
without possibility of disturbance. How is it possible, gentlemen,
you who have said that two standards can not exist—how is it possible for your pet theory to be true when all the nations of the
earth use them in commercial transactions within their borders and
jurisdiction? What becomes of your theory? Many gentlemen
have referred to the situation prior to 1834 and subsequent to 1834,
and the experiences of those periods—that gold and silver could
not be kept in uniform value.
They forget that at first we adopted a ratio of 15 to 1 while the
European ratio was 15£ to 1, and that when we made a change it
was to 16 to 1. First we valued gold too highly, and then went as
far in the other direction. We had not then attempted to secure
this object through international agreement. That was the reason
that there was this fluctuation once in favor of gold and once in
favor of silver. Had other nations agreed there would have been
no trouble. And now, in the midst of the pendency of these negotiations, while we are asking others to come to our position we are
invited to change radically that position and assume another. Lot
us wait until after we have made every honest effort to secure bimetallism by means of international agreement. I want both gold
and silver. I want them at the parity of 16 to 1. But I do not
want to complicate the present situation. I want the Brussels conference to have time to act. Mr. Speaker, in my judgment this
Administration has shown its hostility at all times to the use of
When the Administration came into power there was in the vaults
of the Treasury two hundred and seventeen millions of gold—one
hundred and three millions of redemption fund and one hundred
and fourteen millions on which gold certificates had been issued.
Ah, says one, but that gold must remain there. Why? Simply because of the statutory direction to the Secretary of the Treasury
to retain it; not because of the existence of a contract between
the depositor and the Government of the United States that it
shall remain. And, gentlemen, a resolution passed in the last hour
of the last Congress repealing th^t clause of the law would have
placed in the hands of the Secretary of the Treasury two hundred
and seventeen millions of gold for immediate use in redemptions;
more than one-third of all the gold in the United States and more
than one-fifteenth part of all the gold in the world.
That same resolution might have placed in his hands more than
$300,000,000 of silver. Here was the astonishfng spectacle of this
administration coming into power with more than $500,000,000 of
coin in its vaults, each the equivalent of the other—more coin than
any government in^his world has ever owned at one time—and yet
pleading the baby act, and crying about its inability to meet the obligations o£the Government, when there was no obligation of this

Government outstanding, save the gold certificates, that might not
have been met with either form of that money.
Ah, but, says the objector, if the Secretary had paid out silver we
would at once have been placed upon a silver basis and gold would
have gone to a premium. Who would have paid a premium for gold,
when the Secretary of the Treasury had $217,000,000 of gold with
which to flood the market at any moment? Men buy gold and pay
a premium to make money. They do not pay a premium for it when
they know that to-morrow it may be given without price to their
neighbor in the ordinary current payments of the Treasury.
But the President Baw fit to say that he would maintain the parity
by the use of gold alone and by* degradation of the other metal, by
declaring in advance that silver was unfit for use and by the sole
use of the gold. This was, like the athlete who would start out to
give strength alike to the muscles of both of his arms by tying one
of them securely to his person.
AIT. OUTHWAITE. Will the gentleman yield for a question f
Mr. HEPBURN. If I was right sure that I knew what that question was, and that I could answer it with great credit to myself
and with perilous discomfiture to my friend, I would ; but as I am
not advised as to the nature of the question I will decline to yield.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman declines to yield.
Mr. HEPBURN. I want to be courteous to my friend, and I
will listen to the question.
Mr. OUTHWAITE. I want to ask you whether it would not be
repudiation for this House to pass a resolution permitting the Secretary of the Treasury to use for any other purpose whatever the
gold which is in the Treasury for the redemption of Treasury gold
Mr. HEPBURN. Undoubtedly it would not, and the question
put by the gentleman shows me that he has never read that act.
[Laughter and applause on the Republican side.] There is/no sentence in it that has the semblance of a contract. Ail that*the
creditor can demand is dollars of gold when he presents his certificates. His gold is not kept as a special deposit, and it is not a
special deposit. Every dollar of gold goes into the general gold
fund of the Treasury Department—that is, that general account.
One man's gold is not specially held for his payment, or for return
to him. He is entitled to gold dollars, but not to any particular or
specific dollars.
Mr. OUTHWAITE. Why did not Secretary Foster apply that gold
in such a way instead of proposing to sell bonds?
Mr. HEPB URN. I don't know. Secretary Foster is an Ohio man,
and perhaps you know more about him than I do. [Applause and
laughter on the Republican side.]
Mr. OUTHWAITE. He Is an Ohio man, but he belongs in your
class of people, your party.
Mr. HEPBURN. I heard it suggested the other day by a friend
of mine in whom I have great confidence generally, that while he
did not believe the repeal of this act would result in any benefit, in
any certain benefit, yet he proposed to vote for it; that, operating
as a possible opiate, it might do some good. I think that is not
wise. It is too much like putting the plaster on the well leg, it
seemed to me, a kind of remedial effort that I did not want to follow him in. [Laughter,]
I believe that this repeal ought not to be had. I believe that neither
one of the amendments providing for the free coinage of silver

ought to be adopted. But I do not care to argue that question now.
I want the situation of silver to remain unchanged until we know
the result of the international conference. Certainly, at this time,
while we are striving to secure an agreement between the nations
upon propositions that have been made by us and have not yet
been acted upon, I am not willing to change the status in any way
until we know of failure; and then I am willing to do those things
that are within the limits of judicious conduct, that will give to us
the two metals on the best terms possible for all to perform the
same kindly office for the commerce of this country that for more
than a hundred years they have been able to perform* [Applause.]
[Here the hammer felL]