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business world was filled with it. It drove people to the pine forests of Maine; to the town sites on the Gulf of Mexico; to every stream and river through the whole republic; to the new cities of the West; and to the engagements in manufactures, mechanic arts, and discoveries of all kinds, in most instances lamentably unsuccessful. My colleague objects that the bill is deceptive ; that, under the guise of authorizing an issue of Treasury notes, it effects a loan. It undoubtedly is a use of the credit of the country, to obtain means of extinguishing some of its liabilities, and in that sense is a loan. But there is no deception about it. Notes payable are never issued in money transactions, excepting for the purpose of substituting credit for money, or promising it, and therefore always, directly or indirectly, operate as a negotiation for a loan. What difference does it make as to the matter of borrowing, whether the money be obtained by one person of a third, and paid to a second one, or the note be given directly to the second person 1 In both cases it is obtaining means on loan; in one instance directly, in the other indirectly. Banks borrow continually, by their bills or notes, money of the community. Now, sir, as Treasury notes can be issued for no other purpose than to procure money or means on the credit of the United States, the bill cannot be deceptive, because, as it can have no other object, every body understands it. I am in favor of the bill as it now stands, without any of the proposed amendments, particularly those which propose the sale of the bonds of the United States Bank of Pennsylvania, and to the striking out the provision authorizing the Secretary to pay interest when, in his opinion, the good of the country may require it. It certainly appears to me that there can be no possible objection to that provision. It will guard against the possibility, although I admit it is not a strong probability, that they will be at any considerable discount, under ordinary circumstances. But we all know the nice calculations of dealers in money; and I should be exceedingly sorry to hear the cry, which has so frequently sounded in our ears, of depreciated currency applied to any of the issues of the Government. I have confined myself strictly to the consideration of the bill now before the House, which appears to me to be so absolutely necessary, that it is almost a matter of surprise that so much time should have been employed in discussing it. It is called for by the Government to enable them to comply with the requisitions of the public, and it is required by the people, as being the best mode by which their interests can be subserved. The other bills before the House, for deferring the payment of the bouds due from merchants and granting additional credit, as well as giving a credit on cash duties, it is universally conceded will pass, and I trust with few dissenting voices. For one, I feel strongly disposed to afford every facility, and practise every forbearance, which the most liberal legislation will warrant; and it would seem that the administration, whose friends are so generally in favor of this forbearing course, and who are so willing to grant every indulgence to those who have the funds of the Government directly in their possession, or indirectly by want of punctuality in their own obligations and liabilities, should not be unnecessarily embarrassed in their measures, but should be met in a kind spirit by their opponents. I have no fears in common with some gentlemen that the *sue of a limited amount of Treasury notes, for the present relief of the immediate wants of the Treasury, involves any objectionable principle. No apprehension was felt when the issue to a very great amount was made during the war with England, and it appears to me that the imagination must be exceedingly active which can discover danger in this simple process of anticipating the future means of the Treasury by a convenient and beneficial financial operation. Mr. CROCKETT addressed the Chair as follows:
Mr. Speaker: I hope, sir, the House will not think me impertinent or obtrusive when I ask their indulgence but for a few moments, to submit some few remarks in justification of the vote which I feel it to be my duty to give upon the bill now under consideration. After so much has been said upon this subject, either directly or indirectly, perhaps I may not hope, sir, to cast any new light upon it, or to place it in any point of view in which it has not already been considered. But when I consider the pledges I am under to my constituents, and the very extraordinary course of measures which has been recommended by the administration, I cannot permit this occasion to pass without, at least, making a general exposé of my views, in order that my constituents and the country may see upon which side of the “fence” I stand in relation to these great and important questions.
Sir, I was one of those who used all honorable means to prevent the election of the present Chief Magistrate of this nation to the distinguished and exalted station which he now occupies. But, sir, I do not entertain any bitterness of feeling towards the President; nor did I come here as a representative of the people determined to oppose his administration, right or wrong, or to throw obstacles in the way of its success. On the contrary, it was my firm purpose to divest myself of the shackles of prejudice, and sustain the administration in every measure which I night believe calculated to advance my country's prosperity, and fearlessly to condemn and resist whatever would, in my judgment, tend to produce a contrary result. And this is still my determination.
