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this subject. I desired to have laid before the country the views and principles which have governed the administration of the bank, as they are developed in the report of the 1st of April. I find, however, I cannot do it better than it is already done by that report itself. I there. fore append it to my remarks, and ask for it a candid consideration. (See Appendix to speech.) With this, Mr. Speaker, I close. I believe, solemnly and conscientiously believe, that in this great contest are involved every right dear to freemen, and every interest connected with the happiness and welfare of the people. I have opposed the encroachments of executive power, because in them I see the ruin of my country, and the corruption of all sound, moral, and political sentiment. I have been startled at the influence of executive patronage, and have seen the most unquestionable principle of national policy abandoned at its bidding. I warn my countrymen to look to it in time. I have sustained the Bank of the United States as a great conservative principle of national policy; as such, confined by patriotic agents within the sphere of her legitimate duties, she has no influence; she can command none; she is lost, simply because she neither can nor will command any. What, however, cannot the Executive command and effect? Need I warn my countrymen? Let them carefully weigh the events of the last two years. Let them look to the conduct of the majority of this House, in reference to the votes on the sufficiency of the Secretary of the Treasury’s reasons. Let them ask themselves why this House has constantly refused to look into the affairs of the Post Office Department; and then let them say to themselves, “Shall we for ever suffer ourselves to be hoodwinked by this cry about the bank, the monster, while every principle dear to us is successively destroyed, and all the institutions of the country given up to the spoiler?” Sir, they will no longer be deceived. I rely upon their integrity, their patriotism, and their love of order. The country is in danger, the constitution is assailed, the law is trampled under foot, and they will fly to the rescue.
APPENDIX TO MR. WATMOUGH'S SPEECII. Utica, September 1, 1826.
To the honorable the President and Directors of the Bank of the United States: GENTLEMEN: The undersigned, inhabitants of the town of Utica, in the State of New York, would respectfully solicit your attention while they lay before your board some of the grounds which present themselves in favor of locating a branch of the United States Bank in this place. In the first place we would mention, what cannot have escaped your observation, that this town has the advantage of being situated in the centre of the State, in the midst of a fertile country, and surrounded by a great, a growing, and a rich population; and although this people, in the main, are occupied in agriculture, yet there are among them a great many who employ their capital wholly in mercantile and manufacturing operations. The towns and villages in this great western district, and especially on the line of the canal, are thriving and enterprising in a very great degree; and we think we may say, without exaggeration, that Utica by far exceeds them all in the enterprise of their merchants and mechanics, and in the amount of capital employed in busines3. Nor can it be overlooked that this country is surrounded by water communications, which extend its commerce and moneyed circulation into the Canadian British dominions, the Michigan Territory, and several of the States bordering upon the great western waters—advantages to a
banking institution in extensive credit, which must be
seen at a glance by those who understand its various and ramified operations. The deposites and circulation of such an institution must necessarily be great in such a country, with such a population, and such extensive commercial resources. In addition to this general outline, we beg leave to state that the banking capital employed in this district of country is, by far, inadequate to its wants. We feel a confidence in stating that from two to five hundred thousand dollars more might be employed with profit to the stockholders, and advantage to the country at large. We have, it is true, one bank, and the branch of another more west, in operation here; but their capital is not great, and they have always divided nine per cent., and more than once have divided fifteen per centum per annum. As we suppose that your honorable board will not enter into the measure of establishing a branch here, or at any other place, without making particular inquiries into every fact and circumstance which may bear upon the subject, we do not at present enter into greater detail. We cannot forbear, however, to press upon your attention the following points: That this place, being the local centre of the State, and from its flourishing condition now, containing about six thousand inhabitants, and from its rapid progress in population and wealth, there is every reason to believe it will be fixed upon, ere long, as the seat of the State Government; that, from its situation and capital, it cannot but continue to draw within its focus the mercantile business of a great surrounding country; that, from these and other circumstances, the circulation of the bills of the United States bank must be very extensive in every quarter, except the East, from this centre; that a branch here may be particularly subservient to the transactions of the General Government on an extensive frontier, and in offering a safe place of deposite for its funds, whether to be employed or collected in this section of the United States. We hope and trust that this slight view will draw the attention of your honorable board to this place, in selecting a proper position in this State for another branch bank; and we think we may safely refer you for information on this subject to all the enlightened and disisterested bankers and merchants in the State of New York. Hoping to receive, in convenient time, a favorable answer to this application, we would subscribe ourselves, most respectfully, your obedient servants, William Williams, James Donell, S. Beardsley, J. S. Porter, Moses Bogg, Kellogg Hurlburt, Alex. Seymour, William Clarke, Robert Shearman, Charles E. Hardy, B. B. Lansing, Joseph Kirkland, N. Williams, John C. Devereux, G. Bacon, Samuel Stocking, Ab. Varick, R. R. Lansing, A. Cooper, T. H. Hubbard, John Williams, Edward Vernon, James Platt.
