Oct. 12, 1837.]

tleman from Virginia, [Mr. Hunten,) why not carry that system of analysis and induction into finance, which has been brought to bear so successfully upon science generally 4 I have given, I think, the true answer: finance is essentially practical; in all its operations analysis and induction are necessarily and incessantly at work. With such views, I find no difficulty in determining where to look for guidance and direction in all questions connected with currency and business. There is no safety but in the lessons of past experience. And what is the voice which the experience of our country utters upon this important subject : If we examine our past history, we shall find that our financial system has, for the most part, uniformly worked well; and that nearly all our derangements and embarrassments have arisen from the obtrusive interference of politics and politicians. Legislation has always been necessary in order to give the country a suitable currency. When this has been effected, and the currency has been suffered to take its own course, and to be regulated by the usages and laws of trade practically established, and always understood by business men, nothing has ever interfered with or interrupted the steady progress of both currency and business, but some event, rarely occurring, extraordinary in its character and overwhelming and controlling in its influence. In the conflicts of our neutrality with foreign aggression; in the restrictions upon our commerce; and in the measure of war, which form a part of our past history, we find examples of such events. Aside from these, our prosperity has been uniform, except when checked by occasional and short-lived overaction. This latter is a state of things not of very frequent occurrence, which usually subsides rapidly under the unfailing operations of the laws of trade and the principles of a just political economy. With these exceptions, I repeat the important lesson derived from our past experience, that all our troubles and annoyances have originated in the unhallowed connexion of politics and business, for purposes of momentary triumph to the former, and with disaster to the latter. We come to the great question which runs through the discussion of all the measures proposed to us at this extraordinary session. What is the cause of the embarrassments which have now so long afflicted the country : We are told by the President, in his recent message, that the true cause is overaction. I object to this position, that, instead of being the assignment of a cause, it is simply a statement of the fact in another form. The country has suffered, and is still suffering, from overaction; that is, from overtrading and overspeculating. And the only question which can sensibly be asked or answered is, what has caused this overaction; to what is it attributable? Are we to seek its origin in the abandonment of those wholesome laws of trade, to which I have already referred, by the practical and sagacious business-men of the community, or is it to be found in the measures of the administration affecting the national currency What induced the hordes of anxious speculators to precipitate themselves upon the great public domain of the West ? What induced another class of adventurers to take advantage of the boon proposed by the Government, in the extraordinary, and, in some cases, most indecorous and servile scramble for the public moneys What induced the unusual increase of banks, on a sudden, and in defiance of that cautious policy which had so long characterized the country in the asking and granting of bank charters? What induced the general rush into the business of trade and commerce, and the undue importation of foreign commodities? What induced the anomaly which we have all witnessed and wondered at—an extravagant demand for every thing, at extravagantly high prices, and money at the highest and most ruinous rates ? Unless the true cause can be ascertained for the evils