Sir, the Congress of the United States has been convened under extraordinary circumstances. We are assembled in obedience to the proclamation of the President, to take into consideration “great and weighty matters,” which claim our attention. And we find ourselves surrounded by a state of things, in my humble opinion, unprecedented in the annals of this country. I must beg leave to differ most materially from the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Pan MEN'ren] who has just recumed his seat. He tells us there is no general distress in the country; that it is confined to a few individuals, and the merchants in the large commercial cities. But, sir, it would seem to me that we have before our eyes the most incontestable evidence of the deepest pecuniary distress and embarrassment in every quarter of this Union. So far as I have heard, no section is exempt, save the district of the honorable gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. DuN cAN,) who declared on this floor, not many days since, that none had been felt or experienced there. And, sir, I apprehend this exception stands “solitary and alone.” We find our currency most awsully deranged—every branch of industry end enterprise prostrate—public confidence withdrawn— commerce and trade suspended, and universal bankruptcy and ruin staring us full in the face. These things, sir, are acknowledged to exist, and are brought to our view, and their causes assigned, in the message of the President. Whether he has given the true causes, I will not here stop to inquire; but, be that as it may, the evil is upon us, and all eyes are turned upon Congress with the most intense interest and anxiety, to see what measures of relief will be adopted. And, sir, what relief are we about to extend ? In the very first paragraph of the message, the most deranged and embarrassed state of the finances of the Government is brought to our notice; and, in the second, we are told that, owing to the increased embarrassments in the pecuniary affairs of the country, the public revenue would be so far diminished, that the accruing receipts into the Treasury would not, with the reserved five millions, be sufficient to defray the expenses of the Government until the usual period for the meeting of Congress. And, sir, although this increased state of embarrassment in the pccuniary affairs of the country is acknowledged to exist, yet
a system of measures has been recommended, and has been brought forward by the Committee of Ways and Means, all having in view but one single object—the relief of the US overnment. With this view, sir, it is proposed by the bill now under consideration to clothe the Hresident of the United States with authority to cause to be issued ten millions of dollars in Treasury notes, to meet the exigencies of the Treasury; and for the redemption of which the faith and credit of the United States are to be solemnly pledged. This, then, sir, is the “great and weighty matter” which we have been assembled to consider . It is a “great and weighty matter” that the Treasury should be replenished, so that the officeholders may get their pay. But the distress and embarrassment of the community seems to be a matter of minor importance, and of but little concern' Sir, it has been urged by honorable gentlemen that this is a measure of relief to the country; that it will supply the country with a circulation and a medium of exchange; and I grant that it might offer some temporary relief; but, sir, I believe it would tend, ultimately, to aggravate the disease. So far from being a measure of permanent relief to the people, I believe it is the entering wedge to an institution almost as odious as the Spanish Inquisition. I mean, sir, a Treasury bank. In fact, if the amendment of the honorable gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Rhett] be adopted, a Treasury bank of issue and deposite is at once established. Sir, instead of showing any disposition to grant relief to the people, we are called upon to increase their burdens. We are about to heap upon them another national debt, (for, disguise it as you will, it is nothing less, and has been so admitted on all sides,) to the amount of ten millions of dollars, to relieve the Government; while the people are told, substantially, that they need not expect any relief; that it is the business of the Government to take care of itself; and that it has no power to intermeddle with the concerns of individuals' The Government, after having tampered with the currency until it is ruined and annihilated— after having prostrated every branch of industry and enterprise, the commerce and credit of the nation, by practising wild and visionary experionents—cuts loose from the people, and tells them it has no power to grant them relief, or interfere with their concerns! They are to be dismissed with a lecture on cconomy. Yes, sir; they are contemptuously told that they are to look to their own industry and frugality for relief, without the aid of the Government! Sir, this reminds me of the language of Job's comforters. We read in Holy Writ that on a certain occasion Satan was permitted by the Almighty to try an “experiment” upon the firmness and integrity of “Job, a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and eschewed evil;” that when, by the power of this arch enemy of the peace and happiness of man, Job's fortunes, and his children, and every thing calculated to render him happy, had been driven to the sour winds, and he was reduced to beggary and ruin; when, in addition to this, “he was smitten with sore boils from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot,” and was groaning under the bitterest agonies of human affliction; when, in short, by one calamity upon the heels of another, he had been reduced from the highest state of prosperity and happiness, to the lowest depths of degradation and misery, and was wont to roll himself in the ashes upon his hearth, there was but one resource left upon earth to which he could look for consolation and solace—and that was his wife. And when he cried out to her in the bitterness of his soul, what was her reply She told him he had better “curse God and die!” And, sir, pretty much in keeping with this is the President's consolation to the people in their afflictions. Sir, do you imagine the people expected to hear such language as this from those to whose interests they have
