« PreviousContinue »
so great an effect in the treatment of an economic question. This work was followed by "A Tale of Two Nations," "Coin's Financial School Up to Date," "Number Seven Coin's Financial Series," "Number Eight Coin's Financial Series," and the "Patriots of America," all by the same author; the last named being the manual of a national order of the same name established by Mr. Harvey for the study of political and economic questions. He also published and circulated in pamphlet form an argument of remarkable force and clearness in defense of bimetallism by Archbishop Walsh, of Ireland.
Notwithstanding the number of publications issued by him, he found time to deliver many lectures and to take part in several debates, the most important ones being with Prof. J. Lawrence Laughlin, of the Chicago University, and with the late Hon. Roswell P. Horr, of the New York Tribune. Mr. Harvey attended the convention of the National Silver party held at St. Louis, and took an active part in the campaign.
On February 22, 1895, a conference was held in Washington D. C., attended by a number of the leading bimetallists, at which an address was issued declaring that action favorable to bimetallism was improbable in the Democratic and Republican parties and calling upon the friends of free silver to unite in the formation of a new party with the money question as the sole issue. The conference suggested the name of Hon. Joseph C. Sibley, of Pennsylvania, as the proper person to unite all the forces favorable to bimetallism, and invited expressions upon the subject from the people. Hon. A. J. Warner, of Ohio, Senator John P. Jones, of Nevada, and Senator William M. Stewart, of the same State, were the leading spirits in the conference.
Mr. Warner, who, as chairman of the American Bimetallic League, called this conference, deserves to be mentioned as one of the most able and earnest advocates of bimetallism to be found in the country. No one has surpassed him in unselfish devotion to the cause.
Mr. Jones was a member of the silver commission appointed during the Forty-fourth Congress and was one of the delegates from the United States to the International Monetary Conference at Brussels, in 1892. It may be said without disparagement of the efforts of others, that his speech in opposition to the repeal of the Sherman law is probably the most complete and comprehensive defense of bimetallism ever presented in any language.
Mr. Stewart has for many years been identified with the silver
cause. He has attended every National conference where the subject was under consideration, and has devoted all his energies to the restoration of the bimetallic standard. I had frequent occasion to visit the United States Senate during the prolonged struggle which ended in the unconditional repeal of the Sherman law, and I shall never forget the earnestness with which he pleaded against the passage of that act. Not only has he availed himself of every opportunity offered by his official position, but he has been constant in his work outside of the Senate, having for more than a year past been connected with the Silver Knight and National Watchman, a paper published at Washington and devoted to the restoration of the money of the Constitution.
Mr. Sibley was elected to the Fifty-third Congress by the Democrats, Populists and Prohibitionists, and in a single speech took a foremost place among the advocates of free silver. This speech was very widely circulated, both at the time and during the last campaign. He is a man of deep convictions and a speaker of great force and eloquence.
I mention this conference more at length than others because it marked the transition from educational work to political effort.
Early in 1895 a conference was held at Salt Lake City, Utah, out of which grew the National Bimetallic Union, with headquarters at Chicago. This organization established a weekly paper called the "Bimetallist," published at Chicago. Hon. H. F. Bartine, for many years a member of Congress from Nevada, was installed as editor of this paper, and under his guidance it became a great educational power. Its editorials were widely quoted by the daily and weekly press.
During the closing days of the Fifty-third Congress the writer assisted in the preparation of an address which was signed by Messrs. Bland of Missouri, Coffeen of Wyoming, Fithian of Illinois, Cockrell of Missouri, McLaurin of South Carolina, Maguire of California, Ikirt of Ohio, Whiting of Michigan, Richardson of Michigan, Snodgrass of Tennessee, Smith of Arizona, Ogden of Louisiana, Capehart of West Virginia, Moore of Kansas, Money of Mississippi, Fyan of Missouri, Morgan of Missouri, Grady of North Carolina, Shell of South Carolina, Lane of Illinois, Donovan of Ohio, Latimer of South Carolina, Arnold of Missouri, Denson of Alabama, Talbert of South Carolina, Williams of Mississippi, Strait of South Carolina, Joseph of New Mexico, Caminetti of California, Bower of North Carolina, and myself-all Democratic members of Congress, and Col. Evan P. Howell, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, and Hon. J. Floyd King, of Louisiana. The two
last named were strong advocates of free silver and happened to be in the city at the time the address was being prepared. This address is given in full, together with the autograph signatures, because it was the beginning of the successful effort upon the part of the silver Democrats of the nation to take control of the Democratic organization. Many of the silver papers placed the address at the head of their editorial columns and proceeded to advocate the policy therein outlined.