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which have so long disturbed the prosperity and deranged the business of the country, it is obvious that those evils cannot be remedied effectually and permanently. If simple overtrading be the cause, that has not unfrequently occurred, and has always readily yielded to the suggestions of prudence and ordinary sagacity. Indeed, overtrading never causes more than temporary embarrassment. If nothing affected our general system now but mere overtrading; if our financial system were not radically and deeply disordered, the discontents and distresses of the country would long ere this have passed away No one has the assurance to assert a pretension of this kind. Under the operation of a bad, disjointed, dislocated financial system, permanent prosperity cannot revisit the country. An apposite illustration of what I deem to be the truths now laid down may be seen in the present condition of England, to which reference is made in the President's message. The President looks upon the state of thingo as substantially the same in both countries. “The causes of the revulsion in both countries have been substantially the same.” Such is the language of the message. But, by a singular fatality, the President ventures to express a truth, within the compass of the same paragraph, which effectually overturns the fancied analogy in the causes of the revulsion in the two countries. “The most material difference,” (I quote the words of the message,) “between the results in the two countries has only been, that with us there has also occurred an extensive derangement in the fiscal affairs of the Federal and State Governments, occasioned by the suspension of specie payment by the banks.” Why did not the President, carry his thoughts one step farther; why did he not see that the causes which led to this suspension of specie payment, thereby producing the acknowledged “derangement in the fiscal affairs” of this country, constitute absolutely the whole that is material to the subject, and the whole difference between the revulsion here and that in England 2 The monetary system in England has not, as a system, been affected at all. Here the monetary system has been changed entirely. Or rather, to speak more accurately, here we have been shifted from one system to another—upon the explosion of one experiment, betaking ourselves to another—until we have at last arrived at the proposition immediately before us, the subTreasury or divorce bill, under which we are to dispense with all system. This is what is vaunted before us as the great theorem or issue of modern times. But, if the revulsion in England and in our own country had been, as supposed by the President, substantially the same, how happens it that, whilst he was busied in penning his message, the revulsion in England should have subsided, and business have resumed its place 4 That such is the fact, all accounts now agree. And no well-informed person can hesitate as to the cause of the embarrassments in England, growing, as they notoriously did, out of the connexion with American trade. The President, indeed, avers in the message, “that the issues of paper credits put in circulation in England by banks and in other ways during the years 1834, 1835, and 1836, will show an augmentation of the paper currency there, as much disproportioned to the real wants of trade as in the United States.” But the President gives no authority for this opinion. And it conflicts most glaringly with official, and, therefore, authentic, statements, furnished by the Bank of England, and by all the other banks of every description, upon this subject. From these statements it appears that the whole amount of circulation of the kind referred to in the year 1834 was 4:28,568,000; in 1835, £28,519,000; and in 1896, £28875,000; showing an increase of circulation, in the three years designated by the President, of only a little over three hundred thousand pounds; whilst, in this country, within the same period, the bills in circulation had increas

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ed forty-five millions; and the loans one hundred and thirty-four millions. The difference thus strongly marked between the two countries arises from the fact already stated; a fact which cannot be too often repeated—that in England the financial system has not been affected as a whole; whilst in this country the financial system has been absolutely overturned. And hence has arisen the difference in the results between the remedies applied in the two countries. If we apply to a disordered and revolutionized currency a remedy, as suggested by the President, applicable only to a state of overaction, it will turn out to be inefficacious. We already see that such a remedy is utterly inefficient. The disorder remains. The taint is upon us. How can successful business be resumed without a sound currency and a healthful system of exchanges 1 How can the country go on without the vigor of a permanent and accredited financial system 1 The causes of the embarrassments of the country do then force themselves upon us in a way not to be resisted. They are written all around us in sunbeams. They are neither to be evaded nor escaped from. They are impressed upon the country in broad limes from end to end. Every man of business in the land hears the marks of them. At morning, noon, and night, when we lie down and when we rise up, they are ever and most disastrously present to us. They are distinctly traceable to the change, to the entire revolution, of which I have spoken, in our financial system. The bankruptcy of the Government, the bankruptcy of the country, lie at the door of the politicians, who, for their own sinister and selfish purposts, have brought that system, the currency and the business of the country, into the arena of political warfare. Here, in my estimation, is the root of the evil. Look back at the experience of our past history, to which I have heretofore adverted, constituting the true test, in a special manner, of all financial changes. What do we learn in the pages that immediately precede those which are to record this new theorem of modern times, this entire disruption and scattering of a currency, which had carried the country along successfully and prosperously 7 I ask you, Mr. Chairman, to look back at the period of twelve years, which preceded the late administration, comprising the whole term of service of President Monroe, and that of my venerable colleague, [Mr. AnAMs.] In the year 1816, there were two hundred and forty-six banks, with a capital of nearly ninety millions of dollars, and a circulation of about sixty-eight millions. In 1820, there were 308 banks, with a capital, including the United States Bank, of one hundred and thirty-seven millions. ... In 1830, there were three hundred and thirty banks, with a capital of one hundred and forty-five millions, and a circulation of sixty-one millions. During the whole period, then, from 1816 to 1830, being fourteen years, there was an increase of eightyfour banks, with an increase of fifty-five millions of capital; of which thirty-five millions belonged to the United States Bank; but at the same time there was a diminution of circulation from sixty-eight down to sixty one millions. Such was the state of the banking system under Mr. Monroe and Mr. Adams. At the commencement of this period there was great embarrassment all over the land, similar to that which now exists. In 1816, a national bank was chartered. In commencing the operations of that bank, there was much bad management, and the consequences were unfavorable to the business of the country: but these difficulties soon disappeared under the superior skill of new managers. And the whole period was marked by unusual commercial prosperity, although unfortunate cotton speculations, and the agitation of the tariff controversy, were distinctive features of it. It is remarkable, too, that, during this period, no complaint whatever was uttered from any quarter against the currency or the banking system. The business of the

