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Let us compare the benefits of a fall with the evils of a scanty
circulation.—Alexander Hamilton.








R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S ,



S P E E C H

H O N .


Y .

B R O O K S H I K E .

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. SPEAKER: The subject of our inquiry is worthy of the best
thought and the fullest investigation by the representatives of
the people. It is fair to say that upon one side in this debate
are arrayed those who argue that the Government should, at
least for a time, perhaps forever, refuse to use any more silveras a basis and foundation for its circulating medium, and upon
the other side are arrayed those who contend that much silver
should be used from time to time for the purpose of making
money for the people. Upon one side are those who believe
that our monetary system should rest upon a gold foundation
alone. Upon the other are those who believe it should rest upon
a foundation of both gold and silver, upon a bimetallic base.
Speaking for myself, I desire to say that in this contest, as in
the past, I have taken a stand with those who are friendly to silver ; and in doing so, I feel that I will faithfully represent the
preference of a very large majority of my constituents and fellow-citizens. Shall we strike down and "demonetize silver and
further enhance in all the world the value of gold coin, and thus
increase the burdens of our indebtedness, both public and private?
To use the language of Alexander Hamilton—
Let us compare the benefits of a full, with the evils of a scanty circulation.

The two countries on the continent of Europe where the masses
of the people are said to be best housed, best fed, and best
clothed, are France and Holland. The circulation of France
is $40.56 to each person, and Holland nearly $29. The Treasury statement, bearing date of the 16th of this month, which
gives the amount of money in circulation to each person in the
twenty-six leading nations of the world, shows that those two
countries have the fullest volume of money in the world. Not
only are the people of the countries named the most prosperous
on the continent, and have the largest circulating medium, but
they have more wealth to each person:
France to each person
Germany to each person
Russia to each person
Austria to each person
Italy to each person
Spain to each person
Portugal to each person



Belgium to each person
Holland to each person
Denmark to each, person
Sweden to each person
Greece to each person



If all the wealth of France and Holland were divided equally
among their people, each person would have about $1,000. No
other nationalities in all Europe, according to statistics, can
make such a favorable showing.
When we strike down silver as a commodity out of which to
make money, we have taken a step toward the destruction of
one-half of the money of the world; and right here let me ask
what do we mean by a standard of value? I understand a standard of value to be a common measure of commodities.
The two commodities which the nations of the world have generally used through all the period of civilization to measure the
value of other commodities, are silver and gold. When these
commodities have been coined into money, they are given a new
use. The value of a thing depends upon its use: the value of any
commodity is increased, by being put to additional and more important uses. Thus silver and gold, when coined take on an additional value, which can only be measured by the strength and
the power of the government which coins them into money, and
the confidence which the people have in their government. I
believe the way to use silver for monetary purposes is to coin it
into money, and thus raise it above the plane of a mere commodity.
This is the principal reason why I voted against the bill of
July 14, 1890, commonly called the Sherman bill. I believed
then, as I believe now, that the principle of that bill was bad
and vicious. It empowered the Secretary of the Treasury to
purchase four and one-half millions ounces of silver bullion each
month and stack it up in the Treasury vaults, and to issue to the
market value thereof Treasury notes. Believing that this socalled Sherman bill was both wrong in practice and in theory,
and would ultim itely prove injurious to the cause of bimetallism,
I voted against its passage on the 12th day of July, 1890.
But again returning to my thread of argument, I want to say
that the great majority of the people whom I have the honor to
represent do not have fixed salaries, do not have bonds or money
in large amounts to be enhmced in value by a contraction of the
circulation. The majority of them are engaged in the production of those commodities such as are produced at the coal mines,
on the farms, and in the shops and manufactories.
Sirs, what is the effect of destroying one of the commodities out
of which coined money is made? Is it not to increase and enhance
the price of the other commodity, gold? Let us illustrate this
proposition by its apparent effect upon the commodities produced
in the mines and on the farms of our country. Four of the principal commodities which are produced in my district are coal,
corn, wheat, and pork. Suppose farmer A should sell farmer B
100 bushels of wheat worth $50, and 100 bushels of corn worth
$40, and 100 pounds of pork worth $10.
What would constitute the most perfect standard of value
with which to pay for these commodities? The same quantity
and quality of these commodities? Mr. B says to A, " Ten years
from now, if you do not desire money, I will pay you for these
commodities in 100 bushels of wheat, 100 bushels of corn, and 100

