Sarah Emery



"Let me restate the various projects. Ours [the plan of Chase, Spaulding, Hooper] 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. No better investment, in my judgment, can be had; no better currency can be invented." ---Thaddeus Stevens, on February 6th, 1862, during the debate of the legal tender act, practically pre-authorizing the credit strengthening act
In 1824, 32-years old Thaddeus Stevens made the acquaintance of Nicholas Biddle. The charter of the Bank of the United States was to expire on March 4, 1836. On January 19, 1836, Thaddeus Stevens reported a bill in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, "to continue and extend the improvement of the State by railroads and canals". This bill included a section for "other purposes," which "contained the entire draught of a charter for the Bank of the United States, adopting it as a Pennsylvania State bank."

BUT we have not yet completed the enumeration of crimes perpetrated against the people of this country through this infernal system of legalized robbery.  Having purchased their bonds with government money, depreciated from 38 to 60 per cent (on account of the exception clause) and having exempted them from taxation, with advanced interest payable in gold, it would seem that the climax of audacity had been reached.  But who can fathom the greed of the money shark, or set bounds to the voracity of a civilized brigand

The fourth act in Shylock's tragedy, by which the government and this great people were sacrificed, is familiarly known as the credit-strengthening act, by which the 5-20 bonds were made payable in coin.  This act, approved March 18, 1869, added to the burdens of the people more than six hundred millions of dollars.  It is claimed by many bond holders and their leaders, that the act which authorized the issue of these bonds made them payable in gold.  But there is no such possible interpretation of the act, and if they were issued payable in gold in the first place why did they pass the credit strengthening act of 1869 ?  The very fact that they passed that act four years after the close of the war, when the country was at peace with the world and itself, is proof beyond question that they were at first made payable in legal tender, and that this law was passed for no other purpose than that of doubling the wealth of the bond holder, which, of necessity, must and did double the burdens of the people.  Further, we have undeniable proof that the act was secured through the most soulless strategy, and that Grant, Sherman and Morton were parties to it.  There is not the slightest doubt but that Grant's election to the presidency, and Sherman's appointment to the treasury were secured through their pledges to obtain the passage of this infamous act.  Those who opposed the measure were denounced as repudiators, and in his inaugural address Grant warned his party that no repudiator of one farthing of the public debt would be trusted in public place.  Immediately upon his inauguration an extra session of Congress was called.  The first bill presented, the first bill passed, the first act approved, the first document sighed by President Grant was this infamous credit-strengthening act, by which the people who placed him in power, were robbed of millions of dollars.  Circumstantial evidence also proves beyond doubt that the election of Grant and the defeat of Seymour was a bargain and sale between the leaders of the old parties, and the most villainous betrayal of public trust ever practiced upon an unsuspecting people.  There had been an attempt to pass the credit-strengthening act during the session of 1867 and 1868 but it failed.  During its pending, a presidential nomination and election took place.  The Democratic party nominated Horatio Seymour on a platform opposed to the coin payment of currency obligations.  The Republican party nominated U.S. Grant on the urgent solicitation and petition of forty capitalists of New York City.

August Belmont was chairman of the Democratic national committee ;  he was also agent of the Rothschilds, who were in possession of several hundred millions of the 5-20 bonds, and particularly interested in the credit-strengthening act.  As early as March 13, 1868, Baron James Rothschild instructed August Belmont that unless the Democratic party went in for paying the 5-20 bonds in gold it must be defeated.  The first step was to have the convention held in New York City, and it convened July 4, 1868.  Belmont was unable to control the convention, or at least that part of the platform pertaining to the coin payment of bonds.  But besides being chairman of the Democratic national committee, he also owned a large interest in the New York World, the leading Democratic paper in the country.  Although he had made a sale (doubtless a sham) of his interest in the paper, he could still control it more easily than he could control the Democratic convention, and on the 15th of October, only a few days before election, it came out with a double-leaded editorial denouncing Seymour as unavailable and unfit for president and advised his withdrawal.

