« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
There was free coinage for both metals. Both If we can have a currency consisting of silver were full legal tender for their declared value and gold coin of equal or substantially equal when of full weight, and when of less, in pro- intrinsic value, so they will circulate together, portion. The same act authorized the gold I am in favor of it, and will gladly favor such eagle as a unit, of 270 grains standard gold, legislation as will attain this result. I am and the alloy of gold was fixed at eleven parts willing to unite in any legislation which shall fine and one of alloy. Part of that alloy was utilize silver as a coin as much as can be done provided to be of silver.
without putting the country on a depreciated “From 1792 to 1834 there was no alteration currency as compared with gold, the standard whatever in the standard or in the ratio of val- of the commercial world. But the bill now ues between these two coins, and I wish now to before the Senate does not even propose to call the attention of the Senate to some remark- give us a gold and a silver dollar of equal in. able features to be found in the record of the trinsic value. Mint from the beginning of the Government “The silver dollar proposed by this bill until the 30th of June, 1877. I refer to the would not be of equal value with tlie gold doltables at page 28 of the report of the Director lar. It would be worth from 6 to 10 per cent. of the Mint for the present year, and it will be less than the gold dollar, as the price of silver found that from 1792 until 1805 there were has been for a considerable period. coined of silver dollars less than one million " This bill does not proceed upon the basis and a half; from 1805 to 1835 there was not that we are to make a silver dollar equivalent coined one.
Not a single dollar of the unit in value to the gold dollar, according to the reland standard of value was coined from 1804 ative values of these metals in the markets of until 1835. The history of that may perhaps the world at this time, or as they have been be curious, but it does not disturb the force of since leading commercial nations of Europe the fact which I have stated and the inferences have entirely or partially demonetized silver. which are irresistible, the fact being that the “ If we coin these dollars to-day of 4123 silver unit did not practically exist under the grains of standard silver, we are coining a coinage of the United States; that there were dollar depreciated from 6 to 10 per cent., acbut fifteen hundred thousand dollars prior to cording to the fluctuations of the price of silver 1804, and that not one was added to the coin- below the gold coin. So long as this silver age from that time until 1835, and then one dollar is depreciated 0, 8, or 10 per cent., thousand were coined in 1830, none coined in or even 3 per cent., below the gold coin, it 1837 or 1838. In 1839 three hundred dollars will drive the latter from circulation and out were coind."
of the country, Mr. Withers, of Virginia, said: “Will it in “I admit that if the remonetizing of silterrupt the Senator too much to call his atten ver in this country would bring this silver doltion to the fact that, although no dollars were lar to par with our gold coin, then the two coined, very many millions were coined in would circulate together; but I cannot beliere parts of dollars, balves and quarters, of the that this will be the result. So long as the same standard value precisely ?”
silver dollar is intrinsically cheaper by 2 or Mr. Bayard: "That is certainly a fact, and 3 per cent. than the gold coin, the cheaper the several amounts will be found in the tables coin will remain here and the gold will be referred to; but I am only speaking of this exported. Everybody will pay debts and do coin of 416 grains, the silver dollar, which has business with the cheaper legal-tender coin. been so clamored for."
The intrinsically cheaper silver dollar, being full Mr. Kernan, of New York, said: "Mr. Preg- legal-tender money, will exclude the gold as ident, we do not need this silver dollar to re- certainly as the legal-tender Treasury notes vive business. We do not require it as a exclude both gold and silver froin circularemedy for the distress existing among the tion. This always has been and always will honest intelligent business men, laborers, and be the practical result. The Senator from Wismechanics of the country. What we need, in consin (Mr. Howe) stated yesterday, as I unmy judgment, is a restoration of confidence, a derstood him, that silver would not ostracize restoration of a sound currency, and an honest gold. He is entirely inistaken if he believes moasure of values. Then the business of the that the silver dollar proposed by this bill and country will revive and be carried on free from the gold coin will at the present price of silver such disasters as occurred in 1873, and from circulate together. The cheaper silver coin the consequences of which the country is still will certainly take the place of' and excludo suffering-such disasters as every people have the gold. endured who have had for any considerable "Therefore I insist that the practical effect length of time a depreciated and fluctuating of this bill will be to demonetize gold in this currency.
