"She is not dead, but holding her capital and stock holders together under a state charter, she has taken a position to watch events and also to profit by them. The Royal tiger has gone into the jungle; and, crouching on his belly, he awaits the favorable moment emerging from his covert and springing on the back of the unsuspicious traveler." - Thomas H. Benton
"Bank paper must be suppressed and the circulation restored to the nation to whom it belongs.
"The power to issue money should be taken from the banks and restored to congress and the people.
"I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.
"I am not among those who fear the people. They and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.
"Put down the banks and if this country could not be carried through the longest war against her most powerful enemy without ever knowing the want of a dollar, without dependence upon the traitorous class of her citizens, without bearing hard upon the resources of the people or leading the public with an indefinite burden of debt, I know nothing of my countrymen."- Thomas Jefferson.
In the preceding chapter, the career of the United States Bank was traced from its origin to its downfall.
It was there shown that the United States, by transferring its sovereign power of issuing currency to accumulate as money among the people, and delegating
to a private corporation, had, in a period of less than fifty years, built up a monopoly that threatened to pull down the pillars of the republic.
That the panics of 1811, 1833, and 1837-41, with their consequent ruin of tens of thousands of industries, with the attendant circumstances of hunger, suffering, and starvation, werc designedly produced by the bank to overawe Congress and the President.
That it secured the powerful political influence of Webster, Clay, and Calhoun on the floor of the United States senate as the champions of its interests.
That the press of the country, to a very large extent, succumbed to its moneyed influence.
That it attempted to crush the beneficient administration of President Jackson.
We now come to consider a system of national banking, compared with which, the old United States Bank was a pigmy.
In 1861, when the Southern states attempted to withdraw from the Union, the result was that great conflict known in history as the civil war. Throughout its progress, the mass of the people werc intently engaged with the gigantic operations constantly carried on during that period, and, therefore, little attention was paid by them to the financial legislation, enacted by Congress.
When the North and the South were marshaling their respective armies to determine the question of military supremacy, the weight of foreign influence was thrown to the southern cause. Great Britain, from her antipathy to the people of the United States, early recognized the Confederacy, and her course was followed by France and Spain, but the latter powers did not resort to the extreme measures of England.
During the early period of the war, immense sums of money were needed by the Federal Government to arm, equip, and maintain her numerous armies and fleets necessary for the suppression of the rebellion.
Heavy taxes of various kinds were levied and collected for the payment of the extraordinary expenses incurred by the war, but this was insufficient to meet the expenditures. Resort was had to borrowing money on the credit of the United States by the sale of bonds.
At that time as at present, New York City was the financial center of the country. August Belmont & Co. were the American agents of the Rothchilds, and the former advised this great banking house that there would be much risk in purchasing American bonds.
The Rothchilds were located in the city of London, England, with branch banks at Paris, Frankfort, Berlin, and Vienna.
From the year 1800, up to the outbreak of the civil war, the United States had made astonishing progress as a commercial nation, our commerce had rapidly grown to bc the second largest in the world, and it promised, ere long, to surpass that of Great Britain, who had long looked with jealous eye on the remarkable growth of the American merchant marine. She had for centuries prided herself as the "Mistress of the Seas," and had long feared that this republic would snatch its supremacy from her, and thus relegate her to a second rate power.
Hence, upon the outbreak of the war, the rejoicing in England was immense, and British statesmen predicted the success of the Confederacy. Nor was this
all. England aided the South by money, munitions of war, by the recognition of her belligerency, and by her moral support.
It was evident that no money could be secured from England by the United States to maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, for nations, like men, are governed in their money transactions largely by their likes and dislikes.
In 1861, the money in circulation in the United States consisted of gold and silver coins, and state bank currency. As the expenses of the Government in 1861-62 were many millions of dollars in excess of its income, and as but little money could be had by the sale of its bonds, recourse was had to issuing paper money.
By the acts of July myth, and August g, 1861, the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to issue demand notes to the amount of fifty millions of dollars, and these notes were made full legal tender for all debts and demands, both public and private. This was net the first time that the Federal Government had issued its notes to circulate as money. It will be remembered that during the war of 1812, the Government had resorted to this means, a precedent followed by the administrations of Van Buren, Polk, and Buchanan.
These notes so issued at these various times were maintained at a parity with gold and silver coin, and were a favorite money of the people. History records the fact that no less than twenty issues of paper money were emitted by the general Government prior to the year 1862; that the people never questioned its value and efficiency as a medium of exchange. These various issues of currency were uniformly receivable
by the government in payment of its taxes and revenues.
During the perilous times of the nation, when bankers and financiers refused to loan money to it, the issue of full legal tender paper money never failed to come to the rescue, while cowardly gold fled to the rear.
Therefore, the fifty millions of demand notes issued under the authority of the acts of July 17th and August 5, 1861, having unlimited legal tender power for the payment of all demands, never depreciated a farthing.
Subsequent to the passage of this act, a bi11 was introduced in Congress providing for the issue of non-interest bearing treasury notes to the amount of $150,000,000 with full legal tender power for the payment of all debts and demands, public and private. Immediately, from the leading cities of the country, a horde of bankers, or as Hon. Thaddeus Stevens aptly termed them, "A delegation of bankers and coin venders," hastened to Washington, organized themselves, and requested the Committee on Ways and Means of the House, and the Finance Committee of the Senate to meet with them at the office of the Secretary of the Treasury. Their request was complied with on the 11th day of February, 1862.
Owing to some peculiar and powerful influence, then and there exerted by these organized bankers on these committees, the legal tender clause was modified to read as follows: -
"That the amount of the two kinds of notes together shall at no time exceed the sum of $150,000,000, and such notes herein authorized shall bc receivable in payment of taxes, internal duties, excises, debts, and demand of every kind due to the United States, except duties on imports, and of all claims and demands
against the United States of every kind whatsoever, except for interest upon bonds and notes which shall bc paid in coin, and shall also be lawful money and a legal tender in the payment of all debts, public and private, within the United States, except duties on imports and interest as aforesaid."
This proposed amendment was severely criticized by Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, and by Mr. Spaulding, of Net York. During the debate upon the bill as amended, her. Stevens denounced the demands of the bankers and said: -
"A dolefu1 sound came up from the caverns of the bullion brokers and the saloons of the associated banks. Their cashiers and agents were soon on the ground, and persuaded the Senate with but little deliberation to mangle and destroy what it had cost the House months to digest, consider and pass.
