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We hear much about what we are losing by the balance of trade being against us, but not a word about that other floodgate through which our capital is rushing, namely, our millionaire class making its purchases abroad, and their other expenses while living among the foreign birds of a like feather. Their idle money is left here for investment. They do not look to that quarter for income. The world over there is under the feet of a few as it is here, and the result is the same - idle money looking for interest.
No less an authority than the late Ward McAllister has said that up to last year two hundred and eighty American women had married foreign titles.
$1,000,000,000 was the war indemnity demanded of France by the Germans, and so vast is this sum that the civilized world believed the Germans wanted to retain possession of the conquered country and demanded what the French could not pay. Yet the amount of American money it took to buy those two hundred and eighty titles is far in excess of that war indemnity. At four millions each it would exceed $1,000,000,000. But the average cost must have been more than four millions. One of our millionaire flour mill owners, who is a mere tallow candle in this constellation, paid $7,000,000 for the title his daughter is now wearing. And this $7,000,000 must have been a mere bagatelle compared to what it cost Huntington to get the lively Hatzfeldt. The poor flour mill man could not have paid that fellow's "debts of honor." This buying of titles, however, is but one way by which the millionaires are beggaring the American people. So much of their time is now spent over there that they have come to look upon the United States as their rented farm, and Europe as the place where they, in their high roller way, must get rid of its income. Call to mind the millionaire families who live a large part of their time in Europe. Call to mind those who have made Europe their permanent home, with their income drawn from the United States. Call to mind the great European estates, that have been first cleared of their peasantry, and then leased by American millionaires, that they may have the exclusive right to shoot at something. Call to mind the New York City millionaire, who purchased an English estate, one to fit the title he is lick-spittling after, and where he can rest, after airing his mind in his great London Daily and Monthly; all three, estate and periodicals, being a source of loss, that is made good by American earned money. Call all these things to mind, and if we are poor in capital have we not found the reason why?
Europe is the Broadway of these people, and they are there to squander money, not to make it. And the European visitor to our shores does not make up the loss. He comes, looks at some of our landscape, Niagara, the Yosemite, etc., and is out of the country and home again. His is but a drop to the ocean we lose.
Need we wonder at our gold disappearing? Our bonds and stocks, Government and corporation, are scattered broadcast over the whole of Europe, and those decrepit titles, that were dying out, have been put on their feet again by American money, and are now living off the interest of American bonds of one kind or another.
Nor should we have to borrow foreign capital. It is over a century since this government was established, and it is time we had enough capital of our own.
But the United States Treasury is, and has been for over thirty years, the clearing house for the foreign holders of American securities. We are a mortgaged nation, and the office of our National Treasury is the place of all others where our foreign owners should get their interest. We are still in possession of the office, however, and in this we are ahead of Egypt, but it will take much hair-splitting to show any substantial difference in the results.
History does not contain, the imagination cannot evolve, a more damnable exhibition of incompetence than this failure of our scrub statesmen to extricate their country from the clutch of its foreign masters.
Ruling one or the three principal gold producers of the world, they are compelled to resort, to all the shifts known to the desperate bankrupt in order to keep a few millions of it in the Treasury, and thereby save our whole monetary system from going to the dogs. For let us not delude ourselves; the moment the United States Treasury cannot give gold for its greenbacks, that moment will the history of the greenback begin to repeat itself. And we are not saving ourselves by making greenbacks lean on silver. They cannot be made stronger than the thing they lean on. Gold we must have as our standard.
We are in commercial relations with all nations, and the laws of trade are inexorable, and say: You must have money that is acceptable to those you buy from. Bring any other, and you can call the fifty cents it contains one hundred, but your laws are for the United States only, and you must accept the fifty cents or take back the mongrel that in your own barnyard crows so loud, for the United States has induced a swindle that she is powerless to enforce beyond her own borders.
No law is necessary to make us take gold. Just out of the mine or just out of the mint, we want it - the whole world wants it.
Finance, if not as old as the hills, is at least pretty near as old as the graves at the foot of them. There is nothing new to be learned regarding her laws. And those laws do not shut out tin, copper, paper, rags, nails, or silver from being used as money as long as it is agreeable to the interested. But the wisdom of the world comes from her experience, and if she calls for gold money it is because she has never found a better. All other kinds fade before it as fades the moon before the rising sun.
There is but one central orb in the world's monetary systems, and that is Gold. And its satellites, paper or silver, will never be able to get out of their orbits where the fixed and unalterable laws of the world's financial systems have placed them. Temporary disturbances may deceive the searcher, but he has mistaken his calling who cannot distinguish planets from the sun around which they are moving.
The different governments of Europe, that are not gold producers, have gold as the basis of their monetary systems, and, what is more, the gold is there. The United States, that is a gold producer, would also have it as the basis of its monetary system, but this nation, the one independent nation that is all extensive and the leading producer of the metal that the enlightened world approves of as making the best of all moneys, cannot retain enough of it to give future stability to her own currency.
This nation, the greatest of to-day, or any day!
This nation, that has given more to the rest of the world than it has ever received!
This nation - of all others on this earth - must be content with the money of the enslaved East Indian coolie; must be content with the money of the decaying Chinaman; must be content with the money of the half savage republics to the south of us!
This nation, whose chief magistrate is the embodiment of power never dreamed of by the Caesars and Napoleons in their palmiest days! This nation, that is impregnable against the combined armies of the world, is being sapped and mined of its wealth under the very eyes of its driveling lawmakers, and silver is becoming the badge of its humiliation and inferiority!