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Title: Betsy Gaskins (Dimicrat), Wife of Jobe Gaskins (Republican)

Author: W. I. Hood

Illustrator: C. B. Falls

Release date: April 14, 2017 [eBook #54549]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by KD Weeks, Emmy, MFR and the Online Distributed
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IBetsy Gaskins

That every star was an eye looking down on me with pity.” (CHAPTER XXXVIII.)

BETSY GASKINS (Dimicrat), Wife of Jobe Gaskins (Republican) title3leaves1 Or, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Up to Date title3leaves2

With Illustrations
from Original Drawings
by C. B. FALLS
And an Appendix
Edited by K. L.
No. 324 Dearborn Street
Copyright, 1897,
By W. I. HOOD.
All rights reserved.

Notice.—The illustrations in this work are engraved from original drawings from life, and their reproduction, except by special permission from the publishers, is prohibited.

Betsy Gaskins.

Jobe Gaskins.


THIS book is written for a purpose. It is founded upon actual occurrences. Betsy and Jobe Gaskins are characters well known to you, if you will but reflect upon events coming under your own observation within the past few years.

The author claims no inspiration or gift of genius. This is only a simple statement of facts deserving the consideration of every intelligent human being. While you read these pages, if you will permit your intelligence to assert itself over your prejudices, and if finally you will do that which the nobler instincts of man prompt you to do toward bringing about a better condition of things under the government of which you are a part, the author will be fully repaid for his labor. He asks you only to keep in mind at all times that Jobe Gaskins is your brother; that Betsy Gaskins is your sister.

W. I. Hood.

New Philadelphia, Ohio, April 24, 1897.


“GOD, by giving to man wants and making his recourse to work necessary to supply them, has made the right to work the property of every man; and this property is the first, the most sacred, the most imprescriptible of all.”—Turgot.

“THE right to work is the right to worship. The clink of the anvil and the hum of the harvest field, the music of the poet and the meditations of the inventor are chords in the anthem of creation.”—Henry D. Lloyd.



I. Jobe Sets and Studies 15
II. An Argument on the Money Question 22
III. Jobe Sleeps in the Spare Bed. The Dream 27
IV. “The Comers” 38
V. Jobe Must Raise $2,100 43
VI. Betty, the Drivin’ Animal 49
VII. They Drive Old Tom 53
VIII. Another Letter from Richer 61
IX. A Few Reasons by Betsy 65
X. Is there a Woman in the Barn 69
XI. “In Town” 73
XII. The Decision 78
XIII. Jobe Cheers Up 84
XIV. A New Mortgage 89
XV. Jobe, Out of Trouble, is Unruly Again 93
XVI. Jobe is Scared 97
XVII. Jobe Sleeps in the Barn? 104
XVIII. The Spittoons 111
XIX. A Big-headed Man 118
XX. Bonds Sell Well 121
XXI. The Sermon 124
XXII. Jobe Working to Raise the Officers’ Salaries 128
XXIII. Plan to Relieve the Rich of an Expense 132
XXIV. Them Promises 138
XXV. Jobe Excited Over a Nomination 141
XXVI. The Bloomers 145
xXXVII. “Them Populists.” 149
XXVIII. Trouble with Billot 155
XXIX. “Inforcin the Law agin Billot” 158
XXX. Betsy Discusses “Fiat” Money 166
XXXI. Jobe Blows a Fish-horn 180
XXXII. At Court Again 185
XXXIII. Judgment Rendered 189
XXXIV. The Little White Rose-bush 195
XXXV. Jobe Talks of Things that Are Gone 200
XXXVI. Bill Bowers on the Fence 202
XXXVII. Betsy Faints. A Vision 207
XXXVIII. The Parting 211
XXXIX. The Preacher and the Saloonkeeper 216
XL. Them Rooms. The Director of Charities 228
XLI. A Sore Hand 235
XLII. Hattie Moore 244
XLIII. A Family Reunion 249
XLIV. After the Woe, then Comes the Law 256
I. The Impending Revolution 277
II. The Philosophy of Money 283
III. A Bird’s-eye View of American Financial History 307
IV. The Eight Money Conspiracies 345
V. Financial Authorities 352
VI. Interest and Usury 380
VII. Debt and Slavery 387
VIII. The Laws of Property 393
IX. Direct Legislation 401


1. “That every star was an eye looking down on me with pity.” (Frontispiece.)
2. Character title.  
3. Betsy Gaskins 7
4. Initial T 11
5. Jobe Gaskins 13
6. Initial M 15
7. “We both hankered” 17
8. “I did git him started to readin” 19
9. “That canderdate feller” 20
10. Tailpiece 21
11. “Me a knittin, him a settin and studyin” 23
12. “‘Talkin like them blame Populists’” 26
13. “I waked not until broad daylite” 28
14. “‘Feedin-feedin, of course,’ says he” 29
15. “‘Do you promis?’ says I, girlish like” 30
16. “I sot down, lookin him square in the face” 31
17. Bill Bowers 32
18. Ornamental tailpiece 37
19. “‘Ide vote the Dimicrat ticket at the very next township election’” 39
20. “They waked me up at the dead hour of midnite” 41
21. “That very sheet of paper” 45
22. Congressman Richer 46
23. “Jobe works and sweats” 47
24. Ornamental tailpiece 48
25. “Jobe and me both sot down and cried” 50
26. “Started for town bright and airly” 54
27. “Jobe and me counted up how much we had” 57
28. “That nite I put another patch on his pants” 62
29. “He explained to Mr. Jones” 63
xii30. Ornamental tailpiece 64
31. Ornamental tailpiece 68
32. “Peekin through a crack” 70
33. “Jist a layin it off with his hands” 71
34. “‘Mistur Court, Gaskins is here’” 74
35. “‘I ’bject’” 76
36. “‘I want to prove to you, Mistur Judge’” 79
37. “‘This is the law, whether it is justice or not’” 81
38. “Jobe and me sot there dazed like” 82
39. Aunt Jane 84
40. “He would call him ‘Billy,’ in honor of the next president” 85
41. “Before Jobe could git up, William hit him agin” 86
42. Ornamental tailpiece 88
43. “He would rather pay seven per cent. than six, in order to support a sound money basis” 90
44. “‘Law or no law,’ says I” 91
45. “‘Payin it in gold to keep your party in power is up-hill bizness’” 92
46. “‘John Sherman is the greatest financier on airth’” 95
47. Ornamental tailpiece 96
48. “‘Now, Betsy, you see what kind of a party you belong to’” 98
49. “So I went to work and cut out the headin” 100
50. “‘It is all over, Betsy,’ says he” 101
51. “That nite he slept in the barn” 103
52. “‘Jobe Gaskins, you make another move!’” 105
53. “‘Are you mad, Betsy?’ says he” 108
54. “Jobe was on his knees in the middle of the bed” 113
55. “A strait, influential, leadin Republican officeholder” 115
56. “Lots of fellers jist like him” 116
57. “Jobe he flew up” 119
58. “It wasent anything onusual for a county officer to make all he could” 120
59. “‘Hadent we all ort to be satisfied so long as bonds sell well?’” 121
60. “‘Times are never hard under a gold basis,’ Jobe says” 122
61. “They whispered and snickered at my straw hat and Jobe’s linen coat” 125
62. “He said the rich all belong to church” 126
63. Harvesting 129
64. “I was puttin salve on Jobe’s hands” 130
65. The hand that voted “the strait ticket” 131
xiii66. “Some good men in case of labor trouble” 133
67. “Some of the little children are pretty” 136
68. “Jobe took what hay he could spare” 138
69. “They are kept so busy legislatin” 139
70. “A huntin them overhalls” 142
71. “I had sot down and went to churnin” 143
72. “The Dimicratic bloomers” 146
73. “‘Hello, mistur’” 147
74. “‘We ketch em a comin and we ketch em a goin’” 148
75. “I seen him a comin up the lane” 151
76. “The fust time for nigh onto twenty years” 153
77. “Billot jist laughed at him” 155
78. “Jobe he got mad and called Billot a Populist” 156
79. Ornamental tailpiece—sunset 157
80. “Lawyers a talkin and a laffin” 159
81. “‘Mistur Moore, how long has it been since you quit advocatin the use of good, old-fashioned greenbacks?’” 161
82. “‘Lawyer—Dimicratic lawyer and polertician’” 164
83. “He carried a banner” 167
84. “I got a straw and tickled his nose” 171
85. Ornamental tailpiece 179
86. “It was nearly mornin when I heerd the patriotic sounds of the fish-horn” 181
87. “He looked kind a pale” 182
88. “‘Give us a tune, Jobe’” 183
89. “‘This is not accordin to contract’” 184
90. “We hitched in front of Urfer’s big dry goods store” 186
91. “‘Ready’” 187
92. “‘I am a banker, sir, a banker‘” 190
93. “He made sich a fine argament for gold and agin other money” 193
94. Little Jane 196
95. “I could nearly see her little dimpled fingers pattin the airth around the roots of that little bush” 197
96. “‘Mamma, ... how pritty!’” 198
97. Ornamental tailpiece 199
98. “Jobe jist lays and moans” 200
99. “I have to chop all the wood” 201
100. “‘Out with it, Bill; we are prepared for the wust’” 203
101. “‘Ile tell you, Betsy. Ive made up my mind to try them Populists hereafter’” 205
xiv102. “‘O, Lord, is there no other way to do?’” 209
103. “He drawed me over in his arms and kissed me” 212
104. “He was wipin his eyes and blowin his nose as he went towards town” 213
105. “Then sot down and cried and kept a cryin every little bit all mornin” 214
106. “They pulled me away from the winder” 218
107. “At all the gates around the big fence they had signs stuck up” 221
108. “I asked him for something to eat” 222
109. “‘Well, old man, sich things hadent ort to be’” 225
110. “I slipped over and put my face agin the glass” 229
111. “The feller turned around and looked black at me” 233
112. “I have to work hard in this place” 236
113. “One nice little place that I thought I would rent as soon as I got my first week’s pay” 239
114. “I worked there three weeks” 241
115. “Everything was cold and dark” 242
116. Initial M—Hattie Moore 244
117. “He teched me on the shoulder” 247
118. “I got onto a freight train” 248
119. “Pushing back the hair of the sick woman, leaned over and kissed her on the forehead” 250
120. “There lay Mrs. Gaskins” 252
121. “There again was the face of that little girl and the face of an old man” 253
122. “In the morning there was found a white-haired man” 254
123. Tailpiece—the rose-bush on the grave 255
124. Initial B—the editor 256
125. “Behold! See that money!” 265
127. The world’s oppressor 274

Betsy Gaskins (Dimicrat).


MISTUR EDITURE:—My name is Betsy Gaskins. I was born a Dimicrat. My father was a Dimicrat and my mother dident dare to be anything else—out loud.

Our family, thus, was of one mind, perlitically, until Jobe Gaskins begin to come to see me.

I was a young woman of nineteen summers, as the poit would say.

Jobe he was a Republican and “didn’t keer who knowed it.”

My folks opposed Jobe on perlitical grounds.

Jobe he opposed my folks on the same grounds, but hankered arter me, though he knode I was a “Dimicrat dide in the wool.”

And I must say I hankered arter Jobe, though I knode he was a rank Republican. On that one pint we agreed: we both hankered.

Well, the time come when Jobe and me decided to lay aside our perlitical feelins and git married.

This our folks opposed, but we “slid out” one day, and the preacher united the two old parties, as far as Jobe and 16me was concerned, though I was still a Dimicrat, and Jobe he was still a Republican.

Like the two great perlitical parties at Washington, when they want to make a law to suit Wall Street, Jobe and me decided to pull together on the question of gittin married.

We have lived together for nigh onto thirty-five years, and durin all that time Jobe has let me be a Dimicrat, and Ive let him be a Republican. It has never caused any family disturbance nor never will, so long as I be a Dimicrat and let Jobe be a Republican.

We have no children livin. Our little Jane was taken from us just arter her seventh birthday. Since then we have been left alone together, jist as we was before little Jane was born. It is awful lonesome, and as we grow older, lonesomer it gits. Sometimes, when I git my work all done and have nothin to okepy my mind, I git that lonesome, I hardly know what to do. Of late years I read a great deal to pass away the time.

Jobe he hardly ever reads any, not because he cant,—Jobe is a good reader,—but it seems the poor man works so hard, and has so much to trouble him, that he would jist rather set and study than to read.

When he gits his day’s work done and his feedin, and waterin, and choppin of wood, he jist seems to enjoy settin and studyin.

I hardly ever disturb him when he is at it. I jist set and read or set and knit, as the case may be, and let Jobe set and study.

I did git him started to readin a couple of years back. I had signed for a paper that said a good deal about the Alliance and the Grange and sich, and Jobe he read it every week, and got so interested that he would talk on the things he read about to me and to the neighbors. He got nearly over his settin and studyin and seemed in better 18spirits so long as he kept a readin of that paper. But one day a feller, who was a Republican canderdate for a county office, came to our house for dinner (they allers make it here about dinner-time, them canderdate fellers do).

We both hankered.

Well, arter dinner, Jobe and that feller went into the front room, and the feller gin Jobe a segar (a regular five-center, Jobe said), and then they set and smoked, smoked and talked, talked about the prospect of their party carryin the county, the feller doin all the talkin, until at last Jobe told him that he “had been readin some of the principles of the People’s party and liked em purty well.”

The feller reared back, opened his eyes, looked at Jobe from head to foot, and then indignant like says, says he to Jobe:

“I am astonished!—astonished to think that Jobe Gaskins, one of the most intelligent, most prominent and influential Republicans in this township, should read sich trash, much less indorse it.”

And from that day to this Jobe Gaskins, my dear husband, has quit his readin and gone back to his settin and studyin.

His party principles was teched. The argament of that canderdate feller was unanswerable; it sunk deep into Jobe’s boozim, and from the time that that feller thanked Jobe for his dinner and hoss feed, and invited Jobe and me both to come into his office and see him, if he was elected, to this writin, I have not had the pleasure of talkin with my husband as before.

“I did git him started to readin.”

That feller robbed me of all the bliss I enjoyed of havin my pardner in life to talk with of evenins. And all I got for bein thus robbed, and for the dinner and hoss feed he et, was a invitation to see him okepy the high position of county officer—as though that would pay for vittles or satisfy an achin void, caused by him a turnin Jobe from 19his readin to his settin and studyin. What good would it do me to see him okepyin a county office and drawin of a big salary? Yes, drawin of a big salary that poor Jobe has to work his lites out of him to help pay. All that there canderdate feller cares for Jobe remainin to be a Republican is so that he, and sich fellers like him, will continer to vote for him and his likes, and pay the high taxes out of which they git their big salaries. What do they care for poor old Jobe Gaskins, whether he be a Republican or a 20Dimicrat or a Populist or one of them wild Anacrists, if it were not that he had a vote and they want to keep him in line? What keer they what papers he reads, or how quick he changes his polerticks, if they dident want to git office and draw a big salary?

“That canderdate feller.”

Say anything to Jobe about this and he will flare up and tell you he “doesent intend to lose the respect of all the leadin men in the county by changing his perlitical views.”

He dont stop to ask hisself, “Who is the leadin men?” He dont stop to ask hisself how much taxes and interest and sich he contributes to make them the leadin men. Contributes it to support them and their families in style sich as becomes leadin people.

Yes, to support their families, I said, so that their wives and their girls can wear fine silks and satins, while I must git along with a brown caliker or gray cambric dress at best.

Jobe and his likes earns the money by the sweat of their brows, and them canderdate fellers and their likes spends it in high livin and makin theirselves leadin citizens. And then they are astonished to hear of one of their regular voters a readin anything that says that sich men as Jobe Gaskins and his wife Betsy, if you please, are jist as respectable, jist as leadin citizens, as any county officer or polertician and their wives. Yes, it astonishes them to hear of his readin a paper that says that the farmers have 21jist as intelligent, honest and patriotic people among them as the leadin citizens have. Now I read sich “trash,” as the canderdate feller calls it, and I dont keer who knows it, though Ime a Dimicrat. But as it is gittin late and milkin time is here, I will close, promisin you more anon, as it were.

Wife of
Jobe Gaskins (Republican).


THE anon is here. Last Tuesday evenin, arter I had milked and swept and washed up the supper dishes and done many other things I have to do day in and day out, year in and year out, arter Jobe had done his waterin and feedin and choppin of wood, we both found ourselves settin before the fire, me a knittin, him a settin and studyin.

Says I to him, all of a suddent, loud and quick like:

“Jobe, what yer studyin bout?”

You ort a seen him jump. He was skeert. I spoke so suddent and quick.

He hemmed and hawed a minit or so, got up and turned around, sat down, spit in the fire, crossed his legs, and says, says he:

“Well, Betsy, Ile tell you what I was a studyin about. I was jist a studyin about the mortgage and the interest and the fust of Aprile. Aprile, Betsy, is nearly here, and where is the money a comin from to pay the interest and sich?”

I saw he was troubled; but all I could say was: “Well, indeed, Jobe, I dont know.”

And I dont.

It seemed, now, as I had Jobe started, waked up as it were, he wanted to talk, and I was willin that he should, even though it wasent a very pleasant thing to talk about.

“Me a knittin, him a settin and studyin.”

Says he: “Betsy, I sometimes think we will never git our farm paid for. It seems to be a gittin harder and 23harder every year to make payments. It has took all we raised to meet the interest for the last four years; we haint been able to pay anything on the mortgage; and this spring I dont know where we will git the money to pay even the interest. It takes twice as much wheat, or anything else, nearly, to git the money to pay the interest with as it use to, and crops haint any better. Besides, Betsy, if I was to sell the farm to-day, it wouldent bring much above the $2,100 we owe on it. When I bought it for $3,800, fourteen years ago, I thought it cheap enough, and it was if times hadent got so hard and things we raise so cheap. Jist to think, we have paid $1,700 on the first cost, and $2,100 in interest besides, and if we had to sell it to pay the mortgage we would not have a dollar left. Congressman Richer could foreclose at any time; he could have done so for the last three years—ever since I failed to make the payments on the mortgage.”

“Well, Jobe,” says I, “it is bad enough, to say the least.”

24“Yes, Betsy,” says he, “if we cant meet the interest, Banker Jones tells me, we will be sold out.”

I was silent.

Jobe continered: “I tell you, Betsy, these times, six per cent. interest is hard to pay. It seems that, no matter how cheap a farmer has to sell what he raises, interest dont get any cheaper.”

Thinks I, “Now is my time to speak.”

“Jobe,” says I, slow and deliberate, lookin him square in the eyes, “Jobe Gaskins, haint you a American citizen? Haint you jist as good a citizen as a banker? Haint you jist as honest? Haint you jist as hard-workin? Haint you got as much rights in these here United States?”

Jobe was silent, but lookin straight at me, starin.

Continerin, says I: “I was a readin in my paper, the other day, that the banker borrowed money from this here government for one per cent. The very money he loans you and your likes at six and seven and eight per cent. he gits from this here government for one per cent. You, Jobe Gaskins, ort to have jist as good right to borrow money from this here government of yourn and his as he has, if you give good security and will pay it back, and God knows you would, as honest as you are. Jist to think, Jobe, if you could have borrowed the money from the government to have paid Congressman Richer for his farm fourteen years ago, when we bought it, at only one per cent. interest, and only paid back to the government, at the post-office, or some other place appointed, the same as you have paid Congressman Richer in payments and interest, we to-day would have our farm nearly paid for and be out of debt, and you wouldent be a settin and studyin about the mortgage and interest and the fust of Aprile. Or even if you could borrow the money to-day from the government at two per cent., you could git the $2,100, pay it off, and 25next year only have to raise $42 interest instead of $126. Dont you see it would be easier for you to pay? And you could pay a little on the mortgage every year, as hard as times are?”

While I was a sayin all this Jobe was a lookin at me, a starin, turnin on his seat, spittin in the fire, crossin fust one leg, then another, waitin for me to stop. I seen he was teched; so, when I had done, I sot back in my cheer, and begin to knit, and waited for what was a comin. He begun slowly, but warmed up as he proceeded. Says he:

“Betsy, I have lived with you for nigh onto thirty-five years; we have allers lived in peace, though you was a Dimicrat and I was a Republican; we have had our sorrows and our hardships, and now, arter all these years of peace, am I to pass the last days of my life with a pardner who is allers talkin like them blamed Populists? You know, Betsy Gaskins, that I am a Republican and expect to die one. I believe that all the laws made by the Republicans are just laws. If they made laws to lend the banker money at one per cent. it must stand, and I will try to bear my burden, though I have to pay six per cent. interest or more, if need be, for the same money. Betsy, you must stop readin them papers. I never look into one; they jist start a feller to thinkin, and the fust thing he knows he dont believe a thing he has been a believin all his life. It ruins a feller’s perlitical principles. If a feller is a Republican, he should be one and never read anything to cause him to think. Them Populists, Betsy, is jist made up of a lot of storekeepers and farmers, and men who work in shops and mills and coal-banks and sich places. They dont know anything about makin laws, or money or bizness. Our law-makers, Betsy, should be lawyers and bankers and rich business men and sich.”

Well, I jist saw it was no use argyin with him, but I 26thought I would have the last word, as I allers do, and says I:

“Well, Jobe Gaskins, if you ignorant farmers haint fit to make the laws to fix the taxes you pay; if you farmers haint fit to make the laws to govern yourselves; if you farmers haint fit to transact the bizness in which you should be most interested, I think you ort to begin to prepare yourselves until you are fit, by readin what hasent been done for you that ort to have been done, and what has been done agin you that hadent ort to been done.”

“‘Talkin like them blame Populists’.”

At that, bein ready, I skipped into the bed-room and in a twinkle was in bed with the kivers drawed up over my head. If Jobe said any more I heard it not. In a few minits I was asleep, where I must soon be agin.



THAT nite arter I had got into bed and kivered up my head, I went to sleep and waked not until broad daylite. Imagine my surprise, when I waked, to find that durin all that long nite I had been the sole okepant of that bed. The piller on which Jobe, my dear husband, had slept for over thirty-four years had not been teched that nite, and, for the fust time in thirty-five years next corn-huskin, Betsy Gaskins had slept alone. I felt skeert. I felt as though some awful calamity had or would occur to me.

With a heavy heart I ariz and put on my skirts, all the time feelin as if I was about to choke. Everything was silent and still about the house. Could it be possible that my dear Jobe had dide or been kidnapped, or what? I hurried into the room—no Jobe there. I went into the kitchen—no Jobe there. I hastened to the spare bed-room. The door was closed. I stopped. I rubbed my hands together, studyin what to do, all a trimblin. Certainly the dead and lifeless corpse of my dear husband was in there cold in death, drivin to it of course by the cruel words of his lovin wife. There I stood stock still, not knowin what to do. I must have stood there some three or four minits until I came to myself. All at onct I says, says I, out loud: “Betsy Gaskins, what are you about? Haint you allers been looked upon as a woman of good jedgement and feerless in the face of disaster?” At that I marched up to the door and flung it open.


“I waked not until broad daylite.”

Now what do you suppose I found? Jobe was not there, but that spare bed had been okepied that very nite. Then it was that I realized that the two old parties, as it were, had been divided—divided for one nite on the money question. Yes, Jobe Gaskins and his wife Betsy, a Dimicrat and Republican, had slept beneath the same roof and in seperate beds.

While I stood there, contemplatin what next to do and where Jobe might be, I heered him come onto the back porch. I met him with a smile as he come into the kitchen.

Says I: “Why, Jobe, where have you been?”

“Feedin—feedin, of course,” says he; “where do you suppose Ive been?” lookin at the floor and walkin apast me.

Arter reflection thinks I, “’Tis best to say nothin to him about the split in the two old parties until a future date.” So I jist went about it and prepared the mornin meal, thinkin all the time of a dream I had that nite, some time between bed-time and daylite, while I lay there all alone, while the pardner of my life okepied the spare bed.

Feedin,—feedin, of course,” says he.

Well, while Jobe was partakin of his mornin repast, I 30saw all the time that he wanted to say something. I never said a word durin the whole meal, neither did Jobe. We jist set and eat—eat in silence.

“‘Do you promis?’ says I, girlish like.”

When Jobe was done he pushed back and tipped his cheer agin the wall. I knode he was a goin to speak. He cleared his throat like, and says, says he:

“Betsy, I dont want you to say any more to me about what you read in the newspapers. I am willin to listen to anything else under the sun, but dont let me hear any more about them Populist ideas. I want to talk sense to you, and you to talk sense to me. Now what I want to know, Betsy, is, how are we to raise the money to pay the interest by the fust of Aprile?”

Says I: “Land a goodness, Jobe, how do I know? Goodness knows I am willin to do all I kin to help you raise it. I had a dream last nite; if that dream was true I might tell you how to raise it.”

I stopped.

“Well,” says he, arter studyin a minit, “what was your dream?”

Lookin at him kind a girlish like, says I:

“Jobe, I wont tell you what it was unless you make me two promises.”

Jobe actually smiled. Says he:

“Go ahead; what are your promises?”


“I sot down, ... lookin him square in the face.”

“Well,” says I, smilin, “the fust promis is that you sleep in the same bed I do to-nite.”

At that I laffed out loud. Jobe he did, too. Then says I:

“The second promis is that you will listen without commentin until I tell it all.”

Jobe he studied.

“Do you promis?” says I, girlish like.

“Yes, I promis,” says he; “go ahead.”

“You promis to sleep in the same bed you have for these nigh onto thirty-five years?”

“Yes, yes,” says he, lookin half guilty.

“And you will listen?” says I.

“Yes, yes, Ile listen,” says he.

So, arter clearin away the dishes and scrapin off the crumbs for the chickens, and puttin some dish water to bile, I sot down on the other side of the table from Jobe, lookin him square in the face. Says I:

“Well, Jobe, we was talkin of the mortgage and the interest last nite when I went to bed, and I suppose that had something to do with me havin the dream, and for that reason I dont suppose there is anything in the dream.”

“Spose not,” says he, lookin oneasy like.


Bill Bowers.

“Well, Jobe,” says I, “I dreamed that Congressman Richer had demanded his money, and you had to raise the whole amount of the mortgage or lose our home. I thought you and me went down to town and went to every bank to try to borrow the money with which to pay the mortgage. I thought every place we went we was told that they was not makin any loans now, that there was a money panic and they had decided not to make any more loans for some time. I thought we could see great piles of money inside the wire fence that seperated us from the bankers, you know.” At this he nodded. “And I thought you said, jist as plain as I ever heard you say anything:

“‘Why, haint you got plenty of money?’

“‘Yes, yes, we have plenty of money, but we are not loaning any at this time,’[A] says each banker, jist as though they had all agreed to say the same thing.

A. In July and August, 1893, during one of the severest money panics ever experienced in the United States, many of the banks not only refused to lend money on choice security or to discount commercial paper, but in many instances would not permit persons to draw out the money they had deposited with them. Business was paralyzed. Thousands of persons were ruined, losing the accumulations of a lifetime by being unable to raise money as usual to meet obligations falling due. Factories were closed for lack of funds to pay employes, and thousands of American citizens were thrown out of employment. The consequent suffering among the poorer classes throughout the nation was indescribable. And during all this time the banks of the country held the money of the people and refused to pay it out even to those to whom it belonged. Hence the question: Can not a better system of financiering be devised than our present banking system? Would it not be better to permit the people to deposit their money with our county treasurers?

“So I thought we traveled and traveled and coaxed and coaxed, and we couldent git a cent, as it were.

“Finally I thought we was agoin along the street, both feelin sad and discouraged, when jist in front of Spring Bros. & Holsworth’s big dry goods store who should we meet but Bill Bowers of Sandyville.

33“‘Hello, Gaskins,’ says he.

“That was the fust we had seen of him. Our minds was so troubled.

“We stopped, and arter inquirin about the folks, and the stock, and the meetin that is goin on at Center Valley school-house, he asked:

“‘What are you doin in town?’

“And I thought you up and told him about havin to pay the mortgage; and of our havin been to every bank; and of our havin been told the same tale by each banker, and then you said, ‘I guess, Bill, we will have to lose our farm.’

“When he up and says, says he:

“‘Why, Gaskins, haint you heerd it?’

“‘Heerd what?’ says you.

“‘Why, haint you heerd of the new law?’ says he. ‘Why, Congress passed the law yisterday. I was jist over to the court-house and they showed me the telegram.’

“‘Why, what law do you mean, Bill?’ says you.

“Then you and Bill sot down on a box and I leaned agin the house, and says Bill:

“‘Why, yisterday, Jobe, they passed a law in Congress authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to, at once, have engraved and printed full legal-tender paper money to the amount of ten dollars per capita of the population of the United States, and that money is to be set apart only to be loaned to counties on county bonds, and the counties are to git it at one per cent. interest. Then the county treasurers 34are to lend the money only on first mortgage real estate security to the farmers and business men and mechanics, at only two per cent. interest, and when the man that borrows it pays it back, or any part of it, the amount of his payments shall be credited on his mortgage, and as fast as it accumulates in the county treasurer’s office he shall forward it to Washington and git it credited on the county bond they hold. The one per cent. the government gits is to pay for makin the money and keepin the books at Washington. The other one per cent. that the borrowers pay is to go toward payin the county treasurer’s salary and clerk hire. This money, Jobe, is as good as gold, because the government agrees to take it for postage stamps and internal revenue and duties on imports and sich. All you have to do, Jobe, is to go over there to that grand old court-house, give your mortgage to the people of the county, and git your money; and after this you will only have to pay two per cent. interest instead of six or seven, and you kin save your farm.’

“Well, Jobe, I thought you and me and Bill Bowers all went over there, and sure enough, what Bill told us was true. The county treasurer told us that he would put our application on file, and as soon as they could git the money out and here, possibly in thirty days, we could come in and git ninety per cent. of the value of our farm if we needed that much.

“And while we was standin there a talkin to Treasurer Hochstetter, I heard George Welty explainin to Ed. Walters ‘how nice it was for a person to be able to give a mortgage to the people of the county for money to pay for a home, and then the county goin that person’s security and gittin the money from all the people of the United States,’ and explainin that there would always be jist enough money to do bizness on and no more, since the county would only 35borrow from the government when some citizen of the county had use for the money and was willin to give good security and pay two per cent. for it. And, Jobe, I thought you looked happier than you have for ten years.”

“Well, Bet——”

“Hold on, Jobe,” says I. “Well, I thought you and me and Bill Bowers started up street, and when we were passin Jones’s bank he called us in.

“Says he: ‘Mr. Gaskins, I guess we can accommodate you with that little matter you was speakin about this morn——”

“‘I dont want it now,’ says you.

“‘No,’ says I.

“‘Ide think not,’ says Bill Bowers.

“‘Well, but hold—hold on,’ says Jones. ‘I—I—we—we will let you have that amount at four per cent.’

“‘Oh, no,’ says you.

“‘Well, how will three strike you?’ says Jones.

“‘I dont want it at all,’ says you.

“‘Come on,’ says I, and we went on up street. When we passed the First National Bank, out comes one of the clerks a hollerin, ‘Mr. Gaskins! Mr. Gaskins!’ We stopped. He came a runnin up and says: ‘Come in now and our people will accommodate you,’ takin hold of your arm and startin back with you. I thought I jist took a hold of your other arm and says, says I: ‘Jobe Gaskins, where yer goin? We dont want any bank money in sich a panic as this. So come on and lets git out of this panic.’

“Well, every last bank we had been to that mornin was a peckin, and a hollerin, and a beckenin to us that evenin, until we like to a never got out of town and away from them. They jist seemed bound to lend you that money whether you wanted it or not. Something had created a panic among them—a panic to git to lend you money. 36Maybe they had heard of the new law. I dont know.”

Durin most of the tellin of my dream Jobe he was leanin his face in his hands, his elbows on the table, eyes wide open, listenin as he never did before.

When I finished, says he:

“Betsy, that will save us. What a grand country this is!” And he got up and walked across the floor. Comin back and lookin, anxious like, at me, says he: “Betsy, which party did Bill say passed that law—the Dimicrats or the Republicans? It is grand! grand! It will save us.” As he spoke he looked full of joy and happiness. Answerin, says I:

“I think I heard John Denison say it was the Popul——”

I never got to finish that word. His fist came down on the table like a thousand of bricks. He jumped back into the middle of the floor, cracked his fists together, stamped his foot, and says in a loud voice: “I wont! I wont! I wont do it. It can go fust. Bill Bowers is a dum fool. I wont! I wont!”

Says I: “Why, Jobe, what on airth is the matter? What ails you? What yer talkin about anyhow? You wont do what?”

Answerin, says he, bringin his fists together agin:

“I wont borrow any money from any scheme them tarnal Populists has made into a law. Ile—Ile pay ten per cent. interest fust. Ile not lend my approval to any law they have made.”

“Why, sakes alive, Jobe,” says I, “they haint made any law. That was jist a dream I had. What ails you, anyhow?”

At that he stepped back a step or two, lookin at me vicious like. Movin his head up and down in short jerks, says he:

“Betsy, you must stop it. Stop it at once. Its got you 37crazy—so crazy you are dreamin about it. You must stop that readin or Ile have you sent to a lunatic asylum.”

He went out at the door then, but just as he got out, in time for him to hear it, I hollered:

“Its you and your likes that ort to be sent to a lunatic asylum for not seein a thing that you have to turn your back on to keep from seein.”

This ended the second “discussion of the financial situation,” as they say down at Washington. The two old parties—Jobe and me—are still divided; but I have one promis he has yet to fulfill.



BILL BOWERS has got me into trouble. The Thursday arter I had my dream about the money bizness, who should ride up to our gate and hitch but Bill Bowers? I had not seen him for nigh onto two years, except in that dream, until he rid up to that gate post.

No sooner did I lay eyes on him than I thought of our meetin him that day in town, right there by Spring Brothers’ big store, and of his tellin us of the money plan, and of his goin with us to the county treasurer, and of us a learnin from the county treasurer that in a few days he would become the people’s banker and would lend money to the people on good security. While he was gittin off and hitchin, I remembered of his walkin with us up apast all the banks; I remembered of them refusin to lend us any money in the mornin; of them a peckin and a beckenin, a hollerin and a runnin arter us, wantin to lend us their money, in the evenin, arter we, and they too, had heerd of the new law Congress had made the day before—a law that turned a panic where we had to beg for money, and not git it, to a panic where they begged to lend us money and we wouldent borrow it.

Yes, sir, that there dream all come back to me as plain as day, Bill Bowers and all, jist as soon as I laid eyes on him.

So it was no more than nateral for me to tell him about it. Jobe not bein at home, I had to do the entertainin. As soon as he got in and got settled, I says:


“‘Ide vote the Dimicrat ticket at the
very next township election.’”

“Bill Bowers, I am glad to see you. I must tell you my dream. Bring your cheer up to the fire.”

Then I jist up and told him that whole dream, and he swollered every word of it without chawin, as it were.

When I had finished he says, says he:

“Betsy Gaskins, if that ere dream was only enacted into a law, what a blessin it would be to the creatures of this world! Betsy, though I am one of the stanchest Republicans in Sandyville, if this here Dimicratic Congress would make sich a law, Ide vote the Dimicrat ticket at the very next township election. Betsy, how in the world did you come to dream sich a dream?”

Now, how do I know how I come to dream any particular dream? I went to bed and went to sleep, jist as I had done for nigh onto thirty-five years, exceptin, of course, Jobe slept in the spare bed and me alone. But would I tell Bill Bowers of that split in the two old parties, as it were, and have him tell all over creation that Jobe Gaskins and his wife Betsy had quit sleepin together? No. Ide die fust. So I jist says:

“Well, Bill, indeed I dont know how I come to dream it.”

And I dont.

Well, my tellin of Bill Bowers that ere dream is causin me no ends of trouble. Ime jist worried and hounded 40about by this and that one, to have me tell em about that dream, until I hardly git time to breathe.

Bill Bowers he jist went, and from the time he left our house until now he has been a tellin of my dream to every one he meets. And it seems he is a keepin a tellin it, the way people has been flockin here and keep a flockin. Jake Cribbs, and Joe Born, and Curt Hill, and Bill Loyd, and Jim Rankin and Mag his wife, and the Minnings, and the Bateses, and the Hances, and goodness only knows who all has been here to know more about my dream! And how I come to have it; and what Ime a goin to do about it; and why I dont git it published; and why I dont send it to Congress; and why I dont do this and do that!

And some of em say they have it goin that the law is made—that Bill Bowers told Tom Osborne, and Tom Osborne told Doc Hendershot, and Doc Hendershot told Lucy Joss, and Lucy Joss told somebody else, that Betsy Gaskins said there was sich a law passed, and they come from fur and near to know what paper I read it in? or how I heerd it? or if Ime certain I had it? &c. &c., and a thousand and one other things, until Ime sick and tired of it.

Last night they even waked me up at the dead hour of midnite—Ellic Shank and Lew Zimmerman and Dan Hochstetter did—to hear me tell em more about it. And Jobe he’s nearly destracted. The poor man is jist run as hard as I be, though he had nothin to do with dreamin of that dream, onless his not a sleepin with me that nite caused it.

They waked me up at the dead hour of midnite.

What to do to git rid of all this questionin and answerin, this comin and a goin, I dont know. If they would go to readin, and thinkin, and a reasonin with themselves, they might have some dreams of their own—yes, have dreams with their eyes open. If these very people, men and women, who are worryin the life out of me, would go to 42readin of papers whose mouths haint shut by the public printin they git or hope to git; if they would go to readin papers that haint got some polertician’s hand around their throat—I say if these very people would read papers whose editures haint afraid to speak the truth when they see it; haint afraid to condem the wrong wherever they find it—I say, if they would read sich papers and sich books, they would dream dreams they never dreamed of dreamin before. I think they would begin to see that the Dimicrat pays the same rate of tax as the Republican pays, and vicey versy.

They would see that, no matter what is the polerticks of the office-holder, the voter has to pay the taxes out of which the feller draws a salary.

They would see that by reducin or increasin salaries their taxes are made high or low, as the case may be.

When they begin to see these things, I think they will begin to see that so far as they are concerned it dont make any difference to them which ticket they vote; that the feller most interested in their vote is the canderdate feller who is wantin to draw the salary.

Does a feller have to go to sleep to dream that holdin office is the best payin bizness in the country?

Does a feller have to go to sleep to dream that the salaries of all officeholders are too high, and that the foreigner dont pay the taxes out of which these salaries are paid?

Does a feller have to go to sleep to dream that all public expense ort to be cut down and kept cut down?

These are some of the dreams that the dreamless people would dream if they would go to readin of papers and books that Jobe and his likes would have me sent to the lunatic asylum for readin. (Here is another comer. I must quit.)



MY heart is heavy. Poor Jobe is nearly destracted. Our home is in jeopardy. Congressman Richer must have his money. He must have it by Aprile fust. Poor feller, he too is in bad straits; his gittin defeated last fall upset his calkerlations.

And jist to think, Jobe voted agin him; helped to defeat him, as it were. But Mistur Richer holds no spite agin Jobe for that. He was a Dimicrat, and he knew Jobe was a strait Republican.

Such things will happen to any feller runnin for office; somebody has to be defeated. They all cant hold office. I wish he had been elected agin, and so does Jobe. Jobe wishes it, though he is a Republican and voted agin him.

Poor Mistur Richer, he is in desperate strates. He is hard up. If he had been elected agin he wouldent a been that way.

It makes my head swim to think about what his disappointments are and may be.

Here is his letter to Jobe. It is so kind and nice. And jist to think of what a big man it is from, and the place. Jobe likes to read the headin:

House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C., Feb. 23, 1895.

J. Gaskins, Esq.:

Dear Sir and Friend—Owing to circumstances over which I now have no control, I am compelled to call on you to pay the $2,100 with interest due me on mortgage, not later than April 1st of the current year.

44No doubt, Mr. Gaskins, this will take you unawares, and most probably unprepared. Were it not for the political reverses with which I met last fall, I would not be compelled to do what, I assure you, is a very unpleasant thing to me, i. e., call on you for this money at this time.

No doubt you will think that on the $5,000 a year salary I have drawn for two years, now nearly past, and the other sources of revenue that have become the perquisites belonging to a Congressman’s office, I ought to be able to get along without, in this way, inconveniencing you.

Had I been re-elected last fall I would have been in such circumstances. But when I call your attention to the fact that the nomination two years ago cost me $2,500 spot cash; that I have only been able to dispose of a very few post-offices at anything like paying prices; that, it being my first term, my services were not sought to any paying extent by those seeking “profitable” legislation, as well as the high rents and expenses in maintaining the dignity of myself and family, I am satisfied you will realize not only my great disappointment, but the loss, financially, I suffer as a consequence of my late defeat.

True, I have bought something like $20,000 worth of real estate in this city, but I still owe nearly $5,000 on it. I bought it expecting to be re-elected; so you will see the necessity of my calling in the money I now have outstanding in order to meet the deferred payments on my real estate venture.

I may be able to dispose of one and possibly two more post-offices between now and March 4th, but as they are small offices it is not likely that I will get more than $300 to $500 each for them, and as the friends of my successor are using every effort to postpone these appointments until after March 4th, you can see that I may even lose the profit on these appointments, since, as you are aware, all such revenue goes to my successor after that date.

The fact is, friend Gaskins, I have not been able to clear over $15,000 in the two years I have served as your Congressman, while some of the older members (those better known and more sought for by the liberal rich who come here to secure legislation favorable to their interests) make as high as a million a year.

45With kind regards to Betsy, and hoping you will not put me to the necessity of foreclosing the mortgage I hold against you, I am

Yours truly,
D. M. J. Richer, M. C.

“That very sheet of paper.”

Now, jist to think, that letter, that very sheet of paper, come right from the great capital of these here United States; right from where all the great and leadin men of the country sit and make laws, and sell post-offices and sich—yes, this very sheet of paper has been writ on, handled and folded by a live and livin Congressman. The beautiful red tongue of a real Congressman licked that invelope, and his fingers sealed it up and put it in that great marble post-office there; then it traveled across them high 46mountains, over the big rivers and through the great cities to Jobe Gaskins, a common, everyday farmer, of Tuskaroras County, Ohio.

Congressman Richer.

Yes, that letter was writ by fingers that have fingered $5,000 salary money in only twelve months, and the Lord only knows how much post-office money—but lots—as it must a been, though they dident sell high enough to suit him.

Five thousand dollars from Noo Years to Noo Years! More than Jobe Gaskins has cleared since he become the lawful husband of his dear wife Betsy!

And jist to think, all them $5,000 paid by taxes. Paid by Jobe and his likes.

Poor Mr. Richer, how he must pant and sweat to airn that much money in twelve months—as much as Jobe could airn in twenty years if he could airn $250 every year. Jist to think how Jobe works and sweats, and walks stiff and plans and studies, and don’t airn $250 a year.

I expect there wasent a dry thread in all of Mr. Richer’s clothes.

I expect that even his pants was wet through every day of that whole year.

What big washins poor Mrs. Richer must a had.

Jobe he jist couldent stand sich sweatin, day in and day out.

47It would take a whole barrel of soft soap to keep his clothes clean.

Five thousand dollars!

Five thousand dollars a year!!

Four hundred and sixteen dollars a month!!!

Seventeen dollars a day for every workin day in the year!

Seventeen dollars!

Enough to buy me twenty-four caliker dresses a day!

“Jobe works and sweats.”

One every hour!!

Seven thousand four hundred and eighty-eight caliker dresses in a year!!!

How in the world could I git them all made?

I spect poor Mrs. Richer has to so day and nite.

And jist to think, all of them 7,488 dresses for one man’s wife!

All paid for by taxes.

Now I wonder, if them Congressmen dident have to work so hard, and could get along on less pay—I wonder 48if the tax-payer’s wife wouldent have a dress or two more, even if Mrs. Richer and her likes had to get along on a dress or two less? The Lord knows she could spare them out of all them 7,488 dresses.

Well, the idea okepyin my mind most now is: “Where can Jobe git the money to pay all that $2,100, when he haint got even one post-office to sell?”



EVER since we got that letter from Congressman Richer, demandin his $2,100 by the fust of Aprile, Jobe has been scourin the country fur and near tryin to borrow the money, and, poor man, he is worse destracted than ever. Things haint like they use to be. Nobody seems to have any money to lend. He finds lots of people a huntin money, but nobody a findin any. He has been to Sandyville, and Mineral Pint, and Zoar, and way up in Stark County as fur as New Berlin, and nary the man has he found with $2,100 to lend on good security.

What to do Jobe dont know, nor neither do I.

Jobe says he will write to Mr. Richer and git him to wait a little longer, until times pick up a little.

“But,” says I, “Jobe, when will times pick up?”

And the poor man, lookin at me sadder than he has since he become my dear husband, says, says he:

“Betsy, the Lord only knows—I dont.”

And I think Jobe is right.

Well, we—that is Jobe and me, the two old parties—have decided that the interest will have to be paid whether the $2,100 is or not. So Jobe has been a rakin and a scrapin to raise what he could, and I have been a rakin and a scrapin to raise what I could.

We sold Betty the other day, the only drivin animal we had; sold her for only $42.

As the stranger went a leadin her away Jobe and me both sot down and cried. We both loved Betty. We 50had raised her from a colt. She was a purty colt, and so lovin like, Jobe he named her for me. We had intended to always keep her, and since our little Jane was taken from us we jist loved Betty as if she was a child. And, poor Betty, I know she loved us. When the stranger started to lead her away she jist looked back at Jobe and me, so pleadin like, as much as to say: “Dont let him take me away from you!”

“Jobe and me both sot down and cried.”

When I seen that look my heart come up in my throat, and I jist couldent hold in any longer. I busted out a cryin, and so did poor Jobe. We both sot there and cried and looked at our poor Betty as fur as we could see her, and she kept a lookin back at us, nickerin—tryin to speak the best she could.

Ever since she has been gone my heart keeps a comin up in my throat, and tears keeps comin in my eyes every time I think of her. I know it is foolish and no use, but I cant help it.

I know the interest has to be paid if it takes everything 51we have, but I cant help cryin when I think poor Betty is gone from us forever—yes, gone for interest.

Well, with the $42 for Betty and twenty-six bushels of wheat and twenty-eight bushels of corn and $14 worth of sheep, and the only brood sow we had, and 96 cents’ worth of old iron, Jobe has been able to raise $92.34, arter payin Banker Jones the discount for cashin the notes he took for the sheep and the sow, and Jobe says he cant think of another thing to sell. I jist up and says, says I:

“Jobe, its awful. Poor Betty gone for interest; our wheat gone; nearly all our corn; our sheep gone; our brood sow; and what will we have to show for it when the interest is paid? Nothin. We will owe jist as much on the mortgage as before. But Jobe, dear,” says I, “I will help you all I can to raise the balance. I will spare you a dozen hens, though layin time is just here. And there is my carpet rags, that I wanted to git made into a new carpet for the spare room; we might sell them for something. And I have them two new quilts I made last fall a year. I can spare them by patchin up the old ones to last a year or so longer. I see, too, Jobe, that feathers are a good price, considerin the times; we could sell all the feathers we have in our pillers, if you think you could sleep on straw pillers awhile, until times git better. If you say so, Jobe, Ile gether all these things up and we will take them to town and sell them for what we can git. The Lord knows, Jobe, I am willin to do all I can to help you raise the interest money.”

As I looked at him I saw big tears rollin down his wrinkled cheek.

Whether he was thinkin of poor Betty, or me a sellin the pillers, or what, I dont know. He said nothin, but turned aside and walked out toward the barn. I saw him usin his hankercher as he went.

52Now, though I be crazy on what I read in them noosepapers, though I be so crazy that I dream about it, I would like to ask you if my dream about the new money plan, and the county treasurer, and borrowing money at two per cent., though that dream, Bill Bowers and all, come from the mind of a crazy woman, sleepin alone—I say, wouldent it be a godsend to Jobe and his likes if he could go to the county treasurer this spring and if, by givin the same kind of a mortgage he gave Congressman Richer, he could git the money to pay Mr. Richer off at only two per cent.? Next year our interest would only be a little over $40.

And, oh, how that lump comes up in my throat when I think that if we had had sich a law this Aprile we need not have sold poor Betty.

Would it not be better to have a State law authorizin our county treasurer to receive deposits, and loan money at a low interest, even if we had to take tax off from money to do it, than to have people sellin the things they love, doin without the things they ort to have, and losin their homes? Who would sich a law hurt? Congressman Richer and his likes would git their money if they wanted it, and Jobe and his likes would be able to pay two per cent. interest and some on the mortgage every year. And jist to think, if interest was less, the difference in interest alone would pay off all the mortgages in this county in a few years.

Then people would live in homes of their own, in homes with no mortgages on them.

Everybody would be out of debt and happy. But Ime talkin crazy agin and will have to stop until Jobe and me gits back from town.



JOBE and me have been to town and we are back alive, thank goodness. There is no place like home—if it is mortgaged.

Last Tuesday mornin, bright and airly, Jobe and me got up and got ready to go to town to raise some more interest money.

I wore that blue cambric dress that Simon Kinsey’s wife got me for helpin her make apple butter last fall three years ago, and the lace cap mother knit and gave me the year John Sherman fust begin to borrow greenback money on bonds and burn it up, and that black straw hat Mrs. Vest Hummel traded me for that half dozen of dominic hens the spring she was married.

While I was a standin before the lookin glass gittin ready Jobe come in, as men allers do, and says, says he:

“Betsy, are you ever goin to git ready?”

Then he begin to comment on my clothes. Says he:

“I hope you haint a goin to wear that cap? Why, its out of fashion ten years ago. Haint you got a dress with bigger sleeves in? Why dont you borrow a hat more becomin you?”

I stood it as long as I could, then I jist up and says, says I:

“Jobe Gaskins, my mother wore a cap, and she made this one with her own fingers, and, fashion or no fashion, I expect to wear it when and where I please. If my dress sleeves haint big enough to suit you, you quit votin the 54ticket that is causin us farmers to spend five dollars for interest and taxes to one for women’s clothes. If my hat is out of date, sir, you begin to inquire why I haint able to buy a new one, and see if you cant have sense enough to vote for a better system of laws, instid of votin for a lot of office-seekin canderdates who belong to your party for the salary they are a gittin or expect to git. Yes, see if you cant have sense enough to vote for a party that will make laws for the farmer as well as for the banker.”

“Started for town bright and airly.”

You ort a seen him tuck tail and sneak.

The idea of a man, with the sense Jobe Gaskins has, wantin his wife to put on airs, when he knows it takes all she can rake and scrape to help pay interest and taxes to the leadin citizens so they and their wives can put em on!

Well, we loaded in our truck—that is, our chickens and our quilts and our feathers and sich, and started for town bright and airly.

We hitched old Tom, the only boss we have since we sold Betty, to the spring wagon.

Tom haint purty, and, bein stringhalted in his right hind leg and lame in his left fore foot, I couldent help thinkin of poor Betty as we proceeded toward town. Betty would trot along as though she enjoyed takin us. Tom he limped and jerked along as though he would like anything else.

55We finally got there, and from the time we struck the superbs of the town till we hitched in front of Urfer’s store people were a snickerin, and a titterin, and a pintin at us.

Women would come to the winders and scream out a kind of a holler laf, and then two or three more would come, and they would laf and titter and holler until I was ashamed of them.

When we got up to the court-house square a lot of young upstarts, eighteen or nineteen years old, were standin on the corner by Miller’s drug-store, smokin paper segars, and they begin to holler at us and poor old crippled Tom, all sich nonsense as “Git on to that horse,” “See his gait,” “Where’d yer git that hat?” “Have you got any hay to sell?” “See her style!” “Oh, haint she a lolly?” etcetery.

I dont know who they were, but they were young men and big enough to have more sense and better manners; but I guess maybe their raisin was neglected and they couldent help it. They dident look like coal miners, or mill hands, or farmers, and I know they wasent sich. They all were well dressed and wore pinted yaller shoes. They couldent a been the sons of the leadin citizens, because one would think they would teach their offspring better sense. Maybe they were orphans, born without parents. I dont know.

Well, arter we got through the storm of insult and abuse that we had to suffer because we had to sell our drivin animal to git interest money, we begin to try to sell our stuff. Most of the stores was willin to trade goods for what we had, but none of em wanted to spare any money. We went from one store to another, Jobe a tellin them that he had to have money to meet interest, and that we were sellin our quilts and pillers to git it. Fust one and then another would buy somethin, jist to accommodate 56us, until we finally got our stuff all disposed of. We got $14.45 in cash, which, added to what Jobe had, made $106.79, lackin $19.21 of enough to pay Congressman Richer the $126 interest.

We was in Mathias & Dick’s store when we sold the last of our stuff, and steppin aside Jobe and me counted up how much we had and how much we lacked.

“Well, Betsy,” says Jobe, “where will we git the balance?”

I studied a minit. Then it come to me all at once.

“Why, Jobe,” says I, “lets go and accept that canderdate feller’s invitation to ‘come and see him arter he’s elected;’ he’s elected, and you voted fur him and fed him and his hoss when he was runnin. He will lend you the $19.21 you lack.”

“Maybe he will,” says Jobe; “lets go and see.”

And at that we started fur the court-house.

Jist as we got across the street onto them big stone flaggin in front of the court-house, we met that Republican feller with black mustache and curly like hair who is hankerin arter the county clerk’s office. Says he:

“Why, hello, Gaskins, howdy do?” all smilin and nearly shakin the arm off Jobe. “Well, Gaskins, weve got em out,” says he, “got em out! Every office in that grand old buildin is now okepied by one of our own fellers. I tell you, Gaskins, its a day we may well feel proud of,” hittin Jobe a lick on the shoulder.

“Well,” says Jobe, “I cant see as it makes much difference to me. Taxes are jist as high and interest money as hard to raise as it was when the Dimicrats were in. I cant see where us tax-payers has anything to be proud of; we dont git any of the salaries.”

“Jobe and me counted up how much
we had.”

“Why, Gaskins, what do you mean?” says he. “Dont you feel proud that the people of our own party, the 57Republicans, has at last routed the Demmies from the county offices?”

“No, I cant say as I do,” says Jobe; “fact is, I cant see much difference to me between a good Dimicrat and a good Republican or between a bad Dimicrat and a bad Republican, so long as both are willin to let bad laws remain and good ones go unmade, provided they git to draw a salary. Where is the difference?” says Jobe, with force.

“Gaskins!” says he, steppin back and lookin at Jobe from head to foot. “Gaskins, is it possible you are succumbin to pettycoat argament?” (lookin sideways at me).

I was teched.

I jist up and says, says I:

“Mister Canderdate, it would be a Lord’s blessin if him and more of his likes would listen to pettycoat argament instid of the argament of you office-seekin canderdates.” Says I: “Come on, Jobe,” takin hold of his arm and startin.

I looked back when I got a piece away, and I seed the feller had met Doc Tinker and was pintin at my clothes and smilin. I thought I heard Doc say:

“Yes, them are the marks of prosperity the administrations 58of the past thirty years have scattered over the country.”

That is what I thought he said. The feller went on across the street. I dident see him smile or pint any more.

Well, we went on to accept the invitation to see the feller okepy a county office.

We clumb up them high steps, went through them big doors, past several fine rooms, till we come to the sign of that office to which he was elected.

The door was shet.

Jobe knocked, and some one inside hollered, “Come in.”

They hadent manners enough to git up and open the door for us.

In we went. It was a nice place, nicer than my spare room, and so warm and pleasant. If I could git to live there day in and day out, without payin interest money or rent, Ide do all their writin for a good deal less than what I hear they git. It is so nice.

Well, when we got in we found two men and two women settin over next to the winder, a eatin oranges and laffin. Nobody was doin nothin.

I spect the county officer got up airly so as to do his work before his visitors would come.

They all was a talkin and a laffin and a shootin orange seeds at each other, and enjoyin theirselves high.

They stopt when we went in, and the feller what eat our dinner and hoss feed come up to the fence and asked what he could do for us, lookin round at the women.

The women they would look at me, then at one another, then whisper, then look out of the winder and laf.

