The following is a portion of a newspaper article penned about 1895 by Kansas Congressman John Davis. It is a brief overview of the book mentioned in my last post, “Seven Financial Conspiracies.”
The First “Conspiracy,” wounding the greenback, was to enable the great fund-holders of the world to obtain United States bonds on easy terms. The Second, known as the national banking system, was to make the bonds very profitable to the holders, enabling them to draw double interest on one investment. The Third Conspiracy was to render money so scarce that the bonds would, probably, not be paid, making the investment perpetual.
The [fourth] conspiracy of 1869 was to make the bonds payable in coin only, so that their payment would be still more burdensome and less probable. It was with considerable difficulty that Congress passed the laws of 1869 and 1870, making the 5-20 currency bonds payable in coin, and refunding bonds so that no future Congress could undo the work. Those measures were vehemently opposed and condemned by John Sherman, Senator Doolittle, Oliver P. Morton, Henry Wilson and others. Senator Sherman called the Act of 1869 “extortion and repudiation.” Senator Morton said that, “in its passage, four distinct laws were violated !” But the money power was all-powerful. It was unscrupulous, and, of course, it again triumphed.In 1873 a coinage law was passed for the coinage of trade dollars and subsidiary silver. It in no way referred to the standard dollar, which had been the unit of account and the standard of value since the beginning of the government. It was an innocent and useful law, yet on this law was founded a “revision,” adopted in bulk, June, 1874, as follows: The silver coins of the United States shall be a legal tender at their nominal value for any amount not exceeding $5 in any one payment.
That language demonetized all the silver coins of the United States for amounts above $5, including the standard silver dollar. The United States Monetary Commission Report of 1877, Vol. I, page 90, says :
No law was ever passed by Congress of which this language can be considered a revision.
The report then adds: Whoever may be responsible for this error in the Revised Statutes, the ancient money of the country, instead of being intentionally legislated out of existence by Congress, was revised out of existence.
The law of 1875—the Resumption Law—was intended to redeem and retire the remaining greenbacks, making gold coin the money of the rich bondholders, and bank currency and subsidiary silver the moneys of trade and business. But the sufferings of the people and danger to the peace of the country became so great that Congress, in 1878, passed a law that redeemed greenbacks would not be canceled, but should be paid out again. This defeated the resumption scheme and saved to the people $346,000,000 of greenbacks. Another law was passed in 1878 restoring the full legal-tender quality of the silver dollar, and requiring its coinage at the rate of two to four millions per month.
These were the first financial laws passed in the interests of the people since 1862. They were the first check to the money power since the passage of the exception clause on the greenback, which Thaddeus Steven pronounced “the first victory of the money power over the country.”
The remedial laws of 1878 were an immediate and immense relief to the people, showing that General Logan was right when he called the period from 1873 to 1878 “a money famine and nothing else.”
The great Wall Street Journals were very much disgusted with the passage of the remedial measures of 1878. They unanimously ascribed their passage to the influence of the greenback sentiment of the West and South.
I have now sketched the manner and spirit of the enactment of the “Conspiracies” of the great money power of London and New York against the liberties of the American people, robbing them, with unseen hands, through the manipulations of the finances, as no highwaymen of ancient of modern times could have done it. And these are the crimes which Senator John Sherman says “are the seven great pillars of our financial credit.”
Member of Congress from Kansas