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cians and this turbulent and distracting agitation which has already culminated in violence and may end in blood.
Such, sir, is the verdict which I read in the elections from which we have just emerged, a verdict that was unexpected by the leaders of both parties, and which surprised alike the victors and the vanquished. It was a spontaneous, unpremeditated protest of the people against existing conditions. It was a revolt of the national conscience against injustice, a movement that is full of pathos and also full of danger, because such movements sometimes make victims of those who are guiltless. It was not a Republican defeat. It was not a Democratic victory. It was a great upheaval and uprising, independent of and superior to both. It was a crisis that may become a catastrophe, filled with terrible admonition, but not without encouragement to those who understand and are ready to co-operate with it. It was a peaceful revolution, an attempt to resume rights that seemed to have been infringed.
It is many years, Mr. President, since I predicted this inevitable result. In a speech delivered in this Chamber on the 15th of February, 1878, from the seat that is now adorned by my honorable friend from Texas who sits before me [Mr. Reagan] I said:
“We can not disguise the truth that we are on the verge of an impending revolution. The old issues are dead. The people are arraying themselves upon one side or the other of a portentous contest. On one side is capital, formidably intrenched in privilege, arrogant from continued triumph, conservative, tenacious of old theories, demanding new concessions, enriched by domestic levy and foreign commerce, and struggling to adjust all values to its own standard. On the other is labor, asking for employment, striving to develop domestic industries, battling with the forces of nature, and subduing the wilderness; labor, starving and sullen in cities, resolutely determined to overthrow a system under which the
rich are growing richer and the poor are growing poorer; a system which gives to a Vanderbilt the possession of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice and condemns the poor to a poverty which has no refuge from starvation but the prison
or the grave.
“Our demands for relief, for justice, have been met with indifference or disdain.
The laborers of the country asking for employment are treated like impudent mendicants begging for bread.'
Mr. President, it may be cause, it may be coincidence, it may be effect, it may be post hoc or it may be propter hoc, but it is historically true that this great blight that has fallen upon our industries, this paralysis that has overtaken our financial system, coincided in point of time with the diminution of the circulating medium of the country. The public debt was declared to be payable in coin, and then the money power of silver was destroyed. The value of property diminished in proportion, wages fell, and the value of everything was depreciated except debts and gold. The mortgage, the bond, the coupon, and the tax have retained immortal youth and vigor. They have not depreciated. The debt remains, but the capacity to pay has been destroyed. The accumulation of years disappears under the hammer of the sheriff, and the debtor is homeless, while the creditor obtains the security for his debt for a fraction of what it was actually worth when the debt was contracted.
There is, Mr. President, a deep-seated conviction among the people, which I fully share, that the demonetization of silver in 1873 was one element of a great conspiracy to deliver the fiscal system of this country over to those by whom it has, in my opinion, finally been captured. I see no proof of the assertion that the Demonetization Act of 1873 was fraudulently or corruptly procured, but from the statements that have been made it is impossible to avoid the conviction that it
was part of a deliberate plan and conspiracy formed by those who have been called speculators to still further increase the value of the standard by which their accumulations were to be measured. The attention of the people was not called to the subject. It is one of the anomalies and phenomena of legislation. That bill was pending in its various stages for four years
in both Houses of Congress. It passed both bodies by decided majorities. It was read and re-read and reprinted thirteen times, as appears by the records. It was commented upon in newspapers; it was the subject of discussion in financial bodies all over the country; and yet we have the concurrent testimony of every senator and every member of the House of Representatives who was present during the time that the legislation was pending and proceeding that he knew nothing whatever about the demonetization of silver and the destruction of the coinage of the silver dollar. The senator from Nevada [Mr. Stewart], who knows so many things, felt called upon to make a speech of an hour's duration to show that he knew nothing whatever about it. I have heard other members declaim and with one consent make excuse that they knew nothing about it.
As I say, it is one of the phenomena and anomalies of legislation, and I have no other explanation to make than this: 1 believe that both Houses of Congress and the President of the United States must have been hypnotized. So great was the power of capital, so profound was the impulse, so persistent was the determination, that the promoters of this scheme succeeded, by the operation of mind power and will force, in capturing and bewildering the intelligence of men of all parties, of members of both Houses of Congress, and the members of the Cabinet, and the President of the United States.
And yet, Mr. President, it cannot be doubted that the statements thai these gentlemen make are true.
There is no doubt of the sincerity or the candor of those who have testified upon this matter;
and it is incredible (I am glad it occurred before I was a member of this body) that a change in our financial system, that deprived one of the money metals of its debt-paying power, that changed the whole financial system of the country, and, to a certain extent, the entire fiscal methods of the world, could have been engineered through the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Cabinet of the President, and secured Executive approval without a single human being knowing anything whatever about it. In an age of miracles, Mr. President, wonders never cease.
It is true, that this marvel was accomplished when the subject was not one of public discussion. It was done at a time when, although the public mind was intensely interested in financial subjects, and methods of relief from existing conditions were assiduously sought, the suggestion had never proceeded from any quarter that this could be accomplished by the demonetization of silver, or ceasing to coin the silver dollar. It was improvidently done, but it would not be more surprising, it would not be more of a strain upon human credulity, if fifteen years from now we were to be informed that no one was aware that in the bill that is now pending the proposition was made for the free coinage of silver.
Mr. President, there is not a State west of the Alleghany Mountains and south of the Potomac and Ohio rivers that is not in favor of the free coinage of silver. There is not a State in which, if that proposition were to be submitted to a popular vote, it would not be adopted by an overwhelming majority. I do not mean by that inclusion to say that in those States east of the Alleghanies and north of the Ohio and Potomac
rivers there is any hostility or indisposition to receive the benefits that would result from the remonetization of silver. On the contrary, in the great commonwealths that lie to the northeast upon the Atlantic seaboard, New York, Pennsylvania, and the manufacturing and commercial States, I am inclined to believe, from the tone of the press, from the declarations of many assemblies, that if the proposition were to be submitted there it would also receive a majority of the votes.
If the proposition were to be submitted to the votes of the people of this country at large whether the silver dollar should be recoined and silver remonetized, notwithstanding the prophecies, the predictions, the animadversions of those who are opposed to it, I have not the slightest doubt that the great majority of the people, irrespective of party, would be in favor of it, and would so record themselves. They have declared in favor of it for the past fifteen years, and they have been juggled with, they have been thwarted, they have been paltered with and dealt with in a double sense. The word of promise that was made to their ear in the platforms of political parties has been broken to their hope. There was a majority is this body at the last session of Congress in favor of the free coinage of silver. The compromise that was made was not what the people expected, nor what they had a right to demand. They felt they had been trifled with, and that is one cause of the exasperation expressed in the verdict of November 4th.
I feel impelled to make one further observation. Warnings and admonitions have been plenty in this debate. We have been admonished of the danger that would follow; we have been notified of what would occur if the free coinage of silver were supported by a majority of this body, or if it were to be adopted as a part of our financial system. I am not a