The A B C of Money
August 20, 2006
This splendid article was written by Andrew Carnegie — yes, the steel baron — ad appeared in the North American Review in 1891. Silver had been “demonetized” beginning around 1875 as gold-linked paper bills replaced silver bullion for smaller transactions worldwide. Carnegie describes this transition in some detail. Silver had previously — for thousands of years — traded at a ratio of about 15 or 16 oz. of silver per oz. of gold. After the “demonetization,” silver’s value fell to about 33:1 at the end of the 19th century and as far as 100:1 during the 20th. At the time Carnegie was writing, a movement was afoot to legalize the “free coinage of silver.” “Coinage” means that a person could take silver bullion to the US Treasury and get it made into coin at a ratio of 16:1. With the market value of silver at perhaps 30:1, this means that you could get a “dollar” coin of silver from $0.50 of bullion. This amounted to a 2:1 devaluation of the dollar, which was very much favored by indebted interests at the time, particularly farmers who wanted to pay back their debts in cheap silver rather than expensive gold. Farmers had been having a hard time because railways and steamships had opened up huge tracts of farmland and made their products accessible to a continent-wide and worldwide market. This led to mammoth harvests in the 1890s and depressed agricultural prices. Arguments such as Carnegie’s carried the day, and the Gold Standard Act of 1900 officially put the US on a monometallic standard, following the course of other countries around the world.
Despite these political specifics, the article is a wonderful introduction to bullion-based money in a general sense, and an illustration of how people thought about money before they were dumbed-down in the 20th century.
This was made from an optical scan of the original publication, and may contain numerous grammatical errors. As far as I know, this is the only complete text-based version of this article on the Internet (good for cutting and pasting etc.). The link below goes to the original optical scans, provided by Cornell University.
BY ANDREW CARNEGIE.
I SUPPOSE every one who has spoken to or written for the public has wished at times that everybody would drop everything and just listen to him for a few minutes. I feel so this morning, for I believe that a grave injury threatens the people and the progress of our country simply because the masses–the farmers and the wage-earners–do not understand the question of money. I wish therefore to explain “money” in so simple a way that all can understand it.
Perhaps some one in the vast audience which I have imagined I am about to hold spellbound cries out: “Who are you–a gold- bug, a millionaire, an iron-baron, a beneficiary of the McKinley Bill?” Before beginning my address, let me therefore reply to that imaginary gentleman that I have not seen a thousand dollars in gold for many a year. So far as the McKinley Bill is concerned, I am perhaps the one man in the United States who has the best right to complain under it, for it has cut and slashed the duties upon iron and steel, reducing them 20, 25, and 30 per cent.; and if it will recommend me to my supposed interrupter, I beg to inform him that I do not greatly disapprove of these reductions, that as an American manufacturer I intend to struggle still against the foreigner for the home market, even with the lower duties fixed upon our product by that bill, and that I am not in favor of protection beyond the point necessary to allow Americans to retain their own market in a fair contest with the foreigner.
It does not matter who the man is, nor what he does,–be he worker in the mine, factory, or field, farmer, laborer, merchant, manufacturer, or millionaire,–he is deeply interested in understanding this question of money, and in having the right policy adopted in regard to it. Therefore I ask all to hear what I have to say, because what is good for one Worker must be good for all, and what injures one must injure all, poor or rich.
To get at the root of the subject, you must know, first, why money exists; secondly, what money really is. Let me try to tell you, taking a new district of our own modern country to illustrate how “money” comes. In times past, when the people only tilled the soil, and commerce and manufactures had not developed, men had few wants, and so they got along without “money” by exchanging the articles themselves when they needed something which they had not. The farmer who wanted a pair of shoes gave so many bushels of corn for them, and his wife bought her sun-bonnet by giving so many bushels of potatoes; thus all sales and purchases were made by exchanging articles–by barter.
As population grew and wants extended, this plan became very inconvenient. One man in the district then started a general store and kept on hand a great many of the things which were most wanted, and took for these any of the articles which the farmer had to give in exchange. This was a great step in advance, for the farmer who wanted half a dozen different things when he went to the village had then no longer to search for half a dozen different people who wanted one or more of the things he had to offer in exchange. He could now go directly to one man, the store- keeper, and for any of his agricultural products he could get most of the articles he desired. It did not matter to the storekeeper whether he gave the farmer tea or coffee, blankets or a hayrake nor did it matter what articles he took from the farmer, wheat or corn or potatoes, so he could send them away to the city and get other articles for them which he wanted. The farmer could even pay the wages of his hired men by giving them orders for articles upon the store. No dollars appear here yet, you see; all is still barter–exchange of articles; very inconvenient and very costly, because the agricultural articles given in exchange had to be hauled about and were always changing their value.
One day the storekeeper would be willing to take, say, a bushel of wheat for so many pounds of sugar; but upon the next visit of the farmer it might be impossible for him to do so. He might require more wheat for the same amount of sugar. But if the market for wheat had risen and not fallen, you may be sure the storekeeper didn’t take less wheat as promptly as he required more. Just the same with any of the articles which the farmer had to offer. These went up and down in value; so did the tea and the coffee, and the sugar and the clothing, and the boots and the shoes which the storekeeper had for exchange.
Now, it is needless to remark that in all these dealings the storekeeper had the advantage of the farmer. He knew the markets and their ups and downs long before the farmer did, and he knew the signs of the times better than the farmer or any of his customers could. The cute storekeeper had the inside track all the time. Just here I wish you to note particularly that the store- keeper liked to take one article from the farmer better than another; that article being always the one for which the storekeeper had the best customers–something that was most in demand. In Virginia that article came to be tobacco; over a great portion of our country it was wheat,–whence comes the saying, “As good as wheat.” It was taken everywhere, because it could be most easily disposed of for anything else desired. A curious illustration about wheat I find in the life of my friend, Judge Mellon, of Pittsburg, who has written one of the best biographies in the world because it is done so naturally. When the Judge’s father bought his farm near Pittsburg, he agreed to pay, not in “dollars,” but in “sacks of wheat “–so many sacks every year. This was not so very long ago.
What we now call “money” was not much used then in the West or South, but you see that in its absence experience had driven the people to select some one article to use for exchanging other articles, and that this was wheat in Pennsylvania and tobacco in Virginia. This was done, not through any legislation, not because of any liking for one article more than another, but simply because experience had proved the necessity for making the one thing serve as “money” which had proved itself best as a basis in paying for a farm or for effecting any exchange of things; and, further, different articles were found best for the purpose in different regions. Wheat was “as good as wheat “for using as “money,” independent of any law. The people had voted for wheat and made it their “money”; and because tobacco was the principal crop in Virginia, the people there found it the best for using as “money” in that State.
