Primary tabs


Comments on Secretary Carlisle's Chicago Speech.

(Note. — In April, 1896, Secretary Carlisle came to Chicago and delivered a speech at the Auditorium for the purpose of securing the support of the western democracy for the gold standard. The Associated Press asked for an article on this speech, and the following was given out:)

You ask me for 1,000 words on Mr. Carlisle's speech. As Carlisle's speech contained nearly 10,000 words, but little of it can be noticed in 1,000 words.


A teacher should be willing to answer questions. At the close of Mr. Carlisle's speech a number of gentlemen arose and asked for further information, but he turned his back and slipped off the stage, and by direction of his managers the questioners were hustled out by policemen. He could have made himself very interesting on a number of points which he persistently ignored. In 1878, when discussing the money question in Congress, he expressed his convictions in the following language:

"I shall not enter into an examination of the causes which have combined to depreciate the relative value of silver and to appreciate the value of gold since 1873, but I am one of those who believe that they are transient and temporary in their nature, and that when they have passed away or have been removed by the separate or united actions of the nations most deeply interested in the subject, the old ratio of actual and relative value will be re-established on a firmer foundation than ever. I know that the world's stock of precious metals is none too large, and I see no reason to apprehend that it will ever become so. Mankind will be fortunate indeed if the annual production of gold and silver coin shall keep pace with the annual increase of population, commerce and industry. According to my view of the subject, the conspiracy which seems to have been formed here and in Europe to destroy by legislation and otherwise from three-sevenths to one-half the metallic money of the world is the most gigantic crime of this or any other age.


"The consummation of such a scheme would ultimately entail more misery on the human race than all the wars, pestilence and famine that ever occurred in the history of the world. The absolute and instantaneous destruction of half the movable property of the world, including horses, ships, railroads and all other appliances for carrying on commerce, while it would be felt more sensibly at the moment, would not produce anything like the prolonged distress and disorganization of society that must inevitably result from the permanent annihilation of one-half of the metallic money of the world."

It will be seen that this language is clear and emphatic, and has none of the sophistry and pettifogging about it that are found in his Chicago speech. His awful predictions made in 1878 came to pass. He not only saw his own prophecy fulfilled, but he saw the misery of his country become even greater than he had predicted. Finding that his views had been correct, he continued to hold them until he entered Mr. Cleveland's cabinet, when in some mysterious manner there was a change of heart, but for some reason he seems unwilling to talk


about it. There are two other members of the cabinet, Hoke Smith, of Georgia, and Herbert, of Alabama, who like Carlisle had made their voices heard for nearly a lifetime in demanding the restoration of silver, and in denouncing the great conspiracy that struck it down; and strange to say, when these two men entered Mr. Cleveland's cabinet they underwent a change of heart, and like Carlisle they avoid talking about it. When Saul of Tarsus saw a great light and changed his views, he was anxious to tell all the world about it; but these three statesmen seem to be ashamed to discuss the manner of their conversion. Why did not Carlisle throw a little light on this question?

Second. All of these men now denounce those people who are opposed to the single gold standard as being scoundrels and lunatics. Yet they are only following the doctrines which Carlisle & Co. preached. Are we then to infer that Mr. Carlisle and his two cabinet associates were scoundrels and lunatics until they got to be old men, and that then the tinsel of a cabinet position not only made them honest, but gave them brains? If not, then how are we to know which end of their career was honest, intelligent and patriotic? For in the absence of any explanation some of us might think that they were honest and patriotic when in the vigor of their manhood they were standing by a wronged people, and that it is the latter end of their career that is destitute of honesty, intelligence or patriotism. Carlisle should have told us.

Third. Mr. Carlisle should have explained why it was that for 200 years gold and silver held the market ratio of about 15 ˝ to 1. The ratio fixed by law was 15 to 1 in some countries, 15 ˝ to 1 in most countries, and for a while 16 to 1 in our country. In other words, the market ratio as shown by the tables remained practically the same as the statutory ratio during all that time. If the two metals cannot stand together, how does it happen that they did so without serious fluctuation for 200 years, notwithstanding the fact that the annual production of each metal varied greatly from time to time?

Fourth. If only one of the metals can be a standard and a measure of the value of things, and if a combined standard of both gold and silver is as impossible as it is to have two yardsticks of different lengths, why was it that some of the greatest financiers of the world, and particularly Baron Rothschild, stated in 1869 that it was the sum of the two metals taken together which formed the measure of the value of things? No matter which metal might for a time predominate, nevertheless the sum of the two taken together was the measure of the value of all property.

