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Oct. 4, 1837.
Nays—Messrs. Adams, Alexander, H. Allen, John W. Allen, Aycrigg, Bell, Bond, Borden, Briggs, W. B. Calhoun, John Calhoon, Wm. B. Campbell, Wm. B. Carter, Chambers, Cheatham, Childs, Clowney, Corwin, Cranston, Crockett, Curtis, Cushing, Darlington, Dawson, Davies, Deberry, Dennis, Dunn, Evans, Everett, Ewing, R. Fletcher, Fillmore, Rice Garland, Goode, Graves, Grennell, Griffin, Hall, Halsted, Harlan, Harper, Hastings, Hawes, Henry, R. M. T. Hunter, Henry Johnson, Lawler, Lincoln, A. W. Loomis, Lyon, Mallory, Marvin, Sanson Mason, Maury, Maxwell, McKennan, Menefee, Mercer, Milligan, Calvary Morris, Noyes, Ogle, Patterson, Patton, Pearce, Peck, Phillips, Pope, Potts, Randolph, Reed, Rencher, Ridgway, Robertson, Rumsey, Russell, Sawyer, Sergeant, A. H. Shepperd, C. Shepard, Shields, Sibley, Slade, Southgate, Stanly, Stratton, Taliaferro, Thompson, Tillinghast, Toland, Towns, Underwood, J. White, E. Whittlesey, L. Williams, S. Williams, J. L. Williams, C. H. Williams, Wise, Yorke—101.
So Messrs. Gholson and Claiborne were declared to have been duly elected members of the twenty-fifth Congress from the State of Mississippi, and, as such, entitled to their seats on this floor.
The House then adjourned.
After transacting some preliminary business, the House proceeded to the consideration of the following resolution, reported from the Committee of Ways and Means on the 25th instant, it being the business next in order: Resolved, That it is inexpedient to charter a national bank. The question pending was the motion of Mr. Wise to amend the resolution, by adding thereto, “at this time. And be it further resolved, that it will be expedient to establish a national bank whenever there is a clear manifestation of public sentiment in favor of such a measure.” Mr. SERGEANT, who was entitled to the floor, proceeded with his remarks for a few minutes, when he moved to refer the resolution to a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union. Mr. CAMBRELENG said he was very sorry this motion was submitted by the gentleman from Pennsylvania. He must be sensible that if the motion he now made prevailed, it would have the effect to make a final disposition of the question now before the House. The Committee of Ways and Means felt bound to present this question before the House, in the form they did, in consequence of the memorials referred to them by the House, praying for the establishment of a national bank. In presenting it, however, they did not anticipate a lengthy dis
cussion. It was supposed by the Committee of Ways and - said Mr. A., what reason is given by the committee for
Means, that the nation desired to know what course this House and the other branch of Congress intended pursuing on this question ; and they had submitted this resolution in order that gentlemen might be brought to a direct vote, and either adopt or reject the resolution. It was introduced because the subject had been referred to the Committee of Ways and Means, and they considered it proper that the nation should understand what course they intended to pursue on this all-important question. He hoped that the motion to commit would not prevail, as there was not time to discuss it at the present session of Congress. Mr. ADAMS asked the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means if there had not been referred to that committee several petitions and memorials from various sections of the country, praying for the establishment of a national bank! Mr. CAMBRELENG said that there had been many such memorials. The resolution now before the House had been framed with reference to them.
Mr. ADAMS would further ask if those memorials had been read in committee 1 Mr. CAMBRELENG replied that there had been thirty or forty of those memorials referred to that committee, and ordered to be printed—and it would be strange if some of them had not been read by members of the com] mittee. Mr. ADAMS said he understood, from the ambiguous reply of the gentleman from New York, that the memorials in question had not been read in the committee to which they had been referred. [After a short pause, and no reply to this suggestion following from the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means,] Mr. A DAMS resumed. What state of facts, he would ask, is here disclosed Numerous petitions come up to this House, from the people of the United States; by this House referred to the Committee of Ways and Means, and they are not even read by that committee " But a resolution is returned to us, that it is inexpedient to establish a national bank ' Mr. A. would signalize this as another strong instance of the treatment received by the people of the country, at the hands of this House. What right, he would demand, what pretence, had the Committee of Ways and Means, to tell this House, until they had read and carefully considered these petitions, that it was inexpedient to grant their prayer Here is a resolution, presented to us, predetermined on, without hearing the people, without condescending to read their petitions, even in committee. Why is it that the time of the House is to be wasted at this special session, called for extraordinary and peculiar purposes, to the consideration, exclusively, of which the House, by solemn vote, have restricted themselves, in the discussion of a question of mere expediency 1 Why did not the Committee of Ways and Means as well report against the expediency of continuing the war in Florida, when already the blood of our countrymen has been poured out like water, in the vain pursuit of a few wretched savages, who could not be found ! Why did not that committee report that it was inexpedient, at this time, to make a debt of millions, with a full Treasury And there are many other matters, legislation upon which may be said to be equally “inexpedient.” Why not inake these the subjects of a report 1 Sir, said Mr. A., whether the establishment of a national bank is expedient or inexpedient, is now a very idle question, in the agitation of which to occupy the time of this House. Had the report of the Committee of Ways and Means, upon these memorials, been, simply, that this House, or a majority of it, and that committee, had predecided that the granting of their prayer was inexpedient, and that it should not be granted, the report would have been more consonant with reason and the facts. Why, sir,
their report Why is the establishment of a national bank less expedient how than at any other time ! Why did they not bring in a resolution declaring it to be inexpedient even to pass a law establishing such an institution to the end of all time ! Why not bring forward such a proposition as well as this, and equally insist on members “toeing the mark,” as the chairman of Ways and Means took occasion to request me to do | Sir, this would be as reasonable a proposition as the other. Does that gentleman [Mr. CAM H RELENG) imagine that his power in this House is to last forever ! Sir, I acknowledge his power here is very great, at present—but when he calls upon me to “toe the mark,” I may be excused for refusing to do so, as his “mark” is not a straight one; it is too much like what we Yankees call a Virginia fence. I do not like his “mark,” sir, it is too crooked; and he cannot expect me to “toe” it until he has learned to draw it straight ! This is not the time for those who are friendly to a national
bank, sir, to bring forward a proposition to that effect, and they will not probably permit such an issue to be prematurely made up for them on this floor. Sir, continued Mr. An Axis, I complain of the gentleman from New York. I complain to the country, sir, that he is wasting the time of this House (which, when it suits his pleasure, he is in the habit of detaining here till after midnight) in the discussion of the most frivolous resolution ever presented in any legislative body. If we are here to discuss what is inexpedient, every body here may bring forward a resolution of the kind, and, instead of adjourning on the 16th instant, we may remain here, discussing what we will not do, until the Christmas of next year. Now, sir, the people who sent us here want to know, not what we will not, but what we will do ; and this last, I am afraid, they will know far too soon for their interests. Mr. ADAMs then expressed his concurrence in the views of his friend from Pennsylvania, [Mr. Seng EANT,) who had moved to refer the resolution under consideration to the Committee of the Whole. If it is to be debated, that is undoubtedly the proper course for it to take. If the gentleman from New York [Mr. CAM bit eleNg] would bethink himself of it, this is not a question on which there is not something to be said on both sides. Mr. A DAMs concluded by saying, however, that he preferred that the discussion should not be continued, at this session, by reason of the entire absence of all necessity that any legislation of the kind should now be had ; and he moved to lay the resolution on the table. Mr. CAMBRELENG hoped the gentleman would not make this motion, which cut off all reply, after making such an attack upon him as he had made. Mr. ADAMS. I will withdraw the motion if the gentleman will renew it when he has done. Mr. CAMBRELENG certainly could not do this. Mr. ADAMS. Well, then, I will withdraw the motion unconditionally, so the gentleman may have the opportunity of replying. Mr. CAMBRELENG said the gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. ADAMs, ) with his accustomed courtesy, had been kind enough to speak of his (Mr. C's) “zig-zag” course. He little expected the gentleman to make that charge. Mr. C. thought he (Mr. A.) would not have alluded to a point which was so very tender to some gentlemen, perhaps on both sides. The gentleman, continued Mr. C., has alluded to my “zig-zag” course, and said that I did not walk in a straight line. Sir, I have been a member of this House for seventeen years, and before I was a member I was an advocate of the broadest doctrines of free trade, and of those doctrines set forth at large in the message of the President; doctrines which the South have uniformly sustained and supported. I have been obliged, sir, from necessity, to make this brief allusion to my own course, in consequence of the extraordinary attack of the gentleman from Massachusetts. Sir, it is perfectly well known, at least to some members, that, upon this bank question—upon the tariff question—and upon the interference of this Federal Government, or State Legislatures, with the affairs of trade and money, I have been uniform and consistent, and, after seventeen years, I have the pleasure to find myself surrounded by gentlemen from every part of the Union advocating the same doctrines I advocated before I was a member of this House. Sir, in alluding to the gentleman from Massachusetts the other day, I did it in a pleasant manner, and not for the purpose of provoking an attack upon me. The gentleman had alluded to the proposition now submitted to the nation and to Congress—I mean the proposition to separate the affairs of this Government and our Treasury from all connexion with banks. In alluding to that proposition, he had reference to the published opinion of the gen
tleman, who doubted whether the President had the courage to propose it; and if he had the courage to do so, the gentleman left us in some doubt whether he would help him out of the difficulty. Now I had hoped the gentleman would have given us his aid on that bill—and why? Because I do not think the gentleman would vote for a proposition to incorporate an association of counterfeiters; because I could not suppose it possible that the gentleman could denounce all the presidents, cashiers, and directors of all the banks, and afterwards come here and vote for an association of counterfeiters. The gentleman told us in that letter that he doubted, as well he might, the expediency of employing any bank of discount as an agent of the Government. Now, there is no Government upon earth which employs a bank of discount. Even the Bank of England is not a bank of discount, according to its practice or its organiza
tion ; not a bank of commercial discount upon the plan of
banks in this country. The public moneys are not permitted to be employed in commercial discounts, to be suddenly withdrawn. Sir, I rose merely to remind the gentleman that on these questions I wished him to remove all doubt—to toe the mark on the resolution against chartering a national bank. Mr. GLASCOCK was somewhat astonished that the gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. Seng EANT,) after occupying the time of the House on three different mornings during the morning hour, should move to commit the resolution to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union. If he could believe for a moment that any good could result from it, he would not interpose the objection he now made; but, so far as this question was concerned, it appeared to him that every gentleman had a full and fair opportunity offered him of making known his views to the House and to his constituents, in relation to the establishment of a national bank, in Committee of the Whole, on the bills before that committee. This being the case, he was surprised that the gentleman should have made the motion after he had finished his own remarks. It was also, he thought, very extraordinary that the gentleman from Massachusetts should have made the motion to lay the resolution on the table, after a similar motion had been rejected by a large majority of the House. He hoped the motion to commit might not prevail, because we had but some eight or ten days to determine on all the great questions before the House; and the morning hour, he took it, was as much time as could be set apart specially for the discussion of this resolution. Gentlemen could discuss this question during the morning hour, and those who desired to give their views on the subject of a bank at any other time, could do so on the bills under discussion in the Committee of the Whole. Mr. C1, ARK, of New York, animadverted with some particularity on the charge adduced by Mr. An Axis, that the numerous petitions referred to the Committee of Ways and Means on the subject of the establishment of a United States bank had not been read in committee. There was no reason why they should have been read. Their contents were well known. The country was nauseated with them. The contents of them were familiar to the nation “as household words.” He hoped the Committee of Ways and Means had not wasted their valuable time in reading them. The people were well enough aware of the trouble already caused to the country by the United States Bank, and did not intend it should again be established. General Jackson had had the good fortune to harpoon the monster, and— The SPEAKER here interposed, and observed that the question must not now be discussed on its merits. Mr. CLARK regretted that he should have transgressed the strict rules of order, and would refrain from doing so. He hoped that the motion to refer would not prevail, but
Oct. 4, 1837.]
that the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Seng EANT would be permitted to go on, as he had commenced, and finish his remarks during the morning hour, and that other gentlemen might have the same opportunity of going on with the discussion. - Mr. ROBERTSON, of Va., said that the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means had brought forward one of the most important questions that could possibly have been submitted to the consideration of Congress. Nine days were yet left of the session, and it was proposed to confine the debate on that question to a single hour in the morning of each of those days. Now, did the gentleman [Mr. CAMH RELENG) intend that it should be debated, or that a vote should be taken on it without debate 2 If the former, then he hoped that gentleman would comply with the motion of Mr. SERGEANT to refer it to the Com. mittee of the Whole, or consent to lay it on the table, or to postpone it until the next session of Congress. Mr. WISE concurred with his colleague, [Mr. Robertso N.] What, asked he, were we called here to do? To consider and digest some plan for ordering a system of finance for the country. There were three conflicting plans before the country and the House for this purpose, proceeding from three distinct parties. The first was that of the administration, to establish a sub-Treasury system ; and this measure is brought forward in positive terms, and is referred to the Committee of the Whole for consideration. The other branch of the administration party, (called the conservatives,) to which, he had been told, on his first coming here, the gentleman from New York, [Mr. Clank, ) who had just spoken, belonged, had also presented their scheme, by the hands of one of their number, [Mr. J. GARLAND, his colleague. This, too, was presented in a posititive form, and had also been referred to the Committee of the Whole. And now, Mr. W. would ask, why, in like manner, the system of the third party there, not by any means the most inconsiderable in point either of numbers or intelligence, (larger in fact than either of the others, taken severally,) why their plan alone was brought forward by its opponents in a negative shape, and reported against as “inexpedient 4” Not only now, but forever “inexpedient?” Why, he would ask, was that plan alone confined to the morning hour? Why were not all the plans taken together, reported together, or discussed together in the Committee of the Whole, as presenting each a part of the grand question upon finance now before the country The friends of a national bank were waiting for “the moving of the waters;” they were not ready to bring forward their plans in a positive form; they had no notion of standing up for the purpose of being knocked down. The House has been entertained with the old story of harpooning the monster; and the monster, like Lazarus in his grave, “not dead, but sleeping,” was again to be brought to life, for the purpose of once more being killed. He had already been so often killed, that the trick is at last too stale for repetition. This Mr. Wise described as an attempt to raise a fallen issue. Mr. CAMBRELENG called the gentleman to order. He wished to know if the gentleman from Virginia was to enjoy the exclusive privilege of speaking upon what subjects he pleased, under the motion before the House. The SPEAKER remarked that the gentleman from Virginia had perhaps been on the verge of transgressing the rules of order: when he should do so in reality, he should certainly be checked by the Chair. Mr. WISE resumed the floor. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, who had opposed this resolution, [Mr. SERGEANT, ) would certainly not have brought forward a positive proposition in favor of the establishment of a United States bank at this session of Congress. It had been brought forward in a negative form by the committee. It
was a conflicting interest, and should be examined like the rest; not an hour a day in the morning exclusively. What, he would ask, was the object of making such a disposition of the subject? It was, to keep it within the power of the party there, to be disposed of as they should at any moment think fit, and in the most summary mode of execution. To hold up to the country that there was no hope to the friends of a United States bank. The SPEAKER here reminded the gentleman from Virginia that he was not strictly in order. Mr. WISE suggested that it was perfectly in order to discuss the objects for which the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means wished to keep the question in the House without a reference to the Committee of the Whole. The CHAIR assented to this proposition, and Mr. WISE proceeded. The object of the chairman of the committee is to strangle the issue, to make the pretence that the friends of the establishment of a bank of the United States were struggling to attain that object now, and that they had been overpowered in their attempt by a majority here. It was an instance of the manner in which the Bank of the United States had always been treated. Here, in the House, the resolution cannot be discussed ; in Committee of the Whole it certainly can, in all its bearings. There it could he debated before the country, and there it could be shown whether the Bank of the United States could possibly compare, in monstrosity, with the project now presented by the administration. There is a large and intelligent interest in this country (whether larger than its opposers or not, it matters not) in favor of the establishment of a national bank, and they had an equal right to be heard, candidly, and with the same circumstances of deliberation as the rest—an equal right to fair play. If the sub-Treasury plan, and the conservative scheme, have a free discussion by a Committee of the Whole, that of this large and respectable interest has certainly an equal right to such discussion, and he trusted it would have it. Mr. BYNUM rose to address the House, when Mr. CAMBRELENG moved for the orders of the day, which were taken up, the House resolving itself into Committee of the Whole, (Mr. Con Non in the chair.)
The House went into Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, (Mr. CoNN on in the chair,) and resumed the consideration of the bill “to authorize the issuing of Treasury notes.”
The question pending was on the substitute of Mr.
HETT. Mr. BIDDLE rose and said, that he felt his position at this monent to be one requiring a word of explanation. When, on Saturday, it was supposed the debate on this bill would be urged forward, gentlemen, whose standing in the House gave them an undoubted priority of claim to the floor, felt unwilling to proceed, at the close of an exhausting week, and with no opportunity for that arrangement which lends additional force to the strongest arguments. He had, therefore, agreed, at the moment, to present the remarks he had to offer, not deeming them of sufficient importance to be held over for a similar purpose, . A motion to adjourn had prevailed; but he now found himself, by the courtesy of those gentlemen, still in the front rank, to which he had assuredly no claim, and which, without this apology, it might well be deemed presumptuous on his part to occupy. Had he proceeded on Saturday, the impulse of the moment (Mr. B. said) would probably have led him to animadvert, at considerable length, on the singular circumstances under which the present bill had been introduced. The bill first taken up was denounced as a measure of revH. of R.] enue, originating in the Senate, and, of course, an invasion of the constitutional privileges of this House. Instead of discussing a question of such deep interest to the people, it had received the go-by ; and the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, on the spur of the moment, had hastily got up a new bill as a substitute. The constitutional objection was treated with levity. Mr. John Randolph, of Virginia, had remarked that the time was rapidly approaching when members on this floor would be called to order for quoting the constitution. If that period had not actually arrived, we seemed near it, when reliance on the constitution was treated as a “technical” objection, and as a teasing obstruction in the way of the majority. All the mischief against which the constitution intended to guard had already been done by this premature action of the Senate. To withdraw, then, the bill, with a view to cut off discussion, was only to snatch from the immediate representatives of the people an opportunity of formally protesting against an encroachment upon their province. Perhaps, however, as much good would be effected by the spectacle of that hasty withdrawal as by the most extended discussion. The people would not sail to mark and resent it. In entering (Mr. B. said) on his duties as a member of this House, he had done so with a fixed determination to be drawn into no merely factious opposition to those who administered the Government. But it was undeniable, in the high state of credit which this country enjoyed, at home and abroad, that any method of pledging that credit in constitutional form will effect the desired object with equal certainty and promptitude. has resorted to a method which is most liable to exception; which, in its example, is most dangerous; which would, in all probability, be the least productive and the most burdensome ; which would tend to disguise from the people their real condition and liabilities, then he felt not merely at liberty, but bound to resist it, and to turn the Government round to a method direct, advantageous, and unexceptionable. He would make a preliminary remark. The late President, General Jackson, had proclaimed to the whole world that the bill before us is unconstitutional, and, if passed, will not bind the faith of the nation. In his letter to the editor of the Globe, dated Hermitage, 23d of July, 1837, he says: “I hope no Treasury notes will be issued. The Treasury drafts upon actual deposites are constitutional, and do not partake of paper credits as Treasury notes, which are subject to depreciation by the merchants, and banks, and shavers, and brokers; and will be, if issued; and the Government cannot avoid it. Different must it be with Treasury drafts drawn upon actual deposites; and, from the conduct of the banks and the merchants, they deserve no favors from the Government, which they have attempted to disgrace, and to destroy its credit both at home and abroad.” Now, sir, does this bill profess to authorize drasts on actual deposites in the Treasury, or notes to be discounted by merchants, banks, shavers, and brokers ? The title is “A bill to authorize the issuing of Treasury notes,” and the President and Secretary are empowered to make the best bargain they can with these merchants, banks, shavers, and brokers, provided not more than six per cent. be allowed. Does any one pretend to deny that they encounter the full denunciation of General Jackson as unconstitutional? He holds, distinctly, that the power to borrow money does not embrace the issue of this kind of paper. Mr. Chairman, you will readily believe that I am not one of those who push to an extreme my faith in the accuracy of General Jackson's opinions on constitutional points. That is not the question. Is it not undeniable that such opinions are held by many, and will exercise a wide influence? The chairman of the Committee of Ways
If, then, the administration
and Means tells us that these notes are to find their restingplace in London; in other words, this is a new form of loan to the United States from the detested Barings. They ought, then, to have a clear and indisputable credit amongst those who have been soured and alarmed at being so long held up as persons whom it is meritorious to cheat, because they happen to live en the other side of the Atlantic. Let it be remembered, too, that, in discussing the probabilities of the Supreme Court declaring a certain charter unconstitutional, great reliance was placed on the fact that a large majority of the present judges had been appointed by General Jackson. If those judges should adopt his opinions in the present case, what a fraud is to be practised on the purchasers of this paper : These are matters which cannot remain unknown in that great mart of the world, where rival stocks are perpetually struggling for precedence. Nay, sir, is it not possible that the agent for the Smithsonian bequest, in one of those fluctuations of mood to which he seems subject, may republish, with a preface, the letter of General Jackson to Mr. Blair, as he did a certain other letter, with a view to shake public confidence in an American stock 1 Mr. Chairman, I have other objections to this bill. No one can shut his eyes to the fact, that this is the commencement of a new national debt. But it wears a mask to conceal its hideous countenance. With what rapturous joy did the people hail their escape from the former load ' Abundant gratitude was claimed, on that occasion, for General Jackson; though it was the result of measures matured long before, and retarded, rather than advanced, by the increased expenditures of his administration. There is plainly now a trembling timidity—a morbid fear—after so much false boasting, to lay bare the fact that the first step.of the present administration is to create a national debt. Is it right, sir, that the representatives of the people should co-operate in an effort to mislead the people? How many of our constituents are aware of the true character and operation of this bill? Is it not proper that they should be instantly aroused, so that, at the polls, they may begin at once to exercise their right of claiming from candidates a pledge of rigid economy How is this debt to be paid off? Does any body suppose that the present emission of paper will render more available the notes of broken banks which constitute our present resource On the contrary, it will only cause their still further depreciation. You will not be able to force them even upon the revolutionary pensioners and the laborers in your service. They will prove a total loss to the holders, as was the case when the paper tickets of irresponsible individuals were superseded by the paper tickets of corporations. Sir, this thing must end in direct taxes. The necessity may be shuffled off by new emissions, but will come at last with all its accumulation. Disguise the matter as you may, these ten millions will eventually have to be paid out of the soil. Unless the people are aroused, and take the matter into their own hands, the time will speedily come when every farmer, in preparing for his corp, must run one furrow for himself and the next for the tax-gatherer. Viewing the matter even on party grounds, how is it that an administration, pledged to follow in the footsteps of General Jackson, begins its career by creating a debt of ten millions, in a mode which General Jackson has denounced as dangerous and unconstitutional Mr. Chairman, it has ever been a subject of regret and astonishment that our mode of raising money is one that invites prodigality and extravagance, and tends, most speedily, to exhaust our credit. Our wisest statesmen have warned us, over and over again, of the fatal impolicy of ever incurring a debt, without, at the same time, providing a specific fund for its redemption. Even during the late war, when there was a disposition to put every thing at risk, in sustaining the country, with
out looking to consequences, you will find that the voice of sagacious men was raised in protest against this improvidence. Thus, in the debate of the 9th of April, 1814, on the subject of Treasury notes, a patriotic member of the House of Representatives, Mr. McKim, used this language: “Mr. McKim said he should be sorry to deny to the gentleman the courtesy of having his resolution referred, were it not for one consideration. If the gentleman would add to his motion a proposition for such further tax as should be necessary to redeem the notes when they became due, he should concur in his motion. But he asked of the House to take a deliberate view of this subject before they referred the resolution. If there was any one point on which Government should be cautious, it should be its credit; and a regard for the credit of the Government would not justify the issuing of these notes without providing for their redemption.” Nay, sir, the Secretary of the Treasury himself, in his recent report, admits the importance of such a provision: “In connexion with the issue of any Treasury notes, it is believed to be wise to make ample provision for their early and final redemption.” Why has this been neglected Why is it that Congress shall grant money with reckless precipitation, omitting the precautions against abuse which even an executive officer has pointed out 1 Mr. B. said he could not forbear to press upon the House the warning of the first Secretary of the Treasury, as to the emission of paper money by this Government: “The emitting of paper money by the authority of the Government is wisely prohibited to the individual States by the national constitution, and the spirit of that prohibition ought not to be disregarded by the Government of the United States. Though paper emissions, under a general authority, might have some advantages not applicable, and be free from some disadvantages which are applicable, to the like emission by the States separately, yet they are of a nature so liable to abuse, and, it may even be affirmed, so certain of being abused, that the wisdom of Government will be shown in never trusting itself with the use of so seducing and dangerous an expedient.” “The stamping of paper is an operation so