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Good Government

Good Government

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Excerpt from Good Government: Appeal of Peter Cooper, Now in the 91st Year of His Age, to All Legislators, Editors, Religious Teachers, and Lovers of Our Country

4. Then began the Legal Tender Acts, which put into the circulation, in the course of eight years, about $2,800,000,000 in different forms of legal tenders, of which $430000, 000 was in the form of greenbacks. Every one of these Acts was accompanied with a Funding Section, which provided for the withdrawal of the legal tenders from circulation, and the funding of them into "long bonds," mostly six percent, interest, payable in coin, and in five or in forty years at the option of the government. (See Spaulding.)

5. These Legal Tenders passed into the circulation as money, and in the course of ten years - from '62 to '73 - were gradually absorbed in the "long bonds;" - withdrawn from the circulation, because the capitalists preferred the credit of the government, thus extended to them at six per cent. in coin, to any private investment of their money in the labor and enterprise of the country at large.

This was largely due to foreign capitalists, who were eager to invest their surplus capital in the government, at a gold valuation of the legal tender, which had then sunk to forty and fifty cents on the dollar in gold and, still further, were payable in store orders on foreign goods.

6. The capitalists overdid the "absorbing process," having reduced the legal tenders to a legal currency of about $350,000,000 and brought the "panic of 1873."

7. Meanwhile, by the Bank Acts of 1863-64, the national banks laid their plans of turning the bonds into bank currency without surrendering the bonds. The government made the bank circulation as good as greenbacks, and redeemable in greenbacks.

8. But the greenbacks must be brought under the domination of gold - not merely to an equal value, and made convertible into gold over the business counter, but redeemable by the full stress of the law. The whole responsibility of redeeming both the national bank currency and the greenbacks, is thus thrown on the government, which can do this in no other way, if the notes are not convertible in an open market, than by issuing more coin bonds.

9. In pursuance of this policy of the gold capitalists, the government was induced to pass the "Act to strengthen the Public Credit" (with the European capitalists) in 1870, making the whole public debt payable in coin; then, soon after, surreptitiously demonetizing silver, by stopping the coining of the silver dollar, and thus making gold the sole legal tender for the paper. But this monstrous legislation was repealed when the object became too apparent.

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