the South with cotton, covered the Western plains with golden grain,
planted cities, laid rails for traffic, and strung wires for communica-
Still another cause has contributed to lower prices. Protective duties
have increased the number of factories, which, by competition among
themselves, have reduced prices. The more factories the more labor
employed; the more labor employed the more 'consumers; the more
consumers the bigger the town; the bigger the town the Better the
market for the farmer, and the better the market for the farmer the
more valuable the farm.
SILVER AND WHEAT.
The country had an opportunity to note the logic of partisan oratory
in the last campaign.
Ignoring the law of supply and demand;
Ignoring the fact that the extension of Western railroads in the
United States and Canada had carried seeds to unsown lands; that vast
wheat fields had sprung up along the way; that mighty harvests had
year after year been brought away to glut the world's supply, and
that the same is true of Eussia, India, and Argentina; it was said that
wheat and silver had been going downhill, side by side, joint victims
of the same inexorable law.
But in the heat of the last campaign, when this argument had been
blazoned in pamphlets and blared on rostrums, wheat went up and has
continued to go up and silver went down and has continued to go down.
Facts axe eternal; words are words.
The ratio of 16 to 1 has been talked of as if fixed by Omnipotent
edict; as if at the dawn of creation silver and gold were yoked in the
ratio of 16 to 1 in the moon's eclipse with weird incantation, while the
"lakes of bitumen rose boilingly higher and the slumbering earthquake
lay pillowed on fire;" and since that time no other ratio is genuine!
no other ratio is blown in the metal; every other ratio is a hoodoo!
Beyond the plains that rise toward the setting sun stand the
mountains veined and seamed with wealth untold; hut when the
mountains were lifted up and metals were fused in volcanic fires, no
power decreed that silver and gold should vein the rocks at 16 to 1.
And when men followed the overland trail, and railroads climbed
the western grade and tunneled out toward the Pacific, and the sound
of the miner's pick rang among the solitudes of the mountains, no
jxnvcr prescribed that silver and gold should be found at the ratio of
16 to 1.
And when silver and gold were found, no power prescribed that they
should be used at the ratio of 16 to 1.
And when silver and gold are used, no mere paper statute of any
single nation, which may happen to decorate or mar the map of the
world for a few hundred years, can compel the two metals to go yoked
in an arbitrary mint ratio which is not the commercial ratio.
Silver and gold have been the money of all time, but the ratio of ,
their usage and coinage has changed with the changing years.
As well try to keep the deck of a ship level in a rolling sea as to try
to make one ratio stand through time and change.
Congress can do much.
A united Republican majority is strong.
It can roll away the clouds of commercial gloom.
It can make the horizon blaze with the sunrise of returning pros-
perity and the wind vocal with the clatter and song of industry.
I repeat, Congress is powerful, but it is not in the power of Congress
to make a half equal to the whole.
It can not change the multiplication table.
It can not fix the value of commodities.
It can not fix by law the relative value of silver and gold.
It is no more in the power of Congress to make this nation richer by
calling 50 cents a dollar than it is in the power of Congress to make the
this nation bigger by calling half a mile a mile.
It is no more in the power of Congress to make me richer by calling
50 cents in my pocket a dollar than it is in the power of Congress to
make me 12 feet tall by calling 6 inches a foot.
It is no more in the power of Congress to make the farmer richer by
calling 50 cents a dollar than it is in the power of Congress to make the
farmer's farm bigger by calling half an acre an acre.
Neither the Congress of 1792, nor 1834, nor 1853; neither Wash-
ington, nor Hamilton, nor Jefferson, nor Jackson, nor any Administra-
tion in the United States; nor princes, potentates, or powers outside
of the United States, have ever been able singly and alone to make a
mint ratio control a commercial ratio. Yet now, in the closing years of
the nineteenth century, ignoring history, encouraged only by conjecture,
comes a party proposing to repeal the Gresham law by the unlimited
coinage of silver and gold at the ratio of 16 to 1, and make silver so
coined legal tender in payment of all debts, public and private, "without
the aid or consent of any other nation."