Jobe, answerin the feller, says, says he:

“I want to borry $19.21 till arter oats harvest.”

Says the feller:

59“Why, my dear man, I dont know you,” lookin round towards the women.

They smiled.

“Dont know me?” says Jobe. “Why, Ime Jobe Gaskins, the most prominent and influential Republican in our township. Jist afore election last fall you was at my house, when you was runnin. I voted for you.”

The feller studied a minit.

“That may all be, Mr. Gaskins,” says he, “but I saw so many people durin my campaign, and so many voted for me that if I was to lend each of them $19.21 I would have nothing left for myself. I can not accommodate you. You see I have company” (pintin to the women), “so you will have to excuse me” (turnin to leave us).

I jist up and says, says I:

“Hold on, Mister Officer! Dont be in a hurry. We are here by your invitation. We paid you for the privilege of visitin you—paid you, sir, in hoss feed and grub, besides payin by taxes to come here any time we see fit. We have come to stay all day; to visit with you. I have brought my knittin and am in no hurry. You ort a be decent enough to ask us over the fence and give us cheers to sit down on.”

You ort a seen them women. They looked distrest.

The officer looked tired.

The women begun to tuck their skirts close agin their legs. I suppose they wanted to keep my cambric dress from rubbin em.

But land a goodness! jist to torment em I said I was goin to stay. I knode they would have no more fun that arternoon if I stayed there. I knode I wouldent be welcome, and if Ide a had to stayed there Ide a wanted them women gone.

When that feller said he wouldent I knode it was no use 60of askin any more. What does he care for the hardships of old Jobe Gaskins and his wife Betsy?

So I jist up and says, says I:

“Dont worry, Jobe. Weve got along without any commodation from him; we can git along agin. Arter this when a office-seekin canderdate comes to our house and talks about your bein the ‘most intelligent, influential and prominent Republican in our township,’ and is ‘astonished that you ever read sich nonsense as Populist noosepapers, much less indorse them;’ that talks about the Dimicrats all bein rascals and the Populists all cranks; that feeds you on three-for-five segars and tells you they are regular five-centers, you have sense enough to charge him 25 cents for dinner and 15 cents for hoss feed.

“When votin day comes recollect that ‘self-preservation is the fust law of natur;’ that the officeholder draws the salary and you pay the taxes; that votin can bring you to distress or prosperity.

“Come on,” says I, and we left.

None of them was laffin. They seemed to be thinkin.

Jobe he was jist so disappinted at not gittin the money, and his perlitical loyalty was so shockt at the feller furgittin him, that he wouldent try to borry the interest money any more that day.

We jist got in our wagon and went up that alley by Urfer’s store till we got out of town. Nobody seen us.

Jobe is diggin a well for Bill Gerber, gittin 50 cents a day.

If they dont strike water too soon, and if it dont take too long, and if the fust of Aprile dont come too airly, we may be able to raise the balance of the interest money in time to keep from being foreclosed.

No letter from Congressman Richer yit.

I wish interest was two per cent., dream or no dream.



JOBE went to the election Monday and voted her strait. That nite I put another patch on his pants. Ive been a doin his patchin just arter election every year since 1873.

Jobe dont mind patches so long as the Republicans are in, but there is no end to his kickin if the Dimicrats are in.

I cant see what difference it makes; the patchin has to be done, and more of it, every year.

Tuesday Jobe went to town to pay his interest and hear how the election went. He had borrowed what he lacked of Bill Gerber and will work it out at diggin that well.

When he got to town he went strait to Jones’s bank and paid the $126 interest, then went to the post-office and got this letter:

General Speculator and Political Wire-Puller.

D. M. J. Richer, Attorney.

Washington, D. C., Mar. 29, 1895.

J. Gaskins, Esq.:

Dear Sir—Your letter to hand. I must have the money. I have instructed my attorney to begin foreclosure proceedings at once, unless the $2,100 is paid by April 10th, 1895.

Yours truly.
D. M. J. Richer.

took Jobe’s breath. He forgot to ask who was elected. He hurried from the post-office to the bank, to git his interest money back, hopin he could save that much.


“That night I put another patch on his pants.”

When he got into the bank and explained to Mr. Jones that he had got that letter and that he wanted his interest money back, Banker Jones kind a smiled and said: “You should have gone to the post-office first, Mr. Gaskins. I cannot give you the money back now. That would not be bizness, Mr. Gaskins. It would not be bizness.”

Jobe he explained to him that the reason he did not go to the post-office fust was because he was anxious to git the interest paid, and that was the fust thing on his mind.

“Cant help it,” says the banker.

Jobe he begged and plead for the money. Told him of our sellin Betty, and our wheat, and corn, and sheep, and hog, and quilts, and feathers, and chickens, and of his borrowin part of it from Bill Gerber—told him how he had tried to borrow the money to pay it all and couldent find any one that had it to loan; he showed him how, if we were foreclosed, we would have nothin left at all.

Banker Jones told him it was too bad, but it couldent be helped; he couldent give Jobe any of the interest money back.

“Bizness is bizness,” says Banker Jones, “and I have to do bizness accordin to bizness rules.”

Jobe asked him to be merciful, and told him the Lord would bless him if he would show mercy to them a needin mercy.

“He explained to Mr. Jones.”

But Banker Jones said he was purty comfortable as it 63was, and when he needed any favors from the Lord he ginerally paid “spot cash” for em; in fact he had several blessins paid for in advance.

Then he told Jobe if he had any other bizness to attend to he had better go and attend to it, as he was bizzy.

Poor Jobe! He jist got out and come home. He says he dont recollect how he got home, he felt so dazed and queer. He has been droopin around all day. He looks distrest; and, poor man, I know he is. The Lord only knows what will become of us—I dont.

My heart has been a raisin up in my throat all day.

Every time I see anybody a comin up the road I feel faint like and skeert. I think its the sheriff a comin to notify us that we are foreclosed.

If Jobe had only heerd how the election went he might feel better. I wish the Republicans got in. I wish it, though Ime a Dimicrat. I wish it for Jobe’s sake. It might help him bear his trouble better.

Jist to think, if we had only $2,100 of all them $683,000,000 of greenbacks that John Sherman burned up when he was in office—yes, and put Jobe and his likes in bonds to git them to burn—I say if we had only $2,100 of 64all them millions, we could pay off our mortgage and Jobe would be happy.

If Sherman had burned less of that money, I wonder if Jobe and his likes wouldent have more?

Do the people in the poor-house have interest, and mortgages, and foreclosures, and taxes and sich to worry them?

I have to quit. My heart is heavy.



THE Republicans swept the platter. They elected every officer from township clerk down, and the sheriff has sent Jobe a notice to appear before the Common Pleas Court and show cause why he should not be foreclosed.

Jobe feels good over the election, but bad over the notice.

Now I think there are a good many reasons why we shouldent be foreclosed, and more reasons why we hadent ort to be. Its not our fault that we have to be.

First. We shouldent be because Jobe has voted the strait Republican ticket, rain or shine, for nigh onto thirty-five years. In this he has done his dooty—as he seen it.

Second. We have paid our taxes every year without ceasin, not even complainin when the law-makers drawed two years’ pay for one year’s work, nor when new officers were added and old ones given more wages. In this we done more than our dooty.

Third. We have given all we raised to Congressman Richer for interest, not even keepin enough out to take a trip to Urope or to buy me a new spring bonnet. In this we done all our health and opportunity enabled us to do.

Fourth. We have indorsed everything the polerticians and office-seekers done or said durin our united lives, even havin to change our minds as often as twice a year to do so. In this we have been foolish.

66Fifth. When John Sherman was a burnin up that $623,428,000 of greenback money and givin the rich men of New York and Urope mortgages on our property to git the money to burn, I agreed it was fine sport, jist to please Jobe, and when Jobe said the national debt John was makin was a national blessin, I nodded my head to it, though I was a Dimicrat. I nodded to keep peace in the family.

I am now payin for them nods, payin for them in fifty-cent wheat and high interest.

Sixth. We have taken good care of the farm, and have jist as many acres as when we bought it from Mr. Richer and give him a mortgage for the balance due. We have paid him $1,700 of the purchase price and all we raised besides, and I think he ort to wait till land increases in price before foreclosin us.

We sent him down to Congress to make laws for us, and it was his dooty to make sich laws as would make it easier for Jobe and his likes to git a home and git it paid for. He dident do it. In this he dident do his dooty.dooty.

Now, suppose Mr. Richer, as our Congressman, had introduced a bill, and got it made into a law somethin like my dream was. He would have been sent back to Congress and a been a drawin $5,000 a year salary and disposin of post-offices and sich at payin prices, and wouldent need the money still due on the mortgage, or if he did need it to help him out on his real estate deals, under that new bill Jobe could borrow the money of the county at two per cent. and pay it, and besides could pay the interest easier and have more each year to pay on the mortgage.

You remember that my dream was that Congress had passed a law that hereafter, when more money was needed to do bizness with in any county, instead of the United 67States lendin it to the national banks at one per cent., and lettin the banks loan it to the people at eight or ten per cent., I dreamed that the law was that the same officers of the government should lend it to the county at one per cent., on county bonds as security, and that the county treasurer should lend it to the people of his county at two per cent., on sich security as the banks now take, and I drempt that Jobe and me and Bill Bowers went to the county treasurer to see about gittin the money to pay Congressman Richer the $2,100, and we found that sich a law was passed, and the county still lived. And I dreamed that the bankers was a peckin, and a beckenin, and a coaxin of people to borrow their money at the same rate of interest as the county treasurer loaned it. Now, had we ort to be foreclosed because no sich law was made? Had Congressman Richer ort a want to foreclose us when he dident try to git sich a law made? Had we ort to be foreclosed when Jobe has been a votin men into office to make laws that would make it easier for him to live and pay for his home, and they dident do it? Had we ort to be foreclosed because them men have made laws agin Jobe instead of fur him? Made laws to reduce the value of his farm and the price of his crops; made it harder for him to pay debt?

Had Mr. Richer even made a law permittin county treasurers to receive deposits of people who would ruther put their money in the county treasury than in banks, and allowed the county treasurer to loan it out in the name of the county at three or four per cent., givin all he received as interest, less what it cost to attend to it, to the fellers what deposited it, it would a helped us some. But he dident do it nor try to do it.

If we are foreclosed and our farm is sold by the sheriff, and Mr. Richer bids it in for $2,100 and gits the farm back, 68where is Jobe’s $1,700 cash paid on the principal and $2,212 interest money he has paid?

Who gits it? What has Jobe got for it? For who has Jobe and me been a workin for the last sixteen years? For who is this foreclosin law, with high interest, made? I hope we will be able to git our case at court put off till arter the fall election and corn huskin! Livin in this hope I must retire to bed. Jobe is asleep in his cheer. Every little bit there is a troubled look comes into his face, as though his dreams haint all pleasant.



YOUD a dide to see the fun I had with Jobe day before yisterday. It was warm like, and I went out to the barn to see what Jobe was a doin. When I got up to the barn door I heerd Jobe a talkin. Peekin in through a crack, I seed Jobe settin on the half-bushel, lookin desperate and jist a layin it off with his hands, like as if he was argyin with some one. At times he come so near a swearin that he is in danger of gittin churched, if they find it out on him. Jist as I got my eye to that crack he brought his fist down on his knee with force, and says, says he:

“Ive been made a fool of and I know it. Ive marched up to the ballot-box for nigh onto thirty-five years and voted men into office that cared no more for Jobe Gaskins and his likes than they did for a good fox hound, and not as much. They said it was necessary to destroy the greenbacks, and I said, ‘Destroy them.’ They said, ‘We ort to demonitize silver,’ and I said, ‘Demonitize her.’ I seed that times was gittin harder, but they said way back in the seventies that the tariff ort to be higher, and the next year higher, and higher, and higher. And every time they said higher I hollered, and the higher they made it the louder I hollered, and kept a hollerin until to-day about all I have to show for my hollerin and votin is the holler, and there is dummed little of that left now.

“Peekin through a crack.”

“Here I am a old man. I have worked hard, year in and year out, and have been fool enough to vote a ticket 70that was enslavin me for thirty years or more. The wealth that I have produced by my hard work has been taken from me by the laws they have made, while the fellers I have voted for have got rich, and say that it is my fault if I am poor. Me and my likes had to be made poor in order that others might be made rich. Its no fault of mine. Ive tried to be honest and scorn dishonesty, and am to-day nearly without a home for bein sich and for votin the strait ticket and not askin what they was doin; while the fellers I have voted for looked on dishonesty as a honor, and have made laws by which the products of my labor has been taken from me and given to themselves and others no more honest. Ime dummed if I know what to do.

“If I leave the party the polerticians and officeseekers will call me a ‘sorehead’ and sich names; if I stay in I am doomed to distress.

“I wish the Republicans would make some of them Populist ideas into a law. Ide—Ide——”

Just then I opened the door all of a suddent, and says:

71“Jobe, who air you talkin to?”

“Nobody, nobody,” says he, gittin up and steppin round, quick like.

“Jobe Gaskins,” says I, puttin my hands on my hips and throwin my head back. “Jobe Gaskins, dident I hear you a talkin?”

“No, you dident,” says he, mad like. “I haint spoke a word for hours.”

“Jist a layin it off with his hands.”

I stepped back a step or two, lookin Jobe square in the face. Says I:

“Jobe, I heerd you a talkin, and you needent deny it. If there is a woman in this barn I want to know it.”

At that Jobe got mad, and comin at me with his fist drawed, says he:

“Betsy Gaskins, do you dare accuse me with anything like that?” grittin his few teeth.

I had grabbed the pitchfork. Says I:

“Jobe, take care!”

72He stopped, and I started to turn the hay upside down, sayin, “If there is a woman in here, Ile—Ile——”

Jobe he watched me a minit or two; then says he:

“Betsy, what the Harry is the matter with you? There haint any woman in here.”

And at that he sneaked out of the barn and went down in the sheep-shed.

Now, jist to think! There is Jobe Gaskins, a man of good sense, a man who sees that every law made by the Republican party since the war was a law agin him, and for people who make their livin off Jobe and his likes without workin. Yit, fool like, Jobe will keep a votin his party ticket, jist to please a lot of office-seekin canderdates and “hangers-on” that eek out a existence by doin the dirty jobs set up by the leadin polerticians and fellers who pay to git laws made agin Jobe and his likes.

Jobe ort to be ashamed to admit that he was talkin the talk I heerd him talkin.

But, poor Jobe, I suppose he will keep a votin for the hand that has smote him, and will keep a smotin him, till he is in his grave and beyond smotin.

Had the Republican party made laws for all the people, instid of for only the rich; had they made laws to make interest less and taxes lower; had they made laws to make it easier for people to borrow money when they needed it, instid of makin it scarce and hard to git—I say, if they had made sich laws, if they had been as foolish as my dream was, do you suppose Jobe and me would have to go to court next week to show cause why we hadent ort to be foreclosed?



WE are at court. The case is on. Poor Jobe, he is so worried and troubled and downhearted that he dont seem to enthuse when the officeseekin canderdates and polerticians are shakin of his hand and tellin him that “we got there, and are now ready for ’96,” &c., &c.

Jobe he jist takes it, and says: “Is that so?”

Not one of all them polerticians or canderdate fellers seems to know that one of their “old and respected citizens” is about to be foreclosed out of house and home. Not one of them seems to care if he does know. The leadinest idea in their minds is gittin office and enthusin over the election. But I notice some of them dident come near, but seem kinder cold toward Jobe. I spect they have heerd of the foreclosin and dont want to be seen in our company.

Well, we got to town this mornin and come strait to court. I jist felt as though the house would fall on me; I was so out of place.

But them lawyers and fellers what okepy that field over the fence from the common herd, they jist walked around and whispered, and tiptoed, and laffed, as though they was raised right there in that field all their useless lives. Some of them even had nice tables to put their feet on, and carpet and soft cheers and sich. Well, I spect the poor things were brought up tender like, and it would hurt them to git along with common things like taxpayers git along on.


“‘Mr. Court, Gaskins is here.’”

Well, arter a while the judge come, and the officer opened court.

Then the case of

Richer, Plaintiff,
Gaskins, Defendant,”

was called.

I felt like as if Ide faint—gone like.

The judge asked if the parties to the case were in court and ready for trial.

The lawyer for Congressman Richer got up and said he was “there and ready.”

Then the court called for the “defendant, Gaskins.”

Poor Jobe he jist sot still and looked as white as a ghost. He never moved.

I hunched him, and told him to “git up and answer.”

He said he couldent; he was sick.

The court, kinder mad like, called for “Gaskins” agin, when I riz up and says:

“Mistur Court, Gaskins is here, and I am Betsy Gaskins, the lawful wife of Jobe Gaskins, the defendant.”

“Whose your lawyer?” says the court.

“We haint got any,” says I.

“Youd better git counsel,” says the court, “if you desire to contest this case.”

“Will counsel keep us from bein foreclosed?” says I.

The judge said the case would be decided on the law and evidence.

“Then,” says I, “what do we need of counsel? You 75have the law, and we will give you the evidence, and if the court please, if our side needs any pleadin, Ile do it myself.”

I hadent them words out of my mouth till up jumped Mr. Richer’s lawyer and says:

“I ’bject.”

The court said that I could not do the pleadin, as I was not a party to the case, nor had I a license to practice before the court.

I riz up agin.

“Mistur Judge,” says I, “what difference does it make who I am or what I am, so long as I treat the court with respect, and know as much, or nearly as much, about this case as any lawyer we could hire?

“If the case, Mistur Judge, is to be decided on the law and evidence, and not on the pleadin, why cant I do what pleadin we need, as well as some lawyer?”

I sot down.

The judge looked at me a minit over his specks.

“Well, Mrs. Gaskins,” says he, “if we allowed anybody and everybody to come into our courts and represent a neighbor or friend, half our lawyers would have nothin to do. The law prohibiting this privilege is made so as to afford our attorneys a livelihood. While it sometimes proves a hardship to litigants, it would be a greater hardship on our lawyers if they dident have sich a law in their favor. However, Mrs. Gaskins, as this is a case of small importance, if the bar is willing I will permit you to say what you desire in behalf of the defendant.”

TurninTurnin to the lot of high-toned cattle over the fence from us, says he: “What do you say, gentlemen?”

“‘I ’bject.’”

They kind a hemmed and hawed and whispered together, and looked disgusted and disappinted and contemptible, and finally one of them says:

76“We shant ’bject.”

And four or five of em got up and left, lookin like as if they had lost somethin.

Well, the judge invited us over into the field.

We went in, and I sot down by a table. The lawyer for Mr. Richer got up and stated his case. He said that he would prove that a number of years ago one Jobe Gaskins purchased from the Honorable D. M. J. Richer certain lands and tenements to the value of $3,800; that there has been but $1,700 paid on the amount; that there remains due and unpaid some $2,100, which is secured by mortgage. And he was there to pray for the foreclosure of said mortgage and sale of the premises to satisfy said claim.

He sot down.

I got up.

I says, says I: “Mistur Judge, this here case haint just exactly like that there lawyer said. We claim there haint no $2,100 still due Mr. Richer, although he has our notes and a mortgage for that amount. We claim that he has got nearly full value for all we got from him. We have paid him $1,700 of the principal and over $2,200 in interest. The land, for some cause, haint worth now as much as we paid for it, and we expect to prove that Jobe haint done anything to cause the land to fall in value. The land may now be worth $2,500, if we could find some one that had the money and wanted to buy land. If we are foreclosed and forced to sell it, it may not bring more than the $2,100 that he claims we owe him.

77“Now, we want to be fair with Congressman Richer, Mistur Judge, and all we ask is that Mr. Richer and his likes what lends money be treated by the law and the courts the same as Jobe and his likes what owes money is treated.

“Now, as I said before, Mistur Judge, the farm is the same size as it was the day we bought it; the land is jist as good; the improvements are better. We have paid Mr. Richer his interest every year for sixteen years, and $1,700 besides.

“Now, Mistur Judge, wouldent it be fair for Mr. Richer to take the farm back and give us our $1,700? He would have jist what he had before we bought it, and he would have $2,212 interest money for the use of it, and we would have the $1,700 we have paid him over and above the interest.

“Or, if he dont want to do that, Mistur Judge, we will value the farm at $2,500, which is all or more than its worth to-day, and will pay him the difference between the $1,700 we already have paid and the $2,500, or $800, in cash.

“Now, Mistur Judge, this would be honest and fair, and he can take his choice, while if you foreclose us, and the farm at sheriff sale only brings $2,100, and Mr. Richer buys it in, he will have the farm he had at fust, our $1,700 principal and the $2,212 interest money we have paid him, or he will have the farm and $3,912 in money, and we in our old age will have nothin.”

When I was through the other lawyer got up and said sich argament was all bosh and contrary to law; that the court had too good sense to be governed by sich anachristic talk from a rattle-brained woman. At that, it bein noon, the court dismissed for dinner, without explainin why this was “a case of small importance.” It looks to me that its a purty tolerable important case to Jobe and me.



THAT day, when the judge and lawyers got back from dinner, and arter Jobe and me had eat our lunch in the jury-room, they opened court agin, and the judge, lookin at me tired like, says:

“Mrs. Gaskins, the court is now ready to proceed with the case.”

“So be we, Mistur Judge,” says I.

So Congressman Richer’s lawyer got out a lot of papers and notes, and, showin them to Jobe and me, asked us if we admitted signin of them.

“Certainly we do,” says I.

So he handed them to the judge, sayin that that was all the evidence he desired to produce, and as the notes had not been paid, as stipulated in the mortgage, he asked to have the mortgage foreclosed and the property sold, and judgment for costs rendered agin the defendant.

At that he sot down.

Jobe he looked distressed.

I felt kind a gone like.

But when the judge said that if we had any evidence to produce or objection to make why the mortgage should not be foreclosed, now was my time to make it, I jist gathered up courage and says, says I:

“Mistur Judge, we have some evidence to offer, and I want to say a few words.

“We never denied that we signed that mortgage and 79them notes; we never claimed we had paid all we did sign.

“‘I want to prove to you, Mistur Judge.’”

“Now, what I want to prove, Mistur Judge, is, that the reason we haint paid more of the notes was because times have been so hard, prices so low and money so scarce that we jist couldent pay any more than we have paid.

“I want to prove that we have paid every dollar we could pay, and that we have went naked and hungry, or nearly so, to pay what we have paid.

“I want to prove, Mistur Judge, that when we bought this farm, some sixteen years ago, times were better than now; that farmers could sell what they raised for more than now; and I want to prove that it has not been by any act of the farmers that times have been made harder and prices lower than then.

“I want to prove, Mistur Judge, that taxes haint got any less; that interest is jist as high as then; that it takes twice as many bushels of wheat for Jobe to pay his share of your wages, and the wages of the other officers in this buildin, as it did then. I want to prove that Jobe had to use wheat to pay you fellers that he could have used 80toward payin on them notes if prices had staid up or officers’ pay had been brought down.

“I want to show you that all you officeholders have helped to bring about this condition by your endorsin of men that made laws to destroy the greenback, to demonitize silver, encouragin high interest and money monopoly, and by your increasin of wages of officeholders or lettin them remain the same as they were when wheat was high.

“I want to prove, Mistur Judge, that Mr. Richer was one of the law-makers, that he voted agin silver, and did not try to do anything or to make any law to make money as plenty as it use to be.

“I want to show that Mr. Richer already has got all we have raised by our hard work for the last sixteen years, and, Mistur Judge, I think that instid of you sellin our farm to satisfy him, you ort to order him to give us back all the money we have paid him, except the interest, and let us give him back the property we got from him; we are willin to do this, and give him our improvements besides, if he will give us back our $1,700. This is all we ask, Mistur Judge.

“If you grant it we would have a few dollars to keep us in our old age, and Mr. Richer would have all we got from him and $2,212 interest money besides.

“If you foreclose us, as this high-toned lawyer asks you to do, we will have nothing left, and Mr. Richer will have as much as he had before and $3,912 of our hard-earned money besides, part of it, Mistur Judge, bein money I got from home when father died.”

The judge kind a looked at me pityin like, and says, says he:

“Mrs. Gaskins, your argament may be all right from your point of view; but it is not law, Mrs. Gaskins. It is not law. We must proceed according to law.”

81“What is law?” says I. “Haint it justice?” pleadin like.

The judge studied a minit, cleared his throat a time or two, and then says he:

“It is supposed to be, Mrs. Gaskins. It is supposed to be. It should be justice; it should be. I appreciate the position of you two old people. I believe, as you say, that you have worked hard and saved that you might get your farm paid for and have a home in your old age. I believe you have done all you could do. Your argament has been well made.

“‘This is the law, whether it is justice or not.’”

“But the law—the law, Mrs. Gaskins, says that if these notes have not been paid according to the provision of the mortgage, it can be foreclosed.

“Even if you had paid all of the notes but one dollar, and had worked fifty years to pay them, and for some reason money had become scarce, and your farm under forced sale would not bring more than the one dollar, it would have to be sold, under the law, to satisfy that one dollar still due on it.

“To make it plainer to you, Mrs. Gaskins, suppose that all the money was demonitized or destroyed except gold 82or silver (no matter which), and suppose that one man had succeeded in getting possession of all the money, and you owed one dollar on a farm that had cost you $3,800, you would have to get that one dollar from the man who had it, and he could place his own estimate of value on it, and could, if he so desired, demand 120 acres of good farm land for one of his dollars, and, in case of forced sale under the law, all the property you have would have to be sacrificed to satisfy that one dollar. It would have to be done, even though that one man who had all the money cornered owned your mortgage and had made the law, or got it made, that destroyed all the other money. So this, Mrs. Gaskins, is the law, whether it is justice or not, and I, as the judge of this court, must be governed by the law as it is. All the testimony you have mentioned is not such as could be admitted before this court. Hence I shall render judgment as prayed for by the plaintiff, with costs of this action attached.”


“Jobe and me sot there dazed like.”

I wanted to say some more, but the judge told me the case was over, and that I need not say any more.

So Jobe and me sot there dazed like for a little while. Then the sheriff come to us and said the case was over and we had better go home. We got up and come home.

We have been over the dear old farm half a dozen times, so as to carry its memory in our minds to wherever we shall go. Oh! how queer I feel when I wonder where that will be.

Jobe is jist a mopin around with no life in him at all.

I haint heerd him holler for McKinley since we got back from court.

I wonder if Mr. McKinley, and Mark Hanna, and Henry Flagler, of the Standard Oil Trust, and Mr. Kohlsaat, and them other millionairs what has been down in Georgia schemin and plannin and arrangin to git Mr. McKinley elected to the president’s office, want to git him elected so as to make it easier for Jobe and his likes to pay for their homes.

I wonder if the laws they are wantin to git made, or keep from bein made, is to make themselves richer or to make the life of the fellers who vote the ticket they fix up easier.

Them millionair fellers seem to take a great interest in elections and things.



JOBE’S aunt Jane out in Indyana is dead. The poor, dear soul worked hard all her life, and now she is dead. She had been takin care of a rich inverlid for some twelve years, and got two dollars a week for all that time. By livin plain and not goin anywhere for all that time, she has saved $563, and she has left all her savins to Jobe, her only kin, the lawyers out there write us.

Aunt Jane.

We got a letter from them last week sayin she had died of a suddent, and left Jobe all she had, arter payin her buryin expenses.

Jobe has been more like hisself, ever since he heerd she was dead, than he has been for some time.

He now says that if he lives to vote for McKinley it will be the happiest moment of his life. I hope Jobe will live.

As soon as he got that letter he started out agin to try to borrow enough money to pay off Mr. Richer’s mortgage before foreclosin day. He found one banker at Canal Dover who said he would let him have $1,800 at seven per cent. interest, jist to commodate Jobe. Jobe is a goin to take it, which, with what he is to git as his dead aunt’s heir, will make the money Congressman Richer is wantin so bad, and a little besides.

Jobe went to town yisterday to try to stop the foreclosin 85bizness until our legicy money comes and we can git the other from the bank at Canal Dover.

“He would call him ‘Billy,’ in honor of the next president.”

They told him down to the court-house that they would try to “stave it off.”

Jobe said that when the report got out that he was about to git a legicy everybody wanted to shake hands with him and be friendly like.

Even them canderdate fellers, what acted kind a cold durin our foreclosin trial, come around smilin, Jobe said, and shook hands, and said that “they knode it would come around all right,” that “a man never loses anything by votin the strait ticket.” They told Jobe to “cheer up and git ready for the next election,” and all sich stuff. Jobe he come home declarin that the Republican party was the “grand old party” of the universe, he was so puffed up like.

86Last night I actually heerd him whistlin one of them campaign tunes, while he was a feedin of the calf. When the calf got all the milk out of the bucket and looked up at Jobe lovin like, Jobe patted him on the head and told him he was a nice feller and looked so knowin, like McKinley, that he would call him “Billy,” in honor of the next president.

Jobe then started to the house a whistlin agin, when William came at him stiff-legged, and struck Jobe on them election patches I put on his pants, and knocked Jobe down on his hands and knees, and before Jobe could git up, William hit him agin, knockin him clear down. Jobe turned over on his back and begin to strike at McKinley with the bucket, sayin, “You dum rascal,” or somethin like that. He then clamered to his feet and took arter the calf, kickin as hard as he could kick. The second kick he missed the calf and fell. Then I hollered at him.

“Before Jobe could git up William hit him agin.”

He got up, put his hand on his hip and limped to the house. When he come in says he:

“Ile kill that dum calf if he ever acts that way agin. He like to a broke my hip.”

“Why, Jobe,” says Isays I, “dident I jist hear you namin 87him for the leadinest Republican of the State? Dont you know he was jist a givin you a practical lesson in polerticks? Dont be mad, Jobe,” says I, “youle be a lovin him tomorrow with all your heart.”

At that Jobe went into the room to git the bottle of salvation oil, mutterin somethin as he went about me not havin any sense.

Now, isent it a fact that the polerticians and officeholders have been actin like that bull calf toward Jobe and his likes for years?

Haint they been lookin into the face of the taxpayers pleasin like jist before every election? Haint they been buttin the life out of the people that feed them by increasin salaries, and makin taxes higher, and sellin out to rich trusts and sich, ever since the war?

Haint they made law on law agin the poor and for the rich?

Haint they issued bonds on top of bonds, to the rich people and on the poor?

Haint they raised salary arter salary of officeholders when the people never asked it?

Haint they brought us to a gold basis and made it hard for people to pay interest and mortgages?

Haint they made it easy for the money-lender to foreclose agin the borrower?

Haint they destroyed millions and millions of the people’s greenback money?

Haint they demonitized silver?

Haint they done everything agin the people and nothin for them?

And what has the people to show for all the money they have destroyed, and salaries they have increased, and mortgages they have foreclosed, and bad laws they have made, but hard times and debts, and people without homes, 88and cheap wheat, and low wages, and high interest, and big taxes, and foreclosin, and beggin, and the Lord only knows what all?

Yet Jobe and his likes will vote the strait ticket, and I suppose will keep a votin it until the bull calf knocks their brains out.

What has Jobe and his likes got to show for all the votin they have voted? What, I say!

If we can save our farm, and if we raise enough to pay the interest and taxes this year, and a little besides, I am a goin to git me a pair of them bloomers and go to workin and votin for more good laws and less polerticks; and the fust polertician that comes around our house talkin “party success” and “party principles” Ile kick clear into the middle of the big road—Ile do it if I split them bloomers from waistband to waistband in doin so.



WE was that bizzy last week, with gittin our legicy and payin of costs, and a borrowin of money, and a writin of papers, and a signin of our names, and a swearin to this, that and the other thing, that I dident git my bakin done, let alone do any writin.

The fust of last week we got our share of our legicy; the officers in Indyana got the balance.

Howsomever, what we did git come handy for a while anyhow.

I dont know what we would have done if Jobe’s poor, dear dead aunt hadent a died jist when she did.

Well, when what was left us, arter payin them Indyana fellers, come, Jobe and me hitched up old Tom and struck out for town to stop the foreclosin bizness.

We fust went to the bank at Canal Dover, and made arrangements to borrow $1,800 at seven per cent. Jobe he hung for six per cent., but when the banker explained to Jobe that we was now on a gold basis; that McKinley had come out for a strait gold basis platform; that he could lend all the money he could git at seven per cent. or more, and that all the leadin financiers and bankers, in fact all the leadin citizens, were in for a gold basis, Jobe he “saw it” and agreed to seven.

Comin home Jobe told me he would ruther pay seven per cent. than six, in order to support a “sound money basis;” that “nobody believed in small interest but them crazy Populists and their likes.”


“He would rather pay seven per cent. than six, in order to support a sound money basis.”

Well, arter we arranged for the money we went to the court-house, and from the time we got there till I got out I heerd nothin but “costs,” “costs,” “costs.” They had it all charged to Jobe. Not one cent was charged to Mr. Richer. There was the clerk’s costs, and the sheriff’s costs, and the auditor’s costs, and the judge’s costs, and supeena costs, and writ costs, and mileage costs, and the Lord only knows what all or who all had costs charged up agin Jobe. The very fellers Jobe had helped to elect had jist as big bills charged up as the law would allow, and some bigger, and nary one of them was willin to knock off a cent. We had to pay it or be foreclosed, and we had to take our legicy money to pay it with—the money that poor, dear, dead Aunt Jane had worked so hard to save.

Well, when we got the costs all paid, we then begin to draw up papers, and sign and acknowledge, and read and reread of papers, to git the money from the Canal Dover banker.

One feller told Jobe and the other fellers to go out of the room till he examined me seperate and apart, at which I became insulted and up and says, says I:

“‘Law or no law,’ says I.”

“No, you wont, sir; no man will examine me seperate and 91apart or any other way in the absence of Jobe Gaskins.”

“The law requires it,” says he.

“Law or no law,” says I, “Ile not submit. I have submitted to law instid of justice; Ive submitted to law instid of right; Ive submitted to law instid of humanity, but when it comes to submittin to law instid of decency, Betsy Gaskins demurs.”

But arter they explained that he jist wanted to read and explain the mortgage to me, I even submitted to law agin.

When they was all out, the feller read the mortgage to me, and asked me if the signin of it was my “free act and deed.” I told him it was so fur as I had to sign it to keep from bein foreclosed, but that I would not sign it as it then read.

“Whats wrong?” says he.

“The wrong,” says I, “is where it says that Jobe shall pay the ‘principal and interest in gold.’”

I explained to him that Jobe and me hadent had ten dollars in gold for years and years.

But he said it was only a form; that we was now on a gold basis, and the bank requires all their mortgages to read, “payable, principal and interest, in gold,” since we have come to a gold basis.

But I wouldent sign it, and the feller called Jobe and the 92other fellers in. Jobe he got mad at me and scolded and fretted around until I got ashamed of him, and I jist up and says, says I:

“Ile sign it, Mr. Gaskins, but you will find that payin seven per cent. interest and payin it in gold to keep your party in power is up-hill bizness.”

“‘Payin it in gold to keep your party in power is up-hill bizness.’”

So I signed it. But the Lord only knows where we will git the gold to pay even the interest with. We have to pay the interest every six months.

Ive lived on this farm for nigh onto seventeen years, and have never found a piece of gold as big as a pin-head. Maybe Jobe knows where it is. I dont, goodness knows.

Well, arter the signin was done there was some more charges and sich to pay for, and Jobe had it to pay. Then, arter requestin Jobe to look arter his party’s interests in our township, they bid us good-by, and Jobe and me come home.



JOBE he is jist as contrary and stiff-necked as he ever was. He acts as though he had never went through what he has went through since last Noo Years. He is beginnin agin to act towards me as if I was his inferior; as though it wasent me who stuck up for him and fought his battles in time of trouble—yes, stood by him when all creation, office-seekin canderdates and all, had forsook him.

He now says the reason he did not pay off that other mortgage years ago was because it wasent made “payable in gold;” he says he believes in payin debts in “sound money,” and that he now feels sorry that he dident git gold and pay what he did pay on it; that he feels as though he has cheated Mr. Richer by payin him in greenbacks and silver and sich.

He says that he would ruther pay seven per cent. interest in gold than six per cent. interest in paper money or silver.

Then he gits up and swells out his boozum, and says:

“John Sherman is the greatest financier on airth. He has brought us to a gold basis quicker than any other livin man could a done it. He has taught old Cleveland all he knows about sound money.” And so forth and so forth.

He goes on in this way day in and day out until I am sick and tired of it. He even wants me to come out and be a Republican, when he knows I have been a Dimicrat for nigh onto thirty-five years.

When he is tellin the neighbors about how much better 94it is to pay debts in gold, and about us a givin a “gold mortgage” to the banker, he always calls it his mortgage and his doins. He never even mentions my name when speakin of the mortgage, when he knows as well as I do that both the old parties, as it were, made that gold mortgage, and that it is “our mortgage” and “our doins” that made it.

But that is the way with Jobe. As long as everything is goin along without trouble he wants all the glory; but as soon as trouble arises he tries to blame me for gittin him in it, and calls on me for help.

Now, as Betsy Gaskins, I am ashamed of that gold mortgage, and if I could have had my way I never would have signed it. Ide a dide fust. But as a Dimicrat I must approve it, to be in line with my party, and I think Jobe is mean that he dont speak of it as “our mortgage” and “our doins,” when he knows the highest paid Dimicrats in the land is jist as much in favor of “gold mortgages” as John Sherman or Mistur McKinley or any high-up Republicans are.

Haint Mistur Carlisle, who is drawin $8,000 a year (for work he ort a be a doin in the money department at Washington), spendin lots of time makin speeches for gold mortgages down in Kaintuckey?

Haint Carlisle a Dimicrat?

Dont Mistur Cleveland set up of nites and write letters favorin “gold mortgages,” and some nites like as not lets Mrs. Cleveland sleep all by herself?

What more has John Sherman done, or McKinley?

Jobe thinks because McKinley has spent all spring outside of Ohio, talkin “gold mortgages” and workin to git elected to the best payin office in the country, that he is intitled to all the credit for bringin about “gold mortgages.” Now, I dont believe it, though he was so bizzy 95at it that he had to have his salary as governor sent to him by mail for months.

“‘John Sherman is the greatest financier on airth.’”

Suppose my dream was true, and instid of us havin to give the banker a mortgage drawin seven per cent. interest (“interest and principal payable in gold”), that we, that is, Jobe and me, could have gone to the county treasurer of Tuscarawas County and a borrowed the same amount of paper and silver money (the same kind we got from the bank) at two per cent. interest, payable in any money of the government. Who would it a hurt?

Wouldent it a been better for Jobe and me? Wouldent we a had only $36 a year interest to pay to the county instid of $126 in gold to the bankers? Wouldent we a had more money to pay toward our home or to buy store goods with?

If we could spend $90 a year for store goods that we now have to pay as interest, wouldent that help the storekeepers a little?

Which would be the best for the storekeepers, for Jobe and his likes to have to pay high interest in gold, or low interest in any kind of good money?

There is another question I would like to ask you.

It is this: If the pay of the post-offices is big enough to pay a feller to buy them from Congressmen, and pay big money for them, haint it about time that the pay of such post-offices was cut down?

Why is a feller’s time what is glad to clear $300 or $400 96a year doin anything else worth $1,500 or $2,000 for keepin the post-office?

Does it hurt their character so much? And why is it that all them fellers what sells post-offices, and most of them what buys em, favor a gold basis and gold mortgages and sich?

Are they afraid they will have to go back to their old jobs and less pay if they dont holler as the big fellers holler?



JOBE he is in a critical condition. Day before yisterday, when Jake Stiffler brought our mail out from town—it consisted of the two noosepapers that we have took for years, that is, the Ohio Dimicrat and the Tuscarawas Advercate—I played a trick on Jobe that nearly cost him his life, and nearly made me a weepin and mournin widder.

For years and years we have took them two “stanch and substantial” noosepapers without ceasin. We have took them simply because one was a Dimicrat paper and the other a Republican. We have took them when payin for them kept me from gittin a new dress or Jobe a change of pants.

We have took them though durin all them years they have said the same things over and over agin, aginst each other and aginst the party they wasent, jist at the time, gittin any campaign money or county printin from.

The Dimicrat has allers called the Republicans rascals and sich, and the Advercate never fails to show how the Dimicrats are worse still.

Always, when the Advercate comes, Jobe he sets down and reads out loud all the abuse agin the Dimicrats; then, lookin over his specks at me, says:

“Now, Betsy, you see what kind of a party you belong to. You see now what kind of leaders youve got,” &c., &c.

Its a regular thing for Jobe to read the same things week arter week and then to criticise me and the Dimicrat party time arter time, until for years Ive been in the 98habit of goin in and settin down and a listenin to Jobe read the Advercate’s abuse of the Dimicrats, and a waitin for my regular weekly tongue-lashin. Ive done it jist for the good it seems to do Jobe.

“‘Now, Betsy, you see what kind of a party you belong to.’”

Sometimes to answer him I jist read from the Ohio Dimicrat the same things he has read from the Advercate—only where the Advercate says “the Dimicrat party,” the Dimicrat says “the Republican party.”

Then Jobe will flare up and say:

“The Ohio Dimicrat is a dum dirty sheet, and full of lies.”

He knows that I dont swear and wont say that about his Advercate, even if I know it is the same kind of a paper as the Ohio Dimicrat is, except in the name at the top of the fust page. Of course it gits its campaign money and public printin from the office-seekin canderdate fellers of the other party.

Now, when Jake brought them papers, I happened to pick up the Advercate (a thing I seldom do), and one of 99the fust things I read was a article a praisin Mr. Cleveland for workin to git a “gold basis” and “gold mortgages” and sich. I was so surprised to find a word of praise for a Dimicrat president in a Republican noosepaper that I looked twice at the headin to make sure it was the Advercate I had instid of the Dimicrat. Sure enough it was the Advercate, but I dont want you to blame Editure McIlvaine for sich a article appearin in his paper. He couldent help it. It was in that part of his paper that he dont print. It was in the patent part what is printed in Cleveland—the part, you know, which them fellers down east, the fellers what gits rich by havin on this gold basis bizness, pays to have in all papers, Dimicrat, Republican, Methodist, Prisbyterian or any other kind except them howlin Populist papers. Them Populists seem to be so sot agin that “gold basis,” and a “contractin of the money to make it scarce and hard to git,” that they wont put anything a favorin the “gold basis” in their papers for love or money. They are jist that mean.

So I dont want you to blame Mr. McIlvaine or any other feller for sich articles a bein in their papers. They cant help it. They jist have to do it or lose their rich money-lendin friends.

But the feelin I felt when I seed sich a article in a Republican noosepaper prompted me to do the thing that, as I said afore, nearly made me a weepin widder.

I jist thought Ide have some fun with Jobe.

So I went to work and cut the headin off from last week’s Tuscarawas Advercate and pasted it over the headin of this week’s Ohio Dimicrat. Then I cut the headin out of last week’s Ohio Dimicrat and pasted it on this week’s Advercate. I then folded the papers up nice like and laid them on the table in the settin-room, where I had laid them week arter week for near onto fifteen years.


“So I went to work and cut out the headin.”

Arter supper, when Jobe had his chores all done up, he says, as he come in from the barn:

“Betsy, has the mail come?”

A question that he has asked about that hour, on that same day of the week, fifty-two times a year for these many years. The mail alluded to meanin the Tuscarawas Advercate. I told Jobe, as usual, that it was in on the table. He took his specks down off the kitchen mantel, and, wipin them as he went on the corner of his coat tail, approached the table.

He sot down, rared back in his split-bottom rockin cheer, put his feet on another, then picked up the Ohio Dimicrat (with its name changed), and begin to read, as he expected, Editure McIlvaine’s slaughter of Dimocracy.

It started out with:

“There never was a more corrupt gang in control of any State government than the Republican boodlers at Columbus.”


“Every Republican officeholder in this county seems to exist for no other purpose than to suck the life-blood out of our hard-working tax-payers. We must turn the rascals out.”

‘It is all over, Betsy,’ says he.

And so on and so on, clear through the paper. Jobe he 102read a minit or so; then looked at the name of the paper; then read another item; looked at the top of his paper agin; took off his specks; rubbed them hard; put them on and read, or started to read, another item; laid the paper down; got up and went to the lookin glass; stuck out his tongue and shook his head in a troubled manner; then he felt his pulse, shook his head agin and fell over on the lounge that was near him. He groaned once or twice, then hollered, “Betsy, Betsy!” dyin like.

I went a hurryin in. There he laid as white as a ghost, and drawin short, quick breaths.

“Why, Jobe, dear,” says I, pleadin like, “what on airth is the matter?”

“It is all over, Betsy,” says he, “all over; Ime a goin to die. The end is near. Betsy, Ive tried to be a good husband, but at times I know Ive been a little cross and contrary. Betsy, I want to hear you say you forgive me before I go.”

“Why, Jobe,” says I, “what in the world is the matter?”

“Oh, Betsy,” says he, “the end is near. I know it is. Editure McIlvaine is changed, or my mind is shattered. My mind is so onbalanced that I can no longer read my paper and understand it, or the leopard has changed his spots. Betsy, its me. It must be me, for where my paper has been praisin, it is now abusin; and where it has been abusin, it is now praisin. Betsy, I want to die. I want to die a believin that its me and not the Advercate that has changed. You must do the best you can, Betsy; and if you marry agin arter Ime gone, remember my last wish is that you do not marry one of them wild Populists. Betsy, will you promis?” says he.

At that I began to laf out loud, as hard as I could laf.

“Oh my! oh my!” says Jobe. “Is my wife crazy or do my eyes deceive me agin?”

103I took holt of him and jerked him off the lounge, sayin:

“Here! git up and have some sense. That is all the truth you read in your paper to-nite. The office-seekers of both parties are corrupt, and if the papers were honest they would say so. Neither of them dare tell how the people have been betrayed, and so they fill up their columns with abusin the party they dont happen to belong to.”

“That nite he slept in the barn.”

Then I explained what I had done, and he jumped to his feet and swore awfully. That nite he slept in the barn, and for the second time in her married life Betsy Gaskins slept alone. Jobe is still critical and sleepin in the barn.



IF Ide a knode that Ide a had to went through what Ive went through since I last writ, I would have been a old maid longin for some one to love, and some one to love me in return, instid of bein the tormented wife of Jobe Gaskins, Esquire, as I am to-day.

From the time Jobe come in from the barn, the next mornin arter nearly dyin over the Advercate’s change of abuse, to this hour, the two old parties has been on the outs; and instid of gittin better, things are gittin wuss.

The Lord only knows what it will lead to. I dont.

That mornin, about breakfast time, he come a bouncin into the house all of a suddent, while I was a puttin some corn cakes in the skillet, and, shakin his fist in my face, says, says he:

“Betsy Gaskins, you’ve got to take it back. Take it back or Ile—Ile smash you,” makin a motion towards me, and, with his hair all mussed up and full of hay-seed, he looked dangerful.

I jist drawed back the dipper what I was puttin batter in the skillet with, sayin:

“Jobe Gaskins, you make another move towards me, or attempt to strike me, and Ile knock you so cold youle never vote for another Republican office-seeker.”

I was a lookin at him all the time with the dipper drawed. He seen I meant jist what I said; so he walked over and sot down on the edge of the wood-box. Continerin, says I:

“‘Jobe Gaskins, you make another move!’”

“You are a purty-lookin feller, haint you? Thats as 106much sense as you and your likes has got. You would strike down the pardner of your life rather than listen to the truth about the rascality of the men who run your party.”

I had the dipper drawed all the time, and had stepped nearer to him.

“Betsy,” says he, pleadin like, “tell jist one dishonest thing a Republican officer ever done.”

Says I: “Now, Jobe, you are actin with sense. Where do you want me to begin, at the top among the big ones, or at the bottom among the little ones?”

“Begin at the bottom, Betsy, at the bottom,” says he.

“Well, Jobe,” says I, “you listen, and I will keep at the cakes or they will burn.”

Thinkin a minit, says I:

“Fust, there is the county commissioners.”

“Hold!” says Jobe, jumpin to his feet, “dont lets go into that commissioner bizness——”

I turned right square in front of him, and drawin the dipper, says I:

“Now, sir, you set down, and set there till I tell you to git up.”

Jobe sot down.

Says I agin:

“Fust, there is the county commissioners and the bridges——”

“Betsy——” says Jobe, conquered like.

“Jobe!” says I, and I looked a look at him that made him drop his head.

Then proceedin agin, says I:

“Fust, there is the county commissioners, the bridges and iron tubes.”

Jobe flipped his thumb and fingers, and held up his hand like they do in school.

107Says I: “Whats you want?” cross like.

“Betsy, if you are a goin into that bridge bizness, with them iron tubes and all, I would like to have my say as well as you,” says he.

“That depends,” says I. “If you act with sense and dont git mad, you can have your say. If you flare up Ile silence you, sir.”

“Are you mad, Betsy?” says he, cowed like.

“No, Ime not mad. Ime in airnest,” says I, takin up the cakes and settin them on the table. Then I sot down in a chair in front of Jobe, still holdin the dipper. Says I:

“Now, Jobe, who is agent for a iron bridge company in this county but a Republican county commissioner?

“Who went over into a adjoining county and offered to sell a iron bridge for several dollars per foot less than he charged his own county for the same kind of a bridge? Who done this but a Republican county commissioner?

“Who let a contract for stone butments for one of the leadin bridges in this county, and then let them put in iron tubes instid of stone butments? Who done this but a Republican county commissioner?

“Who sold the Trenton bridge out in three sections at $999.99 a section, so as to evade the law that says all public contracts for $1,000 or more shall be advertised and sold to the lowest bidder? Who done this sellin but a Republican county commissioner?

“Who gits a commission on all the bridges the taxpayers are a payin for, but a Republican county commissioner?

“Who has tore down good bridges jist to git to sell a new bridge to this county, but a Republican county commissioner?

“Who is it but Republican county commissioners that 108dont care how high taxes are so they git their commission for sellin bridges?

“‘Are you mad, Betsy?’ says he.”

“Who but a Republican county commissioner refused to allow the expense necessary to collect the $65,000 back taxes, Beriar Wilk——?”

“Hold! Hold!” cried Jobe, jumpin to his feet. “Wilkins was a Dimicrat! Wilkins was a Dimicrat! A leadin Dimicrat, and you know it! And more, Betsy Gaskins, when you say that nobody was mixed up in that bridge bizness but a Republican county commissioner, you lie, and——”

I dident let him finish. I couldent. I was teched. I jist grabbed the mop-stick that was standin near, and struck at him with all my might as he went out at the door. I follered him clear to the fence, strikin at him as he went; and jist as he was crossin the fence I broke that mop-stick 109(that cost me thirteen cents) on them election patches.

So my heart is heavier than it has been since I become the lawful wife of Jobe Gaskins.

The idea of him a tellin me that I lie, this late in our lives! It is awful! It teched me to the quick! Well, Jobe Gaskins got no breakfast that day, and I was so worked up that I couldent eat much.

That nite Jobe slept in the barn agin, comin in some time between dark and daylite to get what vittles was cooked.

He stayed out around the barn for three days and nites, only comin in arter I had gone to bed, to git what he needed to eat. I dont know how long he would have kept it up if it hadent got cold Thursday arternoon and evenin. That evenin he froze out, and came up to the fence and hollered:


I went to the door, and says:

“Hello, sir! What you want?”

“Betsy,” says he, “I would like for you to let me come in and lay by the cookin stove to-nite.”

Says I: “If you wasent so set in your ways and insultin, you could a been sleepin in your usual place, by my side, all these nites. Come in,” says I, “and keep your mouth shet, and all will be well.”

He come in, and I set him a good warm supper. He eat three bowlsful of corn mush, and drunk two big cups of hot coffee.

Now, I intend to git all the names and facts about that bridge bizness, and that Beriar Wilkins back tax bizness, and them commissioners, and Ile convince Jobe that all his high-toned Republican officeholders are arter is the chance to get rich off from the people’s money. Ile do it if it costs me a divorce suit to do it.

110That nite Jobe went to bed fust. When I went in I found that he had got in with his head to the foot. He thought it would spite me, I spose. But it dident. I laffed and jist stood there and looked at him, and while I was a lookin I couldent help thinkin how much he represented his party on the money question. You know how they use to claim that they was the party what believed in lots of greenback money, and how they pinted with pride to the great amount of greenbacks they had given the people to do bizness with. Now they are turned end about, jist like Jobe. Now they claim they are for “gold only,” that “lots of greenbacks haint good for the people.” They are a sayin now agin silver and paper money jist what Vallandingham and his likes said about greenbacks. But then this is about the top fellers. So I wont discuss this any more until I git the facts about them bottom fellers—about the county commissioners and auditor and prosecutin attorney and Beriar Wilkins, and lots of sich things that is done and bein done all over this country. Ile git enough to drive Jobe clear under the bed, if I can hold him down to listen to it.

Jobe says he is a goin to git the facts agin the Dimicrats if he has to subscribe for every Republican noosepaper in the county. Now I dont think he need to go to all that expense, because so fur as I can see they are all alike and run for the same purpose—for the purpose of keepin the Republican voters in line.



COULD you tell a feller where he could borrow a little money to pay taxes with? Here it is June, and taxes are due agin—bridge taxes and all—and Jobe lacks $22.69 of havin enough to pay his share.

Taxes seem to stay up better than anything else. They really seem to be on the rise.

I wonder if a feller could borrow that much money from them county commissioners? They git their pay when they sell a bridge to the taxpayers—cut-worms or no cut-worms.

Them commissioners ort a have a little spare change by them, when they git pay from the people of the county for buyin bridges and pay from the bridge companies for sellin bridges.

Ime a hearin a good deal about that bridge bizness. About them iron tubes that we paid the same for as stone butments would a cost, and that sellin out of the Trenton bridge in pieces privately, so that it would bring more “commission,” and of them contractors that come down here and got paid for not biddin on another job, and all them things, and Ime a layin low for Jobe so that the next time he lites into me Ile pulverize him.

He’s been quiet for a day or two. He’s been out a tryin to borrow tax money, workin on the “gold basis,” as it were.

He ginerally is quiet durin tryin times. He dont know what minit he may need my help.

112This tax bizness is a deep question, and seems to be a gittin deeper. How does it come that a feller what has a farm, and owes for it, has to pay the same tax as he would if he had it all paid for?

Now, here is Jobe and me. We have this farm, that haint worth more nor $2,500; we owe $1,800 gold mortgage on it. So we own $700 of its worth, and the banker what holds the mortgage owns the balance. We have to pay $51.80 a year tax on it. That is, we pay $51.80 tax on $700 we own. Haint that over seven per cent. tax on all we are worth? Now, if the banker is permitted to deduct his debts from his tax list, and the storekeeper and manufacturer is allowed to deduct their debts from their tax list, why haint the law-makers what Jobe and his likes has been electin to office made laws to allow the farmer to deduct his debts from his tax list? Why haint they, I say? Haint a voter what farms for a livin jist as good a citizen, jist as much entitled to the benefit of laws as the fellers are what lends money for a livin, or what sells store goods, or gits rich by makin things to sell to the farmers and sich?

If we only had to pay taxes on what we have paid on this farm, on what we have over our debts, we wouldent have to borrow any tax money this June. If anybody but them crazy Populists would offer to make sich a law, I believe I could git Jobe to vote for it. But them Populists are pizen to Jobe.

He is so swelled up and elated over the county offices bein filled with Republican officeseekers instid of Dimicrats, that I dont suppose he will ever vote any other ticket, even if doin so would put him out of debt or bring down taxes and interest and sich.

The second nite arter the cold weather drove Jobe in from the haymow to the comfortable bed of his lawful wife, I had a experience Ile never forgit.


Jobe was on his knees in the middle of the bed.

We had gone to bed about the usual hour, and as neither was very sleepy we fell to talkin.

I had tried to avoid anything of a perlitical natur since that tryin mornin in the kitchen, and Jobe had got along with givin me a slur now and then.

Well, arter we had laid there some time we got onto the question of taxes, and I onthoughtedly said:

“Jobe, why couldent there be a law to make interest less and taxes lower?