"Instead of being a beneficent and invigorating measure, it is now positively mischievous. It has all the bad qualities which. its enemies charged on the original bill and none of its benefits. It now creates money and by its very terms declares it a depreciated currency. It makes two classes of money - one for banks and brokers and another for the people. It discriminates between the rights of different classes of creditors; allowing the rich capitalist to demand gold and compelling the ordinary lender of money on individual security to receive notes which the Government had purposely discredited."
While on his death bed, the Great Commoner, as his friends loved to call him, recalled the action of Congress in demonetizing the greenback at the instigation of the banks. In
speaking of the bankers he said: -
"We were foolish to grant them gold interest, and now they unblushingly demand further advantages. The truth is we can never satisfy their appetite for money."
The amendment of Mr. Stevens to place officers and soldiers of the army and navy, and those who should furnish them with provisions upon the same standing as the bankers and brokers, was defeated by a vote of 72 to 67.
In denouncing the amendment striking out the legal tender clause, Senator John Sherman spoke as follows; -
"If you strike out this legal tender clause you do it with the knowledge that these notes will fall dead upon the money market of the world; that they will be refused by the banks; that they will bc a disgraced currency that will not pass from hand to hand; that they will have no legal sanction; that any man may decline to receive them, and thus discredit the obligations of the Government. I ask again if that is just to the men to whom you have contracted to pay debts? When yon issue demand notes and announce your purpose not to pay any more gold and silver coin, you tender to these who have furnished provisions and services this paper money. What can they do? They can not pay their debts with it, they can not support their families with it, without a depreciation."
He further said in this speech of February 13, 1862, that "I much prefer the credit of the United States, based as it is upon all the productions and property of
50 the United States, to the issues of any corporation, however guarded and managed."
This language of Senator Sherman was that of undoubted patriotism, and it is strongly condemnatory of his subsequent public career, during which he became the active ally of the national banks.
Mr. Kellogg, of Illinois, thus scored the greed of these men. He said: -
"I am pained to sit in my place in the House and hear members talk about 'the sacredness of capital, that the interests of money must not be touched. Yes, sir, they will vote six hundred thousand of the flower of the American youth for the army to bc sacrificed without a blush, but the great interests of capital, of currency, must not be touched. "
In referring to the grand struggle made by Mr. Stevens for full legal tender currency, Judge Kelley said: -
"I remember the grand old Commoner with his hat in his hand and his cane under his arm, when he returned to the House from the final conference, shedding bitter tears over the result. 'Yes,' said he, `wc have had to yield. The Senate was stubborn. Wc did not yield until we found that the country must bc lost or the banks bc gratified; and wc have sought to save the country in spite of the cupidity of its wealthiest citizens.' "
The bankers thus succeeded in limiting the legal tender power of the Treasury note, or as it is commonly called, the greenback, and from this time on the bankers, brokers, and speculators have, with few exceptions, dictated the financial legislation in the United States.
This amendment, by which the debt paying power of the Treasury note was restricted within such narrow limits, was a most dishonest act on the part of the government.
It drew distinctions between the various kinds of money issued by the United States. It made the bankers and bond holders a privileged class, and it inflicted a wound upon the nation from which it has not yet recovered. It made gold and silver coin the money of the privileged classes, who composed that traitorous element so justly denounced by Jefferson.
By force of this amendment, coin went to a premium, thereby greatly enhancing the wealth of the bankers and bullion brokers.
Moreover, the principle involved in that act greatly weakened the most powerful element of sovereignty that can reside in a nation, by placing the control of the value of money in the hands of organized greed, in this case the gold gamblers of Wall street.
It laid the foundation of a stupendous public debt, which the holders thereof would strive to perpetuate by every means in their power, and it was the first step to fasten on the people the most powerful and merciless tyranny that ever cursed a free people - the centralized money power known as the national banking system.
The bill, as amended, became a law on July 11, 1862, and, from that time, began the depreciation of the greenback currency.
The banking power, which had succeeded in inducing Congress and the President to cripple that currency, which eventually saved the Union, afterward pointed the finger of scorn at this money as a debased currency, and they, therefore, impliedly damned their own nefarious conduct by denouncing it as "rag-baby" money.
As a result of this act as amended, the merchant who
paid duties on merchandise imported from abroad was compelled to pay the taxes levied thereon, in coin. To obtain that kigid of money he must proceed to the bullion broker, and pay him a large premium for the coin to mate his payment of the customs levied on his merchandise. The bond holder was paid his interest on government bonds in gold, which was afterward sold by him to the importer, at a high premium.
This legislation was the result toward which the bullion brokers and gold gamblers of Wall street bent all their energies to procure, when they induced the government to rob the greenback of its full legal tender debt-paying power. It was the consummation of the most dishonest financial scheme ever perpetrated upon a heavily taxed and patriotic people.
Immediately following the visit of these bankers to Washington, a circular was issued by the London bankers, and distributed by one Hazard, who was their representative in this country at that time.
The contents of this famous circular are as follows: -
"Slavery is likely to be abolished by the war power and chattel slavery destroyed. This I and my European friends are in favor of; for slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care of the laborer, while the European plan, led on by England, is capital control of labor by controlling wages. This can bc done by controlling the money. The debt, that capitalists will see is to be made out of the war, most be used as a measure to control the volume of money. To accomplish this the bonds must be used as a banking basis. We are now waiting for the Secretary of the Treasury to make his recommendation to Congress. It wil1 not do to allow the greenback (as it is called) to circulate as money any length of time, for we cannot control it."
The existence of this remarkable circular has been strenuously denied time and again by the national banking money power. Notwithstanding these denials, the line of action indicated in that circular has been consistently pursued from that day to this.
The advice of said Hazard was at once acted upon by the organized banks, and they proceeded to mate known their demands to Congress.
Therefore, a bill was speedily brought forward by Senator Sherman in the United States Senate, providing for the incorporation and organization of the present system of national banks as banks of issue - a bill whose passage meant the creation of moneyed institutions, whose interests would bc, or could be made, antagonistic to the nation.
Is it not exceedingly strange, that Senator Sherman, who, in his able speech of February 13, 1862, advanced powerful arguments in behalf of Government legal tender currency, or greenbacks, in which he stated that he preferred the credit of the United States, based, as it was, upon all the productions and property of the people, to the issue of any corporation however well guarded and managed, would thus suddenly change his position?
In less than a year from the time he so ably defended legal tender greenback currency, he reversed his position, and fathered a, financial measure which brought into being a dangerous rival to the Government when it was engaged in a death struggle.
In substance, this act provided for the incorporation of banking companies, by which not less than five persons could, under certain restrictions, organize a bank, by depositing with the Secretary of the Treasury
United States bonds to secure the circulation of national bank notes as currency.
