The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Andrew Fiske, April 8th, 1892

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New York, April 8, 1892.

I regret most sincerely that my engagements here do not permit me to accept the invitation of the Massachusetts Reform Club to the dinner to be given to the Hon. Geo. Fred. Williams “in recognition of his distinguished services upon the Coinage Committee and on the floor of the House of Representatives in opposition to Free Silver Coinage.”

The honor of that recognition Mr. Williams has fairly and fully earned. It may be said that he has done only his duty; but that duty he has done with signal ability, courage, energy and success, and that, too, as one of the youngest Members of Congress.

He and his brave companions in the struggle against the free coinage movement have rendered the country a service that cannot be too highly appreciated. Trusting in the justice of their cause they dared to hope against hope. They gallantly breasted an adverse current which others considered irresistible. They boldly threw aside the old policy of trying to appease a popular delusion by making concessions to it—a policy almost always apt to increase the danger it is intended to avert. They met the specious fallacies of their opponents with uncompromising firmness. They called things by their right names. They took the bull by the horns. They loudly proclaimed their determination never to yield to what they deemed wrong no matter what the consequences might be to their party standing. And thus they extorted respect from their very opponents. Thus they demonstrated how such a fight can be won even against apparently overwhelming odds.

I think I am not exaggerating when I say that, thanks to them, the fight is actually won. I believe the defeat the free-coinage fallacy has suffered in the House of Representatives has been decisive. That movement may attempt a few more demonstrations of strength, but they will be only the spasms of its death struggle. The paper inflation mania, some years ago, died in the same manner.

Now the time is coming for a vigorous assault on the vicious features of the silver law of 1890, and I trust Mr. Williams will appear again on the same field in the front rank of the champions of the public interest.[1]

  1. In 1896 Mr. Williams became an advocate of the free coinage of silver, at the ratio of sixteen to one.