SEVEN FINANCIAL CONSPIRACIES
THE AUTHORS REVIEW OF SHERMAN
FOSTORIA, O., Oct. 16, 1891.
HON. JOHN SHERMAN :
My attention has just been called to your criticism of Seven Financial Conspiracies in the Cincinnati Enquirer of the 15th inst. You say you first read the book with amusement and astonishment. I am not surprised at your astonishment when you see the enormity of your acts summed up and presented to the people in a plain, matter-of-fact way and that it should afford you amusement is only in keeping with a character that could deliberately plan such diabolisms. History tells us that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, and history may tell posterity that John Sherman was amused when he saw his hellish schemes consummating in the overthrow of the American Republic.
You say the Seven Financial Conspiracies are the seven great measures by which the country was saved from the perils of civil war, and yet you know that five of these laws were not enacted until after the war had closed. Senator, do you suppose you can make the people believe that the Contraction of the currency in 1866, the Credit-Strengthening Act of 1869, the Refunding Act of 1870, the Demonetization of Silver in 1873, or the Resumption Act of 1878 were measures instituted to save the country from a war that had successfully terminated in 1865 ? You certainly cannot deceive the people by this specious argument, and if you would deceive them in this, what reliance can be placed on your other statements ?
You say the civil war was organized by slave-holders. It is true they were charged with the crime, but what of Wall Street and the notorious Zach Chandler, who openly asserted that a country is not worth a damn without bloodletting, and who, through the agency of the civil war, was elevated from a man of moderate means to a position of a millionaire ; and, Senator, if I am correctly informed, Zachariah was not the only loyal northern man whose wealth was increased to phenomenal proportions through this infernal agency.---[Senator Zachariah Chandler was a greenbacker, he voted for the legal-tender clause; in 1866 he voted against reduction of currency; in 1869 he voted for credit strenghtening. Senator John Sherman was also a greenbacker, he spoke for an hour on behalf of the legal-tender clause, then he voted for it; in 1866, John Sherman, too, voted against reduction of currency; in 1869 he voted for credit strenghtening]
You say it is the men whom I denounce as Shylocks who furnished the means for carrying on the war. Ah, did they ? You know it was because they demanded such extortionate rates of interest for their money that the government resorted to the issuance of its own money, and you know that it was this very government moneythe green backthat saved the country in the hour of peril. In your speech at Toledo on the evening of the 14th inst., you expatiated admirably upon the fact that all our money is now as good as gold, but in speaking of the greenback you only parenthetically and stammeringly stated true, it was depreciated for a time. Why did you not then and there tell your audience of the blighting effects of this depreciation and subsequent appreciation of the greenback on the wealth producers of the country ? Why did you pass so hurriedly over a question of such vital importance ? Sir, your object was to deceive the people, and it would be impossible in the same length of time to make more misleading and deceptive statements than you made on that occasion. It is no wonder that cunningly devised utterances choked in your throat. The most ordinary intelligence, not blinded by party prejudice, could easily detect the gauzy web you had so ingeniously prepared to entrap the unwary multitude. But, sir, the multitudes are becoming familiar with your deceptive arguments, and a righteously indignant people are rising to hurl from our national temple the heartless moneychangers who have torn our liberties from their shrine and are bartering them away to the enemies of freedom.
You acknowledge that the greenback was purposely depreciated to make a market for interest-bearing bonds. Why did you not also state an equally patent fact that it was to create a market for the gold which Shylock had hoarded in order that he might speculate upon the dire necessities of the country ?
Under the head of the first conspiracy you say the duty on imported goods was required to be paid in coin in order to provide the means to pay the interest on our bonds in coin. But you previously stated that the men who furnished the means to put down the rebellion were included among the most patriotic citizens of the northern states. Senator, was it an evidence of patriotism on the part of these loyal citizens to demand that the interest on the bonds which they had purchased with depreciated greenbacks should be paid in gold ? You insult every old veteran when you compare the patriotism of the gold kings in Wall Street with that of the soldier who faced death at the cannons mouth and received in payment money which you say was purposely depreciated to create a market for bonds, the interest upon which was paid in gold when it required more than two dollars of the soldiers money to purchase one dollar of the bond-holders money.
Under the head of second conspiracy you reiterate the thread-bare assertion that the national bank system is the best that has ever been devised. This is the first time for more than twelve months that I have found a man sufficiently audacious to presume so much upon the ignorance of the people. The fact is, the people are becoming enlightened upon the vital questions of the day, and such perfidious statements fall powerless and harmless even from the lips of a United States Senator.
