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26th Cong....1st Sess.
The Independent Treasury—Mr. Davis.
acquisition of wealth. He might as well under sell to whomsoever will buy them; and his anxious | for they have no necessary connection, but each take to stop the emotions and passions of the hu desire is to obtain the most liberal remuneration. may exist independent of the other. man heart. The only way to make men prudent The Senator says the value of it is regulated by Will the Senator maintain the proposition that and sagacious in business-and it is very desira
Not so, Mr. President, not so; but paper cannot and has not circulated without inflable they should be so- is to make them see far chiefly by the amount in market, and the demand tion or excessive credits in trade generally? I go enough into the future to avoid ruinous hazards; which exists for it; currency may, however, at further and ask im, if excess is anything more but the rash, who often have a passion for wealth, times, have its influence. If the supply is great than an occasional occurrence, growing out of will indulge illusive hopes and make ruinous bar and the demand small, then wages are necessarily markets quickened into activity by events rather gains, unless the Senator can enlarge their under- | low; but if the supply be small and the demand casual than permanent? Is there any excess of standings and increase their sagacity:
great, they are high. When business is flour- | paper in the usual course of business from sound There is but one process by which credit and ishing the demand is urgent, and wages rise; when banks who redeem and are able to redeem their speculation can be suppressed, and that is, by it is depressed the demand diminishes, and wages paper at sight, dollar for dollar, in metal? It is denying the means and facilities of business, not fall. Hence, too, in countries densely populated not easy to see how excess ever exists under such to speculators alone, but to all; and that is exactly the supply is necessarily greater, in proportion circumstances. I can go to-day into any bank what the argument of the Senator tends to. He to the business, than in countries thinly peopled. in Boston or New York, and draw out a dollar proposes to diminish the circulation, declaring Thus we see why wages in a great country, new with the same amount of paper, and that dollar that there is an inflation, when we are crippled and full of resources, like ours, are in quick is as good, and will buy as much, in France or down by the scarcity of money. He would di- demand; while in China, where there is a vast Germany, as any dollar there. The paper, then, minish io a vast extent the resources and ability surplus of population, the market is overstocked, is clearly worth as much as the silver, for it buys of lenders, when the public is in despair for want and they are low. Hence, too, it is, that in such it. If the paper of banks is maintained at this of circulation. He assumes that diminishing the conditions of society we always find the greatest value, and so redeemed at all times, it is not easy currency will diminish wages and the value of
poverty, suffering, and degradation. Bank paper to comprehend how it is inflated, or that more is property, and so it may be; but the first great and is obviously not the sole or chief cause which in circulation than is needed for use. The idea abiding result will be a diminution of business. fixes the value of wages.
of inilation presupposes some unsoundness. All His theory abolishes credit, and leaves nothing But, sir, let us pursue this subject a little further, money, metallic as well as paper, does and will but a reduced currency to do business with, and as it is capable of further illustration.
fluctuate in value,and if this be inflation, then gold no one can deny that a reduction of business must There are three great classes of laborers: those and silver is no more exempt from it than paper. It follow. Is the country prepared for this? Do who produce from the earth are agriculturists; | is by no means easy to determine which fluctuates we grow too fast? Is our enterprise too great? those who convert the products of the earth into oftentimes, money or property. Cotton is forty Do we labor too much? Have we too much to useful forms are manufacturers; and those who dollars a bale to-day; io-morrow it is thirty-five, eat, drink, or wear? Are our comforts and enjoy- | are engaged in transporting and exchanging the and next day forty-five; it does not follow that ments so multiplied that a sound policy requires products of the other classes are commercial. the cotton alone has fluctuated, or that it has they should be curtailed? What response will the These great divisions of mankind are founded on fluctuated at all; for gold and silver may be so people give to these inquiries? Let him who is no law but that of civilized, social existence. abundant as to depress the value of property, or willing to be pared down first stand forth and . In our country at least, each and every person so scarce as to raise it. It is every day's occurproclaim it. Wages are to be diminished by cur- may pursue any or all kinds of business. But rence to find gold and silver fluctuating in value, tailing the demand for them; for that is the effect experience teaches us the necessity of those commanding at one time a premium, and then of reducing business.