country as effectually as we could do it by act “Sir, I am opposed to this bill because it of Congress, unless silver bullion shall rise in will not give the country a stable currency price in the market so that the silver contained and standard value at par with that of the in the dollar shall be equivalent in value to the cominercial world, and will tend to continue gold contained in the gold dollar. We cannot the evil we have been and are suffering from. make 4125 grains of silver equivalent in value
to the gold in the gold dollar by act of Con ence in the price of gold and silver which we gress. I think the best evidence we have to now meet, there were large number of citiguide us proves that the silver dollar author- zens, many of them of intelligence and ability, ized by this bill will be at least from 3 to 6 per who were then zealous and I doubt not honest cent. in value below the gold dollar, and there- advocates of an irredeemable paper currency, fore we will practically demonetize gold. We a currency which was not based upon or to be will not have as our currency gold and silver convertible into either gold or silver coin. coin; we will have silver only. Our standard “I observe that now, when silver is depreor measure of values will not be gold and sil- ciated below gold, is not worth as much as the ver, but silver alone.
greenback in gold, the most of these advocates Assuming as I do that the depreciation of of a paper currency are urgent and active silver bullion below gold will remain at least advocates of the Bland bill, and I fear if the from 3 to 6 or 8 per cent. after we have re measure is adopted it will practically restore inonetized silver by the passage of this act, in the country an irredeemable paper currency. and that the depreciated silver dollar will ex- Repeal the resumption law, make this silver clude gold from circulation, then the legal- dollar an unlimited legal tender at a deprecitender Treasury notes will occupy the same ated value, which will expel gold, and silver relation to the silver dollar which they now will become what gold is now, not practically occupy to gold coin. The silver dollars will in circulation as coin, but a commodity, and be the coin with which the Treasury notes are we will have an irredeemable and inconvertito be redeemed whenever they are redeemed, ble paper currency. I ask Senators whether and the Treasury notes will therefore be de we should not legislate cautiously, so as to feel preciated in value below the silver dollar, in- step by step our way in reference to the coinstead of being, as they are now, nearly at par age of silver dollars as an unlimited legal tenwith gold coin. We will then have a currency der, and avoid all danger of getting back to an consisting of silver dollars depreciated in value entirely irredeemable paper currency. I hope below gold coin and legal tender Treasury I am in error, but I have sometimes been disnotes, or greenbacks as they are called, of less turbed lest this should be the result of the value than silver dollars. Should Congress re- legislation which during this session is pressed peal the resumption act and fix no time when upon Congress. the Treasury notes are to be redeemed or con "Thoroughly convinced that the currency vertible into the silver coin, they would at once of our country should be coin at par with the fall considerably below the silver dollar, and coin of the commercial world and paper conas they are by law a legal tender for all debts vertible into that coin at the will of the holder, except where the debts are expressly mado I am opposed to any measures which endanger payable in coin, and except for duties on im our accomplislıing that purpose within a reaports, the Treasury notes would become prac: sonable time." tically the legal-tender currency or money of Mr. Christianer; of Michigan, said: “Never the country, and the silver dollar would be in the history of this country was there so excluded from general circulation. The silver muchi, nor even one half so much, currency dollar worth only ninety or ninety-five cents lying idle in the banks, and in the hands of in gold will be driven from circulation by the bankers and capitalists, anxiously, clamorously inconvertible legal-tender Treasury notes as seeking and panting to be used and put in cirquickly and certainly as was the gold coin culation, as during these same hard times: acd when that was the coin with which the Treas- never was the demand for its use in circulation ury notes were promised to be redeemed. comparatively so small. The fact that it was Thus we will havo, if this bill becomes a law, not used and did not enter into the circulation, as our only coin and measure of values, a de was not because the bankers and other holders preciated and fluctuating silver coin consisting did not wish to have it used and circulated, for of dollars of 412} grains. And should the their interest clearly lay in its use and circularesumption act be repealel, we will have as tion; but because business men, for entirely our currency the legal-tender notes inconvert- other causes, did not wish to and would not iblo into any coin at the will of the holder take and use it. The rates of interest fell; the and depreciated below and fluctuating more terms upon which bankers ought to get the than the silver dollar. In my judgment such currency out were as easy as ever before when a currency and measure of values would be the solvency of the borrowers was clear or the seriously detrimental to the business and pros- securities good. But here lay the real and imperity of the country.
