"I believe in the people, in universal suffrage as fitted to secure the best results that human nature leaves possible If corruption seems rolling over us like a flood, it is not the corruption of the humbler classes - it is millionaires, who steal banks, mills and railways; it is defaulters, who live in palaces and make away with millions; it is money kings, who buy up Congress; it is the demagogues and editors in purple and fine linen who bid $5o,ooo for the presidency itself."- Wendell Phillips.
While this great debate was taking place in the House, the turmoil in. the business dries throughout the United States was beyond the powers of description. Hundreds of great failures were occurring, including banks as well as other lines of business.
The colossal credit system, which had been built up by the national banking money power, fell with a crash that shook the business interests of the nation from one end to the other.
The juggernaut which the New York bankers had sent forth to trample down the business of the country in order to influence Congress, had got beyond the control of those lawless financiers who had assailed the credit of the nation, and who had destroyed the property rights of tens of thousands.
The concerted cry of "want of confidence" in the ability of the Government to redeem its obligations, returned, with ten-fold force, to assail the very national banks which had originated that false and delusive rumor.
Thousands of depositors immediately withdrew their money from the banks, aggravating the distress then prevalent.
That the rumors set afloat by the banks, attacking the credit of the Government, did not impair the confidence of the depositors in its financial ability is demonstrated to a certainty.
Greenbacks, treasury notes, silver, and silver certificates, were taken with avidity by the withdrawing depositors and hoarded. Gold was not demanded.
In a short time, the New York banks were unable to pay their depositors, and they, in common with the banks of Boston and Philadelphia, issued clearing house certificates to the amount of $63,ooo,ooo, which were used to pay their depositors in lieu of money.
This act of the associated banks of the East, in issuing these certificates, was a clear violation of the law which assessed a tax of ten per cent., upon State bank notes, and all other paper designed to circulate as money except national bank notes.
The very banking power, which had demanded and secured the passage of that law, was the first who violated its provisions.
Besides these lawless acts, the New York banks refused to cash the checks of their depositors, and charged a premium of three per cent. for paying out the money which they owed to the public.
In the meantime, the money brokers of New York were charging enormous rates of interest, and were selling money at a premium ranging from three to seven per cent.
The Washington Post is authority for the statement that one firm of money brokers in New York City
made a profit of $6oo,ooo by selling currency at a premium.
A financial writer of New York City stated that Russell Sage made a daily profit of twenty thousand dollars by loaning money at an enormous rate of interest during the panic.
As proof of the foregoing facts, a New York banking house issued the following circular letter August 18th: -
"The New York City banters have $37,38o,ooo certificates outstanding. Boston has $11,1oo,ooo. Other bankers in the South and West perhaps have enough more out to make fifty millions of bank certificates. Adding these various amounts together, we find a possible increase of about one hundred millions since July 1 to replace the unknown amount of currency and gold drawn out of the banks and hoarded in vaults and other places since May last; "Where it resembled the one talent more than the ten talents."
"Currency commands three per cent. premium, and has sold as high as five per cent. Exchange on this city from many Western cities has recently ranged from five to fifty dollars per $1,ooo. Many Western people claim the degree of credit desired by Eastern bankers is shown by their willingness to pay depositors. Eastern banks appear to have no sympathy for Western methods in not issuing bank certificates. Many individuals have sold their checks on the street for funds to meet maturing obligations or mate needed purchases. Credit seems to have been strained from here to the Pacific coast, and attacked on all sides and benefiting but few."
The Mercantile National Bank of New York City was the only bank that did not exact unlawful rates of interest.
Mr. St. John was at the head of this institution, and
he would not permit this bank to practice the extortion in vogue at the other banks.
When before the House Committee on Currency, in December, 1894, he testified as follows:-
MR. HAUGEN: What rate of interest did you charge during the panic a year ago?
MR. ST. JOHN: The Mercantile National Bank of New York never exacts more than 5 per cent. from its dealers, under the present administration of thirteen years. There was one instance during that panic of 1893 in which we did exact 8 per cent, I think. We had been badly abused, and might have exacted 20
MR. HAUGEN: What was the current rate about?
MR. ST. JOHN: There was no current rate. Lenders got anything they chose to exact.
MR. HAUGEN: It was much higher than it is now?
MR. ST. JOHN: Yes; brokers paid on prime security three-fourths per cent per day and 5 per cent per annum; 276 per cent. per annum for some days.
MR. JOHNSON, of Indiana: Can you give us, in a succinct form, your explanation as to how there can be a remedy for the high price of money in the agricultural districts in crop-moving times?
MR. ST. JOHN: If there were a larger aggregate of money in the United States it could circulate over our vast territory without occasioning alarm. If I knew that the world believed that Louisville is absolutely prosperous, I would like to lend much of my money in Louisville. I would do so with the same certainty that I have mentioned as pertaining to New York. I merely tale Louisville as the illustration, because you mention it.
The statements of President St. John shows the extent of the panic in New York City, and awards a view of the Shylock tactics practiced by the money lords of the East.
It has been asserted by competent authority, that while these banks were refusing to pay out the funds due their tore, that this money was loaned out by them through brokers at the rates of interest stated by Mr. St. John, viz, 276 per centum.
Not only did the banks of New York City disobey the law by issuing clearing house certificates, but the great elevator owners and flour manufacturers of Minneapolis bought millions of bushels of wheat by paying for it in certificates similar to those of New York City.
The clearing house of Birmingham, Ala., issued certificates for sums as low as fifty cents.
The excuse tendered by the banks for not paying out money was, that the depositors were frightened by "want of confidence," and that they, the banks, had not the money to pay claims against them.
It was during this time of scarcity of money, that the Hon. Bourke Cockran declared that the country was suffering from a redundancy of currency!
The unlawful acts of the New York banks became so notorious that, an the 22d of August, 1893, the following resolutions of inquiry were offered in the Senate by Mr. Peffer:-
"Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be directed to inform the Senate -
"First, Whether, and in what respect, the national banks, or any of them, in the cities of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia are being now conducted in violation of law.
"Second, Whether said banks are paying depositors' checks promptly in lawful money.
"Third, Whether said banks, or any of them, are demanding rates of interest higher than those provided by law for the loan of money or in discounting notes and bills."
Immediately upon the appearance of this resolution, Senator McPherson, the national bank sugar trust speculator, moved its reference to the Finance Committee.
This was done for the purpose of smothering the resolution.
Senator Gorman apologized for the delinquent banks and asserted that, if the Comptroller strictly enforced the law, many of these banks would be compelled to close their doors. He argued that the banks were the best Judges of what should be done in the case.
In reply to the remarks of Senators McPherson and Gorman, Senator Hill said: -
"I am as anxious, sir, as the Senator from Maryland can possibly be to relieve the financial distress of this country. I will go with him as far as he will go in the effort to keep out partisanship in the disposition of the financial question. From the hour we first met in this body my efforts have been toward bringing about a proper solution of the question, and my efforts have been just as zealous, just as earnest, as have been the efforts of the Senator from Maryland. My position upon this great financial question has not been misunderstood. I spoke upon this subject last February when I thought I saw the danger coming to the country. I did not hear the eloquent voices of some other gentlemen aiding me in that contest.
"What is the precise question? Gentlemen do not understand one another upon the other side of it. I thought I heard an intimation that there bad been something wrong somewhere. I judged that much from the suggestion of the Senator from Massachusetts. He disavowed any intention of saying that there had been any wrong anywhere. Then the Senator from Maryland steps forward and says, 'Yes; there has been a violation of the law, a conceded violation of the law on the part of national banks, wrinkled at by officials.'
That is the idea we get from his remarks. I do not know whether that is true or not. I think, whether it is true or not, it ought to be investigated.
"What do you want to refer to this committee? Is it a committee of investigation to investigate the acts of the Comptroller of the Currency? - No. For what purpose is the resolution to be referred? As I understand the Senator from Maryland, the only object of a reference to the committee is for the purpose of not acting upon it, for the purpose of suppressing it in the interest of the public welfare. That seems to be the idea. There has never been a cause so bad in the history of the country that its advocates have not always felt that they acted in the interest of the public welfare.
"The resolution is a simple one. What is it? It simply asks the Comptroller of the Currency to give us certain information in his possession as to what has been done in his office, or by the national banks of the country, so far as he understands what has been done. The details of the resolution I do not propose to give. What is the objection to it? Is it a proposition to try the Comptroller of the Currency? Is it a proposition to arraign the national banks for a violation of their duty? - No; it is a simple, ordinary and proper resolution; and I say courtesy to the distinguished Senator from Kansas entitles the resolution to be passed here and now. What reason can there be given against it?
"The Senator from Maryland says there are great times in the history of the country when we must rise above partisanship. I agree with him. What has that to do with this question? There are great times when we mast be equal to the occasion. What has that to do with suppressing an ordinary resolution of inquiry? The resolution does not provide for the appointment of a committee to investigate anybody. The resolution does not provide for making charges against anybody.
"Are you afraid of the facts? This very debate will cause inquiry into what has been done. This debate in the Senate of the United States will direct attention
to the question, and every person will be apt to inquire to-morrow morning what has been done by national banks, and what has been done by the Comptroller of the Currency, that the Senate of the United States dare not pass a simple, ordinary resolution of inquiry? What are you afraid of? Are we not trying to quiet the existing panic? Is the panic to be quieted by each proceedings as this? Are resolutions calling for information to be suppressed, put down, shelved, put into a committee and there pigeonholed? Can we not stand the light of day on this subject? Cannot the acts of our officials, whoever they may be-and I myself make no charges against them whatever - stand a simple inquiry?
"What will this committee do? The Senator from New Jersey says that the committee will look into the matter, and the fair inference from his remarks is that if they find anything wrong, they will not report the resolution, but if they find everything has been right, then they will report the resolution. Why can we not make that inquiry now? I appeal to the Senators around this Chamber that there s no reasonable, tenable objection that is presented why the resolution should not be passed. Why should not the distinguished Senator from Kana' be treated the same as every other member of this body? He has the same rights to offer a resolution and have it passed.
"How long is it since a resolution of inquiry has been referred to a committee before being allowed to pass? I have not heard it in the last year and a half that I have been here. Therefore, I say to you, it is not a question of patriotism. It is not a question as to what should be done in this great hour of distress. It is a simple, ordinary question of senatorial courtesy; and I have heard no reason yet presented why the resolution of the Senator from Kansas should not be passed. I do not agree with him in his peculiar notions of finance I do not belong to his party. He has his own viewers upon these questions, but he has a right to have any proper, legitimate information spread upon
the records of the Senate, and there can be no objection to it."
Senator Washburn expressed his fears that the passage of the resolution would dose almost every bank in the country, and place it in the hands of a receiver. He said: -
"It seems to me if the resolution is passed and we receive the reply which is inevitable, that it will be notice to the Comptroller of the Currency to administer the law literally and technically; the result of which will be to close almost every bank in the country and place it in the hands of a receiver. That is a calamity which, it seems to me, we should loot forward to with great hesitation. I do not believe it is the. duty of patriotism, of party, or of good common sense to infect anything of that kind into the present deplorable condition."
The Senator who made the above statement was a supporter of the national banking system, and the remarque above quoted will exhibit the lawless character of those men, who attacked the credit of the United States, and who violated the laws of State and nation in almost every transaction in which they were engaged.
Daring the debate on the motion to refer to the Finance Committee, Senator Teller said: -
"The banks have another function, which is to transmit money from one bank to another. Commerce can scarcely be carried on unless that function is in active force. Business cannot be done between New Orleans and Chicago, New Orleans and New York, and all around, unless bills of exchange can be used. They are the agencies of commerce.
"Have these banks fulfilled that function? For more than six weeks the banks of the city of New York, and other cities which I might mention, have
simply declined to pay drafts drawn on them by outside banks for the money that those banks have on deposit. Between a city that is entered by at least six railroad trains a day, and can be reached in twenty-four hours, and the city of New York, the rates of exchange have been $3 on the hundred; and between the city of New York and the sty of Philadelphia there has been an absolute refusal on the part of the banks of Philadelphia to pay drafts on the sty of New York in any kind of money.
"I have in my drawer here a letter from a Western banker, who tells me that through his bank he had a draft of $7,ooo on a Philadelphia bank, which he seat to a bank in the city of New York, and the bank there returned it to him saying, `We will present no drafts to the banks of Philadelphia, because they decline to pay.' Then, through other agencies, this banker sent his draft to Philadelphia for money admitted to belong to the drawer, and the banks of Philadelphia simply add: 'We cannot afford to pay this, and we will not pay it.' "
Senator Butler added the following testimony to that adduced by Mr. Teller. He said: -
"I would state one fact which comes within my own personal knowledge. I met a gentleman on a train last night, who informed me that, as President of a large manufacturing establishment in the South, he had deposited in one of the banks of the city of New York a large amount of money, and had telegraphed and written to that bank to send him $5,ooo of currency with which to pay his laborers on Saturday night.
"Mr. Allison: A national bank?
"Mr. Butler: I am not prepared to say that it was a national bank - I do not know about that - but it was one of the banks of the city of New York. He said that that bank at first declined to do it, but finally sent him $5,ooo in currency and charged him 1 1/2per cent. for sending him his own money. I said to this gentleman, 'You certainly did not pay it?' 'Why,' said
he, 'I was obliged to pay it.' 'To pay 1 1/2 per cent. for sending you your own money?' Yes, sir.' That is one instance. As has been stated by some Senator, I believe that a check on a man's own deposit has to be discounted at 3 per cent.
"I have heard a great deal about the want of confidence in the country, brought about by the Sherman Act. The Sherman Act has about as much to do with that want of confidence as a pebble in a millpond has to do with stirring the waters. It is, unless we are all misinformed, a want of honesty - and we may as well speak plainly - and the sooner the country finds it out the better it will be for everybody."
These were but a few of the facts brought oat by the debate on this resolution with reference to repeated violations of law, and of the mean oppressions practiced upon the people by those lawless national bankers, who had boasted that they would teach the people an "object lesson."
The resolution was finally referred to the Finance Committee, which subsequently reported it back in a modified form and it was passed.
On September 16th, the Deputy Comptroller made a report in reply thereto, in which he stated that the Comptroller had no official information that the national banks of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia were violating the law.
It will be noticed that the Comptroller himself did not reply to the resolution, and secondly, that the resolution did not call for official information. Furthermore, the sub-treasury in New York City was a member of the Clearing House Association, and, as such, was cognizant of the methods of the national banks composing that body.
During this time, the Senate was debating the question of repealing the purchasing clause of the Sherman law.
On August 25th, Senator Hill, of New York, strongly arraigned those men who brought on the panic. He said: -
"Some portion of the present panic may be traced to a concerted effort on the part of numerous monometallists to produce it, in order to further discredit silver as a part of the standard money of the coin. That fact is apparent everywhere we turn. We observe it in their senseless arguments constantly used against free bi-metallic coinage and their ceaseless endeavors to confuse the present issue by characterizing it as a contest between monometallism and be-metallism. They seemed to be delighted when the first ray of financial trouble appeared. They hailed the recent action of India with ill-concealed satisfaction. They talked against silver, morning, noon, and night.
They denounced, not simply the Sherman silver purchase bill, but the future use of silver as money. With ghoulish glee they welcomed every bank failure, especially in the silver States, little dreaming that such failures would soon occur at their own doors. They encouraged the hoarding of money, they inaugurated the policy of refusing loans to the people even upon the best of security; they circulated false petitions, passed absurd and alarming resolutions, predicted the direst disaster, attacked the credit of the Government, sought to exact a premium upon currency, and attempted in every way to spread distrust broadcast throughout the land.
"The best financial system in the world could not stand such an organized and vicious attack upon it.
These disturbers-these promoters of the public peril - represent largely the creditor class, the men who desire to appreciate the gold dollar in order to subserve their own selfish interests, men who revel in hard
times, men who drive harsh bargains with their fellow men in periods of financial distress, and men wholly unfamiliar with the true principles of monetary science.
"It is not strange that the present panic has been induced, intensified, and protracted by reason of these malign influences. Having contributed much to bring about the present exigency, these men are now utterly unable to control it. They have sown to the wind, and we are all now reaping the whirlwind together."
The courage of the New York Senator was grandly illustrated in this speech, in which he points out the unlimited greed of those so-called financiers, to whom nothing was sacred during their traitorous warfare against the nation and the people.
