The critical monetary and financial situation during Cleveland's second administration is understandable only in the light of a series of acts which were passed between 1878 and 1893. It will be remembered that in the former year the Bland-Allison act had provided for the purchase and coinage of two million to four million dollars' worth of silver bullion per month, and that the force behind the measure had been found chiefly among westerners who wished to see the volume of the currency increased and among mine owners who were producing silver.

The passage of the law did not end all opposition to the greater use of silver, nor did it solve all our monetary difficulties. In the first place, the United States sent delegates to an International Monetary Conference in Paris, in conformity with one of the provisions of the Bland-Allison act, to discuss a project for the utilization of silver through an agreement among the commercial nations of the world. No tangible results were obtained, however, so that it was plain that for the time, at least, the United States would be alone in its attempt to bring about the greater use of the white metal. In the meantime the law was put into operation, and the secretary of the treasury exercised his option by purchasing the minimum amount, two million dollars' worth of bullion. It was impossible to keep the coins in circulation, however, mainly because of their weight, and the policy was therefore adopted of storing part of the silver in the government vaults and issuing paper "silver certificates" in its place. As these were of small denominations and circulated on a par with gold, no immediate difficulty was experienced in making them part of the currency supply of the country.

The currency question, nevertheless, remained as complicated as ever and the differences of opinion upon it as diverse as before. The market price of silver steadily declined through the eighties and the bullion value of the metal in a dollar sank from ninety-three cents in 1878 to less than seventy-one cents in 1889. Both Republican and Democratic secretaries of the treasury gave warning that the inflow of silver into the currency supply was too great. President Arthur urged the repeal of the Bland-Allison act in his first annual message; President Cleveland again and again reiterated the same advice, warning Congress of the danger that silver would be substituted for gold. The argument of the opponents of silver could hardly be stated in more concise or complete terms. As soon as the supply of currency became too great, he asserted, the unnecessary portion would go out of circulation;[1] it was the experience of nations that the more desirable coin - gold, in this case - would be hoarded by banks and speculators; it would then become apparent that the bullion value of the gold dollar was greater than that of the silver dollar and the two coins would part company; those who, in such a contingency, could get gold dollars would demand a premium for them, while the laboring man, unable to demand gold, would find his silver dollar sadly shrunken in value.

Although the coinage of silver in the twelve years during which the Bland-Allison act was in force amounted to $378,000,000, the danger that Cleveland's prophecy would come to pass was lessened by several facts. The country was, in the first place, passing through a period of industrial expansion that required an enlarged circulating medium; the revenues of the government were exceeding expenditures, and part of the surplus was being stored in the vaults in Washington; and the volume of the national bank notes shrank more than $158,000,000 between 1880 and 1890. Falling prices for agricultural products continued to keep western discontent alive and far from being convinced by Cleveland's warnings, western conventions and representatives in Congress continued to urge legislation to increase the amount of silver to be coined, and free-coinage bills were constantly introduced and frequently near passage. Manifestly the demand that something more be done for silver was not at an end.

Although agitation over the use of silver currency resulted in no further important legislation for the time being, the general financial situation was complicated by a series of important acts. During the eighties the federal revenues mounted to an unprecedented height and as expenses did not increase proportionately, a surplus of large and finally of embarrassing and dangerous size appeared.

Between 1880 and 1890 it averaged more than $100,000,000 annually. Although part of it was used to reduce the public debt, the remainder began to accumulate in the treasury and thereby seriously reduced the amount of currency available for the ordinary needs of business. In 1888, for example, the surplus in the treasury was one-fourth as great as the entire estimated sum outside. The one device for doing away with the surplus upon which all leaders could unite was the reduction of the national debt. Between 1879 and 1890 over $1,000,000,000 were thus disposed of. Yet even this process raised difficulties. Although a portion of the debt came due in 1881 and could be redeemed at the pleasure of the government, other bonds were not redeemable until 1891 and 1907, unless the federal authorities chose to go into the market and buy at a premium. Eventually this was done for a time, although prices were thereby forced up to 130 in 1888, and as a result the redemption of $95,000,000 during the year cost more than $112,000,000. The treasury also adopted the expedient of depositing surplus funds in banking institutions, but the plan was open to serious objections. In order to qualify for receiving government deposits the banks had to present United States bonds as security, but these were already at a high premium because of purchase by the treasury itself. There remained, therefore, two general policies which might be followed - reduction of revenue or enlargement of expenditure.

