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S

I

L

V

E

IR_

SPEECH
OP

HON. JOHN R, FELLOWS,
OF

N E W

Y O R K ,

IN THE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,




Saturday, A u g u s t 26, 1893.

WASHINGTON
1893.




SPEECH
or

HOK

JOHN R.

FELLOWS.

The House having under consideration the hill (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. FELLOWS said:
Mr. SPEAKER: The hour for closing the debate which has enlisted the interest and attention of the country for the past two
weeks is fast approaching, and I recognize the propriety of limiting to those who yet desire to be heard such portions of time
as will enable many to speak. The restriction imposed upon
myself necessarily prevents anything like an elaborate discussion of monetary principles or theories. I trust I may find it
ample for the single purpose I have in view, which is to call to
the attention of the Democratic party its previous pledges upon
the subject now under consideration. I shall not follow the
course I had marked out for myself in this debate.
The remarkable speech of the gentleman from Maine, who has
just occupied the attention of the House, and the equally singular one which fell from the lips of my distinguished friend from
Kentucky, have so changed the current of my thoughts as that
I shall turn wholly away from the form of speech I had contemplated and address myself to some suggestions elicited by their
remarks. I congratulate the gentleman from Maine [Mr. BouTELX.E] and his party associates upon the complacent mood in
which they are now found. [Laughter and applause.] It seems
to me that it is both natural and appropriate that they should
occupy that position. They are charged with but little responsibility for legislation, and they have but a dim and cloudy hope
awaiting them in the future. [Laughter.]
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But we will not consent that their past history shall be forgotten, and it is with some products of that past that we are dealing now. While I am surprised at the attitude of some of my
party friends, I am utterly shocked and grieved to the heart at
the position occupied by my brethren of the Republican party.
They seem to have cruelly abandoned their offspring. Why, do
they not remember that this dishonored and degraded waif has
only recently been denied the support and protection of the paternal roof where it had its birth? [Laughter and applause on
the Democratic side.]
I can not forget that this mischief we are called upon to undo
was the product of Republican legislation. There was not a man
upon that side of the House who did not give it his support and
vote. There was not a Democrat upon this side of the House
who did not denounce the unholy thing as, in my judgment, they
should all be found denouncing it to-night. Prom its inception
it received no support from us. Its birth was in the house of
the Republicans. Its early training and maintenance was all
in their hands. At last they have become ashamed of the folly
that gave it birth and have turned out the tainted and dishonored creature. Shame to the Democratic household that would
give it roof and shelter now when it is driven from its father's
house. [Applause and laughter.]
The gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. STONE] has told us that
he shall vole for the repeal of the purchasing- clause of the Sherman act because he has always been opposed to it. I thank him
for this. It merely states the position of every Democrat but a
short time ago. But he goes on with a speech of much fervor
and eloquence to express his utter condemnation of the motives
of those who are the advocates of repeal, and of the causes which
he asserts have produced conditions now prevailing. He charges
upon us that we have turned the true course of discussion; that
we have wandered from the subject and interpolated things that
had no proper place in the debate. I beg to ask my distinguished
and esteemed friend who is chargeable with responsibility for
the course this discussion has taken.
W e presented a naked proposition for repeal. That proposi576




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tion had but a proximate relation to questions of coinage and
currency. It was the purchase by the Government -of'silver
bullion we sought to stop. It is those who array themselves as
opponents of this demand who have precipitated upon the country a discussion involving questions" which have agitated the
world for the past three hundred years, and which has included in
its scope all possible matter relating to money and its functions.
Is it the friends of this bill who have strayed from the faith
they once declared? Where within the sound of my voice, where
within the limits of this land is there a Democrat who was not
the opponent of the Sherman bill from the first? His vote was
cast against it, his speech has been in denunciation of it, his
party declarations have thundered the demand for its removal
from our statute books; and at last in the great national council
of the party where almost every household was represented,
where every constituent had a delegate to declare his wishes,
where speech was as free as it has been during this debate, we
put the record and sentiment of nearly three years into a platform which declared for the repeal of the law of 1890.
Gentlemen tell us now that we must couple other measures
with the fulfillment of this pledge. Sirs, you accompanied the
demand then with no condition. You did not discuss ratios.
There was nothing said about a return to the Bland-Allison act.
You declared for the speedy repeal of the Sherman act, and put
a period at the end of the paragraph which thus expressed the
sentiment of the party. [Applause.] The voice which protested
kgainst the continuation of this vicious policy was not one which
emanated alone from what the gentleman from Missouri [Mr.
BLAND] S courteously characterized this afternoon as the purO
lieus of Wall street or the Stock Exchange of New York. It
was the sentiment merely of boards of trade and all those who
handle and distribute the products of the industries of the earth.
It came alike from the broad plains of Nebraska and the luxuriant harvest fields of Missouri.
From every Southern savanna that voice of denunciation
and demand for the abolition of this policy was heard. The
Democratic party might differ as to views of coinage, of bank67A




