Page images
PDF
EPUB

buy it back. When they issued the next fifty million, a still larger amount of gold was withdrawn to pay for the bonds. Then they made the Rothschild contract. They simply enlarged the circle a little, that was all; and before the time was up, during which this syndicate agreed to protect the Treasury, bonds which had been sent to Europe and sold at 1.04% had been brought back from Europe and sold in the New York market for more than 1.20 and the gold taken back to Europe again. This is financiering as it is taught in New York.

Then they issued the next hundred million, and I want to call your attention to that issue. It was first suggested that the bonds be issued at private sale, and a syndicate was formed for the purpose of purchasing the bonds. It was stated in the paper at the time that that syndicate would give about 1.05 for the bonds. Finally it was decided to issue the bonds at public auction, and J. Pierpont Morgan, the head of the syndicate that started out to buy the bonds at 1.05, within a few minutes of the time for the opening of the bids, handed in another bid for 1.10 and a fraction, raising the bid formerly made by about five millions of dollars on the purchase of a hundred millions of dollars of bonds. What does that mean? It means that these financiers, when they thought they had the Government at their mercy, were going to let it have gold at 1.05, but when others came in and offered to bid, they raised their bid more than five millions of dollars. What does that mean? It means that these people who pose as guardians of the Treasury-these people who are the selfappointed custodians of public credit and national honor—would have bled the taxpayers of this country to the extent of five millions of dollars on a single transaction, if they had been permitted to do so. But that did not excite the indignation of those who were standing in official positions. Not only did it not excite their indignation, but the very man who stood at the head of the syndicate and tried to beat the people of the United States out of five millions of dollars was an honored guest at a banquet at which the Secretary of the Treasury was the chief guest.

Now, my friends, if we believe in the principles upon which this Government is founded—if we believe in equality before the law-then I assert that we cannot treat a man who wants to beat the people out of $5,000,000 with more consideration than we do the man who tries to beat the people out of one hundred dollars or out of five dollars.

When is this going to end? They tell us that it is necessary to maintain the honor of the country. My friends, I may be in error, but I believe that the honor of this nation can be better maintained by intrusting its affairs to the seventy millions of people who constitute our nation than by bartering away its credit to a handful of millionaires. The Republican party does not protest against this kind of administration of the Treasury Department. The Democratic party does protest against it, and what is the result? Every man who has been profiting out of the extremities of the Government, and using the instrumentalities of the Government for public plunder, has left our party to find a congenial home elsewhere. They have left our party to find a home in the party which offers them a continuation of that sort of a policy.

When will this policy end? There is but one end to it; there is only one way to stop this constant issue of bonds, and that is to return to the principle

of bimetallism and allow the Government to exercise the option of redeeming its coin obligations in either gold or silver. When I have seen how they go to the Treasury and draw out the gold and then demand bonds, and then draw out gold to pay for the bonds, and so on.without limit, I have been reminded of a trick that a mother played upon her boy. He was taking some medicine and the following dialogue took place between him and a visitor: "Do you like that medicine?" "No sir." "Well, you seem to take it very nicely." "Mamma gives me five cents every time I take a dose of it." "What do you do with the money?" "I put it in the bank." "And what do you do with the money in the bank?" "Oh, mamma uses that to buy more medicine with."

Our opponents tell us that, if we will retire the greenbacks and Treasury notes, this drain on the Treasury will stop. I ask them how it will stop. Why, they say that the banks will issue paper money and assume the obligation of furnishing whatever gold is needed for export.

There is one thing that has always bothered me in this proposition. If these banks are in earnest in their desire to relieve the Treasury Department of the burden of furnishing gold for export, they need not change the law. All they need to do is to save up all the gold they can and stand ready to help the Treasury by furnishing it with that gold. It does not need any statute, my friends, to give to these people, who seem to be longing to help their country, an opportunity to do so. They can do it now without any change in the law. Nothing illustrates their manner of dealing with the Government better than their recent conduct. After increasing the bonded debt of this country and bleeding the Treasury at every opportunity, they have suddenly come to the conclusion that another bond issue before election would have disastrous consequences, and, therefore, they are trying to bolster up the Treasury by the importation of a few million dollars of gold until after the emergency is passed. What is going to be the result after the election is over? The gold which they now furnish in exchange for Treasury notes and greenbacks can be withdrawn the next day after the election by the presentation of greenbacks and Treasury notes. Having blinded the people during the election period, they will then bleed them for another four years until there is another election.

I want to call your attention to the fact that the retirement of greenbacks and Treasury notes will not remedy this condition. The only reason for retiring the greenbacks and Treasury notes is to permit the banks to issue notes upon bonds and thus collect the interest which the people now save. It is simply a question whether the national banks shall have this interest or whether the people shall save it. If there is anybody who feels that he does not pay taxes enough-if his conscience troubles him because he has contributed too little to the support of the Government, let him make a voluntary contribution to the Treasury of the United States and thus relieve his conscience of the strain that is put upon it. Suppose you wipe out all the greenbacks and Treasury notes and have the banks issue paper money; they are allowed under the law to pay out either gold or silver, just as the Government can now. If the banks should refuse to furnish gold without charging a premium, would you not have the same condition which you have now? Do you believe the banks would always furnish the kind of money which the people wanted when they presented their notes? If you think so, refresh your memories by going back to the time of

