ePub 版

H. or R.]

Bank of the United Stales.

(May 22, 1834.

a case.

the cases of Wiley and Higbee. The former had been a subject for the ridicule of all who ranged themselves student at Danville for several years; he returned home under the banner of constitutional freedom. to Garrard county just before the election, voted, and How do the principles of that case apply here? Who came back to the college in Mercer soon after the elec- sets up new rules in this controversy? Do we? No, sir, tion, to pursue his studies. The other was a student at we ask for no innovation. We want no new test. We the law school in Lexington, Fayette county. He came do not complain of the criterion by which such cases down to his father's, in Jessamine, a few days before the have been formerly determined; on le contrary, it is the election, votel, and returned to Lexington. In both very thing we desire. We call upon the House to conform cases the committee decided these votes to be good; and, to it. We deprecate all rules, except those which are as the gentleman from Pennsylvania said of the appoint- derived from the constitution and laws of our country. ment of Mr. Grant, no one complained of our decision. One word more, sir, and I am done. I have now given They both voted for Mr. Letcher.

my views of this subject, with some of the reasons that Apply the same principle to the other students at Dan. induce me to entertain them. It is for the llouse to deville, who came there from distant States and counties, cide who is right and who is wrong. With that decision and their votes must be excluded. It was upon this prin. I shall content myself, let it be what it may; believing that ciple the committee decided; and, in the opinion of a I have discharged my duty, and that other gentlemen will majority, ten votes were necessarily stricken from the discharge theirs, according to the dictates of their own polls as illegal.

understandings. But I shall be pardoned for saying Another decision of the majority has been the subject that I do most solemnly believe, if the principles advanced of animadversion. I allude to the votes which are alleged by the majority of the commitiee are adopted, then we to have been improperly entered upon the poll-book, or sanction a rule that will secure to us all the privileges to have been omitted by the clerk entirely. There are guarantied by the charters of American liberty. On the several of these on both sides, and proof was taken by the contrary, if the doctrines maintained by the gentlemen parties to establish the facts.

who oppose us shall be ratified by a decision of this Under all the circumstances, the committee deemed House, and carried out to their legitimate consequences, it safer to rely upon the poll-books, the records made by we adopt a rule of the most pernicious character; a prinrespectable men under oath, than to permit individuals to ciple which, like a slow and deadly poison, will infuse its come forward and change the whole face of the poll-book, baleful influence through all our political institutions, unand the result of the election, by swearing that they til the proud and glorious fabric, erected by the labors, voted, and their names have not been recorded; or that and cemented by the blood, of a valiant ancestry, will they voted for a different candidate from the one in whose crumble into dust in the presence of their descendants, favor their names are recorded. We were not prepared who will have lost the power to preserve an inheritance to say that a case might not be presented in which it of such inestimable value. would be proper to alter the record by parol testimony; When Mr. IamEr had concluded but we were clearly of the opinion that this was not such Mr. BINNEY rose in support of the amendment, and No change, therefore, was made.

in opposition to the report of the committee. He The committee were strengthened in their position by contended that the prescription, of time, place, and manthe decision of the Senate of Kentucky, in the case be- ner of election, was not intended to restrain, but to profore referred to of Williams and Mason. Having such mote the exercise of the right of suffrage; that these respectable authority in aid of the reasons which arise were not essential, but circumstantial forms; and that the from the nature of the question, and which will suggest House was bound to give effect to the voice of the peothemselves to the mind of every gentleman, we deter- ple, whether these forms were observed or not. Mr. B. mined to leave the poll-books as we found them. illustrated his views by a great variety of analogies and

Mr. Speaker, the case of Wilkes and Luttrell has been cases, and contended that, upon the facts presented, the introduced here during this debate, and for what purpose votes referred to in the amendment ought to be taken into I know not. Is it believed by the gentleman to be an the computation. Mr. B. also contended that the votes of analogous case? In what does the analogy consist? Do the theological students, at Danville, rejected by the they fear that this case will be improperly decided, as that committee, ought to have been allowed to Mr. Letcher, onquestionably was? If it should be, i ardently hope, which, with those referred to in the amendment, would sir, that some modern Junius may be found who will rouse give that gentleman a majority of two voles over Mr. the public attention to the subject, and never lay down Moore. These positions were argued at length upon the his pen until he has the satisfaction to see his opinions laws and constitution of Kentucky, which alone were, he universally adopted as a standard, and the erroneous judg- said, applicable to the case. The precedents and cases ment of this House expunged from our journals. determined by the House had no bearing; the House