Both parties were theoretically committed to the economical conduct of the nation's business, but Republican advocacy of a high tariff tended to restrict that party's answer to the surplus problem. The revenue came largely from tariff and internal taxes. The latter were reduced, as has been seen, by the tariff act of 1883, but the redundant income continued. The Republicans then faced the alternative of lowering the customs or turning to the policy of increased expenditure. The latter policy would delay the reduction of duties and was in line with the Republican tendency toward increased federal activity. For the Democrats the problem was easier. Since the party was tending toward advocacy of low customs duties, had constantly condemned Republican extravagance in administration and was traditionally the party of a restricted national authority, it was logical to turn to severe reduction of revenue in order to solve the problem of the surplus.

President Cleveland's political and personal philosophy led toward economy in expenditure and therefore toward revenue reduction. By nature he was frugal; in politics, a strict constructionist. In vetoing an appropriation bill he succinctly set forth his creed:

    A large surplus in the Treasury is the parent of many ills, and 
    among them is found a tendency to an extremely liberal, if not 
    loose, construction of the Constitution. It also attracts the gaze 
    of States and individuals with a kind of fascination, and gives 
    rise to plans and pretensions that an uncongested Treasury never 
    could excite.

The Republicans were becoming committed to the policy of large expenditures. President Harrison, to be sure, in his first annual message urged the reduction of receipts, declaring that the collection of money not needed for public use imposed an unnecessary burden upon the people and that the presence of a large surplus in the treasury was a disturbing element in the conduct of private business. Nevertheless such party leaders as Reed and McKinley, who effectively controlled the legislation of the Harrison administration, acted on the philosophy of Senator Dolph:

    If we were to take our eyes off the increasing surplus in the 
    Treasury and stop bemoaning the prosperity of the country, ... and 
    to devote our energies to the development of the great resources 
    which the Almighty has placed in our hands, to increasing (our 
    products) ... to cheapening transportation by the improving of our 
    rivers and harbors, ... we would act wiser than we do.

Congress was more inclined to follow the policy suggested by Dolph than that proposed by Cleveland. One project was the return of the direct tax which had been levied on the states at the outbreak of the Civil War. At that time Congress had laid a tax of $20,000,000 apportioned among the states according to population. About $15,000,000 had been collected, mainly, of course, from the northern states. It was suggested that the levy be returned, a plan which would give the northern states a return in actual cash and the southern states "the empty enjoyment of the remission from a tax which no one now dared to suggest was ever to be made good." President Cleveland had vetoed such a bill, during his first administration, believing it unconstitutional and also objectionable as a "sheer, bald gratuity." Under the Harrison administration the scheme was revived and carried to completion, March 2, 1891.

Pension legislation was even more successful as a method of reducing the unwieldy surplus. Garfield had declared in 1872, when introducing an appropriation bill in the House of Representatives, "We may reasonably expect that the expenditures for pensions will hereafter steadily decrease, unless our legislation should be unwarrantably extravagant," and in fact the cost of pensions for 1878 had been lower by more than $7,000,000 than in 1871. The Arrears act of 1879 had given a decided upward tendency to pension expense, which amounted to over $20,000,000 more in 1880 than in 1879. The surplus was a constant invitation to careless generosity. Liberality to the veteran was a patriotic duty which lent itself to the fervid stump oratory of the time and presented an opportunity to the undeserving applicant to place his name on the rolls of pensioners along with his more worthy associates. Besides, an administration which seemed niggardly in its attitude toward the veterans was certain to lose the soldier vote, and neither party was willing to incur such a risk. Hence, despite Cleveland's vetoes of private pension legislation, hundreds of such measures passed during his first term. The Harrison administration proceeded upon the President's theory that it "was no time to be weighing the claims of old soldiers with apothecary's scales." A dependent pension bill like that which President Cleveland vetoed in 1887 was passed in 1890. The list of pensioners more than doubled in length; the number of applications for aid increased tenfold in two years. It became necessary for President Harrison to displace his over-liberal commissioner of pensions, but the mischief was already done. The total yearly pension expenditure quickly mounted beyond the one hundred million mark, where it has remained ever since. Indeed, the cost of pensions in 1872 when Garfield made his prophecy was less than one-sixth as great as in 1913. Large pension expenditure was clearly a permanent charge.