It was discovered long ago, first by Oresme, counselor to Charles V,
next by Copernicus, next by Thomas Gresham, master of the mint under
Queen Elizabeth, that with unlimited coinage of both metals at a fixed
ratio the metal. worth more at tbe mint than elsewhere will go to the
mint and be coined, and the metal worth less at the mint than elsewhere
will stay away.
THE GRESHAM LAW IN OUR HISTORY.
Tf gold or silver is worth more uncoined than coined, it will not be
coined, or, if already coined, it will not circulate.
Our own history has demonstrated this.
Congress has the constitutional power to "coin money, regulate the
value thereof, and of foreign coin."
Pursuant to this power the coinage act of 1792 was passed.
The coinage ratio was then fixed by Hamilton, Secretary of the Treas-
ury, and agreed to by Jefferson, then Secretary of State, not in reliance
upon any supposed power in Congress to keep and maintain the two
metals in circulation by law, but by looking abroad and ascertaining
the existing commercial ratio and seeking to make the mint ratio con-
And there were "struck and coined" at the mint coins of silver and
gold at the ratio of 15 to 1. But a mistake had been made. The legal
ratio did not conform to the commercial ratio.
Silver was overvalued at the mint, and so came to the mint, but gold
Nor did our silver dollars remain long in circulation, but went to
Mexico end the West Indies in exchange for Spanish dollars, which
were about three grains heavier than our own.
Their dollars were brought to our mint amd recoined for re-exchange,
and this endless chain of coinage and exchange went on without com-
mercial benefit to us till 1806, when the further coinage of the silver
dollar was stopped by order of Thomas Jefferson, then President.
By the acts of 1834 and 1837 Congress provided for the coinage of
silver and gold at the ratio of 16 to 1, but again the legal ratio did not
conform to the commercial ratio. This time gold was overvalued at
the mint and so went to the mint to be coined, while silver went abroad,
because 16 ounces of silver were worth more than an ounce of gold.
Up to 1853 silver subsidiary coin, viz, half-dimes, dimes, quarters,
and halves, had been coined at the ratio of 16 to 1; but persons without
regard for the Goddess of Liberty and the American eagle had melted
them down and sold them for bullion, because 16 ounces of silver were
worth more than 1 ounce of gold, and so worth more uncoined than
coined. Therefore in 1853 the coinage of subsidiary coins for private
account was stopped. Subsidiary coins were denied legal tender beyond
$5 and the bullion composing them was cut down more than 6 per
From 1834 down to the Bland-Allison Act of 1878 the country was
on a gold basis, except during the period of our civil war, when we
were on a greenback basis, and cheap paper drove both silver and gold
out of circulation and went down at times to 38 cents on a dollar.
Because silver drove gold out under the law of 1792, because gold
drove silver out under the laws of 1834 and 1837, and because cheap
paper drove both silver and gold out, we can not hope to be exempt
from the operation of the same law now. Instead of bimetallism we
would have silver monometallism, and instead of more money, less
money, until the void left by our departed gold could be filled by de-
preciated silver time enough for ruin, havoc, and disaster.
PRODUCTION AND COINAGE OF SILVER.
From the founding of our mint in 1792 down to 1873 there were
coined about eight millions of silver dollars and about one hundred
and thirtv-six millions of fractional and subsidiary coin.
Under the law of 1873 about 30,000,000 trade dollars were coined.
Under the Bland- Allison Act of 1878 not less than two million nor
more than four million dollars' worth of silver was purchased monthly
and coined until $378,166,793 were coined, but silver went down from
92 to 74 cents on the dollar.
The Sherman law of 1890 provided for the purchase at the market
price and coinage of 4,500,000 ounces of silver per month, or so much
thereof as should be offered. Under this law 168,674,682.53 fine ounces
of silver were purchased at a cost of $155,931,002, for which Treasury
notes were issued. The coinage of this bullion from 1890 to January
31, 1898, is 73,822,857 silver dollars, and there remains now uncoined
in the Treasury (January 31, 1898) silver bullion which cost $101,-
379,158, for which certificates are outstanding. In addition to coinage
under the Bland-Allison and Sherman laws, the coinage of subsidiary
silver has gone on, so that from February 12, 1873, to January 31, 1898,
$93,961,181.05 in subsidiary silver have also been added to our circula-
tion. And yet, notwithstanding this tremendous use of silver in the
United States since 1873, the price of silver has continued to go clown.