Please observe that in all eases human society chooses for that basis-article we call “money” that which fluctuates least in price, is the most generally used or desired, is in the greatest, most general, and most constant demand, and has value in itself. “Money” is only a word meaning the article used as the basis- article for exchanging all other articles. An article is not first made valuable by law and then elected to be “money.” The article first proves itself valuable and best suited for the purpose, and so becomes of itself and in itself the basis-article–money. It elects itself. Wheat and tobacco were just as clearly “money” when used as the basis-article as gold and silver are “money” now.
We take one step further. The country becomes more and more populous, the wants of the people more and more numerous. The use of bulky products like wheat and tobacco, changeable in value, liable to decay, and of different grades, is soon found troublesome and unsuited for the business of exchange of growing articles, and they are therefore unfit to be longer used as “money.” You see at once that we could not get along to-day with grain as “money.” Then metals proved their superiority. These do not decay, do not change in value so rapidly, and they share with wheat and tobacco the one essential quality of also having value in themselves for other purposes than for the mere basis of ex- change. People want them for personal adornment or in manufactures and the arts–for a thousand uses; and it is this very fact that makes them suitable for use as “money.” Just try to count how many purposes gold is needed for, because it is best suited for those purposes. It meets us everywhere. We cannot even get married without the ring of gold.
Now, because metals have a value in the open market, being desired for other uses than for the one use as “money,” and be- cause the supply of these is limited and cannot be increased as easily as that of wheat or tobacco, these metals are less liable to fluctuate in value than any article previously used as “money.” This is of vital importance, for the one essential quality that is needed in the article which we use as a basis for exchanging all other articles is fixity of value. The race has instinctively al- ways sought for the one article in, the world which most resembles the North Star among the other stars in the heavens, and used it as “money “–the article that changes least in value, as the North Star is the star which changes its position least in the heavens; and what the North Star is among stars the article people elect as “money” is among articles. All other articles revolve around it, as all other stars revolve around the North Star.
We have proceeded so far that we have now dropped all perishable articles and elected metals as our “money”; or, rather, metals have proved themselves better than anything else for the standard of value, “money.” But another great step had to be taken. When I was in China, I received as change shavings and chips cut off a bar of silver and weighed before my eyes in the scales of the merchant, for the Chinese have no “coined” money. In Siam “cowries” are used–pretty little shells which the natives use as ornaments. Twelve of these represent a cent in value. But you can well see how impossible it was for me to prevent the Chinese dealer from giving me less than the amount of silver to which I was entitled, or the Siam dealer from giving me poor shells, of the value of which I knew nothing. Civilized nations soon felt the necessity of having their governments take certain quantities of the metals and stamp upon them evidence of their weight, purity, and real value. Thus came the “coinage” of metals into “money “–a great advance. People then knew at sight the exact value of each piece, and could no longer be cheated, no weighing or testing being necessary. Note that the government stamp did not add any value to the coin. The government did not attempt to “make money” out of nothing; it only told the people the market value of the metal in each coin, just what the metal–the raw material–could be sold for as metal and not as “money.”
But even after this much swindling occurred. Rogues cut the edges and then beat the coins out, so that many of these became very light. A clever Frenchman invented the “milling” of the edges of the coins, whereby this robbery was stopped, and civilized nations had at last the coinage which still remains with us, the most perfect ever known, because it is of high value in itself and changes least. An ideally-perfect article for use as “money” is one that never changes. This is essential for the protection of the workers–the farmers, mechanics, and all who labor; for nothing fends to make every exchange of articles a speculation so much as “money” which changes in value, and in the game of speculation the masses of the people are always sure to be beaten by the few who deal in money and know most about it.
Nothing places the farmer, the wage-earner, and all those not closely connected with financial affairs at so great a disadvantage in disposing of their labor or products as changeable “money.” All such are exactly in the position occupied by the farmer trading with the storekeeper as before described. You all know that fish will not rise to the fly in calm weather. It is when the wind blows and the surface is ruffled that the poor victim mistakes the lure for a genuine fly. So it is with the business affairs of the world. In stormy times, when prices are going up and down, when the value of the article used as money is dancing about–up to-day and down to-morrow–and the waters are troubled, the clever speculator catches the fish and fills his basket with the victims. Hence the farmer and the mechanic, and all people having crops to sell or receiving salaries or wages, are those most deeply interested in securing and maintaining fixity of value in the article they have to take as “money.”
When the use of metals as money came, it was found that more than two metals were necessary to meet all requirements. It would not be wise to make a gold coin for any smaller sum than a dollar, for the coin would be too small; and we could not use a silver coin for more than one dollar, because the coin would be too large. So we had to use a less valuable metal for small sums, and we took silver; but it was soon found that we could not use silver for less than ten-cent coins, a dime being as small a coin as can be used in silver; and we were compelled to choose something else for smaller coins. We had to take a metal less valuable than silver, and we took a mixture of nickel and cop- per to make five-cent pieces; but even then we found that nickel was too valuable to make one- and two-cent pieces, and so we had to take copper alone for these–the effort in regard to every coin being to put metal in it as nearly as possible to the full amount of what the government stamp said the coin was worth.
Thus for one cent in copper we tried to put in a cent’s worth of copper; in the “nickel” we tried to put in something like five cents’ worth of nickel and copper; but because copper and nickel change in value from day to day, even more than silver, it is impossible to get in each coin the exact amount of value. If we put in what was one day the exact value, and copper and nickel rose in the market as metal, coins would be melted down by the dealers in these metals and a profit made by them, and we should have no coin left. Therefore we have to leave a margin and always put a little less metal in these coins than would sell for the full amount they represent. Hence all this small coinage is called in the history of money “token money.” It is a “token” that it will bring so much in gold. Anybody who holds twenty “nickels” must be able to get as good as one gold dollar for them in order that these may safely serve their purpose as money. Nations generally fix a limit to the use of “token money,” and make it legal tender to a small amount. For instance, in Britain no one can make another take “token money” for more than ten dollars, and all silver coins there are classed as “token money.”
I cannot take you any more steps forward in the development of “money,” because in the coined-milled metals we have the last step of all; but I have some things yet to tell you about it.