much easier than the laying of taxes, that a Government in the practice of paper emissions would rarely fail, in any such emergency, to indulge itself too far in the employment of that resource, to avoid as much as possible one less auspicious to present popularity.” Here, sir, you find plainly disclosed to us the real motive for a resort to Government paper. It is “less auspicious to present popularity to adopt a course which would compel the people to pause and to reflect upon the folly and imposture that have brought us to our present condition.” Are we, sir, prepared to run over again a career of improvidence, without the shadow of a pretext, and against all the lessons of wisdom and experience Sir, the present times afford little scope for ambition, or reward for the toils of office. But this administration has put aside, from narrow, temporary, and selfish considerations, an opportunity of earning the lasting gratitude of posterity, and achieving a great civil triumph, by placing this matter on its true basis. What, I repeat, is now the fund mainly looked to, for the redemption of these Treasury notes? Why, sir, the claims which we hold on broken banks, and the vague hope that they will grow better during the next year, in which we are going to wage a war of extermination against these institutions. No, sir! There is not the least hope or expectation of aid from that quarter. It is perfectly well known that the only claim to credit which these notes possess, is the fact, that they constitute a lien on every inch of real estate in the country, and must be discharged out of the hard labor of the country. But the administration dares not acknowledge this to the people. It does not
feel strong enough to do so. Concealment is necessary. For this very reason, sir, I resist the project. I say to the administration, come out fairly and openly, so that the people may see what is before them; do this, and I will cheerfully co-operate with you. In continuing his remarks, Mr. B. said it had been the understanding of the House, that each of the measures, proposed by the administration, brought under review all the topics connected with the present state of the country. Whilst calling for the previous question on the postponement bill, the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means [Mr. CAM hael ENG) had justified that harsh measure, by remarking that the discussion thus arrested could be renewed upon any other bill. He would take this occasion to advert to some remarks which had been made, or rather assertions hazarded, towards the close of that debate, as to the past condition of our currency; a reply to which had, at the time, been cut off. He was desirous, at the outset, (Mr. B. said,) of guarding what he had to say, from a claim to either more or less of consideration than was its due. He had never exchanged a line, or a syllable, with any one connected with the administration of the late or present Bank of the United States, on the subject of either institution, or any financial question. His opinions were drawn from materials common to all, but to the course and connexion of which he had naturally been led to give a careful and steady attention. This explanation was proper, because he had been assailed, in the official paper of the Government, as the representative on this floor of a moneyed corporation. With regard to that institution, and the method of its administration, they were topics within the scope of the debate, on which each member must judge of the extent of his own obligations to decency and truth. But he would suffer no responsible person to insinuate the infamous calumny that he represented here aught but the interests of his constituents, and what he deemed to be the best interests of the country. It would be readily believed, by those who personally knew him, that it was not of choice he took part in this discussion. But the station he now held forbade him to indulge a repugnance that in private life was permissible. He was here not to consult his own sensibilities, but to struggle for the rights of others. The prosperity—nay the daily bread—of thousands of his constituents turned, as he believed, on a right understanding of this momentous subject. Whilst, therefore, a sense of what was due to the House, as well as to himself, would guard against the intrusion of personal feeling, he would not, on the other hand, be restrained, by misplaced delicacy, from that perfect freedom which befitted the sole representative of a community once prosperous and happy, to an almost unexampled extent, but now suffering severely under the calamity that had overspread the land. Mr. Chairman, many homilies have been read to us on the necessity of conciliation and forbearance. I, sir, am one of those to whom this language is always acceptable. We are not here to wage a war of sarcasms. All reminiscences that illustrate nothing, and terminate only in exasperation, may well be discarded. But, sir, rely upon it, that no good can result from shutting our eyes to the past. It is easy to say that “by-gones are by-gones.” The infamous Colonel Chartres, we are told, so consoled himself on his death-bed, when reminded by the priest of his enormities. But seriously, sir, if we are ever to rise above the level of the brutes—if man be truly described as a being looking before and after—if the lessons of experience are not always to be written in water—it is only from a calm and resolute survey of the causes which have led to our present embarrassments, that we can draw the hope of extrication, or be secure from a recurrence of the calamity. There is one great topic, however, threatening in former