The improvement of the rivers and harbors of the country has always been a ready means of disposing of any embarrassing surplus and of assisting Congressmen to get money into their districts. "Promoters of all sorts of schemes, beggars for the widening of rivulets, the deepening of rills" clustered about the treasury during the eighties. During the early seventies expenditure on this account had not reached $6,500,000 annually, although in 1879 it exceeded $8,000,000. In 1882, the year of the mammoth surplus, Congress passed over Arthur's veto a bill carrying appropriations which amounted to almost nineteen million dollars.[2] Expenditures were somewhat reduced in the years immediately following, and Cleveland continued the repressive policy of his predecessor. Harrison in his first message to Congress in December, 1889, recommended appropriations for river and harbor improvement, although deprecating the prosecution of works not of public advantage. The recommendation fell upon willing ears and appropriations for undertakings of this sort at once increased again. Expenditure for rivers and harbors, like that for pensions, remained at a high level, the wise and necessary portions of such measures being relied upon to carry the unwise and unnecessary ones.

A project which lacked many of the unpleasant features of river and harbor legislation was the Blair educational bill, which proposed to distribute a considerable portion of the surplus among the states. As discussion of the Blair bill proceeded, it became clear that its results might be more far-reaching than had been anticipated. A gift from the national government seemed sure to retard local efforts at raising school funds and would initiate a vicious tendency to rely on federal bounty. Hence although the Senate passed the bill in 1884, 1886 and 1888, it never commended itself sufficiently to the House and eventually was dropped.

A small portion of the increased expenditure in the eighties was due to improvements in the navy, in which both parties shared. Presidents Arthur and Cleveland urged upon Congress the need of modern defences. Progress was slow and difficult. Although the day of steel ships had come, the American navy was composed of wooden relics of earlier days. The manufacture of armor and of large guns had to be developed, and skill and experience accumulated. Results began to appear in the late eighties when the number of modern steel war vessels increased from three to twenty-two in four years. Expenditures mounted from less than $14,000,000 in 1880 to over $22,000,000 in 1890.

As effective as new expenditure was the McKinley tariff act of 1890, the details of which from the point of view of tariff history have already been noted.[3] The extremely high rates levied under that legislation caused a slight reduction in customs revenue in 1891 and a sharp decline in 1892. Moreover the coincidence of instability in the currency system, business depression and the relatively high Wilson-Gorman tariff schedules of 1894 continued the decline of income from customs during the middle nineties.

In the meantime the silver agitation, which had been somewhat repressed by the well-known attitude of Cleveland during his first administration revived with increased vigor. The election of 1888, it will be remembered, had turned wholly on the tariff and had been a victory for the Republicans. The western states had almost uniformly supported Harrison in the election and during 1889 four more were admitted to the Union. Their representatives in Congress were mainly silver advocates. In his first message to Congress the President declared that the evil anticipations which had accompanied the use of the silver dollar had not been realized but he feared nevertheless that either free coinage or any "considerable increase" of the present rate of coinage would be "disastrous" and "discreditable." He announced that a plan would be presented by the Secretary of the Treasury, to which he had been able to give only a hasty examination. The scheme for expanding the silver coinage which the Secretary, William Windom, presented was not acceptable to Congress, but the result of the agitation was the law generally known as the Sherman silver purchase act, which was passed on July 14, 1890. It directed the secretary of the treasury to purchase 4,500,000 ounces of silver bullion per month and to issue in payment "Treasury notes of the United States." These notes were legal tender for all debts and were receivable for customs and all public dues. Further, the secretary was directed to redeem the notes in gold or silver at his discretion, "it being the established policy of the United States to maintain the two metals on a parity with each other."