“What good does it do you and your likes to vote the same party ticket year arter year, when you see they dont do anything to make things easier for you—when you know, or ort a know, that the men what runs your party only work for the money they can git out of the taxes you pay?

“What difference is it to you what party has the offices? Better laws is what you ort a look to.

“What satisfaction is it to you to have the Republicans in, anyhow?”

I hadent that last question out of my mouth until Jobe was up on his knees in the middle of the bed, layin it off with both hands. The moon shinin in through the winder made him look like a ghost, with his long gray whiskers and nothin on but his shirt.

“A strait, influential, leadin Republican officeholder.”

“Satisfaction! satisfaction!” says he, loud and quick. “Betsy Gaskins, for forty odd years Ive been goin to that air court-house and have had to pay my taxes to Dimicrats—copperheads, if you please, rebels!—and do you suppose its no satisfaction for me to go there now and see a Republican in every office? Betsy, it was the happiest day of my life when George Sharp told me that the last office in that air court-house was filled by a Republican. Even the janitor, Betsy, is a Republican. Yes, sir, the janitor is a prominent Republican. Satisfaction! Do you 115suppose it is no satisfaction for me to go into that court-house and see a influential Republican cleanin them big spittoons and a sweepin of that stone floor? Do you suppose that when I spit in one of them large vessels, or throw a chaw of terbacker in one of them, that it does not give me more satisfaction to know that that terbacker what has been in the mouth of Jobe Gaskins will be handled and wiped out of that spittoon by a prominent, influential Republican than if a copperhead Dimicrat was to do it? Satisfaction! Betsy, you women dont know what real perlitical satisfaction and enjoyment is—thats one reason you haint got sense enough to vote.

“Do you suppose that Ive been a votin the Republican ticket all these years for nothin? No, sir.

“If the Republicans hadent a turned out the Dimicrat what was janitor, and appinted a tried and true Republican in his place, I wouldent a gone to the next election. Jist to think of all them court-house offices bein filled by Republicans—janitor and all—is enough to make any true Republican farmer rejoice.”

Durin all this time I jist laid there and let him talk. Finally he laid down, and, thinkin I was asleep, he muttered a few things to himself and went to sleep too.

“Lots of fellows just like him.”

Poor Jobe! If I had a knode it would be sich great enjoyment to him and his likes to knock the Dimicrats out 116of that court-house, Ide a been in favor of it long ago. I would, though Ime a Dimicrat.

Jobe says you can find lots of fellers, jist like him, standin around the court-house nowdays, chawin terbacker and talkin polerticks, jist to git to spit in them big spittoons and to have the satisfaction of knowin that it will be cleaned out by a strait, influential, leadin Republican officeholder.

Well, all Ive got to say is to let them enjoy their satisfaction while they can, for that is about all they git for the taxes they pay and the vote they vote and have been a votin for years.

Ime glad they have spittoons in that court-house. If they hadent, what would Jobe and his likes git for votin the strait ticket? What would they git, I say?

Susan Swaller is a goin over into Harrison County next week to visit her aunt, and Ime a goin along.

While Ime over there Ime a goin to find out more about the county commissioners of our county offerin to sell that county a bridge for much less money than they charged 117this county for the same kind of a bridge. If what I hear is true, Ile give Jobe names and dates and prices that will make him stand clear up in bed next time, moonlite or no moonlite, shirt or no shirt.



JOBE and me are livin under a flag of truce. I went down into the adjoinin county to find out which one of our county commissioners is the bridge agent, and by what I could hear it was Commissioner Westholt what was down there, but it seems they are all agents or kind a pardners in the “commission” bizness.

When I got home I up and told Jobe that it was one of the Republican commissioners—givin his name. Jobe he flew up and claimed he knew better; that Commissioner Westholt is a Dimicrat, for he had been inquirin too.

Jobe said that it was purty hard to find anything out about it, as all the court-house fellers thought it would be better not to let it git out.

Jobe says they told him that it wasent anything onusual for a county officer to make all he could while he had a chance, and as a differencedifference of $400 or $500 on a bridge was only a little thing to each tax-payer, they hadent ort to know much about it, as they might git to talkin about it and hurt the party.

And Jobe says they told him on the quiet that the Dimicrat commissioner was the bridge agent now, but jist as soon as his time was out a Republican would come in, and a commissioner of his own party would git the job of lookin arter the bridge company’s interests in this county.

This seemed to satisfy Jobe, so he proposed to me that if I would say nothin more about it he wouldent until they can git a full board of Republicans in.


“Jobe he flew up.”

And as there seems to be some doubt as to which one is agent now, that Dimicrat or one of the Republicans, I agreed to postpone further argament on the subject until that pint was settled.

I would like to know which one is it now.

If it is the Republican, and not the Dimicrat, Jobe will ketch it. If it is the Dimicrat, and not a Republican, I expect Ile have to lay low.

But let it be Republican or Dimicrat, either or both, it seems to me that a man must have a big head for bizness that is able to be the buyer and seller of a thing at the same time. It seems to me he would git “mixed in the deal.”

As county commissioner he takes an oath to buy the things for the county as cheap as he can git them. As agent of the bridge company he would want to sell a bridge for as high price as possible, so that his commission would be big.

Wouldent you like to see him a argyin with himself, fust as buyer, then as salesman?

But then, Jobe says, “they work the office for all there is in it.”

Now, if Mistur Republican or Dimicrat, as the case may be, as county commissioner, gits his salary from the taxpayers, whether he buys a bridge at a high figger or a low figger, dont you suppose he lets himself, as bridge agent, work himself, as county commissioner, for a little bigger 120price for a bridge than he would let himself, as county commissioner, be worked for if somebody else was bridge agent, especially when the pay for sellin bridges depends on the price you sell them for?

I cant see what Jobe and his likes expect to git out of that way of runnin bizness.

But then there are the spittoons.

“It wasent anything onusual for a county officer to make all he could.”



JOBE haint got that tax money yit. Times seem awful hard. But Jobe says they jist seem that way; they haint hard at all. “Times are never hard under a gold basis,” Jobe says.

Jobe was a argyin last nite that “times is better than they was jist arter the war.”

“‘Hadent we all ort to be satisfied so long as bonds sells well?’”

Says he: “Hadent we all ort to be satisfied so long as bonds sells well?”

Now, I dont know. Maybe we had.

“‘Times are never hard under a gold basis,’ Jobe says.”

But Jobe and me have been a keepin house for nigh onto thirty-six years, and of all the crops we have raised to try to make a livin at, Ive never seen Jobe plant a single government bond at seed-time nor harvest one at harvest time; so whether government bonds bring high prices or low, good prices or bad, I cant see what benefit it is to Jobe and his likes so long as they haint got any to sell. And if government 122bonds are like bridge bonds, I think the lower they are, and the fewer of them that are sold, the better it will be for him and his likes.

I guess it is really so that them iron tubes under the Dover bridge cost the taxpayers of this county jist what stone butments would a cost.

I hear the contract was fust let for stone butments, and then the same contractors persuaded the county commissioners, “by word of mouth or otherwise,” to let them put in them little iron tubes, and was paid the same pay as if they had put in stone butments.

They dont do things that way down in Pennsylvania. My aunt Jane’s son Charles is a workin down there. He sent me a paper from his town, and here is the way they do it down in that State:

Court Wouldn’t Release Them.

Hollidaysburg, Pa., June 24.—The Blair County Court, this afternoon, declined to order the release from custody of County Commissioners John Hurd and James Funk on a writ of habeas corpus. The accused officials were required 123to furnish bail in three different prosecutions for malfeasance in office. The grand jury reported to court this afternoon that the two commissioners had unlawfully let two important bridge contracts to the Groton Bridge Company at a loss to the county of $1,490. The jury requested that the court interpose its power to prevent such loss.”

You notice that it would be dangerful for county commissioners to let a bridge contract, like the Trenton bridge, contrary to law, without advertisin, if they were down in that State.

Jobe hasent time to discuss this bridge question now, nor wont have till arter tax-borrowin time is over. He is bizzy.



I GUESS Jobe and me are goners. Jobe is nearly broken-hearted, and I feel kind a faint like. We will have to go to hell. Our preacher says so.

Last Sunday Jobe wanted me to go to meetin. I said Ide go. So I jist put on that hat I got from Jane Summers, and the blue cambric dress I have wore now for some three years, and we hitched poor old crippled Tom to the spring wagon and we went.

We tied Tom under a shade tree jist outside of town and walked in.

They was singin when we got there. As we walked up the ile of that big Methodist church, crowded full of leadin men and women, they pinted and whispered and snickered at my straw hat and Jobe’s linen coat, with a muslin patch on the sleeve, till I was really ashamed of some of them. High-toned people do sometimes act so silly that its shockin.

Well, the preacher took a hard text to preach from.

It was about Jesus tellin a young feller “to go sell all he had and give it to the poor.”

I thought the preacher had his foot in it the minit he read that text.

But then he got out of it in a way that cast a gloom over Jobe and me. He went on to explain that Jesus dident mean what he said; that he was jist a jokin with the feller.

He said Jesus wanted to make a preacher out of the young man, and he told him that jist to try him; but when 125he told him to do that the young feller went off sorry and dident go to preachin.

“They whispered and snickered at my straw hat and Jobe’s linen coat.”

I jist thought if that was what Jesus intended to do and why he told him that, Jesus was a poor judge of timber to make a preacher out of.C

“He said the rich all belong to church.”

Then the preacher went on to show that the young feller Jesus failed to make a preacher out of was the only one he meant should give anything to the poor; that he dident mean anybody in that Methodist meetin-house; that they and everybody else could git all they could and keep all 126they can git; that the more they git and the less they give to the poor the surer they would be of gittin to heaven.

He said the rich all belong to church and were good; that that was the reason they were rich—because God loved them and prospered them; that God had made them his bankers, and they were his bankers.

Well, when he said all that I jist felt gone like.

I looked at Jobe, and he was as pale as a ghost. He was skeert.

We both felt that we were doomed to eternal torment, because the Lord knows he hasent prospered us.

We are old and poor. If riches is evidence that God favors the rich, and that they are good, and that He will take them to heaven because they are rich, to be poor is a sign that God does not favor the poor, and that they are bad and will go to hell.

We have worked hard, Jobe and me.

We have plowed and sowed and rept; we have labored in sunshine and in rain; we have paid interest on interest, 127taxes on taxes; we have caught bushels of pertater bugs and killed thousands of cut-worms, tryin to git rich and thus gain the favor of the church and reach the kingdom of heaven.

We have picked the lice from spring calves and buried many a sheep that died of the rot, tryin to gain the praises of the preachers and the world and git on equal footin, in the race for eternal bliss, with the fellers who live on interest and rent and taxes and dividends and sich, and in all our efforts we have failed. So now in our old age, with late frosts in the spring and airly frosts in the fall, with drouth when it ort to be wet, and wet when it ort to be dry, I can see no chance to gain the praises of the church and the necessary qualification for God’s favor this late in our lives.

Feelin this way, I can see nothin for us to do but to work day and nite to pay interest and taxes, so as to help the money-lenders, monopolists and officeholders git there.

Its bad, but I suppose it must be that way. The preacher knows.

Jobe has been buildin great hopes on havin it easier in the hereafter. His hopes are blasted. It looks now as though he would not have the pleasure of even votin the strait ticket in the great beyond.

Poor Jobe! Its a great disappintment to him.

But whats to be done?

He will jist have to submit. He cant help it.



JOBE has been a helpin Hen Minick cut wheat and harvest for a week past, and the poor man has big blisters in his hand and cracks and sores on his fingers that jist keep me busy a pickin and a salvin and a doctorin. And he is that stiff he can hardly walk.

He has been workin to git money to pay taxes with.

When he got done Hen told him he would have to wait till arter thrashin time for the $7.50 he owes him for helpin.

Jobe told him he would have to have it right away, as his taxes was past due, and if he dident pay them soon they would attach a penalty to them. Hen said he was sorry, but he dident have a dollar, nor haint had for weeks.

Jobe come home discouraged like.

How can he git it from Hen when Hen haint got it?

If Jobe sues him, Hen will git mad and git somebody else to do his harvestin next time.

Besides, Hen is honest and would pay if he had it. He is a good nabor and worth it, but Hen says times is hard and money scarce.


“I was puttin salve on Jobe’s hands.”

When I was a puttin salve on Jobe’s hands last nite I jist thought:

“Here is the same hand that has been puttin tickets in the box for thirty years or more to help elect the law-makers who made laws to lend money to national bankers at one per cent.; laws to issue bonds to git the paper 130money of the country to burn; laws to demonitize silver; laws to make money scarce and times hard; laws to enable the rich to live off the poor. And here that hand is sore and full of cracks and pain—yes, the same hand that has helped to elect the county officers of this county—full of blisters and scabs, made so a workin to git money to help pay them officeholders their salaries—salaries of thousands of dollars a year—and they ready to add to that tax and sell our home in order to git them big salaries if Jobe dident pay his sheer.”

There is the probate judge, who gits $5,300 a year; and the county clerk, who gits $5,500; and the recorder, who gits $3,600; and the sheriff, who gits $3,900; and the treasurer, who gits $3,400; and the auditor, who gits $3,500; and the prosecutin attorney, who gits $1,600; and the county commissioners, who git $1,400 apiece. And they git it from Jobe and his likes, who dont make $500 a year, even when seasons are favorable and crops good. And they are gittin of them big salaries by the votes of Jobe and his likes, who has them to pay—yes, by the votes of the very fellers who are a blisterin their hands and a rubbin salve and a walkin stiff to pay them.

Now if them salaries were reduced to what them same 131men would be willin to work for at anything else—if them salaries were reduced to $600 for commissioners and $1,500 for probate judge, auditor and sich, I wonder if it wouldent take less blisters and briars and cracks and backaches to pay them to do the people’s work.

The hand that voted “the strait ticket.”

Any of them would be willin to do the same work for them figgers, if the people would git together and, instid of votin for officeseekers, vote for men who would make a law to only pay sich figgers for public work.

Is it any wonder they want to hold Jobe and his likes in line?

All Ive got to say is: If Jobe and his likes would rather have sore hands and stiff backs, if they would rather rub salve and pick briars than to quit votin the “strait ticket,” let them have them. Let them pick and rub.

This strait ticket bizness is increasin the demand for St. Jacob’s oil and Green Mountain salve and sich alarminly.

But as they are great on the “home market” scheme, I suppose they are satisfied, and I ort to be.



ON the fust page of last Tuesday’s Plain Dealer there is a article that has caused me to have a great deal of thought.

It is about Captain Fred W. Lawrence of Company B, of the Standin Army of Ohio, a writin to the coal operators, and railroad officers, and monopolists, and bankers, and rich speculators of Cleveland, askin them to give somethin toward supportin said army.

He says he wants to git “good men in the militia—men who can be depended on to do their duty in case of labor trouble.”

Now, Fred dont want any common scrubs in his company. He needs money to hire the kind of men he wants—“men who will do their duty in case of labor trouble.”

Now what is the “duty” of sich men?

What does Fred want them to do to the “laborin people”?

Haint it the “duty” of good men belongin to a army, like Fred, to shoot?

Judge Hutchins and Judge Blandin and some of the other polerticians say Fred hadent ort to a writ that letter, or, if he wanted to write it, he hadent ort to a writ it in that way, because now it is out what the militia is for.

The militia is to shoot laborin men with.

They are afraid some of the laborin people will begin to ask themselves what they are votin the strait ticket for.

Some good men in case of labor trouble.

Fred says he jist copied that letter from the ones his 134predecessors in office have been sendin out to these rich people for years.

Now what is botherin me is how to save them coal operators, and railroad owners, and monopolists, and rich stockholders in monopolies, from havin to pay toward sich things as “keepin up the militia.”

They are leadin citizens and own the coal fields, and railroads, and banks, and trusts, and sich. They are rich, and everything should be done to make it easy for them to git along in the world without trouble.

If there were no laborin men there wouldent be any need of “keepin up the militia.”

So if the militia is to be used only to quiet the people who labor, the best thing I know of is to get rid of the laborin people.

They seem to be a kind of unwelcome creatures in this world anyhow.

If we can get rid of them this will be a fine country. The rich can live in peace and the militia fellers can go to doin somethin useful.

Now there is several good ways to git rid of the people who work for a livin.

The best and surest way is to kill them, and now is the time to do it, when land is cheap. The buryin wont cost so much now as it would if we had more money and land was higher.

But I dont believe in shootin.

They ort to be killed in some nice, quiet way, in a way that wont cripple them up as militia shootin might.

I hate to see crippled poor people; it makes me feel sorry for them.

The thing to do is to git a great lot of them together in a bunch, then do it quick and sure.

The best way I know of is to offer a great feast of bread 135and “real cow butter,” with three or four side dishes, and invite all to come and feast their fill.

Then when they are all at a great feast, eatin and enjoyin theirselves, like the rich people do, have an electric arrangement fixed so the current could be turned on the whole crowd at once, and in twelve seconds they would all be stone dead.

They would die with a smile on their faces, jist like as if they had allus sot at the table of plenty and enjoyed theirselves. The big Methodist church in town would be a good place to have the feast and do the killin.

Then arter the current was turned off all we would have to do would be to load their dead bodies in wagons and haul them off and bury them in some cheap piece of ground and let the militia disband.

Dont you see, in that way we would dispose of the old and young alike—the little children as well as the grown up men and women. I know some of the little children are pretty. Some even have nice yaller, curly hair, big blue eyes and red cheeks, and love one another. Ive heern of them clingin to the necks of their fathers and mothers with love, even when hungry. But we will have to kill the little things, or they will grow up to annoy the rich, jist as their fathers and mothers annoy them now.

Of course, I know drownin is a easy death, and pizenin and all sich, but them are old-fashioned ways. Some of them might escape if we undertook to do it them ways.

This electricity bizness is a grand thing, and is sure death if worked right.

Of course, other counties could do it whichever way they think best, but here in Tuscarawas County, with the big Methodist church and all and plenty of laborin people, electricity is the thing to use.

“Some of the little children are pretty.”

We might have two or three killins in this county. Fust 136we could give a feast to all the rollin mill men and rail workers; then to all the coal miners; then to all the carpenters, and stone masons, and day laborers, and sich, and by not lettin any escape, one kind wouldent git onto what was bein done until we had them enclosed and the current turned on.

Ive been a talkin to Jobe about it, and he says that jist whatever the Republican party says he’ll agree to; but he declares he dont want to go to town on the day of the killin.

I dont know why he doesent want to go. It may be he is afraid he will git inside, or it may be he doesent want to look upon the faces of those dead poor people, whose toil has created all the wealth the rich people own who now wants them killed.

Now, Mistur Editure, if you will talk this scheme up among the rich people of the nation, and especially of Ohio, I think you can git them to see that it would be much cheaper than their payin each year to keep a standin army, and it would be more kind to the laborin people 137than to shoot them through the head when they are hungry, or make them cry with pain by cripplin them all up with big, heavy Winchester bullets.

Besides, think of the moanin and grief and heartaches and tears it would save the wives and children if they are killed at the same time their husbands and fathers are.

Shootin down men folks allers makes someone cry, and I hate to hear it even if it is poor women and little poor children.

And shootin seems to be sich a slow way of gittin rid of them.

Why, down in New York they use electricity to kill murderers with. They wouldent think of standin off and shootin even murderers down there. They use electricity because it is quicker and surer death, and more refined, and I know that the people of Ohio who labor for a livin haint any worse or deservin of more cruel treatment than murderers are in New York.

Hopin the rich will be merciful to the poor as long as they let them live on their land and in their country, I am yours for electricity and agin the militia.



JOBE took what hay he could spare to town yisterday and sold it to Billot, the miller. He dident git any money. He took Billot’s note, due ten days before our semi-annual interest falls due on our mortgage.

Jobe says he would rather have Billot’s note than the money. He says it haint in style to pay cash durin a gold basis.

“Jobe took what hay he could spare.”

Our hay crop wasent nothin to brag on this year. We got $19 worth of hay off from five acres of medder, and a little doodle for old Tom.

Now, I haint a goin to complain any more till arter fall election, but when Jobe come home and told me that $19 was all he got for his hay, and that what he did git would have to go for interest, I jist thought that it would not be so hard to give what you raise to somebody else if you got anything to show for it when you did give.

But arter we sell our hay and thirty bushels of wheat that Billot said he would take at 60 cents a bushel, and 139the Lord only knows what else, to pay that $63 interest in October, we will still owe jist as much as we did before.

“They are kept so busy legislatin.”

Now, if my dream had been true, and we had borrowed that $1,800 from the county treasurer at only two per cent., instid of the banker at seven per cent., our semi-annual interest would a bin only $18 instid of $63.

With $63, then, we could have paid the $18 interest to the county and $45 on the mortgage—and that would be encouragin.

I wonder when the Dimicratic, or Republican party either, or both, will begin to do somethin to make it easy for people to buy homes, and pay for them, by makin it easy for people to borrow money when they need it, by reducin interest and taxes and sich.

Every election since Jobe and me was married, fust one party and then the other has been promisin to do somethin to help the people git along in the world, but I declare to goodness I have nearly got discouraged waitin for them to do it.

140They seem to be so forgetful arter election. I guess they are kept so busy legislatin and makin laws to help the rich that they jist dont have time to do anything for the poor.

By the time the law-makers git all the laws that the railroad-owners and street-car companies and bridge companies and bankers and bondholders and monopolists and other milionairs want, they haint got any time to look arter the farmers and mechanics and merchants and mill-hands and coal miners and sich; so they jist let the people’s bizness go, until the next election, to make promises on. And as the voters seem willin to wait, jist so they git to vote the strait ticket, I guess I will have to do so too.



THIS mornin while I was settin a churnin and thinkin, thinkin how high the monopoly men and the money-lenders and the officeholders live, and how low the farmers and mechanics and day laborers live, and wonderin why some live high and some low, Jobe come a stormin in at the kitchen door, so suddint like that it skeert me.

Says he: “Betsy, give me my overhalls, quick, and put up that churnin and come out and help me build a higher fence around the medder.”

And while he was a sayin it he was a jerkin skirts and pettycoats and sich like down from the nails in the wall onto the floor, a huntin them overhalls.

“Why, Jobe,” says I, “what on airth is the matter? What do you want more fence around the medder for?”

“To save the grass, Betsy, to save the grass,” says he. “What would you suppose Ide want more fence around the medder for? Hurry up, quit that churnin and git me them overhalls, or he will have half the grass stomped out before we git a rail up.”

I stopped churnin, and, lookin him strait in the face, says I:

“Jobe Gaskins, are you crazy? What are you talkin about anyhow?”

“A huntin them overhalls.”

“What am I talkin about?” says he. “What am I talkin about? Betsy, Ime talkin about Coxey—Coxey! Theyve went and nominated him for governor, and he’ll stomp all 142the grass out of the State of Ohio if the fences haint built higher and stronger.

“You can see now what them Populists are a bringin us to.

“You can see now what you git for readin them Populist books and papers.

“You git to carry rails, and set stakes, and put on riders, and——”

I had sot down and went to churnin.

When Jobe heerd the sound of that dasher he stopped huntin for them overhalls, and, turnin to me with fire in his eyes, says, says he:

“Haint you a goin to help build that fence?”

I stopped churnin, and, turnin round facin him, with my hands on my knees, says I:

“I had sot down and went to churnin.”

“Jobe Gaskins, if you and your likes would begin to build up your common sense and good judgment with sich ideas as Coxey’s ‘county bonds without interest,’ and Coxey’s plan of makin roads and givin work to idle men like yourself—I say, if you and your likes would build up your common sense with some sich ideas instid of votin the strait ticket with your eyes shet, you wouldent have to lose so much time in the future a borrowin interest money and workin to pay taxes. Yes, if you and your likes had 143been a votin for some sich ideas for years past instid of votin for a lot of office-seekin canderdates (who never had a idea), you wouldent be $1,800 in debt to-day; you wouldent be a sellin wheat for sixty cents a bushel and wool for fifteen cents a pound; you wouldent be a givin all you raise every year for interest and taxes.

“So my advice to you, Jobe Gaskins, is for you and your likes to open gaps in your wall of prejudice and let Coxey and his ideas in, instid of buildin higher fences around your medders to keep him out.

“Yes, put up a notice invitin Mr. Coxey to come in and plant his ideas all over your field, and tromp them in if need be.

“Do this, and I think when you go to vote hereafter you will see crops a growin you haint seen before.”

Jobe had been sidelin toward the door while I was 144speakin, and, reachin it, he went out a mutterin somethin about dyin before he would change; that he wouldent let Coxey into his medder if it would cause enough hay to grow next year to pay off the $1,800 mortgage that’s on our farm.

I went on a finishin my churnin so as to have the butter to trade for some groceries when the huckster comes around. It was lovely butter. I was tempted to use some of it for dinner, but dident dare, for fear I wouldent have enough left to git what we actually need.



I MADE me a pair of Dimicratic bloomers day before yisterday, and Jobe he is mad. Ive been a waitin to make me a pair all summer, but put off doin so till arter the Dimicratic State convention. As soon as I heerd from that convention I sot to work and made them.

I made one leg and the waist out of a pair of Jobe’s old black pants, and the other leg I made out of a sheet.

The black leg is to represent the polerticians and schemers what wants a “gold basis,” and the white leg is for the Dimicratic voters what wants silver for money jist like we use to have years ago when times were good.

I made the black leg and waist for the right side, because it seems that the fellers what it stands for is the strongest, and the white leg is for the “left” side.

When I was a soin that white leg to the black leg, every now and then a stitch would break out of the white leg, jist as though that white leg dident want to be hitched onto that “black leg” side, and I jist thought it would be a wonder if the white leg side of them bloomers dident split clear off from the “black leg” side before election day.

But by a good deal of whippin and stitchin I got them together and put them on to go out and pick pertater bugs.

“The Dimicratic bloomers.”

Jobe he was away, and I was as busy as I could be knockin bugs into an old tomato can, bent over like, when Jobe come up to the gate and hollered:

“Hello, mistur!”

I stopped and turned towards him and says, says I:

146“I thank you, Jobe Gaskins; Ime no ‘mistur.’”

Well, you ort a seen the look on that man’s face.

He turned pale, opened his eyes skeert like, stepped back and says:

“Why, Betsy, what air you out here for with your clothes off?”

That made me mad. Says I:

“Mistur Gaskins, I thank you for none of your insults. If you had any sense you would know that I am dressed in the latest fashion.”

Then I explained to him that bloomers were all the go, and that I had made mine arter the style of my party—arter the Dimicratic State platform of Ohio and the Dimicratic county platform of Tuscarawas County—one gold, the other silver. Says I:

“Dont you see, Jobe, in this garb we ketch em a comin and we ketch em a goin.”

Says he: “Betsy, do you intend to wear them things all fall?”

“I do,” says I.


Hello, mistur!

He studied a minit. Then, lookin at me determined like, says he:

“‘We ketch em a comin an we ketch em a goin.’”

“You needent look for me home to-nite.”

And off he started.

As he went he kept lookin, fust back at me, then down at his pants.

Whether or not he was a thinkin that his pants with their patches represented the platform of his “dear old Republican party” I cant say. But I jist thought: “If they dont represent his party platform, they are a good standin advertisement of the greenbacks that have been burnt, and the bonds that have been issued, and silver that has been demonitized by them within the last thirty years.”

Jobe is gone, the Lord only knows where, but Ive made up my mind to truly represent the divided principles of Dimocracy as it now stands, if doin so elects Coxey the next governor of Ohio and makes me a grass widder for life. Feelin that way, I am yours in bloomers.



IME in trouble. Them Dimicratic bloomers seem bound to split asunder, or worse. Some days there is only a stitch or two breaks out; other days they rip half the length of my arm.

Every time I think of the high interest we are payin and have been a payin for these many years, of the number of times we have changed officers from Dimicrats to Republicans, then from Republicans to Dimicrats, back and forth, time and agin, without any change except for the worse—every time that I think in all these years not one Dimicrat or Republican officeseeker or polertician has riz up in Congress and demanded that the law that permits interest and foreclosin and sich be abolished, a stitch or two lets go. Yes, neither Dimicrat or Republican has ever proposed to abolish interest or in any way make it easier for the hard-workin poor people to git homes and pay for them. And the more I think of what they did do that they oughtent a done, and what they haint done that they ort a done, the more I wonder that there are enough men left of either of them, or, for that matter, of both, to hold a county convention.

But then I spose its because they are born that way.

But talkin of my gold and silver bloomers, nothin seems to strain them so much or make as long rips in them as a listenin to them Populists explainin Coxey’s “Good Roads Bill” and them bonds what wont draw any interest. When I see in my mind people a needin work and a gittin it—when 150I can see how under that law Jobe wouldent have to spend time a borrowin tax-money, but could work for it, them bloomers keep a gittin more obstreperous all the time.

The other nite at our school-house they jist kept a rippin and a rippin as speaker arter speaker went on a showin us what we haint got that we ort to have; showin us how we had been a throwin our votes away for these thirty years or more; showin us how that votin for officeseekers and polerticians and votin for good laws and good government was two different things; showin us that while Jobe and his likes has been a doin the votin, the officeseekers and polerticians has been a makin the laws that takes from us in taxes and interest what we raise, and that it seems that we are willin to submit just so long as they will let us keep on a votin for them.

I tell you its a goin to take a good deal of Brice’s senatorial soin thread to hold these bloomers together until election day; and arter election, sooner or later, I know they will split. That white leg side hates the black leg side worse nor pisen, and here and there all over the white leg I notice strange-lookin spots the same color as the clothes them Populists wear. And the spots are a growin and I fear there will be no bloomer bizness when them spots are big enough to rule that leg.

If it ever happens that all the people who have suffered from the hard times that bad laws have brought them go to flockin together, and votin for common, decent people to make our laws, there will be a weepin and a wailin among the high-toned rulin class. The people will quit bein led around with a ring in their nose by the polerticians and officeseekers jist like Dave Syke’s Durham bull. But so long as one Dimicratic convention declares for gold and the other for silver, I suppose Ile have to try to hold my bloomers together.

151Well, Jobe he come back last Saturday. He had been gone for two weeks. When I seen him a comin up the lane, I jist felt like I use to when I was a girl. He dident say a word about my bloomers, but seemed pleased like to see me. Before he got up to the porch he says: “Hello, Betsy!” and when he got to me he shook hands and kissed me (the fust time for nigh onto twenty years)—yes, sir, kissed me, and me in bloomers—Dimicratic bloomers!—and him a Republican. Somehow it seems the Republicans do like us Dimicrats better than they use to. Maybe its because we all hate them Populists so.

“I seen him a comin up the lane.”

Well, arter Jobe had come in and got his supper and I got my work done up, we went into the front room and sot down; sot down to have a talk—to court like. I had to begin the talkin. Says I:

“Jobe, where have you been for so long?”

“Well, Betsy,” says he, “Ive been around over the country learnin all I could about them Populists. Do you 152know, Betsy, that them Populists are jist made up of a lot of farmers, and school teachers, and doctors, and store-keepers, and railroad hands, and mill-workers, and coal-miners, and carpenters, and stonemasons, and day laborers and sich? Do you know that the lawyers, and judges, and officeholders, and bondholders, and polerticians, and monopolists, and bankers, and railroad officials, and coal operators, and in fact nearly all the fust, high-toned and leadin citizens of our country—all them that dont work for a livin—them what are smart enough to live without workin—all sich, they dont belong to them at all.”

Says I: “Is that so?”

“Yes,” says he, “it is. And now, Betsy, what do them Populists expect to do? Do they expect to elect farmers, and school teachers, and merchants, and mechanics, and men what work for a livin, as officers?

“Do they expect to have men what haint got any more sense than to work for a livin to make our laws?

“Do you think farmers have sense enough to know what laws farmers need?

“Do you suppose school teachers has sense enough to know anything about schools?

“Does merchants know anything about the store-keepin bizness?

“Do you suppose mechanics and mill-men and miners know anything about laborin? No. These men what do all these things dont know anything about the things they do.

“We want lawyers, and bankers, and railroad owners, and monopolists, and speculators, and bondholders, and mine-owners and sich as our law-makers. These are the fellers what know all about farmin and teachin, and sellin goods, and diggin coal, and buildin houses, and workin mills, and makin things. Yes, Betsy, the fellers what do 154them things haint got sense enough to know anything about the things they do. Its the fellers what dont do them that knows all about them.

The fust time for nigh onto twenty years.

“Now, Betsy, this bein the case, if you are a goin to wear bloomers, I want you to color that white leg black and work for the strait ticket, so, if the Dimicrats git in, we will have the same kind of men to make our laws as we would have if the Republicans git in. We must unite agin them Populists, Betsy, or the fust thing we know they will be a gittin in and passin them laws what Coxey is wantin passed, and then people what work for a livin will go to askin $1.50 a day—and a gittin it. I repeat it, Betsy, we must unite.”

I was silent.

Jobe, continerin, says:

“Betsy, think over this and lets us two old parties hereafter live in peace and unite our efforts in keepin things jist as they are, and not go to complainin of hard times of our own makin.”

It bein late, and not wishin to git into a argament with Jobe so soon arter his return to my boozum, I retired in silence, but I cant jist say that I swaller all of Jobe’s logic without peelin.

I think I shall defer the colorin of that white leg for a few days, until we have discussed the subject further, and until I have obtained the full consent of the white leg side to the colorin act, remainin for the time ondecidedly yourn.



THERE may be hopes of my bloomers survivin the election, but I tell you it takes stitchin and soin to do it. That State platform ort a been like the county platform, or else the county platform like the State. Then my bloomers would a been all alike—both legs made of the same kind of stuff—and wouldent a needed this whippin and stitchin and soin.

Jobe is in a fix agin.

Our interest falls due the 20th of October, and you remember it is payable in gold.

“Billot jist laffed at him.”

Well, what do you think? Jobe sold his hay and wheat to Billot, the miller, and took Billot’s note for $37.60, and yisterday, when Jobe went to git his money, Billot counted him out paper money for the amount.

Jobe told him that he wanted gold.

Billot jist laffed at him, and told Jobe that paper money was legal tender in sich bizness as this.


“Jobe he got mad and called Billot a Populist.”

Jobe told him that we was on a “gold basis,” and that he had to have gold to pay Banker Vinting his interest.

Billot said he had nothin to do with Jobe’s interest or Banker Vinting; that Jobe could take that paper money or nothin.

Jobe he got mad and called Billot a crank and a Populist and all sich terrible names.

Then Billot ordered Jobe out of the mill, and Jobe went off and sued Billot for $37.60 in gold.

Jobe says he’ll teach Billot that gold is the money of this country. He says that Billot thinks that jist because 157he is a old farmer that he haint good enough to pay gold to.

Do you think Jobe will git the gold from Billot?

I will have to go to the trial next Monday and help Jobe inforce the law agin Billot.

Jobe is a full-blooded American citizen and has voted the strait ticket since he was twenty-one, and Billot will learn by the time he gits done with that lawsuit that this gold basis bizness is for the low-toned people as well as the high-toned people.

The idea of paper money bein money!



WHEN we got to the trial, on Monday, we found our witnesses and the witnesses and lawyers of Billot a talkin, and a laffin, and a whisperin together. They seemed to have some deep subject which Dimicrats and Republicans were both in earnest about.

So I told Jobe to git around among them and listen, and see if they wasent layin some plan to gain the lawsuit for Billot.

Soon arter Jobe he come in a smilin and said:

“They haint a talkin about the lawsuit at all; they are jist talkin together how to beat them Populists at the election next month.”

Jobe seemed tickled. He said them lawyers and editors are smart fellers, and when they git out among them ignorant farmers and laborin class they’d soon settle all that Populist argament.

“There wont be any change in this country,” says he, “as long as them editors and lawyers can help it.”

He said they were goin at it purty soon, and from what he could hear it dident make any difference to these leadin fellers who beats, jist so them Populists dont git in.

Says I to Jobe:

“Lawyers a talkin and a laffin.”

“They had better git at it, for if them Populists elects a farmer for representative, a farmer for treasurer, a farmer for commissioner, a coal miner for sheriff, and a mechanic for infirmary director, and they all make good officers, the 159chance of them lawyers and town polerticians holdin all the offices herearter will be slim.”

“Why, sich people was never made to hold office,” says Jobe.

The squire come in at that time and stopped the argament between Jobe and me.

The case was begun.

The fust witness for our side was Sam Moore, editure of the Times. I questioned him.

Question. “What is your bizness, Mr. Moore?”

Answer. “Editure and polertician,” says he.

Q. “Do you believe in the free coinage of silver?”

A. “If we can git it inside the Dimicratic party, I do. If we cannot, I do not.”

Q. “Mr. Moore, is a treasury certificate issued by the United States treasury money?”

A. “Well, now, Betsy, I—I—that is, I am not prepared to answer that question at this time. Cal Bri——”

“Hold! hold!” cried Lawyer Jim Patrick, jumpin to his feet. (Patrick is Billot’s lawyer.) Gittin red in the face and pintin his finger at Sam, says he:

“Moore, we dont want Cal Brice’s name mentioned 160durin this camp—cam—or, or lawsuit, I mean. You know as well as I do that he can never git back to the Senate if we let the people know that he is after the office.” Then, turnin to the squire, says he:

“I object to the gentleman answerin the question.”

I argued that all we wanted was to git at the truth; that we was intitled to the truth, if gittin it defeated Mr. Brice or any other canderdate for office.

But Jim he out-talked me, and the squire ruled that “the less said about Cal in open meetin the better for his chances.” As much as to say that sometimes things could be done better by suppressin the truth than by tellin it.

I perceeded:

Q. “Mr. Moore, how long has it been since you quit advocatin the issue of ‘good old-fashioned greenback paper money’? How long has it been since you said time arter time in your noosepaper that ‘the greenback was the best money we have ever had’?”

A. “Well, Betsy, I haint advocated paper money for nigh onto a year. Not since we decided that we wanted Cal Bri——”

“Hold, hold!” shouted Jim Patrick agin. Says he, jumpin to his feet:

“Moore, what do you mean? Dont you know you are injurin our cause? Dont you know that if it gits out that Cal is a canderdate he will be defeated? Dont you know if he is defeated none of us will git an office? Sam, I want you to bring his name in this matter no more.”

That made Sam mad. He riz up and says, says he:

“Mr. Patrick, I want you to understand that I am under oath now, and not a editin a free silver paper in the interest of a gold-bug canderdate, nor am I under the control of the Dimicratic Executive Committee while I am on this stand.”


“‘Mr. Moore, how long has it been since you quit advocatin the use of good old-fashioned greenbacks?’”

Sam was gittin madder every minit.

So I riz to my feet and says:

“Hear, hear, gentlemen, dont lets drag family affairs into this suit agin Billot.”

I saw they was likely to give away the secrets of my party.

Seein that Mr. Moore was excited, and, if pressed, was liable to swear agin us instid of for us, I excused him.

Then Jim took him.

Q. “Mr. Moore, what is money?”

A. “Money is anything the law says is legal tender for debts.”

Q. “Mr. Moore, are not United States treasury notes legal tender? and then are they not money?”

Sam begin to color up agin. Answerin, says he:

“Well, now, look here, Jim, you know what shape our party is in—that all the big fellers are for a gold basis—and you know, too, that there is no chance for any of us to git appinted to office if we dont come out for gold. You know I edit one of the leadin papers; and you know it takes a great effort to hold the party together. Now, Jim, dont you think you had better not make me answer that question—under oath? Or if you want me to answer it, dont you think you ort to git this case abjourned till after election day?”

Jim studied a minit, looked wise like, and says:

“Mr. Moore, youre excused.”

Sam got down and went out, mutterin as he went somethin about it bein “hard, these times, for a truthful man to be a Dimicrat.”

My next witness was Buckannan.

Q. “Buck, what is your bizness?”

A. “Lawyer—Dimicratic lawyer and polertician.”

Q. “Buck, what is money?”

163A. “Gold—gold is money.”

Q. “Who makes money, Buck?”

A. “God—God makes money.”

That was all I wanted. Thats the kind of swearin I wanted to inforce the law agin Billot. So I turned Buck over to Patrick.

Jim he looked Buck in the face a minit. Buck he dropped his eyes shamed like.

Then Jim perceeded:

Q. “Buck, what is your bizness and polertics?”

A. “Ime a lawyer—a Dimicratic lawyer and polertician.”

Q. “Buck, did you ever study the money question?”

A. “No, sir; never did; never want to; never will. I know enough. Ime a Dimicrat—a Dimicratic lawyer—and that suits me.”

Q. “Buck, dont you know that anything that the law says is legal tender for debts is money? and dare you swear here under oath that a paper bill issued by the United States treasury is not money?”

Buck colored up and looked hurt like. Says he:

“Patrick, you know the condition our party is in, and you know that our names would be Dennis if Cal——”

“Hold, hold!” cried Jim, jumpin to his feet—and, pintin his forefinger strait at Buck, vicious like, says he:

“Here, Buck, dont you know that Brice has instructed us to mention his name as little as possible. Now, I want you to answer this question without any reference to Cal or anybody else: Is paper money money?”

Poor Buck, he filled up, and, trimbling like, says:

“It is, Patrick—it is.”

And great big tears rolled down his manly cheek and dropped on the lapel of his Prince Albert coat.

The squire asked him what was the matter.


“‘Lawyer—Dimicratic lawyer and polertician.’”

He said he was ruined; that he had been tellin everybody that “nothin was money but gold,” and now if it got out that he swore in the case of Gaskins agin Billot that paper money is money, nobody would believe him hereafter. And, poor man, he cried like a child.

Well, as I had examined what I considered my strongest witnesses, and they dident swear as they talked to the voters, but jist to the contrary, I concluded to end the case and let the squire decide it. I argued that nothin was money but gold, showed how all the noosepapers said so, and how all the lawyers and polerticians said so (except when on oath). I showed how Jobe had delivered good wheat and hay to Billot and took his note for it, how Billot offered Jobe jist common paper money when the note was due; showed how Jobe demanded gold money and nothin else, because gold was the recognized money of the world, and closed by askin the court to give us judgment agin Billot, payable in gold, and to make Billot pay the costs. I sot down.

Jim Patrick got up and said they had no testimony to offer except Jobe Gaskins’ own statement that Billot had offered to pay him with paper money, and now he tendered to the court the same money Billot had offered to Gaskins, and asked for judgment agin Gaskins for the costs.

165The squire took the money, counted it and stuck it in his pocket, then hemmed and hawed a minit and said that Billot had made a full legal tender of the amount due Gaskins, as in his court paper money allers had been good and he hoped it allers would be. He then said:

“My judgment is in favor of the defendant Billot, with the costs of this case charged to the plaintiff Gaskins.”

It nearly took my breath.

The costs was $18.60, all told.

The squire said that paper money made by the United States was real money, and if a man offered to pay a debt with it, and the man he offered it to refused it and tried to make him pay gold, he would have to pay the cost for tryin it.

Instid of us inforcin the law agin Billot, it looks to me that we have had the law inforced agin us.

Jobe says that Squire Reed is a anacrist and ort to be hung.



LAST Sunday, arter I got my dinner dishes washed up and the kitchen swept, I went out in the front yard where Jobe was. I found him a settin at the foot of the big apple tree, sound asleep.

He had took the noosepaper with him and sot down there to read why it is better to borrow money from Urope than to make it ourselves, and had went to sleep over it. Besides he had been out all the nite before to a big Republican rally and had carried a banner sayin:


And the poor man had to tramp three or four miles through the mud to git to do it; so I suppose he was tired—tuckered out, as it were.

Well, I looked at him a minit a sittin there with his head throwed back agin that apple tree, his legs stretched out, his boots a shinin with the fresh lard he had rubbed on them jist afore dinner, and his honest old face turned up toward me, and I says to myself, says I: “There sets one of God’s noblemen, injoyin the sleep of innercence.” And then I thought if I could only git him and his likes to understand that they are a part of this government, and that the government belongs to them and not to those only who are rich and high-toned—I say, I jist thought that if 167I could only git them to see that they had rights that ort to be respected and the power to inforce them rights, what a different country this might be.

“He carried a banner.”

Thinking this and feelin the importance of my duty, I decided to begin to edicate him then and there.

He has a habit of gittin up and leavin me when I begin to talk to him on things; so I made up my mind that I 168would fix him this time so he couldent git away, and would give him some plain talk on the money question.

I got the rope I use as a clothes line, and, slippin up behind him, I wound it around and around him and the tree from his waist to his neck. He never flinched. Then I got the check lines from the barn, and, fastenin them to his feet, I tied one to one gate post and one to the other, and with the hitchin strap I tied his hands behind him. Then I got a straw and tickled his nose.

You ort a seen him try to jump; but he couldent move.

He opened his eyes and says to me, skeert like:

“Betsy, what does all this mean?”

I think he was afraid I was a goin to kill him, but, answerin, says I:

“It means, Mr. Gaskins, that I propose to discuss the money question here without interference and without my audience a leavin before I git done, as is its usual custom.”

Says he: “Betsy, wont you let me loose?”

“Not till I git done,” says I.

Says he: “Why, I cant sit here and listen to you for an hour?”

“You cant?” says I. “But you will. You can spend all nite, and nite arter nite, a listenin to argaments in favor of continerin the laws that makes prices low and interest and taxes high—laws that keeps you poor and the polerticians rich—but you think you cant spend a hour listenin to a argament for a law that would make it easier for you to live; that would give you better prices and lower interest.”

Then, puttin my hands on my hips and lookin, lovin like, down at him, says I:

“Jobe, dear, I guess you will listen this time, and you wont leave till the speaker dismisses, will you?”

Says he, half laffin, half cryin:

169“It looks that way, Betsy.”

So I went and got me a chair, brought it out and sot down in front of him. When I got seated says he:

“Betsy, is it Dimicrat or Republican argament that you want me to listen to?”

Says I: “It is neither, Jobe. It is neither. It is female—female argament, based on common sense and bed-rock experience. It is the argament of a lovin wife to a errin husband. The argament of one who knows there is somethin wrong and has tried to find somethin better than what we have got. Are you ready?” says I.

Jobe tried to nod his head, but couldent. He looked real interestin.

“Perceed with the argament,” says he.

So, leanin up strait in my chair and foldin my arms across my boozum, I perceeded. Says I:

“Jobe, what is money?”

“Money?” says he. “Why, money is—is—is—why, Betsy, money is jist money.”

Says I: “Is that all the answer you can give?”

“I guess so,” says he.

Then a thought seemed to strike him, and, lookin up sudden like, says he:

“Why, money is gold—thats what money is.”

I looked at him a full minit. Then says I:

“Jobe Gaskins, if money is gold, how much money have you seen since you was a baby? If money is gold, how much have you handled since you become the husband of Betsy Gaskins?”

“Why—why,” says he, “I haint handled much gold, but I have——”

“Hold on,” says I. “Then you haint seen much money, or else somethin is money besides gold—haint that so?”

170“Yes, I guess there is some money besides gold,” says he.

“Then you agree that paper money is money, do you?”

“Yes, I reckon it is,” says he.

“Well, then,” says I, “we will perceed with the argament.”

Jobe looked worried. If it hadent a been for them ropes and straps, about this time Jobe would a had bizness somewhere else. It seems that some men get very bizzy about the time one is ready to show them how they can help themselves. But, havin full confidence in that clothes line, I went on.

“Money,” says I, “is somethin made by one’s government that we git when we dispose of somethin we have. If you sell somethin direct to the government and the government gives you money for it, it is the same as a receipt from the people that they have received from you somethin of so much value—and it at the same time is an order on all the people for them to give you whatever you want of equal value. The officers that make the money and do the bizness is merely the agents of a big company of people known as the United States, and each man, be he rich or poor, is a member of the firm. Instid of havin our money (that is these receipts) signed by every member of the company, which would require a very large piece of paper, we have a stamp, and say to our agents or officers for them to put that stamp on our money and we will stand by it. The placin of that stamp on a piece of paper by the right officers is the same as if all the twelve million men had signed it, and the women too.

“I got a straw and tickled his nose.”

“So, if you sell the government say $10 worth of oats to feed our army mules on, or if you do $10 worth of work a keepin books or a holdin office or a bankin up the Mississippi River, and you git a $10 bill for it—that bill, or your havin of that bill, says that you as a individual 171have delivered to all the balance of the seventy million people—to the company, if you please—$10 worth of value, and hold their paper for it. Now, if, arter you git that $10 from all the people, you go to Alick Smith and buy his 172Chester White brood sow and give him the $10 for her, your claim aginst all the people has passed from you to him—he has the receipt for the value you delivered the government and you have his sow. And, bein a good citizen, he takes the paper $10, because the value you gave the government was in part for him, and the $10 is an order to him as one of the twelve million or more pardners. And you bein one of the twelve million, you are one of the firm also, and stand ready to accept that same $10 for anything you may have to sell that Alick Smith might want.”

Jobe seemed to be a gittin interested.

“Then,” says I, “we will say that Alick would go to town and buy two gallons of John Schwab’s rye whiskey. John takes the bill for the same reason that Alick did. Well, John bein a licker dealer, we—that is, all the people—charge him $25 a year for sellin rye whiskey and sich. So John sends that same $10 to the revenue collector at Cleveland for his revenue tax. The revenue collector sends it to the treasury at Washington, where it was made, and where it fust come from. Haint it been redeemed? Haint that money? John Schwab paid for the work you done, or for the oats the government mules eat, and paid for it with the receipt you got for the oats or the work.

“Now, suppose nothin was money but gold, and the government couldent issue sich receipts or orders, or whatever you want to call them, and suppose the government dident have any gold—so then you couldent sell your oats, nor you couldent git the work to do on the river bank, and you wouldent git any money. If you couldent git the money you couldent buy Alick’s sow; if Alick couldent sell his sow he couldent buy Schwab’s whiskey; if Schwab couldent sell his whiskey he couldent pay revenue tax, and when people cant pay revenue tax the government gits hard up and has to borrow money.

173“Now, Jobe,” says I, “honest injun, which do you think would be the best: to make what money this firm of the United States needs or to keep on a goin deeper and deeper in debt a borrowin money?

“Speak out,” says I. “Haint that good money?”

Jobe studied a minit.

“Y-a-s,” says he, “but haint that fiat money?”

“Yes, sir,” says I, “that is fiat money, and fiat money is the only honest, true money we can have. Any other kind is a deceit and a fraud.”

Jobe twisted and would have got away if he hadent a been tied. As he couldent git away he snorted out:

“What good would that money be in Urope?”

“The very best that could be made, so far as you and your likes are concerned,” says I.

“Whats its basis? Whats its basis?” says he, “a hundred cent gold dollars or fifty cent silver dollars?”

“Neither,” says I. “And as long as we have so many grains of gold or so many grains of silver or so many grains of both as a basis, you and your likes will be a payin high interest with low-priced grain.”

“What!” says he, “no standard! How are you to tell what your dollar is worth?”

“We will have a standard, Jobe, and the best standard in the world, and the dollar will always be worth one hundred cents, and each cent will be worth ten mills.”

Jobe looked puzzled, but inquirin like.

“Now, Jobe,” says I, “dont you know that the law that says that the dollar shall be of the value of so many grains of silver or so many grains of gold is what makes everything you raise low in price? Rich people can make the gold or silver scarce and dear, and that makes every dollar, either paper or metal, dear also, and the dearer the dollars 174the more of your grain or the more of your work it takes to git them.

“Now, what ort to be done is this: Make a law callin in all the gold and silver money, and redeem it in paper money, dollar for dollar, the same kind of money I spoke about a while ago; give them only six months to turn it in, and therearter let neither gold nor silver be money or a legal tender. And if any of them Wall Street gold sharks want to hang on to their gold money let em hang, and they will find that they will have to sell it for old metal. Arter the government gits it redeemed let us sell it to the jewelers and spoonmakers to make watches and spoons out of.

“And instid of the law a sayin that each dollar shall be of the value of so many grains of useless metal, let it say that ‘The Dollar shall be of the value of sixty pounds of wheat in the Chicago market.’[B]

B. Note.—This may strike the ordinary reader as a strange proposition. Some of those who have studied the philosophy of money may differ from Betsy and claim that the unit of value should be a day’s labor. There are various good reasons, however, which make Betsy’s suggestion appear not only plausible, but expedient and logical.

By making a bushel of wheat the unit of value we could establish not only the value of the dollar, but also the price of wheat, and of nearly all other commodities. As a rule a bushel of wheat is worth two bushels of corn, three bushels of oats, four pounds of wool, ten pounds of cotton, etc. This price ratio of wheat to other commodities varies very little. Prices of other things rise and fall with the price of wheat.

Betsy’s plan would raise the price of wheat and of all other farm products, and, consequently, would make farming more remunerative. By making farming more profitable it would start more people farming, and thus relieve the overcrowded labor markets of the great cities. The farmers, obtaining better prices for their products, would be able to consume more of the products of the factory. The increased demand for factory products would give work to the unemployed and raise wages in all the industries. Under these conditions, with our money system on a proper basis, and with trusts and monopolies obliterated, as they soon would be, we would need no labor unions to maintain the wage scale. Labor would no longer crouch at the feet of its creature, Wealth, and strikes would be a thing of the barbarous past. On the other hand, the workingman of the city cannot prosper so long as the farmer is not prosperous.

Again, if one day’s labor will produce two and one-half or three bushels of wheat, and each bushel is of the value of one dollar, then a day’s labor will be worth $2.50 or $3.00. Then will wages begin to go up, more help will be employed, more products will be consumed, and soon “surplus labor” and “overproduction” will be heard of only in the reminiscences with which we as grandparents will entertain the curious of the next generation.

It is a remarkable coincidence that at the time this chapter is being put into type (May, 1897) news comes over the wires that the Russian minister at Washington has submitted a proposition that the governments of the United States and Russia jointly fix the price of wheat.—Ed.

“Now, Jobe,” says I, “if the law said that the dollar should be of the value of sixty pounds of wheat in the Chicago market, what would be the value of a dollar?”

Jobe studied a minit and then looked up sudden like, as

175if something had broke loose in his mind, and says he:

“Why, it would be of the value of sixty pounds of wheat.”

“Well, then,” says I, “what would be the value of sixty pounds of wheat in Chicago?”

“Why—why,” says he, “it would be worth a dollar.”

“What would be the price of wheat west of Chicago?” says I.

“A leetle less than a dollar,” says he.

“What would be the price of wheat east of Chicago?” says I.

“Why, a leetle more than a dollar,” says he.

“You are a good scholar,” says I. “You are a larnin.”

He tried to git loose agin, but failed.

“But—but,” says he, “what good would sich money be in Urope? Would that money be good anywhere in the world?”

“There you go agin,” says I. “I haint got to Urope yit. We’ll go to Urope purty soon.”

“Yes, but that would be fiat money,” says he.

“Yes, sir, it would,” says I, “and the sooner you and your likes git up to that word ‘fiat,’ and touch your 176nose to it and smell of it—the sooner you pick it up and look at it and examine it, the sooner you will find that instid of bein a curse it will be a blessin to you.”

“Fiat money is money made by you and the balance of the people that makes this government. You make it by puttin your great stamp on it, and each one of you what are fit to be citizens stand ready to defend it and uphold it with your lives if need be. It is made by you havin printed and stamped on money paper the followin:

“‘This is one dollar, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private, receivable for all taxes, duties and customs; and any money-lender, bondholder or other citizen of these United States who attempts to dishonor or discredit this bill shall be deemed a traitor, and if found guilty of such attempt shall be hanged by the neck until dead.’”

“Dont you think that would be a little seveer, Betsy?” says Jobe.

“Seveerness of that kind—seveerness for them what are bound to rule this country for their own benefit or ruin it—is what we need, and the sooner we git it, and the more of it that we git, the better,” says I.

So, perceedin with the argament, says I:

“Now, Jobe, we’ll go to Urope.”

“Well, hold on,” says Jobe, “lemme loose fust.”

“Not till we git through Urope,” says I, determined like.

“Well, shove off, then,” says he.

I did so by sayin:

“Jobe, would it skeer you if I was to tell you that the money what is good anywhere in the world is the very money that we as a people dont want?”