pounds of pork of the same quality." When the ten years have
rolled around B comes to A and says, " I am ready to pay you for
the wheat, corn, and pork." A says, " I would prefer the money;
my taxes are due." "Very well," says B, '' here are $50." A
says, " A t the time I sold you these "commodities they would
have brought $100;" but B says, " Do you not know that silver is
no longer used in the world as a commodity out of which to make
money? Silver money is no longer used; all nations of the world
are using and demanding gold. It has been placed upon the auction
block, and all the nations of the earth are bidding for it. Gold
coin has greatly enhanced in value; in fact its purchasing power
has doubled, and now it only takes half as much money to pay
debts as it did ten years ago." Sirs, you say this is an overdrawn
illustration; but might it not occur in the course of human events
if mankind were to set about to accomplish such a result; but of
this I will have more to say further on in the course of our remarks. I am simply giving this illustration to show the possible
effects of contraction.
Mr. Speaker, the great majority of the people whom I have
the honor to represent are engaged in the production of those
agricultural commodities, with many others, to which I have
adverted, and any legislation which would reduce the value of
those commodities will meet their heartiest and severest disapproval. But the gold monometallist says that we want an honest
dollar, and that the only honest dollar is a gold dollar. I am
frank to say that I believe the gold dollar is the most cruel, not
to say dishonest, dollar the world has ever seen. The increase
of the purchasing power of the gold dollar has brought upon the
masses of the people of the world more wreck and ruin and debt
and loss of homes than can ever be comprehended or described
by the genius of man.
The increase in the value of gold has no doubt produced riots,
bloodshed, and murder in many periods of the world's history.
That is what I believe concerning the so-called honest dollar,
and the commodity out of which it is made. If I had my way
about it I would send along with every gold dollar coined by our
Government a silver dollar to act as a sort of policeman to keep
the gold dollar from terrorizing and oppressing the poor; and
while I am permitted to occupy a seat in this body I shall never
knowingly cast a vote for any proposition which will tend to enhance the price of gold. I think I know where the interests of
the masses of my people lie, and I am sure I would be unfaithful to their interests if I should cast their vote in favor of any
proposition which would tend to decrease the price of the products of their farms, mines, and shops.
We can but dimly and imperfectly comprehend the gravity
and consequences of the destruction of one-half of the money of
the world, or of measures which will tend to reduce its volume.
Mr. M. L. Muhleman, Acting Assistant Treasurer of the United
States at the subtreasury in New York, is credited with saying
that on January 1, 1893, xhere were $3,900,000,000 of gold in the
world, and $3,900,000,000 of silver. But then, it is argued that
volume is not important, provided the circulating medium be
On last Saturday one week ago the gentleman from Ohio [Mr.
HARTER] said:

England at no time since 1844 has had any provision for the increase of

her currency; and I go further and say that as long as we keep our currency
sound we can never have too little or too much.

Our friend seems to have his heart set upon the financial policy of old England. Why h is England had no provisions for the
increase of her circulating medium for nearly fifty years? I will
let Mr. Gladstone answer this question. Mr. Gladstone, when
discussing in the English Parliament a motion relative to the
monetary conference at Brussels on March 1, 1893 (as reported
in the London Times), said:
The complaint is a complaint of low prices. Tiie desired condition which
it (bimetallism) is sought to bring about is a state of rising prices; the
means to be adopted are to supply the people who require money for the
payment of debts or the purchase of commodities with a currency'to which
they will have access on easier terms. They are to get that currency cheaper.
Very well, the consequence of that will be if that currency is to be obtained
cheaper, that any given normal amount will be worth less in that currency
than it is in the present currency. * * * I think Mr. Giffen, the highest
living authority—though there are many living authorities well acquainted
with this subject—estimates that the sum out at call is about six hundred
million pounds ($3,000,000,000), and I want to know what is to be the effect of
sayingto the owners of that six hundred million pounds, " allow your money
to remain where it is, and you will have to take ninety or ninety-five pounds
for every one hundred pounds; but before a given date you could get one
hundred pounds." * * *
I am almost afraid to estimate the total amount of property which the
United Kingdom holds beyond the limits of the United Kingdom. But of
this I am well convinced, that it is not to be counted by tens or hundreds of
millions. One thousand millions probably would be an extremely low and
inadequate estimate. Two thousand mill ion pounds ($10,000,000,000), or some
thing even more than that is very likely to be nearer the mark. I think
under these circumstances it is rather a serious matter to ask this country
to consider whether we are going to perform this supreme act of self-sacrifice.

What lessons are to be drawn from the words of Mr. Gladstone: He says that by bimet allism it is sought to bring about a
state of rising prices. Are the people of the Mississippi Valley
and of the South and the great Northwest interested in rising
values? I submit that that is what they are now contending
for. He says bimetallism proposes to give the people more
money upon easier terms.
Are the people we represent entitled to more money upon easier
terms? Then, if the use of silver in making money means cheaper
money, the destruction of silver means dearer money, and dearer
money means lower prices for the commodities of ovrr mines,
shops, and farms. He gives us a reason why money should not
be made cheaper, that England is the great crediting nation of
the world. He says, in the event of bimetallism, that any given
normal amount of the currency which we have to-day will be
worth less then than now. He says that there are three thousand
million dollars on call in England liable to be collected in a day,
and that, in the event of bimetallism, the persons to whom this
large sum of money is due would demand its payment at once.
He says, furthermore, that the people in the nations outside of
the United Kingdom owe the people of England ten thousand
million dollars. He closed his remarks by saying, "Shall we
perform this supreme act of self-sacrifice."
Mr. Speaker, the supreme act of self-sacrifice to which the
great English statesman refers, is a proposition looking to an enlargement of the circulating medium of the nations of the
world. In a word, the old English statesman does propose that
English creditors shall receive the largest possible amount of
the commodities, and labor of mankind, in payment of debts due