divisions, for wool, cotton, and flax are of little none; nay, under some circumstances, falling The Senator, in his argument, seemed to forget value till turned into cloth; but the farmer would below good paper: No matter what we have for that the evils of a contracting and contracted cur find it difficult to run a mill to make cloths, or to currency, there will be fluctuations in its value rency bear as oppressively upon the public, and build and sail'a ship to take his produce to market. greatly affecting trade, as a circulating medium more so, than those of expansion.. The differ- From this division, too, come our markets. We of uniform amount cannot be maintained any ence is this: in expansion, the weight of loss falls must have food and clothing, and we must obtain more than you can limit business to an exact on the creditor portion-in contraction, upon the them by an exchange of the products of labor; debtor portion; but in either case it is a grievous but we cannot exchange a horse or a watch for a This all proves what seems not to be well uncalamity. He cannot reduce the currency below joint of meat or for a pair of shoes; such property derstood, or Senators would reason differently, what is necessary, without even more suffering must first be broken into parts, and this is the that there is but one way to determine how much than arises from too much.
peculiar ofhce and almost the only use of money. circulation is necessary. It is impossible to asThe Senator from Mississippi (Mr. Walker] It measures the value of property, and brings it
certain how much money may be necessary for goes for the abolition of paper. The quantity into à form suited to our convenience. This is each member of the Senate for the current year, of specie in the country is not supposed to ex the relation which it bears to business, and no and it is equally impossible to anticipate the wants ceed about $80,000,000; the President put it at other; and while I admit its great importance, I of the great public. The question is left, there$85,000,000. This he argues would insure a deny that it lies at the foundation, and is the great fore, to be settled by the laws of trade, as all other great reduction of wages and of the value of prop-regulator of the affairs of men, as seems here to matters of business. We learn how much flour erty, which he insists will be beneficial. "The be supposed. The friends of this bill, I know, and corn are required annually by the demand Senator from Missouri (Mr. BENTON) is also for assume that we have an inflation, and that money for them. Just so we learn how much money metal alone; and these gentlemen have bestowed rules, guides, and regulates business; when, in is required to carry forward business, by the the highest encomiums upon the policy of the truth, the inquiries ought to be, first, how much ability of men to buy it. So much is necessary, hard-money countries. The latter is enchanted is necessary as a circulating medium, that we may be the amount great or small; and in a growing with the fact that the Hollanders have grown know whether there is an excess; and, second, country it would be just as wise to limit the rich and become great lenders of money, while does paper necessarily create an expansion, or amount of produce as the amount of monetary we are borrowers; and I will solve for him this unnecessary enlargement of the currency, that we , capital. Surely nothing can be more absurd than enigma upon his own principles. He imputes it may judge whether it ought to be abandoned. to attempt to determine the amount, without refto gold, and infers that we should be lenders if | These matters, which are assumed, are precisely erence to the exigencies of the country, to say that we had a metallic currency only. Who, Mr. what ought to be proved. The Senators assume eighty millions, or any other arbitrary amount, President, are the lenders of Holland ? Those as evident truth what is not apparent. They is enough. There is no advantage to be gained individuals who have amassed millions who at affirm that paper becomes redundant, excessive, by lowering the value of property, unless the one time owned most of this city, and who can inflated. But they do not atterept to establish the i same amount of labor or ihe same amount of buy up empires with their boundless wealth, fact by any proof. Since the first of January, property, enables us to obtain more of the neceshaving profited by a state of things which made 1838, our circulation has not much exceeded one saries of life. This fact should, therefore, be first the privileged few rich, while the many are left hundred millions; it may, at some periods, have clearly established, for the process is necessarily poor-while the laborer, as I can prove, gets but. reached one hundred and twenty, inclusive of attended with great sacrifices. The Senator from his 3d. and 4d. a day. This is the last policy we metal and paper. Is this excessive? Has it Pennsylvania seems to understand that reducing desire; the last that would be in harmony with reached a point above the urgent necessities of the circulation will reduce property and wages in the genius of our people or in unison with their business for two years past? If it has, how much the same ratio. If it does, in what is our conditrue interests. It is diffusive wealth that we de- is enough? Some days ago I put this inquiry tion bettered, even if we could reconcile debtors sire; a general prosperity among all; property distinctly to the Senate, and it remains, and will to it, who would be ruined? He seems to believe scattered everywhere, attainable by all who de remain, unanswered. If it can be proved that we that our relations in foreign trade will be improved, serve it; and thus invigorating a successful busi- have too much, it is not difficult to ascertain, with but I shall show him his error, and that he ought ness, in which all may participate, instead of sufficient exactness, what amount is necessary. to arrive at exactly the opposite conclusion; for amassing it in the pockets of a few. We are I desire Senators to make known the process by his theory, if carried into execution, would inborrowers; be it so. It is better, infinitely bet which they arrive at their conclusions in so vitally i flict upon the laborer, as well as the owner of ter, to borrow, and thus diffuse capital to excite an important matter. They seem to take it for property, the most injurious and oppressive conindustry and enterprise, than to amass it in heaps i granted that there is no evil but expansion to fear, sequences. He solemnly affirms, and I give him and become lenders to nations, with a nation of while nothing is more certain than that too small all credit for sincerity, that he believes a reducpaupers at home.
a circulating medium works out as great, if not tion in wages and property would be beneficial. But, sir, I fear I have dwelt too long on these greater, injuries than one too large.
