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These were the people who were behind the gold standard, and representatives of those who thought this way went down to St. Louis. They had their own way. They could have written any platform they wanted to. What kind of a platform did they write? Is there anything in the Republican platform about gold being the only money fit for civilized people to use? Nothing of that kind. Is there anything there condemning the two-yardstick idea? Not a word. Is there anything there condemning any man as a demagogue who believes in bimetallism? Not a word of it. Is there any slander upon “debtors who want bimetallism in order to pay their debts easily?" Not a word about that. Is there anything about the mine owner who wants bimetallism to raise the value of his bullion? Not a word about that.
What did the platform say? Why, it pledged the Republican party to get rid of the gold standard and substitute bimetallism. That is what it did. The Republican platform pledges the Republican party to substitute the double standard for the single gold standard. When? When other nations will let us. If the gold standard is a good thing, then why ought we to try to get rid of it? If it is a bad thing, then why should we keep it?
The Republican party cannot defend a gold standard as a thing to be desired. Why? Because when it promises to get rid of it and substitute something else, it cannot very consistently say that the thing it is trying to get rid of is better than the thing it is trying to get.
Now, why was that platform written that way? Was it because those men who wrote it are going to try to secure international bimetallism? No. International bimetallism is a fraud, and those know it best who talk about it the most. The Republican platform declares in favor of the maintenance of the gold standard until-that is a long word, my friends—until what? Until the American people desire a change? No. They desire a change now, because the platform pledges the Republican party to try to get the change. How long? Until the people need a change? No. The platform covers that ground, because unless we need it, the Republican party wouldn't try to get it.
How long are we to maintain a gold standard? For a year? It doesn't say that. For four years? It doesn't say that. According to that platform, although we want to get rid of a gold standard, although we are anxious to substitute bimetallism, we must maintain the gold standard forever, if foreign nations insist on our doing it.
That is what the platform says. Now, I have not misquoted that platform. That is the platform. If you doubt it, take it and read it.
Now, they went to Chicago and a part of the Democratic convention tried to get a plank just like it. The minority plank in the Chicago platform declared against free coinage because it would interfere with the securing of international bimetallism, toward which all efforts should be directed.
Now, is there any difference between those two platforms? Both of them hold out international bimetallism as the desirable thing, and one of them promises to maintain the gold standard until we can get it, and the other opposes independent free coinage for fear it will prevent us getting it—just enough variance to show that they were two witnesses with testimony furnished from the same source. Read Greenleaf on Evidence and you will find that it takes away from the weight of testimony to have two witnesses testifying in
exactly the same language. There must be a little variance in order to take away the appearance of having it manufactured.
And so these two platforms had just enough of variance to take away the appearance and prove the fact that they were both written by the same people.
Now, another thing about that Chicago convention that amused me very much. The people elected delegates to the Chicago convention, and they not only elected them but they instructed them, and nearly two-thirds of the delegates in that convention, whose seats were not contested, were elected and instructed all the way from the primaries up to the national convention.
It was known in advance that a decided majority of the delegates to that convention were instructed for free coinage at 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation. And yet, in spite of that, in spite of that known desire, purpose and determination on the part of the majority, the Democratic National Committee refused to recognize the voice of the people and attempted to choose a presiding officer in opposition to the wishes of a majority of the delegates there.
I am not speaking of the person whom they selected, because he was as free from objection as any one opposed to free coinage, but I am speaking of the fact that the machinery of the party did as it always does when the gold standard men run it. It assumed to be greater than the people from whom the machine derived its power.
Now, what was the result? Why, men came down there with the open and avowed purpose of changing the vote on the silver question in spite of the instructions which bound the delegates. Think of a man calling himself a Democrat and then boasting that he is able to make men violate the instructions under which they came and betray the people who sent them there.
There has been some talk about the Monroe doctrine. For years, for decades, it has been the policy of this country, reiterated by its Presidents, to oppose any extension of the influence of monarchial institutions on the western hemisphere.
The time came when the President asserted that doctrine, and what was the result? Gold began to slip away. And then what did we find out in Wall street? We found that the financiers who insisted upon running this country in time of peace raised up their hands and begged the country not to go to war, not to enforce its own policy, not to stand by its own rights, not to have a dignity that would be respected, for fear our gold would go away.
Do you tell me that we cannot have a financial policy of our own! I tell you that until we do we cannot have a foreign policy without the consent of the other nations. If we must have a financial system which we do not want, because other nations want us to have it; if we must do our business upon gold alone, and then put it in the power of opposing nations to rob us of our gold at any moment, I want to ask you, my friends, whether we are an independent nation or whether we have again become the subject of a foreign power?
This question is more than a political question; it is more than an economic question. This question is a great moral question. It is a question of right or wrong, a question of justice or injustice, and your financiers will have to study morality before they can preach much finance in this campaign.
Your poet Whittier used these words:
Tell us not of banks and tariffs,
Cease your paltry peddler cries;
There are persons among you who estimate a nation's greatness and prosperity by the fluctuations of the stocks in which they gamble.
He said again:
Is the dollar only real,
God and Truth and Right a dream?
Smote the Province House with terror,
For another strong-voiced Adams
In the city streets to cry,
Set your feet on Mammon's lie!"
Spin your cotton's latest pound,
My friends, this is a question upon which civilization itself may turn. We are fighting a battle between the creators of wealth and the money changers, and we are fighting that battle in the sight of all the world. Never in the history of this nation has a campaign attracted so much attention abroad. Why? Prince Bismarck tells the story. He says that the American people are freer by far to legislate on this subject, and because our opportunity is greater our responsibility is greater also. It is true of nations as it is true of individuals-much will be required of those to whom much has been given.