Although one would think that in coined metal pieces we had reached perfection, and that with these the masses of the people could not be cheated out of what is so essential to their well-being,–” honest money,”–yet one way was found to defraud the people even when such coin was used. The coins have some- times been “debased” by needy governments after exhausting wars or pestilence, when countries were really too poor or too weak to recover from their misfortunes. A coin is called a “debased” coin when it does not possess metal enough to bring in the open market the sum stamped upon the coin by the government. There is nothing new about this prac- tice, which always cheats the masses. It is very, very old. Five hundred and seventy-four years before Christ the Greeks debased their coinage. The Roman emperors debased theirs often when in desperate straits. England debased hers in the year 1,300. The Scotch coin was once so debased that one dollar was worth only twelve cents. The Irish, the French, German, and Spanish governments have all tried debased coin when they could wring no more taxes directly out of their people, and had therefore to get more money from them indirectly. It was always the last resort to “debase” the coinage. These instances happened long ago. Nations of the first rank in our day do not fall so low. I must pause to make one exception to this statement. I bow my head in shame as I write it–the republic of the United States. Every one of its silver dollars is a “debased coin.” When a government issues “debased coin,” it takes leave of all that experience has proved to be sound in regard to money. Sound finance requires the government only to certify to the real value possessed by each coin issued from its mints, so that the people may not be cheated. Every time the government stamps the words “One Dollar” upon 3 7fl grains of silver, it stamps a lie; disgraceful, but, alas! too true, for the silver in it is worth to- day not a dollar, but only seventy-eight cents.
Another delusion about money has often led nations into trouble–the idea that a government could “make money” simply by stamping certain words upon pieces of paper, just as any of you can “make money” by writing a note promising to pay one hundred dollars on demand. But you know that when you do that, you are not making “money,” but making “a debt”; so is any government that issues its promise to pay. And there is this about both the individual and the government who take to issuing such notes upon a large scale: they seldom pay them. The French did this during their Revolution, and more recently the Confederate States “made money” at a great pace, and issued bonds which are now scarcely worth the paper they are printed upon. Every experiment of this kind has proved that there can be no money “made” where there is not value behind it. Our own country issued bonds, and the pe0ple of other nations bought them for forty cents upon the dollar, although they bore and paid interest at 6 per cent. in gold, so great was the fear that even the bonds of this country would not prove an exception to the usual fate of such securities issued during trying times. Only because the government kept strict faith and paid the interest and principal of these bonds in gold, and never in silver or in any depreciated currency, has the value of its bonds advanced, and the credit of the United States become the highest in the world, exceeding that even of Great Britain. There has never been a better illustration of the truth that in dealing with “money,” as in everything else, ” honesty is the best policy.” Our government also issued some notes known as “greenbacks.” But the wise men who did this took care to provide a fund of one hundred millions of dollars in gold to redeem them, so that any man having a greenback can march to the treasury and receive for it one dollar in gold.
But I am now to tell you another quality which this basis-article of metal has proved itself to possess, which you will find it very difficult to believe. The whole world has such confidence in its fixity of value that there has been built upon it, as upon a sure foundation, a tower of “credit” so high, so vast, that all the silver and gold in the United States, and all the greenbacks and notes issued by the government, only perform 8 per cent. of the exchanges of the country. Go into any bank, trust company, mill, factory, store, or place of business, and you will find that for every one hundred thousand dollars of business transacted, only about eight thousand dollars of “money’s is used, and this only for petty purchases and payments. Ninety-two per cent. of the business is done with little bits of paper–checks, drafts. Upon this basis also rest all the government bonds, all State, county, and city bonds, and the thousands of millions of bonds the sale of which has enabled our great railway systems to be built, and also the thousands of millions of the earnings of the masses deposited in savings-banks, which have been lent by these banks to various parties, and which must be returned in “good money” or the poor depositor’s savings will be partially or wholly lost.
The business and exchanges of the country, therefore, are not done now with “money “–with the article itself. Just as in former days the articles themselves ceased to be exchanged, and a metal called “money” was used to effect the exchanges, so to-day the metal itself–the “money “–is no longer used. The check or draft of the buyer of articles upon a store of gold deposited in a bank–a little bit of paper–is all that passes between the buyer and the seller. Why is this bit of paper taken by the seller or the one to whom there is a debt due? Because the taker is confident that if he really needed the article itself that it calls for.– the gold–he could get it. He is confident also that he will not need the article itself, and why? Because for what he wishes to buy the seller or any man whom he owes will take his check, a similar little bit of paper, instead of gold itself; and then, most vital of all, every one is confident that the basis-article cannot change in value. For remember it would be almost as bad if it rose in value as if it fell; steadiness of value being the essential quality in “money” for the masses of the people.
When, therefore, people clamor for more “money” to be put in circulation,–that is, for more of the article which we use to effect an exchange of articles,–you see that more “money” is not so much what is needed. Nobody who has had wheat or tobacco or any article to sell has ever found any trouble for want of “money” in the hands of the buyer to effect the exchange. We had a very severe financial disturbance iu this country only three months ago. “Money,” it was said, could not be had for busi- ness purposes; but it was not the metal itself that was lacking, but “credit,” confidence, for upon that, as you have seen, all business is done except small purchases and payments which can scarcely be called “business” at all. To-day the business man cannot walk the street without being approached by people begging him to take this “credit” at very low rates of interest: at 2 per cent. per annum “money” (credit) can be had day by day. There has been no considerable difference in the amount of “money” in existence during the ninety days. There was about as much money in the country in January as there is in March. It was not the want of money, then, that caused the trouble. The foundation had been shaken upon which stood the ninety-two thousand of every one hundred thousand dollars of business. The metal itself and notes–real “money,” as we have seen–only apply to the eight thousand dollars. here comes the gravest of all dangers in tampering with the basis. You shake directly the foundation upon which rests 92 per cent. of all the business exchanges of the country,–confidence, credit,–and indirectly the trifling 8 per cent. as well which is transacted by the exchange of the metal it- self or by government notes; for the standard article is the foundation for every exchange, both the ninety-two thousand and the eight thousand dollars. So, you see, if that be under- mined, the vast structure, comprising all business, built upon it, must totter.