I put my elbows on my knees and leaned over and looked him square in the eyes to note the effect of my question.

177He looked at me, starin like, for a whole minit.

Says I: “How does it strike you, Jobe?”

Says he: “Betsy, have you been a drinkin?”

“Yes, sir,” says I, “Ive been a drinkin—a drinkin in the sad, hard experience of the last thirty years—a drinkin the dregs of poverty, hardship and trouble caused by low prices and high interest—caused by havin money so good anywhere else in the world that the only way we can git it back when once it gits away is to borrow it back, and put ourselves in bonds to do it. And, Jobe, when I say that the ‘money thats good anywhere in the world’ is the very money that we as a nation dont want to use, I am a talkin sober, hard sense. We want money that will come back to us and buy our wheat and corn and oats and sich, instid of goin to Roosia and Germany and France and India and buyin their stuff. What we want is money that is the best for America, whether it is good for any other part of the world or not.

“As it is now, Jobe, when we pay the $300,000,000 a year interest to Urope, or when our high-toned people buy their Uropean clothes and sich and give our gold and silver for them, them Urope fellers takes that gold and silver and go to Roosia and Germany and France and India and other countries and buy what wheat and flour and oats and corn and meat and cotton and cattle and wool and manufactured goods they need, while our wheat and our cotton and our wool and sich lays in the warehouses along our seashores a waitin a market. And while it lays there a waitin a market our farmers are gittin lower prices and our workinmen lower wages, or goin idle, which is worse.

“Now, if we paid that interest with money that was not good in Roosia and Germany and France; if our rich people had to pay for their fine stuff with common everyday paper money, each dollar of which was of the value of 178sixty pounds of wheat—money that couldent be melted up and made into Roosian money or French money or Dutch money or Indian money—if them Urope fellers would have to send the money they git from us back here to git its value in breadstuffs or grub or clothes or somethin our workinmen make, dont you think our warehouses would be emptied? And when our warehouses are emptied wouldent it require work to fill them agin? And haint honest work what our people need and ort to have?

“So, Jobe, you can see that if them three hundred million interest money was made out of paper and sent to Urope to pay that interest; if the money spent there by our rich people and all was good greenback paper money, redeemable in wheat and flour and corn and oats and cotton and manufactured goods of all kinds made, raised and produced in the United States, and they had to send it back here to git its value, instid of sendin to Roosia and them other countries to buy their stuff, and them warehouses would be emptied, you would find more demand for the wheat you raise to fill them agin, you would find prices a raisin and times a gittin better.”

Jobe was a thinkin hard.

Says I: “Jobe, can you see the cat?”

Jobe was silent. The wheels in his head was a beginnin to turn and he was a listenin to their moosic. Finally says he:

“Why, Betsy, if each of them dollars was worth sixty pounds of wheat at Chicago and sixty pounds of wheat was worth a dollar, what would our leadin men what make a livin and git rich a speculatin in wheat do? They couldent force it up nor force it down. What would they do?” says he.

Says I: “They would be like lots of fellers who haint leadin citizens are to-day—they would be a huntin a 179job, and would have to ingage in some honest okepation.”

“Well, Betsy,” says Jobe, “is that Populist argament?”

“No, Jobe,” says I, “it haint Populist argament; it is the argament of a plain, old-fashioned female woman—the one that thinks more of you than all the polerticians piled in one pile—and I hope you will think on it.”

“Well, Betsy,” says he, “if it haint Populist it seems to me that it is worth thinkin about.”

So, havin for one time held Jobe down to a finish and got him to thinkin, I unloosed the rope and straps, kissed him out loud on the cheek and let him up.

He riz up, stretched out his legs and arms, gapped a time or two and says:

“Betsy, Ime glad you tied me down.”

Then he went out to do up the evenin chores.

Now, if I could only keep Jobe away from them office-seekers and polerticians; if I could only keep him a thinkin, I would have some hopes; but as it is, no tellin how soon the good lesson of his wife may be overcome by a smooth-tongued canderdate.



JOBE has been so busy tryin to git Mr. Bushnell, the millionair, elected governor, that he forgot about his interest bein due at the bank. He stayed to town the nite of the election till the chickens were crowin for daylite.

It was nearly mornin when I heerd the patriotic sounds of the fish-horn.

I got up and looked out of the winder, and there was Jobe a comin up the lane, with his breadbasket stuck out and his head throwed back, blowin that fish-horn as though his life depended on it, and every now and then he would stop, take off his hat and holler for Bushnell, jist as loud as he could holler.

Well, he come in and acted the fool worse nor a drunk man, till he nearly wore my patience out.

He said the gold basis bizness had succeeded and now one dollar was jist as good as another, and asked me if I wasent ashamed that I was a Dimicrat, and all sich fool questions.

Well, he got to bed at last and went to sleep, and in the mornin dident want to git up; so I jist let him lay.

It was nearly mornin when I heerd the patriotic sounds of the fish-horn.

About 9 o’clock a feller rid up to our gate and hitched, come to the door and asked if this is where Mr. Gaskins lives. Says I:

“It is where Jobe Gaskins lives.”

He handed me a paper and told me to give it to Mr. Gaskins.

I took it in and waked Jobe up and got him his “specks.”


“He looked kind a pale.”

He unfolded the paper and read it over to hisself. I saw he was worked up. Says I:

“What is it, Jobe—an appintment from Bushnell?”

He looked kind a pale. Says he:

“No, Betsy, its a summons to court in the case of Vinting, the banker, agin Gaskins; he has begun foreclosin proceedins agin us, Betsy.”

I looked at him a minit. He dident look up.

Says I: “The official returns are comin in quite airly, haint they?”

I then went back to the door, and the court officer was gone.

Poor Jobe got up in a little bit, lookin worried.

When he come out in the kitchen I handed him his fish-horn and says, says I:

“Give us a tune, Jobe.”

He dident offer to toot a toot. He jist looked hurt.

Well, from that day to this he has been tryin to raise the money to pay Vinting, the banker, his interest. After payin all them costs in the Billot lawsuit there was very little left out of that wheat and hay money, sich as it was.

He sold our cow, and nearly all our pertaters, and then sold old Tom, our only hoss, and borrowed $5.50 from Widder Baker, when she got her penshun money, and took that $63 down to Banker Vinting and handed it to him at his bank. Vinting pushed it back to Jobe and says, says he:

183“This is not accordin to contract. The contract, Mr. Gaskins, says you must pay the interest in gold. I must have gold. Gold—Mr. Gaskins.”

Jobe told him he “had no gold, that this money was all good, legal tender government money, and he would have to take it.”

Banker Vinting told him, “Gold or nothin.”

“‘Give us a tune, Jobe.’”

Jobe went around to all the stores in town and to all his friends and tried to git gold for the paper money, and not one of them had a dollar in gold to help him out with. Everybody said they “hadent seen any gold for a long time;” that “paper money was good enough for them; that they was glad to git even it, these times.”

So Jobe come home, and he haint got that gold yit, and the Lord only knows when and where he can git it. I dont.

Jobe he is nearly distracted.

Now, if the law makes Jobe take Billot’s paper money for wheat, I dont see why the same law wont make the 184banker take the same paper money for interest, especially when a feller cant git any other kind. If the banker wont take Jobe’s paper money, all I know is for him to go on with his lawsuit to foreclose us—until the court makes him take it.

We cant do anything else. It jist seems the world is full of trouble and sich.

“‘This is not accordin to contract.’”



THE lawsuit to foreclose us out of our home is bein tried to-day. We borrowed Ike Hill’s gray mare and driv to town airly, and found the lawyers hangin around like buzzards waitin for the arrival of a dead beast.

They begin to meet us and shake hands from the time we hitched in front of Urfer’s big dry-goods store until we got clear inside the fence that surrounds the judge’s seat and divides the high-toned cattle from the low-toned breed. They all wanted to know if we had “ingaged counsel.”

When I told them that our family had counsel of its own blood, in the person of myself, Betsy Gaskins, wife of Jobe Gaskins, the defendant, they would kind a sneer and walk off. They looked hurt like, jist as a feller does when he loses a ten-dollar bill.

These lawyers seem kind a anxious that the people who are bein foreclosed should have “counsel,” but I could never see where “havin counsel” changes the foreclosin act any.

Well, we got inside the lawyers’ field, the officer opened court and the judge called the case of “Vinting, plaintiff, vs. Gaskins, defendant, for money only.” Says he:

“Are the parties to the case ready for trial?”

Jim Patrick, the lawyer, nodded his head and says, “Ready,” without even takin his feet off the table.

I dident have my feet on the table. But when the judge looked our way I nodded and says, “Ready.”

I hadent that word out of my mouth till Lawyer Porter riz to his feet, and, addressin the court, says:


“We hitched in front of Urfer’s big dry goods store.”

“If your honor please, on behalf of the ‘bar’ of this county, I object to Mrs. Betsy Gaskins a practicin law before this court.

“I object for three reasons: First, because she is a woman; second, because she has not been admitted to practice in this court; third, because it interferes with the legitimate profits of the legal fraternity of this county.

“If your honor please, as you well know, the lawyers of this county have no other source of income than from the parties to the cases brought to this court, and if women and persons who have not been admitted to the bar are permitted to practice in this court, our bizness will be ruined, and some of us, at least, will have to go to workin for a livin; therefore I object to permittin this woman to farther participate in this case, and in doin so I voice the sentiment of every member of this bar.”

I riz up.



The judge looked at me, steady like, over his specks, as if he was a goin to tell me to set down. Says I:

“Mistur Court, may I speak?”

He looked around at the bar. Several heads went east and west. The judge thought a minit and says:

“You may speak.”

Perceedin, says I: “Mistur Court, I am the lawful wife of Jobe Gaskins, the man you are asked to foreclose and turn out of the home he has tried hard to hold. We are old people. We are poor. Times are hard and money is scarce, and, bein called here without our choosin, we came without money to pay anything toward the support of the ‘bar’ the lawyer spoke about.

“All we ask, Mistur Court, is to be heard. We want to save our old home if we can do so. All I ask is, if there is any speakin that can be done to persuade you that we hadent ort to be turned out, that you let me do that speakin, because I feel that I can tell you what we would suffer, and why we hadent ort to be turned out, as honestly and as earnestly as any lawyer could who was talkin for only a few dollars pay.

188“God knows, Mistur Court, that what I shall say to you will not be prompted by a few dollars, but by the love I have for the roof that has sheltered us, for the fire that has warmed us, and those things about the place that has caused a lump to come up in my throat whenever I think we may soon have to leave them forever, or when I wonder where we would go if you say, Mistur Court, that we must be foreclosed.

“I know I am a woman—a old woman. I haint a regular lawyer, but I ask to do the speakin in this case, because we haint the money to pay any of these regular lawyers to do it, and God knows we have always tried to pay for everything we have ever got or had done for us.”

I sot down.

The judge set a studyin; finally says he:

“Mr. Sheriff, adjourn court until 1:30 o’clock p.m.”

And that is where the lawsuit is at this hour. I am waitin to see if I will be allowed to speak. Yours at court.



THE lawsuit is over. The decidin is done, and we are foreclosed. My heart has been so heavy and Ive been so troubled that I jist couldent set down and write a letter with any sense to it till to-day.

You dont know how bad it makes a body feel to know the place you have looked on and loved as home is a gittin away from you—slippin from under you, as it were. Everything seems to change. Jobe, poor man, he jist sets and studies.

Well, that day at court, arter dinner, the judge come in, took his seat, ordered court opened, and says, lookin at me:

“Mrs. Gaskins, I have decided to let you argy this case.”

At that all them lawyers except Jim Patrick, the one doin the foreclosin, got up and left the house.

When everything was ready Jim he got up and handed in the mortgage and the notes, and stated that he would prove by those papers that last Aprile Jobe and Betsy Gaskins executed notes and a mortgage to Mr. Vinting, the banker, for the sum of $1,800, with interest at seven per cent., payable semi-annually “in gold;” that a few days after the interest fell due Jobe Gaskins tendered to Banker Vinting $63 in paper money as said six months’ interest, and refused or neglected then or at any other time to tender gold in payment of the interest as the contract provided, and upon this evidence he would ask the court to foreclose the mortgage and sell the premises to satisfy the claims of his client.


“‘I am a banker, sir, a banker.’”

He then called Banker Vinting to the stand and had him hold up his hand and swear.

Then he examined him as follers:

Question. “Mr. Vinting, what is your bizness?”

Answer. “I am a banker, sir, a banker.”

Q. “Did Jobe Gaskins, the defendant here, tender you the interest due on this mortgage as the mortgage provides?”

A. “No, sir, he did not. He offered paper money—nothing but paper money—while the mortgage and notes call for gold.”

Q. “Is this interest still due and unpaid?”

A. “It is, sir. It is.”

“You may have the witness,” says Jim.

Then I examined the banker. He looked very witherin like at me, but I dident wither.

Q. “Mr. Vinting, what kind of money did you give for this mortgage and notes?”

A. “Paper money, paper money.”

Q. “Then why haint paper money good enough for interest on them?”

A. “The contract says ‘gold,’ Mrs. Gaskins—it calls for gold.”

Q. “Well, haint paper money as good as gold—now, since the election?”

191“I ’bject,” says Jim, and then he got up and argyed that my question was leadin, &c., and the court decided that he needent answer it.

“We rest,” says Jim.

Then I got up and stated our case. Says I:

“Mr. Court, we will prove that Jobe Gaskins sold hay and corn to Billot, the miller, to git the money, or a part of it, to pay this interest, and took Billot’s note; that when the time come to pay it Billot offered to pay it in paper money; that Jobe refused to take it, jist as the banker refused; that Jobe sued Billot before Squire Reed for the amount ‘in gold;’ that Mr. Patrick, who is now the lawyer a tryin to foreclose us for not payin gold, was the lawyer agin us when we was a tryin to git the gold to pay with. We will prove that the law made Jobe take paper money or nothin, and made him pay the costs for tryin to collect gold. We will prove that Jobe took some of that money the law made him accept for wheat, and more jist like it, to the banker, and offered to pay his interest; that the banker refused, and on this testimony we ask you to render judgment agin Mr. Vinting, the banker, for costs, and make him take this $63 in paper money that I now tender in open court as payment of the six months’ interest due.”

At that I handed the $63 to the clerk. He took it and gave me a receipt for the amount.

Then I put Jobe on the stand and proved that he had taken the same money the law made him take for his wheat to the banker and offered it to him; that the banker refused to take anything but gold; that he had tried to git the gold, but couldent find anybody that had any gold, and that he had done all he could to raise the gold and couldent.

I then proved by Squire Reed that Jim Patrick was Billot’s lawyer, and had argued and proved by Sam Moore 192and Lawyer Buchanan and others that paper money was money and was a legal tender for debts, and that Jobe was beat in his lawsuit agin Billot and had to pay the costs and take paper money.

Then I “rested.”

Then Jim Patrick got up and made a short speech, statin that “gold was God’s money;” that He had hidden it away in the vaults of nature for the use of mankind as money. He showed how Banker Vinting was a Christian and one of our leadin citizens, and all he asked the court to do was to inforce his contract agin Jobe Gaskins. He showed how all the bankers and bondholders and other money-lenders was in favor of gold and gold contracts; then he showed that it was dishonest for Gaskins to attempt to pay that interest in any other kind of money than gold as stipulated in the contract.

“It is in fact repudiation,” says he, and he made sich a fine argament for gold and agin other money that I put on my specks to make sure it was Jim Patrick, the same Jim what argyed so loud and long for paper money and agin gold the other day, in our case agin Billot for wheat money.

His argament was so fine and patriotic that I felt half ashamed for askin the court to make Banker Vinting take the same kind of money for interest as the law made Jobe take for wheat.

“He made such a fine argament for gold and agin other money.”

Well, arter Jim got done I riz up and stated that we was aware that the interest was due and unpaid; that I knowed the contract called for gold. I told the court how I kicked agin signin the mortgage last Aprile, when it was made, jist for the reason that it called for gold. I showed how it was the banker’s doins, and not ourn, that it called for gold. I told the court how Jobe and the others laughed at me and called me an anacrist and all sich names for refusin to sign a gold mortgage. Then I told him about havin to raise the 193money then to pay Congressman Richer to keep from bein foreclosed at that time, and about my succumbin to their ridicule and signin at last, hopin agin hope that in some strange way we might raise the gold and save our home.

I told the judge that I dident believe “gold was God’s money;” that I dident think God would make a metal to be used to turn people out of home with; that if it was made for any sich purpose it must a been the “other feller’s” doins.

I showed how government officers, through the influence of the rich people, had called in the paper money and burned it up; how they had issued bonds agin Jobe and his likes to git it to burn. I showed how the same men had demonitized silver and brought us to a “gold basis,” all of which had reduced prices, made money scarce and hard to git, and kept up interest. I showed him how sich laws had throwed people out of homes and turned all their earnins over to the money-lenders and sich.

I showed him how we had paid $3,800 toward our farm, and how, if he dident make the banker take Jobe’s wheat money, we would be sold out, and, at the low price land is sellin for, we would have nothin left in our old age.

I begged him with tears in my eyes to make the banker 194take Jobe’s wheat money and give us one more chance to save our old home.

Then I sot down, and my eyes would water, no matter how often I would wipe them.

Well, the court cleared his throat a time or two and then said:

“It is a common occurrence for us judges in our official positions to do unpleasant things. I am sorry for the old people, but the law must uphold the sacred rights of contract. The contract calls for gold. I will therefore render judgment agin Gaskins, the defendant, for full amount of mortgage, accrued interest and costs of this case, and order the sheriff to sell the premises to satisfy the judgment.”

When them words was spoke I jist felt smothered. I felt so queer I hardly knowed where I was.

Jobe he jist sot there a starin, with a pleadin look on his face. We both sot there numb like till the officer come around and told us the case was over.

We kind a come to then and got up. Then I thought of the clerk havin that paper money, so I told Jobe to go and git it.

He went, and the clerk told him he couldent surrender the money till the case was settled; that that money was part of the court record, and the land might not sell for enough to pay the judgment and all costs.

So we come home and left our wheat money and hay money and cow money and the money for poor old Tom and all with the officers of the court.

Jobe, poor man, from the time he left that court-house till now he has jist moped around, sighin and moanin.



WHEN Ike Miller brought Jobe’s paper, the Advercate, to us day before yisterday, the fust thing my eyes fell on was:

“SHERIFF’S SALE.—Isaac Vinting, plaintiff, vs. Jobe Gaskins, defendant.”

I tried to look away from it, but, all I could do, I couldent git my eyes off from them lines. I turned the paper over, but it jist seemed to me that I could see them words all over that paper.

I never had anything make me feel so queer in all my life. My head seemed to be goin round and round, and I couldent see anything but “Sheriff Sale”—“Vinting—Gaskins—Gaskins—Vinting—Sheriff Sale.”

“Sheriff Sale.” I had seen them same two words hundreds of times before, but they never looked like they did that day.

I was all alone at home, and I thought I would never live to see another livin bein—I felt so queer.

Well, I laid that paper down and went out in the yard. Arter a while I begin to feel better, though nothin seemed to look like it use to—nor dont to this day.

When I got out in the yard I could see the trees, and bushes, and fences, and the house, and the big road, and the little stream down over the bank; but they looked so queer. Though I had lived by and among them for years, they dident look like they did when I use to think they would be around me and near me when I should die. No, 196they now looked like somebody else’s trees and bushes and fence and road and sich.

Little Jane.

I felt as though I was not at my own home, but intrudin on other people’s property, “trespassin,” as them court-house lawyers calls it. That “sheriff sale” in that paper had changed the looks of things.

I went over to the little white rose-bush—the bush my little Jane planted the day she was four years old—the one she had watched and called hers till she was taken from me two years arter.

I thought, as I stood there by that little bush, planted by her little hands, that I could nearly see her little form a squattin down and her little dimpled fingers pattin the dirt around the roots of that little bush. I remembered how she plucked the first rose and come a runnin to me with it, sayin:

“Mamma, mamma, my bush raised this. How pritty!”

I could nearly see her little dimpled fingers pattin the airth around the roots of that little bush.

I thought how, every spring, Jobe would pull the weeds and leaves from around it, and how a many a time I saw him wipin his eyes as he stood by our baby’s rose-bush. And as I was thinkin this I thought that before long somebody else would own this ground and that bush, and we could not take care of it any more for our little girl that is gone. I wondered if anybody would stand there arter we are turned out and weep for the child that planted it. I wondered why it was that the law could tear people away from everything they love. I wondered why there 198couldent be some way fixed to make it easier for people to git homes and pay for them. I wondered why interest was never less than six per cent., and sometimes more. I wondered why people who paid interest had sich a hard way of gittin along, while the people who got interest got along so easy.

“‘Mamma, ... how pritty!’”

And as I stood there by our baby’s rose-bush I thought of all the interest Jobe has paid on this place, of the taxes he has paid year in and year out, and I got to figurin, and I found he had paid for the farm nearly twice over.

And then I thought of that dream I had nearly a year ago, when I dreamt that Jobe could borrow money of the county treasury at only two per cent. And I kept on a figurin, and I found that if interest had only been two per 199cent. since we bought this farm, the difference between the interest we have paid and what we would have had to pay at two per cent. would have let us out. We would have had our farm nearly paid for, and we could have stayed here and taken care of baby’s little rose-bush and carried the roses to her little grave each year as long as we lived.

But interest haint two per cent., and we must leave the little bush, leave the trees, leave the flowers, leave all and go. Oh! that nearly chokes me. Where shall we go? Who will take care of baby’s grave? I cant rite any more. I feel so queer.



JOBE is down sick with “brain fever and nervous prostration.”

The doctor says it all come from his worryin over bein foreclosed.

Jobe jist lays and moans and talks to hisself. He is out of his head most of the time.

“Jobe jist lays and moans.”

Last nite he thought he had Betty, our drivin mare, back (the one we parted with last spring to git money to pay interest to Congressman Richer). He thought our 201little Jane was livin agin, and he was holdin her on Betty’s back, a lettin her ride.

“I have to chop all the wood.”

He jist kept a talkin fust one thing, then another, all nite.

I dident git to sleep any, and since he has been sick I have to chop all the wood and do the chores and wait on him till I am nearly wore out and not able to write.

I dont know what I will do if they foreclose us and put us out before Jobe gits able to go about.

It jist seems one trouble brings on another. If the law would make the banker (contract or no contract) take the same kind of money for interest as it makes Jobe take for wheat, Jobe wouldent be down with brain fever and sick from worryin.

I wonder why laws haint made as much in favor of hard-workin poor people as rich people who sets in offices and dont do any hard work.

I see Congress and Mr. Cleveland are a goin to issue more bonds on the people, and sell them at the post-offices to the popular people. Jobe and me cant invest.



JOBE is able to be up. We have been foreclosed, and ex-Congressman Richer has the farm back.

We have a notice in writin to vacate these premises on or before the first day of March.

Jobe bein sick, neither of us was to town the day our old home was sold by the sheriff.

I felt bad all that day—felt jist like somethin awful was about to happen. Jobe seemed weaker and more restless than usual.

Bill Bowers rode by our place in the evenin, stopped at the gate and hollered.

I went to the door, hopin agin hope that maybe for some unknown reason the foreclosin hadent been done. But as soon as I laid eyes on Bill I knode our home was gone.

He hemmed and hawed and stammered, tryin to say somethin that was hard for him to say. Says I:

“Out with it, Bill; we are prepared for the wust.”

“Well, Betsy,” says he, “its gone. Congressman Richer bought it in, at jist what the mortgage and interest amounted to, and you people will have to pay the costs. Mr. Richer seemed pleased to get the old farm back agin.”

“‘Out with it, Bill; we are prepared for the wust.’”

“Yes, Bill,” says I. “I allow he was glad to git it back. He ort to be. He has some $3,800 of interest and principal we have paid him on the farm, before he forced 203us to borrow the money from Banker Vinting to pay him last spring. You see, Bill, we paid him $3,800 interest and principal up to last Aprile; then last Aprile we paid him $1,800 that we borrowed from the banker, and some $300 of Jobe’s legicy money from his dead aunt, makin in all some $5,900. Now he takes $1,863 of that money and buys it back, givin him the same farm we got from him and $4,000 nearly of money besides that Jobe has airned by hard knocks.”

“Well, Betsy,” says Bill, “it does look kind a tough.”

“Yes,” says I, “and it dont look any tougher than it is.”

“I spose not,” says Bill.

“No, Bill,” says I; “if the lawmakers only knew how hard it is to be sold out and turned out of your home, they would surely make laws to make money plentier and easier to git; they would surely reduce interest.”

“They ort to,” says Bill.

“Yes, Bill,” says I, “we have done all we could to hold 204the farm, and hoped to have a home to stay in in our old age.

“We have give all we raised to Congressman Richer in payments and interest and taxes and sich.

“We have done without many a thing we ort to a had tryin to keep our payments up, hopin that our old age might be spent here among our neighbors; but every year since we bought the farm times have got harder, prices lower and money scarcer.

“We have raised good crops, Jobe has worked hard, and now, arter all the years of hard work and good crops, we have $512 less than we had when we bought the farm seventeen years ago.

“They kept a tellin Jobe that it was ‘better to have less money and lower prices than to have more money and higher prices,’ and Jobe and his likes have kept a votin for the fellers that told him sich until to-day he is sick and sold out.

“He has done the votin and the other fellers has got the money. They held the bag, and Jobe and his likes poured in the grain.”

“Well, Betsy,” says Bill, studyin like, “Ive about made up my mind that none of us farmers have much to show for our past votin. It looks as though, while we have been workin hard nite and day, economizin and savin; while we have been a tryin to lay up somethin for ourselves in old age, and for our children; while we have been doin all this, and doin the votin, there has been a lot of schemers and rascals seekin office and gittin laws made to redeem one kind of money in another, and then cornerin the redeemin kind, and contractin and destroyin this kind and that, even issuin bonds on us to git it to burn, and doin everything so they would be able to take from us what we were a raisin and savin.”


“‘Ile tell you, Betsy. Ive made up my mind to try them Populists hereafter.’”

Then, leanin over on his horse, says he:

“Betsy, step up closer to the fence.”

206I walked out to the fence.

Says he, whisperin like:

“Ile tell you, Betsy. Ive made up my mind to try them Populists hereafter. I see they have some purty smart men in the United States Senate. But for the life of you, Betsy, dont say anything to any one about my changin.”

I jist stepped back a step or two and looked at Bill Bowers for a whole minit. He looked at me. Then says I:

“Bill Bowers, I am surprised! I am surprised that you, a full-blooded American citizen, a grown-up man, a man who has made up his mind to do what he believes to be right, and then hasent the manhood to let the world know that you are independent, but are afraid that some officeseeker or polertician who lives off of you will turn up his nose at you! Bill Bowers, I thought you had more firmness in you than that. If the party you have been votin for has betrayed you, if the officeseekers you have helped to elect have used you as a tool, haint it your dooty as a man and a citizen to let it be known that you are a goin to quit the gang? Instid of bein afraid of them, you should make them afraid of you. Thats your dooty, Bill.”

“Well, Betsy,” says he, “I dont know but what youre right, but Ide ruther you wouldent say anything about it.”

Then, changin the subject, says he:

“Betsy, where do you think of goin to?”

“Where do I think of goin to?” says I. “The Lord only knows. I dont.”

At that Jobe hollered for me, and, biddin Bill “good day,” I come in.

Yourn, nearin the close.



THE other day ex-Congressman Richer’s lawyer brought a man out to look at the farm. They driv into the gate, out through the bars back of the barn, across fust one field then another, the lawyer a pintin and layin it off, the feller a lookin and noddin his head.

Arter a while they come back and come up into the yard, the lawyer still a pintin, the feller still a lookin and noddin. I heerd the lawyer say:

“We want you to clear this all up. Clear away these bushes, and sow the yard down in lawn grass.”

As soon as I heerd that word “bushes,” I thought all of a suddint of poor “little Jane’s white rose-bush.”

I felt faint like—smothered—and a tear came a rollin down my cheek and dropped on the floor before I could git my apron to my eyes, and they kept a comin, no matter how hard I wiped.

When I use to read and hear of “sheriff sales” I dident take time to think what an awful thing it is to have the only place one knows on airth as “home” sold away from you. But now, when I know of what it is, I think of all the tears and sobs and heartaches and sich that has been a goin on around us, and we dident know anything about it.

Sometimes I find myself stoppin and standin still and lookin up in the sky and sayin:

“O Lord, is there no other way to do? Is there no way to save the women and children and hard-workin men from bein turned out of their homes, where they have lived and loved and been born?”

208And every time I think I can hear a whisperin voice, jist a little piece away from me, a sayin:

Yes, by reducin interest.

And then in a minit or so it seems as though I hear a ringin in my ears, in words jist a little further away than the other, a sayin:

“It—will—be—done. It—will—be—done.”

If I only knew where we are to go to, and what Jobe can git to do, I might bear it easier. It seems as though an old man haint wanted to do work, and it seems every place is taken up.

Jobe has been out, ever since he has been able to go about, lookin for work and some place to move to.

Everybody seems to a heard of our bein foreclosed, and they dont seem to trust Jobe like they use to, though God knows he is as honest as he ever was.

Well, arter the lawyer had gone all around the place, givin his orders to the feller, he come up to the door and knocked. I opened the door and says:

“Come in.”

“No,” says he, “I jist wanted to know if you intended to git out by March the fust.”

Says I: “We will if we can find a place.”

“Well, you must git out whether you find a place or not,” says he, “as we want this gentleman to move in and commence spring work.”

“We will, Mistur Lawyer, if we can possibly find a place,” says I.

“Well, look here, Mrs. Gaskins,” says he, short like, “we dont want any ‘ifs’ about it. I notify you now, in the presence of this gentleman, that if you are not out by March the fust, I will see that the law puts you out. Now, take warnin.”

And at that he turned on his heel and walked off.

“‘O, Lord, is there no other way to do?’”

210I am an old woman, and have had many hardships, but, Mistur Editure, in all my life I never had anything to strike my heart like them words did. It jist seemed like everything turned black before me, and I sunk down in the doorway and must a fell to sleep, for arter a while I woke up, or come to, as it were.

I had a dream while I lay there that I will never forgit.

I thought that a great, large man stood before me, and jist behind him stood two other good-sized fellers. The big man said to me, in a cruel, coarse voice: “Ive come to turn you out.” I thought I bursted out a cryin, and turned my eyes up toward the sky, as I had done before, and right there, a flyin through the air, come my dear little Jane, lookin jist as she did years ago before she died. I thought she throwed her little arms around my neck, and laid her little soft face agin my cheek, and says: “Dont cry, mamma. If no one else cares for you, I do,” jist as plain as I ever heerd her little voice in life.

I clasped my arms around her, and begin to feel a thrill of happiness as I once did, when the big sheriff stepped up and grabbed her by the neckband of her little dress, and, with a mighty jerk, threw her behind him, sayin: “Stop this sentimentalism. The law must have its way.”

I paid no attention to his cruel words, but jumped toward my little Jane, who laid there with the blood a runnin out of her little head jist above the left eye. Her eyes were open and starin, and, with a scream of agony, I cried: “Oh, my child! My child is dead!”

I was so shocked that it woke me up, and I found myself a layin there in the door, and, bein cold, I got up and went in, all a shakin.

From that day to this I can hardly think of anything but my little girl a comin through the air and throwin her baby arms around my neck.



JOBE is gone. Last Monday morning bright and airly he started for Lorain to find work. He had hunted and hunted far and near, high and low, around here for work, but couldent find any. Some one told him there was lots of work at Lorain, and poor Jobe decided he would go there.

He only had $2.95. He said he would take the railroad to Medina and walk the rest of the way.

Ile never forgit the mornin he left.

We sot up late the nite before, talkin. We talked over our whole lives—about when we were fust married; about how different times were then and now; about the happiness we had then, and the plans we laid. Jobe was strong and healthy, and so was I. Money was plenty, and people were always lookin for somebody to work for them.

We talked of little Jane; of how we loved her, and how she used to love us. We talked of when she died, and how it nearly killed us; and then we both jist cried as though our hearts would break. We talked of how hard we had worked to try to git along in the world, and how our plans had failed.

Arter we had talked a good long while, and cried, and felt like cryin, Jobe he moved his chair over near to mine, and took my hand in his, and says:

“He drawed me over in his arms and kissed me.”

“Betsy, weve had our little differences. I know sometimes I have been tryin. Ive had so much to trouble me that at times I was peevish. But, Betsy, I want you to look over 212all my failins. You have been a good woman. You have done your dooty, and more than your dooty. It nearly breaks my heart to go so far away and leave you behind; but we have to give up the old farm, Betsy, we have to give up the old farm, and I must find some place to go to, and something to do. We must live, Betsy,—we—must—live,—and I must find something to do, to live. I hope to be able to find work, and have you to come to where I am before long.

“I surely can find something to do some place. I heerd Jonas Warner, that rich man in town, tell a feller the other day that anybody could find work that wanted to work. God knows, Betsy, I want to work, and if Mr. Warner is right, I surely can find somebody willin to give me something to do.”

We dident sleep much that nite. Jobe wanted to ketch the five o’clock train on the C., L. & W. Railroad, and was afraid of oversleepin hisself. He had to git up airly so as to git to town in time to ketch it.


“He was wipin his eyes and blowin his nose as he went towards town.”

That mornin I had his clothes done up in a neat bundle. I had washed and ironed all his clothes the day before, so he would have enough to do him till I could go to him.

He dident eat much breakfast. He said he “dident feel hungry.” When he got ready to start he come up to the winder where I was a standin, and, seem that I was choked up, my eyes full of tears, he drawed me over in his arms and kissed me; then, turnin, walked out of the door without sayin a word. The moon was a shinin bright, and I stood a lookin at him as far as I could see him. He was wipin his eyes and blowin his nose as he went towards town.

When he was gone from my view I still stood a lookin for some time, then sot down and cried, and kept a cryin every little bit all mornin. Everything seemed so lonesome like. Wherever I looked it seemed I could see poor Jobe a standin there lookin sad like.

He said he would rite as soon as he found work. I am lookin for a letter every day.

Poor Jobe! Little did he think, or me either, some 214thirty-six years ago, that in our old age we would be turned from our home by the law of our country. Little did we think that when we got old Jobe would have to go hundreds of miles from home, and out among strangers, a beggin for work to feed us by.

“Then sot down and cried, and kept a cryin every little bit all mornin.”

Jist to think of all the interest money and payments we have give Congressman Richer—some $3,800 all told. If interest had been less we would have had our home, and 215had it nearly paid for, and Jobe would not be gone out into the world to hunt work. If we had half or a quarter of that interest money we could buy us a little home to stay in the few remainin years of our lives.

But, then, interest must be kept up, and the law inforced, so as to enable Mr. Richer and his likes to live in style and assert the dignity of their citizenship. It has to be done, no matter if the hardworkin poor people are turned out of their homes and those that love each other are parted.

If Jesus was here and a makin laws, I wonder if he would have interest, and foreclosin, and turnin out, and all that?



MY heart is so broke that I hardly know how to rite. This is March 3d, and yisterday arternoon they put me out.

I had about give up their comin, and was tryin to feel better, when all of a suddint I heerd a knock at the door. I opened it, and there stood three strange men.

Said the one who acted as leader: “Is this where the Gaskinses live?”

Says I: “One of them is stayin here, and the Lord only knows where the other one is.”

“I am a deputy sheriff,” says he, “and have orders to set you out.”

Says I: “Where is Mr. Richer?”

“In Washington,” says he.

“Where is his agent—his lawyer?” says I.

“In town,” says he.

“Well, dont they have to be here to put me out?” says I.

“No,” says he; “the law puts you out for them.”

“Well, Mistur,” says I, “couldent you let me stay a little longer? Jobe’s gone to hunt work and a place to move to. If you will let me stay, as soon as he finds it Ile go out without your botherin.”

“I cant do it, Mrs. Gaskins,” says he; “the law must be inforced. The law is no respecter of persons.”

Says I, pleadin like: “You see, I am a old woman, and not stout. Jobe is away, and I am here alone. If the law is no respecter of persons, why should it come here 217and put me out of a home that we have paid over $3,800 toward, jist to please the man that we have paid the money to?”

He shook his head.

“Where are you a goin to put me?” says I.

“I am goin to put you out,” says he; “out in the big road yonder, off these premises.”

Says I: “Mistur, please dont be so cruel as that. It would kill me to sleep out there all nite. Please let me stay a little longer—jist a little longer.”

“No use a talkin,” says he. “Ile have to do as the law says. Its not me a puttin you out, Mrs. Gaskins—its not me that is cruel. It is the law, the law, that is doin it.”

“Come on, men,” says he, speakin to the other fellers.

So they come right into the house, the house I had loved so well, walkin over the floor I have scrubbed on my hands and knees thousands of times, and begin to tear up my things and carry them out in the big road.

I jist felt so queer I could hardly breathe.

They tore down my stove and tore up my carpet, and carried out fust one thing, then another, and sot them down beside the road, till all I had was out there.

When they got it all out, the deputy come in and says:

“Why dont you go out there where your things are? You have no right here. You must git out, so I can lock up the house.”

Says I: “Mistur, is Congressman Richer a goin to move in to-nite?”

Says he, sneerin like: “Why, Lord no; Mr. Richer wouldent live in sich a house as this—he lives in Washington; he lives in a fine house.”

“Well, then, Mistur, let me stay in here till I hear from Jobe.”

“No,” says he, “you must git out.”


“They pulled me away from the winder.”

Says I, chokin like: “Mistur, I cant go.”

“Well, youve got to go,” says he. “Are you a goin?”

“I cant,” says I.

“Here, men,” says he, “take her out of here and out yonder, where she belongs.”

So one of them big men took hold of one arm, and the other hold of the other arm, and pulled me away from the winder where I was standin (the same one where I was standin the mornin Jobe left), and pulled me out of that dear old kitchen door and across the yard and out into the big road, where they had piled my things, and sot me down on a chair.

The sheriff had locked the house and follered them out.

219When he came out he says, as though he wanted to be friendly: “Where do you think of goin to, Mrs. Gaskins?”

I looked at him to see if he was crazy or what, but I couldent speak, I was so full.

Says he: “Do you want the boys to put up your bed for you?”

I nodded my head.

They set my bed up and put two jints of pipe on my stove, and then got in their buggy and went to town. It was nearly sundown when they left me.

Soon arter they had gone Tom Osborne come a ridin by and brought me a letter.

As soon as he said “letter” my heart leapt. I knew it was from Jobe.

Tom said he was sorry to see me out here in the road, and the man really shed tears. He lives some eight miles from here, and wanted me to go home with him for the nite. But I jist couldent go. So he rode on.

Arter he was gone I got a lamp and sot down by the fire I had built in the stove, with some quilts around me, to read poor Jobe’s letter. And every word seemed to be another knife stuck in my heart.

Poor Jobe he is havin it hard too. I jist cried like my heart would break as I read what he writ. I send it to you to read. I want you to return it, as it is from the only person in the world that cares for me. Here it is—you can read it for yourself. You see it was writ at different times and places.

Elyria, O., Feb. 22, 1896.

To Betsy Gaskins.

My Dear Wife:—I have put off ritin to you thinkin I would be able to rite you somethin to make you happy, but to date I cant.

220I got into Lorain the third day arter leavin you. I found a big iron works there and lots of men at work, but on the sides of the door to their office and at all the gates around the big fence they have signs stuck up, readin:


I went into their office, and asked them if they couldent give me something to do.

They said: “No, we have all the men we need.”

I told them how I wanted somethin to do at any price; of our bein foreclosed and havin to git out and all. They shook their head and said they “had to turn away hundreds of men every day,” and told me to “look around,” I “might find work somewhere else.”

So I left and went from one place to another, and everywhere I went I saw them signs and was told the same thing.

I found lots of men huntin work.

On nearly every street, and down along the river and over by the lake, were men a campin and a sleepin in railroad cars and outdoors; cookin by fires built along the banks and on the shore; “waitin,” they said, “till they could git a job.”

I got my supper with three fellers that nite that done their cookin that way. They seemed to be nice fellers. They was from different parts of the country.

“At all the gates around the big fence they had signs stuck up.”

That nite I got a bed for fifteen cents, and had forty-three cents left.

The next day I walked and walked and walked to find work, but couldent.

At nite I had twenty-four cents left. Not wantin to git clear out of money, I got into an empty box-car and slept the best I could. It was cold, and most of the nite I had 221to walk from one end of the car to the other, back and forth, to keep myself warm.

So this mornin I come down here to Elyria, and have been from one end of the town to the other tryin to find work; but nobody seems to want to hire me.

I find men stayin out around town here too. They say they have been all over the country, and cant find work anywhere. I dont know what I will do. Ile go over to Berea and see if I cant find somethin there. I will not send this letter till I git there.

Cleveland, O., Feb. 26, 1896.
Box-car 1406, Valley Railway.

“I asked him for something to eat.”

Betsy:—I am here. I will finish my letter. God only knows what it is to be out of work, out of money and out of home. I am not well. Ive had to sleep outdoors, in cars and barns and around lumber piles so much that I have a 222bad cold. I have not had anything to eat since yisterday mornin. This cold weather has nearly used me up. I got one day’s work cuttin ice, and got a dollar for it. That nite I got me a warm supper and slept in a bed.

I run out of money at Elyria, and come from there to Berea.

The first beggin I done was from the farmers on the way. I got one warm meal and a cold lunch. I was in Berea a whole day and nite without anything to eat, so I jist had to go to beggin agin. I went to the Methodist preacher’s house one of them real cold mornins. I knocked, and the preacher come to the door. I asked him for somethin to eat. He called to the hired girl and told her to hand me a lunch, and went in, shut the door, and sot down by the fire. I could see him a settin there a readin the Cleveland Leader, with his feet restin on a plush foot-stool, and while that girl was a gittin that lunch and I was a standin out there in the 223wind a lookin at that good big fire I thought I would freeze. My teeth shook.

When the girl brought that lunch I was so cold that I could hardly take it. It was two pieces of cold bread, with some cold beef shaved off and laid between.

I was hungry and tried to eat it; the bites seemed to stick in my throat, it was so dry and cold. What I did swallow seemed like chunks of ice in my stomach, and made me colder. I shook from head to foot. I couldent eat it, I was so cold. So I put what I couldent eat in my pocket, thinkin I would eat it when I got warmer.

I thought Ide die with cold. No matter how fast I walked, I dident get warm. I went on and on till I got down where the bizness houses were. I could smell coffee and warm meat a fryin. It jist seemed as though I had to go in and take some, but I knew I darent. It seemed to make me colder. Finally I saw a sign sayin:


When I got up to it a man opened the door, a sweepin. I stopped, told him I had no money and was cold, and asked him if I could go into his place and warm.

“Certainly,” says he, “go right in. Ile be in in a minit.”

I went in—yes, Betsy, went into a saloon, the fust time in my life. Dont blame me. I had to—I was so cold. The stove was red-hot. When the feller come in and saw how I was shakin, says he:

“Old man, this is pretty cold weather to be out.”

“Yes,” says I, shiverin.

He brought me a chair and told me to set down. Then he felt my hands and ears and says:

224“Why, you are nearly froze.”

I told him about havin to stay out all nite, and about not havin anything warm for breakfast, the best I could, I shook so.

He went and got a big woolen cloth, held it to the stove till it got hot, and wrapped my ears up. Then he went and got a little glass full of liquor, and told me to drink it and it would warm me up. I told him I hadent any money, and had never drank a drop of liquor in my life.

“Well,” says he, “I know you have no money, and, if you had, a old man like you, in your condition, shouldent pay for it. If you dont wish to drink it I wont insist, but I thought it would warm you up.”

So he set the glass down on the counter and says:

“Ile make you a hot cup of coffee, and then I think you will feel better.”

When the saloonkeeper set the glass of whiskey down and went to gittin me some hot breakfast, I seemed to git colder inside as I got warmer outside. So, Betsy, I jist made up my mind that Ide drink that glass of whiskey if it killed me. And I did. Soon after I drank it I felt a warm feelin inside; and as I sot there it jist seemed as though I could feel myself a thawin out, with that big fire outside and that glass of whiskey inside. I sot there till the feller had my coffee and breakfast ready. It was the best coffee I ever tasted,—though, Betsy, I always loved the coffee you made,—and the fried eggs and the ham and the hot cakes jist seemed to melt in my mouth.

Well, arter I had my breakfast the saloonkeeper came around and sot down and asked me all about myself, and you too.

“‘Well, old man, sich things hadent ort to be.’”

And as I told all our trouble, about our foreclosin and sellin out, and my huntin work and not findin it, big tears would every now and then leave his big blue eyes and roll 226down his cheeks, and he kept a swallerin every little bit. When I had told him all, says he:

“Well, old man, sich things hadent ort to be.”

So, when I got ready to go, he shook my hand and wished me good luck in findin work; and when he took hold of my hand I felt somethin hard in his, and when he let go I had a silver dollar in mine. I handed it back to him, and told him I dident know as I could ever return it to him.

“No matter, pap,” says he, “keep it. If you are never able to return it, all right, and if you are able and never see me, ‘do unto some other human brother as I have done unto you,’ and the debt will be paid. Times are hard, and I have sich high taxes to pay that it makes money scarce with me, or I would give you more. I hate to see you go out in this cold; you are welcome to stay if you wish.”

But, Betsy, I was so anxious to find work and git a place for you that I couldent stay. So that day and nite I made it to here. This is a big town, but so far I have found no work.

Your lovin husband,
Jobe Gaskins.

When I got done readin that letter I was cryin out loud. Poor Jobe. I wonder where he was last nite.

Oh, how I love that man that took Jobe in and warmed him and fed him!

I love him though he is a saloonkeeper. I could throw my arms around his neck and cry on his shoulder with love for him and for his kindness toward Jobe.

Well, this mornin the world seems strange to me. Last nite arter I had gone to bed and could look up in the clear sky at the bright stars, it jist seemed to me, while I laid there in my bed beside the big road, that every star was a eye lookin down on me with pity. And, thinkin that they 227looked that way, I was not a bit afraid and went to sleep, and slept till daylite.

Hopin God will forgive them for makin and havin laws to put sich people as me out of home, I am

Your troubled and homeless
Betsy Gaskins.


THAT mornin arter I wrote you the last time—arter I had built me a fire in my stove and got my breakfast and washed up my dishes and made my bed—I sot down on a chair out there by the big road. I never felt so queer in all my life. Not a sound could be heard, except over on the hill near Jake Stiffler’s I could heer a cow a bawlin. It was awful lonesome. No one to speak to, nothin to look at, except my things piled up there beside the road.

I couldent help thinkin of poor Jobe—his beggin, and bein cold, and starvin, and sleepin in box-cars, and sich.

Well, arter I had sot there a while a thinkin, I felt so bad that I jist thought I would go up to the house and take a look at them rooms and the place we had so long loved as our home.

I felt afraid like to go, but I thought it might cheer me up to look into them rooms that I had cleaned and papered and swept—the rooms where Jobe and me had set in and slept; the rooms that had sheltered us in sickness and in health.

So I jist throwed a shawl over my head, and walked up the walk that I had walked up thousands of times.

There were the currant bushes, the lilac, the dead poppy stalks. And all the weeds and posies, that used to appear to wear a smile for me, now seemed to turn from me as if to say, “We haint yours any more. You have no bizness here now.”


“I slipped over and put my face agin the glass.”

And as I looked at them and felt that feelin, a lump would raise up in my throat, no matter how much I swallered and tried to keep it back.

Well, I walked on until I got up to the kitchen winder. When I got there it jist seemed that I couldent look in, but, knowin I had come there to see them rooms, half afraid like but determined, I slipped over and put my face agin the glass.

Everything was silent and still. There was my kitchen, all empty. Not a thing to be seen but that dear old kitchen—empty—no stove, no table, no chairs, no nothin. There was the winder where I stood cryin the mornin Jobe left. There by that winder I had set a combin my little Jane’s hair years ago, while she drew pictures on them same winderpanes with her little fingers. There were the nails Jobe had drove in the wall when we fust moved in; there was the same floor over which we had walked for 230years. Oh, how I longed to be a walkin over it agin! I was locked out—I couldent git in.

So I went from one winder to another, lookin in at them rooms. There was the same grate that had warmed us; there in that corner, evenin arter evenin, Jobe had set and studied; there in the other corner I had set and knit, or set and read. It seemed that I could see Jobe there now. Oh! how I would love to see him there. Poor Jobe! I wonder if he thinks of the evenins weve spent beside that fire together. There was our bed-room—empty, silent and still—no bed, no nothin. There in that room I had set, nite arter nite, with little Jane when she was sick; there she had throwed her little arms around my neck and put her fevered face agin mine the last time. From that room Ellen Jane Moore had carried her arter she was gone. It was empty now. I was locked out. I couldent go in.

Turnin from them rooms, I walked around the yard, lookin at the fence, the well, the coal-house, and the things that had been mine. Then, comin to the front yard, I come to the little white rose-bush; it seemed to look at me pleadin like. I started to go on, but I couldent. That rose-bush seemed to call me back. So I jist got me a sharp stick and dug it up, and took it down to where my things were and wrapped it up in a cloth.

When I got back to the big road, and was settin there wonderin what Ide do, how long Ide have to live there in the big road, where Ide go to and sich, Constable Bill Adams come a ridin by.

When he got up to me, says he:

“Why, Mrs. Gaskins, what are you a doin with all this stuff piled in the road?”

“Ime livin here,” says I.

“Well, youle have to git this stuff out of the road,” says 231he. “You darent obstruct the public highway. Its dangerous to have a pile of stuff like this in the big road; its liable to scare horses, and somebody might git hurt or killed. Its aginst the law, Mrs. Gaskins, its aginst the law, and you will have to move it.”

“The law put it here,” says I.

“No matter,” says he; “youle have to git out of here, or youle be arrested.”

“Where will I put it?”

“How do I know?” says he. “Youle have to look out for that yourself. Git it out of here, and that mighty quick, or you will git yourself into trouble.”

And he rode on towards town.

Well, as he rode away I sot down and begin to think. Here I was, a old woman, set out in the big road by the Law—put out of the house we had paid $3,800 towards; the house empty, and now comes the Law and orders me to even git away from where the Law had put me. What to do I dident know. I jist sot there a cryin and helpless, when I heerd wagons comin down the road. I looked up, and there come two wagons and four men down the hill.

They drove up and stopped, and there was Tom Osborne, and Charley McGlinchey, and that fat black-smith, and Jones the baker, all from Mineral Pint. They had come to move me.

Tom Osborne had went home the night before and told them about me bein put out in the big road, and they went together and got teams and come and moved me to town here.

They seemed to be nice, kind men, but talked like them Populists.

They dident talk much to me, but I heerd them talkin to each other, sayin: “Its a shame,” “a disgrace to civilization,” “wrong,” “wouldent be if the people could borrow 232money from the government like they do in Switzerland,” and all sich. They even said: “The time haint fur off when it can be done, and the likes of this wont be.” And then they said a good deal agin the money power and polerticians, and sich, until I was glad Jobe wasent there to flare up. I was glad he wasent there, though Ide give the world to know where he is, or to have him with me.

Well, they brought me to town and rented me this house here at 1412 West Front Street, and paid the rent for a month; then two of them drove off, and soon brought me a load of coal. While them two were gone for the coal the other two set up my stove, and fixed up my bed, and set things around in pretty good shape for men; then, wishin me good luck, and hopin Jobe would soon git work and I would git to go to him, they drove off. They all looked pityin like as they left.

I went to the post-office the next mornin to tell them I had changed my place of livin. I got this letter from Jobe. It jist seems there is no end of trouble for the people who are poor.

Poor Jobe, how my heart bleeds for him. Here is his letter. Read it for yourself:

Cleveland Work-house,
Cleveland, O., March 5, 1896.

To Betsy Gaskins.

My Dear Wife and Only Friend:—I am here in this prison—put here by the law. God only knows my feelins. I am not a criminal. Ive done no wrong. Betsy, don’t blame me. Pity me. I am a old man. I have worked hard. Ive been honest. Ive tried to do right. To-day I am in prison, wearin stripes. I was hungry. I had no money. I asked for bread. They arrested me.


It was day before yisterday. I had hunted for work all day. I had had nothin to eat for a whole day and nite. I was passin up Ontario Street, near Hull & Dutton’s big clothin store. I saw a well-dressed man, with a high silk hat on, with a hand full of paper money, talkin loud and offerin to bet $500 that McKinley would git the delegates from Allegheny County. There were several fellers standin there a listenin and talkin, and two policemen. I stepped up and asked the feller with the money if he could give me enough to git me a supper and bed. I was so hungry and nearly sick by sleepin outdoors.

The feller turned around and looked black at me. Then, turnin to the policemen, he ordered them to arrest me, sayin:

“Ime d—d if I dont intend to break up this beggin on the streets.”

The policemen took hold of me and jerked me out of the crowd and pulled me down Champlain Street hill to the city prison, and locked me in a iron cage.

234I asked one of them who the big man was that ordered me arrested. He said it was “the Director of Charities, one of the leadin city officers.”

You may have read in the papers of him a havin a tramp arrested for askin him for somethin to buy bread with.

That tramp, Betsy, was me.

They say he gits $5,000 a year for bein “Director of Charities.”

Well, they tried me next mornin and found me guilty.

I am up for ten days. I cant find any work or a place for you till I git out.

They brought me out here in a wagon with a cage on it. They call it the “Black Mariar.” There was a lot of us in it. Betsy, pity me. Dont blame me.

Your lovin husband,       Jobe Gaskins.

Mistur Editure, I cant comment. I feel so bad.



I AM sick. I have been sick since day before yisterday. I have a high fever. My head bothers me. I cant rite. Here is another letter I got from poor Jobe. Oh! how I wish he was here. I know he would care for me and watch over me and do for me while Ime sick. Read his letter and return it. They seem so near to me. I havent been able to be out of bed much to-day. If Jobe was only out of that dreadful place.

Cleveland Work-house,
Cleveland, O., March 9, 1896.

To Betsy Gaskins.

Dear Wife:—I got your letter yisterday. I cant tell you how I felt when I read of them a puttin you out.

Betsy, I little thought, the day you stood beside me and become my wife, that the time would come when you would have to sleep outdoors in the big road.

I felt then, Betsy, as though I was strong enough, and God knows I was willin, to provide a home for you as long as we both lived. Dont blame me, Betsy. Ive done the best I could. You know Ive worked hard, and we have lived savin, but by some unknown reason all I have aimed is gone. Mr. Richer has $3,800 of it. Ive done the best I could.

I have to work hard here in this place, but Ime not complainin, nor wouldent complain if I was gittin paid for what work I do, so that I could help you.


“I have to work hard in this place.”

Ime a wheelin coal to the furnace and a wheelin hot cinders away.

It keeps me bizzy.

There are lots of men in here. A great many for beggin—jist as I am. Betsy, dont let the neighbors know they have me locked up. I feel so disgraced.

I feel that if that “Director of Charities,” that had me arrested and put in here, had known that I had feelins; if he had known that I was a honest old man; if he had thought of the difference between a old man, hungry, away from home and out of money—I say, Betsy, if he had thought of the difference between sich a man as I was and a man drawin $5,000 a year as a leadin city officer, like hisself, I dont think he could have had the heart to have had me arrested and sent to prison.

Lots of the fellers in here seem to be honest, kind-hearted people, but poor and away from home. Not bein known to the officers, they are arrested and sent out here.

237Betsy, I long to see you. When I git out I will come back. I cant find any work up here. Nobody seems to want to hire me.

My hand is sore. I can hardly use it. But then the feller what watches me work keeps me a goin. He dont allow me to stop a minit from the time they let me out of my cell in the mornin till they lock me in it agin at nite.

The way I come to hurt my hand was—I had a dream. Ive been a dreamin more or less for some time. Ime so tired and my bed is so hard. I suppose I dont sleep sound is why I dream so.

I dreamed I was in this work-house and there was more than a thousand other men in, and a comin in from ten to thirty a day—mostly for bein hungry and beggin.

