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Bank of the United States; such was at that time the consummation of the memorials and petitions which pour. ed in from all quarters, and which the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means has lately thought proper to speak of with contempt, and to treat as the fictions of federalists and bank advocates. But, notwithstanding the efforts of the administration on this floor, notwithstanding the clamor raised by demagogues every where, notwithstanding the very sudden and remarkable change of opinion among some of her own representatives, Pennsylvania will still prefer to keep her eye upon those great fathers of her principles and her policy to whom she has been so long accustomed to look up—I mean upon Madison, Gallatin, and Crawford. What is the language of these highly-distinguished and consistent republicans? Let us examine, and place it in contrast with what is now given. And first, as to Mr. Gallatin: on the 30th January, 1811, Mr. Crawford, then a member of the United States Senate, applied officially to Mr. Gallatin, at that time Secretary of the Treasury, “for his views as to the practicability of employing the State banks as places of deposite for the public moneys, and as means suited to regulate the currency of the country. Mr. Gallatin replies to the following effect; and I venture to say that no candid man will read his reply, without deeming the question entirely put at rest. I desire, particularly, to bring this letter to public view, because, in a debate on the bank deposite bill, the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means turned this letter to his own account, and quoted one single paragraph “as evidence of the very highest character” in favor of his State bank deposite bill. I submit this letter, entire, to my countrymen, and rely confidently upon their good sense to come to a just conclusion; and i am willing to give the honorable gentleman from Tennessee the whole benefit of his extract. They will find, too, that no doubt rested, even at that day, on the mind of Mr. Gallatin, as to the constitutionality of the bank.-(See end of speech.) I recommend it to their careful perusal. And here, Mr. Speaker, I might rest this whole question, even on the authority of the gentleman from Tennessee, [Mr. Polk.] But, sir, the further you go in quest of authority, the stronger the case becomes. What says Mr. Madison? the virtuous, the enlightened Madison; almost the last survivor of that immortal civic band by whose labors our constitution was framed. It will be recollected that, in 1814, a majority of the two Houses of Congress sanctioned the chartering of a Bank of the United States—a measure forced upon them by the extreme state of depression under which the country labored, in consequence of the total derangement of its currency, and the State bank deposite system. Mr. Madison, acting under a conscientious conviction that this charter would not effect the
object proposed, modestly returned the bill to Congress
with his objections. In April, 1816, however, he affixed his name to the charter of the existing bank, and in June, 1831, in reply to a letter addressed to him on the subject of the bank, he wrote the letter which I now hold in my hand, and which I shall annex, at full length, to my written remarks. (See end of speech.) In this letter Mr. Madison for ever settles the constitutional question. He reasons like a philosopher, a statesman, and a man of sense; and I do most servently hope that my countrymen will read and deliberate upon the views contained in this invaluable document, and remember that it will ever be ranked among the best of those precious relics left us by the sages of 1776.
But, sir, I stop not here. I have still one authority left, scarcely less conclusive than those I have already given. Mr. Crawford, a statesman of undoubted talents and the
“I am persuaded that no man, whatever his preconceived opinions may be, can preside over the Treasury one year, without being deeply impressed with the expediency of the Bank of the United States in conducting the finances of the Union. The provision in the constitution which gives Congress the power to pass all laws which may be necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, gives Congress the right to pass the bank bill. * * * * * I was Secretary of the Treasury more than eight years, and during that time I had ample evidence of the great utility of the Bank of the United States in managing the fiscal concerns of the Union.” And now, Mr. Speaker, let me ask, ought or can any thing more conclusive be required on the question? I think not, sir; and I heartily trust that, at least so far as my own native State is concerned, the high and elevated authorities I have just quoted will prove a sufficient barrier against the attempts and designs of self-interested demagogues. And here, Mr. Speaker, I take my leave of this part of the subject; I feel it, however, to be my solemn duty to advance one step further into the general question. It is but too evident, from rhovements which have lately manifested themselves on this floor, that, in despite of all the petitions and remonstrances of the people, the infamous “experiment” is to be forced onward. We have lately seen a chairman of a most distinguished committee rise in his place, and in a speech of two hours, intended purely for political effect, seek to force through a bill which, I venture to assert, is in direct opposition to the views and interests of the people, against all previous and all judicial authority, and which, if passed, will inflict a mortal wound both upon the constitution and the laws. We have likewise seen another bill of vast importance, as it relates to the currency and the general welfare, hastily forced through the House, without debate, without being reported upon, or receiving the action of any of the committees of the House, and recommended purely as a party measure. No doubt, therefore, can exist upon the mind of any man that the Bank of the United States is to be put down, cost what it may, and that the State banks, against all previous experience, and in the very face of the still existing balance of 1,600,000 dollars of “unavailable funds,” are to be permanently substituted as places of deposite for the public moneys. Under these circumstances, I consider it to be my bounden duty to state the case fairly to my constituents and my country. I shall, therefore, proceed now to show the nature of the security which they at present possess for the vast amount of accruing revenue, and, in juxtaposition, the actual condition and resources of the Bank of the United States. It may well be supposed, sir, that the bank at “head quarters,” the military chest, as the Bank of the Metropolis may be not inaptly styled, will be guarded with extreme care, and ought, of course, to present the best statement. Let us see, then, how this matter stands; and here, sir, let me premise that I have been led to make this examination from seeing what I suppose was an official statement, made in the Globe on or about the 1st of May last; it will enable the people to judge what reliance is hereafter to be placed on any statement coming from that quarter. To my mind, sir, the results are startling in the extreme; and as I have not been able to come to a more satisfactory conclusion in looking over the accounts of any of the selected banks, I confess myself overwhelmed by the most dismal forebodings of the future. By the “statement” of the “Official,” the following appears to have been the condition of this Bank of the
deepest experience, meets the question directly in front, and says that— Wol. X.--304
Metropolis on the 1st day of January, 1834, to wit:
H. or R.] Presentation of Memorials. [June 23, 1834.
This, certainly, is no very flattering picture; but let us proceed. By the last report, lately made to the Senate, it will be seen that the condition of this bank, on the 5th of May, had somewhat varied. By a comparison of these two statements, made at an interval of only four months, the country will be enabled to form a correct judgment of the effect of the “experiment,” and of the capability of those State banks to afford those facilities to the commerce and industry of the country, so essential to their due encouragement, and her general prosperity. Iluring the short interval above mentioned, the discounts of this bank have been reduced six thousand dollars, and its circulation contracted sixty thousand dollars; and, by looking closely into all the facts as they present themselves, it is manifest that the public funds are locked up to sustain the credit of particular banks, and the people deprived of all the benefits they have hitherto enjoyed from their free and liberal circulation. One, therefore, of the main objects of a good banking system, that of keeping capital in circulation in lieu of being centralized, is cntirely destroyed. But to make this plain, on the 5th day of May the bank stood as follows, viz:
Capital, - - - - $500,000
ton, to the amount of - - $10,000 00 Canal stock, to the amount of - - 1,922 92 And of stock of the Bank of the Metropolis,
which cost the said bank $181,541 45,
but is charged - - - 204,900 00
Making up the amount, above stated, of $216,822 92
Now, sir, I think it will scarcely be pretended that any amount of money could be raised on these items, in the present deranged state of the currency, and under the pressure existing, particularly in this District. I think I hazard but little in saying that ten thousand dollars could not be realized in money from the whole of them. And now, to say nothing of the very questionable character of this last transaction, that of a bank dealing in its own stock at a depreciated value, and under circumstances which will not, perhaps, bear the light of day, there can be no doubt that the difference between the cost of the stock and its par value forms a part of the surplus of $29,055 67.
Now, sir, I believe that the highest price offered for a small amount of this stock put up for sale at public auction, was only 83 per centum, and, at another attempt to sell at public sale, there was no bid at all. It is, therefore, not improbable but that this gain will prove to be a loss.
It is fairly to be presumed, too, that a part of the bal.
Due to banks, - 58,836
ances set down as due from banks, einbraces the sums re
JUNE 23, 1834.]