An Important Document.
To the Democrats of the United States:
We, the undersigned Democrats, present for your consideration the following statement:
We believe that the establishment of gold as the only monetary standard and the elimination of silver as a full legal tender money, will increase the purchasing power of each dollar, add to the burden of all debts, decrease the market value of all other forms of property, continue and intensify business depression, and, finally, reduce the majority of the people to financial bondage.
We believe that no party can hope for enduring success in the United States so long as it advocates a single gold standard, and that the advocacy of such a financial policy would be especially fatal to a party which, like the Democratic party, derives its voting strength from those who may without reproach be called the common people; and we point to the overwhelming defeat of the party in 1894, to the opposition aroused by the veto of the seigniorage bill and to the still more unanimous protest against the issue of gold bonds, as proof that the Democratic party cannot be brought to the support of the gold standard policy.
We believe that the money question will be the paramount issue in 1896, and will so remain until it is settled by the intelligence and patriotism of the American voters.
We believe that a large majority of the Democrats of the United States favor bimetallism, and realize that it can only be secured by the restoration of the free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver at the present ratio, and we assert that the majority have, and should exercise, the right to control the policy of the party and retain the party name.
We believe that it is the duty of the majority, and within their power, to take charge of the party organization and make the Democratic party an effective instrument in the accomplishment of needed reforms. It is not necessary that Democrats should surrender their
convictions on other questions in order to take an active part in the settlement of the question which at this time surpasses all others in importance.
We believe that the rank and file of the Democratic party should at once assert themselves in the Democratic party and place the party on record in favor of the immediate restoration of the free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1, as such coinage existed prior to 1873, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation, such gold and silver coin to be a full legal tender for all debts public and private.
We urge all Democrats who favor the financial policy above set forth to associate themselves together and impress their views upon the party organization; we urge all newspapers in harmony with the above financial policy to place it at the head of the editorial column and assist in the immediate restoration of bimetallism.
Gro. W. Fettiran
th, A. Smith
13. 6. Goblin.
R. H. aut bearles H. Morgan Edward Lone A.CLatin Evan P. Honril
John Shane Williams. L. Pleyel King
The main difficulty encountered by those who insisted upon the immediate organization of the silver forces within the Democratic party was the fear expressed by many Democrats that the effort might disturb the party harmony. We were unexpectedly aided by a letter written by President Cleveland to Hon. Henry S. Robbins of Chicago, declining an invitation to visit that city in the interest of "sound money," as the gold standard was euphoniously called. This letter was a call to all the advocates of the gold standard, regardless of party, to unite for the defeat of free coinage, and it convinced many doubting ones that the President and his associates did not expect to support the Democratic ticket unless they controlled the convention. This letter is such an excellent illustration of the ambiguity and indirectness generally indulged in to a greater or less extent by the opponents of bimetallism, that it is reproduced in full:
President Cleveland's Letter on Sound Money.
Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C., April 13, 1895. Gentlemen: I am much gratified by the exceedingly kind and the complimentary invitation you have tendered me on behalf of many citizens of Chicago to be their guest at a gathering in the interest of sound money and wholesome financial doctrine. My attachment to this cause is great, and I know so well the hospitality and kindness of the people of Chicago, that my personal inclination is strongly in favor of accepting your flattering invitation; but my judgment and my estimate of the proprieties of my official place oblige me to forego the enjoyment of participating in the occasion you contemplate. I hope, however, that the event will mark the beginning of an earnest and aggressive effort to disseminate among the people safe and prudent financial ideas. Nothing more important can engage the attention of patriotic citizens, because nothing is so vital to the welfare of our countrymen and to the strength, prosperity and honor of our nation.
The situation confronting us demands that those who appreciate the importance of this subject and those who ought to be the first to see impending danger should no longer remain indifferent or over-confident. If the sound money sentiment abroad in the land is to save us from mischief and disaster, it must be crystallized, combined and made immediately active. It is dangerous to overlook the fact that a large number of our people with scanty opportunity thus far to examine the question in all its aspects, have nevertheless been ingeniously pressed with specious suggestions, which in this time of misfortune and depression find willing listeners, prepared to give credence to any scheme which is plausibly presented as a remedy for their unfortunate condition.
What is now needed more than anything else is a plain and simple presentation of the argument in favor of sound money. In other words, it is a time for the American people to reason together as members of a great nation which can promise them a continuance of protection and safety, only so long as its solvency is unsuspected, its honor unsullied and the soundness of its money unquestioned.