E. A. Welty.

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3\(orth American 'Review



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Copyright, 1932, by

All Rights Reserved





3\(orth American ^Review

"Alfalfa Bill," 317.

ANDREWS, F. EMERSON. Human Engineering,


ANONYMOUS. Madame Zero, 53.
Aperitif, i, 97, 289, 385, 481.
Automobiles Will Come Back, 59.

Big Brothers in the Balkans, 519.

Bird (Poem), 273.

Birdsong (Poem), '535.

BISHOP, JOHN PEALE. Toadstools Are Poison

(Story), 504.

BOARDMAN, NORMAN. Mental Disarmament, 536.
BOYLE, JAMES E. Tariff Trivia, 369.
BRICKELL, HERSCHEL. The Literary Landscape,

BROWNELL, FRANCIS H. Silver Its Future as

Money, 234.
BRUCKER, HERBERT. Success or Failure at

Geneva? 147.
BUCKHAM, JOHN WRIGHT. Whittling, 175.

Can the Lion Tame Its Cubs? 492.

Carnival (Poem), 444.

CAROTHERS, NEIL. Silver a Senate Racket, 4.

CARTWRIGHT, FRANK T. Manchurian Muddle,


Chinese Sunset (Poem), 52.
COGGINS, HERBERT L. More Red Blood in

Mother Goose, 465.
COLEGROVE, KENNETH. The War Lords of Japan,

Contrasts (Poem), 398.

Debts and the Hoover Programme, 389.

Deep-Sea Sail, 326.

DEvVnr, WILLIAM A. Aperitif, i, 97, 289, 385,

481; Sodom and Tomorrow, 219.
Disarmament and Bootleg Armaments, 25.
Don Juan as a Collector, 274.

Eat and Grow Crazy, 346.
EINSTEIN, LEWIS. Disarmament and Bootleg
Armaments, 25.

Dead! 202.

FIELD, LOUISE MAUNSELL. Not for Love, 363;

Our Laggard Theatre, 73.
FOSTER, HUGH M. More Regulation? 41.
France vs. Germany, 193.
Franklin's Patriotic Fib, 543.
FROST, FRANCES. Bird (Poem), 273; Old Pasture

(Poem), 316.
Full Moon (Poem), 510.
Fumigating the Movies, 445.
Future of Aristocracy in America, The, 34.

GAITHER, RICE. The Shining Road (Story), in.

Gangs of Main Street, The, 341.

GARD, WAYNE. The Wheat Belt Looks Seaward,

GERHARD, GEORGE. Big Brothers in the Balkans,


Giant Cacti (Poem), 259.
GODWIN, MURRAY. Hamtramck vs. Ford, 450;

Motor City Witchcraft, 526.
Growing Pains of Progress, 120.
GUERARD, ALBERT. France vs. Germany, 193.

HAARDT, SARA. The Manor (Story), 137.
HALL, FRANCES. Chinese Sunset (Poem), 52.
HALLGREN, MAURITZ A. What France Really

Wants, ico.

Hamtramck vs. Ford, 450.
HANIGHEN, FRANK C. The Gangs of Main Street,


HARTMAN, HERBERT. Seeds (Poem), 174.


Hit the Pocketbook (Story), 209.
Hope for Liberalism, The, 293.
Hot Iron, 164.

Movies, 445.
Human Engineering, 511.

Inefficient, Incompetent or Dishonest, 16.

JOHNSON, GERALD W. Note on Race Prejudice,

KOHLER, DAYTON. The Search Goes On, 460.


LAFLAMME, GLADYS M. NacbtHed (Poem), 340.


Lassiter Place, The (Story), 31.
LEDWINKA, JOSEPH. Automobiles Will Come

Back, 59.

Let Mai thus Be Dead! 202.
LINDSAY, MALVINA. Mrs. Grundy's Vote, 485.
LINEAWEAVER, JOHN. The Lassiter Place (Story),


Literary Landscape, The, 86, 180, 279, 375, 471,

LOMBARD, NORMAN. The President's Opportu
nity, 432.

LOSELY, H. P. The Rule of Gold, 552.

LUCKIESH, M. A Scientific Fortune Teller, 438.

Madame Zero, 53.

Manchurian Muddle, 128.

Manor, The (Story), 137.

Mental Disarmament, 536.

Mexico Reaches a Turn, 157.

More Red Blood in Mother Goose, 465.

More Regulation? 41.

MORTON, DAVID. Birdsong (Poem), 535.

MOSES, MONTROSE J. Should Dramatic Critics
Be? 243; Who Won It This Year? 410.

Motor City Witchcraft, 526.

Mrs. Grundy's Vote, 485.


MURCHISON, CLAUDIUS. The Hope for Liberal
ism, 293.

Nachtlied (Poem), 340.
Nereid's Funeral (Poem), 96.
New Intellectual, The, 333.
Not for Love, 363.
Note on Race Prejudice, 226.
Nothing But Airplanes? 252.
NOVAK, SONIA RUTHELE. Giant Cacti (Poem),
259; The Primeval Present (Poem), 136.

Old Pasture (Poem), 316.
Our Laggard Theatre, 73.
Crazy, 346.

PALMER, JOHN McAuLEY. Franklin's Patriotic

Fib, 543.

PARKER, RALPH C. Nothing But Airplanes? 252.
PELL, HERBERT C. Inefficient, Incompetent or

Dishonest, 16; Why a Navy? 425.
Penury (Poem), 449.
Petee Hike (Story), 306.
PEYSER, ETHEL. That Servant Problem, 79.
President's Opportunity, The, 432.
Primeval Present, The (Poem), 136.
PROKOSCH, FREDERIC. Nereid's Funeral (Poem),


ROBINSON, HENRY MORTON. Walden in the Red,


RULE, JOHN T. Growing Pains of Progress, 120.
Rule of Gold, The, 552.

Scientific Fortune Teller, A, 438.

Search Goes On, The, 460.

Seeds (Poem), 174.

Shining Road, The (Story), ill.

Should Dramatic Critics Be? 243.

Silver a Senate Racket, 4.

Silver Its Future as Money, 234.

SMITH, GRANVILLE PAUL. Carnival (Poem), 444.

Sodom and Tomorrow, 219.

SPANNER, JACK. "Alfalfa Bill," 317.

Spirit Wrestler, The (Story), 65.

STAIT, VIRGINIA. Penury (Poem), 449.

Steady Pay, 557.

Success or Failure at Geneva? 147.

TALIAFERRO, EUGENE S. What to Do About the

Railroads, 354.
Tariff Trivia, 369.

(Story), 65.

TERRELL, UPTON. Petee Hike (Story), 306.
That Servant Problem, 79.
These Musical Electrons, 260.
Toadstools Are Poison (Story), 504.
TOLISCHUS, OTTO DAVID. Can the Lion Tame Its

Cubs? 492; Debts and the Hoover Programme,


TROY, WILLIAM. The New Intellectual, 333.
Two Aspects of Stabilization: The Rule of Gold,

552; Steady Pay, 557.
TYNAN, HENRY J. Steady Pay, 557.

VILLIERS, A. J. Deep-Sea Sail, 326.

Walden in the Red, 266.
War Lords of Japan, The, 399.
What France Really Wants, 100.
What to Do About the Railroads, 354.
Wheat Belt Looks Seaward, The, 419.
WHICKER, H. W. Why Amateurs? 300.
Whittling, 175.
Who Won It This Year? 410.
Why a Navy? 425.
Why Amateurs? 300.

tocracy in America, 34.
WILSON, RICHARD C. Mexico Reaches a Turn,

J 57-

WINN, MaRY DAY. Don Juan as a Collector, 274.
WORKING, PAUL. Hit the Pocketbook (Story),


Electrons, 260.

Tros Tyriusque mihi nutto discrimine agetur

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^th ^American





^Portrait o


ITH all the minor excitements
of moving in, we failed at first
to notice this nightly drama, but
after a week there was no more ig-
noring it. Our court was too small
for one thing, and for another they
lived directly below us. The sound of
their voices came through the floor
and also reverberated from the walls
across the way into our windows.

There was very little variety in
the procedure, at least the parts that
we could hear. First, a definitely
irate door slam; second, a murmur
of voices, in crescendo; third, a sud-
den, loud, shrill sentence : " For fifteen
years I've slaved to support you, and
this is what I get!" Then a male
voice stung to reproach: "I always
knew you'd throw it in my face."
And after that, confused shouts,
screams, more door slammings and
eventual calm.

Neither of us ever saw the hero
of these episodes, but one night we
started downstairs in the elevator
during the performance, and the
elevator stopped at the floor beneath
ours. A woman was crouched there
with her back toward us when the

door ope ned. She turned and showed
us one of the evilest expressions I
have ever seen, then composed her
features and asked the elevator boy
to get her a key, saying that she had
locked herself out.

