The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, September 07, 1899, Page 8, Image 8

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    V , /
8 The Conservative *
Wo rejoice at the firmness and fervor
with which our esteemed neighbor The
Sun defends its assertion that the gold
standard was established in the United
States by the act of 1878. When the
multitude is harassed by doubt and
strains its eyes now this way , now that ,
to catch a gleam of the broad sunlight
of truth , bold affirmations such as wo
here quote from our neighbor's editorial
columns help to set men right and re
store public confidence :
This question was asked yesterday by
The New York Times :
"If the gold standard already exists
in this country would there bo any harm
in saying so in a couple of lines in the
statute book ? "
Of course there would be no harm in
paying so , and accordingly it was said
in the act of congress of Feb. 12 , 1878 ,
in these plain and decisive words :
"That the gold coins of the United
States shall be a dollar piece , which ,
at the standard weight of twenty-five
and one-eighth grains , shall be the unit
of value , " the act then proceeding to
enumerate the other gold coins. The
same statute shuts out the free coinage
of silver.
It was this act , the "crime of 1873 , "
which made the issue in 189G , when the
democratic platform at Chicago con
tained this declaration :
"Wo declare that the act of 1878 , de
monetizing silver without the knowl
edge or approval of the American people
ple , has resulted in the appreciation of
gold , " etc.
The New York Times proceeds to say :
"Establish the single gold standard by
statute and the silver issue would be
killed dead. The republican managers
do not want it killed dead. They want
to keep it alive because it is surely good
for one more victory. "
Why was there a silver issue in 1896
and why is it alive now ? Is it not be
cause of the act of 1873 , and that stat
ute alone ?
That law still remains on the statute
book unrepealed and unamended , and
it is it which makes the silver issue. So
long as it is on the statute book the is
sue remains , for the act of 1878 may be
expunged from the statute book by the
will of the people. That only is what
* * keeps the silver issue alive ; it is olive
because , in the words of the Chicago
platform , the act of 1878 demonetized
How , then , could any reeuactment of
the gold standard "kill dead" the silver
issue , as The Times says ? * * *
Whether "the "
republican managers"
want or do not want the silver issue
"killed dead , " they are powerless in
the premises ; they can neither kill it nor
keep it alive by anything they can do in
congress. The "silver issue" is hero ,
and it has been here actively since 1890.
It cannot bo "killed dead" except by the
abandonment of it by the democratic
party , and the positive acceptance of the
existing gold standard , or by the defeat
of that party in 1900. If there is any
thing in law , reason , or politics more
obvious than this , wo have not discov
ered it , yet , it seems , there are some
minds iucapnble of seeing or unwilling
: o see a fact which stares them in the
In another brief discourse upon this
subject The Sun says :
The Times then asks : "If the thing
is a fact , why is there any doubt about
it in the public mind ? " We answer ,
it is because fool editors and fool poli
ticians insist on asserting , in the face of
demonstration , that it is not a fact , and
thus delude their readers and their
This vehemence in defence might be
construed as indicative of a belief that
there is something to defend. That is
just the point. The fact , if it be a fact ,
that the single gold standard exists by
law in the United States is to many
minds so doubtful and obscure that the
assertion of its existence must be con
tinually supported by argument , expo
sition , reassertiou , and allusions to fool
editors. We contend that this ought
not so to be. The standard of our
money is a thing of such vast impor
tance that nobody ought to be in doubt
about it. The fact is that the whole
country and the government itself are
in doubt about it.
The United States government , in an
official publication , the report of the di
rector of the mint , continues year after
year to declare the "monetary system"
of this country to be "gold and silver , "
while the "monetary system" of Great
Britain is declared to be "gold. "
Throughout this official list the double
standard countries are set down as
"gold and silver , " while the single gold
standard countries are set down as
"gold. " So it appears that the govern
ment has not found out that we have had
the gold standard since 1878. This of
ficial declaration that we still have the
double standard misleads students of
finance here and abroad and misleads all
persons who refer to the report. This
is one of the reasons why doubt exists
as to the fact about which our neighbor
The Sun is so well informed and so pos
Other reasons are that it requires an
argument to show that the words "unit
of value" in the act of 1878 means
standard of value. The unit of a coun
try's system of linear measurement maybe
bo a foot , but its standard of measure
ment may be a piece of metal carefully
guarded by its government. We have
heard that argument used to contro
vert the position now taken by The Sun
as to the meaning of the language of
the act of 1878. Again , the act of 1878
was entitled an act "to authorize the
coinage of the standard silver dollar and
io restore its legal-tender character. "
The act of 1890 , known ns the Sherman
act , authorized the purchase of a mon
thly amount of silver bullion out of
which the secretary of the treasury was
directed to coin two million ounces each
mouth into "standard silver dollars. "
The act of Nov. 1 , 1893 , repealing the
purchase clauses of the Sherman act ,
contains this declaration :
"And it is hereby declared to bo the
policy of the United States to continue
the use of both gold and silver as stan
dard money , and to coin both gold and
silver into money of equal intrinsic
and exchangeable value , such equality
to be secured by international agree
ment , " etc.
It is not surprising that this Babel
of declarations about standard silver
dollars , gold and silver as standard
money , and the enactment of two laws
for the coinage of standard , legal-tender
silver dollars should have involved not
only the people but economists and fi
nanciers in a pitiful confusion of mind
about the exact position of the United
States. In opening the first session of
the International Monetary Conference
of 1878 at Paris M. Leon Say said "the
United States of America , having
adopted the policy of returning to the
system of the double standard , " etc.
If we returned to the system of the
double standard wo must have repealed
the act of 1878 when we passed the
Bland-Allison act , if it be true that that
act established the single gold standard.
Then we must have repealed it again in
1890 and reestablished it in force and
effect in 1898.
A monetary standard that bobs up
and down in that undignified manner is
not satisfactory for a great commercial
country. We want a standard that will
stay put and one that will not require
an argument to prove that it exists. It
is a fact that the authorities , including
The Sun , that assert that the single
gold standard was established by the
of 187H rilmnRt ; invn.rin.hlv ffifll if ;
necessary to demonstrate the fact by an
argument. It requires no argument
to prove that England has the gold
standard. It requires no argument to
prove that silver is the standard in
Mexico. These metals are declared to
be the standard in good set terms. Are
we afraid or ashamed to declare in un
mistakable English that gold is our
standard , and has been for twenty-six
years ? Nothing but the policy of the
republican party in keeping alive the
silver issue in order to win victories by
it over the deluded Bryanized democrats
prevents a plain declaration that would
remove all doubt and bury the silver
Wo cannot close this comment upon
our neighbor's position without paying
a tribute to its consistency. The views
it now holds as to the effect of the act
of 1878 it held fourteen years ago , as