shown so much devotion? Did they expect their rulers to mock at their calamities, which they themselves had been instrumental in bringing upon them? No, sir; they looked to those whom they had placed in power to devise some means to relieve them from their calamities. The proclamation of the President was hailed with joy by thousands as a favorable omen. They hugged to their bosoms the dedelusive hope that their rulers had seen the folly of their course, and were about to retrace their steps. Sir, although the President was pledged to “tread generally in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor,” yet, I imagine no one believed he designed to tread specially in his footsteps. And it was hoped that if he did tread in his footsteps at all, he would take his “back track,” (if I may be allowed to use a hunter's phrase,) at least in relation to the currency and the revenue. But in all this how sadly are we disappointed ' So far from this, we find him disposed to plunge still deeper into new and untried experiments' Sir, what do we behold ! The whole country involved in one wide-spread ruin, and the Government itself bankrupt; and we are yet to have another “experiment!” Yes, sir, the State bank experiment has failed, and the golden bubble has exploded, and left a wreck of ruin in their train; and now, sir, in obedience to the mandate from the Hermitage, we are to have the Government divorced from all existing banks, and wedded to a new and untried system of subtreasuries, or, in plain language, a Treasury bank. Sir, we find that the ex-President is not content with having dictated to the people whom they should choose to be his successor, but seems now determined to dictate to that successor. I had hoped, Mr. Speaker, that, as the President had attained the summit of his wishes, he would kick from under him the ladder by which he had ascended, and take the dictates of his own judgment as the man of his counsel; but, sir, mortifying as it may be, we find the message the exact fuc simile of certain letters not long since addressed to the editor of the Globe, and published in that print. Mr. Speaker, I shall not now undertake to discuss the sub-Treasury system; but, sir, I will say that, unfortunate as has been the result of former experiments upon the currency, I am bound to believe that this new project must prove much more fatal, is adopted. It is not only calculated to heighten the pecuniary distress with which the country is now surrounded, by bringing discredit and ruin upon all local banks, and all who are interested in them, or indebted to them, but will add tremendously to the patronage of the Executive, which I think is already much too great. My friend from South Carolina [Mr. PickeNs] told us a few days since, in his answer to this argument, that he treated all such charges with “the most sovereign contempt.” Sir, let me tell that honorable gentleman that it is easier to dispose of some matters by treating them with contempt than in any other way. In what, sir, does Executive patronage consist I answer, in the power of appointment and removal from office, and the disbursement of public moneys. The President would have the right to appoint and remove every officer who would have any thing to do with either the collection or disbursement of the public moneys, and consequently it would place directly under his control every dollar of the public revenue, and thereby unite the sword and the purse of this great nation in the hands of a single individual. Sir, we have had a little experience upon this point, in the removal of the public deposites from the Bank of the United States; and with this accumulation of power the President might trample under foot the right of suffrage—the most sacred ever guarantied to freemen—and designate his successor with impunity, if he chose to follow the precedent already established. Sir, the liberties of this country were too dearly bought to be committed to the keeping of any one man, no matter. how pure and unsuspected he may be. “Gold is corrupting,
and power is tempting. It can never be done, sir, with my consent. And, besides, as I humbly conceive, the public moneys would be much less secure. The public revenue is to be taken from the custody of all banks, and committed to the keeping of some ten or eleven thousand individuals, scattered throughout the United States. And, sir, although we have recently heard much said about the unavailable funds of the Government, I venture to predict that, if this new experiment be adopted, we have not heard the last of it. We have had an item of this description, in the annual report of our Secretary of the Treasury, for many years; and I fear, sir, that under this new organization of that Department, it will not require a great while to add a much larger item to the account, from the failures and defalcations of sub-treasurers. Mr. Speaker, in order to remedy the evils which now afflict this country, I am for commencing the work where they originated. Let us, sir, in