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54,000,000 ounces a year. This was one-third of the product of the world and practically all of this country's product. It was believed by those who then and now favor free coinage that such use of silver would advance its bullion value to its coinage value, but this expectation was not realized. In a few months, notwithstanding the unprecedented market for the silver produced in the United States, the price of silver went down very rapidly, reaching a lower point than ever before. Then, upon the recommendation of President Cleveland, both political parties united in the repeal of the purchasing clause of the Sherman law. We can not with safety engage in further experiments in this direction.
On the 22d of August, 1891, in a public address, I said:
If we could have an international ratio, which all the leading nations of the world would adopt, and the true relation be fixed between the two metals, and all agree upon the quantity of silver which should constitute a dollar, then silver would be as free and unlimited in its privileges of coinage as gold is today. But that we have not been able to secure, and with the free and unlimited coinage of silver adopted in the United States, at the present ratio, we would be still further removed from any international agreement. We may never be able to secure it if we enter upon the isolated coinage of silver. The double standard implies equality at a ratio, and that equality can only be established by the concurrent law of nations. It was the concurrent law of nations that made the double standard; it will require the concurrent law of nations to reinstate and sustain it.
The Republican party has not been, and is not now, opposed to the use of silver money, as its record abundantly shows. It has done all that could be done for its increased use, with safety and honor, by the United States acting apart from other governments. There are those who think that it has already gone beyond the limit of financial prudence. Surely we can go no further, and we must not permit false lights to lure us across the danger line.
We have more silver in use than any other country in the world, except India or China-$500,000,000 more than Great Britain; $150,000,000 more than France; $400,000,000 more than Germany; $325,000,000 less than India, and $125,000,000 less than China. The Republican party has declared in favor of an international agreement, and if elected President it will be my duty to employ all proper means to promote it. The free coinage of silver in this country would defer, if not defeat, international bimetallism, and until an international agreement can be had every interest requires us to maintain our present standard. Independent free coinage of silver at a ratio of sixteen ounces of silver to one ounce of gold would insure the speedy contraction of the volume of our currency. It would drive at least five hundred millions of gold dollars, which we now have, permanently from the trade of the country, and greatly decrease our per capita circulation. It is not proposed by the Republican party to take from the circulating medium of the country any of the silver we now have. On the contrary it is proposed to keep all of the silver money now in circulation on a parity with gold by maintaining the pledge of the Government that all of it shall be equal to gold. This has been the unbroken policy of the Republican party since 1878. It has inaugurated no new policy. It will keep in circulation and as good as gold all of the silver and paper moneys which are now included in the currency of the country. It will maintain their parity. It will pre
serve their equality in the future as it has always done in the past. It will not consent to put this country on a silver basis which would inevitably follow independent free coinage at a ratio of sixteen to one. It will oppose the expulsion of gold from our circulation.
If there is any one thing which should be free from speculation and fluctuation it is the money of a cour.try. It ought never to be the subject of mere partisan contention. When we part with our labor, our products, or Our property, we should receive in return money which is as stable and unchanging in value as the ingenuity of honest men can make it. Debasement of the currency means destruction of values. No one suffers so much from cheap money as the farmers and laborers. They are the first to feel its bad effects and the last to recover from them. This has been the uniform experience of all countries, and here, as elsewhere, the poor, and not the rich, are always the greatest sufferers from every attempt to debase our money. It would fall with alarming severity upon investments already made; upon insurance companies and their policy-holders; upon savings banks and their depositors; upon building and loan associations and their members; upon the savings of thrift; upon pensioners and their families; and upon wage carners, and the purchasing power of their wages.
The silver question is not the only issue affecting our money in the pending contest. Not content with urging the free coinage of silver, its strongest champions demand that our paper money shall be issued directly by the Government of the United States. This is the Chicago Democratic declaration. The St. Louis People's declaration is that our National money shall be issued by the general Government only, without the intervention of banks of issue, be full legal tender for the payment of all debts, public and private," and be distributed "direct to the people, and through lawful disbursements of the Government." Thus in addition to the free coinage of the world's silver we are asked to enter upon an era of unlimited irredeemable paper currency. The question which was fought out from 1865 to 1879 is thus to be reopened, with all its uncertainties, and cheap money experiments of every conceivable form foisted upon us. This indicates a most startling reactionary policy, strangely at variance with every requirement of sound finance; but the declaration shows the spirit and purpose of those who by combined action are contending for the control of the Government. Not satisfied with the debasement of our coin which would inevitably follow the free coinage of silver at sixteen to one, they would still further degrade our currency and threaten the public honor by the unlimited issue of an irredeemable paper currency. A graver menace to our financial standing and credit could hardly be conceived, and every patriotic citizen should be aroused to promptly meet and effectually defeat it.
