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with an analytical attempt to ascertain the exact propor-
not, in most instances, be exchanged directly for those of
another, that the returning or paying value must be cur-
val from the local commerce would be deeply felt. The
the metallic coins,
Withdraw all bank notes under five dollars, and silver dollars and halves will rapidly fill their place.
Withdraw all notes under ten dollars, and the same effect will be produced in a higher degree.
The excellent proposition of the committee on coins will, if passed into a law, greatly aid this operation, by causing gold to circulate with silver, and thus enabling us to diminish the quantity of bank notes more than we could otherwise do.
By carrying it still further, and withdrawing all bank notes under twenty dollars, gold and silver pieces would soon fill their places.
We need not fear going too far—the danger is in doing
too little, not too much.
We see the limit fixed, by the
Even if any apprehensions
Strong indeed must be the prejudices, and bitter the party feeling, which will prevent a western man from sup|porting it. Those who come from the cities, who have been associated with the stockholders and stock brokers, for them there may be some excuse, however weak and | insufficient. But we of the West, who are not saddled |oth such a moneyed power, nor yet cursed with the system in all its complicated and injurious excess--we, whose constituents are industrious farmers and mechanics, whose property depends upon a stable currency, how we can oppose the measure passes my knowledge. If the |bank party dislike the financial system of the Government, as now existing, they should vote for this bill, to place it on a better footing. I agree, with them, that it is inexpedient to leave the temporary arrangement made by the Treasury as it is. Highly as I esteem the ability and integrity of the Secretary of the Treasury, and the pure patriotism and enlightened judgment of the President, I would not wish the State banks to remain connected with the Government as they now are, unless an imperious necessity required it. For once, let us thrust aside party barriers, and move on calmly and impartially in the discussion and adoption of this measure. If the distressed gentlemen are really desirous of applying a corrective to our fluctuating currency, if they will cease awhile from panic speeches and panic letters, and |turn seriously to the business of legislation, an opportuni|ty is now afforded of applying that correction. Grant that the mode of applying it be not the one they would prefer, yet they should lend their aid in rendering it as effectual as possible. I do not myself believe that the system proposed in the bill will effect the purpose as easily and as rapidly as a properly-constituted United States Bank would do. But for two years we cannot bring into operation a new bank, even if we were all agreed as to the restrictions required by the constitution. The measure proposed is the only one which is practicable. It has been shown to answer the purposes of the Government; it cannot operate injuriously until the United States Bank notes are withdrawn from circulation, and by that time, if we join heartily in applying the corrective provided by the bill, it will be out of the power of any or all the banks to seriously affect our currency. Meanwhile, it leaves us perfectly free to modify or abolish it, as experience may direct. A decent respect for our constituents should of itself induce us to support this measure, that we may learn the opinions to which the events of the last six months have given rise, instead of forestalling their influence by binding them down to an institution which they may utterly reject. But the hope of their acquiescence is, perhaps, visionary. It is the necessary consequence of high excitement, that men, acting in mass, are, by their own momentum, forced farther than any one individual would have gone. Party animosity grows into a habit; and those who are tainted with it read, speak, and think, of but one side. It is far more probable that they will do as some of them have done before. The same influences were brought to bear when the last United States Bank approached the expiration of its charter. A quotation from a speeeh of the same distinguished geutleman from whom l have already quoted, will show an identity as remarkable as it is reprehensible.
Extract from Mr. Clay's speech on the bill to renew the bank charter of 1791, made in Congress, February 15, 1811.
“I shall not stop to examine how far a representative is bound by the instructions of his constituents. . That is a question between the giver and receiver of the instruc. tions. But I must be permitted to express my surprise at the pointed difference which has been made between the opinions and instructions of State Legislatures, and the
opinions and details of the deputations, with which we have been surrounded, from Philadelphia. Whilst the resolutions of these Legislatures—known, legitimate, constitutional, and deliberative bodies—have been thrown in the back ground, and their interference regarded as officious, these delegations from self-created societies, com: posed of whom nobody knows, have been received by the committee with the utmost complaisance. Their communications have been treasured up with the greatest diligence. Never did the Delphic priests collect with more holy care the frantic expressions of the agitated Pythia, or expound them with more solemnity to the astonished Grecians, than has the committee gathered the opinions and testimony of these deputies, .# through the gentleman from Massachusetts, pompously detailed them to the Senate! Philadelphia has her immediate representatives, capable of expressing her wishes, upon the floor of the other House. If it be improper for States to obtrude upon Congress their sentiments, it is much more highly so for the unauthorized deputies of fortuitous congregations.”— History of Bank, p. 354. I leave to others the application of the quotation. Prophecies of ruin were then made, and the prophets worked anxiously for their fulfilment. The same who prophesied that the election of Jefferson, the repeal of the sedition law, the war, nay, our many victories, would ruin us. Happy country, that could thus be ruined! Although the gentleman from whom I have quoted no longer advocates the principles for which he then contended, notwithstanding this and other changes read to us the humiliating lesson, that, while events sweep onward in one unvarying chain of cause and consequence, the men who patriotically and ably struggled against them at one time become their pliant tools at another; yet enough of those who were then foremost in the democratic cause still remain among us, to aid us with their counsel and experience. A speech made against the recharter of the United States Bank in 1811, by my honorable friend from Kentucky, [Colonel Johnsox,] then, as now, a distinguished member of this House, furnishes an explanation of the F. and a guide to the future. This contest is to him ut a repetition of the battles of his youth, and will but
out the commercial part of the United States, arising from bankruptcies in England, which have occasioned the return of many bills from England protested. These are the causes which produce distress, and will continue to produce it, until we are a people less dependent on foreign commerce. But believing as I do on this subject, viewing the effects of this great political moneyed institution with abhorrence, I would not vote for it, let the temporary distress be what it may. I would rather see the present crop of hemp brought to one deposite, which would make a bulk larger than this Capitol, and consumed with a lighted torch, and ascend to the heavens in smoke as a sacrifice, than vote for the passage of this law; and, sir, the people I represent would justify my vote. They would bear the loss without a murmur, they would act the part of freemen worthy of freedom, they would magnanimously bear the calamity without complaint, if their patriotism required the sacrifice. They are a most worthy people, a virtuous people, an enlightened people, a glorious people, descendants of this great American family, inheriting that spirit of independence which equally sustained our cause under defeat and victory, upon all the battle-grounds of our Revolution. I will not be alarmed out of my vote by clamor, no matter from what quarter it may assail me. I never will be driven from my duty by alarms and fears. I will stand firm to the cause I conceive to be just, and the people will support me; they despise wavering and temporizing. If you continue this charter twenty years more, you can never put it down.” See p. 233.
“No, sir; instead of having petitions which would reach from the Speaker to the seats of the members, you would have them packed upon your tables until they would intercept my view in addressing you. Yes, sir, they would rise up higher, and implore that Goddess of Liberty who presides over the deliberations of this House. We are told that this bank is necessary to the collection, safe-keeping, and the transmission of the revenue to dif. serent parts of the United States. It is stated that the State banks are strangers to us, and cannot be trusted with the deposite of public money. I am sorry to hear such a sentiment. It has originated from a panic, an
increase the many obligations which this country grate
fully acknowledges to be due to him. “The influence of this bank is palpable and notorious. We have the evidence from the long roll of petitions now imploring Congress to renew the charter. If in twenty years this bank is to be the idol of some and the alarm of others—if the solvency of so many individuals depend on. it—if ruin and devastation will, in the event of its dissolution, spread wide in the country—then, sir, it will only require twenty years more to make it stronger than the Government. To induce us to vote for this institution, we have been persuaded, flattered, alarmed, petitioned, and threatened; and we have been amused with the rise and history of the banking system.” How truly this presents the present power of the bank; and the succeeding paragraph may apply now to the entire West as it then applied to Kentucky. Again: “My colleague, [Mr. McKee, ) whose opinions I had been in the habit of considering as my own, until this unfortunate question which divides us, has stated that, in his opinion, the dissolution of this institution would be felt by the citizens of the Western country, and that our surplus hemp would not command as good a price. I differ in opinion from my colleague, if he suposes the Western country will feel any great pressure rom the dissolution of this bank. I grant, the people of Kentucky may not be entirely exempt from some inconveniences common on such an event. But our produce will fall from other very different causes. Interruptions in commerce, stagnation in trade, bankruptcies through
alarm, an ideal danger. That great and good man, the Secretary of the Treasury, has told you otherwise by his report now before me, of date 12th January, in which it |appears that of about $2,400,000, upwards of $800,000 are deposited in the State banks, $75,000 of which are deposited in the State Bank of Kentucky, and I should be sorry if it was not as safe there as in the hands of the United States Bank, in the possession of foreigners. If State banks will not do, let the United States build vaults for the safe-keeping of the revenue.
“But, sir, the alarming consequences which must arise from a dissolution of this corporation. It will deprive us of a circulating medium, it will interrupt commerce and produce bankruptcies. It is to produce the distress of farmers and the ruin of merchants; it is to prevent emigration, and it is to strike the foundations of the Government. This picture gives me no alarm. It is the picture of a wild and distempered imagination. If serious injury will be felt by many in the power of this moneyed aristocracy, I feel and sympathize with the sufferings of those who may be needy without any fault of their own; but something is due to posterity, and even in that point of view I am not willing to entail upon them the baneful effects of a great moneyed corporation, with a capital of twenty millions of dollars, extending its arms of power and influence to every part of the United States, and having the destiny of good men within its control, whenever it receives the nod to exercise its giant power. No, sir, I am ready to see and feel the sad crisis which has been described. If we die with less money, we shall live in more honor and enjoy more happiness. I wish to see is the greater reason why the poison should be destroyed. Like the strong man we read of in holy writ, let us see if the violent death of this corporate body will pull down the pillars of the constitution, that another Volney may sit upon the ruins of this Capitol and mourn the fallen empire of this great and happy republic.” These arguments are at this moment entirely, peculiarly applicable. At that time they were deemed amply sufficient by the democratic party throughout the Union; and time, however much it may change individuals, cannot change principles. Those who advocate these principles will be with the people, whether their opponents call them democrats or tories, and their opponents will be against the people, whether their names be federals or whigs. Let us fervently hope that no national disasters will now occur to force us from the judicious application of these principles. The, war which followed the expiration of the charter of the last United States Bank, stimulated the State banks to excessive issues, which drove specie out of the country, and stimulated a wild spirit of adventure, that raised prices far beyond the proper standard. On the return of peace, when our excessive paper-money prices came in collision with the cash values of foreign countries, the bubble burst at once, spreading ruin over all. The general failure of the ill-managed banks, and the utter prostration of business, created a universal necessity, whose urgent calls occasioned the chartering of the present bank. Thus hastily ushered into existence, with powers heedlessly granted, far more than it was safe or expedient to grant, the bank was raised into successful operation by the elastic nature of public confidence, a wanton abuse of which has been its ruin. But we are now safe from a like disaster, and the safety is strengthened by our knowledge of the causes of such disasters. We can now proceed to apply these principles to our legislation. The people always have sustained them, and always will sustain them. The only hindrances are such as may be presented by the skirmishes of a party warfare. We have had, unfortunately, too much of this already. It has protracted our session and occupied our time to no purpose, except an injurious and angry excitement. Legislative discussions, whose sole object should be the ascertainment of great political truths, have been converted into opportunities for the exhibition of the ingenuity or the passions of the debaters, or for the far less pardonable purpose of deluding the public mind as to the causes which have affected the public interest. Recent votes have shown that a large majority of this House are weary of such discussions, and are willing to unite upon the measures required by the public interest. I shall be gratified if the reasons which l have presented, and which, upon careful examination, have convinced my own judgment, shall have the slightest effect in aiding this purpose. - We all desire to make an arrangement which will facilitate the financial operations of the Government and correct our national currency. Those who believe (and I am one of them) that a United States Bank, properly restricted, would best effect these two objects, will agree with me, that our own dif. ferences of opinion, as to the nature and extent of these restrictions, render the organization of it utterly impracticable, and its organization, even if practicable, would be utterly useless during the two years that must intervene before it goes into operation. The arrangement proposed by the bill is shown to be practicable by former and recent experience. It is the only one that can possibly exist until the present bank charter expires. It binds us to nothing; it is incapable,
H. of R.] The Deposite Bill. [JUNE 24, 1834.
whether so much depends upon this corporation: If so, it
during that period, of doing any injury; it diminishes central, and increases State influences, and offers a definite mode for the gradual correction of our currency, the common object of all. Should it prove incompetent, I shall readily join in adopting another system; and in the examination of the present arrangement, and its comparison with the new system, we shall be aided by the experience of the intervening time, and guided by the opinions of our constituents, with which we shall then be fully acquainted. By adopting this measure we shall quiet the excitement which has extended its baneful influence even to the personal relations of the members of this House; we shall be able to part in cordiality and kindness, and to meet our constituents with the happy consciousness of having faithfully performed the duties which they assigned to us, When Mr. LANE had taken his seat, Mr. McVEAN rose and commenced by stating that he desired to call the attention of members to the position the House occupied in relation to the subject-matter then under discussion. We have (said Mr. McV.) passed a resolution declaring that the charter of the Bank of the United States ought not to be renewed; we have passed a resolution declaring that the deposite of the public moneys ought not to be made in the United States Bank; and we have also passed a resolution declaring that provision ought to be made by law to continue the deposite of the public moneys in the State banks. It is in affirmance of, and with a view to carry into effect, the principle advanced in the last resolution, that the bill now under consideration was introduced by the Committee of Ways and Means. Its adoption is opposed by the gentleman from Georgia, [Mr. Fosten,) and other gentlemen who have this day addressed the House, on the ground that the public moneys were illegally removed from their deposite in the United States Bank. I shall briefly state the main argument advanced in support of this position, and then endeavor, with equal brewity, to give it an answer. The argument is, that the act of removal originated with the President, whilst the discretionary power of removal was confined to the Secretary of the Treasury, not as a subordinate, but as an independent officer of the Government; that, although, in point of form, the Secretary did the act, it was, in spirit and in truth, the act of the President, who had no right to advise, direct, or control that officer; and the act, not being his, according to the true intent and meaning of the law, is, for that reason alone, reversible. Sir, if these premises were true, I should concur in the conclusion, for I am as far as any person from giving my approval to any measure of Government which rests its claim for that approval on its former accuracy alone. I will, sir, permit an officer of Government, in a court of justice, or in enforcing obedience to his official commands, to show, in his justification, that all the formalities of law have been observed by him. But here, sir, at the bar of this House, or at the bar of public opinion, I will allow no such justification. The act must be right, not only in form, but in substance also. Not only the body must be persect, but the animating principle also. The independence of the Secretary of the Treasury is attempted to be maintained, on the assumption that the Treasury Department is not an Executive department; and this assumption, it is said, is proved by the peculiar phraseology of the act establishing the Treasury Department, as well as by the particular mode of expression adopted in the bank charter. The act creating the Treasury Department does not, either in its title or in its body, denominate it an Executive department, in express terms; and in this it differs from some of the acts establishing the the other Executive departments of the Government. From this difference it is argued that Congress intend
ed, by this most obscure negative implication, to deny
surprising; for I aver that it is not in the power of human
the expediency of that measure. . It is, I believe, admitted by nearly all the members of this House that the State banks must be used as a depository of the public moneys, if the Bank of the United States is not to be rechartered. The gentleman from Illinois, near me, [Mr. DU.NcAN, J as a substitute for the bill reported by the Committee of Ways and Means, has offered a bill to recharter the Bank