I have finished telling you about “money.” We come now to apply the facts to the present situation, and here we enter at once upon the silver question; and I am sure you are all attention, for it is the most pressing of all questions now before you. You see that the race, in its progress, has used various articles as “money,” and discarded them when better articles were found, and that it has finally reached coined pieces of valuable metal as the most perfect article. Only two metals are used among civilized nations as the standard metal–gold in some countries, silver in others. No country can have two standards. Centuries ago silver was adopted as the standard in China, India, and Japan, and more recently in the South American republics; and it still is the standard in these countries. When adopted it was a wise choice; silver had nearly double its present value, and was then steady, and it answered all the needs of a rural people.
The principal nations of Europe and our own country, being further advanced and having much greater business transactions, found the necessity for using as a standard a more valuable metal than silver, and gold was adopted; but as silver was used as money in many parts of the world as the standard, and used in these gold-basis countries for “small change,” it was advisable for these nations to agree upon the value in gold which would be accorded to silver, and this was fixed at fifteen and one- half ounces of silver to one of gold. Please note that this was then as nearly as possible the market value of silver as a metal compared with gold as a metal. The nations did not attempt to give to silver any fictitious value, but only its own inherent value. And, more than this, each of these nations agreed, when the agreement came to an end, to redeem all the silver coin it had issued in gold at the value fixed. Everything went well under this arrangement for a long time. The more advanced nations were upon a gold basis, the less advanced nations upon a silver basis, and both were equally well served.
What, then, has raised this silver question which everybody is discussing? Just this fact that while the supply, and therefore the value, of gold remained about the same, great deposits of silver were discovered, wonderful improvements made in mining machinery, and still more wonderful in the machinery for refining silver ore; and as more and more silver was produced at less cost, its value naturally fell more and more; one ounce of it, worth $1.33 in 1872, being worth to-day only $1.04. it has fallen as low as 93 cents. It has danced up and down; it has lost fixity of value. To all countries upon a silver basis there have come confusion and disaster in consequence. The question in India, with its two hundred and eighty-five millions of people, is most serious; and you see how our South American republics are troubled from this fall in the value of their basis-article, by which all other articles are measured. Even the European nations which are upon a gold basis are troubled by this “silver question,” for under the agreement to rate fifteen and a half ounces of silver as worth an ounce of gold some of these nations have had enormous amounts of silver thrust upon them. Most of them saw what was coming many years ago, and ceased to increase their silver: son-Le disposed of a great deal of what they had, and placed themselves strictly upon the gold basis; but there are still in European countries eleven hundred millions of dollars of silver legal- tender coins, not counting the amount of “token” silver money used for small change. It is not safe to say that less than twenty-five ounces of it would be found equal to one ounce of gold if put in the market, instead of the fifteen-and-a-half- ounce basis upon which these countries have obtained it.
All European countries have been, and are still, trying hard to escape from silver. In 1878 those comprising the Latin Union, which fixed the price of silver,–France, Belgium, Italy, Switzer- land, and Greece,–finally closed their mints to legal-tender silver. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark in 1873 and 1875 ran out from under the silver avalanche, and now stand firmly upon a gold basis. Holland also, in 1875, took its stand practically upon gold. Austria-Hungary has not coined silver since 1879, except a small amount of “Levant silver thalers” for a special trade purpose. Even half-civilized Russia took the alarm, and ran as fast as she could out of the silver danger, for in 1876 she shut her mints to the further coinage of the dangerous metal, except such small amount as China wished to take promptly from her. So you see that all those countries that have tried silver and found out the evils which it produces, and its dangers, have been, and are now, using every means to rid themselves of it. For thirteen years it has been cast out of their mints, for during this long period no full legal- tender silver coins have been issued in Europe. Only our republic, among nations, is boldly plunging deeper and deeper into the dangers of silver coinage. When we have had the experience of older nations as to its operations, we may and, I think, surely will wish, like them, to retrace our steps when it is too late. So, you see, there is trouble wherever there is silver. What to do with their silver, which has fallen so low in value, is a serious problem in all these countries. It hangs like a dark cloud over their future,
So much has silver fallen in all parts of the world and disturbed everything that several conferences have been called by the nations in recent years, to which the United States has sent delegates. The object of these was to see whether the chief commercial nations could not agree again upon a new gold value for silver. But the conclusion has always been that it was – too dangerous to attempt to fix a new value for silver until it could be more clearly seen what the future was to show about its supply and value, for perhaps it might fall so low that twenty- five or thirty ounces of it would not be worth more than an ounce of gold; no one can tell. As our country has already gone so far into the danger as to have four hundred and eighty-two mill- ions of dollars in depreciated silver, we had to confer with our neighbors in misfortune, and appear as creditors have to appear at meetings held to try to support the bad business of a failing debtor.
Perhaps you are asking yourselves why, when I spoke of all the European countries in relation to silver, I did not state the amount of silver held in reserve by our principal rival, Great Britain. Listen one moment, and then ponder over the reply. Not one dollar. France has no less than six hundred and fifty millions of dollars in silver in her bank; but every dollar of Britain’s reserves are in the one steady, unchangeable basis-article–gold. Wise old bird, the dear mother-land sits upon her perch, whistling away out of all danger from this silver trouble. She has made London the financial centre of the world. If anything be bought or sold in foreign lands, a draft upon London is demanded; because every one knows that, come what may, it will be paid in the best article, which cannot fall in value–gold. No draft upon Paris or Vienna or New York for wise men. Why? Because the nations represented by these cities have become involved in great possible losses by their huge piles of silver, and may attempt by legislation to make drafts payable in that metal, which fluctuates so in value.
I wish the people of the United States would watch Britain carefully. She is keeping her own counsel; she is treating the silver-loaded nations with cool politeness iu the conferences, which she graciously condescends to attend only because India, over which she rules, is unfortunately upon a silver basis; if it were not for that, she would probably politely decline. When they talk about fixing a gold value upon silver, she says that she really does not know what she will decide upon in the matter. What she is praying for is that the United States will continue to go deeper and deeper into silver until retreat is impossible, and she will keep her old policy, which has made her supreme in finance. Her only possible rival is not to be found in Europe, but here in the United States. What a grand thing for Britain if our country could be brought down to a silver basis–forced to relinquish the one standard which can alone give a nation front rank in the financial world! Silver for the republic, Gold for the monarchy this is what Great Britain is hoping may come to pass, and what every American should resolve never shall. Governments may pass what laws they please about silver: the world heeds them not. Every business transaction between nations continues to be based on gold exclusively–nothing but gold–and will so continue. Britain knows this and acts accordingly.