It is some time since I read the history of the case under being, by the constitution, made the judge of the qualifica, consideration. According to ny recollection of it, Wilkes tions of the elected, but not of the electors which bea was expelled by a vote of the House of Commons. The long exclusively to the State. people re-elected him, by a very large majority, over his Mr. Binney having concluded his argument-competitor, Colonel Luttrell. He appeared at the door Mr. THOMAS, of Maryland, asked leave to present of the llouse of Commons, and demanded his seat; but the report of the commitee appointed to examine the the House determined that his previous expulsion dis- affairs of the qualified him from holding a seat, and that the votes

BANK OF THE UNITED STATES. given to him were void. Upon these principles they decided, and gave the seat to his competitor. They did Mr. WATMOUGII objected; not because he wished wrong in this. Such a disqualification as they recognised, to impede the consideration of the subject of the report, arising from expulsion, was wholly unknown to the con- but because an important subject was now before the stitution and laws of England. Even Judge Blackstone, House, the discussion of wbich he was not willing to have who had written expressly upon this subject, and had not broken in upon. mentioned any such disqualification, was induced to come After some minutes' conversation, out in defence of the decision of the House. But with all Mr. WATMOUGH withdrew his objection. his ability and learning, he was unable to sustain it, and Mr. THOMAS then made his report, and moved that those who took the other side of the question had no it be laid on the table, printed, and made the order of the diflicully in holding him up to the public gaze as a fit day for Tuesday week.

Mar 26, 1834.]

York county (Pa.) and Norfolk (Va.) Memorials.

(H. OF R.

Mr. MASON said he hoped the gentleman from Mary Mr. MILLER withdrew his motion to postpone, and land (Mr. Thomas) would not insist upon the motion to moved to lay the report of the Committee of Elections, lay the report upon the table.

together witli the amendments thereto, on the table. Mr. THOMAS assenting, the motion was restricted to Mr. JONES demanded the yeas and nays. printing, and making the report the order of the day for Mr. MILLER withdrew the notion. Tuesday week.

Mr. McKINLEY moved to adjourn. Mr. SELDEN called for a division of the question. Mr. BEARDSLEY demanded the yeas and nays.

It was divided accordingly, and, being put upon the Mr. GHOLSON demanded that the hour be recorded printing, it was agreed to.

on the journal, (viz: half past four o'clock.) It was orThe question then recurring on making the consid- dered. eration of the report the order of the day for Tuesday Mr. CLAY insisted that a motion to adjourn was not week

in order, as the House had negatived such a motion a few Mr. WATMOUGH said he was desirous that the sub- minutes since, and no action of the House had been had ject of the report should be brought up in time to receive since. the action of the House; but he could not but consider The CHAIR admitting the motionit as somewhat hasty to appoint, at this time, so early a Mr. CLAY took an appeal, but afterwards withdrew it. day a3 Tuesday week, especially when so important a The yeas and nays were then taken, and stood: Yeas question as that now before the House was not decided, 92, nays 88. nor likely to be for some time; besides which, there were So the House adjourned to Monday next. a number of bills of paramount importance still unacted on, besides other things which might be disposed of be. fore the attention of the House should be concentrated on

Monday, May 26. the subject of this report.

GLOUCESTER.COUNTY (VA.) MEMORIAL. He did not like to make a motion to lay the report on The consideration of the memorial presented by Mr. the table, as that might be considered invidious; but he Wise, on the 13th instant, with the resolutions, &c. moved would move to amend the motion by substituting Tuesday by him, which were the special order for this day, was (Fo weeks.