mediate obstacle. A state of things had been “Pardon me if I make one other sugges- produced, and was then and is still to some tion, and I make it with entire respect for extent existing, whiclı made business men, men those who differ from me as to this measure. of enterprise, timid and cautious; unwilling, Ilave you no fears that there is something be- owing to the uncertainties of the situationyond this measure against which the people the dread of the effect of various wild schemes of this country should be guarded? When of financial legislation—to embark in any great silver and gold were nearly equivalent in value enterprises, or even to continue those they aland there was not this difficulty of the differ- ready had in hand, and which they were com
pelled to reduce and get out of as fast as they great extent fictitious, and consisting in drafts could, lest, on account of such uncertainties, upon the future for which the pay-day must while they might be making a nominal profit, sooner or later come. In the South almost they should be really incurring great and un- everything in the shape of property, except the known losses. No great enterprises could there- naked face of the earth, had practically disapfore be undertaken; and those already under- peared, and had to be recreated by the slow taken were abandoned at the first practicable process of labor and production. And, fortumoment; and the toiling millions, owing to nately or unfortunately, the North and the these and many other causes—among which South, all sections of our common country, are one of the most prominent was the improve- so linked together in conımercial relations that ment in labor-saving machinery—found little it is vain to expect one portion can long remain demand for their labor.
prosperous while a large part of the Union is “Mr. President, this was a state of things depressed and poor. for which neither the issue of more Treasury But, in addition to the direct destruction notes nor any other increase in the volume of and consumption of property and capital by currency, without a return to specie payments, the war, came necessarily, and, as I think, would have brought a remedy. If more bad rightfully, an immense debt, the mere interest been issued, they could not have been kept in of which, drawn by way of taxes directly and circulation when those already issued could indirectly from the productions of labor, connot. They would have gone with the others stitutes a formidablo burden and causes an iminto the hands of the banks and bankers, just mense drain upon our resources. as the silver dollar would, and would not have “For one, Mr. President, looking at the circulated among the people, unless the Gov- situation immediately after the war, I did not ernment should have done what the greenback expect, and could not see how any man could, and silver advocates seem to have made many à prompt restoration and steady continuancó of the people believe the Government ought of the same high state of prosperity as before. to and will do-send to each individual in the I thought I saw that a period of revulsion, of nation his aliquot proportion of the greenbacks terrible depression, inust soon come from the or silver pieces, without requiring anything in causes I have mentioned ; and I never could return, as the Agricultural Department dis see how any man could suppose it could be tributes garden-seeds, except that it shall be avoided. My wonder was not that it finally absolntely impartial and universal. But what came in 1873, but that it was kept off so long. ever impression may have been created out- I could not see (though popular delusion, side, I think no one has yet, in this hall, advo- prompted and stimulated by hope, thought it cated such distribution as this.
did see) how the farmer, for instance, whose “Now, what were the real causes which means had been accumulating for years by a produced this state of things in the inoney small excess of income over outgoes, until a inarket, and the depressed condition of busi- considerable income had been accumulated, ness enterprises-in short, the distress among could, after somo calamity which compelled an the people, or the hard times? The immediate expenditure of all his accumulations, and after causes were merely the combined results of all being compelled to anticipate the income of the antecedents to that state of things. These many future years by debts upon which he was antecedents, the real causes, are too numerous to pay interest yearly and ultimately to provide to be stated and analyzed in a single speech. for tlie principal, be quite as prosperous as he I can only touch—and briefly touch-a few of was before; or, except by great frugality and the moro prominent. The causa causuns, the industry, or some fortunate accident, avoid a fruitful mother of all the other causes, was the craslı in the end. terrible war which for more than four years “And in the case of the farmer I thought I swept over the country, taking from produc- saw the case of the nation-wlich is but the tive occupations millions of men from all parts aggregate of our population—and that it was of the Union, who were engaged for between just as unreasonable to expect the nation to four and five years in destroying and consum- avoid a revulsion by any other kind of means ing the property, the wealth and capital of the than the farmer could in the case I have just nation, of the people, and sweeping away the put; and these were that the people composaccumulations of years of prosperity, instead ing the nation should cut down expenses, and of producing and creating wealth ; so that, by increased frugality and economy, and inwithout reference to the debt entailed upon creased industry in the production of values, the nation, the nation, as a whole, had become gradually overcome the viepression; that busipoorer by thousands of millions of dollars than ness men and men of enterprise ought to avoid immediately before the war. In the North, it all speculative schemes and doubtful enterprises, is true, where the direct ravages of war were limiting their business to strictly legitimate obless and the prices were greatly augmented, as jects, and avoidling the creation of any debts well by the increased demand created by the wbich they could not readily and certainly meet. war as inflated by the immense issues of Treas- But exactly the opposite of this was the course uiry notes in which they were paid, was kept actually taken. The large fortunes suddenly np an appearance of prosperity which was to a nade during the war had kindled an inordinate
desire for becoming rapidly rich, without much been excited and stimulated into an unnatural regard to the means, and a reckless spirit of ex and feverish frenzy of exaltation, far above the travagance in expenses pervaded the whole peo- healthy and normal equilibrium of its powers. ple. The immense amounts of the Treasury A state of intoxication and unnatural exhilaranotes issued and in circulation at the close of tion sure, inevitably sure, to make the patient the war, and the hundreds of millions of l'ni- sink as far below his normal condition as the ted States bonds afloat in the market, which stimulus had raised him above it; a state in really constituted the debt of the nation, the which all men saw visions, dreamed dreams, debt of the whole people, soon began to be and built air castles, and took them for reality looked upon as the capital of the nation and its and sober truth. people. The unnatural stimulus of such an in “But just in this stage of the disease, when flation of the currency encouraged a reckless all seemed gold that glittered, there burst forth spirit of speculation, and drew men into the in New York, like a clap of thunder in a clear undertaking of numerous and gigantic enter- sky, the dismal shriek, "The Northern Pacific prises far in advance of the legitimate den ands Railroad has collapsed; Jay Cooke is a bankof healthy business.