The silver to be purchased was substantially the total output of the American mines. Fearing the strength of the silver element in the Senate and doubtful of the position which the President might take, former Secretary Sherman, now in the Senate, supported the act, although confessing that he was ready to vote for repeal at any time when it could be done without substituting free coinage. The provision for the purchase of four and one-half million ounces instead of four and one-half million dollars' worth was introduced at Sherman's suggestion. This clause kept the amount to be absorbed at a uniform level, whereas the purchase of a fixed number of dollars' worth would have increased the coinage when the price of bullion fell. The vote on the Sherman act was strictly partisan - no Republicans opposing it and no Democrats favoring it when the measure was finally passed, although 116 members of the House failed to answer to their names on the roll-call.

In view of the fact that the industrial and commercial countries of Europe were almost universally reducing their silver coinage, the passage by the United States of an act which substantially doubled the amount of silver purchased under the Bland-Allison law seems extraordinary. Moreover, only six years later a presidential campaign was fought almost wholly on the silver issue and at that time the Republican party resolutely opposed free coinage. It is obvious that powerful forces must have been at work to align the party so unitedly in behalf of the Sherman law. It was to be expected that western Republicans would support it, but the eastern members were found voting for it as well. Doubtless many things contributed to the result. Some perhaps agreed with Sherman that the silver advocates were so strong that free coinage would result in case Congress refused to pass legislation of any kind. Some may have feared with Platt of Connecticut, that a party split would ensue unless the wishes of the westerners were acceded to - hence an act which gave liberal assistance to silver to please the West and South but stopped short of free coinage so as to please the East. That opportunist politics had an influence with certain members is indicated by the remarks of a Massachusetts Republican representative who later favored the gold standard:

    It is pure politics, gentlemen; that is all there is about it. 
    We Republicans want to come back and we do not want you (to 
    the Democratic side) to come back in the majority, because, 
    on the whole, you must excuse us for thinking we are better 
    fellows than you are. That is human nature, that is all there 
    is in this silver bill (laughter on the Republican side); pure 

A Democrat who favored free coinage denounced the act as "Janus-Faced," moulded so as to look like silver to the West and gold to the East. Important, also, seems to have been the attitude of the western members on the tariff. The party had returned to power on the tariff issue and it seemed necessary to pass some sort of legislation on the subject. Yet the party majority in Senate and House was slight and the westerners were understood to be ready to defeat the McKinley bill which was then pending, unless something was done for silver. Harrison seems to have been unwilling to endanger successful tariff legislation by opposing the considerable extension of the coinage of silver.[4]

Contrary to the expectations of the proponents of the act, the price of silver fell gradually until the value of the bullion in a dollar was sixty cents in 1893 and forty-nine cents in 1894. They who had opposed the law saw their fears verified; as they had prophesied, silver began to replace gold in circulation; the latter was hoarded and used for foreign shipments; customs duties, which had hitherto been paid largely in gold, were now paid in paper currency; since gold was now more desired than silver, large amounts of paper were presented to the government for redemption in the more valuable metal. To be sure, the Sherman law allowed the secretary of the treasury to redeem the treasury notes of 1890 in gold or silver at his discretion, but it contained a proviso that the established policy of the United States was to maintain the two metals on a parity or equality. The secretary believed that if he refused to redeem the treasury notes in whatever coin the holder desired, that is if he insisted on redemption in silver only, a discrimination would be made in favor of gold and the equality of the two metals would be destroyed. Parity would be maintained, the government held, only when any kind of money could be exchanged for any other kind, at the option of the holder.