cently loaned to the banks which have suspended specie payments; if this be the case, to that extent, at least for the present, these balances are not available. Thus, then, it is seen that, so far from being able to meet all its engagements, by a curtailment of 30 per centum in three equal calls, at sixty, one hundred and twenty, and one hundred and eighty days, it will require 63 per centum on $755,476, the amount of discounts, to enable the bank to meet its just demands; and when or where so large a sum can be raised to meet these demands, is a question of fearful import, not only to the directors of this institution, but, allow me to add, to this House, as well as to those who have assumed the responsibility of confiding the money of the people to such places of deposite. But, sir, I have seen it stated that the Bank of the United States has made repeated “runs,” as they are technically called, upon the Bank of the Metropolis, with the view to destroy it by abstracting all its specie: I believe this is not true. I have sought the necessary information, and understand that there has been but a single demand made for specie by the United States Bank on that bank, and that for fifty thousand dollars only, while the state of the balances between the two institutions would have authorized a demand of not less than half a million; nor could this have been imputed to the Bank of the United States as an act of injustice, or as one she would not have been sanctioned in adopting, under the existing state of warfare waged against her; for I venture to as. sert that the deposite bank holds not a dollar of coin in her vaults that has not been directly or indirectly withdrawn from the Bank of the United States, or some one of her branches; the illegality and unconstitutionality of which have been so clearly demonstrated. Sir, the course pursued by the United States Bank, in this instance, is precisely that adopted by her in her relations with all the State banks—an entire elevation above all personal animosities, and a regard solely to the credit of the country at large, and the convenience of all the great interests of the nation. “This will be seen, more distinctly, in the following comparison of the business and deposites of the three places where the present pressure is mainly ascribed to the reductions of the bank; that is, at Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. At those places The loans were Domestic bills. Public deposites. Oct. 2, $12,509,778 15 $6,317,700 28 $6,871,626 64 Dec. 2, 11,639,130 47 4,037,642 70 2,830,864 81
making the actual reduction of loans only $870,647 68, on a reduction of Government deposites, of $4,040,761 83. “And taking the bills into consideration, the whole reduction of loans and bills will be only $3,150,705 26, for a reduction of deposites of $4,040,761 83; and all this at a moment when secret drafts to the amount of $2,300,000 were hanging over the bank. “It will be seen how little reason there is to complain of the reductions of the bank. In fact, the bank, so far from endeavoring to oppress the State banks, has treated them with the greatest liberality. Thus: The debt from the State banks on the $4,719,972 80
2d of October, was - - On the 2d December, - - - 4,083,260 15 A diminution of only - - - $636,712 65
while the bank reduced its own business upwards of five millions.” There is yet, however, one other view in which this matter strikes me as being of deep moment. It will be remembered that this Bank of the Metropolis holds at Present an amount equal to 814,395 dollars of the public
moneys. Now, I think I have clearly shown that her whole probable available means do not exceed 620,774 dollars. There can be no doubt that, under the existing cir cumstances of the country, the whole amount of the public funds will be immediately required. In this event, the result is inevitable—a deficiency to meet the Treasurer’s drafts, of 192,621 dollars. And what now becomes of the holders of the notes and of the claims of individuals? They must rely upon collections to be made from the discounted debt, and from the sale of the stock of their own bank. I think I have clearly shown that these are not to be relied on; but it must be further recollected that the United States has a preference over individuals; and as it is highly probable all the public moneys will be required in the course of the year for the current expenses of the Government, the other creditors of this bank must look to it in due season; otherwise, they will be left to get their pay as best they can. Under all these circumstances, then, what claim has this or any of the deposite banks upon the forbearance of the United States Bank? Surely none. And the more so, as further forbearance on her part can only tend to jeopardize the interests of her own stockholders, and finally deprive her of so much additional means to enable her, when the great crisis shall at length arrive, which is destined to convulse the whole community, if not shake the very foundations of our Union itself, to remain firm and unmoved at her moorings. That she will be enabled to do this, I firmly believe, and will now proceed to make manifest. (See end of speech.) The analysis I am about to make is one embarrassed by no difficulties. It presents itself in a form intelligible to the plainest understanding. It is purely a matter of official statement. It involves the vast concerns of a great and thriving nation. It develops the secret springs of all the great interests of society. It plainly exposes the nerves and fibres of all those springs, and shows what exquisite skill is necessary in the employment of them, and what exquisite skill has been brought to bear upon their past operation. I mean not, sir, to repeat all or any of the arguments which, in the course of this painful session, have been uttered with so much eloquence and effect upon this floor against the acts and the policy of the President of the United States. I leave them to operate their full effects upon the minds of the people; and I call upon them maturely and deliberately to weigh the consequences which have already sprung from those acts, and the effect which is likely to be produced upon their own welfare, and the future prosperity of their children, by the new relations towards them and the constitution which the President has thought proper to assume. Sir, let it not be supposed that the people of these United States will permit themselves any longer to be deceived. Political means, to ensure political results, involving great principles of national policy, they will sanction; but when it shall once become manifest to their minds that political means are only used to smooth the way to broad, and uncontrolled, and unconstitutional power; that the hue and cry of political demagogues is to be raised against every principle, and every institution of the country, and every co-ordinate branch of the Government that opposes the inroad, or does not lend itself to the advance of power, then, sir, my life on it, they will shake off the infatuation which has hitherto palsied their energies, and in the bold and energetic language of the ironcrowned monarch of ancient Lombardy, exclaim, o Gare à qui la touche.” Sir, they will not be satisfied with the means proposed and now offered to them by the majority of this House to silence their cries, and evade their
