Mr. Saulsbury. Mr. President, it is not the first time that I have heard gentlemen on this floor seek refuge from their positions by an attempted assault upon the Democratic party. Sir, that party can survive. Such assaults have been made on the Democratic party from its origin to the present time. When it first arose men were found to speak as disrespectfully of the Democratic party as the Senator from Kansas speaks to-day. Throughout its whole progress from its birth, during all its continuance in power, when it was carrying the banner of constitutional government and civil liberty throughout all the States and over all this continent, when the greatest minds this country ever produced were its champions, there were men either upwilling or incapable of appreciating its glorious mission.
Where, let me ask the Senator, would this country have been had it not been for the Democratic party ? What is that new fledgling to which he belongs ? The party of yesterday, a mushroom which sprung up only a few years ago, to go out of existence in 1872 and be remembered with the things that were, and that were to the disgrace and the destruction of the American Government. What has it ever done for this country ? It has never added a foot of territory to it, and now seeks to add a free negro soil, a little piece of territory called Dominica; to buy an earthquake and say that they have done something for the country ! They have subverted every principle of the Constitution which guaranties civil liberty and the rights of the States, and have gone against the decrees of God Almighty Himself by attempting to drag down the noble white man to the degraded level of the negro; or else, worse and more impotent, to elevate that inferior being to the proud, noble, dignified position of the white man. That has been the mission of this party. The one great idea which has governed it from its inception, and which I suppose will continue to govern it while it shall exist, has been war upon the fundamental principles of the Government under which its members were born, under which they lived, and war upon the decrees of God Almighty, who, until they came into power, had been the protector, the guardian of the American people, and who, in His wisdom and benevolence, raised up this country to be a light and an example to all the nations of the earth, and who vouchsafed his guidance to that old Democratic party which has made the country all that it is that is glorious, which has made it all that was noble in the past, and which, on its reaccession to power in 1872, will, as far as any human instrumentality can, restore the Government to its former condition of freedom, happiness, and renown.
Revising the laws relative to the mints, assay offices, and coinage of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the mint of the United States is hereby established as a bureau of the Treasury Department, embracing in its organization and under its control all mints for the manufacture of coin, or assay offices for the stamping of bars which are now, or which may be hereafter, authorized by law. The chief officer of the said bureau shall be denominated the Director of the Mint of the United States, and shall be under the general direction of the Secretary of the Treasury. He shall be appointed by the President, on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall hold his office for the term of five years, unless sooner removed by the President, upon reasons to be communicated by him to the Senate.
Sec. 14. And be it further enacted, That of the gold coins, the weight of the double eagle, or twenty-dollar piece, shall be five hundred and sixteen grains; that of the eagle, or ten-dollar piece, two hundred and fifty-eight grains; that of the half-eagle, or five-dollar piece, one hundred and twenty-nine grains; that of the quarter eagle, or piece of two and one-half dollars, sixty-four and one-half grains; that of the three-dollar piece, seventy-seven and four-tenths grains; that of the one-dollar piece, or unit of value, twenty-five and eight-tenths grains; and these coins shall be a legal tender in all payments.
Sec. 15. And be it further enacted, That of the silver coins, the weight of the half dollar, or piece of fifty cents, shall be one hundred and ninety-two grains; and that of the quarter dollar and dime, shall be, respectively, one-half and one-fifth of the weight of said half dollar. That the silver coin issued in conformity with the above section shall be a legal tender in any one payment of debts for all sums less than one dollar.
The Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, resumed the consideration of the bill (S. No. 859) revising the laws relative to the mints, assay offices, and coinage of the United States.
The bill was reported to the Senate as amended.
The Vice President. Unless a separate vote be demanded, the question will be taken on concurring in the amendments made as in Committee of the Whole in gross.
Mr. Cole. I ask for a separate vote.
The Vice President. Does the Senator from California ask for a separate vote on the amendment in regard to the coinage charge ?
Mr. Cole. Yes, sir.
Mr. Sumner. There is one suggestion I wish to make. It comes under section nineteen.
The Vice President. That will still be in order after the amendments agreed to in Committee of the Whole shall have been acted upon.
Mr. Sumner. Very well.
The Vice President. The Secretary will report the amendment upon which a separate vote is demanded.
The Chief Clerk read the amendment, which was in section twenty-five, after the words "as follows," in the third line, to insert "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."
The Vice President. The other amendment in the same section, inserting the words in line twelve, "other than for coinage," will be considered at the same time, as they are dependent upon each other. The remaining amendments made as in Committee of the Whole will be regarded as concurred in. The question now is on concurring in this amendment, made as in Committee of the Whole.
Mr. Cole. Mr. President, I shall add but very little to what was said yesterday on this subject, when it was pretty freely discussed by members of the Senate. I was anxious that the final vote on the bill should be postponed until to-day, in order that I might present a letter submitted to me by one of the most distinguished officers of this Government, received by him from probably the most skillful banker upon the Pacific coast. The letter was undoubtedly addressed by the person who is now engaged in that business to this officer, whose duties require his attendance constantly in this city, because this officer was also formerly a banker in that city, and a very creditable one, too.
I take it as a clear proposition that it is desirable that as much of the gold of the world shall be put in the form of American coins as possible. I suppose we could get along after a manner and transact our business without coining any money ourselves with the stamp of the nation upon it. Other nations put forth coins, and possibly we might make use of them exclusively, together with bars and ingots of gold, in the transaction of our business. But we have entered upon the business of coinage, and we do it in view of several advantages that it will be to the nation. I suppose one consideration is, that it is desirable that the stamp of our Republic shall appear on this commodity which is in such common use throughout the world. We take some pride in seeing stamped upon the coins that are used by all nations in business the name of our great Republic, the United States of America. We take pride also in seeing stamped upon it the words, in an ancient language, E Pluribus Unum, to indicate that we are one nation out of many. We wish to make our nation prominent among the nations of the world, and therefore we are desirous to put its stamp upon as many pieces of money as possible.
Now, sir, if we impose a charge no matter how small, if it be but one half of one per cent. or three tenths of one per cent., on the conversion of gold into coin, it will of course drive those ingots and bars into a country, if such a one is to be found, where this coinage can be done free of charge, and that is the case. The great monetary nation of the world, Great Britain, performs this duty without any charge. She converts bars of gold into her coins free of all cost, free of all charge whatsoever. The direct result of this, to a very great extent no doubt, has been to make the capital of that nation the money center of the world. We are aware that most of the business transactions of the world center in London; and I have no doubt that that is attributable, to a very great degree, to the fact that England from all time has made coinage free, and by that means, in exchanges with other nations as well as between other nations and Great Britain, the transactions are done through London by transmitting the precious metals to that country.
Let me illustrate this. Suppose a coinage charge of a small percentage were imposed in San Francisco, and the same work were done in New York free of expense; how clear it is to us all that the bullion would be sent from San Francisco to New York. The same rule that applies between these two neighboring cities, as it were, applies between different nations. The result is, that while the American pride, the pride that our people who own ingots of gold have in having them converted into American coin, has caused the transformation of a good share, a large proportion to be sure, perhaps half of the gold that is produced in this country, into our gold coinage, yet there is a great deal that goes out of the country to England, and is put into English sovereigns. It is the desire of our people that this shall be stopped, and that the bullion which is thus transmitted to a foreign country for conversion into foreign coins shall be put into our own coins in our own country.