Then there are some who said they did not like that plank which expressed a preference for an income tax. How tender some of these consciences have become! Why, when we were passing that income tax bill there were persons who said it was unconstitutional, and when we pointed to the fact that the supreme court had already declared time and again that the income tax was constitutional, these opponents of the income tax still insisted that the court might reverse itself.
What right had they to attack the decisions of the supreme court? Why, the attorneys who went before that court and asked the court to reverse its decision showed the court, or tried to show the court, that those decisions were wrong. Out on these anarchists who dare to go before the court and try to overturn its decisions!
And those decisions which they tried to overturn were rendered by a full court and by unanimous opinion. The decision which, we think, may possibly be reversed by a future court, was rendered by a majority of one, and that one majority was made by a judge who changed his mind within two months. My friends, it has been more than two months since that decision was rendered, and how do we know but that he has got back on our side again?
They have new judge on the bench. How can we tell until another case
gets to him what his opinion is? They are very tender about a judgment they like--much more so than they are about a decision that they don't like.
Of all these men who are criticising there is not one of them who tells you that he lives under a government which protects him and yet that he wants to shirk his share of the taxes-not one of them!
Ah, my friends, because these men know that an income tax is just, they know that they are not doing their duty when they refuse to pay it, but they skulk around in the dark and call people hard names rather than expose their own unwillingness to support their government.
But now I must go. I want you to take this question, I want you to study it and have your own opinion. They tell you they want agitation stopped. I tell you that agitation will never stop until this gold standard is wiped out of existence in this country.
After the meeting I accompanied Mr. Williams to his home at Dedham, and closed the day with a brief speech at about midnight to a hall full of people who had patiently waited until that hour.
Early Saturday morning we took the train for Manchester, N. H., passing through Lowell and Nashua. The Manchester meeting was quite a large one. Here I touched upon the appeal made to savings banks depositors to support the gold standard, and said:
We are told that the free coinage of silver will be detrimental to those who have deposits in savings banks. I want you who have money deposited in savings banks to remember that your deposits are secure only when the banks can collect the money which they have loaned. If you loan money on Western lands and then drive down the value of Western lands, you are destroying the securities which the banks hold for what they owe you.
At Lawrence, Mass., also a large number were gathered. Here the citizens had prepared a dinner for our party. A brief stop was made at Portland, Me., where a large meeting was held near the depot, and where we met the Bath reception committee. Upon arrival at the latter place we were escorted to Mr. Sewall's residence by a torch-light procession. Later in the evening I delivered an address to an immense audience, one of the largest, it was said, ever assembled in Maine. Mr. Sewall presided on this occasion and introduced me. A part of the address is reproduced:
This visit to the home of my colleague in this typical city of Maine is one of the most pleasant incidents of my journey from the Platte to the Kennebec. I did not become acquainted with Mr. Sewall until the Chicago convention met, but my opinion of him has improved with each passing day, and I am glad to have the privilege of spending a brief period with him and
among his neighbors. I can assure you that we have no hostile designs against the people of the east. The policies which we advocate will, we believe, help the people of every section of the country; therefore, I always enjoy defending these policies before such as have hitherto opposed them. Such is the all-pervading power of truth that I expect some time to see bimetallism at 16 to 1 as popular in Maine as it is now in Colorado.
We are not in favor of free coinage because we desire to help the mine owner, nor because silver is produced in the United States. We would be as heartily in favor of free silver if the United States did not produce an ounce of that metal. We are for the coinage of gold as well as for the coinage of silver; we simply hold that gold should not demand a monopoly of mint privileges. If silver were now given free coinage and gold were excluded from the mint, we would be advocating the free coinage of gold.
The science of money is not difficult to understand. Our opponents say that honest money is sound money, and that sound money is honest money, and they seldom get outside of that circle. Their only definition of sound or honest money is: Money which is worth as much in the form of bullion as in the form of coin. I want to show you how absurd that definition is. If the definition is a good one, then the Mexican dollar is an honest dollar, because the Mexican dollar is worth just the same in the form of bullion that it is in the form of coin. The trouble with the definition is that it leaves out of consideration the most important thing in a dollar, namely, its purchasing power. The gold standard definition of sound or honest money makes no mention of purchasing power. Let me show you what is possible under that definition. Let us suppose that all the nations of the world should agree upon the gold standard and make our dollar the unit. Then let us suppose that the next day these nations should agree to destroy ninety-nine one-hundredths of all the gold dollars in existence, what would be the result? The dollar, according to the gold standard definition, would still be an honest dollar, because if melted it would not lose any of its value, and yet the purchasing power of the dollar would be largely increased. In fact, if a person owed a debt, he would have to sell about one hundred times as much of his property to secure the money to pay his debt; and yet he would have the consolation of knowing that he was paying his debts in honest dollars, according to the gold standard idea. But let us take another supposition. Let us suppose that after all the nations had agreed upon a gold standard new gold mines should be discovered. Suppose the production of gold increased until the world had one hundred times as many gold dollars as it had before; what would be the result? According to the gold standard definition the dollar would still be an honest dollar, because if melted it would not lose anything; but the purchasing power of the dollar would fall, because of the increased number of dollars. Would the money loaner believe that he was being paid in honest dollars if the dollars would only buy a hundredth part of what they would before? And yet the gold standard definition would apply, no matter how much the quantity of money might be increased or decreased. This illustrates the absurdity of a definition of honest money which fails to consider the purchasing power of a dollar. An honest dollar would be a dollar whose average purchasing power