Let us see. matters, and will hasten to notice that for which We have heard much declamation about bloated | Suppose that wages and property will be reI chiefly rose. Much has been said of labor, and credit, gambling and speculation, but it the exist duced one half by the bill—ihat is, if wages are what is it? I may say, without offense, it is a ence of all these were established at this moment now a dollar a day, they will be half a dollar; and commodity bought and sold like merchandise in | by unquestionable proof, it would have little tend- if beef and mution are now eight cents a pound, the market. A man has his skill and service to ency to establish the fact of excessive circulation, they will be four; and so of all the productions
26TH CONG....1st Sess.
The Independent Treasury—Mr. Davis.
of the United States, and of all property created To follow out the case I have supposed: The and educate themselves so well? The history of here. Upon this state of facts, as things are, the income of every man, except the exporter, is to the world proves nothing more certainly nothing laborer would have, at the expiration of twenty - be reduced one half in the value of wages and with clearer demonstration, than that where wages days' labor, twenty dollars to provide supplies property, while all foreign merchandise will cost are lowest there is the greatest poverty and sufierfor himself and family. As they will be, he will the same, which will obviously, in effect, double ing; there the condition of the laborer is most have ten dollars. Now, sir, be it remembered the price, as it will take twice the amount of forlorn and wretched; there is the least moral that we buy and sell in foreign markets by their 1. labor, or twice the amount of the products of and intellectual culture; and there our race is standard of currency, and that lowering wages labor, to purchase it.
sunk into the depths of political degradation, inand property here is to have no effect there, ac I do not ascribe this power to the bill, but it is capable of raising itself to that lotiy clevation cording to the reasoning of the Senator, as their enough for me that its friends do.
attained by a free, enlightened people, capable of currency must regulate the price of their wages will the farmers, mechanics, manufacturers, and governing their own affairs. It tends to the and products; but cotton is to sell, and goods are laborers make to such a flagitious proposition: opposite of everything dearest to us, for the to be bought, as if no change had taken place. | Can they be reconciled to such a measure of op descent will carry with it not only wages, but all Goods, therefore, will come into this country no pression? one that extorts from them the fruits the high qualities which fit us to be what we are-cheaper. If, then, the laborer goes into the mar of their industry to professedly enrich the planter free and independent. This is a sufficient answer ket with his money, as his, wages are, he will who now enjoys a prosperity unequaled in the to all that can be said upon the subject. have twenty dollars to expend in tea, coffee, su rest of the country? No, sir, such plans of sec Such is the remedy for the disease which afflicts gar, and the thousand necessaries which come tional aggrandizement, and such a disregard of our country; and while its advocates shadow from foreign countries; but if he goes into it as the interests of the greatest and most powerful forth its evils far beyond any conception of mine, they will be-ten dollars, under the operation of class of people in the country, can only excite | if the bill be carried into effect, as has been prothe new theory-it is plain, therefore, that with their disgust and indignation. Thus, sir, I have posed here, I must confess that I see in it nothing the same amount of labor, he can purchase but traced the benefits of this bill, if it have any, as io soothe or relieve the public-n thing to restore half as much foreign merchandise; in other words, | interpreted by its friends, to the rich and power-confidence, which is the great and desirable endit will in effect be doubled in price, while it is ap ful. I have, if I mistake not, demonstrated that nothing to avert future panics-nothing to stop parently the same. they are to be made richer by a tax upon their
this scramble after the gold and silver going on But the Senator did not stop here, for he al- less fortunate, but more industrious and more between us and other countries-nothing that has leged that, while the laborer would be in a better necessitous fellow-citizens-a tax that they never healing power enough to revive and maintain condition, the exporter of produce-that is, cot can and never will submit to so long as their i prosperity. ton, &c.-would derive a greater profit, the meas power can be felt through the ballot-box.