Again, the abolition of this coinage charge will result in retaining the gold in our own country; that is to say, gold bullion will not be sought as an article of exchange, but other articles will be sought as articles of exchange and will be sent out of the country to meet balances against us. The result will be to retain in our own country a large amount of gold that now goes abroad because of this percentage, which is a sufficient inducement to take it to foreign countries for coinage.
I only rose, Mr. President, to have a portion of the letter to which I alluded read, and did not intend to add to the remarks which I made yesterday. I ask the Clerk to read the portion of the letter that I have marked, which I send to the desk.
The Vice President. The Secretary will report the letter.
The Chief Clerk read as follows:
---[While John Sherman encourages the exportation of gold, he is also in support of the gold standard; while the Rothschilds are shipping boat-loads of gold out of the country, the federal government is borrowing gold-bonds from the House of Rothschild !!!????.... and Mr. Sherman is all in favour of that]
"The effect of this charge is to promote the exportation of the precious metals to other countries where no such charge exists. Gold bullion is actually worth one half per cent. more for export than for coinage. Hence the foreign bankers and importers, such as Rothschilds' agents, the managers of English banks or agencies, and a number of French and English firms, are constantly sending away all they can control, which is a large proportion of the entire product. The charge operates as a premium in their favor and against the enlargement of our coin basis, which, at the present time especially, needs all the help we can give it, looking to the resumption of specie payments.
"The coinage charge also operates indirectly to the prejudice of other exports, being an adverse element in the exchanges of the country, and thus affecting an immense volume of business. In proof of this I need only refer you to the well-known fact that while the true par of exchange results from the respective fine gold contents of the coins, the actual par depends upon the terms upon which gold bullion can be converted into such coins. (I send you a newspaper excerpt with remarks on that subject from the London Times.) The charge of one half per cent. for converting our gold bullion into coin is that much against us in our exchanges with other nations, and inflicts a loss of millions of dollars upon the commerce of the country, while Government gains by it but the paltry sum of about one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars per annum. Here is a point which our wise financial men at Washington appear to have overlooked entirely; a plain case of the policy which saves at the spigot and loses at the bung.
"If possible, a still more palpable example of the same policy is found in considering this coinage charge as a revenue measure. Take, for instance, our trade with the British isles for the five years from 1865 to 1869 inclusive. The amount of dutiable imports for that period was $725,000,000, in round numbers, estimating the pound sterling at the custom-house valuation $4.8422. But the intrinsic value of the sovereign or pound sterling is one half per cent. greater, say $4.8665 --the difference being the cost of converting it into our coin, and this being added to the value of dutiable imports as above, raises the amount to $728,625,000, an increase of $3,625,000, upon which Government loses the duty by under valuing the pound sterling, or, in other words, by charging one half per cent. for converting it into our coin. This loss of duty at the average rate, which was forty-seven per cent., amounts to the sum of $1,704,000, while the total amount realized from the coinage charge during the same period was $607,907; and showing a balance of nearly one million one hundred thousand dollars against the revenue, as the legitimate result of said charge, in our transactions with Great Britain alone.
"I may add that the charge is quite unnecessary as a means of defraying the expense of mint operations, for it appears, from the reports of the Director of the Mint, that the profits paid into the United States Treasury from subsidiary coinage during the period above referred to were $4,675,000, which is more than enough to cover all appropriations for that purpose."
Mr. Cole. I have but a word to add, which is simply this: that the question will appear now, from the light of the statement made by this skillful and comprehensive financier, to be not one in which the Pacific States or the gold-producing States are alone interested, but a question in which every State of the Union is interested. Though it may relate more particularly to the States of the Pacific, owing to the circumstance that their currency, their medium of exchange, is gold and silver, though it may affect the gold market there, and affect them more than it does the States east of the Rocky mountains, yet it must now appear, to be a question in which all the States of the Union are interested as well as those on the Pacific.
Mr. Bayard. It was my original impression when this question came before the Committee on Finance that it was palpably an act of economy for the Government to turn all the bullion possible into its own coin. It was my theory of true economy in that case that the more of the bullion of the world we could convert into American coin the greater would necessarily be the tendency of that coinage here, for the simple reason that bullion of our standard of parity and bullion reduced to our decimal standard of exchanges gave facilities to our own people greater than the coin of any other country; and by a parity of reasoning, gave greater inconvenience to the people of other countries. For that reason, if all the coin of the world was in the American coinage, a greater portion of it would remain in the United States than would remain if there was an equal amount of coinage proportionably throughout the world of all coins.
This was my view; perhaps a crude one, but nevertheless a very simple, and I thought a truthful one at the time this question of abolishing the charge for coinage came up in the committee; and it is my impression that I was the original mover in that committee of a proposition to abolish this charge, but I relinquished it somewhat under the argument, and still more under the very strong facts produced by my honorable friend, the chairman of the committee, that the Government of Great Britain, whose commercial success has been so great, after pursuing for a period of one hundred or one hundred and fifty years the system of free coinage, had determined by the light of experience to change their laws and to establish a charge for coinage in the same ratio as that proposed by the present bill. It was upon the acceptation of that statement as true that I voted to retain the charge for coinage in the bill. It is because I now believe that statement to have been erroneously made that I propose to vote against the retention of this charge for coinage.
I would never oppose a mere theory, however plausible and satisfactory to my mind it might be, to distinct facts, the workings of experience in regard to so practical a matter as this thing of the currency of the country in its metallic coinage. I do not propose to repeat the arguments of yesterday, the evidence produced from the report of the Committee on Retrenchment taken on the Pacific coast; but I am now convinced that I was right in my original theory, that it is a matter of interest to the country to have all the bullion that it can turned into the shape of American coinage; that more profit by far will result to the country from a redundancy of metallic currency than would be gained by establishing a charge for coinage which should lessen the bulk of that currency. For that reason I shall vote in favor of abolishing the charge for coinage.
Mr. Sherman. I shall detain the Senate but a moment on this subject, because it has been already fully discussed. In regard to the error into which my friend from Delaware has fallen, he will bear me witness that I gave him the date of the act of Parliament, and gave him the book containing the speech of Mr. Lowe, and gave him the full facts at the time the matter was under discussion in the committee.
Mr. Bayard. Of course my honorable friend does not suppose that I meant to suggest for an instant that he represented aught else than the facts. It was possibly my misunderstanding or incomplete information on the subject. I know that at that time the honorable Senator from Ohio was of opinion that the Government of England were about to retrace their steps on this subject; that, by the light of experience, they had discovered that the system of free coinage was prejudicial, and they were about to restore the system of charge. I believe now he does not suppose such to be the fact, and will agree with me probably that free coinage is still to be the law of Great Britain, as it has been in the past.
