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prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I say to those who are now arraying themselves against the deliberately expressed judgment of the American people,-a judgment that they know has been declared and recorded, I say to the members of this body,-I say, so far as I may do so with propriety, to the members of the co-ordinate branch of Congress,—and I say, if without impropriety I may do so, to the Executive of the nation, that there will come a time when the people will be trifled with no longer on this subject.
Once, twice, thrice by Executive intervention, Democratic and Republican, by parliamentary proceedings that I need not characterize, by various methods of legislative jugglery, the deliberate purpose of the American people, irrespective of party, has been thwarted, it has been defied, it has been contumeliously trodden under foot; and I repeat to those who have been the instruments and the implements,—no matter what the impulse or the motive or the intention may have been,-at some time the people will elect a House of Representatives, they will elect a Senate of the United States, they will elect a President of the United States, who will carry out their pledges and execute the popular will.
Mr. President, by the readjustment of the political forces of the nation under the eleventh census, the seat of power has at last been transferred from the circumference of this country to its center.
It has been transferred from the seaboard to that great intramontane region between the Alleghanies and the Sierras, extending from the British possessions to the Gulf of Mexico, a region whose growth is one of the wonders and marvels of modern civilization. It seems as if the column of migration had paused in its westward march to build upon those tranquil plains and in those fertile valleys a fabric of society that should be the wonder and the admira
tion of the world; rich in every element of present prosperity, but richer in every prophecy of future greatness and
When I went west, Mr. President, as a carpet-bagger, in 1858, St. Louis was an outpost of civilization, Jefferson City was the farthest point reached by a railroad, and in all that great wilderness, extending from the sparse settlements along the Missouri to the summits of the Sierra Nevada, and from the Yellowstone to the cañons of the Rio Grande, a vast solitude from which I have myself, since that time, voted to admit seven States into the American Union, there was neither harvest nor husbandry, neither habitation nor home, save the hut of the hunter and the wigwam of the savage. Mr. President, we have now within those limits, extending southward from the British possessions and embracing the States of the Mississippi Valley, the Gulf, and the southeastern Atlantic, a vast productive region, the granary of the world, a majority of the members of this body, of the House of Representatives, and of the Electoral College.
We talk with admiration of Egypt. For many centuries the ruins of its cities, its art, its religions, have been the marvel of mankind. The Pyramids have survived the memory of their builders, and the Sphinx still questions, with solemn gaze,
vague mystery of the desert. The great fabric of Egyptian civilization, with its wealth and power, the riches of its art, its creeds and faiths and philosophies, was reared, from the labors of a few million slaves under the lash of despots, upon a narrow margin 450 miles long and 10 miles wide, comprising in all, with the delta of the Nile, no more than 10,000 square miles of fertile land.
Who, sir, can foretell the future of that region to which I
have adverted, with its 20,000 miles of navigable watercourses, with its hundreds of thousands of square miles of soil excelling in fecundity all that of the Nile, when the labor of centuries of freemen under the impulse of our institutions shall have brought forth their perfect results ?
Mr. President, it is to that region, with that population and with such a future, that the political power of this country has at last been transferred, and they are now unanimously demanding the free coinage of silver. It is for that reason that I shall cordially support the amendment proposed by the senator from Nevada. In doing so I not only follow the dictates of my own judgment, but I carry out the wishes of a great majority of my constituents, irrespective of party or of political affiliation. I have been for the free coinage of silver from the outset, and I am free to say that after having observed the operations of the act of 1878 I am more than ever convinced of the wisdom of that legislation and the futility of the accusations by which it was assailed.
The people of the country that I represent have lost their reverence for gold. They have no longer any superstition about coin. Notwithstanding the declarations of the mono metallists, notwithstanding the assaults that have been made by those who are in favor of still further increasing the value of the standard by which their possessions are measured, they know that money is neither wealth, nor capital, nor value, and that it is merely the creation of the law by which all these are estimated and measured.
We speak, sir, about the volume of money, and about its relation to the wealth and capital of the country. Let me ask you, sir, for a moment, what would occur if the circulating medium were to be destroyed? Suppose that the gold and silver were to be withdrawn suddenly from circulation and
melted up into bars and ingots and buried in the earth from which they were taken. Suppose that all the paper money, silver certificates, gold certificates, national-bank notes, treasury notes, were stacked in one mass at the end of the treasury building and the torch applied to them, and they were to be destroyed by fire, and their ashes scattered, like the ashes of Wickliffe, upon the Potomac, to be spread abroad, wide as its waters be.
What would be the effect? Would not this country be worth exactly as much as it is to-day? Would there not be just as many acres of land, as many houses, as many farms, as many days of lavor, as much improved and unimproved merchandise, and as much property as there is to-day? The result would be that commerce would languish, the sails of the ships would be furled in the harbors, the great trains would cease to run to and fro on their errands, trade would be reduced to barter, and, the people finding their energies languishing, civilization itself would droop, and we should be reduced to the condition of the nomadic wanderers upon the primeval plains.
Suppose, on the other hand, that instead of being destroyed, all the money in this country were to be put in the possession of a singie man-gold, and paper, and silver-and he were to be moored in mid-Atlantic upon a raft with his great hoard, or to be stationed in the middle of Sahara's desert without food to nourish, or shelter to cover, or the means of transportation to get away. Who would be the richest man, the postsessor of ihe gigantic treasure or the humblest settler upon the plains of the west, with a dugout to shelter him, and with corn meal and water enough for his daily bread?
Doubtless, Mr. President, you search the Scriptures daily, and are therefore familiar with the story of those depraved
politicians of Judea who sought to entangle the Master in his talk, by asking him if it were lawful to pay tribute to Cæsar or not. He, perceiving the purpose that they had in view, said unto them, “Show me the tribute money;" and they brought him a penny. He said, “ Whose is this image and superscription?” and they replied, “ Cæsar's;" and he said, “Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's."
I hold, Mr. President, between my thumb and finger, a silver denarius, or "penny," of that ancient time-perhaps the identical coin that was brought by the hypocritical Herodian -bearing the image and superscription of Cæsar. It has been money for more than twenty centuries. It was money when Jesus walked the waves and in the tragic hour at Gethsemane. Imperial Cæsar is “ dead and turned to clay." He has yielded to a mightier conqueror, and his eagles, his ensigns, and his trophies are indistinguishable dust. His triumphs and his victories are a schoolboy's tale. Rome herself ie but a memory.
Her marble porticoes and temples and palaces are in ruins. The sluggish monk and the lazy Roman lazzaroni haunt the Senate House and the Coliseum, and the derisive owl wakes the echoes of the voiceless Forum. But this little contemporary disk of silver is money still, because it bears the image and superscripture of Cæsar. And, sir, it will continue to be money for twenty centuries more, should it resist so long the corroding canker and the gnawing tooth of time. But if one of these pages should take this coin to the railway track, as boys sometimes do, and allow the train to pass over it, in one single instant its function would be destroyed. It would contain as many grains of silver as before, but it would be money no longer, because the image and SUPUMScription of Cæsar had disappeared.