Well, I thought one bright mornin one of the guards come through the buildin a hollerin and poundin on a big gong, and tellin all the fellers “to come into the big yard” that is in this place. He said that they had some good news for us. “Glad tidings of great joy,” says he.

I thought we all stopped work and went a hurryin to that big yard, and when I got there the yard was alive with people, men waitin to hear them “tidings.”

Well, when we all got into that yard two nice-lookin men climbed up on the platform that is in the middle and one of them says:

Fellow-Citizens, Gentlemen and Brothers: We are delegated by the proper authority to declare unto you this beautiful morning a new law that has been made by our brothers, the law-makers at Washington. We solicit your undivided attention for a few moments.”

He then read:

Be it resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives, in Congress assembled: That the chief aim of human government should be to secure to each individual member of 238such government contentment and happiness; that this can be done only by securing to all the unrestricted opportunity to employ the means intended by the Creator for earning a livelihood—i. e., labor.

Therefore be it enacted, That a fund of $500,000,000 be provided (by the issue of said sum in full legal-tender greenback notes, in denominations of one, two and five dollars) and set apart for the purpose of giving employment to such American citizens as may have no other employment, and who may go before any board of county commissioners in the United States and certify under oath that they are American citizens, are out of employment and desire to perform manual labor in the service of this government.

“Thereupon it shall be the duty of said county commissioners to assign to such citizens work in improving any of the public highways in said county, or in constructing and equipping any public utility in and for said county. The wages due each citizen for said services shall be paid to him, weekly, by the treasurer of the county in which the services are performed, on the warrant of the county auditor and order of the said commissioners. A monthly statement of the amounts so paid out shall be sent by the treasurer of the county to the Treasury Department at Washington, and thereupon the sum thereof shall be repaid from the fund aforesaid into the treasury of such county.

“On and after the passage of this act it shall be unlawful for any person to beg or ask alms in the United States except in cases of physical disability.”

Arter he had read this law says he:

“Gentlemen, we are aware that most of you are here because you are victims of the system that has heretofore prevailed—many for asking for bread when hungry, others 239for other offenses, which you may have been forced to commit in consequence of having no employment and being in want.

“Our county commissioners have assigned and set apart work, on the Shaker Hill road and Kinsman Street, sufficient to give employment to three thousand men for several months, and Governor Bushnell has, by proclamation, given their liberty to all inmates of the penal institutions of the State (except the penitentiary) who desire to avail themselves of the opportunity to work as provided by the law I have just read. You, gentlemen, are excused from making the oath mentioned.

“One nice little place that I thought I would rent as soon as I got my first week’s pay.”

“Now, all you who desire to work on these public improvements will form in line and pass out through the office, giving your correct names and addresses, as you now become once more respected American citizens. Form in line, two abreast, out on Woodland Avenue, facing east, and we will take pleasure in conducting you to the places of employment. There you will be supplied with the necessary tools, and arrangements will be made at different places where you can get accommodations until you receive your first pay for services. Your compensation will be $1.50 each per day.”

240At that he stopped. Every man in that yard was in line. It seemed as though a cloud had rose up off from that crowd. Every one looked happy, cheerful.

Well, Betsy, we marched out into the open air onto Woodland Avenue, and each one gave his real name and address to the clerk as we passed out.

Then we all went out to the place where they were at work.

There they were—hundreds of them—a plowin, and a shovelin, and a haulin, a talkin and a laffin, a whistlin and a singin.

I looked at several houses as we were on our way out, and saw one nice little place that I thought I would rent as soon as I got my first week’s pay.

When the week was up I went, and sure enough it was empty. I hunted up the owner, and got it for $5 a month. I used $3 of the other four to pay my board.

I worked there three weeks, makin $27, and had sent for you. I was lookin for you on Saturday, and could hardly wait until you come. I felt young agin.

I worked there three weeks.

Well, when I got to my boardin place on Thursday night, I went in and up to my room, thinkin that in two more days you would be with me. When I opened the door, there you was a comin toward me with your arms stretched out. My heart leaped. I jumped towards you, throwin out my arms to embrace you, when——

I struck my hand agin the iron bed-post in my cell and nearly broke it. It woke me up. Everything was cold and dark. You was not there. I felt so queer that I sot up in bed, and I sot there a thinkin of that dream—thinkin of how glad I was to git work; thinkin of that law, and what a grand country this would be if sich was the law; thinkin of that little house with green winder-blinds; thinkin of you doin your cookin and sweepin, your dustin 242and cleanin in that little house; thinkin of me a makin $9 every week, and a countin the money out to you every Saturday night in new, crisp greenbacks; thinkin of all these things, and then thinkin of you a sleepin out there in the road, you a goin hungry and without shelter because I cant git any sich work; thinkin how happy we might be and how troubled we are. I jist had to cry. I had to, though Ime a man. I sot there on the side of that iron bed till I nearly froze; then I laid down and went to sleep and slept till half-past five, when the watchman came around to waken me up to go to wheelin coal and cinders for another twelve hours for nothin.

“Everything was cold and dark.”

I will git out a Monday, and will start back as soon as they let me out. Somethin tells me I ort to be there; and its no use me tryin to find work in this place or any other. They either have “all the help they need,” or else “dont want to hire a old man.”

243Hopin this will find you well, and that some kind person has taken you in out of the big road, I am, Betsy,

Your lovin but discouraged husband,
Jobe Gaskins.

Mistur Editure, the more I think of that letter, the more I think of that poor old man a carin for me, and a dreamin about me, the worse it makes my head ache and the higher it makes my fever. If I had the money I would send for a doctor, but I haint got it; and if I had, I haint got anybody to go. I jist have to lay here. No fire, no one to look at, no one to talk to—jist lay here and look at the ceilin and think. Ile have to quit.

Hopin your folks are all well,
Wife of
Jobe Gaskins (Republican).


Tuscarawas County Poor-house,
Near New Philadelphia, O., March 15, 1896.

MR. EDITOR:—My name is Hattie Moore. My age is seventeen. My father was a soldier. My mother is a widow. I was betrayed by one of the leading city officials, and while he to-day is performing the duty and drawing the salary of an office of trust and honor, his child and I, its girl mother, are inmates of this poor-house.

I write to let you know about Betsy Gaskins. They brought her here yesterday. She is very sick. She is delirious and talks a great deal in her sleep, about somebody by the name of Jobe, and about their home and high interest, and $3,800, and being turned out, and all such things. Judging from the wrinkles on her face and the hard places in her hands, she must have been a hard-working old woman.

I pity her so much that every now and then I steal into the room where they put her. I stayed in there nearly all night last night, though I knew it was against the rules. But my baby slept well, and I hated to let the poor woman lie in that room all night sick and alone.

245I just thought that if my old mother was sick and poor and taken to a place like this, I would love any girl who would be kind to her and pity her. I would love her even though she had been betrayed and was in the poor-house to get away from the taunts of a heartless world.

I asked the man who brought her here who she was and where she came from.

He diden’t seem to know much about her. He said that some people found her sick and delirious in a small house in the west end and notified the township trustees; that the trustees went to the prosecuting attorney and wanted to know what was best to be done with her and if the law would permit them to hire somebody to go to her house and take care of her. The prosecuting attorney asked if she had any money or property. The trustees told him that she had not; that she was very poor—had nothing.

“Send her to the poor-house,” says the prosecutor, “send her to the poor-house. The best thing to do with such people is to get rid of them.”

So, the expressman said, they came and got him, and they drove out and loaded her into his express wagon, and he brought her out here.

“Her name is Betsy Gaskins,” says he.

It was cold and stormy, and the poor old soul was in great pain all night.

A few minutes ago I went in, and she was breathing so weak that I put my hand in her bosom to see if her heart was beating, and I found this letter from “Jobe Gaskins.” It seems she is a married woman, and he has been away from home and is coming back. I send it to you, and, if you see him, tell him where he can find his wife.

Now, Mr. Editor, you had better send this old man’s letter back, so that if the old lady gets better she will have 246it. But I don’t know as she will ever be much better; she seems to be sinking.

Send the old man out as soon as he gets there.

From a friend to Betsy Gaskins,
Hattie Moore.
Akron, O., March 12, 1896.

To Betsy Gaskins.

Dear Wife:—They let me out last Monday. I felt very strange when they opened them big doors and told me to go. When I got out onto the street I felt jist like a feller does when he is lost in a big woods. I dident know which way to start. But I wanted to git back to you. I saw a depot marked “Woodland Station,” and I went over there—went in and sot down. Pretty soon a passenger train come in headed south. Everybody got up to take it, and, I dont know why, but I went with the crowd and into the car. When the train got started, I thought of havin no ticket or money.

The conductor dident get around to me until we had passed Newburg.

I was lookin out at the big buildin where they keep crazy people, when he teched me on the shoulder and says, “Ticket.”

I told him I had no ticket nor money; that I was a old man; had been out tryin to find work and couldent; that my wife was sick and I was wantin to git back.

He said: “You cant ride on this train. Youle have to git off.”

I asked him if he couldent let me ride; that I would pay him some time if I ever got the money.

“No,” says he, “my instructions are to carry no one without a ticket or the money.”

247I told him the people what owned the railroad was rich and wouldent care if he let a old man ride to Bayard.

“No,” says he, “you must git off at Bedford. Ime not permitted to carry you.”

Well, when they got to Bedford I jist sot still, thinkin he might forgit me. But when he come in I saw he was mad. He rang the bell, and the train stopped; then him and the brakesman come and took hold of me and dragged me out of that train, and when they got me out they give me a shove, jumped into the train, rang the bell and went.

“He teched me on the shoulder.”

They shoved me so hard that I fell down and struck my knee agin a big iron pin that laid beside the track, and hurt it so bad that I can hardly walk. Then I come on till I got to Hudson; then I got onto a freight train between two cars and rode to Cuyahoga Falls; there they arrested me for it and was a goin to send me to the work-house agin. But when I told them all they let me go if I would agree to git out of town in thirty minits. They went through all my pockets, to see if I had any money, 248before they told me that. I got out, and now I am walkin. I will git there as soon as I can. The soles are off my boots, and my feet are wet nearly all the time.

Hopin this will find you better,

I am your lovin husband,
Jobe Gaskins.

“I got onto a freight train.”



Tuscarawas County Poor-house,
Near New Philadelphia, O., March 25, 1896.

MR. EDITOR:—Your letter asking more about Betsy Gaskins received. I will tell you all I know. Whether Betsy Gaskins is living or dead I cannot say, and I never will know, though what I do know I never can forget.

The strange things I have seen since I last wrote you are mysteries that can only be guessed at; they cannot be solved.

Betsy had been growing worse every day till the night of that terrible storm. The rain and sleet and snow, the wind and hail, made it one of the most dismal nights I ever saw. The roaring in the woods on the hill back of the poor-house sounded like a storm on the ocean. In every direction cattle and sheep were bawling. It was so cold, and the noise, I suppose, kept them awake.

That night Betsy was worse. She had smothering spells that it seemed she would die in, and her suffering was terrible. I couldn’t leave her, though my baby was fretful and kept awake till after ten o’clock. I was with her almost all the time.

I had let the window down from the top to let in fresh air, as she seemed to need it. I had no light except what came in over the transom of the door from the hall.

It was about two o’clock that I was sitting there all alone. Betsy seemed to be getting worse very fast.


“Pushing back the hair of the sick woman, leaned over and kissed her on the forehead.”

The roaring of the storm, the bellowing of the cattle, the creaking of the window shutters and the moaning of that old woman made it sad and lonesome.

I was sitting there, thinking of what an awful thing it is to be poor and homeless and sick and friendless,—thinking of the wrong and misery, the cruelty and crime that is going on in the world against the weak and helpless,—when for some reason I looked toward the window, and there was the face of the most beautiful little girl I ever saw, looking in just over the sash. Her face seemed to shine, it was so bright. Her hair was the color of gold. I couldn’t speak.

That face (for the face and shoulders were all I could see) seemed to float in at that window, and for a minute stood still, like a humming-bird in the air, in the middle of that room, with its eyes steadily fixed on the old woman. Then it moved slowly and quietly downward and lit on the 251bed beside Betsy, and, pushing back the hair of the sick woman, leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. At that Betsy opened her eyes and clasped the little girl in her arms, saying:

“Oh, my child!”

The head said, “Mamma.”

They held each other there a minute or so, when Betsy all of a sudden threw her arms in the air, half rose up and screamed at the top of her voice:

“See! see! Look yonder! Your father’s burning! Go, child! Go!”

The little girl turned her head, and they both looked toward the west wall a second, as though they saw something terrible to behold. Then the child rose as quick as thought, and, like a flash, went out at the window, screaming in a tone that made the chills run over me, “Oh, my papa!”

Betsy fell back upon the bed, and seemed to be greatly troubled and in much pain.

I had set there possibly an hour, watching the sufferings of that poor woman, and thinking of that little girl, when all of a sudden I looked toward the window, and there again was the face of that little girl and the face of an old man. The little girl was pointing with her chubby finger toward the sick woman; the other arm she had around the old man. He was looking to where she was pointing, troubled like.

I can’t say I was scared. I just felt speechless.

When they had looked a little bit, both of them came in at that window—just floated in—and stood in mid-air.

Betsy was resting easier, and it seemed they didn’t wish to wake her.

“There lay Mrs. Gaskins.”

I could see more of the little girl than before. Both their faces were bright, and the lower down you looked the 252dimmer they got, till they became colorless. I thought I could see their feet, as clear as glass.

Well, after they had rested there in the air a few seconds the little girl took her arm from around the old man, and they both settled down beside the old woman, one on one side of the bed, the other on the other side, and they each stroked her hair back with their hands.

Pretty soon Betsy opened her eyes, and looked up, happy like, first at one, then at the other; then she stretched out her arms, and they both laid their faces down beside hers, one on one side and one on the other.

She seemed to rest easier then, only her breathing was slower and each time farther apart. Pretty soon I saw a mist or something gathering over her between the old man and the little girl. I watched it, and it kept growing brighter and brighter, till I could see the form of a woman; then I could see that it appeared alive and looked like Mrs. Gaskins, only happier. Mrs. Gaskins began to suffer now, and was getting her breath hard.

There again was the face of that little girl and the face of an old man.

Finally the old man and the little girl rose up, and each put an arm around this form. The form would first look at one, then the other. Then Mrs. Gaskins gave one long, hard gasp, and straightened out, and the form broke loose, and all three rose up in the air and floated to the middle 254of the room, stopped, turned, and all looked at the bed. Then they turned and gazed at me. I couldn’t move. They kissed each other and began to move slowly toward the window, each with an arm around another. As they went out through the window the little girl began to sing the prettiest song I ever heard, in a low, sweet tone.

When they were gone I got up and ran to the window. There they were, going up through the sky above the barn, the little girl singing at the top of her voice.

I stood there looking as long as I could see them. I heard that little girl still singing as they went out of sight over the hill back of the poor-house.

“In the morning there was found a white-haired man.”

I felt so weak that I don’t know how long I stood there, but finally I thought that I must run and tell the superintendent that Mrs. Gaskins had gone. With that thought in my mind I turned from the window, crossed the room, and was just opening the door, when I happened to look toward the bed. And there lay Mrs. Gaskins as she had lain all evening, only stiller.

I was scared. I could hardly believe it. I went to the bed. She was cold. She did not breathe. I rubbed my eyes and hands and face to try to bring myself to realize what it all meant. Then I went into my room and lay down beside my baby till morning.

255I straightened out Betsy’s clothes the next morning before they put her in the box. While doing so, I found a little rose-bush, tied up neatly in a rag and pinned fast to her skirt.

This, Mr. Editor, is all I know of Betsy Gaskins.

Of Jobe Gaskins I know very little, unless it was he that came with the little girl.

In yesterday’s daily paper, however, I noticed this item:

New Philadelphia, O., March 22, 1896.—Last night a supposed tramp entered the Canal Dover rolling-mill in an almost frozen condition and asked for shelter from the storm. In accordance with his instruction from the company, the night watchman ejected him. In the morning there was found a white-haired man, apparently sixty years of age, lying cold in death on the ash-heap. The initials ‘J. G.’ were marked on his shirt. His face was burned so that it scarcely looked like a human countenance. His feet and body were covered with ice and snow.

“The coroner’s jury, judging from the time the man was refused shelter in the mill and from the amount of snow on his feet and body, decided that he must have died between two and three o’clock the night before.”

Could this tramp, Mr. Editor, have been the old man who was trying to get back to his sick wife?

Hattie Moore.

P. S.—The rose-bush which I found pinned to poor Betsy’s skirt I have planted on her grave.



BETSY GASKINS’ sad history and the terrible fate of poor Jobe—for he it was whose body was found on the cinder-pile—caused great excitement, not only in Tuscarawas County, but throughout Ohio, and even in many other sections of the country. One Chicago paper devoted a whole column to portraying the awfulness of turning an old man from a friendly shelter on such a cruel night as the one when Jobe Gaskins froze to death. Other papers in different parts of the Union expatiated on the hardships of the old couple from the time the hard hand of the law began to push them from their home until death took pity on them and removed them beyond the reach of man’s cruelty to man. The lesson of their humble lives was made the subject of sermons and of editorials everywhere.

By the time of the campaign of 1896, the people of the United States had become so wrought up that there seemed to be a spontaneous demand for the restoration of the conditions which prevailed when it was possible for Jobe Gaskins and his likes to pay off their debts. So universal was the demand that three parties nominated the same 257candidate for president. He made a brilliant campaign; but, owing to his being handicapped by a plutocratic, mortgage-holding, interest-taking running mate, he was defeated.

Out of the campaign and the knowledge gained by the people, however, much good resulted. In many States legislatures were elected that were above the corrupting influence of the money power. The people were awake to their needs, and many laws were enacted for the betterment of the conditions of the common people, particularly the poor and homeless.

Ohio, especially, was active in this direction. It seemed that nearly every member of the legislature had learned the story of Betsy and Jobe Gaskins, and had come to Columbus determined, if possible, to provide laws that would stay the hands of Ohio sheriffs from turning honest people out of the shelter they had erected by their own industry and economy, and to make it easier for people to pay for homes.

It was only the second day of the session when sixteen bills were presented in the House and four in the Senate, all designed to lessen the hardships of debtors and the burdens of the oppressed.

There seemed to be a unanimity of opinion that county treasurers should be authorized to receive money on deposit in order to protect the depositor from loss; that money so deposited should be exempt from taxation, and that legal interest should be reduced to four per cent. There was some diversity of opinion as to whether or not the treasurers should do a general banking business; all agreed, however, that money should be loaned out on first mortgage real estate security at not to exceed four per cent. interest. The bills were referred to a committee appointed for the purpose, and the following is the bill reported back 258by the committee, the chairman of which, Mr. L. W. Chambers, of Ashtabula County, became its champion:


Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio: That on and after the first Monday in April, A. D. 1898, any person so desiring may deposit money in any sum from one dollar ($1) up, with the treasurer of the county in which he resides, and receive therefor a certificate of deposit or a credit on a pass-book, and all such money may be withdrawn on demand unless otherwise stipulated in the certificate of deposit. The treasurer may require a notice of sixty days for the withdrawal of any sum exceeding one hundred dollars ($100).

Sec. 2. The county treasurers of Ohio are hereby authorized to receive on deposit money from the citizens of their respective counties; keep the same separate from the other funds received by them; place the same in a special account, to be called the People’s Savings Fund; provide such extra clerk hire as may be necessary to attend to the business; lend the money of such fund on first mortgage real estate security to such citizens as may apply for same, at a rate of simple interest not to exceed four (4) per cent. per annum.

“All securities and title of property shall be certified to the treasurer by the auditor and recorder, and shall be appraised by a board of appraisers residing in the township where the property is situated.

“Not more than ninety (90) per cent. of the appraised value of any property shall be loaned thereon.

“The trustees of the respective townships of Ohio are hereby constituted a board of appraisers of the property on which loans may be asked in such township. For such appraisement, whether the loan is granted or not, the applicant shall pay said appraisers a fee of two dollars 259each. At least two of such appraisers shall go upon and assess the value of any such property.

“The borrower shall pay all incidental charges connected with any loan. The treasurer shall not receive more than one per cent. per annum on the money loaned, as his compensation for conducting and caring for said business; all interest received, less expense to said treasurer, shall be distributed pro rata to the depositors in accordance with the amount and time of deposit.

“A failure to pay interest for three years shall work a forfeiture of any loan made under the provisions of this act, and the property shall revert to the county without process of law further than order of court upon sworn statement of the treasurer as to such delinquency; and the mortgagee shall be permitted to occupy such premises for such a length of time as the payments made thereon shall amount to a yearly rental of four per cent. and taxes, after which the said property may be rented at not less than four per cent. and taxes, or sold at private sale at not less than appraised value.

“Any losses sustained by the depositors, through the defalcation or dishonesty of the county treasurer, or any other officer of a county, shall be paid by the county in full, and the said officer apprehended, his property, as well as any and all property transferred or assigned by him during his incumbency, shall be confiscated, and he shall be hanged by the neck until dead, without benefit of trial except to ascertain the certainty of such defalcation or dishonesty. In such cases there shall be no appeal, pardon or reprieve.”

No sooner was this law proposed than the telegraph wires were put in use to notify every banker in Ohio, as well as the principal bankers in Chicago, New York and other great centers.

260Their hired agents were there. In two days the lobbies and corridors of the State-house at Columbus were crowded with well-dressed, well-fed, diamond-studded gentlemen from all parts of the country, crying out against such a law and picturing the direful results that would follow its passage.

Legislators were buttonholed, wined and dined, threatened, abused, coaxed, cajoled, persuaded and bribed for some five or six days. The newspapers of the country denounced the bill as “revolutionary,” “socialistic,” “destructive,” “ruinous,” and suggested that “the militia should be called out to drive the anarchistic law-makers not only from the State-house at Columbus, but out of the State of Ohio.” They bemoaned “the terrible disgrace that had already been brought upon the fair name of Ohio,” and claimed that “to uphold the honor and integrity of the State the bill must be overwhelmingly defeated.” Brilliant lawyers and leading business men were summoned to Columbus to oppose the bill and to tell the law-makers how bitterly the people were opposed to it.

All this time from ten to a hundred homes were being sold weekly by the sheriff of each county. Thousands were starving in Chicago, New York and other cities and towns, and all because during all their lives they had been paying directly or indirectly from six to ten per cent. interest to these same fat, well-dressed fellows who were now at Columbus trying to prevent legislation for the relief of the people.

For days it looked as though the bill would be defeated. Very few spoke in its favor, but one could hear criticism almost anywhere. Two days before it was to come up for third reading a thing happened, however, that gave it new life. Bill-posters in all parts of the city of Columbus 261filled the bill-boards and store windows with brilliant posters announcing that on the following night the famous actor James A. Herne and his company would play

“BETSY GASKINS (Dimicrat),
JOBE GASKINS (Republican),”

at the Grand Opera-house, for the benefit of the poor of the city, and that the members of the General Assembly of the State of Ohio had been invited to attend free as the guests of Tom L. Johnson, of Cleveland. The large posters in the windows and on the bill-boards showed “Betsy Set Out in the Big Road,” “Jobe in Berea,” “The Cinder Pile,” and “Little Jane at the Family Reunion.”

Crowds gathered before the windows and about the bill-boards, studying the pictures. Strong men and brave women were seen to wipe away the tear of sorrow as they recalled and rehearsed the sad tale of Jobe and Betsy Gaskins.

In the afternoon word got out that the legislature had under consideration a bill that would make it easier for people to get homes. By morning of the next day it was the talk of the town.

The night of the show the large theater could not hold more than one-fourth of those who had come to see. The doors were closed at seven o’clock, and the performance began at once, word being sent to the disappointed crowd outside that Mr. Herne would give two shows that night, the doors to open for the second performance at nine o’clock, and, further, that seats would be free to all, only those paying who desired to contribute to the fund for the needy.

Immense enthusiasm, tears, and at times laughter, 262followed the players. As the hardships, trials and disappointments of poor old Betsy and innocent Jobe were made vivid and real by the actors, like conditions in the lives of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters or friends came to the memory of nearly every one in the audience, and tears and sobs proved the interest with which the people were drinking in the great lesson that was passing before them. Finally, when the curtain fell on the last act, instead of the crowd rising and hastening to the exits, as crowds usually do, they sat for some moments as if spell-bound. Then individuals began to rise in their seats here and there, and, leaning over, to converse with their nearest neighbors in words and tones of consolation and hope, as though some great pall hung over them. Women were crying; the men looked earnest and thoughtful.

This was the condition of the audience when a great tumult was noticed in the front of the house; loud shouts of men filled the room, while above all others and on the shoulders of two brawny men there was lifted a middle-aged man, pale, nervous, yet seemingly calm. Every one seemed to be trying to reach his hand or touch his garments. He smiled. He was borne forward to the stage and placed upon it. At the same time two other men climbed on with him. When the larger of the two, who I afterward learned was the representative from Seneca County, vigorously pounded for order, the crowd settled back in their seats and quiet reigned. Then the big legislator said:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have witnessed to-night one of the most wonderful plays ever presented to an intelligent public—wonderful in the fact that it is so true to life that nearly every one in the vast audience knows some near or dear one who is only Betsy or Jobe Gaskins under another name; wonderful in the fact that this proud nation of the United States, after an existence of over one hundred 263years, should have a system of laws that works such terrible hardships on her citizens, and then claim to be civilized or advanced; wonderful in the fact that these conditions exist on every hand, in every direction, and yet a nation of Christians has not risen up against them. But, good people, my heart swells with joy when I tell you that sitting by my side, carried here in the arms of admiration, is a man who has set out to relieve the people of Ohio from such slavery—who has introduced in the legislature a bill which will come up for a third reading to-morrow, and which will relieve the poor of many of such hardships as poor Betsy and Jobe Gaskins had to bear—a bill, if you please, that will make it easier for us and our children to buy and pay for a home.

“Fellow-citizens, I present to you the Hon. L. W. Chambers, of Ashtabula County, the chairman of the committee and champion of the bill I have just referred to.”

The audience arose en masse, climbed on seats, cheered, stamped and whistled, while Mr. Chambers, without a smile, but calmly and courteously, bowed and sat down.

Then the big legislator, after getting the crowd quiet again, said that the bill he referred to would enable any one with reasonable security to borrow money from the county treasury at not more than four per cent. interest, and that in his opinion the play they had just seen had in part offset the influence of the lobbying bankers who had been hanging around the Assembly hall like buzzards for nearly a week.

Mr. Herne then came out and requested the audience to disperse, stating that four thousand other people were waiting outside for a repetition of the play.

The audience left reluctantly. No sooner was the theater cleared than the second audience made a rush for admission. 264It was only a few moments until the house was filled again from pit to gallery.

The interest manifested was fully as great as that evoked by the first performance, and the acting again was superb. At 11:20 o’clock the curtain fell on the last act for the second time that night.

The next morning early people from all parts of the city could be seen traveling in the direction of the State-house, in street-cars, carriages, on bicycles and afoot. All seemed to be intent and anxious. Fully fifteen thousand people were on the State-house grounds by nine o’clock. They talked, whispered, argued and made speeches. The sole theme was Betsy Gaskins and the new law. The antiquated crank was there, claiming that it “can’t be done,” “better leave things as they are.” Every now and then a lobbying banker could be seen, slipping along, eyes cast downward, as though he felt his guilt.

When the session opened the galleries of the Assembly room were filled with people. The State-house was full. The gavel of the speaker fell. The chaplain offered prayer. He prayed that right might prevail; that the poor and heavy-laden might be unburdened; that the bribe-taker, together with the bribe-giver, might perish from the land; and, above all, he invoked the blessings of Divine Providence on the acts of that particular day.

After prayer silence reigned a while. It was broken when a tall, partly bald, large-faced, keen-eyed law-maker over in the northeast corner of the hall arose in his seat, took a general survey of the house and galleries, took a large roll of money from his pocket, and, waving it above his head, said in thunder tones:

“Behold! See that money!”

“Behold! See that money! There sit in this house fifty-three men who know where that money came from, and what it was given for. They know it because they 265each have received from the same hand like sums. They came here sworn to represent the people who elected them; they would sell them into slavery instead. They are bribe-takers, and have sold their votes and influence against the bill that comes up to-day. This hall for the last week has been surrounded by a horde of lobbying bankers and bankers’ lawyers, buying the manhood of men that the poor may continue to be oppressed.”

Then, turning and pointing toward a banker from Cincinnati who sat in the south gallery, he said:

“There is the man! I defy him to deny that he paid me the five hundred dollars I hold in my hand to vote and work against this bill!”

The banker was livid. All eyes were turned toward him. He sat looking straight at the legislator, who pictured the banker as a “thief,” a “murderer,” a “corrupter of justice,” a “despoiler of government,” and closed by waving his hand over the hall and exclaiming that such 266criminals had by their own acts put themselves beyond the pale of the law.

By this time the crowd had become furious. The Assembly arose as one man, many with rolls of money in their hands, and a cry went up that was awful to hear—a cry of lost manhood found.

There were repeated calls for order, but there was no order to be had. Well-dressed, sleek men could be seen hurriedly making their exit from all the doors of the State-house, and hastening at full speed in all directions. For more than an hour the tumult continued.

In the meantime some of the spectators had caught the Cincinnati briber and a lobbying lawyer from Findlay, and, securing a rope, tied them together, took them out on High Street, and made them run a gauntlet of some three hundred yards’ length through a maddened concourse of American citizens. Some had staves, straps, switches; others, lamp-black, flour, Venetian red, and whatever they could get to deface and besmirch the fine clothes, fair faces and dignified appearance of the two corrupters of the law. The pair trotted up and down that space until they became so fatigued and crestfallen that they fell prostrate and begged for mercy. They were permitted to go on sworn promises never again to come to Columbus to bribe or influence the people’s legislators.

After the tumult had subsided and when quiet had been restored at the State-house, some forty-eight members, seemingly under the influence of a stricken conscience, took from their pockets various sums of money and sent them up to the clerk as a contribution to the fund for the needy. In all there was $21,468. Many admitted that it was bribe money, and many others, while not openly admitting it, said so by their convicted looks. It was a solemn occasion. It seemed as though money and dishonor had been routed 267and the spirit of human justice reigned in that hall, touching each heart with unseen hand.

The bill that would make it “easier for the poor to live and secure homes” had come to life again. When the bill was read there was a murmur of general approval. Its champion made one of the most eloquent and pathetic speeches ever delivered in the State-house at Columbus. He showed how, at six per cent. interest, all the wealth of the nation may pass into the hands of the money-lenders every sixteen years, and leave of the annual increase only enough to support the great mass of the people with a meager living. He showed how the bankers had conspired together to rob the nation in time of peril; how they had robbed the business men, robbed the masses, robbed everybody by their contraction of the currency and their thieving, unjust laws. He said:

“We have had demonstrated here in this hall to-day the manner in which the bankers have looked after the interests of the country for the last thirty-five years. They know no god but money, and with money they have corrupted the world. They are of no service to either God or man, and yet they demand that both man and God bow before their will.”

He showed how hundreds of millions of dollars had been stolen from depositors in the banks of the United States by suspension and failure, the result of the most dishonest, the most unsafe system of banking known to the world. “The American banker laughs when asked for security; takes all the money he can get; breaks up at pleasure, and mocks the grief of the poor depositors.” Closing he said:

“Fellow-legislators, I appeal to you for the passage of this bill. I appeal to you in the name of common honesty; I appeal to you in the name of thousands of hard-working citizens who, desiring to save their earnings, now have no 268safe place to put them. I appeal to you in the name of the millions of husbands and fathers whose shoulders are stooped under the burdens of high interest and money contraction heaped upon them by this conspiring horde of money-mongers. Let our motto be: ‘Justice to mankind; equality before the law.’ And let human rights and human liberty be our ever-burning beacons of guidance.”

Then followed the member from Sandusky County. He took up the feature of the bill that favored the exemption from taxation of money deposited in the county treasury. He showed how a tax on money always fell on the borrower in the way of increased interest; how, if we take taxes from money and give the people a safe place to deposit, thousands of dollars, now kept out of circulation and hidden in the homes of the people, would come out and be used in the channels of trade to the benefit of all. He then appealed to the legislators to be men and patriots, and to spurn with contempt the influence of the lobbying money-lenders and corruptionists.

Many others spoke in favor of the bill, and only one or two offered any opposition. It was evident from the beginning that the opponents to the measure were routed, and when it came to a vote the bill passed with only fourteen votes in the negative.

When the result was announced the scene on the floor and in the galleries was one of joy beyond description. Liberty, long chained, had broken her bonds. Men grasped each other’s hands, and women wept with joy. They saw the dawn of the new day of liberty—freedom from debt.

The bill passed the Senate the same afternoon and became a law on the 18th day of March, 1898.

The news was telegraphed all over the world. The county treasurers of Ohio were instructed to begin on the first Monday of April to receive the people’s money on 269deposit and to loan the same to the people at four per cent.

In every county seat, in almost every town, post-office or store, around nearly every fireside, the new law was discussed. When the first Monday of April came scarcely a man could be found who did not thoroughly understand this “law for the common good of the common people.” As soon as the doors of the banks were opened, men began to draw out their money, carry it over to the county treasuries of the State, deposit it and depart for home. Others called at the county treasuries, signed mortgages bearing four per cent. interest, and borrowed money to pay off their mortgages, held by the banks, drawing seven or eight per cent. interest, returning home feeling a thrill of new life and new hope.

No sooner would one borrower pay off an old seven or eight per cent. mortgage at the banks than would some depositor withdraw the money, carry it to his county treasurer, deposit it, and another borrower would deposit a new four per cent. mortgage and pay off an old seven or eight per cent. mortgage at possibly the same bank.

This continued for nearly six months, by which time most of the loans on which the people had been paying seven or eight per cent. had been converted into four per cent. mortgages, payable to the various counties. Most of the bankers were honest and continued to take in money on old mortgages and pay it out to the depositors until their business was settled up in full.

In Tuscarawas County the aggregate of the mortgages held by the six banks was $1,048,692. On this amount the people saved by the new law an average of three and one-half per cent., or $37,703.22. This sum, instead of being paid to the bankers of the county each year, was saved by the borrowers, and, being applied on the principal, helped pay off the burdens of the people.

270The first man in New Philadelphia to withdraw his deposit was Clem Waltz. He had $2,200 in the First National. He drew it out at 9:10 a. m., took it to the county treasurer, deposited it at 9:28 a. m.; and at 9:52 a. m. Seymour Grimes borrowed $1,600 of it on his River Bottom farm, and paid off a mortgage against him held by the same First National. About the same time Jacob Moore borrowed $500 on his house and lot on Eighth Street for the same purpose. So by 10 o’clock $2,100 of that $2,200 taken out by Waltz was back in the bank, and two hardworking, honest, industrious citizens were paying only four per cent. interest instead of seven or eight. And Clem Waltz had all of Tuscarawas County back of him as security for his $2,200, and would receive three per cent. interest on his money clear of taxes.

About 11 o’clock Robert Witt came into the county treasurer’s office with $2,000 of the same money that had been paid to the bank by Moore and Grimes, and by noon it was loaned out to other persons who would rather pay four per cent. interest than seven or eight. In the afternoon business was still brisker.

The first day there was $38,000 withdrawn from the various banks; deposited with the county treasurer; loaned to the same people that owed the banks; paid back into the banks; taken out and placed in the treasury, etc.

The first week loans to the amount of $356,828 were thus changed. Everybody seemed to be happy except a banker here and there. Many bankers, however, admitted that they were pleased to see the poor have more chance in life.

In six months’ time all the banks except the First National had closed up their business and quit. Business in all other lines has picked up. Two of the ex-bankers are clerks in the county treasurer’s office, while 271the others, being rich, have decided not to engage in any business for a while, feeling that it is due themselves and the community that they take a long-needed rest.

Betsy’s dream has, at least in part, come true. Jobe’s dream still remains to be realized. Millions of men are still out of work. But the people have been aroused. They are thinking hard, and soon they will act. They will act at the ballot-box, and by their votes they will declare that “the chief aim of human government should be to secure to each individual contentment and happiness, and that this can be done only by securing to all the unrestricted opportunity to labor.”

“Work for the unemployed” is the issue on which the people will fight and win the battle of the ballots.

There is much talk that a memorial be erected to Betsy Gaskins—not to perpetuate the memory of her hardships, but to ever keep the people in mind of the fact that every liberty or right we enjoy has cost much suffering, distress and woe, and, further, that every advance toward a perfect state of human society as taught by Jesus Christ has been in spite of selfish and ignorant wealth, and never by its aid.

Long may the spirit of human justice live, is the prayer of

The Editor.
BROTHER of mine, if one should come,
Should come to your door to-day,
With the marks of the nails in His hands and the scars
Of the thorns on His brow, and say:
“Brother of mine, I stand in need;
I am He who was crucified;
Will you help me to-day in word and deed?
Will you stand to-day at my side?”
Brother of mine, I know that you
Would give Him this answer true:
“You died for me, and what can I do
But die, if I may, for you?”
Brother of mine, if one should come,
Should come to your door to-day,
With the scars of toil on his hands and the marks
Of the sweat on his brow, and say:
“Brother of mine, I stand in need;
I am being crucified;
I have sought for work from door to door;
I am everywhere denied.
“Brother of mine, I ask not alms;
I have asked no man to give;
I but ask for work to earn my bread;
I ask the right to live.”
Brother of mine, what would you say,
What would your answer be
To this lowly brother of Him who said:
“Even so unto me.”
Henry Benson.
273Part II


The world’s oppressor.



Present Day Problems
Edited by K. L. ARMSTRONG


I. The Impending Revolution 277
II. The Philosophy of Money 283
III. A Bird’s-eye View of American Financial History. By Samuel Leavitt 307
IV. The Eight Money Conspiracies 345
V. Financial Authorities 352
VI. Interest and Usury 380
VII. Debt and Slavery 387
VIII. The Laws of Property. By Lyman Trumbull 393
IX. Direct Legislation 401


“And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.”—Exodus 14:15.

THE purpose of the following pages is to present in compact form a series of articles on money and kindred subjects from the point of view of one who, realizing that a world-wide economic revolution is imminent, hopes that this revolution will be accomplished by reason and in peace, not by treason and violence—by book and ballot, not by bullet and bayonet. It is not intended to make a special plea for the doctrines of any particular school of economics, or of any political party. The object is rather to place in concrete the arguments and principles of many branches of Reform thought which, while widely divergent in respect of methods, have a common aim in the emancipation of industry.

The many elements which make up the great and growing army of Reform may be segregated into two divisions—individualists and collectivists. In the early history of this nation the men who had battled for its independence were similarly divided into two great parties—one advocating the centralization of power in the national government, the other demanding for each State sovereign independence. The flexibility of our Constitution is ascribed to the wisdom of the fathers, who sought out and adopted what was best in the ideas of both. So out of the apparently conflicting elements of the Reform movement will come the ultimate solution of economic problems.

278The editor is in thorough accord with the collectivists, whether they be known as socialists, nationalists or co-operators, in so far as they advocate the public ownership of monopolies. The people should own and operate the railroads, the telegraph, the telephone, etc., as they already own the post-office. The people should also own and operate the street railroads, water-works, gas-works, electric light plants, etc. The notorious corruption of our law-making bodies is due almost wholly to their power to grant special privileges and to sell public franchises to private individuals or corporations. Legislative reform that ignores the cause of corruption is never remedial and seldom even palliative. Public ownership of natural monopolies will abolish the bribe-taker by making impossible the bribe-giver.

The editor believes also that it is the duty of the government to provide for every citizen willing to work full and free opportunity to earn a livelihood, and therefore advocates government employment for the unemployed.

The editor further believes that reforms in these directions can only be accomplished by direct legislation, and a special chapter is therefore devoted to that subject.

The problem which now presses most persistently for immediate solution is that of money. The crying need of the hour is to provide work for the unemployed. Tinkering with the tariff will not do this, because you cannot make a people prosperous by taxation. You can set the wheels of industry in motion, however, by putting money in circulation.

And what is money?

Money is the public credit, stamped or imprinted upon, or represented by, metal, paper, or any other convenient substance recognized by law or usage, and employed as a medium of exchange and a measure of values.

279Money is money only so long and in so far as it represents the public credit. Moses, as well as the early fathers of the Christian Church, undoubtedly adopted this view of money when they denounced usury, which is the device whereby the drones in humanity’s bee-hive, monopolizing the public credit, have in all ages exacted tribute from the workers.

We have seen what money is. Now let us see how we can best circulate it.

Suppose that this country were governed by a czar, an autocrat, with absolute power to make what laws he pleased for the government of his people. Suppose this autocrat should issue an order increasing the standing army to one million men, these one million men to be armed, not with muskets and swords, but with pickaxes, shovels, etc., and to be set to work improving roads, reclaiming desert and waste lands, etc. Suppose these men were paid $1.50 a day in money issued for that purpose by the government. What would be the result?

One million of men would be taken from the overcrowded labor market, and at the end of each week nine million dollars would be put in circulation.

Would it be necessary to pay these men in gold and silver? No. Would not mere paper money inscribed something like this, in denominations of one, two, five, ten, twenty and fifty dollars, answer all purposes?

This certificate, to the amount of its face value, will be received by the government of the United States in payment of all public dues, and is a full legal tender in the payment of all debts, public and private.

280Would not these certificates pass everywhere for their face value? Would they not have back of them all the power of the law?

And would they not have the same power if they were issued and ordained, not by an autocrat holding merely a fictitious authority, but by the will and the vote of a sovereign people? Would they not be backed by all the wealth of the nation?

The right to issue money is a sovereign right and should be jealously guarded by a sovereign people. To delegate this power to banks and money-lenders is as grave an error as it would be to confer on a class the privilege of making laws for the whole community.

The volume of money should be regulated to suit the requirements of all the people and not the greed of those who thrive on usury.

The use of metals for money is unscientific, and they will eventually be relegated to obscurity with the shells, pelts, tally-sticks and other cumbrous mediums of exchange employed by our ancestors. But great reforms cannot be accomplished at once. Gold and silver are the money of the Constitution. The act of 1873, which made gold alone the basis of credit, and which, by reducing the volume of money, doubled the burden of debt, was a violation of the fundamental law of our government. The wrong perpetrated in 1873 must be righted now. This is the first great step in monetary reform.

Following this, the issue of interest-bearing bonds must be stopped forever. The careful student will find that interest is at the bottom of all our financial ills. Unselfish patriotism must abolish usury by substituting the credit of all the people for that of the banks.

Every physical or moral ill is the result of some breach of natural or divine law. For generations we have 281violated the laws of God as they relate to money and to land.

“And if thy brother be waxen poor and fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt relieve him; yea, though he be a stranger or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him or increase; but fear thy God, that thy brother may live with thee.” (Lev. 25: 36-37.)

Moses, the inspired law-giver, the great soldier-poet-statesman, who led a semi-barbarous people from the slavery of Egypt and made of them a nation which endured the longest in the world’s history, wrote these words.

We also read: “The land shall not be sold forever; for the land is mine [saith the Lord]; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.” (Lev. 25: 23.)

Let the Christian world cease bickering over questions of dogma and study again the inspired law of Moses, the law which Christ came to fulfill, and a solution of all the many questions which now vex us will soon be found.

Under the Mosaic law, slaves were emancipated, human life was made sacred, debtors were liberated every seven years, inherited property was divided and paternal inheritances were alienated, luxury and extravagance were discouraged, and by forbidding land-monopoly and usury (in the Bible usury and interest are synonymous) disproportionate fortunes and vast accumulations of wealth, which have caused the decline of the world’s great empires and are now threatening the foundations of modern civilization, were made impossible.

Chattel slavery no longer exists in any part of the civilized world, imprisonment for debt has been abolished, the right of the people to rule is established, but humanity is still bound in chains of servitude as galling and oppressive as in any period of its history. The rule of kings is passing away, but the autocracy of money and monopoly 282is seated on the throne and swaying a more imperious scepter.

But the people have it in their power to overthrow their oppressors. In this country, at least, we have the ballot. The duty of the hour is to study political economy, so that this weapon may be wielded intelligently and effectively. “Education” must be our watchword. It is only by education that we may hope to gain the three great essentials for perfect liberty and equality: direct legislationdirect moneydirect taxation. These will establish forever the sovereignty of the people.



“The American people must learn the lesson of money or they are lost.”

THE word “money” is derived from the Latin moneta (from moneo, to warn), meaning “warned” or “admonished.” Moneta was a surname for Juno, because she was believed to have warned the Romans by means of an earthquake to offer sacrifice. In the temple of Juno Moneta coins were made; hence moneta, meaning either a mint, or coin, or coined money.

The English word “money” is defined by Webster as “any currency usually and lawfully employed in buying and selling;” and the word “currency” is defined as “that which is in circulation or is given and taken as having or representing value.”

Varieties of Money.

Until recent times many substances entirely foreign to our modern ideas of money were used as measures of value, among which were:

Leather. In Rome and Sparta 700 B. C., and in Persia, Tartary, France and Spain as late as the sixteenth century.

Bark. China used the inner bark of the mulberry tree in the fourteenth century.

Base Metals. Iron was used by the ancient Spartans, Romans and Hebrews; tin was used in ancient Syracuse and Britain, while lead is still used in Burmah and brass in China.

All of these forms of money were stamped with some 284sort of design indicating their exchangeable value and by whose authority they were issued.

Wood. Several ancient governments used money made of wood. From the time of Henry I. (A. D. 1273) up to the foundation of the Bank of England, in 1694, a period of over four hundred years, England circulated a legal-tender money make of wood, called “exchange tallies.” The “tally” issued by the British Exchequer was a stick or bit of peeled rod upon which notches were cut, indicative of an account, pledge or other commercial transaction. It was split in such a way as to divide the notches. One-half the “tally” was given to the payer and one-half was retained by the Exchequer; and the transaction might be verified at any time by fitting the two halves together, when the notches would be found to “tally” with each other if the check had not been tampered with. Jonathan Duncan said that these wooden representatives of value circulated freely among the people and sustained the trade of England.

Wampum. One of the prevailing forms of money in use among the New England colonies was wampum. This was simply strings of white and black beads made from sea-shells found along the New England coasts. In 1641 Massachusetts made these beads a legal tender at the rate of six for a penny up to the sum of £10; and they were receivable, at that rate, for all judgments and taxes. In 1643 the limit of this legal tender was reduced to 40 shillings. In 1649 the colony passed a statute forbidding the receipt of wampum for taxes, and its use as money rapidly declined, though it still circulated in a limited way in several of the colonies as late as 1704.

Tobacco. The people of Maryland and Virginia, before the Revolutionary war and for some time after, in default of gold and silver, used tobacco as money, made it money 285by law, reckoned the fees and salaries of government officers in tobacco and collected the public taxes in that article.

Peltries. In an early day several of the Western States made peltries a legal tender. In 1785 the people of the territory now called Tennessee organized a State called “Franklin” and passed the following act, which is illustrative of similar acts in other States:

“Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Franklin, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same:

“That from the first day of January, 1789, the salaries of the officers of the Commonwealth be as follows:

“His Excellency the Governor, per annum, 1,000 deer skins.

“His Honor the Chief Justice, per annum, 500 deer skins.

“The Secretary to His Excellency the Governor, per annum, 500 raccoon skins.

“The Treasurer of the State, 450 raccoon skins.

“Each County Clerk, 300 beaver skins.

“Clerk of the House of Commons, 200 raccoon skins.

“Members of the Assembly, per diem, 3 raccoon skins.

“Justice’s fee for signing a warrant, 1 muskrat skin.

“To the constable for serving a warrant, 1 mink skin.

“Enacted into law the 18th day of October, 1788, under the great seal of State.”

Gold and Silver have been used as money metals from the earliest times of recorded history. The Bible has many references to the use of both gold and silver as early as the age of Abraham.

Paper. The first printed bank notes of which we have any record were issued by Palmstruck, a banker of Sweden, in 1660.

Intrinsic Value.

No kind of money, as such, has any intrinsic value, for the instant the material of which the money is made is 286used for another purpose it ceases to be money. As money, the sole value of the material arises from its function as a circulating medium; and even the value of gold and silver as used in the arts and sciences will be largely determined by the demand for them for money purposes. Of recent years the general demonetization of silver by the principal nations has depreciated the value of that metal about one-half, and there is but little doubt that if gold were similarly demonetized it would correspondingly decline in value. This was the opinion of Cernuschi. He says: “If all nations should demonetize gold it would be worth more than copper, but it would not be worth much more.”

Appleton’s American Encyclopedia (XI, p. 735) says: “After the discovery of gold in California, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany all demonetized gold and adopted silver as the legal tender at a fixed rate. In those countries gold only circulated as a commodity, subject to daily fluctuations in value; and as a consequence, deprived as it was of legal support as money, it was but little used.”

Upon the subject of intrinsic value the following authorities are cited:

“Congress shall have power to coin money and regulate the value thereof.”—Constitution of the United States.

“To coin money and regulate the value thereof as an act of sovereignty involves the right to determine what shall be taken and received as money; at what measure or price it shall be taken; and what shall be its effect when passed or tendered in payment or satisfaction of legal obligations. Government can give to its stamp upon leather the same money value as if put upon gold or silver or any other material. The authority which coins or stamps itself upon the article can select what substance it may deem suitable to receive the stamp and pass as money; and it can affix what value it deems proper, independent of 287the intrinsic value of the substance upon which it is affixed. The currency value is in the stamp, when used as money, and not in the material independent of the stamp. In other words, the MONEY QUALITY is the authority which makes it current and gives it power to accomplish the purpose for which it was created.”—Tiffany, Constitutional Law.

“Whatever power is over the currency is vested in Congress. If the power to declare what is money is not in Congress, it is annihilated.... We repeat, money is not a substance, but an impression of legal authority, a printed legal decree.”—U. S. Supreme Court (12 Wallace, p. 519).

“The gold dollar is not a commodity having an intrinsic value, but money having only a statutory value; and every dollar has the same value without regard to the material. The gold dollar has not intrinsic value.”—Supreme Court of Iowa (16 Iowa Rep., p. 246).

“Money is the medium of exchange. Whatever performs this function, does the work, is money, no matter what it is made of.”—Walker, Political Economy.

“An article is determined to be money by reason of the performance by it of certain functions, without regard to its form or substance.”—Appleton’s Encyclopedia.

“Money is a value created by law. Its basis is legal, and not material. It is, perhaps, not easy to convince one that the value of metallic money is created by law. It is, however, a fact.”—Cernuschi.

Specie Basis.

Where paper money is made redeemable in gold or silver the paper money is said to rest on a “specie basis.” This monetary scheme now prevails throughout the civilized world. In almost every commercial nation a large portion of the currency in use is paper money, convertible in theory, at least, into metallic money, at the option of the holder. This financial system is framed upon the violent hypothesis that real money can only be made of the precious metals and that paper bills are not money, but only representatives of money. Those who are addicted to this theory 288are in the habit of designating coins made of the precious metals as “primary money,” “redemption money” or “standard money;” while paper bills are called “secondary money,” or “credit money,” and are worthless except as they may be redeemed in “primary money.” The specie basis may be gold or silver or both. Since the world-wide demonetization of silver,silver, gold only is the basis in the leading nations of the earth.

The specie basis theory is open to the following weighty objections:

1. It is contrary to the fundamental law of the United States—the Constitution.

Judge Tiffany, in his work on Constitutional Law, expounding the right of Congress “to coin money and regulate the value thereof,” says:

“The authority which coins or stamps itself upon the article can select what substance it may deem suitable to receive the stamp and pass as money; and it can affix what value it deems proper, independent of the intrinsic value of the substance upon which it is affixed.”

This learned opinion, which annihilates all necessary distinction between “primary” and “secondary” money, was followed by the United States Supreme Court in the celebrated Greenback cases, and hence has all the authority of law. (See 12 Wallace’s Reports, p. 519.)

2. The specie basis theory is contrary to the facts of history, some of which will be recited in succeeding pages. Many instances are recorded in which paper and other material have been successfully used as money where no redemption in coin was promised or possible.

3. The specie basis theory postulates that a certain amount of “redemption money” will support or float a proportional amount of “credit money;” as the specie increases the paper money may be safely increased; and 289as the specie decreases paper money must also be decreased—a philosophy that would lead to the absurd conclusion that when all specie disappears the people can have no money of any kind. Mr. R. H. Patterson, a distinguished English economist, truly puts the paradox as follows:

“The gospel of monetary science now is, that when a country does not want paper money, it ought to have a great supply of it; and when it does require paper money it shall have none. When a country has enough of specie it ought to double its currency by issuing an equal amount of bank notes; and when there is no specie there should likewise be no notes. Is it necessary to discuss such a theory? In order to be rejected it needs only to be stated; in order to be rejected it only needs to be understood. It is a theoretical monstrosity against which common sense revolts—a burlesque of reason which even the present generation will live to laugh at.”

4. The specie basis is insufficient in volume to redeem the credit money which is necessarily used in business. The entire circulating medium of the United States is, approximately, sixteen hundred millions of dollars, of which about one-third is gold, one-third silver and one-third paper. Since silver was demonetized it is now only credit money; hence we have but one dollar of redemption money (gold) with which to redeem two of credit money, or, taking into consideration, as we should, the vast volume of checks, drafts and other credits which must finally be redeemed in gold, it is perfectly apparent that the United States has not one dollar of redemption money with which to redeem one hundred dollars of credit—and thus the whole theory of redemption becomes a mere figment incapable of practical realization. And what is true of the United States is true of all other countries.

5. The specie basis is a breeder of panics. In times of prosperity and confidence credits are safely increased to 290accommodate the increasing volume of business, and the specie basis is sufficient merely because it is not put to the test, the people preferring paper money because of its superior convenience. But at such a time a pebble may start an avalanche. A startling failure occurs somewhere, creditors press for liquidation, the banks are besieged, and, being unable to redeem their promises to pay gold, they suspend—and the panic is complete. Such is the recurrent history of finance in all civilized lands.

Charles Sears, an eminent authority, says of the gold basis:

“Within the last fifty years, say, a money crisis has come quite regularly every ten years. Something—any one of a dozen causes, few know what—sets gold to flowing out. Fifty millions withdrawn in a short time from its usual place of deposit is quite sufficient to make the whole volume of coin disappear from ordinary circulation as completely as if it had never existed. The metallic basis is gone—slipped out; the pivot of the system is dislocated; somebody wanted it and took it, and the pyramid tumbles down, burying in its ruins three-fourths of a business generation.”

To the same effect is the opinion of the famous American jurist, Judge Walker. He says:

“The whole paper scheme is founded on the presumption that the holders of these bills will not generally ask for specie at the same time; and, therefore, the amount of specie kept in reserve bears but a small proportion to the notes in circulation. And this is the great evil of the system. A general and simultaneous demand for specie cannot possibly be met, and disaster must follow. To enforce a universal performance of these promises is to insure their being broken. Every sudden panic, therefore, must produce wide-spread calamity.”—Walker’s American Law, p. 152.

6. The specie basis affords a means by which greedy speculators work “a corner” in gold and thus extort large 291sums in profits which the people eventually have to pay. The laws and official rulings, for instance, which require the maintenance of a gold reserve in the Federal treasury and the payment of duties and interest on the public debt in gold, create a special and imperative demand for the yellow metal; and as the supply for that kind of money is almost entirely in the hands of a few great banking firms, the latter can, at their pleasure, extort such terms as they please when applied to for gold. An instance of the kind occurred on Feb. 8, 1895. On that day, in order to maintain its gold reserve, the United States government purchased of M. Rothschild & Sons and J. P. Morgan & Co., bankers of London, 3,500,000 ounces of standard gold coin of the United States at the rate of $17.80441 per ounce, and paid for it in United States four per cent. thirty-year coupon or registered bonds, interest payable quarterly. These bonds were taken by the British bankers at $1.04, and were sold by them within ten days at $1.18, by which the foreign gold exploiters made a net profit of about eight million dollars—to be eventually paid by the people.