(owing to the absence of Mr. W.) postponed, on motion Mr. CLAY suggested that, if the House should not be of Mr. E. WHITTLESEY, until Monday next. prepared to proceed with this subject on the day first YORK COUNTY (PA.) MEMORIAL. proposed, it could then be postponed. Mr. WHITTLESEY remarked that, if this was a good Pennsylvania, for the restoration of the public money to

The memorial from the inhabitants of York county, reason, it was good against ever fixing a day for the con- the Bank of the United States, and for the recharter of sideration of a subject. He would submit to gentlemen from the West that not a solitary bill had yet been the Bank of the United States, coming up as the unfinish

ed businesspassed for Western objects, and he would put it to them whether they would vote for any special order which

Mr. BARNITZ moved that the said memorial be refer. was likely to defeat, by deferring, all the bills in which red to the Committee of Ways and Means with instruc

tions to report, they were interested? For one, he was not willing to postpone all matters of this kind, to bring back the bank the United States, made prior to the 1st of October last,

os That 'the removal of the deposites of the moneys of question.

Mr. VANCE said he was not opposed to the fixing of was not authorized by law. any day the committee might prefer. He hoped his col

“ That the reasons assigned by the Secretary of the league would withdraw ali opposition to the proposition. Treasury for removing and withholding the deposites Mr. WATHOUGH said, that as he had received from be reported to recharter the United States Bank, with

from the United States Bank are insufficient. That a bill the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Mason) and a gentleman on his left, the assurance that it was not the wish such limitations and modifications regarding the capital or purpose of the committee to interrupt the considera- stock and the powers and duties of the directors as the

committee deem expedient." tion of the appropriation bills, and other measures of general importance, he should withdraw his amendinent.

In support of the resolution, Mr. B. entered into an The motion of Mr. THOMAS was then agreed to; and argument embracing views of the policy of the Governthe consideration of the report of the bank committee ment in relation to the custody and legal disposition of made the order of the day for Tuesday week.

the revenue, the powers of Congress, and the rights, duMr. E. EVERETT, from the same committee, then ties, and obligations of the bank; and not having conpresented a report from the minority, which was, in like cluded his remarks, the further consideration was postmanner, ordered to be printed, and made the order of the poned until Monday next: Ayes 79, noes 42. day for the same day.

NORFOLK (VA) MEMORIAL. Ulr. VANDERPOEL moved for the printing of an ex. The memorial and resolutions adopted by a meeting tra number of ten thousand of both reports.

held in Norfolk county, Virginia, in favor of the restoraObjection was made.

tion of the deposites of the public moneys to the Bank of Mr. CLAYTON moved an adjournment.

the United States, being taken upOn this motion, Mr. BEARDSLEY demanded the yeas Mr. LOYALL said that the memorial and resolutions

before the House, from one of the counties of his district, They were taken accordingly, and stood: Yeas 87, disapproved, in strong terms, the course of the Execunays 92.

tive, in relation to the Bank of the United States. They So the House refused to adjourn.

are signed by largely upwards of four hundred persons, Mr. MILLER now asked leave to move for the printing represented to be a majority of the voters of the county; of an extra number of the reports.

and as one of the resolutions of the series instructs me, Objection being made, he moved to suspend the rule. said Mr. L., as far as these memorialists can instruct me, The CHAIR pronounced this motion not to be in order. to vote for the restoration of the deposites, it is incumbent Mr. MILLER then moved to postpone the considera- upon me to state the grounds of the vote, which your jourtion of the subject now before the House.

nal will show, I have already given upon that proposition; On this motion Mr. JONES demanded the year and contrary, I own, to the wishes of a large portion of my con

stituents, yet under a deep sense of all the obligations of Vol. X.--266

and nays.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

the trust confided to me. This duty I should have asked that my opinions upon the deposite question would be leave to discharge, when the proceedings of this meeting altogether free from the bias of those long-settled convicwere first presented, but for the lateness of the hour. tions. I have, as far as possible, however, divested my As I am perfectly aware of the impatience of the House, mind of all prejudice derived from the impure origin of under any further discussion connected with the deposite this institution, and endeavored to view the question in its question, I now promise to acquit myself of this obliga- more direct connexion with the powers of the Executive, tion in a very concise manner.

