He was a member of the committee on finance throughout his service in the Senate, and his first speech in that body was a defence of the free coinage of silver and a plea for the preservation of the full legal tender value of greenback currency, though in 1893 he voted to repeal the silver purchase clause of the Sherman Act.
In 1879, owing to the continued depreciation of silver, the free coinage of silver was suspended.
Accordingly in June 1893 an act was passed closing the Indian mints to the free coinage of silver.
At the same time the free coinage of silver was suspended, the government reserving to itself the sole privilege of coining money.
This latter Act he approved only as a means of escaping the free coinage of silver, and he supported its repeal in 1893.
In 1893 the Indian mints were closed to the free coinage of silver, and in 1899 the British sovereign was made legal tender at the rate of 1 s.