7. The specie basis must inevitably become more and more insufficient with the lapse of time, and the disasters due to it in the past become more frequent and distressing. The population of the world is increasing, barbarous nations are becoming commercial, and commercial nations are extending their commerce with unexampled rapidity from year to year. With this increasing business must come a necessity for a corresponding increase in the medium of exchange—money. But no material increase of the precious metals is possible. On the contrary, as the mines successively become exhausted, or deeper and more difficult to work, it is clear that the annual supply of gold and silver must become increasingly insufficient to replace 292that which has been lost or consumed in the arts and sciences; and hence the difficulties of the specie basis will of necessity become more and more aggravated as time goes on.

Considerations such as the foregoing have led to the rapid development of a new school of finance which, rejecting the specie basis as antiquated and no longer tenable, professes to find a sufficient guarantee for the stability of money in

The Legal Tender Basis.

President Grant said:

“My own judgment is that a specie basis cannot be reached and maintained until our exports exclusive of gold pay for our imports, interest due abroad, and other specie obligations, or so nearly as to leave an appreciable accumulation of the precious metals in the country from the product of our mines.”—Message, Dec. 1, 1873.

Plentiful experience has demonstrated that a paper money based upon the authority, faith and credit of the government and made by law a full legal tender for all debts will serve all the purposes of a staple circulating medium as effectually as gold itself.

The effectiveness of legal-tender paper depends upon two circumstances:

1. Government can by law compel the people to take it in satisfaction of private debts, by refusing to enforce contracts payable in any other kind of money.

2. The government may receive such legal-tender paper in satisfaction of all kinds of taxes and duties, thus giving such money a positive value equal to gold.

The United States Supreme Court, in the celebrated Greenback cases, says:

“Making these notes legal tender gave them new uses (or functions), and it requires no argument to prove the 293value of things as in proportion to the uses to which they may be applied.”—12 Wallace Reports, p. 519.

Benjamin Franklin, defending the Pennsylvania colonial paper money before a committee of the English Parliament, in 1764, said:

“On the whole no method has hitherto been found to establish a medium of trade, in lieu of coin, equal in all its advantages to bills of credit founded on sufficient taxes for discharging it at the end of the time, and in the meantime made a general legal tender.”

Thomas Jefferson, in his letter to Mr. Epps, said of government paper money:

“It is the only resource which can never fail them, and it is an abundant one for every necessary purpose. Treasury bills, bottomed on taxes, bearing or not bearing interest, as may be found necessary, thrown into circulation, will take the place of so much gold or silver.”

President Jackson, in his message, 1829, said:

“I submit to the wisdom of the legislature whether a national one [currency] founded on the credit of the government and its resources might not be devised.”

John C. Calhoun, in a speech in the United States Senate, December 18, 1837, said:

“It appears to me, after bestowing the best reflection I can give the subject, that no convertible paper—that no paper that rests upon a promise to pay—is suitable for a currency. It is the form of credit paper in transactions between men, but not for a standard of value to perform exchanges generally, which constitutes the appropriate functions of money or currency. No one can doubt but that the credit of the government is better than that of any bank—more staple and safe. I now undertake to affirm, and without the least fear that I can be answered, that paper money issued by the government, to receive it for all dues, would form a perfect circulation which would not be abused by the government; that it would be uniform with the metals themselves.”

Legal-tender paper money is usually issued in times of 294war, when gold and silver are hoardedhoarded or exported from the country; and, as a consequence, such legal tender is put to the severest possible tests, those of an imperilled government, disturbed industry and impeded foreign trade. Nevertheless, history abounds with instances to prove the entire sufficiency of this kind of money.

In 1156 the Republic of Venice established a system of paper credits which served as the principal circulating medium of that country until 1797. This money was always at par and frequently at a premium. In 1770 the Russian government issued its own notes, which sustained the government through two wars and commanded a premium over coin. In 1797 to 1823 England issued $225,000,000 full legal-tender paper with which to carry on war against Napoleon. In his “Political Economy,” John S. Mill says of these notes: “After they were made a legal tender they never depreciated a particle.”

During the colonial period of American history several of the colonies issued and successfully maintained legal-tender paper money. One instance is illustrative of them all. In 1739 Pennsylvania issued $400,000 in legal-tender paper not redeemable in coin, but receivable for taxes, which was loaned directly to the people on security of land and plate. This money continued in circulation until it was prohibited by the British government in 1775. Commenting on the success of this system, Dr. Franklin said: “Between the years 1740 and 1775, while abundance reigned in Pennsylvania and there was peace in all her borders, a more happy and prosperous population could not, perhaps, be found on this globe.”

During the Franco-German war France issued an enormous volume of legal-tender paper money, of which Victor Bonnet, the eminent French economist, says: “In the midst of the greatest calamities that ever befell a nation, 295with an enormous ransom to pay a foreign nation, and with great domestic losses to repair, a credit circulation was maintained four times as large as its base, without depreciation. This circulation reached $600,000,000.”

During the war of the rebellion in the United States (1861-5) the government issued a volume of legal-tender “greenbacks” which, on July 1st, 1865, was outstanding to the amount of $432,687,966.

The first $60,000,000 of this paper money, issued under authority of the acts of July 17th and August 5th, 1861, and February 12th, 1862, called “demand notes,” was made a full legal tender for all debts public and private. This issue never fell below and often was above par as compared with gold. In a speech delivered in the United States Senate, July 4th, 1862, Hon. John Sherman said of these “demand notes”:

“The notes are now held and hoarded. The first issue of $60,000,000 were issued with the right of being converted into six per cent. twenty-year bonds and with the privilege of being paid for duties in customs. They are now far above par and hoarded.”

In Schuckers’ Life of Salmon P. Chase, p. 225, the author says:

“The demand notes, being receivable for customs the same as coin, kept pace with the advance in the price of coin.”

All of the greenbacks except the first $60,000,000 were purposely depreciated by the “exception clause;” that is, they were made a legal tender for all debts, public and private, except duties on imports and interest on the public debt, which latter were required to be paid in coin. This exception clause created a special demand for coin, and as a consequence metallic money rose to a great premium, at one time (July, 1864) being at a premium of $2.85 in greenbacks to $1 in coin. That these greenbacks were 296purposely depreciated stands upon the evidence of Hon. John Sherman, who, in a report as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, made on the 12th of November, 1867, said: “But it was found that with such a restriction upon the notes the bonds could not be negotiated, and it became necessary to depreciate the notes in order to make a market for the bonds.”

Speaking of the amendment by which the “exception clause” was passed, Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, said in a speech delivered in the House, February 20th, 1862:

“It has all the bad qualities that its enemies charged in the original bill and none of its benefits. It now creates money and by its very terms declares it a depreciated currency. It makes two classes of money—one for the banks and brokers, and another for the people. It discriminates between the rights of different classes of creditors, allowing the rich capitalists to demand gold, and compelling the ordinary lender of money on individual security to receive notes which the government had purposely discredited.... But now comes the main clause. All classes of people shall take these notes at par for every article of trade or contract unless they have money enough to buy United States bonds, and then they shall be paid in gold. Who is that favored class? The bankers and brokers, and nobody else.”

This conspiracy of the lawmakers, by which the soldier in the field was paid in depreciated greenbacks while the Wall Street usurer received gold, did not deprive the paper money of its splendid functions. While coin rose to a great premium, owing to the special use made of it in payment of customs and interest on the public debt, the legal-tender money carried on the great war and conducted the business of the most prolific and prosperous epoch in the history of the United States.

As a matter of fact the greenbacks, discredited by legislation as they were, did not depreciate in comparison with 297commodities, but gold appreciated owing to the special demand created for it by law. The people never lost confidence in the government paper money, even in the darkest hours of the panic of 1873, as shown by the language of President Grant. He said:

“The experience of the present panic has proven that the currency of the country, based, as it is, upon the credit of the country, is the best that has ever been devised. Usually, in times of such trials, currency has become worthless or so much depreciated in value as to inflate the values of all necessaries of life as compared with currency. Every one holding it has been anxious to dispose of it on any terms. Now we witness the reverse. Holders of currency hoard it as they did gold in former experiences of like nature.”—Message, December 1, 1873.

The Functions of Money.

The functions or uses of money are three-fold:

It is a measure of value.

It is a medium of exchange.

It is a means of storing wealth.

As a measure of value money determines in what proportion commodities and services shall be interchanged. The yardstick measures the quantity of fabrics; but some fabrics are more valuable than others. A bolt of silk, for instance, is more valuable than a bolt of muslin—a difference which the yardstick, alone, cannot indicate; it merely measures quantities, not values. Here the money measure becomes necessary. The abstract unit which we call a dollar measures the values of both silk and muslin, and determines how many yards of muslin should be exchanged for a yard of silk.

Money is a medium of exchange. Smith has a horse and buggy which he wishes to exchange for a piano belonging to Brown. Brown is willing to part with the piano, but does not want a horse and buggy; he does want, however, 298a gold watch. Jones has such a watch, but wants to dispose of it for clothing. Wilson has clothing, but he wants coal. For these four parties to find out each other’s wants and effect an exchange of actual commodities and adjust the difference in value between the articles would involve time and labor and make so many difficulties that the transactions would be greatly delayed, if not defeated. Here money performs its beneficent offices as a medium of exchange. Smith sells his horse and buggy for money, and with it purchases Brown’s piano. Brown buys the watch he wants, and thus money goes from hand to hand, effecting innumerable exchanges, not only in the small neighborhood, but in great commercial circles, thereby bringing the antipodes together and enabling them to supply each other’s wants with the least possible loss of time and labor.

Money is, also, a means of storing wealth. Jackson has a valuable farm, but is getting too old or infirm in health to work it. He might exchange it for a great quantity of food, clothing, and other necessaries sufficient to last him the remainder of his life; but these articles could not safely be stored so as to preserve them for future years, and some representative, that can be stored, must be found. Money is that representative. Jackson sells his farm for money, and with the money purchases from time to time the necessaries required.

From a brief study of these three great functions performed by money may be readily determined what should be the characteristics of a perfect currency, one that would most effectually and justly serve mankind.

As a measure of values and as a means of storing wealth it is clear that money ought to be stable, that is, it should as nearly as possible have the same purchasing power from year to year and in all sections of the country; for when 299money fluctuates in purchasing power it is obvious that some men will gain and some will lose without any merit or fault upon their part, but simply in consequence of the fluctuations in the value of money. This is particularly true in case of debt, for if a debt be contracted when money is cheap, and paid when money is dear, the debtor will evidently lose by the change, and if the circumstances be reversed the creditor will lose.

To secure such stability or uniformity of purchasing power no measure or method is so effectual as for the government to make all its money a full legal tender for all debts, public and private.

As a medium of exchange the volume or quantity of money in circulation should be sufficiently large to accomplish the transaction of business without waste or delay. In estimating the necessary volume it is proper to take into consideration the numbers of population, the magnitude of business transacted, and, since a nimble dollar will perform the work of several slow ones, the “effectiveness” or rapidity with which money circulates; and, since population and business are, upon the whole, constantly increasing, and the rapidity of circulation (until some swifter method of locomotion be discovered) remains unaltered, the volume of money, clearly, ought to be increased from year to year. Few who have not patiently studied the problems of finance understand the mighty effects of an expansion or contraction of the money volume upon, not only the material, but the moral well-being of mankind.

The very heart of the complex money question, the center of all its divergent issues, is the question of

The Volume of Money.

The volume or quantity of money in circulation is always hard to determine, principally because banks, brokers and their allies in official and journalistic positions 300are generally interested in concealing or misstating the facts on purpose to mislead the public; so that, not infrequently, a period of financial disaster steals upon the people unaware and they are compelled to endure all the miseries of such an event without being able to detect the cause or apply the remedy. In such circumstances the masses may dimly perceive that they are being robbed, yet, unable to detect the means of their spoliation, they attribute it to every cause but the real one, and thus the spoliators are enabled to repeat their robbery again and again, undetected by any save a few whose complaints are regarded as the extravagances of uninformed or fanatic minds.

To fully comprehend how the exploiters of money may enrich themselves and impoverish others by merely manipulating the currency, it is necessary to understand the primary fact that an increasing volume of money brings rising prices and business activity, while a diminishing volume of money causes falling prices and business stagnation. Upon this proposition the following authorities are cited:

David Hume, the English historian, in his essay on “Money,” says:

“We find that in every kingdom into which money begins to flow in greater abundance than formerly, everything takes a new face; labor and industry gain new life, the merchants become more enterprising, the manufacturers more diligent and skillful, and the farmer follows his plow with greater attention and alacrity. The good policy of the government consists of keeping it, if possible, still increasing as long as there is an undeveloped resource or room for a new immigrant, because by that means there is kept alive a spirit of industry in the nation which increases the stock of labor, in which consists all real power and riches. A nation whose money decreases is actually weaker and more miserable than other nations 301which possess less money but are on the increasing hand.”—Essays and Treatises, vol. I, p. 283.

Henri Cernuschi, an ex-banker of Paris, and recognized as, perhaps, the most eminent of the French writers on finance, says:

“The value of money depends upon its quantity. It is the same with gold as with greenbacks. If the stock in circulation is augmented the purchasing power of every greenback is diminished; and so with gold and silver. The purchasing power is always in relation to the quantity of the money.”—Nomisma, p. 15.

“That commodities would rise and fall in price in proportion to the increase or diminution of money I assume as a fact that is incontrovertible. That such would be the case the most celebrated writers on political economy are agreed.”—Ricardo, Political Economy.

“If the whole money in circulation was doubled prices would double. If it was only increased one-fourth, prices would rise one-fourth. The very same effect would be produced on prices if we suppose the goods (the uses for money) diminished instead of the money increased; and the contrary effect if the goods were increased or the money diminished. So that the value of money, all other things remaining the same, varies inversely as its quantity; every increase in quantity lowering its value and every diminution raising it in a ratio exactly equivalent.”—J. S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy.

Wm. H. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury, in his report, February, 1820, says:

“All intelligent writers on currency agree that when it [money] is decreasing in amount poverty and misery must prevail.”

By joint resolution of the United States Congress, August 15th, 1876, a “United States Monetary Commission” was appointed to inquire into the prevailing “hard times.” It consisted of Senators John P. Jones, Lewis V. Bogy and George S. Boutwell, and Congressmen Randall L. Gibson, George Willard and Richard P. Bland; to whom were 302added Hon. Wm. S. Groesbeck of Ohio, Prof. Francis Bowen of Massachusetts, and Geo. M. Weston of Maine, the three latter acting as secretaries of the commission. On March 2, 1877, the commission reported. The following extracts are taken from the report:

“While the volume of money is decreasing, though very slowly, the value of each unit of money is increasing in a corresponding ratio, and property and wages are decreasing. Those who have contracted to pay money find that it is constantly becoming more difficult to meet their engagements. The margins of securities melt rapidly, and their confiscation by the creditor becomes only a question of time. All productive enterprises are discouraged and stagnate because the cost of producing commodities to-day will not be covered by the price obtainable for them to-morrow. Exchanges become sluggish, because those who have money will not part with it for either property or service, for the obvious reason that money alone is increasing in value while everything else is decreasing in price. This results in the withdrawal of money from the channels of circulation and its deposit in great hordes where it can exert no influence on prices. Money in shrinking volume becomes the paramount object of commerce instead of the beneficent instrument. Instead of mobilizing industry, it poisons and dries up its life currents. It is the fruitful source of political and social disturbance. It foments strife between labor and other forms of capital, while itself, hidden away, gorges on both. It rewards close-fisted lenders and filches from and bankrupts enterprising producers. An increasing value of money and falling prices have been and are more fruitful of human misery than war, pestilence or famine; they have wrought more injustice than all the bad laws ever enacted.”—Report of United States Monetary Commission, vol. I, p. 10 et seq.

Pointing out how a contraction of the money volume increases the debt obligations of the past, R. H. Patterson, especially commended by Gladstone as one of the ablest of English writers on finance, says:

“And what is such a dearth of money and rise in the 303measure of value but an injustice to the many to the gain of the few—an unfair exaltation of the power of the past over the present, an unfair and undesirable aggravation of the poverty of the poor and the wealth of the rich—a stereotyping of classes according to wealth, until they tend to become permanent? We have seen how powerful and beneficial was the influx of the precious metals from the New World four centuries ago in breaking the social bondage which had settled over Europe during the long night of the Dark Ages, enabling that generation to escape from the heritage of the past and bound forward upon the new career then opening to mankind. Such times come from the hand of Providence, and with an exceeding rarity even in the long career of civilized mankind. But at least let us avoid the opposite and never allow successive generations to be unfairly—nay, most unjustly, though it may not be so meant—handicapped, each in its own race, owing to a growing dearth and dearness of money.”—The New Golden Age, vol. II, p. 500.

President Grant said:

“To increase our exports sufficient money is required to keep all the industries of the country employed. Without this, national as well as individual bankruptcy must ensue.”—Message, December 1, 1873.

Hon. John Sherman, in a speech in the Senate, January 27, 1869, said, in opposition to a bill to contract the currency by retiring the greenbacks:

“It is not possible to take this voyage without the sorest distress. To every person except a capitalist out of debt, or a salaried officer, or annuitant, it is a period of loss, danger, lassitude of trade, fall of wages, suspension of enterprise, bankruptcy and disaster.... It means the ruin of all dealers whose debts are twice their business capital, though one-third less than their actual property. It means the fall of all agricultural productions without any great reduction of taxes. When that day comes every man, as the sailor says, will be close-reefed; all enterprise will be suspended, every bank will have contracted its currency to the lowest limit; and the debtor, compelled to 304meet in coin a debt contracted in currency, will find the coin hoarded in the treasury, no representative of coin in circulation, his property shrunk not only to the extent of the depreciation of the currency, but still more by the artificial scarcity made by the holders of gold. To attempt this task by a surprise upon our people, by arresting them in the midst of their lawful business and applying a new standard of value to their property without any reduction of their debts, or giving them an opportunity to compound with their creditors, or to distribute their losses, would be an act of folly without an example in evil in modern times.”—Congressional Globe, 1869, p. 629.

In a speech in the United States Senate, March 17, 1874, General John A. Logan pointed out the cause of the panic of 1873 as follows:

“But, sir, that the panic was not due to the character of the currency is proved by the history of the panic itself.... No, sir, the panic was not attributable to the character of the currency, but to a money famine, and to nothing else. In the very midst of the panic we saw the leading bankers and business men of New York pressing and urging the President and the Secretary of the Treasury to let loose twenty or twenty-five millions more of the same paper for their relief—the very same men who to-day denounce it as a disgrace to our government. It was good enough for them when they were in trouble.

“Why is it that representatives forget the interests of their own section and stand up here as the advocates of the gold-brokers and money-lenders and sharks, the same class of men whose tables Christ turned over, and whom he lashed out of the temple at Jerusalem?... Carry out the theory of the contractionists, and what must be the inevitable result? Every enterprise and industry must be dwarfed in like proportion. The busy hum of the spindle will cease its sound in many a mill which now gives employment to hundreds of active hands and supplies the comforts of life to many a happy home. The bright blaze of many an iron foundry which gives life and cheerfulness to the grand scenery along the streams of Pennsylvania will cease to gild the night with its rays. And the same 305industry in my own State, and that of the Senator from Missouri, which has been so rapidly increasing of late, will be crippled, and hundreds who now find employment there will be compelled to seek a home elsewhere for want of work. The undeveloped resources of the South and West, which we have just begun to appreciate, will rest in abeyance until a wiser policy shall bring them into use.... Why, sir, the people were never freer from debt in proportion to the business done than in 1865, at the close of the war, when Mr. McCulloch began his system of contraction, and at the very time when eleven million more people were to be supplied. Was it to be supposed that the activity and energy which the adequate supply of money had put in operation, and which was giving prosperity and happiness to the country, would suddenly dwarf itself to suit financial notions without a struggle? The inevitable result was an expedient to meet the consequent want, and credit was expanded. At the very moment above all others when adequate supply was needed, the opposite course was adopted; and right here lies the true cause of the late panic, which resulted from a money famine and not from an excessive supply.... Sir, turn this matter as we will, and look at it from any side whatever, and it does present the appearance of being a stupendous scheme of the money-holders to seize the opportunity of placing under their control the vast industries of the nation. Therefore I warn Senators against pushing too far the great conflict now going on between capital and labor.... Capital rests upon labor; but when it attempts to press too heavily on that which supports it in a free republic, the slumbering volcano, whose mutterings are beginning already to be heard, will burst forth with a fury that no legislation will quell.”

From the foregoing, which is but a small fragment of the immense literature in harmony with the opinions cited, the following conclusions may be digested:

1. A diminished volume of money always causes a proportional diminution in the price of labor and commodities—or, 306to express it otherwise, money becomes dear and everything else cheap.

2. This redounds to the advantage of the capitalistic class, who are thereby enabled to exact more for their money in services and commodities, to purchase all kinds of stocks and properties at diminished rates, and to foreclose mortgages and collect other forms of debts under such conditions as to make “hard times” a harvest for the creditor class.

3. The debtor class is compelled not only to yield more services and commodities for the money which it receives or has previously received, but suffers the further hardship of languishing business and enforced idleness or diminished wages; and it should be remembered that every producer is a debtor, even though he has no specific obligations outstanding; for he will have to aid those who have such obligations by receiving less prices and wages and by paying relatively increased taxes, salaries, rents and profits to those members of the debtor class who are immediately above him in the social scale, and who will seek to save themselves by shifting the burden of their obligations onto those who are below.



By Samuel Leavitt,
Author of “Our Money Wars,” “Dictator Grant,” etc.

“I am astonished at nothing in our business life so much as the absence of an earnest, determined endeavor on the part of our men of brains to find the cause of these chronic crises and hard times and then set upon the track of some remedy therefor.”—Rev. Heber Newton.

WHAT may well be called the American system of money has been gradually evolved, during three hundred years, from the bitter experiences of the most practical people that ever trod this globe. Franklin, Jefferson, Jackson, Calhoun, Clay, Gallatin and Benton were its prophets. But it first began to take definite shape during our civil war under such men as Edward Kellogg, Thaddeus Stevens, Henry C. Carey, Stephen Colwell, Pliny Freeman, Ben Wade, Oliver P. Morton, Henry Wilson and John Thompson; and later, Warwick Martin, Peter Cooper, Thomas Ewing, Wendell Phillips, John E. Williams, George Opdyke, John G. Drew, John P. Jones, William D. Kelley, B. F. Butler and others.

What first strikes the observer in a bird’s-eye view is that the whole modern movement toward a rational money system was started by that much-maligned genius, John Law, in France, in 1715. His system was one of the first recent revolts against the tyranny of metal money. He was the real founder of the Bank of France and the present French system. The Encyclopedia Britannica calls him an “unequaled financier.” His great thought was plenty of 308government paper money, and France has kept that thought. Law was finally beaten by politicians and the King’s mistresses when he tried to improve his system.

Turning homeward, we find the first American coin money, succeeding the wonderfully useful wampum, came very curiously—coin usually does. In 1652 a mint was set up in Boston to coin silver into “pine tree” money. The silver came mostly from the West Indian trade. Our rulers in England then, as now, only busied themselves in stealing from us any good money we could get hold of. Singularly enough we depended largely then upon another class of pirates—the buccaneers of the Spanish main, who spent most of their plunder on our shores, where were the nearest civilized ports. This was a great blessing—“a blessed providence”—to our Puritan ancestors and the coin money economists of those days.

In 1745 we had another blessed influx of silver. Governor Shirley, of Massachusetts, and his pious Puritans, went over and captured Louisburg, Cape Breton, from the French, with fire and sword, and made a big loot. This so tickled Mother Britain that, for once, she sent us a lot of silver to “ransom” Louisburg. This enabled Massachusetts to steal away the trade of Rhode Island.

In 1690 the first issue of paper money was made in Massachusetts. This was before the establishment of the Bank of England. It was for £7,000. In 1703 £15,000 was issued, which was made a legal tender for private debts. In 1716 another issue to the amount of £150,000 was authorized. Mark the style of it, as compared with the wild-cat projects of the present Congress, and see which is the most reasonable and conservative, and then inquire if the Farmers’ Alliance plan is so foolish: “The bills were to be distributed among the different counties of the province, and to be put into the hands of five trustees in 309each county, to be appointed by the legislature, to be let out on real estate security in the county, in specific sums, for the space of ten years, at five per cent. per annum.” Another act for £50,000 in bills was passed in 1720, “which resulted in clearing MassachusettsMassachusetts of debt in 1773.”

In 1723 Pennsylvania led a number of States in issuing paper money. In this year a great crisis occurred in England and the Bank was suspended. The coin of the American colonies was required, and drawn over, in England’s selfish and peremptory way, to prepare the bank for resumption. All coin left Pennsylvania, though the State possessed laws raising its value. Then the State issued treasury notes, and kept them in use until 1773, when English jealousy caused Parliament to make all such issues void. Some of the money was issued, says Adam Smith, on land security of double the value, and redeemed in fifteen years. It was made legal tender and remained at par with coin for forty years. The necessary notes were redeemed, by their payment for taxes, without loss to any one. This is the familiar history of Pennsylvania and the statement of Franklin. The cutting off of this money was the chief cause of the Revolution. The tea-party in Boston harbor was only a side-show.

Continental money was issued by Congress when we had no government—no power to tax. Yet if made full legal tender, with no mad promise of coin, fifty million dollars might have been enough. Gallatin says: “It saved the country.” Jefferson: “It expired without a groan.” Calhoun: “It is the ghost conjured up by all who wish to give private banks control of government credit.” It was used in place of a war tax, and the people so regarded it.

French assignats broke the spell of royal tyranny in Europe. Such is the power of a live nation to use and absorb money that nine billion dollars’ worth of it was 310issued before it broke down. Even then the cause of the tumble was that it had no suitable foundation. It was founded on land taken from the priests, and naturally fell when that land was returned to the churches.

Our Coin for a Century.

We come now to the coin money of the last half of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century. Through ignorance of it, some silver advocates are dismayed by the fact that so little silver was coined here before 1878. The great point to be shown is that we had no need to coin, because so much came from abroad. The way metal money flowed here during the wars between England and Spain reads like a fairy story. The treasures of Mexico and South America passed through here and gave many temporary and flitting coin deposits. Then from the opening of the Napoleonic wars until 1820 the most of Europe, including England, was using paper money. So coin came and stayed here. In fact, coin stayed back in our Western wilds often when it was scarce in Eastern sections and large cities. Through all smashes and wild-cat times, Western banks paid coin until 1820. Those were good times for planters on new soil. The old Virginia planter, in his blue swallow-tail coat with brass buttons, and his ruffled shirt, always had a pile of doubloons in his desk. He did not know that European war and paper money put them there.

The banks, warned by wild-cat experiences, grasped at all coin as they do now at gold. One bank sucked all there was in North Carolina and owned the State. It was so plenty in the twenties, in New England, that they shipped it to Europe.

A point never to be forgotten by silver men, in answer to the gold man’s statement about small coinage of silver, is that from the foundation of the United States money laws 311were passed giving legal value to foreign coins. Our mistaken ratio of 16 to 1, instead of 15½ to 1, made it generally useless for us to coin silver, when we could have plenty from abroad that was legal tender. One fact alone shows how immensely we were using our own silver and foreign silver and gold—viz.: the panic of 1857 was largely due to the demonetization of our small silver and those foreign coins. In 1853 Congress demonetized all silver halves, quarters and dimes in sums of over $5.00. Much of the reserves of the banks was in these fractional silver coins, which had been full legal tender, and in larger gold and silver coins of the United States and other countries. The silver dollars of Spain, Mexico, South America and the United States were worth a premium over gold, and were bought by the Rothschilds and sent out of the country, though they did big service while they stayed here. But the banks did not hold them as reserves. So the demonetization of our small silver deprived the banks of a large portion of their reserves and of paying their circulation therein.

Up to February, 1857, all foreign gold coins and the silver coins of most nations were, in the United States, full legal tender with our coins at the values fixed by our laws; and gold being, since 1834, overvalued in the United States, immense quantities of these gold coins came here and remained. Another reason why we did not coin silver dollars is found in this fact: gold was superabundant. These gold coins were also held by the banks as reserves in large quantities.

But on February 21, 1857, Congress demonetized all foreign coins. This took them out of the banks. They went abroad never to return. And this was one chief cause of the panic of 1857. The facts above given, properly circulated, should forever silence the quibbles of the gold 312men about the non-use and non-coinage of silver up to 1878. From 1861 to 1878 we used but little coin.

The gold men sneeringly ask if we want to go on a 50-cent dollar like Mexico. It is true they have worked their diabolical will on some of those weak nations, where the currency is thrown into horrible confusion thereby, and foreign business is made almost impossible by the rise in the gold dollar to a $2.00 dollar. They have come near Mexicanizing us in this respect, but have failed as yet. Their plea for the deposits of workingmen in savings banks is like the howl the mortgage people are always raising about the poor widows and orphans of the East, to whom the Western farmer should willingly pay high interest. Wise nations legislate for producers, rather than for interest-suckers—male or female.

United States Banks—Wild-Cat and State Banks.

Ever since the Revolution there has been war between Jefferson’s treasury notes and the sharp fellows who wish to collect interest on their debts. In the lush wild-cat times bankers did not care whether they made their scoop by shoving out bank notes so far that they would hardly ever come back, or lending interest-bearing credit to their neighbors. Now the telegraph, railroad and redemption banks would make hard sledding for State wild-cats.

The United States banks (private) were so mixed with the wild-cats for fifty years—1791 to 1841—that they need describing. The first, in 1791, was got up by Federals who hated treasury notes. But fortunately there was much honesty then, and it was so managed that its notes were like full legal-tender greenbacks. Those were halcyon days. The wild-cats were around, but got little game. They made their first big inflation in New England. The Yankees thought they could swing out to any degree 313when the Anglo-Spanish and the Napoleon wars made coin so plentiful?’plentiful?’ here.

There was a great rush of banks between 1811 and 1816, when the second United States Bank came in. It was a fraud from the start, violated its charter and was founded mostly on personal notes. But it swung its twenty years. The great plan of the wild-catters was to get its treasury notes, good as gold, and drawing interest, for their red dogs. Right here let us affirm that, for short, all State bank money may be called wild-cats, red dogs and shinplasters. For such it always proves in panic times. The Chicago Tribune says that the Democrats are “committed upon both principle and tradition against a Federal currency—committed also to State banking.” Not so. Jefferson was strong for Federal money, i. e., treasury notes. The Whigs were always as much given to wild-cats as the Democrats. Again the Tribune tells of 34,000 who took the benefit of the bankruptcy act in 1841-2-3, but says nothing of the hundreds of thousands who failed between 1873 and 1890, under the crush of Republican gold resumption, without any such release. Intelligent Democrats could show billions of loss from Republican financiering against hundreds of millions under Democracy. Give the poor devil Democrat his due. He makes a clumsy attempt now to cover his rascality in voting against silver bills by all his talk of returning to wild-cats. The cheeky Republicans offer no shadow of a real remedy for our financial ills.

To return to the time of the twenties. The new, hopeful country kept having booms in spite of bad money. After the close of the war of 1812-15, “blessed peace,” said Matthew Carey, “came and brought two thousand merchant buyers to Philadelphia.” Fortunes were made. It was funny as a circus. The brokers stuffed the United States treasury full of shinplasters, not good thirty miles 314from home. Congress said “resume” in 1817. Banks said, “Go to the devil.” With twenty-two millions “on hand,” Congress had to borrow half a million to keep house on. The big bank was given over to favorites, bribery and corruption, but ruled the land. There was a whirligig between the branches of the big bank and the little banks. The latter bought, with their red dogs, from the branches, drafts on Eastern cities. The drafts bought European goods. Meanwhile the branches socked it to the wild-catters up to five and ten per cent. a month, till they redeemed their red dogs with the proceeds of another crop.

In 1818 the president of the big bank resigned when it was near ruin. A new president, Cheves, saved the bank, in the Bank of England fashion, by ruining a lot of small banks and merchants. In 1820 came “stay laws” and a “relief system.” Men could redeem their lands and negroes in two years by paying ten per cent. down. North Carolina had an awful time. Robber bankers of Newbern became the practical owners of the State and sucked its blood. Were ruling still in 1833.

In 1825 the great Nick Biddle took the presidency of the bank, and ran the whole country, till knocked out by Jackson. Biddle was the biggest boss yet; moved crops; lent ten millions at a time to the government. Some thought he gave the rising sun a boost. When there was a run, he only allowed his branches to cash their own drafts. In 1832 was high water time for this fine old Philadelphia gent. President Jackson, who hated all undemocratic high kicking, made him pay the government debt from his government deposits. Jackson stopped the abnormal boom in wild lands by his “specie circular,” ordering only specie to be taken for United States lands. Then, to check the torrents of extravagance, he ordered 315the useless thirty-seven millions that he had foolishly put in State banks distributed back to the people of the States. The wild-catters paid eighteen millions, and then all broke, beginning in New York in May, 1837. That was a grand smash. Jackson had a glimpse of the greenback remedy in his muddled head. Jefferson and Calhoun always had it.

Parallel with all this was the Mississippi tomfoolery of 1830 to 1840. That State borrowed thirty millions on the old personal note plan from Holland, and fooled it away in ten years. Slaves were then the only good assets. These were run off to Texas, and “Gone to Texas” (G. T. T.) was a familiar inscription.

The College Professor and the Facts.

Prof. Laughlin of Chicago University said in his recent speech before the Sunset Club and the Bankers’ Association:

“It seems to me that one of the greatest misfortunes that this country ever suffered was that temporary, and to the present time lasting, intoxication connected with the issue of United States notes or greenbacks. From the foundation of our government, in 1789, to February, 1862, the United States government never issued any paper money.”

The Chicago Herald of December 10 voiced the same falsity thus:

“In fact, the government never did anything of the kind until 1862, when Congress authorized an issue of legal-tender notes.”

Are these men simply reckless liars, or are they ignorant of the facts? Here are the facts: From 1812 to 1860 U. S. treasury notes were issued at least twenty times; that is, in every time of emergency, when the bankers’ wild-cat money could not possibly keep business going. These 316notes were receivable for all debts due the government, including interest on the public debt and custom-house dues; and that fact made them universally acceptable by the people—better than gold. In these respects they were better than the greenbacks; for never until the infernal exception was put upon them, in 1862, did the government refuse to receive its own treasury notes.

Here are most of the dates and amounts of those issues—all by acts of Congress readily traced: June 3, 1812, $5,000,000; February 25, 1813, $10,000,000; March 4, 1814, $10,000,000; December 26, 1814, $25,000,000; February 14, 1815, $25,000,000; October 12, 1837, $10,000,000; March 21, 1838, $10,000,000; May 31, 1840, $5,000,000; June 30, 1842, $5,000,000; August 31, 1842, $6,000,000; July 22, 1846, $10,000,000; June 28, 1847, $23,000,000; December 23, 1857, $20,000,000; December 17, 1860, $10,000,000.

Is that lie nailed? The above treasury notes were hampered in various ways. The money-lenders persuaded Congress that it would be “contrary to the laws of the Medes and Persians” if the notes drew no interest. So they were generally heavily handicapped in that way. Sometimes they only drew one mill per annum, sometimes nothing. When they drew none the Shylocks at once cried that the country was ruined. They liked them well enough plus interest, because they were sharp enough to get hold of them and pull in the interest, while they managed to cram the United States treasury full of their wild-cat stuff.

To thoroughly verify these serious statements, let us look at the statutes under which these issues were made and the particulars of their issue:

Act of June 3, 1812 (Statutes 2, p. 366).—This law authorized the issue of $5,000,000 treasury notes, to run one 317year, bearing five and two-fifths per cent. interest. They were made receivable for all debts due the government, and were to be paid to such public creditors and other persons as were willing to receive them. They might also be used to procure loans, or might be placed to the credit of the treasury in banks at par and accrued interest.

Act of February 25, 1813 (Statutes 2, p. 801).—This law authorized the issue of $10,000,000 treasury notes to mature in one year, bearing five and two-fifths per cent. interest per annum. Terms same as act of June 3, 1812.

Act of March 4, 1814 (Statutes 3, p. 100).—Authorized an issue of $10,000,000 on same terms as above. No charge to the government was to be made by the banks which credited the notes.

Act of December 26, 1814 (Statutes 3, p. 161).—Authorized the issue of $25,000,000 treasury notes in place of a loan of $25,000,000 previously authorized. Ten millions of these notes were to be applied to the payment of $10,000,000 previously borrowed. Otherwise they were like the above.

Act of February 14, 1815 (Statutes 3, p. 213).—This law authorized the issue of $25,000,000 treasury notes in addition to other issues. Up to this time the Secretaries of the Treasury, Mr. Gallatin and Mr. Crawford, had complained that the treasury notes so far issued were made too large for common circulation, though their standing among the people was good and the people were desirous of having them. They said treasury notes had taken the place of coin and equalized the exchange throughout the country. To meet the wishes of these secretaries and of Jefferson and Madison, as well as the people, these $25,000,000 treasury notes for circulation were authorized and issued. The most of them were required to be less than $100 in denomination, and to be payable to bearer, 318while those of $100 and over were to be made payable to order and to pay by indorsement, and were to bear five and two-fifths per cent. interest. The smaller ones were to bear no interest. They were also, for the first time, made receivable for six per cent. bonds. They were made to circulate as money, and to have the characteristics of coin, but they were not redeemable therein. They were legal tender to the United States. These notes, after being paid into the treasury, were to be reissued.

When these $25,000,000 treasury notes of small denominations were made to circulate as money, and to bear no interest, the indignation of all the banks in the country was aroused. They saw that if those notes went out among the people, and became the money of the country, there would be an end to the circulation of bank notes. Such was the truth. There was, therefore, a general combination in New England, New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania to kill them off. The old Bank of the United States, chartered in 1791, the charter of which expired and which was not renewed in 1811, was then, as the law allowed, closing up its affairs. The debts of the people to this bank were very large. The bank was pressing for payment. The people presented these treasury notes, which did not bear interest, in payment. The bank, to destroy the credit of the notes, and to force the recharter of a national bank, refused to receive the notes of the government in payment to the bank. As the bank would not receive the notes from the merchants, the merchants were reluctantly compelled to refuse to receive them for debts due and for goods sold. The New England banks, and those of Delaware, were also deeply involved in this conspiracy to destroy the credit of these treasury notes, as all such are now. The embargo and non-intercourse laws of Jefferson and Madison had destroyed the carrying trade of 319New England, and had caused a suspension of the New England banks in 1809 and 1810. The people of New England were, therefore, greatly opposed to the war with England. They did all they could to cripple the government in carrying it on. They refused all loans, even of bank notes, and were very hostile to all treasury notes, especially to those intended to take the place of bank notes, as were those of 1815.

By a general combination between State banks, the old national bank bondholders and bullion brokers, these notes of the United States were forced to a discount for a short time. One of the strongest arguments in favor of having all treasury notes made full legal tender is here presented. Had they been legal tender to the people, as well as to the government, all the efforts of the banks and brokers to reject them and reduce their value would have been fruitless. If the legal tender character were removed from the greenbacks the national banks would at once discredit them to-day.

Immediately after these efforts of the banks to discredit treasury notes, an application was made to Congress for a charter for another United States bank, which proposed to take from the government, as part of its capital, $15,000,000 of these same treasury notes, to withdraw them from competition with bank notes. (Just as the rascally conspirators at Washington are now trying to do with three hundred and forty-six million greenbacks.)

Mr. Madison vetoed the bill, principally on account of this provision. But $28,000,000 of bonds were substituted for treasury notes, as capital of the bank; and by a combination of the Federal party and a few Democrats it was chartered. The charter provided that no other such bank should be chartered by Congress for twenty years. This implied, also, that all treasury notes intended to circulate 320as money should be withdrawn, and that this bank should furnish all the national paper circulation for twenty years.

For this privilege the bank paid $1,500,000. The contract on the part of the government was disgraceful, but, having been made, it had to be carried out; and it was carried out, as the following acts of Congress show:

The Act of March 3, 1817 (Statutes 3, p. 377).—The second Bank of the United States had just gone into operation. Congress was compelled to comply with its part of the contract. It, therefore, passed this law, which repealed all laws authorizing the reissue of the “treasury notes of 1815.” But the people had these government notes, and they preferred them to bank notes or coin. They knew that the repeal of the law authorizing their reissue could not affect the value of those then in their hands, for a valuable consideration paid the government. They, therefore, held on to the notes (as our people should now, in spite of Sherman, Gage & Co.) Instead of paying them into the treasury, where the law required them to be destroyed, the people held on to them, and used them in business, greatly to the annoyance of the bank and of the Secretary of the Treasury, then a bank man (Mr. Dallas). This officer ordered the collector of revenue to refuse to receive these notes for duties on imports, supposingsupposing that by this means he could injure their credit and force their presentation at the treasury for payment in coin or national bank notes, that they might be canceled. This gave rise to a suit in Boston. A firm presented treasury notes in payment of duties on imports, for which the law creating them provided that they should be received. The government refused to receive them, and brought suit for the duties. The defendants pleaded a tender of treasury notes. The government answered that they were not legal tender. 321Judge Story, in 1819, heard the case, and decided for the defendants. The decision is that “Treasury notes are legal tender for everything for which the government makes them receivable.” This decision is in 2 Mason, pages 1 to 18. This decision, though against the government, was never appealed to the Supreme Court. It, therefore, stood as the law of the land.

The Act of May 3, 1822 (Statutes 3, p. 675).—Treasury notes still remained out among the people, to the annoyance of the bank and the Secretary. The decision of Judge Story raised instead of depreciating them in the estimation of the people, and increased the anxiety of the bank and the Secretary respecting them. The notes did not come to the treasury for destruction. (Just so the people acted when John Sherman tried to make them take 5-20 bonds and give up the greenbacks.) They remained among the people until May 3, 1822, when Congress again came to the rescue of the bank and passed the law of that date, which provided that these treasury notes should not be received by any collector of revenue in the United States, and that they should be received and paid at the treasury only. All that came into the treasury were to be destroyed. The people wished to retain these notes; but the bank forced Congress to act against them; and Congress, by destroying their receivability, compelled their surrender by the people. We hear no more of treasury notes thereafter until 1837, when, as usual, the necessities of the government again called them into being.

The Act of October 12, 1837 (Statutes 5, p. 201).—The banks had all suspended, with nearly $40,000,000 government bonds. Not one year before the law had made these banks public depositories, with their promise that they would always pay coin for all liabilities. The government had, in 1835, paid off the last dollar of the national debt. 322The surplus then in the treasury was nearly $40,000,000. This was in the banks. The government had no money to pay ordinary expenses, unless the treasury used suspended bank notes. This Mr. Van Buren, the President, refused to do. He called Congress together to meet the emergency. Its remedy for the emergency was treasury notes (as it should now be), which Jefferson says are the only reliance of a nation. This act of October 12, 1837, provided for the issue of $10,000,000 treasury notes, in denominations not less than $50, running one year. The law left the interest which they were to bear discretional with the President and the Secretary of the Treasury; but in no case was it to exceed six per cent. Congress appeared too timid to make these notes money bearing no interest. The Secretary, knowing that the people needed them as money, complied with the law by making many of them bear one mill interest per annum. As such they circulated freely as money, and the people were delighted to get and use them. They answered all the purposes of coin, and equalized the exchanges throughout the country. The banks did not, at that time, possess sufficient power to injure them. Men now living remember them and their usefulness, although, imitating the foolishness of the Bank of England, they were never paid out of the treasury but once.

The Act of May 21, 1838 (Statutes 5, p. 228).—This act authorized the reissue of the $10,000,000 treasury notes issued under the act of 1837, which had been canceled. They should have been used till worn out, and then replaced ad infinitum. It has taken time and a great war to open the eyes of the people and Congress to see what Jefferson saw in 1813. And now, again, many are forgetting the facts.

The Act of May 31, 1840 (Statutes 5, p. 370).—This law renews the act of 1837, relating to the issue of treasury 323notes, and makes the following modifications: 1. That they were to be issued in place of those redeemed; not to exceed in this issue $5,000,000. 2. They were to be redeemed in less than a year, if the treasury was in a condition to redeem them. 3. When ready to redeem them, the Secretary of the Treasury was to give notice. 4. After due notice, these notes should cease to bear interest, if they remained out. This act was to continue only one year. It is evident that Congress supposed the necessity for issuing treasury notes would soon cease. But it was mistaken. Treasury notes continued to be issued up to 1848.

The Act of July 4, 1840 (Statutes 5, p. 385).—This was the first independent treasury act of the days of Van Buren. It had good features, but was badly bungled. The money of the government was to be kept by the government (instead of the banks), in the mints, custom-houses, post-offices and treasury building. The fool part of it was that after January 3, 1843, no payment should be made to the government in anything but gold and silver coin. The banks were suspended. The government was being sustained by treasury notes. But still this law provided that after January 3, 1843, treasury notes should be excluded from the treasury as well as bank notes. An appeal was made to the people, in that year’s election, upon this law, and Van Buren and his coin payments were knocked out by Harrison with wiser plans.

The Act of July 21, 1841 (Statutes 5, p. 438).—This was among the first Whig acts, and they in turn made fools of themselves. They favored a national bank, but opposed treasury notes. The law provided for the issue of $12,000,000 six per cent. bonds. The principal purpose was to redeem the good treasury notes of the Democrats. A Pittsburg man was sent to England to sell the bonds. 324Though the United States had paid its national debt in 1835, the bonds were no go. The Whigs, having failed to found a bank and sell these bonds, were compelled to rely upon the much-despised treasury notes of the Democrats.

The Act of April 15, 1842 (Statutes 5, p. 473), was a final effort to shove the bonds. They were increased to $17,000,000, the time extended indefinitely up to twenty years. They could be sold at less than par. The rich, strong young nation could not do it, though taxes and duties were pledged for payment. The war was going on between the Whig Congress and sensible President Tyler. The latter advocated the issuing of all the paper money as well as metallic money by the government; but Congress wished the money issued by a national bank. The President vetoed the bank bill. Congress, by way of heading him off, passed the act to make treasury notes bear six per cent. interest, to hinder their being used as money.

The Act of June 30, 1842 (Statutes 5, p. 766).—This provided for $5,000,000 treasury notes to run one year. Interest five per cent. Otherwise like most of the others, as to legal tender, payment to public creditors and placing them in banks.

The Act of August 31, 1842 (Statutes 5, p. 581), shows a lingering hope of selling the bonds. If not successful, the government was to issue $6,000,000 more of treasury notes (trotting out the despised pack-mule again), which might even be reissued. What a let-up! Br’er Fox Shylock, he lie low!

The Act of March 3, 1843 (Statutes 5, p. 614), authorizes the issue of new treasury notes to supply the place of those redeemed.

The Act of July 22, 1846 (Statutes 5, p. 39).—The DemocratsDemocrats resumed power in 1845. This act authorizes $10,000,000 treasury notes in place of those destroyed.

325The Act of August 6, 1846 (Statutes 9, p. 59), finally established the independent treasury on a sensible basis. It made all treasury notes and gold and silver coins equal in payment of all debts to the government. This held till 1861, and many of the provisions are still law, but badly enforced, as when our recent Presidents deposited many millions in banks.

The Act of January 28, 1847 (Statutes 9, p. 118), authorized $23,000,000 (more than $500,000,000 now) to fight the Mexican war. No interest was fixed. They mostly drew one mill, and the people gladly used them as money.

The Act of December 23, 1857 (Statutes 11, p. 237), provided for $20,000,000 treasury notes to take the place of coin, the banks having suspended with the coin in their vaults. (Heaven, or something, generally saves the banks.) These were, like most of the previous issues, with nominal interest. The plain people took them gladly.

The Act of December 17, 1860 (Statutes 12Statutes 12, p. 121), provides for $10,000,000 treasury notes, running one year, at six per cent. The interest was to run and the notes remain out until sixty days after notice of readiness to redeem. Otherwise they had the old provisions.

The Act of February 8, 1861, authorized the issue of treasury notes, or a loan of $25,000,000 to take up treasury notes.

The Act of March 2, 1861 (Statutes 12, p. 178), provides for a loan of $10,000,000 to take up treasury notes and for government expenses. Same old story. If bonds not sold, then more notes.

This brings us to the act of July 17, 1861, when the gigantic $250,000,000 of loans and notes came up. The further history is well known. That just given will surprise those who thought treasury notes began with the rebellion.


Safety Fund—Suffolk and Redemption Banks.

As many of the foolish propositions now put forth for “reforming the currency” are only feeble imitations of the Safety Fund, Suffolk System and Redemption Bank System that arose before the Rebellion, a brief account of them will be given here. In the thirties and forties there were as many so-called systems as there were States. The Suffolk System of Massachusetts, among those first started, alone deserved the name of system. In 1829 that State decreed that no bank should operate unless fifty per cent. of its capital was paid in coin. Notes must not exceed twenty-five per cent. of the capital. Liabilities, except deposits, must not exceed twice the capital. Such provisions, however, amounted to little, because, much of the loans being simple credits, there was small inducement in the strong banks to overissue notes. As no provision was made for reserves, the coin to set a bank in motion could be bought and sold again right after the organization. The Redemption system, afterward adopted, was much better, but, as will be shown, only a harm in panic times.

The New York banks were placed mostly in New York City and the Hudson River towns. In 1829 the Safety Fund System arose there. It allowed the banks under it to issue notes to twice the amount of their paid-up capital, and loans to twice and a half the amount. Every bank under it had to pay the State Treasurer, annually, one-half of one per cent. upon its share capital—these payments to continue till each bank had a sum equal to three per cent. of its share capital. The amounts so paid were to be held as a common fund for the discharge of notes or other liabilities of any bank of the system.

In 1841 and 1842 eleven of the Safety Fund banks failed, making a loss to the creditors of $2,588,933. The fund was then $86,274. The whole amount of the fund to September 32730, 1848, was only $1,876,063. The balance of the loss was provided by the State, which was to be reimbursed by further additions to the fund. That was very nice for the banks. In 1842 the act was so amended that the fund became chargeable only with the losses to the public on the note circulation, just as it is the case with the national banks now.

In 1838 New York founded the “Free Banking System,” by which banks could be formed without application to the legislature. These associations were required to deposit with the State Comptroller United States or State stocks equal to a five per cent. stock, or bonds and mortgages on improved real estate worth twice the sum secured, and equal in amount to their note circulation. The Comptroller issued the notes to them. Up to 1843 twenty-nine of these banks failed—circulation, $1,233,374; nominal value of securities, $1,555,338. These produced $953,371, or 74 per cent. of the circulation secured. The law was then amended to exclude all but United States stocks, and those of the State, which must be equal to six per cent.

A wiser provision had been adopted in 1840, requiring all the State banks to redeem their notes, either in New York City, Albany or Troy, at a discount of one-half of one per cent. In 1851 this discount was reduced to one-quarter of one per cent. After 1851 two New York banks started the Redemption System. The notes of such of the country banks as kept deposits with them were returned, the redeeming banks dividing the discounts between themselves and the issuers. This system was useful, as it forced a constant redemption; but see how it worked in 1857.

After 1838 no more Safety Fund banks were chartered, and the system gradually lapsed. But a curious story could be told of how it ran through the West. That 328region was deluged with “safety” money—all but the safety. In 1846 the new Constitution of New York took from the legislature all power to pass any act granting any special charter for banking purposes; such organizations to be under general laws. After 1850 bank stockholders were to be liable to the amount of their shares for all the debts, and holders of notes to be preferred creditors.

Now, for the redemption banks in 1857. These banks, useful in their way in ordinary times, did harm in that panic. A few years before a new source of profit was suggested to some New York banks. If the redemption that was distributed among the money-brokers could be monopolized by one or two institutions it would yield a rich revenue; and it could easily be attracted by reducing the rates of redemption so low as to exclude individual competition. The system was based somewhat upon the Suffolk system. Coupled with the payment of interest on country deposits, it had grown into astonishing activity before 1857. It worked admirably as a piece of machinery, with the popular commendation that it restricted the bank currency by enforcing prompt redemption, and saved the merchants a heavy brokerage. It was a great convenience in the first days of the panic, when private capital was withdrawn from the purchase of currency, and when the merchants, but for the redeeming banks, would have been overburdened with unavailable notes.

But the redemption system, like everything else that was susceptible of abuse, was turned aside from its legitimate purpose and made to answer a mischievous end. The low rate at which the bills were taken in New York accelerated their return in bulk, as a basis of exchange, or for credit in account. Thus their distinctive character as circulation was in a great measure destroyed. The cheap redemption, so desirable in a common state of the market, 329became virtually a premium on the currency of New York. The tendency, then, was to take it out of a healthful circulation and throw it back to its source, whereby it profited nobody so much as the stockholders of the express companies. The country banks might keep their own bills in a perpetual circulation, by exchanging them with each other, and thus creating a trade in them. The same packages were not unfrequently kept unopened in the circuit, and reissued in bulk, as often as they were needed to supply balances.

In a panicky time such redeeming banks must either put more capital into the service or reject the bills. In 1857, in spite of the best management, the currency circuit was kept up; the bills of one bank were paid for the bills of all the others.

Another evil arose from these banks. The credit given to an unsecured currency by their indorsement gave it a wide circulation, to the displacement of bills that were based upon State and United States stocks. It was now seen that this credit had no other basis than a current deposit by the issuing bank, which deposit was in very small proportion to its outstanding bills; and that the redeeming bank was prompt to the hour in repudiating those bills if the deposit was not maintained. This was a fallacious credit, entirely independent of the separate ability of the issuing banks. The general result was that bills were likely to fail in transit, and they would not then be admitted as a deposit, which would involve the rejection of others. And so the row of bricks began to tumble in both directions.

There was no incident of that panic that spread its terrors abroad with such sure and rapid steps as the rejection, by the redemption banks, of bills which they had been accustomed to receive on deposit. If it had been 330possible to remove all other causes of excitement, that alone would probably have involved the suspension of specie payments. It filled all the shops of the country with alarm. It created mobs in the savings banks, and pushed forward the panic, by exciting the fears of the multitude.

The Example of France.

Professor Laughlin has the gall, as few of his confreres have, to appeal to “the example of France,” after the Prussian war of 1871, in not “interfering with her media of exchange.” It is hard to tell whether his statement is based upon impudence or ignorance. She interfered with all the ideas of propriety entertained by his clique in a way that has been secretly their despair ever since. Yet hear his glorification of a scheme that cuts all the ground from under him. He says:

“France borrowed largely, collected large amounts of capital by the creation of her national debt, and, on the other hand, retained her circulating medium in so perfect a condition that the moment the war was over she slipped along smoothly upon the wheels of industrial success and prosperity, without any derangement of her business. And, during that time, she carried through one of the most magnificent schemes of exchange, in the form of the payment of indemnity, that has ever taken place in history. She actually paid that foreign indemnity of the war to Germany practically without deranging the rate of exchange in France.”

He don’t tell how. Don’t tell that she flooded all the avenues of trade with her paper money, and thus made her goods so plenty and cheap that Germany bought them instead of her own, and was then in turn nearly bankrupted; so that France paid three quarters of the “milliard” in French goods!

But hear the true story from Wendell Phillips, an all-round, up-to-date reformer, whose motto was,was, “Act in 331the living present.” When the monopolizers of black men were beaten he turned to face the monopolizers of all men and women. Here is his eloquent picture:

“France has just paid Germany one billion dollars. Her chief cities have been sacked and plundered. Humiliated by defeat, torn by civil dissensions, she laughs, while all the rest of Christendom wade through the mire of bankruptcy. Her ships are full busy, and what little other nations do is in carrying to and fro her manufactures. Her homes are happy, her streets crowded with passing trains loaded with goods; all her mills hurrying night and day to get even with her demand upon them. Labor walks rejoicing and capital sleeps easy, fat with its gains. What magician has done this? Paper money. Like the rest of the nations, she ran to its protection during the stress and strain of her German war. Unlike and wiser than the rest of us, she has not hurried back to coin. Wiser than we, she received the paper she offered to others. This honesty has its reward. Her paper is, to-day, more valuable than gold.”