The capitalists thus organizing themselves into a national bank association, were required to enter into articles of association which should specify, in general terms, the object for which the association was formed.
These articles were to be signed by the persons uniting to form the association, and a copy of them was to be forwarded to the Comptroller of the Currency to be filed and preserved in his office.
No association could bc organized as a national bank with a less capital than one hundred thousand dollars; except that banks with a capital of not less than fifty thousand dollars could, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, bc organized in any place having a population not exceeding six thousand inhabitants.
Upon a deposit of United States bonds, the banking associations were entitled to receive from the Comptroller of the Currency, circulating notes, of different denominations, in blank,
registered or countersigned, equal in amount to ninety per centum of the amount of the current market value of the bonds so deposited by the association with the Comptroller, but in any case the circulating notes were not to exceed ninety per centum of the par value of the said bonds, if bearing interest at a rate of not less than five per cent per annum; and the amount of circulating notes to be furnished to each association shall be in proportion to its paid-up capital as follows, and no more: -
hundred thousand, but not exceed one million of dollars, eighty per centum of such capital.
This act also provided that, in lieu of all existing taxes, each association should pay a duty of one per cent per annum upon the average amount of its notes in circulation, and one-half of one per cent per annum upon the average amount of its deposits, and a duty of one-half of one per cent per annum on the average amount of its capital stock beyond the amount invested in United States bonds.
Furthermore, these national banking associations were authorized to institute suits at law in the United States courts as courts of original jurisdiction.
This provision gave the national banks an advantage over the ordinary citizen, and placed these associations beyond the jurisdiction of the State courts; in other words, these banks could select whatever court their interest dictated.
It will at once be ascertained, from a study of the national banking law, that the capital of the associations was nearly doubled by act of Congress.
In the first place, bonds, deposited by them to secure their circulation drew interest payable in gold, at this time at a high premium. Second, the circulating notes issued to them by the United States, although promissory notes payable on demand and therefore debts of the banks, were nominally money, and were loaned out at a high rate of interest to the customers of the national banks.
The United States Government gave the wealthiest men of the country, in the time of its greatest peril and distress, a gratuity equal to ninety per centum of their banking capital.
This scheme engineered through Congress by the money power, greatly tended to centralize the currency in the large cities, and, therefore, made it master of the productive energies of the American people, as the vast majority of the bonds were held in New York City and other centers of wealth and population.
It made the circulating notes of these banks a rival to the greenback currency, and it would bc to the interest of the national bankers, by every means in their power, to drive out and destroy the paper money issued by the Government.
This law placed it in the hands of the money power to contract or expand the volume of money at its pleasure,
and, therefore, enhance or depreciate the value of stocks, bonds, and all other forms of property in the United States.
The far-reaching influence of this act of Congress, chartering national banks, becomes apparent, when the true principles and functions of Government are considered in all their relations to the people.
Pre-eminent among the various powers conferred upon, or assumed by a sovereign state, are those of taxation, of raising armies, and of coining, issuing, and controlling the volume of money.
The first named power, that of taxation, is only limited by the necessities of the State, and of the amount of property upon which it operates.
A citizen of a state may become the owner of a home through arduous toil and life-long rigid economy, yet, the state, when invoking the power of levying and collecting taxes, may sweep away this property, not leaving a vestige for the man whose labor and privations created a shelter for himself and family.
In a great case before the highest tribunal of the nation, Justice Samuel P, Miller said that "The power of taxation is the power to destroy."
No man who is endowed with a modicum of intelligence would advocate a transfer of this immense power to a private corporation for its gain.
It would amount to the self-destruction of a nation.
The power of raising and maintaining armies is inherent in a sovereign state, and is absolutely necessary for its self-defense, and therefore its self-preservation.
The strong arm of the Govcrnment can reach every fireside in the land, and can drag from thence the father, husband, or son, tear him away from the family
circle, force him to don the national uniform, to bear arms, and to lay down his life for his country.
No citizen can resist the imperative call of his country when involved in war.
No sane man would advocate the delegation of this high attribute of sovereignty to a corporation for its individual gain, as such transfer of power would inevitably result in frightful oppression.
The power of coining, issuing, and controlling the volume of money is a far more important function of government than the foregoing.
All commerce, exchange, the existence of Government, of civilization itself, hinges upon this mighty function of Government. The power of issuing and controlling money exercises an imperial sway over all productive industry as universal as the law of gravitation upon all matter.
The value of all property, whether of the present time, or of that resulting from the earnings and accumulations of all past generations, depends upon the control of the volume of money,
The power of levying and collecting taxes for the support of the nation, of raising and maintaining armies for its preservation, is dependent upon the control of the currency.
The former is subordinate to the last named power, and consequently involves the very life of the nation.
Yet, in time of the greatest need of the nation, when everything most valuable to man was at stake, this necessary power of Government was delegated to the most traitorous and rapacious system of corporations that ever cursed the people.
By this transfer of sovereign power to the national
banking system, the Federal Government divested itself of that never failing resource which secured the independence of the colonies, and which successfully enabled the administration of James Madison to chastise the overweening pride of Great Britain in 1812.
The alienation of this highest function of the nation to the national banking money power was a high crime against the welfare of the country, and it created a powerful moneyed interest antagonistic to the United States.
More than one hundred years ago, the illustrious Jefferson clearly pointed out the dangers of banks of issue. Time and again, he exerted his voice, his pen, and his influence, in warning the people of the consequences that would inevitably flow from such selfish schemes as the transfer of national powers to corporations.
The extreme danger of a sovereign power, in transferring its absolute right of coining and issuing money in whole, or in part, to a private individual, or corporation, has been clearly pointed out by the ablest thinkers of a11 ages. Such transfers of the powers of a state have universally resulted in extortion and oppression by those to whom this privilege is granted.
Vattel, the great authority on the law of nations, instances several cases. He places the right of coining money among the prerogatives of majesty, and he relates that Sigismund, king of Poland, having granted this privilege to his vassal, the Duke of Prussia, in the year 1543, the Estates of that country passed a decree in which it was asserted that the king could not grant that privilege, it being inseparable from the crown.
The kings of France granted the privileges of coin
ing money to lords and bishops, and these grantees .having used that power as an instrument of great oppression, these privileges were cancelled by the crown on account of the great abuses practiced on its subjects.
The history of England furnishes a notable example, for in 1723, one Wood, an Englishman, obtained a royal patent for the coinage of copper half-pence. Wood at once proceeded to flood Ireland with this base coin, and robbed the down-trodden people of that country out of thousands of pounds sterling.
