Primary tabs


Greenbacks, Money and Labor. Hard Times, Their Cause & Remedy.

By Hon. Moses W. Field.

Twelve years ago we had universal activity and comfort; now we have general stagnation, idleness and poverty. — A country rich in resources, blessed by bounteous nature, but blasted by strangling alliances.


I profess to have been a workingman through a long life, with all my sympathies enlisted in a course of efforts intended to elevate and better the condition of workingmen. I have felt an especial sympathy with those who, with their best efforts, find life a perpetual struggle, and that for a bare subsistence. In view of the wants and the sufferings of so large a number, I ask myself why is it that so many, who are anxiously laboring for happiness and prosperity are now suffering all forms of poverty and want, and this in a country where God has spread out broad fields, ever ready to yield to a course of well directed efforts "all that is good for food, and pleasant to the eye, and calculated to make us wise." — PETER COOPER.

The national banking system is a system so utterly villianous and oppressive that a full and faithful statement as to it would not be credited by the people, no matter by how respectable authority it should be made. — BOB INGERSOLL.

The Five-Twenty Bonds.

"When the bill was on its final passage, the question was expressly asked of the Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, and as expressly answered by him, that only the interest was payable in coin." — THADDEUS STEVENS.

If the bond-holder refuses to take the same kind of money with which he bought the bonds, he is an extortioner and a repudiator. — JOHN SHERMAN.

We should do foul injustice to the Government and to the people of the United States, after we have sold these bonds estimated in gold coin, on an average for not more than sixty cents on the dollar now to propose to make a new contract for the benefit of the holders. — O. P. MORTON.

Americans are said to be an inquiring people, and it is true that investigation is instituted here generally upon every subject except the financial question, which, in importance and magnitude, overrides all others. The "times are hard" is the opinion of every observer, and yet no inquiry is instituted with the view to ascertain the cause and point out and apply a remedy. Congress has raised a commission of inquiry in regard to the grasshoppers now devouring the crops of some of our western farmers, but nothing has been done by it with a view to ascertain the cause of the paralysis, depression and stagnation now existing in every branch of industry and business throughout the land. The laborers of our country are being devoured by a vicious and merciless financial system and yet no effort is made to rescue a stricken and suffering people from the dire calamities which have befallen them, through the operation of iniquitous and villainous legislation.


I know it is held out by certain designing persons that these hard times or great wrongs are "providential" — that "they are the mysterious workings of the providence of God;" that "all these evils are controlled by His power and goodness;" but I am convinced that thorough investigation and careful examination will convince any candid, disinterested mind that the poverty and distress now prevailing are the direct and certain consequences of unjust and wicked laws relating to the finances of the nation. The task of the hour will be to ascertain the cause of the people's woes, and, further, to point out a remedy which, when applied, will restore prosperity, establish justice and enable the people in a workingmen's country to enjoy the blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


Twelve years ago we had a prosperous country. At that time farmers were doing well and obtaining fair prices for farm produce. Merchants were thriving, selling goods mainly for cash on the spot, the credit system — the curse of industry and commerce — being rapidly and conveniently abandoned. Vessel men, lumbermen, miners, manufacturers,


mechanics, artizans and all the laborers of the land were prosperous; all getting steady employment and fair compensation for labor — the foundation for prosperity and the direct road to wealth. At that time there was more money in circulation, more labor performed, and this country was more prosperous than at any other time during the existence of the Republic.

At that time we were doing five days' labor where we are now doing one, and yet there was no glut in the markets, no accumulation of productions, nor was there a single tramp in the land. Our manufacturers were receiving orders far in advance of their ability to produce. Mechanics found employment, and, with plenty of money, they could conveniently buy the necessities, if not some of the luxuries of life. With employment and good wages, they were able to consume the products of others' labor. There was consumption and happiness in the land then, but to-day we are afflicted by "underconsumption" and death because the people are kept in enforced idleness. They have been robbed of their employments; hence they cannot consume productions, and the country suffers, particularly the industrial and wealth-producing classes.


I have described the condition of affairs twelve years ago, and now let us contrast that period with our condition to-day. We look over a broken-down and stricken country, our industries are paralyzed, business of all kinds stagnant and unprofitable; the miners have been obliged to crawl up out of the mines. "Quit work" is the general order of the day. Half of our furnaces stand cold and dark as night; of our rolling mills more than one-half are idle; the wheels of machinery in all the great factories are silent as the tomb, and merchants are breaking down and are swept into bankruptcy by the hundreds and thousands. Half of our vessels are tied up to the wharves to rot, — the men and the women who would be glad of the opportunity to earn their bread by the sweat of their faces, are to-day kept in enforced idleness. Men travel around from town to town and from state to state, begging for an opportunity by labor to earn the means for the support of their wives, their children and themselves. The poor crowd the soup-houses of our cities, and the country is invaded by an army of tramps. The people are afflicted indeed with hard times sorely pressing upon all. There are only three occupations that are profitable at the present time — the money-lender, the pawnbroker and the scourer of old clothes are doing a thrifty business. In this condition of general suffering the people ask: "What shall we do to be saved?" They cry out for bread, and the decrepit old politicians, the empty-hearted wretches, instead of giving them bread, are throwing great stones in their pathways, and flaunting bloody shirts in their faces. I return to the question,


The people should know how to get out of all these difficulties. Surely this condition of affairs was not brought about by the act of God! We have not been afflicted by war, pestilence or famine, nor have earthquakes swallowed up any of the states. The Creator has done everything for our country. Here we have mines producing all the minerals; a great variety in climate and soil. Possessing all these natural resources, calculated to make us the freest, the most independent and the wealthiest people on the planet earth, and yet, notwithstanding all these favorable conditions, our industries to-day have the lock-jaw and the people have the cramps. Now, there must be some great and active cause to produce such widespread adversity.


What explanation has the press to offer, and what have the bullionists to say? Why, they say that all our troubles have been brought about from three causes; First, the extravagance of the people; second, over-production and the use of machinery; and third, greenback money for a circulating medium. And they suggest the following remedies: First, great frugality in living, which means sour milk and cabbage diet for the masses; second, the stoppage of production, which means an increase of poverty and crime; third, the contraction and utter destruction of the greenback money and the substitution of national bank bills (not a legal tender), which means universal bankruptcy and ruin to the industrial class. Now I propose to examine briefly their views. It appears to me plain that if people can afford to be extravagant, if individuals happen to be rich, the more expenditures they indulge in the better it is for the laborers of the country. They will then employ the people, consume the productions of their labor, and in this way scatter a little of their accumulation and shed blessings and prosperity on all around them.


There may be a few extravagant people in the country, but ninety-nine men out of every hundred are too poor to indulge in extravagant living. About half the population of the country is composed of tillers of the soil, and any one raised upon a farm knows that farmers as a class are the most frugal and industrious people in the country. Why, just look at the habits of farmers — rising at five o'clock in the morning, doing their chores before breakfast, working hard all day, milking the cows after dark, saying their prayers, and then to bed, and, after a whole year of the hardest toil, a


farmer counts up barely sufficient, after paying his taxes and debts, to do a little toward the education of his children. The farmer works hard for all he possesses, and when he parts with his money it is expended with great care. Now, the laboring classes compose nineteen-twentieths of the population. Are they extravagant? Take a workingman who earns a dollar a day, for instance, or suppose he is obliged to work for his board, how extravagant can a man be who works for his board or a dollar, or even two dollars a day? Besides, these laboring men raise all the children; rich men rarely have any children; you will find nearly every poor workingman has a wife and four or five children on his hands. While referring to this fact in Sanilac recently, I was interrupted by a laboring man, who stated that he was working for a dollar a day, and had seventeen children to support. To this whole charge of extravagance and fast living upon the industrial classes, extravagance charged upon the plain people of the country is a mean libel on the great majority of the people who by labor have produced all the wealth of the land.


