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The effect of paying the labor of this country in silver coin of full value, as compared with the irredeemable paper or as compared even with silver of inferior value, will make itself felt in a single generation to the extent of tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, in the aggregate savings which represent consolidated capital. It is the instinct of man from the savage to the scholar—developed in childhood and remaining with age—to value the metals which in all tongues are called precious. Excessive paper money leads to extravagance, to waste, and to want, as we painfully witness on all sides to-day. And in the midst of the proof of its demoralizing and destructive effect, we hear it proclaimed in the Halls of Congress that “the people demand cheap money.” I deny it. I declare such a phrase to be a total misapprehension, a total misinterpretation of the popular wish. The people do not demand cheap money. They demand an abundance of good money, which is an entirely different thing. They do not want a single gold standard that will exclude silver and benefit those already rich. They do not want an inferior silver standard that will drive out gold and not help those already poor. They want both metals, in full value, in equal honor, in whatever abundance the bountiful earth will yield them to the searching eye of science and to the hard hand of labor.
The two metals have existed side by side in harmonious, honorable companionship as money, ever since intelligent trade was known among men. It is wellnigh forty centuries since “Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth—four hundred shekels of silver—current money with the merchant.” Since that time nations have risen and fallen, races have disappeared, dialects and languages have been forgotten, arts have been lost, treasures have perished, continents have been discovered, islands have been sunk in the sea, and through all these ages, and through all these changes, silver and gold have reigned supreme, as the representatives of value, as the media of exchange. The dethronement of each has been attempted in turn, and sometimes the dethronement of both; but always in vain. And we are here to-day, deliberating anew over the problem which comes down to us from Abraham's time: the weight of the silver that shall be “current money with the merchant.”
BENJAMIN HARRISON, the grandson of President William Henry Harrison, and great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born at North Bend, Ohio, on August 20, 1833. He graduated at Miami University in 1852, and practiced law in Indianapolis until the Civil War, in which he served from 1862 to 1865, first as the commander of a regiment, and then as the General of a brigade. He represented Indiana in the United States Senate from 1881 to 1887. In 1888 he was the candidate of the Republican party for the Presidency, and was elected. In 1892 he was renominated, but was beaten by Cleveland. Since his retirement from the White House he has appeared before the Board of Arbitrators at Paris as the representative of Venezuela in its boundary controversy with British Guiana. He has lately been appointed one of the representatives of the United States on the permanent Board of Arbitration established in pursuance of the Peace Conference at The Hague.
IN A U G U R A L A D D RESS
tion of the laws, so that they may be the unfailing defence (355 § 16–Orations—Vol. VIII.
and security of those who respect and observe them, and that neither wealth, station, nor the power of combinations shall be able to evade their just penalties or to wrest them from a beneficent public purpose to serve the ends of cruelty or selfishness. My promise is spoken; yours unspoken, but not the less real and solemn. The people of every State have here their representatives. Surely I do not misinterpret the spirit of the occasion when I assume that the whole body of the people covenant with me and with each other to-day to support and defend the Constitution and the Union of the States, to yield willing obedience to all the laws and each to every other citizen his equal civil and political rights. Entering thus solemnly into covenant with each other, we may reverently invoke and confidently expect the favor and help of Almighty God—that he will give to me wisdom, strength, and fidelity, and to our people a spirit of fraternity and a love of righteousness and peace. This occasion derives peculiar interest from the fact that the Presidential term, which begins this day, is the twentysixth under our Constitution. The first inauguration of President Washington took place in New York, where Congress was then sitting, on the thirtieth day of April, 1789, having been deferred by reason of delays attending the organization of Congress and the canvass of the electoral vote. Our people have already worthily observed the centennials of the Declaration of Independence, of the battle of York. town, and of the adoption of the Constitution, and will shortly celebrate in New York the institution of the second great department of our constitutional scheme of government. When the centennial of the institution of the judicial department, by the organization of the Supreme Court,