To the Directors of the Bank of the United States: the memorial of the subscribers, in behalf of themselves and their fellow-citizens in Albany, respectfully showeth:
That, since the completion of the northern and western canals of this State, such facilities are given to transportation that the quantities of country produce brought to this market from the interior of the State are increased to an immense amount, and when to this is added the produce which will be brought to this market from the fertile regions of the northwestern parts of Pennsylvania, the State of Ohio, and the Territory of Michigan, some idea may be formed of the amount of business which might be done in this place, were a sufficient moneyed capital located here to give countenance and support to commercial enterprise. The capital of the banks located here, under State incorporations, is entirely insufficient to afford those facilities to commercial enterprise which
the business of the place would warrant, and which the most cautious prudence would justify. The limited capital of our banks forbids the extension of our trade. Merchants of moderate fortune are discouraged from taking up their abode amongst us, from a knowledge that the banking capital of the place is not adequate to the demands which are made upon it, for the prosecuting of a sufficiently extensive business to render it profitable; and instances are not wanting of active, intelligent, aud enterprising merchants removing from this place to the city of New York, to participate in the benefits of the increased banking capital there, although their business principally has been continued with the interior of this State. The western world is pouring its treasure into the market at Albany; but its citizens are doomed, with tantalized feelings, to behold a rich and profitable trade float past them to the city of New York, solely for the want of a sufficient banking capital located amongst them. Could the produce brought to this place be purchased here, such portion of it as is not wanted for home consumption might be exported directly from here to a foreign market, (as far as the navigation of the Hudson would permit,.) and return cargoes, calculated for the inerior of the country,
might be imported, without being subjected to the expense of transhipment at New York, or the profits of the importing merchant there. These considerations have
induced the citizens of Albany once more to ask for he
establishment of a branch or office of discount and de-
tablished there conclusively show that it would be a source of profit to the present institution. Indeed, it is believed that a branch here would be more profitable, in reference to the extent of business done, than several of the branches located in seaport towns.
Albany renders it an entrepot between the Eastern
States and the Western countries, between the South and
the North; and, consequently, a very extensive currency
would be given to the bills issued from a branch here; and on the consumers.
established at this place, the circulating medium of the
public moneys. as the same causes which render it desirable to the citizens !
of Albany to have a branch of the United States Bank es-led.
The local situation of
Alhasr, July 10, 1826.
SENATE CHAMBER, January 29, 1811.
Sift: The committee of the Senate to whom has been referred the memorial of the president and directors of the Bank of the United States, praying for a renewal of their charter, have directed me to request you to state to the committee, whether, in your opinion, the renewal of the said charter will greatly facilitate the collection of the revenue, and promote the public welfare. In complying with this request, it is expected that you will furnish the committee with the facts and reasoning upon which your opinion has been formed, together with such information upon this subject as may be in your possession.
I am, sir, respectfully,
Your most obedient and very humble servant, W.M. H. CRAW FORD. The Hon. ALBERT GALLATIN.
The Asuny DEPARTMENT, January 30, 1811.
Sin: Having already, in a report to the Senate of the 2d of March, 1809, expressed my opinion in favor of a renewal of the charter of the Bank of the United States, an opinion which remains unchanged, I can only add a few explanatory remarks in answer to the inquiries of the committee, as stated in your letter of yesterday.
The banking system is now firmly established, and, in its ramifications, extends to every part of the United States. Under that system, the assistance of banks appears to me necessary for the punctual collection of the revenue, and for the safe-keeping and transmission of That the punctuality of payments is principally due to banks, is a fact generally acknowledgIt is, to a certain degree, enforced by the refusal of credit at the custom-house, so long as a former revenue bond, actually due, remains unpaid. But I think, nevertheless, that, in order to ensure that precision in the collection, on which depends a corresponding discharge of the public engagements, it would, if no use was made of banks, be found necessary to abolish, altogether, the credit now given on the payment of duties—a measure which would affect the commercial capital, and fall heavily That the public moneys are safer by being weekly deposited in banks, instead of accumulating in the hands of collectors, is self-evident. And their transmission, whenever this may be wanted, for the purpose of making payments in other places than those of collection, cannot with any convenience be effected on a large scale, in an extensive country, except through the medium of banks or of persons acting as bankers.
The question, therefore, is, whether a bank, incorporated by the United States, or a number of banks, incorporated by the several States, be most convenient for those purposes.
State banks may be used, and must, in case of a nonrenewal of the charter, be used by the Treasury. Preparatory arrangements have already been made to that eflect; and it is believed that the ordinary business will be transacted, through their medium, with less convenience, and, in some respects, with perhaps less safety, than at present, but without any insuperable difficulty. The difference with respect to safety results from the organization of the Bank of the United States, by which it is responsible for the money deposited in any of its branches, whilst each of the State banks which may be employed will be responsible only for the sums in its own hands. Thus, the Bank of the United States is now answerable for the moneys collected at New Orleans, and deposited there in its branch—a security which will be lost under a different arrangement. Nor will the United States have any other control over the manner in which the business of the banks may be conducted than what may result from the power of withdrawing the public deposites; and they will lose that which a charter, or a dependence on the General Government for a charter, now gives over the
Bank of the United States. The facility of obtaining such accommodations as may at times be wanted will, for the same reason, be lessened, and the national power will, to that extent, be impaired. It may be added that, even for the ordinary business of receiving and transmitting public moneys, the use of a State bank may be forbidden by the State; and that loans to the United States are, by many of the charters, forbidden, without a special permission from the State. As it is not perceived, on the other hand, that a single advantage will accrue to the public from the change, no reason presents itself, on the ground of expediency, why an untried system should be substituted for one under which the Treasury business has so long been conducted with perfect security to the United States, and great convenience, not only to the officers, but also to all those who have had payments of a public nature to make or to receive. It does not seem necessary to advert to the particular objections made against the present charter, as these may easily be obviated by proper alterations. What has been called a national bank, or, in other words, a new Bank of the United States, instead of the existing one, may be obtained by such alterations. The capital may be extended, and more equally distributed; new stockholders may be substituted for the foreigners, as had been suggested in the report of 2d March, 1809; and any other modifications which may be thought expedient may be introduced, without interrupting the operations of the institution now in force, and without disturbing all the commercial concerns of the country. If, indeed, the Bank of the United States could be removed without affecting either its numerous debtors, the other moneyed institutions, or the circulation of the country, the ordinary fiscal operations of Government would not be materially deranged, and might be carried on by means of another general bank, or of State banks. But the transition will be attended with much individual, and, probably, with no inconsiderable public injury. It is impossible that an institution which circulates thirteen millions of dollars, and to which the merchants owe fourteen, should terminate its operations, particularly in the present unfavorable state of the American commerce, and after the great losses lately experienced abroad, without giving a serious shock to commercial, banking, and national credit. It is not intended to overrate the extent of an evil which there are no certain data to appreciate. And, without expatiating on the fatal and unavoidable effects on individuals; without dwelling on the inconvenience of repaying, at this time, to Europe, a capital of seven millions; and without adverting to other possible dangers of a more general nature, it appears sufficient to state that the same body of men who owe fourteen millions of dol. lars to the bank, owe, also, ten or twelve to the United States, on which the receipts into the Treasury for this year altogether depend; and that, exclusively of absolute failures, it is improbable that both debts can be punctually paid at the same time. Nor must it be forgotten that the approaching non-importation will considerably lessen the efficiency of the provision by which subsequent credits
—arg refused to importers who have not discharged former
revenue bonds. Upon the whole, a perfect conviction is
the legitimate powers of the General Government, the
Letter from Mr. Madison to C. J. Ingersoll.
DEAR SIR: I have received your friendly letter of the 18th instant. The few lines which answered your former one of the 21st of January last were written in haste and in bad health; but they expressed, though without theat. tention in some respects due to the occasion, a dissent from the views of the President as to a Bank of the United States and a substitute for it, to which I cannot but adhere. The objections to the latter have appeared to me to preponderate greatly over the advantages expected from it; and the constitutionality of the former I still regard as sustained by the considerations to which I yielded in giving my assent to the existing bank. The charge of inconsistency between my objection to the constitutionality of such a bank in 1791, and my assent in 1817, turns on the question how far legislative precedents, expounding the constitution, ought to guide succeeding Legislatures and to overrule individual opinions. Some obscurity has been thrown over the question by confounding it with the respect due from one Legislature to laws passed by preceding Legislatures. But the two cases are essentially different. A constitution, being derived from a superior authority, is to be expounded and obeyed, not controlled or varied, by the subordinate authority of a Legislature. A law, on the other hand, resting on no higher authority than that possessed by every successive Legislature, its expediency, as well as its meaning, is within the scope of the latter. The case in question has its true analogy in the obligation arising from judicial expositions of the law or succeeding judges, the constitution being a law to the legislator, as the law is a rule of decision to the judge. And why are judicial precedents, when formed on due discussion and consideration, and deliberately sanctioned by reviews and repetitions, regarded as of binding influence, or rather of authoritative force, in settling the meaning of a law. It must be answered, first, because it is a reasonable and established axiom, that the good of society requires that the rules of conduct of its members should be certain and known, which would not be the case if any judge, disregarding the decisions of his predecessors, should vary the rule of law according to his individval interpretation of it. Misera est servitus ubi jus estaut vagum aut incognitum. Second, because an exposition publicly made, and repeatedly confirmed by the constituted authority, carries with it, by fair inference, the sanction of those who, having made the law through their legislative organ, appear under such circumstances to have determined its meaning through their judiciary organ. Can it be of less consequence that the meaning of a constitution should be fixed and known than the meaning of a law should be so? Can, indeed, a law be fixed in its meaning and operation, unless the constitution be so? On the contrary, if a particular Legislature, differing in the construction of the constitution from a series of preceding constructions, proceed to act on that difference, they not only introduce uncertainty and instability in the constitution, but in the laws themselves, inasmuch as all laws, preceding the new construction, and inconsistent with it, are not only annulled for the future, but virtually pronounced nullities from the beginning.
MESSAGE of TIRE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO Bo'TH Houses of congress,
...At the commencement of the First Session of the Twentythird Congress.
Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives: On your assembling to perform the high trusts which the people of the United States have confided to you, of legislating for their common welfare, it gives me pleas. ure to congratulate you upon the happy condition of our beloved country. By the favor of Divine Providence, health is again restored to us: peace reigns within our borders: abundance crowns the labors of our fields: commerce and domestic industry flourish and increase; and individual happiness rewards the private virtue and enterprise of our citizens. Our condition abroad is no less honorable than it is prosperous at home. Seeking nothing that is not right, and determined to submit to nothing that is wrong, but desiring honest friendships and liberal intercourse with all nations, the United States have gained throughout the world the confidence and respect which are due to a policy so just, and so congenial to the character of the American people, and to the spirit of their institutions. In bringing to your notice the particular state of our foreign affairs, it affords me high gratification to inform you that they are in a condition which promises the continuance of friendship with all nations. With Great Britain the interesting question of our Northeastern boundary remains still undecided. A negotiation, however, upon that subject, has been renewed since the close of the last Congress, and a proposition has been submitted to the British Government, with the view of establishing, in conformity with the resolution of the Senate, the line designated by the treaty of 1783. Though no definitive answer has been received, it may be daily look. ed for, and I entertain a hope that the overture may ultimately lead to a satisfactory adjustment of this important pratter. I have the satisfaction to inform you that a negotiation which, by desire of the House of Representatives, was opened, some years ago, with the British Government, for the erection of light-houses on the Bahamas has been successful. Those works, when completed, together with those which the United States have constructed on the western side of the Gulf of Florida, will contribute essentially to the safetyof navigation in that sea. This joint participation in establishments interesting to humanity and beneficial to commerce, is worthy of two enlightened nations, and indicates feelings which cannot sail to have a happy influence upon their political relations. It is gratifying to the friends of both to perceive that the intercourse between the two people is becoming daily more extensive, and that sentiments of mutual good will have Vol. X. —A
grown up, befitting their common origin, justifying the hope that, by wise councils on each side, not only unsettled questions may be satisfactorily terminated, but new causes of misunderstanding prevented.
Notwithstanding that I continue to receive the most amicable assurances from the Government of France, and that in all other respects the most friendly relations exist between the United States and that Government, it is to be regretted that the stipulations of the convention concluded on the 4th of July, 1831, remain, in some important parts, unfulfilled.
By the second article of that convention, it was stipulated that the sum payable to the United States should be paid at Paris, in six annual instalments, into the hands of such person or persons as should be authorized by the Government of the United States to receive it; and by the same article the first ins'alment was payable on the second day of February, 1833. By the act of Congress of the 13th July, 1832, it was made the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to cause the several instalments, with the interest thereon, to be received from the French Government, and transferred to the United States, in such manner as he may deem best; and by the same act of Congress, the stipulations on the part of the United States, in the convention, were, in all respects, fulfilled. Not doubting that a treaty thus made and ratified by the two Governments, and faithfully executed by the United States, would be promptly complied with by the other party, and desiring to avoid the risk and expense of intermediate agencies, the Secretary of the Treasury deemed it advisable to receive and transfer the first instalment by means of a draft upon the French minister of Finance. A draft for this purpose was accordingly drawn in favor of the cashier of the Bank of the United States, for 'the amount accruing to the United States out of the first instalment, and the interest payable with it. This bill was not drawn at Washington until five days after the instal. ment was payable at Paris, and was accompanied by a special authority from the President, authorizing the cashier, or his assigns, to receive the amount. The mode thus adopted of receiving the instalment, was officially made known to the French Government by the American chargé d'affaires at Paris, pursuant to instructions from the Department of State. The bill, however, though not presented for payment until the 23d day of March, was not paid, and for the reason assigned by the French minister of Finance, that no appropriation had been made by the French Chambers. It is not known to me that, up to that period, any appropriation had been required of the Chambers; and although a communication was subsequently made to the Chambers by direction of the King, recommending that the necessary provision should be made for carrying the convention into effect, it was at an advanced period of the session, and the subject was finally postponed until the next meeting of the Chambers.
Notwithstanding it has been suppos by the French 23d Cong. 1st SEss.]
Message of the President of the United States.
ministry that the financial stipulations of the treaty cannot be carried into effect without an appropriation by the Chambers, it appears to me to be not only consistent with the character of France, but due to the character of both Governments, as well as to the rights of our citizens, to treat the convention, made and ratified in proper form, as pledging the good faith of the French Government for its execution, and as imposing upon each department an obligation to fulfil it; and I have received assurances through our chargé d'affaires at Paris, and the French minister plenipotentiary at Washington, and more recently through the minister of the United States at Paris, that the delay has not proceeded from any indisposition on the part of the King and his ministers to fulfil the treaty, and that measures will be presented at the next meeting of the Chambers, and with a resonable hope of success, to obtain the necessary appropriation. It is necessary to state, however, that the documents, except certain lists of vessels captured, condemned, or burnt at sea, proper to facilitate the examination and liquidation of the reclamations comprised in the stipulations of the convention, and which, by the sixth article, France engaged to communicate to the United States by the intermediary of the legation, (though repeatedly applied for by the American chargé d'affaires under instructions from this Government,) have not yet been commu. nicated; and this delay, it is apprehended, will necessarily prevent the completion of the duties assigned to the commissioners within the time at present prescribed by law. The reasons for delaying to communicate these documents have not been explicitly stated, and this is the more to be regretted as it is not understood that the interposition of the Chambers is in any manner required for the delivery of those papers. Under these circumstances, in a case so important to the interests of our citizens and to the character of our country, and under disappointments so unexpected, I deemed it my duty, however I might respect the general assurances to which I have adverted, no longer to delay the appointment of a minister plenipotentiary to Paris, but to despatch him in season to communicate the result of his application to the French Government at an early period of your session. I accordingly appointed a distinguished citizen for this purpose, who proceeded on his mission in August last, and was presented to the King, early in the month of October. He is particularly in structed as to all matters connected with the present posture of affairs, and I indulge the hope that, with the representations he is instructed to make, and from the disposition manifested by the King and his ministers in their recent assurances to our minister at Paris, the subject will be early considered and satisfactorily disposed of at the next meeting of the Chambers. As this subject involves important interests, and has attracted a considerable share of the public attention, 1 have deemed it proper to make this explicit statement of its actual condition; and should I be disappointed in the hope now entertained, the subject will be again brought to the notice of Congress in such a manner as the occasion may require. The friendly relations which have always been maintained between the United States and Russia have been further extended and strengthened by the treaty of navi. gation and commerce concluded on the 6th of December last, and sanctioned by the Senate before the close of its last session. The ratifications having been since exchanged, the liberal provisions of the treaty are now in full force; and, under the encouragement which they have secured, a flourishing and increasing commerce, yielding its benefits to the enterprise of both nations, affords to each the just recompense of wise measures, and adds new
It affords me peculiar satisfaction to state that the Government of Spain has at length yielded to the justice of the claims which have been so long urged in behalf of our citizens, and has expressed a willingness to provide an indemnification as soon as the proper amount can be agreed upon. Upon this latter point, it is probable that an understanding had taken place between the minister of the United States and the Spanish Government before the decease of the late King of Spain; and, unless that event may have delayed its completion, there is reason to hope that it may be in my power to announce to you, early in your present session, the conclusion of a convention upon terms not less favorable than those entered into for similar objects with other nations. That act of justice would well accord with the character of Spain, and is due to the United States from their ancient friend. It could not fail to strengthen the sentiments of amity and goodwill between the two nations which it is so much the wish of the United States to cherish, and so truly the interest of both to maintain.
By the first section of an act of Congress passed on the 13th July, 1832, the tonnage duty on Spanish ships arriving from the ports of Spain was limited to the duty payable on American vessels in the ports of Spain, previous to the 20th October, 1817, being five cents per ton. That act was intended to give effect, on our side, to an arrange. ment made with the Spanish Government, by which discriminating duties of tonnage were to be abolished in the ports of the United States and Spain on the vessels of the two nations. Pursuant to that arrangement, which was carried into effect, on the part of Spain, on the 20th of May, 1832, by a royal order dated the 29th April, 1832, American vessels in the ports of Spain have paid five cents per ton, which rate of duty is also paid in those ports by Spanish ships; but, as American vessels pay no tonnage duty in the ports of the United States, the duty of five cents payable in our ports by Spanish vessels, under the act above mentioned, is really a discriminating duty, operating to the disadvantage of Spain. Though no complaint has yet been made on the part of Spain, we are not the less bound by the obligations of good faith to remove the discrimination; and I recommend that the act be amended accordingly. As the royal order, above alluded to, includes the ports of the Balearic and Canary islands, as well as those of Spain, it would seem that the provisions of the act of Congress should be equally extensive, and that, for the repayment of such duties as may have been improperly received, an addition should be made to the sum appropriated at the last session of Congress for refunding discriminating duties.
As the arrangement referred to, however, did not embrace the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico, discriminating duties, to the prejudice of American shipping, continue to be levied there. From the extent of the commerce carried on between the United States and those islands, (particularly the former,) this discrimination causes serious injury to one of those great national interests which it has been considered an essential part of our policy to cherish, and has given rise to complaints on the part of our merchants. Under instructions given to our minister at Madrid, earnest representations have been made by him to the Spanish Government upon this subject, and there is reason to expect, from the friendly disposition which is entertained towards this country, that a beneficial change will be produced. The disadvantage, however, to which our shipping is subjected by the operation of these discriminating duties, requires that they be met by suitable countervailing duties during the present ses. sion—power being, at the same time, vested in the President to modify or discontinue them as the discriminating duties on American vessels or their cargoes may be modified or discontinued at those islands. Intimations have been given to the Spanish Government that the United