Then as to the question of "over-production." Any school boy knows that production is wealth. Labor produces all our wealth; and by labor and toil productions are accumulated, and the more productions are augmented, the wealthier the country grows. To say that we have produced too much is, in effect, insisting that we have done too much work, have worked too hard, and now, in order to restore prosperity, it is insisted that we must fold our arms, discharge the workers, stop the machinery, keep the producers of wealth idle, and reduce the masses to pauperism and starvation, and by pursuing this destructive course long enough, we shall become wealthy and prosperous. "Angels and ministers of grace defend us!" As production is wealth, the more our laborers are employed, the more wealth will be created. But notwithstanding this plain truth, there are men shallow enough to insist upon this foolish notion that by stopping work, reducing labor, discharging all the workers, and through idleness drive them to poverty — so very poor that they may starve — that some day or other, that by-and-bye, through this process of extreme poverty and despair, we, as a people, may become so rich that we shall be able to pay our debts. And while we admit that the employment of machinery and labor-saving inventions have greatly augmented productions, yet they have not, nor will they ever, keep pace with the increasing wants and demands of advancing civilization. The higher the civilization of a people, the more it develops new and increasing wants and desires, and to this there is no limit. The wants of a savage can be counted on the fingers of your hand, while it would require a lifetime to enumerate the needs and desires of the highly educated, the refined and accomplished gentleman in the far-off and better era of civilization.


And now, with reference to the contraction of the Greenback currency, and the substitution of the National bank bills, as no one has ever pretended to explain how the scheme could operate beneficently, or have any remote tendency to restore prosperity and good times, I do not deem it worth while to occupy space upon this point, as it must appear plain to every candid person that, instead of a blessing to the country, the measure, if carried out, will still further augment the evils under which we are now suffering.

And now, having referred to the flat and stupid theories advanced by the bullionists and specie resumptionists, I will endeavor to give you a philosophical explanation of the causes which have produced the hard times, and suggest the remedies which in my judgment will relieve the country, restore prosperity to our industries, and revive business generally.


The present condition of affairs has been brought about by the unparalleled contraction of our legal tender currency, and through numerous baneful acts of Congress passed by the votes of bankers and bondholders, to enrich and aggrandize themselves by impoverishing, pauperizing and enslaving the people of the country. During the past twelve years our currency has been contracted over $1,300,000,000, and when I refer to the volume of the currency twelve years ago, I include greenbacks, the one year treasury notes, the two and three year treasury notes, the certificates of indebtedness, three per cents, national bank bills, and the various issues of legal tender and circulating medium, including compound interest notes, amounting altogether on the first day of September, 1865, to over $2,100,000,000.


On the advice of Hugh McCulloch (now a banker in London, England), Congress twelve years ago directed a contraction of the currency, and within two years and a half from that time, the amount withdrawn from circulation — contracted — was $686,000,000, as reported by the Secretary of the Treasury in December, 1867. Congress authorized the issue of gold interest-bearing bonds in exchange for or to raise the means to contract and curtail the circulating medium of the realm. It provided for the inflation and wild expansion of coin bonds in order to reduce the currency which at that time was in


the hands of the people, affecting their exchanges, stimulating industries and making us the most prosperous nation on the face of the globe. The squeezing process of contraction was continued until a currency famine was produced, culminating in the great panic of September, 1873, and the bankruptcy and ruin now existing, are the legitimate and bitter fruit of this baneful policy inaugurated by McCulloch. Contraction has always in every country resulted in like disastrous consequences. History proves this, and our sad experience is sufficient to give us a clear understanding of the subject.


The contraction in England during the five years preceding the resumption of coin payments in May, 1823, was only $102,180,160, and yet that insignificant reduction in the circulating medium convulsed the industries and commerce of the kingdom, resulting in the panic of 1825; a panic which ruined the miners, merchants, manufacturers, and others engaged in useful pursuits, and the workingmen, driven to despair, assembling to demand bread, were fired upon in the streets by the soldiers of the king. If such were the consequences in England on a reduction of the currency to the limited amount stated, we should not be surprised at the ruinous consequences of a contraction ten-fold greater in our own country. The discharge of laborers, who if employed would have created wealth, and the shrinkage in the value of property since the panic of 1873 in the aggregate cannot be estimated at less than $7,000,000,000; more than three times the amount of the national debt. As labor creates wealth, the actual loss to the country by the idleness of even 3,000,000 of laborers reaches a fabulous sum even in a single year.


Now currency or money, although not a natural production, yet it is an element in production. Labor produces, but after the commodities are produced then to facilitate distribution and exchange a necessity immediately arises for the use of the instrument of exchange or tool of trade called money or currency. Barbarians do not so much require it, as they can get along very well with barter. If a cannibal desires to buy anything valuable he can trade off his wife, and when hungry he can knock down a weaker fellow and in that way get his mutton chops, but in all civilized, enlightened communities currency is an absolute necessity. You can not settle your taxes with pigs and calves, nor can you pay your debts in saw-logs and iron blooms.


Money for the uses of society is like the blood in the body of animals, there should be enough for health and it ought to circulate. When blood from any cause is driven to the heart, life is endangered, and it is equally dangerous, if not disastrous to industry and business, when the circulating medium, the lifeblood of commerce, is driven to or locked up in Wall street. It should circulate and perform its uses in the distribution of products, and thus strengthen and emancipate industries, and prosper the general business interests of the country. For illustration: I have a neighbor who appears to be in perfect health, yet if you draw out of this man a quart of blood every day for a week or more, most likely he would tumble over on the floor and die; and for the same reason, on account of the contraction or blood-letting process upon currency — the life-blood of commerce — during the past twelve years, our industries are paralyzed and the business of the country remains stagnant, lifeless and unprofitable. There is no hidden mystery about this matter of money whatever. The whole question is as plain as the nose on a man's face. Some persons in their ignorance have a notion that money is of divine origin. Others express the idea that money regulates itself, while in fact it is wholly regulated by law. The laws or the edict of the crown determines what shall be a legal tender for the people of each nation. Money is made and unmade by law. We find twenty-one acts of Congress relating to money, reducing the value of coins at times, while creating new coins and demonetizing them at other times.


For sixty years foreign coins were by act of Congress made a legal tender, and our fractional silver coins were by law a legal tender without limitations until 1853, when the law was modified, reducing their legal tender quality to sums of $5. The silver dollar continued legal tender without limit until February 12, 1873, when its coinage was thereafter interdicted by Act of Congress. It should be borne in mind, too, that money is purely a national institution. There is no such thing as God's money, or cosmopolitan money.


Money is manufactured by nations in pursuance of law or by edicts of the crown. Individuals cannot manufacture it, and as its manufacture is a perogative of sovereignty, the question arises — shall "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people," cause its manufacture and circulation in volume commensurate with the wants of industry and the demands of trade, or shall this government limit, restrict and contract the circulating medium so as to secure such a scarcity of money that industries shall perish, the laborers thrust into idleness, and the pursuit of money-lending


remain the only profitable business of the country. The volume of the currency under the law of supply and demand fixes the rate of interest, usance or rent for the use of money. The amount of greenbacks and national bank bills now in circulation will not exceed $700,000,000, and we find that the rates of interest now current in the United States will average ten per cent. per annum, and in some places in the South and West the rates prevailing will reach 2 per cent. per month.