For the redemption of the greenbacks, the government had since 1879 maintained a fund known as the gold reserve. No law fixed its amount, but custom had set $100,000,000 as the minimum. Hitherto a negligible amount of paper had been presented for redemption, but as soon as the Sherman law came into effective operation the demand for gold became increasingly great and the level of the reserve promptly fell. Between July 1, 1890, and July 15, 1893, the supply of gold in the treasury decreased more than $132,000,000, while the stock of silver increased over $147,000,000. Evidently silver was replacing gold in the treasury, and it was equally clear that a continuation of the process would result in forcing the government to pay its obligations in silver and to refuse to redeem paper in gold - in other words, go upon a silver standard.

The situation when Cleveland's second administration began on March 4, 1893, was complex and critical. The annual expenditures had increased by $119,000,000 between 1880 and 1893, while the revenue had expanded by only half that amount; the surplus had decreased every year during Harrison's administration and a deficit had been avoided only by the cessation of payments on the public debt; the supply of currency in circulation was being heavily increased by the operation of the Sherman law; and the gold reserve had been kept at the traditional amount only through extraordinary efforts on the part of Harrison's Secretary of the Treasury as the administration came to a close.

Cleveland's attitude toward the Sherman law was well-known. He had long urged the repeal of the Bland-Allison act; before the election of 1892 he had predicted disaster in case the nation entered upon "the dangerous and reckless experiment of free, unlimited, and independent silver coinage"; it was his belief that the distresses under which the country labored were due principally to the Sherman silver purchase law. He therefore called a special session of Congress for August 7, (1893), sent a message giving a succinct account of the operation of the law and urged its immediate repeal.[5] In the House, repeal was voted with surprising promptness, although a strong free-silver element fought vigorously to prevent it. That party lines were broken was indicated by the fact that two-thirds of the Democrats and four-fifth of the Republicans voted in accord with the President's request.

In the Senate the silver advocates were stronger. The entire history of coinage was discussed at length. Members who favored repeal disliked to overturn the tradition of the Senate which allowed unlimited debate, and the silver senators therefore filibustered through the summer and early fall. Senator Jones of Nevada made a single speech that filled a hundred dreary pages of the Congressional Record. Senator Allen of Nebraska quoted more than thirty authorities, ranging from the Pandects of Justinian to enlivening doggerel poetry. Feeling ran high. In the West, Jones, Allen and others were looked upon as heroes; in the East, as villains. To a satirical onlooker it seemed that the nation had become insanely obsessed with the question of repeal:

    All men of virtue and intelligence know that all the ills of 
    life - scarcity of money, baldness, the comma bacillus, Home 
    Rule, ... and the Potato Bug - are due to the Sherman Bill. If it 
    is repealed, sin and death will vanish from the world, ... the 
    skies will fall, and we shall all catch larks.

Not until October 30 were the silver supporters overcome. Including members who were paired, twenty-two Democrats and twenty-six Republicans favored repeal, and twenty-two Democrats, twelve Republicans and three Populists opposed. Again the West and South were aligned against the North and East. The Democratic party was divided and charges and countercharges had been made that augured ill for party success, as has been seen, in dealing with the tariff and other important problems.[6] Worst of all, the chief question - the volume and content of the currency - was still unanswered. Something had been done for silver - and undone - but there was no scientific settlement of the problem.

