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Specie Payment, song lyrics

Song: Specie Payment
Lyrics: George Cooper(1)(2)

Music: Harry Miller(1)(3)
Year: 1870(1)(4)
Country: USA

Ring the bells, and beat the drum!
Shake your neighbor's hand today!
Good old times will surely come,
Oh, how long they've been away!
Gold and silver take "a drop"(5)
Not a "drop too much," 'tis plain!
Wall Street's going to shut up shop!
Specie(6) payment's come again!

Don't it make your fingers tingle!
Greenbacks(7) now are on the wane!
Can't you hear the jingle, jingle!
Specie payment's come again!

"Taxes" now will end the strife
All to break us in a year,
Bachelors can take wife -
Now they needn't have a fear!
Old and young we needn't fret
Fortune now will have her reign!
All the girls will husbands get -
Specie payment's come again!
This song was originally posted on

"Bulls and Bears" are in a rage!
Let them fight it out alone;
Pat them in an iron cage
Till they've quite contented grown!
Jimmy Fisk(5) his match has found,
Long has he been "raising Cain!"
Female Brokers bro't it round!
Specie payment's come again!


Yes, the good old times have come!
'Tis the year of jubilee!
Ring the bells, and beat the drum!
Hang "old Panic"(5) to a tree!
Let the nations leave their "row,"
We can "settle up" with Spain!
Grant(8) will "buy" young Cuba now -
Specie payment's come again!



1 - Transcribed from the score published by John L. Peters & Co., 599 Broadway, New York, NY. "A song and chorus for the times, as sung by the San Francisco Minstrels."

2 - George Cooper (1840 - 1927), a short biography.

3 - Sorry, we have no biographical information on this Harry Miller. There is another Harry Miller who is very well known for many compositions and songs but he was born in 1867, so that is obviously the wrong one.

4 - At the time this song was written, there as a recession that went on from June of 1869 and ended in December 1870.

5 - Black Friday 1869, involving Jim Fisk and Jay Gould. Information from the PBS documentary series, American Experience. Additional information on The “Black Friday” Gold Scandal from the History Channel.

6 - Specie Payment was to once again have money backed by gold for which it could be exchanged. A short discussion from the Encyclopedia Britannica.

7 - "Greenbacks" were the first real paper money issued by the United States government; First put in circulation in April 1862 when the North was struggling with financing the US Civil War that began in 1861. Unlike "specie" notes that represented, and could be exchanged for, gold. The Greenbacks were backed only by the faith in the US government and its taxation abilities. They were called "greenbacks" as their backs were printed in green ink. Back then many people did not trust "money" backed by faith and preferred notes that were backed by gold.

8 - Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States from 1869 to 1877.