I think I hear you ask indignantly: “How came our country to have three hundred and twelve millions of silver dollars in its vaults, like France, instead of having its re- serves in the sure gold, like our rival, Britain, when, like Britain, we have gold as our basis?” That is a question every farmer and every toiler should ask, and demand an answer to, from his representative in Congress. The reason is easily given. Here is the history. Silver, as we have seen, had fallen in value, and was likely to fall still more. European nations were loaded down with many hundreds of millions of dollars, and all anxious to get rid of it; owners of silver and of silver mines were alarmed; what was to be done to prop the falling metal? Evidently the government was the only power which could undertake the task; and towards that end all the influence and resources of the silver power were bent–alas! with eminent success; for the masses of the people were represented as in favor of silver. If true, they were going with the speculators against their own interests, in the most direct way possible.
The first act which aimed to give by legislation a value to silver was passed in 1878. It required our government to buy at least two million ounces of silver every month, while all other governments had stopped coining it, because it had become dangerously erratic in value. The silver men insisted that these purchases would raise its value; but were they right? No. It did not advance in price. What was to be done then? “Ah!” said these silver-tongued speculators, “the trouble is, the government has not gone far enough; only increase the amount; let the government buy four and a half million ounces per month of our silver instead of two million per month, and this will take all that the country’s mines yield, and more too, and so silver must advance in value.” They were right in stating that four and a half millions per month are more than the total yield of the United States silver mines; and then eight to ten millions of silver are taken and used every year for other purposes than coining into “money,” leaving not more than, say, four mill- ions per month for coinage. Many people were persuaded that if the government bought so much silver per month the value of silver must advance. The price did advance, because many of these mistaken people bought it upon speculation before the bill passed. Silver rose from 96 to 121–almost to its old rate in gold.
But what has been the result since the passage of the new bill? The answer is found in the quotation for silver to-day. It is back from 121 to 97, and here we are again. So, instead of being free from the silver trouble, as Britain is and we should have been, these men have succeeded in unloading upon the government already three hundred and ninety millions of dollars of their silver, and we are getting almost as badly off as France; but with this difference: France and other nations prudently stopped adding to their burdens of silver thirteen years ago, while our government is adding to its store four and one-half millions of ounces every month, costing a little more than that amount of dollars. The United States is trying to ignore the changed position of silver, and to make it equal to gold, against the judgment of all other first-class nations. To succeed, we shall have to buy not only what our own mines produce, but a great deal of what all other mines produce throughout the world, the total yield of silver being enough to make one hundred and sixty-eight millions of our silver dollars every year; and then we must, in addition, be pre- pared to buy the eleven hundred millions of dollars’ worth with which European governments are now loaded down, and which they are so anxious to sell.
So far from the government purchases of silver having raised its value, the government could not to-day sell the three hundred and thirteen millions of dollars’ worth in its vaults without losing some millions upon the price it has paid the silver-owners for it. You will scarcely believe that the accounts of the treasury state that the government has made, so far, sixty-seven millions of profit upon its silver purchases. This is claimed because for the amount of silver put in a dollar it has paid only about eighty cents. All this “profit” is fictitious. You see, the nation has been led into very foolish purchases of silver. Four and a half millions of your earnings are taken through taxes every month, not for the constitutional purposes of government, but in an effort to bolster a metal by paying prices for it far higher than it other- wise would command. Your government is being used as a tool to enrich the owners of silver and silver mines. This is bad indeed, but hardly worth mentioning compared with the danger of panic and disaster it brings with it through the probable banishment of the steady gold basis and the introduction of the unsteady basis of silver.
The republic had the disgrace of slavery, and abolished it. Until this year it was disgraced in the eyes of the world because it had no law which secured to others than its own citizens the right to their literary productions. That disgrace has passed away also; but there has come upon it the disgrace of “debased coinage.” The great republic issues dishonest coin, and it is the only nation in the world which does so, except Mexico, which still coins a little silver. But while the disgrace is upon us, the financial evils of “debased” coinage are yet to come; for, although the government issues debased coin, it agrees to receive it as worth a dollar in payment of duties and taxes, and makes it legal tender, and so it passes from hand to hand for the present as worth dollars. In this way the government has been able so far to prevent its depreciation. How long it can continue issuing four and a half millions more of these notes or coins every month and keep them equal to gold nobody can tell. But one thing is clear: ultimately the load must become too heavy, and, unless silver rises in value, or enough is put into the dollars to represent their value in gold, or the purchase of silver by the government is stopped, we must sooner or later fall from the gold basis to the condition of the Argentine and other South American republics.
This is how these silver dollars will act which have not metal enough to sell for dollars when the world begins to lose confidence in the ability of the government issuing them to pay gold for them when asked. Suppose a number of you had decided to carry a huge log from the woods, and you all got under, and, bending your necks, took its weight upon your shoulders, and then some doubted whether you really could stagger on under the load; and suppose two or three of you, after casting timid glances at each other, concluded you had better get from under: what would be the result? The lack of confidence would probably result in killing those who were foolish enough to remain. It is just so with this delicate question of the measure of values. A few speculators or “gold-bugs” will resolve that, come what may, they will make themselves safe and get from under.
Even in the mind of the most reckless there will be some doubt whether the United States alone can take the load of the world upon its shoulders and carry it, when all the other nations together are afraid to try it, and when no nation in the history of the world has ever succeeded in giving permanent value, as a standard for money, to a metal that did not in itself possess that value. Mark this: that our government has only succeeded so far in doing this with its silver dollars because it has issued only a limited quantity, and has been able to redeem them in gold–just as you could take a piece of paper and write on it, “This is good for one dollar, and I promise to pay it.” That would be your ” fiat” money. The question is, How long could you get people to take these slips for dollars? How soon would some suspicious man suggest that you were issuing too many? And then these slips would lose reputation; people would begin to doubt whether you could really pay all the dollars promised if called upon; and from that moment you could issue no iii ore. Just so with governments: all can keep their small change afloat, although it may not contain metal equal to its face value; and it is a poor government which cannot go a little further and get the world to take some- thing from it in the shape of “money” which is only partially so. But then, remember, any government will soon exhaust its credit if it continues to issue as “money ” anything but what has intrinsic value as metal all the world over. Every nation has had eventually to recoin its “debased’~ coin or repudiate its obligations, and go through the perils and disgrace of loss of credit and position. In many instances the “debased.” coin never was redeemed, the poor people who held it being compelled to stand the loss.