The disastrous financial and industrial crisis of 1893 made yet more complex the already tangled skein of economic history during President Cleveland's second administration. The catastrophe has been ascribed to a variety of causes but the relative importance of the various factors is still a matter of disagreement. Rash speculation on the part of industrial interests here and abroad seems to have made weak links in the international commercial chain; financial conditions both in Germany and in Great Britain were precarious during the early part of 1890; the collapse of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in February, 1893, and of the National Cordage Company soon afterwards were warnings of what was to follow; the silver purchase law produced widespread fear that the United States would not be able to continue the redemption of paper currency; and the change of political control had produced the usual feeling of uncertainty. The dwindling of the gold reserve, which has already been mentioned, assisted in causing a critical situation. Foreign investors, fearful of financial conditions here, sold their American railroad and other securities and received payment in gold. The one place where the yellow metal could be readily obtained was the United States treasury and upon it the strain centered. People attempted to turn property of all kinds into gold before the existing standard should change to a depreciated silver basis. At the same time there was a rush to the banks to withdraw funds, and the visible supply of currency therefore was seriously reduced. "Under these conditions gold seemed scarce. In reality gold was only relatively scarce in comparison with the abnormal offering of property for sale on account of the fear of the silver standard." In an incredibly short time, currency became so scarce as to create a genuine panic and was purchased like any commodity at premiums ranging from one to three per cent. In order to enable their families to pay the running expenses of every day at the summer resorts, business men were compelled to buy bills and coin and send them in express packages. The national banks were unable to supply the demand for currency so quickly, and 158 of them failed in 1893 and hundreds of state and private financial institutions were forced to close their doors. Industrial firms were affected by the uncertainty and panic and over 15,000 failures resulted, with liabilities amounting to $347,000,000 in the single year. Production of coal and iron fell sharply; railway construction nearly ceased and the value of securities shrank to a fraction of their former value. The distress among the wage-earners became extreme; unemployment was common; strikes, like that beginning in Pullman in 1894, were bitter and prolonged. "Coxey's army," composed of unemployed workmen, marched to Washington with a petition for relief.

As is usually the case in our politics, the blame for the industrial disturbance was laid at the door of the party in power. The argument of an Ohio congressman in the debate over the repeal of the Sherman law typified the political use made of the crisis of 1893. Until November, 1892, the orator declared, prosperity was undimmed. "Iron furnaces throughout the country were in full blast, and their cheerful light was going up to heaven notifying the people of the United States of existing prosperity and warning them against change of conditions." Then came the election of the party "which had declared war on the system upon which our whole industrial fabric had been erected." "One by one the furnaces went out, one by one the mines closed up, one after another the factories shortened their time." Business interests, he asserted, were fearful of Democratic rule and especially of tariff reform; hence prosperity and confidence could be renewed only by leaving the Sherman law intact and by refusing to undertake any sweeping revision of the protective tariff.

Further to complicate the financial trials of the burdensome mid-nineties, the depletion of the gold reserve demanded immediate attention. During the closing months of President Harrison's administration, in fact, the Secretary of the Treasury had ordered the preparation of plates for engraving an issue of bonds by which to borrow sufficient gold to replenish the redemption fund. By a personal appeal to New York bankers, however, he was able to exchange paper for gold and so keep the level above the one hundred million mark, and when Cleveland succeeded to the chair, the reserve was $100,982,410. In the meantime the scarcity of gold continued, and the combination of large expenditures and slender income severely embarrassed the government in its attempts to obtain a sufficient supply of gold to keep the reserve intact. The administration, indeed, was all but helpless. Paper presented for redemption in gold had to be paid out to meet expenses and was then turned in for gold again. Hence, as Cleveland ruefully reminded Congress, "we have an endless chain in operation constantly depleting the Treasury's gold and never near a final rest." On April 22, 1893, the reserve fell momentarily below $100,000,000 and later in the year it was apparent that the reduction was likely to become permanent. By January, 1894, the reserve was less than $70,000,000, while $450,000,000 in paper which might be presented for redemption were in actual circulation. Only one resource seemed available - borrowing gold. The treasury therefore sold bonds to the value of $50,000,000. Even this, however, did not remedy the ill. Bankers obtained gold to purchase bonds by presenting paper currency to the government for redemption. Relief was temporary. On the last day of May the reserve amounted to only $79,000,000; in November, to $59,000,000. Another issue of bonds was resorted to in November, but the results were not better than before. At the same time the Pullman strike during the summer months, the Wilson-Gorman tariff fiasco and an unfortunate harvest seemed to indicate that man and nature were determined to make 1894 a year of ill-omen.

