“it is better infinitely that blood should flow to the horses’ bridles” — Morgan Silver Dollar Coin

Today, the Morgan Silver Dollar Coin remembers the Colorado Silver Convention of July 11, 1893 and their subsequent appeal against the destruction of silver as money.

From the Morning Journal and Courier, New Haven, Connecticut of the next day:

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Governor Waite of Colorado makes a Sensational Speech at the Colorado Silver Convention — One of the Members Urged the Others to be Cool.

Denver, July 11. The Colorado silver convention met here today. Two thousand people were present.

The convention was called to order by President Merrick of the silver league. Most of the day was spent in speech-making.

The committee on resolutions did not complete its work.

The sensational feature was the speech of the Populist governor, Waite.

Among other things he said: “If the money power shall attempt to sustain its usurpation by the ‘strong hand’ we will meet that issue when it is forced upon us; for it is better infinitely that blood should flow to the horses’ bridles than that our national liberties should be destroyed.”

He said also: “If it is true that the United States is unable to carry out its governmental policy without the dictation or consent of foreign powers; if we are a province of European monarchies then we need another revolution, another appeal to arms. If war is forced upon us we will send to Halifax a far greater army of British Tories, according to our population, than our forefathers sent there after the revolutionary war.”

In conclusion he said: “The war has begun; it is the same war which must always be waged against oppression and tyranny to preserve the liberties of men.”

A number of men endorsed the governor’s sentiments while others opposed them.

J. Cook, Jr., led the opposition. He said: “We are liable to do things we may regret. I appeal to you as men not to do today what you will regret tomorrow. We are excited. We hardly know what we are doing. Let us be reasonable and act as intelligent men. We are going east as men to educate men in the east. If we fail then is the time to act. There is time enough to act as you feel now.”

The Denver clearing house sent a check for $1,000 to pay the expenses of suitable delegates to St. Louis, Chicago and Washington, accompanied by the following communication signed by every banker and smelter in the city:

“We wish to add our voice to your sentiments, because our welfare depends entirely on the prosperity of the trans-Mississippi states. We favor the use of silver as money and that it be freely coined with gold at the present ratio of 16 to 1, without discount in favor of either.”

Charles S. Thomas, member of the national democratic committee, was elected permanent chairman.

At the Broadway theater Rev. Myron Reed and others spoke to a crowded house on the silver question.

A large number of reasons were presented to the convention, but they were all referred to the committees.

The convention adjourned.

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The Daily Independent of Elko, Nevada printed the Silver Convention’s appeal to the American people on July 14, 1893:

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An Appeal for Justice.

The Silver League Convention of Colorado issued the following appeal:

“To the People of the United States: —The people of Colorado, standing in the gloom of impending disaster and representing in condition and sentiment the people of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, with reverence for the constitution and unswerving loyalty to the general government, ask for your calm and candid consideration of the following facts before you give your approval to the destruction of silver as money and to the final establishment in this country of the single gold standard of values and thus at one stroke, change all debts to gold debts and a never ending rise in gold and the continued corresponding fall in the price of every commodity.

“Congress is called to meet in extra cession August 7th. Preceding the call the classes which have struggled for twenty years to overthrow the bimetallic money standard provided by the constitution, inaugurated a panic which they untruthfully charged to the existing silver law, ignoring the fact that there are $300, 000,000 outstanding legal tender notes, commonly called greenbacks, that are equally available with treasury notes issued in payment for silver, to draw gold from the treasury; that the balance of our foreign trade has changed against us, rendering a settlement abroad with American gold a necessity, and the great bankers of Europe are purchasing gold with which to change the money standard of Austria and fill the treasury vaults of other monarchial countries. The evident purpose was to create prejudice against what is known as the silver purchasing act and under pressure secure its unconditional repeal. The success of this scheme was only partial. Venal presidential patronage, supplementing false and incendiary utterances by the gold press, aggravated by a daily circular with assaults upon the law by eastern money brokers sent to every commercial body and banking corporation in the country, possibly won over the house of representatives to it; but even the president has admitted that in the senate there is a staunch majority against it. Suddenly, like a fireball in the night the news is flashed beneath the oceans that free coinage in India is suspended and the market price had fallen within forty-eight hours fully twenty cents an ounce.

“This startling action was forced upon the Indian government without a moment’s warning, The step was held in secret contemplation by the British government for months, to be taken at a critical and opportune time when the consternation it must create would stamp out the last phalanx of bimetallism defenders, and must have had as one of its chief aims the intimidation of the senate to bring it in line with the subservient lower house. Immediately the wires were burdened with appeals to the President from banks and clearing houses und commercial bodies dominated by them for an extra session and to the Senators, to repeal the Sherman law, which, it was claimed, was responsible for the disaster.

“The call is made; the time for the session is to commence early—so early, indeed, that may it not have been the hope of the President that the panic would not subdue and the measure to repeal be forced through before reason should resume its sway and truth and logic could dominate Congress.

“The enemies of bimetallism, and they now fairly number all those who oppose free coinage of silver alike with gold as before the demonetization of silver in 1873, openly declare that they will be content with nothing less than the unconditional repeal of the silver purchasing clause of the Sherman law. It is for that they struggle. It was to secure that that the panic was created and free coinage in India suspended. Unconditional repeal means the striking from the laws the last remnant of legislation to secure coinage for silver, and it fixes the United States firmly in the ranks of the single standard nations.

“What bimetallists ask and all they ask is that the law relating to coinage, as it was for seventy-five years in the country’s greatest glory, shall be restored without additions or expunging a syllable. If, with the law re-enacted and a fair trial had, silver shall not, without the purchase of an ounce of the metal by the government, resume its former relative value with gold, bimetallists will cheerfully submit to any legislation that experience will suggest as necessary to make every dollar of the United States equal in its intrinsic value to every other dollar bearing its stamp. They urge the old law with supreme confidence, born of unassailable truths of history that it will immediately place every coiner of the American dollar upon a par value, both as coin and bullion, and set in happy motion the wheels of all the country’s magnificent industries.”

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The Morgan Silver Dollar Coin shows with a political cartoon of 1893 depicting the gold and silver coinage debates.

Morgan Silver Dollar Coin

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