rupt!! And in a few hours this cry had been “Railroads especially were projected every
carried over the wires to erery corner of the where; not only to me the present wants of on, bringing a chill to the hearts of thoucommerce, but with the sole idea of creating sands who liad invested their treasures in its business where it did not exist; running hun- bonds and others directly or indirectly condreds of miles through forests or prairies or nected with that enterprise. And at once the deserts without an inhabitant, and depending holders, not only of these bonds, but the holdupon future settlements to furnish business to ers of all the bonds and stocks of other aborthe roads. The existing trunk lines were tive railroad projects (for all were more or less loaded down with the branches which they connected with and dependent upon the others), undertook to construct, and which would not began to tremble. pay running expenses then, and some of which "The people began to open their eyes; and do not to-day; and finally the Northern Pacific down went one after another of those aborRailroad, that abortion of the last decade, tive railroad projects. All stocks and bonds which should only have been undertaken in felt the shock; and through the whole series the next generation, was projected and com one knocked down another, like a set of blocks menced. All these roads issued bonds and set up by children for amusement. All the stocks which were thrown upon the market, bright visions had been dissipated, and a conand large sums were invested in them. They gestive chill succeeded the fever of exaltation bought and speculated in each other's bonds which had preceded it. All began to open and stocks, treating them as so much reliable their eyes to the fact that debts were not capicapital. The iron manufacturers enlarged their tal; and distrust took the place of confidence
. works and machinery to meet the increases All then saw that, like insects, they had only demands which so many roads were expected been lifted into the region of imaginary prosto require. Some of the iron companies also perity upon a hollow bubble, by the explosion issued bonds and stocks. They sold their iron • of which they had been sunk deeper into the in large quantities for the bonds and stocks of mire than if they had never clung to its glitterthese railroad companies, and went on enlarg- ing film. Down went the iron men with miling their works and increasing their produc- lions of the worthless bonds of such companies tion. This is but a sample of all the other in their hands and with large stocks of iron great business enterprises of the day, all of for which there was no demand; and all dewhich were carried on largely upon credit; pendent upon them or connected with them and all had come to look upon each other's went down with them. Works were stopped stocks and bonds, and frequently upon their or greatly reduced in efficiency. Laborers beown liabilities, as so much actual capital, as fore employed in the various railroad projects they had before looked upon the debt of the and at the forge were thrown out of employ. nation as the capital of the nation : as if the ment, and the stocks of iron would only sell day of payment was never to come.
at reduced prices. - All kinds of business were buoyant, brisk, “This is but a sample. All other great busilively, and apparently prosperous beyond ex ness enterprises took a similar course; and the amplo in the history of the world. Labor was people woke up to the fact that all were in in demand and wages high; prices were infla- debt and none could pay. And capital, always ted, purely fancy and almost fabulous, "and timid, shrunk from undertaking or continuing all went merry as marriage bell,' for the business enterprises which gave employment time—and the multitude were so short-sighted to laborers; and the hard times were upon us, as to suppose such a state of things could en- Such, in brief, were the causes of the hard dure forerer ; as if the real prostration caused times and distress by which the country bas by the war could be finally got over in this been afflicted, and not the want of a suficient pleasant way. Now this, in my opinion, then volume of currency, which business and enterand now, was exactly the period disease in prise would not venture to use, had it been stead of health in the body politic, wlich had issued. Wiaterer the amount of currency not
President, has been prolonged, able, and ex-
155 resting upon a solid and reliable specie basis “1. I believe gold and silver coin to be might be in such a state of doubt and suspicion, money of the Constitution-indeed, the money it would have gone into the banks or the hands of the American people anterior to the Constiof capitalists who dare not use it in business; tution, which that great organic law recogas the blood in a chill shrinks back to the nized as quite independent of its own existence. heart.