and its influence upon the great interests of the country. Although, Mr. Speaker, prior to the opening of the I do not propose, sir, to trespass upon the House by present session of Congress, opposition to this act of the entering at large into the discussion of these grave matters; Executive did not exceed, at least in a great degree, the but merely to touch a point or two, suggested by this opposition generally manifested to the prominent meas- memorial. The pain I experience in finding myself at ures of every administration, within a brief space after variance with the memorialists is somewhat alleviated by the representatives of the States and of the people had the moderation of their views, contrasted with the inassembled here, it assumed a most lowering aspect, and fammatory denunciations too often heard here. They the cry of usurpation and tyranny was soon echoed back speak, in the first place, of this as a "movement underto the Halls of this building, from almost every quarter taken by the Executive upon his own mere responsibility, of the Union. A most intense sensation suddenly per- without the concurrence of Congress.” If, in this, they vaded the public mind. By what agency it was mainly have reference to that section of the bank charter which produced, and has been sedulously kept up, every one authorizes the transfer of the deposites, whether the rewill determine for himself. Be that as it may, the sponsibility rests with the President himself, or the Sec. “ quick contagion" of the panic soon reached the good retary of the Treasury, or with both, it is the first time I people who sent me here. Public meetings were held in have heard a doubt suggested from any quarter that the almost every county and town of the district, and the transfer may not legally and properly be made, before proceedings of such as condemned the removal of the any action of Congress upon the subject. The charter deposites, when transmitted to me, were laid before the prescribes that “the deposites of the money of the United House, at the earliest moment allowable by the rule. States, in places in which the said bank or branches thereNotwithstanding the extraordinary excitement, and, 1 of may be established, shall be made in said bank or doubt not, the actual distress which prevailed among a branches thereof, unless the Secretary of the Treasury portion of my constituents, to a degree perhaps as great sball at any time otherwise order and direct; in which as in almost any other part of the country, down to the case, he shall immediately lay before Congress, if in sesperiod when the sense of this body was taken upon the sion, and if not, immediately after the commencement of resolution reported from the Committee of Ways and the next session, the reasons of such order or direction." Means, declaring that the deposites ought not to be re. It is obvious, then, that this movement,” as the memostored to the Bank of the United States, the aggregate of rialists term it, may be " taken” not only without the consignatures upon memorials received, instructing me to currence of Congress, but it is not until the Secretary has vote for their restoration, amounted to about eight hun exercised the power reserved by the charter, that the dred, of all sorts; which, together with the signatures concurrence or non-concurrence of Congress is called for, upon the one now submitted, make the whole over or can be bad. twelve hundred. Admitting then every name upon the This, I dare say, is a view peculiar to the author of several memorials which had reached me, when I was the memorial, and was, doubtless, overlooked by many called upon to yote for or against the resolution of the in the hurry of signing their names, which we may readicommittee, as a duly qualified voter, the sum total, as 1 ly imagine often bappens in such cases. When the Sechave stated, was about eight hundred. The meeting retary of the Treasury, under this section of the bank which adopted this memorial was held on the 6th day of charter, which is nothing more than the express reservaMarch, more than two months previous to the date of its tion of a pre-existing power, shall direct the deposites of reception; leaving me, during this tedious lapse of time, the money of the United States to be withdrawn from the without even notice of its adoption, from any one author- said bank, or branches thereof, and has proceeded to lay ized to communicate it, whilst, too, no doubt could be en-before Congress the reasons which induced him to give tertained that the question upon which it was proposed to the order, the whole matter is under the control of Coninstruct me would, in the interval, be disposed of. gress, subject to such further direction as in their wisdom

Holding myself in all things bound to submit to the may seem fit. guidance and control of a majority of my constituents, to Now, sir, this angry and protracted controversy has give effect, in all cases, to their expressed will--implicitly arisen out of the act of the President in displacing one to obey that sovereign mandate, except when it cannot Secretary, who would not withdraw the deposites from be done without dishonor and a perjured conscience--1 the Bank of the United States, and appointing another, anxiously looked, from the earliest movement in my dis- who caused them to be withdrawn; and it involves the trict upon this question, for such an expression of popular extent of the President's control over his cabinet officers, sentiment as would indicate the path I should pursue. Is together with the right of the Secretary of the Treasury this such an expression of that sentiment as should satisfy to withdraw and withhold the deposites of the money of me that I stand opposed to a majority of the voters of the United States from the bank, under a just and fair my district? Does it, taken in connexion with other cir- construction of this provision of its charter. These ques. cumstances, furnish such strong presumption of disagree- tions lie within a very narrow compass, and if we could ment as to require of me either the surrender of the by any means disentangle them from the fierce struggle clearest and strongest convictions of my deliberate judg- of conflicting parties which has been carried on, if not in ment, or of my seat here? These are inquiries with this House, most certainly elsewhere, with far different which I have no wish to trouble the House; but I will pro- views than to settle them according to the constitution ceed to state very briefly the reasons that have brought and law, we sliould find them neither difficult nor comme to conclusions which, I regret to say, are not sustain- plicated. ed by this very respectable portion of my constituents. The Executive power of the United States being vest