Now should Congress see fit to contract the currency — and the whole matter is in its and the Executive's power — suppose Congress and the Executive should by law contract the circulating medium, so that the amount outstanding should not exceed $50,000,000, what would be the effect on the rates of interest? Why, instead of two per cent. per month, our Shylock would be able, on account of the great scarcity of money, to extort for its use at least two per cent. a minute. I know it is not likely that such action will happen in the near future, yet the whole question of regulating the currency rests with Congress and the Executive. The only safeguard the people possess at the present time against such action is to be found in the fact that there is a conservative and cautious element among the banking and bondholding fraternity in Congress, which would be apt to counsel — "Not on the feast-day, lest there be an uproar among the people."


The industrial classes — the producers of wealth — do not increase the nation's wealth to exceed three per cent. per annum, and in view of this fact I submit that it is inequitable and unjust to so contract by law the instrument of business that, on account of scarcity, the money lenders are able to obtain for its rent or use five times more than our laborers can earn in useful industry. Here is a striking inequality and wrong. You cannot rent a farm with the expectation of getting more than about three per cent. rent per annum upon its valuation, yet the laws of your country so reduce the volume of the indispensable circulating medium — the instrument to pay taxes and debts — as to enable the few money lending pets of Congress on their means to draw out of producers rent or usance more than five times above what the industrial and wealth producing classes, by the hardest labor, can earn. Inasmuch as the making and issuing of currency is a governmental function, and as Gladstone says, "one of the highest perogatives of the crown," I take the ground that in a workingman' s country it should be issued by paying off Government officers, and in the construction of necessary public works, to the end that the volume of circulation may be equal to business requirements, so abundant that the current rates of interest shall not exceed three per cent. per annum, the highest annual increase of wealth which all the laborers and producers of the land have been able to accomplish during the past history of our country. There cannot be too much legal tender money in circulation, the more the better. Bank bills, not being legal tender, should not be permitted to circulate at all, but Government bills made a legal tender, and gold and silver coins made a full legal tender and without limitation, cannot be too abundant for the prosperity of the working classes, because the largest circulation assures greater production and the highest compensation for labor. A paternal government should regulate the rate of interest that justice be established, and that all the inhabitants may have a fair and equal chance in the race of life.


I need not refer to the absorbing power of interests further than relate the experience of two men who quit Jefferson Co., New York, in 1825, and settled in Wayne Co., Michigan. They were brothers, and each possessed $1,000. One, named Workhard, seeing a good tract of land, bought 320 acres from the Government, married, built a log house and a log barn, bought a cow, a few pigs, a yoke of oxen, and such utensils, plows, etc., required for clearing up, improving and cultivating a farm. These disbursements absorbed all his money. He went to chopping down the great trees, logging and fencing, and soon had growing crops upon the fertile soil. He succeeded very well, being a practical, hardworking man, and his wife did not fail to perform her part as helpmate in the work devolving upon them. After 52 years of toil, last Christmas Workhard found that he was so disabled by age that he could work no longer, and as all his children were married and scattered, he concluded to sell his farm and rest for the few remaining days of life in this world. He sold his farm, now all improved, for $16,000, being $50 per acre, and felt contented and happy that he could now take a little ease in his old age.

On New Year's his brother, whose name is Shylock, made him a visit, when Workhard related what had happened, and expressed great joy that he had been able to accumulate so handsome a competency for the support of his wife and himself in their declining years.

Shylock listened with great attention, and at the conclusion said:

"Well, Workhard, it is true you have done very well, but after all you have not succeeded on your $1,000 as well as I have on mine."

Workhard then remarked that it was singular he could fall behind while he had performed more hard labor than his brother, had lived frugally, and raised


his children as economically as desirable, in view of the importance of securing for each the benefit of a good education. He then expressed a desire for an explanation from his brother.

Shylock replied that instead of marrying he had lived single and had, in this regard, saved considerable expense, and further, instead of buying land and working like a slave upon a farm, he had kept his $1,000 and the avails loaned out, all the time drawing 10 per cent. interest, payable semi-annually, and in this way that $1,000 had earned for him $160,000, which he had now deposited in a bank and invested in National Bank stock.

Workhard was dumbfounded and after Shylock's departure, he proceeded to make the computation, and soon ascertained that in this case 10 per cent. interest had accumulated in 52 years ten times more than he, by labor, had earned.

Here we find the farmer, the producer, with his means and labor, earning not to exceed three per cent. per annum, while the money lender, the non-producer, with his means, without labor, but protected and shielded by the laws of our country, is able to glean ten per cent. per annum. Now what I complain of is this, that inasmuch as the manufacture and supply of the circulating medium is exclusively a governmental function, it should be manufactured and supplied in such volume as to keep interest at an equitable rate, so as to establish equality, fraternity and justice between labor and capital.


An enquiry as to who demanded the contraction of our currency will throw a great deal of interesting and instructive light upon the subject.

It appears that the scheme was not urged by the industrial and business interests of the country, but by the money kings of Wall street and Europe; and Congress, composed largely of the same class, has been active in carrying out such measures as had received the approval of the Rothschilds, the Belmonts, and the Barings. During the past twelve years, banks and bondholders have had a clear majority in your National Legislature, and they have exercised their power to secure the passage of all measures calculated to promote the interests and speculations of the money monarchs of this country and of Europe.


These bankers have exercised their power in Congress to control our currency for the benefit of the creditor and money-lending class. Their trade and occupation is that of lending money, and they enjoy better profits and larger incomes when, by reason of the great scarcity of the currency, they are able to extort from business men higher rates of interest for its use. They seem to desire in their avarice and love of power, to so limit and contract it for their own selfish ends; they desire to so curtail our greenback circulation, that a ring composed of the money kings may step into Wall street and corner the whole of it at any time, and thus at their capricious will exercise the power to crush the industries and useful occupations of the country whenever they choose to effect a windfall for themselves. "Oh! ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"


I have no unkind word for bankers, for in candor I have naught against them as a class, but I denounce that atrocious system of currency and finance which makes it possible for money lenders to fleece yearly the producers of wealth, by exorbitant interest, out of the entire earnings of their labor; and I denounce the bankers and bondholders in Congress who have conspired against the people in passing oppressive laws relating to currency and bonds — laws which in their cruel operation have crushed and driven into slavery millions of my countrymen. A condition of dependence and helplessness is slavery, and we have more persons in that condition to-day in this country than we ever held of chattel slaves in the Southern States. In this painful condition a torpor is settling upon a free and spirited people, causing an indifference to public welfare ominous to the Republic, and dangerous to liberty. The people must be restored to labor. Industry and trade must be revived, and such results can only be reached by retracing our steps, and adopting a sounder financial system.

Money-lenders are not numerous — not two men out of every hundred are engaged in the business of banking or money-lending — and, considering this fact, shall all our laws relating to the currency be fashioned as having reference to the monopolies and the interests of these few pets, or shall they be framed according to the sentiment which prevailed when our patriot fathers declared that all laws should operate equally and beneficently upon the whole people, and in the passage of measures, "the greatest good to the greatest number" should always be kept in view. In the discussions of the majority in Congress during the past twelve years, the pretense has been held out that the measures to which I have referred were required with the view to secure specie currency for the people. This has been the plea and empty pretense during all this time, yet the knaves knew that we had no specie of any consequence, either in the treasury, in the vaults of the banks, or in the hands of the people.

I shall hereafter comment on the Act approved January 14th, 1875, entitled, "An Act to Provide for the Resumption of Coin Payments."


This resumption act provides that one


year after January next all your taxes and debts must be paid in gold money; silver money will not suffice, for under existing laws, it is money only for $5, beyond that paltry sum it is not money, but a commodity, like lumber and pig-iron.