Fifth. Mr. Carlisle should have explained why it was that in every


country where silver was stricken down, it was done by the arbitrary act of government, and that neither commerce nor business had anything to do with it. If the same countries had stricken down gold by law and destroyed it for monetary uses and made silver the sole standard, would not silver have gone up and gold down in purchasing power?

Sixth. It is a fundamental law, recognized by all gold standard financiers, except recent converts, that when the volume of money in the world is reduced, the selling price of all property and commodities goes down correspondingly. Therefore, the wiping out by law of nearly half the money of the world reduced the selling prices of commodities proportionately? And inasmuch as the debts were not reduced, as interest was not reduced, and as taxes were not reduced, does not Mr. Carlisle think even now, just as he did in 1878, that a great crime was committed against the entire debtor class and against the producing class by bringing about a condition of affairs by law which compelled the debtor, the producer, and the laborer to sell twice as much property or labor as were formerly necessary to get the same amount of money?

Seventh. If prices are so reduced that it takes everything the debtor can get together to pay his fixed charges, and everything the laborer can get together to buy a little coarse clothing and plain food for his family, can either the debtor or the laborer spend much money buying other articles? And if he cannot, then must that not result in the destruction of what we once called our great home market? If this is destroyed, so that our great factories and industries are unable to dispose of their productions, must they not shut down and throw labor out of employment? Is not that exactly what has happened in this country?

Eighth. As the laborer prospers most when there is a large demand for the articles he creates, does it not necessarily follow that until there is a rise in prices, so that the debtor class and the producing class can again do large miscellaneous buying, there is no hope for the laborer?

Ninth. As there cannot be a general rise in prices without an increase in the volume of money, must not the present paralysis and stagnation continue in the world until the volume of money is again restored to what it was before silver was stricken down?

Tenth. There are in the United States over 9,000 banks, including national, State and private. The comptroller of the currency, one of Mr. Carlisle's assistants, received reports from these banks showing the total amount of money of every kind that each bank


had on July 11, 1895. From this report it appears that there were in round numbers only $127,000,000 of gold in all of the banks of the United States. This was all of the available gold in this country. There were about $100,000,000 in the treasury at that time, but this is not available. Mr. Carlisle did not refer to these figures, which are known to be accurate. But instead, he cited the figures given out by the director of the mint; also one of his assistants, in which it is claimed that there are about $600,000,000 of gold in this country. Mr. Carlisle must know that these figures are incorrect, and that the tables given out by the director of the mint are worthless because it appears from his report for 1892 that he assumes that every dollar put in circulation in this country since 1872 is still in circulation, except where a record was made of its exportation, and that he has made no allowance for the money that was carried over the northern boundary and our southern boundary for twenty-four years, nor for the money carried back by Chinese during that time, nor for gold coin used in the arts and not reported during that time, nor for all that was lost, nor for all that was carried across the ocean in the pockets of our people during all those years. Yet the director says in his report for 1891 that during the Paris Exposition the total sum spent by our people abroad in one year was over $90,000,000. Why does Mr. Carlisle use figures that he knows are incorrect and are manifestly given out only for the purpose of misleading the American people on the question as to the amount of money they have in circulation?

Eleventh. A year ago Mr. Cleveland sent for his former law partner and close friend, and through him Cleveland and Carlisle together made a secret contract with another friend who was a former client of Cleveland's, by which that friend and his associate speculators were enabled to make over ten million dollars out of the government in a few weeks on a small bond transaction. And the reason given for this extraordinary and even criminal procedure was that the speculators had agreed to protect the government against the gold raids until the following November. That is, the wealthiest, the most enterprising, most powerful, most industrious and thrifty nation on the globe paid tribute to a small band of speculators for protection. And when the month of November arrived these speculators withdrew their protection, and then the government proceeded to issue another $100,000,000 of bonds, thus increasing the burdens of our people. Now, Mr. Carlisle might have expatiated on this, and pointed out to the American people the lofty character of the statesmanship involved in these transactions; for strange to say, many of our intelligent people


are utterly unable to comprehend it. While Mr. Carlisle does not seem to have been a success in the capacity of bunco steerer among the laboring men of Chicago, there are many points upon which he could be very interesting, and I would suggest that they bring him back and let him talk about makers in which he is at home.