them. It is said that bimetallism is impossible without the assistance of England, and I would ask, in all seriousness, Mr.
Speaker, what hops can we have of the assistance of England in
the light of the condition of her people and the judgment of her
public men?
The statisticians of our own country estimate that the people
of the United States owe the capitalists abroad from two to
four thousand million dollars. If this were all the indebtedness
this proposition would not seem so appalling, but when we comprehend that there is an indebtedness existing among the citizens of our own country which amounts to many billions, we
begin dimly to understand the probable misfortunes that would
attend the adoption of a gold currency. Are the people who
live in the vast agricultural empire known as the Mississippi
Valley prepared for such a change?
Sirs, I declare to you that in my judgment they are less prepared to-day than at anytime in the history of the United States.
That part of our common country has substantially seen its development within the last fifty years. Our fathers moved there
because they were too poor to live in the East. They went there
to procure homes for themselves and their children. They have
developed the country with amazing rapidity; ditches, roads,
fences, houses and cities have been constructed upon almost every
hill and in almost every valley.
The people along the Atlantic seaboard were the first in our
country to amass large fortunes; they own the railroads, the
stock of the insurance companies, express companies, telegraph
companies, which are doing the business for our people. When
we insure our property, ship our freight, send our telegrams,
express our goods, the money gravitates to the East and to the
homes of those who hold the mortgages and bonds and stocks.
Thus our people are enormously in debt, and they now feel that
there is an insufficient volume of money necessary to the transaction of business. The report of the Comptroller of the Treasury shows that the available assets held by the banks and trust
companies exceed $300 to each person in some of the Eastern
States, while there are only $ j to each person in the State of
Arkansas; and this dearth of money generally obtains in the Mississippi Valley.
The consequences which are liable to follow upon the heels of a
further contraction of our currency, or a cessation of its legitimate expansion, fill me with the apprehension of great discontent, and the further destruction of values. As long as I am
permitted to remain here I shall persistently insist in faithfully
representing those who have been kind enough to intrust me
with their confidence. This much, Mr. Speaker, I have seen fit
to say with reference to the volume of money and the standards
of value.
Mr. Speaker, much has been said in this debate about the
finances of the Old World, and especial reference has frequently
been made to the manner in which silver is used in France. The
finances of the French Republic, as well as the finances in the
other nationalities of the Old World, are very largely controlled
and directed by large banks. To illustrate, the Bank of France
is controlled by the Government of France. It became essentially
a government institution in 1843, and in 1857 the charter of the
bank was extended to 1897. The bank has power to issue bills of


credit to the extent of 4,000,000,000 francs. A franc on exchange
is equal, I believe, to about 19.3 cents of our money. The bank
furnishes a paper circulation now of about3,488,000,000 francs.
This paper currency amounts, when the bank has issued to its
full capacity, about $21 to each person in the Republic of France.
To redeem this paper issue of currency there was held on the 3d of
this month in the bank, as a metallic reserve, 1,720,000,000 francs
gold, and 1,277,009,000 francs silver. The bank redeems its notes
with either gold or silver at its option.
In consequence of the Franco-German war, the notes of the
Bank of France were declared to be legal tender in August, 1870.
The largest depreciation of the notes of the bank was 2£ percent,
as compared with gold in November, 1871.
There were, as measured by our money, in the Bank of France
on the 1st of this month about $332,000,000 of gold coin and
$247,000,000 of silver coin, and the paper currency of the bank
in circulation at that time amounted to about $671,000,000.
Therefore the paper currency not covered b;y the coin reserve
in the bank amounted, in round numbers, to $92,000,000. So
the uncovered paper currency of the Bank of France amounted
to a little over $2 to each person living in the French Republic;
but the whole paper currency of the Bank of France, covered
and uncovered, amounted to between seventeen and eighteen
dollars to each person in that country.
The circulation of France consists of the paper currency of its
bank and such an amount of gold and silver coin as is not absolutely held in the vaults of the Bank of France as a gold and silver reserve. As I have said before, on the 1st of this month such
reserve amounted to about $580,000,000.
France, with her full volume of currency, stands as fair before
the world as any other nation, and when any of the nations of
the Old World have been involved in trouble within the last
few years they have drawn upon France for financial assistance.
This tends to "illustrate the benefits of a full volume of money as
compared with the evils of a scanty circulation. In the Bank of
Holland there were recently $34,000,000 of silver and $15,000,000
of gold coin. The two banks of the two most prosperous countries in Europe—France and Holland—hold the largest silver
reserves of almost any national banks on the continent of Europe.
Mr. Speaker, I can see no reason why the Government of the
United States should not so arrange its financial policy and so
administer it that every paper dollar issued by the Government
could be redeemed in either gold or silver coin at the option of the
Secretary of the Treasury. Sirs, in this regard, I think that our
Government could imitate with profit the financial management
of France, as administered by her national bank.
But that I may not be misunderstood, I desire to say with emphasis that I do not approve of the policy of our Government, or
any other, in permitting a bank or banks to control the issue
and volume of the circulating medium. The issue of money
should be controlled absolutely by the Government itself. Generally speaking I think that all our money should be issued by
the Federal Government directly to the people, and that all our
money should be made legal tender.
The Bank of France not only exercises the option of redeeming its circulating notes in either gold or silver coin at its pleas262


