I see you inherited wisdom from your father, Adele. Here's an excerpt from Louis McFadden.
Mr. Chairman, at the present session of Congress we have been dealing with emergency situations [the economic depression --ed]. We have been dealing with the effect of things rather than with the cause of things. In this particular discussion I shall deal with some of the causes that lead up to these proposals. There are underlying principles which are responsible for conditions such as we have at the present time and I shall deal with one of these in particular which is tremendously important in the consideration that you are now giving to this bill.
Mr. Chairman, we have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Federal Reserve Board, a Government board, has cheated the Government of the United States and the people of the United States out of enough money to pay the national debt. The depredations and iniquities of the Federal Reserve Board has cost this country enough money to pay the national debt several times over. This evil institution has impoverished and ruined the people of the United States, has bankrupted itself, and has practically bankrupted our Government. It has done this through the defects of the law under which it operates, through the maladministration of that law by the Federal Reserve Board, and through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it.
Some people think the Federal Reserve banks are United States Government institutions. They are not Government institutions. They are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders. In that dark crew of financial pirates there are those who would cut a man's throat to get a dollar out of his pocket; there are those who send money into States to buy votes to control our legislation; and there are those who maintain international propaganda for the purpose of deceiving us and of wheedling us into the granting of new concessions which will permit them to cover up their past misdeeds and set again in motion their gigantic train of crime.
These twelve private credit monopolies were deceitfully and disloyally foisted upon this country by the bankers who came here from Europe and repaid us for our hospitality by undermining our American institutions. Those bankers took money out of this country to finance Japan in a war against Russia. They created a reign of terror in Russia with our money in order to help that war along. They instigated the separate peace between Germany and Russia and thus drove a wedge between the Allies in the World War. They financed Trotsky's passage from New York to Russia so that he might assist in the destruction of the Russian Empire. They fomented and instigated the Russian revolution and they placed a large fund of American dollars at Trotsky's disposal in one of their branch banks in Sweden so that through him Russian homes might be thoroughly broken up and Russian children flung far and wide from their natural protectors. They have since begun the breaking up of American homes and the dispersal of American children.
It has been said that President Wilson was deceived by the attentions of these bankers and by the philanthropic poses they assumed. It has been said that when he discovered the manner in which he had been misled by Colonel House, he turned against that busybody, that "holy monk" of the financial empire, and showed him the door. He had the grace to do that, and in my opinion he deserves great credit for it.
President Wilson died a victim of deception. When he came to the Presidency, he had certain qualities of mind and heart which entitled him to a high place in the councils of this Nation; but there was one thing he was not and which he never aspired to be; he was not a banker. He said that he knew very little about banking. It was, therefore, on the advice of others that the iniquitous Federal Reserve act, the death warrant of American liberty, became law in his administration.
Mr. Chairman, there should be no partisanship in matters concerning the banking and currency affairs of this country, and I do not speak with any.
In 1912 the National Monetary Association, under the chairmanship of the late Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, made a report and presented a vicious bill called the National Reserve Association bill. This bill is usually spoken of as the Aldrich bill. Senator Aldrich did not write the Aldrich bill. He was the tool, but not the accomplice, of the European-born bankers who for nearly twenty years had been scheming to set up a central bank in this country and who in 1912 had spent and were continuing to spend vast sums of money to accomplish their purpose.
The Aldrich bill was condemned in the platform upon which Theodore Roosevelt was nominated in the year 1912, and in that same year, when Woodrow Wilson was nominated, the Democratic platform, as adopted at the Baltimore convention, expressly stated: "We are opposed to the Aldrich plan for a central bank." This was plain language. The men who ruled the Democratic Party then promised the people that if they were returned to power there would be no central bank established here while they held the reigns of government.
Thirteen months later that promise was broken, and the Wilson administration, under the tutelage of those sinister Wall Street figures who stood behind Colonel House, established here in our free country the worm-eaten monarchical institution of the "king's bank" to control us from the top downward, and to shackle us from the cradle to the grave. The Federal Reserve act destroyed our old and characteristic way of doing business; it discriminated against our one-name commercial paper, the finest in the world; it set up the antiquated two-name paper, which is the present curse of this country, and which wrecked every country which has ever given it scope; it fastened down upon this country the very tyranny from which the framers of the Constitution sought to save us.
One of the greatest battles for the preservation of this Republic was fought out here in (Andrew) Jackson's day, when the Second Bank of the United States, which was founded upon the same false principles as those which are here exemplified in the Federal Reserve act, was hurled out of existence. After the downfall of the Second Bank of the United States in 1837, the country was warned against the dangers that might ensue if the predatory interests, after being cast out, should come back in disguise and unite themselves to the Executive, and through him acquire control of the Government. That is what the predatory interests did when they came back in the livery of hypocrisy and under false pretenses obtained the passage of the Federal Reserve act.