Mr. Sherman. On the contrary, the whole debate, which I now have before me, shows that every person who participated in the discussion, without exception, agreed that the system of free coinage was wrong in principle, wrong in theory, and ought to be abolished; but in the revision of the law --it was then under the charge of Mr. Lowe as chancellor of the exchequer-- the matter was left to remain as it stood, and the reason was stated by Mr. Lowe himself, that it was better to postpone any change in this particular as to the rate of seigniorage, or as to what rate should be adopted, until the question of international coinage should advance some further stages, when, as a matter of course, the laws of the different nations would have to conform to it. Mr. Lowe, in his speech advocating his views on the subject, quotes all the authorities from which I read yesterday, and a great many others, showing that experience, political economy, and philosophy had concurred in establishing the necessity of a seigniorage.
Let me state another fact. It is shown, I think, in the debate in Parliament, that while England possesses nearly twice the wealth of France, and certainly nearly twice the commerce, yet the gold and silver coinage in England is only about one fifth of that in France; and this was attributed in a great measure to the fact that, as Great Britain coined gold without charge, therefore gold being the cheapest product naturally floated off by exportation, while the French coin, which secured a local habitation by a seigniorage of only one fifth of one per cent. retained in France and so of Germany.
Now, sir, I will add another fact, and that will be all I desire to say in reply to the letter of Mr. Ralston, who is cashier of the Bank of California. I had read that letter. It contains nothing new, except one very remarkable statement, which he did not make with a full knowledge of the facts, or certainly he would not have made it. He says our profit on coinage is four millions and some hundred thousand dollars; that is, that the difference between the cost of our nickel coinage, subsidiary coinage, and the actual nominal value of that coinage is $4,000,000. That is very true; but we have got to redeem that nickel coinage at par, and this very bill provides for its redemption. We might just as well say that on the greenbacks which we publish and print we make a profit of $340,000,000, because it only costs us $1,000,000 to print $341,000,000. But we have got to redeem them at par in gold; so that all the profit from our subsidiary coinage disappears when the day of redemption comes, and that is coming nearer constantly, day by day.
There is one other fact. A great deal of stress was laid by the Senator from California [Mr. Casserly] on the fact that the mint charge in this country was a recent one. Well, sir, up to 1849, I think it was, the Mint of the United States bought the gold of foreign countries in the form of bullion, precisely like any other commodity, and coined it at the Mint. Having a monopoly of the coinage, it practically had a monopoly of the bullion trade of this country. The discovery of gold in California changed the whole condition of things, and this country became the great gold-producing country of the world. Then the Congress of the United States first turned its attention to the necessity of establishing a seigniorage charge and regulating the difference between the value of gold and silver; and I now hold in my hand, first, the report of the Secretary of the Treasury Mr. Corwin, under Fillmore's administration, calling attention to the fact of a large loss suffered by the United States by this changed condition of affairs, and by the fact that bullion was presented for coinage at the mints not imported from abroad as a commodity and purchased at the market price, but presented by our own miners, and that the law made no provision at all for the disposition and management of this gold bullion or coinage. Therefore he recommended that the change be made in the relative value of the gold and silver bullion and the gold and silver coinage, so as to make it conform to the standards adopted in England and in France, and recommended that a seigniorage be put upon gold coinage sufficient to pay the expense of it. That was referred to the Committee on Finance of this body, of which, Mr. Hunter was then chairman. I hold in my hand a very elaborate and interesting report, of many pages, made by Mr. Hunter, in which the subject is fully discussed, giving many tables. The conclusion arrived at after two years' discussion, by the unanimous vote of both Houses and after an elaborate consideration of the whole subject, was, first, that on account of the large discovery of gold in California it was necessary to change the relative value between gold and silver, by reducing the proportion of silver to gold, and also that it was necessary to establish a seigniorage charge on gold.---[Not true; the bill passed in the Senate without Hunter ever mentioning the coinage charge; and in the House there was opposition to the coinage charge --future facts proven those opponents right]
There had always been a seigniorage charge on silver in this country, but as gold was not produced to any considerable extent --I believe nowhere except a little in North Carolina-- there was no seigniorage charge upon it. They established a seigniorage charge of one half of one per cent. Mr. Hunter states it very strongly. He says, "if we do not establish a seigniorage charge the United States may be compelled, at an enormous expense, to convert the whole gold produced in this country into coin, merely to enable people to export that coin; and we shall have to go through the same process with other nations." This subject was then fully considered, fully debated and acted upon, and that seigniorage was adopted. The result is that since that time about one half of the gold produced in this country has been converted into coin.---[according to Sherman's logic it is ok for the Government to purchase (with what in payment?) gold and turn it into coins at government cost, but it is not ok for the government to turn our own gold into coins .... the price the government paid for foreign gold would pay for the minting for decades .....]
Mr. Bayard. May I interrupt my friend for a moment ?
Mr. Sherman. Certainly.
Mr. Bayard. I respectfully submit that there is one error in the honorable Senator's argument. I have heard him assert here several times that it is cheaper for the purchasers of gold to export coin than it is to export bullion. I think the contrary is precisely true; that for purposes of merchandise gold will flow from this country faster in the shape of bullion than it will in the shape of coin.
Mr. Sherman. I will allude to a remark made by my friend a while ago, which shows that upon one point he is mistaken in regard to the relative value between bullion and coin. I have stated the fact that a charge of one half of one per cent. was put upon gold coinage. By the gradual improvement of machinery we find that it can be produced for less, and the concurring authority of all with whom I have conversed upon the subject was that three tenths of one per cent. would pay the mere cost of making the requisite assay, refining, and reducing it to the standard gold, and stamping it as Government coin. Three tenths would be the lowest; and even then there is upon the Government the expense of the officers of the mint, the expense of building mints, and a large amount of other expenses. Therefore we propose to continue the charge, but put it at three tenths of one per cent.
But the Senator says it will not be exported in the form of coin, but rather in the form of bullion.
Mr. Bayard. Not as easily.
Mr. Sherman. On the contrary, there is no form in which gold can be put so convenient for exportation as in rouleaus of twenly pieces of twenty dollars each.
Mr. Bayard. That is when you need it for purposes of exchange and not for purposes of merchandise.
Mr. Sherman. When you need it for purposes of merchandise, when reduced to gold coin of the standard, it is nine tenths fine precisely, and in the shape that it is used by every nation in Europe, except England, for recoining, while bullion may be in various form and forms and conditions, and of various finenesses. The Government of the United States is called upon, without cost, at its expense, to convert the whole gold product of the United States, at the expense of the people of the United States, into a form most convenient for the goldsmiths and mints of foreign countries. When this is reduced to the gold coinage it is nine tenths fine, and that is the exact standard of fineness adopted by other countries except England, where it is a little finer. There it is ninety-two hundredths fine, and all that is necessary to take our gold coin and convert it into English sovereigns is to add a two hundredths part of the refined gold, melt it in the crucible, and stamp it, with the British insignia. The result is, that if the balance of trade should turn against us the most valuable form in which gold could be exported abroad would be in the form of our gold coin.---[What is the expense of the interest on gold bonds which the government is borrowing from London bankers who are happy to take american gold ?]