It is proposed to force the people to pay their debts in gold coin, but where can they obtain it? Without flour you cannot make bread, and without gold coin, and no possibility of obtaining it, you cannot pay your taxes and mortgages and debts in that kind of money. The deadly plot is urged, yet no one ever ventures to explain any earthly advantage to insure to the American people from the cruel enforcement of the measure. Instead of a benefit to the country if the scheme be carried out, it will, with certainty, confiscate your lands, now heavily mortgaged; it will sack your houses and pillage your homes. Are you ready to be utterly and completely wiped out? What consummate wickedness and folly. Again I ask


Our mines produce, not to exceed $45,000,000, per annum, while our rich travelers in foreign lands draw over $50,000,000 every year to pay their expenses. They bring back to their native land no compensating advantages for the terrible evils of absenteeism, the cause of Ireland's impoverishment, and a like deplorable condition they help to bring upon our country in drawing out the means to defray their lavish and extravagant expeditures in foreign lands.


Now, the balance of trade for the past twelve years, has been over 1,100,000,000 against us, and foreign capitalists, to-day, hold over $3,000,000,000 of our securities, including United States bonds, and State Municiple and railway bonds, together with bonds and mortgages. The interest alone upon this vast indebtedness averaging, say, eight per cent., requires $240,000,000 per annum, which is no small draft upon our pile of gold. The demand must be met in gold or gold commodities. Prayers and tears will not suffice, nothing but gold will satisfy our foreign creditors.


I have referred to the enormous drain to pay annual interest abroad, and have enumerated a few of the many drafts upon our energies and gold resources; I might go further in adducing proofs of the improbability — nay the impossibility — of returning to gold specie payments in the face of these obstacles, by further reference to past experience, but it is well known that during the last twelve years the shipments of gold and silver to foreign countries aggregate over $1,000,000,000, and the reports show the shipments, at this time, at the port of New York, exceed $2,000,000 per week. In view of these facts how can coin payments be resumed, and how can gold coin be obtained for business purposes in the United States?

Furthermore, during the past twelve years, the Secretary of the Treasury has disposed of over $700,000,000 of our coin bonds in Europe, bearing gold interest, but not a dollar has traversed the Atlantic in exchange for them, not a dollar in gold has replenished the Treasury from this source. We have received the commodities imported, and the sale of bonds in Europe has furnished sterling bills for the exchange dealers of Wall street.


London and Frankfort will not permit gold in any considerable amount to be shipped to this country. The late Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Boutwell, says "at a certain time, $21,000,000, the avails of sales of bonds, had accumulated at the bank of England to the credit of the Treasury, and orders were issued directing the shipment of the gold to Washington, when promptly the Bank gave notice that so large a shipment might lead to panic and excitement in the money centers of Europe, and if persisted in, it was intimated that this powerful institution would be antagonized against further fiscal operations of the United States Treasury in Europe." Finally the matter was arranged that securities might be shipped instead of the gold, and the claim was settled in bonds. Again, when the Geneva award of $15,500,000 was due and payable in gold at Washington, was the gold paid over at our Treasury? Not a shilling; they begged to be excused, and after lengthy correspondence, it was decided that England could ship bonds, instead of gold, for the full amount.


There is not enough gold in the treasury to pay three months' interest on the public debt; the banks hold only $24,000,000, and it is a fact universally known and understood, that the people have none hoarded. Why, it is so scarce that the importers of Detroit are obliged to send to New York for gold whenever they require it to pay duties. No bullionist and confiscationist has ever explained how gold could be obtained, and the scheme of resumption carried out, nor has it ever been shown that it was even desirable to force resumption upon the country in the present condition of affairs. The creditor class and their retainers dilate upon the gratifying evidences of "an early return to specie payments," when the knaves understand very well that we never had specie payments in this country. It has always been a myth, a delusion and a snare, and it will be so in the future. My experience of over a quarter of a century in active business convinces me


that during all that time not more than one quarter of one per cent. of specie was ever employed in effecting the exchanges and business transactions of the country. The bankers had their check-books printed "payable in currency," which was interpreted to mean bank bills (rags) and when checks were presented at bank counters they were always paid in such currency.


The coin-basis men insist that it is necessary and wholesome to push the country down to "hard pan." Well, what is this hard pan? What is its meaning? Do they mean to drive the country into extreme poverty, to strike down our industries, destroy the useful pursuits, and the people gain nothing, absolutely nothing in the end, except wide-spread ruin, despair and crime? Are these men fools, or are they knaves? The people are suffering, they have "endured all things," and while waiting for relief the audacious hypocrites urge them to endure the times a little longer, suffer more, and after you are dead and buried that an era of prosperity will dawn upon the land.


They dilate on the importance of touching bottom, and insist that when bottom is touched that we shall be upon a "sound basis." Well, here we are going down, down, down, and when all are swamped or drowned the "sound basis" will be cold comfort to the unfortunates. The frugal, suffering people cry out for relief, but are urged to pursue a course calculated to make their condition more deplorable. A man cannot secure prosperity and happiness by pursuing a course calculated, with certainty, to bring him to adversity and despair, any more than he can expect to get into heaven by deliberately pursuing the "broad road that leadeth down to destruction," down to the bottomless pit where they have nothing but fire and brimstone to eat.


Look at our country with half of her industries paralyzed, business men dropping off every hour through the bankrupt court, without any fault of their own, and the people generally are getting disheartened. I say one half of our industries paralyzed, unprofitable or dead, and yet your McCullochs, John Shermans, and other retainers of the great syndicate ring encourage you to think that as soon as all industry fails, all becomes dead, that the people will then experience relief. Being partially paralyzed, a man sent for a doctor. The doctor looked at his patient, and said, "Sir, one half of your body is paralyzed, but having no medicine to arrest the disease under the condition of partial paralysis, I will give you something to paralyze the other half of your body, and then I can restore you to health." This condition of partial paralysis exists to-day throughout the country, and our quack statesmen encourage the people to believe that further suffering, further distress, further wide-spread ruin will ultimately restore our industries and bring prosperity and good times again back into the land.


The Specie Resumption Act provides for the withdrawal and destruction of the Greenbacks, but the same act provides for the unlimited inflation of bank bills — the government legal tender bills are to be wiped out, and bank bills, not legal tender, are to be perpetuated. I have demonstrated that we cannot expect gold currency in this country for many years to come, and it appears that the bankers and bullionists take the same view, for their resumption act makes provision for an unlimited currency of bank bills. The conflict, therefore, is not between greenbacks and gold. Narrowed down, the question is, shall we have the greenbacks — government money or bank bills, National Bank money, government paper money, or the paper of the National Banks. Take your choice. Experience has demonstrated that paper money, in all civilized countries, is an absolute necessity, and is actually in far greater use in business than gold and silver coins.

ascertained that in transactions and settlements in England, amounting to $100,000,000, ninety-nine and one half per cent. of the whole was effected in paper currency; only one half of one per cent. in coin. The bullionists and their subsidized press denounce the greenback. They call it rag money, but you never hear these fellows sneeringly call bank bills rags. Oh, no, they say, "you want sound money bank bills, and not unsound government bills." That is a different baby, you know.


They call currency reformers, rag money men, while they themselves are the real, live rag money men of the National Bank ring and the great daily newspapers of our great cities do their puffing for the reason that the same class of men who run the banks own the newspapers and the editors are obliged to write up articles to suit their bosses. They are determined at all hazards, to get rid of the greenback baby, to the end that the money monarchs may assume the power to regulate the currency to suit themselves, and in this regard, they are worse than Herod of old. Herod killed off all the infants in order to get rid of one child, but these fellows are so enraged


about this rag baby that to get rid of it they are actually killing off all, both the infants and the grown people.