This gross outrage upon that nation aroused the indignation of Swift, and in his "Drapier's Letters" he attacked the Government with such bitter satire, that, in 1725, the patent to Wood was withdrawn.
Parliament, however, granted the scoundrelly Wood an annuity of fifteen thousand dollars per annum for the period of twelve years as an indemnity! The presumption is, that this great sum of money was given to Wood on the ground that he had surrendered a "vested right."
Our Government, in the enactment of this national banking law, gave away its greatest resource in time of peace or war; viz., the power to issue legal tender paper money, a resource that had time and again come to the rescue of the people while the capitalists held aloof.
The principal excuse offered by those who procured the passage of this law was, that it would create a market for bonds, and would aid in the maintainance of the public credit; that, for the consideration of receiving these circulating notes to loan out at interest as money, the bankers, who werc the beneficiaries of this law, would lend their assistance to the Government by aiding it to maintain a high price for its obligations.
The very reason advanced by the originators of that system of banking and currency for its creation, became the strongest reason why the Government credit sunk to its lowest point, because, the national bankers, to obtain these bonds as low as possible, would combine to depress the market value of the United States bonds which formed the basis of bank currency.
In fact, the market price of Government bonds rapidly fell to the lowest mark ever known, after the passage of this act, and the national banking money power consequently reaped a harvest reaching into scores of millions.
The same power depreciated the value of greenbacks for the avowed purpose of increasing the premium on gold.
Not satisfied with the immense advantages thus obtained from the Government, during the most critical period of the war, the money power, on the 17th day of March, 1864, succeeded in securing the passage of a resolution through Congress, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to pay the interest upon bonds, in advance, not exceeding one year, either with or without rebate for such prepayment, according to his discretion.
The bond holders and bankers were thus enabled to draw their interest in gold one year in advance, dispose of it at a high premium to the government and to those who paid duties on imported merchandise.
In July, 1864, gold rose to a premium of $2.85, and the bond holder, national banker, and gold gamblers fleeced the people out of millions; while the soldier, who was sacrificing his life for his country, was paid in greenbacks purposely depreciated by the government for whose existence he fought.
During the Forty-fifth Congress, Hon. James R. Weaver introduced the following resolution in the House of Representatives: -
"Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury bc and is hereby directed to report to this house whether he has at any time anticipated the payment of interest on the public debt; if so, how much has been paid in advance, and to whom."
This resolution was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and the chairman thereof sent the resolution to the Secretary of the Treasury, Sherman, with a request to state when he could report.
The Secretary, in reply, stated: -
"That there was no public document that would give the information required. The department has been in the habit for five years of paying the interest in advance without charging anything."
This remarkable admission will attract attention for the reason, that the head of the Treasury Department distinctly states that interest had been paid in advance to the bond holders and bankers without any deduction for the use of the money, and that there was no public document that would give the information required. The obvious reason why there were no public documents in the treasury department, containing a record of the interest on bonds paid in advance was this, that it would show a gigantic robbery of the government by the banks and bond holders, and that it would awaken the just wrath of the people at the subservience of congress to the demands of the gold gambling money power.
In a speech delivered by Senator Sherman in advocacy of the national banking law, he said: -
"We are about to choose between a permanent system, designed to establish a uniform national currency, based upon the public credit, limited in amount, and guarded by all the restrictions which the experience of man has proved accessary and a system of paper money without limit as to amount, except for the growing necessities of war."
In this declaration of the senator, he expressly admits that the circulating notes of these banks were based on the credit of the Government.
The truth is, that no safe system of bank currency has ever yet been devised by the wit of man, but that its credit is based upon that of the Government, and the credit of a government rests upon its taxing power, which is its means of self-preservation.
To give an excuse for his change of front from an advocate of a legal tender Government currency, to a champion of the national banking system, the senator uses the following language: -
"It is asked, why look at all to the interests of the banks; why not directly issue the notes of the Government, and thus save the people the interest on the debt represented by the circulation? The only answer to this question is that history teaches us that the public faith of the nation alone is not sufficient to maintain a paper currency. There must be a combination between the interests of individuals and the Government."
This astonishing declaration of Senator Sherman is proven absolutely false by the provisions of his own act, the national banking law, which makes United States bonds the sole security for national bank notes, and compels the Government to act as a redemption agency for the notes of insolvent banks.
As the next step to secure the perpetuation of this robbery of the people, Congress, on the 3rd of March,
1863, authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue $900,000,000 in bonds, drawing interest at six per cent., and redeemable in not less than ten nor more than forty years. These bonds could be purchased by lawful money, thereby meaning United States notes and treasury notes.
There was a lapse of six days between the passage of the national banking act and the passage of this act authorizing said bond issue.
There was yet one rival in the field which the national banks desired to crush, and this was the state banks of issue, which, at this time, had a circulation of $238,677,218in state bank currency.
To destroy the state banks as banks of issue, and to drive out of circulation that species of paper money, the national banking money power prevailed upon congress to call into requisition the taxing power of the nation to clear the field of these competitors.
In compliance with their demands, Congress enacted the following law, viz; -
"That every national banking association, state bank, or state banking association, shall pay a tax of ten per centum on the amount of notes of any person, or of any state bank or state banking association used for circulation and paid by them." -
This great tax thus imposed by Congress upon the issues of state bank currency was effectual in successfully accomplishing its purpose.
The state banks, therefore, were driven to the necessity of organizing themselves into national banks, and this tended to a further consolidation of the money lending interests of the country.
During the early part of the year 1864, after the
organized banks had secured the passage of the law depriving greenbacks of their legal tender power, and after the passage of the national banking law, one James Buell, secretary of the New York bankers' committee, issued the following circular to the bankers of the country at large: -
"Dear Sir: It is advisable to do all in your power to sustain such daily and prominent weekly newspapers, especially the agricultural and religious press, as will oppose the issuing of greenback money, and that you withold patronage and favor from all applicants who are not willing to oppose the Government issue of money. let the Government issue the coin and the banks issue the paper money of the country, for we can better protect each other. To repeal the law creating national banks or to restore to circulation the Government issue of money will bc to provide the people with money, and will therefore seriously affect your individual profit as banker or lender. See your member of Congress at once and engage him to support our interest that wc may control legislation."
The appearance of this infamous circular stirred up the wrath of the people, and a wave of indignation swept over the land, The nefarious schemes of the money power werc set out in this circular with startling distinctness.
The bankers of the country were urged to combine their power; the press of the country was to be corrupted, and legislation was to bc controlled, to effect the purpose of transferring the control of the money of the country to the dictation of the money power.