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ing, and of currency, but there was no discordant note in the
strain that went up from the entire body of our great organization demanding the repeal of the Sherman act The first utterance in its behalf, the first defense it has ever received,
comes now, when, at the demand of the chosen leader of our
party, we are asked to redeem the pledge which we have as individuals and as a party constantly made. For one, I stand
where I have stood during the whole life of this act.
I was opposed to it at the beginning, I am opposed to it to-day,
and I do not feel it necessary to mingle all the demands of the
Democratic party in one brew in order to accomplish a fulfillment of the promises it made to the Republic. Let us do this
one thing which waits upon our action now. Then, with steady
purpose and courage as unfaltering as that of the chosen head of
the party, we will go forward to the fulfillment of another pledge,
and know no pause.until every part of the Democratic platform
of 1892 is fashioned into statutes and made the law of this Republic. [Loud applause.]
I believe that the Sherman act justified the denunciation which
we all formerly leveled against it. Let me inquire of my friends
from this side of the House what good results they can point to
to justify their eager advocacy of this measure now. I look
about me and fail to discover any evidences of its success as a
policy. To-day there is the breath of suspicion upon every enterprise, business is paralyzed, banks are closing their doors
against the ordinary transactions of commercial life, great houses
that are solvent when you come to compaife liabilities with assets are compelled to suspend for the want of the agent by means
of which the:work of the world commercially goes on.
Thousands of people willing- to work and dependent upon daily
labor for daily bread are denied the opportunity to support
themselves and those dependent upon them. What has caused
this? The country is teeming with [production. Its hillsides
dripping with fatness, its valleys flowing in rivers of wealth,
and with every blessing of Providence bequeathed as no nation
has ever received them before. Why it is that at this hour want
and woe, and penury and sorrow, and all the evils that follow in
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the train of stagnated industries and languishing business are
the sights and sounds that meet our eyes and ears?
What is it that has engendered this fearful spirit of distrust,
abatement of confidence, lack of faith in each other; that feeling of
suspicion toward every other man; which has taken money out
of circulation, silenced the hum of industries, stricken' with
paralysis all our energies, and brought us to gaze straight into
the face of as awful possibilities as ever threatened our country.
Almost the entire body of our fellow-citizens engaged in business enterprises tell us that these conditions are produced by
the continuation of this law we seek now to repeal. A law which
was wrong in theory, vicious in practice, and a radical departure
from tbe true functions of government. What has it done for
silver? You tell us that in 1873 silver was domonetized.
The Sherman act to some extent provided a market for the
silver product of this country. It was the fond hope of its friends
that that act would give enhanced value to silver. Yet, during
that period from 1873 on to the passage of the Bland-Allison act,
the price of the commodity never reached so low a figure as it
does to-day. The effect of the Sherman law on the silver product itself has been to constantly depreciate its value. This result was inevitable. When silver, like any other product, is
sought for in the markets of the world to meet an existing demand, its price is likely to be both higher and steadier than
when it is heaped up in great masses as an unused commodity,
for the apprehension that the vast volume may be precipitated
at any time upon the market necessarily tends to create constant fear and lessened value.
This is a plain law of supply and demand which can not be
changed by acts of Congress. The mischief of this law, therefore, is plainly apparent. Its benefits are nowhere apparent.
Why, then, should the wretched system be continued? We demand the abatement of a palpable nuisance, and after that is done
we will consider what healthful measure shall take its place.
What do you Democrats who are opposing the repeal offer the
country? We have had two weeks'discussion here. It has been
generous and full; it has been eloquent and able.
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69
of the American Republic, let it be said, it has been tolerant and
conservative in the main, and every Representative, on this floor
has seemed to feel the obligation resting upon him. Upon the
record made in this debate, I ask the Democratic opponents of
this measure again to tell us, if they can, what they offer now as
a reason for violating the pledges made in the past.
Tell me, my eloquent friend from Nebraska [Mr. BRYAN],
whose genius has illuminated this subject with a splendor it has
received at few hands, you who have stated the argument upon
your side with a thoroughness, force, and ability which seems to
have exhausted the resources of the party opposing this bill,
what do you offer the country if you defeat the measure now before the House? Numerous amendments are proposed, but has
the course of the debate demonstrated that any dozen of you are
agreed upon any proposition suggested? Some cling with unfailing devotion to existing ratios; others would have a ratio of
20 to 1, and unlimited free coinage upon that basis; others declare a preference for the act of 1878. All is confusion, doubt,
and uncertainty in your ranks save as to one thing, and that is
opposition to the repeal of an act which six months ago as one
man you denounced as shameful and dangerous legislation, and
which yuu covenanted with the country to remove from the
statute books if you were intrusted with power.