By February, 1895, the treasury found itself confronted with a reserve of only $41,000,000. It seemed useless to attempt borrowing under the usual conditions, and Cleveland therefore resorted to a new device. A contract was made with J.P. Morgan and a group of bankers for the purchase of 3,500,000 ounces of gold to be paid for with United States four per cent. bonds. In order to protect the reserve from a renewed drain, the bankers agreed that at least half the gold should be obtained abroad, and they promised to exert all their influence to prevent withdrawals of gold from the treasury while the contract was being filled. The terms of the contract were favorable to the bankers, but the President defended the agreement on the ground that the promise to protect the reserve entitled the bankers to a favorable bargain. The fact, however, that the Morgan Company was able to market the bonds with the public and make a large profit, increased the demand that the administration sell directly to the people and make the profit itself. In January, 1896, occurred a fourth sale - to the public, this time - and 4,640 bids were received, for a total several times greater than the $100,000,000 called for. By this time, business conditions were improving, confidence was restored among the financial classes and gold again began to flow out of hiding and into the treasury. The endless chain was broken.

The denunciation which Cleveland received for the untoward monetary and industrial events of his administration was unusual even for American politics in the middle nineties. Such extreme silver men as Senator Stewart of Nevada declared that Cleveland's second administration was probably the worst administration that ever occurred in this or any other country; that he was a bold and unscrupulous stock-jobber; that he deliberately caused the panic of 1893 and that he sent the Venezuela message in order to divert the attention of the people from the silver question. The New York World described the transaction between the government and the Morgan Company as a "bunco" game, and charged that Cleveland had dishonest, dishonorable and immoral reasons for bringing about the transaction and that he did it for a "consideration." Representative W.J. Bryan, who belonged to the President's party and who ordinarily was chivalrous to his opponents, declared that Cleveland could no more escape unharmed from association with the Morgan syndicate than he could expect to escape asphyxiation if he locked himself up in a room and turned on the gas. The Democratic party, he thought, should feel toward its leader as a confiding ward would feel toward a guardian who had squandered a rich estate, or as a passenger would feel toward a trainman who opened a switch and precipitated a wreck.


The standard works, mentioned under Chapter V, by Dewey, Hepburn and Noyes continue valuable. The attitude of Hayes and of succeeding Presidents is found in J.D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents; F.W. Taussig, The Silver Situation in the United States (1892), is concise; Political Science Quarterly, III, 226, discusses the surplus revenue; Quarterly Journal of Economics, III, 436, on the direct tax; W.H. Glasson, Federal Military Pensions, has already been mentioned. W.J. Lauck, Causes of the Panic of 1893 (1907), lays the blame for the industrial distress of 1893 wholly on the silver law of 1890. On the gold reserve, consult Grover Cleveland, Presidential Problems; D.R. Dewey, National Problems (1907); Political Science Quarterly, X, 573; and Quarterly Journal of Economics, XIII, 204. "The Silver Debate of 1890," in Journal of Political Economy, I, 535, contains a detailed account of the discussion in Congress. W.J. Bryan, First Battle (1897), should be consulted.

       * * * * *

[1] According to the principle known as Gresham's law, bad money tends to drive out good; or overvalued money to drive out undervalued money. If the face value of a coin is more than its worth as bullion, it is "overvalued." Thus, if coins of equal face value, but of different bullion value, circulate side by side, there will be a tendency for the possessors of the coins to pass on the currency with the smaller bullion value and to withdraw the others for sale as bullion and for use in the arts.

[2] Above, p. 164.

[3] Above, pp. 238-240.

[4] The law remained in force about three years. During that interval nearly $156,000,000 worth of silver bullion was purchased with the new treasury notes. The government began retiring these notes in 1900.

[5] The call for the extra session, together with news of the suspension of free-coinage in India, sent the bullion price of silver down twenty-one cents per ounce in two weeks. The President was seriously handicapped at this time by a cancerous growth in the jaw, necessitating an operation, news of which was withheld from the public for fear of its ill effect on the financial situation. Cf. Saturday Evening Post, 22 Sept., 1917.

[6] Above, p. 274.