The associated banks of New York City, in order to conciliate the people who werc strongly denouncing the scheme set forth in the circular of Buell, announced that this document was issued without their knowledge
or authority. However, Mr. Buell, whose name was appended to this circular, was rewarded by an election to the presidency of the Importers' and Trailers' National bank, of New York City, a position which has given him much power and prestige as one of the money kings of Wall street.
The evidence is positive that this circu1ar was issued with the approval, and by the orders of the associated banks of New York City. In the first place, the advice tendered to the various banks of the country was in complete harmony with the intentions of the money power, and secondly, the national banks, from that day to this, have carried into execution the baleful plan outlined in that document, as the various acts of congress and subsequent history abundantly prove. It was during the corrupt period of the war that immense grants of public lands were made to railway corporations, that donations of United States bonds, amounting to nearly one hundred million of dollars were made to the Pacific railway companies, and this was done during a time whcn the government was in need of funds to suppress the rebellion.
It was during this period that Congress passed the notorious foreign contract labor law, through the operation of which, the mills, factories and mines of the United States werc flooded with the Slavs, Huns, Bohemians, Poles, and various other nationalities of Europe, thereby laying the foundation for the countless race and labor riots, that have disgraced and cursed the manufacturing and mining states of the Union.
After the suppression of the state banks of issue, the next step of the national bank was directed toward
the destruction of the greenbacks and United States notes, and, therefore, on the 12th of April, 1866, an act of Congress was duly signed by the President providing for the withdrawal and cancellation of the United States notes and treasury notes.
This act provided that, within six months after the passage thereof, the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to retire from circulation United States notes to the amount of ten million dollars, and for every month thereafter a sum not to exceed four million dollars.
At, the time of the passage of the act of April 12, 1866, Hon. Hugh McCulloch, a national banker, and a bitter opponent of the legal tender currency, was Secretary of the Treasury. He had gone so far in his opposition to the United States notes and treasury notes as to denounce them as "disreputable, dishonorable money."
Secretary McCulloch immediately proceeded to remorselessly contract the volume of legal tender notes, until $94,000,000 of them were withdrawn from circulation by the issue of interest bearing bonds in exchange therefor.
On the ad of March, 1867, an act was adopted by Congress providing for the redemption and retirement of the compound interest notes, which, at this time were outstanding to the amount of $159,000,000 and which circulated as money.
The method of redemption was the substitution of temporary loan certificates in lieu of these notes. The amount of such certificates was fixed at $50,000,000, and they bore interest at the rate of three per cent per annum, and national banks were authorized to count
such certificates as part of the Reserve Fund provided in the national banking law.
On July 25, 1868, the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to issue additional loan certificates to the amount of $25,000,000.
The acts of March 2,1867, and July 25, 1868, made a further contraction of money to the amount of $75,000,000.
It will be seen, therefore, that the scheme set forth in the circular of James Buell was being carried out to the letter.
Step by step, the national banking money power was gradually succeeding in driving the legal tender currency oat of circulation, in perpetuating the public debt by the issue of long time bonds, and usurping the functions of government by the issue of bank notes.
On the 18th of Match, 1869, a bi11 entitled, "An Act to Strengthen the Public Credit," was signed by President Grant.
The provisions of the Credit Strengthening Act declared that the public faith is solemnly pledged to the payment of the interest and non-interest bearing obligations of the government in coin or its equivalent, except where the law authorizing the issue of such obligations has expressly provided that the same may be paid in lawfu1 money, or other currency than gold and silver. Furthermore, the United States solemnly pledged its faith to make provisions at the earliest practical period for the redemption of the United States notes in coin.
This so-ca11ed Credit Strengthening Act, by force of its provisions, made every dollar of the bonded debt of the United States payable in gold and silver coin. It
was estimated by the ablest public men of the day that this rascally piece of legislation added six hundred million dollars to the wealth of the national banks and bond holders.
Let it be remembered that this bonded debt was purchased, to a very large extent, with treasury notes purposely depreciated by act of Congress, and that a very large portion of these bonds ware bought with greenbacks when the latter were worth but forty cents on the dollar in gold.
It should further be borne in mind, that for more than three years prior to the passage of this act, peace had be in restored, the Federal authority was re-established over the South, slavery, the cause of the war, was abolished, the treasury notes and United States notes were appreciating in value every day since the establishment of peace, which, it was admitted, were continually adding wealth to the holders of United States bonds, therefore, those members of Congress who voted for that measure could not even urge necessity - the last plea of tyrants - as an excuse for voting hundreds of millions of dollars to the least patriotic of American citizens.
Owing to the enormous revenues collected by the Federal Government, the public debt was being rapidly paid, which exceedingly alarmed the national banking money power, who desired the perpetuation of the bonded debt of the United States, for without bonds, there would be no national banks.
Therefore, the national banks sought by every means in their power to secure the perpetuation of the national debt, and this result could be obtained in two ways, first - by n heavy reduction of the public rev-
enues; second - by funding the present debt into long time bonds.
During the war heavy duties were laid upon imported goods, taxes were levied on incomes, railway companies, insurance companies, manufacturers, and excises were collected on tobacco and spiritous liquors.
The manufacturing interests of the country were protected from the competition of foreign goods, wares, and merchandise by a very high tariff, while at the same time they were enabled, under the provisions of the foreign contract labor law of July 4, 1864, to import cheap labor by the wholesale from China, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Austria, and other foreign nations, It was a matter of prime interest to the manufacturers to maintain the present high rate of duties on imports, and at the same time secure the removal of the taxes on incomes, manufactures, and various other forms of internal revenue. Moreover, the manufacturers desired the perpetuation of a huge public debt which would necessitate the raising of large revenues to meet the interest charged thereon. Furthermore, it would be to the interest of the national banks and manufacturers that Congress should make extravagant appropriations for the support of the Government.
The subsequent action of these two interests taken in connection with the legislation procured by them from congress, abundantly prove that the foregoing statements are true.
Hon. William D. Kelley, member of Congress from Pennsylvania, was the outspoken advocate of the manufacturing interests on the floor of the house. In 1867, he offered the following resolution; -
"Resolved, That the Committee on Ways and Means be instructed to inquire into the expediency of immediately repealing the provisions of the internal revenue law, whereby a tax of five per cent. is imposed on the mechanical and manufacturing interests of the country."
The resolution was unanimously adopted.
At the same time, Jay Cooke, the head of a great banking firm in Philadelphia, was the agent of the United States Treasury, and as such agent had negotiated the sale of government bonds in England and America to the amount of several hundred million dollars, and he, therefore, assumed the position of spokesman for the national banking interests.