The total coinage of silver in the United States from 1792 to February
12, 1873, was $143,813,598.70, while the total coinage from February
12, 1873, to January 31, 1898, was $581,916,755.05.
In 1896 the Director of the Mint reported that the ralue of all the
silver money in all the world in 1873 was estimated at $1,816,565,657,
while in 1894 it had grown to $4,000,000,000, a gain of over two billions
one hundred millions in twenty-one years.
There had been added to the full legal tender of the world, then, in
twenty-one years, from 1873 to 1894, an amount of silver equal to the
accumulation of all the nations in all the ages down to that time.
In 1860 we had a per capita circulation o,f $13.85; in 1872 we had
a per capita circulation of $18.19; in 1896 we had a per capita circu-
lation of $21.10, and in 1897 we had a per capita circulation of $22.49.
If the quantative theory of money can be made to apply to a single
nation and prices rise, fall, or stand according to the amount of money
in circulation within its boundaries, then prices should have been sus-
tained within the United Stales.
PBICES GOVERNED BY INT^HNATIONAL MONEY SUPPLY.
The per capita money of the nations of the world varies. It is ahsurd
to suppose that the circulation of money will be restrained by national
No matter how many dollars per capita a single nation may have,
no matter how many dollars in which to measure its property, real and
personal, its money will run beyond its borders and seek the general
level, and the price of commodities in any single nation will have relation
to the general international supply of money, and not alone to the
money of that single nation.
In these days when factories touch ends the world over, and freight
by sea is less than freight by land, and distance is annihilated, no single
nation can by mere coinage legislation raise prices within its borders
measured in money of international circulation.
It is true that a nation may raise the price of its products locally
by putting cheap money into circulation for illustration, continental,
Confederate, or greenback money because the cheaper the money the
less it takes in commodities to buy a dollar; but no man can be com-
pelled to part with his property except for value received, and he may
name the price and the money in which it shall be paid.
It is true also that a nation may perpetrate upon its citizens the
wrong of legal-tender laws compelling them to receive in payment of
past-due debts money worth less than the money loaned, and govern-
ments may repudiate their debts or pay them in depreciated money.
But history denounces kings who have borrowed good money of their
subjects and repaid them in bad, and when government "of the people,
by the people" goes into the business of paying good debts in cheap
money, it means cheating "of the people by the people."
Contracts based on a 100-cent dollar should be held as valid and
binding as contracts based on a 12-inch foot or a 3-foot yard.
To say in swelling terms that this or any other nation, single handed
and alone, without the aid or consent of any other nation, can main-
tain silver and gold in circulation, yoked in the arbitrary ratio of
16 to 1, when the commercial ratio is something else is mere conjecture,
even if it be said so eloquently that phonographs are set rasping the
saying the country over.
Hence the Bepublican platform of 1896 says: "We are unalterably
opposed to every measure calculated to debase our currency or impair
the credit of our country; we are therefore opposed to the free coinage
of silver except by international agreement with the leading commercial
nations of the world."
Incident to silver monometallism is partial repudiation, by which
1. The laborer would be paid for a full day's work in clipped dollars
in dollars big in his pocket, but small at the grocery.
2. The pensioner who fought for the stability of our Government
would be paid in unstable money.
3. Life-insurance policies would be cashed to widows and orphans in
dollars worth less than the face of the policy.
4. Savings deposits and loan investments slowly paid to maturity
would be repaid in clipped dollars, worth less than the dollars invested.
5. Guardians, executors, and administrators would file their final ac-
counts and be discharged on payment of less than the trust estate.