Having ever held the opinion that Congress, in incor-ed by the constitution in the President, it is his paraporating the Bank of the United States, acted without mount duty, and almost bis sole function, to superintend authority from the constitution, and that serious evils have the several departments established by Congress, and see resulted from this assumption of power, I could not hope that the laws are faithfully executed. He is required, by

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint sary as the only means of arresting a measure deemed by all officers of the United States, whose appointments are the President not only inexpedient but illegal, I apprenot otherwise provided for, and which shall be establish- hend we should have heard but little, at all events, from ed by law. The participation of the Senate was intended the friends of the bank, of this tremendous responsibility, only as a check upon the power of appointment, which, this alarming usurpation, tending to the concentration of without some such check or guard, might be exercised, all power in the hands of one man, and just as little of the on occasions, to confer offices on persons unworthy, or discretion reserved by the bank charter being exclusivetanifestly unfit to fill them. To this single object, of ly confided to the head of the Treasury Department. seeing that competent individuals are appointed to office, No one now seriously maintains, I believe, that the the action of the Senate is confined, the power of super- right to remove the deposites depends for its exercise vising and directing those who execute the laws resting merely upon the safety of the public money; nor that the exclusively with the President. The Treasury Depart- refusal of the bank to comply with any of its stipulated ment, as well as the other Departments, unquestionably engagements constitutes the only ground on which the exists by the will of Congress: they are created by the deposites can be withdrawn. The terms in which the Legislature, and the same power may, at any time, de- power is reserved are too broad and comprehensive to stroy them. But, so long, as by the constitution, the power give even a shadow of pretence to any such construction. of appointment, qualified as I have stated, rests with the Whether or not the reasons which, in compliance with President, the heads of these several Departments are, the requisition of the charter, the Secretary of the Treas. in all matters appertaining to the duties of their offices ury has laid before Congress, are such as rendered the respectively, subject to his supervision and control, and measure expedient and proper-whether or not it was to removal under responsibility for the rightful exercise or called for by the public interest or convenience-it would abuse of the power, And the power of removal does not be out of place to discuss here. As far as the rights of depend upon legislative grant, (though-confirmed, after the bank are concerned, however, I feel no hesitation in fall debate, by a solemn expression of the sense of the saying that the removal of the deposites from its custody Legislature in the act of '89,) but flows directly from the was entirely justified by transactions which clearly show Executive office, and is restrained only by the discretion a deliberate, systematical design, in that corporation, to of the President, under the constitutional guarantees acquire strength and influence, in utler disregard of the against its undue exercise. It matters not, then, by what essential objects of its creation, and the fundamental artiname we may please to call the Treasury Department, cles of its charter. If the charter has been violated by whether Legislative or Executive, (no one, I presume, the removal of the deposites, the bank is unquestionably will be disposed to baptize it Judicial, though some of its entitled to remuneration. Yet we have heard, from no functions partake, in a degree, of that character,) the quarter, that compensation ought to be rendered for this duties devolving upon the officer who presides over it alleged'invasion of its rights. The truth is, there is about are, in their very nature, strictly Executive; and it is, the same foundation for the charge of broken faith in the therefore, not only the right, but the duty of the Presi- one case, as for the assumption of unconstitutional power deni, in whom the Executive power is vested, to super in the other. rise and control, and, when necessary, to remove him. I am instructed, as far as this portion of my constituents Any argument drawn from the possible or probable can instruct me, to vote for the restoration of the deposabuse of this power, is altogether illogical, and, if en. ites. If, sir, I entertained a different opinion in relation Giled to any notice whatever, goes to impugn the wisdom to this Executive proceeding—if I really conceived that of those who framed the constitution, and does not touch the President has assumed the exercise of a power over the question properly before us.

