Gordon Clark
Shylock: as banker

“The American people must learn the lesson of money or they are LOST.”


PUBLISHER’S NOTE.

The author of this book desires its readers to know that he alone is responsible for the special monetary opinions expressed in it, and for its plain criticism of public men.  No party, and no organization, may precisely coincide with him in all respects.  But his views on the demonetization of silver, as the greatest crime of modern times, being generally entertained by those who understand the subject, the American Bimetallic League has kindly arranged to aid the publisher in placing the whole truth of that matter before the people.



DEDICATION.

In memory of a revered personal friend, my first instructor as well in the lessons of Money, a question which he considered next in immediate practical importance to the abolition of Slavery; in sacred memory, once more, of his aggressive manner of treating the public enemies of his country; I dedicate this tract-militant to the inspiring soul and the mighty work of the grandest American I ever knew — WENDELL PHILLIPS.

Were he alive, my native State of Massachusetts, with the rest of New England, would not now be the most ignorant section of North America on the most vital subject of the age, excepting only New York — for many years my home — the great Empire State of monopoly, plutocracy, and their purchased implement of economic darkness called an “independent press.” But knowing, as Wendell Phillips knew, that the patient masses, “the plain people,” of New York and New England, as well as of the West and South, are sound at heart, having only fallen among knaves, I have perfect faith in the ultimate enlightenment and salvation of my distracted country.

My friends, read, think, VOTE ! And, at any cost, let us preserve the welfare of mankind in this Republic !






INTRODUCTION.

Soon after the first inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, he was met, one morning, by an old acquaintance, a banker, who happened to be in Washington.  “Mr. President,” said he, “how are you going to raise funds to carry on the war ?”  “It must be done,” replied Mr. Lincoln, “but I don’t know how;  I don’t know anything about money, and, to tell the truth, I never had much respect for anybody who did.”  Our great and good President had no time and no heart, just then, to consider the banker’s question, and, quite as he said, he had never informed himself in the principles of money.  It was a great pity.  For had he been familiar with those principles, we may be sure that he would have insisted on saving the productive toilers of his country about one half of their interest-bearing war-debt, which, in 1865, amounted to some twenty-four hundred millions of dollars.(1)  Putting the figures at the lowest point of such experts as have dared to be honest in their statements, a thousand millions, with the interest added, might possibly reach the part of that debt which the money-class, as such, filched from the rest of us — soldiers, workers, widows and orphans.(2) Those greedy and remorseless “sharks” did not exactly steal this vast property belonging to their fellow-citizens: they only wheedled and coerced a few of our public servants to procure the passage of certain laws for them, by which they could commit virtual larceny without going to jail.  So they were not “thieves.”  They were “highly respectable gentlemen,” as the world now goes, because their “manipulations” were large; but, compared with their legalized crimes, the technical and punishable crimes against property of all other classes of our people, from that day to this, have been like the moral lapses of infants at the breast.

[Unfortunately it is not true that Lincoln did not know anything about money, and did not concern himself with banking and money; as — for instance — his 1839 December 26 speech on the question of the Sub-Treasury shows]

Those monstrous Shylocks, however, were successful, and they lived unwhipped of justice.  Emboldened by this result, the same band — partly the old generation and partly new recruits of two continents — have since combined, with their headquarters in England, to despoil, for what they can make out of it, the honest, industrious, common people of the whole world.  This is the short of that much more than tragic affair, commonly dubbed “the demonetization of silver.”

We have all heard that silver is “the money of the poor.”  So it is, in nearly every country on earth.  It has no fixed, “intrinsic” value.

Neither has gold.(3) “Intrinsic value” is always the chatter of a dunce, when it is not the shout of a rascal.  If both gold and silver were suddenly and everywhere disused as money, one would not, for the time, be much more valuable than the other, as the demand for neither would be at all equal to the supply.  The value of both consists, not to say largely, but chiefly, in the fact that they have been coined for centuries into money, regulated by law, and have thus been invested with a money-demand.

Again, it is perfectly well known, whoever may be procured to deny it, that all the gold and all the silver in existence would not, if coined in present specie, amount to a fifth of the ready cash required for trade.  Taking fully into mind every bank and clearing-house of the modern world, with their checks, drafts, and bills of exchange, there is needed, in addition, many times the amount of all the “precious metals” afloat, if business is ever to be done without dishonest inflations of credit, and without perpetually recurring panics.(4) The claim that “there is money enough” always comes from those who want to monopolize it, want to inflate and contract it — want to cheat with it.  But no: the claim, or at least the echo of it, does sometimes come from the dupes and victims of some bank, who talk as they are bidden when they ask for loans.

The world’s stock of gold-coin to-day is about thirty-six hundred millions, and the accumulated stock of silver coin, about four thousand millions.(5)  This makes in all seventy-six hundred millions, or say, in round numbers, six dollars a head for the world’s population of twelve hundred million souls.  If silver could actually be taken out of monetary use, we — mankind as a whole — would have left, in gold, the magnificent allowance of three dollars each, with which to conduct our affairs.  But, as the gold is everywhere locked up in public treasuries, war-chests and bank-vaults, for “reserves,” we should not have even that.  We could not possibly have anything but some inflation of it—some indefinite multiplication, in the form of bank-paper, or debased token money.  This swindling stuff is what Jew-bankers and their Gentile confederates, in Europe and America, are perpetually screaming about as “an honest dollar.”  It is the dollar of malefactors, pure and simple;  only they buy laws to uphold villainy.  Still, we are obliged to take the credit-bubbles, the big inflations of their little gold-pot, in exchange for our labor, our manufactures, our produce and our estates.  That is to say, we must have money to do business.  But when the inflation of the gold-pot is rounded out to the right size, those who blew it always burst it.  They “call in their gold.”  Then, at once, every moneyed institution is obliged to cut down its loans, or become insolvent.  The scoundrel’s one gold dollar will not pay the five, or ten, or twenty dollars, which it promises to “redeem.”  The promise is a fraud;  but, by means of this fraud, the jugglers of gold command our very bread and shelter at Shylock’s price.  His price we know.  It is the property itself, more or less, or as much as he dares to take without losing his own by revolution.  The sheriff takes our possessions for him, while we become paupers and tramps, and either end life or begin it anew.

Such is the national and international game of those pirates of our present civilization to whom has recently been given the name of “gold-bugs.” But the game is not new.  The leaders of it have deliberately planned and remorselessly carried it out, at brief intervals, in various countries, for the past hundred and fifty years.  But now, they have enlarged their plans to the size of the earth.  They have absorbed politicians, editors, economists, and so-called “statesmen” — all the public mercenaries that can be had for hire or place in every nation — and have put their agents, attorneys and lackeys in every large centre of industry.  They mean to corner us completely — to set their own measure of value on everything that is raised, made or sold, and thus to dictate the material condition of the human race.  But they are cold and calculating.  They take one step at a time.  Owning the bonded-debts of the nations, payable in gold, the first step is to make the gold scarce and dear.  Controlling the supply of it themselves, they can double the demand at will, increasing their principal and interest at the expense of every tax-payer and producer in every land, for every land is in debt to them.  In this way their universal monopoly takes our first “pound of flesh,” and the blood that goes with it.

But “the Silver-Men” — what about them — Well, in the present issue — the great battle for honest money — the silver-men, if by that term we mean the silver-producers, are so small a factor that they would be almost of no consequence, if they had not been robbed and outraged.  The silver-producers of our country have some seventy-five millions of dollars a year at stake in their product.  But the wheat-producers, the corn-producers, the cotton-producers — these three classes of American producers alone — lose annually about a thousand millions through the gold-plot against the silver dollar.(6)  It is a plot against every legitimate business known to man.  The silver-miners, in struggling for their own interests, have been obliged to become the people’s champions and defenders.  But the silver-men, in the large sense, are the people themselves, who demand an honest volume of metallic money, according to the custom of all ages and the Constitution of the United States.

From the beginning of history, gold and silver have been used to stand for the value of other things.  At first, in primeval Asia, the relation of value between the two metals depended simply on the proportion in which they were found.  The most general relation of ancient times appears to have been as one ounce of gold to twelve ounces of silver.(7)  But the modern world, at the outset of its vast increase of production and commercial exchange, placed silver at the ratio of between fifteen and sixteen to one, and so established it in the coinage of nations.  The silver has been passed out by law, and has gone into the hands of the people for generations.  The people, certainly, have had none too much of it, at the full value of its issue to them.  To decrease its purchasing power, its debt-paying power, is to cheat the people out of whatever difference may result from the scheme.  But the cheat was begun, by aid of the government of England, in the year 1816.  For an individual, to counterfeit or debase a coin of England, is to commit a crime, to incur disgrace, and to merit a cell in prison.  But, for the British Parliament to counterfeit all value, by debasing the shilling of every British subject, is to sit with “honor,” and enact a law, at the beck of men like the first Baron Rothschild, who could absorb the indebtedness of nations by serenely speculating over the carnage of Waterloo.  For such men, silver was demonetized, that one of the money-metals might be got out of the way, and the other made scarcer, dearer, and more easily monopolized.  The English demonetizer, Lord Liverpool, said that, as nations increase in wealth, their money should increase in value.(8) The Gentile was a good Jew; but, at that time, his “gentle blood” could speak for Jerusalem better than Jerusalem could speak for itself.

In 1848 gold was discovered in California, and at about the same time in Australia.  This new wealth filled the whole family of Shylock with horror.  As gold increased in quantity, they feared it would decrease in the power of buying and controlling other things.  They had enjoyed the advantage of its scarcity for thousands of years;  but now the bread and meat of the people stood for a fifth more of “the precious metals” than when mankind were going about half-fed and half-clothed.(9)  So Shylock declared war on gold, and filled the heads of writers, economists and journalists with his sorrows.  De Quincey ate a little opium, and dreamed for the public that gold would soon have no value at all — would be as intrinsic mud and stones.  But Chevalier took the matter profoundly to heart, and wrote a series of papers, in 1854-5 and 6, which were collected in a book called “The Fall of Gold” — translated into English by Cobden.  The gist of Chevalier was that gold was becoming so plenty that its value must decline, and that Europe must guard against it without delay.(10) The knights of the money-bag massed their forces: Holland had already demonetized gold — as early as 1847.  Belgium followed in 1850, and Germany, with Austria, in 1857.  They all went to “the silver basis.”  But England had committed herself too far the other way, and her sly agents, sent out to California and Australia, reported that the new “gold-fields” were more limited than the “silver-beds.”  Then the Continental money-lenders, with Chevalier as their fugleman, faced about, retraced their steps, and joined hands with their brotherhood in England.(11)

It was not difficult to demonetize silver in Europe.  The people of the United States are supposed to have established a government devoted to their own welfare — a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  The governments of Europe are governments of aristocrats, by aristocrats, and for aristocrats.  The classes make the laws, or remake them, at will, and the masses live on the crumbs of such legislation.  Two classes in Europe — the millionaire-bankers and the titled snobs — demonetized silver, by asking for a monetary revolution in their special interest, though Bismarck is said to have regretted Germany’s concession to them, acknowledging, in his strong, frank way, that he was overreached by their machinations.  In America, the case was different.  However the attempt may now be made to cover it up, demonetization was procured by methods that would debauch panders and degrade pickpockets;  and our subsequent silver-legislation, including the preposterously-named “Sherman law,” has been a temporary and inadequate reaction against pure conspiracy and robbery.(12)  The scheme was first projected in Europe, as long ago as 1867.  In it were the lees and remnants of the old feudal aristocracy, the modern hook-nosed aristocrats of the gold-bond, and the leading confidence-men of the English bank-system, with a large Tory branch in America, represented even then by John Sherman.  By this union of rich anarchists, England, in special, has found a new way to attack American institutions and the American people.  By controlling the price of our silver, through our laws passed in her interest, she first makes enormous profits on the silver in India and the East, and then buys Indian products, with that very silver, so low as to shut American products out of the European markets.  In this subtile way — which so many Americans have still too little sense to comprehend — England has reduced the price of American labor, crops and fabrics, about one half since 1873.  What our Tories get out of the deal is the increasing value of every dollar for the rich-man which the poor-man owes him, and control by the National Banks of the people’s volume of currency, so that money-lenders can inflate, contract and explode values, every five or ten years, and, by this thimble-rig, turn over the results of labor and skill to bullionists, misers, and usurers.  This operation is what a London bank-man, named Hazard, bluntly described to American capitalists in 1862, as a means by which African slavery might be superseded — “a new plan, led on by England,” taking the place of the old system.(13)  Truly.  What is abject poverty and dependence for a people, white or black, but a form of slavery — It is practically slavery, with all its evils, but, as the same delectable Mr. Hazard also pointed out, it involves no care of the laborer, by the capitalist, except the control of his wages.

But shall England impose her plan of white slavery upon the people of the United States ? Having twice beaten England by arms, shall she conquer us at last by gold and false-pretenses ?  Mr. Andrew Carnegie, a transplanted North-Briton who is now an American citizen, has recently prophesied a blissful syndicate of nations, in which the American eagle and the British lion shall lovingly lie down, each in the other’s bosom, and conduct their politics in the halo of that honeymoon.  The ablest and most high-minded editor now in England, Mr. W.T. Stead, occasionally sings a sweet lullaby of the same sort.  Evidently these amiable souls are not acquainted with the British gold-plot against the “plain people” of the United States, as Lincoln called those who did the working and the fighting when he was President.  War with England — and not a financial war, but a conflict of powder and dynamite — would be more merciful, better, and cheaper in the end, than to permit the permanent infliction upon us of her present money-conspiracy.  While that conspiracy lasts, England is our deadly foe — quite as much our enemy as she was in 1776 or in 1812; though now, as then, many friends of ours might be counted, even in a British Parliament.  And that Americans are participants in the British attack on their country, makes no difference.  So were the richest aristocrats and money-sharks, in the days of the Revolution.  Those despicable “Tories” were not more dangerous, then, to American liberty and prosperity, than the shareholders, tassels and attorneys of the English gold-pot are to-day.  This, of course, does not mean that everybody, either in Europe or America, who favors a single gold-standard of money, is essentially and deliberately a villain.  It means only that he is such, if he understands the principles of economics as applied to currency.  Bank-men, perhaps, as a class, demand the gold-basis.  Are they all dishonest and unpatriotic ?  Certainly not.  But because a man can count a pile of coin or paper, or decide on discounting a neighbor’s note, it is no sign he knows anything about the science of money.  A grocer can sell a dozen eggs without comprehending biology, and a tape-merchant may get rich, yet never have heard of the reason for the length of his yard-stick.  Many bankers have never thought of money, at all, beyond their routine methods of accumulating it, and have less knowledge of it, as cause and effect, than some coal-heavers.  All such “financiers” are merely innocent sheep, following a few tough old bell-wethers.  But these, for a long time, have been “wiser than serpents,” more stealthy and more deadly.

There is no doubt, too, that some professional politicians may side with Shylock, and not have been paid for it with either a bribe or a place.  As late as 1893, it seemed possible, for a time, that even a President might be so economically unlearned, or so portly with misinformation, as to mistake a raid of usurers for an economic reform.  But that charitable illusion has passed away.(14)

The American people must learn the lesson of money, or they are LOST !  For every man, woman and child in the land — as indeed in the world — it is the most vital question of practical welfare that can now engage the human mind.  And it is not difficult.  Journalistic attorneys and ostensible teachers of political economy are often suborned to pretend difficulty, and do it in proportion to the fee received; for the poor wretches must eat and drink, and harlotry of the pen is in great demand.

Money is nothing but divisible value, put into something for the purpose of exchanging property.  A dollar, if an honest one, is a deed to a certain definite amount of food, shelter, clothing, or whatever else a human being needs or desires.  For easy illustration, dollars have been likened to carts, as both dollars and carts are vehicles of exchange.  Carts are required to draw goods from a person who sells to a person who buys them.  Dollars are likewise required to effect such exchanges.  Now, if carts are at any time too numerous for the cartage required of them, not all the carts can get work enough to do, and the price of carts and cartage declines.  If it ever happens that dollars become too numerous for the exchange of property — which has sometimes been the case with unlimited paper issues — such nominal dollars will not buy a true dollar’s worth of other things.  Then, money, as its philosophers say, “depreciates.”  If carts, on the other hand, are too few for the exchange of merchandise, carts and cartage “go up” in price;  and if legal-tender dollars are too few for their work — a state of things that bankers and money-dealers are forever combining to effect — then money “appreciates,” or every dollar of it commands an unjust, a dishonest value, in labor or flour, shoes or stockings.  In short, the value of money — whether gold, silver, or legal-tender of any sort, depends, like everything else, on the one basic law of all political economy, the law of supply and demand.

Does so much cogitation split any head ?  If not, the head can take in the money-question well enough;  for here is the bottom of it.

A book cannot be crowded into the “Introduction.” But there is one thing in connection with our subject, against which Americans of to-day must be specially warned, and which they should treat with special conempt.  As Britons, Germans-Jews, and Tories, have devised an economic conquest of the United States, Europe has sent over, from time to time, a lot of her literary barristers, Hessians and doctrinaires, or their works, and their apostles here have made much of these importations, as “great authorities.”  How much have we heard of Chevalier, Jevons, Victor Bonnet, Giffen, Cernuschi, with the rest of them, good, bad, and indifferent ! Chevalier we have touched.  Whatever else he may have done, he went nearly crazy for fear that the world’s great specie-grabbers and credit-loaners would end their days in the poorhouse.  He set up a shout for the demonetization of gold — a shout which he changed for the demonetization of silver.  He had little influence in his own country.  None of his fears have been realized, or his predictions fulfilled.(15)  Bonnet was mostly an echo of Chevalier, and Giffen is an echo of the Bank of England.  Jevons had the energy and industry of an English professor.  Some of his, facts are doubtless worth preserving, and not all of his theories are yet extinct.  But he taught, for one thing, that silver could be disused as money in Europe and America, because “Asia is the reservoir and sink of the precious metals,” taking “off our hands many millions of bullion which would be worse than useless.”  But, in such teachings, Jevons founded himself strictly on the span of his day — nothing beyond or better.  That any possible amount of bullion in Britain, or anywhere else, can be “useless” simply presupposes the English Banking-System, under which a cash-business is denied to the people, and twenty pounds of interest-ridden monopoly-credit is superimposed upon one pound of actual money.  This inflated, bank-note, bank-ledger “medium of exchange,” is absolutely the most dishonest money possible to human beings.  If Jevons, however, had put a probe into it — if he had not taken the entire abomination for granted — he would not have been orthodox as an English professor of his special day.  He has been superseded at home by a better class of professors, and his chief wares are not worth a cent on our side of the Atlantic.  The name of Cernuschi stands prominently, in a way, for bimetallism; yet even he set down the chief function of money to be the mere fad of “international exchange,” and held that the re-monetization of silver in America, without European co-operation, more or less, would be an act of “great audacity.”  As if any country had ever depended on another for its government, its religion, or its system of money !  If there were a pennyweight of brains in this fad, the thing for Americans to do, in this great republic, would be to ask no questions of England, for instance, but to establish our own money, and let England alter hers, in accordance with it.  Why should we follow her ?  But all talk of “international money” — the real need of it, at least — is utter nonsense, and, when honest, verges on idiocy.  The only use of an “international money” is to settle trade-balances between different countries, unless to furnish American dudes with a universal currency for their traveling expenses, as an inducement to keep them abroad.  Whatever America buys of Europe is paid for, not in gold, but in corn, cotton, beef, pork, arid our other American products, which are sold at gold-prices in London or Hamburg.  And, in the present state of civilization, even trade-balances are largely closed in bonds and stocks.  If they are American bonds or stocks, they are sold at American values, in the money of the nation that buys them.  People in the United States who never saw a gold-piece, but who suppose they are “intelligent” because they can read the purchased opinions of some newspaper, talk till their teeth chatter about “all the gold going out of the country” and “our falling to a silver basis.”  It would be a great fall upward, as compared with our present position.  Our old silver dollar again, under free-coinage, would at once raise the price of the metal beyond the possibility of England’s buying an ounce of it for sixty or seventy cents, and putting that ounce of silver into two-and-a-half rupees, good in poor, innocent, swindled India for a bushel of wheat, with other products in proportion.  Just this one thing, as we have said, makes a difference against the United States of nearly a thousand millions of dollars a year, out of which the gold-thugs and the Bank-Tories have bilked us.  For the moment, too, their buccaneering has turned the balance of trade against us, which the silver dollar would restore.  Then we could push the gold out of the country, to furnish more currency to buy our exports, and could yet command, from our own mines, precisely what amount of that metal we might need.  Seeing this point — which is really clear and simple enough — Mr. Moreton Frewen — practically, perhaps, the keenest and most sincere financial expert of all present Englishmen — unhesitatingly declares that the United States, on a silver basis, would immediately become the most prosperous nation ever known to mankind.  It is true.  Still, there is no need of such a monetary basis.  We are large producers of gold, with our silver;  we require much more of both metals than we can possibly get, if we are ever to conduct our affairs dollar for dollar with a self-redeeming money.  But what we can spare of both, safely substituting government paper, other countries want — are literally “dying for” — all their people except, their knaves, and those who fiddle and drum for them.

On grounds of strict, Old-Testament justice — an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth — the only proper arguments against the Anglo-Tory gold-fiends would be starvation and death, with confiscation of their spoils.  But American liberty, with law and order — the flower of modern civilization — simply cannot afford retaliation, except in self-defense.  So our revenge must be with ballots, unless the conspirators and traitors themselves shall dare to step beyond the Constitution and the Laws — a case in which it will be our sacred duty to make short work with them.  Meanwhile, my countrymen, waste no time in reading the stale commodities, called opinions and convictions, of their panders and parasites.  Alexander Hamilton said :

“To annul the use of either of the metals as money is to abridge the quantity of circulating medium, and is liable to all the objections which arise from the comparison of the benefits of a full, with the evils of a scanty, circulation.” —Report to Congress on the Mint, 1791.

Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton’s colleague in Washington’s cabinet, said :

“ I concur with you that the unit must stand on both metals.” —In a letter to Hamilton, Feb., 1792.

Albert Gallatin — standing second to Hamilton in the early financial history of the United States — said:

“ England, [in demonetizing silver], has departed widely from known principles and from those which regulate a sound metallic currency. * * * Even if the precedent were good, it could not be conveniently adopted in the United States. * * * The American dollar, of 371-¼ grains of pure silver, is the unit of money and standard of value on which all public and private contracts are founded.” —Views submitted at the request of the U.S. Treasury Department, Dec. 31, 1829.

B.M.T. Hunter — thirteen years Chairman of the Finance Committee of the United States Senate — said :

“The mischief would be great indeed, if all the world were to adopt one of the precious metals as the standard of value.  To adopt gold alone would diminish the specie currency more than one-half; and the reduction the other way, should silver be taken as the only standard, would be large enough to prove highly disastrous to the human race.” —Report in 1852 on the act of creating a small silver-token currency, to keep silver-change in the country.

William H. Crawford — our Secretary of the Treasury in 1820 — said :

“All intelligent writers on currency agree that, when it is decreasing in amount, poverty and misery must prevail.”

Daniel Webster — a gentleman held until recently among Americans as a good deal higher authority than any economic immigrants — said:

“Gold and silver, at the rates fixed by Congress, constitute the legal-tender standard of value in this country, and neither Congress nor any State has authority to establish any other standard or to displace this.  The legal-tender, therefore, the constitutional standard of value, is established, and cannot be overthrown.  To overthrow it would shake the whole system.”(16)

In 1876 a Monetary Commission was instituted by the Congress of the United States, to investigate the changed relations of gold and silver subsequent to 1873.  On the demonetization of silver the Commission reported:

“ This is a one-sided system, which can operate only in the interest of the security of the creditor, the usurer, and pawnbroker, whom jt enables, through the falling prices which itself occasions, to swallow up the shrunken resources of the debtor, but is impotent to protect the interests of the unsecured business creditor, the debtor, or society, when, from any cause, the supply of the money metals becomes deficient.  The world has expended a vast amount of labor in the production of the precious metals, has made great sacrifices in upholding the automatic metallic-system of money, and has a right to insist that it shall be consistently let alone to work out its own conclusions, or that it be abandoned.”

Of the Monetary Commission of 1876, Senator John P. Jones of Nevada was appointed Chairman, and Mr. George M. Weston, of Maine, was made Secretary.  Both of these gentlemen became so absorbed in their work as to devote their lives to the study of Monetary, Science.  In his book on “The Silver Question,” Mr. Weston, has given the history of demonetization in all its main branches and connections.  He has exposed and utterly wiped out the literary gold-dervishes of two continents.  Among other things, Mr. Weston says:

“ Theoretical and abstract discussions upon comparatively unimportant aspects of the question of the standards, become an unendurable impertinence, in presence of the plain fact that to attempt to make the small existing quantity of gold the sole metallic currency at one and the same time of Europe and the United States, must be fatal to labor and to every form of human possessions, excepting only money. * * * Demonetization augments, and was intended to augment, the burden of public and private debts, and is perhaps the most flagrant and audacious of the manifestations of the control exercised by foreign and domestic bankers over national legislation, in these recent and evil days.”(17)

On the 12th and 13th of May, 1890 — as the result of thirteen years of special study subsequent to his chairmanship of the Monetary Commission — Senator Jones delivered a two-days’ speech in our National Capitol on “The Free Coinage of Silver,” proving, from every standpoint known to discussion of the subject, the moral, political and financial, need of immediate restoration to that metal of the value filched from it by debased legislation.  Senator Jones’s speech is undoubtedly the most logical, comprehensive, and exhaustive parliamentary address on money, that had ever fallen from human lips, and is only equalled by his own great Senatorial address of 1893.  These speeches remind one of the Mohammedan soldier who, made a bonfire of the Alexandrian Library, saying that all its books of any account were in the Koran.  With such documents to be had for the asking, it is pitiable that anybody in America seeking financial culture, should waste cerebration on some Jew-banker’s public clerk called an “author,” or some lawyer appointed by the gold-board of a college to fill the chair of Professor of Monopoly.

The robbery of silver — the theft of its money-function — is but one topic, though a very important one, treated in this monograph, which not large or long, is in its way, the history of currency and banking.  But I for one must say at the outset, that I regard any instructed person who opposes replacing the money of the United States in its precise legal form at the opening of 1873, as morally emasculated, and a dangerous character to an upright community.  Whatever money is absolutely best, whatever money may prevail when science shall govern its ultimate form and substance, there is not much hope of any people who fail to right a wrong when they can.do it, and to punish the perpetrators.  The criminals of our Senate and House in 1873, who smuggled through their trustful lines the corpse of the silver-dollar, assassinated under cover and mask of a “Mint Act” — with the smell of an English bribe, too, on their hands — are all of them now alive, and those who are may never go to the gallows or the prison they deserve.  They may only be hanged in American history, and their names consigned to the bottom of Sheol.  But the character of their country can be vindicated by reversing their work.  Let it be done.  Then it may be time to do something farther in the same direction.



(1) The whole public debt stood at $3,844,649,000.

(2) in this book, every statement of vital importance is explained, with the facts, figures and authorities, in the proper historical order.

(3) This has been settled too long for patient argument.  “Intrinsic value” has been a corpse—not only dead but buried—ever since Adam Smith wrote his “Wealth of Nations,” and said: “Gold and silver, like every other commodity, vary in their value.  The quantity of labor which any particular quantity of these can purchase or command, or the quantity of goods it will exchange for, depends always on the fertility or barrenness of the mines which happen to be known about the time when such exchanges are made. * * * A commodity which is itself continually varying in its own value, can never be an accurate measure of the value of other commodities.” —Book I., Chapter 5.

(4) For a specific illustration, see last chapter.

(5) The figures of the U.S. Mint.

(6) This statement, which is in no way exaggerated, will be explained in detail as we proceed.

(7) On authority of the coin-experts, like Max Müller.

(8) The Silver Question, by Geo. M. Weston, Secretary of the U.S. Monetary Commission, page 27.

(9) Exactly how great the effect was [of Australian and Californian gold] may not be agreed, but the accepted statement is that it was an augmentation of one-fifth in general prices during rather less than half the term of one generation. —The Silver Question, Weston, page 2.

(10) In the light of this one fact alone, think of the pure brass of any intelligent person who pretends to find “intrinsic value” in a piece of yellow metal.

(11) The facts of this historical summary are perfectly familiar to everybody who really knows anything about the money-question.  They have been repeated, over and over again, in the Congress of the United States.  For instance, in 1878, Senator D.W. Voorhees, who in 1893 accepted the position of first-trombone in John Sherman’s financial orchestra, played his instrument thus :

“ It was in the interest of this powerful class [the money-lenders] that silver was demonetized in 1873, not because it was not less valuable as money than gold, but simply because retired capital desired to diminish the amount of money of every kind circulating in the hands of the people.  The managers of the great money centers in this country and in Europe saw with avaricious alarm the bright streams of silver beginning to increase in volume and in value * * * and now we hear from their angry throats and from an apparently still angrier newspaper press which they control, a cry without ceasing against silver-inflation arising from an overproduction of the metal.  They have heretofore filled the world with their hostile clamor mainly against a paper currency not immediately convertible into coin of intrinsic value;  but it now appears that there can be, in their own amiable language, an insane inflation of a currency which has this very intrinsic value in itself.  We now perceive that even these precious metals may become more abundant than is agreeable to those who want the purchasing power of money increased by lessening the quantity in circulation, until $50 will buy in a farm worth a thousand, under the foreclosure of a mortgage. * * * When the revelation of gold took place in California and on the other side of the world in Australia about the same time, an impulse was given to the progress of mankind greater than had been produced by any other event since Columbus discovered America.  The whole world rejoiced, with one exception.  The creditor class in every clime beneath the sun looked on in sullen distrust and dread. * * * In 1856 * * * this class broke forth in different countries in favor of demonetizing gold, because the supply was making money too plentiful. * * * Germany and Austria, and some other European governments, in 1857, actually demonetized gold, in order to maintain the scarcity of money.  The reason why this question did not seriously agitate the financial circles of the United States is to be found in the fact that at that time we had no great creditor class in this country; we had no stupendous national debt held as an investment for fixed incomes; no such State, municipal and corporation debts as have since filled all the stock-markets with interest-bearing bonds, and which are now a draining tax on all the labor and production of the country.” —Congressional Record, January 15th, 1878, page 334.

(12) See Chapter XII., devoted to this subject.  It has been carefully prepared, with full reference to the facts, and will stand the test of time and history.

(13) This seemingly incredible assertion is literally true, and complete proofs of it are given in Chapter XII.

(14) Whatever the precise fact may turn out to be, it now looks as if every President of the United States since Lincoln — though with some instances of misguidance rather than wrong-intent — has been pledged in advance to Wall Street, the National Banks, and the European money-octopus, and has taken his office by virtue of their contributions to his election-expenses.  The case of Cleveland appears to be merely the culmination of the betrayal of the country, bringing the band of Judas fully to light.

(15) “ So with Michael Chevalier in 1850.  First he wrote down gold and recommended its demonetization; then he turned the table upon silver.  Now he is in doubt.” —Ernest Seyd: letter to Samuel Hooper, February 17th, 1872.

(16) By the demonetization of silver — “the crime of 1873” — as Hon. A.J. Warner declared some years ago in Faneuil Hall, “the constitutional standard was overthrown, and the whole system was shaken.”

(17) The Silver Question, pages 102 and 106.