country went on without interruption, except from occasional ill-judged speculations or overtrading, leaving no distinctive mark, except as matter of historical remembrance. In addition to this, and as confirmatory of it, another remark may be made, that the financial system

was kept entirely detached from the politics of the country:

the politicians interfered not at all with it; and its course was therefore an undisturbed one, answering the great purposes of all financial systems, benefiting the people, promoting industry, awakening well directed enterprise, and therefore reflecting credit upon the Government. Immediately upon the close of the period embraced within the comments I have now submitted to the committee, a new order of things arose. The country was in a state of unequalled tranquility in all its prominent interests. The excitements of party had been, and continued to be, animated and bristling: but the business of the country was successfully pursued in all its accustomed channels. But, with a new administration, new men had found their way into the public councils. Adventurers were numerous: the appetite for distinction, for office, but more especially for money, became unappeasable. Politicians rose up in myriads of swarms. If the present moment would not suffice to provide them with the claimed rewards and spoils of victory, the future was drawn upon ; and partisanship scented its prey in every avenue and by: rath that led to game to be run down. Thus was the field of political aspiration immensely widened. Within the great vortex of party politics were absorbed, one after another, all the great interests of the country. Nothing escaped that could by any possibility minister to the hopes or the cupidity of politicians. And thus was it that the business interests, the financial systems, the moneyed institutions, gradually and successively fell before the destroyer. Each and all surrendered, or were trodden down beneath the tread of the political war-horse. In this way was prostrated the United States Bank. For the purposes which I have now indicated to the committee, were the public moneys of the United States wrenched from their legal depository, and thrown down at the feet of the politicians. These events, the first in that train of measures which have led to the existing embarrassments of the country, occurred about four years ago. Against these measures, in their inception, my venerable colleague [Mr. ADAMs) raised his warning voice. Intimately connected as he had been with the preceding policy of the country, well might his judgment be taken as oracular. Unfortunately, it was disregarded and set at naught. - And what was the progress, what were the consequences of these measures; especially of the transfer of the public moneys to the new league or coalition of State institutions? A general movement was made to obtain a share in the division and distribution. The appeals which were made to the Secretary of the Treasury, to be made “fiscal agents” of the Government, are many of then spread out upon our legislative records; and they evince, in too many instances, a cringing servility, at war with all just ideas of republican dignity and independence. The removal was effected under the dictation of that extraordinary man who has but recently descended from the Presidency. The public moneys were distributed throughout the country : and, under the repeated injunctions of the Treasury Department, founded upon the instructions of the President, which I shall not stop to collate or refer to more particularly, the chosen banks were directed to use those moneys for the public accommodation in every variety of way. And so were they used; they were carried into every branch of business, regular and speculative. They were absorbed in the speculations in the public lands; they formed the nucleus for the erection of new banks; they were sought aster with avidity by partisans; they found their way wherever money can go, and for all purposes to