There is, however, one valuable feature of the present silver law which, if not changed, may stop the issue of many more “debased silver dollars.” It requires that two millions of the four and a half millions of ounces of silver purchased each month shall be coined into money for one year. After that, only such amounts are to be coined as are found necessary to redeem the silver notes issued. As people prefer the notes to the silver, little or no coin- age of silver dollars will be necessary, and only silver notes will be issued. When the government ceases to coin silver dollars, it will stand forth in its true character before the people–that of a huge speculator in silver, or, rather, as the tool of silver speculators, piling up in its vaults every month four and a half millions of ounces, not in the form of “money,” but in bars. Surely this cannot fail to awaken the people to the true state of affairs, and cause them to demand that the reckless speculation shall cease.
It is in every respect much less dangerous, however, to keep the silver purchased in bullion than to coin it in “debased dollars,” because it renders it easier at some future day to begin the coinage of honest silver dollars–that is, coins containing the amount of silver metal that commands a dollar as metal; instead of 371 grains of silver, 450, or 460, or more or less, should be used. This is just about the amount the government gets for each dollar. No possible act of legislation that I know of would produce such lasting benefit to the masses of the people of this country. But beyond material benefit something much higher is involved–the honor of the republic. The stamp of its government should certify only that which is true.
I do not suppose that there are many men in the United States, except owners of silver, who would vote that silver take the place of gold as the standard of value. If the people under- stood that the question was whether the one metal or the other–silver or gold–should be elected as the standard, the vote would be almost unanimous for gold, its superiority is so manifest. Yet such is surely the issue, although the advocates of silver disclaim any intention to disturb the gold standard, saying they only desire to elevate silver and give it the position which gold has as money. But you might as well try to have two horses come in “first” in a race or to have two “best” of anything. You might as well argue for two national flags in one country. Just as surely as the citizen has to elect the banner under which he stands or falls, so surely must he elect gold or silver for his financial standard. The standard article cannot be made to share its throne with anything else, any more than the stars-and-stripes can be made to share its sovereignty with any other flag in its own country; for there is this law about “money”: the worst drives the best from the field. The reason for this is very clear.
Suppose you get in change a five-dollar gold piece and five dollars in silver, and there is some doubt whether an act of Congress will really prove effective in keeping silver equal to gold in value forever: ninety-nine people out of a hundred may think that the law will give this permanent value to silver, which the article itself does not possess; but one man in a hundred may have doubts upon the subject. I think the more a man knows about “money,” the more doubts he will have; and, although you may have no doubts, still the fact that I have doubts, for instance, will lead you to say: “Well, he may be right; it is possible I may be wrong. I guess I will give Smith this silver for my groceries to-morrow, and give the old lady this beautiful bright golden piece to put by; it needs no acts of Congress–all the acts of Congress in the world cannot lessen its value; the metal in it is worth five dollars anywhere in the world, independent of the government stamp; these five pieces of silver are worth only three dollars and seventy-five cents as metal. Yes, I shall let Smith have the silver–gold is good enough for me.”
And you may be sure Smith unloads the silver as soon as he can upon Jones. And many people will believe and act so, and the gold in the country will disappear from business, and silver alone will be seen and circulate; every man that gets it giving it to another as soon as he can, and so keeping it in active circulation; and every man that gets a bit of gold holding it, and thus keeping it out of circulation. So instead of having more money, if we go in for trying by law to force an artificial value upon silver in order to to use it as money, we shall really soon have less money in circulation. The seven hundred millions of gold which is now in circulation, and which is the basis of every thing, will speedily vanish, the vast structure of credit built upon it be shaken, and the masses of the people compelled to receive silver dollars worth only seventy-eight cents, instead of being, as now, redeemable in gold and always worth one hundred cents. For, remember, as I have told you, 92 per cent. of all operations conducted by “money” depends upon people having absolute confidence in the “money” being of unchangeable value.
Issue one hundred dollars of “debased” coin more than all men are sure can be kept of unchangeable value with gold–panic and financial revolution are upon you. More “money,” you see, which could only be used in 8 per cent. of our smallest financial transactions, can easily be so issued as to overwhelm all the important business of the country by shaking “confidence,” upon which 92 per cent. rests. To be always free from danger is to issue only such “money” as in itself has all the value certified by the stamp upon it. So jealously does Britain, our only rival, adhere to this that she is spending two millions of dollars just now to recoin gold coins which have lost a few cents of their value by wear. Her government stamp must always tell the truth. The republic should not be less jealous of its honor.
As you have seen, the silver-men were disappointed at the failure of acts of Congress to advance the value of their silver. Twice the government has been induced to do as they asked, under assurances that compliance would surely get the country out of its dangerous position as the owner of silver; twice it has been deceived. You would think the silver-owners would now admit their error and help the government to get back to safe ground with as little loss as possible. Far from it; instead of this they have taken the boldest step of all, and urged upon Congress what you have heard a great deal about–the “free coinage of silver.” Now, what does that mean? It means that our government is to be compelled by law to open its mints and take all the silver with which European governments are loaded down, and part of all the silver mined in the world, and give for every seventy-eight cents’ worth of it one of these coins, which you are compelled to take as a full dollar for your labor or products. It means that the European merchant will send silver over here, get it coined at our mints or get a silver-dollar note for it, and then buy a full dollar’s worth of your wheat or corn, or anything he wants, for the silver he could get only seventy-eight cents for in Europe or any- where else in the world. Europe is doing this every day just now with India, the Argentine Republic, and other countries upon a silver basis. The British merchant buys wheat in India upon the depreciated silver basis, takes it to Europe,, and sells it upon the gold basis. He has thus to pay so little for Indian wheat that it has become a dangerous competitor to our own in Europe, which it could not be except that by the fall in silver the Indian farmer gets so little value for his products.
It is only a few months since the new Silver Bill was passed requiring the government to more than double its purchases, and already eight millions of dollars of silver more than we have ex- ported has been sent into this country from abroad–something unknown for fifteen years, for we have always exported more silver than we have imported. Now we are buying all our own mines furnish, and being burdened with some from Europe, for which we should have received gold. In eighteen days of the month of April we have sent abroad nine millions of dollars in gold; so that under our present Silver Law you see Europe has already begun to send us her depreciated silver and rob us of our pure gold–a perilous exchange for our country and one which should fill our legislators with shame. Understand, please, that hitherto, under both bills compelling the government to buy silver, bad as these were, yet the government has got the metal at the market price, now about seventy-eight cents for 371.25 grains; and only this amount the government has put into the so-called dollar. Under “free coinage” all this will change. The owner of the silver will then get the dollar for seventy-eight cents’ worth of silver. For pure, cool audacity II submit that this proposition beats the record; and yet when the Farmers’ Alliance shouts for free coinage, this is exactly what it supports–a scheme to take from the people twenty-two cents upon each dollar and put it into the pockets of the owners of silver. Surely you will all agree that if seventy-eight cents’ worth of silver is to be made a dollar by the government, then the government, and not the silver-owner, should get the extra twenty-two cents’ profit on each coin, if it succeeds. The government needs it all; for, as I told you before, the silver bought by the government only at market value could not be sold to-day without a loss of millions.