These men deceivingly assert that the contraction and destruction of the greenbacks will bring down the price of gold coin to the par of paper money, when they must know that the volume of greenback circulation has no relation whatever to the premium on gold, nor has it ever been affected by it in the slightest degree. Greenbacks are, and have always been par. Gold coin, growing out of the abnormal condition of our trade with and indebtedness to foreign countries, and the fact that Congress required it for duties on imports, has, during the last fifteen years, fluctuated in price, and it will continue to fluctuate so long as these conditions exist even though all the greenbacks should be withdrawn and destroyed. Our gold coin has been dealt with as merchandize and the price has varied as the price of all commodities varies in the open market.


The price of gold is regulated and controlled solely by the natural law of "supply and demand." Our supply has been shown to be limited and scanty, while a sharp demand exists for export; consequently the holders of gold can readily obtain a premium upon it whenever they desire to sell. Another demand for gold exists. Our importers are compelled to buy it to pay duties on imports. If these two demands did not exist the supply would accumulate and greenbacks and gold coin would stand at par. In proof of this position I point to the experience of


Her debt is held at home, and the balance of trade with other countries being largely in her favor, coin flows into that country. The bills of the Bank of France being a full legal tender for duties on imports as well as for all other purposes, consequently no demand exists for coin, either for export or home requirements, and the result is exhibited in the fact that her paper money and coin money stand invariably at par. The French people prefer the paper money on account of its greater convenience, hence coin rapidly accumulates at the bank. And when our foreign indebtedness shall have been extinguished, and when the balance in trade with other nations shall become favorable to us, and when our greenbacks shall be made good for duties on imports — when that auspicious day arrives our condition will be similar to that of France to-day, and then, and not till then will our greenbacks and gold coin become interchangeable at par, the specie resumption act to the contrary notwithstanding. I call attention to the fact that at the time we had the largest circulation of paper money the price of gold marked a lower point than at other periods when the circulation was less.


When McCulloch commenced contraction in 1865, gold sold at 128 in greenbacks, but two years later, and after $600,000,000 of currency had been withdrawn from circulation and extinguished, gold rose to 150, as shown by the record of 1867. Furthermore, on the day the resumption act became a law the price of gold was 109; but fourteen months thereafter the price had risen to 113, notwithstanding a contraction of the currency amounting to $40,000,000. Again, in the spring of 1866 a panic broke out in London, but having a sound greenback currency, that panic did not produce even a ripple of disturbance in the industry and commerce of our country. Of course the panic stimulated the demand for the precious metals and within three months $46,000,000 in coin were shipped from the United States. And the demand was so great in New York on the 10th day of May 1866 that the premium rose from 124 to 166 3/4. I produce these statistics to show beyond cavil that the demands for gold for export and for duties are the real cause of the premium which it commands in the market, and not that specious, stupid and false pretense that its fluctuations in price have been influenced by the volume of our greenback circulating medium.

have drained the country of its stock of gold, but happily the paper money of the land cannot be exported. While gold may be transmitted to other lands, the greenbacks remain within our borders, and the people have not therefore been wholly stripped of the legal instrument of exchange and the necessary tool of commerce. Thank God our greenbacks are non-exportable; foreigners don't want them, and this valuable quality may prove to be to this Republic in the future what experience has demonstrated it to have been in the past, its salvation in war and its cherished blessing in time of peace.

It is the crowning glory of the American people that they are willing that foreigners may take away all our coin and they will continue to acquiesce in this process of exportation and depletion until all our debts abroad are paid.


I have shown that with our insignificant supply of coin the business of this great country cannot be carried on in that kind of money. We might as well talk of feeding an elephant with a teaspoon. Why, the popcorn and peanut business of all the States would absorb all our gold money within 30 days. Now, it is admitted on all sides that paper money


must be permanently used. The only difference therefore is that while we cling to the greenbacks, the people's money, our opponents — the bullionists — insist upon a forced resumption of coin payments, and the issue of bank bills convertible into gold coin. This is what they style a sound basis for a circulating medium.


Their plan is applauded because they say "it is the ancient system," but with equal consistency our railroad magnates might insist upon going back to the packhorses, particularly if they could hold all the horses and mules. The currency scheme of the bullionists provides that on each gold dollar of the banker three or more paper dollars may be issued and circulate as money loaned out to the people, the banks drawing interest on the whole. Now, should the gold coin, the foundation (or "base" as it is called) at any time be drawn out, of course the paper money fabric must tumble over; and should the system be inaugurated here, the trouble would be that a string would be immediately fastened to this "base" of the currency structure, and the great money-kings of Europe would hold the other end of the string. This string is

$3,000,000,000, and should Rothschild or any other of the foreign money monarchs at any time desire to realize on the American bonds and mortgages a few hundred tons of our securities could be shipped over here and put upon the New York Stock Exchange for sale, the proper order would be given, and in this way one of the skinflints, by jerking at the string can pull out our monetary "base," the gold would fly out, traverse the Atlantic, and explosion, collapse, suspension, panic and ruin generally would end the farce of attempting to redeem $3 in bank bills with only $1 in coin.

Of all the cunning devices ever contrived by cunning men, this coin basis system is the most gouging, wicked, deceitful and iniquitous. The banker in any event stands no risk. If panic and suspension happen, if the "base" be pulled out the bill holders alone must stand the whole loss. If the banks break and the bank bills are never redeemed, the bank directors and stockholders actually profit by the calamity. Here is the cheating, swindling humbug — a humbug which always fails when put to the test — so destructive to industry and commerce, and the people are urged to blind themselves and swallow it whole. It is the old trick. They say, "shut your eyes and open your mouth," while the cunning knaves prepare to drop in the dose which in due time will give us all the fits.


Well, who are to be benefited by this suicidal and destructive scheme of plunder and wrong — the contraction of the currency? Is it not plain the masses in the execution of the plot are to be strangled that a few pets may prosper? In the first place the mortgages upon the farms of the United States amount to over $1,300,000,000, and the bonds and securities held by the money lords who now dwell in Europe amount, as I have stated, to over $3,000,000,000 more, and while this scheme of contraction and forcing the people to coin payments within 18 months is calculated with certainty to destroy our industries and dry up business pursuits, while it will knock down the value of your farms, your factories and your houses, snatch labor from the hands of the poor, and rob workingmen of all chance, by labor and wages, to support their wives, their children and themselves; while it will effect all these terrible evils with certainty, yet the operation will not bring down the bonds and mortgages at all. On the contrary, they become more valuable. It will take two farms to pay the mortgage on one. Two factories, two houses and two homes to pay a mortgage on one. It will take at least $6,000,000,000 worth of property to pay the bonds and mortgages now held by the money kings who live beyond the sea. Are you ready to have your necks wrung? Are you ready to he crushed down and ruined forever only to build up a money oligarchy upon the ruins of the Republic and make still richer a class of men already very rich?