the treasury not granted to him by the constitution and This, sir, I have ever considered as the true theory of laws--that the act of the Secretary of the Treasury, dithe constitution, carried out in practice under every ad- recting that the deposites of the public money shall not ministration. But a new faith has suddenly sprung up, be made in the Bank of the United States, was illegal, and all who will not subscribe to its dogmas--maintaining and should be regarded as the bitter source of all the disthat "unity and competen: powers are essential to the tress, embarrassment, and ruin, already endured, and, as Esecutive' -are branded as the advocates of usurpation we are warned, still greater in prospect--if I had enough and despotism. For myself, I utterly repudiate this spu- of the genuine Whig spirit to stand up against this monrious reading of our fundamental charter, which aims strous usurpation--even in that case, believing as I do that to strip the Executive of all power, and practically to to restore the deposites would inevitably lead to the reannihilate one of the great co-ordina'e departments of charter of the bank, I could not, in common decency, this Government. I will never consent to shift a solitary vote for their restoration. My opinion upon this constiparticle of the power, vested by the constitution in the tutional question was openly declared, and severely canChief Magistrate, to other hands than those chosen by the vassed throughout the district; and elected as I was with people, who look to the President, and hold him respon- a full knowledge of my uncompromising opposition to the able for the faithful execution of the laws. In England, bank in every possible aspect, I could not, without a fla"the King is unaccountable for his administration-thé grant breach of the trust confided to me, record a vote council furnishing a substitute for the prohibited respon. here, tending directly, according to my view, to prolong sibility of the Chief Magistrate.” With us, "the ingredi- the existence of this corporation beyond the limitation of ents which consitute safely, in tbe republican sense, are: its charter, and thereby eventually, through its vast a due dependance upon the people, a due responsibility.” moneyed influence, to build up an extraneous power, And when we look into the constitution for the guaran. setting at defiance the utmost control of the Government; tees of this responsibility of the President, we find them for rail as we may about lawless pretensions and Executive amply provided in "his election once in four years by encroachments,' I would rather encounter the most persons immediately chosen by the people for that pur. daring usurpations which, masked under any other forms pose, and his being at all times liable to impeachment, of law and the constitution, the reckless ambition and uniral, dismission from office, incapacity to serve in any holy passions of the very worst men could bring to bear other, and to the forfeiture of life and estate, by subse against the liberties of the people, than meet this corpoquent prosecution, in the common course of law.” If ration, secure in her dominion, and arrayed in all her the recusant Secretary, in this case, had insisted on the chartered privileges, during another term of twenty removal of the deposites against the judgment of the years. President, and his removal from office had become neces The memorialists pray Congress "to take speedy meas

H. Or R.]

Norfolk (Va.) Memorial.

[May 26, 1834.

ures to return to the Bank of the United States the public advantages claimed for it, and the greatest of all its carevenue, to quiet the people, to restore confidence to the pacity to furnish a more uniform and perhaps a safer curcountry, and prosperity to the land.” These are certain- rency than the local banks. Still, this is no counterly most desirable ends. But is it the part of wisdom and poise to my objections, even on the score of expediency. prudence to take the measure proposed, for the purpose For one, I would rather submit to the partial evils of an of relief, of mitigating the existing pressure, and allay- unequal currency, than be exposed to the tremendous ining the general discontent, when, if the charter is not to Auence of a moneyed corporation, capable at any mobe renewed, all the multiplied evils of pecuniary embar: ment, from its peculiar organization and machinery, of rassment and suffering now alleged to prevail must fall raising or depressing the value of every article of propwith redoubled severity upon the country within a period erty in the country. I would rather incur a small loss in of less than two years? If the bank is to be rechartered, the shape of exchange, than that the price of every thing I grant, the sooner the deposites are restored the better, we have to buy or sell shall be subject to the capricious for then their removal would no longer be used to sub- edicts of a secret, irresponsible divan in Chestnut street or serve the purposes of party—the excitement, agitation, elsewhere; at one time granting extensive loans and acand panic which have produced snch distressing effects commodations; at another, by its merciless contractions, would disappear, and we might hope to escape, at least crushing trade, industry, and enterprise; 10-day engaged for a season, from the throes of that furious struggle, in in discounts and exchanges; the next, devoting its pawhich, under the auspices of a most formidable political triotic labors to politics and the press. league, the bank and press are engaged to break down To what extent the removal of the deposites may have this administration.