Incident to silver monometallism, too, is the question whether this
nation, which stands now in the forefront of the progressive civilization
of the world, shall begin to pattern its finances after those of Mexico]
whether we shall slump to a semicivilized money standard or still main-
tain our proud place among the nations of the world, with coin the
image and superscription of which tell no lie, and with flag not lowered
to commercial half-mast.
Around the banner of delusion raised at Chicago demagogues re-
cruited an army of ignorance and vice, with plunder more than sug-
Very few of the rank and file of Democracy, perhaps, aimed to be
dishonest. The great mass of the people, of whatever party, advocate
their honest convictions and strive by their political acts to bring benefit
to themselves and to their country. But the leaders of the free-silver
crusade of 1896 openly avowed their purpose of repudiation, clamorously
appealing to the ignorant and to the vicious, seeking also by subtle
suggestion to enlist the sympathy and cooperation of conscientious
farmers and workingmen in the contest for a debased currency.
The successful business man was denounced as a criminal autocrat
with whom the laboring man ought to get even, forgetting that poverty
can give no employment to poverty; that the closed factory furnishes
no work, and the man out of work spends no money at the store.
Class was arrayed against class.
Firebrands were scattered from rear car platforms.
The doctrine of discontent was disseminated.
The policy of enriching all by the ruin of each was broached.
With such arguments it was sought to elect a President of all the
THE PUBLIC WEALTH.
What is the public wealth of America? It is not what the Govern-
ment owns, because the Government owns but little beyond a few forts
and arsenals, some public buildings and lands, and the graves of its
The public wealth of America is made up of the fortunes of its
It increases as population increases; it fluctuates as people plant and
build and traffic more or less, as new industries and new inventions give
new value to lands, mines, and forests, as the seasons bring harvests or
famines, as mutual confidence and common prosperity extend credit
from man to man, as money goes freely from hand to hand or hides for
fear of disaster.
When threats and fears of spoliation have caused money to go into
hiding instead of investment, and public confidence is shaken, then
public wealth is reduced beyond calculation.
Nations may coin money of silver and gold, but the best mint is the
mint of public confidence; and confidence is founded on order, and
order is not built upon an earthquake.
The Gold Standard
ITS EFFECT ON
MONEY and WAGES
Hon. EBENEZER J. HILL,
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Tuesday, April 12, 1898.
I have shown
FIRST- That the actual volume of money has enormously increased
under the gold standard.
SECOND. That this increase has exceeded the increase of population.
THIRD. That gold alone is now nearly threefold more abundant com-
pared with other money than gold and silver together were in 1873.
FOURTH. That gold alone is as capable of carrying tha credit system
of the country as gold and silver were in 1860.
THE GOLD STANDARD ITS EFFECT ON MONEY AND WAGES.
A STATEMENT OF FACTS.
Hon. EBENEZER J. HILL,
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Tuesday, April 12, 1898.
Mr. HILL said:
The oldest financial transaction of which I can find any account is re-
corded in the sixteenth verse of the twenty-third chapter of Genesis, where
we are told that, nearly four thousand years ago, Abraham, in buying a
burial place, weighed to Ephron in payment "400 shekels of silver, current
money with the merchant."
Abraham was a stranger and a sojourner in that land and paid his debt
in a money of commerce, an actual weight of silver bullion, for it was a
thousand years before governments had learned to coin money or fix by
law ratios between silver and gold.
But the Bible throws a curious side light upon this transaction, showing
that human nature was the same then as now, and that Abraham did as
all mankind have since done, took advantage of the customs of the country
and paid out of his poorest metal money, for the second verse of the thir-
teenth chapter tells us that Abraham was very rich in cattle, silver, and
GOLD THE NATTJBAL STANDARD.
We have no knowledge as to the relative value of the two metals at that
time, but the position of the word "gold" in the sentence clearly demon-
strates its greater importance, and from that day to this, no matter what
the coinage of any nation has prescribed or what change in values may
have been attempted by legislation, the world's standard of value has been
gold, and gold has been the "1," the unit of value by which all ratios have
Not only that, but to this day, whatever the law of any country may
declare to be legal tender, the money of commerce, the money current
with the merchant, the money used in adjustment of international balances,
is weighed as Abraham weighed his, and quantity and quality alone meas-
ure values, without reference to any marks that may be stamped upon it.
