Spurned the Endorsement of Gold Standard Men.
(Note. — In April, 1896, the gold standard Democrats held a meeting and endorsed the then existing State administration and the re-election of the Governor. In answer to this the following interview was given out:)
Springfield, Ill., April 19, 1896. — Governor Altgeld was asked tonight to say something in regard to his endorsement as a candidate for re-election by "sound money" Democrats at Chicago last Friday night. In answer he said:
"On the part of some of these gentlemen this was honestly meant, and I feel obliged to them, but on the part of others it was simply a sly move to mislead my friends. There are a few men in Chicago who have undertaken to help the bond jobbing Federal administration to make Illinois tamely submit to the single gold standard and thus perpetuate the paralysis, distress and suffering that exist in our country, in order that the process of fattening Eastern vampires on the life blood of the land may not be interrupted. Some of the men who met on Friday night, while disliking me, are anxious to get my friends to assist in this unholy scheme, and their vote was a kind of a blind. But it will not work. None of my true friends will be deceived by this. As I am not a candidate for Governor or any other position, I do not want the indorsement of anybody. Even were I a candidate and were I anxious to be elected, I would not for a hundred Governorships stifle my convictions on so momentous a question as that which lies at the bottom of our miseries.
"The idea that prosperity can be restored to the world with only half the money that was formerly needed to do the world's business is too absurd to be seriously discussed, especially when it is remembered that taxes, interest, the great debts, and other fixed charges have not been diminished. Consequently, a continuation of low prices means the absolute destruction of the purchasing power of the entire debtor class. This first reduces the volume of business, then forces
537the shutting down of factories, and, by destroying the market lor labor, soon destroys the purchasing power of the entire laboring class and fills the land with distress.
"None of the sophists hired to maintain the gold standard has yet told the laborers how they can get the valuable gold they talk about. The laborer can prosper only when there is a demand for his labor.
"The gold dollar, by reducing prices, while all fixed charges remain the same, destroyed the purchasing power of the country, and thus destroyed the market for the only thing the laborer had to sell; that is, his labor. Until this purchasing power is restored, there can be no great demand for labor, and this purchasing power of the country, especially of the debtor classes, can be restored only by a rise in the selling price of things, and this can come only through an increase in the volume of money. The continuation of the single gold standard means the permanent degradation of the great toiling and producing masses of this country, and I shall do what little I can to prevent this. I shall do what I can to restore the free coinage of gold and silver exactly as it stood when a Republican Congress corruptly struck down silver. This restoration once made, if the subject needs legislation, it can be had; but the first duty of Americans is to right the great wrong, and I ask all my friends to do what they can to bring this about. We have been led off the correct road into desolation, and the first thing to do is to get back to the highway. Once again there, if it is necessary to mend harness or wagon, we can do it."