If the free coinage of silver becomes law, our farmers will find themselves just in the position of the Indian farmer; and yet we are told that they are in favor of silver. If this be true, there can be only one reason for it–they do not understand their own interests. No class of our people is so deeply interested in the maintenance of the gold standard and the total sweeping-away of silver purchases and debased coinage as the farmer, for many of his products are sold in countries that are upon the gold basis. If the American farmer agrees to take silver in lieu of gold, he will enable the Liverpool merchant to buy upon the lower silver basis, at present seventy-eight cents for the dollar; while for all the articles coming from abroad that the farmer buys he will have to pay upon the gold basis. He will thus have to sell cheap and buy dear. This is just what is troubling India and the South American republics. Prices for this season’s crops promise to be higher than for years. See that you get these upon the gold basis.
Open our mints to the free coinage of silver, and thus offer every man in the world who has silver to sell a one-dollar coin stamped by the government, and taken by it for all dues, for which he gives only 374 grains of silver, worth seventy-eight cents, and every silver mine in the world will be worked day and night and every pound of silver obtained hurried to our shores. The nations of Europe, with eleven hundred millions of depreciated silver already on hand, will promptly unload it upon us; they will demand gold from us for all that we buy from them, and thus rob us of our gold while we take their silver. With “free coinage” in sight, we shall fall from the gold to the silver basis before the bill is passed. The last words of the late lamented Secretary Windom will prove true —
“Probably before the swiftest ocean greyhound could land its silver cargo in New York, the last gold dollar within reach would be safely hidden in private boxes and in the vaults of safe-deposit companies, to be brought out only by a high premium for exportation.”
It is a dangerous sea upon which we have embarked. You should ask yourselves why you should endanger the gold basis for silver. Does any one assert that the silver basis would be better for you or for the country? Impossible. No one dares go so far as this. All that the wildest advocate of the change ventures to say is that he believes that silver could be made as good as gold. Everybody knows that nothing could be made better. Let us ask why any one but an owner of silver should wish silver to be made artificially anything else than it is intrinsically. What benefit to any one, except the owner of silver, that the metal silver should not remain where natural causes place it, like the metals copper and nickel? Why should it be credited with anything but its own merits? There was no prejudice in the mind of any one against it. It has had a fair race with gold; the field is always open for it, or for any metal, to prove itself better suited for the basis of value. If silver became more valuable in the market and steadier in value than gold, it would supplant gold. Why not give the position to the metal that wins in fair competition? Gold needs no bolstering by legislation; it speaks for itself. Every gold coin is worth just what it professes to be worth in any part of the world; no doubt about it; no possible loss; and what is equally important, no possible speculation; its value cannot be raised and cannot be depressed. The speculator, having no chance to gamble upon its ups and downs, does not favor it; but this is the very reason you should favor that which gives you absolute security of value all the time. Your interests and the interests of the speculator are not the same. Upon your losses he makes his gains.
One reason urged why silver should be purchased and coined is that the country has not enough “money,” and that free coinage of silver will give it more. But if we need more “money,~’ the only metal which it is wise to buy is gold. Why issue your notes for silver, which is falling in value and involves unknown dangers, when for these same notes you can get the solid, pure article itself, real money, gold, which cannot possibly entail a loss upon the country? But is it true that the country has not enough “money “?–that is, you remember, the coined article used for exchanging other articles. If so, it is a new discovery. We have not suffered for want of coined money in times past, and yet there is for each man, woman, and child five dollars more “money in circulation than there ever was. We have more circulating medium–that is, “money “–per head than any country in Europe, with one exception, France, where the people do not use checks and drafts as much as other similar countries–a fact which makes necessary many times more coined money than we require. Still, there is little objection to having just as much coined money as is desired, provided it is not debased, but honest money; and the only way to be sure of that is to buy gold and coin it into “money “–not silver, the future value of which is so doubtful, and the purchases of which have so far been a losing speculation. Ask the advocate of more money why gold is not the best metal for the government to buy and coin into money for the people, and see what he has to say. Gold is as much an American product as silver; our mines furnish more than two millions of dollars of it every month. He could have no objection except that this would not tend to keep up the price of his own product, silver. He could not deny that it would give safer money for the people.
There is another plea urged on behalf of silver. Many public men tell us that silver coinage “is in the air,” that people want it because they think that it will make money “cheap,” and that, silver being less valuable than gold, the debts of people could be more easily paid. But let me call your attention to one point just here. The savings and the property of the people could only be thus reduced in value if the gold standard fell. As long as all government notes were kept equal to gold, as at present, no matter what amount of silver the government bought or coined, not the slightest change is possible. Only after the financial crisis had come, and the gold standard had gone down in the wreck, and every dollar of gold was withdrawn and held for high premiums, could any change occur to favor one class or another. If any man is vaguely imagining that he is to save or make in some way by the government becoming involved in trouble with its debased silver coin and silver purchases, let him remember that, in order that this vain expectation can be realized, there must first come to his government a loss of ability to make good its determination to keep its silver dollar equal to gold, when gold would at once vanish and command a premium. A wise Secretary of the Treasury has truly foretold the result —
“This sudden retirement of $6OO,OOO,OOO of gold, with the accompanying panic, would cause contraction and commercial disaster unparalleled in human experience, and our country would at once step down to the silver basis, when there would no longer he any inducement for coinage, and silver dollars would sink to their bullion value.”
The man who tries to bring about this disaster in the hope to profit by it is twin brother to him who would wreck the express train for the chance of sharing its contents, or would drive the ship of state on the rocks for the chance of securing a part of the wrecked cargo. He is a wrecker and a speculator. His interests are opposed to the interests of the toiling masses.