petitions for redress; they will reject the bill offered by
the honorable chairman of the Committee of Ways and
March 1 18,523, 18900 10,385,439 15 2,035,985 00
Being more than the reduction of loans by
October 1. The deposites were
Certainly, sir, we have before us a fine comment upon the wisdom of our rulers, and the sagacity of our minister of finance! In the midst of the general hurrah, the bank has quietly pursued the even tenor of her way, and has actually paid off nearly eleven millions of her liabilities, finding herself at this moment with more funds in her possession than when she sat out. Such, Mr. Speaker, is the general result of this war of persecution against the Bank of the United States. Calm, temperate, and just, her board of directors have anticipated every blow aimed at the interests of the country, and have protected the institution over which they preside from the violence which has fallen with an iron hand upon the people. The following table fully develops the general condition of the bank on the 1st day of June instant. It presents an argument in itself worth all that could be said or written, and ought to convince the people of the benefits which might be derived from an institution so regulated, and so solvent, under circumstances of general harmony and prosperity, when it presents such results under circumstances of so widely different a character. On the 1st day of June, 1834, the bank owed to depositors, public and private, Owed to holders of its notes,
Unclaimed dividends on its own stock,
Here, then, is a mass of property of more than seventytwo millions bound for the safe-keeping of the public funds, and the performance of the duties of commissoiners of loans and pension agents. Compare this security, Mr. Speaker, with that offered by these deposite banks, and surely we may wonder how the wicked policy under which the country now groans can be permitted to continue. I must be allowed to notice one other matter. It is certain that there have been large importations of specie into the country during the late winter and spring; and I have heard it triumphantly announced on this floor as one of the happy consequences of the President's measures. The gentlemen who used this language, if they knew no better, are grossly deceived. The whole amount supposed to have reached our shores has been estimated at about six millions; it has not probably been so much. This specie comes either direct from England and France, or more generally from Mexico to New Orleans, and thence to New York and Philadelphia.,
Since the 1st day of October, 1833, the Bank of the United States has introduced into the ports of Philadelphia and New York—
From Europe, direct, - - - $1,000,000 From the South, - - - - 2,500,000 Making a total of - - $3,500,000
The bank has imported this large amount of specie with a view to place her own solvency beyond all manner of doubt, and to enable her the better to sustain that crisis which must inevitably result from the measures of the Government. This importation has had the effect desired, and public confidence has increased towards that institution. But what becomes of the two million five huudred thousand dollars over and above that imported by the bank? What effect has it had upon the business of the country? To what degree has it restored, either generally or partially, that 'confidence among the merchants and traders so essential to their welfare and that of the country at large, and which has of late been so utterly annihilated? To what amount has it tended to increase the circulation of values, or to afford facilities in the making of payments? None whatever, sir. The business of the country is at a stand; the whole year has been thrown away; confidence still holds aloof, and the means of employment are infinitely diminished; nor do I believe, Mr. Speaker, that four times the amount would produce any effect whatever on the general concerns of the nation, until the proper remedies are applied by Congress itself. Of this, sir, I have but little hope; and although there may be a redeeming spirit in the country and her institutions sufficient to carry her safely through the calamities ahead, yet, sir, I, for one, can never consent to prove the vigor of our constitution at the expense of so much individual distress. Before I conclude, I must be allowed to notice one more subject. Among the many clamors raised against the bank, it has been attempted to arouse public indignation against her for the republishing of valuable public documents and speeches of members of Congress. I cannot believe, sir, that, when this matter is temperately viewed, the people will disapprove of it. What possible injury has it or can it effect? Do these documents contain any thing prejudicial to the interests of the people, or adverse to the institutions of our country, or to the soundest republican doctrine? No, sir; no one will dare to say they do. They contain the best collection of facts, and the soundest political views; and, without exception, they breathe the purest and most elevated principles of liberty. Sir, we are now at the close of a long and most painful session of Congress. On the part of the friends of the administration, every argument has been used, and every effort employed, to sustain the administration in all its policy, and especially the President in all his views and assumptions. These arguments have been distributed in large quantities, and public opinion has decidedly repprobated most of them. Still, sir, they continue to be disseminated among “the party,” and every true liegeman is bound to receieve them as his rule of faith. Now, sir, wherein consists the sin of the bank? She has spread the antidote wherever the poison has reached; she has thrown light where it was sought to perpetuate darkness, and the people have felt the influence of that light. They have become acquainted with the great principles of our constitution and of civil liberty, and have been taught the danger likely to result from the unconstitutional and alarming doctrines of “presidential protests.” They have acted accordingly, and the sin is visited upon the bank: with what justice, I feel confident I can rely upon the people to say. I intended, Mr. Speaker, to have said much more on