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same social and political elements described by Parton? Then, too, in bitterness and invective, the gold Democrats were quite similar to the opponents of Jefferson and Jackson, both of whom were assailed in language which found its counterpart during the last few months.
As illustrative of the second Jackson campaign, Parton quotes an extract from the paper of James Gordon Bennett. I reproduce it:
The impotency of the attacks which have been made upon General Jackson during the last three years by the Adams party, reminds us of an anecdote: "Mother," bawled out a great two-fisted girl one day, "my toe itches!" "Well, scratch it then." "I have, but it won't stay scratched!"
"Mr. Clay, Mr. Clay," cries out two-fisted Uncle Toby, "Jackson's a-coming-Jackson's a-coming!" "Well, then," says Clay, "anti-tariff him in the Journal." "I have, but he won't stay anti-tariffed." "Mr. Clay, Mr. Clay," bawls out Alderman Binns, "the old farmer is a-coming, a-coming." "Well, then," says Harry, "coffin-hand-bill him." "I have," says Binns, "but he won't stay coffin-hand-billed." "Mr. Adams, Mr. Adams," says John H. Pleasants, the hero's coming, actually coming." "Well, then," says Mr. Adams, "Burr him and traitor him." "I have, but he won't stay Burred or traitored." "Mr. Clay, Mr. Clay," says Charles Hammond, "Jackson is coming." "Well," says Clay, "prove him a negro-trader." "Mr. Clay, Mr. Clay," bawls out the full Adams slandering chorus, we have called Jackson a murderer, a traitor, an ignoramus, a fool, a crook-back, a pretender, and so forth; but he won't stay any of these names." "He won't?" says Mr. Clay; "why, then, I shan't stay in Washington, that's all."
I do not refer to the previous campaigns with any thought that this dispute can be settled at any time, but merely to refresh the memories of those who may not have recently reviewed that portion of our political history. Future events will determine which branch of the party adheres to the principles of the fathers and to the traditions of the party. Future events must also determine which branch of the party most deserves to enjoy public confidence. We may rest assured that victory will unltimately come to those who propose policies most conducive to the general welfare. The only criticism which I desire to record here is that the gold Democrats sought to use the party name for purposes of deception. The party name belongs to the majority of the party and the minority cannot fairly, honestly or honorably use that name in such a way as to mislead the voters. I have at all times defended the sovereign right of the citizen to follow his conscience and his judgment in political matters, and to make his party affiliations conform to his convictions, but a fraud attempted against the voters is no more defensible than a fraud attempted in a business transaction. Had the Indianapolis convention endorsed the Republican ticket we might have found fault with the views of the gold Democrats, but
their methods would not have been open to attack. To nominate a ticket, however, without the intention of voting for it, and to hold public meetings for the ostensible purpose of aiding the ticket, but for the secret purpose of aiding a ticket which was not openly advocated, introduces into national affairs a new kind of warfare which, in my judgment, history must condemn.
LETTERS OF ACCEPTANCE OF REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES.
N the 20th day of August Mr. McKinley gave to the public his formal letter of acceptance. Below will be found that portion of it which refers to the money question.
Mr. McKinley's Letter of Acceptance.
Canton, Ohio, August 26, 1896. Hon. John M. Thurston, and others, Members of the Notification Committee of the Republican National Convention: Gentlemen.-In pursuance of the promise made to your committee, when notified of my nomination as the Republican candidate for President, I beg to consider in detail questions at issue in the pending campaign. For the first time since 1868, if ever before, there is presented to the American people this year a clear and direct issue as to our monetary system, of vast importance in its effects, and upon the right settlement of which rests largely the financial honor and prosperity of the country. It is proposed by one wing of the Democratic party, and its allies, the People's and Silver parties, to inaugurate the free and unlimited coinage of silver by independent action on the part of the United States at a ratio of sixteen ounces of silver to one ounce of gold. The mere declaration of this purpose is a menace to our financial and industrial interests and has already created universal alarm. involves great peril to the credit and business of the country, a peril so grave that conservative men everywhere are breaking away from their old party associations and uniting with other patriotic citizens in emphatic protest against the platform of the Democratic National Convention as an assault upon the faith and honor of the Government and the welfare of the people. We have had few questions in the lifetime of the Republic more serious than the one which is thus presented.
The character of the money which shall measure our values and exchanges, and settle our balances with one another, and with the nations of the world, is of such primary importance, and so far-reaching in its consequences, as to call for the most painstaking investigation, and, in the end, a sober and unprejudiced judgment at the polls. We must not be misled by phrases, nor deluded by false theories. Free silver would not mean that silver dollars were to be freely had without cost or labor. It would mean the free use of the mints of the United States for the few who are owners of silver bullion, but would make silver coin no freer to the many who are engaged in other enterprises. It would not make labor easier, the hours of labor shorter, or the pay better. It would not make farming less laborious, or more profitable. It would not start a factory or make a demand for an additional day's labor. It would create no new occupations. It would add
nothing to the comfort of the masses, the capital of the people, or the wealth of the Nation. It seeks to introduce a new measure of value, but would add no value to the thing measured. It would not conserve values. On the contrary, it would derange all existing values. It would not restore business confidence, but its direct effect would be to destroy the little which yet remains.
