The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 20, 1901, Page 2, Image 2

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bimetallism would amount to an abandonment of
bimetallism because gold democrats would secura
nominations on such a platform, and then, if
elected, would, as tbey have in tbo past, act with
the republicans to maintain tbe gold standard.
As to tbo second question, namely, whether
concurrent circulation of the two metals is essen
tial to a bimetallic system? To answer tbis in tbe
negative witbout further explanation might lead
to misunderstanding. The concurrent circulation
of tbo two metals, while desirable, is not absolute
ly necessary to the maintenance of tho bimetallic
eystem, but bimetallists believe that the parity
would bo maintained in this country at the ratio
of 16 to 1. Wo had bimetallism from 1792 to
1834, during nearly all of which time gold was at
a premium because our mint ratio, compared witb
the mint ratio of France and some other countries,
undervalued gold. When in 1834 the ratio was.
changed from 15 to 1 to 16 to 1, silver was then
undervalued, as compared with the ratio of France
and some other countries, and, therefore, silver
went to a premium and remained at a premium
until it was demonetized. During both these per
iods we had bimetallism, and it was possible to
coin gold or silver witbout limit as to amount into
full legal tendor money at a fixed ratio. As abovo
remarked, it is the belief of bimetallists that the
parity can be maintained at the ratio of 16 to 1, '
and this belief is founded upon two arguments;
first, that the monetary use of silver would absorb
all the silver available 'or coinage at our mints,
thus raising the bullion price of silver to $1.29
an ounce; and, second, that no gold nation is
now coining gold and silver at a ratio more fav
orable to gold than ours. If any large nation
opened its mints' to the free and unlimited coinage
of gold and silver at 15 to 1, it would get some of
our silver and silver would go to a premium. If,
on. the other hand, any large nation opened itn
mints to the free and -unlimited coinage of both
metals at the rate of ie to 1, or some higher
ratio, it would be apt to get some of our gold, and
gold would go to a premium. But, under existing
or probable conditions, there would be no diffi
culty -in maintaining the parity at the ratio of
16 to 1. If there was any force in the argument
made for thirty years that the parity was more
difficult to maintain because tho production of
Eilver was increasing more rapidly than the pro
duction of gold, the parity ought to be more easily
maintained now, since the production of gold is in
creasing moro rapidly than the production of
Two ways of maintaining the parity have been
suggested. One is to put silver upon an equal foot
ing witb gold, make it a legal tender equal with
gold, and enable it to do all that gold can do
this is the bimetallic plan. Tho other plan is to
make the silver dollar redeemable in gold, but this
plan converts silver into a credit money an.l
greatly impairs its usefulness. It really makes
gold the standard and silver subsidiary to it.
When one metal goes to. a premium it does not all
leave the country. It circulates at its premium
"value and still contributes to the volume of money,
just as silver did from 1834 to 1861 and just as both
gold and silver did from 1861 to 1879. If under bi
metallism one metal goes to a premium the peoplo
can do whichever they prefer, viz., they can either
change the ratio or bear witb the inconvenience of
the premium.
Some bimetallists whoso devotion to tho cause
cannot be doubted havo expressed themselves in
favor of a change in the ratio, provided it is shown
by experience that the parity cannot be maintained
at the ratio of 16 to 1. Others have refused to dis
cuss this proposition; first, because a discussion cf
other ratios might be construed (not fairly, but un
" fairly) as an admission that the parity could not
be maintained at 16 to 1; and, second, because the
power to legislate remains with the people, and
they are always at liberty to make any changes
which to them may seem best; Under our form
The Commoner.
o government no unchangeable system can be
established. If tho peoplo try the gold standard
arid do not like it, they can change it; if they try
the double standard and do not like it, they can
change it; if they try one ratio and do not like it,
they can try another.
In answer to those who express the fear that
the parity cannot be maintained, but give no rea
son for their skepticism, the advocates of bimetal
lism express tbe belief that it can be maintained
and give their reasons for it. Neither side can
prove its position by a mathematical demonstra
tion, but experience and argument support the bimetallists.
Senator Heitfeld's Letter.
On another page will be found a letter written
by Senator Heitfeld of Idaho to the chairman of
the populist committee of his state, giving his
reasons for becoming a member of the democratic
party. During the last two campaigns the pop
ulists and the democrats have co-operated in tho
attempt to secure certain reforms which both
parties advocated. The first defeat was due to a
coercion such as was never before practiced upon
American voters. The second defeat, as Senator
Heitfeld explains, was largely due to the fact that
times were better, which fact caused a great many
voters to give apparent indorsement to republican
policies rather than risk the effect of what they
considered a possible change in industrial condi
tions. The issues whi,ch brought the reform parties
together have not been settled and are not likely
to be settled by the republican party. That co
operation must continue is certain; the only ques
tion is whether it shall be co-operation between
organizations or co-operation between individuals
under one organization. This is a question which
must be determined largely by local conditions. If
tho populists were to join the democratic party
"they would strengthen the reform element in that
party and assist in preventing the repudiation of
the principles of the Kansas City platform. On
the other hand, where the populist party is strong
as compared "with the democratic party it may b3
wiser to co-operate than to attempt the amalgama
tion of the parties.