My countrymen, see what a foul injustice, what a monstrous wrong to compel the payment in gold money an indebtedness incurred in greenback and paper money. This indebtedness on the part of our people, embracing State, municipal, school district, railway, individual and corporate debts in the aggregate is mountains high — it cannot be estimated at less than $9,000,000,000. And now I submit is it right, under such circumstances, to carry out this resumption scheme and compel the people to pay all their debts and taxes in gold money, which cannot be obtained? The premium on gold has recently risen three per cent., but by and by, when the demand for it is augmented by the requirements of our people to pay debts and taxes, the premium, instead of standing at 107, will run up to 150 or 200, and then what will become of the country? It is a scheme of extortion, wickedness and wrong, and the bondholders and bullionists know it.

a farm, a factory or a mine to-day for one half of what they would have sold for 12 years ago. You


have been deprived of over half of all you are worth, while the bonds and mortgages are worth that much more. You may toil to earn the means to relieve your farms and homes, which under the policy of contraction daily diminishes in value — from the crushing weight of the mortgage which daily increases in value, and yet unless your oppressors relent your task will be hopeless, for the rewards of labor decrease as your burdens increase, to say nothing of the chances of being kept in enforced idleness. To pay the mortgage or debt you will be obliged to render three times the amount of labor for the dollar nominated in the bond that it was worth when the indebtedness was incurred. For a day's work contracted you will then pay two or three, and if you fail, as fail you certainly will, with such odds against you, you will be stripped of everything you possess, for the bondholder and mortgagee knoweth no pity any more than the relentless tyrant.

for you cannot be too deeply impressed with a knowledge of the inevitable effects of this terrible and inhuman policy which has been inaugurated, and with cold-blooded persistency, carried forward in the interests of the Shylocks and usurers, that while contraction of the currency and its control by the money monopolists will result in diminishing your means of payment and livelihood, by closing factories, furnaces and other industries, it will not in the least diminish your obligations or lessen your liabilities, nor will it abate one jot or tittle from the provisions "nominated in the bond." No! you may plead in soul-melting accents with upraised hands with streaming tears — 'twill not avail you. Your answer will be the heartless business rap of the Sheriff's hammer and the funeral oration over your coffined hopes will be the "going, gone" of the relentless executor of the law's decrees.


There is no need of these hard times, and it is sad to reflect that workingmen seem disposed to perpetuate them by their votes. Thousands and millions walk out on election day, and like so many whipped spaniels lick the hands of their scourgers at the ballot box. I have seen them cheer and hurrah over a success when in reality they had been voting for their oppressors, riveting around their limbs the chains of everlasting servitude and slavery. And yet we cannot blame them. Forced to labor too many hours and for meagre compensation, they have no opportunity to read and investigate questions of political economy, they do not appreciate their power, nor do they understand their rights, and in their ignorance they are led on like cattle by the wire pullers and party leaders, and so kept in hopeless bondage. "How long, O Lord, shall these things be?" Slaves, wake up. "Hereditary bondsmen, know ye not that he who would be free must himself strike the blow."

Having explained the cause of the depression in business and idleness of the people, and having shown that the scheme of forcing a resumption of gold payments is utterly impracticable and impossible of execution, I will now suggest the remedy which, after mature deliberation in my judgment, will revive industry and commerce, and restore prosperity to the wealth-producing interests of our now stricken and prostrate country.


The remedies for our "hard times" may be found in carrying into effect the principles and measures so concisely and clearly set forth in the platform of the Independent Greenback party. It demands — First: The immediate and unconditioned repeal of the odious Gold Specie Resumption Act, and the rescue of our industries from the disaster and ruin resulting from its enforcement. Confidence and activity cannot be restored so long as that damnable confiscation act remains upon the statutes of our country. It is a standing threat of ruin to all enterprising men, and they dare not undertake any legitimate business, for they know that the attempts even to execute that law will result in still further depression and still greater reduction of values than now attained, for there is yet room below us to fall. It hangs like a funeral pall over the future; it is a very Pandora's box of financial evils.

Second: They demand that bank bills be withdrawn from circulation and greenback money substituted in their place, and as the greenbacks are issued for the purpose, the bonds now lodged to secure the circulation of the banks may be paid off and canceled, thus stopping interest upon the bonds, and in this way save $20,000,000 interest money every year. This is the converes of the plan of the bullionists and bankers. They manifest great anxiety to get their powerful rival, the greenback, out of the way, so that they may have the field entirely to themselves; they want every advantage to plunder industry under the guise of law. The national banking system is a large monopoly confined alone to a few powerful pets so rich that they can amass at least $50,000 in government bonds at every place where a bank organization is desired. The right to issue money belongs to the people, and their chosen representatives responsible to them should exercise the power and duty of regulating the currency to promote the business interests of the whole country. The power of regulating the volume and value of money, and through it the value of all things, is a function so important that it cannot safely be delegated to private corporations. I would as soon give the power


of declaring war and making treaties to irresponsible corporations as to extend to them the power and monopoly of issuing money. The truth is, we want
with bankers in this matter. The people only are competent, and in the language of Jefferson, "the circulation must be restored to the nation, where it belongs." This cannot be done as long as this function is committed to bankers, and so for these and other reasons we demand the abolition of this cunningly devised scheme of taxation upon the people for the benefit of a class. I fail to see how a greenback can inflate more than this shadowy substitute, the bank bill, but I can see how, before the bank bill goes forth on its mission of exchange, it always leaves ten per cent bonus in the pocket of the banker, and l am inclined to believe this nation is not yet rich enough to forego whatever profit there may be in the issue of money for their special benefit.


Under the National Bank Act an association of individuals on depositing say $100,000 in bonds the Comptroller of the Currency turns over to it, $90,000 in bank bills, they draw interest quarterly from our Treasury on the whole amount of the bonds and they let out the bank bills to business men, drawing about ten per cent per annum on the whole amount of the bank bills. Here is a double interest at once; interest from our Treasury upon the bonds, and interest from our people to the banks whenever they lend their notes to the industrial classes and business men. Here is a candle lighted at both ends and by and by it will burn us all out. Now what are these bank notes? Why, they are the debts of the banks, and in letting them out you see they actually draw interest on their own debts, and during the last thirteen years they have, taking the average of all the banks, been realizing their 20 1/2 per cent per annum profits. It is true that the banks pay one per cent taxes upon the bills lent or given them, otherwise free of cost by our government, and yet

felt so oppressed on account of this tax or interest, that fifty or sixty of them went to Washington last winter, and implored Congress — silk hats and gold canes in their hands — to relieve them of that terrible burden and oppression. Think of it; imploring to be relieved of this one per cent interest on this otherwise free gift of bills which they loan over their counters at from ten to fifteen per cent per annum. The National bankers have secured to themselves a monopoly which must be destroyed. You cannot go down to Washington with a bond for less than $50,000 and draw 90 per cent of it in currency and then lend the currency out as the banks do and draw the interest on the bond and on the currency also. You do not have any such favors extended to you in this land of equal rights; but the banking kings, by massing their means, enjoy this special privilege extended to them by the unjust and unequal laws — laws, which provide for an unlimited number of banks and for an unlimited inflation of their rag paper currency. Instead of contracting the greenback and expanding national gold, interest bearing bonds, and national bank bills, I would do the opposite, — I would supply
with greenbacks, and greenbacks only, and for the purpose of regulating their volume precisely in accordance with the needs of business, and prevent either undue expansion or contraction, an interconvertible Government bond should be issued bearing an equitable rate of interest, not to exceed say three per cent. Under this self-regulating plan, should the circulation at any time exceed the business requirements, the excess would flow into the treasury, in exchange for the Government bonds, and whenever for business purposes a demand for money should arise, the converse would take place, the bond would promptly be reconverted into money. In this way
in the volume of the currency would be impossible, and I firmly believe with the soundest thinkers in the country, that the greenback under this plan would be the most perfect instrument of exchange ever devised. Instead of paying people living in foreign lands high rates of interest on our bonds in gold, I insist that Congress should give every citizen the opportunity of obtaining three per cent. bonds in exchange for greenbacks, on demand, so that if any inhabitant becomes puffed up and very much inflated with this good legal tender money, he can immediately relieve himself by paying the money into the treasury in exchange for a three per cent. bond; furthermore, under this monetary system,
would be impossible. When panic breaks out, a great demand for money always exists, and now if our National debt was funded in greenbacks and three per cent. bonds, in times of panic the bonds would flow into the treasury, greenbacks flow out, and the panic would be stopped at once. The legal tender act of 1862 provided for the convertibility of greenbacks into interest-bearing bonds, but the syndicate and the great bond holders, knowing that the handling of these coin bonds would be very profitable for foreign investment, got that clause of the original legal tender act repealed, and thus repudiated one of the pledges of the Government to the holders


of the greenback currency. The greenback bore upon its back the following pledge: "Convertible at the option of the holder into 6 per cent. bonds of the United States," but the great capitalists did not want all of the American people to enjoy this right, so they immediately asked Congress, the Congress which they have and do control, to repeal this quality of convertibility, and it was done. I insist that this right should be restored to the people. Fourteen years ago Congress authorized the issue of
they were made payable in greenbacks at the option of the holder, on demand, and promptly the entire amount authorized was taken by the American people and by them held until they were compelled to surrender them at the command of Congress.

