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and many other parts of the country turned out to see what I believe will be reckoned the greatest funeral ever accorded to man. Not less than a million of people must have seen the procession, and many estimate it as high as two million.
These and other amenities made it all the easier for highminded Republicans to coöperate with Cleveland on those questions which rose above the divisions of party. This was especially the case in financial matters, where Morrill found himself in substantial agreement with Cleveland, and was still further facilitated by the fact that with Bayard, Cleveland's distinguished Secretary of State, he had been on friendly terms in the Senate for sixteen years. They had often been on the same side of vexed questions and had exchanged the pleasant amenities of the chamber. One of these was a graceful compliment which Bayard had paid him as long ago as 1874, and which Morrill kept among his papers: MY DEAR MORRILL,
You often (to my great pleasure) send a word in like a shaft to the target - and you supplied my thought with expression in relation to the "fussily" roofed houses of to-day.
Therefore I send you a very cleverly written article, with merits like your own.
T. F. BAYARD
So now he wrote Bayard with frankness and cordiality on the silver question. Writing from his country home he made the somewhat natural slip of putting Weaver for Warner. Closing his letter he added one of those practical suggestions born of experience which the Secretary was glad to adopt.
STRAFFORD, VT., Sept. 22, 1885 DEAR MR. BAYARD: As you
and I have ever been on the same line about silver — though our associates seldom agreed with us - I know you will pardon me for a word or two about the Weaver Bill, which is
really Senator Jones's idea of years past. I have felt that the President and Secretary of the Treasury could stop the issue of the Bland dollar, now worth less than 81 cents, if they held out on that line, as I believe the President will. This, of course, is the only escape from our silly silver muddle. But the “Weaver compromise" is a gigantic scheme of inflation. It proposes the annual issue of silver certificates for all of our product of silver and all the foreign silver which we may receive; usually half of Mexican silver finds its way here and under the Weaver Bill probably more would come. The United States would offer a dumping place for the surplus silver of the world and the vaults of the Treasury would require constant doubling up, while inflation would proceed at the rate of fifty millions, more or less, a year, and there is to be no way provided by which this enormous accumulation of silver can be got rid of by the Government or if there should be it must be at the loss of the Treasury. Of course I am telling you nothing new, as you understand these questions better than the Speaker of the House, but I have thought it would have a wholesome effect if you would talk ten minutes in your next Cabinet meeting. Lamar, I should expect, would be with you. Pardon my presumption in this intruding, but you know I have always been in accord with the “Old Line" Democracy on coin and currency questions.
Let me advise you that your Consular Reports should first be put in wrappers fit to be franked and addressed before they are sent to members of either House — as members do not often have the proper means at hand to fold them nor have they time or inclination for such work. Send one copy less, but have all folded, and twice as many will be distributed by the members.
Very truly yours
JUSTIN S. MORRILL
Bayard replied promptly and with equal candor:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Sept. 25, 1885
I took the liberty of handing your note to the Secretary of the Treasury and his reply and attitude on the silver coinage questions are, I think, entirely accordant with your views and wishes. It may be generally outlined in the letter of the President to Mr. Warner and his Congressional associates last February.
In the Weaver (is it not Warner?) proposition to issue certificates of deposit for silver bullion, I can see nothing but redundant volume of currency, discordant in character, irregular in denomination, fluctuating in value, and lacking nearly every essential attribute for the mechanism of advanced commercial exchange.
Your suggestion as to separately wrapping the Consular Reports is a very good one and I will have it followed.
I trust you and your household have enjoyed the summer, and that I may soon see you here in health.