But, sir, much as remains to be said, I must ure of which would be the amount of reduction But, sir, this is not all. While we are thus to draw to a close, as my object was merely to notice of wages and of property, as he would thus be have intolerable burdens loaded upon us, to add some loading remarks of Senators, which have able to produce so much cheaper. To make my to the weight of our embarrassments, and to in- || developed the new and extraordinary doctrines self understood, I will proceed with the same crease our sufferings; and while the debtor portion of this Administration. I was anxious to vindisupposition that wages and property are to be of the public are to be crushed and ground to dust cate the rights of the great mass of the people, reduced one half. Then his theory is, that the between the upper and nether millstone of this who acquire their support by labor, and whose cotton-planter, for example, would produce his process, the man of money is not only to escape interests, as laying at the basis of all prosperity, crop at half the present cost, by the saving in unharmed, but to have his properly doubled. I have at all times and on all fitting occasions labor and the support of it, and consequently de He who holds cash, or its equivalent in notes, espoused and maintained with whatever of ability rive double profit. That he would produce cheaper bonds, or stocks, will be able to buy double the I possess. In this, sir, I have taken great and is undeniably true; and if he should sell for ihe amount of property with it, and will, therefore, sincere satisfaction, believing it to be the great same price he now does, and bring home specie, have its value doubled on his hands; for, while end of our free Government, and the only sure he would realize double profits, provided his la wages and property are to go down, money is to means of sustaining it. In the name and in beborers are supported wholly on the products of go up in the same ratio.
half of that great, powerful, and enlightened class the United States. This, however, is not the If the friends of the bill have given to it a true of my fellow-citizens of Massachusetts, whom I course of trade, or of business. But from whence construction, it is a bill of privilege to the rich, have the honor to represent, I enter my solemn would the profits come? Not from foreign coun but a scourge to all others.
protest against the doctrines here advanced; and tries, for no change is to occur there; but from What is the debtor portion of the public? Is if my voice could reach them in their dwellings, the pockets of every consumer of foreign goods it so insignificant as to be disregarded? Sir, I their shops, and on the decks of their vessels, I in this country, for the change is wholly in the will venture to assert that the amount of existing would exhort them not to be deluded by false wages and produce of our own country. The indebtedness in any commercial country is nearly, theories leading them on to ruin, but to rouse up idea is, that, if wages and property sink together if not quite, equal to the value of all property in their energies, and, at the bailot-box, manifest one half, the relative positions of ihe laborer and that country, whether it be rich'or poor, pros their indignation at all attempts to oppress them the owner of property are the same, for the la perous or unprosperous, and you cannot change, by diminishing their business and taxing their borer can purchase as much with one half the to the extent gentlemen have supposed, the rela- labor to enrich others. I would entreat them not money, and the same amount of property will tion of debtor and creditor, or thus diminish the to sit still and be made such as they see the dispurchase as much labor as before. But the la resources of the debtors without a crash, a waste, tressed and impoverished laborers of Europe and borer will, at the end of any given period, have and desolation, such as has never been experi- || Asla. but half as much money, and the same amount enced. Suppose a man has purchased $10,000
NOTES. of property will be worth but half as much; con worth of property at present prices, and given sequently all the surplus gains of the farmer, me his bond for it; you reduce its value one half,
are contained in Porter's Progress of Nations, and Wade's chanic, manufacturer, and laborer, will be but and it is worth $5,000. How is it possible that, History of the Middle and Working Classes, two recent and half what they now are, in nominal amount. Ir with resources thus reduced, most debtors can respectable authorities, relying for the correctness of the property in foreign countries should descend in ever pay?
facis contained in the following extracts chiefly upon the
statistics collected by the British Government. the same ratio, the most that could be said of our But, sir, you cannot maintain a state of things These developments show the farmer and all other workcondition is, that it is no worse, for it is obvious- such as has been supposed. You may embarrass ing men the condition or the working classes in Europe, and ly no better. But if we descend while they re and distress us as you have done, but this bill uport what limited means they subsist. It is this class of main stationary, and a profit is thence gained to will, in the end, work out no such advantages as
men with whom they are to run the race of cheap production.
