coin money took place in 1879. From 1874 to 1884 there was only a slight
increase, the highest figure, in 1884, being $48,800,000. In 1885 it reached $51,-
600,000; rose to fifty-three in 1887; to fifty-nine in 1888; to sixty-four in 1889,
and touched seventy millions in 1890. In 1891 it went to $75,417,000: in
1892 it reached the high-water mark the highest ever known, $82.101.000
only to fall off in 1893 to $77,576,000, and to $64,000,000 in 1894, increasing to
$72,056,000 in 1895, and to $76,069,000 in 1896.
From 187*4 to 1895 silver increased $34,751.000; in the same time gold
increased a little mere than thirteen millions, but there was no appreciable
increase in silver until 1885.
SILVER IN THE WORLD.
The annual average coinage value of the silver produced in the world
has been: From 1545 to 1761, $12,450,000 to $22,162,000; from 1761 to 1860 it
ranged from $19,144,000 to $37,618,000; 1861 to 1865, it was $45,772,000; 1866
to 1870, $55,663,000; 1871 to 1875, $81,864,000; while from 1876 to 1880 it rose
to an annual average of $101,851,000, and from 1881 to 1885 to $118,955,000.
The value for 1886 was $120,626,800, and for 1887 it was $124.281.000. It
continued to rise steadily some twelve millions per year to 1893, when it
was $213,944,400. The year 1894 only showed a slight decrease, a trifle over
$1,114,800 for that period. The returns for 1895 again show an increase of
COINAGE vs. COMMERCIAL VALUE.
The foregoing figures as to silver being based on the United States
coinage value, are not a true guide as to the actual market value. From
1833 to 1850 the average price of a fine ounce of silver was about $1.31, or
60 pence. In 1850 and up to 1872 it ranged about $1.33, or 61 pence, only
touching $1.36, or 62 pence, in 1859.
AVERAGE BULLION VALUE.
In 1873 the average bullion value of a silver dollar was ?1.004, making
it more valuable than a gold dollar. For 1874 it. was $0.988: 1875, $o.9<;4:
1876, $0.894; 1877, $0.929, and has not reached the $0.90 mark since. In 1886
it got into the seventies, rose to $0.81 in 1890, to fall to ?0.764 in 1891, to
S0.674 in 1892, to $0.603 in 1893, to $0.491 in 1894, rising to $0.505 in 1895, and
to $0.522 in 1896, falling to $0.44 in July, 1897. In other words, in 1873 the
ratio was 1 to 15.92; and in 1897 it is 1 to 39.66.
1873 AND 1896.
In 1873 a silver dollar containing 371.25 grains of pure silver would pur-
chase only 369.77 grains of the same silver. The coined value was iy 2 grain:?
less than its commercial value.
In 1894 this same dollar would purchase 756.04 grains, or twice itself and
5V 2 grains over; in 1895 it would purchase 733.87, and in 1896, 711.93.'
WHY WHITE METAL FELL IN VALUE.
Did silver fall or did gold get scarcer and grow dearer? I have shown
that in the United States the go!4 product held steadily at over thirty and
(except in 1877-78) under forty millions from 1874 to 1894, going from $39,-
500,000 in the latter year to $46,610,000 in 1895; that in the world for this same
period it had steadily increased from $115,577,000 to $200,406,000. Evidently
during this period gold did its full duty and earned the repute of a metal of
stable and sufficient increase in output.
Silver first came to be a factor in the United States in 1861, when $2,000,-
000 was produced; in 1864 it was $11,000,000; in 1874, $37,300,000; in 1884, $48,-
800,000, with from fifty-one to eighty-one millions per year thereafter.
The world product had gone from an annual average coinage value of
$81,864,000 in 1874 to $118,955,000 in 1884, and $212,829,600 in 1894.
From 1874 to 1894 silver did not make nearly so great a proportional gain
as did gold from 1841-1850 to 1851-1855.
PROPORTION OF METALS.
For three hundred years, 1545-1840, during which time Spain had poured
the wealth of her American silver mines into the markets of the world, the
general average proportion of the value of the two metals produced had been
about 33 per cent, for gold and 67 per cent, for silver. From the period 1841-
1850 up to that of 1876-1880 this proportion was about 66 per cent, for gold
and 34 per cent, for silver much greater than the three-century average.
From 1881 to 1894 gold was still 44 per cent, while for 1894 it was 46.3,
and in 1895 it had increased to 47.7 per cent. It is interesting to note that
the percentage of production by value from 1492 to 1895, inclusive, was 45.9
of gold to 54.1 of silver.
