SECRETARY CARLISLE was undoubtedly embarrassed by the relations of himself and his party to the Resumption Act. He had voted against the Law in 1875, and in so voting he had acted with every member of his party then in Congress. A bold and aggressive finance minister would probably, in the autumn of 1893, have ignored the past, employed such powers as could be asserted under existing laws, and grappled at once with the dilemma of the Treasury. But Mr. Carlisle's temperament was cautious; he had been the strictest of strict constructionists in his interpretation of executive powers; and, reasoning on that basis, he distrusted the powers, which were undoubtedly very vague, under the Act of 1875. He waited, therefore, until he could formally lay his case before his party's majority in Congress.
In his annual report of December 19, 1893, the Secretary pointed out the heavy deficit in current revenue, and the fact that, except for the depleted gold reserve, the Treasury's accumulated surplus