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which money can be applied. In the general scramble for the means of speculation, bank rose into existence upon bank, and incredible was the rapidity with which these moneys performed their circuit through the routine of banks, land offices, and the counters of the receivers. And what is the exhibit which sober and undisputed facts present to us, of the state of our financial affairs within seven years from the close of the period of which I have already given an account The report of the Secretary of the Treasury has been placed before us, furnishing an ample view of the banking institutions of the country up to December, 1836. From that report, we learn that at the latest period to which the report is brought down, there were 823 banks in the country, including 146 branches; and that the capital amounted to more than three hundred and seventy-eight millions; and the circulation to more than one hundred and eighty-five millions. Here is an increase, in a little less than seven years, of nearly five hundred banks—of more than two hundred and thirtythree millions of capital—and of more than one hundred and twenty-four millions of circulation. There are now considerably more than twice as many banks as there were in 1830, nearly three times as much capital, and more than three times as much circulation. This increase of banking sacilities, for which it would be difficult if not impossible to find a parallel, commenced immediately after the first attack upon the old and longaccredited financial system of the country. But the larger growth of this rank crop of banks was subsequent to that revolutionary measure, the removal of the deposites. The banking capital created within the last seven years is greater than all the banking capital created during the whole affterior period of our history. How could such a state of inflation and excess long exist without being felt through every part and parcel of the business of the country Shall we be amused with speculative notions about overtrading, when an exhibit like this is staring us in the face 4 If the President wishes for an example of the overaction of which he speaks in his meassage, here it is—the concomitant and consequence of that fatal measure, the transfer of the public funds, to which he gave his strenuous counsels and advice. If overaction, overtrading, overspeculation ever existed, they are to be found in this inflated, overcharged, and now exploded system of banking, which the counsels and instructions of the last and present administrations of the General Government substituted for the system which preceded it. I do not intend to say, or wish to be understood as implying, that this extraordinary course of measures was entered upon with a view to the result now manifested. It is unnecessary to take this ground, could it be maintained. I impeach not motives. I inquire for facts. With these facts, well authenticated, I go wherever truth will lead me. No one, it seems to me, can shut his eyes upon the fact, the pre-eminent fact, that here, in this inordinate stimulus to banking—this furnishing of means without stint, limitation, or caution—is to be found the cause of the excesses which have been indulged in ; of the overaction which has gorged every channel of business; and of the disasters which have bowed down the country under a yoke too heavy to be borne. A member from Ohio [Mr. HAM enj has said that the foreign debt, which he estimates at thirty millions, together with the distribution of the surplus revenue, are, in his view, the true causes of the troubles which have afflicted the country. And he asks, with an air of triumph, did General Jackson, did Mr. Van Buren, did the friends of the past or present administration, either or all of them, induce that debt to be incurred 1 I answer, unhesitatingly, because I answer upon the solid foundation of facts, they did, each and all of them. Has that gentleman examined the course, the progress of that debt I apprehend, if he had done so, he would have discovered some facts suffi

cient to lead him to doubt the policy of some measures of the last few years, to which he has given, if I mistake not, his vigorous aid. During the year in which the celebrated tariff compromise bill was adopted, the imports of free goods into the United States amounted to about sixteen millions of dollars. According to the last annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury, giving statements of the commerce and navigation of the country for the last year, the amount of free goods imported had risen in their estimated value to more than ninety-two millions of dollars. During the same year the whole imports of every description amounted to nearly one hundred and ninety millions of dollars. The import of goods “free of duty,” therefore, was equal, very nearly, to one-half of the whole importation of the year; and the difference between the imports and exports was over sixty one millions—the balance of the former over the latter. Now, how will the gentleman from Ohio account for this extraordinary increase of goods imported “free of duty,” within the short period of about three years, upon any other ground than that of the incessant attacks which have been annually made upon the compromise bill It has been the policy of the administration to take off the duties from all goods, the importation of which, it was supposed, would not directly interfere with the products of American industry. But the indirect interference does not seem to have been cared for. This has induced the importer to glut the American market with cheap foreign fabrics and products: and the direct attacks which have been made upon the system, from year to year, have had a tendency at the same time to paralyze our own manufacturers. And then, striking in unfortunately with this policy, there has been the extraordinary facility for cbtaining means and credit to carry on the foreign trade, since the removal of the deposites: for since that event it is that the principal part of the enormous increase of free goods imported has taken place. I repeat, then, that the foreign debt has been incurred under the inducements held forth by this incautious policy of the administration. And thus it is that the overtrading of the merchants, about which so much has been said, and so vaguely said too, lies at the door of the past and present administrations, and is traceable, with great directness, to the breaking up of our old financial system. I find myself fully sustained in the view which an adherence to facts compels me to take of the causes of the existing disasters, by a recurrence to a very absorbing and interesting topic—the sales of the public lands. For a considerable number of years anterior to the removal of the deposites, the income accruing from the sales of the national domain averaged, annually, not more than two millions of dollars. Immediately upon the great change effected by that extraordinary measure of General Jackson, we find a rapid and startling increase in those sales; so that, in the three years following that event, the increase from this source amounted on an average to fifteen millions a year. In the year 1836, the amount was considerably over twenty millions. The proceeds of the sales during the period which intervened between the removal of the deposites and another great event, the distribution of the surplus revenue among the States, were more than equivalent to the whole amount set apart for deposite under the provision of the distribution act. The committee will see, therefore, that but for the impulse which was given to the spirit of speculation by the transfer of the public funds from their legal depository to those points from which money accommodations were advisedly urged upon the public, no surplus revenue would have accrued for distribution. But as soon as the public funds were withdrawn from the influence of that financial system which, through all the reverses consequent upon overtrading and overspeculating, had kept the machinery