and cohscquently of course and wretched existence; 1or the the exporter, nothing is plainer than that such are anticipated for the planters. The theory same causes wbich reduce them to hopeless penury will profit is drawn from the consumer of foreign contains in itself a principle that will defeat the produce like results here. It a few pence a day will not merchandise, as it will take twice as much of our end in view. Go on, sir, if you please, and so
support men there, it will fail to do it here. The intelligent
working-man of the United States will pause before he prelabor or products to buy it as is now required. legislate as to bring to the cotton planters the ex
cipitates himself into such irretrievable wretchedness to If the theory establishes the fact that the exporter traordinary profits anticipated, at the expense of cheapen the products of labor. He will inquire whether it is to reap double profits for cotton, it establishes, the other branches of industry; how long will it tends to clevale or depress his race; whether the privileges
and hopes of a freeman are utterly delusive, and end in rebeyond controversy, the fact also that that profit | be before that pursuit will be overloaded with
tracing his sieps to the degraded condition from which we will be a tax upon every man that consumes a competitors, till the market will be inundated
all believed we had escaped. In his descent from his presforeign article, and that it will be wholly drawn with cotton, and its price fall just in the ratio you ent commanding position, he may well carry with him from their pockets. The Senator has led him have stimulated its productions. Down it will, these reflections, sit down in despair, and spurn all the dazscif into an error by supposing that foreign prodown it must, by the laws of trade, come to a
zling theories of self-government as illusory, if they leave ductions are to come to us cheaper, while our exlevel with - the fall of other productions. And
him to subsist on the humble diet, and to grapple with the
sufferings of the most desolate portion of mankind. ports are to keep up where they are. He thinks what will be gained by the whole process ? Noth Wages in France.-Calais common laborers 7d. per day, ihe importer sells in a market intiated by paper, ing; absolutely nothing, except that it will take with board, and without dwelling; Boulogne, 5d. per day, and realizes an extraordinary profit. But he more of our labor and more of our productions to
do. do.; Nantes, 8d. per day, without board, and without
dwelling; Marsailles, 4d. to 7d. per day, with board and must perceive that the low and depressed state buy foreign merchandise; our gain wili turn lit without dwelling. The food in some districts " consists in of the working classes in Europe is proof enough erally into a loss. This is capable, I think, of rye bread, soup made of millet, cakes made of Indian corn, that no excessive profit is obtained here upon demonstration, if it does not already sufficiently
now and then some galt provisions and vegetables, rarely, goods-- none that can bear essential reduction, | appear; but I have no time to enlarge, interesting | soup made with vegetables, and a little grease or iard twice
if ever, butcher's mcat." In others, “wheaten bread, and that whilst raw cotton maintains its price, and all important as the subject is.
a day, potatoes, or o'her vegetables, but seldoin butcher's foreign goods must maintain theirs. In the great What motive can we have, sir, to reduce wages competition of trade, this idea of excessive profit || and the value of property? When did the sun
Sweden.-- The daily wages of a skilled agriculturist are
7d. or 81.; while the unskilled obtain no more than 3d. or to the importer is fallacious; and as the notion of ever shine upon a laboring people so blessed as
41. and board themselves, Agriculturists in the southern a reduction is founded on it, that is also falla- | those of our country have been? Where have provinces live upon salt fish and potatoes; in the northern
they ever been able by industry to feed, clothe, provinces, porridge and rye bread form their food.
The statistics rcferred to in the remarks of Mr. DAVIS
26TH CONG....1st Sess.
Pension Bill and Pension Agents--Mr. Garland, Mr. Marvin, etc.
Ho. of Reps.
Barceria.-Laborers are paid at the rate of 8d. per day in bursing agents six months before it was needed. posed an amendment, providing for an allowance the country, without board.
The pretext for this had been that these agents to the pension agents of a certain percentage on Belgiun.--- A skilled artisan may earn in summer ls. 2.
received no salary or pay of any kind; but so to Is. 51.; in winter, from 10d. to Is. 2d.; unskilled half as
the money disbursed by them, but limiting the much, without board, live upon rye bread, potatoes, and badly did the system work, that the Commis- total amount to be received for such services by milk. Agricultural laborers have less.
sioner of Pensions had been continually applying i each of said agents in one year to $1,500; and proGermany.-- Danzig laborers, 43 d. to 7d. per day, with
to Congress for an alteration of the law, and the hibiting any agent from using or loaning the out board; Mulhburg, 7d. per day without board; Holstein, 7d. per day, wiihout board.
allowance to these officers of a fixed salary. He public money intrusted to his hands, under penNetherlands.-South Holland laborers, 3d. to 4d. per day, adverted to the honest exposure made by the late | alty of imprisonment for not less than one nor with board; North Holland, 20d. per day, without board;
lamented Mr. Mckim, of Baltimore; and to the more than five years. Antwerp, 5d. per day, do; West Flanders, 96s. to 104s. per
fact that a certain agent in the State of New Mr. CRAIG after some remarks, submitted year, with board.