SILVER LEGISLATION IN THE UNITED STATES.
In 1876 Mr. Kelley (Pennsylvania) introduced a bill for the coinage of
standard (412% grains) dollars, and to make them an unlimited legal tender.
The same year Mr. Bland (Missouri) introduced a bill for the unlimited
issue of Treasury notes in exchange for gold and silver bullion.
Both these measures were considered, and in March, 1877, a commission
of Senators and Representatives made a report on the relations of gold and
The Kellcy bill, as modified and championed by Mr. Bland, passed the
Ilcute November 5, 1877. It provided, with the Bland amendment, for the free
:'.".<! unlimited coinage of 412%-grain dollars, and made these an unlimited
legal tender, except 'where otherwise specified by contract.
The Kelley-Bland bill was modified in the Senate, and became known as
the Bland-Allison act. As modified in the Senate and as finally passed it
restricted the coinage to the 4,000,000 ounces per month which the Secretary
of the Treasury was to purchase, and it gave to the public Treasury the
seigniorage or profit on these purchases and coinage. The silver thus to be
coined was made an unlimited legal tender except for certificates of deposit
of gold and silver bullion under the act of 1863 and in cases where other
money had been stipulated by contract. Section 3 authorized the deposit of
these dollars and the issuance of (silver) certificates therefor. It became a
law over the President's veto February 28, 1878.
Bland and Conger Bills.
In 1SS6 Mr. Bland again introduced a bill for the free and unlimited coin-
age of silver
That is, giving to the mine owner and bullion producer the -whole
profit of the seigniorage or difference between the actual cost and the
legal-tender value of the dollar when coined.
Mr. Conger introduced another bill, embodying the views of Secretary
Windom, allowing owners of silver to deposit it and receive Treasury notes
to the amount of its then market value, these to be redeemed when pre-
sented at its then value.
The Sherman Law of 1890.
The Conger bill, as modified, was finally passed, and became a law July 14,
1890, and is known as the Sherman law.
It directed the purchase of 4,500,000 fine ounces of silver eacn month at
not to exceed $1 for 371.25 grains of pure silver, and the issue of Treasury
notes therefor. These notes were to be redeemable on demand in coin, and
could be reissued. They were made legal tender for all debts, public or
private, except where otherwise expressly stipulated, and for customs, taxes,
etc., and when so received could be reissued. They could also be counted
as part of the lawful money reserve of national banks.
The act further provided that upon demand of holder the Secretary of
the Treasury should redeem such notes in gold or silver, at his discretion,
it being (says the act) the established policy of the United States to main-
tain the two metals on a parity with each other upon the present legal ratio
or such ratio as may be provided by law.
Section 3 provided for the coinage until July 1, 1891, of $2,000,000 per
month; after that date as much as needed to redeem Treasury notes issued
under this act.
Any gains or seigniorage arising from such coinage was to be accounted
for and paid into the Treasury.
WHAT IS GAIN OB SEIGNIORAGE P
The Bland bill as it passed the House November 5, 1877 (it did not become
a law), allowed any owner of silver bullion to deposit it and receive for
every 371.25 grains of pure silver (412 1 /4 grains of standard silver) a coined
dollar which should be an unlimited legal tender. He was only to pay the
half per -cent, mint charge for this great privilege. All the profit in this
transaction was to go not to the Government, not to the people, through the
Government, but to the mine owner, the bullion producer. In 1886 Mr. Bland
introduced another bill with the same provisions. Mr. Plumb's amendment
to the Conger bill, adopted by the Senate June 10, but which also failed to
become a law, had the same provisions.
SENATOR STEWART'S FREE COINAGE AMENDMENT.
Another attempt was made in January, 1891, when Senator Stewart, of
Nevada, offered a free-coinage amendment providing that at the "owner's
option he may receive therefor (silver bullion) an equivalent in such stand-
ard dollars or Treasury notes," having "the same legal qualities as the notes
provided for by the act approved July 14, 1890." This was designed to leave
the Government no option as to the mode of payment for this bullion, and
to enable the silver mine owners to take the most valuable mode of payment,
which would probably be Treasury notes redeemable in "coin." July 1, 1892,
Mr. Stewart offered another measure in the Senate, providing for free coin-
age and making the standard silver dollar legal tender for all debts and dues,
public and private, "provided that foreign silver coins, or silver coins bear-
ing the impress of foreign mints, and bullion formed by melting down such
coin, shall be excluded from the provision of this act."