The reason why I oppose the abolition of this charge so strenuously is not because it involves the loss of $100,000 a year, although there is no reason why we should put this labor on the gold product of private individuals at out own cost; but it is because I believe it will have an injurious effect in regulating the balance of trade and drift away from us at the time when it is most needed the actual coin, the life-blood of the country, instead of bullion. When bullion is exported it has a very different effect upon our commercial relations than where our coin is exported.
The immediate effect of this abolition will be to force all the gold produced in this country into the mint at San Francisco, to be there reduced, at the expense of the United States, to nine tenths standard fine in the form of gold coin.
Mr. Cole. There are other mints in the United States besides that at San Francisco, I and we do not desire to have any more of it sent there, than properly belongs there.
Mr. Sherman. My friend knows very well that the gold will flow into the nearest mint, and there be melted and put into the form of gold coin; and this is to be done at the expense of the United States. Why should it not be left to be governed like any other matter of regulation and trade ? This bullion is not the bullion of the United States. It is the property of private persons. Mr. Ralston, whose letter has been read here, handles more of this bullion than probably all the people of two of the greatest States of the Union --I believe he is cashier of the Bank of California. And yet we are required, at the expense of the United States, to reduce all the gold product of this country into this convenient form for exportation, so that the mints of foreign countries may take our gold coin and melt it over without cost or loss or wastage.
It seems to me that this will have a bad commercial operation. It may be of some benefit in a local way, by compelling a large manufacture in a local place, but in its effect upon the commerce of this country it must be injurious. It has been injurious in England. The opposite policy has been beneficial in France. We have tried it for twenty years, and no complaint has been made except as to the rate. Mr. Knox, who sent this bill to us, only complained of the rate of seigniorage as being too high; and I think myself it was too high. So far as I was concerned I was willing to adopt the French standard of one fifth, or the German standard, which, I believe, is one fourth; but the committee thought it was better to cover the cost, which is three tenths of one per cent.
Mr. Stewart. Mr. President, I think, from a further examination of this bill, it must be conceded that it enlarges the charge. I have not examined the old law, but I believe the charge is one half of one per cent. I cannot say how much it is increased, but probably it will be more than one per cent. under this section, and I wish to call the attention of the Senate to it.
Mr. Sherman. The present charge is one half of one per cent., besides the refining, &c. That is to remain the same as in the old law.
Mr. Stewart. The English mint is absolutely free.
Mr. Sherman. Only for coining.
Mr. Stewart. The whole thing.
Mr. Sherman. Oh, no.
Mr. Stewart. The refining is done outside. It is allowed to be done anywhere that those having the bullion choose to take it. It has been argued here as if this would exonerate the producers from all charge. Now, section twenty-five of this bill provides---
That the only charge on deposits of bullion for coin, bars, or disks shall be as follows."
Then comes the charge for coinage:
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.
That is, in addition to the charge for refining and parting the metal; and that is the charge which we propose to abolish. Then it goes on and makes other charges:
For refining, when the bullion is below standard; for toughening, when metals are contained in it which render it unfit for coinage; for copper used for alloy when the bullion is above standard; for silver introduced into the alloy of gold; for separating the gold and silver when these metals exist together in the bullion--
As they nearly always do, nine times out of ten---
For the preparation of bars and disks. And the rate of these charges, other than for coinage, shall be fixed, from time to time, by the Director, with the concurrence of the Secretary of the Treasury, so as to equal but not to exceed, in their judgment, the actual average expense to each mint of the material and labor employed in each of the cases aforementioned.
Now, the mere matter of coining, of stamping the gold when it is in a condition to be stamped, is no expense at all, or very little. Any one familiar with the Mint knows how few men are connected with the stamping. When the metal is prepared for coining it is a mere trifle. The actual cost of coining $30,000,000 of gold would not probably be five hundred dollars; it certainly would not be a thousand dollars for the mere actual stamping. You have got to prepare the bullion and get it into bars. All the processes by which it is prepared for stamping are inexpensive. It is true the machinery is expensive, and so are the dies, &c.; but when you have the machinery you can stamp the impress of the United States on the bar for very little. It is done very rapidly --bushels in a day. That is the only charge that is proposed to be removed; not the charge for preparing the metals for coinage, but the actual coinage charge which is put here at three tenths of one per cent., entirely disproportionate to the labor performed in doing the work. It is not going to cost $100,000 to stamp the coin of the United States in a year; nothing like it.
Mr. Sherman. There is a difference of opinion about that. It costs about three tenths of one per cent.
Mr. Stewart. Three tenths of one per cent to stamp it ?
Mr. Sherman. To coin it.
Mr. Stewart. The question has been argued on the supposition that the charges on all this work of refining, parting, melting and assaying were to be removed. That is not the proposition. The simple proposition is to remove the coinage charge, the charge for stamping metal with the stamp of the United States so that it shall be current coin. That is for the benefit of the general community and not for the benefit of the depositor; no more for the benefit of one man than another.---[You have explained and proven the point real well, sir; so why wouldn't you stand up two years from now when Sherman brazenly lied to the Senate as to what happened on this day ?]
But then the difficulty in putting on this charge is, as I said yesterday, that the depositor is not the only man who suffers, for he has to pay it whether he has his bullion coined or not; it reduces the value of his bullion, which is tested by the mint value, just to the extent of the charge. If it is one half of one per cent. it reduces the value of his bullion one half of one per cent. I know that. It does not take a professor to ascertain that fact.
I have been unfortunate enough to be engaged in mining enterprises and to have bullion for sale, and I know that the coinage charge is deducted. Half the bullion is sold to speculators, and they deduct the coinage charge. If the bullion is plenty in market --if there is a surplus-- they deduct the whole charge; if it is scarce, and there is little arriving, there may not be a deduction of the entire coinage charge, but that always goes into the account; it depreciates the value of the bullion and encourages the exportation of the bullion. Then these speculators have other advantages which induce the exportation of bullion. In England, having had the trade so long, the metallurgists there can save from the bullion other metals which are valuable. That relieves them to some extent. We have not been handling bullion very long; we have been selling bullion; so much so that our people have not yet adopted the saving processes which they have there.
There is no use in philosophizing about this matter. The fact that Great Britain continues the system of free coinage, the fact, that she has to do it, is a strong argument in favor of her opinion that it is the best policy; and who shall say it is not ? Has not Great Britain succeeded in controlling the bullion trade of the world ? Does she not command it more than any other nation ? She has no coinage charge and has had none for one hundred and fifty years. The fact that agents from London are in our country, and have been ever since we became a gold-producing country, buying up bullion and shipping it, and that they have been able to pay a little more than the mint value, perhaps considerably more than the mint value sometimes, and ship it to such an extent as not to leave enough here for coinage, shows what advantage the English have derived from the abolition of any charge on coinage.
It seems to me there is no argument in favor of retaining it. As I said yesterday, it is an unjust and unequal tax; it tends to cause the rapid exportation of bullion, to be manufactured elsewhere, and is a tax upon the miner, which goes to the speculator in bullion because it reduces the value of his commodity. If the United States wants to stamp our coin, let it be stamped free; it is for the convenience of the whole community, and let that tax fall on the whole community.