Among the great results of this policy were an abundance of gold and silver coming from abroad, until $1,200,000,000 was found to be in the country.

Lest some may doubt the statement about the Germans only getting a little gold for that indemnity, an extract is here given from “Our Money Wars,” p. 152.

“Ivan C. Michels says: ‘The indemnity from France to Germany, after the war of 1870-71, including interest at five per cent. per annum, amounted to $1,060,209,015. After crediting France with the value of certain railroads in Alsace and Lorraine, the amount of indemnityindemnity due Germany was $998,172,069, or 4,990,860,349 francs, which was paid by the French government through the Bank of France. At my request the Bank of France furnished to me several years ago the following statement as to the mode of having paid said indemnity:

In bank notes of the Bank of France 125,000,000
In French gold coins 273,003,050
332In French silver coins 239,291,875
In German bank notes 105,039,045
Bills of exchange drawn in thalers 2,485,513,729
Bills drawn on Frankfurt in florins 235,128,152
Bills drawn on Hamburg in marksbancs 265,216,990
Bills drawn on Berlin in reichsmarks 79,072,309
Bills drawn on Amsterdam in florins 250,540,821
Bills drawn on Antwerp and Brussels in francs 295,704,546
Bills drawn on London in pounds sterling 637,349,832
Total francs 4,990,860,349

“‘The patriotic people of France raised the vast sum by a loan in less than six months from the time the government appealed to them. Germany expected to receive for years to come five per cent. per annum on the indemnity bonds; but the Bank of France, through the French bankers, drew on Germany, England, Scotland and Belgium, and in four months’ time the whole indemnity was paid. Never in the history of the world has this financial transaction been equaled, and I doubt that any other banking institution could have succeeded so well as the Bank of France. Germany expected the payment in gold coin or bullion, having previously and purposely demonetized silver. But the fact remains that actually in gold only 273,003,050 francs, equal to $54,600,610, was paid by the Bank of France, and that sum only left France, was remelted in Germany and coined into reichsmarks. England, with her gold standard, had to part with her gold to the amount of 637,348,832 francs, equal to $127,469,964. Bills of exchange on the German bankers throughout the German empire, especially on Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt, came to 3,064,901,180 francs, equal to $612,986,236, nigh on two-thirds of the whole amount of the indemnity. This magnificent stroke of finance on the part of the Bank of France and the French bankers came near ruining the leading German bankers; and forty-one banking houses throughout the German empire had to suspend temporarily, not being able to honor the drafts made upon them. The extravagance of the German people during the war of 1870-71 brought them into debt to France for luxuries, wines, etc., to an enormous extent; 333and when the Bank of France purchased bills of exchange from the French bankers, who drew on their German correspondents, a panic ensued, and the Germans suffered more than is generally supposed.’”

The above from Michels shows that he saw but dimly what Phillips saw so plainly, that government paper money, nourishing all industries, gave France that victory. Michels catches a glimpse of the truth when he speaks of luxuries, wines, etc.

To get a clear view of the French financial genius we have to go back to 1848, when Louis Philippe abdicated and the republic was founded amid great confusion. The French have an instinct for finance far superior to anything yet shown—by our rulers at least—in England and America. “Paris,” says Victor Hugo, “is the city of the initiative.” It is not afraid to start things. It is not, like Washington and New York, always asking what London would do or think. Taking Louis Blanc’s advice in 1848, it started national work-shops to insure the employment of surplus labor. Those did good for a time, but they were soon perverted and destroyed by a treacherous Jew who got hold of them.

Another new departure was more successful. “Besides its regular financial operations,” says the London Times of February 16, 1849, “the Bank of France made vast advances to the city of Paris, to Marseilles, to the Department of the Seine, and to the hospitals, amounting in all to 260,000,000 francs. But even this was not all. To enable the manufacturing interests to weather the storm, at a moment when all sales were interrupted, a decree of the National Assembly had directed warehouses to be opened for the reception of all kinds of goods, and provided that the registered invoices of these goods so deposited should be made negotiable by indorsement. The Bank of France discounted these receipts. In Havre 334alone 18,000,000 francs was thus advanced upon colonial products, and in Paris 14,000,000 on merchandise. In all 60,000,000 francs was thus made available for all the purposes of trade. Thus the great institution had placed itself, as it were, in direct contact with every interest of the community, from the Minister of the Treasury down to the trader in a distant part. Like a huge hydraulic machine, it employed its colossal powers to pump a fresh stream into the exhausted arteries of trade, to sustain credit and preserve the circulation from complete collapse.”

How like “a grimacing dance of apes” our American way of handling financial crises looks, in comparison with the above.

The Bank of England.

Prof. Laughlin showed the usual gold-bug worship of British finance in this:

“In the Bank of England the first moment of stringency the rate of discount is raised. That has the effect of preventing all unnecessary loans. The borrower who has good collateral will get the money if he is willing to pay an increased rate. Our system is such that we can loan until we come to the legal limit; and is deficient in that respect, as we cannot loan at a greater discount because of the iniquitous action of the usury laws. You can help a customer by increasing the rate. Just at the moment of the greatest stringency our American system is deficient.”

Ordinary decorous language would fail to characterize that infamous statement. The fact is that the British system is utterly brutal. Our “iniquitous usury laws” prevent a man from giving everything he has to the banks in hard times. The British system is that of Jay Gould in his gold corner of 1869. He settled with his debtors by “taking all they had.” He was merciful, and forgave them the balance; which is the usual stock exchange style.

335In coin-paying eras corrupt governments and Shylocks have debased coins to make them go further. In these credit-mongering times they try to bring their coin basis down to one metal, gold, and clamor for extreme fineness of that, in order to make their inverted pyramid of credit go further and sell dearer. The policy of Great Britain, for instance, has been to make gold, its standard, so dear and inaccessible to the foreigners and debtor class that they would find the other commodities in the market cheaper than the gold in the market, so that settlements in other commodities would be preferable. The retention of gold in the Bank of England, by raising discounts in panicky times, though murderous (“kindness,” says Mr. Laughlin) to individual active business men, is a necessary factor in this piratical scheme, and the fulcrum upon which England derricks into her treasure vaults the plunder of the whole world. Business is made a lottery, turning out dazzling prizes that keep merchants from rebellion. Long-headed American Shylocks hope to see the United States as much more successful in plundering the globe, in this way, as our country is larger than England.

Finally, as to Laughlin, with what bitter scorn this statement from the “closet scholar” will be greeted by the thousands of manufacturers who, during panics, have had to shut their factories for lack of cash “to pay the hands”—though they had all but gilt-edge collateral:

“The monetary function has to do solely with exchanges of goods; it hasn’t anything to do with their production.”

The Washington “Currency Reformers.”

In finishing this bird’s-eye view of the financial history of this country, a brief review of the current financial plans cannot well be avoided. It may be said of them, in a general way, that no other set of robbers ever before 336attempted to secure a law guaranteeing them unrestricted right to plunder with unlimited government protection. The out and out black-flag pirates, as represented by Walker of Massachusetts, have a plan as simple and explicit as a patent medicine. It runs thus: “Retire the greenbacks, kill silver once for all, and let the bankers manage the currency.” This obsolete idea, that banks should issue money, is showing all the vim of a death struggle. But a thousand columns of speeches in the Congressional Globe on the safety of the national bank system are answered by this solitary fact: In the year 1893, three hundred and sixty banks west of the Alleghanies, owing $125,000,000, went to smash, and about a dozen bankers are now in prison or exile, while many more escaped as by fire.

The Baltimore Plan, which a while ago had the sanction of the Comptroller, Secretary of the Treasury and the President, is, in a word, a scheme for issuing circulating notes by both national and State banks, otherwise than upon the pledge of government bonds as now. The banks are to issue notes upon their own assets, supplemented by a deposit of a certain amount of greenbacks, as a safety and redemption fund. The theory of this plan is that when any special demand for currency arises the banks will make a special issue of notes to supply it; and that as soon as this demand ceases the banks will retire the notes it has called out. Thus the quantity of currency available will, it is assumed, never be either deficient or excessive; and there will never be at any point either a monetary stringency or a monetary plethora. Were the function of currency exclusively that of facilitating exchanges, such a system (like that of 3-65 interconvertible bonds) might be useful. But currency serves the additional purpose of measuring the price of commodities; and since its relation 337to those commodities is determined by its volume, any change of its volume changes its value also, and consequently impairs its stability as a measure of prices.

Again, as to the State bank feature of the Baltimore plan, the idea prevails extensively in the agricultural districts of the West and South that the chief business of a bank is to lend money to borrowers. That is why they clamor for the removal of the ten per cent. tax on State banks. An abundance of greenbacks and silver would do away with most of the need of borrowing from banks. That’s what’s the matter with the banks.

No further mention is needed here of the schemes of Carlisle, Springer, Vest and others. They seem all dead at this writing, and they certainly should be damned. Even the New York Tribune, a monopolists’ own, says of one of the safety-fund schemes:

“The bankers are to have free issue; and when one fails the government is to collect from the other banks and redeem its currency. But in time of panic the government would not and could not do that.”

On the other hand, the New York Sun, edited by a man who was a radical socialist in his youth, and now a bitter, hardened, cruel cynic, although lately a Greenback paper, is as rabid as the New York Evening Post in advocacy of gold and gold only. It says of the latest safety-fund humbug:

“The new bill, like the old one, authorizes an inflation of our paper currency, by at least $550,000,000, without providing for its redemption in gold, and without any effectual provision for diminishing the volume of outstanding legal tender. Our New York financial magnates, who have put up, this year, $116,000,000 in gold, to save the treasury from suspending gold payments, ought to bestir themselves in opposition to this latest administration folly, if they would not see all their efforts go for naught and the 338catastrophe which they have labored to avert rendered inevitable.” [!!]

In Chicago we have Lyman Gage’s plan. Mr. Gage is a man of intellect who resembles some of those orthodox clergymen who, by a long course of theological dissipation, i. e., reasoning from false premises, have impaired their naturally fine faculties. Mr. Gage, if we must credit him with sincerity, has come to the same condition by financial dissipation. But his plan is not as vicious as some. To furnish the needed foundation for national bank circulation he would have the treasury issue $250,000,000 of 2½ per cent. bonds, for which greenbacks or Sherman notes should be paid. The money paid would not become an asset of the government. It would be canceled, destroyed, burned up. Of his scheme the Chicago Times well says:

“Like other bankers, he thinks the chief end to be sought is to relieve the government of the duty of issuing the circulating medium of the country. Upon this point we must note an emphatic disagreement with Mr. Gage, and with the whole school of financiers of which he is a type.”

A specimen of the demoralization and danger of the times is seen in a recent statement of Senator Gorman, that he and Quay had settled in their minds that a certain government bond scheme, like that of Mr. Gage, in eight items, including some about silver, was about the only proposition that could pass the present Congress. No. 3 among the eight items coolly dismisses the greenback thus: “The legal tenders to be retired and canceled as the bonds are put out.”

On the other hand, the Chicago Inter Ocean, which is repenting of some of its financial sins, and remembering what a good Greenback paper it was in 1878, says:

“One of the perils of the present financial situation is 339the disposition shown to reopen the greenback question. It took fifteen years to fight the great battle. Secretary McCulloch attempted to take snap judgment against legal-tender notes, paying them off at a rapid rate. Illinois, through one of its Congressmen, E. C. Ingersoll, stepped in the very first day Congress convened after that payingoff process had begun with a resolution which stopped it. Then began the intriguing of the Eastern bankers to destroy the greenbacks, and when the last decisive conflict occurred Illinois was again in the leadership, G. L. Fort being the especial champion of the greenback cause as against both the contractionists and the expansionists. There was a great victory. For half a generation the anti-greenbackers have been quiescent. They have come to the front again with this session of Congress. The knock-out received in caucus Monday ought to satisfy them that the greenback is here to stay. There never could be a better money. It is good for its face the world over. In that uttermost end of the earth, China or Japan, the United States legal-tender note is good for its face value, and, whatever changes are made, that part of our currency should remain intact. Should the current of Congressional events occasion a show of hands in the Republican party on this question, no doubt an overwhelming majority would say, as did the Democratic caucus, let the greenbacks alone.”

An extraordinary scene in the House between Representatives Hepburn and Hendrix so fairly illustrates the muddled stupidity and impudence of the gold-bugs that it deserves notice here as a sign of the situation. Mr. Hepburn described Mr. Hendrix as a self-heralded national banker, who came here with oracular utterances to tell the House what to do. Mr. Hepburn said his self-laudation was impaired by the recollection of his speech sixteen months ago, when the same conditions existed. Mr. Hendrix then found the panacea for all financial ills in the repeal of the Sherman silver law.

Before describing this discussion, attention should be 340called to the fact that the panic of 1893 was immediately brought on by the bankers because Secretary Carlisle undertook to perform about the only good deed he has ventured upon as Secretary, i. e., to pay the Sherman treasury notes according to the letter of the act of July 14, 1890, in silver, just as France would have done. Now mark how Hendrix “opened his mouth and put his foot in it,” and how, finally, Hepburn tripped him.

Mr. Hendrix described at some length the process by which the gold was withdrawn by speculators for shipment abroad, and then proceeded to contrast this with the situation in France, where the Bank of France refused to pay, except where actually necessary, more than five per cent. of gold on its demand obligations. These aggressions on our gold reserve must be stopped, and if the pending bill would stop them, afford relief, take the government out of the banking business, as it has been taken out of the silver business, he would vote for it.

“Does the action of the Bank of France, in refusing to pay more than five per cent. in gold,” asked Mr. Hepburn, “impair the credit of that bank?”


“Then would the credit of the United States be impaired if the United States should exercise its discretion and redeem the Sherman notes in silver?”

“Yes, I believe it would at this time,” replied Mr. Hendrix.


“Because of the general distrust of the government’s ability to pay in gold. One hundred and fifty-nine million dollars of Sherman gold promises [?] to pay cannot be met without gold.”

“But the notes are redeemable in coin, not in gold,” was Mr. Hepburn’s parting shot.

341Mr. Hepburn declared that Mr. Hendrix had pointed out unwittingly the remedy for the present evil when he told the House that the great banking houses of Europe exercised their discretion about depleting their gold vaults. “Why will not the Secretary of the Treasury exercise the same discretion?” he asked, amid a round of applause. “The exercise of this discretion did not impair the credit of European banks. Who dared to say that the credit of this country, with 65,000,000 people behind it, and an unlimited taxing power, would be impaired because it refused to kneel at the demands of the Shylocks?”

“Why have not the Republican Secretaries of the Treasury exercised that discretion?” asked Mr. Pence of Colorado.

“I have not been Secretary of the Treasury,” replied Mr. Hepburn hotly. “When I am I will answer. I am as fully convinced, however, as I am that I am alive, that if the Secretary of the Treasury were now to exercise his discretion and pay gold when legitimate redemptions were asked, and refuse it to sharks and speculators, the evils from which we suffer would cease to be.”

A broader view is that the prime motive of the Secretary in exercising his discretion should be the welfare of the government; and gold should be refused where its payment is likely to hurt the treasury.

In the foregoing pages we have attempted to give such a bird’s-eye view of American money and finance as would serve as an example and warning for the future. We behold in this short story how our finances were continually run upon the rocks and shoals of a false “political economy,” so-called, and how they were occasionally pulled off—though remaining most of the time stuck fast in the most dismal way.

342As to the general aspects of the money question this is added:

Our financial kings have kept two purposes in view. First: To have our money issued by and for the special use of private institutions called banks; and to have this money scanty in quantity and of fluctuating value. Second: To issue, foster and maintain, by all possible means, bonds and other interest-bearing obligations, as the most convenient means of transferring to the few the product of the industry of the many.

To maintain these humbugs, they use learned language, like doctors writing prescriptions in Latin. All the expert handlers of money, stocks, etc., hate nothing so much as that which is best for the other classes, viz., steady values. Their delight is in ups and downs; and then, if speculators, their effort is to be on the winning side. With brokers, every change is profitable. With them it is: “Heads I win, tails you lose.” Copernicus said of the work of these traitors: “It is not by a blow, but little by little, and through a secret and obscure approach, that it destroys the state.” Further back in the ages Plato, Lycurgus and Solon saw this most plainly.

The new American system of money is plainly and briefly this: Abundant government fiat paper money—founded upon the wealth and credit of a great, stable nation; such money toto be kept at a steady purchasing power by the increase and decrease of its volume; and to be quite void of intrinsic value, and quite free from particular commodities as bases for the monetary units.

For the present we wish free coinage of gold and silver at 16 to 1. The ultimate of gold and silver will probably be free coinage for all who bring them to the mints, into suitable coins stamped with their weight and fineness, and returned to the owners to be used as they choose. And 343no one will lie awake nights for fear the metals will go abroad.

When we get that “honest” fiat paper dollar, nothing will call for an extra session of Congress quicker than any prospect of a change in its purchasing power, after we have once got it to a generally satisfactory point, say about the buying power of our dollar in 1866. While any kind of a change, up or down, suits many gamblers and speculators, the steady increase in the buying power of the dollar, for thirty years past, has been destroying the producers of this country and largely creating the pestiferous breed of millionaires.

The bulk of our money wars have been crowded into the past thirty years. We might call them “Our Thirty Years’ War.” Its history has been utterly, wofully and willfully misrepresented by such pseudo-historians as Sumner of Yale and David A. Wells.

Those years nearly cover the great and little panics of 1837, ’47, ’57, ’60, ’73, ’84, ’85, ’90 and ’93. Vast tomes might be written concerning the manifold causes. One cause has always been foremost in them—scarcity of legal-tender money.

At times our rulers have tried to deceive us by a great show of abundant currency. Such were the fifteen kinds of money thrust upon the nation to confuse it during the civil war, by McCulloch and Sherman.

Why need we here repeat the many-times-told tales of the craft of the national banks, demonetization of silver, the mystery and raised value of gold, Rothschild tricks, the control of our finances and politics by Europe, and the gradual merging of the gold Democrats and Republicans into practically one party?

The bankers’ rebellion of 1881, which conquered President Hayes. The whirling of stock values up two billions 344then and down again in 1883. The deluge of trusts and syndicates in full tide in 1887. The bogus silver bill of 1890. Cleveland’s object-lesson of ruin and misery in 1893. The counting out of victorious Bryan in 1896. And now the ghostly attempt to bring prosperity by tariff bills and Lyman Gage “currency reform,” while millions of deceived, disappointed, dazed, discouraged, almost maddened Americans suffer all the tortures of poverty.

And the end is not yet.



“When I stand in the United States Treasury, I stand on English soil.”—Nathaniel P. Banks.

“HUGH McCULLOCH hamstrung the whole nation. His management of the finances, while it enriched him and made him a great London banker, has cost the American people more than the war did.” These words were uttered by Hon. William D. Kelley, and they are true as gospel. They would be equally true if the name of John Sherman were substituted for that of Hugh McCulloch.

That the constant aim and object of the manipulators of our financial legislation since the war has been to contract the currency and to burden the people with interest-bearing debt, thereby enriching the usurers and impoverishing the producing classes, is evidenced in the following brief summary of the eight principal enactments affecting money which passed Congress since 1861:

1. The Exception Clause. (Feb. 25, 1862.) In 1861 and 1862 demand treasury notes to the amount of $60,000,000 were issued by the government and made legal-tender money for all debts, public and private—equal to coin. Wall Street could not gamble in legal-tender paper money; so, as soon as the legal-tender act passed the House and was sent to the Senate, the Shylocks placed on the greenback what is known as the “exception clause”—“Except duties on imports and interest on the public debt.” This practically demonetized the United States treasury note, 346and cost the producing classes millions of dollars. The greenback “went down,” or, more correctly speaking, gold “went up,” until $1 in paper money was valued at only 37 cents when comparedcompared with gold. John Sherman said: “We purposely depreciated the greenback, to get sale for our bonds.” He was willing to destroy the people’s money to appease the greed of gold gamblers at home and abroad.

2. The National Bank Act. (Feb. 25, 1863.) This scheme was introduced in the Senate and advocated by John Sherman in the interest of bondholders and capitalists, just one year after legal-tender notes were authorized by law, and before sufficient time had been given to test their utility. The express object was to have the bank notes supersede the legal-tender notes, after the investment of legal tenders in bonds.

“I look upon the national bank, as now recognized by law,” says Myers in his “Money, Its History and Functions,” “as one of the most gigantic schemes for robbing the people ever devised by man. I cannot conceive of a single reason for perpetuating the system one day beyond the time required to settle its affairs. The national banks of this country have cost the people, in thirty years of their existence, over $6,000,000,000. The credit which the banker sells at from 7 to 15 per cent. costs him only 1 per cent. on actual circulation; hence it is virtually a present to him. He draws interest on this credit; on what he himself owes. His note is not money, nor is it in any sense a legal tender between man and man. It is simply a ‘promise to pay.’ The banker lends his credit, with which he has supplied himself by gift from the government, and the borrower pledges his wealth; the banker being far more secure than the holder of the banker’s paper. The banker takes pay for something he does not furnish; for the capital (wealth) is furnished by the borrower. So the banker 347gets something for nothing, and the borrower pays for that which he never receives.”

Banks are run on the deposits, rather than on any capital the banker himself may have. The patrons of the bank furnish the capital, and also the security. The banker lends other people’s money to other people; on this he draws interest; he conducts his business on your money and his credit, which you furnish him.

Now, if the government can afford to let the banker have credit at 1 per cent. on actual circulation, why can’t the treasury supply all the people with legal-tender money at the same rate? Why not issue the money direct to the people and then pay interest into the United States treasury, instead of into the coffers of corporate institutions? National banks are expensive luxuries which we don’t need. So let the people unite in demanding their abolition at once, and then institute in their stead United States banks, sub-treasuries if you please, backed by all the people, and hence absolutely safe. This would make a government for the people, instead of for the corporations. Let us do business on the credit of the people—on the credit of the government; not, as we are now doing, on the credit of banks and bankers.

3. The Funding Act. (April 12, 1866.) Commonly called contraction. This law authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to retire the legal-tender notes by investing them in 6 per cent. bonds. Contraction continued until some $1,500,000,000 were destroyed, and a corresponding amount of 6 per cent. bonds issued. The treasury notes, or legal tenders, were nearly all non-interest-bearing. This reduction of the currency was an outrage upon the people. The volume should have been increased to keep pace with an increasing population. But Shylock must have interest.

3484. The Credit-Strengthening Act. (March 18, 1869.) This law provided that the legal-tender treasury notes be paid in coin, as also all interest-bearing obligations of the government. Prior to the passage of this law public obligations had been payable in the lawful money of the country; the greenback was lawful money, redeemable the same as gold and silver coin, except duties on imports and interest on the public debt. The credit of the nation was good, and needed no strengthening. The war was over, and the country was prosperous and the people contented. Why, then, add another burden?

5. An Act Refunding the Public Debt. (July 14, 1870.) This act authorized the issue and sale of $1,500,000,000 United States bonds, to refund 5-20 bonds and make them conform to the law of 1860. To fund means to put public obligationsobligations into stocks and securities, making them interest-bearing.

The public debt should have been paid, as at first provided, in the lawful currency of the country, gold, silver and treasury notes. The law of 1869 added $500,000,000 to the 5-20 bonds, by making them payable in coin; then to refund the bonds, just to please English Shylocks, is villainy unnamed and unnameableunnameable.

6. The Demonetization of Silver. (Feb. 12, 1873.) The act of 1869 had made all public obligations payable in coin, gold or silver; while the act of 1873, clandestinely passed, by omitting the silver dollar from the list of coins enumerated, practically demonetized silver, making the public debt, interest and all, as well as the paper currency, payable in gold coin—a further contraction of the volume of currency.

The silver dollar was created by the Congress of the United States on April 2, 1792, and made the unit of value. It contains 412½ grains of standard silver, nine parts pure 349silver, one part alloy. At that time the mints of all the principal nations of the world were open to the free coinage of both gold and silver. That is, all of such metal presented to the mints could be converted into money without any charge except the actual cost of coining. The ratio then was about 15½ to 1; that is, one ounce of gold was equal to 15½ ounces of silver. January 18, 1837, the ratio between gold and silver coins of the United States was changed to 15.988 to 1, commonly referred to as 16 to 1.

The act demonetizing silver was understood by few, and, in fact, many of those who voted for it, and President Grant, who signed the bill, were unaware of its actual meaning and effect. The money speculators of England, backed by cupidity and ignorance on this side, were its real instigators. There was every reason in the world why England should desire the demonetization of silver here. She is a creditor nation, and her capitalists hold vast amounts in government and other securities abroad. From this country alone the capitalists of Great Britain derive each year more than five hundred millions of dollars for interest on their investments, all of which is paid in gold or its equivalent. The United States produces an enormous quantity of silver, but we very humbly submitsubmit to the gold standard as set up by Great Britain. We deny ourselves the right to use a metal of which we have an abundance and adopt one more scarce and, consequently, more expensive. By this policy we are forced to purchase gold abroad, thus adding constantly to the burden of a perpetual, interest-bearing national debt.

By accomplishing the demonetization of silver in this country, England gained a double victory, for the governments of the Latin Union, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Greece, were soon afterward forced to suspend 350silver coinage. The gain to England and the loss to the other countries involved, especially to the United States, by this general demonetization of silver, can hardly be estimated. The loss, of course, was the heaviest in this country, where the production of silver is very large, where so many are engaged in agricultural pursuits, and where a large and freely circulating volume of money is so essential to commercial activity.

Before silver was demonetized, we were under the burden of an enormous national debt, but every dollar of this was payable in silver. The stimulated demand for gold, and, consequently, its increase in value, was not the only gain to England. She now buys our cheap silver bullion, exchanges it at its coinage value for products in the silver-using countries of Asia, Africa and South America, and nets a profit of over one hundred per cent. by the transaction. We then buy from her at gold prices and pay with gold or products at prices which, by forcing us into competition with the world, England fixes herself.

7. The Resumption of Specie Payment. (January 14, 1875.) This law provided for the retirement of the fractional currency ($45,000,000) and the legal-tender treasury notes, their places to be supplied by national bank notes, which are not a legal tender between man and man. The name “specie payment” is simply a blind; it does not mean anything; to get rid of the much despised greenback was the real object of the act. The moneyed aristocracy had long ago confessed their inability to “control” the “greenback as it is called.” Had the provisions of this law been carried out, it would have added to our annual interest charge about twenty millions of dollars.

8. The Sherman Purchasing Clause. (July 14, 1890.) This act was a miserable makeshift or substitute for a free coinage bill. It provided for the purchase of not less 351than 2,000,000 nor more than 4,500,000 ounces of silver bullion per month, 2,000,000 ounces of which was to be coined each month into silver dollars until July 1, 1891. Instead of redeeming the treasury notes issued in the purchase of silver with their equivalent in silver, upon the demand of the holder, the Secretary of the Treasury was required to redeem these notes in gold or silver coin at his discretion. The legal-tender power of the silver dollar was modified so as to read: “Except otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract.” In 1893 President Cleveland called Congress together in extraordinary session to consider the financial condition of the country. November 1, 1893, the Sherman law was repealed, leaving us on a single gold basis.



“Above all things good policy is to be used, that the treasures and money of the state be not gathered into a few hands; for, otherwise, a state may have great stock and yet starve. And money is like muck, not good unless spread. This is done by suppressing, or at least keeping a strait hand upon the devouring trade of usury, engrossing, great pasturages and the like.”—Bacon.

THE following is a carefully prepared collection of quotations from the writings and speeches of eminent statesmen, jurists, financiers and economists, ancient and modern, foreign and American. It will be found not only interesting and instructive to the casual reader, but of extreme value to the student for reference:

Alexander Hamilton (report on the mint, 1791): “To annul the use of either of the metals as money is to abridge the quantity of the circulating medium. It is liable to all the objections that arise from a comparison of the benefits of a full with the evils of a scanty circulation.”

Benjamin Franklin, April 3, 1792 (Jared Sparks, page 255): “Want of money in a country reduces the price of that part of its products which is used in trade. A plentiful currency will occasion the trading produce to bear a good price.”

Page 185 of his autobiography (speaking of his pamphlet on “The Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency,” for the purpose of increasing the circulation): “It was well received by the common people in general, but the rich men disliked it, for it increased as well as strengthened the clamor for more money. The utility of this currency by experience became so evident as never to be 353much disputed, so that it grew soon to be £55,000, and in 1879 to £80,000, since which it rose to £350,000, trade, buildings and inhabitants all the while increasing.”

Daniel Webster: “A contraction of the currency, even if not sudden, contracts business, discourages enterprise and restrains the commercial spirit. A sudden contraction aggravates these circumstances.”

Henry Clay (debate on the sub-treasury, 1840): “The proposed substitution of an exclusive metallic currency to the medium with which we have been so long familiar is forbidden by the principles of eternal justice. Assuming the currency of the country to consist of two-thirds paper and one of specie, and assuming, also, that the money of a country, whatever may be its component parts, regulates all values, and expresses the true amount which the debtor has to pay his creditor, the effect of the change upon that relation, and upon the property of the country, would be most ruinous. All property would be reduced in value to one-third of its present nominal amount, and every debtor would, in effect, have to pay three times as much as he had contracted for. The pressure of our foreign debt would be three times as great as it is, while the six hundred millions, which is about the sum now probably due to the banks from the people, would be multiplied to eighteen hundred millions!... A man, for example, owning property to the value of $5,000, contracts a debt of $5,000. By the reduction of one-half of the currency of the country, his property in effect becomes reduced to the value of $2,500. But his debt undergoes no corresponding reduction.... But if the effect of this hard money policy upon the debtor class be injurious, it is still more disastrous, if possible, on the laboring classes.... Of all the subjects of national policy, not one ought to be touched with so much delicacy as that of the wages—in 354other words, the bread—of the poor man. In dwelling, as I have often done, with inexpressible satisfaction, upon the many advantages of our country, there is not one that has given me more delight than the high price of manual labor. There is not one which indicates more clearly the prosperity of the mass of the community....

“The revulsions of 1837 produced a far greater havoc than was experienced in the period above mentioned. The ruin came quick and fearful. There were few that could save themselves. Property of every description was parted with at sacrifices that were astounding, and as for the currency, there was scarcely any at all. In some parts of the interior of Pennsylvania the people were obliged to divide bank notes into halves, quarters, eighths, and so on, and agree from necessity to use them as money. In Ohio, with all her abundance, it was hard to get money to pay taxes. The sheriff of Muskingum County, as stated in the Guernsey Times, in the summer of 1842, sold at auction one four-horse wagon at $5.50; ten hogs at 6¼ cents each; two horses (said to be worth from $50 to $75 each) at $2 each; two cows at $1 each; a barrel of sugar at $1.50, and a store of goods at that rate. In Pike County, Missouri, as stated by the Hannibal Journal, the sheriff sold three horses at $1.50 each; one large ox at 12½ cents; five cows, two steers and one calf, the lot at $3.25; twenty sheep at 13½ cents each; twenty-four hogs for 25 cents for the lot; one eight-day clock at $2.50; a lot of tobacco, seven or eight hogsheads, at $5; three stacks of hay at 25 cents each.”

Horace Greeley (“Political Economy,” page 65): “They [false economists] assume that if half the money in a country leaves it for goods imported, the residue will perform the functions previously devolved on the whole, save only that there will be a general reduction of prices. I, on 355the contrary, issue an appeal to the experience of mankind to sustain me that in such cases the remainder, so far from subserving the end formerly answered by the larger volume of currency, will not even subserve half of it, for it will all but cease to circulate at all.... In its absence the people will quite generally be driven back to barter, a discouragement of industry and a long stride on the downward road to barbarism.”

Treasurer Spinner (that portion of his report for December, 1873, which was suppressed by President Grant): “When ... legitimate money becomes more and more abundant, credits are asked for and given on shorter and shorter time, until the time comes when there is money sufficient to transact all the legitimate business and to effect all necessary exchanges of the merchantable commodities of the country; then private credits will be almost entirely unknown, as will commercial revulsions and consequent panics.... Inflation can only be when the people are excessively in debt. Such is not the position when money is plentiful; for when money is plentiful people get out of debt and acquire habits of promptness, punctuality, and pay as they go.”

George S. Coe (“Financial History of the War”): “As the war progressed and the country became poorer, the currency increased. It is strange that all other property was eagerly sought for in preference to this, and that prodigal expenditure became the law of the land.”

Report of George S. Coe, John J. Knox, James Harsen Rhoades and W. P. St. John (committee of New York Chamber of Commerce, 1891): “The enlarged volume [of legal-tender money], besides disturbing the equitable relations of men to each other, at once adjusts itself to the prices of all commodities and relatively enhances their cost, so as to absorb at once whatever advances their 356cost.... This is why thoughtful men see in any issue of legal-tender notes the way to inevitable destruction.”

Robert G. Ingersoll: “We have passed through a period of wonderful and unprecedented inflation. For years every kind of business has been pressed to the very sky line. A wave of wealth swept over the United States. Tatters became garments and garments became robes. Walls were covered with pictures, floors with carpets, and for the first time in the history of the world the poor tasted all the luxuries of wealth. But monopoly changed that paradise into hell by creating a money famine.”

John J. Ingalls: “No people in a great emergency ever found a faithful ally in gold. It is the most cowardly and treacherous of all metals. It makes no treaty it does not break; it has no friend it does not sooner or later betray. In times of panic and calamity, shipwreck and disaster, it becomes the agent and minister of ruin. No nation ever fought a great war by the aid of gold. In the crisis of the greatest peril it becomes an enemy more potent than the foe in the field.... In our own civil war it is doubtful if the gold of New York and London did not work us greater injury than the powder and lead and iron of the rebels. It was the most invincible enemy of the public credit. It was in open alliance with our enemies the world over, and all its energies were evoked for our destruction. But, as usual, when danger has been averted and the victory secured, gold swaggers to the front and asserts supremacy.”

Hugh McCulloch, Secretary of the Treasury (1866): “The process of contracting the circulation of the government notes should go on just as rapidly as possible without producing a financial crash.”

John A. Logan (Feb. 17, 1874): “You may theorize and argue to the farmers until you are hoarse, and you will fail to get them to prefer low prices to high ones for their 357products.... The people have and do realize that their most prosperous times were when currency was the most plentiful....

“I can see the people of our Western States, who are producers, reduced to the condition of serfs to pay interest on public and private debts to the money sharks of Wall Street, New York, and of Threadneedle StreetStreet in London, England. And this will be accomplished by withdrawing the treasury notes from circulation, and destroying them until the banks can control the entire volume of money.... It was the contraction and increased want of currency, and not a superabundance, which produced the necessity for running in debt.

“Falling prices and misery and destruction are inseparable companions. The disasters of the dark ages were caused by decreasing money and falling prices. With the increase of money labor and industry gain new life.

“I can see benefit only to the money-holders and those who receive interest and have fixed incomes. I can see, as a result of this legislation, our business operations crippled and wages for labor reduced to a mere pittance. I can see the beautiful prairies of my own State and of the great West, which are blooming as gardens, with cheerful homes rising like white towers along the pathway of improvement, again sinking back to idleness. I can see mortgage fiends at their hellish work. I can see the hopes of the industrious farmers blasted as they burn corn for fuel, because its price will not pay the cost of transportation and dividends on millions of dollars of fictitious railway stocks and bonds.”

Preston B. Plumb (Senate, April, 1880): “The contraction of the currency by 5 per cent. of its volume means the depreciation of the property of the country three billions of dollars.”

358The Chicago Tribune (1878): “Straight along for four and a half years the dollar has grown dearer and larger, the debts heavier and harder to pay, and the value of property has withered; business has been done at a continual loss. Real estate—lands, lots and improvements, the foundation of all wealth—has gone down year after year in value, while the mortgages have devoured it, wiping out equities and all that had been paid thereon, and annihilating multitudes of fortunes.”

President Grant (message, 1870): “Immediate resumption, if practicable, is not desirable. It would compel the debtor class to pay beyond their contracts the premium on gold at the date of their purchase and would bring bankruptcy and ruin to thousands.”

Message of 1873: “The experience of the present panic has proven that the currency of the country, based as it is upon its credit, is the best that has ever been devised.

“To increase our exports, sufficient currency is required to keep all the industries of the country employed. Without this, national as well as individual bankruptcy must ensue....

“Prices keep pace with the volume of money.”

John Sherman (1869): “The contraction of the currency is a far more distressing thing than Senators suppose. Our own and other nations have gone through that process before. It is not possible to take that voyage without the sorest distress. To every person except a capitalist out of debt it is a period of loss, of danger, lassitude of trade, fall of wages, suspension of enterprise, bankruptcy and disaster.”

William D. Kelley (House of Representatives, Jan. 3, 1867): “The experiment [on contracting the currency], if attempted as a means of hastening specie payments, will 359prove a failure, but not a harmless one. It will be fatal to the prospects of a majority of the business men of this generation, and strip the frugal laboring people of the country of the small but hard-earned sums they have deposited in savings banks. It will make money scarce and employment uncertain. It will increase the purchasing power of money, and by thus unsettling values will paralyze trade, suspend production and deprive industry of employment. It will make the money of the rich man more valuable and deprive the poor man of his entire capital, the value of his labor, by depriving him of employment. Its final effect will be widespread bankruptcy.”

Toledo Blade (May 17, 1877): “In financial crises the thing men want is money; that which everybody must receive in payment of debt or forever thereafter forego all claim of interest thereon. What men want in such seasons of panic and distress is that which will pay a note in a bank, will meet the exactions of government, will avert the sacrifice of homestead, warehouse or other property by sheriff’s or marshal’s sale; which, being money, will, when tendered in payment, arrest such proceedings.... The existence and inflexibility of the law are indisputable. If the volume of money is increased creditors complain that the prices of commodities are further enhanced.”

George William Curtis (Harper’s Weekly, July, 1877): “There can be no doubt that as the volume of money decreases the purchasing power increases.... It is unquestionably true that it is a maxim of money that the increase of its volume decreases and the decrease increases the purchasing power of the unit.... It may be a fair question whether the demonetization of silver did not increase the value of gold.”

Thomas Ewing (November 22, 1877): “No greater wrong can be inflicted on the people by government than 360a contraction of the volume of the currency. The prices of commodities, whether land, product or labor, are determined absolutely by the effective volume of the currency. An increase of the volume raises the price of commodities.”

James G. Blaine (House, February 7, 1878): “The destruction of silver as money and establishing gold as the sole unit of value must have a ruinous effect on all forms of property except those investments which yield a fixed return in money. These would gain an unfair advantage over other species of property.”

James A. Garfield (1880): “Whoever controls the volume of currency is absolute master of the industry and commerce of the country.”

Senator Mills, of Texas (House, February 3, 1886): “But the crime that is now sought to be perpetrated on more than fifty millions of people comes neither from the camp of a conqueror, the hand of a foreigner, nor the altar of an idolator. It comes from the cold, phlegmatic marble heart of avarice—avarice that seeks to paralyze labor, increase the burden of debt, and fill the land with destitution and suffering to gratify the lust for gold—avarice surrounded by every comfort that wealth can command, and rich enough to satisfy every want save that which refuses to be satisfied without the suffocation and strangulation of all the labor of the land. With a forehead that refuses to be ashamed it demands of Congress an act that will paralyze all the forces of production, shut out labor from all employment, increase the burden of debts and taxation, and send desolation and suffering to all the homes of the poor.”

Leland Stanford (Senate, March 10, 1890): “An abundance of money means universal activity, bringing in its train all the blessings that belong to a constantly employed, 361industrious, intelligent people.... Abundant and cheap money places the power in the hands of the industrious.... Cheap and abundant money means co-operation of labor to an extent hitherto unknown.... Would go far towards aiding his [labor’s] intelligence, toward realizing his highest destiny. It seems to me that the great thought of humanity should be how to advance the great multitude of toilers, increase their power of production and elevate their condition.... To me one of the most effective means of placing at man’s disposal the force inherent in the value of property is through furnishing a bountiful supply of money.... If money were suddenly annihilated from all business affairs there would be a general suspension of business all over the country. It is the duty of statesmen to furnish the means, if possible, to find out the way by which the Creator’s design for the highest advance of civilization is to be obtained. Want, discomfort and misery are not necessarily the heritage of the industrious and provident man. So far as I can ascertain, no government has ever attempted to furnish an adequate supply of money or establish any standard by which its want could be ascertained.”

John G. Carlisle (in the House, February 21, 1878): “According to my views of the subject the conspiracy which seems to have been formed here and in Europe to destroy by legislation and otherwise from three-sevenths to one-half the metallic money of the world is the most gigantic crime of this or any other age. The consummation of such a scheme would ultimately entail more misery upon the human race than all the wars, pestilences and famines that ever occurred in the history of the world. The absolute and instantaneous destruction of half the entire movable property of the world, including houses, ships, railroads and other appliances for carrying on commerce, 362while it would be felt more sensibly at the moment, would not produce anything like the prolonged distress and disorganization of society that must inevitably result from the permanent annihilation of one-half the metallic money of the world.”

John G. Carlisle (speaking for the Bland bill, 1878): “It will reverse the grinding process that has been going on for the last few years. Instead of constant and ruthless contraction, instead of constant appreciation of money and depreciation of property, we will have expansion to the extent of at least $2,000,000 a month, and under its influence the exchangeable value of commodities, including labor, will soon begin to rise, thus inviting investments, infusing life into the dead industries of the country, and quickening the pulsations of trade in all its departments.”

Secretary Windom (Jan. 31, 1891): “The ideal financial system would be one that should furnish just enough absolutely sound money to meet the legitimate wants of trade, and no more. Had it not been for the peculiar condition which enabled the United States to disburse over seventy-five million dollars in about two and a half months last autumn, I am firmly convinced that the stringency in August and September would have resulted in widespread financial ruin.”

Chauncey M. Depew: “Fifty men can paralyze the whole country, for they can control the circulation of the currency, and create panic whenever they will.”

Hon. G. G. Symes, of Colorado (commenting on the demonetization of silver): “There would be truly enough money to do the business after the shrinkage of prices and the financial disasters. For the new order of things and basis of values there would still be gold enough to carry on the business. It would only require one-half after the new 363condition and basis was reached. The monometallists, then, would still argue that gold was not scarce.”

Henry Clews, Wall Street financier (March 16, 1895): “Wall Street keeps a quick eye upon the prospects of the suggested international silver conference. It sees in the adoption of a world-wide policy of bimetallism the certainty of a material increase in the metallic money of the commercial nations, and assumes that, in such case, there would be a general rise in values and a consequent speculative boom of wide dimensions.”

Franklin H. Head, of Chicago (business man): “That an increase in the quantity of money reduces prices, and a diminution lowers them, as stated by Mill and other economic writers, is the most elementary proposition in the theory of currency, and without it we should have no key to any of the others.”

Amasa Walker, of Massachusetts: “Other things being equal, the amount of currency in circulation determines the prices of everything that is for sale; and these are increased or diminished as the volume of the currency is increased or diminished.”

A. B. Hepburn, of the United States Treasury (Forum, 1894): “When credit is withheld a money stringency is easily created.”

Prof. William G. Sumner, of Yale (“History of American Currency,” page 205): “In 1872 this issue was forced out of between forty and fifty million, reducing a redundancy and enhancing retail prices.” Page 211: “The war being ended, the financial question took this form: ‘Shall we withdraw the paper, recover specie, reduce prices, lessen imports and live economically until we have made up the waste and loss of war? Or shall we keep paper as money?’ Mr. McCulloch proposed to contract inflated paper and pursue the former alternative.” Page 221: “The whole 364story goes to show that the value of paper currency depends upon its amount.” Page 329: “If, therefore, a nation has a specie currency, a drain upon it by an adverse balance of trade, a foreign payment, or any other similar cause, would immediately produce a lowering of prices and a return of current specie until the natural level was once more restored.”

Prof. Francis A. Walker, Yale (“Money,” page 57): “The value of money in any country is determined by the quantity existing. Its power of acquisition depends not upon its substance, but upon its quantity.... That prices will fall or rise as the volume of money be increased or diminished is a law that is unalterable as any law of nature.” Page 210: “Gold and silver undergo great changes of value and become in a high degree deceptive. Prof. Jevons estimates that the value of gold fell, between 1789 and 1809, 45 per cent.; from 1809 to 1849 it rose 145 per cent., while in the twenty years after 1849 it fell again at least 30 per cent.... When the process of contraction commences the first class on which it falls is the merchants of the large cities; they find it difficult to get money to pay their debts. The next class is the manufacturer; the sale of his goods at once falls off. Laborers and mechanics next feel the pressure; they are thrown out of employment. And lastly the farmer finds a dull sale for his produce.”

Robert Ellis Thompson, M. A., University of Pennsylvania (“Political Economy,” page 151): “The influx of money into a progressive country is one of the most powerful promoters and increasers of production. When it is plenty all sorts of productive work is stimulated. Labor is the master of capital, and industrial enterprise gains a more than proportionally large return for its outlay.” Page 209: “The possession of a large quantity of money 365enables any country to organize its industries upon such a scale as to carry its division of labor to such perfection as will bring down the prices of all the products of industry, while affording a larger return to both capitalist and laborer. It therefore makes such a country a cheap place to buy in, mainly because of that accumulation of money which was to make everything dear.”

Professor Thompson (“Political Economy”) quotes Thomas Tooke, page 208: “If money has increased, industry and trade are increased.... If iron and cotton are scarce, those who need them suffer by the scarcity, but it has no effect upon the prices of other materials. If, on the other hand, money is scarce, the price of everything else is affected. Every one must make exchanges, just as when the water falls in the rivers traffic is interrupted because the vessels are aground.”

Professor Francis Bowen, Harvard (“American Political Economy,” page 280): “The whole process of exchange may be compared to the process of weighing a well-poised balance, the money and the merchandise being placed on the opposite arms of the lever. Increase the weight on the money side, and the merchandise is sure to rise.” Page 281: “The equalization of money is but another name for the equalization of prices.” Page 244: “The probability of the notes being redeemed at some future day, more or less remote, is not the cause even of the depreciation in the value of paper money, ... but solely on the relative amount of the currency compared with the needs of business. How great are these needs? Commerce needs money or currency enough to enable it to perform its peculiar function; that is, to make the prices of commodities in the home market equal or as nearly equal as possible to the prices of the same commodities in foreign markets.” Page 245: “If there is only $100 to buy flour with, and 366only ten barrels of flour offered for sale, the competition of buyers and sellers must fix the price at $10 a barrel. If there was twice as much flour, the number of dollars being the same, the price must be reduced to $5. On the other hand, double the quantity of money; there would be $200 available for this purpose, and, as at first, only ten barrels to be sold; the price would rise to $20 a barrel.” Page 301: “The general principle is that the value of money falls in precisely the same ratio in which its quantity is increased. If the whole quantity of money in circulation was doubled, prices would be doubled; if it was only increased one-fourth, prices would rise one-fourth.”

President Steel, Lawrence University: “The conventional unit of lineal measure must not be a line which averages a foot, though it may be fourteen inches to-day and nine inches to-morrow; for the same reason it is desirable that the unit of value should have the same purchasing power next week as it has now.”

Prof. Francis Wayland (“Elements of Political Economy,” page 297): “If there is more money in a country than is needed for its exchanges, the price of goods is raised and it is sent abroad for new purchases. If there is a scarcity of money in a country, the price of goods declines, and money comes in from other lands to be exchanged for them.” Page 298: “If money is abundant because business is stagnant and exchanges are few, it is a sign of adversity rather than of prosperity.”

Edwards Pierpont (North American Review): “When currency is small it is always easy for a few lords of corporations and rich money-lenders to combine and lock it up, and thus throw down the price of stocks, wheat, cotton and other commodities, and work a corner on the currency. Thus the market is made tight and extortion easy.”

John Sheldon (New England Yale Review, March, 1890): 367“This is of supreme importance, for prices tend to carry with the amount and not simply with the kind of legal-tender money in circulation. The greater the amount the higher the range of prices; the less the circulation the lower the prices. Prices tend ever to follow up and down the amount of legal-tender money in circulation; they do not tend to fixity of the particular kind of money or standard used.”

Alexander Baring (before the committee, House of Lords, 1819): “The reduction of paper would produce all those effects which arise from reduction in the amount of money in any country.”

Sir Robert Peel (May 6, 1844, speaking of the act to regulate the currency): “There is no contract, public or private, no engagement, national or individual, which is unaffected by this.”

Lord George Bentinck (Parliamentary Debates, about 1847): “Of all the subtle devices which the wit of man has contrived to despoil the community of their property, nothing equals the contrivance of laws which limits the currency to gold.”

Lord Beaconsfield (“Agricultural Depression”): “Gold is every day appreciating in value, and as it appreciates in value the lower become prices.”

Sir Walter Scott (speaking of abundant currency): “It is not less an issue that the consequences of this banking system as conducted in Scotland have been operated with the greatest advantage to the country; have converted Scotland from a poor, miserable and barren country into one where, if nature has done less, art and industry have done more than in perhaps any country in Europe, England itself not excepted.”

Encyclopedia Britannica (1859): “A fall in the value of precious metals, like a fall of rain water after a long course 368of dry weather, may be prejudicial to certain classes. It is beneficial to an incomparably greater number, including all who are engaged in industrial pursuits, and is, speaking generally, of great public or national advantage.”

North British Review (November, 1861): “Metallic money, whilst acting as coin, is identical with paper money in respect to being destitute of intrinsic value.”

William JacobJacob, F. R. S., gives statistics of the world’s volume of money from the year 14 A. D., when it was $1,790,000,000, to 806, when it had fallen to $168,000,000. The price of a horse in England then was £1 15s 2d; an ox, 7s 2d; a cow, 6s 2d; sheep, 1s 2d; goat, 4d.

Ernest Seyd (1867, speaking of a reduction in volume): “Throughout the world a fall in prices will take place, injurious alike to the owners of solid property and to the laboring classes, and advantageous only, and unjustifiably so, to the holders of state debts and other contracts of that kind.” (“Bullion,” 1868:) “On this one point all authorities are agreed: that the large increase in the supply of gold has given a universal impetus to trade, commerce and industry, and to greater social development and progress.”

Baron Rothschild (French Monetary Convention, 1869): “The suppression of silver would amount to a veritable destruction of values without any compensation.”

Ricardo, M. P. (high priest of the bullionists), in his reply to Bauset, said: “The value of money in any country is determined by the amount existing.... The commodities would rise or fall in price in proportion to the increase or diminution of money. I assume that as a fact that is incontrovertible. However debased a coinage may become, it will preserve its mint value.... A well-regulated paper currency is so great an improvement in commerce that I should greatly regret if prejudice should induce us to return to a system of less utility.... By 369limiting the quantity of money it can be raised to any conceivable value.”

John R. McCulloch (commenting on Ricardo): “He explains the circumstances which determine the value of money ... and he shows ... its value will depend upon the extent to which it may be issued compared to the demand. This is a principle of great importance, for it shows that intrinsic worth is not necessary to a currency.”

Speaking in favor of a gradual reduction in the burden of debts, through the natural increase in the volume of precious metals, McCulloch said: “It promotes industry and diminishes the weight of obligations which press upon the producing classes, whether employer or employed.... Thus it appears that, whatever may be the material of the money of a country, whether it consists of gold, silver, copper, iron, salt, cowries, or paper, and however destitute it may be of any intrinsic value, it is yet possible, by sufficiently limiting its quantity, to raise its value in exchange to any conceivable extent.”

Samuel Bailey (Sheffield): “However some men doubt the advantage of an increase of the currency, no one can deny the ruinous effects of a decrease.”

Sir James Stewart: “Money is nothing more than a scale of equal parts for the measurement of things vendible.”

Sir James Graham (British statesman): “The value of money is in the inverse ratio to its quantity, supply of commodities remaining the same.”

William E. Gladstone (1876, speaking of the banks issuing money): “It will be exactly the same thing, so far as the money is concerned, to grant a legislative privilege to a person or to pay over to him a considerable sum from the consolidated fund.”

London Economist (1883): “England being the chief 370creditor nation of the world, it is to her interest to keep the volume of money as small as possible in countries from which debts are due, in order to get more of their product in payment of interest due to her citizens.”

The Royal British Commission, appointed August, 1885, to inquire into the causes of the depression of business, made world-wide inquiries and was composed of twenty-three members, a number of whom were distinguished statesmen and economists. They agreed that gold had greatly appreciated in value and that the rise in the value of gold was caused by the demonetization of silver and the falling off in the supply of gold, and it was the leading cause of the general depression in trade and industry. But it was added:

“This country [England] is largely a creditor country of debts payable in gold, and any change which entails a rise in the prices of commodities generally—that is to say, a demonetization of the purchasing power of gold—would be to our disadvantage.”

Archbishop Walsh (Dublin, 1893): “Of all conceivable systems of currency, that system is sure to be the worst which gives you a standard steadily, continually, indefinitely appreciating, and which, by that very fact, throws a burden upon every man of enterprise and benefits no human being whatever but the owner of fixed debts.”

Count Leo Tolstoi (Russian philanthropist): “Only by means of money do some people command the labor of others nowadays; that is, into slavedom. Money tribute has become a chief means of the subjugation of men, and by it are determined all the economic relations of man.”

Cernuschi (French economist): “The purchasing power of money is in direct proportion to the volume of money existing.”

Professor Chevalier (France), speaking of the increase of money, says: “Such a change will benefit those who 371live by current labor and enterprise; it will injure those who live upon the fruits of past labor.... It has been wisely said that there is no machine which economizes labor like money, and its adoption has been likened to the discovery of letters.”

Sauerbeck (German statistician): “The propositions of some economists, that we have quite enough money in our country, or that there is sufficient gold to carry on the trade of the world, are valueless. They assume that there is a certain quantity required that need not be increased. Of course there is enough gold, and we could perhaps do with half the quantity. It only depends upon the state of prices.”

Fichte (German philosopher): “The amount of money current in a state represents everything that is purchasable on the surface of the state. If the quantity of purchasable articles increases while the quantity of money remains the same, the value of the money increases in the same ratio. If the quantity of money increases while the quantity of purchasable articles remains the same, the value of money decreases in the same ratio.”

Herr von Barr, speaking of the loss to German miners by the demonetization of silver, says: “This direct loss, important as it is, is nothing, however, compared with the indirect loss resulting from the fall of prices.”

M. Edouard Cazalet, banker of Milan (“Bimetallism,” page 14): “Since the value of all articles of commerce is represented by the currency, the value of these articles must fall in proportion to the reduction in the volume of the currency. Otherwise the moneyed currency could not possibly do the work which the two metals combined have previously performed.”

Dr. Soetbeer (German statistician): “The value of 372money has fallen through the issue of paper money as well as through the increased production of gold and silver.”

Leon Fouchet (1843): “If all the nations of Europe adopted the system of Great Britain the price of gold would be reduced beyond measure. The government could not decree that legal tender should be only gold, for that would be to decree a revolution, and the most dangerous of all, because it would be a revolution leading to unknown results.”

M. Wolowski (French Institute, 1868): “The suppression of silver would bring on a veritable revolution. Gold would augment in value with rapid and constant progress, which would break the faith of contracts and aggravate the situation of all debtors.... If by a stroke of the pen they suppress one of these metals [gold or silver] in the monetary service, they double the demand for the other metal, to the ruin of all debtors.”

John Locke (“Considerations, etc., in Relation to Money,” 1691): “The greater scarcity of money enhances its price and increases the scramble, and makes an equal portion of it exchange for a greater of any other thing.” 1690: “Money is really a standing measure of the falling and rising value of other things. If you increase or lessen the quantity of money current, then the alteration of value is in the money. The value of money in any one country is the present quantity of the current money in that country in proportion to the present trade.”

Adam Clark’s commentary on II. Matthew: “The scarcity of money in England in 1351 influenced Parliament to pass an act fixing a day’s labor at 1d. Twenty-four eggs sold for 1d; a pair of shoes 4d; wheat 3d; a fat ox 80d.”

