"Banking And Currency And The Money Trust" By Charles August Lindbergh - Part II Of V Parts
"In 1913, Congressman Charles August Lindbergh Sr. (father of the famed aviator) wrote: Banking, Currency, and the Money Trust, and in 1917 he wrote "Why is Your Country at War?," attributing high finance as America's involvement in World War I. According to Eustace Mullins, in his book, PUBLIC CENTRAL BANK - On Reclaiming Our Central Bank And Monetary Policy, plates of Congressman Lindbergh's second book were confiscated and destroyed by Government agents."
Editor's Note: The American people are in even graver danger from the Federal Reserve System in the modern day than they were in 1913, when Congressman Charles Lindbergh wrote Banking And Currency And The Money Trust, in efforts to warn the public of what the Rothschild Communist central bank would do to the U.S. economy - All the more reason for Americans to read this book for themselves, before the Federal Reserve can have it removed from the Internet.
Continued from part I ...
Add to that the deposits in banks not reporting, and the total will be correspondingly increased. That enormous amount was supplied by us as a result of the expenditure of our energy and labor, and it is important that we should know what good, if any, comes from our supplying these banks with working material to be used under the present system.
Banks are divided into three classes :
First, New York, Chicago, and St. Louis form a class by themselves, and are called the Central Reserve Banks. Second, 47 of the other large cities are Reserve Cities, and in those, banks are designated as Reserve Banks. Third, all of the banks not in the first two classes are called Non-Reserve Banks. This classification gives the greatest elasticity to the system of speculating and gambling with the deposits. It is this classification also that gave the Money Trust its start.
It secured the use of the people’s money just the same as if it had actually owned it. How, you ask ? . . .
Simple enough ! It is worked by a rule of self interest—profit to the banks. The law requires the non-reserve banks to keep 15% reserve. This they are prohibited from loaning to borrowers in the locality from which the banks get their deposits, but they may keep 3/5 (or over half) of it in reserve banks, and the latter may loan 75% of that 3/5 out to anybody. Further, the Reserve Banks offer the Non-Reserve Banks 2% interest and that inducement secures for them the greater part of these reserves, and much of the time even more than is required for the reserve.
The Reserve Banks are required to keep 25% reserve, but all except those in the three Central Reserve Cities, New York, Chicago and St. Louis, may keep 50% of their reserves in these three cities. From this it will be seen that a practical working out shows that the actual reserves of the banks are, in non-reserve banks, approximately 6% of their deposits ; and in the other banks, except New York, Chicago and St. Louis, 12½% of their deposits. The rest is principally sent to the banks in Central Reserve cities which pay 2% interest and loan it out largely to speculators and promoters.
To those not knowing the tricks of the business, the practice of keeping reserves in other banks may seem harmless. But upon examination we find it to be a most clever device, and operated in order that the banks generally shall supply the financial speculators and gamblers with the people’s money. It is true that that is not the real purpose of most bankers, but it results in that.
Editorials in that portion of the press that is subservient to the Money Trust, state that we plain people have billions of dollars deposited in the banks, and seek to make the list of depositors appear to be a general one. But any one person having deposits in two or more banks was listed as many times as his name appeared in the list of depositors in different banks, and some business houses have hundreds of accounts in one form or another. After this process they boldly proceed to ask, “Who is the Money Trust ?” . . . This is their brazen answer to their own question : “The people are.” Thousands of newspapers are supported by the interests for the very purpose of beguiling us into believing the things that these interests want us to believe.
This question of who owns and who uses the money is the one on which they expend the greatest efforts in order to deceive. It is a fact that the people own a part of the bank deposits, but the banking system is so cleverly arranged in the interest of the banks that the people have comparatively little benefit from their own deposits. On the contrary, the people’s money placed in the banks is principally used as a basis for credit and on that credit the banks collect the interest which operates to reduce the prices of what we sell and increase the prices of what we buy.
General business is transacted on approximately $24 credit to each dollar in cash, . . . and under the highly specialized system of Wall Street there is a still greater elasticity of credit. We all know that business is not carried on wholly with the actual money, in fact, business is almost wholly conducted on credit.
Yes, . . . the people do own considerable of the money deposited in the banks, but they do not use the credit that is based upon it.
They deposit the money, but the banks in conjunction with the speculators, appropriate and manipulate the credit based upon that. We support that credit and during normal times that practice has a vastly greater effect in the control of business than does the actual money. That is where we plain folks get left. If any of us wish to use the credit we must pay the banks 6% and upwards, and yet the value of that same credit is based upon the products of our own energy.
The banks do not, ordinarily, part with the money when they make loans. The borrower gives his note and the sum for which it calls is placed to his credit on the bank books, after which he checks on that account to pay bills. These checks are usually deposited by the payee in the same or some other bank and in the general average of business each bank gets back as much as it loans. The money that we deposit forms the basis for an amount of credit many times greater than the amount of actual money. The bankers have the advantage of all that, . . . and it is pyramided and sold and resold many times. The banks are specialists in the manipulation of that credit and as a matter of fact they are required by the exigencies of business to be so, as long as we allow the present ridiculous system of money and credit supply to continue.
On June 14, 1912, all told, there was only $1,572,953,579.43 of actual money in the reporting banks, but in these same banks there was credited to individual depositors over seventeen billions. The banks have never had, at one time, much in excess of one and one-half billion dollars of real money.
The banks are properly the clearing housed for money and credit exchanges, but they have misapplied their trust and have become our commercial masters. Many of them have associated themselves with the gambling speculators and are now speculating for themselves. Further, the people’s deposits are being used by them and those to whom they loan to pyramid in stocks, bonds, and other securities, which aggregate at the present time approximately amounts to $50,000,000,000 and is rapidly nearing the $100,000,000,000 mark. Excessive dividends and interest are charged and compounded semiannually and annually on this sum.
That decreasesour net earnings, increases the price of the commodities we buy, and prevents a proper reduction in the hours of labor required. Against this $50,000,000,000 on which the Money Trust combination charges us exorbitant maintenance expense, in addition to interest and dividends, we own merely a part of the $17,000,000,000 of deposits, and a few of us are drawing 3% and 4% interest on small balances.
You can now begin to appreciate how comparatively insignificant the little deposits a few of us plain folks are able to make for ourselves are, when we measure the interest we get with the maintenance expense, dividends, interest and profits which the bankers, trusts, and speculators obtain on the credits they create on these deposits, and realize that all of these are supported by the products of our energy expenditure.
To give a concrete illustration, take, for instance, the increasing reserves held by the following central reserve banks : Hanover National, National City, National Bank of Commerce, First National Bank, and Chase National. These are the six principal banks in New York City and we can apply the principle that governs them with that which governs other banks without going into tiresome details. Covering a period of 15 years, notice how diligently they have been skimming the country for the reserves of other banks. The growth of these reserves held by the six banks are as follows for the period named :
September, 1898......................$ 94,394,210
September, 1899...................... 154,514,691
September, 1900...................... 176,731,918
September, 1901...................... 210,763,488
September, 1902...................... 253,515,055
September, 1903...................... 227,780,147
September, 1904...................... 258,558,149
August, ……1905......................... 291,732,471
September, 1906...................... 334,560,214
August, ……1907......................... 336,553,788
September, 1908...................... 311,499,877
September, 1909...................... 399,658,140
September, 1910...................... 400,740,817
September, ……………………………………1911...................... 451,050,573
The capital of these six banks has been increased from time to time during the last fifteen years by means of adding a part of their profits. In 1912 it was $73,000,000 (the larger part of which was the rofits that had been previously made on a smaller capitalization), and in addition they had $82,000,000 surplus ; in other words, profits piled up. Besides all that, they had $26,332,698 of undivided profits, or profits that have not been declared as dividends or placed to the credit of surplus. In the meantime, these six banks had paid enormous dividends to the stockholders. The profits of the First National, one of the banks mentioned above, amounted to $56,000,000 in fifty years. The original investment was $500,000.
The total deposits of the “Big Six” now, in 1913, approximates a billion dollars. We should not overlook the fact that this is largely actual money, as the New York banks secure more of that than banks elsewhere, and that by Wall Street’s system of credits it may support many billions of credits for the Wall Streeters. There is a group of banks in each of the large cities working the same game with the credit supported by the people, and yet, enormous as the aggregate amount of these bank profits may seem, they are almost insignificant when compared with profits that we pay the other special interests which have grown out of our monstrous banking and currency system.