For ten years I have advocated co-operation
between the democrats and the populists because,
while their platforms are not identical on all
questions, they are practically so upon the ques
tions immediately before us. Tho two questions
about which democrats and populists differ arc,
first, the redeemability of the greenbacks, and,
second, the government ownership of railroads.
As to the first it may be said that the question of
redeemability is of much less importance than the
question of the government's right and duty to ,
issue all the paper money used. The democrats be
lieve in government paper as against national bank
paper, and it would be the height of folly for one
who believes in government paper, but favors an
irredeemable currency, to give direct orindlrect aid
to the republicans in their effort to retire green
backs and substitute national bank notes.
It will require the united aid of democrats and
populists to save the greenback as it now is;
when it is saved from annihilation and the right
of tho government to issue and control the paper
of stho country is firmly established, it will be
time enough for democrats and populists to fight
out their differences on tho question of redeem
ability. (I am aware that some populists object
to the word "irredeemable," but I use it because
it is the word usually employed and best under
stood.) ' As to -the second question, it must be remem
bered that the government regulation and control
of railroads is more easily secured than govern
ment ownership. If the voters are not willing (o
compel railroads to deal justly with their patrons,
'tbey are not likely to enter upon so groat an un
dertaking as tho government ownership and opera
tion of the railroads. At present there is so much
indifference upon tho railroad question that tho re,
publican party is able to fill the United State:
senate 'with railroad attorneys 'without protest
fiom the rank and -file, of the party. The recent
consolidations may make the people study tho
Butvjust now there is an issue of greater im
portance than either the money question or tb.9
railroad question. ' The question of imperialism
strikes at the very foundation of our government,
and no one who fully appreciates the enormous an 1
far-reaching change which imperialism will ef
fect in our institutions and our ideals will oppose
co-operation because of interest in less important
Whether one can serve his country best in tho
democratic party or in the populist party is a
question which each must decide for himself, but
whether those who oppose an imperial policy, trust
domination and the "control of our finances by
financiers, shduld unite against the common enemy,
until the country is saved from the dangers which
now threaten it is hardly an open question.
They Are Ours Now.
Rev. James Brent, bishop-elect of the Episcopal
church to the Philippines, delivered a sermon at
Boston, Mass., November 17, in which he outlined
his idea of the Philippine situation. "The bishop
who goes to the Philippines," said Mr. Brent,
"goes to stand for righteousness in civil life, to
make civil service what it should be there, to pro
mote Christian education, to further tho interests
of American civilization in that country which is
now our responsibility and to foster the true ele
ments of our own civilization. It is no longer a
question of imperialism or anti-imperialism. We
have our duty to perform. It is to give these peo
ple, for they are ours now, all that we are capable
of giving them." ,
It is difficult for the American citizen who
fully appreciates the favorp which he enjoys under
a republican form of government, to listen with
any degree of patience to such remarks as these.
Hero we have a man recently chosen by" a great
church to go to the Philippine islands and while
ho tells us that his mission is "to further the In
terests of American civilization in that country."'
he adds "we have our duty to perform. It is to
give these people, for they are ours now, all that
we are capable of giving them."
If this Episcopal clergyman in this un-American
sentiment merely stated his own personal
opinion, no serious attention need be given it. But
the fact is, aggravating may appear to the
American conscience, that when this man, refer
ing to the people of the Philippine islands, said
"they are ours now" he merely reflected the sentI-
ment of republican leaders and be voiced tho
opinion that must be accepted as tbo dominant
opinion of tbe day.
. What is there about the American people, a
people who revolted against the idea of the divinity
of kings, that in this day they are authorized to
conquer and to own other men?
What has happened since the Declaration of
Independence was written by men who resented
the monarchical theory of government, to per
suade the American people that they have any
right in law or in morals to own men and women
or to deny to them the same privileges and tho
same aspirations to which the colonial forefathers
aspired, and for the accomplishment of which"
many of them died?
There are thousands of men in this country;
today who understand that they cannot violate
righteous laws in their personal affairs without
boing called upon to pay the penalty and yet many
of these peoplo lay the flattering unction to their
souls, that in tho capacity of citizens, they may;
violate every moral principle and every law with-
out being called to account.
When this Episcopal clergyman said "they ar