As early as 1867, Mr. Cooke declared that the income tax should "Be scornfully abandoned and that right speedily. "
He laid down the following monstrous principle: -
"We lay down the proposition that our national debt, made permanent and rightfully managed, will be a national blessing.
"The funded debt of the United States is the addition of $3,000,000,000 to the previously realized wealth of the nation. It is three thousand millions added to the available active capital. To pay this debt would be to extinguish this capital and lose this wealth. To extinguish this capital and lose this wealth would be an inconceivably great national misfortune."
We can easily conceive why Jay Cooke, the alleged great financier, should give utterance to such an absurd statement. Mr. Cooke is an interested witness in the support of the ridiculous maxim "That a public debt is a public blessing." He was realizing millions in the way of commissions by negotiating the sale of bonds.
To attract the support of the manufacturers, he says: -
"The maintenance of our national debt is protection. The destruction of it by payment is bondage again to the manufacturers of Europe."
In his appeal to the national banking money power, he says: -
"That is not a hazardous opinion which declares that in less than twenty years our national bank circulation will be $1,000,000,000. The currency that sixty-one millions of people, unequaled in industry and untrammeled in enterprise, will require, has got to have the basis of a national debt. There is no other foundation for it to stand on that will impart to it at once safety and nationality."
It wi11 be well to state here, that the man who gave utterance to these vicious propositions was overtaken with calamity, and the gigantic failure of his banking house heralded the great panic of 1873.
The national banks at once joined hands with the manufacturing interests, and brought their combined influence to bear upon congress.
On the first day of the session of Congress in 1867, Representative Kelley, known as "Pig Iron" Kelley, introduced the following resolution in the House: -
"Resolved, That the war debt of the country should be extinguished by the generation that contracted it, is not sustained by sound principles of national economy, and does not meet the approval of this house. "
This resolution was adopted,
As a result of the combined influence of the national banking money power and the manufacturing interests, congress eventually repealed the tax on incomes, manufactures, railroads, insurance companies, and the tax on perfumes, bank checks, and reduced the excise tax on whisky and tobacco.
In all, the total taxation remitted by the general government, at the behest of the sordid wealth of the country, amounted to $227,000,000 per annum.
Such was the process by which ill-gotten accumulated wealth escaped taxation. The national banking money power was not yet satisfied; its greed was insatiate; the more it received frown the hands of the government the more ravenous its demands; and on the 14th of July, 1870, it procured the passage of the Funding Act through a venal and corrupt congress.
This act was supplementary to the Credit Strengthening Act of March 18, 1869, and it went one step farther by providing that the 5-20 bonds should be payable in coin. It authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue bonds to the amount of $200,000,000 in denominations of' fifty dollars, or some multiple of that sum, redeemable in coin of the present standard value, at the pleasure of the United States, after ten years from the date of their issue, and bearing interest at the rate of five per cent per annum, payable semi-annually in coin; also a sum not exceeding $300,000,000 of like bonds, the same in all respects, but payable at the pleasure of the United States, after fifteen years from their issue, and bearing interest at the rate of four and one-half per cent. per annum; he was further authorized to issue bonds to the amount of $1,000,000,000, the same in all respects as the others, but payable at the pleasure of the United States after thirty years from the date of their issue, and bearing interest at the rate of four par cent. per annum.
We quote from a portion of the law as follows: -
"A11 of which said several classes of bonds and the interest thereon shall be exempt from the payment of
all taxes or duties of the United States, as well as from taxation in any form by or under state, municipal or local authority; and the said bonds shall set forth and express upon their face the above specified conditions, and shall, with their coupons, be made payable at the treasury of the United States."
The Secretary of the Treasury was authorized. to sell these several classes of bonds, at not less than par, for coin, and to redeem the 5-20 bonds, hitherto exempted from payment in coin by the Credit Strengthening Act; or he was authorized to exchange the 5-20 currency bonds, at their face value for the coin bonds provided for by the Funding Act of July 14, 1870.
To exhibit the powerful influence exerted upon that congress which passed the Funding act of July 14, 1870, we will refer to a few facts that have become history.
When the Funding bill was originally introduced, section eight provided that on and after the 1st day of October, 1870, national banks should deposit registered bonds of any denomination not less than one thousand dollars, issued under the provisions of this Funding act, and no other, with the Treasurcr of the United States as security for notes issued to national banking associations for circulation under the act of June 3, i 864. The banks were given one year in which to take advantage of this section to deposit the new bonds in lieu of the former, as security for their circulating notes. In case of failure to obey this act, their right to issue notes was forfeited.
On their failure to deposit bonds issued under the act of July 14, 1870, in lieu of the bonds then on deposit as security for their circulation, the Treasurer and the Comptroller of the Currency were authorized to call in
and destroy their outstanding circulating notes, and to return the bonds held as security therefor to the association by whom they were deposited.
The bill containing this section originated in the senate, and after it passed that body and came up in the house for consideration, the national bankers swarmed in the halls of Congress and demanded that this section be stricken out.
At no one time during the history of the national banks did their combined power appear so formidable.
The house quailed in the presence of these money kings, and the section was stricken out, and the bill thus amended was sent back to the senate.
The demands and methods of the banks in seeking the defeat of this section had become so insolent that even Senator Sherman rebelled.
He said in reply to their imperious demands: -
"Mr. President, the three remaining sections of this bill apply to the national banks. That is much too great a theme for me to enter upon at this stage of the debate; but I will explain in a very few words the ' theory of those sections. The national banks are mere creatures of law. They hold their existence at the pleasure of Congress. Wc may, to-morrow, if it promotes the public interests, withdraw their authority. The franchise has been valuable to them.
"We think it right they should aid us in funding the public debt. They hold of our securities $346,000,-000. Nearly all of these bear six per cent interest in coin. We will not deprive them of any of them; we will not take from them the property they enjoy; we wi11 not deny them even the payment of six per cent gold interest as long as they are the owners of these bonds. But they hold the franchise of issuing paper money guaranteed by the United States, and which Constitutes the circulation of our country; and we say
to twenty per cent. annually upon the franchise. But, sir, the vote of the House shows the power of the national banks."
The Senate gave way to the banks, and these monopolies compelled Congress to submit to, their will.
It would be presumed that Senator Sherman, judging from the vigor of his speech against these monopolies on this occasion, would subsequently oppose their future demands. Not so, however. He became a more devoted servant than ever in furthering the ambition of the national banking money power to monopolize the issue of paper money.
By an amendatory act of January 20, 1871, the secretary of the Treasury was authorized to increase the issue of five per cent bonds, for which provision was made by the Funding Act, from $200,000,000,to $500,-000,000, making a total interest charge upon the $1,500,000,000 of bonds so authorized to be issued, of $62,500,000,per annum.