Mr. Thurman. Mr. President, the Constitution provides that Congress shall have power to coin money and regulate the value thereof. That is an exclusive power. The Constitution deprives the States of any power to coin money; it deprives individuals of any power to coin money; and as the same Constitution provides that no State shall make anything but gold and silver coin a legal tender, it follows that it is the duty of the Government to exercise this power and to furnish the people with coin. That being the case, any policy which tends to discourage coinage is, in my judgment, a vicious policy and inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution.
Now, sir, I think that if anything is demonstrable it is that the coinage charge does tend to discourage coinage, does tend to send abroad gold in the form of bullion. I had occasion, as a member on the Committee on Retrenchment, when in San Francisco a year ago, to examine some very intelligent witnesses upon this question; and I think that if anything was demonstrated by that examination it was that the coinage charge tends to send gold abroad in the shape of bullion. That testimony demonstrates that even unrefined gold is worth about one half of one per cent. more in San Francisco, which is the great gold market of the United States, than is the coined gold.
Unrefined bullion is worth more there for export, by one half of one per cent., than are our coins. To a question on that point the answer of the witness was this:
"Gold has averaged for the last two years in our market value fully one half per cent. more than the coin in the mint for export."
The committee asked the question whether that was not refined gold which had averaged for two years one half of one per cent. more than coined gold, and the answer was, "Unrefined gold."
For two years, then, before the giving of this testimony the average price of unrefined bullion in San Francisco for export was one half of one per cent. more than of the coins of the United States. The witness goes on:
"That is the reason it goes abroad as unrefined bars, bought up principally by foreign bankers, and especially to Europe. The Government duties alone the last two years have been three millions more than all the gold that has gone to the mint directly."
And in this same testimony it is said:
"It is the very basis of all our troubles that we now drive abroad a great majority of all our gold and silver from the fact that the refining charges are necessarily so high, added to the gold coinage charge of this country, which is far in advance of any other country in the world, that the market value of our bullion for export is one half per cent. greater than the coin of our mints. The result is that it is bought by foreign bankers and exported abroad, and will not seek our mints at all."
That is the testimony of a gentleman perhaps the best informed on the subject in all the United States, the author of a most excellent work upon the subject of the gold coinage of the country and the gold mines of the country, one largely engaged in the business, having no interest in the world to make any misstatement; and his testimony is concurred in by that of all the other witnesses who speak on the subject. Can there, then, be any doubt about it ? Can there be a doubt that the effect of this coinage charge is to drive gold out of the country, to put gold bullion even unrefined at a premium in the great gold market of the country for export from the United States ? I think there can be no doubt in the world about it. That being the case, this policy of a charge for coinage is a policy that directly tends to prevent the coinage of gold, and it is therefore, in my judgment, as I have already said, a vicious policy and inconsistent with the duty of the Government.
It is said that gold coins will be exported. Why, in a certain state of case, of course they will be exported. When the balance of trade is against you, and you cannot pay your balance in Government bonds or railroad bonds, or other securities, when you cannot by their sale meet the balance against you, you must export gold; and you export either bullion or gold coin, and if you have not the bullion to export, then, of course, you will export the gold coin. But we are not to suppose that that is the normal condition of the country. We are not to suppose that in all time the balance of trade will be against us. We are not to suppose that that is the general rule, and that a balance in our favor or an even trade is an abnormal condition of things. Therefore, I take it, we are not to be influenced at all by the question of the balance of trade. When it is against us gold will go out either in the shape of bullion or in the shape of coin. But certainly one thing is true, that it is much less likely to go out when it is in the shape of coin and distributed among the people, than when it is not in the shape of coin, but is in the shape of unrefined gold in great quantities in the mint, or in the assay offices of San Francisco.
One thing is very certain, that just as you coin it and distribute it among the people, and it enters into the circulation as currency and supplants paper, if you can get such a state of things, just in that proportion you make it more difficult to export it, and it is more likely to stay at home.
These are all the remarks I think it necessary for me to make. I tried to study this question to the best of my ability when taking this testimony; and it does seem to me that any one who will study the testimony which was read at the instance of my friend from California [Mr. Casserly] yesterday from the Clerk's desk, and which is in the Globe of this morning, will see that our case is not at all parallel to that of England, and that the reason which has been given why we should keep up this coinage charge, to wit, that the chancellor of the exchequer wants to revive the seigniorage in England, has no application at all to our case. What he wants to do is not to make such a coinage charge as we make, but to lessen the value of the sovereign --that is the policy of the chancellor of the exchequer-- and by lessening the value of the sovereign to prevent its exportation. He wants to do in regard to the gold sovereign precisely what we have done in regard to our silver half dollars and quarter dollars --debase them or lessen their value, so that they do not go abroad. That is precisely what we have done with the silver half dollar, and precisely what we have done with the silver quarter dollar, and it has kept the silver half dollars and quarter dollars at home, and if specie payments were resumed they would begin to circulate to-morrow. Certainly there is an abundant supply of them in the country. What the chancellor of the exchequer wants to do is to lessen the value of the sovereign, it is not a parallel case, it seems to me, with great deference to those who are better informed on the subject, to that which is now before the Senate.
For these reasons, Mr. President, I have voted heretofore, and I shall continue to vote to abolish this charge altogether. It is the duty of the country to furnish the people with coin as much as it is the duty of the Government to maintain a sufficient army or a sufficient navy, or to pay the civil expenses of the Government, just as much its duty; and if there is cost in doing it, it ought to stand on precisely the same basis as the cost of the Army or of the Navy or of the civil list.
Mr. Morrill, of Vermont [the friend of monopolies]. I am constantly puzzled to understand the logic of gentlemen in treating this question. The Senator from Ohio last on the floor [Mr. Thurman] has stated here that bullion is constantly sold at a higher price than coin in proportion to the amount of gold. If that be so, then the object manifestly is to reduce the value of bullion by putting it all into coin. Now, is it the object of the gentleman to reduce the value of the amount of gold in this country so that it will pay a less amount of debts abroad than it will now ? That would seem to be the fair logic of the Senator from Ohio. But is it a fact that by adulterating the coin we shall retain it at home ? That is not our own experience through all the past; and the history of the country in relation to the adulteration of our own coins shows that it has nothing whatever to do with the question. In the first place, we adulterated our silver coin; then we adulterated our gold coin, making a new gold eagle worth sixty-six cents on ten dollars less than the former gold eagle. It is well understood that in buying gold in this country there was no preference given to one over the other; either was bought and sold at actual value.
But is it not true that if we abolish this coinage tax or charge, by that very means we reduce the value of our coins so much benefiting nobody, and the Government is put to the expense of the coinage while absolutely we benefit nobody ? It seems to me that if we place it within the power of any one to get bullion into coin, as a matter of course it will then go abroad with the same facility that bullion will; whereas if we retain the charge upon it manifestly the coin will be increased to that amount in value, and therefore be retained in the country. It seems to me perfectly plain.
Mr. Cole. I should like to ask the Senator a question. Is it possible, by any transformation of it in coins or in ingots or in any shape in which it can be put, to change its current value throughout the world ? I ask this in view of this proposition, that putting bullion into coin does not benefit the man who owns it. It leaves it of precisely the same value. It does him no good; it does not add one cent to his wealth; it is a benefit to the whole people in keeping the metal in the country.
Mr. Morrill [the monopoly senator], of Vermont. I do not think it is possible to change the value of it at all; but the argument of the Senator from California goes upon this principle: formerly we were in the habit of shipping butter, for instance, to Great Britain, but some of it would turn into grease before it arrived there, and then it was subject to the duty on grease; but in order to prevent the importer selling it as butter, and restoring it to butter, they had a process of taking a stick and putting it into a tar barrel and then running it through the butter; and that is the process the Senators from Oregon and California want to perform on our bullion. They want to run a tar stick through it so that it cannot be used again abroad to be recoined.
Mr. Cole. I am glad the Senator has given us the basis of his argument.
Mr. Casserly. The senator from Ohio [Mr. Sherman] referred a while ago to the discussion between us yesterday as to the position of the English chancellor, Mr. Lowe, and the concurrence of testimony among the political economists of the same country as to the question of a coinage charge. That whole subject was yesterday discussed so much at length that I do not propose to renew the discussion now, even under the challenge of the Senator from Ohio.
I suppose if anything is plain now it is that the position of the English chancellor, whatever it was upon that subject, was taken in the light of circumstances which do not exist in this country, and which do not apply to the present discussion. The testimony which I had read yesterday makes it quite clear that his object was to arrest a flow of gold coin from that country to the continent of Europe, chiefly to France, which had begun to alarm his people. Whether that was to be accomplished by the mode proposed, of instituting a seigniorage charge which should be deducted from each coin so as to diminish its value, or not, is beside the question. That was the object of the new policy which he foreshadowed in the remarks relied upon by the Senator from Ohio.
Let me say, also, that having lived a great many years of my life in California, the bullion country of the North American continent, I listened with surprise to the statement of the Senator from Ohio that gold coin will go forward rather than bullion in the great movements of business between the State of California and foreign countries. I think that if he were to state that to the intelligent business men of San Francisco he would be stating something that was news to them.
Mr. Sherman. I stated that would be so in case the coinage of the Mint was without charge.
Mr. Casserly. I do not see how that can affect the point. Whether the coinage of the Mint is with or without charge the fact remains that from the influence of the coinage charge now imposed by law bullion is a better article for export than coin would be, and bears a higher price on that account.
The Senator himself admits that the total loss by the abolition of this charge would not exceed one hundred or one hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year. Now, it is apparent from the figures of the Senator himself, showing the coinage of gold at the San Francisco mint, that out of $40,000,000 of gold product on that coast not more than one half ever coined. What became of the other half ? It went abroad. For the purposes of coin it was lost to this country. Now, is it desirable to increase the volume of gold coin in this country ? There can be but one answer to that: it is very desirable. The one thing that your financiers and your great financial officers in this city, at the governmental center of the Union, are thinking of is how to have an ample store of gold coin with a view to the resumption of specie payments.
Now, sir, if the United States had to pay one hundred or one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the total amount of tax to be lost by this charge, upon the reasonable probability of increasing the gold coinage of the Pacific coast from twenty to forty millions per annum, would it not be well invested ? It would be well invested, whether you consider the advantage to those who have to buy gold coin to pay your duties under your laws as they exist, or the salutary effect of the addition year by year of that amount to the value of gold coinage upon the general interests of the country. And in that point of view alone it seems to me the case is with us unanswerably.
I shall trouble the Senate with no more remarks.
Mr. Corbett. I simply wish to say that the bill, as I understand it, was prepared at the Treasury Department and sent to the Senate, abolishing the entire coinage charge, simply making the usual charge for separating the crude gold and putting it into bullion.
Mr. Sherman. I corrected that yesterday. I stated that the bill sent to us from the Treasury Department in the original draft contained the mintage charge at one half of one per cent. I read a report on that point showing that it was in the original bill as submitted to us.
Mr. Corbett. What original bill ?
Mr. Sherman. The bill of last session. The bill we are now acting upon is the amendment proposed by Mr. Knox.---[brazen lying; the amendment was not proposed by Knox, it was proposed by the Committe, at Sherman's instigation; the original bill "of last session" did not have the coinage charge in it]
Mr. Corbett. I understand that the bill prepared by Mr. Knox does not embrace the coinage charge. The Committee on Finance propose now to place upon this bill an amendment creating a coinage charge. Mr. Knox, who has had this subject under his special charge and examination, and who prepared this bill, it appears, reports the bill without a coinage charge, believing it for the benefit of the Government of the United States not to impose a coinage charge; that by that mean we shall increase the coin in the country, from all the evidences before him, and therefore he does away with the coinage charge. The committee now propose to impose a charge of three tenths of one per cent. I think the weight of the argument is for the entire abolition of this charge, and that it will be for the benefit of the General Government and tend to the increase of the coin in the country to abolish it. Therefore, I hope we shall not concur in the amendment of the committee.---[too bad, none of the senators noticed that this bill omits from coinage the $1 silver coin; combined with the coinage charge metals are chased from the country and the whole field is opened for bank paper]
The Presiding Officer [Mr. Harlan in the Chair]. The question is on concurring in the amendment made as in Committee of the Whole.
Mr. Morrill, of Vermont, called for the yeas and nays; and they were ordered.
Mr. Warner. I have listened to the discussion of this question with a great deal of care, and I can easily understand how the miners may fancy that they have a real interest in the abolition of this seigniorage charge; and I am certainly not disposed to be unfriendly to them, because I was a miner myself, digging gold in California twenty years ago, for three years myself. I have gone through this practical operation of taking gold to the mint, and when I saw my return and that I was charged so much for coinage, I felt as though it was so much money taken out of my pocket. The Senator from California [Mr. Cole] will remember the locality -- about Sonora.
Mr. Stewart. I should like to ask what year the Senator was there ?
Mr. Warner. I was what the Senator will recognize as a forty-niner.
Mr. Stewart. Then I will inform the Senator that this burden was not imposed until 1853. He did not have to pay a charge for coinage, but had to pay for refining. We have felt the tax more since that addition to it. In early times I was there, one of the first, and we did not have to pay this charge at first.
Mr. Warner. I was there until 1852.
Mr. Stewart. You did not have to pay it then.
Mr. Warner. But what is the practical operation ? Gold is a product dug from the bowels of the earth, and has a recognized value in itself. It differs from iron that may be dug, or from cotton that we make in Alabama, only in the fact that it is used as a currency for the interchange of values. Apart from that fact, the Government would be under just as much obligation to take my cotton after I have picked it out in holes and put it into bales, or put it into a condition to be fit for wear --into cotton goods-- as they would be to take this gold that I dug twenty years ago from the bowels of the earth in California and put it into coin, into a shape of recognized value but a little more convenient for interchanging for other commodities.
But it is argued that because the Government has established gold as a legal tender and as a medium of exchange of values between citizens, therefore there rests upon it an obligation to put upon all the gold product of the country or of the world, if it may come here, its stamp of value. At farthest, it seems to me this obligation only rests on the Government to the extent of furnishing the amount of currency that may be needed, if at all; and even then the currency is furnished for the benefit of the people; and why should not the people pay for it as much as they pay for the Army or the Navy ?
The Senator from Ohio [Mr. Thurman] says that we are under obligation to furnish a currency, as we furnish an army for the protection of our frontiers or of the country from invasion. But the people pay for the Army. Why should they not pay for the currency ? If the Army or Navy is of value, or if laws are of value, the people pay for them. If gold coin is of value to the people as a circulating medium for the transaction of their business, why should they not pay for putting it into that shape ?
Mr. Williams. That is what we propose to do by objecting to this amendment.
Mr. Warner. You propose now to abolish all charge for coinage.
Mr. Cole. And then the whole burden goes upon the people, and not upon the few individuals who take gold to the mint.
Mr. Warner. Practically, the cost of it comes upon the people now in this charge for coining. Now, a word in regard to the export. The amount of export of coin or of bullion depends largely upon the balance of trade. If there is a balance of trade aginst us, if we buy more than we sell, we are obliged to pay for the balance in coin; so as to settle the account. If we buy more than we can pay for in cotton, or in corn, or in bacon, then we must pay for it in gold; and that export is bound to go abroad, whether it be in coin or whether it be in bullion; the one, as well as the other, equally, will settle the balance of trade.
As to approaching specie payments, I do not think we should be any nearer specie payment if the Government were to buy every dollar's worth of bullion in the country, or of gold that is dug, and were to coin it into its own coin. That would not affect the question of specie payments, in my judgment, one iota; because that depends upon entirely different causes. The trouble in that respect is not that gold is higher or lower, but that our own obligations are depreciated. When we raise their value we shall bring gold and paper together. The mere fact of converting gold, which has a real value in itself, into a specific form, would not in any wise change the value of our currency or bring us any nearer specie payments than we are to-day.
Mr. Howell. I should be very happy to relieve the gentlemen of the Pacific coast in regard to this matter, for the sake of their constituents; and there are a great many classes of people in this country who would be glad to be relieved of many burdens that are laid upon them in making their living and making money in the world by the Government under which they live. This is as clear a case of calling upon the Government to sustain the burdens which naturally belong to a particular class as any case that could be brought before this body. If the gold that they mine from the mountains of California is worth any more by being coined, if it is any object to them to bring it to the mint to have it coined, then it is an object for them to pay for coining it. They would not do it if it were not an object to them, and a sufficient object to them to induce them to pay what it costs for the coinage. It is clear to every man's mind that if the gold was worth as much before it was coined as after it was coined they would not go to the mint with it, and therefore the miners would be relieved from the burden; it would then be no benefit to them to have their gold coined. But it is a benefit, and they ask that the Government of the United States shall pay for that benefit which accrues to them. This is the position in which this matter stands before my mind and to my apprehension, and it certainly must be the position which it occupies to the country at large.---[and how do you feel about tax-free gold-bonds ?
Mr. Williams. I should like to ask the Senator a question, with his permission. Suppose all the miners, instead of taking their bullion to the mint, should export it to England; suppose the entire gold product of this country was exported to England; in what way, I ask the Senator, should we be supplied with a metallic currency ?
Mr. Howell. I suppose that if the course of trade would take the bullion to England or to any other country, the course of trade would take the gold coin to England or any other country, and we should get no advantage, after going to the expense of coining it, in supplying our people with a gold currency over what we should have if we were to leave it for Europe to supply us with that gold currency, in case the course and balance of trade were against us. Under such circumstances that would be the result if it were reduced down to that simple point; but it is not, as a general rule, reduced to that simple point. As a general rule these fluctuations of trade, going and coming, do keep up, except in the case of the suspension of specie payments, a flow, a flux, and reflux, of specie coin in the country; but it is impossible that we should keep it afloat in the country now under the situation that we are in of the suspension of specie payments.
I hold, then, that there is no ground in the fact of coining this money upon which an argument can be based that we are furnishing coin for the people of this country particularly or exclusively. If we were, there is no reason why the Government of the United States should be at the expense of doing this, rather than that the people who are benefited by it directly and specifically should pay for it. We are required under the Constitution, I believe, to encourage inventions and inventors, and authors by parent-rights and by copyrights. Does the Constitution require that we shall do that without making any charge upon the men who are benefited by our granting copyrights and patent-rights ? If so, then the whole course of our legislation in that respect is in direct conflict with the Constitution. I should like to know how the Senator from Ohio [Mr. Thurman] gets rid of that argument which he has applied to this case, when extended to patents and to copyrights, and to other things which the Government of the United States is required or expected to do in performance of its duty and its obligations to the people of the country ?
The Presiding Officer. The question is on concurring in the amendment to the twenty fifth section made as in Committee of the Whole.
The question being taken by yeas and nays, resulted--- yeas 23, nays 26; as follows:
Yeas--- Messrs. Ames, Anthony, Boreman, Buckingham, Cameron, Carpenter, Fenton, Hamilton of Texas, Hamlin, Harlan, Harris, Howell, Jewett, Morrill of Vermont, Patterson, Pool, Pratt, Ramsey, Scott, Sherman, Trumbull, Warner, and Willey --23.
Nays--- Messrs. Bayard [changed since yesterday], Brownlow [showed up to vote], Casserly, Cole, Roscoe Conkling, Corbett, Davis, Fowler, Gilbert [changed since yesterday], Hamilton of Maryland [showed up to vote], Johnston, Kellogg [showed up], McCreery, Morton, Nye, Rice, Saulsbury, Spencer [showed up], Stewart, Stockton, Sumner [showed up to vote], Thurman, Tipton, Vickers, Williams, and Wilson --26.
Absent--- Messrs. Abbott, Cattell, Chandler, Cragin, Edmunds, Ferry, Flanagan, Howard, Howe, Lewis, McDonald, Morrill of Maine, Osborn, Pomeroy, Revels, Robertson, Ross [voted no yesterday], Sawyer, Schurz, Sprague, Thayer, Windom, and Yates [voted no yesterday] --23.
Mr. Sumner. There is an amendment which I wish to suggest to my friend, the chairman of the committee, in section nineteen. As it reads now, the Mint is obliged upon one side of each of the coins to put an impression emblematic of Liberty, with an inscription of the word "Liberty." What I want to suggest to my friend is to strike out the requirement that there shall be an inscription of the word "Liberty." It seems to me that it is better to have simply a head emblematic of Liberty without writing upon that head the word. The Senate remember very well the story of antiquity, of the artist who was not very far advanced, who, after painting a horse, wrote under it, "This is a horse," and so of a lion, "This is a lion;" and it seems to me the requirement that on the head of Liberty there should be the word is too much according to that ancient precedent. I would therefore suggest that the words in lines four and five, "an inscription of the word 'Liberty,'" be struck out, so that we shall have the head of Liberty, and everybody shall be able to recognize it from its beauty.
Mr. Cole. I would inquire of my learned friend if there is any definite, distinct emblem of Liberty. I see it represented in several different forms or by several different heads or busts in this and other countries.
Mr. Sumner. I would say to my friend that I would leave that to our artists. It seems to me that our Mint calling on our artists might obtain a head that we should all gladly recognize as typical.
Mr. Cole. The one on the Capitol ?
Mr. Sumner. I doubt it.
Mr. Morton. I am greatly afraid that my friend from Massachusetts is progressing backward. He is already moving to strike out the word "liberty," [Laughter.]
The Presiding Officer. The amendment will be reported.
The Chief Clerk. It is proposed to strike out of lines four and five of section nineteen the words "with an inscription of the word 'liberty;'" so as to read:
Upon one side of each of said coins there shall be an impression emblematic of Liberty, and the year of the coinage.
The amendment was rejected.
The bill was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, and was read the third time.
Mr. Sherman. I should like to have a vote by yeas and nays on the passage of the bill.
The yeas, and nays were ordered; and being taken, resulted--- yeas 36, nays 14; as follows:
Yeas--- Messrs. Bayard, Boreman, Brownlow, Casserly, Cole, Roscoe Conkling, Corbett, Davis, Gilbert, Hamlin [voted yes], Harlan [voted yes], Jewett [voted yes], Johnston, Kellogg, McCreery, Morton, Nye, Patterson [voted yes], Pomeroy, Pool [voted yes], Ramsey [voted yes], Rice, Saulsbury, Spencer, Stewart, Stockton, Sumner, Thurman, Tipton, Trumbull, Vickers, Warner [voted yes], Willey [voted yes], Williams, Wilson, and Yates --36.
Nays--- Messrs. Abbott, Ames, Anthony, Buckingham, Carpenter, Chandler, Fenton, Hamilton of Texas, Harris, Howell, Morrill of Vermont, Pratt, Scott, and Sherman --14.
~~~[without the coinage charge, Sherman voted against his own bill which he introduced twice and nursed along the way]
Absent--- Messrs. Cameron, Cattell, Cragin, Edmunds, Ferry, Flanagan, Fowler, Hamilton of Maryland, Howard, Howe, Lewis, McDonald, Morrill of Maine, Osborn, Revels, Robertson, Ross, Sawyer, Schurz, Sprague, Thayer, and Windom --23.
So the bill was passed.
S. 859 as it passed the Senate
An Act, Revising the laws relative to the mints, assay offices, and coinage of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Mint of the United States is hereby established as a bureau of the Treasury Department, embracing in its organization and under its control all mints for the manufacture of coin, or assay offices for the stamping of bars, which are now, or which may be hereafter, authorized by law. The chief officer of the said bureau shall be denominated the Director of the Mint of the United States, and shall be under the general direction of the Secretary of the Treasury. He shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall hold his office for the term of five years, unless sooner removed by the President, upon reasons to be communicated by him to the Senate.
Sec. 14. And be it further enacted, That of the gold coins, the weight of the double eagle, or twenty-dollar piece, shall be five hundred and sixteen grains; that of the eagle, or ten-dollar piece, two hundred and fifty-eight grains; that of the half-eagle, or five-dollar piece, one hundred and twenty-nine grains; that of the quarter eagle, or piece of two and one-half dollars, sixty-four and one-half grains; that of the three-dollar piece, seventy-seven and four-tenths grains; that of the one-dollar piece, or unit of value, twenty-five and eight-tenths grains; and these coins shall be a legal tender in all payments.
Sec. 15. And be it further enacted, That of the silver coins, the weight of the half dollar, or piece of fifty cents, shall be one hundred and ninety-two grains; and that of the quarter dollar and dime, shall be, respectively, one-half and one-fifth of the weight of said half dollars; that the silver coin issued in conformity with the above section shall be a legal tender in any one payment of debts for all sums less than one dollar.
Sec. 16. And be it further enacted, That the standard for minor coinage shall be an alloy of copper and nickel, to be composed of three-fourths copper and one-fourth nickel.
Sec. 17. And be it further enacted, That of the copper-nickel coinage the weight of the piece of five cents shall be five grams, or seventy-seven and sixteen-hundredths grains troy; that of the three-cent piece three grams, or forty-six and thirty-hundredths grains; and of the one-cent piece, one and one-half grams, or twenty-three and fifteen-hundredths grains, which coins shall be a legal tender in any one payment to the amount of fifteen cents.
Sec. 18. And be it further enacted, That no coins, either of gold, silver, or minor coinage, shall hereafter be issued from the mint other than those of the denominations, standards, and weights herein set forth.---[which, combined with section 15, is the demonetization/elimination of the $1 silver coin; and Mr. Stewart, the great silver senator, and all other hard-money senators, voted for this]
Sec. 19. And be it further enacted, That upon the coins of the United States there shall be the following devices and legends: Upon one side of each of said coins there shall be an impression emblematic of liberty, with an inscription of the word "Liberty," and the year of the coinage; and upon the reverse of each coin there shall be the figure or representation of an eagle, with the inscriptions "United States of America" and "E Pluribus Unum," and a designation of the value of the coin; but on the reverse of the gold dollar and three-dollar piece, the dime, five, three, and one cent piece, the figure of the eagle shall be omitted; and the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, may cause the motto, "In God we trust," to be placed on such coins as shall admit of such legend.
Sec. 25. And be it further enacted, That the only charge on deposits of bullion for coin, bars, or disks shall be as follows: For refining, when the bullion is below standard; for toughening, when metals are contained in it which render it unfit for coinage; for copper used for alloy, when the bullion is above standard; for silver introduced into the alloy of gold; for separating the gold and silver, when these metals exist together in the bullion; for the preparation of bars or disks. And the rate of these charges shall be fixed, from time to time, by the Director, with the concurrence of the Secretary of the Treasury, so as to equal but not to exceed, in their judgment, the actual average expense to each mint of the material and labor employed in each of the cases aforementioned.
Sec. 30. And be it further enacted, That in order to procure the metal for the minor coinage of copper-nickel authorized by this act, a sum not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars in lawful money of the United States shall be deposited by the Secretary of the Treasury with the superintendent of the mint at Philadelphia, at which establishment only, until otherwise provided by law, such minor coinage shall be carried on. With this fund the superintendent shall, with the approval of the Director, as to price, terms, and quantity, purchase the metals required for such coinage. The gain arising from the coinage of such metals into coin of a nominal value, exceeding the cost thereof, shall be credited to the special fund denominated the minor coinage profit fund. This fund shall be charged with the wastage incurred in such coinage, and with the expenses of distributing said coins as hereinafter provided. The balance to the credit of this fund, and any balance of profits accrued from minor coinage under former acts, shall be, from time to time, and at least twice a year, paid into the Treasury of the United States.
Sec. 71. And be it further enacted, That this act may be cited as the "coinage act, eighteen hundred and seventy-one;" and all other acts and parts of acts pertaining to the mints, assay offices, and coinage of the United States are hereby repealed: Provided, That this act shall not be construed to affect any act done, right accrued, or penalty incurred, under former acts, but every such right is hereby saved; and all suits and prosecutions for acts already done in violation of any former act or acts of Congress relating to the subjects embraced in this act may be commenced or proceeded with in like manner as if this act had not been passed; and all penal clauses and provisions in existing laws relating to the subjects embraced in this act shall be deemed applicable thereto.
Passed the Senate January 10, 1871.
Attest: Geo. C. Gorham, Secretary.
By W.J. McDonald, Chief Clerk.