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The effect of paying the labor of this country in silver coin of full value, as compared with the irredeemable paper or as compared even with silver of inferior value, will make itself felt in a single generation to the extent of tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, in the aggregate savings which represent consolidated capital. It is the instinct of man from the savage to the scholar—developed in childhood and remaining with age—to value the metals which in all tongues are called precious. Excessive paper money leads to extravagance, to waste, and to want, as we painfully witness on all sides to-day. And in the midst of the proof of its demoralizing and destructive effect, we hear it proclaimed in the Halls of Congress that “the people demand cheap money.” I deny it. I declare such a phrase to be a total misapprehension, a total misinterpretation of the popular wish. The people do not demand cheap money. They demand an abundance of good money, which is an entirely different thing. They do not want a single gold standard that will exclude silver and benefit those already rich. They do not want an inferior silver standard that will drive out gold and not help those already poor. They want both metals, in full value, in equal honor, in what-ever abundance the bountiful earth will yield them to the searching eye of science and to the hard hand of labor.
The two metals have existed side by side in harmonious, honorable companionship as money, ever since intelligent trade was known among men. It is well-nigh forty centuries since “Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth—four hundred shekels of silver—current money with the merchant.” Since that time nations have risen and fallen, races have disappeared, dialects and languages have been forgotten, arts have been lost, treasures have perished, continents have been discovered, islands have been sunk in the sea, and through all these ages and through all these changes, silver and gold have reigned supreme, as the representatives of value, as the media of exchange. The dethronement of each has been attempted in turn, and sometimes the dethronement of both; but always in vain. And we are here to-day, deliberating anew over the problem which comes down to us from Abraham’s time: the weight of the silver that shall be “current money with the merchant.”
OF OHIO. (BORN 1823.)