all due charity, instead of charging the whole of these misfortunes to the account of the people, at least charge one-half of them to the maladministration of the Government; and, although it is not recommended by the President, let us commence economizing a little on the part of the Government, and set a praiseworthy example before the people. I have always heard it remarked that example was much more forcible than precept. Let us, sir, instead of creating a national debt, in order to keep up an extravagant and prodigal system of expenditures which has crept into the Government, commence the business of retrenchment and reform which was promised us a few years since, and adopt some measure of general and permanent relief to the community as well as to the Government; and then, sir, and not until then, may we hope to see better times, and cease to hear the complaints that are now continually saluting our ears from the tens of thousands of honest, industrious citizens who have been thrown out of employment and reduced to beggary and ruin during this age of experiments. Sir, I deem it unnecessary to detain the House with any calculations to show the state of the Treasury, in order to prove that the passage of this bill is not required to supply a deficit in the Treasury, as contended for by the friends of the measure. It has already been shown to this House conclusively, to my mind at least, that, by withholding the fourth instalment of the surplus revenue from the States,
and suspending certain appropriations for useless—nay,
worse than useless—public works, exploring expeditions, &c., and thereby reducing the expenditures for the present year some fifteen millions of dollars, there would be ample means in the Treasury to meet all demands against it, without resorting to the expedient of issuing Treasury notes on the credit of the nation. And, sir, if this be true, would it not be an unpardonable outrage to heap upon the people another national debt, right upon the heels of the one just discharged 1 Sir, we have had theoretical reform long enough ; I think it is time we should begin to carry it into practice. But, on the other hand, it is urged that, after withholding the fourth instalment of the deposites from the States, and suspending the fifteen millions of appropriations, there will still be, in any event, a deficit in the Treasury, which renders it indispensable that this bill should pass. And, sir, we are told that the Treasury is in actual want of those funds at this moment, and cannot perform its engagements for ten days without them. I cannot perceive, sir, how this can be; but if it be true, I, for one, say, so let it be. If the Government has actually brought itself to insolvency, and it be really necessary to borrow money to pay its expenses, let the truth come out, and let things be called by their right names. Sir, this bill is designed to practise a fraud upon the people, by borrowing money in such a form that they will not understand it, and thereby shield the Government from the odium of bringing itself from a surplus of forty
five millions to bankruptcy in less than one year. If I were satisfied that there would really be a deficit in the Treasury, which would make it necessary to borrow money to enable the Government to perform its functions, I should certainly grant it; but, sir, I would prefer that it should be asked for in plain English in that form. I am opposed to laying burdens upon the people in disguise. If they are to be taxed, let them understand it, and have an opportunity to provide for it. But I am told, sir, that we do not borrow money or create a debt by the passage of this bill; that we only anticipate funds that are now unavailable. And, sir, is it not possible that a large amount of these unavailable funds may forever remain so Is not the Government attempting to divorce itself from the deposite banks, and thereby to discredit and destroy them And, should it so turn out, most unquestionably it will prove a debt to the nation. But, sir, in my opinion, this is all a fiction. I concur most heartily with the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Fletch En] in the opinion that there is not a dollar in the deposite banks, belonging to the General Government, that cannot be made available to the Treasury by another pro-> cess, just as conveniently as by the measure now under consideration. Has not the Treasury, for months past, been making these funds available, by drawing drasts upon them, even when it was certain that they would be protested by the banks 1 And I would like to know the difference between a protested Treasury draft and a Treasury note bearing interest. The draft is good against the Treasury, with interest and charges of protest, and answers the holder every purpose that a note would. It enters immediately into circulation, and commands a premium on account of the exchange it affords. And, sir, while the Government has these unavailable funds in the banks, the Treasury may make them an inexhaustible source from which to create funds by means of drafts. The Treasury may draw upon the very same fund five hundred times, and the drafts may go the rounds, and come back upon the Treasury, and be paid out of the accruing receipts into the Treasury, and the fund still remain. Then, sir, where is the necessity of Treasury bills or notes ? I can see none, and am, therefore, induced to believe this measure is proposed with no other object than to establish the precedent, and thereby make it the prelude to the great unfinished measure of the late administration—a Treasury bank; an institution, in my humble opinion, more dangerous to the liberties of the people than a combination of all the