ure,but it carries the option to the extent of paying silver coin to
those persons who are threatening to take the coin abroad, when
such a course will best subserve the interests of the financial
policy of France. That bank also, out of its gold and silver
coin reserve, redeems its notes ordinarily in that coin—gold or
silver—of which it has the largest amount. How very different
is the policy of our financial management as made manifest by
the action of the Secretary of the Treasury.
We now have in the Treasury and in circulation about $1,100,000,000 of paper currency—six kinds of paper money—consisting
of gold certificates, silver certificates, Treasury notes of the act
of 1890, currency certificates act of June, 1872, United States
notes commonly known as greenbacks, and national-bank notes.
We have a sort of mixed paper currency of numerous denominations and divers series. While looking at the face of this paper
currency we would take it that at le st a part of it was redeemable in silver coin, but under the rulings of the Secretary of the
Treasury it is redeemable in gold coin.
Thus, every advantage and option is given to the creditors of
our Government instead of being exercised by the Secretary of
the Treasury. It has frequently occurred to me that all our paper currency should be of one kind of money, and redeemable by
the Secretary of the Treasury at his option in either gold or silver coin, in such a manner as would best subserve the convenience and prudent management of our financial system. It is
insisted that we have silver coin enough now. Let me submit
this inquiry, for to my mind it comes with great force:
If the French Republic—not over five times as large in area as
the State of Ohio, impoverished as it was and tramped into the
earth not over twenty-five yecirs ago by the invading armies of
Germany, paying as it did an indemni y of $1,000,00U,000 to the
German Government—a little nation with two-thirds the population of the United States and only two-thirds the estimated
wealth, can carry along on a parity $700,000,000 of silver, $800,000,000 in gold, and nearly $700,000,000 of paper currency* redeemable in either gold or silver coin at the option of the Government, why can not the United Stites, standing in strength
and power the superior of any nation in the world, maintain on
a parity with gold a thousand millions of silver, even at the
ratio of 16 to 1?
The Franco-German war was begun in the middle of the year
1870, and was fought in 1871. The amount of the indemnity, at
the time of payment in 1872 was $l,0b0,000,000. France was
credited with the value of certain railroads in Alsace and Lorraine. This reduced the amount of the indemnity to be paid to
$998,000,000. Of this amount $182,000,000 was paid in gold, and
$816,000,000 in silver; and the enterprising, patriotic people of
France raised this sum of money by a loan in less than six months
from the time the Government appealed to them for help. The
fact that the French Government has such high financial standing among the nations of the earth, in the light of her numerous reverses, certainly m vkes her financial system worthy of
study and high consideration.
I have before me a statement sent out from the Treasury Department which shows that France has in circulation and in her
bank $20.52 in gold per capita and $17.95 in silver. According
to this same statement we have in the banks and in circulation

in the United States $9.01 in gold and $9.18 in silver per capita.
If we had as much coin silver in this country in proportion to
our population as France has, we would have now nearly $1,200,000,000 of silver in our banks and in circulation, instead of about
$600,000,000, as we have. But it is said that we do more business
with checks and drafts through the banks than is done in France.
It occurs to me that the masses of our people would be benefited if more of the business were done with money. It is claimed
that nineteen dollars in twenty of the business of the United
States is done with drafts and checks. During a period like this,
when there seems to be a lack of confidence, the business of our
country is in a large measure done upon this one dollar in twenty.
Therefore, does it not follow that a full and ample volume of
money at least tends to prevent a lack of confidence, and to
keep the wheels of business going, even in the face of panicky
Mr. Speaker, it does occur to me, all things considered, that
no nation in the world has a population better adapted to the
absorption and assimilation of a full and ample volume of money
than the United States. In many sections of the country the
population is very thin. In fact, in France, there are over one
hundred and eighty-seven people to the square mile, while in
the United States we have but twenty-one. Therefore, in a
country largely agricultural, new and sparsely settled, it would
seem that there are great opportunities for the assimilation of
a full volume of currency.
Mr. William P. St. John, president of the Mercantile National Bank of New York, in an article upon silver, recently
The increase of our population in the brief period of ten years, from 1880
to 1890, exceeds the entire population of Mexico; an increase of population
in the United States in ten years of more than 30 per cent of the entire
population of France, more than 40 per cent of the population of Italy,
nearly 70 per cent of the population of Spain; an increase equal to twice the
population of Belgium, three times the population of the Netherlands or
European Turkey, four times the population of Switzerland, and six times
the entire population of Denmark or of Greece.