One of the singular incidents, occurring during the struggle for repeal, was that in which Senator Sherman became a conspicuous adviser of President Cleveland and Secretary Carlisle!
The strange anomaly of this lifelong Republican becoming a warm supporter of the financial policy of the administration is one of the wonders of American politics.
On October 17th, Senator Sherman made the following prediction of the astonishing benefits that would accrue from a repeal of the Sherman law. He said:
"In the present condition of affairs there is no money to buy cotton and corn and wheat for foreign consumption. Break down the barrier now maintained by the Senate of the United States, check this viper called obstruction to the will of the majority, give the Senate free power and play, and in ten days from this time the skies will brighten, business will resume its ordinary course, and the clouds that lower upon our house will be in the deep bosom of the ocean buried."
Is it not remarkable that this man, who, for many
years, has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the greatest of American financiers, should influence Congress to enact the law of July 14 1890, and then, within a period of three years, assert that a repeal thereof would brighten the skies, cause the resumption of business, and bury the clouds in the bosom of the ocean?
Under the rules of the Senate, the measure could not be forced through that body as rapidly as the national banking power desired.
In this great debate upon the bill to repeal the purchasing cause of the Sherman law, those Senators in favor of that measure persistantly urged as a reason for repeal that a "flood of silver" threatened the financial stability of the Government.
The absurdity of that line of argument is apparent, when reference is had to the gold and silver production of the United States.
From 1792, up to and inclusive of 1892, the value of gold produced in this country was $1,987,ooo,ooo, of silver only $1,146,869,ooo, excess of gold over silver, $841,ooo,ooo.
Senator Teller challenged the gold monometallists to point out where this "flood of silver" was stored up.
They feebly referred to India!
The New York Press indulged in a vicious tirade upon Senator Voorhees, Chairman of the Finance Committee, taking him to task for what it called a dereliction of duty in not forcing a vote upon the bill.
On August 26th, the New York Evening Post uttered the following implied threats because the Sherman law was not repealed. It said: -
"We hear a great many reports from Washington to the effect that the Senate is firm against any repeal of the Silver Purchase law. We advise the public to attach little importance to the state of mind which prevails at the present moment in the Senate or among the senators' constituents. The medicine of the silver crisis is still working and the pangs which it produces mill be more acute as the time goes on. One calamity mill come thundering after another until the only possible remedy is applied. Banks will fail, railroads will default, manufactories will close, workingmen will lose their situations, there will be a shortage of money for crop-moving, affairs will grow steadily worse, until the mind cure is effected. Senators may roar against capitalists till the crack of doom without opening the pocketbook of one of them. In fact, the louder they roar, the tighter will those pocketbooks be closed. Nor will the time ever again come when money can be obtained with the customary ease so long as that silver law stands unrepealed. Hence we repeat that the frame of mind that the Senate may be in at the present time is no index of what it may be two weeks hence. There is dynamite enough in the financial situation to burst the Senate and both political parties."
The Philadelphia Press of the same date said: -
"The New York banks for several days have been endeavoring to bring a home influence on United States Senators, to induce them to vote for the repeal of the July silver 1am.
"To this end correspondents of the New York banks in the West and South have been told that they need not expect to get money from New York until the purchasing clause was repealed, and the Southern and Western bankers have strongly urged to write to their senators and insist that they work and vote for immediate repeal. This movement has given rise to the recent feeling in New York that the silver majority in the Senate could be overcome, as the influence of
the banks of the metropolis, when concentrated on any object, is regarded as invincible. There is a feeling that the strain is not as great as it was, and improvement is hoped for. Some anxiety exists as to the action of savings bank depositors when the thirty and sixty day limit expires next month. The requirements of money for the crops will also be a potent factor, but no one is disposed to contemplate future conditions, especially if they are likely to be unpleasant."
These papers were organs of the national banks, and they spoke the sentiment of that power.