This was the most popular loan ever effected by the Government. Although these 3 per cent. bonds were convertible into greenbacks on demand, yet they were rarely presented for redemption. The full amount authorized remained outstanding except on one occasion, when, owing to great stringency in the money market, a limited amount was presented for payment.

If such bonds had been issued not to exceed the amount of the public debt, the interest thereon would have been reduced at least $50,000,000 per annum, at the same time the execution of this self regulating monetary system would have operated beneficently in providing the people a currency non-exportable, and as sound and permanent as the existence of the Republic. If Congress had exercised more wisdom in the management of the finances, if it had not by law limited and restricted the issue of the three per cent. bonds, but on the contrary had so provided and allowed the inhabitants of our country to invest in and keep them unrestrained, our whole National debt, instead of floating to-day in Europe, in the shape of coin bonds, bearing exorbitant rates of interest, and liable to come back to plague us at inauspicious times, would be held by the American people, and the whole debt would have been funded in such bonds and greenbacks.

however, could not endure the presence of these three per cent. currency bonds in the hands of our people, it wanted the monopoly of selling more bonds in Europe, bearing exorbitant rates of interest in coin, and so the bondholders in Congress themselves passed a bill providing for the sale of 6 per cent. coin bonds in foreign lands to raise the means to take up and cancel the 3 per cent. bonds, held here at home, and that is the way these knaves conduct themselves. Lacking in both patriotism and honesty, they are always found on the side of the money power; always working for accumulated wealth, and not a single act of Congress can you find in the interests of the people so far as financial questions are involved, during the last twelve years. They have passed laws for a few, and in so doing have stricken down the many. The scarcer you make money, the more you curtail it and withdraw it from the circulation of the country, the more valuable you make what is left, and enable the money lender to advance the rates of interest for its use. They have accomplished their purpose, and although the country has been ruined, yet the money lending class are reaping a rich harvest over the misfortunes of the land.


The bondholders in Congress have also exempted themselves from all taxation on their bonds, while the industrial classes pay all the taxes to support the Government, for their farms, their factories, and their homes, can be seen by our assessors who prepare the list for the use of the tax gatherer.

Here is a millionaire residing at one of our palatial hotels, with his pockets filled with United States bonds. He sends his boy to the public school, and the poor laborer perhaps with only a cottage and a cow pays for his education. The bondholder goes "scot free," his immense wealth wholly exempt from taxation. Now the greenbackers demand that such exemption shall cease and that the bonds of the wealthy shall be taxed and placed on an equality with the property of the poorest citizen. The bondholders in Congress have also altered the laws changing the conditions under which bonds were issued, and in this way have succeeded in running up the value of their bonds, thus enriching themselves by robbing the Treasury of our government. They passed an act March 18, 1869, entitled, "An Act to strengthen the Public Credit," by paying the principal of their 5-20 bonds in coin instead of greenbacks, the money nominated in the bonds. Statesmen should know that labor and not coin sustains the national credit. This act was one of those infamous schemes devised in behalf of these vultures who have been feasting on our vitals, by the legislation which they, by their votes, have had the power to shape. But when the people come to see the perfidy manifested in all this legislation, it will be swept away. This strengthening plaster law of 1869, passed in violation of all honor, was made an act of barefaced repudiation instigated by the bondholders for the purpose of keeping the National debt forever under their own control, and the people should demand its immediate and unconditional repeal. The act to which I refer changed the contract stipulated in the law authorizing the issue of the


5-20 BONDS.

The act of Feb. 25, 1862, which provides for the issue of legal tenders, also provides for the issue of what are known as the 5-20 bonds, the principal of which according to the law was payable in lawful money, greenbacks, at any time after five years and within twenty years, at the option of the government, but the interest upon them was to be paid in coin. Now, after all these bonds had been issued, the government receiving nothing but paper money for them in every instance, these audacious thieves, the bondholders in your National Legislature, with more than one-half of all these bonds in

passed this strengthening act to compel the American people to pay the principal of these 5-20 bonds in coin, contrary to the bargain and in defiance of both law and justice, and the Independent party demand the repeal of that infamous law, and that all of these bonds now outstanding and overdue, amounting to over $700,000,000, shall be paid off in pursuance of the original law, and according to the understanding at the time the bonds were issued. Pay off these bonds in the same kind of money that the bondholders paid at the Treasury when the bonds were issued, and in this way the volume of the greenbacks can be increased, they will become so redundant that the rate of interest for the use of money for business purposes will drop to three per cent, and then and not till then will the laborers of the land stand a fair chance in the race of life. I met a fool today who expressed his belief that should these bonds be paid off in greenbacks, that the bondholders would prevent their circulation by hoarding them. Why, what can the bondholders do with their greenbacks? They cannot eat them, they cannot shelter their precious bodies with them, they can only lend them out and draw interest, or embark in some business enterprise themselves, and thus give employment to others. The circulating medium becoming abundant, you will see ten men running round to get a chance to loan money, where to-day ten men are running and praying to borrow, and the rates of interest will come down. The rate of interest should not exceed the earnings of labor, but to-day, on account of the great scarcity of money, the rates of interest have risen five times above what the laborer can earn by the hardest toil.


The Independent party further insist that the American silver dollar shall again be coined and made a legal tender, without limitation, in the payment of debts. A large amount of Government bonds now outstanding are, according to the law authorizing their issue, payable in coin — not gold coin, not silver coin, but coin. At the time these bonds were issued,

was a full legal tender for all sums, throughout the United States, and continued so until February 12, 1873, at which time the bondholding Congressmen, with these coin bonds in their pockets, seeing that silver was becoming abundant, and gold scarce, passed a bill prohibiting the further coinage of the silver dollar at the mint. As gold, at that time, was worth 20 per cent. more than silver, therefore in prohibiting the coinage of silver dollars, and thus securing to themselves payment of their bonds in gold, they increased their value 20 per cent. and put $230,000,000 additional burden on the backs of the taxpayers of the United States. The silver dollar had been a legal tender for an unlimited amount for over 80 years, the act authorizing its coinage having been approved by George Washington. But the holders of coin bonds appreciating their power in Congress, passed the bill interdicting the further coinage at the mint of the silver dollar. The bill was put through surreptitiously — it went through by stealth, — was not even read before the House. The people heard little, if anything, about the proceeding, for the reason that
of the country are owned by the bankers and bondholders, and the absence of information with reference to such measures can therefore be readily understood. The Independent party insist that the fraudulent law shall be repealed, and as these coin bonds become due, that they shall be paid off in the silver coin which was a legal tender at the time the bonds were issued. Shall not something at last be done for the dying people? We have laws providing for the care of the bodies of dead men. Our coroners, when a man dies, try to find a scratch or something else indicating the cause of death. Let us have laws to protect and bless living men, to help men before they are dead. Let us at all events have equality, and at all hazards justice.