It seems to me a strange attitude in which to find Democrats. We are convened in extraordinary session by the President of the United States and asked to keep this promise we
made; to fulfill that part of our pledge to the electors of this land;
and yet, we who are the advocates of repeal are denounced in almost violent forms of expression. We are characterized as the
enemies of labor, the murderers of industry: persons who would
strip from the hands of the toiler the pittance to which his daily
exertion so justly entitles him, and which is essential to his
very existence itself. What has caused this most extraordinary
change of sentiment in the ranks of the Democratic party? What
has justified these reproaches leveled against those of us who
stand to-day where all of us stood in one united column but a few
months ago? Is it not perfectly apparent to every gentleman on
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this floor that if the pending- measure is defeated, we must leave
the Sherman act upon the statute books to work its mischief on
and on for an indeterminate period.
I ask gentlemen of my own party to contemplate the spectacle
that will be presented if this measure is defeated by Democratic
votes. Upon the one side the voice of the Democracy of this
Union in one unbroken chorus, demanding the destruction of this
vicious policy; a voice which never ceased to make itself heard
in denunciation of this most wretched and dangerous law, and
upon the other side, a portion of that same Democratic party appearing as defenders of this same law the first moment it is vigorously attacked, and demanding its preservation with an intensity
and zeal which would seem to indicate that every hope they had
in life depended upon its retention.
Why, sirs, your action to-day is a plain declaration to the
country that you were never sincere in advocating repeal. We
who are its advocatss stand with the President; but beyond that
and better than that, we stand by the solemn promises, the earnest declaration, the pledges with which we went before the
voters, all expressed in the platform of our party; and all declaring that when we could we surely would repeal the Sherman
law. Tell me, my friend from Missouri [Mr. BLAND], when you
were denouncing this act in your State, did any Democrat "rise
up then to defend it? But you answer me that we also promised
the coinage of gold and silver at our mints upon certain conditions and upon equal terms. So we did. W e promised a reform
of the tariff; a repeal of the Federal election laws; we promised
very many measures of relief. But we nowhere promised that
we would not do any one of these things until we had grouped
them all together in one legislative act and were enabled to pass
them simultaneously.
I ask you to-night what it is that keeps you from the fulfillment of the first obligation we have reached, the first pledge of
our platform. Sirs, I have listened in this Hall in the course
of discussion to some expressions which I have much regretted
to hear. I have heard denunciations of the city from which I
come which nothing in its history has ever justified, and which
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even the passions aroused in an earnest debate can not excuse.
I will not occupy the time of the House in telling the story of
my past life; most of my colleagues here know it well.
When I was very young T became a resident of the South, my
later boyhood and my earlier manhood were passed among its
people. When the time of its awful struggle came, I endured
with them the privations and perils of thatconflict. They were
my comrades during the four years of war; I loved them with
that devotion which one always feels for those whose heroic
courage he has witnessed, in whose perils he has shared, whose
sufferings, trials, and privations were borne together; whose uprising out of the waste and ruin of war was even a more splendid
illustration of lofty character and courage than that exhibited
in the shock of battle.
That love will never fade out of my life. It remains as fresh
and warm to-day as when it was first kindled. Subsequently, I
made my residence in the city of New York, the city which has
been subjected here to such vehement and bitter denunciation,
and I have cause to know how worthy its people are of the love
and gratitude of all patriotic citizens. Nearly, if not quite, fifty
thousand men who followed the fortunes of Lee and Johnston, or
the sons of those who did, have, become residents of the city of
New York since the close of the war. They are to-day honorably
"engaged in every avocation which enlists the thought and effort
of men. They are found among our bankers, lawyers, judges.
No hand of hate was turned against them. . They were met with
that warmth of welcome, that broad catholicity and conservatism
which has always characterized the great metropolis.
The history of their past has never prejudiced or hindered
their present career. Just for what they are now and for what
they may be in the future, they have been received with a brother's welcome. Oh, my comrades of other days, the people of that
city do not deserve the reproaches you visit upon them now. The
history of their effort to protect the people of the South against
harsh and unjust exactions after the Union had been restored;
their fierce rebuke of any attempt to inflict upon you such legislation as tended to stamp you as unworthy the privileges and
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powers which the loyal North has asserted as its own right; its
steadfast maintenance of the doctrine that the war resulted in
the restoration of Union, and not in the establishment of two
permanent hostile sections, and that all were entitled to the
benefit of equal laws, should silence forever the voice of denunciation and reproach upon the part of the South against the
people of the city of New York.
Lst me recall to you an occasion when the generous sympathy
and broad charity of that city were splendidly exhibited toward
the South in the time of its dire extremity and distress. The
yellow demon had invaded your homes, and there was a cry of
despair wilder than that which went up from the homes of the