On September 22d, the Daily Indicator, a financial paper of New York City, published the following: -
"There are ominous rumors in the street that New York will again put the screws on the Senate. Whether this is street talk or not remains to be seen; but the hardening of the rate of sterling exchange st the time of large merchandise exports and in the middle of our exporting season, looks as if gold exports would be made to influence the silver lunatics here is no question but that the banks of New York are still withholding money from merchants, while possessing millions of idle cash, because of a tacit arrangement not to unloose it until the Senate votes for repeal. Now, if the gold exporting movement began, that would be another striking occurrence on which to impinge public thought, and on which popular argument could be based. There is one point lacking in any program of this kind. The public have learned that the influence of the silver bill on business has been overestimated. The predictions of those who have urged that everything depended on repeal have not been verified. Indeed, much that was said has been disproved by recent occurrences, and the feeling that the influence of the law was wildly exaggerated for political effect has spread at Washington and elsewhere. Exports of gold at this time might emphasize this feeling and, rightly or wrongly, it would be said that the gold went
out at the behest of Wall street. Not an hour old be gained in the Senate for the repeal cause by any such movement."
These are but a few of the many thousand bold utterances of the subsidized press of the national banking money power, and they afford conclusive evidence that the panic of 1893emanated from the concentrated money power of the East.
If the foregoing are not evidence of the power of the New York banks to destroy the business of the country, then no facts could ever be proven.
September 29th, the New York Tribune cautioned the bankers to refrain from giving publicity to their threats. It said:-
"The Tribune trusts that bankers of this city will permit a suggestion which is for their own as well as the public interest. Several of them ate reported as having made particularly alarming statements regarding the disasters which, they venture to predict, will follow a failure of the Senate to the pending Silver Purchase repeal bill. Such statements are not likely to do any whatever, bet are eminently calculated to do me harm. It is not to be supposed that these influential bankers are deliberately trying to get up another panic, with all its distressing consequences.
"They might well remember, however, that the remarks they are reported as having made, might, in a certain contingency, prove extremely costly to the banks and to the business men of this city.
"It is not as if there were any important end to be gained by such alarming utterances. On the contrary, it is highly probable that the urgency of New York bankers may go far to prejudice the very cause they desire to aid, particularly with some members of the Senate from the West and South whose support of the repeal bill is essential. Senators of the United States
ought to be far above more prejudice against a measure, because any worthy body of citizens advocate it with peculiar zeal. That some Senators are not is the unfortunate fact. The idea that a measure is passionately desired by New York bankers, in the judgment of those who know the Senate best, is apt to damage that measure more than it will help it. If bankers of this city wish to do their utmost to assist the passage of the repeal bill, they may find it wise not to talk vehemently for publication.
"It is a less important fact that sound business men are not by any means agreed about the necessity of action on the silver question at this time."
The Tribune proceeds to warn the banks against expecting too much from the repeal of the Sherman law. It said.: -
"There was such agreement some time ago, before the widespread disasters which it was hoped to aver had come. But it is not so clear noir as it was then supposed to be that a single act of legislation would unlock countless hoards, and bring untold millions hither from England, and restore confidence and set all the mills at work, Whether all these things would have resulted at once is not the question. There have been many thousand failures. More than seven hundred banks have failed with liabilities amounting to more than $170,000,000. A considerable of the manufacturing force of the whole country stopped operations. In many ways the conditions have changed.
"One of the ablest bankers in this city, having charge of a very important bank, recently remarked that it was no longer clear to him that repeal of the silver act would accomplish what he had expected. Its anticipated effect, he said, would have been largely sentimental, but it was no longer possible to restore confidence entirely and instantly, as he had thought it might be restored some months ago. What this banker thinks many other sound businessmen are thinking.
It does not seem to them wise any longer to hold out the idea that all our fortunes in this great country must turn upon an event which is not certain to take place. The repeal bill is, as we believe, a wise and highly desirable measure. But it is hardly wise or desirable to stake the future of all business upon the action or inaction of the Senate of the United States."
In the meantime, the New York bankers were holding meetings, and formulating plans to compel the Senate to act with more haste.
A New York special to the Washington Post, September 17th, contained the following remarkable language: -
"Practically the same opinions are held by business men who have no banking interests.