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of business steady and well-ordered, a revolution followed which disjointed every thing, diverting business from its fixed orbit, and giving a wild and erratic play to that headlong mania for speculation, which absorbed all and controlled all, until itself finally exploded. Nor is it to be concealed, nor can it be denied, because the records of this House bear the proof, that the politicians, the partisans. were most eager, most importunate in pursuit of those means of speculation. Nor can it be irrelevant here to remind some members of the committee, especially the gentleman [Mr. Pick ENs, of S. C.) who opened the debate upon the bill immediately before us with so much earnestness and vehemence, that,

from the statement I have now made, it follows, most con

clusively, that the tariff system is not to be held account, able or chargeable as the cause of the extraordinary surplus, so universally and so justly deplored. Such an opinion has been advanced, over and over again, and is relied upon as furnishing a stable reason for frittering away, in detail, the good effects contemplated by the celebrated compromise. I have already commented upon the facts, which show indisputably the impolicy of the attempt to interfere with the just operation of that compromise. That impolicy is still more convincingly manifested by the facts, now presented to the committee, which point to the true origin of the surplus revenue. The public domain has been the great field of speculation; and the excessive banking, consequent upon the removal of the deposites, and principally warmed into existence by that measure, has poured forth the overshadowing means by which that speculation was conducted. I am still further fortified in the position I have taken, and the opinions I entertain concerning the causes of the embarrassments of the country, by a consideration of the effects of the immense importations of specie, which have been the theme of so much self-glorification. It is unnecessary here to inquire into the necessity for an ample specie basis for the circulating medium of the country. Such a basis is indispensable, and never can, without criminal neglect, be overlooked by any prudent and watchful administration of the Government. But the idea of forcing a circulation of specie in any one country, whilst the supply of the precious metals for all is extremely limited, cannot be sustained for a moment upon any sound notions of public economy. A circumscribed medium exclusively of specie may be imposed, and carried out perhaps, but it must be at the risk of sacrificing or overturning the great business interests of the country, and of throwing the limited business that may remain into the hands of a monopolizing few. The excessive importations of specie by the last administration, at a time when the balance of trade was largely against us, and a very large foreign debt was outstanding, militated most strikingly against all the acknowledged laws of trade. And this, in connexion with the Treasury order or specie circular, as it has usually been termed, hastened the approach of that financial crisis, which, without the powerful and electric aid of these causes, might have been longer postponed, but, in all probability, could have been avoided. The drain of specie from the East deeply asfected all the operations of business which are there concentrated; and the sountains of our whole system were thus broken up. Vast as have been the importations of specie from abroad, did that specie enter into the circulation of the country Were the promises concerning it at all fulfilled ! Have not those promises long been the byword and jest of the scorner And are not the precious metals banished from among us so far as the purposes of circulation are concerned 1 This was most certainly true long before the crisis arrived. Instead of enlarging the circulating medium of the country in any essential degree, the imported specie was