My countrymen, what a monstrous wrong exists! Labor by superhuman exertion of both brain and muscle cannot produce wealth to exceed on the average 3 per cent per annum, and yet the circulating medium — a creation of law and a thing within your absolute control by legislation (if you only know enough to organize and exercise your power) has been so contracted — made so scarce and difficult to be obtained, that owing to its insufficiency, scarcity, and the neglect of the Government in this regard, the rates of interest for the use of this tool of Commerce will average to-day in the U. S. at least 10 per cent per annum. Here is 10


per cent put into the hands of Capital by your votes — pitted against 3 per cent which is the utmost that the toilers of the land are able to earn by hard work. Now ten per cent pitted against three per cent will presently eat 3 per cent up. To-day, by reason of the exhorbitant rent of money usually called interest, the toilers of the country are being stripped of the productions of their labor; they are being eaten up as the crops of the poor farmers out west are there devoured by the grasshoppers, leaving nothing for the farmers to eat. Let money be manufactured, Government officers paid for their services; also issued for the building of necessary public works; and in this manner put it into circulation until made so abundant that the current rates of interest for its use would drop down to three per cent.; then our industries will spring into life, all the machinery in our manufactories will be in full operation, our mechanics and laboring-men will be employed, and the farmers will have a chance to pay off the mortgages on their farms.


Some of our quack statesmen denounce our greenbacks as "dishonest" money, but I take it that as they have paid taxes and debts for fifteen long years without discount and without shave, this legal tender money is strictly honest, and we never had such good honest money before in the country.

Before the greenback was issued, the circulating medium consisted chiefly of paper money, (bank bills; not legal tender) and when payment of taxes, mortgages and debts was required, we were obliged to suffer shaves and discounts upon it. This was the practice in those days of bank rag money, but after the greenback made its appearance we were exempt from all such losses, and since the passage of the legal tender act no man has lost a penny on this, our honest greenback money.


Money is redeemed, and possesses intrinsic value whenever it pays the taxes and debts of the people with nothing off. Why don't our bullionists talk about redeeming our gold money? Our gold coins in fineness are not so high a standard as English coins, there being 8 3/8 per cent. difference; but you do not hear these fellows say anything about that. The bullionists further denounce the greenback as a forced loan upon the people. Now, in all my business operations and travels, I have never seen a man cry because he had to take greenbacks. On the contrary, without exception, my observation establishes the fact that all men and women exhibit great satisfaction and cheerfulness on receiving greenback money. The money problem is not a sentimental question. The people care not of what material it is manufactured; they are well satisfied with a knowledge of the legal fact that the instrument of payment will pay debts at par.


I am defending the money which in 1862 was manufactured for the people in pursuance of laws passed by Congress under the advice of that great and good man, Abraham Lincoln, — good Republican money, the greenback; money good enough for the soldiers and sailors; money, which having served the nation in its day of peril, may give us its blessings also in time of peace; money good enough for all these purposes; money which has operated so beneficently throughout the land during all these trying times of danger and gloom, is also, in my opinion, good enough for the bondholder, and, by the grace of God, they shall be made to see it.

We take the ground that as the country gains, as it doubles its population every 26 years, and hence as the traffic increases from year to year, more money is required to effect the exchanges of the people, and it should be supplied by the Government in volume commensurate with the needs of business and the demands of trade.


But you will hear one of these nice sleek fellows say "these questions of money are very intricate subjects, there is a hidden mystery about them, and you plain people had better not attempt to master such difficult problems; but refer such questions to the consideration of financial and moneyed men." Ah! elect bankers, bondholders and note shavers to Congress; a class which for ages and in all countries have been the oppressors of industry; and instead of working for the people, they will make laws to suit their interests, everything fashioned to make "the rich richer and the poor poorer." Elect such men to Congress — and they now possess a sweeping majority there — and expect justice? You might as well hire the devil to introduce you into the Kingdom of Heaven. Over 1800 years ago the Savior of the world, seeing the wrongs, the extortions and usury of these blacklegs, entered into the Temple, overturned the tables of the money changers, and drove them out with a scourge, and in like manner before justice can be established here as between labor and capital, it will be necessary for the people at the ballot box to drive out the money power from the halls of Congress.

In regard to these great questions of currency the people have been cruelly wronged, and the friends of monetary reform seek to right them and obtain justice and fair play. The measures of the money power have been put in operation resulting in the condition of serfdom now generally prevailing, a cloud of gloom


and despair rests upon the horizon which gives forebodings of the future for free institutions.

"Ill fares the state to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay."


A condition of slavery exists to-day. What would the laboring man be worth in the market if we had laws providing for chattel slavery? You could not sell able-bodied men for $25 a head. You could not sell a first-class mechanic to-day for as much as a new milch cow would fetch in the market. Men are not worth anything to-day on account of the wrong and evils which the money power have thrust upon the country through villainous legislation. The people have been wronged and the masses are in the chains of dependence and helplessness. We have got rid of the slave power which held 4,000,000 negroes as chattels; but the money power now rules and keeps in subjection and bondage 40,000,000 of whites; and it is the mission of the Independent Greenback party to strike the chains off the limbs of all the people in the United States. Don't talk of "throwing away votes;" when a man votes for correct principles, for truth, for just measures, and for his country, the act will establish his independence, intelligence and patriotism for all time to come. Every man should act independently of past party alliances. You have never taken the oath of allegiance or any obligation to any party, and you ought to exercise your freedom clear away from old party affiliations and assert your patriotism and manhood. Act for yourself and never become a slave to any party. I know the

and manipulators would like perpetually to pull you here and there to suit themselves and the party office-seekers and aspirants. They always put on the party lash and try to keep us in line and in the traces while they drive. They think you are like the jumping-jacks we buy for the amusement of the children at Christmas. You know when the string is pulled the jack jumps, throws out his legs, turn somersaults, and does all manner of things. For God's sake let us not be led by the neck, after the fashion of some ladies in our large cities who lead around their poodle dogs by a string. Are we the jumping-jacks and poodle dogs of party leaders? Are we, gentlemen, to be led hither and thither just as these knaves would like to see us pulled or driven, or shall we act like independent freemen loving our country and our kind, and seeking with honesty of purpose to do our duty at the ballot-box. If any freeman in the exercise of this great right fails to perform his duty to his country in accordance with his convictions of duty, he establishes the fact that he is either a traitor or knave, or a first-class fool. If you have convictions, if you believe our principles are right, act accordingly and leave the consequences to God. Look back 1800 years and you will find that during all that time, if all men had been cowards, if they had all lacked bravery and persisted in remaining on the strong side, no reforms would have ever blessed the world. The Jews at the crucifixion of the Savior wanted to be on the strong side, and there were millions of voters in the United States just like them on the 7th of November, 1876.

If any intelligent man at the dictation of the party whipper-snappers votes wrong against his honest convictions, and against his conscience, God in his great mercy may forgive such a false traitor to our country, but I never will. If men become convinced that the principles of the Independent party are sound and right; if they feel that we are working in a great cause — the cause of our country and the cause of mankind — let them act boldly and courageously, array themselves in the ranks of those who are laboring with sincerity of purpose to establish the greatest reform of all the ages — a reform which, when accomplished, will restore prosperity, contentment and peace to the people of our now stricken and prostrate country. In conclusion, my countrymen, I desire to express my dependence and reliance upon Almighty God, in the work in which I have embarked, and believing in the truth, the justice and the far-reaching beneficence of our cause, I implore you to organize and agitate, — go on and labor until the last vestige of this monetary tyranny and oppression is destroyed; until all the people in a workingman's country may have an opportunity to improve their condition; an opportunity by labor and better compensation, to afford for their greater enjoyment, more of the comforts and refinements of life now demanded by advancing civilization.