"The feeling here is that unless in a day or two Voorhees performs without further delay what is considered his duty, of pressing for a vote, he must find himself under the necessity of explaining what are his concealed motives. 'Candidly,' said a banker of high standing to the Post correspondent, 'we did not
expect repeal to have been accomplished by this time, but the celerity with which the House passed the bill gave us reason to believe like speed would follow in the Senate. We know the ways of Senators pretty well, and we can understand some of the motives that seem to actuate Senator Voorhees. But his refusal to come to New York and talk with us has suggested wrong motives, and his weak stand against the aggression of the silver Senators is more than we can fathom. What does it mean? I ask the question because we must know. We have a right to know. If we are not given satisfactory reasons for the delay, as we have not to this hour, we cannot be blamed for believing that there is something behind it all. What can be Senator Voorhees' personal interest in keeping back repeal? That's what we'd like to know; for his political interests are to our minds not enough to explain the strange delay.'
"This talk of other motives than politics behind the delay has gained currency among certain bankers, but is rejected as unbelievable by others. "
From the language of these bankers, it will be seen that they regarded Congress as a mere servant of the money power, and that the Senator, or Representative, who would not completely subject himself to their beck and call was liable to incur their censure.
The Clearing House Association of New York City transmitted a circular to various members of Congress, in which was detailed a financial plan concocted by these financiers. It proposed that Congress enact a law providing that, whenever the clearing houses of New York City, Boston, Chicago, and other great cities, decide that the country is in a state of panic, these associations could deposit securities with the Government which would put up money for these great financial rings.
This is an example of the arrogant demands of the panic breeders, railway wreckers, trust organizers, stock, and grain gamblers.
That these men presumed that they owned the fee simple of the United States Government, is evident from an interview with a banker, published by a New York paper. In substance it is as follows: -
It was rumored that the President and the Secretary of the Treasury had a conference with reference to removing the ten per cent. tax on State bank notes. A reporter requested the opinion of Mr. Simmons, President of a great national bank of New York, upon the merits of the proposed measure. Mr. Simmons replied as follows. He said:-
"Well I have not examined the proposition very closely, but do not think that I would like it. However, there need not be any solicitude, because the administration will not pass any financial legislation without consulting us; hence there need be no anxiety on the part of the public regarding the subject."
Another banker, on being interviewed by the reporter, stated that no financial bill would pass which did not meet the approval of the bankers.
After a long debate in the Senate, the repeal bill was passed October 30, 1893. It was sent back to the House for concurrence, as the Senate had added a few slight amendments to the House bill.
After a short debate the House concurred in the Senate amendments, and the bill became a law November 1, 1893.
The effects of the panic, which was created by the national banking money power to coerce Congress into repealing the purchasing clause of the Sherman law, are beyond the descriptive powers of language.
The New York World, of August, 1893, published a list of great railway companies whose bonds declined in value from ten to fifty-five percent. These were gold bonds.
The decline of prices of agricultural products, since the repeal of the purchasing clause, was greater than ever before known.
On June 1, 1893, wheat sold for 43 cents per bushel.
On October 31st, it brought 69 cents, a decrease of fourteen cents. We quote New York prices.
The total loss on wheat to the farmers for the year 1893, was $70,000,000.
Cotton fell two and one-fourth cents per pound.
Other agricultural products fell at the same ratio.
It is safe to state that the loss on agricultural products, resulting from the repeal of the Sherman law in the United States and the closing down of the mints of India to the free coinage of silver, amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.
And yet the passage of that Repeal Act was procured on the false pretense that prosperity would return to bless the people.
It was further stated that the repeal of the Sherman law was necessary to prevent the exportation of gold from the United States. This was another hypocritical plea to aid in the passage of the repeal, for, in a single year after that act was consummated, one hundred and twenty millions of dollars in gold were drawn out of the Treasury by that set of knaves who had urged repeal as a means to protect the gold reserve.
The number of failures for the year 1893 loomed up to the portentous figures of 15,242, with liabilities of $346,779,889.
The extent of suffering among the working classes cannot be estimated, all of which was the direct result of the conspiracy organized by the national banking money power, and which was executed by its minions throughout the length and breadth of this land.
The New York Tribune estimated the shrinkage of value of all kinds of property at ten billions of dollars during this panic, which it bad urged the bankers to inflict upon the- people as an "object-lesson. "
Other competent writers estimate the shrinkage of values, in 1893 and 1894, at not less than twenty billions.
It was lamentable.