Copernicus, the astronomer (treatise “Monete Cudende 373Ratio,” addressed to the King of Poland): “Numberless as are the evils by which kingdoms, principalities and republics are wont to decline, these four are, in my judgment, most baleful: civil strife, pestilence, sterility of the soil, and corruption of the coin. The first three are so manifest that no one fails to apprehend them; but the fourth, which concerns money, is considered by few, and those the most reflective, since it is not by a blow, but little by little, and through a secret and obscure approach, that it destroys the state.”

Daniel Watney, of England: “I cannot suppose that everybody is wise. Must think of the folly of the United States, when they were a debtor nation, in adopting a gold standard. They knew nothing about currency matters; they did not know it was going to increase their debt enormously.”

Paulus (Roman jurist, third century): “Money circulates with a power which is derived, not from the substance, but from the quantity.”

Blackstone (vol. I., page 2761): “As the quantity of precious metals increases they will sink in value and become less precious. If any accident were to diminish the quantity of gold and silver they would proportionately rise.”

Faucet (“Handbook of Finance,” page 146): “The decline of prices since 1872 and 1873 is explained by the increased value of gold. The first effect was to cause a collapse of speculative securities, namely, bonds of railroads, etc.”

Professor De Colange (“American Encyclopedia of Commerce”): “The rate at which money exchanges for other things is determined by its quantity.”

Beasey: “Slavery is the inevitable result of poverty. Poverty is the inevitable result of low wages. Low wages are the inevitable result of a scarcity of currency.”

374A. H. Gaston: “Money is simply a measure of value, and as a nation contracts its circulation it contracts the value of all property in like proportion.”

Colton’s Public Economy (page 224): “We hold that money enough for the demands of trade is the tool of trade to a nation.” Page 193: “It is very desirable that there should not be sudden and great fluctuations, as such changes affect the value of incomes. For example, when the products of the American mines had raised the general prices on comforts of life as 4 to 1.”

Silver Commission Report of 1876, page 49: “Whenever it becomes apparent that prices are rising and money falling in value in consequence of an increase in its volume, the greatest activity takes place in exchange and productive enterprises. Every one becomes anxious to share in the advantages of a rising market, and the inducement to hoard gold is taken away; its circulation becomes exceedingly active; labor comes into great demand and at remunerative wages. It not only increases production, but increases consumption.” Page 50: “Falling prices and misery and destitution are inseparable companions. It is universally conceded that falling prices result from the contraction of the money volume.” Page 50: “Money is the great instrument of association, the very fiber of social organism, the vitalizing force of industry, the pure, true organ of civilization, and as essential to existence as oxygen is to animal life. Without money civilization could not have had a beginning.” Page 51: “It is estimated that the purchasing power of the precious metals increased between 1809 and 1840 fully 145 per cent.... They had come to regard money as an institution fixed and immovable in value, and when the price of property and wages fell they charged the fault not to the money, but to the property and the employer. Their prejudices 375were aroused against labor-saving machinery; they were angered against capital.” Page 53 (effects of a decreasing volume of money): “It circulates freely in the stock exchange, but avoids the labor exchange. It has in all cases been the worst enemy with which society has had to contend.” Page 56: “However great the natural resources of a country, fertile its soil, intelligent, enterprising and industrious its inhabitants—if the volume of money is shrinking and prices falling, its merchants will be overwhelmed with bankruptcy, industries paralyzed, and destitution and distrust will prevail.” Page 59: “All respectable authorities agree as to the relative effects of an increasing and decreasing money.... History records no such disastrous transition as that from the Roman empire to the dark ages. In the Christian era the metallic money of the Roman empire amounted to $1,800,000,000. By the end of the fifteenth century it had shrunk to less than $200,000,000. Population dwindled, and commerce, arts, wealth and freedom all disappeared.”

Henry C. Carey, LL. D. (“Social Science,” page 297): “Money tends to diminish the obstacles interposed between the producer and the consumer precisely as do railroads and mills.... The most necessary part of the machinery of exchange being that which facilitates the passage of labor and its products from hand to hand, any diminution of its quantity is felt with tenfold more severity than is the diminution of the quantity of railroad cars or steamboats.”

Before the Congressional committee: “We next find him [Secretary McCulloch] issuing the destructive Fort Wayne decree, by means of which we were made to know that the currency was in excess and prices too high; that the policy of the treasury was to be one of contraction; and that unfortunate debtors must as speedily as possible place 376themselves in a position to meet the shock to be thus created. In other words, all debtors were required to sell, capitalists meanwhile being advised not to buy, the government being determined that labor, lands, houses, stocks and property of all other descriptions should be promptly reduced to gold values.”

Treatise on “Wealth”: “A period of contracted currency is one of embarrassment, difficulty, and generally, in the end, of insolvency to the small farmer and moderate landholder.... It will rise in price from that scarcity, and become accessible only to the more rich and affluent classes.”

[This greatest of American political economists, the late Henry C. Carey, estimated the cost of contraction in order to secure resumption between the years of 1873 and 1879 at thirty billion dollars.]

Henry Carey Baird (March 13, 1882): “The man who has the greatest horror of the inflation of the currency generally has no horror of the inflation of bank credits. He likes it because it increases his power over his fellow men. What he objects to is the inflation of the people which causes an increase of their power.”

September 3, 1889: “People know that the expansion of the currency means life, and equally well that contraction means death.”

Henry Carey Baird (“Money and Bank Credit,” page 14): “The first and greatest need of a man is that of association and combination with his fellow men, and the daily life of a civilized people involves such countless myriads of acts of association or commerce that a medium having the quality of universal acceptability is absolutely necessary to that life. That medium is money.... In its absence in sufficient volume in Great Britain and Ireland, thousands of millions of dollars of labor power annually 377in those islands perish. While the Trenholms, the Russell Sages, the Pearsalls, the Fahnenstocks and the Seligmans wrangle over the efforts of the people to secure a sufficient supply of ‘current money,’ more labor power will go to waste than will represent the value of the capital of all the banks in the city of New York many times over.”

Peter Cooper: “Contraction in finance is not the same as economy in private life. Contraction in the finances of a country means a stoppage of a certain amount of the industry and exchanges, by reason of the contraction of the credit by which these are sustained. Nothing can be more certain than that a contraction of the currency by our government has been followed by a reduction of all values, so that a wrong has been inflicted upon all the enterprising business men of this nation, whose property has been virtually confiscated by this process of contraction.”

B. F. Butler (August, 1875): “I am informed that Mr. Duncan, of Duncan, Sherman & Co., went to Washington when the currency bill was before the President to advise him to veto it because it was necessary to depreciate values. The President did veto the bills. Values have been depreciated, I trust, to an amount entirely satisfactory to Messrs. Duncan, Sherman & Co.” [The firm of which John Sherman was a member was bankrupted by the depreciation.]

Solon Chase: “I bought a yoke of steers a year ago for $60; fed them all summer and winter, and in the spring was offered but $60 for them in the market. Who got the hay? So long as the owners of funded wealth control the volume of money they control the price of a day’s work down east and the price of a bale of cotton down south. The higher the price of hogs and corn, the easier the people can pay the debt. The farmer cannot pay off his 378debt on a falling market. The fight of the men who deal in money is not for the metal, but to control the volume.”

James D. Holden (President National Citizens’ Alliance): “So magical is the operation of this wonderful device known as money that by simply restricting its issue wealth is transferred from the hands that created it to the possession of those not in the remotest degree responsible for its production. Let the reader who does not indorse this view give himself, if possible, a reason why a people who by their laws create the supply of money should limit the issue.”

A Georgia editor (speaking of the effects of contraction) says: “In 1868 there was about $40 per capita of money in circulation; cotton was about 30 cents a pound. The farmer then put a 500-pound bale of cotton on his wagon, took it to town and sold it. Then he paid $40 taxes, bought a cooking stove for $30, a suit of clothes for $15, his wife a dress for $5, 100 pounds of meat for $18, one barrel of flour for $12, and went home with $30 in his pocket. In 1887 there was about $5 per capita of money in circulation; this same farmer put a 500-pound bale of cotton on his wagon, went to town and sold it, paid $40 taxes, got discouraged, went to the saloon, spent his remaining $2.30 and went home dead broke and drunk.”

Arthur Kitson (“Scientific Solution of the Money Question,” 1894, page 284): “A restricted currency means restricted commerce; restricted commerce means restricted production, and restricted production means poverty, misery, disease and death.” Page 396: “The gold standard is a device of the bankers for the measuring of everybody else’s corn with their bushel.”

Sealy (“Coins and Currency,” 1853): “The commerce of the country is now in the power of the Bank of England as it was before in the legislature.”

379Doubleday (“Financial History of England”): “We have already seen the fall of prices produced by this universal narrowing of the paper circulation. Distress, ruin and bankruptcy which took place were universally among the landholders whose estates were burdened by mortgages. The effects were most marked. Owners were stripped of all and made beggars.”

President Andrews (Eaton University): “Demonetization of silver was the hardest, saddest blow to human welfare ever delivered by the action of states. So long as gold is the sole standard of that money, so long these wrongs and sufferings must continue.”

James Mill (father of John Stuart Mill): “In whatever degree the quantity of money is increased or diminished, other things remaining the same, in that proportion the value of the whole and every part is reciprocally diminished or increased.”

Herbert Spencer: “Barbarians do not want any money but hard money; semi-civilized people want hard money and convertible paper; but when the world becomes civilized and enlightened no other kind of money will be used but paper money.”



“It is against nature for money to breed money.”—Bacon.

THE great Napoleon said, after studying a set of compound interest tables: “There is one thing to my mind more wonderful than all the rest, and that is, that the deadly fact buried in these tables has not before this devoured the whole world.” The ethical sense of mankind saw at an early day the wrong of usury. The Mosaic law was very explicit on the subject. Cicero mentions that Cato, being asked what he thought of usury, made no other answer to the question than by asking the person who spoke to him what he thought of murder. The Christian Church, in its early days and until the end of the Middle Ages, utterly forbade the exaction of interest. In the reign of Edward VI. a prohibitory act was passed, for the stated reason that the charging of interest was “a vice most odious and detestable and contrary to the word of God.” It was not until the time of the Reformation that this interpretation of the divine law was ever questioned. Calvin was one of the first to contend that the sentiment against exacting interest arose from a mistaken view of the Mosaic law. A series of enactments, known as the Usury Laws, restricted the maximum rate to be charged in England. By Act 21 James I. this rate was fixed at 8 per cent. During the Commonwealth this rate was reduced to 6 per cent., and by Act 12 Anne to 5 per cent., at which rate it stood until 1839. In the United States the legal rate of interest varies, nearly all the 381States having passed statutes fixing a maximum rate.

“Usury bringeth the treasures of a realm or state into a few hands; for the usurer being at certainties, and others at uncertainties, at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box; and ever a state flourisheth when wealth is more equally spread.”

This quotation is from the essay “Of Usury,” by that wisest of philosophers, Francis Bacon. The reader must bear in mind that while nowadays the term “usury” is applied generally only to excessive interest, in Bacon’s time the word was used for any rate of premium or interest for the use of money. The word usance, now obsolete in that sense, conveyed the same meaning, and is used in Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice.” The provocation which Antonio first gave Shylock was that—

“He lends out money gratis and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice.”

All are familiar with the conditions which Shylock exacted of Antonio:

Shylock.         This kindness will I show.
Go with me to a notary, seal me there
Your single bond; and, in a merry sport,
If you repay me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are
Express’d in the condition, let the forfeit
Be nominated for an equal pound
Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your body pleaseth me.
Antonio. Content i’ faith: I’ll seal to such a bond
And say there is much kindness in the Jew.
Bassanio. You shall not seal to such a bond for me:
I’ll rather dwell in my necessity.
Antonio. Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it;
Within these two months, that’s a month before
This bond expires, I do expect return
382Of thrice three times the value of this bond....
Come on; in this there can be no dismay;
My ships come home a month before the day.

But Antonio’s ships did not come in—just as the farmer’s crop often fails and the artisan’s employment gives out just when the mortgage is due—and Shylock claimed his pound of flesh. “The Merchant of Venice” is a comedy, and Shylock, Bassanio and Antonio are mere creatures of imagination; but there are thousands of tragedies enacted every day in real life in which real Shylocks play a part. The Shylocks of to-day are quite unlike the Shylocks of fiction, however. Banker Morgan, who negotiated with Grover Cleveland the star-chamber bond deal by which the American government sold to the Rothschilds at a premium of only 4½ per cent. $100,000,000 of interest-bearing gold bonds which were immediately after quoted at a premium of 21 per cent., is a philanthropist. As soon as possible after the deal was made his portrait appeared in many of the great dailies with a fulsome account of his many charities! It will take many a pound of human flesh, many a drop of life’s blood, to pay the interest on the bonds which he negotiated, and out of the sale of which he made a cool million in one day.

The Bible has much to say on the subject of usury. The writer has never heard a sermon preached on any of the following texts, however—perhaps because bankers and money-lenders rent the best pews. Remember that usury here means simply interest—not excessive interest:

Exodus 22:25: “If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.”

Deuteronomy 23:19-20: “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury. Unto a stranger 383thou mayest lend upon usury, but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury, that the Lord thy God may bless thee.”

Nehemiah 5:7: “Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them: Ye exact usury every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.”

Psalms 15:5 (David describes a citizen of Zion): “He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent.”

A Chapter from “Cæsar’s Column.”

I cannot do better here than quote a significant chapter from Ignatius Donnelly’s powerful novel, “Cæsar’s Column,” which certainly did as much as any book ever printed to set people thinking:

“But what would you do, my good Gabriel,” said Maximilian, smiling, “if the reformation of the world were placed in your hands? Every man has a Utopia in his head. Give me some idea of yours.”

“First,” I said, “I should do away with all interest on money. Interest on money is the root and ground of the world’s troubles. It puts one man in a position of safety, while another is in a condition of insecurity, and thereby it at once creates a radical distinction in human society.”

“How do you make that out?” he asked.

“The lender takes a mortgage on the borrower’s land, or house, or goods, for, we will say, one-half or one-third their value; the borrower then assumes all the chances of life to repay the loan. If he is a farmer, he has to run the risk of the fickle elements. Rains may drown, droughts may burn up his crops. If a merchant, he encounters all the hazards of trade: the bankruptcy of other tradesmen; the hostility of the elements sweeping away agriculture, and so affecting commerce; the tempests that smite his ships, etc. If a mechanic, he is still more dependent upon the success of all above him and the mutations of commercial prosperity. He may lose employment; he may sicken; he may die. But behind all these risks stands the 384money-lender, in perfect security. The failure of his customers only enriches him; for he takes for his loan property worth twice or thrice the sum he has advanced upon it. Given a million of men and a hundred years of time, and the slightest advantage possessed by any one class among the million must result, in the long run, in the most startling discrepancies of condition. A little evil grows like a ferment—it never ceases to operate; it is always at work. Suppose I bring before you a handsome, rosy-cheeked young man, full of life and hope and health. I touch his lip with a single bacillus of phthisis pulmonalis—consumption. It is invisible to the eye; it is too small to be weighed. Judged by all the tests of the senses, it is too insignificant to be thought of; but it has the capacity to multiply itself indefinitely. The youth goes off singing. Months, perhaps years, pass before the deadly disorder begins to manifest itself, but in time the step loses its elasticity; the eyes become dull; the roses fade from the cheeks; the strength departs, and eventually the joyous youth is but a shell—a cadaverous, shrunken form, inclosing a shocking mass of putridity; and death ends the dreadful scene. Give one set of men in a community a financial advantage over the rest, however slight—it may be almost invisible—and at the end of centuries that class so favored will own everything and wreck the country. A penny, they say, put out at interest the day Columbus sailed from Spain, and compounded ever since, would amount now [A. D. 1890?1890?] to more than all the assessed value of all the property, real, personal and mixed, on the two continents of North and South America.”

“But,” said Maximilian, “how would the men get along who wanted to borrow?”

“The necessity to borrow is one of the results of borrowing. The disease produces the symptoms. The men who are enriched by borrowing are infinitely less in number than those who are ruined by it; and every disaster to the middle class swells the number and decreases the opportunities of the helpless poor. Money in itself is valueless. It becomes valuable only by use—by exchange for things needful for life or comfort. If money could not be loaned it would have to be put out by the owner of it in business 385enterprises, which would employ labor; and as the enterprise would not then have to support a double burden—to-wit, the man engaged in it and the usurer who sits securely upon his back—but would have to support only the former usurer, that is, the present employer—its success would be more certain; the general prosperity of the community would be increased thereby, and there would be, therefore, more enterprises, more demand for labor, and consequently higher wages. Usury kills off the enterprising members of a community by bankrupting them, and leaves only the very rich and the very poor; but every dollar the employers of labor pay to the lenders of money has to come eventually out of the pockets of the laborers. Usury is therefore the cause of the first aristocracy, and out of this grow all the other aristocracies. Inquire where the money came from that now oppresses mankind, in the shape of great corporations, combinations, etc., and in nine cases out of ten you will trace it back to the fountain of interest on money loaned. The coral island is built up of the bodies of dead coral insects; large fortunes are usually the accumulations of wreckage, and every dollar represents disaster.”

How Wealth Accumulates.

As proof of the fact that it is a mighty fortunate thing for humanity that the Rothschilds did not conduct a bank in the year 1 A. D., I reprint from the Twentieth Century the following article by H. C. Whitaker, which shows the beauties of interest-drawing:

“Had one cent been loaned on the 14th day of March, A. D. 1, interest being allowed at the rate of 6 per cent., compounded yearly, then, 1894 years later—that is, on March 14, 1895—the amount due would be $8,497,840,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (8,497,840,000 decillions). If it were desired to pay this in gold, 23.2 grains to the dollar, then, taking spheres of pure gold, each the size of the earth, it would take 610,070,000,000,000,000 of them to pay for that cent. Placing these spheres in a straight row, their combined length would be 4,826,870,000,000,000,000,000 miles, a distance 386which it would take light (going at the rate of 186,330 miles per second) 820,890,000 years to travel.

“The planets and stars of the entire solar and stellar universe, as seen by the great Lick telescope, if they were all of solid gold, would not nearly pay the amount. A single sphere to pay the whole amount, if placed with its center at the sun, would have its surface extending 563,580,000 miles beyond the orbit of the planet Neptune, the farthest in our system.

“It may be added that if the earth had contained a population of ten billions, each one making a million dollars a second, then to pay for that cent it would have required their combined earnings for 26,938,500,000,000,000,000,000 years.”



“And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”—Leviticus 25:10.

“Debt is the fatal disease of republics, the first thing and the mightiest to undermine government and corrupt the people.”—Wendell Phillips.

FROM the earliest dawn of history debt has ever borne a close relationship to slavery and servitude. “It is worthy of remark,” says Grote (History of Greece, vol. III., p. 144), “that the first borrowers must have been for the most part driven to this necessity by the pressure of want, contracting debt as a desperate resource without any fair prospect of ability to pay. Debt and famine run together in the mind of the poet Hesiod. The borrower is in this unhappy state rather a distressed man soliciting aid than a solvent man capable of making and fulfilling a contract; and if he cannot find a friend to make a free gift to him in the former character he would not under the latter character obtain a loan from a stranger except by the promise of exorbitant interest and by the fullest eventual power over his person which he is in a position to grant.”

“This remark,” says Professor Nicholson in the Encyclopedia Britannica, “suggested by the state of society in ancient Greece, is largely applicable throughout the world until the close of the early Middle Ages.” The conditions of ancient usury find a graphic illustration in the account of the building of the second temple at 388Jerusalem (Nehemiah 5:1-12). Some said: “We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards and houses that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.” Others said: “We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards, ... and lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, ... neither is it in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards.”

In ancient Greece we find a law of bankruptcy resting on slavery. In Athens, about the time of Solon’s legislation (594 B. C.), the bulk of the population who had originally been small proprietors became gradually indebted to the rich to such an extent that they were practically slaves; those who nominally owned their property owed more than they could pay, and stone pillars erected on their land showed the amount of the debts and the names of the lenders. Solon’s remedy for this state of affairs was to cancel all debts made on the security of the land or the person of the debtor, and at the same time he enacted that henceforth no loans could be made on the bodily security of the debtor, and the creditor was confined to a share of the property.

In Rome’s early history practically the same conditions prevailed as in Greece. About 500 B. C. an attempt was made to remedy the evil by providing a maximum rate of interest, no alteration being made, however, in the law of debt. In the course of a few centuries the free farmers were utterly destroyed. The pressure of war and taxes and usury drove all into debt and into practical, if not technical, slavery. The old law of debt was not really abolished until the dictatorship of Julius Cæsar, who then practically adopted Solon’s legislation of more than five centuries before, but too late to save the middle class.

In the course of centuries and the evolution of civilization 389chattel slavery has been abolished; but the slavery of debt still remains, and usury is now, as it was in all the history of mankind, the tool with which debt forges the chains of nations. It is not the province of this work to examine into the conditions of other countries than our own, but the facts now to be presented will convince the thoughtful reader that the American people are bound by chains of debt which it will require the wisest statesmanship to break.

Representative Warner of Massachusetts (Republican), in a speech delivered in Congress in 1894, stated that the interest-bearing debts of the United States, public and private, aggregated a grand total of $32,000,000,000 (thirty-two billions of dollars). This would be bad enough, but careful estimates by conservative students of political economy show that the amount is very much larger.

W. H. Harvey, author of “Coin’s Financial School,” makes the following itemized estimate of the interest-bearing debts of this country, public and private. Most of the figures are derived from recognized official sources:

The national debt, according to the official census of 1890, was $ 891,960,104
State and municipal debts (census 1890). 1,135,210,442
Railroad bonds, 1892 (“Poor’s Manual,” 1893) 5,463,611,204
Debt on farms and homes occupied by owner (R. R. Porter, Supt. Eleventh Census, in North American Review, vol. 153, p. 618) 2,500,000,000
Mortgaged indebtedness of business realty, street railways, manufactories and business enterprises (estimated from partial reports of 11th census) 5,000,000,000
Loans from 3,773 national banks (Statistical Abstract of the United States) 2,153,769,806
390Loans from 5,579 State savings, stock and private banks and trust companies (Statistical Abstract of the United States) 2,201,764,292
These are figures on which something definite has been obtained; also the ratio of increase from 1880 to 1890, which was from $6,750,000,000 in 1880 to $19,000,000,000 in 1890. By computing the same ratio of increase we should now add 8,000,000,000
Mortgage debts on homes not occupied by owner (estimated) 1,000,000,000
Overdue accounts due merchants, wholesale and retail, drawing from 6 to 10 per cent. interest (estimated) 5,000,000,000
Debts due pawnbrokers, drawing from 60 to 120 per cent. per annum or 5 to 10 per cent. a month (estimated) 1,000,000,000
Private debts due from individuals to individuals and of which there is no public record or other data for census officers to obtain information (estimated) 1,000,000,000
Maritime debts (estimated) 1,000,000,000
Overdrafts, judgments, overdue taxes and miscellaneous items not included in the foregoing (estimated) 4,000,000,000
Horrible total $40,346,315,848

In commenting on his figures, Mr. Harvey says: "Debts, a non-producing industry, growing to such a magnitude that the profits derived from all the producing industries of the country will not more than pay the interest on these debts, make the producers thereafter work for the benefit of the money-lending or non-producing class. When such a condition as to debts arises as we now have, all money nearly gravitates into the hands of the money-lenders and piles up in the money centers. The effect of debts upon 391civilization has never been understood generally. A prosperous country can carry about a certain proportion of debt among its people without apparent injury, but when it reaches the present proportion—a proportion only reached three times before in the known history of the world—it produces commercial paralysis and the financial enslavement of the people. All the people make goes to pay the money-lenders their interest.

“When you pay money to a merchant or a manufacturer that you may owe, the money you pay him is paid by him to others for material and other products of his business, with no charge or embargo upon it; but when you pay back to a money-lender a debt you owe him, the money stops there until it is loaned out again to come back with interest. When this grows to such an extent as to require all or most of the money in the country to pay the interest on debts, then commerce slackens and there is little or no money among the people except as loaned out by the banks and others whose business it is to loan money. They are dealing in the blood of commerce, and when they take it from the arteries of commerce there is commercial sickness and distress.”

The Abstract of the Eleventh Census (page 189) gives the true valuation of all real and personal property in the United States as only $65,037,091,198. Against this we have an interest-bearing debt of forty billions.

But Mr. Harvey’s figures are by no means complete. He says nothing about the capital stock of the great railroad, telegraph, telephone, insurance and other corporations, most of which is “water.” The reader may say that this is not debt. But it is debt, as it represents what the companies owe to their stockholders; it draws interest; it must pay salaries and dividends. To say that we pay interest every year on forty-five billions is a very conservative 392statement. And the debt is constantly increasing, for the reason that there is not in circulation, of all kinds of money, enough to pay this interest. Let us figure it out. The average rate of interest is 6½ per cent. Let us say 6 per cent. At this rate we pay each year $2,700,000,000—over $40 per capita. Think of it! Forty dollars interest for every man, woman and child! Two hundred dollars for every family! And this exclusive of taxation, which adds still more to the burdens of life. The most blatant gold-bug does not claim that there is $40 of money per capita in circulation. There can be only one result, and that result is abject, hopeless slavery—slavery under the guise of freedom, but still slavery—unless this burden of debt is thrown off before the patient people succumb entirely.



By Lyman Trumbull.

“Property, or the dominion of man over external objects, has its origin from the Creator, as his gift to mankind.”—Blackstone (Dunlap’s Manual of the General Principles of Law).

IT is chiefly the laws of property which have enabled the few to accumulate vast wealth while the masses live in poverty. For many generations our laws have been framed with a view to the claims of property rather than the rights of man. For ages the money power has controlled legislation the world over, and, I am sorry to say, has exercised a controlling influence in our own land for many years. In the language of the Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If a man has an inalienable right to life, then he has a right to the means which sustain life, and of which he cannot be justly deprived by laws which permit one man, or set of men, to so absorb the means of life as not to leave sufficient to sustain the lives of all. If man has an inalienable right to liberty, then he cannot be justly deprived of liberty by another who assumes the right at his mere discretion to abridge it. If man has an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness, then he cannot be justly deprived of that right by laws interposed in the way of its pursuit.

Do such laws exist, and if so, how came they into existence?

394In Great Britain, whence we have derived most of our laws of property, the policy is to build up great estates. Hence, by the laws of that country, land descends to the eldest son, to the exclusion of the other children. The effect of this is to limit the ownership of land to a few persons. Thirty-four persons in that country own six million two hundred and eleven thousand acres of land. The Duke of Sutherland is said to own one million three hundred and fifty-eight thousand acres, and a few other dukes and earls own a great proportion of the land of the United Kingdom. What has brought about this wide difference in the ownership of land? Certainly the few who own the millions of acres, from which they derive revenue, in some instances of more than five hundred thousand dollars annually, in rentals, have not earned these vast estates by their own industry, but, on the contrary, it is by force of statutory enactments that these vast estates have been accumulated and perpetuated in few hands.

In this country we have abolished the law of primogeniture, by which the eldest son inherited the landed estate of his ancestor, but here vast estates are being rapidly accumulated in few hands, and this is especially true during and since the War of the Rebellion. In 1860 there were few millionaires and few large fortunes in this country, but since then a rich class has sprung up, so that in 1890, according to reliable statistics, ten per cent. of the people own as much wealth as the other ninety per cent. In 1890 there were 12,690,182 families in the United States, and according to George K. Holmes, in the Political Science Quarterly, 4,047 of these possessed about seven-tenths as much as do 11,593,887 families. Just think of it. One family possessing the wealth of 2,000 families the country over! In the city of New York alone 395there are said to be five men whose aggregate wealth exceeds $500,000,000. How many hundred millions are held by various wealthy corporations, coal and oil syndicates and other trusts, I am unable to state. In the cities of New York and Chicago hundreds of thousands of men and women, willing to work, were out of employment last winter, many of whom must have perished from want but for charity’s aid. These conditions another winter promise to be no better.

The richest corporations and persons on earth are probably in the United States. How have they accumulated their vast fortunes? Surely not by their own industry and thrift, but by the aid of statutes regulating the rights of property, generally statutes providing for the transmission of property by descent or by will, or the creation of monopolies.

It is only by virtue of statutory law that man is permitted to make disposition of his property by will, and it is only by virtue of statutory law that one person is permitted to inherit property from another, and it is by virtue of statute law that great corporate monopolies have been built up.

No man has a natural right to dispose of property after death, nor has one person a natural right to inherit property from another. As Blackstone says: “There is no foundation in nature or in natural law why the son should have the right to exclude his fellow creatures from a determinate spot of land because his father did so before him, or why the occupier of a particular field or of a jewel, when lying on his death-bed, and no longer able to maintain possession, should be able to tell the rest of the world which of them should enjoy it after him.”

Under Illinois laws, the owner of real estate is permitted to lease it for an indefinite period, and compel future 396generations who occupy the premises to pay rent to unborn generations. Leases for ninety-nine years are quite common in Chicago. It is by no divine law that the occupant of land to-day is allowed to compel its occupant one hundred years hence to pay tribute for its use. The statutes of Illinois have given to the owner of property the right to dispose of it by will, not wholly, but to a certain extent. If married, neither the husband nor wife can give away the homestead or dower rights of the other, nor can creditors, heirs or devisees take from the widow her allowance.

The money power has governed legislation in all civilized countries for generations. It matters not what party is in power in the national or State governments of our own country, the money power has exercised a controlling influence in many instances in the shaping and administration of our laws.

If the accumulation of vast fortunes goes on another generation with the same accelerated rapidity as during the present, the wealth of this country will soon be consolidated in the hands of a few corporations and individuals to as great an extent as the landed interests of Great Britain now are.

What is the remedy for this state of things, which, if permitted to continue, will make the masses of the people dependent upon the generosity of the few for the means to live? So far as concerns corporations of a public or quasi-public character—and none others should exist—the remedy is simple. They are completely under the control of the legislatures, whence they derive all their powers.

It is entirely competent for a legislature to provide the manner inin which the business of a corporation shall be conducted. It may provide that the directors shall consist of few or many persons, that a portion of them shall be taken 397from the employes of the corporation, selected by them, another part from the stockholders who furnish the capital for carrying on its business. It may provide that the employes shall first be paid from the revenues of the company a certain fixed sum, graduated according to the charactercharacter of the work performed by each; that a fair rate of interest shall then be paid upon the capital invested, and the balance be distributed upon some equitable principle between the employes and the stockholders. In case of loss the stockholders would have to suffer, since the employe, having a right to live, must in all cases receive his daily wages when dependent upon them for subsistence. This principle receives judicial sanction from United States Circuit Judge Caldwell, in his order entered in case of the Santa Fe Railroad, as follows:

“Ordered that the men employed by the receivers in the operation of the road and the conduct of its business shall be paid their monthly wages not later than the 15th of the month following their accrual. If the earnings of the road are not sufficient to pay the wages of the men as herein directed, the receivers are hereby authorized and required to borrow from time to time, as occasion may require, a sufficient sum of money for that purpose. The obligations of the receivers for money borrowed for this purpose specified in this order shall constitute a lien on the property of the trust prior and superior to all other liens thereon.”

Under the powers inherent in every sovereignty, government may regulate the conduct of its citizens toward each other, and, when necessarynecessary for the public good, the manner in which each shall use his own property.

Formerly, corporations having special privileges were created by special acts, which the courts construed to be contracts between the granting power and the corporators which, once granted, could not be repealed or varied by the granting power. This granting of charters to favored individuals, 398conferring upon them privileges not possessed by the general public, became obnoxious to public sentiment, and, as a consequence, general laws have been passed in this and many other States, under which any three persons may become incorporated for any private purpose. This has become a worse evil than the old system of granting special charters. Under the general law enacted in this State twenty years ago. I am informed, 27,200 corporations have been created.

Irresponsible persons are often induced, for a small consideration, to form corporations with a proposed capital of millions; to subscribe for the whole stock except a share or two, and, for a fancied, imaginary or worthless consideration, to issue to themselves fully paid up stock, which is subsequently transferred to the real parties in interest, who expect thereby to escape personal liability if the concern is a failure, and to pocket the profits if a success. Business of all sorts is now to a great extent carried on in the name of corporations, in order that the proprietors may escape personal responsibility. How can the individual, who is personally responsible for his contracts, successfully compete with a corporation run by persons who incur no such responsibility? Doing business in a corporate name not only paralyzes individual effort, but leads to a concentration of capital—the great evil of our time. The remedy for this growing state of things would be to restrict the formation of corporations to such as are formed for public purposes, or such as the public have an interest in. Seventy-eight per cent. of the great fortunes of the United States are said to be derived from permanent monopoly privileges which ought never to have been granted.

As before stated, the power to dispose of property after death by will is conferred by statute, under certain limitations. Why should this privilege be given to dispose of 399more than a fixed amount of property to any one individual? Say property to the value of not over five hundred thousand dollars to the wife, of not more than one hundred thousand dollars to each child, and of not more than fifty thousand dollars to any other relative, extending to the third or fourth degree, and that the balance of the estate should escheat to the State, to be used by it for the support of schools, charitable institutions, the employment of laborers in making roads, and other good purposes.

The law now provides for the escheat of estates of persons dying without heirs. The same limitation might be put upon inheritances where there is no will, and in this way the accumulation of vast estates by inheritance or devise would be checked, and property, especially landed estates, which by nature belong to all, would be more equally distributed. It should not be forgotten that the method of transmitting property from the dead to the living is entirely derived from the state. If public policy requires that the state should give to the dying possessor, no longer able to control or take with him his possessions, the privilege of disposing of so much as may be conducive to the comfort and happiness of his surviving kindred, does it require that this privilege should be extended to his disposition of millions to the injury of the rest of mankind?

If it be said that to limit the privilege of disposing of exceeding a million dollars of property by devise or descent would check enterprise and industry, as no man would struggle to acquire property which he could not leave to his surviving kindred, my reply is, that man by his own thrift and industry is seldom able to acquire more than a million dollars’ worth of property. Fortunes exceeding that amount are usually acquired by speculation, trickery, 400or some device by which one man takes advantage of his fellow-man, and which, if not illegal, is immoral; or by members of privileged monopolies, trusts and syndicates.

I don’t mean to say that all great fortunes exceeding a million have been acquired by immoral means, but such as have not are the exception, and to limit the privilege of disposing of more than a million by devise or descent would not affect one in ten thousand of the people. In short, such limitation would tend to discourage, not honest enterprise and industry, but stock-jobbing, trickery and other questionable methods of acquiring vast fortunes.

We have already abolished primogeniture, by which the eldest son, to the exclusion of all other children, inherits the entire landed estate of his ancestor, and no one in this country at this day would think of restoring that right, although it still obtains in England. If limitations should be put upon the disposition of vast estates by will or descent, future generations would doubtless look upon our present laws, which allow such estates to be perpetuated in certain families, with the same disfavor with which we now look upon the laws of primogeniture.

Evasions of laws limiting the amount of property to be devised or inherited, by conveyance during life, could be prohibited in like manner as conveyances in fraud of creditors are now prohibited.




“No people can be self-governing who are denied the right to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on every law by which they are to be governed.”—Eltweed Pomeroy.

THE Initiative gives the people the power to compel the legislature to put in form all such laws as they may initiate or demand by a preliminary vote.

The Referendum gives the people the power to reject or ratify any legislation enacted by the legislature. All legislative enactments to be referred to the people for their ratification by vote before they become laws.

The Imperative Mandate gives the people the right to vote out of office at any time men who fail to serve the public or who are untrue to their pledges.

Proportional Representation secures the representation of all parties in proportion to their numerical strength.

Representative Government means government by representatives elected by the people, but independent of the people after election and empowered to ignore or overrule the people’s will.

Popular Government, or democracy, means government of, for and by the people. It will be possible only when all officeholders are honest or when the people’s representatives are made subject to the people’s will by the adoption of the referendum. History proves that permanent popular government without direct legislation is impossible.

There is a radical difference between a democracy and a 402representative government. Whenever a people are qualified for self-government no power on earth can prevent them from exercising that right. The American people have been too busy “making money” to study their real economic needs, and the result is that irresponsible demagogues have made laws which have plunged the nation into almost hopeless debt, paralyzed its business and impoverished most of the people. The voters have several times of late risen in their wrath and “turned the rascals out,” but it was only to elect another set of rascals, of different political complexion, perhaps, but equally dishonest and equally irresponsible. The so-called “landslides” in recent elections, while they have resulted in no real reform, indicate that the people have begun to think. Soon they will realize that they can control their own government only by keeping the legislation in their own hands—that they must not delegate their sovereignty to representatives or servants, by whatever name they may be known. It is only by means of the initiative and the referendum that the people can maintain their supremacy. The general adoption of this system is the next step in the world’s progress.

The initiative and referendum will take the element of partisanship out of the settlement of economic questions, and this alone is sufficient reason why it should be adopted. Suppose the question of tariff were submitted to the people to vote on. Members of all parties would vote for it and against it, and the majority would decide. It would become a question of economics, not a partisan issue, and would be settled on its merits. The same with the free coinage of silver, paper money, public ownership of railroads, prohibition, and every other great question which the old political parties have straddled or evaded.

But the principal advantage of the referendum is that it 403would do away entirely with the lobby—“the third house.” There would be no inducement for any one to bribe the lawmakers. They might sell their individual votes, but these would be worthless, as only the people could “deliver the goods.” The people would be quick to see the value of the franchises and privileges which are now being practically given away, to be used by corporations to still further enslave the masses.

Switzerland is the home of the referendum. It is commonly believed that that republic has existed for six hundred years. The fact, however, is that it is the youngest of republics. The characteristic features of the government, those which make it a republic in fact as well as in name, were instituted by the present generation. It is the only country in the world to-day which has overthrown its plutocracy and which has made it impossible for corrupt politicians to rule the people through the representative system. To the principle of direct legislation, as carried out by the initiative and referendum must be ascribed the happy conditions which surround its politics. Mr. W. D. McCrackan, author of “The Rise of the Swiss Republic,” who has made a special study of the subject, has published in the Arena his observations of Swiss politics. He finds that, as a result of the referendum, jobbery and extravagance are unknown, and that politics, as there is no money in it, has ceased to be a trade. Officeholders are taken from the ranks of citizenship and are invariably chosen because of their fitness for the work. The people take an intelligent interest in the legislation, local and federal, and are fully imbued with a sense of their political responsibilities. The Westminster Review, speaking of the referendum, expresses this opinion:

“The bulk of the people move more slowly than their representatives, are more cautious in adopting new and 404trying legislative experiments and have a tendency to reject propositions submitted to them for the first time.... The issue which is presented to the sovereign people is invariably and necessarily reduced to its simplest expression and so placed before them as to be capable of an affirmative or negative answer. In practice, therefore, the discussion of details is left to the representative assemblies, while the public express approval or disapproval of the general principle or policy embraced in the proposed measure. Public attention being confined to the issue, leaders are nothing. Collective wisdom judges of merits.”

In some of the cantons of Switzerland the referendum has been in practice since the sixteenth century. As it is now employed it was adopted by the canton of St. Gallen in 1830, and in 1848 it was incorporated in the Swiss federal constitution. It has been so extended since then that it is now in operation in all the Swiss cantons except Freiburg.

According to the Swiss constitution all amendments thereto must be ratified by the Swiss electors before they become effective. Other measures, like ordinary enactments, must be submitted to a popular vote if a demand is made for such submission, written ninety days after their publication. This demand must be made by 30,000 voters or by the government of eight of the nineteen entire and six half cantons. In Switzerland the referendum has proved to be entirely satisfactory as a check upon hasty or class legislation.

In his valuable book, “Direct Legislation,” J. W. Sullivan thus recounts what the Swiss have done by direct legislation:

“They have made it easy at any time to alter their cantonal or federal constitutions—that is, to change, even radically, the organization of society, the social contract, and thus to permit a peaceful revolution at the will of the majority. They have as well cleared from the way of 405majority rule every obstacle—privilege of ruler, fetter of ancient law, power of legislator. They have simplified the structure of government, held their officials as servants, rendered bureaucracy impossible, converted their representatives to simple committeemen, and shown the parliamentary system not essential to law-making. They have written their laws in language so plain that a layman may be judge in the highest court. They have forestalled monopolies, improved and reduced taxation, avoided incurring heavy public debts, and made a better distribution of their land than any other European country. They have practically given home rule in local affairs to every community. They have calmed disturbing political elements; the press is purified, the politician disarmed, the civil service well regulated. Hurtful partisanship is passing away. Since the people as a whole will never willingly surrender their sovereignty, reactionary movement is possible only in case the nation should go backward. But the way is open forward. Social ideals may be realized in act and institution. Even now the liberty-loving Swiss citizen can discern in the future a freedom in which every individual—independent, possessed of rights in nature’s resources and in command of the fruits of his toil—may, at his will, on the sole condition that he respect the like aim of other men, pursue his happiness.”

Proportional Representation.

The term proportional representation has come to be generally applied to a method of electing representatives whereby the representation shall be in proportion to the votes polled by the several parties, or groups of voters, as against the present method of electing them from single districts by a plurality vote. To effect this end numerous plans have been put forth.

The cumulative vote allows the voter as many votes as there are representatives to be elected and permits him to distribute them as he pleases among the candidates. This method is applied in a limited degree to the choice of members of the lower house of the Illinois legislature. 406Each district elects three members, and the voter can cast three votes for one candidate, one and a half votes for two, or one vote each for three.

With the limited or restricted vote the voter has a less number of votes than the number of representatives to be elected. Thus in the city of Boston the new law allows the voter to vote for only seven aldermen on one ticket, and declares the twelve candidates receiving the highest vote elected.

The preferential, or, as it is commonly known, the Hare vote, allows the voter to cast one ballot upon which he has named as many candidates as he sees fit, the candidates named being understood to represent the first, second, third, etc., choice. The whole number of ballots cast is divided by the number of representatives to be chosen, and the quotient is the quota, or number of votes required to elect one candidate. In counting the ballots the first choices are read first; the candidate who receives a quota is declared elected, and the remaining votes cast for him are counted for the next name on the ballot who is the second choice of the voter.

The free list, or Swiss vote, allows the voter to vote for a list or ticket, as we do in this country, and to designate preferences on the list. The total vote is divided as in the Hare system to get the quota, and the several parties are apportioned representatives according to the number of quotas they have. The successful candidates are those standing highest on their respective lists. This method is now in use in Switzerland for the election of representatives.

The Gove system is a modified form of the Hare method. Instead of the voter naming the candidates whom he prefers, the candidates themselves before election announce to whom they will give their surplus vote.

The proxy vote is simply an introduction of the corporation 407vote into legislative bodies. The candidates who are elected in the legislative assembly cast, not their individual votes, as at present, but the number of proxies they hold.

It will be seen that there are three principles involved in these several methods, the election by cumulation of votes, the election by quotas, and the vote by proxies. The cumulative vote was the first to be put into actual service, being used in England for the election of members of school boards, etc., and in this country in the so-called three-cornered districts for the election of members of the legislature. It still has the support of quite a number of persons, but its limitations are now coming to be recognized. John Stuart Mill, who was an advocate of the cumulative vote, declared it to be merely a makeshift in comparison with the quota system of Hare. The objection to the cumulative vote lies in the fact that if the districts are small only two parties can obtain representation, and these in an arbitrary way, while if the districts be larger, that is, if the number of representatives in the district be made greater, the waste and uncertainty is apparent. A party may decide to vote for four candidates when it has votes enough to elect six; or it may try for six when it has votes for only four. In either case it is deprived of a part of its just share in the representation. The proxy system contains some theoretical merits, but it is feared that in practice it would not work well at present. The tendency to hero-worship would prompt so many voters to give their proxies to a few favorites that the real voting strength of the assembly would be in the hands of two or three men, thus destroying its value as a deliberative body.

The real strength of proportional representation lies in some form of the quota principle, and the tendency in this countrycountry, as in Switzerland and Belgium, is toward the free list.

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The Science of Legal Robbery.

Miscalled the Science of Finance. By Percy Kinnaird. 12mo, 150 pages. Paper, 25 cents.

This book reviews the innovations upon the financial system inaugurated by the Constitutional fathers—some of them vicious innovations, and others unavoidable through the legacy of economical errors left by the financial pioneers of the infant republic. It shows logically and conclusively that the legal-tender greenback money which took the place of banished silver and gold money during the civil war (and of which some $346,000,000 are still in existence) was not a “debt,” but a privileged circulating medium, as much money as the metals which preceded, and not any more essentially to be redeemed in anything than gold itself. With the laborious research and close analysis of the trained lawyer, the author has followed the financial legislation of America from the Colonial fathers down. The subject of money is discussed in the cold, calm light of pure science. Congressmen, irrespective of party, may study its pages with profit. There is in it a world of enlightenment to our lawmakers who are unbought and conscientious. To the people of the United States, whether borrowers or lenders of money, it is instructive; to the high school lad, studying political economy and currency, it is a liberal education. No more timely or useful contribution to the financial literature of the times has yet appeared.

Ten Men of Money Island.

A Primer of Finance. By S. F. Norton. 12mo, 142 pages, enameled paper cover, 25 cents.

Over half a million copies of this wonderful book have been sold.

“It gives the principles of money in the form of a story so interesting and in such simple language that even a child can read it with understanding. This is undoubtedly the simplest book that has ever been written on the principles of money.”—John B. Gill, Secretary American Economic Reform Society.

a4“No man or woman born will, after reading ‘Ten Men of Money Island,’ deny that the money it cost was well invested.”—New York World.

The Voter’s X-Rays.

By Clarence T. Atkinson. 12mo, 132 pages. Cloth, 75 cents; paper, 25 cents.

“This book intelligently sets forth the condition of national affairs as they exist to-day, and its whole tendency is toward the instruction of the great mass of voters who have not the time to personally study the many intricate details of American politics.”—Burlington Gazette.

A Tramp in Society.

By Robert H. Cowdrey. 12mo, 242 pages; paper cover, 25 cents.

“Thrilling and fascinating. No one who reads it can restrain admiration for the man who can write a story that contains in its warp and woof so much that is helpful and bettering to humanity.”—Opie Read.

“We have had many novels of late with new economic schemes for a basis, but mostly advertising state socialism. At last we have the individualistic novel, and it ought to win widespread favor. Mr. Cowdrey has strong conviction, a good command of English and strong imagination.”—St. Louis Republic.

An Indiana Man.

By Le Roy Armstrong. 12mo, 218 pages. Paper, 25 cents.

“A powerful novel, charmingly written. So true to the real life of modern politics as to seem more like history and biography than romance.”—Inter Ocean.

“It bears the same relation to the fight against the saloon that ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ did to the fight against slavery.”—John P. St. John.

Beneath the Dome.

By Arnold Clark. Large 12mo, 361 pages. Cloth extra, gilt top, stamped in black and silver, $1.25. Paper, 50c.

“An attractive novel, in which the best thoughts on economic reform are entwined with fiction, making a book that will a5captivate and please the reader, yet turn his thoughts to the great needs of humanity.”—Arena.

“No one can read this book without being made a better man or woman.”—Progressive Farmer.

Cæsar’s Column.

By Ignatius Donnelly. 12mo, 367 pages. Cloth, 1.25; paper, 50 cents.

A story of the twentieth century and the downfall of plutocratic civilization. Thirtieth edition.

“As an example of the highest literary form it deserves unstinted praise.”—Cardinal Gibbons.

“A very extraordinary production.”—Rt. Rev. Henry C. Potter.

“The book is a plea, and a striking one. Its plot is bold, its language is forceful, and the great uprising is given with terrible vividness.”—Public Opinion.

Hell Up To Date.

The Journey of R. Palasco Drant, Newspaper Correspondent, through the Infernal Regions, as reported by himself. Illustrated by Art Young. Popular edition, extra cloth binding, $1.00; paper, 50 cents.

The Humorous Hit of the Age.

“Fifty years ago this book would have been viewed with alarm by the pious community. A century ago its author would have been ostracised for profanity: two centuries ago he would have been imprisoned as a heretic, and when Columbus lived he would have been burned at the stake for his risible attack on the old belief.”—Kansas City Star.

Old ’Kaskia Days.

An American Historical Novel. By Elizabeth Holbrook. Large 12mo, cloth, gilt top, $1.50. Paper, 25 cents.

“A delightful picture of one of the oldest settlements west of the Alleghenies. There is a pleasant quaintness in the style of this novel, which is interesting as a story and as a record, and the local illustrations are important.”—Review of Reviews.

In Sunflower Land.

Stories of God’s Own Country. By Roswell Martin Field. 12mo, cloth, gilt top, $1.25.

“A delightful volume. The title of the book refers to the a6typical flower of Missouri and Kansas, of which two States Mr. Field is the prose laureate.”—Chicago Tribune.

Francis Bacon and His Secret Society.

An Attempt to Collect and Unite the Lost Links of a Long and Strong Chain. By Mrs. Henry Pott, editor of “Bacon’s Promus.” Illustrated with twenty-seven full-page plates. Post 8vo, 421 pages, cloth extra, gilt top. Price, $2.00.

“Perhaps the most exhaustive study of Bacon and his works possible to any writer of the present, or, indeed, any future age.”—Minneapolis Times.

Memoirs of the International Congress of Anthropology.

Edited by C. Staniland Wake. Illustrated. Imperial 8vo, deckled edges, gilt top. Price, $10 net. Edition limited, and only a few copies still unsold.

“No public or private library which is designed to present to its readers the attainments of our age, at the highwater mark of its development, should be without this remarkable series of reports.”—Critic.

“One of the most substantial contributions to knowledge that have resulted from the Chicago Congresses of 1893 is this magnificent volume.”—Dial.

The White Ribbon Cook Book.

Economy and Wealth, Temperance and Health in the Household. A Collection of Original and Revised Recipes in Cookery and Housekeeping. Edited by Kathryn Armstrong. 16mo, 275 pages, cloth extra, 75 cents.

A first-class book, prepared by a practical housekeeper. While it is not claimed that it is in all respects superior to all other books, we do claim that any housekeeper, even if she have a dozen other cook books, will find this one worth to her more than the price, and that the author has fully carried out her purpose: “To prove that wine, brandy and spirituous liquors of any kind may be dispensed with, and that no culinary requirement necessitates the introduction of these poisons into any household.”

Sex and Life.

The Physiology and Hygiene of the Sexual Organization. By Eli F. Brown, M. S., M. D. Illustrated. 16mo, cloth extra, $1.00.

a7“A very sensible book. After describing the common sex principle in plants and animals the author enters upon the discussion of conjugal love, heredity, the use and abuse of the sexual passion, and other topics which seldom find a place in a volume of general reading.”—San Francisco Chronicle.

“A modest, compact, scientific exposition.”—Chicago Times.

“How to teach such truths has been the study of many a teacher and many a parent. There is but one proper way, and that is by plain facts which, while teaching the truths of science, impress upon the mind the grandeur of right living. Dr. Brown strikes these chords admirably.”—Inter Ocean.

The Little Giant Cyclopedia

And Treasury of Ready Reference. By K. L. Armstrong. 16mo, 512 pages. Flexible morocco, red edges, $1.00. A million and one facts and figures. 84 colored maps and charts. 2,500 useful tables, recipes, trade secrets, etc. Over 300,000 copies sold. Each new edition revised up to date. Sold by subscription.

“One of the marvels of the day. It should be on every writer’s table, and the familiar book in every household.”—Chicago Leader.

“This wonderful book will add a year to any man’s lifetime, if it may be said that time saved is time snatched from the grave. The merchant, the mechanic, the lawyer, the doctor, the teacher and the scholar will all find, in this compact volume, much information pertaining to all the various interests of life.”—Tribune.

“I have added ‘The Little Giant’ to my library, where it has a most desirable front seat.”—John A. Cockerill, late Editor-in-chief New York World.

Armstrong’s Giant Cyclopedia

And Treasury of Practical Knowledge. By K. L. Armstrong. Quarto, 512 double-column pages, cloth, red edges, $2.50; half morocco, marbled edges, $3.50; full morocco, gilt edges, $4.50. Illustrated with colored charts and diagrams.

This book answers more of the questions of everyday life than all the cyclopedias combined, whether published in one or twenty-six volumes. Sold by subscription.

a8Memorial to Brian Boroimhe.

A Genealogical History of the Milesian Families of Ireland, with a Chart of their Armorial Bearings. Price, $5.00. Sold by subscription.

Betsy Gaskins (Dimicrat).

By W. I. Hood. With 120 illustrations by C. B. Falls, and an appendix edited by K. L. Armstrong. Post 8vo, over 400 pages.

Sold by subscription only.

This wonderful book is the sensation of the last decade of the nineteenth century, and is exerting a powerful influence in the battle of the people against the money power. It is the most timely and most original book which has ever come from the pen and brain of an American author. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you think. It will sweep the cobwebs out of your brain.

IT is an easy matter to “float with the tide,” but it takes courage, ability and unceasing industry to pull against the stream. In these degenerate times, when the book-stands and the publishing-houses are jammed with a class of literature that can only be characterized as abominable “rot,” it is refreshing to find one man who has the courage to publish reform works. The man thus alluded to is F. J. Schulte, of the Schulte Publishing Company, Chicago. At the risk of being ostracised by the aristocrats of the business world (for there is an aristocracy in business as well as in society) he has made a specialty of publishing what are known as reform works. Contrary, however, to the general rule in such cases, Mr. Schulte has made a remarkable success of his business venture. He has published some of the best-selling books ever put upon the market. We congratulate him and congratulate the reform movement on his good work, and hope it will continue.—S. F. Norton (1891).

Any book on this list will be sent postpaid, or delivered by our representatives, to any address on receipt of price.... Special discounts in quantities to Agents, Speakers, Campaign Committees and Reform Workers generally....

323-325 Dearborn Street           CHICAGO

Transcriber’s Note

Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected, and are noted here. Inconsistencies in the punctuation in the list of illustration captions have been resolved, without any annotation here. In that sequentially numbered list, number 126 had been misprinted as 216, and has been corrected.

On p. 368, the paragraph derived from William Jocob refers to William Jacob’s An historical inquiry into the production and consumption of precious metals, Vol. I., 1831. The statistics given are extracted from multiple pages, which makes the mis-matched closing quotation mark misleading at best.

Lapses in punctuation in the advertising pages have also been silently addressed.

Hyphenation is not always consistent. Where the hyphen appeared at the end of a line, it was retained or removed based on the usage elsewhere in the text.

The references are to the page and line in the original. The following issues should be noted, along with the resolutions.

66.20 In this he dident do his dooty[,/.] Replaced.
75.30 Tur[n]in to the lot of high-toned cattle Inserted.
86.22 “Why, Jobe,” says[,] I, Added.
118.17 and as a differe[u/n]ce of $400 Transposed.
288.7 Since the world-wide demonetization of silver[,] gold only Inserted.
294.1 gold and silver are ho[a]rded or exported Inserted.
309.5 which resulted in clearing Massachu[s]etts of debt Inserted.
313.2 so [plenty] here. sic plentiful?
320.25 or duties on imports, supp[p]osing that Removed.
324.32 The Dem[o]crats Added.
325.18 The Act of December 17, 1860 (Statutes [11/12]) Wrong volume.
330.36 whose motto was[./,] “Act in the living present.” Replaced.
331.32 the amount of indem[n]ity due Germany Inserted.
342.26 such money to[ to] be kept Removed.
346.4 when c[a/o]mpared with gold Replaced.
348.16 put public obligatio[n/u]s into stocks Inverted.
348.23 is villainy unnamed and unnam[e]able. Inserted.
349.24 s[i/u]bmit to the gold standard Replaced.
357.7 and of Threadneedle St[r]eet in London Inserted.
368.8 William J[o/a]cob, F. R. S. Replaced.
384.28 1[9/8]90 to more than all the assessed value Replaced.
396.32 manner i[u/n] which the business Replaced.
397.5 according to the chara[c]ter Inserted.
397.30 when nece[c/s]sary for the public good Replaced.
497.33 count[r]y>, as in Switzerland and Belgium, Inserted.