What a startling and sudden change within the short period of eight months, from December, 1892, to August, 1893! What had occurred? A change of administration; all branches of the Government had been entrusted to the Democratic party, which was committed against the protective policy that had prevailed uninterruptedly for more than thirty-two years and brought unexampled prosperity to the country, and firmly pledged to its complete overthrow and the substitution of a tariff for revenue only. The change
having been decreed by the elections in November, its effects were at once anticipated and felt. We cannot close our eyes to these altered conditions, nor would it be wise to exclude from contemplation and investigation the causes which produce them. They are facts which we cannot, as a people, disregard, and we can only hope to improve our present condition by a study of their causes. In December, 1892, we had the same currency and practically the same volume of currency that we have now. It aggregated in 1892 $2,372,599,501; in 1893, $2,323,000,000; in 1894, $2,323,442,362, and in December, 1895, $2,194,000,230. The per capita of money, too, has been practically the same during this whole period. The quality of the money has been identical-all kept equal to gold. There is nothing connected with our money, therefore, to account for this sudden and aggravated industrial change. Whatever is to be deprecated in our financial system, it must everywhere be admitted that our money has been absolutely good and has brought neither loss nor inconvenience to its holders. A depreciated currency has not existed to further vex the troubled business situation.
It is a mere pretense to attribute the hard times to the fact that all our currency is on a gold basis. Good money never made times hard. Those who assert that our present industrial and financial depression is the result of the gold standard have not read American history aright, or been careful students of the events of recent years. We never had greater prosperity in this country, in every field of employment and industry, than in the busy years from 1880 to 1892, during all of which time this country was on a gold basis and employed more gold money in its fiscal and business operations than ever before. * * * Let us hold fast to that which we know is good. It is not more money we want; what we want is to put the money we already have at work. When those who have money lack confidence in the stability of values and investments they will not part with their money. Business is stagnated-the life-blood of trade is checked and congested. We cannot restore public confidence by an act which would revolutionize all values, or an act which entails a deficiency in the public revenues. We cannot inspire confidence by advocating repudiation or practicing dishonesty. *
It is not an increase in the volume of money which is the need of the time, but an increase in the volume of business. Not an increase of coin, but an increase of confidence. Not more coinage, but a more active use of the money coined. Not open mints for the unlimited coinage of the silver of the world, but open mills for the full and unrestricted labor of American workingmen. The employment of our mints for the coinage of the silver of the world would not bring the necessaries and comforts of life back to our people.
This was followed, shortly afterwards, by Mr. Hobart's letter of acceptance, which is also reproduced in so far as it treats of the financial issue.
Mr. Hobart's Letter of Acceptance.
Paterson, N. J., September 10, 1896. Hon. Charles W. Fairbanks and Others of the Notification Committee of the Republican National Convention:
Gentlemen: I have already, in accepting the nomination for the office of the Vice-Presidency tendered me by the National Republican Convention, expressed my approval of the platform adopted by that body as the party basis of doctrine. In accordance with accepted usage I beg now to supplement that brief statement of my views, by some additional reflections upon the questions which are in debate before the American people.
The platform declarations in reference to the money question express clearly and unmistakably the attitude of the Republican party as to this supremely important subject. We stand unqualifiedly for honesty in finance, and the permanent adjustment of our monetary system, in the multifarious activities of trade and commerce, to the existing gold standard of value. We hold that every dollar of currency issued by the United States, whether of gold, silver or paper, must be worth a dollar in gold, whether in the pocket of the man who toils for his daily bread, in the vault of the savings bank which holds his deposits, or in the exchanges of the world.
The money standard of a great nation should be as fixed and permanent as the nation itself. To secure and retain the best should be the desire of every right minded citizen. Resting on stable foundations, continuous and unvarying certainty of value should be its distinguishing characteristic. The experience of all history confirms the truth that every coin, made under any law, howsoever that coin may be stamped, will finally command in the markets of the world the exact value of the materials which compose it. The dollar of our country, whether of gold or silver, should be of the full value of one hundred cents, and by so much as any dollar is worth less than this in the market, by precisely that sum will some one be defrauded.
The necessity of a certain and fixed money value between nations as well as individuals has grown out of the interchange of commodities, the trade and business relationships which have arisen among the peoples of the world, with the enlargement of human wants and the broadening of human interests. This necessity has made gold the final standard of all enlightened nations. Other metals, including silver, have a recognized commercial value, and silver, especially, has a value of great importance for subsidiary coinage. In view of a sedulous effort by the advocates of free coinage to create a contrary impression, it cannot be too strongly emphasized that the Republican party in its platform. affirms this value in silver, and favors the largest possible use of that metal as actual money that can be maintained with safety. Not only this, it will not antagonize, but will gladly assist in promoting a double standard, whenever it can be secured by agreement and co-operation among the nations. The bimetallic currency, involving the free use of silver, which we now have, is cordially approved by Republicans. But a standard and a currency are vastly different things.
If we are to continue to hold our place among the great commercial nations, we must cease juggling with this question and make our honesty of purpose