Powers of Europe. But, sir, I will not at this time enter into a discussion of this great question. I will only pray God that l may never give my sanction to any measure calcu. lated, in the remotest degree, to establish such an institution. Mr. Speaker, I fully concur with the honorable gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. RhEtt] in the opinion that the people expect, and have a right to demand at our hands, the adoption of some measure which will supply the country with a national currency, which will answer as a medium of exchange between the different sections of the Union; but I am unwilling that these exchequer bills shall constitute this national currency. I believe, sir, that it is as much the duty of the Government to foster and encourage commerce as agriculture, or any other branch of industry: the prosperity of the one depends upon that of the other; and, sir, when we view society in all its ramifications, we find the interests of all classes so intimately connected, that whatever affects one must inevitably affect all. The farmer, the planter, the manufacturer, and the mechanic, are as much dependent upon the merchant as the merchant is upon them. And, although the merchants have been denounced with the bitterest epithets, and charged with being the authors of all the evils that now asilict the country—a most base and disgraceful attempt to
array one class of the community against another—there is not one sentence of truth in it. Sir, if you destroy the merchants, what will become of all the surplus produce of the country Every cent's worth over and above what every man can consume in his own family would prove a dead loss to him, and consequently every spring to industry and enterprise would be cut off and destroyed. And, sir, under such a state of things, we must inevitably relapse back, in a short time, to the most perfect savage barbarity. Indeed, sir, I look upon commerce as the main source and fountain from which all our prosperity and greatness flow. Where, sir, is an instance of a nation's attaining to any distinction or greatness, where commerce has not been encouraged If there is one, it has escaped my observation. Why, then, should we not afford the facilities necessary to sustain this enterprising class of our citizens ! It is a fact, universally conceded by all who know any thing of commercial operations, that the merchants do not bear the loss sustained for want of these facilities, and that it ultimately falls upon the laboring classes. It cannot be expected by any reasonable man that the merchants can buy and sell goods for nothing. They are compelled to make a moderate profit, and, consequently, all expenses incurred by them for want of proper commercial facilities, they must of necessity charge upon the goods, and ultimately the consumer pays it. So we discover that it is the laboring classes, “the democracy of numbers,” so much talked of in this House, whose interest demands a sound and uniform currency throughout the United States. The power of Congress to supply the country with some sort of national currency that is uniform throughout the Union, in order to assist the domestic exchanges of the country, I believe has been admitted, and even insisted upon, by every administration, from the foundation of the Government down to the last. The first charge which General Jackson ever preferred against the United States Bank was, that it had failed to fulfil the expectations of the people and the object of its creation, viz: to furnish the country with a sound and uniform currency ; but in this I think he was mistaken. The present Chief Magistrate, however, “with the lights now before him,” has determined that Congress has no such power. But, sir, I think he must have read through magic spectacles, and will have to read again. He surely will not be sustained by the representatives of the people in a position so unprecedented and absurd. Admitting, then, as it surely must be, that Congress not only has the power, but that it is our indispensable duty, to supply the country with a national currency and medium of exchange, the question naturally arises, how is this to be accomplished 1 Did any man ever seriously believe that the commerce and trade of this great nation could be carried on by an exclusive metallic currency " . I answer, no; this question is too clear to admit of controversy. In the next place, sir, are the State banks able to furnish such a currency 1 Of this I shall leave every man to be his own judge; but, judging for myself, if there be any thing in past experience, I should say it is most clear and manifest they cannot. Then, sir, the great and important question comes up : What will accomplish this end ? By one set of politicians, sir, a national bank is said to be the only institution capable of supplying this currency, and past experience is quoted as incontestable evidence in support of this position; while, on the other hand, it is most vehemently denounced as both unconstitutional and dangerous to liberty. These, sir, are grave and weighty objections, if well founded; and, if any other means can be devised to accomplish this end, which will be free from constitutional objections and less dangerous to liberty, I will most gladly embrace it. And, sir, I concur with the honorable genueman from South Carolina, [Mr. Ra ETT,) that, unless the country be supplied with such a