Italy.-Trieste laborers, 121. per day, without board; do. York, disbursed $400,000 annually, and had in (in behalf of Mr. R. GARLAND) the following 61. per day, with board; Istrin, 8d. to 10d. per day, without his hands $200,000 for months at a time, some amendment: board ; do. 4d. to 5d. per day, with board; Lombardy, 4d. times four or five months, before it had to be “ Be it further enacted, That no money appropriated by to ed. per day, do; Genoa, 5d. to 8d. per day do; and with
expended. So notorious was the use of these this act sball be placed in the hands of pension agents more out lodyings; Tuscany, 6d. per day without either. S:130nly.- In 1837 a man employed in his own loom, work funds by the agents holding them, that a letter
than one month betore the day for the semi-annual pay
ment of pensions." ing very diligently from Monday inorning to Saturday wight, had been published from one of them, who from 5 o'clock in the morning until dusk, and even at times received less of these advances than he thought Mr. SERGEANT addressed the House at some with a lamp, his wife assisting hiin in finishing and taking him the work, could not possibly earn more than 20 gros.
himself entitled to expect, actually complaining | length, though heard at times by the Reporter chen (about 60 cents) per week. Nor could one who had li openiy of that fact, and reminding the Depart very indistinctly. He said that what he considthiree children aged 12 years and upwards, all working at ii ment inat the use of the money was the only ! ered the great evil in the present state (system the loom as well as himself, with his wife employed doing
compensation pensions agents received for the he could not call it) of the management of this up the work, caru in the whole more than I weckiy. Navigution.-Between us and England this is placed upon
duties they performed. Mr. M. never contended part of the momentary concerns of the United a fooiing of' equality; all advantage to our navigators being that thesc public officers should not be paid for States was the fault in the general management, abrogated. If any interest can bear direct competition, this their services; but so long as the law stood as it The fault is not so much in the payment of penis the one But let us see the result as set down by Mr.
now did, it ought to be enforced, and not evaded. Porter.“ In 18:21,"says this writer, " the proportion of Bri
sions or of any other particular fund, as in the 'tish vessels which entered the ports of the United States There was an express statute, passed in 1836, utter want of system and of accountability ac
was 7 1-5 per cent. compared with the American tonnage which provided that they should serve without cording to law. And here he would take occa"employed in the foreign trade ofthe United States; while, in
compensation. The bill, as introduced, made sion to ask the attention of the committee to this * 1833, that proportion was increased to 39 per cent. The
provision for paying them; but, as it was urged business, according to his recollection. If he actual numbers in each of the years froin 1821 to 1835 have been as follows:
that the United States Bank had done the very should be in error as to any particular, he would British. American.
British. American. same duty free of charge, that clause was stricken be glad that any gentleman should set him right. Year. Tons. Tons. Year. Tons.
out, and the duty required still to be performed, There was a time when the whole moneys of the 1821.. .53,188 765,088 18:29....86,337 872,949
United States were under the immediate protec• 1892....70.669
as before, free of cost to the Government. The 787,361 1830....87,231 967,227 1893.....89,553 775,271 1831...215,887 922.952 present practice was wrong, and ought to be tion and custody of the law of the United States. 1824.....67,331 850,033 1832...288,841 949,622 condemned by the people's Representatives. There was a period, from the year 1816 to the
1825.....63,036 880,734 1833...383,487 1,111,441 When this House passed laws, all Executive year 1833 or 1834, when tlic whole moneys of the • 18:26 .....69.295 9429,206 1831...453,495 1,074,670 1827.....99,114
officers were bound to execute them according to 1835...529,922 1,352,653
United States were kept where Congress directed 911,361 1828....104,107 868,381
their true intent and meaning, and not to seek them to be kept. Congress made the laws, and The British increase is 860 per cent.; the American 77 modes of evading them.
Congress, in certain cascs, unmade those laws; per cent."
This is the result of treaties and conventions Mr. M. went on to show that the practice of but whilst the public money remained as it was called reciprocal.
the agents as soon as the money in their hands then, it was kept under the authority of law, and
under one head of pension was expended, though subject at all times to the authority of both PENSION BILL AND PENSION AGENTS. they might be full-handed under other heads, Houses of Congress. This had ceased to be the
was immediately to write to the Department for case in relation to the moneys of the United DEBATE IN THE HOUSE, more funds. By this means an agent had been States. They were no longer so. They were Friday, February 7, 1840.
known to keep $200,000 in his hands nearly the placed under the management of the Executive,
whole year round. The money was worth six and this great change in our money system had The House being in the Committee of the Whole on the per cent.; so that such an agent was in the receipt been accomplished by means to which he would state of the Union, (Mr. LINCOLN, of Massachusetts, in of little less than $12,000 a year-nearly one half not advert, because they were now a part, a very the chair,) took up the bill making appropriations for the
the salary of the President of the United States! | memorable part, of the history of the country. payment of certain Revolutionary and other Pensioners of
Was this right? A draft could go from Wash It had been said in the course of the debate the United States.