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employed most extensively in forming the basis of new and increased banking operations. And thus, what was probably well intended theoretically by the Government, operated to defeat the very object which the Government professed to have in view. We are not to forget, however, that this very rage for banking, which in this manner so sadly crossed the path of the late administration, grew up under the fostering and nurturing of its own measures. In this fact we have an illustration, that ought not to be lost upon us, of the extreme hazard which is always incurred by a violent and uncalled-for interfence with a subject so sensitive and delicate as the currency of a country. I have now gone through, succinctly, the consideration I intended of the causes which have conspired to bring the country to its present disastrous condition. I am unable to avoid the conclusion—to my mind it is as ready as it is irresistible—that these causes have led directly to that overaction, which is the genuine manifestation or development of the disease with which the country is afflicted. And what has been the result 4 What has been the winding up of that long train of measures, violently entered upon, and energetically pursued, which must, in all time to come, hold up Andrew Jackson to the country as no ordinary man The result is stamped upon the country in deep and broad traces. The winding up of this experiment of a new and better currency has ingulfed Government and people in one common bankruptcy. The causes, of which I have spoken, opened throughout the land a boundless field of credit, accessible through myriads of avenues to the lowest and obscurest spots. Every description of business felt the effects of this overshadowing creditto such a degree, indeed, that, during the period to which I have referred, the amount of all kinds of transactions has been estimated to transcend five hundred millions of dollars. And when, at length, the experiment ran out, and the catastrophe came, the country was found, and still remains, with its commerce prostrated, industry at a stand, the banks unable to redeem their bills, and the Government rich only in unavailable means. The Government and the people being thus alike embarrassed and paralyzed, it would seem to be the dictate of ordinary wisdom that they should make common cause, and breast themselves together against the storm. Especially would it very naturally be expected of the Government that they should not abandon the people, and seek to find refuge and safety for themselves alone. Their measures having prostrated both in a common calamity, the country had a right to look for peculiar favor in any contemplated schemes of relief. The measures which have brought about this deplorable state of things were never asked for by the people. They never petitioned for a change in the financial system of the country. They never even complained of the operation of that system. As far as their opinions and wishes can be gathered from the representations of their agents upon this floor, in this the House of the people, they were contented with things as they were. It is historically true, that all the remarkable and extraordinary measures on which I have commented, met, when proposed, the signal rebuke of the representatives of the people. The two measures most decisive, effective, and revolutionary in their character and tendency— the removal of the deposites, and the Treasury order, or specie circular—have never obtained any favor within these walls. They have been sustained, and the latter is still sustained, against the will of the people. Emphatically is this true, and not to be denied. With what face, then, can the Government seek relief, to the exclusion of the great mass of the country Why shall those who have devised, counselled, advocated, and adopted the measures which have resulted in a depreciated currency, be relieved from the inequalities of that currency ; whilst the people, who, to say the least, have been

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passive in regard to those measures, are left alone to reap and enjoy the harvest of their bitter fruits 1 But it is said that two of the bills before us are specially intended for the relief of the country: the one authorizing a further postponement of payment upon duty bonds; and the other to adjust the remaining claims upon the late deposite banks. If there he relief in these bills, it is obvious to remark that it is extremely limited in its scope. But whose is the sole interest to be secured, if it can be secured, by these bills? Is it not the Government's By pressing its debtors, the merchants and the Southwestern banks, the Government may lose all ; by granting an extension of time, all may be saved. The Committee of Ways and Means have reported three bills, in conformity with the recommendations of the Executive, and growing out of the relations of the Government to the disasters which have befallen the country. The first proposes to postpone the fourth instalment of deposite with the States; the second authorizes the issuing of ten millions of Treasury notes; the third is a bill to impose additional duties as depositaries on public officers. The operation of all these bills has distinct reference to the Govern. ment. The same committee also reported a resolution, declaring it “inexpedient to charter a national bank.” I was debarred from the expression of my opinions upon this proposition, after having risen to address the House, by the operation of the previous question—that convenient piece of machinery to check debate, but applied so only in this the freest Government in the world. That proposition is one of the three connected with the great question of the currency, to which our attention has been directed. I voted against it distinctly upon the ground of its being bald and abstract in its terms. I voted against it upon another ground—because it negatived the only wishes or opinions

which have come before us by petition from the people.