Mr. Speaker, the increase in population of the United States
from 1880 to 1890 was 12,234,000 people. This is more than twice
as many people as there are in the Dominion of Canada, and five
times the present population of the State of Indiana.
Nations upon nations are thus being added to our population
each decade, and that there should be a gradual and prudent
expansion of the volume of our currency there can be no doubt.
Mr. Speaker, what I am contending for is a financial policy
which will make every dollar issued by the Government equal in
value to every other dollar. I believe in a sound and stable currency, which increases in volume as the population and business
interests of the country expand and grow. In the report of the
Director of the Mint, which gives us the last information with
reference to the world's coinage of silver, I find that of the
forty-four leading nations in the world but fourteen coined silver
in the year 1891, and that in the year 1891 there were coined in the
world 135,000,000 silver dollars,'as against $1.19,000,000 of gold, as
measured in our own money.
In the year 1890 there were coined in the world, as this report
shows, $149,000,000 of gold, and $151,000,000 of silver. Now,
nearly all of this coinage, as I am informed, was in a ratio be262


low 16 to 1. In no instance has there been a coinage of silver
anywhere which has any considerable influence upon the monetary system of the world in a ratio exceeding 16 to 1.
In a word, I do not believe that if our mints were thrown open
to coinage of the product of the silver mines of the United States
at a ratio of 16 to 1 there would be coined at our mints a sufficient
amount of silver to increase the volume of silver coin in our Republic to $1,000,000,000 within the present century. It is scarcely
necessary for me to state that the product of our silver mines
is only sufficient to provide silver enough to coin fifty or sixty
million dollars per year, and I am not impressed with the idea that
silver will be brought from abroad in considerable amounts for
the purpose of coinage.
Secretary Windom, in his report to the Fifty-first Congress,
stated that there is no known accumulation of silver bullion anywhere in the world, and that all the silver coined in Europe is
needed and employed there for money purposes. And it is also
true, as I have just shown, that more money is being added to
the world's volume each year by the coinage of silver than by
the coinage of gold.
It has been argued with very great force, especially by the
gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. PATTERSON], that silver is being
overvalued under our coinage system and will drive gold out of
circulation. It is the duty of the friends of silver to meet every
argument advanced by their adversaries in an open field with
the weapons of reason. My friend from Tennessee stated that
under the coinage act of 1792 silver and gold were coined in the
ratio of 15 to 1; that silver was overvalued under the act, and
that the cheaper money, silver, drove the dearer money, gold,
out of circulation; that is to s ;y, that silver drove gold out of active circulation. He also stated that in 1834 the size of the gold
dollar was decreased; that*the ratio between silver and gold was
then fixed at sixteen to one; that by this act gold was overvalued
and became the cheaper money, and in turn drove silver out of
My friend seems to have overlooked the fact that his argument has its real application to our monetary system as it existed prior to the war, when the whole volume of our Federal
money consisted solely of gold and silver. I claim that it has been
substantially demonstrated that the rule to which he refers, and
to which he called our attention with such a show of learning, is
not applicable to the financial system of any country having a
large paper currency circulation which is being redeemed in
either gold or silver coin at the option of the government.
But that my remarks may not be prolonged, I shall now pass to
a brief consideration of the effects wrought upon our financial
system, due to the late war.
It is now over thirty years since our Government first issued
circulating notes with the legal-tender quality. The effect of
introducing a paper currency at the beginning of the war was
to drive both gold and silver out of circulation. There was so
little silver in circulation in 1873 that the demonetization act
had no perceptible effect on silver, so far as the general public
could observe, and it was not until about the year 1876 that the
people began to fully realize that the silver dollar of the fathers
had been mercilessly and secretly struck down.
If gold had been demonetized soon after the war stealthfully