A while ago I saw in the Bank of England the judgment day of the coin-
age of the world.
A half dozen automatic scales were receiving the coins in hoppers, and,
sliding down long grooves, each coin rested a moment in a balance.
If light weight, the arm lifted and tossed the coin to the right.
If full weight, the arm dropped and the coin was thrown to the left.
It was justice working automatically.
The intrinsic worth of each piece preserved it as it was or sent it to the
Passing down into the vaults of that famous institution, I saw in one
room was $20,000,000 of American coin that had been run into gold bars.
They looked like copper ingots.
Each one was tagged with the assayer's certificate of weight and fineness
and was ready for sale, as iron or coal or copper would be, by weight.
Last year alone more than thirteen millions of foreign gold coin \\cre
received by the mint of the United States, and, without reference to the
form and stamp upon them, were melted into bars and valued by their
weight and fineness only.
Through all recorded time the intelligent choice of all mankind has mnrle
pure gold the final measure of values, even though its tools of exchange
may have been, from time to time, cattle, corn, metal, paper, or any other
of the many things used as currency which temporary convenience may
I do not believe that any people ever advanced far enough in the path of
civilizationto become familiar with metallic money but that, consciously
or unconsciously, its coinage oc token sj^stem bore some recognized relation
to gold as the standard of value.
There certainly is no nation in the world to-day which does not thus
Why this is so I need not stop to explain, for natural selection needs no
argument to justify itself.
It is enough that it is so and that every advocate of silver or any other
standard acknowledges it when he urges the use of anything else as money
on any other basis than 1 to 1, or an exact equality with gold.
Starting, then, with the assumption that the universal measure of value
is and always has been gold, the question naturally arises, Why should
anything else be used as money, and why should an artificial standard be
And here the second attribute of money appears as a tool of exchange.
As a standard measure of value quality alone is required, and a unit of
its kind would suffice for all the world, but as a tool of exchange a con-
venient number of units are needed, and, strange as it may seem, the
ruder and less developed society is, the greater the number required to
Hence it is that, as the nations of the earth have one after another
passed from barbarism to civilization, they have left behind them the
wampum, the cattle, and the slaves; then the iron, the lead, and the
copper, and reached out for the precious metals, silver and gold, as better
fitting their changed conditions, always striving for the best that was
During the past hundred years this process of evolution has gone for-
ward more rapidly than ever before until practically the whole world, and
actually all of the commercial world except Mexico, has suspended the free
and unlimited coinage of silver as standard money, and either adopted
the single gold standard, or a limited bimetallism such as obtains in the
United States, where silver is being coined on Government account, but
limited in quantity to our ability to maintain its parity with gold.
The reason for this great and sweeping change in the monetary systems
of the world is neither mysterious nor strange.
In my opinion it is simply the enormous increase in the production of
gold, the universally accepted measure of values, so that it not only prom-
ises to be but actually is now in the possession of mankind in sufficient
quantity to become under the more highly organized commercial methods
the best tool of exchange of which the world now has any knowledge.
Think for a moment what thia increase has been.
INCREASE OF GOLD SUPPLY.
During the three hundred and fifty years from the discovery of America
to the opening of the California mines in 1850 the entire world's product
of gold had been but little more than three billions of dollars' worth
($3, 121,830,000), or an annual average of eight and three-quarter millioi 3
It was only just before the beginning of this period that the art of
printing had been discovered, and during the greater part of these three
and a holf centuries the steam engine, the steamship, the railroad, the
telegraph, and the telephone were unknown.
None of the means of communication which now bring nations and
individuals the world over into daily and hourly touch with each, other in
their business relations were even thought of.
Cheeks, notes, drafts, and bills of exchange, by which 90 per cent of
the commercial transactions of the nineteenth century have been carried
on, had no existence then, and the modern system of banking had not been
Goldsmiths and jewelers were the bankers and brokers of that time, and
the actual gold and silver passed from man to man and nation to nation