In this measure Senator Stewart sought to fasten legislation upon the
country by which it would have been obliged to take the product of the
Western silver barons as it was offered for free coinage. Commenting upon
this purpose, Senator Vest, of Missouri, declared that he was for free coin-
age, "not to give a market to the mine owners of the West, but because it is
a money metal," and the foreign clause was stricken out.
All of these measures were in the direct interest and to the sole advan-
tage of the mine owners. All profits or gains in the business went, not to
the Government to help to lighten the burden of the people, but for the
profit and gain of a particular class.
PROFITS OF SEIGNIORAGE.
Let us see what these profits were. Under free coinage, on an average,
in 1878 bullion worth 89.1 cents when deposited by the mine owner would
have entitled him to receive from the mint a legal-tender dollar worth 100
cents in silver or in gold. He would have made a net profit, not counting the
small charge for coinage, of 10 cents a profit gained at the expense of the
In 1886 this same bullion was worth only 76.9 cents, giving to this same
class a net profit of 23 cents and making a net cost to all the people of
23 cents for the inestimable privilege of allowing the mine owners the chance
of using the Government and people of the United States as a stalking horse.
It would make their dollars cheaper to the mine owners, of course. How
would it help those who had to buy these same silver dollars by the sweat of
their brows and at the full price of 100 cents on the dollar?
WHAT FREE COINAGE WOULD HAVE COST.
Let us calculate the result of such financial legislation; let us see
what it would have cost the people of the United States to have given
the free coinage at the dates stated.
In 1878 the average cost of silver bullion, enough to make a standard
silver dollar, was 89 cents. In that year we coined 22,495,550 of these
dollars. At 11 cents on the dollar it would have cost the country just
82,474,510.50 to have thus accommodated the silver-mining interests of
A statement prepared at the Mint Bureau shows that the number of
silver dollars coined at the United States Mints during the fiscal year
ended June 30, 1897, was 21,203,701, on which the seigniorage or profit
to the Government amounted to $6,336, 104. 25. This profit was turned
into the Treasury from time to time as the coinage progressed, and was
used to reduce taxation instead of wandering into the pockets of the
silver producers, as would have been the case under free coinage. A
more monstrous instance of attempted diversion of public money was
THE SHERMAN LAW.
Under the operation of the Sherman law of 1890 it was found that the
Government was purchasing 54,000,000 ounces of silver per year, or nearly
all that was produced in the United States. This silver was stored in the
Treasury vaults, and Treasury notes issued for the same, which were re-
deemable in gold on demand. It can be readily seen that it would be only
a question of time when the Government would be obliged to suspend gold
payments and reach a silver basis if this were continued.
REPEAL OF THE SHERMAN LAW.
At a special session of the Fifty-third Congress, called in August, 1893,
after a long and spirited debate, the so-called Sherman law, on Novem-
ber 1, was repealed.
AMOUNT OF SILVER IN USE AS MONEY.
There is a widespread misunderstanding as to the actual amount of
silver in use as money by the Government. According to the statistics of
the Director of the Mint for 1897, there was coined into silver dollars, which
are either in circulation or lodged in the Treasury vaults, silver bullion to
secure Treasury notes, and subsidiary silver, the enormous amount of $634,-
509,781, all of which is in actual use as money. The total amount of gold in
use in the United States July 1, 1897, was $696,270,542, and of greenbacks
So it will be seen that there is almost as much silver in use as any othef
kind of ir.oney, and I believe it would be greatly to the interest of the Gov-
ernment and of the people if all paper money under $5 could be retired and
the silver dollar put in its place to do its work, instead of being stored in
the Government A aults. This is the case in France, Germany, and England,
where but very little, if any, paper or gold can be found of a less denomination,
than 1 in England, 20 marks in Germany and 20 francs in France, practi-
cally approximating $5 of American money.
REPUBLICANS TRUE TO THEIR PRINCIPLES.
These are official figures, from which every intelligent citizen should
be able to draw his own conclusions without further comment. They em-
body to a great extent the record of the Republican party on the wisest legis-
lation now on our statute books dealing with our finances and the elements
of permanent prosperity. The Republican party has again taken the initia-
tive in bringing order out of chaos, and, under the leadership of an able,
patriotic, and statesmanlike Chief Executive, President McKinley, is loyally
carrying out the principles of the platform adopted by the St. Louis con-
vention in 1896.
In harmony with the spirit of that platform, and in response to the de-
mands of nine-tenths of the suffering business interests of the United States,
the President called Congress together in special session to repeal the Wilson
bill. Congress enacted the Dingley bill, which is now in full force and effect,
and its beneficial influence is already making itself felt in every section of
The President, as one of the first acts of his Administration, appointed a
commission to go to Europe to seek the establishment of an equitable ar-
rangement with the leading commercial powers of the world for the use of
both silver and gold within the limits of a safe and stable international
policy, while he has also sent to Congress a message urging the appointment
of a non-partisan monetary commission to recommend supplementary legisla-
tion for the improvement of our banking and currency system along neces-
sary and expedient lines. The House of Representatives promptly adopted a
resolution in harmony with this message. Thus the Republican party is
loyally and fearlessly living up to its principles.
I have endeavored, Mr. Speaker, in these few remarks, to give a history of
the finances of this Governme'nt since the war; also showing the production
of silver and gold for the past three hundred and fifty years, believing that
the enormous production of silver during the past twelve years has had mucii
to do with its present bullion value.
OIR PENSION LAWS
What the Fifty-Fifth Congress Has Done
A SLANDER REFUTED
FROn THE SPEECH OF
Hon. GEORGE W. RAY,
OF NEW YORK.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
July 7, 1898.
OUR PENSION LAWS.
Mr. Ray said:
During 1 the Fifty-fifth Congress 3,825 private pension bills have been
introduced in the House alone and referred to the Committee on Invalid
Pensions, and 629, and possibly some more, have been introduced and re-
ferred to the Committee on Pensions. The most of the 629, however, refer
to service in wars other than the war of the rebellion.
March 31, 1898, the number of army and navy invalid pensioners
under general law (soldiers and seamen) was 334,624
The number of army and navy invalid pensioners under act of June
27, 1890 (soldiers and seamen), was 409,051
At least 20,000 of those pensioned under the general law did not
serve in the war of the rebellion, therefore deduct 20,000
Soldier and seaman pensioners of rebellion 733,675
A SLANDER REFUTED.
As the survivors of that war number at least 1,064,524, it will be seen
that THE OFT-REPEATED SLANDER THAT MORE MEN ARE DRAW-
ING PENSIONS AS SURVIVORS OF THE WAR OF THE REBELLION
THAN THERE ARE LIVING OF THAT CLASS IS FULLY ANSWERED
About one-third, 340,849, of the surviving soldiers, sailors, and marines
who served in the war of the rebellion are not on the pension rolls.
WHAT THE FIFTY-FIFTH CONGRESS HAS DONE.
During the present Congress the Senate has passed and sent to the
House 313 private pension bills referred to the Committee on Invalid Pen-
During the Fifty-fifth Congress, and we now approach the close of
the first regular session, during which all of eur pension work has been
done, the Committee on Invalid Pensions, of which I have the honor to
be chairman, has reported to the House 478 private pension bills, of which
408 have passed the House, and 254 have already passed both Houses, been
signed by the President, and are now laws. There has been no contention
over the bills reported and no man on either side has claimed the amount
reported to be excessive or undeserved except in two cases.
The Committee on Pensions f the House has reported and passed 77
private pension bills, of which 61 have passed both Houses and are now
laws. The total number of private pension bills that have been reported
favorably to the Hoxise during 1 the Fifty-fifth Congress is 555, and the total
number passed is 485, of which 322 have already become laws. Some 26
await the signature of the President.
As some of our Democratic friends for political effect have spread the
false report that this Republican Administration and this Republican Con-
gress are unfriendly and unfavorable to the old soldiers, it is well to com-
pare the work of this, the Fifty-fifth Congress, in special pension legisla-
tion with the work of the Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses, both
of which were Democratic.
The Fifty-third Congress (Democratic) passed a grand total of only
119 special pension bills during its three sessions, its entire life.
The Fifty-second Congress (also Democratic) passed a grand total of
217 private pension bills during both its sessions, its entire life. These
two Democratic Congresses during their five sessions passed a grand total
of 336 pension bills.
The House in the Fifty-fifth Congress (Republican) has in seven
months of one session reported and passed 485 private pension bills,
or 149 mor than did both the two preceding Democratic Congresses
during their five sessions and tkeir entire unfortunate existence. The
Fifty-fourth Congress during its entire life, both sessions, only passed
a total of 378 private pension bills that became laws, 107 less than
have already passed the House in the Fifty-fifth Congress,
jMr. RIDGELY. Will the gentleman tell us the number of bills intro-
Mr. RAY of New York. I am going to give it to you. There were more
introduced than now or about the same number.
