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THE FINANCIAL DEPRESSION.
By Hon. G. M. Lambertson, Ex-Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
Written for The Cockieb.1
M.O single cause has produced the present financial condition.
l The excessive puschase of silver and the fear of unlimited
coinage were largely responsible for the panic of last summer
But failures in Europe and other countries, overtrading in many
lines, undue expansion of credit, wild speculation, extravagance in
living, together with impending changes in the tariff, also contri
buted to the stampede of public confidence.
It is of little value for the purpose in hand to speculate about
causes, We must deal with results. If a man is precipitated from
a high eminence it makes no difference what is the cause of the fall.
The injury is the same, no matter what the cause. He is at the
bottom of the declivity, and it will take a longtime to heal his
bruises, and regain the heighth from which he fell. From an era of
prosperity we have been suddenly plunged into a condition of pro
found distress. It will take some time to regain our lost ground.
Just how long no one can tell.
Public sonfidence, which received such a rude shock by the panic
of 1873, was not fully restored until we resumed specie payment in
1879. I have a distinct memory of that panic. The condition of
affairs was gradually improving, almost inappreciably, before specie
resumption; but from that date it went forward with a bound. Un
less the disaster following the passage of the Wilson bill is greater
" than can now be apprehended, I think our affaire will improve more
rapidly than they did following the panic of 1873.
In the first place we have more money. The volume of money in
circulation then, exclusive of gold and silver, was about 8736.000,0000
Now the volume of currency is 12263,780,208.00; the amount in cir
culation is 81,690.G75,152.iO, and the per capita, estimating our popu
lation at (17,910,000 is $2430.
In 1873 neither gold nor silver was in circulation, both being at a
premium, and our .paper money was depreciated. Gold was worth
8LL3 and the greenback 13 cents less than a dollar. Now our paper
money is on a par with gold and silver.
In 1873 our bonded indebtedness was about $2,000,000,000, while
'now it is, in round numbers, 8625,000,000. Then the South was just
beginning to recover from the devastation of war, and the North
from the expenditure of more than three billions of dollars to con
quer the South. In this western country, and particularly in Ne
braska, the difference is even more marked.
In 1873 the current rate of interest on farm loans was 12 per cent,
and a commission of ten per cent was charged by the broker nego
tiating the loan. Now a farmer can borrow the same amount of
money for-half what it cost at that time.
Throughout the eastern portion of Nebraska the farm loans gener
ally defaulted in 1874-o. I remember foreclosing for clients a num
ber of mortgages in Nemaha, Pawnee and Richardson counties, and
the best land brought only ten.dollars per acre. Now, in the eastern
part of the state at least, the farmers are paying their interest, and
foreclosures are few, and the land that then sold for only ten dol
lars per acre now readily brings from 840 to $50 per acre.
Another encouraging feature of the situation is that land values
remain steady in marked contrast with the depreciated value of
lands following the stringency of 1873. It will also be remembered
that in 1874 we had not only great financial stress, but also the
grasshopper pest and the worst drouth Nebraska ever experienced.
The davs following these events were the darkest in our annals.
The grass-hoppers that clouded the sun for days, darkened our
future for years, and the gravest doubts were raised in the east
whether Nebraska would ever become an agricultural state. Emi
gration remained at a standstill for almost five years. Happily, all
that distrust is gone, and it is universally conceded that no country
is blessed with more fertile lands or a richer soil than Nebraska.
These are the encouraging phases ot the times which lead me to
hope that a marked improvement will sooner follow this panic than
It is well not to take too optimistic a view. Public confidence is
rudely shocked, capital is timid and money shy of investment. All
wild cat schemes will go to the wall, bubbles will be pricked, and in
flated values levelled to their intrinsic worth. Liquidation has com
menced. It will go on. The laws of trade, like the laws of nature,
are pitiless. There will be more failures, more assignments, more
foreclosures, and many men, firm and companies will go to the wall.
We may, and should, regret the dire necessity that forced this state
of affaire. But it is well to face the unwelcome facts, and by care ,
vigilance and the strictest economy, endeavor to avert the conse -quence
of unwwe-and imprudent ventures.
More than that, it is the duty of every creditor to hold his hand
as long as possible against the honest and deserving debtor. He
should not force bankruptcy as long as there is a fighting chan ce
that the debtor can retrieve himself. He should renew loans and
accept interest when it is possible to do so. His motto should be
press the dishonest, but protect the honest debtor.
It is said that Frank Daniels will appear in comic opera next year.
The Oratorio society of this city is rehearsing every Monday
evening. Although the customary May festival will be omitted
this year, we understand a miscellanous concert will be given.
The Apollo club, of Omaha, is arranging to give a concert a't
Boyd's theatre about the middle of April.
The Mendelssohn Musical society of one hundred voices, under the
direction of Mr. O. B. Howell, and the Orchestral club of twenty
five musicians under the direction of Mr. Wilhelm Lamprecht, will
give a complimentary concert at the Lansing theater Wednesday
evening April 18th.
Mr. William Leonard Gray will begin a series of eight lectures on
the history of music at the Conservatory of Mubic on Monday at
4:30 p. m. These lectures will be free, and those interested in music
are cordially invited to be present.
'Pinafore.' will be given by local talent in Beatrice next month.
A reception to Remenyi, the violinist, will be given at the Conser
servatory ot Music from three to five on the afternoon of the concert,
March 27th, giving an opportunity to students and others to meet
the famous artiste.
The church choirs of the city are preparing Easter music, and
some fine music may be expected in at least two or three of the
The Wahoo Choral Union is doing active work, and holding
.Lincoln musical circles will soon have a rare treat afforded them
in the playing of Mr. Oliver W. Pierce. He has been for more than
a year the pupil of Mowskowski, from whom he has received the
highest testimonials. Mr. Peirce will be heard in a recital the week
Miss Daisy Tuttle will give a musical recital at the Y. M. C. A .
hall Wednesday evening. March 21.
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TWO SOULS WITHOUT A SINGLE THOUGHT.