Under the head of the third conspiracycontractionyou assert that from the beginning of the war until the present time our volume of money has been increasing year by year more rapidly than our population. And if I remember correctly you stated in your Toledo speech that we now have more money per capita than ever before. You also charge that my statements in regard to the contraction of the currency are not only misleading, but absolutely false. Now let us see if it is not Senator Sherman who is attempting to mislead the people. The entire controversy in regard to our money volume arises from the fact that the manipulators of our finances find the people awakening to their corrupt methods, and in order to retain public confidence it has become necessary to cover up the iniquities of past legislation. To do this you now claim that the 7-30 treasury notes and compound interest notes were not money. But Secretary McCullough, Treasurer T.E. Spinner and Senator John A. Logan concurred in counting compound interest and the 7-30 notes as a part of the currency. Indeed, they were made lawful money and a legal tender by the acts creating them. General Spinner, in reply to a letter of inquiry written Aug. 17, 1876, says : The 7-30 notes were intended, prepared, issued and used, as money, and scores of people are still living who will testify that these notes passed current as money. And, Senator, the fact that today you come before the people stating that they were not money is unmistakable evidence of the crafty methods you have adopted to gull and mislead a confiding people. You say that what I call money was the most burdensome form of interest-bearing securties at 7 3-10 percent interest. Well, this interest was payable in the same kind of money and ceased altogether at the end of three years.
Will you figure out how much was saved to the tax payers by exchanging these 7-30 notes for 5-20s bearing gold interest at 6 per cent. With fifty cents in gold the bond holder purchased $1.00 of these 5-20s bearing gold interest; now did he not really get 6 per cent in gold on his fifty cent gold investment, or 12 per cent on the investment that cost him but $1.00 in gold ? While his means were invested in the 7-30s he received but 7 3-10 per cent in paper but after investing in the 5-20s he received 6 per cent in gold equivalent to 12 per cent in paper on the investment which cost him but fifty cents in gold. Senator will you please tell us how it is that 12 per cent is less burdensome than 7 3-10 per cent ? Evidently you have figured on the basis presented by Maj. McKinley That a mortgage is an evidence of prosperity, from which standpoint you reach the logical conclusion that the higher the rate of interest the greater the degree of prosperity. Woe unto you hypocrites who under the pretense of relieving the people double their burdens and perpetuate their bondage.
In order to complete your deception, you attempt to still further deceive the people by manipulating the Treasurers Report in such a manner as to make it appear that we now have a larger per capita circulation than at any previous time. This has been done first by including in our present circulation the entire amount of greenbacks $346,000,000 which were only saved from the cremation furnace through the efforts of a few sturdy greenbackers led by our invincible Weaver and the great souled Peter Cooper. Now you know that thousands and even millions of that money have been destroyed during the past twenty-eight years by fire, flood and the natural agencies of destruction. Secretray Foster includes in his (campaign) report the various national and private bank reserves which every body knows avails nothing to our depressed industrial classes. No amount of money locked up in treasury and bank vaults could bring relief to the people. An abundant and healthy circulating medium is as necessary to national life as blood is to physical life. The body of a hanged man has an abundance of blood but its stagnation caused him to die. So when a nations circulating medium stagnates in bank vaults or is disproportionately shrunken in volume that nation will as surely die. The testimony of Secretary McCullough, Spinner, Logan, Plumb and other leading authorities bear me out in the assertion that our actual per capita circulation is less than one fourth that of 1866. As proof of this Secretary McCullough in his report for Dec. 1865 says we have now about $2,000,000,000 nearly all in circulation among the people.
Our population at that time was 35,000,000 consequently we had about $57 per capita. Secretary Foster in his report for campaign purposes in 1891 shows about $1,588,000,000 with a population of 64,000,000 which gives per capita circulation of over $24. Secretary Foster, however, in his anxiety to present a winning campaign document deceives the people by omitting the important fact that nearly one half the amount is not in circulation. A fair estimate shows the
Loss of paper money during 28 years ....... . .. $ 50,000,000
hoarded-low estimate ........................................ 25,000,000
National bank reservesComp. report 1889, p. 51...460,000,000
Private bank reserves-estimated ...................... 250,000,000
Balance in actual circulation $803,000,000.
Per capita in circulation....................$12.50.
This calculation is far more liberal than that of Senator Plumb who in 1890 said the circulation did not exceed $500,000,000, or a little more than $8 per capita.
You say that my statements in regard to this matter are palpable falsehoods, and if stated by a man would justify a stronger word. Very well, Senator, use your strongest language, but please apply it where it belongs, to your colleagues, Secretary McCullough, Spinner, Logan and Plumb. You say you were not in favor of contraction of the greenbacks and made a speech against it. I am aware of that fact, and made a quotation from your speech showing that your views were correct on this subject. At the same time we find you in 1875 passing the Resumption Act, which provided for the destruction of every dollar of that money. Your views were also correct when in 1866 you said the bondholder can demand only the kind of money he paid. He is a repudiator and extortioner to demand money more valuable than he gave. Now if this view was correct in 1866, was it not equally correct in 1879 ? Then why did you, in a speech made in Toledo in that year say that to refuse to pay the bonds in gold would be repudiation and extortion, and would be scoffing at the blessings of Almighty God. Senator the fact that your worldly possessions were wonderfully augmented during these years justifies a very general suspicion that you had fallen into ways that were dark, etc.