We now have fixed, as a part of our knowledge, the fact that bankers have by law and by practice special privileges which enable them to handle the people’s money and juggle with credits in such a way that they become rich, but we have not yet seen the greatest of their advantages. We have already found that bankers as a class are rich, made rich by the use of the credit that is supported by us, and they are organized for the very purpose of using that.
We should mention something about the personalities of the bankers whom we meet upon the journey of life, and strive to learn by what rule or right, they secure the privilege of converting into their own control the credit that is necessary in order to carry on the business and commerce of the country. Why should the bankers have the power to contract and expand at their pleasure, the credit that the people themselves support ? Under the present order of civilization it is the greatest privilege in existence. The manner of its exercise by bankers and speculators is continually sending to their graves thousands of poverty-stricken persons for each
person that it aids to competency.
Is it not extremely important that we should know by what method these bankers become the arbiters of our destinies ? They were not selected by us to do this. Just so long as we allow them to dominate by the system they employ, the road to success is absolutely closed to the vast majority of farmers, wage earners, and others employed in different pursuits of life. In the earlier part of our study we made some observations about bank capital. We are now prepared to know more about it. In order to obtain the controlling advantage in the banking business, it is not sufficient to own a little bank stock. Many people own bank stock and some control banks without knowing much about their actual power.
These, however, are the ordinary banks, such as most of us patronize if we have occasion to do a direct business with banks. These banks serve as supply stations for the larger city banks. They are not designed for that purpose, but that is the result of the system under which they operate. We have already observed that any person of ordinary capacity, bearing a fair reputation, and possessing actual nerve, can start a bank, without capital, in any place where a bank is needed, and that they frequently do at points where no additional bank is necessary.
We have also learned that the greater part of the banking capital has been created out of profits obtained from the use of the people’s labor and credit; that the surplus of the six largest New York banks exceeds their stated capital, it being $73,000,000, while the surplus is $82,000,000; that much of heir stated capital was created out of earlier surplus accounts; and that, in addition, they have $26,332,698 of undivided profits.
What is commonly thought of as actual capital is simply the notes, or the proceeds from the notes, of some of the principal incorporators who borrowed from banks, or from others, and paid them with money out of the dividend collections. The whole thing is, and has been, based almost entirely upon a system of credit, and we have remained ignorant of the fact that instead of allowing a few men with average capacity, supposed fair reputation, and actual nerve, to appropriate the credit that the rest of us have supported by hard labor, we should have utilized that credit for the benefit of those plain people who really support it.
We should become firmly imbued with the truth of that statement. Indeed, the most of us who are over 21 years old and have voted will become more and more humiliated as we proceed and realize how, we have been beguiled into supporting the very things that have robbed us of the best results of our life’s energy. But it is better to be once humiliated and become thereafter ashamed of our own past stupidity, than it is to continue in ignorance and place the increasing burdens upon the shoulders of our children. It is time that we realized that our banking and currency system is not only rotten in its application but that it is absolutely false in its basis, and must be changed.
It is because of that condition that I introduced a resolution providing for an investigation of the Money Trust. The interests saw the danger in which such an investigation would place them if the public should learn the actual facts, and they immediately started that portion of the press controlled by the trusts to laughing at my resolution. An attempt was made by those interests and the subservient political bosses, irrespective of party, to ridicule it out of Congress. They
recognized that the resolution was aimed at the very heart of all the trusts and combinations.
The political bosses do not always keep so well informed about the ways of business as they do about the jugglery of politics, nor the means by which the public may be prevented from understanding their operations, but they do juggle the rules of both Houses of Congress in order to restrain action against and promote action favorable to the trusts. The trusts inform the politicians of why they wish them to act upon matters which affect the trusts, and in the case of my resolution they were induced to pigeon-hole it. But the public had heard the alarm.
The independent press was insistent on information . . . sought to obtain facts from me, searched for other facts themselves . . . and heralded to the world the purposes of the resolution. Thousands of letters and telegrams were sent to the Members of Congress from their constituents. . . . The political bosses soon found it necessary to cover the tracks the trusts had made when coming to their offices. . . .
Something had to be done ; and that quickly, or the indignation aroused at the failure of Congress to act would run riot and the heads of political bosses tumble. Secret meetings were held by the representatives in Congress of the trusts and bosses. The doors of the innermost and least suspected offices were barred to the public, and so guarded that none should enter who were interested on behalf of the public.
In these offices plans were laid for the drafting of a new resolution, the purpose of which was to defeat the appointment of a special committee, and to substitute for it the Banking and Currency Committee; which was chiefly composed of bankers, their agents and attorneys, and the interests expected that that committee would faithfully protect the wrongs committed against the public, in so far as it could be done without arousing public suspicion. It could not whitewash the whole of the Money Trust operations, but much could and would be concealed by that means, and was in fact, as was shown by subsequent developments.
The next step was to secure the passage of this substituted resolution, which really amounted to the investigation being made by the secret friends of the Money Trust. This committee, as well might be expected, . . . because of the special personal interest of its members, . . . did not select an attorney to aid them from among the many able attorneys who are Members of the House and who would serve without further pay than that to which they are entitled as Members, . . . but they selected a Wall Street attorney, paid him a very high salary, allowed him to manage the whole investigation and practically draft the committee’s report. I do not make that statement as a reflection upon the attorney so selected, but merely to indicate the fact that the Banking and Currency Committee did not view this subject from the standpoint of the general public.
At first it was supposed that the public would be appeased with such a proceeding, and the whole subject be easily handled under the sacred boss system. A secret caucus was resorted to. ... In a later study we shall consider these secret caucuses and ascertain the method by means of which the politicians have so long served the trusts while being maintained in office by the public.
The caucus on the Money Trust resolution was attended by many well-meaning but misguided followers of bossism. The substituted Money Trust Resolution was adopted, and on a later day passed by the House. Those Members who bound themselves by the gag caucus rule were guilty of perjury and treason, but that has been so common a result of the caucus rule that it is no longer considered as such by them. They believe that anything founded in precedent is justified, and each believes that he is justified and his conscience satisfied when once he yields his convictions to the will of the bosses. But the people will awaken their asphyxiated consciences on this caucus system once they learn the cost it entails on national efficiency.
The Money Trust won, . . . of course, . . . and the Banking and Currency Committee took charge of the investigation on behalf of their masters, the bankers. Probably not one of the men on this committee is really dishonest. I believe that each one of them believes that he is conscientious and that he does not intentionally wrong the public. But they have developed the selfish viewpoint to a degree that enables them to believe that the public is really mistaken.
That is almost always the case however, with those who have become the beneficiaries of a system. The Banking and Currency Committee had to be forced by public opinion to do more than make a pretense at action. It was presumed by its members that the public was ignorant of the facts, but the truth was that too many things had already been exposed. The public demanded proof.
A great political party was in danger. The bosses saw the danger and they made a feint at investigation, as a result of which they gathered in a few morsels to be spread broadcast before the general election. Then all was silent and the committee would meet and adjourn, and meet again and adjourn, and so on, over and over again. While that continued the Money Trust and the (fill in) December 2, 1912, I introduced the following resolution : WHEREAS.
Congress created in 1908 a National Monetary Commission with authority to investigate monetary problems in general, and WHEREAS, said Committee has been discharged, but first made and filed a report and recommendations for certain legislation embodied in a bill now pending in Congress and popularly known as the Aldrich plan, but the report failed to disclose any facts in relation to the monopolistic control exercised by certain great special interests of the principal money and credit that enters into commerce, business, and speculation; and WHEREAS,
it is vital that Congress should dnow the facts relating thereto before permanent remedial financial legislation should be undertaken, and WHEREAS, there is a pressing demand for early legislation, and for other good and sufficient causes, the House authorized the Banking and Currency Committee to investigate the Money Trust, which exercises a potential and injurious influence in the control of the principal sources of money and credit supply entering commerce, business and speculation, and WHEREAS, the Committee, in the many months that have passed since it was so authorized, seems not to have undertaken the investigation for the purpose of securing facts to aid in framing early remedial financial legislation, but rather to have been planning an investigation as if for indictment or some other remote purpose, and in which it is blocked by offenders against honest and impartial rules of business and Government officials who deem the personal privileges of banks so sacred that their business shall not be inquired into even for the benefit of the public, and WHEREAS,
this action on the part of the special interests, supported by the refusal of the Government officials to help the committee, is important in itself, the facts should become a part of the committee report, but should in no way delay the investigation which is important in that its purpose is to secure the facts and circumstances that improperly interfere with legitimate commerce and business. If the committee intends to secure information for other purposes and has not sufficient power, it nevertheless should secure the information which is of the most vital importance and which was the moving cause for its authorization ; that is, information which will enable Congress to intelligently enact remedial laws relating to the control of money and credits; and WHEREAS,
it has never been claimed that there is or ever was an organized or even an unorganized association that can be specifically pointed to and named as the Money Trust, it is therefore useless to undertake to prove such an organization exists for the purpose of punishing it.
