This is Abraham Lincoln, then an Illinois state representative, speaking in the legislature on January 11, 1837. He’s referring to a dispute between private shareholders of the Illinois State Bank:
It is an old maxim and a very sound one, that he that dances should always pay the fiddler. Now, sir, in the present case, if any gentlemen, whose money is a burden to them, choose to lead off a dance, I am decidedly opposed to the people’s money being used to pay the fiddler…all this to settle a question in which the people have no interest, and about which they care nothing. These capitalists generally act harmoniously, and in concert, to fleece the people, and now, that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people’s money to settle the quarrel.
Lincoln’s speech was given just as one of the greatest speculative bubbles in US history was bursting. This was followed by the Panic of 1837, which led to a six-year contraction described by Milton Friedman as “the only depression on record comparable in severity and scope to the Great Depression.”