The danger that the country was warned against came upon us and is shown in the long train of horrors attendant upon the affairs of the traitorous and dishonest Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve banks are fully liable. This is an era of financed crime and in the financing of crime, the Federal Reserve Board does not play the part of a disinterested spectator.
It has been said that the draughtsman who was employed to write the text of the Federal Reserve bill used a text of the Aldrich bill for his purpose. It has been said that the language of the Aldrich bill was used because the Aldrich bill had been drawn up by expert lawyers and seemed to be appropriate. It was indeed drawn up by lawyers. The Aldrich bill was created by acceptance bankers of European origin in New York City. It was a copy and in general a translation of the statutes of the Reichsbank and other European central banks.
Half a million dollars was spent one part of the propaganda organized by those same European bankers for the purpose of misleading public opinion in regard to it, and for the purpose of giving Congress the impression that there was an overwhelming popular demand for that kind of banking legislation and the kind of currency that goes with it, namely, an asset currency based on human debts and obligations instead of an honest currency based on gold and silver values. Dr. H. Parker Willis had been employed by the Wall Street bankers and propagandists and when the Aldrich measure came to naught and he obtained employment with Carter Glass to assist in drawing a banking bill for the Wilson administration, he appropriated the text of the Aldrich bill for his purpose. There is no secret about it. The text of the Federal Reserve act was tainted from the beginning.
Not all of the Democratic Members of the Sixty-third Congress voted for this great deception. Some of them remembered the teachings of Jefferson; and, through the years, there had been no criticisms of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve banks so honest, so out-spoken, and so unsparingly as those which have been voiced here by Democrats. Again, although a number of Republicans voted for the Federal Reserve act, the wisest and most conservative members of the Republican Party would have nothing to do with it and voted against it.
A few days before the bill came to a vote, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, of Massachusetts, wrote to Senator John W. Weeks as follows:
New York City, December 17, 1913
My Dear Senator Weeks:
Throughout my public life I have supported all measures designed to take the Government out of the banking business.... This bill puts the Government into the banking business as never before in our history and makes, as I understand it, all notes Government notes when they should be bank notes.
The powers vested in the Federal Reserve Board seem to me highly dangerous, especially where there is political control of the Board. I should be sorry to hold stock in a bank subject to such domination. The bill as it stands seems to me to open the way to a vast inflation of the currency. There is no necessity of dwelling upon this point after the remarkable and most powerful argument of the senior Senator from New York. I can be content here to follow the example of the English candidate for Parliament who thought it enough "to say ditto to Mr. Burke." I will merely add that I do not like to think that any law can be passed which will make it possible to submerge the gold standard in a flood of irredeemable paper currency.
I had hoped to support this bill, but I can not vote for it as it stands, because it seems to me to contain features and to rest upon principles in the highest degree menacing to our prosperity, to stability in business, and to the general welfare of the people of the United States.
Very sincerely yours,
Henry Cabot Lodge
In eighteen years that have passed since Senator Lodge wrote that letter of warning all of his predictions have come true. The Government is in the banking business as never before. Against its will it has been made the backer of horse thieves and card sharps, bootleggers, smugglers, speculators, and swindlers in all parts of the world. Through the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve banks the riffraff of every country is operating on the public credit of this United States Government. Meanwhile, and on account of it, we ourselves are in the midst of the greatest depression we have ever known. Thus the menace to our prosperity, so feared by Senator Lodge, has indeed struck home. From the Atlantic to the Pacific our country has been ravaged and laid waste by the evil practices of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve banks and the interests which control them. At no time in our history has the general welfare of the people of the United States been at a lower level or the mind of the people so filled with despair.
Recently in one of our States 60,000 dwelling houses and farms were brought under the hammer in a single day. According to the Rev. Father Charles E. Coughlin, who has lately testified before a committee of this House, 71,000 houses and farms in Oakland County, Michigan, have been sold and their erstwhile owners dispossessed. Similar occurrences have probably taken place in every county in the United States. The people who have thus been driven out are the wastage of the Federal Reserve act. They are the victims of the dishonest and unscrupulous Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve banks. Their children are the new slaves of the auction blocks in the revival here of the institution of human slavery.
In 1913, before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, Mr. Alexander Lassen made the following statement:
"But the whole scheme of the Federal Reserve bank with its commercial-paper basis is an impractical, cumbersome machinery, is simply a cover, to find a way to secure the privilege of issuing money and to evade payment of as much tax upon circulation as possible, and then control the issue and maintain, instead of reduce, interest rates. It is a system that, if inaugurated, will prove to the advantage of the few and the detriment of the people of the United States. It will mean continued shortage of actual money and further extension of credits; for when there is a lack of real money people have to borrow credit to their cost."
A few days before the Federal Reserve act was passed Senator Elihu Root denounced the Federal Reserve bill as an outrage on our liberties and made the following prediction:
"Long before we wake up from our dreams of prosperity through an inflated currency, our gold, which alone could have kept us from catastrophe, will have vanished and no rate of interest will tempt it to return."