There was no more than this to the
actual occurrences, but it was enough
to rouse my curiosity to the boiling
point. Why, I asked myself, should a
woman of this evident ill-humor
bother to support a man for fifteen
years ? He was not an invalid, I had
already gathered from certain of the
introductions to her nightly tirade:
he had taken some of her money,
gone out and spent it on what seemed
to her dissipation or nonessentials.
And if he was not disabled, why did
he put up with her shrewishness
why didn't he go out and find him-
self a job, then either shut her up or
leave her?

I sat down one day and worked
out the answers.

Tips name (I named him) was
JLJL Edward Gahagan, his wife's
Ada. Fifteen years before they had
used them, which might have saved
me trouble had I come on the scene

Copyright, 1932, by North American Review Corporation. All rights reserved.

Silver a Senate Racket

Who attacks one of the year's greatest issues

ON FEBRUARY 2o last the United greatly diminished. Concerted action
States Senate adopted a reso- by the great Occidental countries to
lution requesting President raise the price of silver would revive
Hoover to negotiate "with Govern- the purchasing power of the Orient,
ments" with a view to the cessation stimulate international trade, and
of silver bullion sales by those Gov- greatly benefit the stricken industry
ernments and suggesting that he call of the world. As Senator Borah ex-
a conference of nations to discuss the pressed it, the restoration of purchas-
uses and the status of silver as ing power "to nearly one-half the
money. The resolution was presented human family" would be a "first
by the important Foreign Relations step" toward ending the world de-
Committee, of which Senator Borah pression.

of Idaho is Chairman. It had been The resolution was widely ac-

initiated in a small sub-committee on claimed in the public press. Long be-

Chinese relations, which has Senator fore the date of the resolution, the

Pittman of Nevada as its Chairman, spectacular fall in the price of silver

It had unanimously passed the sub- had been front page news, and the

committee, the committee proper, involved interrelationships between

and the Senate as a whole. the value of silver bullion and the

On the face of it the resolution had economic situation in Latin America

a noble purpose. During the year and and the Far East had been widely

a half preceding its passage the price discussed. The tenor of newspaper

of silver had fallen to extraordina- comment, however, had been general

rily low levels, eventually reaching to the point of vagueness. The finan-

twenty-five cents an ounce a value cial questions involved bristle with

in terms of gold unprecedented in the difficult technicalities that call for

history of the world. The nations acute economic insight. The news-

that use silver as their chief currency, papers, furthermore, had sensed in

more especially China, had lost one- the repeated hostile references to

half their purchasing power in inter- sales by foreign governments the

national trade with gold standard presence of hidden factors. The pecu-

countries. Exports from Europe and liarly sectional complexion of the

America to the Orient had been movement for Government action,


the failure of the banks to participate
and the silence of the entire group of
professional economists had given
rise to editorial doubts.

President Hoover refused point-
blank to accede to either of the re
quests embodied in the resolution,
despite personal appeals by various
Senators, notably King of Utah and
Smoot of Utah. There was much
speculation and indecisive comment
in the press, none of which made very
clear the President's attitude. In
May the International Chamber of
Commerce met in Washington. Sena
tor King appeared as an unexpected
guest. According to the New York
'Times he was there as " a representa
tive of Western silver producers."
Before the session was over the Sena
tor had become chairman of a
"volunteer silver committee" and
had dragooned a reluctant body into
approving a resolution urging an
international conference on the silver
situation. But it developed that no
group of delegates from any nation
represented at the convention was
willing to call such a conference or
even to ask its home government to
sponsor it. Finally the Japanese
delegation, "yielding to persuasion,"
asked the Tokio Government to con
sider the matter. The Japanese
Government did consider the idea
and emphatically rejected it. The
Nationalist Government of China
likewise abandoned the project after
some tentative gestures.

Obviously we have here a conflict
of interest not fully delineated in the
public prints. When the President
unqualifiedly refuses to obey what
amounts to a mandate of the Senate,
unanimously passed, there must be
weighty reasons behind his action.

When the financial interests of Amer
ica, the professional economists, and
the ministries of every foreign gov
ernment are hostile to a movement
which claims for its sole objectives
the relief of suffering millions and the
termination of a grievous economic
stagnation, even the most casual ob
server begins to suspect the presence
of esoteric elements.