currency by other means, it will not take the people long to remove all constitutional scruples out of the way of a national bank. As for myself, sir, I do not believe that either of the objections to a national bank is well founded. I have never doubted the power of Congress to charter such an institution. But, if I had, I should consider myself a most egregious bigot were I to set up my judgment against all the precedents on this point. Indeed, sir, I believe this is a question that cannot now be raised with any propriety. It has been twice determined, after the most deliberate investigation by every department of this Government, legislative, executive, and judicial. And I am one of those, sir, who believe that the constitution is as susceptible of being reduced to fixed and settled principles as any other law of the land. If it is forever to remain an unsettled text, and is to be one thing to-day, another tomorrow, and another again the next day, just to suit the whim and caprice of the powers that be, I think we had better surrender the instrument. We had better have no constitution, than to have it the mere creature of those in power, to administer as they may choose to understand it, And as to the other objection, I think it is equally futile. Suppose we admit that the late Bank of the United States had been guilty of the greatest crime with which it was charged—that of intermeddling in elections, and using its means to acquire political power. Sir, does that furnish any argument why another should not be chartered, with such guards and restrictions thrown around it as to prevent a recurrence of those evils 1 Most certainly not. We might with as much propriety say that, because the late President of the United States interfered in the election of his successor, and brought the power and patronage of his office into conflict with the freedom of elections, we ought therefore to abolish the Executive Department of this Government. Such an argument is absurd and preposterous, And, sir, I avail myself of this occasion to express my firm belief that a national bank, based upon correct principles, is the only institution capable of giving the country such a currency as is essential to its prosperity. And I am sustained in this opinion by this remarkable fact, that, during the space of about forty years, while such an institution was in operation in this country, there was never, at any time, a material derangement in the currency, or pecuniary distress; and that, during the two short periods, comprising only about eight years, in which the Government attempted to do without one, we had an entire suspension of specie payments by all the local banks, and the deepest distress and embarrassment in the pecuniary affairs of the country. And, sir, although we have recently had it from high authority, and from different sources too, that a large majority of the people of the United States are opposed to such an institution, with due deference, sir, I must take the liberty to dissent from that opinion. Upon the score of expediency, I am bound to believe there is an overwhelm. ing majority in its favor. And, sooner or later, humiliating as it may be, the Government must return to it; and I hope the day is not far distant. The community, sir, and especially the commercial community, who have been struggling against winds and tides, and Government experiments, to sustain their credit and reputation, have borne their misfortunes with much longsuffering and forbearance. But, sir, the time may come when forbearance will cease to be a virtue. I am fully aware, however, that a national bank cannot now be established. We have had incontestable evidence of that fact this morning." And, sir, even if there were a probability of its success, situated as I am, I would not presume to make the proposition. It is due to those who have more experience to take the lead in a measure of so
* Resolution adopted declaring it inexpedient to charter a national bank.
much importance. But, sir, I am ready to act my part, whenever the subject may be presented. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I will only say that, for myself, I am perfectly satiated with new and untried experiments, and I hope and believe the country is so. Mr. HAMER had thought last night that the debate on this bill was closed; but it seemed that they had taken a fresh start that morning. He himself did not rise to make a speech, but briefly to throw out a few cuggestions in reply to some things that had been thrown out by gentlemen in the course of the discussion. Some complaints had been made of the order in which the business of the House had been brought before it. Gentlemen had urged that this bill ought to have been laid aside, and that the bills to allow time to the deposite banks, and to postpone the payment of merchants' bonds, should have been first disposed of, before the final action was had upon the present bill. Now, there were two reasons why that was not the proper course. The first was, that, so far as had been seen by the course, and gathered from the declarations of gentlemen in the opposition, they were opposed to all the measures brought forward; and hence it was but fair and reasonable that the friends of those measures should be allowed to select the order in which they should be brought before the House. That was one reason. The other was, that the Government ought to act, in regard to this matter, precisely as an individual would in similar circumstances. Suppose that he owed a thousand dollars, and was unprepared to pay it when called upon, and asked time of his creditor; that creditor said he would give him time if he (the creditor) could raise it from any other source—must not that creditor ascertain first whether he could raise the amount of money before he could indulge him (Mr. H.) his debtor That was precisely what they wanted to ascertain in the present case. They were first to ascertain whether they had the means of granting the indulgence proposed in the