Again, we are constantly told that the masses of the people favor “free silver coinage,” or at least uphold the present silver laws, because they have received the impression, somehow or other, that the more silver there is coined the more money will come to them. Let us look into that. When the government buys silver bullion, it gives its own notes or silver dollars for it. Who gets these? The owners of the silver bullion. How can these be taken from their pockets and put into the pockets of the people? From what we know of the silver- men, we cannot expect them to present many of their dollars to anybody; it will only be when they buy the labor or the products of the people that they will give these dollars at the value of a hundred cents which have cost them only seventy-eight. Will they give more of these seventy-eight-cent dollars than they would have to give of one-hundred-cent dollars for the same labor or products? No, not until or unless the effort of the government to give an artificial value to silver broke down, and our money lost value, when a dollar might not be worth half a dollar in purchasing power; calculated upon gold value, they would always give less value than before. How, then, can the working people or the farmers be benefited? It is the owners of the silver, who will give the government seventy-eight cents’ worth of bullion and get for it a dollar, who will make the profit. Surely this is clear. Up to this time the dollar which the farmer or workingman receives is still worth a dollar because the government has been able, by trying hard, to keep it worth this; but when “free coinage of silver” comes, the silver dollar must fall to its real value–seventy-eight cents–and the farmer and working- man will be defrauded; so that the interests of the farmer, mechanic, laborer, and all who receive wages are that the “money” they get should be of the highest value, and not cheap –gold, and not silver.
Up to this time we have held fast to gold as the standard. Everything in the United States is based upon gold to-day, all silver notes or coins being kept equal to gold. Has that been a wise or an unwise policy? Would it now be best to let the gold standard go, to which the advanced nations cling, and especially Britain, and adopt the silver standard of our South American neighbors? Upon the solid rock of gold as our basis- article we have built up the wealthiest country in the world, and the greatest agricultural, manufacturing, and mining and commercial country ever known. We have prospered beyond any nation the sun ever shone upon. In no country are wages of labor so high or the masses of the people so well off. Shall we discard the gold basis, or even endanger it? This is the question before the people of the United States to-day.
The New York Evening Post is a free-trade organ, but it has recently said that it would rather be the party to pass ten McKinley Bills than one Silver Bill such as was urged; and I, a Republican and a believer in the wisdom of protection, tell you that I would rather give up the McKinley Bill and pass the Mills Bill, if for the exchange I could have the present Silver Bill repealed and silver treated like other metals. In the next presidential campaign, if I have to vote for a man in favor of silver and protection, or for a man in favor of the gold standard and free trade, I shall vote and work for the latter, because my judgment tells me that even the tariff is not half so important for the good of the country as the maintenance of the highest standard for the money of the people.
Would it not be well for you to listen to men who have your confidence, and who have been compelled by their official positions to investigate and study this silver question well? President Harrison is well known as a most conscientious man. He is not rich; he is poor. If he has anything at heart, it is the good of the plain working people of his country. He has had to study this subject, and he tells you that he finds that the first thing a debased silver dollar will do is to go forth and cheat some poor man who has to take it for his products or labor. Ex-President Cleveland, like President Harrison, is a poor mail; his sympathies are with the plain working people–the masses. He had to study the question that he might act upon it; and although many of his party have been led away into the crusade for silver,–temporarily, it is to be hoped (for to its credit, let me say, the Democratic party has hitherto been the stanch friend of the best money for the people),–Mr. Cleveland felt that he must tell the truth and denounce the free-silver-coinage idea, because he found that it must injure the workers of the nation. His recent letter gives another proof that he is a natural leader of men–a brave man and not a coward. His personal prospects he weighs not against the true welfare of the toilers who once made him President. In addition to these, no abler, purer, or grander Democrat ever managed the finances of this nation than Mr. Manning; no abler, purer, or grander Republican ever did so than Mr. Windom. These men were friends of the masses, if ever the masses had friends. Both had to investigate the silver question that they might learn what was best and act so as to promote the permanent welfare of the people. Both became deeply concerned about the impending danger of “debased money,” and used all their powers to stop representatives in Congress from forcing the government to imperil the interests of the workingman, who must have the best money for his labor or products, or be the prey of speculators. These great men, two of them exalted to the highest political office upon the earth by your suffrages, had and have at heart only the good of the many as against the possible enrichment of the few. Political opponents as they were or are, that they should agree upon this question must surely give every farmer, mechanic, and workingman in the United States grave reason for believing that they, and not the advocates of silver, are his wisest counsellors.
I close with one word of advice to the people. Unless the government ceases to burden itself month by month with more silver, or if the free coinage of silver be seriously entertained, avoid silver; when you lay by anything, let it be in gold; when you deposit in the savings-bank let it be a gold deposit–ask the bank to give you a gold receipt therefor. There is no use in the poor taking any risk. If you do not thus act promptly, you will find no gold left for you. The speculators and those closely identified with business will have it all. It is a fact full of warning that no bonds could be sold to advantage to-day which were not made specially payable in gold. There is danger ahead. Whatever happens, you can sleep soundly upon gold. Silver will bring bad dreams to wise men. Our government can do much; it is very strong; but there are two things which it cannot do it cannot–by itself, against the world–permanently give to silver a higher value than it possesses throughout the world as metal, though this is what it is trying to do; and it cannot lessen the value of gold. Some day, perhaps, you may have reason to thank me for the advice I have given you, although I hope not.
Do not think, however, that I despair of the republic –never; even if dragged into the difficulties inseparable from silver, and matters become as bad with us as they are to-day in the Argentine Republic, where one gold dollar is worth two and a half currency dollars, there is no occasion to fear the final result. The good sense of the people will restore the gold basis after a time, and the republic will march on to the front rank among nations; but the silver experiment will cost much; and it is better that the direct loss should fall as much as possible upon the few of the moneyed class than upon the masses of the people. At best the latter must suffer most, for moneyed men know better than others can how to protect themselves. All this loss, I am sure, the people would prevent if they could only be made to under- stand the question; for their interests, far more than those of the rich, lie with honest money, and their wishes have only to be ex- pressed to their representatives to prevent the threatened crisis.
Silver, owing to changes of value, has become the tool of the speculator. Steady, pure, unchangeable gold has ever been, and never was so much as now, the best instrument for the protection of the masses of the people.
I have written in vain if this paper does not do something to explain why this is so, and to impel the people to let their representatives in Congress clearly understand that, come what may, the stamp of the republic must be made true, the money of the American people kept the highest and surest in value of all money in the world, above all doubt or suspicion, its standard in the future, as in the past, not fluctuating Silver, but unchanging Gold.