The meaning of the coinage plank adopted at Chicago is that any one may take a quantity of silver bullion now worth fifty-three cents to the mints of the United States, have it coined at the expense of the Government, and receive for it a silver dollar, which shall be legal tender for the payment of all debts, public and private. The owner of the silver bullion would get the silver dollar. It would belong to him and to nobody else. Other people would get it only by their labor, the products of their land, or something of value. The bullion owner on the basis of present values would receive the silver dollar for fifty-three cents' worth of silver, and other people would be required to receive it as a full dollar in the payment of debts. The Government would get nothing from the transaction. It would bear the expense of coining the silver and the community would suffer loss by its use.
We have coined since 1878 more than four hundred millions of silver dollars, which are maintained by the Government at parity with gold, and are a full legal tender for the payment of all debts, public and private. How are the silver dollars now in use different from those which would be in use under free coinage? They are to be of the same weight and fineness; they are to bear the same stamp of the government. Why would they not be of the same value? I answer: The silver dollars now in use were coined on account of the Government, and not for private account or gain, and the Government has solemnly agreed to keep them as good as the best dollars we have. The Government bought the silver bullion at its market value and coined it into silver dollars. Having exclusive control of the mintage, it only coins what it can hold at a parity with gold. The profit, representing the difference between the commercial value of the silver bullion and the face value of the silver dollar, goes to the Government for the benefit of the people. The Government bought the silver bullion contained in the silver dollar at very much less than its coinage value. It paid it out to its creditors, and put it in circulation among the people at its face value of one hundred cents, or a full dollar. It required the people to accept it as a legal tender, and is thus morally bound to maintain it at a parity with gold, which was then, as now, the recognized standard with us, and the most enlightened nations of the world. The Government having issued and circulated the silver dollar, it must in honor protect the holder from loss. This obligation it has so far sacredly kept. Not only is there a moral obligation, but there is a legal obligation, expressed in public statute, to maintain the parity.
These dollars, in the particulars I have named, are not the same as the dollars which would be issued under free coinage. They would be the same in form, but different in value. The Government would have no part in the transaction except to coin the silver bullion into dollars. It would share in no part of the profit. It would take upon itself no obligation. It would not put the dollars into circulation. It would only get them, as any citizen
would get them, by giving something for them. It would deliver them to those who deposited the silver, and its connection with the transaction there ends. Such are the silver dollars which would be issued under free coinage of silver at a ratio of sixteen to one. Who would maintain the parity? What would keep them at par with gold? There would be no obligation resting upon the Government to do it, and if there were, it would be powerless to do it. The simple truth is, we would be driven to a silver basis to silver monometallism. These dollars, therefore, would stand upon their real value. If the free and unlimited coinage of silver at a ratio of sixteen ounces of silver to one ounce of gold would, as some of its advocates assert, make fifty-three cents in silver worth one hundred cents, and the silver dollar equal to the gold dollar, then we would have no cheaper money than now, and it would be no easier to get. But that such would be the result is against reason and is contradicted by experience in all times and in all lands. It means the debasement of our currency to the amount of the difference between the commercial and coin value of the silver dollar, which is ever changing, and the effect would be to reduce property values, entail untold financial loss, destroy confidence, impair the obligations of existing contracts, further impoverish the laborers and producers of the country, create a panic of unparalleled severity, and inflict upon trade and commerce deadly blow. Against any such policy, I am unalterably opposed.
Bimetallism cannot be secured by independent action on our part. It can not be obtained by opening our mints to the unlimited coinage of the silver of the world, at a ratio of sixteen ounces of silver to one ounce of gold, when the commercial ratio is more than thirty ounces of silver to one ounce of gold. Mexico and China have tried the experiment. Mexico has free coinage of silver and gold at a ratio slightly in excess of sixteen and a half ounces of silver to one ounce of gold, and while her mints are freely open to both metals at that ratio, not a single dollar in gold bullion is coined and circulated as money. Gold has been driven out of circulation in these countries and they are on a silver basis alone. Until international agreement is had, it is the plain duty of the United States to maintain the gold standard. It is the recognized and sole standard of the great commercial nations of the world, with which we trade more largely than any other. Eighty-four per cent. of our foreign trade for the fiscal year 1895 was with gold standard countries, and our trade with other countries was settled on a gold basis.
Chiefly by means of legislation during and since 1878 there has been put in circulation more than $624,000,000 of silver, or its representative. This has been done in the honest effort to give to silver, if possible, the same bullion and coinage value, and encourage the concurrent use of both gold and silver as money. Prior to that time there had been less than nine millions of silver dollars coined in the entire history of the United States, a period of eightynine years. This legislation secures the largest use of silver consistent with financial safety and the pledge to maintain its parity with gold. We have today more silver than gold. This has been accomplished at times with grave peril to the public credit. The so-called Sherman law sought to use all the silver product of the United States for money at its market value. From 1890 to 1893 the Government purchased 4,500,000 ounces of silver a month, or