WHAT is the real significance of
this militant attempt to coerce
the United States into official inter
ference with the price of silver bul
lion ? The answer can not be found in
a consideration of the intricate prob
lems arising from recent develop
ments in international finance or the
present status of silver, although
even here the facts are assuredly re
vealing. The complete answer is to
be found in history. To understand
fully the import of the present move
ment it is necessary first to follow a
thin thread of silver through three-
quarters of a century of propaganda,
political trickery, and brazen sub
ordination of public welfare to pri
vate interest.

The story begins long before the
Civil War. This country began its
independent existence with a bime
tallic coinage standard, erroneously
ascribed to Alexander Hamilton, but
actually initiated by Thomas Jeffer
son. This double standard was not a
success. In 1853 Congress abolished
the free coinage of the silver pieces
below the dollar and made them
"subsidiary," that is, small-change
coins to be made from silver bought
as a commodity and to be sold by the
Government for gold. The provisions
of the law were simple and impos
sible of misinterpretation. But the


Director of the Mint of that day, a redeemed. The only objection to re-

" lame-duck" politician from Penn- demption, which was imperative as a

sylvania, administered the law in matter of common decency, was that

high-handed fashion, with two nota- redemption would slightly reduce the

ble results. One was an avalanche of volume of purchases of silver bullion

silver coins that flooded the country for subsidiary coinage by the Gov-

and burdened trade and finance for ernment.

many years. The other was an enor- In 1875 Congress enacted, in con-

mous profit for the new silver indus- nection with its efforts to withdraw

try in the territories of the West. The the Civil War " shinplaster " frac-

procedure was maintained from 1853 tional notes, a law which called for

to 1875, un der three mint directors the purchase of large amounts of

and five Secretaries of the Treasury, silver bullion, the coinage of the sil-

In 1873 tne coinage laws were re- ver into fractional pieces, and the

vised. The improper administration exchange of these coins for the

of the silver coinage was peremp- shinplasters. The measure was an

torily prohibited in the bill. But at egregious blunder, financially and

the last moment a committee inter- administratively unworkable. Its im-

polated a clause permitting the pro- mediate repeal was the only solution,

cedure for two years more. Even at But the friends of silver had passed

this early date the silver interests, it, and the Treasury found another

inchoate and unorganized as they procedure. Secretary Bristow bought

were, had learned the art of using vast quantities of silver bullion, had

Treasury officials and Congressional it coined into dimes, quarters, and

committees as aids to the mining in- half-dollars, and stored the coins in

dustry. the vaults, thus entirely nullifying

The law of 1873 contained a pro- the only purpose of the law, but

vision creating a new and special carrying out that part which aided

kind of silver dollar. This "trade silver. On the floor of the House it

dollar" was solely for use in Oriental was charged, without contradiction,

trade, and its circulation in the that the Secretary's purchases were

United States was unthinkable. But timed to suit the plans of silver bul-

in the law there was a peculiarly lion brokers, and it was broadly

worded clause that made this piece hinted that Treasury officials were

legal tender in the payment of domes- personally interested in the flood of

tic debts. The provision assured silver stocks then on the market,

domestic circulation for the trade The purchases of silver subjected the

dollar and consequently a new mar- Government to a loss of considerably

ket for silver. Millions of trade dol- more than $ 1,000,000.
lars were coined and forced upon To this time governmental action

ignorant and helpless classes of the in connection with silver coinage,

population, such as the mine-workers though tainted with bad faith and

in Pennsylvania. It required two sinister motives, had resulted only

years of bitter battling in Congress to in business inconvenience, mistreat-

have the coinage stopped and eleven ment of the unsophisticated elements

more years to have the debased coins in the population, and a loss to the


Treasury and the people of a half done. If the silver representatives in

dozen millions of dollars. We come Congress, who had been able to write

now into an era in which the silver into the bill the trade dollar provi-

interests, shrewd in tactics and re- sions they desired, had even remotely

lentless in rapacity, were to have grasped the meaning of the elimina-

their way at the cost of national in- tion of the silver dollar, the law of

jury. The silver dollar had, legally, 1873 would never have been passed,

been a standard bimetallic coin since These interests knew every word in

1792. It had never been in circula- the measure.

tion, and after 1 834 its metallic In the fall of 1 873 the value of sil-

value was such that it could not be ver began a precipitate decline, al-

coined or circulated. For years the most as rapid as that of the present

mint had sold specimens of the coin day. The price soon reached a point

to collectors as a curiosity. In the where bullion owners could have

revision of 1 873 this unknown and made a large profit from coining dol-

futile piece was dropped. lars at the old ratio of sixteen to one.