This action had the effect for which undoubtedly it was intended, that of demoralizing the Democratic party on the eve of election, thus insuring the election of Grant, who had pledged himself to the money power.  During the previous session of Congress, Oliver P. Morton made a speech in which he said :

We would do foul injustice to the government and to the people of the United States after we have sold these bonds, on an average of not more than sixty cents on the dollar, now to propose to make a new contract for the benefit of the bond holder.

Hon. Thad. Stevens [the bank-lawyer], in speaking of the insatiate demands of the money bond-interest said :

We were foolish enough to grant them gold interest, and now they unblushingly demand further advantages ;  the truth is, we can never satisfy their appetite for money.
---[We were foolish enough ?  On the first day of the debate of Bill 240 (Tuesday, January 28, 1862.), you stood up and said:-- "While I am up, I will follow an example which has been set me, and give notice of an amendment which I shall offer to the bill. It is to make the semi-annual interest payable in coin.  I shall make it when we reach the proper time and place." --No one forced you, no one pushed you, you just came out with this amendment on your own !!!

And on his death bed, [the bank-lawyer allegedly] said :

Yes, we had to yield.  The Senate was stubborn.  We did not, however, until we found the country must be lost or the bankers gratified.  And we have sought to save the country in spite of the cupidity of its wealthier citizens.

Ben Wade, of Ohio, in a letter written at Washington, Dec. 13, 1867, expressed himself as follows :

I am for the laboring portion of our people, the rich will take care of themselves. * * * * We never agreed to pay the five-twenties in gold ;  no man can find it in the bond, and I will never consent to have one payment for the bond holder and another for the people.  It will sink any party and it ought to.

In regard to this policy, John Sherman, in a speech delivered Feb. 27, 1868, said :

I say that equity and justice are amply satisfied if we redeem these bonds at the end of five years in the same kind of money, of the same intrinsic value it bore at the time they were issued.  Gentlemen may reason about this matter over and over again, and they cannot come to any other conclusion at least that has been my conclusion after the most careful consideration.  Senators are sometimes in the habit, in order to defeat the argument of an antagonist, of saying that this is repudiation.  Why, sirs, every citizen of the United States has conformed his business to the legal tender clause.  He has collected and paid his debts accordingly.

And in a letter dated Feb. 20, 1868, he said :

Your idea that we propose to violate or repudiate a promise when we offer to redeem the principal in legal tenders is erroneous.  I think the bond holder violates his promise when he refuses to take the same kind of money he paid for the bonds.
     The bond holder can demand only the kind of money he paid, and he is a repudiator and extortioner to demand money more valuable than he gave.

John Sherman, at that time, was comparatively a poor man and, no doubt, an honest man ;  his appetite for pelf had not been awakened, or at least, to that degree which permitted him to sacrifice honor in its getting.

In 1875 John Sherman said, “ We are following in the footsteps of England,” and no one knew better than he the scheme that had brought us to that deplorable condition.  In 1879 this same John Sherman, then a millionaire, in a speech made in Toledo, said that “ To refuse to pay the bonds in gold would be repudiation and extortion, and would be scoffing at the blessings of Almighty God.”  Think of it !  A man becoming a millionaire out of a $5,000 salary, and then talk as if he had anything to do with Almighty God.  But as John Sherman grew rich, the country grew poor ;  merchants were driven to bankruptcy, farmers were driven into debt, and finally off their farms.  Workmen were driven out of employment, and tramps thronged the highways.  Despair and ruin sat enthroned in the hearts and homes of this great people.

The above let it be remembered, is testimony from leading Republicans of that time, but who, upon the election of Grant to the presidency, either sealed their lips upon this subject or, like Sherman, openly and shamelessly advocated the abominable swindle.

Here let me add, that when the bill passed, legalizing this gigantic robbery, there were 189 bankers, and many bond holders in the two houses, while as lobbyists and agents of the heavy bond holders there was an army of workers and feed attorneys, all working for the passage of that atrocious bill, while honest industry was powerless in self-defence.  One shudders to think of these vandals in the temple of our liberty.  They desecrated the sanctuary of our fathers, and despoiled the heritage of their children.

The blood curdles to think of Washington and that fratricidal conspirator at the head of the same government.