Egyptians, because all through the South there was more than
one dead in every house. New York, out of her generous abundance, sent money for your relief until money was no longer
needed. She organized a hospital corps and sent it with a large
attendance of physicians to administer to the sick free of charge.
But more than that, from all their convents and cloisters and
sacred retreats in the city of New York, there went out women
who have devoted their lives to the holiest and best work that
mortals can ever do; the work of relieving the necessities and
distresses of others; went in their black robes but with souls as
pure and white as an angel's vesture ever was, and gave themselves to disease and pestilence and death to aid you in caring
for your sick. [Loud applause.] It was a generous exhibition
of the sentiment of New York to our suffering brothers of the
South: nor has she ever failed to extend the hand of benefaction
to the entire land. Her charities are as broad as the Republic;
when the waters burst their barriers in the hills of Pennsylvania and swept down on their deadly course bearing thousands to
sudden death, not only the sympathy but the substantial aid of
New York were transmitted as fast as the electric current could
bear them.
When fire devastated Chicago, or the fierce shock of the earthquake leveled the homes of Charleston to ruins, the great metropolis was still the first to respond to the cry of suffering.
The prosperity of the whole country is the prosperity of New
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York; she has no interests which antagonize the other portions
of our common land. Stop the productions of the field, and the
streets of New York would become like deserts. Silence the
hum of our industries, the music of our manufactories, and the
courts and squares and palaces of the great city will become
waste places, the hiding place for bats and owls. She can not
live except as the great commercial artery through which flows
the tribute yielded by all the country on its way to distribution
in every part of the earth. She demands for the transaction of
your business and her own a sound and stable currency. She
cares nothing whether it is gold, or silver, or paper, so that each
dollar is of equal and exchangeable value with each other dollar.
No one contends for the abandonment of silver as a money
metal in this country. No nation has relinquished its use as
such. England and Prance, indeed all the great commercial
nations, are using silver as money in vast quantities, although
recognizing gold as the standard by which to measure values.
We are not asking, therefore, the retirement of silver as a money
metal. What we do ask is that the dollars coined from it shall
be as good as all other dollars; that they shall have the same
value in the purchase of goods, the wage of the laborer, or the
payment of debts, as the dollar coined from gold.
Mr. Speaker, I have deeply sympathized with the condition
of the agricultural regions of this country so vividly portrayed
in the course of this debate by the opponents of the pending
measure. All right-minded citizens must experience regret at
the prostration of any industry or the distress of any portion of
of our people. But I have yet to hear any argument which justifies the belief that the farmer can be really benefited by giving
him dishonest money with which to pay his obligations, or that
the continuation of a policy which makes Government the purchaser of the product of the Western mine-owner can materially
aid the farmer in obtaining better prices for the product of his
labor which he must tell as best he can in the markets of the entire world.
Besides, sir, the farmer is not the only one to be considered
in the settlement of this question. All the people of the earth
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are consumers of the products of the soil, and it must not bo
forgotten that if wheat brings but a low price to the farmer, the,
flour which is the product of that wheat is turned into cheaper
bread for every laboring man throughout the world. If cotton
brings less per pound than you think it should, remember that
the product of the loom, the clothing which comes from the
cotton is furnished more cheaply to every poor man's family by
reason of the lessened price. I have always supposed that the
efforts and energies of men have been employed to cheapen production, and that this was sound philosophy.
It is for this that invention has startled the world with its novelties; that machinery has taken the place of human labor; that
the instrument propelled by steam can do the work of many men.
We should not so frame our legislation as to benefit certain classes
or particular industries to the detriment or injury of others.
The evils from which we are now suffering have largely resulted
from this false and wicked system. The laws which confer the
greatest blessing upon the country as a whole will in the end result in the greatest happiness to each section of the country and
to all classes of its population.
But, Mr. Speaker, the time assigned me is approaching its
limitation, and I must hasten to a conclusion. I trust the day
is not far distant when all the great commercial nations will
agree upon some plan by which both gold and silver shall be received and coined at every mint, and freely used in the business
transactions of the world. I believe that time is near at hand.
But the United States can not accomplish this result singlehanded. It can only be reached by the consent oE people in
other parts of earth inseparably associated with ourselves in the
maintenance of commercial life and prosperity. We can not
isolate ourselves and remain a great people.
It was well said to-day by the gentleman from Maine [Mr.
REED] that the world is linked together by indissoluble ties.
Now we transact our business by flashes of lightning. We have
laid a great iron pulse close by the foundation walls on which the
ocean rests, and through it there goes beating constantly the
thoughts and desires and demands of all the earth. W e com576