Under the fourth headthe Credit-Strengthening Conspiracyyou say, I maintain and still believe that by a fair construction of the Loan Law we had a right to pay the principal of the bonds as they matured in greenbacks of the kind and character in existence when the bonds were issued. Now this is precisely the ground I take in regard to this matter, therefore I see no occassion for controversy upon this subject ; though it is universally conceded that through this act of Congress, which you supported, the people were robbed of hundreds of millions of dollars, and will ever be denounced as one of the most diabolical conspiracies in the record of crime.
The Refunding Act was simply a scheme to perpetuate the national debt, and no amount of glamour or sophistry will make it appear otherwise in the minds of a debt-ridden and tax cursed people.
Your claim that the bonds were refunded to secure a lower rate of interest is calculated solely to deceive the people. We have already shown that it was far easier for the people to pay 7 3-10 per cent interest with paper money depreciated one-half than it was to pay 6 per cent in gold interest. Senator, I agree with your intelligent statesmen that the Refunding Act was a measure of the highest value conducted with remarkable success. It certainly was a measure of highest value to the bond-holders, and conducted with remarkable success by their agents of which you appear as chief.
Under the head of Demonetization of Silver you again resort to your honest dollar deception, and attempt to terrorize the farmer, the laborer and the soldier by the fear that they are going to be paid off in dishonest dollars. Senator, if we have any dishonest dollars was it not a Republican congress under your manipulations that made them so ? Are you deterred from taking a silver dollar because there is only seventy-seven cents worth of silver in it ? You say it will buy as much and is equally as good as the gold dollar, the national bank note or the greenback. Will you sell your silver dollars for seventy-seven cents ? Certainly not, for they are worth one hundred cents in the market. Then why attempt to confuse and prejudice the soldier by telling him that he will be paid in cheap dollars, dishonest dollars, short dollars, etc., unless your party wins ?
This solicitude in regard to the soldier, however, seems quite out of character on your part when we reflect that while our country was in the throes of civil war, it was through such legislation as you prescribed that the soldier was paid in a currency which you say was depreciated in order to make a market for gold-interest bearing bonds. This dishonest dollar, over which you have so long and loudly lamented, has no exception clause upon it. You boast that our money is all equally good, that one kind of a dollar will buy as much as another kind. Since this is true, why do you attempt to deceive the people by this talk of dishonest dollars ? Money can only be dishonest when its purchasing power is impaired. If we have ever had any dishonest money it was that which Congress depreciated by placing the exception clause upon it and then compelled the soldier in the field to accept it for his services. And, sir, did not you, under the instruction of a London banker, Earnest Seyd, manipulate this legislationDemonetization of Silverin the interests of British and American capitalists ? Senator Ingalls says in his great speech, in the U.S. Senate, Jan. 14, 1891, there is a deep-seated conviction among the people, which I fully share, that the demonetization of silver in 1873 was one element of a great conspiracy to deliver the fiscal system of this country over to those by whom it has in my opinion finally been captured. * * * So great was the power of capital, so profound was the impulse, so persistent was the determination, the promoters of this scheme succeeded by the operation of mind power and will force in capturing and bewildering the intelligence of men of all parties, of members of both houses of congress, the members of the cabinet and the president of the United States. * * * As I say, it is one of the phenomena and anomalies of legislation, and I have no other explanation to make than this : I believe that both houses of congress and the president of the United States must have been hypnotized. Senator, were you hypnotized on that memorable occasion ? Excuse this seemingly personal and impertinent question, for the truth is, British gold and Washington whiskey have been such important factors in American legislation during the past thirty years that one is hardly able to determine whether this was or was not a genuine case of hypnotization. You claim however, that you understood this measure was before congress. It was no secret with you. You evidently were not hypnotized. The management of such a stupendous conspiracy necessitated a clear brain and an unyielding nerve. You, doubtless, were the great hypnotizer.
Under the head of Resumption you claim this crowning act to be the glory and pride of the people of the United States. You extol our credit, our productive interests, the development of our national resources, but not one word have you to say of the general advancement and prosperity of the masses. The truth is, under your beneficent financial policy the masses are being rapidly reduced to a condition of wage slavery. With 9,000,000 of mortgaged homes, $30,000,000,000 of indebtedness, and one-half the wealth of the country in the hands of 31,000 people, the boast of prosperity is a mockery, and an insult to common intelligence.