The outrageous legislation embodied in this Funding Act becomes apparent to the reader.
In the first place, the 5-20 bonds, to the amount of $722,205,500, purchased with treasury notes, purposely depreciated by the Government at the demand of the gold gamblers of Wall Street, were made redeemable in coin.
This resulted in a gratuity of many millions of dollars to the holders of these bonds, which was nothing more nor less than robbery under form of law.
Second, it created a vast debt, making an annual charge upon the industries of the people of $6,500,000 all of which, both principal and interest, was exempt from taxation, national, state, county, and municipal,
creating a special privileged class who could not be compelled to contribute a farthing toward the expenses of that Government which gave them protection.
Not only were these bond holders expressly exempted from taxes, but these non-taxable bonds opened a wide door for extensive frauds upon the revenues of state and municipal authorities.
The process by which states, cities, counties, town-ships, and school districts were swindled out of taxes and revenues was by the shifting of the ownership, nominally at least, of these bonds around the various banks and capitalists who returned them as non-taxable.
For instance, banks and capitalists, when the time came for them to return their assessments of personal property, would report large holdings of these nontaxable bonds, which were obtained for the occasion, and since 1870, this resulted in swindling the various local governments out of countless millions of dollars in taxes.
The same process by which non-taxable greenbacks were shifted from hand to hand, to avoid the payment of taxes during the period required by law for the return of assessment lists for taxation, was adopted on a larger scale in the case of these non-taxable bonds. It set a premium on perjury.
As these bonds were held to a very large extent in the great cities of the country where taxation is very high, in some cases equalling four per cent on the dollar, it will be seen that the actual rate of interest on these bonds ranged from seven to nine per cent. per annum.
Thus far the national banking money power succeeded in inducing Congress to grant every demand
made by it. Not satisfied with the enormously valuable privileges bestowed upon it, this subtle power continued to appear at the opening of each session of the national legislature, and make new appeals for additional legislation in its interests.
Each new demand of the national banks met with prompt compliance from Congress, and the decrees of this organized, voracious money power werc registered upon the statute books of the nation by the most corrupt legislative body in the world.
On January 20, 1871, a bill was rushed through Congress by which the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized, in his discretion, to pay the interest on the national debt every three months.
Notwithstanding the fierce opposition displayed by the national banks against the United States notes and treasury notes, in spite of the efforts of Congress to withdraw from circulation the war money of the country by funding this currency into interest-bearing, nontaxable, long-time bonds, this paper money directly issued by the United States was so popular with the people that a very large amount remained in the channels of trade.
The people revered the greenback and United States note, as that money which came forward in time of deadliest peril; which armed, equipped and paid more than two million patriots, whose magnificent bravery won the greatest battles of modern times, and whose heroism secured the perpetuity of American institutions; while gold, the money of kings, the loaded dice of stock gamblers, fled at the first approach of danger; gold, whose value appreciated with every defeat of the Union cause; gold, that vulture which fattened and
thrived upon the carnage of the great civil war, laughed the appeals of the nation to scorn.
In consequence of the further demands of the national banks, Congress, on the 20th of June, 1874, amended the National Ranking Act, which permitted these banks to withdraw the bonds deposited by them to secure the circulation of bank notes, and deposit, in lien thereof as security, the non-interest-bearing notes issued by the Government. Prior to the passage of this amendment, United States bonds had risen to a premium in consequence of the various acts of Congress culminating in the Credit Strengthening Act, and, therefore, this act was adopted by Congress to enable the banks to withdraw the bonds deposited by them, and make a large profit by selling them for the premium, many of which had been originally purchased for less than sixty cents on the dollar.
The operation of the amendment effectually contracted the 1ega1 tender currency of the country, for the substitution of United States notes and treasury notes in lieu of the bonds, diminished the volume of legal tender currency afloat to an extent equal to the bonds so withdrawn.
During this period, the national banking money power began to advance the argument that the character and, volume of money should be determined, not by the legislative power of the nation, but by what was called the "Business interests of the country."
It sought to educate the people to accept the doctrine, that it was dangerous to permit congress "To interfere with the dearest interests of the country," and that the solution of the money question must be settled by the national bankers, who assumed to hold the key to all monetary science.
President Grant was wonderfully impressed with this great discovery of the bankers and, in his message to congress, December 3, 1874, he gave utterance to this Statement: -
"The experience and judgment of the people can best decide how much currency is required for the transaction of the business of the country. It is unsafe to leave the settlement of this question to Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury or the Executive. "
The President, therefore, as far as lay in his power, tacitly surrendered the constitutional power of Congress and of the Executive to deal with questions of finance, and conferred it upon the national banks.
The people to whom reference is made in this quotation from the President, were the national bankers, and the chief executive was willing to transfer the power of issuing and controlling money to that class of men, whose sole ambition was the extortion of the highest rates of interest, and who loved to shave notes and bonds when they purchased, and exact a premium when they sold.
On the 24th of January, 1875, after the congressional election of 1874, which returned a great Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, the specie resumption act became a law.
The enactment of this measure carried into execution that part of the Credit Strengthening Act where the United States solemnly pledged its faith to make provisions for the redemption of the United States notes in coin, which now legally meant gold.
One section of this law provided for the substitution of fractional silver coins for the fractional currency; a
subsequent section abolished the charge of one sixth of one per cent for converting gold bullion into coin, thereby providing for the free coinage of gold at every United States mint.
The most important section of the Resumption Act is as follows: -
"That section 5777, of the Revised Statutes of the United States, limiting the aggregate, amount of the circulating notes of the National Banking Associations, bc, and is hereby repealed, and each existing banking association may increase its circulating notes in accordance with the existing law, without respect to said aggregate limit; and new banking associations may be organized in accordance with the existing law without respect to said aggregate limit; and the provisions of the law for the withdrawal and redistribution of national bank currency among the several states and territories are hereby repealed; and whenever and so often as circulating notes shall be issued to any such banking association, so increasing its capital or circulating notes, or so newly organized as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to redeem the legal tender United States notes in excess of only $3,000,000 to the amount of eighty per centum of the sum of national bank notes so issued to any such banking association as aforesaid, and to continue such redemption as such circulating notes are issued until there shall be outstanding the sum of $3,000,000 of such legal tender United States notes, and no more. And on and after the 1st day of January, A. D., 1879, the Secretary of the Treasury shall redeem in coin the United States notes then outstanding on their presentation for redemption at the office of the assistant treasurer of the United States, in the city of New York, in sums of not less than $50. And to enable the Secretary of the Treasury to prepare and provide for the redemption in this act authorized or required, he is authorized to use any surplus revenues from time to time in the
treasury not otherwise appropriated, and to issue, sell, and dispose of, at not less than par in coin, either of the description of bonds of the United States described in the act of Congress approved July 14, 1870, entitled, `An Act to Authorize the Re-funding of the National Debt,' with like privileges and exemption, to the extent necessary to carry this act into effect, and to use the proceeds thereof for the purpose aforesaid."
