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It is not more money that we want. What we want is to put the money we already have at work.
Now remember, my friends, that these words were uttered at a time when the money in actual circulation had fallen off $150,000,000 within two years. Remember that he says that we do not want more money but simply need to put what we have in circulation. Let me compare that statement with his utterance of six years ago, when, instead of having a decreasing volume of currency, we had an increase of about $24,000,000 a year. At that time the Republicans were trying to substitute the Sherman law for the Bland-Allison act. The Bland-Allison act put into circulation about $24,000,000 per year, so that the circulation, instead of decreasing as it is now, was increasing. Mr. McKinley was then a member of Congress, and speaking in support of the Sherman bill, he said:
I will not vote against this bill and thus deprive the people of my country and the laborers and the producers and the industries of my country of $30,000,000 annually of additional circulating medium.
At that time he declared that he would not vote to withhold from the people, the laborers, the producers and the industries of the country, the advantages of an increasing circulation. And yet now, when the circulation is actually decreasing, he tells you that it is not more money that we need, but that we simply need to put the money we have in circulation. What change has taken place in the last six years? Then he desired to increase the amount of money in circulation; now he believes that all we have to do is to have confidence. The Republican platform upon which the candidate stands declares in favor of the maintenance of the gold standard until the leading commercial nations of the world join us in abandoning it. Let me read you what the Republican candidate said on this subject six years ago:
I am for the largest use of silver in the currency of the country. I would not dishonor it. I would give it equal credit with gold. I would make no discrimination. I would utilize both metals as money and discredit neither. I want the double standard.
He wanted the double standard then; he wants the gold standard now. What change has taken place? If the double standard was good six years ago, it is good now. The principles which underlie the double standard have not changed in six years; the laws of finance have not changed in six years; the needs of this country have not changed in six years. The rules which governed then govern now, and yet we find some Republicans who were openly, earnestly, enthusiastically championing the double standard then but who, for reasons known or unknown, have turned completely about and are opposing today what they advocated then.
One of the arguments now made against our position is that we are trying to furnish a market for silver bullion. Our opponents say that our cause is simply the cause of the bullion owner. We deny it; we insist that we want silver for money and that we want it, not because we produce silver in this country, but because we need silver for money to carry on the commerce of this country. And yet the very people who now accuse us of working in the interests of the mine owners are supporting the Republican candidate for the Presidency who six years ago advocated the Sherman law and gave as one
of his reasons that it would furnish a market for all the silver produced in the United States. Let me read you what he said:
So I say, Mr. Speaker, this bill is just to the silver producers of the United States, for it does what the present law, as administered by every administration for ten years, has not done. It takes every dollar of silver bullion produced in the United States and places it at the disposal of the people as money.
And yet the man who used that language six years ago is standing upon a platform which refuses to take a single ounce of silver produced in this country and put it at the disposal of the people as money.
I call your attention to these extracts from the speech made by Mr. McKinley in Congress and compare his utterances then with his utterances now, not because I deny to a man the right to change his mind, but because I insist that when a man changes his mind he ought to have reasons for the change which he is willing to give to the American people. (A voice: “Give it to Grover.") No, my friends, I am not going to say one word against the President. I am going to leave history to record that the man who went into the Presidency with an overwhelming majority went out of office supporting a ticket which did not carry a single county in the United States. The ticket which has the support of the administration will not even have the credit of having died an honorable death, because it was put into the field by those who did not intend to vote for it and was only placed before the people for the purpose of deceiving them and to furnish a ticket for those few Democrats who object to the Chicago platform and are not yet quite ready to enter the Republican party.
Here I received a gavel from the wood of the house in which Stonewall Jackson was born. An old colleague, ex-Congressman Alderson, presided.
After speaking briefly at Parkersburg, Marshall and Sistersville, we concluded the day at Wheeling, where the largest meeting in the State was held. The city was decorated and enthusiasm ran high. Below will be found a portion of the speech delivered here:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: We are engaged in a campaign upon which much depends. I have heard since I came into the State that a prominent member of a corporation has boasted that the Republicans have $300,000 to spend in this State to prevent the electoral vote being cast for the Chicago ticket. In times of quiet, when people feel no deep interest in the result, money may possibly be expended in such a way as to affect an election, but in times like these, when the people are in earnest, money cannot change the result. If our opponents are allowed to intimidate and corrupt the voters. then the people are helpless to secure any remedy through legislation because every time intimidation is successful it encourages those who try it to try intimidation again. Every time corruption is successful it encourages corruptionists to try corruption again, and when they win by corruption and intimidation they then enact legislation which secures to them out of the pockets of the people, vastly more than they expend in carrying the election.
I rejoice that such a demonstration as this is possible in the State of West Virginia. Without any money being spent by the committee, great interest has been aroused. The fact that you are willing to give your time and to contribute, even at a sacrifice, whatever is necessary to prepare this magnificent demonstration, is evidence that you are in earnest and that you mean business in this campaign.