It is hardly proper or consistent or honest for o\ir Democratic friends, in
view of these facts, to claim that this Congress is xmfriendly to the soldiers
and their widows and orphans or that it is a do-nothing Congress in pension
legislation. NO FAVORITISM HAS BEEN SHOWN; AND PENSION BILLS
INTRODUCED BY DEMOCRATIC AND POPULIST MEMBERS HAVE HAD
THE SAME ATTENTION AND CONSIDERATION ACCORDED THOSE IN-
TRODUCED BY REPUBLICANS.
PENSIONS NOW PAID.
On the 31st day of March, 1898, we had on the pension rolls the following
Under general law:
Army invalid (soldiers) 329,787
Navy invalid (seamen, etc.) 4,837
Under act of June 27, 1890:
Army invalid 394,702
Navy invalid 14,349
Total soldiers, sailors, and marines 743,675
Under general law:
Army widows and dependent relatives 93,376
Navy widows and dependent relatives 2,320
Under act of June 27, 1890:
Army widows and dependent relatives 118,056
Navy widows and dependent relatives 5,907
Total widows and dependent relatives 219,561
Army nurses 644
Total pensioners, war of the rebellion 963,880
Revolutionary pensioners 16
War of 1812 pensioners 2,523
Mexican war pensioners 18,293
Indian wars pensioners 6,262
Total pensioners March 31, 1898 990,974
in truth, about 1 person out of every 70 of our population draws a pen-
sion from the General Government.
In 1897 we paid pensions to the amount of $i;>9,949,717.35
Paid pension agents for disbursing 572,439.41
Paid expenses of Pension Bureau 3,415,343.66
Total expenses, year ending July 1, 1897 143,937,500.42
During the fiscal year ending July 1, 1898, we have paid, in round num-
bers, $148,000,000 to our pensioners.
WORK OF THE PENSION BUREAU.
Much has been said importing that the present Administration in its ad-
ministration of the pension laws through the present Commissioner of Pen-
sions, Hon. H. Clay Evans, has been and is unfriendly to the pension system
and to the old soldiers and their widows and orphans. A certain class of
pension agents and attorneys and Democrats (called statesmen) have been
exceedingly busy spreading this report. For a year or more during the last
of the Administration of President Cleveland pensioners were advised to hold
back their claims pending the approaching election and to present and press
claims for pension and increases as soon as the new President (certain to be
a Republican) should be inaugurated.
The result was that Commissioner Evans found the Bureau "swamped"
under a mass of new applications. The eager and expectant applicants could
brook no delay. They seemed to expect the immediate allowance of every
claim filed, whether for original pension, increase, or restoration to the rolls.
They did not pause to consider that such action would be impolitic, unwise,
and unjust. The propriety and necessity of a thorough examination of each
individual case wns a consideration not to be entertained, and as a result
there was considerable friction between pension attorneys and the Com-
BUT THE WORK OF THE BUREAU, IMPEDED AS IT IS BY THE
PRESENCE OF MANY INCOMPETENT CLERKS PLACED THERE BY A
DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATION, UNFRIENDLY TO THE OLD SOLD-
IERS AND TO THE PENSION SYSTEM, HAS GONE ON UNCEASINGLY,
LABORIOUSLY, AND FAITHFULLY. A comparison of work done and of
results obtained under the last Administration and the present will best tell
Comparison of pension claims allowed and disallowed for years 1894, 1895,
and 1896, and 1897 (nine months only included).
per 1110 uib.
General law original. &
1837 (9 months) ~ a 803
Act of 1890 oriyinal.
1894. ft 2,655
1895 c 2,710
1896 d 3,:-m
1897 (9 mouths) e 4,118
General lair increase.
1895 i 810
1897 (9 months) 9s;i
Act of l89Q incr*iu.
1897 (9 months) 7-iJ
, '/' lav: original.
1894, 1895, 1896 /719
1897 (9 months) i g 808
General lau increase.
1894,1895, 1898 924
1897 (9 months) 961
Act of 1 890 original.
1894, 1895, 18% 2,899
1897 (9 months) 4,118
Act of 1S90 increase.
1894, 1895, 1896 270
1897 (9 months) 742