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The silver interest asserts that we will never stop our headlong rush to the devil if we do not get free coinage of silver. Silver, like pork or potatoes, is something for sale, and its owners have given up their whole attention to finding it a market. Whoever heard of J. P. Jones interesting himself in anything except silver. Never in all of his twenty years of public life did he show that he was anything more than "a man from one of the Silver States." Ever and always whenever he fills the air with his noise, you have only to look and there you will find him still knocking at the public treasury for a customer that already has had enough of him.
He has become a monomaniac on silver, and, although one of the principal owners of the Mariposa land grant, will not open it up because it is silver he wants and the grant only shows gold. It is this dementia that secures him a life-lease of the Senatorship from Nevada. For Nevada has only one interest, and that is silver. Silver is her wool, her cotton, her wheat, her coal, her iron, her lumber, her manufactures. It made her a State. It made her first representative to Congress and her last. It made Jones - Jones the drummer whose one sample is silver, who talks of silver, who sings of silver, who dreams of silver, and who gets his inspirations of the past, present, and future as he looks down the shaft of his silver mine in Nevada.
Never did the tail of the dog work harder than does this little bob-tailed thing called silver, that we find moving around among our legs, trying to trip us up every time the political procession makes a move.
There is distress because there is not money enough in circulation, say these peddlers of silver. It is a well understood fact that every sound bank in the country has idle money in its vaults looking for investment.
Money is precisely like the laborer - it, too, is on the lookout for work. Show money where it can make interest, and it will come out of those vaults as quick as the hungry laborer will answer the knock at his door.
Whatever distress the laborer is suffering, however, be sure that the millionaire owner of that idle money feels it not. His belly is well filled and his back well covered, and he knows nothing of the jolt of the box-car as he listens to the rhythm of the wheels of his Pullman sleeper. And it matters little to this millionaire, this flower of a foreign clime, when his increase sets in again. He has millions, a word we little comprehend the meaning of, and he will never know distress, any more than the laborer will know plenty again while this vampire of progress is permitted to survive. But the time must come when labor will get to work again for a few months each year, the usual thing now, to produce the needed stock of necessaries for the country, and then he will see the man of millions step off and collect his usual toll, and enough besides to make good any shrinkage in the principal. This owner of immense capital, this traveler in the Pullman, who makes his regular rounds through the country collecting toll off every laborer in every section, preparatory to his flight to Europe, is twin brother to the great land owner, and there is no hope for our country until both are legally or otherwise exterminated.
We could undo the capitalist by making interest illegal, as this would force him. to draw on his principal. We do not object, however, to the interest capital receives. Banks have no enemy in this proposed change, and we suspect either the motives or the judgment of those whose stock in trade is a howl against banks, and what they call usury. Money has its place in civilization, and the bank where it is dealt in is a shop just as much as is the dry goods store or grocery, and is entitled to its profits just the same. If a man earns $5,000 he should be allowed to charge something for its use the same as for the wagon be made or the house he built. Neither the wagon nor house is any more the result of his labor than is this money, and no one will question his right to charge something for the use of the first two. It is here where the banks are of service - the man with money takes it to a place - the bank - where the man who wishes to hire it knows where to look for it. Good sense will not deny a market to a man with potatoes; neither will it deny him a market for any other product of his labor, be it capital or what not. Interest is wrong only when it is being drawn by a millionaire, who, of course, did not earn the principal. Those millions is where the danger lies, when found with an individual owner, whether they are in bank vaults or on the shelves of the millionaire merchant. Besides, it is a slow process, this breaking up the millionaire owner of some thing by stopping his interest. This earth should be ours while we are alive to enjoy it, and there is no hope of getting it by applying the graduated tax idea to either land or capital. When a curse like poverty can be removed the quicker it is done the better.
Interest is wrong (we are not justifying extortion) when it is drawn by the millionaire, not only because his labor did not earn the principal, but because he has the power to take it out of the country where it was earned. And he does take it out thereby impoverishing the country of the capital that is needed to carry on developments that should never be allowed to stop.
There is, as has been said, idle money now, but the millionaire owners care nothing for the general welfare, and the people cannot get this idle money because they find it impossible to pay interest for its use, and carry at the same time the fearful burdens they are now loaded with.
An individual can be forced to submit to any kind of terms when his necessities are driving him. When those necessities are satisfied he must stop and let development go, for he cannot stand the terms. He is willing to go ahead, but he simply finds his physical being unequal to the task. As it is with one individual so it is with a nation of individuals. They also can be forced to submit to any kind of terms when their necessities are driving them, and when their necessities are supplied they too must stop and let development go, for they cannot stand the terms. In other words, the capacity of people, singly or collectively, is limited, and if they are compelled to exhaust that capacity in supporting millionaire parasites at home, and paying for their extravagance abroad, they cannot improve themselves or develop their country.
Complicity, then, and negligence on the part of our law makers has made a few men the absolute owners of the financial or money branch of our economics, and the people find it impossible to move except when these masters find it to their interests to let them.
Progress under such conditions will never be more than a dream.
We could find use for all the capital that is now in the country, and all that has been and is being taken out of it, but we should first loosen the grip of these legalized despoilers and see how far what we have got would go before we talk of issuing more, which would soon turn up missing like the rest.