We have the sub-Treasury scheme suggested to us by the President; we have a new modelling of the deposite bank system presented by a member from Virginia, [Mr. GARLAND...] The proposition for a national bank finds its way to us only through numerous and respectful petitions. I am unwilling to thrust aside unceremoniously a proposition to which the people have invited our attention. I should be unwilling to dispose of any scheme, even that of the sub-Treasury, in so summary a manner. I would receive and entertain all of them ; I would reject no one, until it was laid before us in proper form and features, that we might examine it in its practical details, and judge of it with precision. I know not that I should vote for a bill to charter a national bank. I have no constitutional difficulties in regard to it; but I should seek to have it well guarded and secured at all points, especially, as far as possible, against the machinations of partisan politicians—the root, the fruitful source, as I verily believe, of all the troubles that afflict the country. But, Mr. Chairman, the administration having determined to shape their policy, under the new and extraordinary circumstances of the country, with special reference to themselves and to their own distinct interests, let us look at the measures suggested for our consideration. We have a bill to postpone the fourth instalment of the surplus revenue. I opposed that bill in the committee. I shall record my vote against it, in whatever shape it may come up. In the present condition of the country, the payment of that instalment, amounting to nearly ten millions of dollars, would operate to that extent advantageously to the people. I am unable to see the necessity for the postponement. I have carefully examined the report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the finances; I have examined all the subsidiary and “verified” statements that have been laid before us from various quarters. If the deficiency supposed by the Secretary were susceptible of clear proof, that proof ought to be on our tables. I have not

seen it. If it exist, it can be shown by that which does not lie : it is a matter of figures. I shall not follow the steps of the gentlemen who have addressed the committee in this particular, by going into the details upon this subject. The task is irksome. I agree fully with most who have preceded me, that a clear case has not been made out by the Secretary. No one can doubt that the Treasury is in an embarrassed condition: the mismanagement of the finances and the disruption of our whole system could not but throw out exchequer into utter confusion. That is the evil under which we are laboring. Confusion reigns through every department of finance and business. Hence arises the unintelligible exhibit which has been made by the Secretary. In the deposite banks there remains a balance greater than the amount of the fourth instalment. Very many of the States could and would make an arrangement with those banks for their proportion of that instalment, which would be beneficial to the banks, satisfactory to the States, and tend to the relief of the Government. To those States which, from their relative position, could not enter into such arrangements, drafts, in the language of the Secretary, “drawn, but not yet paid, though payable,” and therefore, in the view of the Government, equivalent to specie, would fully answer the purpose. In whatever light I regard this subject, it seems to me to be demanded, by every consideration that can enter into a sound and just policy, to pay over the fourth instalment to the States, even at the hazard of some inconvenience and even sacrifice. The bill to authorize the issue of Treasury notes to the amount of ten millions I oppose ; because I deem the proposition, if not unconstitutional according to the recently avowed opinion of General Jackson, certainly fraught with the greatest hazard, and of dangerous tendency as a money measure or experiment of the Government. It is a bad precedent to establish : it has once only been resorted to in the history of the past, and then in the extraordinary emergency of war. It is a scheme which furnishes too great facility for money making to any administration. It is a power too easy to be perverted; and the exercise of it is inconsistent with the simplicity of republican institutions. Surrender this power as a matter of ordinary legislation; connect with it the proposed system of sub-Treasuries, designating the kind of currency which the Government is to demand, and you fix upon the country at once a Treasury bank in its worst form. I cannot shut my eyes upon the suggestion which has been made in another branch by a distinguished and now willing advocate of all these measures, that the Government ought to provide for an emission of paper money, declaring his opinion at the same time that inconvertible paper does not constitute a suitable currency. I believe the same opinion has been avowed during the debate in this House. Such a proposition would carry us back at once to the old continental money : so monstrous a proposition shows most convincingly the dangerous career we have before us, in consequence of departing from a financial system that had been reared upon the foundation of a long and successful experience. I have voted, sir, in favor of an amendment of the Treasury note bill, to authorize the Government to raise, by loan, such sum of money as the actual wants of the Treasury demanded. That is the mode of raising money which the constitution has designated. “Congress shall have power to borrow money on the credit of the United States.” I see no reason for departing from this plain requisition of the constitution. I see every reason, in the avowed and obvious disposition of the Government to resort to experiments, why we should adhere strictly and guardedly to such a requisition. I repeat, sir, that I am willing to vote for any sum of money that shall be needed to relieve the Government from its embarrassments; but I am not willing to do so in any way but that which shall be clear, safe,

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