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pare our markets and determine the rates of our exchange, not
alone by the action of the great centers of trade in this Union,
but by what we learn each hour from Liverpool and London, from
Paris, Bombay, and Calcutta, and in like manner they mold and
control their affairs by this association with us.
I hail this companionship. I am glad we have passed out of
the era of separation and antagonism. W e are not dependent
upon other peoples, except in sofarasall humanity is dependent
upon all its parts for common blessings. Certainly I do not share
that prejudice and bitterness which seems to be awakened here
by reference to forms, and customs, and habits which prevail in
the land from which we sprang. W e did not seperate from all
the blessings and benefits of civilized life when we cast off the
political power of England. I am not willing to yield up the religion my mother taught me because English men and English
women worshiped by the same ritual. I will not give up common-school education because England cherishes it. I will not
abandon a sound financial policy simply because England chooses
to have it. I desire for these United States the best the world
has to give. I desire to have it in communion and connection
with all the rest of the earth.
Far distant be that day when this country, bounteously blessed
above all others in natural resources, instinct and vital with intelligence and hope, shall separate herself in gloomy solitude
from the other peoples of the world. W e will reject what is
wrong in their systems, but we will cling to that which is calculated to uplift ourselves even though it may benefit them.
Welcome be every new tie which binds the inhabitants of earth
in closer companionship. I hail these swift coursers of the deep
which fly to and fro like shuttles from shore to shore annihilating the distance which formerly separated nation from nation.
They gather their warp and woof from every part of earth and
with it they are weaving the ties of a closer brotherhood; weaving
the fabric of a higher and better civilization; linking the past
to the present; weaving into living realities the dreams of enthusiasts, the visions of seers, the voices of prophecy; weaving
shrouds for old superstitions and ancient hatreds and feuds, and
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rendering forever possible the realization of that bright hope of
the British Laureate in a coming lt Parliament of Man; a federation of the world."
Mr. Speaker, within a very few hours we shall be called upon
to discharge the important duty of deciding by our votes the
momentous question before us. An intervening Sabbath with
its peaceful calm, and the repose it will bring to us wearied with
the long contention, will enable us,I sincerely trust, to reach such
conclusion as will meet the expectations of the people of this Republic. They await with deepest anxiety the result. If our action shall be animated by patriotism and guided by wisdom, all
will be well. W e will £0 forward then to the discharge of other
duties cheered by the approval of a rejoicing and satisfied people.
W e will march to the music of reviving industries, of uplifted
business, the acclamations of hopeful and contented workers, the
throb of our own approving consciences, the plaudits of "well
done, faithful servants" from the millions whose hopes and desires and highest temporal interests are now intrusted to our
keeping. [Prolonged applause.]
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