A critical examination of the Resumption Act will disclose the sinister purpose of the organized national banking money power to carry into execution, to the letter, the instructions couched in the Hazard circular. One of the strange features of this act which assumes to restore specie payments, is found in the express language of this statute. While Congress, by its solemn legislative decree, provided for the redemption of United States non-interest legal tender notes in gold, it did not require the national banks to redeem their circulating notes in anywise whatever.
On the contrary, the so-called Resumption Act provided for the substitution of national bank notes for the non-interest-bearing legal tenders issued by the government, although the national banking law made the United States notes a fund to redeem national bank notes.
Again: it was a contraction of non-interest-bearing legal tender notes, and expansion by the additional issue of national bank notes, which were mere promissory notes of the banks, the latter to be loaned by the bankers at a high rate of interest to the business men of the country. These circulating bank notes cost the bankers one cent on the dollar, and the Government was the redeemer of this currency. It was gold redemption of the greenbacks by the nation, an inflation of
paper money by the banks at a, cost to them of one cent on the dollar.
It was a shrewd scheme to discredit the legal tender currency of the country, that the national banking money power might inherit that rich estate of issuing paper money.
Next, it repealed that part of the original National Hank Act which provided for the clue distribution of the currency throughout the states and territories, West, as well as East, South, as well as North. And it speedily resulted in the absolute control of the volume of money by the opulent bankers of the Hast, for the great capitalists of New York City, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and other large eastern cities held ninety per cent. of the United States bonds, without which there could be no national bank circulation. The domicile of the bond holder determined the location of the national bank, and the location of the national bank fixed the point at which the currency of the country could only be obtained, and therefore, the productive energies of the West and South werc at the mercy of the national banks. The two places fixed by this act for the redemption of legal tender notes were in New York City - the arena, of gold gamblers, stock speculators, railroad wreckers - and San Francisco. No sum less than fifty dollars in United States notes would be redeemed.
The reason of this limitation is very apparent. The banks of New York City are the reserve agents for the many thousand banks scattered over the country, and, therefore, hold hundreds of millions of dollars in deposits.
By hoarding the legal tender notes received in the
ordinary course of business, the banks of New York City were enabled to accumulate many millions of United States notes, and present them for redemption at the sub-treasury; but the plain citizen who could not command fifty dollars of these notes was barred from the benefits of the Resumption Act.
The United States presented the key of the National Treasury to the national banks, with an implied invitation to help themselves to every thing in sight. It was a Government of national banks, for the national banks, and by the national banks.
Provision was made for the issue of bonds to obtain gold to redeem these legal tenders, and this was a part of the scheme to perpetuate the national debt, and as Jefferson said: "To swindle futurity on a large scale."
At the time of the passage of the laws upon which comment is made, General Grant was President of the United States.
The career of President Grant is one of the most unique and instructive in history. Of comparatively humble, but respectable origin, he did not, prior to the civil war, give any indications of winning that world-wide fame which has become the heritage of the American people.
That fratricidal strife was the tide that carried General Grant from obscurity to the highest pinnacle of renown. It was in the character of soldier that he gained an illustrious name.
In his character as a man, he gave abundant proof of many admirable traits, among which were magnanimity toward the vanquished, unimpeachable personal integrity, and lasting tenacity in his friendships, in which latter attribute he bore a striking resemblance to General Jackson.
Yet this distinguished man of iron nerve became as plastic as wax in the hands of those to whom he attached himself, and his confidence in his trusted advisers was shockingly abused for the furtherance of many selfish and dishonest schemes. It is this latter fact that gave birth to those shameless abuses and scandals which have sullied the pages of political history.
Many eminent public men are of the opinion that his administration of civil affairs did not tend to the enhancement of his fame. A summary of the war legislation, in so far as it relates to the finances of the Government, exhibits these remarkable facts as to the existence of a remorseless money power:
First, Congress at the demand of the bullion brokers and gold gamblers of New York City and Boston, purposely depreciated the currency issued by the government by striking out its legal tender qualities, by refusing to receive its own money in payment of its taxes. It was high priced gold for the bond holder, and depreciated greenbacks for the patriotic soldier who offered up his life for his country.
Second, the passage of the national banking law, by which the government delegated its highest sovereign power - that of issuing money - to private corporations for private gain, resulting in a privileged class of capitalists, whose interests were wholly antagonistic to the welfare of the United States, thereby making a permanent creditor and debtor class, one the master, the other the servant.
Third, an alliance, offensive and defensive, of the national banking money power and the manufacturers,
whose combined interests have dominated the legislation of Congress, by which the banks have practically secured a monopoly of the medium of exchange, and by which the manufacturers have secured a high protective tariff for their immediate benefit, and at the same time flooded their mills and factories with cheap foreign labor.
Fourth, the passage of laws, the effect of which was to enormously increase the untaxed wealth of a privileged class, who extort heavy tribute from the productive energy of the American people.
Fifth, The creation of a money power, foretold by Andrew Jackson, whose unlimited greed has appropriated to its own use the greatest portion of the wealth of the United States.
Sixth, A matured plan to perpetuate the public debt of the United States for the purpose of holding the people in subjection to the money power.
Seventh, An enormously extravagant administration of the Federal Government, as a part of the plan to fix a permanent debt on the nation.
Eighth, Senator Sherman, during all this period, was the chairman of the Finance Committee of the Senate, and he was the influential agent of the money power who shaped and molded that legislation, upon which was reared that imperial combination of moneyed influence which, to a very large extent, rules the press, the pulpit, the legislative bodies, and the courts of the country.
In view of the various financial measures enacted by Congress from 1865, to the passage of the Resumption Act of 1875, all of which tended to greatly appreciate stocks and bonds, and to divest the Government of its
undoubted power to issue full legal tender United States notes, or greenbacks, the following significant extract from the most influential journal of Great Britain, the London Times, is hereby subjoined.
In 1865 the Times editorially stated: -
"If that mischievous financial policy which had its origin in the North American republic during the late war in that country should become indurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its money without cost.
"It will have all the money that is necessary to carry on its trade and commerce.
"It will become prosperous beyond precedent in the history of the civilized nations of the world. The brain and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That Government must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on this globe."