and quietly as was silver in 1878, it would no doubt have taken
the general public a considerable length of time to have fully
realized the fact, because gold was not in circulation for a long
time during and after the war. No doubt many people believed,
during the period when these legal-tender promises to pay
seemed to be the basis and foundation of our circulating medium,
thatthe Government would, at no distanttime, return to a specie
basis for its whole circulation.
During the period when gold and silver were out of circulation
the people became so much accustomed to rely upon a currency
with no coin behind it that it awakened in the minds of a very
large number of our fellow-citizens the belief that a coin reserve
was wholly unnecessary to the successful maintenance of our circulating medium. In fact, it gave rise to that idea commonly
known as the fiat money idea. Before'the war. when the debtor
and creditor classes were small, and when the masses of our people were but little in debt, changes with reference to the character and volume of our circulating medium were not attended with
such great and far-reaching elfects as have attended changes
since the war.
In 1860 the whole public debt was but $65,000,000, and in 1836
it was but $37,513. It is certainly fair to say that the Government of the United States was but little in debt prior to 1860, and
that the Government's creditors were not numerous.
The Government's creditors prior to the war had but little to
do, if anything, in shaping its financial policy. The war came,
and by the year 1866 the public debt amounted in round numbers
to $2,700,000,000.
By 1866 the national creditors had become a powerful and
influential class; they were the first people in our country to
discover that our circulating medium and all the Government
issues should be made payable in gold. They insisted that the
principal and the interest of their bonds should be paid in gold,
and it was done; and from that hour there has been a persistent
and never-ending night-and-day fight by the wealthy moneylending, mortgage-holding classes of our own and of foreign
countries, where our bonds and securities have gone, to have all
bills of credit, both public and private, made payable in gold,
and thus a most momentous effort has been made to enhance the
price of gold coin decrease the volume of our currency, and
greatly increase the indebtedness of our people.
Mr. Speaker, I am a bimetallist, and I think nineteen men out
of twenty in the district which I have the honor to represent are
bimetallists. They are bimetallists because they know that onehalf in value of the coin money of the world is silver. Can any
man be anything less than a bimetallist when he knows financial
history? The gold monometallist cites the fact that England
demonetized silver in 1816, Germany in 1871, the United States
in 1873, Belgium in 1875, and Austria in 1879. And he also argues that India, the greatest silver-consuming country in the
world, has recently discontinued the coinage of silver. He forgets the fact that, notwithstanding these acts, which affect the
silver coinage of the world, the world goes on, and that more silver is being coined in each succeeding year than gold.
I have just shown that more silver in value was coined in 1890
and 1891 than of gold, and I see from the last report of the Director of the Mint, which I have before me, that the world's gold


production for 1892 was $130,800,000 and the silver production
was $133,000,000, commercial value, and, while I have not the
figures for the last calendar year, I take it that it is reasonably
sure that more silver was coined the whole world over during
that year than there was gold. The average production of the
met ils, one with the other, for each year of the present century
is indicated in the following table:
1801-18-0, 4 of silver to 1 of gold.
1821-1840, 2 of silver to 1 of gold.
18 j 1-18C0, 2i of gold to 1 of silver.
18 51-1880, 2 of gold to 1 of silver.
1881-1889, & more silver than gold.

Therefore, does not all history and all experience teach that
the supply of gold in the world is largely insufficient, in fact
scarcely half sufficient, to supply the nations of the world with
necessary metallic money? It would seem from the last report
of the Director of the Mint that of the forty-four leading nations
on the globe, twenty-six coined no gold in the year 1891, and in
the s ime year all oi the said forty-four nations coined silver except fourteen. Why should the United States cease the coinage
of silver, when we produce annually two-fifths or 40 per cent of
the silver output of the world? Great Britain, with all of her
resources, produces less than a half million dollars' worth of silver bullion each year, as this report shows. We produce annually about $33,000,000 worth of gold bullion and over $70,000,000 worth of silver bullion.
The Director of the Mint, in his last report, says:
The estimated stock of our own gold coin, which should exist in the United
States on the first of the present year (1893) was $567,961,000. and of silver
$492,903,000. Of the latter, $417,876,000 were silver dollars, and $75,026,000 subsidiary coins.

For the nine years ending in 1891 the annual coinage of gold
at our mints amounted to less than $26,000,000 a year. Mr.
Speaker, in the ligrht of the facts which I have detailed, I feel
that there is more reason for the coinage of a large amount of
silver e ch year in the United States than in any other country
in the world.
I can see no reason why I should not vote for the amendment
providing for the coinige of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1. And
my investigation and research have led me to believe that there
is no real occasion for ch mging the ratio that has existed since
1^34-. In the light of the coinage laws of other countries, I
think we can as well coin silver in the ratio of 16 to 1 as at a
higher ratio. In England and in the leading nationalities on the
continent of Europe, silver is coined in the ratio of 15£ to 1.
I am unable to discover any good and satisfactory reason why
the old ratio, so long established and recognized, should be
changed. I have before me the statement recently sent to members of Congress by Secretary Carlisle, in which he estimates
that the recoinage at the ratio of 20 to 1 of our present volume
of silver money would cost about $113,000,000. I shall vote for
the amendment offered by the gentleman from Missouri [Mr.
BLAND] providing for the free coinage of silver at the ratio of
16 to 1. and shall vote against the amendments which provide
for a change of the ratio.
Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, if the House shall see fit to vote
down these several amendments proposing the free coinage of
silver at various ratios, I shall vote for the amendment which