ington to Albany, where this man resided, in ten that the giving to pension agents the advantage Mr. R. GARLAND rose to reply to what Mr. days at furthest; why must the money be sent of having the money of the United States in their Smith, of Maine, had said, (see Congressional him four, five, or six months beforehand ? hands was only conferring upon them the advantGlobe, page 172,] and proceeded to read the Mr. REED, of Massachusetts, agreed with ages which the Bank of the United States fornames of several of the pension agents, together | gentlemen who had preceded him in the opinion merly had. This was a mistake. The Bank of with the amounts of money in their hands, as that the present mode of compensating pension the United States had never received any advantstated in a printed official return from the Depart- || agents was a bad one, and ought to be reformed. age at all from the payment of the pensioners; ment; among them were General John P. Van In practice, however, he supposed it would, just and, if gentlemen would look into the history of Ness, of Washington; Isaac Hill, of New Hamp- | now, make little difference, for he presumed the the matter, they would find such to be the fact. shire; Mr. Brockenbrough, of Richmond, Vír- Administration would soon come to the House The whole service of paying the pensions of the ginia; and George W. Jones, of Wisconsin. He and complain that they had no money. But still United States, with all the risk and labor which repeated the question he had put, in the House, this was a proper occasion to explain the conduct accompanied it, was performed by that instituto the chairman of the Committee of Ways and of the Administration. Under the pretext of tion without compensation, directly or indirectly. Means, namely, whether the pension agents had giving these agents no compensation, they paid When Congress chartered the Bank of the Uninot the money appropriated by this bill already, | them ten times as much as any salary they could ted States, certain stipulations were agreed upon in fuct, in their hands, and whether such was not receive by law. •Very large sums of the public between the bank and the United States. On the practice of the Government.
money were purposely left in their hands, and it the part of the United States it was stipulated Mr. JONES said that he thought he had was not to be expected that they would not use that their treasure should be deposited in the already fully explained on that subject. He was it. He was for paying these officers directly; bank and its branches until there should be some not prepared to state positively or exactly what then the people would know what it was they reason to suppose that it was not safe. This was the practice of the Government in this respeet were paying; but now it was all secret. He a fact familiar to all. Congress reserved to itself had been, because he was not in possession of hoped an amendment would be proposed, restrain the power (if it should think proper to exercise the requisite information, but he presumed that ing the Government from making these premature it) of imposing an additional burden upon the when provision was made to meet the payment advances of public money under the pretense of bank--that was, of executing the duty of comof pensions, it was done in time to have the getting ready to pay pensions. He never would missioner of loans in any or all the States, transfunds required at the several points where they put it in the power of the Secretary of the Treas ferring public moneys, &c., without commission. were to be disbursed. He then went into the ury to allow one man a salary of $10,000, and By the charter, the bank was not bound to exedetails of the estimates on which the present bill another of five, and another of two, just at his cute that duty; nevertheless it did execute it, and was founded.
sovereign pleasure. Everybody knew that if without charge. Now, what did the United Mr. MARVIN, of New York, addressed the these men put their money in any bank, with a States Bank get? Not a dollar, directly or indiHouse at some length on the evils of the existing certainty that it would not be called for for four rectly. (Mr. S.'s voice was here lost for a senrode of compensating pension agents, by an or five months to come, they could get four or tence or two.] advance to them of public money before it was five per cent. interest on it.
He would call the attention of the committee to needed, that the use of it might be a remunera Mr. CRAIG made some remarks, at the con another fact, which, in his judgment, would throw tion for their services. Mr. M. referred to a clusion of which he proposed an amendment, light upon this question, and would give it a beardebate on this same subject at a former session, | (handed to him for that purpose by Mr. R. GAR-ing worthy the consideration of Congress. Before and to the positions he had at that time assumed, || LAND,) providing that no money appropriated the removal of the deposits, according to his and the returns which had been called for from should be placed in the hands of pension agents recollection, some one had felt a desire to be apthe Department. The total amount of pensions more than one month before the time for the pay pointed pension agent in a State where there was annually paid being four millions, not less than ment of the said pensions.
a branch of the United States Bank; and the Sectwo millions of it came into the hands of dis To this amendment Mr. UNDERWOOD pro retary of War, supposing he had the power to
26th Cong.... 1st Sess.
Pension Bill and Pension Agents—Mr. Underwood, etc.