Neither formal nor informal organization is necessary to its potential existence. In fact, its power is the greater because it exists without actual material rules of organization, for by the methods of its existence it is immune from prosecution. It nevertheless can and does by indirection what it could not do by direction. The very fact that the business interests know that there is a money power which can make or unmake business for them gives that power its greatest efficiency of control. Silently and surely that power is exerted, and its force is realized by all industrial agencies. Because of its peculiar, yet potent, force, it is important that we have early legislation. The main facts and circumstances by which the Money Trust is maintained may be easily proven to the intelligence and understanding of the public by a proper compilation of the facts that are now obtainable, and it was for that purpose principally that the committee received its authority from the House;
Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Committee on Banking and Currency is requested to proceed without delay with an investigation of the Money Trust influence, for the purpose of securing all the practical information and data that may reasonably be had in regard to the influence exercised by the Money Trust in the control of banks and of money and credits.
RESOLVED FURTHER, That said committee shall report the results of its investigation to the House from time to time with reasonable promptness. The press immediately published broadcast the substance of the above resolution. As a result of the strong public sentiment, the committee was forced to act with more diligence. (The same as the politicians in the old political parties became progressive when public opinion forced it.) The party in control scented danger. The fear of adverse public sentiment, the only thing that boss politicians fear, aroused them to action. The committee was now forced to subpoena witnesses and hear their testimony, some parts of which were afterwards published by the press.
In the speech that I made in support of my first resolution, I disclosed the conditions that the subsequent evidence of the kings of finance proved to exist. . . . But the committee softpedaled, and brought out only those things that every student of the financial conditions already knows, and such information as had been substantially published in magazines and discussed in Congress by Senator LaFollette, myself, and others. It was only the fact that it was furnished
verbally by the fellows in the actual game that aroused a new and more general interest.
The committee did not seek out the most crafty arts of these speculators and gamblers in order that the public might secure a correct view of the false system of laws that govern the banking and currency business ; but what was to be expected from a committee that was controlled by bankers, and whose chairman was a banker ? . . . Naturally, it avoided questions upon the most important economic truths which should have been disclosed as a result of the investigation. The tricks of the witnesses will die with them, but the system that permits the
tricks still remains for others to operate under until it shall be remedied.
A sub-committee was created to propose a remedy. This committee is also controlled by the bankers, and has a banker for chairman. These men have personal financial interests in the legislation. Our—that is, the peoples’—concern in changing the system is to promote the general welfare. . . . The bankers have a special interest, and since they control the committee, . . . what show have we against them ? Since their interest is to collect interest from us ! . . . They go as far as they dare without arousing a hurricane of public indignation as a result of the favors they extend to their own business. The friendliness that the Banking and Currency Committee displayed toward the Money Trust was apparent to anyone who had given any time to the study of the problems placed before it for investigation. Their work was as mere play when compared with the importance of the subject.
Nevertheless, it served a good purpose, although its service was of a weak nature.
Jacob H. Schiff, one of New York’s greatest financiers, and one of the witnesses who testified before the committee, is an example of a man with the kind of mind and overselfish viewpoint which prevails among the men who had a personal financial interest in the result of the Committee’s investigation, such as the banker members of the Banking and Currency Committee may be expected to have. Mr. Schiff, under oath, told the committee in substance that : If individuals can accomplish a monopoly he believed they should not be hampered by law !
The laws of nature, he told the committee, are best for preventing too gigantic projects; and he cited the fall of the Tower of Babel as an example of the futility of human effort extended too far. Among the articles expounded by Schiff in his creed of business and finance was the assertion that the minority in all corporations should not he allowed representation among the officers and directors by law. “The majority should always rule,” he said, “and the minority should
protect their rights as best they can.”
Is it not easy to see by this statement of Mr. Schiff’s that it is preposterous for Congress to appoint mostly bankers, their agents and attorneys on its Banking and Currency Committee ? Mr. Schiff is not cut from a different cloth, nor by a different pattern than the rest of humanity. Acting in our individual capacity, we look after our own interests, but in a collective sense we have not carried this interest far enough, and, consequently, we have such financial wizards as
Now, let us analyze the last sentence of the quotation from Banker Schiff’s testimony to his brother bankers when the committee examined him. He said :
“The majority should always rule and the minority should protect their rights as best they can.”
Now suppose we consider our own case—that is, the interests of the public—in the light of this statement of a king banker, which statement bears reference to the smaller stockholders in corporations. There are 30,000 banks in this country. There may be 200,000 bankers. I do not know their exact number, but I know that there are approximately 94,000,000 of us. In the percentage of human beings the bankers are not equal to 1 per cent of the population. There is, n the average, perhaps not more than one banker to 2,000 other people.
Suppose we should take Mr. Schiff at his word and let the minority “protect their interests as best they can,” and we, the people, take the power which we possess,—and the Constitution contemplates that we should exercise as a government, and Lincoln proposed, . . . namely, “coin the people’s national credit,” . . . instead of letting the bankers coin it for their own selfish use. What would happen to Mr. Schiff and his brother bankers who control the Committee on Banking and Currency if we did that ? . . . That is one of the questions that will be answered before this study ends.
THE ALDRICH PLAN.
Lest the purpose of my starting the original Money Trust probe be misconstrued, I here state that it was not for the purpose of discovering the Money Trust. Long before that time it was known by those who had carefully studied the problem that there was a money power combination that operated and controlled the country’s finances and carried on its operations in a shameful manner.
The purpose and actual effect of my original resolution was a flank move, to defeat the special interests in their attempt to fasten on the people of this country the so-called Aldrich Banking and Currency Plan for 50 years. This plan was an attempt on their part to make the greatest steal from the people that has ever been made.
In the panic of 1903 I began taking notice of the operations of the larger banks. At that time, as far as I could see, there had been no attempt to form combinations in order to centralize deposits. Each banker seemed to be working out his separate business existence along that line, and at the same time getting all that he could in return. There were, however, banking associations which brought the bankers together, and in these meetings they discussed ways and means for their mutual advantage—even to the extent of maintaining efficient influence over
Ever since the Civil War, Congress has allowed the bankers to completely control financial legislation. The membership of the Finance Committee in the Senate and the Committee on Banking and Currency in the House, has been made up of bankers, their agents and attorneys. These committees have controlled the nature of bills to be reported, the extent of them, and the debates that were to be held on them when they were being considered in the Senate and the House. No one, not on the Committee, is recognized under the practice of the House as long as a member on the committee wishes recognition, and one of them is sure to hold the floor unless someone favorable to the committee has been arranged for. In this way the committees have been able to do as they pleased.
The men who have appointed the committees in the last 50 years have not had the clear and earnest viewpoint of our forefathers. On Tuesday, January 14, 1794, the following resolution was introduced in the U.S. Senate : Quotation “A.”
“Nor shall any person holding any office or stock in any institution in the nature of a bank, for issuing or discounting bills or notes payable to bearer or order, under the authority of the United States, be a member of either house whilst he holds such office or stock.”
It passed the Senate two days later, after being fought by the bankers, and amended at their instigation in order that they might be allowed to sit in Congress, but it still remained a protest to bankers controlling legislation in which they were personally interested. At the present time we possess a dulled and worn appreciation of the general fitness and consistency of these things, and we have surrendered all of our finances, including the actual control of legislation in Congress to the bankers, their agents and attorneys. At the earlier date above stated, when people were less commercial and more ethical than now, . . . they feared to trust the bankers even as plain Members of Congress.
We of this age allow them to absolutely control all of the committees in Congress that make the laws of finance. Some of the members of these committees belong to banking associations that lobby in Congress in order to secure action favorable to the bankers. Are we satisfied that the bankers to whom we pay enormous tributes from our very life’s necessities, . . . should control financial legislation ? . . . Shall the Senate and House continue to give the representatives in Congress who are supported by the financial usurers a monopoly of he committees that deal with this most important subject ? . . .
Shall the people supinely pay the constantly increasing usury, and still cheer their popularly elected representatives for permitting bankers to control the bills that are to be reported to the House, as well as the debates on them ? .
. . Are the people to have no hearing on the questions of banking, currency, and usury ? On two different occasions within the last two years I have, by the introduction of resolutions, called the attention of Congress to the fact that no Senator or Representative should be a member of a committee that controls or influences legislation in which he has a personal interest, and especially that no banker should be on either of the committees controlling financial legislation. But Congress, notwithstanding such notice, has failed to act, and goes right on filling up the committees with members who are personally financially interested in the legislation that heir committees control, and even appointing such members chairmen of the committees.
In 1893 the large Wall Street banks, and the large affiliating banks in other centers, determined to make some changes in the banking and currency laws, and especially in regard to the purchase of silver by the Government. They began by creating a stringency which we shall refer to later. It resulted in a general business and financial scare to all of the smaller banks and the business interests. It became a real panic which continued with its disastrous results for a
period of years.
During that period the special interests squeezed many of the small banks and some large ones, and some of these, and many business concerns, were forced into bankruptcy. Time and time again before that the bankers had been able to secure many special favors from Congress. But even with all these to their advantage they had some sleepless nights during that panic.
They went through an experience that gave them further suggestions as to what would be required in their interests in the way of legislation. Immediately they began to form powerful affiliations among themselves in order to further protect themselves against the disadvantages of panics. But instead of seeking safety for themselves and protection for the general public by means of a modification of the methods of the banking business, as a reward for the special favors that had been given to them by Congress, they did not consider for a moment the protection of the public, but sought diligently for a method by which they could secure the privilege of fleecing the public whenever a panic should be in progress.
That is, they would have panics, if they did occur, profitable to the favored bankers and disastrous to the public, and a panic may happen at any time under present conditions. As a matter of fact the bankers may cause a panic whenever the public seeks to enforce its rights.
In the last twenty years the banking business has grown enormously. About 1898 the signs of affiliation between the larger and more powerful banks and trust companies began to multiply. It is doubtful if at that time there was any intention on the part of the active management of the banks to associate together for any but legitimate purposes. Their affiliation was due principally to the fact that the wily heads of the big business and speculative interests decided to buy in bank stocks with a view to controlling their deposits in order that they might possess the means with which to exploit the people.
They were after the deposits, and the ownership of the bank stock was necessary if they were to accomplish their purpose, but, it was merely incidental. About the year 1900 there was some open talk of combinations being favored between the larger banks in New York City and some of the large trust companies in that and other cities. Steps were also taken to link with those interests the largest of the life insurance companies.
That is why J.P. Morgan & Co. bought the control of a great life insurance company. Cash was coming in to the companies from the policy-holders everywhere. The interests, of course, wished to control that. Combinations of various kinds rapidly increased to include all of the greater concerns in large cities as well as many of the concerns in smaller towns, and in many cases it included even those in the villages. The large operators do not enter extensively into the ownership of the small institutions.
These are controlled through a mutuality of business interests. Employees are frequently given the control of the smaller concerns. One can easily understand why this same selfish purpose of making the biggest profits possible causes
institutions, separately owned, to co-operate as completely as they do when the stock ownership is identically the same.
The consequence is that the capitalists and financiers of Wall Street who do their “High Finance” stunts and are known as “Big Business” now dominate the banking system. It requires a little patience for those not familiar with business methods generally, to understand the facts and their bearings as they are presented, but since we know that a knowledge of these things will make us more successful in a business way, make our lives better, happier, and more intelligent, and require of us less hours of labor, and give us more equable returns for our labor, we should not fail to give a great deal of attention to the subject. If once convinced that it intimately concerns our daily existence, we will do so.
We shall not take the time to review the scandals that grow out of the Wall Street control of the funds of the life insurance companies and the manipulation of the finances by insiders. All this manipulation is done in order to compel the liquidation of many solvent banks, and industrial as well as transportation companies. We already know that it has caused numerous suicides and other desperate acts on the part of the owners and managers. These things serve as examples of
what occurs to those who dare to disobey the command of the financial kings. Many of the men at the head of, or managing big business interests, possess the spirit of friendliness toward all the people of the world, but they, too, in many cases have been forced to fall into line.
Neither verbal or written contract is necessary for the existence of a money trust. The power to punish without trial is a sufficient weapon in the hands of the money kings. The late J. Pierpont Morgan swore that he did not loan money on security, however perfect or valuable it might be, unless he knew the borrowers personally or had an individual knowledge that satisfied him. That was the substance of his statement before the Money Trust Committee in December, 1912.
Mr. Morgan was the world’s greatest banker. Many of the institutions that he controlled have had special privileges conferred upon them by the Government and yet this king of bankers, who was financially the most powerful in the world, proved by his testimony given under oath, that the institutions controlled by him and to which the public, through its Congressmen (who are subservient to his and other special interests), have surrendered a sacred trust,—this man, by his statement proved that he was only partially performing the trust when he stated that he refused money to all who were not known to him—known, you will understand, by the law of selfish interest to be subservient to J.P. Morgan & Co. It mattered not how honest the applicants, or how much or how valuable their security. They had to be known to be subservient to that firm.
If that is not a proof of partiality in the application and business administration of the law, and the trust reposed in banks, when we give them special privileges,—then, by the great heavens, what proof do we want ? It shows that they have the power, and Banker Morgan did choose to exercise it. The others who were associated with him had to do the same thing as he, or he did not accept them as associates. Others who were associated with J.P. Morgan & Co. naturally followed the same practice. By that method it passed along, and with a comparatively few exceptions there is favoritism from the dominant to the servient, and the rest of us are only goats.
How easy it is to understand the Money Trust when we catch the spirit of Morgan’s answer, and when we realize its resources we begin to understand the silent but no less effective force, which commands, without word or act to which we can point specifically and say, “This is the identified power.” The refusal of a loan to those who would secure it because they were not favorably known to bow to the king banker was sufficient proof. Shall we, notwithstanding that fact, continue to allow the banks to control the finances, a power which the Constitution gives to the government only ? Banks may properly conduct the financial transactions between the people and receive a reasonable compensation for the service, but should neither control the legislation nor the issue of money.
Of course, no one who has given the subject proper study claims that there is an organized or even an unorganized association that can be specifically pointed to and named as the Money Trust, but formal organization is not necessary to its potential existence. As a matter of fact, its power is greater because it exists without organization. It gains its purposes by indirection more effectively than it could by direction. It derives its greatest efficiency from the very fact that the
business interests are aware of the existence of a power which can make or unmake them at its will. Silently and grimly, that power is exerted, and it is recognized and felt by all of the industrial interests of today.
That is a condition, and while I do not spare my criticism of the system, I do not blame such men as Mr. Morgan was, nor do I blame any of the bankers, because they are doing the things that are quite natural for human beings to do when opportunity is presented without limitations. For the sake of argument let us try to see as Mr. Morgan did and consider these facts from the viewpoint that he probably took. None of us will have the opportunity to do what he did in his time, because when we really understand we will not permit anyone to fleece us as J.P. Morgan & Co. and other bankers have fleeced us.
Surely when we see how these bankers have impoverished us by selling to us,—at usury prices,—the credit that is supported by our own toil, we will demand the privilege of controlling that credit for ourselves. We are willing to pay the bankers for their actual services, and for the skill which they exercise in facilitating exchange that is incidental to the legitimate commerce of the country, but further than that we are not obligated.
The king bankers put in motion, in 1907, a great scheme. They had gambled and speculated on Wall Street until so many watered stocks and bonds had been manufactured on speculation, that numberless speculators, big and small, sprang up all over the country, and stocks, bonds, and credits were pyramided, and re-pyramided, and re-re-pyramided. Of course such a condition could not last and a crash was inevitable, because it was not natural for such gambling to continue.
The largest crop ever grown, up to that time, was harvested in 1907 and all of the natural conditions were favorable to the greatest prosperity,—but speculation, unnatural and false, had expanded to a point where it offset all of the natural advantages. The king bankers knew the conditions and informed the most favored of their friends what was to come.
There was to be a panic in the fall of 1907 that would be advertised as the result of our bad banking and currency laws. They are bad, we admit, but it was the general speculation and the manipulations of the king bankers that was directly responsible for the panic. The bad laws were merely used as an excuse for covering their acts. But while that is the truth, it does not settle the question. We must make laws to fit the people, for we cannot make people to fit the laws. Ever since civilization began, that has been tried without success. The so-called “trust busters,” who generally have been former attorneys for the trusts, do make a pretense of trying it, but they often secure their government retainers through politicians subservient to the trusts, and educated as they are in the interests of the trusts, we cannot expect much from their efforts.
Not one of their prosecutions have resulted in lessening the cost of living. It is rather strange that anyone would believe that the cost of living will be lessened by the prosecution of the trusts. Prosecutions will serve only to establish the majesty of the law. They will not remedy the high cost of living.
We have already stated that an enormous amount of watered stock, bonds and securities were issued prior to 1907. The old laws had aided the trusts in the manufacture of these, but at that time they decided that they must have new laws favorable to their operations if they were to aggrandize and monetize their securities as they wished. They had indeed secured great holdings—the largest ever. This 1907 panic was to be the means by which the people were to be forced to enact new laws, guaranteeing the full face value of the watered stocks and bonds. That guarantee would make the people pay the interest and dividends on them forever. By this method the greatest steal ever contemplated since the beginning of humanity would be accomplished. Thus, in 1907, when Nature had responded most bountifully and when there was due to us the greatest prosperity, we were given a panic as the initial move for the proposed steal,—the Aldrich Plan.
That portion of the press subsidized by the Money Trust blamed the panic to the bad banking and currency laws. A majority of the independent press unwittingly fell into the trap and helped the interests by also blaming the laws. The failure of the latter to express the truth about it is accountable to the fact that it requires more study to understand the banking and currency laws than most editors have the time or opportunity to give on short notice. All, except the few who had been prepared for the panic, suffered more or less loss and struck back at random without really knowing what or who to blame or hit at. That is what the special interests wanted them to do.
It is not strange, is it, that most people criticized the laws to which the beguiling trusts,—the Money Trust particularly—cunningly pointed as the cause ? It did not seem to occur to many that these were the same laws under which the trusts have been enabled to acquire their fortunes and to which they had given their former praise. But now the fortunes of these interests had become so very large that the great advantages given them under the laws no longer satisfied their increasing greed, and for that reason they sought to modify the laws and greatly increase their advantages.
Accordingly, when Congress convened bills were introduced to amend the banking and currency laws. The 1907 panic had been a forceful reminder to the people that a change was needed, but what kind of a change it should be, they had not the opportunity to investigate for themselves in the short time given them in which to decide upon the nature of the bill to be adopted. That fact was relied upon by the Money Trust, and the bill that finally passed was kept from the public notice until it became a law. It was purposely kept back, the intention being to spring it at the opportune time and rush it through.
Nelson W. Aldrich, whom the politicians of Rhode Island had sent to Congress as their Senator, took charge in the Senate, and Edward B. Vreeland, a prominent banker who was elected by the voters of the 37th Congressional District of New York to Congress, took charge in the House. These two distinguished gentlemen protected well the cause of the banks.
In every session of Congress much time is deliberately wasted on nothingness and frivolity. Members make partisan political speeches and do all sorts of monkey work,—over half of the time is absolutely wasted. Sometimes a single Member will take an hour on a so-called “question of personal privilege.” But when great problems involving our fundamental rights are up before the House for consideration, the time for debate is then limited so that it may be placed at the disposal of those who strongly favor the special interests. The special interests fear that the special privileges which they enjoy, or which they may be seeking to increase, will be taken away or refused if the problems involving the exercise of the privileges and rights belonging to the people should receive proper consideration.
When the Aldrich-Vreeland Emergency Currency Bill was sprung on the House in its finished draft and ready for action to be taken, the debate was limited to three hours and Banker Vreeland placed in charge. It took so long for copies of the bill to be gotten that many members were unable to secure a copy until within a few minutes of the time to vote. No member who wished to present the people’s side of the case was given sufficient time to enable him to properly analyze the bill. I asked for time and was told that if I would vote for the bill it would be given to me, but not otherwise. Others were treated in the same way.
Accordingly, on June 30, 1908, the Money Trust won the first fight and the Aldrich- Vreeland Emergency Law was placed on the statute books. Thus the first precedent was established for the people’s guarantee of the rich man’s watered securities, by making them a basis on which to issue currency. It was the entering wedge. We had already guaranteed the rich men’s money, and now, by this act, the way was opened, and it was intended that we should guarantee their watered stocks and bonds.
Of course, they were too keen to attempt to complete, in a single act, such an enormous steal as it would have been if they had included all they hoped ultimately to secure. They knew that they would be caught at it if they did, and so it was planned that the whole thing should be done by a succession of acts. The first three have taken place. Act No. 1 was the manufacture, between 1896 and 1907, through stock gambling, speculation and other devious methods and devices, of tens of billions of watered stocks, bonds, and securities.
Act No. 2 was the panic of 1907, by which those not favorable to the Money Trust could be squeezed out of business and the people frightened into demanding changes in the banking and currency laws which the Money Trust would frame. Act No. 3 was the passage of the Aldrich-Vreeland Emergency Currency Bill, by which the Money Trust interests should have the privilege of securing from the Government currency on their watered bonds and securities.
But while the act contained no authority to change the form of the bank notes, the U.S. Treasurer (in some way that I have been unable to find a reason for) implied authority and changed the form of bank notes which were issued for the banks on government bonds. These notes had hitherto had printed on them, “This note is secured by bonds of the United States.” He changed it to read as follows : “This note is secured by bonds of the United States or other securities.” “Or other securities” is the addition that was secured by the special interests.
The infinite care the Money Trust exercises in regard to important detail work is easily seen in this piece of management. By that change it was enabled to have the form of the money issued in its favor on watered bonds and securities, the same as bank notes secured on government bonds, and, as a result, the people do not know whether they get one or the other. None of the $500,000,000 printed and lying in the U.S. Treasury ready to float on watered bonds and securities has yet (April, 1913) been used. But it is there, maintained at a public charge, as a guarantee to the Money Trust that it may use it in case it crowds speculation beyond the point of
The banks may take it to prevent their own failures, but there is not even so much as a suggestion that it may be used to help keep the industries of the people in a state of prosperity. The main thing, however, that the Money Trust accomplished as a result of the passing of this act was the appointment of the National Monetary Commission, the membership of which was chiefly made up of bankers, their agents and attorneys, who have generally been educated in favor of, and to have a community of interest with, the Money Trust. The National Monetary Commission was placed in charge of the same Senator Nelson W. Aldrich and Congressman Edward B. Vreeland, who respectively had charge in the Senate and House during the passage of the act creating it.
The act authorized this commission to spend money without stint or account. It spent over $300,000 in order to learn how to form a plan by which to create a greater money trust, and it afterwards recommended Congress to give this proposed trust a fifty-year charter by means of which it could rob and plunder all humanity. A bill for that purpose was introduced by members of the Monetary Commission, and its passage was planned to be the fourth and final act of the campaign to completely enslave the people.
The fourth act, however, is in process of incubation only, and it is hoped that by this time we realize the danger that all of us are in, for it is the final proposed legislation which, if it succeeds, will place us in the complete control of the moneyed interests. History records nothing so dramatic in design, nor so skillfully manipulated, as this attempt to create the National Reserve Association,—otherwise called the Aldrich Plan,—and no fact nor occurrence contemplated for the gaining of selfish ends is recorded in the world’s records which equals the beguiling methods of this colossal undertaking. Men, women, and children have been equally unconscious of how stealthily this greatest of all giant octopuses,—a greater Money Trust,—is reaching out its tentacles in its efforts to bind all humanity in perpetual servitude to the greedy will of this monster.
I was in Congress when the panic of 1907 occurred, but I had previously familiarized myself with many of the ways of high financiers. As a result of what I discovered in that study, I set out to expose the Money Trust, the world’s greatest financial giant. I knew that I could not succeed unless I could bring public sentiment to my aid. I had to secure that or fail. The Money Trust had laid its plans long before and was already executing them. It was then, and still is, training the people themselves to demand the enactment of the Aldrich Bill or a bill similar in effect. Hundreds of thousands of dollars had already been spent and millions were reserved to be used in the attempt to bring about a condition of public mind that would cause demand of the passage of the bill.
If no other method succeeded, it was planned to bring on a violent panic and to rush the bill through during the distress which would result from the panic. It was figured that the people would demand new banking and currency laws ; that it would be impossible for them to get a definitely practical plan before Congress when they were in an excited state and that, as a result, the Aldrich plan would slip safely through. It was designed to pass that bill in the fall of 1911 or 1912.
At that time the people had been hearing of all kinds of trusts but one. Other trusts were being prosecuted in the hope of keeping our attention from that one. I had studied the ways of the trusts and the manner of their organization. I had concluded that they were all the offspring of one colossal trust, and that particular trust had not been named, but that it was the trust that desired to pass the Aldrich Bill.
Further, I concluded that if the public could be advised of that trust, it (the trust) would be kept so busy defending itself that it would be compelled to postpone its attempt to force the passage of the Aldrich Plan by means of the drastic process of a panic, and that it might possibly be entirely defeated. Accordingly, I introduced a resolution naming the Money Trust and asked for a committee to investigate.
My purpose was accomplished. The Aldrich Plan was defeated for the time being by the influence of a positive public sentiment which developed to greater and greater proportions as I pressed the inquiry, and the press published articles about it. The advocates of the plan began to look for a means of retreat, and later they declared the plan abandoned, but lest that declaration be misconstrued, let us not deceive ourselves by believing that the purposes of the Aldrich Plan have been abandoned. They have not, and the same interests that were advocating the plan are covertly operating in order to secure a plan that will accomplish the same results and satisfy the same selfish purposes.
The Aldrich Plan is not dead, but is being advocated under a disguise. It now becomes important to know what good the investigation of the Money Trust has done when the purposes for which I started the proceedings were accomplished before the resolution even passed. We have previously seen the methods by means of which my resolution was sidetracked by the bosses, and the appointment of a special committee which would honestly go to the root of the evils avoided. If the Money Trust was to hold its sway it must have bankers in charge of the investigation. Let us inquire into the interest that the bankers have heretofore taken in the financial acts of Congress.
The bankers and the money loaners have always framed the financial legislation in their own interests. They have found, from time to time, that they did not anticipate even the extent of their own avarice. The development of new inventions which they could not anticipate has left them at times without quite as complete a control as they insist upon having, and they have kept coming to their subservient Congressmen again and again for more special favors, but since Congress has given them committees of their own in both the Senate and House, and left that class of legislation exclusively to them (to report bills on), they have had things practically their own way. I shall not go over the whole history of their scheme. A recital of a few of their acts will serve to illustrate their method. All we seek to acquire by this study is an understanding of the system, and after that each may make his research as thorough as he chooses.
I shall not give the most flagrant cases of which I have knowledge because I am not seeking to stir up strife and hatred for the bankers. I merely think they ought to occupy the same standing in the social order that the rest of us occupy. As a matter of fact, they cannot even get out of their own position until we help them. We have given them so much power and privilege that they cannot handle it, and still they seek more, and they themselves do not know where the trouble lies. The kings of the game do, but the rank and file of their followers do not.
Yes, these money lenders began early to acquire control. They have never let it go. They started in Europe long, long ago, and just as soon as there was anything doing over here they were on hand. Alexander Hamilton was one of their supporters. I shall not review his acts, but shall refer to a few later things emanating directly from the banks. The English money lenders have co-operated with those of our country, and in 1862 an agent, quietly and under a sort of confidential seal, distributed among the aristocrats and the wealthy class a circular.
It was called the Hazard Circular and related in a way to the Civil War. It read :
Quotation “B” “Slavery is likely to be abolished by the war power and all chattel slavery abolished. This I and my European friends are in favor of, for slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care of the laborers while the European plan, led on by England, is that capital shall control labor by controlling wages. The great debt that capitalists will see to it is made out of the war, must be used as a means to control the volume of money.
To accomplish this the bonds must be used as a banking basis. We are now waiting for the Secretary of the Treasury to make this recommendation to Congress. It will not do to allow the greenback, as it is called, to circulate as money any length of time, as we cannot control that. But we can control the bonds and through them the bank issues.”
This shows how mercenary these usurers are. Rather than assume the care of the slaves, they would control labor with the use of capital. It necessarily followed that when the laborer ceased to be of service because of sickness or old age, he would be of no concern to capital. He could either get well or die without the capitalists being obliged to provide medical attention or bury the dead. Such was the interest that capital had in the result of the Civil War. The people of this country poured out both their treasure and their blood to establish the political and industrial independence of humanity, and the mercenary capitalists turned a trick of finance and converted the enormous sacrifice made by the people during that struggle into a victory for capital, in order that they might enforce upon humanity the industrial slavery that the trusts preferred rather than the chattel slavery which then existed in the Southern States.
About the close of the war, 1865, we have another example worthy of note. Mr. Jay Cooke, the fiscal agent for the Government, who acted in the interest of the money loaners and bankers of our country and of Europe, published a circular and in it stated, among other things : Quotation “C.”
“We lay down the proposition that our national debt made permanent and rightly managed, will be a national blessing. The funded debt of the United States is the addition of three thousand millions of dollars to the previously realized wealth of the nation. It is three thousand millions added to the actual available capital.”
Did you ever know of a person who thought that his home was worth more to him with a mortgage on it than it would be without ? According to Mr. Cooke, it would be. With truthfulness he could have added that the national debt was so much on which to tax the daily earnings of those who survived the horrors of a civil war.
He said practically that in another clause of his circular which runs as follows :
“To tax this debt would be to extinguish the capital and lose the wealth.”
Is it any wonder that the cost of living is high, and still getting higher, when we have such statesmen to administer our government? Again in 1877 a circular was issued by authority of the Associated Bankers of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. It was signed by one James Buel, Secretary, and sent out from 247 Broadway, New York. It was sent to the bankers in all of the States. It read :
“Dear Sir :—It is advisable to do all in your power to sustain such prominent daily and weekly newspapers, especially the agricultural and religious press, as will oppose the greenback issue of paper money; and that you also withhold patronage from all applicants who are not willing to oppose the government issue of money. Let the Government issue the coin and the banks issue the paper money of the country, for then we can better protect each other. To repeal the act creating bank notes, or to restore to circulation the government issue of money, will be to provide the people with money and will therefore seriously affect our individual profits as bankers and lenders.
See your Congressman at once and engage him to support our interests, that we may control legislation.” Isn’t it astounding how very like the bankers of the present time those bankers of 1877 were ? Some of them are still with us. “Withhold patronage from all applicants who are not willing to oppose the government issue of money.” That was their decree. Again note how they would control the press by sustaining the press, especially the “agricultural and religious press,” if these would support the money loaners, but “withhold patronage” if they would not. And note also how they were to “See your Congressman and engage him.”
Every cunning device was to be used to prevent the people from having the government issue money and to force them to have bank money supported by the government. What simpletons we plain folks have been to pay these bankers for the credit given to them by our own government at our own expense.
I call attention to another of their schemes. This bears a somewhat later date, one which I myself remember. I read the “Panic Circular of 1893” at the time of its issue. It was that circular which started me to studying the problems of finance. The circular was issued direct by The American Bankers’ Association, an organization in which most bankers hold membership. It bears the date March 11, 1893, and was sent to the trusted national banks in all states. It read : Quotation “E.”
“Dear sir :—The interest of national banks requires immediate financial legislation by Congress. Silver, silver certificates and treasury notes must be retired and national bank notes upon a gold basis made the only money.
This will require the authorization of five hundred millions to one thousand millions of new bonds as the basis of circulation. You will at once retire one-third of your circulation and call in one-half of your loans. Be careful to make a monetary stringency among your patrons, especially among influential business men. Advocate an extra session of Congress to repeal the purchasing clause of the Sherman law and act with other banks of your city in securing a large petition to Congress for its unconditional repeal, per accompanying form. Use personal influence with your Congressman, and particularly let your wishes be known to your Senators. The future life of national banks, as fixed and safe investments, depends upon immediate action, as there is an increasing sentiment in favor of government legal tender notes and silver coinage.”
One would think that after the bankers had fooled us so many times, squeezed us by suddenly retiring a part of their circulation, made the borrowing public pay half their loans, and brought stringencies among their patrons, that they would have had things fixed “for good and all.” But no ! They are after us again with another scheme cleverly disguised. This time it is called the Aldrich plan. Let us compare the present scheme with those of the past and note what we find. Wall Streeters organized the National Citizens’ League of Chicago by means of their, secret agents and afterwards that league, through its secret agents, organized Citizens Leagues in practically all of the states. The purpose for which they were designed was that they might serve the same purpose with relation to the present proposed financial legislation that the Panic Circular of 1893 filled with regard to the legislation then desired by the interests. The circular proposed a “large petition” to be secured through the influence of “influential business men” by forcing a “monetary stringency.”
This last scheme gets at the Senators and Congressmen in a more persuasive manner than the petitions did. It is also a cunning design by means of which to deceive the people who have become too intelligent to be deceived by the methods formerly practiced. No one familiar with the facts, and not prejudiced in the matter, doubts for a moment that the National Citizens League of Chicago was an emanation from, and is supported in the main by, Wall Streeters and their dependents. All of the branch leagues throughout the different states are mainly supported from the same source.
The leagues invite all people to join, and advertise that by paying $1 admission fee they will be entitled to all of the literature. The receipts from that source have not paid a twentieth part of the expense. But the scheme gets the people to join, and the greatest number of those who do join do not know from what source the league gets its principal support. One of its principal definite purposes is to publish a financial journal called “Banking Reform,” the purpose of which is to influence us and cause us to ask our Congressman to support some money plan that has (covertly) received Wall Street’s approval.
This money and banking business is of great importance. A study of the principles and that comparatively few people have any chance to give it a thorough study. That is why the socalled Citizens Leagues, organized by the influence of Wall Street, have been able to induce some honest men to join in the advocacy of its plans. The leagues claim that they are not prejudiced in favor of, nor against any plan, but wish to consider all and choose the best—a very beguiling method, is it not ? But the literature alone, which is, by the way, supplied by the Wall Streeters, and distributed by the leagues, is proof enough for anyone who wishes to know the truth.
The method used by the Citizens Leagues is simply a change made from the old method of direct action used by the money loaners, namely, petitions and letters induced by “creating a monetary stringency.” The people are better educated now, and it requires a more subtle game to fool them, and a more round-about way is selected by the interests, in order that they may conceal their underground work. I have had occasion to investigate the origin of the National Citizens’ League, the father of them all, and since we shall hear more of its work in its attempts to foster on us a further tenure of the money loaners’ control of our life’s action, I wish to insert a part of a speech I made in Congress on the plan it advocated. It is as follows :
“The subtle and underground influence of Wall Street in furthering and advocating that plan is illustrated in the formation of the National Citizens’ League. “It would be interesting to inquire why no other such powerful citizens leagues are formed to advocate other important problems than this Aldrich Plan. . . . I might run through a long list of problems, vastly important to the people, and yet not one, except this Aldrich Plan, has been dignified by the formation of national citizens leagues with branches in forty-four states.
Is it because the people are, by the Aldrich Plan, to give billions of dollars to a private monopoly that these leagues have been formed ? Draw your own inference. Certain interests got busy inspiring citizens leagues. I believe in citizens leagues, but I would like to see them started voluntarily by the people themselves. I do not believe in a few men getting together and appointing themselves to the offices of a so-called citizens league and then solicit citizens to join simply to say ‘Amen.’
“The chief officials of the leagues had a conference and luncheon at the Great Northern Hotel, Chicago. It was attended by the officials of the branch organizations. Its president, John V. Farwell, in opening the meeting, stated : Quotation “F.”
“The National Citizens’ League, with organizations in forty-four states of the Union, with its members drawn from all our agricultural, manufacturing and mercantile interests, is the strongest organization of its kind ever enlisted in a great public service.’
“ ‘We do not advocate any bill now before Congress,’ stated Mr. Farwell. In the next breath he disregarded his solemn statement that, ‘We do not advocate any bill now before Congress,’ and he advocated the Aldrich Bill, which was then and is now before Congress. This is the same bill that I am discussing. He spoke as follows :
“ ‘We do, however, recognize in the report that has been unanimously made by the National Monetary Commission the greatest step that has yet been taken in this country to give us a sound banking system. We believe that this report embodies those fundamental principles for which we all stand. The report is a conscientious, painstaking effort to provide a working basis for legislation in Congress. We will continue to advocate these principles, confident that Congress will give us the legislation the country demands.’
“How could the National Citizens’ League indorse and advocate the bill more subtly than in the language of that speech ? Not only did it advocate the plan at its meeting but it employed speakers to travel all over the country and speak in its favor. It distributed all kinds of literature in support of the Aldrich bill, and as far as practicable for it to do so, it suppressed all literature that opposed that plan. Wall Street is the underground support of the leagues, and Wall Street sought through the help of the leagues to force Congress to pass the Aldrich bill before the general public had solved its mysteries because it knew that once the public learned the real purpose of the bill it would not permit its passage.
Members of the leagues, with few exceptions, do not know at present that they are advocating the Wall Street plan.” “I particularly call attention to one phase of the Wall Street underground work. I have already received letters on this particular phase of the subject from over one hundred different banks in many different States. Only seven of these letters are from my own State. The letters written by the New York banks to their correspondents are all practically the same. I shall quote one set only, as an example of what they all are. To wit : Quotation “H.”
“ ‘The Chase National Bank,
“‘New York, Feb. 21, 1912.
“‘(Gentlemen:—We inclose a letter from the National Citizens’ League which we have been asked to forward to you. The campaign of education which the league is conducting in favor of currency and banking reform is nonpartisan in character and national in scope. We believe it of direct importance to the business interests of the country.
The merchants interested in the work have felt that, while they regard themselves as responsible for the raising of funds for the prosecution of the work, the country at large should know that the banking interest is in sympathy with the work. Any correspondence should be taken up with Mr. Isidor Straus, treasurer, Broadway and
Thirty-fourth Street, New York, and any contributions made direct to him.
“ ‘Yours sincerely,
“‘A.H. Wiggins, President.”
You will notice that the letter does not give the name of the bank to which it was sent. Some of these letters are written to others than bankers. You will realize that it is another case of the Wall Streeters using the interests’ method in order to scare the country bankers, merchants and others, and not reap the blame for the “monetary stringency.” The following blank was enclosed in the letter of President Wiggins, who is one of the “big six” Wall Street bankers. It was intended that it should be filled out by the bankers to whom it was sent. The blank was :
New York Feb. .... 1912.
“To Isidor Straus, Esq.,
“Treasurer National Citizens’ League,
“100 Broad Street, New York City.
“Dear Sir:—I inclose herewith my check for $...... as my subscription to the fund of the National Citizens’
League in its campaign of public education for the promotion of a sound banking system.
Attached to the letter of the Chase National Bank was a letter from which I quote a few paragraphs as follows :
“Dear Sir:—You insure your property against fire, your business against risks, yourself against incapacity and death. For this protection you pay many annual premiums of considerable amount. “We ask you to pay a single premium for the insurance of your business against money panics, against the business collapse that attends them, and the business depression that follows them.”
* * * * * *
“These are the benefits of banking and currency reform. And this reform is assured if the business men will combine and lend it the same support they gave the sound money in the ’nineties.
“The issue is just as live and big. Sound currency needs a sound currency system back of it. Business isn’t paralyzed today as it was four years ago. Another panic is not anticipated. But the fact remains and it must be faced squarely now, that under our present defective and dangerous banking system disastrous panics can not be
controlled. Revision is demanded now.”
* * * * *
“Business men all over the country, irrespective of rank and party lines, have organized the National Citizens’ League for the promotion of a sound banking system.”
“The league does not advocate any particular plan, but is carrying on a nation-wide campaign of education in an economical and legitimate way, to the end of arousing Congress to prompt and business-like action free from the prejudice of partisan politics.”
“Any subscription from $1 upward will constitute a membership in the league.”
* * * * * *
“If you count this a good business investment, with 1907 clearly remembered, will you fill out and return the inclosed blank ?
“Yours very truly,
“President New York State Branch of the National Citizens’ League.”
I ask you to re-read the Panic Circular of 1893, Quotation “E.” It is important in connection with the above letter. I have similar letters which were sent out by the Wall Street banks. These letters were sent into all of the states. Every banker, except one, who wrote me, expressly requested that I should not disclose his name, for to do so, they wrote, would bring upon them the disfavor of certain
I shall quote one of these letters in order to show what I believe to be the attitude held by the bankers in the small towns. This belief is suppressed because the country bankers fear that their business will be harmed if they incur the disfavor of the special interests. I omit from the letter all the facts that would identify the party, for reasons appearing in the letter itself. It is as follows :
“.................., Minn., 1912.
“HON. C.A. LINDBERGH,
“Dear Sir:—I have noticed with considerable interest your charge against the National Citizens’ League—that it is being financed by wall Street influence. I am inclosing herewith a circular letter from a Wall Street bank, soliciting subscriptions for the league from the Minnesota banks. This letter comes from our New York correspondent.
I assume that the plan is to reach our banks in this way through their New York depository. I take the liberty of sending this to you as it may be of some value to you in your campaign against the iniquitous Aldrich currency measure.
“This letter comes to you from a stranger, but from one who is in hearty sympathy with your congressional work. I would, of course, not want either my name or bank mentioned publicly in this connection.
It is to be regretted that the conditions are such that bankers dare not come forward and openly fight this “iniquitous Aldrich currency measure,” as this man so aptly terms it. It has been announced that the Aldrich plan has been abandoned because it is believed that the name would prove disastrous to its chances for adoption, but, although this attempt has been made in order to make it appear that the bill has been abandoned, the substance has been retained and is still being pushed by the Wall Streeters for adoption. It is the substance and not the name that is material to us, and we should center our fight on the substance and disregard the name with which it is labeled.
The bankers are willing to join with the citizens not selfishly interested, and aid them in their attempt to correct the present system. But they insist that we should show strength enough to make our fight seem to have a reasonable chance of success. They are too practical, and I may as well add selfish, to jeopardize their interests, by embracing a cause that fails to give some reasonable promise of success, and no sound policy favorable to the general welfare has any prospect of success until the people themselves understand the ways and means by which to meet
their own vital necessities.
Until they do, the temptation to fleece them is too great for the selfish interests to resist. While I was making an aggressive fight against the Aldrich plan, the National Citizens’ League of Chicago sent the Hon. Robert W. Bonynge to its branch league in my own State to make speeches for the Aldrich plan. Mr. Bonynge was himself a member of the National Monetary Commission that reported to Congress on the Aldrich plan. He was sent to my home town, Little Falls, and to two other towns in the district that I represent, to advocate the Aldrich plan.
Incidentally it was expected to influence the people of my own district against me because I opposed the Aldrich plan. They hoped by doing so to force me to abandon the fight. After Mr. Bonynge completed his lecture course, which covered several states, he sent the following notice to Members of Congress :
“26 Exchange Place,
“New York City, Dec. 2nd, 1912.
“Robert W. Bonynge, lately of the Colorado Bar, and Paul Bonynge announce the formation of a partnership for the general practice of law under the firm name of BONYNGE AND BONYNGE, with offices at the above address. Telephone 4967 Broad.”
The location of 36 Exchange Place, New York City, is down in the Wall Street district.
Each fact brings out more clearly that there is an attempt being made to make the greatest steal of all times, but because of its enormity, and because the people understand the social problems better, it is necessary that more adroit measures be resorted to than were formerly necessary, in order that special legislation may be secured, which will be favorable to the Money Trust. The National Monetary Commission was no sooner created than plans were formulated to advocate a
scheme that was expected to be evolved by it, and the National Citizens’ League of Chicago was put into effective organization for that purpose very soon after the commission was created.
Let us further consider the work of these leagues, because they were organized as agencies by means of which it was expected to fool the people and secure additional favors for the Money Trust. If you will again refer to circulars B, C, D, and E, you will observe the subtleness of the following circular which was issued by the National Citizens’ League of Chicago, and distributed by its branch leagues as a means of accomplishing the latest designs of the Money Trust.
It reads :
“The National Citizens’ League
“For the promotion of a sound banking system,
“223 West Jackson Boulevard.
“To the Members of the National Citizens’ League :
“There is enclosed herewith for your information a brief report of the progress made by the League during the year which has just closed, a statement of the situation and the prospects ahead. You will observe at once that it was never more important that the work of education be pushed, that discussion of the question be promoted and study of it urged.
“By joining the League you proved your interest in the cause of banking reform. Every member of the League should prove again that interest by doing active missionary work. It is necessary to spread the gospel of a sound, panic-proof banking system.
“President-elect Wilson and dozens of Congressmen have expressed the view that public opinion on this question is still unformed. It is the work of the League to form public opinion and impress the fact on Congressmen. “One way is for the League members to write direct to their Representatives and Senators, urging action and giving reasons for it. Another is to urge your interested friends to do the same. And another way is for every member of the League to get a new member. You know the returns members receive. You know whether membership is worth while.
“The league has less than 10,000 members now. This number can be doubled before February 1. It will be doubled if every member will get a new member.
“Will you do your share?
“When the League has 100,000 members there will be tangible and audible proof that public opinion is crystallized, sound and militant. “The members of the League must act with the League and for banking reform.
“Very truly yours,
“A.D. WELTON, General Secretary.”
Notice especially, how the letter says, “One way is for League members to write direct to Representatives and Senators,” etc. This is substantially the same old story that we find in quotations “D” and “E.” Notice also that the membership of the League is less than 10,000.
They have not been able to fool many of the country bankers because most of them realize that the Aldrich plan would make of them merely the agents of Wall Street.
The following shows the method by which the State Leagues assist in upholding the purposes for which the National Citizens’ League was formed. Here we have the Minnesota branch of it :
“President John H. Rich,
“The Citizens’ League of Minnesota.
“The publications and report of the Monetary Commission form the most complete and valuable reference library on banking and currency in every civilized country that has ever been gathered together. This was available for the use of the Glass committee when it began its sessions.
“The Glass Committee has been at work since last April and has supplemented the testimony taken by the Monetary Commission by calling many new witnesses. Sufficient testimony has been taken. This subject has been presented from the view point of hundreds of the best business men, financiers and economists in the United States and hearings to take testimony and obtain information have been held (by the Monetary Commission) in the principal commercial centers.
“Since June, 1911, the National Citizens’ League and the Minnesota branch, affiliated with it, have been devoting their energies solely to broadening the public information on this subject. In forty-four states this work has been energetically going on. While all business men have not become expert, very many have become well informed and possess clearly defined opinions favorable to a reform of the banking and currency system.
“The press, at first antagonistic, has come to see the necessity of modernizing American methods and changing to a sound banking system. In Minnesota the radical newspapers have greatly modified their expressions and many of the latter now favor a reform. “The Monetary Commission Bill (Aldrich Bill) cannot pass. The Glass Committee Bill will shortly be before Congress. The Powler Bill is before Congress now, and other bills will be introduced. It is probable that the Glass Bill will be found acceptable in large part, and the outlook for the enactment of legislation is very favorable.
“Congress undoubtedly can, if it will, settle this question at the forthcoming special session. It will be very undesirable to permit it to go over to the following long session, because of the danger that it may be made a political question and enter into the Congressional elections.
“The influence of business men, exerted at this time in the form of letters to representatives in Congress, and members of the Senate, will be a powerful aid in the present movement to secure prompt consideration and action on this question. Your active co-operation in this respect is earnestly requested.”
The secretary of the association inclosed the Rich statement within a letter of his own to Mr. Hugh J. Hughes, editor of “Farm, Stock and Home,” an influential publication with a large circulation.
It was as follows :
“Minneapolis, Minn., Jan. 24, 1913.
“Hugh J. Hughes,
“Farm, Stock, and Home,
“DEAR MR. HUGHES :
“The preliminary draft of the Glass Committee Bill will be sent within a few days for the private examination of a selected list of business men, bankers, and economists. This indicates that the Committee, after the hearings it has been conducting, plans to act promptly. The best information available indicates that this bill will be acceptable in large measure.
“The national organization believes that if business men show sufficient interest and will act promptly, it will be possible to secure action on banking and currency reform at the coming special session. Any bill will naturally undergo the modifying influences of debates and hearings in Congress, and if a fairly good measure is reported by the Committee, it will be possible to perfect it before passage.
“Your influence with members of Congress will be of great assistance. In behalf of President Rich, who is absent from the state at present, and the national organization, I am instructed to earnestly request your active cooperation
by writing personally to the Members of Congress from this state, and to any in Congress from other states, with whom you are acquainted, urging, “That Congress act on this subject at the special session.
“That sufficient hearings have been held. “That the business of the country needs this reform and should have it at once. “I beg to call your attention to the memorandum by President Rich, attached, and also to the recent report of
the national organization which you may not have seen.
“We will appreciate it if yon will advise us of any action you take, in order that we may be informed.
“Yours very truly,
CURTIS L. MOSHER, Secretary.”