the war. The national bank notes are payable in lawful money, and a bank at any time during the war could redeem its notes either in gold, silver or greenbacks. Which did the banks use? Did they use any gold? Oh, no, for gold was at a premium then. Did they use any silver? No, for silver was at a higher premium than gold. What did they issue? They used the cheapest money they could get. The greenbacks were the money used to redeem the bank notes. The greenback has always been as good as the bank note, because the greenback always stood behind the bank note; and if the greenback is good enough to stand behind a bank note, it is good enough to stand in the open without any bank note in front of it. But suppose we wipe out the greenbacks and Treasury notes, then what? I venture the assertion that the very people who today say that the Government cannot keep every dollar as good as every other dollar except by redeeming all the greenbacks and Treasury notes in gold, if gold is demanded-those very people, if greenbacks and Treasury notes are taken out of the way, will insist that the Government cannot keep every dollar as good as every other dollar unless it stands ready to redeem every silver dollar and every silver certificate in gold, if gold is demanded; and if they do that then they start another endless chain. My friends, the fault is not with the greenback or with the Treasury note; the fault is in the construction place upon the law and in the policy of those who are in charge of the administration of the Government, and who are surrendering the choice of the coin to be used in payment. We must either have two kinds of money which are equally a legal tender and can be used by the Government at its option, or we must have only one. If we are going to have two kinds of legal tender money which the people can use to pay the debts which they owe to the Government, that money must be used by the Government in paying the debts which it owes to the people.

I have pointed out the plan by which we propose to relieve the Government of its difficulties. Let me leave you with one other thought for your consideration. The Republican party in its platform expressly states that the financial policy of this nation must be determined by foreign nations rather than ours. The platform says that the Republican party pledges itself to secure international bimetallism as soon as possible, but that, until that can be secured, we must maintain the gold standard. What does that mean? It means that bimetallism is better than a gold standard, but that we cannot have that better thing until the leading commercial nations of Europe shall consent to its adoption. Dces it say that we must bear the affliction of a gold standard for a year? No, it does not limit to a year. For four years? No, it does not limit it to four years. How long? According to the Republican platform we must bear the affliction of a gold standard forever, if foreign nations insist upon it.

I want to call your attention to what some one has said about the influence of foreign nations and foreign personages in the affairs of our nation. Be silent while I read these words:

Against the insidious wiles of foreign nations (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens), the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.

There is the language which I desire to press upon your memories. It is not my language. Whose language do you suppose that it? What man,

"trying to stir up the passions of our people against foreigners;" what demagogue “appealing to the mob to justify his course;" what anarchist do you suppose used those words? Those are the words of George Washington. If George Washington could warn his countrymen against the evil effects of foreign influence, if George Washington could say to his countrymen that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes to republican government, may I not repeat what he said almost one hundred years after the date of its first utterance? If it was true then, it is true now. My friends, I warn you against entrusting the destinies of this nation to legislative bodies which are beyond your control. How can you reach your own Government? How can you change your own laws? You can do it at the ballot box. If the law is bad you can repeal it. If you want a good law enacted you can write it upon the statute books when the majority concur. But suppose you turn over to other nations the power to determine when you shall have bimetallism. How can you get them to act? Can you vote men into office in foreign nations? No, it is not within your power, either to elect or discard. How can you get at them? Send them a petition; that is the way to do it. If the Republican party is going to carry out this policy it ought to have at every public meeting a blank petition, to be signed by the people present, asking foreign nations to please give us bimetallism. What is your chance by petition? Why, my friends, for twenty years and more the people of this nation, the producers of wealth, the toiling masses have petitioned all parties to give them bimetallism, and when the Republican party met in St. Louis the wail of distress arising from our people was loud enough to have been heard by anybody whose ears were not entirely occupied with the sounds that come from Wall street. Did they hear your petitions? No, they disregarded them. I ask you, Republicans, if the Republican party, which you helped to make, was deaf to your entreaties, what hope have you of making an impression upon foreign legislative bodies? I ask you, Republicans, who have been the bone and sinew of the Republican party since the time it elected Lincoln, if the Republican party does not have mercy when you cry, how can you expect to find pity in a nation from which your forfathers wrested the empire in which we live? There are people who honestly believe that this nation is not strong enough to contend against the money centers of the world. Well, if a man believes it, we cannot criticise him for expressing his belief at the ballot box, but I want to ask you, who, of the people who are opposed to the free coinage of silver, would be willing to print upon a card, "I do not think my nation is big enough to take care of itself," and put it in his hat and wear it from now until election day? And yet that is what every man says who says that we ought to get rid of the gold standard and have bimetallism, but that we cannot do it until some other nations help us.

I want to leave to you this parting word: I am not here to ask for your votes. I have too much respect for the sovereignty of the citizen to appeal to him to present to me his vote as a gift. It is his own, not to part with by begging or by selling. It is his own, not to surrender under threat or coercion; it is his own to do with what he pleases. But when I surrender all claim to the votes of those who believe that the restora

tion of the free coinage of silver by this nation alone would be injurious, I assert my claims to the votes of those who believe in the immediate restoration of the free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation.

Later I addressed a large overflow meeting held near by. Sunday was spent at the hospitable home of Chairman Wall, and it is remembered as one of the most restful Sabbaths of the campaign. Bishop Samuel Fallows, of Chicago, was in Milwaukee on that day and I had the pleasure of listening to him at the morning service. The trip to Chicago Monday morning was made without special incident.

« PreviousContinue »