No power was conferred on Congress to deStill, in spite of all these obstacles, confi- clare that either metal should not be money. dence would long since have been restored and Congress has therefore, in my judgment, no business enterprises resumed their normal con- power to demonetize silver any more than to dition, but for the wild financial schemes of demonetize gold; no power to demonetize cibankrupt debtors, all of which schemes con ther any more than to demonetize both. In this sisted in running still more deeply in debt, or statement I am but repeating the weighty dictum paying only in empty promises which were of the first of constitutional lawyers. 'I am never to be fulfilled; like the greenback theory certainly of opinion,' said Mr. Webster, “that of finance, started first by the iron manufac- gold and silver, at rates fixed by Congress, conturers and taken up by decayed politicians and stitute the legal standard of value in this counsought to be forced upon the Government. try, and that neither Congress nor any State has
“But this insane delusiou had already been so authority to establish any other standard or to thoroughly exposed that the country had ceased displace this standard. Few persons can be
to fear it, and all things were working upward found, I apprehend, who will maintain that 5: before this bill of ill omen came into the Sen- Congress possesses the power to demonetize c. ate. Confidence was being rapidly restored; both gold and silver, or that Congress could
the Treasury notes had risen to ninety-seven be justified in prohibiting the coinage of both; or ninety-eight cents in gold, and would soon and yet in logic and legal construction it would have been at par with gold, when specie re
be difficult to show where and why the power sumption would have been practically accom of Congress over silver is greater than over plished—no one wishing the specie when the gold-greater over either than over the two. Treasury note should be able to command it, If, therefore, silver has been demonetized, I am anıl worth the same amount. Sucli, but for in favor of remonetizing it. If its coinage has this silver bill, would, in my opinion, have been prohibited, I am in favor of ordering it to been the result long before next January; but be resumed. If it has been restricted, I am in for this ominous silver bill, by which a debased favor of having it enlarged. coin is to be made a legal tender in the pay “2. What power, then, has Congress over ment of all debts and demands, both of the gold and silver? It has the exclusive powGovernment and individuals. This, as it will er to coin them; the exclusive power to regreduce the greenbacks to the level of silver ulate their value; very great, very wise, very and drive all gold from the country, will, in necessary powers, for the discreet exercise my opinion, put off for years the resumption of which a critical occasion has now arisen. of specie payments, even in the proposed de- However men may differ about causes and probased coin, and compel us to travel again over cesses, all will admit within a few years a the same toilsome road we had already gone great disturbance has taken place in the relaover, and leave us five or ten years hence fur- tive values of gold and silver, and that silver ther from real, honest resumption than, but is worth less or gold is worth more in the for the passage of such a bill, we would be to- money markets of the world in 1878 thun in day.
1873, when the further coinage of silver dol"We shall never hare a condition of things lars was prohibited in this country. To rein which capital will seek investment in large monetize it now as though the facts and cirbusiness enterprises, creating a demand for cumstances of that day were surrounding us, labor and securing living prices to laborers, is to willfully and blindly deceive ourselves. until we get back to specie payments upon a
If our demonetization were the only cause for fair and proper basis
, so that paper shall be the decline in the value of silver, then remonupon coin and redeemablo in it at the etization would be its pre option of the holder ; nor until the coinage of cure.
er and effectual
But other causes, quite beyond our the country shall have the real and substantial control, have been far more potentially operache:
Value for which it is made a tender. And, be- tive than the simple fact of Congress prohibiting a commercial nation, that value must cor- ing its further coinage, and as legislators te respond with the market value in the countries are bound to take cognizance of these causes. with which our trade is principally carried on." The demonetization of silver in the great Ger
Mr. Blaine, of Maine, said: " The discussion man Empire, and the consequent partial, or on the question of remonetizing silver, Mr. wellnigh complete, suspension of coinage in
the governments of the Latin Union, have been I may not expect to add much to the leading, dominant causes for the rapid de
“I believe then if Germany were to remone
er than arguments:
in Union were to reopen their mints, silver