« PreviousContinue »
We believe this is the remedy and the only remedy for the evil from which we are now suffering-the evil that is now so fast devastating and impoverishing our land and people, bringing poverty to our homes and bankruptcy to our business, which, if allowed to continue, will grow until our very institutions are threatened.
The demonetization of silver has thrown the whole primary money function on gold, appreciating its value and purchasing power. Restore the money function to silver and silver will appreciate and its purchasing power increase. Take from gold its monopoly, its value will be reduced and in due course the parity of the two metals will again obtain under natural causes.
We shall then have a broad and unlimited foundation for a monetary system, commensurate with our country's needs and future development, not the unsafe basis of today reduced by half by the removal of silver and continually undermined by foreigners carrying from us our gold.
This is the reform to which we are pledged, the reform the people demand, the return to the monetary system of over eighty years of our national existence.
The Democratic party has already given its approval and its pledge. Our opponents admit the wisdom of the principle for which we contend, but ask us to await permission and co-operation of other nations.
Our people will not wait. They will not ask permission of any nation on earth to relieve themselves of the cause of their distress. The issue has been made. The people stand ready to render their verdict next November.
Mr. Chairman, unequivocally and through sincere conviction, I indorse the platform on which I have been nominated.
I believe we are right; the people are with us and what the people declare is always right and must prevail.
I accept the nomination, and, with the people's confirmation, every effort of which God shall render me capable will be exerted in support of the principles involved.
Mr. Sewall's Letter Accepting Democratic Nomination.
Bath, Me., Oct. 6, 1896. Hon Stephen M. White, Chairman, and Members of the Notification Committee.
Gentlemen: I have the honor to accept in writing, as I have already verbally done, the nomination tendered by you on behalf of the Democratic party as its candidate for Vice-President of the United States.
And in so doing I am glad first to express my satisfaction that the platform of our party, which has commanded my lifelong allegiance, is honestly and fully declaratory of all its principles and especially of the absorbing financial issue upon which, as you say, I took my stand, "When the hours of triumph seemed remote, and when arrogant money changers throughout the world boasted that the conquest of the American masses was complete." These principles have been of late in abeyance, but only because those whom we trusted to maintain them have failed to do so; these principles can never die.
We have rescued our party from those who, under the influence of the money power, have controlled and debased it. Our mission now is to rescue from this same power, and its foreign allies, our own beloved country.
This is the first and highest duty imposed by our party's platform. Upon the performance of this duty all other reforms must wait.
The test of party principles is the government they assure. The proof of good government is a contented and happy people, and the supreme test of both is the ability to guide the country through crises as well as to administer the government in ordinary times.
Our people now face a crisis; a crisis more serious than any since the war. To what party shall they turn in their dire emergency? It is true that the present crisis may not involve all equally-that there are those who do not suffer now, who may not suffer should the crisis threatened by the gold standard come on in all its fury. Human selfishness makes these deaf to all appeals. But to these, fortunately, the Democratic party has never needed to appeal to win its battles, nor does it now, save as there are some among them who can rise superior to self in the sacrifice which such a crisis demands of every patriot.
We are told that the country has prospered under the present monetary standard-that its wealth has enormously increased. Granted, but in whose hands? In the hands of the toilers, the producers, the farmers, the miners, the fabricators in the factories, the creators of the nation's wealth in peace, its defenders in war? Have they the prosperity which was theirs so late as even twenty years ago? I deny it. They deny it. None affirm it, save those whose interest it is to do so-whose profits would diminish as prosperity returns to those off whose distress they thrive.
All is indeed right between capital and capital. The "best money in the world" is none too good for those who have got it, but how is it with the 90 per cent. of our people who have “got it to get?"
How is it with those who must buy this "best money in the world" with the products of their own labor? These are the people for whom the Democratic party would legislate. What is the best money for these, is the question for all to ask who really love this land.
How else can you increase labor's purchasing power but by increasing the price of labor's products?
Is it a fair measure of values that, in our great producing section, ten bushels of potatoes must be paid for a dollar-ten bushels of oats for a dollar -six bushels of corn for a dollar-three bushels of wheat, and all other products of the soil, and mines, and the labor of all wage earners at the same ratio? Does any fair mind say this is honest money that forces such an exchange, and, if it is not a fair exchange, is it honest, is it less than robbery?
This is the condition to which the single gold standard has brought us. Under it, the appreciation of the "best money in the world" has increased the wealth of the rich, and for the same reason has increased the debt of the debtor. So it has been, so under the present standard it must continue to be.
With these object lessons about us, little need have we for history and statistics, and the studies of scholars. Little satisfaction it is to us that they have warned us long since of the deadly evil of the gold standard.
It has brought us at last to the parting of the ways. Whither shall the people go, in the way that has led to their enslavement, or in that which
offers them their only chance to regain individual liberty, lasting prosperity and happiness?
Let not our opponents charge us with creating class distinctions. Alas for the Republic, they are already here, created by the Republican policy of the last thirty years, created by the very system we would now overthrow and destroy.
Nor do we raise a sectional issue.
The nomination you tender repels the charge. None know better than I that this nomination is meant as no personal tribute, but as an assurance that our party is a non-sectional party. Not by our policy, but only by the continuance of the gold standard can sectionalism be revived.
Neither shall our opponents be permitted to terrify the people by predictions that temporary disturbance or panic will come from the policy we propose. The American people will be loyal to the nation's money, will stand behind it and maintain it at whatever value they themselves may put upon it.
Once before, in the present generation, have our people been called upon to face a momentous crisis. What then said Mr. Lincoln, the chosen leader of the plain people of the land? Was he awed by threats or weakened by the wily persuasions of those false friends, who, as today, pleaded for compromise with wrong? His answer was:
If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored, contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong. *** Reversing the divine rule, and calling not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance, such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.
We know well the nature of the struggle in which we are engaged. We are anxious only that the people of the land shall understand it, and then our battle is won.
Behind the strong entrenchment of the gold standard are gathered all those favored classes it has fostered the only "dangerous classes" of the land. Avarice and unholy greed are there, every trust and combination is there, every monopoly is there, led by the greatest monopoly of all, the monopoly of the power of gold.
With us in our assault upon these entrenchments are all those unselfish men, who, not now suffering themselves, cannot rest content with conditions so full of suffering for others, and that vaster number of our people who have been sacrificed to the small and selfish class who now resist their attempts to regain their ancient rights and liberties.
These are the patriots of 1896-the foes of a "dishonest dollar" which enriches 10 per cent. of our people to rob the rest-the defenders of the homes of the land, of public morals and the public faith, both of which alike forbid the payment of government obligations in a coin costlier to those who have to pay than that the contract calls for-the defenders of the honor of the nation whose most sacred charge it is to care for the welfare of all its citizens.