Sincerely yours T. F. BAYARD
The silver question continued to cause anxiety. In his message to Congress in December, 1886, Cleveland repeated his recommendation for the repeal of the Silver Purchase Act under which the Government was obliged to buy two million dollars' worth of silver every month. The repeal was vigorously opposed by the "Silver Democrats," and Morrill came to the support of the President, remarking humorously that he did “not mean to encroach upon the privilege ... of coming to the rescue of the President and the Secretary of the Treasury when attacked by their own party, as I know the fate of those who venture to interfere with family quarrels."1 He could not let pass the chance, however, afforded by the energy with which Senator Beck had attacked his own side. “The speech reminded me,” he said, “of a sermon I heard in my boyhood from an excellent Baptist minister, when, after dwelling in detail upon the great promises of the gospel, continued, 'I now come to the threatenings of the gospel and it gives me great pleasure to dwell upon them.'”
With these mild pleasantries, Morrill addressed himself with his usual serious effectiveness to the question which was, in fact, sufficiently sobering. Silver had depreciated until
Speech in the Senate, January 20, 1886.
the silver dollar was intrinsically worth only seventy-nine cents, and yet the Government was adding to its huge accumulations at the rate of $2,000,000 a month. He stated the problem with the directness of a business man. “With or without the probable deficit in the Treasury next year of $24,000,000, as estimated by the Secretary of the Treasury, ought we to continue the expenditure of twenty-four millions for bullion to annually add twenty-eight millions to our present unwieldy pile of silver dollars and to increase our peril of utter divorce from gold?”
The problem of actually disposing of the silver hoard was troublesome, for it did not circulate:
By the report of the United States Treasurer it appears that there is somewhere in the Treasury $165,535,000 of standard silver dollars, which we are struggling to find how and where to safely store until by some miracle they can find more favor in a wicked world. The percentage of these dollars in actual circulation, outside of the Treasury, it also appears, has been constantly growing less since 1881, being then 30.8 per cent, and now only 18.8 per cent. We have coined over two hundred and fifteen million of silver dollars, and have only been able at any time, through much cost and tribulation, to get not quite fifty million into spasmodic circulation, or a circulation which has no confiding repose, but seems to be disgorged from all pockets with a now-or-never promptitude, much to the dismay of the recipients. People do not like to be compelled by law to carry it. We do not receive it here ourselves with any praiseworthy cordiality. Our condition is somewhat like that of one of our distinguished humorists, who in our late war would not enlist himself, but was very willing that all his wife's relations should. All are willing that everybody else may enjoy the single silver banquet, but as for ourselves individually it has no temptation.
To the proposal brought forward by the silver men that the Government bonds outstanding should be redeemed in silver, he replied by recalling the conditions under which the bonds were issued:
When the United States were striving to obtain in 1863 a loan of one thousand million dollars by the issue of its bonds, subscribers to the loan were assured, by its only authorized agent, that the bonds were payable in gold. The letter of Jay Cooke, as agent of the Secretary of the Treasury, dated March 13, 1863, and everywhere published and distributed, contained the following statement:
"First, these bonds are called five-twenties, because, while they are twenty-year bonds, they may be redeemed by the Government in gold at any time after five years.
“The duties on imports of all articles from abroad must be paid in gold, and this is the way Secretary Chase gets his gold.”
This statement by the agent of the Secretary of the Treas. ury, with his knowledge and approval, was never questioned no: controverted, in Congress or out, for years afterward. All branches of the Government then so understood the contract, and knew the creditors so understood it.
Finally, he pointed out, to adopt the course proposed, and pay our bonds in silver, would be to go over irreparably to a silver basis, but the chief sufferers by the change would be not foreigners, nor bondholders, but the wageearners:
Whatever loss might be suffered by those who are now our public creditors by a sudden change to payment in silver instead of gold, it would be the merest bagatelle, unworthy of consideration, comparatively, with the loss which would be suffered by the wage-earning portion of the people. Creeping upon them imperceptibly, they would find their means of subsistence, month by month, growing less and less, and not until every one else had looked out for himself would these sons of toil, at all times our largest creditor class, if ever, find any redress.
Morrill was able to give his support to a Democratic President on such issues as sound money and civil service reform, but he abated no jot of his partisanship and as soon as the tariff cry was raised, he hoisted the old flag of Protection and loaded every gun. Nothing could have been