other two bills, before they could take upon themselves to do so. This was fair and reasonable, and was the only perfectly proper course. Now, in regard to the arguments advanced that morning by the very able gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. Fletchen..] That gentleman insisted that this bill was unnecessary, and assigned his reasons. He said they should sell the claim upon the Bank of the United States. Why, the Government was now out of money, and wanted funds immediately. Which, then, was the most reasonable: for the Government to go into the market and force a sale of that claim, and the paper she holds against the Bank of the United States, or to issue Treasury notes, and take time to render that debt available, or collect it at maturity ? Was a forced sale advantageous, under any circumstances, either to an individual or to the Government? Certainly not. It is better, therefore, that the notes should be issued. Again: There was a large amount in the deposite banks, said the gentleman. Now, they heard that repeatedly before, but did not every gentleman there know, that the amount in the deposite banks could not be commanded at that time ! Nay, more: was it not insisted by gentlemen of the opposition, that that money should not be commanded under one, two, or three years. What was another argument connected with this propo. sition ? It was that they might issue Treasury drafts upon the banks, and suffer them to be protested, and circulated through the community, as now, instead of notes. Why, in the first place, they had heard from all quarters of the Union, that the Secretary of the Treasury had no right to issue drafts upon the banks, knowing they would be protested. But suppose he had the right, was there any difference between those drafts now circulating and the Treasury notes they proposed to issue 1 Where was the difference between drawing a draft upon a bank, which they knew
would not be paid, but would be protested and allowed to circulate through the community upon the credit of the Government, and a Treasury note, which was to circulate exclusively upon the credit of the Government, and with the belief that the amount it represents will be paid the moment the banks are in a condition to pay ? Now, if any gentleman was so astute as to be able to point out any disference—not the metaphysical, but the practical, difference—he would be glad to hear it. Both were certainly circulated on the credit of the Government. But it seemed that these notes, in the opinion of some gentlemen, were unconstitutional ; and then, from all quarters, they were told it was a loan—a loan in disguise. Well, if it be a loan, did not the constitution expressly authorize the Government to borrow money for its needful wants If it be a loan, as they admit it to be, and so Mr. H. admitted, in one sense, but not in the ordinary sense in which a loan was understood—but if it were, the constitution authorized them to borrow money whenever the necessities of the country required them to do it. How was it a loan Why, it was just such a loan as he would make to an individual to whom he was indebted, and who called upon him for a settlement, and he could not pay him, but gave him his note promising to pay him in a year. In that sense, but in no other, was it a loan ; but no one would so understand it. It was precisely that kind of transaction too. Those who had claims upon the Government called for their money; the Government had not got it, because the merchants and the banks could not pay her, and what does she do 1. Why, give her notes, and say she will pay up at the end of a year. This is a plain every day transaction between individuals. Again, it was said this bill would be a burden upon the people. How a burden upon the people He heard that complaint rung throughout the House, and he asked, how was it a burden upon the people ! Did it propose any new tax upon them? Did it propose any levying of fresh burdens ! Did it take any money out of their pocket 1 If they regarded the bill passed to withhold the fourth instalment of deposites with the States as furnishing the means to redeem these notes, in that way it was a burden. But nobody pretended that these notes were to be so redeemed, or to be redeemed at all, except when the deposite banks and the merchants paid up their debts. Gentlemen talked, too, a good deal about the people not understanding this. Mr. H. had a higher respect for the intelligence of the people. They would understand it; they did understand it. Mr. PHILLIPS then took the floor, and commenced an argument against the bill, but his remarks were cut off by the arrival of the hour (half past 2) for the House to take its daily recess till 4 o'clock.
Even ING SEssiox.
The House then resumed the consideration of the “bill to authorize the issuing of Treasury notes,” being the substitute reported from the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union.
Mr. PHILLIPS resumed his remarks. He endeavored to prove that the most injurious effects had resulted from the late measure of the Secretary of the Treasury in allowing a large amount of deposites to remain in several isolated banks, while he withdrew nearly the whole sums deposited with the banks on the seaboard. It was his opinion that much of the distress now existing in the commercial cities was to be attributed to that measure. He referred to the prospects of the country for the ensuing year, and contended, that from the report of the Secretary, and the statements given in the House, if a balance were drawn, the amount of difference between the expenditure and receipts would not exceed two or three hundred thousand dollars. He would tell them frankly, that when he