will be offered by the gentleman from Missouri [Mr. BLAND]

providing for a restoration of the Bland-Allison bill of 1878,
which empowered the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase
not less than $2,000,000 nor more than $4,000,000 worth of silver
bullion each month, and have the same coined into standard
silver dollars at the ratio of 16 to 1. What I am contending for,
and what I hope to see, is the opening of the mints to the coinage of silver, and when they are opened, I think they ought to
coin silver at the ratio of 16 to 1; at least, that is my present
I think the present law ought to be repealed, but it is unnecessary for me to state why I think it ought to be repealed in
the light of the able message of the President of the United
States to the people. He has pointed out in a more epigrammatic and sensible way the reasons why the Sherman law should be
repealed than it is possible for me to give in the brief time now at
my disposal. I always believed that that law would prove both
wrong in principle and practice, and it has certainly been demonstrated that such is true. While I am very desirous to see it
repealed, I would be very glad, indeed, to see some good substitute take its place.
I believed when the Sherman law was passed that it was a
menace to the cause of bimetallism, and, as I have before remarked, I voted against its passage in July, 1890, and at the
same time voted to keep in operation the Bland-Allison bill,
passed in 1878, which was repealed by the passage of the Sherman act. My feelings and judgment, Mr. Speaker, at this time,
in the light of present conditions,-are in a measure expressed
in the words of my dear old deceased friend, Senator Joseph E.
McDonald, than whom I never know a kinder, a fairer, a more
conservative, a more intelligent, a wiser.
Senator Joseph E. McDonald, on the floor of the Senate, February 12, 1878, said:

I do not think that the free-coinage feature of the House bill should be retained or the principle of free-coinage applied to the coinage of the silver
dollar until the market value of silver bullion shall equal the money value
of the legal-tender coin, and that whatever seigniorage or profit accrues by
its coinage should be covered into the Treasury for the benefit of the whole
people. Unlimited free-coinage seems to be a popular idea in connection with
the remonetization of the silver dollar, but it must be because the operations
of the measure are not clearly understood.
I can see no reason why the holder of the bullion should be entitled to
receive the profits that would accrue from the difference between the market
value of the bullion and the money value of the coin so long as there was
any difference, and when the market value of the bullion should equal the
money value of the coin have in its power to either stop the coinage of the
silver dollar or throw upon the Government the expense of its coinage.
I think also that we should guard, if possible, against the imposition by
the holders of foreign silver coin in those countries where silver has been
either in whole or in part demonetized. It is very important to us as a people that, while we are laying anew the foundations of our money system, we
should make them as secure and stable and as free from fluctuation as possible.
Yet, Mr. President, if a majority of the Senate should differ with me on
these questions, I shall vote for the bill as it came from the House, and shall
trust to future legislation to adopt such safeguards as may be necessary,
believing speedy determination of the question in favor of the principle to
be more important than the perfecting of its details.

Senator Beck of Kentucky, who was one of our greatest and
best Democrats, in the same debate in which Senator McDonald
uttered these words, said:
As long as silver bullion is 6, 8, or 10 per cent below gold, I do not want

1 4

Congress to so vote as to give any -private citizen, or any foreign nation, or
any foreign corporation that seigniorage.
M r . S p e a k e r , h e r e a r e t w o g r e a t S e n a t o r s , e i t h e r of w h o m w a s
fit t o b e P r e s i d e n t of t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s , w h e n s p e a k i n g u p o n
t h i s s u b j e c t i n 1878, said t h a t t h e G o v e r n m e n t o u g h t t o h a v e
w h a t e v e r of p r o f i t t h e r e is f r o m t h e c o i n a g e of s i l v e r . I n o t h e r
words, that the Government should have the difference between
t h e m a r k e t v a l u e of t h e b u l l i o n n e c e s s a r y t o m a k e a s i l v e r d o l lar and the coined dollar.
I n o r d e r t h a t we m a y a p p r e c i a t e t h e a m o u n t of t h i s s e i g n i o r a g e ,
I w i l l r e a d a l e t t e r f r o m t h e A c t i n g ' D i r e c t o r of t h e M i n t , w h i c h
w i l l e x p l a i n i t s e l f , a n d ask t h a t t h e s a m e m a y b e i n s e r t e d i n m y
r e m a r k s at t h i s p o i n t :

Washington, D. C., August —, 1893.

SIB: In answer to your telegram of even date, regarding seigniorage, I
have to refer you to "Director's Report, 1890," page 19, a copy of which I forward you to-day.
As will be seen, the seigniorage on the coinage of silver from 1878 to 1890
was $65,698,057, a yearly average of $5,474,838.
The seigniorage on $2,000,000 worth of silver bullion bought at the present
market price—74 cents per fine ounce—would be, monthly, $1,494,402, and for
the year $17,932,824, as the following will show:
2,702,702 fine ounces can be bought for
2,702,702 fine ounces will coin
Monthly seigniorage


Yearly seigniorage
Very respectfully,

R. E .


Acting Director of the Mint.

H o n . E . V . BROOKSHIRE,

House of Representatives.

T h i s p r o f i t h a s b e e n c o n s t a n t l y i n c r e a s i n g s i n c e 1873.
f o l l o w i n g t a b l e g i v e s t h e a v e r a g e v a l u e d u r i n g e a c h fiscal y e a r
( e n d i n g J u n e 30) s i n c e 1873 of t h e s i l v e r b u l l i o n n e c e s s a r y t o
m a k e a c o i n e d s i l v e r d o l l a r at t h e o l d r a t i o of 16 t o 1. I n o t h e r
words, the following table gives the a v e r a g e bullion value in
e a c h fiscal y e a r s i n c e 1873, of 371i g r a i n s of fine s i l v e r , t h e a m o u n t
u s e d i n m a k i n g t h e c o i n e d s i l v e r d o l l a r s i n c e 1834:

Fiscal years.


value of
silver in
dollar, at
price of
. 92931
. 86152
. 88057
. 86115

Fiscal years.


value of
silver in
dollar, at
price of
. 76029
. 74008

M r . S p e a k e r , I a m c o n v i n c e d t h a t a v e r y l a r g e n u m b e r of o u r
fellow-citizens w h o are friendly to silver, and w h o are bimetal262


lists, are desirous that the Government shall receive the profit
or seigniorage when silver is coined. Now, the free and unlimited coinage of silver is the proposition upon which we have ordinarily voted in this House. It contemplates giving this seigniorage to the producers and owners of the silver bullion. I feel
reasonably sure that the sentiment of the country is against
There is another reason why some people friendly to bimetallism are not inclined to vote for the free and unlimited coinage
of silver. They believe that some limitation ought to be placed
upon the amount of silver to be coined at recurring intervals, so
that the people and the Government could know in advance
what the increase of our circulation would be from time to time.
This idea was, no doubt, in the mind of the President when he
put these words into his recent message addressed to Congress:
Possibly if the undertaking we have in hand were the maintenance of a
specific known quantity of silver at a parity with gold, our ability to do so
might be estimated and gauged, and perhaps in view of our unparalleled
growth and resources might be favorably passed upon. But when our
avowed endeavor is to maintain such parity in regard to an amount of silver
increasing at the rate of $50,000,000 yearly, with no fixed termination to such
increase, it can hardly be said that a problem is presented whose solution is
free from doubt.

Mr. Speaker, this brings me to a direct discussion of some
plan which would tend in a measure to meet these objections. I
think of two plans, either of which would secure to the Government the seigniorage. If free and unlimited coinage is desired
in the ratio of 16 to 1, and it is desired to secure to the people
the seigniorage, why not require the owner of silver bullion presenting the same at the mints for coinage to first pay the seigniorage; that is to say, if he brings to the mint371i grains of fine
silver, which is the amount that we have been putting in a silver dollar for nearly sixty years, let him pay into the Treasury
45 cents—the seigniorage—and then let him receive a legal-tender paper dollar or a coin dollar.
By this plan we could s :cure to the Government the profit,
and at the same time have the free and unlimited coinage of
silver at the ratio of 16 to 1. But if a still more conservative
course is insisted upon, then the Government could fix the
amount of silver to be coined each month, as was provided in
the Bland-Allison bill. The Government could also require those
offering silver at the mints to pay the seigniorage in advance,
or it could buy the bullion outright and coin the same, as was
done under the Bland-Allison law.
What I am contending for is the opening of the mints to the
coinage of silver. I am a bimetallist, and I want to see much of
our silver used in making coin money for the people. In a
word, Mr. Speaker, I think that the true friends of silver and
of bimetallism are not those who insist upon the unattainable,
but are rather those who favor legislation which will secure
the Government against loss, and send forth to all our people
a steady flow of coined silver money, to be used in the remotest
ramifications of trade and commerce. I also think it would be
a good idea to dispense with the use of paper currency in less
denominations than $10, and let the whole volume of money in
denominations less than $10 be coined silver, silver certificates,
and gold.
Mr. Speaker, what I would like to see is a thorough revision


and readjustment of our whole financial system. I would he glad
to see some vigorous financial reform inaugurated by the present
Congress. I know it is a task of great difficulty, and that any
changes in our financial system tend to create distrust; but at
the same time it does seem to me that some changes are so-apparently necessary that the whole country ought to approve of such
a revision as would simplify our confused and complex system
of finance. And right along with this work of reform we ought
to have our mints opened to the coinage of silver; for I am very
desirous, indeed, that we have a prudent expansion of our money
volume sufficient to meet the business needs of our country. I
am a firm believer in that divine declaration which says that " a
feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry, but money
answereth all things."