We have declared the money question to be the paramount issue of the campaign. Ordinary questions may be settled at any time, but we have reached a crisis in our financial affairs when it is necessary for the United States to take a decided stand, and what that stand shall be must be determined, not by a few financiers, but by the American people. Some of our opponents seem to think that only a few people are able to understand the money question. They even go so far as to assert that financial questions are too complicated to be understood by the ordinary citizen. When I find a man who thinks that the money question is too complicated for the people, I generally find a man who thinks it is just about complicated enough for himself. When I find a man who thinks that the money question is too deep for the people, I generally find a man who thinks that he has made a study of deep questions. Whenever I find a man who thinks that the masses are not intelligent enough to act for themselves, I generally find a man who wants to act for them. And you may rest assured that if you let some one act for all the people on the theory that all the people have not sense enough to act for themselves, then you may depend upon it that the one who does the acting will not neglect himself. The money question is not a complicated question; it requires no extended study to understand the principle which underlies it. It is so simple that there is no person in this audience who need go away without a clear understanding of the subject. You can make money either dear or cheap by law. You can make money dear by making it scarce; you can make money too cheap by making it too plentiful. A dollar is a creature of law; if you have more dollars than are necessary to keep pace with the demands for money, then dollars will fall in purchasing power. If the demand for money increases more rapidly than the number of dollars, then the value of the dollar will rise. There are some people who profit by a rising dollar; there are some people who grow rich as a dollar grows in purchasing power, and if these people control legislation they will so control it as to raise the value of the money which they own. There are those who make a profit by the negotiation of bonds, and those who profit by bond sales are anxious for the government to maintain a policy which will make frequent bond issues necessary. Therefore, my friends, the question as to who shall determine the quantity of money becomes a serious question. The advocates of a gold standard insist that they favor the gold standard, not because of the advantage which it brings them but because of their interest in others. You may believe that if you like, but I do not. When I find a man who wants a thing because he thinks it is good for himself, I recognize him as a natural sort of man, but when I find a man who always wants to do something for me against my will; some one who insists upon looking after my interests when I don't want him to; and who tells me that he always feels for me, I am careful to see that he does not reach me.
I do not know what these gold advocates may have said in your presence
but I know that some of them insist that the New York financiers would make a great profit out of free coinage if they could only permit themselves to enjoy the profit. When they tell me that the financiers will profit by free coinage, then, my friends, I conclude that the time has come for the masses to pay back a debt of gratitude which has been accumulating for twenty years. For twenty years these financiers, if we can believe their own report, have been legislating for the good of the people even to the neglect of themselves. I do not think we ought to permit them to make this sacrifice for us always, and when they tell us that the free coinage of silver will help them I say that we should give them the advantage of free coinage and permit them to enjoy it to their hearts' content. If it brings disadvantage to us we will endeavor to bear up under the disadvantage with that fortitude which they have displayed in enduring the gold standard for so many years. If, as a matter of fact, they believe that the free coinage of silver is going to enrich them, why is it that they call us anarchists because we are attempting to do something for them?
Leaving Wheeling in the night we reached Point Pleasant at an early hour. My father's parents were buried near this spot, and a number of relatives were present at Point Pleasant. I came near missing this meeting because Mr. McMillan was trying to protect my sleep. The Tennessee Congressman was one of the most considerate guardians whom I found during the campaign, and when he was endeavoring to secure rest for me his humor supplied any missing links in his logic. He was the life of the party and never spared himself if there was a joke to be related. As an illustration, I may suggest the following: My speeches were for the most part brief, and he sometimes followed me. On one occasion, when I understood that he was to speak, I was surprised to find him in the car soon after I entered, and said to him, "I thought you were going to follow me." He replied, "I did follow you-and so did the crowd."
But to return to the narrative. I came to the rescue of the Point Pleasant committee and, in accordance with a promise made the night before, addressed the audience assembled. I here met ex-Congressman James Capehart, one of the signers of the address of March 4, 1895.
The next meeting was at Charleston, followed by the last meeting in the State, which was held at Huntington. Both were largely attended. In fact, the trip through West Virginia was a very satisfactory one, and gave me an opportunity to meet many of the prominent silver advocates of all parties. Governor McCorkle was with us during a portion of the trip.
In the ride through Northern Kentucky we found the people assembled at every place where the train stopped, but there was no incident of special importance. Upon arrival in Cincinnati our party
repaired to the Gibson House, where the proprietor, Mr. H. B. Dunbar, one of the best bimetallists, had arranged a little banquet for us. The evening's work began with a speech at the Music Hall and ended with an outdoor meeting at Covington, Ky.
The former ranked among the largest of our indoor meetings; below will be found a portion of the speech:
Let me call your attention to the language used by Abraham Lincoln in criticising a decision of the Supreme Court. When you hear his words you will understand how much more emphatic his language was than our platformand yet there are many people in this country today who think that Abraham Lincoln was not only a great man, but also a good man and a patriot. He said:
We believe as much as Judge Douglass, perhaps more, in obedience to and respect for the judicial department of the Government. But we think that the Dred Scott decision was erroneous. We know that the court that made it has often overruled its own decisions, and we shall do what we can to have it overrule this.
That, my friends, was the position taken by Abraham Lincoln, and that is exactly the position which we take today. We expect that at some time in the future that decision will be overruled; we expect that at some time in the future it will be possible to make wealth bear its share of the burdens of government. It is strange how suddenly some of these people who have been in court all their lives as defendants, charged with violating the law, it is strange, I say, how suddenly they have come to respect a decision of the court. The men who, under the income tax law, will be compelled to pay a tax, instead of telling us that they are not willing to pay the tax, charge us with disrespect to the court. If these men, who want the protection of government, and yet want others to bear all the burdens of government, were frank and honest, they would tell us that what they object to is not our criticism of the court, but the law itself, which would compel them to pay their share of the taxes.
It was late before we reached Covington, and I only spoke for a few moments at that meeting. While there I was the guest of one of the electoral ticket-Judge James Tarvin.
Leaving Cincinnati next morning, we passed through Indiana, stopping, among other places, at North Vernon, Seymour, Mitchell, Loogootee, Washington and Vincennes. The veteran Congressman, W. S. Holman, accompanied the party during a portion of the journey. The principal stops in Illinois were at Olney, Flora, and Salem. Mr. McMillan sang my praises at Salem, my early home, and as an evidence that his remarks made a deep impression upon the people, I record the fact that the Democratic majority was largely increased in the town and county.
After a brief stop at East St. Louis, where an open-air meeting was held, we again entered the trans-Mississippi territory: