Edward H.G. Clark
Shylock: as banker
Shylocks Masterpiece The Crime of 1873.
How silver was demonetized in the United States, in such a way that even the President who signed the bill knew nothing about it for two years, was long a mystery. Of late, a good deal of nauseous courtesy has been wasted over it, among old party-hacks, in the Senate and elsewhere. But there is very little doubt that this deadly drain upon our life-blood this vampire-suck at the daily sustenance of every man, woman and child in the land was bought and paid for, like the ooze of a slaughter-house, by the Bank of England and the Jews of Frankfort. There is very little doubt that a retained financial adviser of European bankers, bondholders, and bullion-dealers, was sent from London to Washington, with half a million dollars in hand, and a million more at his back, to pay American politicians, who make our laws, to assassinate our interests. There is very little doubt that this smooth, able foreigner, succeeded in his work that he found what he sought as readily as if he had been looking for pigs in a sty. There is very little doubt that with British gold cheap for cash he procured an American betrayal of the American people as detestable as that of Calvary and the Cross.
Let us begin at the beginning of this plot which the syndicate of Mammon who ride our Eastern press have forbidden their footmen to publish, but which, for the purpose of further suppression, now that the murder is partly out, these ink-pots of mendacity allude to, when they must, as fictions of ancient history.
Thirty-two years ago, when the South rose in rebellion, and when the Shylock dragoons of the North shouldered their crowbars to break into the National Treasury, these fat soldiers of the jimmy and the dark-lantern not only understood themselves, but they were perfectly understood by their like beyond the Atlantic. So, in the autumn of 1862, a confidential circular was issued by an agent of European Capitalists to American bankers. The name of the agent was Hazard, and his Satanic production is known as
The Hazard Circular.
Slavery is likely to be abolished by the war power, and chattel slavery destroyed. This, I and my European friends are in favor of, for slavery is but the owning of labor, and carries with it the care of the laborer; while the European plan, led on by England, is capitals control on labor, by controlling wages. This can be done by controlling the money. The great debt that capitalists will see to it is made out of the war, must be used as a measure to control the volume of money. To accomplish this the bonds must be used as a banking basis. We are now waiting to get the Secretary of the Treasury to make this recommendation to Congress. It will not do to allow the greenback, as it is called, to circulate as money, any length of time, for we cannot control them. But we can control the bonds, and through them the bank issue.
There is no doubt of the perfect genuineness, and the diabolical good-faith, of this confidential circular; and, indeed, it need surprise no one who remembers, or knows through history, the general tone of the American moneyed-classes of 1860-61 and 63. The circular was advisedly sent out, in regular course of business, to American Bankers. It was first made public by Hon. Isaac Sharp, at one time acting-governor of Kansas, and now a well-known resident of Washington. In connection with the Hazard Circular, Mr. Sharp published also the following
National Bankers Circular.
It is advisable to do all in your power to sustain such daily and weekly newspapers, especially the agricultural and religious press, as will oppose the issuing of greenback paper money, and that you also withhold patronage or favors from all who will not oppose the government-issue of money. Let the government issue the coin, and the banks issue the paper money of the country; for then we can better protect each other. To repeal the law creating national banks, or to restore to circulation the government-issue of money, will be to provide the people with money, and will, therefore, seriously affect your individual profit as bankers and lenders. See your Member of Congress at once, and engage him to support our interest that we may control legislation.
This circular was signed by the official representative of the National Bankers Association, James Buell.
Mr. Sharp has explained his possession of the Hazard and Buell circulars in the subjoined letter:
738 10th St. N.W., Washington, D.C,
August 20th, 1890.
Col. Lee Crandall,
Secretary of the National Executive Silver Committee:
In reply to your polite request of yesterday, expressing a desire to be informed of the origin of the copy of the Hazard Circular copied by the National View some four years ago from the Council Grove Guard then published by me in Council Grove, Kansas, I have to say that I obtained the original copy from a Mr. J.W. Simcock, the cashier of the First National Bank of Council Grove, Kansas. I, at that time say about the year 1873 was the attorney for that Bank, and one day when the cashier was writing up and arranging a large number of accumulated letters and other papers of supposed value, either he or I came across the Hazard Circular, together with the circular of the American Bankers and signed by one, Buell. I asked Mr. Simcock for these two circulars, and he gave them to me then; and, at the same time, in reply to questions I asked him, he said that their day of usefulness was over that his friends in New York, some Bankers there, sent them to him, that he might the better understand the history and origin of the National Banking system, as he was comparatively a new Banker. I kept them for the light they threw upon the financial questions of the times, and first published the Hazard Circular September 18th, 1886, omitting the date therefrom, for the reason that it had dropped off having been so folded that, when I came to print it, the date had lost off. The date was that of the summer or fall of 1862, but the exact month or day I cannot recollect November, I think.
(Signed) Isaac Sharp.
As the writer of the present history, which I certainly mean shall be veracious, I must be permitted to say that I have the honor of personal acquaintance with both Governor Sharp and Colonel Crandall the former a lawyer of distinction; the latter a brave Confederate officer, in the old days, on the staff of Stonewall Jackson, but the first Rebel to decorate a Union Soldiers grave, and, for many years, a most enthusiastic editor in the service of honest money. I know, therefore, as well as any man can know a thing through another man, that the documents here given to the public, are genuine. I am personally informed by Mr. Sharp, that, some years ago, in connection with a brother frequently in Europe, occasion was taken to trace up the man, Hazard, then in London. He was at that time secretary, or solicitor, or both, of an English bankers association in touch with bankers throughout Europe, and was financially connected with the Rothschilds. At last advices, he was still living. Mr. James Buell, who represented the National Bankers Association in 1873, became, in 1875, the founder and first president of the American Bankers Association. He was then President of the Importers and Traders National Bank, of New York City. He died about thirteen years ago, quite naturally a millionaire.
The Buell circular shows, by the bankers themselves, how deliberately they have subsidized the press, and have used Members of Congress to fit legislation to their special monopoly. But does anybody, in our day, need special proof on this point ? As for the other document the Hazard Circular it is unique a clear illustration of total depravity. But no man or demon ever knew better what he was talking about than this exponent of the European plan of slavery, led on by England. Practical slavery, white or black, at any time or in any place, can be instituted, and can be retained, by any set of men who can control a peoples money. Mr. Hazards philosophy of bonds and bank-issues is true also, beyond criticism. It was evidently written under inspiration the plenary inspiration of the bottomless pit.
The Hazard circular, be it borne in mind, was issued as far back as 1862, just before Mr. Chases second recommendation of our national organization of banks; and, considering the men of whom Hazard was the agent and representative, it is easy to see what vast though secretive pressure must have been brought to bear upon Mr. Chase, at that juncture, by the British banking-system of the whole world. He is said to have repented bitterly of the course into which he was honestly but weakly and mistakenly persuaded, and to have expressed his profound sorrow for it in these strong words:
My agency in procuring the passage of the National Bank act was the greatest financial mistake of my life. It has built up a monopoly that affects every interest in the country, It should be repealed. But before this can be accomplished the banks will be arrayed upon one side and the people upon the other, in a contest such as we have never seen in this country.
The demonetization of American silver, like so many other sins and misfortunes of our recent history, arose at first from our connection with European money-lenders, especially in England. They wanted less money in the world, so that their own special kind of property could command more than its honest value in everything else. They wanted scarce and dear gold for the principal and interest of their investments. When Hugh McCulloch was Secretary of the Treasury, Baron James Rothschild, with an English syndicate, owned United States Bonds known as five-twenties, to the extent of four hundred and twenty millions of dollars, bought at about forty-two dollars on the hundred. These bonds were payable in greenbacks, explicitly, unquestionably, and as maintained, for years, by nearly every member of both houses of Congress who had anything to do with creating them, not excepting John Sherman. Thaddeus Stevens strongest of partizans that he was in all the Republican host once said :
If I knew that any party in this country would go for paying in coin that which is payable in money, thus enhancing it one-half if I knew there was such a platform and such a determination on the part of any party, I would vote on the other side. I would vote for no such swindle upon the taxpayers of this country. I would vote for no such speculation in favor of the large bond-holders the millionaires who took advantage of our folly in granting them coin payment of interest.
God bless the upright soul of Thad. Stevens. His memory shall yet shine like an August sun at noon, to blind and confound, to wither and destroy, the unparalleled scoundrels who have spent a generation in traducing him !---[Unfortunately Mr. Clark does not cite when, where, to whom did Thaddeus the bank-lawyer, make this alleged remark; but in the Record of Congress we do find what he (for whatever reason) has said, on February 6, 1862, shortly before the vote was taken on the legal-tender bill:-- "Let me restate the various projects. Ours (Chase's, Spaulding's, Hooper's, Sherman's) proposes United States notes, secured at the end of twenty years to be paid in coin, and the interest, raised by taxation, semi-annually; such notes to be money, and of uniform value throughout the Union." and he said this three times.
But, for the time, the dark-lantern and the short crowbar won the battle. From the end of 1862, or say from, the passage of the National Bank Bill, to the end of 1865, every act of financial legislation in the United States was passed in the interest of the money-power, and for the purpose of bearing down the public credit. Not one exception can be found. But, when the war closed, the criminal classes, who had done this work, changed face, and marched the other way. Then, all legislation was turned into the horns of a Wall Street bull, to toss up the value of bonds, and rip the taxpayer wholly to pieces.
By inducements adequate to the conscience of Hugh McCulloch, as Secretary of the Treasury from 1865 to 1869, he hastened to redeem in gold, or gold-equivalents, a hundred and fifty millions of Baron Rothschilds bonds, payable in paper until the end of twenty years. It was doubtless a great accommodation to that impecunious Hebrew, which must have been appreciated; for the redemption went on, in the same way, until his batch of five-twenties, with the rest of the issue five hundred millions in all were out of the way. The transaction has been figured out, very briefly, thus:
Amount of the bonds........................................ $500,000,000
Coin-interest, semi-annually, for ten years................. 403,096,133
Bond-holders cost, at 42 cents on the dollar............... 210,000,000
Profit in ten years........................................ $693,096,133
And this deal of seven hundred millions is only one example of the general manner in which the American people have been treated in the settlement of their National Debt. What a fragrant bouquet should Baron Rothschild have presented to Hugh McCulloch !
But the most direful part of this business between Rothschild and the United States Treasury, was not the loss of money, even by hundreds of millions. It was the resignation of the country itself into the hands of England, as England had long been resigned into the hands of her Jews. In 1868, Rothschilds American agent, August Belmont, turned up as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, that the Anglo-Jew octopus, which had seized the Republican Party, might seize the Democratic Party also. That was before the advent of Grover Cleveland, and the Democratic Party rebelled. For the approaching election, it put into its platform an anti-Rothschild plank:
Resolved: When the obligations of the government do not expressly state upon their face, or the law under which they were issued does not provide that they shall be paid in coin, they ought in right to be paid in the lawful money of the United States.
This plank settled the fate of the Democrats. Belmont had purchased a large interest in the leading Democratic newspaper the New York World. Just before election, he turned over this interest to Manton Marble, with the understanding that the World should denounce its own candidate, the venerable Horatio Seymour, as unfit for the Presidency, and should demand his withdrawal a course which naturally disorganized and completely routed even his most determined followers. Here was the monstrous old taint of treachery in the blood, as in the days of Christ; but Democratic candidates have since been more obedient, and most Republican candidates have been the very tentacles of the octopus itself.
From 1868, we now look back one year to the International Conference of Paris, in 1867. Mr. Samuel B. Ruggles, a member of the New York Chamber of Commerce, and a pioneer of the gold-plot, had procured the appointment of delegate from the United States to that Conference. John Sherman, of Ohio, was Chairman of the Committee on Finance in our National Senate. In May of 1867, Mr. Sherman was cultivating his taste for money and the other fine arts, as a tourist in Europe. The public significance of his tour has been explained by Senator Stewart:
After the close of the Russian-Turkish, the Prussian-Austrian, and our great war [says Mr. Stewart], speculation in the debts growing out of those wars centered in London. In 1867, Mr. Sherman * * * visited that city. After spending some time in London, where he had the opportunity of consulting the manipulators of bonds, he appeared in Paris, where a conference of nations was assembled to consider the unification of coins, weights and measures.
The International Conference of 1867 was held at the invitation of Louis Napoleon, the French Emperor, for the purpose of extending the principles of the Latin Union formed in 1865, through which France, Italy, Greece, Belgium, and Switzerland, agreed on common coins. But the establishment of the single standard, exclusively of gold, was the cardinal, if not the all-important feature of the plan proposed by the Conference. Of this single gold-standard John Sherman stood the most pronounced advocate.
On the 17th of May, 1867, Mr. Sherman being in Paris, conveniently near his friend and co-worker, Mr. Samuel B. Ruggles, Mr. Ruggles advised Mr. Sherman, by letter, that the International Conference was then in session, to agree if possible, on a common unit of money. Mr. Ruggles further advised Mr. Sherman that the proposition of the Conference was to take, for that common unit, the French five-franc gold-piece. The next day May 18th Mr. Sherman replied to Mr. Ruggles, favoring the proposition. He said:
If this is done, France will surely abandon the impossible effort of making two standards of value. Gold coins will answer all the purposes of Europe.
Mr. Shermans views were thereupon communicated to the Conference, as those of the Chairman of the Committee on Finance of the United States Senate.
Where Mr. John Sherman got such views, it is easy to perceive. For the first time in the world, they had just become current in London and New York, though only among men like Mr. Hazard and his banking forces, who contemplated a new form of slavery for mankind, led on by England. Mr. Shermans impossible effort of making two standards of value, if he meant the joint standard of gold and silver, had been made in France, with perfect definiteness, since 1803; and Mr. Shermans own country had never made any other standard than what he called a double one for more than three hundred years of that countrys history. It has been said that Mr. John Sherman, in the year 1867, must have been imbued with the mischievous idea that gold possessed intrinsic value, which made it a fixed standard for the world. This charitable theory, indeed, was expressed by so high an authority as General A.J. Warner, Chairman of the National Executive Silver Committee, as late as 1890. A full analysis, however, of Mr. Shermans speeches, conduct and character, will permit no one to believe that he, of all men in America, has ever been so embryonic, since he emerged into public life, as not to know, at least, with the Hebrew prophet, Ricardo, that the value of money, like everything else, depends simply on the law of supply and demand. In 1861 and 1862, when John Sherman was poor and upright, he stood pretty well for honest money, and showed that he had comparatively a large grasp of the question. As late as February of 1868, he strongly favored, (for appearances and place at least), the payment of United States bonds in greenbacks the same kind of money, he said, of the same intrinsic value it bore at the time they were issued. In 1869, he clearly explained the terrors of monetary contraction, then well under way, and termed it an act of folly without an example of evil in modern times. On June 9th, 1868, in the very act of urging in the Senate a single standard exclusively of gold, he spoke of gold as a commodity, varying in value like other commodities thus inadvertently showing the intrinsic value of gold to be a variable and relative value, and otherwise a myth, to him, however he might wish to impose it upon others as a reality. The great trouble, indeed, with John Sherman, lies in what is now the evident fact that he knew the principles of money only too well, at a time when they had been overslaughed and forgotten in the United States, except among the tools and disciples of Mr. Hazard.
What, then, was the Ohio Senator doing in Paris twenty-seven years ago, just after his visit to London ? From better circumstantial evidence than that on which many a man has been hanged, the conclusion is here drawn that the so-called honorable John Sherman was then abroad looking for a job which he ultimately secured, and which he finished up in 1873. In short, it has become clear enough that in the days of the Paris Conference there was a financial undertow in the affairs of men, which would have been very apt to land a political attorney of the National Bankers on the Continent of Europe. Nine years later a remarkable letter purporting to come from Paris that beautiful city which had received the felicity of Mr. Shermans visit revealed reasons enough for his pilgrimage. The letter appeared on the 18th of May, 1876, in the New York Daily Graphic, as subjoined :
A GIGANTIC OPERATION.
The Capitalists Doubling their Wealth by Demonetizing Silver.
A Curious Letter from a Frenchman Schemes by which Silver was Demonetized.
Paris, May 6. I have recently been in the employ of one of the leading banking houses of the world, and I think it due to the American public that they should be made acquainted with one of the most tremendous financial operations ever known in the history of mankind. I was trained early in life for a financial career, and I learned to write and speak fluently German, French, English and Dutch.
In my confidential relations with the various great banking houses as correspondent for a leading firm and by means of a stray letter which came accidentally into my possession, I acquired information that seems to me of the very highest importance. As far back as 1863, letters were received by the Rothschilds in this city pointing out the evil effects which were likely to follow from the use of paper money in America. Prices were then rising in your country, and I judge bankers were puzzled to know what to do with your American securities and evidences of debt.
The adoption of the legal tender act, as you call it in your country, made it possible to pay, in depreciated paper, debts contracted in coin. Much correspondence ensued among the European bankers touching American affairs, and it led to a determination which, however, was not finally reached until towards the close of the Franco-German war. This determination was for a plan of bringing the power of all the great bankers of the world upon the governments of the world to substitute the gold basis for all commercial transactions in place of the silver basis or the mixed basis of gold and Whenever there is a scarcity of coin it has inured to the benefit of the creditor class. Prices have ruled low, and a small sum would purchase a good deal of raw or manufactured material.
But the intercourse between nations, the invention of paper money, of bills of exchange, of bank currency and credit in fact, all the saving devices of modern commerce tended to make money plenty and prices high. Everything in that position of affairs worked against the creditor class and in favor of the debtor class.
This, it will be seen, was a beneficial tendency for the masses of the people. It compelled capitalists to increase their efforts in order to maintain their position. It favored the debtors, who are always the enterprising part of the community.
The man who does not go in debt is the speculator: he lends and absorbs, but does not start new enterprises, nor does he add to the wealth of the community. The consequence of this is that the cheapening of money is good for all business, and benefits a very large class of the community.
The great money-lenders of Europe (as the letters which passed under my inspection clearly proved) determined to reverse this tide in affairs, this general cheapening of money, which has been going on for 300 years. I have indisputable evidence in my possession that an immense fund was raised to bring about the general adoption of the gold-metal basis.
The money writers and political economists in London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfort and Amsterdam were either argued into the adoption of these views or were purchased outright. Hence the articles in the leading papers in Europe in favor of the gold basis in preference to the silver or the mixed basis.
Of course, the object of the great capitalists of Europe is quite apparent in the crusade against silver. By reducing the currency one-half it would add enormously to their wealth by cheapening products and giving them a still greater monopoly of the circulating medium. If the records could be searched it would be found that the demonetization of silver in England, Germany and Holland and its practical demonetization in France, was effected simultaneously with the passage of the gold act by the American Congress I think that was in 1873 getting rid of the old silver dollar, the unit of value on which your debt was contracted.
In other words, the great capitalists of the world, by a gigantic conspiracy, like the Roman emperors of old, managed to tax the whole civilized world from ten to twenty per cent for their own personal benefit. The object was to make the very rich richer and the very poor poorer. With silver demonetized, gold would of course appreciate considerably in value, and all who were creditors to governments or for individual debts would have their evidences of debts greatly enhanced in value. Gold is the currency of the rich; silver, throughout the civilized and uncivilized world, is the money of the great mass of the community.
The small retail traffic of life is all managed by means of silver. By getting rid of silver these rich bankers and capitalists added billions of thalers to their possessions. If the facts could ever be brought to light it would be found that the American Congress was bribed by the capitalists of Europe and this country to get rid of the silver dollar and substitute gold.
That corruption was employed in Germany is open to doubt. Bismarck could not be prevailed upon to make the change from silver to gold until he became alarmed at the demoralization caused by the payment of the French indemnity. The vast masses of gold thrown upon Germany by the payment of the French tribute raised prices, checked production and stimulated feverish speculation. Thereupon Bismarck was induced to try to utilize the gold by expelling silver.
In small countries like Holland the matter could be easily managed. The movement succeeded in England, although it was apprehended that it would destroy the commerce of India, which is carried on exclusively on a silver basis; and this fear was well founded. But the Economist and other financial papers in London support this gigantic conspiracy of the capitalists.
You may ask why do I, a confidential agent, tell of this ? Because, frankly, I think the facts ought to be known to the world. Then I am a Red Republican in my heart. I believe in the solidarity of the people in fraternity in the splendid future in which Europe will be one great Republic. It seems to me that the cry should be raised by the laboring classes for a repudiation of all the national debts of the world. The capitalists have shown themselves so tyrannical, so antagonistic to the interests of the masses of the community, that no mercy should be shown to them. They have by their recent action in the demonetization of silver added most unjustly to the debts of all nations. And the same want of conscience which they have shown to the community should be manifested towards them in kind. But, alas, the working people are without leaders. There is no means of making them understand this very simple matter. But surely the American people ought to know the exact facts in this case, and should apply the remedy if it is possible to do so.
Rue St. Honore, Paris.
In dealing with this extraordinary letter, it must be said at once, that, as far as the specific nominal source of it is concerned, it has been questioned by impartial authority, no less a person than Hon. Alexander Del Mar being the chief instance. Mr. Del Mar points to the fact that the substance of the letter had been largely anticipated in a Senatorial address by Mr. Jones, of Nevada, on the 24th of April about a month before the letter appeared in the Graphic. The English of the Paris correspondent is observed to be not only correct, but technical too idiomatic for a foreigner and he makes at least one noticeable mistake, that of including England among countries which had recently demonetized silver. On the other hand, a Frenchmans English would be well cared for before reaching the type of a New York journal; and the letter as a whole, while it might have been written by a well-informed bank-clerk, is not the work of a trained writer on monetary economics. Mr. James Croly, the editor of the Graphic in 1876, gave prominent editorial notice to the letter, and referred to it, distinctly, as coming from Paris. Mr. Crolys associates regarded it as genuine, though the name, Hippolyte Grenier might not have been the actual name of the writer. But all these pros and cons are really of no consequence. Somebody had got hold of a lot of facts, which were vital to the public, and the Graphic published them. But, from that day, the Graphic declined. It was too ingenuous, too babbling. Government contracts were withheld, bank patronage was withdrawn, and the paper, I am told, was as good as ruined.
In connection with Monsieur Grenier, whoever he was, let us now pause only one instant, and ask one question. He, at least, considered the understanding of money a very simple matter, and proved it in a most practical way. But are we to suppose that John Sherman our Senatorial expert of finance a man in constant relation, on two hemispheres, with the principals for whom Monsieur Grenier described himself as a clerk could have known less about this whole bad business, in 1873, than some Graphic correspondent knew in 1876 ? Oh, for the imagination of a Rider Haggard, to find one honest hair in the head of John Sherman !
On [Thursday] the 28th of April, 1870, this man introduced, in the Senate, the bill [S. 859] which, two years and ten months later, deprived the American people of about one-half their power to conduct their affairs and to pay their debts, and increased, in proportion, the assets of foreigners, misers, gamblers, and usurers. The bill was entitled
An Act Revising and Amending the Laws relative to the Mints,
Assay-offices, and Coinage of the United States.
The real purpose of The Mint Bill being to demonetize silver, the thing was of course a fraud, even by name. Conceive the attempt to change the whole nature and effect of a peoples money for more than three centuries, and the worlds money for four thousand years to take from one-half of this money its debt-paying function from time immemorial under the mask of regulating the duties and stipends of metal-servants, puddlers and tinkers, branch-mints, emblems and clippings !
But soon after his trip to London and Paris, John Sherman had tested an open, straightforward attempt to establish a single gold standard, and had failed at the very first step. On the 6th of January, 1868, he introduced, in the Senate, a bill in relation to the coinage of gold and silver, which was referred to his Committee on Finance, and which he brought up on the 9th of June, urging it strongly, on the ground of the reports by Ruggles of the proceedings of the Paris Conference. The chief proposition of this bill, as summarized by Mr. Sherman, was a single standard exclusively of gold. Appealing to what he evidently considered might be a good deal of patriotic vanity in his fellow Senators, he said, the single standard of gold is an American idea, yielded reluctantly, [at the Paris Conference], by France and other countries, where silver is the chief standard of value. The ostensible purpose of the Sherman plea, as a whole, was the great object of unification of coinage.
Few Americans, we remember, in 1868, knew anything about money, apart from the getting of it. Mr. Sherman was a notable exception. He had grasped the great law of volume in currency, and had manifestly determined to learn, at any moral sacrifice, the practical point of acquisition. With him, on the Senates Committee of Finance, there happened to be another man and an honest one who also understood something of monetary principles. It was the great merchant and war-governor of New York, Senator E.D. Morgan. Mr. Morgan appears to have seen pretty well through the Sherman scheme, and he put his foot on it instantly. He submitted a minority report, in which he opposed international regulation of money as something that would fetter ourselves, and pronounced the coinage of the United States the simplest of any in circulation. Of the silver dollar, he said we should do well to increase rather than discontinue its coinage, and he showed that the two streams of the precious metals should be poured into the current of commerce in full volume. Mr. Morgan said further:
The war gave us self-assertion of character, and removed many impediments to progress. * * * Its expensive lesson will be measurably lost if it fails to impress upon us the fact that we have a distinctive American policy to work out one sufficiently free from the traditions of Europe to be suited to our peculiar situation and the genius of our enterprising countrymen.
The end of Mr. John Shermans first attempt to demonetize silver was this:
The bill was never called up for action. If it had been, the reading of Mr. Morgans report would have settled its fate, and it would not have received a single vote in the Senate. * * * Neither the bill nor the report attracted the slightest attention, and it is doubtful if any Senator who was not on the Finance Committee ever knew that such a bill had been introduced. * * * But the report of Mr. Morgan must have satisfied the promoters of the scheme to demonetize silver, that a discussion in the Senate would be fatal to the object of their desire. * * * He had full knowledge of the objects of the bill, which he defeated; but the Senate and the country were ignorant of the whole transaction. * * * No discussion in either House had taken place, * * * and Senators are too busy to examine the reports of committees upon bills which are never called up for action.
The War-Governor of New York a true American having extinguished the Sherman gold-bill of 1868, as introduced in the Senate undisguised, nothing was left for Shylocks cook but to skulk behind some Mint Bill, and mix up his poison with the night-spoon of a conspirator. So, on the 28th of April, 1870, John Sherman introduced his anomalous measure which demonetized silver.
The latest account of this transaction, as given by himself, is contained in a speech to the Senate on the 30th of August, 1893. In that speech he says:
I now wish to call attention of the Senate to * * * the act of 1873, which has been the subject of so much misrepresentation and falsehood. I propose * * * to show, in the most unequivocal manner, the deception and falsehood, largely the result of cowardice, that has been uttered in respect to the act I refer to.
Again Mr. Sherman says:
Sir, I would rather stand this day before you defending a law which has been denounced and vilified, as this has been, boldly avowing that I did read the law and that I knew its contents, than to plead the baby act, and say I did not know what was pending here before us for two or three years as an act of legislation.
Very well. But everybody knows, and the file of every American newspaper proves, that the people of this country, at least, knew nothing in regard to the demonetization of silver until 1876, or about the time the New York Graphic published the letter signed Hippolyte Grenier. On the 6th of March of that year, Mr. Bogy of Missouri summarized the matter in the Senate.
Our coinage act, [said he], came into operation on the 1st of April, 1873, and constituted the gold one-dollar piece the sole unit of value, while it restricted the legal tender of the new silver trade dollar and the half-dollar and subdivisions to an amount not exceeding $5 in one payment. Thus the double standard previously existing was finally abolished, and the United States, as usual, WAS INFLUENCED BY GREAT BRITAIN in making gold-coin the only standard. THIS SUITS ENGLAND, BUT DOES NOT SUIT US.
Five months after Mr. Bogys speech, John Sherman delivered an address not indeed in the Senate, but before the inquiring and doubting faces of his Ohio constituents, whom he needed for future use. It was at Marietta, on the 12th of August, 1876, and his words were published verbatim six columns of them in the organ of his party, the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette. John Sherman said:
I have given the subject [the silver question] the most careful consideration, and was the first to propose the re-coining of the old silver dollar. * * * I was a member of the Conference Committee of the two Houses on the Silver-Bill. Both Houses were in favor of issuing the old dollar the dollar in legal existence since 1792, containing 412 8-10 grains, and only demonetized in 1873, when it was worth two per cent more than gold. It was then and for twenty years had been only issued for export and was not in circulation. Still it was a legal standard of value as well as gold, always had been, and it was the right of any debtor to pay in silver dollars as well as gold dollars. It was his legal option. The relative value of the two metals had often varied before and still the right of the debtor remained to pay in either dollar and therefore in the cheaper dollar. The mere disuse of the coinage of the silver dollar could not and ought not to affect pre-existing contracts. And now, when our domestic contracts have been based upon depreciated paper money made a legal tender for all debts public and private except customs and duties and interest on the public debt, it would seem not only legal but right, in the broadest sense of the term, that we should avail ourselves of the remarkable and rapid fall in silver bullion to recoin the old silver coins, including the old silver dollar the oldest of our coins and with them pay our depreciated notes, and thus restore the old coin standard.
Printing John Shermans Marietta speech, the Cincinnati Gazette naturally described him as a silver-dollar revivalist. According to himself, he was the first silver-dollar revivalist the first to propose the re-coining of the old silver-dollar. At that time John Sherman was not standing up defending a law which had been denounced and vilified the act demonetizing silver. He was not boldly avowing that he did read the law and knew its contents. He was deprecating that law, as taking away the rights of debtors and interfering with pre-existing contracts. He was declaring that it would seem not only legal, but right, in the broadest sense, to abrogate that law by re-coining the old silver coins, including the old silver dollar the oldest of our coins and thus to restore the old coin standard. In short, John Sherman was pleading the baby act, and was claiming the honor of being the very first to perform that feat. Disavowal of abetting such legislation a disavowal long made by many of Mr. Shermans fellow Senators he now describes as deception and falsehood, largely the result of cowardice. But, was John Sherman himself a deceiver, a liar and a coward, when, in 1876, he did precisely the same thing ?
In his speech of August, 1893, Mr. Sherman tells us that the law which in August, 1876, he considered unjust, and unfit to exist any longer, is now the great act of 1873, but is stained by the imputation of our own countrymen. Was Mr. Sherman no longer one of our own countrymen when he stained the great act of 1873 ? Or had he become a virtual subject of England the American attorney of her great Bank and her Jew bondholders, with their Tory partners in America ? Feeding on such clients in 1876, was John Sherman talking merely for buncombe ? merely to be able the better to serve his patrons in the future ? He tells us now of England:
There is among the nations of the world one great creditor nation, which holds bonds and securities * * * to the amount of thousands of millions of dollars. * * * It is a nation of intelligent people who command the commerce of the world. * * * We ought not to be ashamed of them, or to hate them or dislike them; because we are their children, and possess very many of the qualities of the parent stock.
In this last citation from Mr. Sherman there is not apparent a single falsehood. And, really, Americans are too sensible to hate the English as such. Still, in 1876, when Great Britain had influenced the legislation of the United States in a way that suits England, but does not suit us, it is plain that some of her children, called Americans, possessed many qualities of the parent stock.
Having informed us eighteen years ago, that what is to-day the great act of 1873 was an imposition upon the people, the correction of which he had been the first to propose, Mr. John Sherman, in August of 1893, indignantly assures all falsifiers and cowards that the same act, from beginning to end, was honorable to Congress, free from corruption, open and ingenuous, frank and full.
What is the history of that bill ! [he exclaimed]. It was a bill framed in the Treasury Department. It did not come from Congress in the ordinary way, but was framed in the Treasury Department by a distinguished body of experts. * * * They prepared this bill at the request of the Secretary of the Treasury.
But this statement by John Sherman, like the most of his statements, leads us into great difficulties. How could a distinguished body of American experts, marshaled by a Secretary of the Treasury, frame a bill by which the United States was influenced by Great Britain and which John Sherman should be the first to repudiate ? What kind of experts must they have been ? And what kind of Secretary of the Treasury must have had them in hand ? Were they a lot of rascals, trying to impair contracts, cheat debtors, and help another country against their own ? If not, were they a pack of fools ? If neither rascals nor fools, why were they framing a bill which Senator John Sherman and both Houses sought to counteract, and which Senator Bogy pronounced to be a piece of legislation procured by the influence of Great Britain ?
The way out of this tangle is easier than one might think. The Secretary of the Treasury in 1870 was Mr. George S. Boutwell of Massachusetts, who, in 1876, was a member of our Monetary Commission, and who is described by a fellow member as follows:
In Mr. George S. Boutwell we had, for a Secretary of the Treasury a petty shopkeeper, with a shop-keepers methods an honest, well-intentioned, dull, heavy, inexperienced, self-sufficient, narrow-minded and thoroughly incapable person, who knew neither the law nor the mechanism of the Treasury, and who consequently became the dupe of every intriguant of his day.
Mr. Boutwells grasp of the principles of money may be judged, with no waste of time, from the fact that he is a Cernuschi bimetallist, meaning a man who sincerely believes that America must do business with a currency which settles English balances. If there were a single peg on which to hang such utter nonsense, the United States would have had no dollar to fight the Revolution, and would be to-day a political dependency of England, with an established church according to Mr. Gladstones prayer-book. International Bimetallism is one of the two infallible tests of economic idiocy the other being the intrinsic value of gold.
Following the assertions of John Sherman, we find that Mr. Secretary Boutwell * * * claims to be the author of the Mint bill, and properly so, because he was at the head of the Department. Still, Mr. Boutwell was only the Pickwickian author; for on the 8th of April, 1890, Mr. John Jay Knox, in a letter to Hon. A.J. Warner, said, in so many words:
I was the author of the act of 1870, which subsequently became the law of 1873, or at least of that section which discontinued the coinage of silver dollars.
In 1870, Mr. John Jay Knox was Deputy Comptroller of the Currency, but more especially a zealous servant of the National Banks. He was soon after promoted to the presidency of the National Bank of the Republic, in New York City; and, according to Senator Stewart, such promotions of Treasury officials who have been faithful to the banking interests have been too frequent to escape observation.
Now the whole record of Senator John Sherman, for thirty years, shows conclusively that, of all servants of the National Banks, with the money-power in general, he has been by far the ablest and the most indefatigable. His biography will consist chiefly of bank-acts, the overwhelming appendix being the law demonetizing silver. So, when Secretary Boutwell Pickwickian claimant of the Mint Bill tells us that it was prepared under the supervision of John Jay Knox, we can easily see under what supervision John Jay Knox was prepared. There is no use of mincing matters with the so-called honorable John Sherman. His unsupported word is not to be taken on any subject; but when, spurning the baby act he stands boldly avowing that he did read the Mint-act, and knew its contents, the evidence is such that no reasoning creature can doubt his veracity. Mr. Boutwells Mint Bill, prepared under, the supervision of John Jay Knox, was simply, and on its face, a Sherman supplement elaborate, intricate, ingenious and misleading to the Sherman bill of 1868, which attempted to demonetize silver then, but was silently wiped out by E.D. Morgan. The following extracts from that bill show what it was:
With a view to promote a uniform currency among the nations, the weight of the gold coin of $5 * * * shall agree with a French coin of 25 francs; * * * and the other sizes or denominations shall be in due proportion of weight.
In order to conform the silver coinage to this rate, and to the French valuation, the weight of the half dollar shall be 179 grains * * * and the lesser coins be in due proportion. But the coinage of silver pieces of one dollar, five cents, and three cents, shall be discontinued.
Gold coins to be issued under this act shall be a legal tender in all payments to any amount; and the silver coins shall be a legal tender not exceeding $10 in any one payment.
The devices of the coins shall consist of such emblems and inscriptions as are proper to the Republic * * * but plainly distinct from those now in use: each coin shall express its proper date and value; and the value of the gold coins shall be stated both in dollars and francs.
There shall be no charge for coinage, seigniorage, or internal revenue [on gold and silver coins nine-tenths fine, received by weight at the mint]. On all other deposits of gold for coinage the charge shall be one half of one per cent.
Presenting the bill to the Senate (June 9th, 1868), Mr. Sherman urged it as embodying the plan of the Paris Conference of 1867, of which he said:
1. A single standard exclusively of gold.
2. Coins of equal weight and diameter.
3. Of equal quality of fineness. * * *
4. The weight of the present 5-franc gold piece to be the unit.
5. The coins of each nation to bear the names and emblems prepared by each, but to be legal tenders, public and private, in all.
It is seen from these citations that the Sherman bill of 1868 conformed a little more technically to England than his bill of 1870, in making silver a legal tender for ten dollars instead of five the last amount being somewhat worse than the first, for us. This bill, not being hidden in the paraphernalia of a Mint Act, had nothing to do with salaries, penmanship and tinkering, but consisted of ten short paragraphs, instead of the sixty-eight cumbrous sections of the latter bill, which made it about as long as the book of Deuteronomy. But, apart from its masks, shop-truck and kite-tails, the long bill of 1870 was substantially contained in the short one of 1868, even as to minor matters, like emblems, seigniorage, and the discontinuance of small silver coins, all of which subsequently came up for discussion. Thus Secretary Boutwell, Man-Friday Knox, with all the rest of them, were little more than names in connection with the Mint-Act. They were all held in the hat of John Sherman.
This extraordinary person assures us, at present, that the Mint Act was a scientific bill, sent out in advance to scientific men, and to everybody who desired to read it, or could be prevailed upon to render judgment in respect to coinage. Hon. E.D. Morgan, not being a scientific man, appears to have received no copy of the document, and the same may be said of all the leading Senators and Representatives of States practically interested in the precious metals. Dr. Linderman, Director of the Mint, was favored with a copy: whereupon he recommended to Mr. Shermans Finance Committee exactly what Mr. Sherman had recommended in a bill two years before that the silver dollar, being of no practical use, its issue should be discontinued. Mr. John Jay Knox was not neglected in the distribution of the bill, being under the childish impression that he was the author of it. In the report accompanying the introduction of the bill, April 25th, 1870, Mr. Knox, (then Comptroller of the Currency), informed Mr. Sherman that, in the Mint Bill, the present gold-dollar piece is made the dollar unit * * * and the silver-dollar piece is discontinued exactly the thing that was done by Mr. Shermans bill of 1868, so far as silver was concerned.
Beyond Dr. Linderman and Professor Knox, few of Mr. Shermans scientific gentlemen need delay us. They showed at once that he described them without his accustomed mendacity when he said:
These were men who would rather pore over a table of logarithms or study a problem in geometry * * * than to do anything to tarnish their name and their fame.
No doubt of it. No one has ever questioned the character of those excellent scientists. They were masters of fluxions, dies and burnishers. They understood coinage. Few of them knew anything about money. There was literally but one suggestion from their whole number, having any profound weight for the business world, unless to injure it. The officers of the San Francisco Branch Mint asked:
Would not the proposed change in the weight of the silver dollar disturb the relative value of all our coinage, affect our commercial conventions, and possibly impair the validity of contracts running through a long period ?
The financial brains of the country, so far as they were honest, appear to have gone West some time ago.
But, to sum up the preliminary situation in connection with the Mint Act, the statesmen, the politicians, and the people of the United States, so far as they ever heard of it, considered it a thing pertaining to the Mint alone, and of no other consequence. For this reason, it was never discussed by the press, and it never came to public notice. As for members of Congress our national law-makers they had no occasion to give a thought to it in advance, as their business is to think of bills when matured, put into form, and presented to them. They, of course, saw none of the scientific reports which went to Mr. Shermans Committee, and which have been dug up for a new generation; and few men ever read anything emanating from Mr. George S. Boutwell, at any time in his life, without doing their own intelligence the honor of instantly forgetting it. No suggestion, certainly, of his, even if observed, would receive the slightest attention preceding the time of action upon it. General Garfield told the whole story when he said:
I never read the bill. I took it upon the faith of a prominent Democrat and a prominent Republican, and I do not know that I voted at all. * * * Nobody opposed that bill that I know of. It was put through, as dozens of bills are * * * on the faith of the report of the Chairman of the Committee.
In 1870 our country had no gold and silver in circulation, but had been doing business, since 1861, with paper, and there was no prospect of a return, for years, to metallic money. A Mint Bill, at such a time, was naturally about as interesting, and seemed about as important, as the inventory of a junk-shop. Finally, here, let us consider this picture of the epoch :
It appears to be a fact, however humiliating to admit it, that in this country pretty nearly all knowledge of the literature on money had been lost. If there was a man in public life in the United States at that time who had any considerable acquaintance with the literature that arose out of the discussions of the problems of suspension and resumption in England, and subsequent measures leading to the Bank Act of 1844, he made no exhibition of it. Other questions had absorbed the attention of our people, and then came the war. * * * But if ignorance on the question of money prevailed in this country, shrewd observers of the situation were not wanting in other countries. Men trained in the school of Ricardo well understood that, with the vast debts created by the American and the Franco-Prussian wars, if the money-standard of the world could be changed from gold and silver to gold alone, the effect would be to enormously enhance the holdings of creditors and creditor nations; and at this time our national debt was largely held in Europe. Here was the motive, and here the opportunity. A world was open to plunder. But * * * change in the money-standard, at such a time and for such a purpose, was simply an act of spoliation, no more justifiable in the abstract than theft or piracy.
The Mint Bill, then Mr. Boutwell being its putative father, Mr. John Jay Knox being its supervisory father, and Mr. Sherman being the real father of that illegitimate monstrosity was submitted to the Finance Committee of the Senate, April 25th, 1870, was introduced in the Senate, April 28th, and was thence referred back to the Committee. On the 19th of December, it was brought up again, with amendments, and printed. On the 9th of January, 1871, the bill came formally before the Senate for discussion, in the Committee of the Whole. Mr. Sherman, in his speech of August, 1893 the grandest effort of his life, perhaps, in subversion of the truth asserts, with great emphasis, that, in a section of the bill enumerating subsidiary silver coins the half-dollar, quarter, and dime made legal tender for one dollar no mention of the dollar itself, the old constitutional standard, was found. Again we are not obliged to take Mr. Shermans word: the fact is a matter of record. But this fact was just the trouble. Nobody supposed that the standard dollar would be included in such a section; and certain papers, specially referring to the point, were not before the Senate, but behind the Chairman of its Committee on Finance. Hence the trick since stigmatized as such in both Houses of Congress by their best-known members was not discovered. As Senator Stewart has said,
The silver dollar was omitted from the list of coins, which omission was not observed, and the attention of the Senate was not called to it.
In the first Senatorial discussion of the Mint Bill, after two or three trivial matters in relation to salaries were disposed of, one amendment from Mr. Shermans Committee instantly aroused hot debate. It was this:
For coinage, whether the gold and silver deposited be coined or cast into bars or ingots, in addition to the charge for refining or parting the metals three-tenths of one-per cent.
Of this suggested amendment, Senator Stewart says :
[It] was regarded as a direct attack upon the mining industry of the United States, and also upon domestic coinage. It was argued that such a provision of law would discourage the minting of gold and silver in the United States, and encourage its exportation, because the mints of the leading nations of Europe made no charge for coinage after the metal had been refined and parted.
The debate on this proposition went through two days, and occupied fourteen pages of the Globe. On the first day the Senate agreed to it, and on the second day defeated it. The bill itself was then brought up, and was passed by 36 to 14, John Sherman voting against it. As the bill had demonetized silver though without the knowledge of the Senate and as no silver could be deposited in the Mint to be coined for its owners, Mr. Sherman has been charged with presenting the amendment for the deliberate purpose of deceiving his fellow Senators diverting their attention from the chief end of the measure, and fixing it on a comparatively unimportant though considerable interest. The wording of the amendment, certainly, is very suspicious; and it served the supposed intent to perfection. But it is not at all sure that Mr. Shermans purpose was not a double one. In his demonetizing bill of 1868, he put a clause providing that on all deposits of gold for coinage, [except on pieces of money for re-coinage], the charge shall be one-half of 1 per cent. In his demonetizing bill of 1870, he changed the fee for coinage to three-tenths of 1 per cent. Pickwickian author Boutwell, and supervisory author Knox, had not put in any charge at all, as the bill left their hands. Had they forgotten to follow directions ? Or had author Knox been let into the secret of a coming subterfuge ? Mr. John Sherman, anyhow, insisted, by amendment, on the substance of his former scheme of 68. As the mints of the leading nations of Europe made no charge for coinage, and as any such charge would encourage exportation of the precious metals repressing the volume of domestic currency just so far might not a faithful attorney of foreign powers, and of contractive home-bankers, have considered it his duty to procure even a minor advantage for them ? It requires careful attention to follow the crooked promenades of the so-called honorable John Sherman.---[How can you say "without the knowledge of the Senate" ? Section 14 changed the unit of measure and demonetized silver, section 15 ommited $1 silver coin, section 18 declared that no other coin shall be issued. Senator Casserly, the most vocal on that day, said that the bill was in an excellent form until Sherman introduced his amendment to charge seigniorage. Following two days of vigorous debate the Senate voted against seigniorage and voted for the bill. Senators Sherman and Morrill voted for seigniorage, and against the bill when seigniorage was rejected. Why would Sherman vote against his own bill ? Two years later Morril will be sitting in the Chair as Presiding Officer while Sherman skips over section 15. As soon as the bill arrived in the House, Kelley's and Hooper's committee re-instated the coinage charge. Two years later, on the day of final passage of the bill, Senator Casserly brought up the subject of seigniorage again, but Sherman bold-faced lied about it and Casserly and other senators acted strangely.]
The Mint Bill, having passed the Senate without the discovery of its being chiefly a thing of false-pretences, went to the House, and to the Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures, of which William D. Kelley was Chairman. Mr. Kelley reported it, February 25th, 1871, with amendments, and it was recommitted. During the extra session of the Forty-Second Congress, (March 9th, 1871), Mr. Kelley re-introduced the bill, to go to the same Committee, when appointed. On the 9th of January, 1872, Mr. Kelley, as Chairman, of the newly appointed Committee, reported the bill to the House with no changes later than the preceding February. Practically, therefore, the bill was unnoticed for more than a year after it left the Senate. It had become an old thing, with the prestige of originating in the Treasury and being approved by the Senate. In this presentation of the Mint Bill, Mr. Kelley informed the House that the purpose of the measure was to codify and simplify the Mint laws, the most important change being to establish a Director of the Mint with headquarters in the Treasury Department. It is of the highest importance, therefore, he said, that the one single cardinal change that the bill proposes should be made.
From these remarks, it is evident that Mr. Kelley had not seen the real point of the Mint Bill, though he declared that it had received as careful attention from the Coinage Committee of the previous year, as he had ever known a committee to bestow on any measure.
The bill, [he added], has not received the same elaborate consideration from the Committee * * * of this House, but the attention of each member was brought to it, * * * each member procured a copy of the bill, and there has been a thorough examination * * * again.
Yet Mr. Kelley always maintained, to the day of his death, that he was ignorant of the fact that the Mint Bill would demonetize the silver dollar. That he was ignorant of it when making his speech of January 9th, 1872, is proved by a remark to Mr. Potter on that occasion:
There are one or two things in this bill, I will say to the gentleman from New York, with his permission, which I personally would like to modify: that is to say, I would like to follow the example of England, and make a wide difference between our silver and gold coinage.
The only possible inference from this remark is that the Mint Bill had not done what Mr. Kelley favored. Yet this bill, at that time, had gone further than England herself in the very direction he specified. No one has ever suspected Mr. Kelley of intentional wrong in this connection. Almost no one, perhaps, without minute inspection of the dry heap of papers which accompanied the bill from the Treasury to Mr. Sherman, would have seen more, at that time, than Mr. Kelley saw; and when each member of his Committee procured a copy of the bill, the now celebrated writings of author Knox received no attention that any mortal has heard of.
The good Mr. Kelleys further obscurity of mind was evinced in the following bit of debate:
Mr. Potter. I desire * * * to ask the gentleman who has this bill in charge whether * * * it will make any change in the value of the coin issued * * * from the value of the coin which now exists ?
Mr. Kelly. It does not.
Mr. Potter. Does it make any change in the standard of weight or of fineness of the coin ?
Mr. Kelley. It does not.
Mr. Potter. Does it provide any new kind of coin; coin of any new denomination other than that which is now coined ?
Mr. Kelley. It does not.
In all his answers to Mr. Potter, Mr. Kelley was more or less in error. He was not even aware that the old American dollar had been dropped, and the five-franc dollar put in its place, though no silver dollar at all had been included in the original Treasury scheme, and Mr. Kelleys own Committee had amended the dollar into the bill, adding it to the half-dollars, quarters and dimes, which had alone been specified. On the 9th of March, 1878, Mr. Kelley said :
I do not think there were three members in the House who knew [that the act demonetized the standard silver dollar], I doubt whether Mr. Hooper, who, in my absence from the Committee on Coinage and attendance on the Committee of Ways and Means, managed the bill, knew it. I say this in justice to him.
Ah, here we have it ! Mr. Kelley had relegated the Mint Bill to Samuel Hooper banker and had merely talked on it, in a perfunctory way, as he was advised. Why not ? Mr. Kelley had known Mr. Hooper for many years. Mr. Samuel Hooper, indeed, had been one of that immortal Committee of Ways and Means of which Thaddeus Stevens had been Chairman in 1861. Why should not Mr. Kelley feel perfectly safe in trusting Mr. Samuel Hooper with the details of a non-political, technical Mint Bill ?
On the 9th of January, 1872, in addition to what we have been over,
Some discussion was had with regard to the salaries of officers, but the main contention was with regard to nickel coinage, and how the nickel should be obtained. The House adjourned that day without action on the bill. On the 10th, * * * the House resumed consideration of the bill. The debate was confined to the question of salaries. No allusion whatever was made to the omission of the silver dollar. The bill was finally re-committed to the Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures.
According to author Knox,
It was again reported, February 9th, 1872, from the Coinage Committee, by the Hon. Samuel Hooper, printed and recommitted, and on February 13th, 1872, reported back by Mr. Hooper with amendments, printed, and made the special order for March 12th, 1872, until disposed of.
At this juncture, according to Mr. McNeeley, of Illinois, the Committee had not been together, and had not authorized the report.
The bill came up again on the 9th of April. Mr. Hooper made a long speech, explaining and favoring the bill. The RECORD, at least, shows such a speech, though various members of the House, then present, have stoutly maintained that Mr. Hoopers remarks were never spoken only printed. Mr. Stoughton made a quasi-minority speech another prepared effort which no one seems to have heard in which he said:
It [the Mint Act] is a measure which it is hardly worth while for us to adopt at this time. This bill provides for the making of changes in the legal-tender coin of the country, and for substituting, as legal-tender, coin of only one metal instead, as heretofore, of two. I think, myself, this would be a wise provision, and that legal-tender coins, except subsidiary coins, should be of gold alone; but why should we legislate on this now, when we are not using either of those metals as a circulating medium ?
Mr. Hooper and Mr. Stoughton both stated that a reduction had been made in the weight of the silver dollar, and Mr. Stoughton said of the silver coins they are made a legal tender for all sums not exceeding $5 in any one payment. But, as the silver dollar was at that time worth three and a-half per cent more than the gold dollar, his listeners, if he had any, appear to have thought that the Mint Bill simply equalized the two different dollars. Even Mr. Kelley, holding about the same view as Mr. Stoughton, said in debate:
It is impossible to retain the double standard, * * * Hence all experience has shown that you must have one standard coin, which shall be a legal tender for all others, and then you may promote your domestic convenience by having a subsidiary coinage of silver, which shall circulate in all parts of your country as legal tender for a limited amount, and be redeemable at its face value by your Government. *** But, sir, I again call the attention of the House to the fact that the gentlemen who oppose this bill insist on maintaining a silver dollar worth 3½ cents more than the gold dollar, and worth 7 cents more than two half-dollars, and that, so long as those provisions remain, you cannot keep silver coin in the country.
William D. Kelley was a true friend of the American people. He was sometimes taunted with being a greenbacker a worshipper of the rag-baby. In connection with the Mint Bill, he doubtless supposed it brought gold and silver to a parity, and that paper-money could do all else that might be needed. The demonetization of silver may yet lead the people to take a short cut to some of Mr. Kelleys most radical views, with small concern for any metal whatever.---[Unfortunately, Kelley's above retort to Potter indicates
The debate pursuant to the speeches of Mr. Hooper and Mr. Stoughton became, at last, very warm, not to say hot, and threatened to subject the Mint Bill to dissection from beginning to end. The Hon. Clarkson Potter, of New York a very shrewd and capable man said:
I confess, therefore, that the introduction of the bill at such a period excited my suspicion. I was and am at a loss to gather from anything I know or can learn that there is any necessity for the adoption of this measure now. When the bill comes to be read section by seetion, I shall make such suggestions in the way of amendmentas I think are calculated to make it better if it should go into operation. * * *
Then, in the next place, this bill provides for the making of changes in the legal-tender coin of the country, and for substituting as legal-tender coin of only one metal instead as heretofore of two. I think myself this would be a wise provision, and that legal-tender coins, except subsidiary coin, should be of gold alone; but why should we legislate on this now when we are not using either of those metals as a circulating medium ? The bill provides also for a change in respect of the weight and value of the silver dollar, which I think is a subject which, when we come to require legislation about it at all, will demand at our hands very serious consideration, and which, as we are not using such coins for circulation now, seems at this time to be an unnecessary subject about which to legislate. But beyond that, the bill provides for an entirely new subsidiary coinage. It provides for the coinage of new five-cent, three-cent, two-cent, and one-cent pieces, and it provides that these new coin shall be of a certain alloy of copper and nickel. Now, we have at present in circulation several hundred million pieces of subsidiary base coin. They are familiar to every one of us, and have been in circulation for some years. There is the ordinary nickel five-cent piece, the ordinary nickel three-cent piece, and the bronze two-cent piece, and the nickel one-cent piece; for which there has been substituted of late years the bronze one-cent piece. Of these pieces of subsidiary coinage, I repeat, several hundred million pieces are in circulation; and it is proposed that in place of these pieces we shall have another set of minor subsidiary coins of nickel copper, according to the form prescribed in this bill. For what reason ? It has been suggested for the purpose of uniformity. That reason, however, seems to me so insufficient that it has occurred to me that behind this provision of the law lies the real motive power of this bill; that is, that it will make necessary a great consumption of nickel-copper for several hundred million pieces of this new subsidiary coinage.
We see, here, that while the keen Mr. Clarkson Potter had not yet reached the stupendous job behind Mr. Shermans great act of 1873, a job of some kind was evident to him, and he was on the way to expose it. The debate was closed by adjournment. But the Mint Bill was now in imminent danger. So its agents pretended to abandon it. They brought in a nominal substitute, and assured the House that it obviated all objections; though, as Senator Stewart says, no change was made with regard to a single matter objected to in the debate.---[Mr. Potter made his above remarks out-loud; Speaker of the House Blaine sitting in his Chair heard it; Chairman of the Committee Kelley heard it; and others in the House heard it; this blows out the window future claims that they did not know the bill demonetized silver (why has Clark changed the sequence of the debate ?)]
After setting the controversy to cool for seven weeks, the pretended substitute was brought up by Mr. Hooper, on (Monday) the 27th of May, 1872, in the absence of Mr. Potter. In presenting it Mr. Hooper said:
I do so for the purpose of offering an amendment in the nature of a substitute one which has been very carefully prepared, and which I have submitted to the different gentlemen in this House who have taken a special interest in the bill. I find it meets with universal approbation in the form in which I offer it.
As not one change had been made on one point entering the controversy of April 9th this being proved by the very face of the bill what must be said of Mr. Hoopers manner of employing speech ? As the Mint Bill had inveigled him for some time into close contact with John Sherman, had Mr. Hooper, once clearly an honest man, caught Mr. Shermans most chronic ailment ? Had his tongue been stricken with moral leprosy ?
He moved that the rules of the House be suspended, and the substitute be put on its passage.
Hon. James Brooks, of New York, objected.
I ask the gentleman from Massachusetts, [said he], to postpone his motion until his colleague on the committee, my colleague from New York [Mr. Potter] is in his seat. It is my impression that he does not concur in this substitute.
Mr. Hooper declined; and, being urged, declined again. Mr. Holman said:
---[and here the House voted "no" to dispensing with the reading the bill, and the Clerk started to read the bill but Brooks immediatelly interrupted him]
I suppose it is intended to have the bill read before it is put upon its passage. The substitute will be read, [replied the Speaker of the House].
I hope not, [exclaimed Mr. Hooper]. It is a long bill, and those who are interested in it are perfectly familiar with its provisions.
I want the House to understand [said Mr. Kerr] that it is attempted to put through this bill without being read.
Mr. Brooks intimated that, not knowing what was going on, he should vote no.
Mr. Holman interposed:
Before the question is taken upon suspending the rules and passing the bill, I hope the gentleman from Massachusetts will explain the leading changes made by this bill in the existing law, especially in reference to the coinage. It would seem that all the small coinage in the country is intended to be recoined.
This bill [replied Mr. Hooper] makes no changes in the existing law in that regard. It does not require the recoinage of the small coins.
Before the debate ended, Mr. McNeeley rather noticeably atoned for his complaint of a previous occasion, that the Committee had not authorized the bill, by saying now:
As a member of the Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures, having carefully examined every section and line of this bill, and generally well understanding the subject before us, I am satisfied the bill ought to pass.
Mr. McNeeleys style in this remark, sounds very much as though he had been loaded beforehand for his shot. We do not know. But Mr. Hooper finally succeeded in suspending the rules, and passing the Mint Bill.
No wonder Mr. Holman said a little later:
I have before me the record of the proceedings of this House on the passage of that measure which no man can read without being convinced that the measure and the method of its passage through this House was A COLOSSAL SWINDLE. I assert that the measure never had the sanction of this House and it does not possess the moral force of law. * * * I myself asked the question of Mr. Hooper who stood near where I am now standing, whether it changed the law in regard to coinage. And the answer of Mr. Hooper certainly left the impression on the whole House that the subject of the coinage was not affected by that bill.---[the problem is, and the Record shows, that Holman's biggest objection was the salary of the sub-treasurer; the bill of April 9 left out the $1 silver coin and Holman said nothing about it, the bill of May 27 had a 384-grain silver coin in it. Throughout the whole entire debate there was not one question regarding the unit of measure (which was changed in section 14), not one question regarding the $1 silver coin (which originally was left out in section 16), not one question regarding the silver content of $1 silver coin; it was all about nickel-content, salaries, abrasion, and coinage charges; but afterwards not one of them was man enough to admit that he did bother to pay attention, to read the bill, that he did not know enough to understand the meaning-rammifications of sections 14 and 16. The Record shows that on May 27 Rep. McCormick asked section 19 to be read again, then he asked questions about it (because he suspected Kelley of trying to help his nickel-mining constitutents); Holman and Brooks could have done the same and requested sections 14 and 16 to be read, again, then asked questions regarding the consequences of them
No wonder again that Mr. Bright of Tennessee indignantly used this very plain language in connection with Mr. Hooper and his substitute.
IT PASSED BY FRAUD IN THE HOUSE, never having been printed in advance, being a substitute for the printed bill; never having been read at the Clerks desk, the reading having been dispensed with by an impression that the bill made no material alteration in the coinage laws; it was passed without discussion, debate being cut off by operation of the previous question. It was passed, to my certain information, under such circumstances that the fraud escaped the attention of some of the most watchful as well as the ablest statesmen in Congress at the time. * * * Aye, sir, it was a fraud that smells to Heaven. It was a fraud that will stink in the nose of posterity, and for which some persons must give account in the day of retribution.
Aye, verily: and the day of retribution is at hand.
Mr. Hoopers fraudulent substitute for a criminal Mint Bill went to the Senate from the House, the last time, on the 28th of May, 1872; thence into the hands of Mr. Shermans Committee of Finance; thence back to the Senate on (Monday) the 16th of December with certain amendments, which were printed on (Tuesday) January 7th 1873. These, when presented to the Senate on the 17th as the record shows, were patiently considered.
Mr. Sherman said:
I send to the clerk some amendments of a formal character from the Committee on Finance, adopted since the amendments first reported were printed. I will ask that they be acted upon, with the others, in their order.
Three verbal amendments were made, applying to sections 5, 8, and 9 of the bill consecutively. Then a long debate took place in regard to striking out a part of section 14, providing for the reception, by the Treasury, of abraded gold coins. This appears to have been considered an interest special to California, the debate being almost wholly between Mr. Sherman and the two Senators from that State. Finally, one of them, Mr. Casserly, said he should contend with Mr. Sherman no longer, because it was evident that very few Senators were paying attention to this subject. The part of section 14 was stricken, out, the rest of it retaining its number and place.
The next section (number 15), applying to the same subject of abrasion, looks now as if it had been put into the bill, separately, on purpose to be dropped. An amendment to strike it out was successful, after some formal opposition.The complete omission of section 15 transferred that number to the next section, and put number 17 under 16. The original number 16, now moved back to 15, and more especially the amendment to it: was the one which demonetized the American silver dollar, with its full power of legal tender. The amendment was this:
The silver coins of the United States shall be a trade-dollar, a half-dollar or fifty-cent piece, a quarter-dollar or twenty-five cent piece, a dime or ten-cent piece; and the weight of the trade-dollar shall be four hundred and twenty grains troy; the weight of the half-dollar shall be twelve grams and one-half of a gram; the quarter-dollar and the dime shall be respectively one-half and one-fifth of the weight of said half-dollar; and said coins shall be a legal-tender at their nominal value for any amount not exceeding five dollars in any one payment.
The section and the amendment were alike, except that the amendment substituted a trade-dollar for a five-franc dollar, or one of 384 grains, neither being the dollar of the United States.
Here was a very dangerous piece of a Mint Bill to be read aloud, or even to be whispered, however confiding, and momentarily inattentive, might be a Senate whose members supposed they could trust their Chairman of Finance. So what was done ? The amendment to Section 16, with the section itself, was not read at all; but, under that number, the original number 17 was intoned to the Senate, and the sections having been moved up, nobody noticed the difference. Only the terrible and infallible notes of the Senate stenographer, giving all the proceedings word for word, finally uncovered the chicanery and the infamy of that day. The one man who was never known to miss a syllable of the Senates proceedings, recorded here A GAP.
On the 5th of June, 1890, the so-called honorable John Sherman in presence of the Senate, with the documents put under his nose by Senator Stewart was whipped into the absolute necessity of acknowledging the omission. But, even then, the conspirator from Ohio attempted to outface the Record by saying:
Because the Reporter does not happen in the hurry of business to catch every amendment in the precise order in which it was presented, the Senator would therefore convict some one of grave wrong.
But the reporter did catch every amendment in the precise order in which it was presented. He caught everything that was said. He merely failed to catch a few hundred words, more or less, that were never uttered.
On such occasions as the one just described, Mr. Sherman and his friends have for some time deemed it best that he should have assistance, Senator Aldrich and Senator Hoar having been the most conspicuous deploy in this service. But in pity, even for a Sherman, something better than this should be done for him. If he seeks counsel to shield him from the monster-crime of the modern world, he should employ a less transparent pettifogger than the manufacturer of Rhode Island, and a more dexterous manufacturer of sophistries than the antique innocent of the Massachusetts bar.
When Mr. Sherman offered to the Senate, for the last reading, his bill to codify the Mint Laws, he said:
I rise for the purpose of moving that the Senate proceed to the consideration of the Mint Bill. I will state that this bill will not probably consume more time than the time consumed in reading it.
Mr. Sherman spoke modestly. The bill consumed less time than the time that would have been consumed in reading the whole of it.
Eight months later, President Grant, whose signature was attached to the Mint Law, wrote, as part of a letter,
The panic has brought greenbacks about to a par with silver. I wonder that silver is not already coming into the market to supply the deficiency in the circulating medium. When it does come, and I predict that it will soon, we will have made a rapid stride towards specie payments. Currency will never go below silver after that.
When, in January of 1875, Grant signed the Resumption Act, he advised, in his special message to Congress, the establishment of more mints to coin silver dollars. He said :
With the present facilities for coinage, it would take a period probably beyond that fixed by law for final specie resumption, to coin the silver necessary to transact the business of the country.
We have it on authority of Hon. Edwards Pierrepont, Grants Attorney General, and subsequently Minister to England, that, after the secret was out, Grant said, in talking the matter over, that he had been deceived.
But General Grant was not the only man able and distinguished enough to become President of the United States, who knew nothing of the actual contents of the specious Mint Act, when it was made a law by his aid. General Garfield, as we have seen, said that he never read the bill. He took it on the faith of the Chairman of the Committee. Exactly. James A. Garfield being witness against John Sherman of Ohio and Samuel Hooper of Massachusetts for the application fits these two men equally the Mint Bill was passed on faith, and THE FAITH WAS BETRAYED.
James G. Blaine was Speaker of the House a man not apt to be asleep in his chair. Yet he was obliged to say afterwards, when he had become a Senator, I did not know anything that was in the bill; and he added the very significant remark, largely explanatory of the whole imposture: Little was known or cared on the subject.
The reason that little was known or cared on the subject was clear. Doctor Shermans scientific Mint Bill, coming from savant Boutwell, through Professor Knox, was always represented to Congress as a measure for the sole convenience of great specialists in the Mint and Treasury. Besides, it was a holy bill, which Doctor Sherman always treated as if he were superintending a Sunday-school, and which hallowed the trade-dollar with the pious motto: In God we trust. Why should a layman, and a very practical servant of the people, like Mr. Blaine, pay attention to such a cerulean piece of legislation ? So, in later years, Mr. Blaine necessarily became one of John Shermans cowards and falsifiers, whom he has accused of pleading the baby-act.
At that same moment, Mr. D.W. Voorhees was another though, in the amicable year of 1893, Doctor Sherman forgave Mr. Voorhees, for the sweet sake of consummating the crime of 1873. But, on the 15th of February, 1878, it was Senator Voorhees who elicited from Senator Blaine his confession, and who said, when asked if he knew what the bill was doing:
I very frankly say that I did not.
We are now aware if only we could accept a statement from the mouth of a John Sherman that the Senatorial conversation between Mr. Blaine and Mr. Voorhees was all deception and falsehood, largely the result of cowardice.
But let us tabulate, as it were, Mr. John Shermans DECEIVERS, FALSIFIERS, AND COWARDS.
The column, partly erected, will stand in this form:
General U.S. Grant President of the United States.
General James A. Garfield President of the United States.
James G. Blaine U.S. Senator.
Roscoe Conkling U.S. Senator.
Allan G. Thurman U.S. Senator.
Daniel W. Voorhees U.S. Senator.
James B. Beck U.S. Senator.
William B. Allison U.S. Senator.
William M. Stewart U.S. Senator.
Timothy O. Howe U.S. Senator.
Frank Hereford U.S. Senator.
Lewis V. Bogy U.S. Senator.
John T. Morgan U.S. Senator.
William D. Kelley Representative in Congress.
William S. Holman Representative in Congress.
John M. Bright Representative in Congress.
Samuel B. Burchard Representative in Congress and Director of the Mint.
Joseph G. Cannon Representative in Congress.
Richard P. Bland Representative in Congress.
Here are nearly twenty names pretty well known to the American people; but until recently we have never known them to be the names of deceivers, cowards, and falsifiers, in the habit of pleading the baby-act. Let us see how they did it. Let us think over their words, as they have left them for our attention:
I did not know that the act of 1873 demonetized silver. I was deceived in the matter. U.S. Grant.
Perhaps I ought to be ashamed to say so, but it is the truth to say that, I at that time being chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, and having my hands over-full during all that time with work, I never read the bill. I took it upon the faith of a prominent Democrat and a prominent Republican, and I do not know that I voted at all. There was no call of the yeas and nays, and nobody opposed that bill that I know of. It was put through as dozens of bills are, as my friend and I know, in Congress, on the faith of the report of the chairman of the committee; therefore I tell you, because it is the truth, that I have no knowledge about it. James A. Garfield, as reported in the Congressional Record, volume 7, part 1, Forty-fifth Congress, second session, page 989.
I want to ask my friend from Maine, whom I am glad to designate in that way, whether I may call him as one more witness to the fact that it was not generally known whether silver was demonetized. Did he know, as the Speaker of the House, presiding at that time, that the silver dollar was demonetized in the bill to which he alludes ? D.W. Voorhees, Senate, Feb. 15th, 1878.
I did not know anything that was in the bill at all. As I have said before, little was known or cared on the subject. And now I should like to exchange questions with the Senator from Indiana, who was then on the floor and whose business it was, far more than mine, to know, because by the designation of the House I was to put the question; the Senator from Indiana, then on the floor of the House, with his power as a debater, was to unfold them to the House. Did he know ? Jas. G. Blaine.
I frankly say that I did not. Mr. Voorhees.
Will the Senator allow me to ask him or some other Senator a question. Is it true that there is now by law no American dollar ? Roscoe Conkling, in the Senate, March 30th, 1876.
I cannot say what took place in the House, but know that when the bill was pending in the Senate we thought it was simply a bill to reform the Mint, regulate coinage, and fix up one thing and another; and there is not a single man in the Senate, I think, unless a member of the Committee from which the bill came, who had the slightest idea that it was even a squint toward demonetization. Allan G. Thurman, in the Senate, Feb. 15th, 1878.
It [the bill demonetizing silver] never was understood by either House of Congress. I say that with full knowledge of the facts. No newspaper reporter and they are the most vigilant men I ever saw in obtaining information discovered that it had been done. Senator Beck, January 10th, 1878.
I know that the bondholders and the monopolists of this country are seeking to destroy all the industries of this people, in their greed to enhance the value of their gold. I know that the act of 1873 did more than all else to accomplish that result, and the demonetization act of the Revised Statutes was an illegal and unconstitutional consummation of the fraud. I want to restore that money to where it was before, and thus aid in preventing the consummation of their designs. Senator Beck again.
But when the secret history of this bill of 1873 comes to be told, it will disclose the fact that the House of Representatives intended to coin both gold and silver, and intended to place both metals upon the French relation instead of our own, which was the true scientific position with reference to this subject in 1873, but that the bill afterward was doctored. * * * It was changed after the discussion, and the dollar of 420 grains was substituted for it. Senator Allison, Feb. 15th, 1878.---[Unfortunately, senator Allison was the one who modified the Bland bill which intended to reinstate the free coinage of $1 silver coins and their leagal tender status, and took out the free coinage part and replaced it with limited coinage of purchased silver. His talk may have been good, his action was wicked.]
It was of no consequence whether or not I knew in February, 1874, that silver was demonetized in February, 1873. It was too late to prevent what had been done in the previous year. * * * I did not know that silver was demonetized for more than a year after February, 1874, since which time my bitterest enemies will hardly blame me for not doing all in my power in and out of Congress to remonetize silver. But the statement of the Senator from Ohio that I knew on the 11th day of February, 1874, that silver was demonetized, or that I said so, has no foundation in fact. The quotation from the speech which he held in his hand when he made the statement does not prove it, and the speech itself disproves any such inference. W.M. Stewart, Senate Speech, Sept. 5th, 1893.
Mr. President, I do not regard the demonetization of silver as an attempt to wrench from the people more than they agree to pay. That is not the crime of which I accuse the act of 1873. I charge it with guilt compared with which the robbery of two hundred millions is venial. Senator Howe, Feb. 5th, 1878.
I say that beyond the possibility of a doubt (and there is no disputing it) that bill which demonetized silver, as it passed, never was read, never was discussed, and that the Chairman of the committee who reported it, who offered the substitute, said to Mr. Holman, when inquired of, that it did not affect the coinage in any way whatever. Senator Hereford, Feb. 13th, 1878.
Why the act of 1873, which forbids the coinage of the silver dollar, was passed, no one at this day can give a good reason. Senator Bogy, of Missouri.
Did the people demonetize silver ? Never ! It cannot even be fairly said that Congress did it. It was done in a corner darkly. It was done at the instigation of the bondholders and other money kings, who now, with upturned eyes, deplore the wickedness we exhibit in asking the question, even, who did the great wrong against the toiling millions of our people ? Senator Morgan, Dec. 12th, 1877.
I have before me the record of the proceedings of this House on the passage of that measure, a record which no man can read without being convinced that the measure and the method of its passage through this House was a colossal swindle. I assert that the measure never had the sanction of this House, and it does not possess the moral force of law. Mr. Holman, in the House, July 13th, 1876.
The original bill was simply a bill to organize a bureau of mines and coinage. The bill which finally passed the House and which ultimately became a law was certainly not read in the House. * * * It was never considered before the House as it was passed. Up to the time the bill came before this House for final passage the measure had simply been one to establish a bureau of mines; I believe I use the term correctly now. It came from the Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures. The substitute which finally became a law was never read, and is subject to the charge made against it by the gentleman from Missouri [Mr. Bland], that it was passed by the House without a knowledge of its provisions, especially upon that of coinage. I myself asked the question of Mr. Hooper, who stood near where I am now standing, whether it changed the law in regard to coinage. And the answer of Mr. Hooper certainly left the impression upon the whole House that the subject of the coinage was not affected by the bill. Mr. Holman, in the House, Aug. 5th, 1876.
This legislation was had in the Forty-second Congress, February 12, 1873, by a bill to regulate the mints of the United States, and practically abolished silver as money by failing to provide for the coinage of the silver dollar. It was not discussed, as shown by the Record, and neither members of Congress nor the people understood the scope of the legislation. Joseph G. Gannon, in the House, July 13th, 1876.
The Coinage Act of 1873, unaccompanied by any written report upon the subject from any committee, and unknown to the members of Congress who, without opposition, allowed it to pass under the belief, if not assurance, that it made no alteration in the value of the current coins, changed the unit of value from silver to gold. Mr. Buchard, of Illinois, in the House, July 13th, 1876.
All I can say is that the Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures, which reported the original bill, were faithful and able, and scanned its provisions closely; that as their organ I reported it; that it contained provision for both the standard silver dollar and the trade dollar. Never having heard until a long time after its enactment into law of the substitution in the Senate of the section which dropped the standard dollar, I profess to know nothing of its history ; but I am prepared to say that in all the legislation of this country there is no mystery like the demonetization of the standard silver dollar of the United States. Judge Kelley, in the House, May 10th, 1879.
Mr. Brights indignant remarks in the House of Representatives, in which he said that the Mint Bill passed by fraud, and that it would enter the nostrils of posterity with a direful odor, have been noted, and need not be repeated. One more citation shall close this list of Mr. John Shermans victims to their various execrable characteristics.
The silver dollar is peculiarly the laboring mans dollar, as far as he may desire specie. * * * Throughout all the financial panics that have assailed this country, no man has been bold enough to raise his hand to strike it down; no man has ever dared to whisper of a contemplated assault upon it; and when the 12th day of February, 1873, approached, the day of doom to the American dollar, the dollar of our fathers, how silent was the work of the enemy ! Not a sound, not a word, no note of warning to the American people that their favorite coin was about to be destroyed as money; that the greatest financial revolution of modem times was in contemplation and about to be accomplished against their highest and dearest rights ! The taxpayers of the United States were no more notified or consulted on this momentous measure than the slaves on a southern plantation before the war, when their master made up his mind to increase their task or to change them from a corn to a cotton field. Never since the foundation of the government has a law of such vital and tremendous import, or indeed of any importance at all, crawled into our statute books so furtively and noiselessly as this. Its enactment there was as completely unknown to the people, and indeed to four-fifths of Congress itself, as the presence of a burglar in a house at midnight to its sleeping inmates. This was rendered possible partly because the clandestine movement was so utterly unexpected and partly from the nature of the bill in which it occurred. The silver dollar of American history was demonetized in an act entitled An act revising and amending the laws relative to the mints, assay offices and coinage of the United States. Senator Voorhees, January 15th, 1878.
If we now recur, for an instant, to Mr. Kelleys remarks, just quoted under date of May 10th 1879 we shall see that in all the legislation of this country he conceived there was no mystery equal to the demonetization of the standard silver dollar. Some light has since been thrown on that mystery. On the 9th of April 1872 Samuel Hooper, banker, he whom Mr. Kelley had confidingly entrusted the Mint Bill made the following observation on the floor of the House:
Mr. Ernest Seyd, of London, a distinguished writer, who has given great attention to mints and coinage, after examining the first draft of the bill furnished many valuable suggestions, which have been incorporated in this bill.
Some further reference to Mr. Ernest Seyd appears below, in the form of an affidavit.
State of Colorado, County of Arapahoe,
Frederick A. Luckenbach, being first duly sworn on oath, deposes and says: I am 62 years of age. I was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. I removed to the city of Philadelphia in the year 1846, and continued to reside there until 1866, when I removed to the city of New York. In Philadelphia, I was in the furniture business. In New York, I branched into machinery and inventions, and am the patentee of Luckenbachs pneumatic pulverizer, which machines are now in use generally in the eastern part of the United States and in Europe. I now reside in Denver, having removed from New York two years ago. I am well known in New York. I have been a member of the produce exchange and am well acquainted with many members of that body. I am well known by Mr. Erastus Wyman.
In the year 1865 I visited London, England for the purpose of placing there, Pennsylvania oil properties in which I was interested. I took with me letters of introduction to many gentlemen in London among them one to Mr. Ernest Seyd from Robert M. Foust, ex-Treasurer of Philadelphia. I became well acquainted with Mr. Seyd and with his brother Richard Seyd, who I understand is yet living. I visited London thereafter every year, and at each visit renewed my acquaintance with Mr. Seyd and upon each occasion became his guest one or more times joining his family at dinner or other meals.
In February 1874 while on one of these visits and while his guest for dinner, I among other things alluded to rumors afloat of parliamentary corruption and expressed astonishment that such corruption should exist. In reply to this, he told me he could relate facts about the corruption of the American Congress that would place it far ahead of the English Parliament in that line. So far, the conversation was at the dinner table between us. His brother Richard and others were there also, but this was table talk between Mr. Ernest Seyd and myself. After the dinner ended, he invited me to another room where he resumed the conversation about legislative corruption. He said: If you will pledge me your honor as a gentleman not to divulge what I am about to tell while I live, I will convince you that what I said about the corruption of the American Congress is true. I gave him the promise, and he then continued. I went to America in the winter of 1872-73, authorized to secure, if I could, the passage of a bill demonetizing silver. It was to the interest of those I represented the governors of the Bank of England to have it done.
I took with me £100,000 sterling, with instructions if that was not sufficient to accomplish the object to draw for another £100,000 or as much more as was necessary. He told me, German bankers were also interested in having it accomplished.
He said he was the financial adviser of the bank. He said: I saw the committees of the House and Senate and paid the money and stayed in America until I knew the measure was safe. I asked if he would give me the names of the members to whom he paid the money but this he declined to do. He said: Your people will not now comprehend the far-reaching extent of that measure but they will in after years. Whatever you may think of corruption in the English Parliament, I assure you I would not have dared to make such an attempt here, as I did in your country. I expressed my shame to him, for my countrymen in our legislative bodies. The conversation drifted into other subjects, and after that though I met him many times the matter was never again referred to.
(Signed) Frederick A. Luckenbach.
Subscribed and sworn to before me at Denver, this ninth day of May, A.D. 1892.
(Signed) James A. Miller,
[seal] Clerk Supreme Court, State of Colorado.
The affidavit of Mr. Frederick A. Luckenbach is not an agreeable thing to incorporate in any American publication. But is it true ? That is the only point of much account, in the end.
The exact history of the affidavit may assist us in judging.
It appeared, for the first time, in the Rocky Mountain News, a very able and influential journal edited and published by Hon. T.H. Patterson, of Denver, Colorado a lawyer and orator as well as editor, and one of the best-known men of the West. It was inserted with this introduction:
Mr. Frederick A. Luckenbach is a citizen of Denver, and is well and favorably known by many of Colorados leading business men. He has been engaged for two years past in introducing his pneumatic pulverizer, and has met with flattering success. It having come to the ears of Mr. M.H. Slater, chairman of the executive committee of the State Silver League, that Mr. Luckenbach possessed the startling information contained in the affidavit, that energetic gentleman immediately waited upon him and induced him to put the whole story in explicit form and give it to the public. This Mr. Luckenbach did, and the result is the affidavit published below.
In other words, Mr. Luckenbach had spoken of this matter in conversation with friends and it had got out. Dr. Slater, a prominent physician and the President of the Colorado State Silver League, was naturally interested in it. He saw Mr. Luckenbach and asked him if the report of his conversation was correct. Assured of its being so, Dr. Slater persuaded Mr. Luckenbach to repeat the story in detail, which he did in the presence of Mr. Patterson. When urged to put it into form and subscribe to it, on the ground of its public importance, Mr. Luckenbach said he would do so if his friends deemed it advisable; but, being a business man in no way connected with public affairs, he would rather not. He acceded, however, to Dr. Slaters request and the affidavit was prepared. Mr. Patterson, Dr. Slater, and Mr. James A. Miller, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Colorado give entire credence to Mr. Luckenbachs assertions, which have been submitted also to General Warner and others of high position, who on careful inquiry find no reason whatever to doubt them. Mr. Luckenbach, in short, is a citizen of Denver, a native American, a man of character, means, and large business connection both in his own country and in Europe. His long and friendly acquaintance with Ernest Seyd is undisputed.
Mr. Luckenbachs deposition reached the Eastern States after a fashion, through printed slips bearing this statement:
The above is clipped from the Rocky Mountain News of May 13, 1892. It is circulated in this form for the reason that the Associated Press refused to handle it east of Denver. M.H. SLATER, President Colorado State Silver League.
What better evidence is required than this simple item to prove that the American Press, so far as concerns its great combination of metropolitan journals, is nothing but a pack of muzzled dogs that bark or hush as they are whipped and fed by the bank-and-bullion trust ? A most immediate, a most pressing need of the people in this country, is to protect themselves and their children from the poison of what William Lloyd Garrison used to call in his day the Satanic press. It is more Satanic now than it was then and on a much larger scale. The present task on which it is employed is so to confuse the public mind on the all-important question of money, that the land of the free and the home of the brave shall be reduced to a workhouse of paupers and a field of serfs. The means chiefly employed to this end are two misrepresentation and suppression. But fortunately, a considerable part of the country press declines degradation at any price and has not been subsidized and prostituted. The extraordinary light thrown by Mr. Luckenbach upon the demonetization of silver spread through the country and finally glared in Congress. It had to be noticed. Then the leader of the gold-trust, as the so-called honorable John Sherman has been called by Senator Stewart, gave out through the attorneyship of his henchman Mr. Hoar, a long letter from Ernest Seyd himself to Samuel Hooper. The letter bears date of February 17th, 1872 seven weeks after which Mr. Hooper made his reference to Ernest Seyd in the House of Representatives. In presenting the letter to the Senate, Mr. Hoar said:
It begins by saying that Mr. Hooper has forwarded to Mr. Alfred Latham, who I think was a governor of the Bank of England, a copy of the coinage bill proposed for the United States and requested to have it sent to Mr. Seyd for his criticism. The writer of the letter discusses as a master of the subject, various practical questions, among them the proper size of gold-pieces. * * * But Mr. Seyd then goes on to say that the fifteenth section of the bill is the part which after all is of the greatest importance. He says it is a matter of gigantic importance; that it is the great question of the century. He avows himself earnestly in favor of the free coinage of silver at the ratio of 14 to 1, a little less than the rate then existing in the United States. * * * He implores Mr. Hooper to reconsider the subject and says the great fault of Mr. Hoopers bill is that it abolishes the coinage of the silver dollar with the full legal-tender quality; and he says that America, being a producer of both metals, is the nation upon which the world must depend to resist the enormous danger which menaces mankind by the threat of adopting the single gold standard.
Ernest Seyds letter to Mr. Hooper is a very long one. It covers, as Mr. Hoar tells us, twenty-eight or thirty foolscap pages, and it occupies four pages of the finest print of the Congressional Record. It contains, that is, about twelve thousand words. It is all that Mr. Hoar claims for it and a good deal more. It shows that Dr. Shermans scientific men of 1870, under Professor Knox in the Treasury and the Mint, were comparatively speaking, infants in a nursery. But it evinces deep and true feeling as well as incomparable ability. Mr. Hooper had written:
As to the theory of the double valuation, I do not understand it.
Mr. Seyd explained it to him fully, so that a school-boy could comprehend it and impressed upon him the supreme fact of all, that the single standard of metallic money was impossible, as there was not gold enough in the world to make it honest, humane and practicable.
Men like yourself, [said he] on framing a coinage bill, undertake a gigantic responsibility, which strongly affects not only a whole nations welfare and happiness, but also that of the world at large. Pray do not despise this language. The deep study of all the principles and interests connected with the organization of social life warrants it.
Mr. Hooper was earnestly reminded that the Mint Bill, by making silver a legal-tender for only five dollars, was even more severe than the English system, which gives a debt-paying power of ten dollars to that money. In justice to the humble poor of the world and specially in justice to the masses of the United States, Mr. Seyd recommended the free coinage of silver, with the full legal-tender function; but he begged Mr. Hooper, if that should not be attainable, to give to the metal the legal-tender of at least fifty or a hundred dollars, that honest industry might pay modest debts with it.
No one can read that letter from Ernest Seyd without seeing that he was naturally a true man with a good heart. According to Samuel Hooper, we remember, Mr. Seyds communication furnished many valuable suggestions which had been incorporated in the Mint Bill. That Samuel Hooper could read the letter, could make such a statement with reference to it, and could then smuggle through the House of Representatives a bill containing every diabolism against which Ernest Seyd had protested, renders any suspicion of bribery between them a matter of complete insignificance. If that letter had been called to the attention of Congress in 1872, or if any honest use had been made of it, there would have been as little possibility of demonetizing silver as of stealing from the heavens their silvery clouds. Samuel Hooper is lost forever, as a traitor to his country.
Of Ernest Seyd, it must be added here that as long as he lived, he continued to advocate the cause of bimetallism. Let us say it with more emphasis.
Ernest Seyd was one of the ablest champions of silver produced in Europe during this century. In fact he laid down his life on the altar of silver * * * by rising from a sick bed when he was unfit to be up and going to attend the Paris Monetary Conference of 1881 where he died in harness.
Then how could Ernest Seyd have become the conveyor of a bribe from the Bank of England and German bondholders to the Congress of the United States ? There stands his confession, under oath of a friend, with permission to give it to the world in due time. The publication has been made and those who know the friend accept it as genuine and authorized. What is the solution of the two facts, Seyds letter to Hooper and Seyds confession to Luckenbach ? It is simple enough. A scholarly and guileless gentleman, Mr. McCleary of Minnesota, put the substance of this question, not long ago, in the House of Representatives, to the wise and experienced Uncle Joseph Sibley of Pennsylvania. Mr. McCleary wanted to know if the man who used the language of Ernest Seyd could have done the thing attributed to him.
Yes, sir. I have seen men sell out within the last two months. * * * I have known men to change their minds within twenty minutes. Wise men, it is said, change their minds often; fools, never. [Speech in the House, August 18th, 1893.]
Ernest Seyd was no disburser of bribes, in ordinary circumstances, and was a sincere bimetallist. But he was also the financial adviser of the Bank of England; and the Bank of England had a larger interest in the demonetization of American silver than any other single institution in the world. [Our next chapter will explain why.] England, as a nation, or rather Britain as an empire, had at stake thousands of millions of dollars in depriving American silver of its monetary value, and reducing it to a commodity. To German stock and bond holders, it was worth hundreds of millions if it could be made effectual and lasting. Ernest Seyd was himself a banker. Samuel Hoopers letter to him was sent through Alfred Latham, one of the shrewdest, hardest, most English mono-metallists in Europe. Ernest Seyd as a man, doubtless wrote on his first normal impulse, his superb reply to our recreant son of Massachusetts; but Ernest Seyd, as adviser of the Bank of England, was forced to postpone his theories, when that huge octopus came to see its fat prey in the United States. He was in a difficult position. For the time, he was serving his country, his friends and his blood as against a country that England at heart still regards as a rebel to her throne and policy. With his prophetic vision he could see that while the right must ultimately prevail, a rich young nation could be forced to divide its prosperity with Europe and India. Ernest Seyd is not to be altogether blamed. At most, he is only to be blamed as we blame the unfortunate Major Andre, whom Washington hanged with heart-felt sorrow. Andre was a true Englishman; and so by position was Seyd. Americans were the villains in the crime of 1873.
Who were they ? We may never know in full till the Day of Judgment. They are largely hidden beneath the political debris of twenty years. The so-called honorable John Sherman claims that the Luckenbach affidavit is manifestly false proves itself to be false because the Mint Bill had passed both Houses of Congress before the time this man says Mr. Seyd came here.
Mr. Hooper probably invited him to come here, [says Sherman] but it must have been after this letter [from Seyd] was written. * * * And now, according to this anarchist, [Luckenbach] he [Seyd] came here and bribed Congress in the winter of 1872-73 with $500,000 to do what both Houses had done before! This is the way the thing stands now, because the bill had passed both Houses before Seyd could have come here. [Shermans speech of August 30th, 1893. Cong. Record, August 31st.]
Does John Sherman dream that he can impose such rubbish as this upon the annals of his epoch ? What confidence he must have in the weakness of the American mind! The fraudulent Mint Bill had passed both Houses by means of deceit and falsehood before Ernest Seyd came here to complete the crime. But it had not passed the Senate for the last time and it was more or less suspect in the Coinage Committee of the House, as shown by the proceedings both of April 9th and of May 27th, 1872. The language of Mr. Luckenbachs affidavit in no way implicates the members of Congress in general. His oath, for Ernest Seyd, is this:
I saw the Committees of the House and Senate, and paid the money, and stayed in America until I knew the measure was safe.
It was not until January 17th, 1873, that the Mint Bill stole through the Senate by aid of John Sherman and by the most audacious piece of chicanery ever known to the annals of legislation. Then, according to the report of author John Jay Knox:
The bill was sent to the House and on January 21st 1873 on motion of Mr. Hooper, it was again printed with amendments and subsequently committees of conference were appointed consisting of Messrs. Hooper, Stoughton and McNeeley of the House, and Senators Sherman, Scott and Bayard of the Senate. The reports of the committees of conference were agreed to and the bill became a law on February 12th 1873 substantially as originally prepared at the Treasury.
Thus we see from Mr. Shermans own supervisory author of the Mint Bill, that the House of Representatives, as a body, gave their attention to it last, when they were lied to and cheated on the 27th of May, 1872 and that the Senate, as a body, gave their attention to it last, when they were treated still more disreputably on the 17th of January 1873. All beyond lay with the Committees and was a mere formality with no inspection. Here was just the time and the opportunity of the Bank of England and its German allies. Previously no governor of that bank in his senses could have imagined that a Mint Bill with no American dollar in it, could have got on so far without detection and death. For the Bank of England with its adjuncts, a hundred millions of dollars would have been a small fee for the services desired at just that crisis. No wonder the great value-sucking squid of Europe was willing to pay half a million or as much more as was necessary.
It is useless now, to dwell on names. Mr. Sherman and Mr. Hooper we know sufficiently. Mr. Bayard, having always been more or less connected, as clerk and politician, with August Belmont, the Rothschilds American agent, the Senator from Delaware would have hardly needed any honorarium for prompt service to either a slave or a money oligarchy. An aristocrat from the cradle, his heart has never been in any interest of the people. Senator Scott was a railway magnate, busy enough, probably, with his own particular affairs, to leave a scientific Mint Bill entirely to the great gold-specialist, Doctor Sherman, with any particulars of seigniorage that might be attached to it. Mr. Stoughton had persistently declared that such a bill should not be passed at such a time, and Mr. McNeeley had at last become very officious in its favor for his size and weight. But these may have been as honorable men as Brutus and Cassius when they murdered Caesar. It looks as if the most of the filings and clippings connected with the Mint Act were attracted to one or two central magnets. The precise facts are of little moment.
But why should the Bank-Senator from Ohio be so extremely sensitive on a really small matter connected with a career like his ? Why should he affirm his virtue so strongly as to upset all veracity in doing it ? On the 30th of August, 1893, John Sherman said, in the United States Senate:
Mr. President, there has been an invention of a story in connection with Ernest Seyd. I suppose Senators have often heard of the story. Some fellow * * * whose name I do not remember, made an affidavit that he knew Ernest Seyd; that he had often met him at his own table; had often dined with him; and, at one time, when they were in conversation, he said that the Parliament of Great Britain was corrupt. Mr. Seyd then said they were nothing like the Congress of the United States; that it is the most corrupt body that ever existed. * * * Seyd said he would tell him a secret, if he would pledge himself never to reveal it while he (Seyd) lived. He promised to wait until Seyd died. Thereupon Seyd said to him that he had raised a fund of £100,000 in the winter now mark the time of 1872-73 to bribe Congress to demonetize silver; and, with a wink, he conveyed to this man, whoever he was, that he had done it. * * * Mr. President, such a story as that, told under these circumstances, would be hooted at by any lawyer, or any honest man. Unfortunately for him, the man, as all rogues are apt to do, gave himself away; for, in the end of this letter, he declares himself an anarchist, opposed to all governments and all property; and yet he made an affidavit of this kind, which has no legal force or effect. It is falsified in every single line and word.
Let us waste no time on John Sherman as a low-comedian in the Senate, imitating, with a wink, something that had never occurred. But the affidavit of Mr. Frederick A. Luckenbach is printed in these pages, exactly as written and signed. Unfortunately for Mr. Sherman, the man does not give himself away as rogues are apt to do; does not declare himself an anarchist; does not say that he is opposed to all governments and all property; but he states just the reverse of what Mr. Sherman attributes to him, so far as any statement is made at all of his own antecedents. John Shermans pretended citation of Mr. Luckenbach is a lie a very cheap and nasty lie and is moreover the dodge of a rat in a corner, fighting for a dirty life. But John Sherman does give himself away. Referring to the Luckenbach affidavit, the demoralized Senator calls it a letter: it is the end of this letter from which he gets his twaddle about anarchy. Now the end of the letter to the New York Graphic, from Hippolyte Grenier, gives the authors reason for writing it thus:
I am a Red Republican in my heart. I believe in the solidarity of the people in fraternity in the splendid future in which Europe will be one great republic.
When John Sherman verbally counterfeited the Luckenbach affidavit, he could see that by use of the Grenier letter, and by claiming a mistake, he could crawl out of his falsehood, through another, when caught. It was a tentative falsehood, like what he calls his tentative legislation on the money-question. Both are equally worthy of him.
This Luckenbach affidavit came up again in the Senate on the 28th of September, 1893. But the special subject of consideration was a misquotation of Mr. Samuel Hoopers allusion to Ernest Seyd on the 9th of April, 1872. The misquotation is this:
Ernest Seyd of London, a distinguished writer and bullionist is now here and has given great attention to the subject of mints and coinage; and after examining the first draft of the bill, made various sensible suggestions which the committee accepted and embodied in the bill.
The words, now here, are not to be found in the Congressional Record giving Mr. Hoopers speech of April 9th 1872 and the whole citation is so loose-jointed in diction that it appears to have been first published by someone from memory. But it has been going the rounds of the papers for many years, many persons having used it with perfect good-faith, though careful writers, with access to large libraries, have long avoided the error. But on the 28th of September 1893 Mr. Shermans ancient Mr. Hoar brought it up and exploded it with due pomp and ceremony. It has no bearing whatever upon Mr. Seyds being in America during the winter of 1872 and 3 hence no bearing on Mr. Frederick A. Luckenbachs deposition. On the same occasion however, Mr. Hoar incorporated in the Senates proceedings a letter from Mr. Seyds son also named Ernest Seyd in which the young man says:
Statements have been circulated for some time past in the press of the United States that the late Mr. Ernest Seyd went to Washington in 1872 * * * in order to bribe members of Congress to vote for the demonetization of silver. I trust you will allow me to assure you the story is an entire fabrication, Mr. Seyd never having been in the States since 1856.
In making this averment, it is probable that the younger Mr. Seyd purposed two good things to defend his fathers memory and to state the truth. But that the elder Mr. Seyd who was accustomed to attend monetary conferences and the like all over the world and who finally died while away from home did not always communicate his entire business to children, was very soon rapped into the wise noodle of Senator Hoar on the occasion of his great moral splurge, when he denounced misquotation of Samuel Hooper as the unspeakable turpitude of a squash-bug. Various Senators having defended the purity of Congress and the rich and lovable old gentleman Samuel Hooper, Senator Allison took part in the debate:
I want to say now and here, that in my belief Mr. Samuel Hooper of Massachusetts was as incapable of being in any way influenced or controlled by money as any man who has sat in this Chamber or the other for twenty years. * * * The bill which became the act of 1873 was a sort of pet of his for a year or two. I would have said that Mr. Ernest Seyd was here in 1873, but for the contradiction made by his son, who states that he was not here at that period of time. I was under the impression that he was here during the Spring of either 1872 or 1873.
At this point Mr. Sherman interjected:
The Senator got that idea from the extract which has been read.
I am not quite sure of that [replied Mr. Allison]. I was here in the winter of 1872, I think, or in 1873. I am not certain, but I was under the impression, and I may have so stated, that I met Mr. Ernest Seyd here. Until the statement by his son I believed that he had been here at that time.
He has not been here since 1856, [said Mr. Cullom]
He was not here when the bill passed, [replied Mr. Allison]. What I desire to say is, that Mr. Ernest Seyd was here in any respect connected with the passage of the bill I do not believe; and if he was here, he was here accidentally. His attention may have been called to the bill by Mr. Hooper at that time.
In other words, Ernest Seyd was in America in 1872 or 1873, and Mr. Allison met him, according to the Senators memory, and according to what he may have stated; but the most prudent of Senators is too parliamentary, too polite, to contradict, in direct terms, on the floor of the Senate, the letter of the younger Mr. Seyd. When, in 1878, Mr. Allison declared that the Mint Bill had been doctored he added, if I may use that term and I use it in no offensive sense it was changed after discussion Mr. Allisons memory is quite correct in regard to his meeting Mr. Seyd, and is quite correct also in regard to his having so stated. Even David A. Wells, in a plea for the gold-trust as patent as anything ever written, says:
There was a man by the name of Seyd and he was in this country in 1872.
There are other men than Mr. Allison and Mr. Wells who remember Mr. Seyd; and if his presence in America in 1873 had not been well known, those who now pretend to question it would never have waited twenty years to stand on a misquotation of the Congressional Record which they themselves had always accepted as true.
Mr. Seyd moved prominently in Washington for a time, with a generous display of wealth, but quietly. His name was naturally kept out of the local papers, though he ran some risk of putting it on file. For instance, the Washington National Republican of January 18th 1873 contained this item:
The Coinage and Mint Bill, passed by the House at the last session, was up in the Senate yesterday, and after the adoption of several amendments, passed. An eminent foreign banker gives it as his opinion that the bill as it came from the House was the most effective step that had been yet taken toward the resumption of specie payments. [The issue is preserved in the Congressional Library.]
Now the House bill here referred to simply prevented silver from being of any use in the resumption of specie payments, by robbing it of its legal-tender value, and confining its debt-paying power to five dollars a course against which the eminent foreign banker, Ernest Seyd, had vigorously protested when he first knew of it from Samuel Hooper. In regard to resumption, the House bill and the Senate bill were exactly alike. But when Mr. Seyd visited Washington in 1873 the eminent foreign banker was recommending the Coinage and Mint Bill for just what he knew it would not do. In short, the one eminent foreign banker who had been consulted in the matter (by way of the Bank of England), was not now dealing in the truth, but was putting in his controlled and crooked work of afterthought and attorneyship.
During the Senatorial discussion just noted, Mr. Voorhees said:
I was going to say pleasantly to the Senator from Ohio that I trust he will have better luck than some of us have had in killing falsehoods. They will live long after you think you have destroyed them. They will spring up and look at you next year, and a year on.
Mr. Voorhees need give himself no trouble about Mr. Shermans luck in killing falsehoods other than his own, which are practically innumerable. It is the truth alone that John Sherman has to fear and that will be very apt to spring up and look at him next year and the year on, and while there is a bar of history behind mere senatorial courtesy and the mush of relaxed morality.
On the 30th of March 1876, three years after John Sherman had demonetized silver, Roscoe Conkling asked him one day in the Senate, with astonishment:
Is it true that there is now by law no American dollar?
I will answer the Senator from New York, [said Sherman], that since 1853, the use of the silver whole dollar has been discontinued, and none has been issued.
Mr. Conkling persisted and asked if there was no longer power, by law, to issue the American dollar.
There is no power, [replied Sherman] and has been none.
Twenty-six days after the Sherman colloquy with Conkling, the same Ohio Senator said:
The act of 1873 did not in the slightest degree demonetize silver. * * * The right to coin the silver dollar, which is now proposed to be authorized again, has always existed in this country; has never been taken away. * * * The act of 1873 simply leaves the old dollar where the law of 1853 left it. It says nothing about it.[Cong. Record for April 25, 1876]
On August 12th, of the same year, John Sherman said:
I was the first to propose the recoining of the old silver dollar * * * the dollar in legal existence since 1793, containing 412 8-10 grains and only demonetized in 1873 when it was worth two per cent more than gold.
What is the use of holding converse with John Sherman ? What a babe and a suckling were Ananias and Sapphira compared with their progressed disciple of the Ohio gentiles ! If this man had received an official commission as Deceiver-General and Betrayer-in-Chief of the American people, how could he have served them with greater infidelity !
In the act of demonetizing the American dollar, while pretending to give to it for convenience the value of the five-franc piece a dollar which he had just dropped altogether by doctoring the proceedings of the Senate this monstrosity of sin and impudence said:
In order to show this [the equal value of the dollar and the five-franc piece] wherever our silver coin shall float and we are providing that it shall float all over the world we propose to stamp upon it, instead of our eagle, which foreigners may not understand and may not distinguish from a buzzard * * * the intrinsic fineness and weight of the coin.
So foreigners might not distinguish the American eagle from a buzzard! In this instance a Senators lie about floating all over the world a dollar that he was leaving out of existence, sinks into insignificance in the open filth of his fling at the emblem of his countrys freedom. Who but a worse than Benedict Arnold could utter such an insult to the American people ? A picture of John Sherman is said to be hung up among the portraits of the Bank of England. Hereafter, as foreigners look at that picture, they will know the American buzzard. The eagle never roosted there.
Whatever other men may have done, or for any consideration may have left undone, five persons will always stand connected with upsetting the monetary connection of forty centuries between gold and silver, so far as concerns the United States, and of robbing the people of purchasing and debt-paying power to the extent of thousands of millions of dollars. These men are George S. Boutwell, Henry R. Linderman, John Jay Knox, Samuel Hooper, and John Sherman.
Of Mr. Boutwell, no one may ever impugn the motives. To be like Byrons character who had a head, but never knew much what it was about is not sinful, but only sad. Having given formal notice of his own opinions touching the Mint Bill, Mr. Boutwell might have honestly thought that somebody beyond the Treasury and the Mint would read them, and that a public official of his dignity was not required to give private information to law-makers who might not agree with him. Granting him a certain combination of narrowness and conceit, there appears to be no need of questioning his integrity.
Of John Jay Knox, history will take small account, whatever he may have done. He called himself the author of the Mint Act. So, too, the late General Tom Thumb, after taking a thimble lull of peppermint and water, used to claim that people might say what they liked, but it was he who led the Union forces to their great defeat at the battle of Bull Run. Mr. Shermans supervisory author, Mr. John Jay Knox, is safe from pursuit. In a hunt for catamounts, fishworms escape.
Mint-Director Linderman knew the contents of the bill relating to his department, and his name will not be fragrant in the annals of his epoch. His writings show that he measurably understood the effects of the demonetization of silver, and sided with conspirators and monopolists against mankind. But did he repent before he died ? So we hear. Then let us have the same touch of sorrow for him as for one of old, who, having sold his Lord and Master, went out and hanged himself. In the eyes of various Senators of the United States, Samuel Hooper was honorable and incorruptible above reproach. He appears to have had no need of any bribe, though rich men in America, as we see every day, are often the most avaricious and corrupt. Did he receive money from the Bank of England, for adding to its profits on American silver and abstracting the difference from his own countrymen ? Perhaps not. Being a Banker, he may have acted his part merely that he might be energetic in attachment to his own special monopoly a scarlet creature that had long required all sorts of debasement. But why did Samuel Hooper perpetrate a fraud a swindle a colossal swindle, as Mr. Holman properly termed it upon the House of Representatives, in putting through the infamous Mint Bill ? Why did he present it for the last time, on the 27th of May, 1872, with his mouth full of false pretenses ? There is no doubt on that point, and there can be no dodging it, while the Congressional Record is extant. Is swindling the swindling of a House of Representatives and a whole people by a trusted legislator any better than seduction through a bribe ? Let Senators of the United States discriminate in their laudations, or the people will conclude that the higher human faculties are not compatible with public life. The Roman soldier of the Senate, Mr. Stewart, is supremely right, in saying that honesty is banished from the world when the crime of 1873 is justified.
Looking at the approach to this crime from Paris in 1867, at the scheme to demonetize American silver in 1868, and then at what Mr. Voorhees has called the stealthy and treacherous bill of 1870, which was finally doctored through the Senate in 1873, who, with eyes, can fail to see that the Lucifer of the whole infernal machinery was our American bankers political attorney, usually termed the Senator from Ohio ? As the attorney of foreign bankers as well, did he chiefly centralize the fund of Mr. Ernest Seyds European syndicate ? His case, certainly, has not been helped, of late, by his paroxysms of denial; for these have been possessed with more devils of untruth than were ever needed to pitch swine into the sea. Up to date, Mr. Frederick A. Luckenbachs affidavit stands perfectly good somewhat strengthened by attack in the United States Senate and John Shermans only rejoinder is a shout of anarchist, as false as all the rest of him. But the mere bribe, again, is of no consequence: the case is so bad that burglary, arson, and murder, might be added to it, with no appreciable increase of wickedness. It long ago led to, and took in, all other sins. But the Mephistopheles of the Senate is supposed to be one of the richest men in the United States, on the savings of a salary of five thousand dollars a year.
With a large picture of John Sherman, a little-giant of a paper in Colorado [The Denver Road.] recently called attention to him in this way:
Hate is a hard word, and we use it advisedly and with regret; but we hope the fathers and mothers of the rising generation will take their toddling little ones upon their knees, and by the light of the fire in the stove teach them to hate the face of the man whose picture we herewith publish. He has broken more hearts, caused more suicides, brought about more business wrecks, done more to kill Americanism among Americans, caused more prostitution, starved more children, broken more farmers wrecked more American homes, and made more money for himself, than any other man that ever sat in the United States Senate.
The Denver paper is right. For men like the one it portrays, we may yet have to supplement our day of Thanksgiving and of Decoration with a solemn day of Execration; and, on that day, as an object-lesson to our children, teach them to curse the enemies of their country.
It is well that William Tecumseh Sherman, greatest but one of all the great generals who marched out to save the Union, lies fast asleep in his countrys flag and the glory of his sacred tomb. No less harm in the world than he did good, no less disgrace than for him reverence, stand at the door of John Sherman.
1 General Grant.
2 Mr. Sharp, when young, had the good fortune to be a favorite law-student of Thaddeus Stevens the last one he instructed. This fact alone is sufficient to explain Mr. Sharps interest in the Hazard and Buell literature, as soon as he saw it.
3 This quotation has been going the rounds of the press for years. I have not directly verified it; but I have had in my possession a letter from Mr. J.W. Shuckers Mr. Chases private secretary and biographer which states Mr. Chases conviction that the people of the United States would yet thank him for bringing all the banks under a single head, that it might be cut off with one blow. Mr. Shuckers letter is in the hands of the American Bimetallic League. G.C.
4 I have the price, through a personal friend, from the European bankers themselves who purchased the bonds.
On the 30th of March, 1868, John Sherman, from his seat in the Senate, wrote a letter which D.W. Voorhees reproduced on January 15th, 1878, in which Sherman said: I think the bondholder violates his promise when he refuses to take the same kind of money he paid for the bonds. * * * He is a repudiator and extortioner to demand money more valuable than he gave."
In less than ten months after this letter was written, said Senator Voorhees, * * * John Sherman, then a Senator, advocated and procured the passage of the act of March, 1869, for the payment of the bonds in coin, which he had declared payable in currency, thereby establishing the open repudiation of a solemn and binding contract, and fastening an extortion of not less than five hundred millions of dollars on the staggering industries of the country as the speculative profits of the operation. In the whole financial history of the civilized world no parallel can be found to this audacious deed of broken faith, deliberate treachery to the people, and national dishonesty. * * * It will bear the names of those who enacted it to distant generations amidst the groans, the curses and the lamentations of those who toil on the land and on the sea; and, more deeply engraved than any other name, will be found that of the Secretary of the Treasury, [John Sherman] as the author of what he himself said constituted the twofold crime of repudiation and extortion."
6 In the Arena of August, 1893.
7 Official report by Ruggles, Nov. 7th, 1867.
8 Speech, Feb. 27th, 1868.
9 So I learn from Colonel Lee Crandall, who was one of them.
10 See Congressional Record under dates given, or speech by Senator Wm. M. Stewart, Sept. 5th, 1893, containing the full account of these proceedings.
11 Citation from speech of Senator Wm. M. Stewart, of Nevada, Sept. 5th, 1893. In addition to this speech, Mr. Stewart has made two others within three years, virtually on the same subject one of June 5th, 1890, and the other of June 1st and 2d, 1892. The three speeches together cover the entire history of the demonetization of silver in the United States, and the so-called honorable John Sherman will never find escape from them. They convert his whole character into an ash-heap. The invincible Senator of Nevada has insisted on putting all the facts on record, though they have frequently exhausted the British Wall-Street Senators so grievously that they could only keep alive by going out to drink, leaving the Senate without a quorum. Senator Stewart has served his constituents faithfully, and his country superbly.
12 It is entitled The Purchase of Silver Bullion, and begins on page 915 of the Congressional Record, date of August 31st.
13 Senator Bogys speech was made in support of a petition from the New York Chamber of Commerce against the resumption of specie payments, which that innocent body of merchants, and the like, supposed was to be a literal coin resumption, with nothing to meet it. They were not aware, at that time, that John Sherman had the gift of miracles, and could turn three hundred and fifty millions of greenbacks into gold. The chameleon-necromancer, Sherman himself, had said in 1869: It is not possible to take this voyage [resumption] without the sorest distress. To every person except a capitalist out of debt, or a salaried officer or annuitant, it is a period of loss, danger * * * fall of wages * * * bankruptcy. * * * It means the ruin of all dealers whose debts are twice their business capital, though one-third less than their actual property." In March of 1876, however, Sherman had got ready, as usual, to swallow his words and subvert his record, and he opposed the New York Chamber of Commerce as desired, of course, by English bullionists and American-Tory bankers. As Senator Sherman and Senator Bogy spoke on the same day, Senator Stewart, though a very careful man, fell into the error, in his speech of September 5th, 1893, of attributing Bogys remarks on demonetization to Sherman. The present writer, who happened to come upon the error, called Mr. Stewarts attention to it, on the 23d of December, and it was corrected by him, in the Senate, the same day.
14 Record, page 930.
15 Record, Aug. 31st, pages 916 and 917.
16 Hon. Alexander Del Mar, in a letter written at the Primrose Club, London, Aug. 9th, 1893, and published in the Peoria (Ill.) Journal, Aug. 23d.
17 " Inasmuch as balances there [in England] must be settled in gold, it would seem wise for other commercial nations to make that metal the sole standard of value, or by a general agreement, to which England should be a party, secure the bi-metallic standard. Boutwells Minority Report, U.S. Monetary Commission of 1876.
18 History has furnished only one instance of a state of unmentality more profound than this. On the 5th of June, 1890, Mr. J.H. Walker, of Massachusetts, told the House of Representatives that money has no place whatever in economics. * * * You might [said he] destroy all the gold and silver in this country to-night, and waking up to-morrow morning you would not be hurt one iota; our business would go on just the same. * * * I do not mean if gold and silver were demonetized and greenbacks put in their place. * * * I am talking about the destruction of money out of the world. To what has Massachusetts fallen ! Such stuff as this is not even the product of dementia. Here is catalepsy.
19 Sherman, Aug. 30th, 93: Cong. Record, Aug. 31st, page 920.
20 Published, with Mr. Warners celebrated reply, in Silver in the Fifty-first Congress, issued by the National Executive Silver Committee, 1890.
21 Wendell Phillips said it could be reduced to this: Entered the Senate poor; soon made himself enormously rich."
22 Senate Committee Report, No. 117, 40th Congress, 2d Session, pp. 4, 5, 6.
23 More of this further on. Both bills are given in full by Senator Stewart, in his speech of Sept. 5th, 1893, and are thus easily accessible.
24 Record, Aug. 31st, 1893, page 921.
25 Speech at Springfield, Ohio, autumn of 1877. Quoted in Senate proceedings, February 13th, 1878.
26 From Silver in the Fifty-First Congress, issued by the National Executive Committee, 1890; General A.J. Warner, Chairman.
27 Congressional Globe, proceedings January 9th, 1871, page 868.
28 "A Bill in Relation to the Coinage of Gold and Silver, Section 7, Senate proceedings, January 6th, 1868.
29 For convenience, this correct summary is adopted from Senator Stewart.
30 On this occasion, Hon. Martin I. Townsend of New York, a very practical and quick-witted member of the House, exclaimed: I move to strike out the enacting clause in this bill, so that we may proceed to something of which the country is more in need at this time than the discussion of mints and coinage." Mr. Townsends motion actually received 77 votes in its favor, against only 100 noes. ---[Kelley voted No, and 61 members, including Voorhees, weren't even in the building]
31 His general report on the history of the Act: printed in the Congressional Record of Aug. 31, 1893, page 923.
32 Speeches in the House of Representatives, July 13th and August 5th, 1876.
33 Occupying 19 columns of the Globe, and reprinted in full in Senator Stewarts speech of Sept. 5th, 1893.
34 The first honest man in America, perhaps, who knew of the demonetization of silver, was General A.J. Warner, who learned the fact in April, 1874, in London, from the venerable Samuel Lang, afterwards a member of Gladstones Cabinet.
35 This information was imparted to the writer, a short time ago, by Mr. Patterson himself as also by Hon. G.C. Merrick, Dr. Slaters successor as President of the Colorado State Silver League.
36 Extract from a speech in the House of Representatives by a Mr. M.N. Johnson, of North Dakota, Aug. 24th, 1893. Published in the Record of Aug. 31st.
37 It is pitiable that Samuel Hooper must be finally summed up for history in this way the same Samuel Hooper who, in 1861 and 2, stood as upright for the people as Thaddeus Stevens himself. What a monument is Samuel Hooper to the corrupting influence of his National-Bank Association, and to the putrefying companionship of John Sherman !
38 Published in the Congressional Record of August 23d, 1893.
39 Anyone who has lived in England and talked freely with all classes of people as the writer has done has quickly discovered this truth.
40 It was his sensitiveness as an English subject, we must remember, which prompted his talk with Mr. Luckenbach. But he probably desired the world to know the facts, ultimately. He was in no sense a little man.
41 I myself pointed out the error several weeks before this event, to a gentleman prominently connected with the Congressional Library. One likes to see misstatements go out of the way. G.C.
42 Article entitled The Downfall of Certain Financial Fallacies, published in The Forum of October, 1893.
43 Until very lately no one has ever expressed a doubt on this point. On the 1st of September 1877 the New York Tribune, through a Washington correspondent, had this to say: General Thomas Ewing in his speech at Columbus, on Tuesday evening, [August 21st] opening the Ohio campaign for the Democrats, says: After the European money-kings had stricken down silver in Germany, they sent Mr. Ernest Seyd to the United States, and had our Congress demonetize it also. At about the same time that General Ewing made this assertion, General A.J. Warner, in the first edition of his Appreciation of Money, (Henry Carey Baird & Co., Publishers, 1877) said: The Bankers Magazine for August 1873 contains this important item: In 1872, silver being demonetized in France, Germany, England and Holland, a capital of one hundred thousand pounds ($500,000) was raised and Ernest Seyd of London was sent to this country with this fund as the agent of the foreign bond-holders and capitalists, to effect the same object, which was successful." The New York Bankers Magazine now contains no such item. On personal inquiry of General Warner, I learn that, within a year or so after the Mint Act became a law, he certainly cut the extract from one of the current financial publications of the day either from some one of the various Bankers Magazines, or from some similar source which referred it to The Bankers Magazine." Later, the quotation was used by Mrs. S.E.V. Emery in her Seven Financial Conspiracies and she has been roundly abused, (even in Congress) for misquotation but with no real ground, as the facts here evince. I will add that I have in my possession positive written testimony, of the highest possible character, that Ernest Seyd was in Washington in 1873 whatever may have been the purpose of his visit. This testimony I do not now publish, for the simple reason that I cannot do so without betraying personal confidence.
44 By way of contrast with Mr. Voorhees we may note that, in a brief letter to the New York Tribune published December 20th 1877 the venerable Thurlow Weed, on the strength of a communication received from John Jay Knox, announced the wish to apologize for having expressed the opinion that the bill had passed by improper and dishonorable manipulation in Congress. Mr. Weed based his change of view wholly on the specious, technical pretense of Knox that demonetization originated in the Treasury. At that time there were no facts to prove that author Knox, so far as he originated the Mint Bill, was himself originated by John Sherman. Thus an old-fashioned, honorable gentleman, like Mr. Weed, was easily imposed upon. Both his mind and heart, however, were so naturally clear that he still insisted, in a powerful letter published in the Tribune of January 10th 1878 that silver was "wrongfully demonetized, and that the wrong must be righted." All schemes and laws, he added, having for their object the repudiation of silver money, will encounter a resistance equally indignant and inflexible."
45 Conclusion of speech of June 1st and 2d, 1892.