operated as the remote cause of “the great and general This corporation seems to be regarded by its more ar- pressure, and rapid depreciation of certain staples,” of dent friends as the “staple article of our moneyed sys- which the memorialists complain, I am unable to detertem.” It was created not long after the late war with mine. It cannot be said, however, that the reduction of England, with the confident prediction that it would bring discounts by the bank has been governed by the amount about a thorough reform in the currency of the country. of public deposites taken from its vaults; for we find that It was alleged that by means of such an institution only when its curtailments commenced, on the 1st of August could the mischiefs of a depreciated paper currency be lasí, (two months before the removal of the deposites,). arrested, the tendency of the local banks to overtrading the amount on deposite was $7,599,841; on the 1st of be controlled, and a sound and healthful circulation main- December it was $5,162,259, making a reduction of tained. “ In the preference given to its notes by the $2,437,582; on the 1st of August its discounts amounted 10 Government, and its being made the depository of the $61,160,349; on the 1st of Dec. they were $54,453, 104-public revenue, had its operations been conducted on sound showing a very large disproportion between the reprinciples, doubtless this bank might have effected much duction of discounts and ihe diminution of deposites. good in relieving the community from the evils of a gene- How far the operations of the United States Bank conral suspension of specie payments by the local banks. tributed 10 the state of things which led to the overBut, instead of going to work in good faith to realize the trading and excessive importations of 1831, we may predictions of its advocates, its beneficence was display- readily conceive, vlen the statements, in October, ed in a total departure from all the established principles 1829, show a total of discounts and bills of exchange of of banking, its benefits were illustrated by temptations $39,969,052; and in May, 1832, a total of $70,428,070. thrown out, without stint or measure, to cupidity and ex-" In the short period of two years and seven months, there travagance, in the disastrous results of extensive loans to was an increase of $30,668,018 in the accommodations farmers, manufacturers, traders, speculators, and to stock the bank afforded to dealers.” Under what circumstanholders, to enable them to pay for their shares of the ces, political or otherwise, this enormous augmentation of capital.” The bank commenced active operations in Jan-loans was made, it does not fall within the scope of these uary, 1817, and, within a little more than two years, we desultory remarks to inquire; they form a part of the were told by Mr. Cheves (who, at a most critical junc history of the times; and had it pleased the President and ture, had been invited to preside over its affairs) thai “in his associates to allow an examination into the more recent Philadelphia he found no one, in or out of the bank, who operations and present condition of the institution, the deentertained a sanguine belief of its being able to sustain tails thus elicited, with this increase of facilities, might its payments much longer, and that the nation was about have furnislied together a mass of interesting information, to suffer the calamity of a currency composed entirely of financial and other, calculated to clear up many points at irredeemable paper.”

present not a little controverted. The great object proposed by the establishment of this I did not intend, sir, to have trespassed so får upon the bank, besides a sound currency, was to correct the pre-indulgence of the House. What I have said is merely in vailing “ disorder of over-trading, brought on by over-defence of my own conduct. It is painful to me to opbanking." And how was this accomplished? By flood- pose the wishes of any portion of my constituents. If the ing the country with its own paper, thus affording a vote which I have given upon the deposite question is not temptation to the local institutions to aggravate the evil ultimately sustained by a majority of the district, the trust by still more extensive issues. Within the brief period confided to me must pass into other hands.

I have ennamed, the country was involved in a most disastrous state deavored to execute it in good faith; and I feel that my of pecuniary embarrassment and suffering; heavy and whole course, in relation to the United States Bank and oppressive curtailments were resorted to. “ The bank the deposites, bas been governed by a most rigid and was saved, but the people were ruined.” Every por. scrupulous regard to the just demands of popular sentition of the community groaned under the pressure--com- ment. mercial credit prostrated--trade paralyzed--"the whole There is one thing in which I entirely agree with the train of mercantile operations deranged"-real property memorialists--that is, as to the importance of the present greatly depreciated--its rents or profits rapidly declining- crisis. Indeed, I question much whether there has ever the price of every staple article reduced-thousands of before happened a period more directly involving the fate able-bodied men wandering about the streets of the of popular rights-so pregnant with consequences deeply larger cities, unable to find employment. This dismal pic- and vitally affecting the grent principles of our Guvern. ture, taken from the journals of the day, exhibits some ment. And what has produced this portentous state of of the early results which followed the establishment of things? Was it the simple act of transferring the deposthe present bank. Yet I am disposed to concede all the ites of the money of the United States from this bank to

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »