1893: War upon silver | AspenTimes.com
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1893: War upon silver

In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, we are printing a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed – 125 historical selections in 125 days. This series is in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society.The Voorhees Repeal Bill Is Passed, Signed, Sealed and DeliveredWashington, Nov. 1. – Silver purchases by the government ceased today. The purpose for which Mr. Cleveland called congress in extra session was accomplished at 4:25 this afternoon when he affixed his signature to the bill to repeal unconditionally the silver purchasing clause of the Sherman law. The struggle in the house was short. Only twenty seven men could be rallied for the last stand by the silver leaders. Messrs. Bland and Bryan. Mr. Bland and his colleagues, knowing further opposition was futile, preferred to sacrifice the opportunity for a hew hours debate offered by Mr. Allison in order for force the majority to bring in the cloture and concur in senate amendments by duress. But even in this they failed. The small force might have succeeded had they been led by experienced and suitable parliamentarians. Neither Mr. Bryan nor Mr. Snodgrass, his lieutenant, are well versed in parliamentary proceedings and when thrown off their guard by a momentary distraction they exposed their flank by failing to follow one filibustering motion with another.Speaker Crisp filled the blank by putting the pending motion to order the previous question. It was carried with a roar. The filibusterers had been caught napping and nothing remained for them but to submit. For thirty minutes under the rule followed the rattle of oratory amid the greatest confusion and excitement. At its conclusion the vote was taken on Mr. Bland’s free coinage substitute, the majority against which was 73. Then came the first vote on concurring in the senate amendments. The vote stood 191 for concurrence and 94 against.When the original bill passed, August 28, the vote stood 201 to 100, so that while the total vote today was smaller, the proportion was precisely the same. The final vote was taken at 2:50, the bill was engrossed at once and at 3:40 the formal announcement was made to the senate that its amendment had been agreed to by the house. The bill was hurriedly enrolled by Chairman Person of the committee on enrolled bills and at 3:30 it was given to Speaker Crisp for his name.A fleet-footed messenger carried it to the senate where it was signed two minutes later by Vice President Stevenson.Chairman Pearson, with the bill under his arm, then entered a carriage and drove rapidly to the White House. The president had been kept duly advised of the progress of events, indeed he manifested so much interest in the vote in the house that at his request a duplicate of the names of those who had voted for and against the concurrence was made soon after the roll call was over and this list was lying on his desk when Mr. Pearson arrived with the bill. Secretary Carlisle, Attorney General Olney and Private Secretary Thurber were present. After felicitating each other over the victory, the president took up the bill and read it aloud, then picking up a quill pen he affixed his autograph at 4:25, and thus eighty-five days four hours and twenty-five minutes after the extra session convened the remedy for the financial distress which Mr. Cleveland demanded in his message was applied.The analysis of the vote shows 121 democrats and sixty-eight republicans and one populist, Cannon of California, voted for concurrence and seventy democrats, fifteen republicans and nine populists against it.Governor Waite Makes Public His Proclamation on Monday.On Monday night Governor Waite signed the proclamation for a special session of the legislature which is as follows:Proclamation,Whereas, Section 9 of article 4, state constitution, declares: “The governor may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the general assembly by proclamation, stating therein the purpose for which it is to assemble; but at such special session no business shall be transacted other than that named in the proclamation;” andWhereas, In the judgment of the chief executive of the state, the present is one of the “extraordinary occasions” mentioned in the following reasons, to wit:1. The mining interests of this state have been unjustly and unconstitutionally attacked by congress and by the present and proceeding national administrations, add the price of silver bullion been forced to so low a figure as to compel the bulk of the silver mines of the state to close down, which has thrown out the employment a vast number, not only of miners, but of others also, whose business depended upon the working of the silver mines. When the production of silver is stopped, not only do miners lose their employment, but the men of families and business men who have invested their capital in lots, residences and places of business find the value of their improvements greatly injured if not destroyed, and any class of people whose interests are thus peculiarly, unjustly and illegally attacked may rightfully appeal to the legislature of the state for every remedy it is in the power of the general assembly to give.2. The late panic, which was brought about by the bankers of the country as a part of the war upon silver to compel the unconditional repeal of the Sherman act, and practically to give to the United States the gold standard of Great Britain, has so reduced the value of all Commodities and of real estate and so increased the burdens of debt and taxation, that the agriculturists, the fruit growers and the stock raisers of the state as a rule are compelled to sell their staple products below the cost of production. By the closing of the silver mines, despite the various and remarkable resources of the state, in all parts of Colorado except in the vicinity of the recently opened gold mines, the producers of the state have lost to a great extent their best and only profitable market in the silver mining camps. The laborers of the state, by the general closing of the silver mines and the dullness of all other kinds of business except in the gold camps, find employment difficult to obtain and wages extremely low, and all these classes of people have a just right to demand of the general assembly of the state such legislation as shall be for the general welfare and give to the producer living prices and to the industrious working man an opportunity to earn his daily bread.3. It may not be in the constitutional power of the general assembly to grant any relief whatever to debtors from the extraordinary remedies that the law grants on the foreclosure of chattel mortgages and trust deeds now in force, but the general assembly, upon contracts made after its legislation shall become a law, should abolish and repeal the extraordinary remedies now granted to creditors in Colorado, which have placed the debtor class wholly within the power of the creditor and “deprived him” unjustly and against public policy “of his property, without due process of law.”Appealing to Almighty God for the rectitude of my intentions, and willing to assume the entire responsibility of the act, I, Davis H. Waite, governor of Colorado, do issue this my proclamation and summon the members of the Ninth general assembly to meet in special session at the city of Denver, on Wednesday, January 10, 1894 at 12 o’clock, noon, at such place in said city as shall be provided by the secretary of state.


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