No legislative act in our history But the law had abolished bimet-

has created so much rancor and allism. This development arrived

public disturbance. The Republican simultaneously with the long and

Party maintained through three presi- painful depression which began in

dential campaigns that the dropping 1873. There was a world-wide decline

of the dollar was a deliberate, rea- in general prices. The situation

soned act of a Congress that believed worked sad injury to the Middle

in the gold standard and intended to West, with its over-expanded agri-

abolish bimetallism. The Democrats culture, and to the South, torn by

declared with fanatic hate that this war and reconstruction,
"crime of '73" was a surreptitious

trick perpetrated by a committee /npHE stage was set for the most

under the influence of Eastern bank- JL colorful political drama in Ameri-

ers. It is a question which of these can history. The silver interests

two famous party doctrines is the seized upon the depression as their

more absurdly incorrect. The omis- opportunity. American bimetallism,

sion of the dollar was a routine mat- which had never worked in practice,

ter of coinage legislation, confirming would end a world depression. The

a condition that had existed for dropping of the silver dollar, which

forty years without public interest or had been unanimously accepted by

comment. Not one person connected Congress, was a fraud perpetrated on

with the measure had recognized the a distressed people. The "dollar of

significance of this alteration of the our fathers," which the fathers had

coinage standard. The Treasury offi- never known, had been stolen from

cial who drafted the measure, the the common people by the interests,

committees that worked on it for The masses of the people, economi-

three years, the Congress that passed cally illiterate and sorely stricken by

it, and the President who approved depression, eagerly clutched at this

it were alike innocent of any real economic straw. Led by Senators

understanding of what they had Jones, Teller, Bland and others, the


free silver members of Congress kept glad to accept this hybrid measure in

the country in turmoil for two lieu of the almost certain establish-

decades. ment of bimetallism. The annual

The revival of free silver at sixteen gift to the silver miners became a
to one would have involved the routine part of Treasury operations,
country in a financial disaster with- It was maintained for twelve years,
out parallel in our history, and yet For a time the measure did no
the passage of such a measure was harm. A steady flow of dollars poured
imminent for a generation. The po- from the mints. But the coin was
litical history of the times is an open clumsy, unfamiliar, and of very
chapter, but only the close student dubious value. The general public
of Congressional history knows what rejected it. The negligible population
legislative tricks and partisan strata- of the West, for partisan purposes,
gems were employed to obtain an accepted the coin, as did the South-
increased coinage of silver and how ern Negroes, whose inability to read
narrowly national financial suicide led them to reject printed bills. The
was averted. Bill after bill dealing great bulk of the dollars poured back
with routine matters of finance car- into the Treasury in tax payments,
ried open provisions or disguised Eventually their ownership was
"jokers " of bimetallic purpose. Sena- transferred from the Treasury, where
tor Sherman himself introduced one they were a danger and an embar-
of these jokers. The House actually rassment, to the general public
passed such a measure. through the device of the silver

In the end the silver forces were certificate. The legal ownership of

too powerful to be further resisted, the coins was vested in the holders of

In desperation the sound money the certificates, while the coins lay in

members accepted the Bland-Allison a huge inert mass in the Treasury.
Act. The measure may justly be ac- For a time the silver interests were

claimed the most inexcusable finan- content with the subsidy they had

cial blunder in a century-long series extracted, but the American output

of financial mistakes by Congress, of silver was increasing. In the Sher-

In effect it merely ordered the man Act of 1890 there was incorpo-

United States to buy and coin into rated, as part of a "log-rolling"

silver dollars not less than $24,000,- combination of measures in that

ooo worth of silver bullion a year. It famous law, a silver-purchase clause,

did not restore bimetallism. It did It was virtually a provision requiring

not stimulate business by increasing the Government to double its pur-

the volume of money in circulation, chases of silver bullion. The amount

It merely forced the people of this to be purchased was exactly the

country to buy the annual output of annual volume produced in United

our silver mines. Inasmuch as this States mines. So open was the intent

was the sole objective of the silver to take care of the silver market that

Senators they ceased their clamor, the framers of the law did not trouble

The people were deceived by the ap- themselves with provision for the

parent restoration of silver coinage, coinage or other disposition of all the

and the gold monometallists were metal to be purchased. By 1893 the


two silver-buying laws had forced drove the price to more than $i.

into the currency more than $400,- In 1918 the British Government

000,000 in new money. The gold found itself unable to obtain enough

standard could not stand the strain, silver to maintain the gold-exchange

Online LibraryE. A. WeltyThe North American review (Volume 233) → online text (page 1 of 70)