Question: Resolved, That the Silver Act of 1890 was an unwise measure.
Brief for the Affirmative.
A. F. COSBY and J. D. UPTON.
Best general references: F. W. Taussig. Silver Situation in the U. S.; J. L. Laughlin, Bimetallism Chs. XIII, XIV; Nineteenth Century, XXVIII. 309-324. (Aug. 1890); Nation LII. 24 (Jan. 8, 1891). LIII. (Jul. 23, 1891); Jevons, Investigation in Currency and Finance, 303-316.
I. A double standard is necessary. - (a) Experience of the U. S. up to 1878. - (b) Example of England and Germany. - (c) Single gold standard is the best. - (d) Credit is dependent on gold as it is the basis of loans - (e) Bank notes can supply any needful currency: Jevons, Invest., 305.
II. The bill when passed was unsatisfactory. - (a) No improvement on the Brand Act. - (b) Measure was simply a compromise and satisfied nobody. - (c) Currency should not be changed so often. - (d) Arguments for the bill unsound. - (1) To raise the price of silver. - (2) To inflate the currency. - (e) Unnecessary locking up of bullion: Nineteenth Cent. Aug. '90, p. 309.
III. It is has not fulfilled it object. - (a) Silver did not rise permanently: Silver Situation, 52 - (b) Prices have not risen - (c) Has not caused a revival of general activity. - (d) Silver Agitation was not stopped: Nation LII, (Jan. 8, '91.) - (e) Gen. Sherman grants that the bill was a failure: Ibid.
IV. It is a most dangerous measure. - (a) It tends to drive us toward a silver standard. - (b) We cannot absorb the new silver. - (c) Our gold reserve has been weakened: Nation LII, (July 23, 1891. - (d) Banks are compelled to help the Treasury - (e) It diminishes the surplus and weakens the Treasury. - (f) In 1891 we barely escaped financial trouble. - (g) A panic may come at any time.
Brief for the Negative.
J. ALLEN and F. W. MOORE.
Best general references: Cong. Rec. 1889-90, XXI, June and July: F. W. Taussig in Forum X, 165, (Oct. 1890): Public Opinion, June 14, 19, 1890: Report of Sec. of the Treas. 1890 p.p. 20-33: G. S. Boutwell, Silver as a Circulating Medium, in Forum XI, 10 March, 1891.
I. Some financial legislation was demanded. - (a) Because of growth of business: Taussig in Forum, as above. - (b) Ultimate retirement of bank notes: Cong. Rec. XXI, 5652. - (c) Act. of 1878 insufficient and unpopular: Rep. of Sec. of Treas. 1890, p, 33.
II. Use of silver for currency necessary. - (a) Gold supply inadequate: Voorhees in N. Am. Rev. vol. 153 p. 524, Nov. 1891.
III. This act was a necessary compromise. - (a) House bill insisted on bullion redemption. Senate bill proposed free coinage: Nation June 19, 1890. - (c) This act reported by conference committee, supported by Sherman, Walker and other sound money men.
IV. The Act has been beneficial. - (a) It gave the needed increase of currency. (b) It provided a convenient substitute for coin. - (c) It did away with the needless coinage of silver. - (d) It postponed the free coinage crisis until public opinion had been aroused.