If ever a prophecy came true, that one did. It was impossible, however, for those luminous and instructed thinkers to control the course of events. On December 23, 1913, the Federal Reserve bill became law, and that night Colonel House wrote to his hidden master in Wall Street as follows:
"I want to say a word of appreciation to you for the silent but no doubt effective work you have done in the interest of currency legislation and to congratulate you that the measure has finally been enacted into law. We all know that an entirely perfect bill, satisfactory to everybody, would have been an impossibility, and I feel quite certain that unless the President had stood as firm as he did we should likely have had no legislation at all. The bill is a good one in many respects; anyhow good enough to start with and to let experience teach us in what direction it needs perfection, which in due time we shall then get. In any event you have personally good reason to feel gratified with what has been accomplished."
The words "unless the President had stood as firm as he did we should likely have had no legislation at all," were a gentle reminder that it was Colonel House himself, the "holy monk," who had kept the President firm.
The foregoing letter affords striking evidence of the manner in which the predatory interests then sought to control the Government of the United States by surrounding the Executive with the personality and the influence of a financial Judas. Left to itself and to the conduct of its own legislative functions without pressure from the Executive, the Congress would not have passed the Federal Reserve act. According to Colonel House, and since this was his report to his master, we may believe it to be true, the Federal Reserve act was passed because Wilson stood firm; in other words because Wilson was under the guidance and control of the most ferocious usurers in New York through their hireling, House. The Federal Reserve act became law the day before Christmas Eve in the year 1913, and shortly afterwards the German international bankers, Kuhn, Loeb and Co., sent one of their partners here to run it.
In 1913, when the Federal Reserve bill was submitted to the Democratic caucus, there was a discussion in regard to the form the proposed paper currency should take. The proponents of the Federal Reserve act, in their determination to create a new kind of paper money, had not needed to go outside of the Aldrich bill for a model. By the terms of the Aldrich bill, bank notes were to be issued by the National Reserve Association and were to be secured partly by gold or lawful money and partly by circulating evidences of debt. The first draft of the Federal Reserve bill presented the same general plan, that is, for bank notes as opposed to Government notes, but with certain differences of regulation.
When the provision for the issuance of Federal Reserve notes was placed before President Wilson he approved of it, but other Democrats were more mindful of Democratic principles and a great protest greeted the plan. Foremost amongst those who denounced it was William Jennings Bryan, the Secretary of State. Bryan wished to have the Federal Reserve notes issued as Government obligations. President Wilson had an interview with him and found him adamant. At the conclusion of the interview Bryan left with the understanding that he would resign if the notes were made bank notes. The President then sent for his Secretary and explained the matter to him. Mr. Tumulty went to see Bryan and Bryan took from his library shelves a book containing all the Democratic platforms and read extracts from them bearing on the matter of the public currency. Returning to the President, Mr. Tumulty told him what had happened and ventured the opinion that Mr. Bryan was right and that Mr. Wilson was wrong. The President then asked Mr. Tumulty to show him where the Democratic Party in its national platforms had ever taken the view indicated by Bryan. Mr. Tumulty gave him the book, which he had brought from Bryan's house, and the President read very carefully plank after plank on the currency. He then said, "I am convinced there is a great deal in what Mr. Bryan says," and thereupon it was arranged that Mr. Tumulty should see the proponents of the Federal Reserve bill in an effort to bring about an adjustment of the matter.
The remainder of this story may be told in the words of Senator Glass. Concerning Bryan's opposition to the plan of allowing the proposed Federal Reserve notes to take the form of bank notes and the manner in which President Wilson and the proponents of the Federal Reserve bill yielded to Bryan in return for his support of the measure, Senator Glass makes the following statement:
The only other feature of the currency bill around which a conflict raged at this time was the note-issue provision. Long before I knew it, the President was desperately worried over it. His economic good sense told him the notes should be issued by the banks and not by the Government; but some of his advisers told him Mr. Bryan could not be induced to give his support to any bill that did not provide for a "Government note." There was in the Senate and House a large Bryan following which, united with a naturally adversary party vote, could prevent legislation. Certain overconfident gentlemen proffered their services in the task of "managing Bryan." They did not budge him....
When a decision could no longer be postponed the President summoned me to the White House to say he wanted Federal Reserve notes to "be obligations of the United States." I was for an instant speechless. With all the earnestness of my being I remonstrated, pointing out the unscientific nature of such a thing, as well as the evident inconsistency of it.
"There is not, in truth, any Government obligation here, Mr. President," I exclaimed. "It would be a pretense on its face. Was there ever a Government note based primarily on the property of banking institutions? Was there ever a Government issue not one dollar of which could be put out except by demand of a bank? The suggested Government obligation is so remote it could never be discerned," I concluded, out of breath.
"Exactly so, Glass," earnestly said the President. "Every word you say is true; the Government liability is a mere thought. And so, if we can hold to the substance of the thing and give the other fellow the shadow, why not do it, if thereby we may save our bill?"