Ho, or REPs.
order military pensions to be paid by any agent reason of which, particular banks had the ad now stands, power to establish an agency any. he might think proper, gave the United States vantage of the public funds to any amount to where in the United States when the public service Bank an order (in New Hampshire) to pass over which they might be awarded to them. He required it. Why was all this? The reason was the funds and books into the hands of an agent spoke generally-not particularly as to the pen- | plain. By the use of the large sums of money there. Upon looking at the act of Congress, it sion fund, though that was a part. The conse. furnished to pension agents for some years, such appeared conclusively that the Secretary of War quence was, that inducements were offered to a profit was attendant on its custody as to make had no such authority, and the thing was aban trade upon the money of the United States. the agencies desirable, and applications had been doned. There were individuals and institutions Were we not toid, and had it not been proved, made for them until some States had six, whilst desirous to have those pension agencies. Why that from the years 1833 and 1834 down to this others had but one. What was the source of the did they desire them if there was no advantage to time too much of this sort of stimulus had been evil? There was a system (if system it could be be derived? An examination into the history of employed? That we had gone from a state of called) by which the appointments of these agents the matter would show presently what the ad sound and substantial health into a plethora, from were left to the discretion of the Executive Devantage was. The United States Bank declared which we were now shrinking away in a manner partment of Government, with power to appoint itself unable to comply with the order of the War so rapid as to awaken the most serious appre as many as might be deemed requisite. Mr. U. Department above alluded to, because it was con hensions for the result? Had not our affairs here entered into some calculations as to the protrary to law; and, as he had said before, the thing changed so fearfully as to bring us (as was once
fits derivable from the use of the public moneys was relinquished. Well, the United States Bank said in the British House of Commons) within a
thus left in the hands of the pension agents, ceased to be the commissioner of loans, it ceased few hours of the state of barter? How had this The President of the United States had deto be the payer of pensions, and it ceased to be happened? By the State bank system. By over nounced the use of the public money without the depository of the public moneys of the United trading with banks-by overtrading in the com authority as that which ought to be made a felony, States. What was the consequence? That, for munity, by means of the facilities of the banks. and punished as such by law. Now, was it all these purposes, the Executive had the selec To some this might appear a small affair. In either a good or a safe policy to tolerate the use tion of the agents; whereas, before that, they human affairs the greatest concerns of men, con of the public money for the purpose of giving were selected by law, under the authority of both sidered alone, were small. It was the combina- | profits to individuals? Was it not the best plan Houses of Congress-the Representatives of the tion of all these small causes that produced at that could be adopted to induce men to become people to whom the care of the public purse had last the great result.
defaulters? The principle was one which ought been assigned.
There was a radical vice in the system which to be abandoned, and the sooner it could be done What was the next consequence? That what never would be removed until Congress should the better. He was opposed, however, to the had before been given by law was distributed by again take into its own hands the selection of the l amendment of the gentleman from Louisiana, favor. Did people ask for these pension agencies depositaries of the public money, and the direc- | [Mr. R. Garland.] These pensions were paid without a prospect of emolument? No: and from tion and control of the public money, without on the 4th March and the 4th September. What the period when the management of the public the intervention of the executive or any branch would be the consequence if the amendment pretreasure ceased to be thus controlled, up to this of the executive. He felt it to be his duty on vailed, which provided that no moneys should be day there had been no system proposed that bore this and on all occasions to declare what appeared placed in the hands of the agents until within å the least evidence of a desire ever again to put the to him to be a great fundamental truth-that, as month of the time of disbursement? The direct, Treasury of the United States, as it was, under regarded the Treasury of the country, we were and immediate consequence would be, that they the care of the Congress of the United States. All living without law, and that thence evils of the could no longer use the money so as to make a these powers were now in the hands of the Ex most frightful magnitude followed; and what profit, and that they would not accept an office, ecutive. This was a fatal change in the money evils were yet to come from the same cause, it requiring time and labor, but yielding no emoluaffairs of the nation, and, in his judgment, the peo would require more than human wisdom to fore ments. They would resign, and the pensioners ple of the United States would never do themselves tell. One solemn truth was known to all-that, I might be thus left unpaid. We must, therefore, justice until they should restore the Treasury of at this very moment, the country was in deep | either allow the principle which all gentlemen the United States to the custody of their Repre distress, and was covered with the gloom of deep seemed to discountenance, of permitting the agents sentatives in Congress, where it once was. apprehension. He declared that there was one to use the moneys for the purpose of profit, or
Look at the consequences. No man would great cure-a remedy which had never failed we must provide by law some percentage on the say that there was no advantage derived from and he appealed to the history of the country in amount disbursed by way of compensation for the being a payer of pensions. What was it? It proof of his assertion--and that was for the labor. One of the two modes must be adopted. was the possession at all times of a sum of money Government of the United States to take into its It might be said that there were three plans: the belonging to the United States; so that if a man own hands, under custody of the law-not of first was, to let the agents work for nothing; that were a pension agent for a length of time, he the executive, but of both Houses of Congress would never do. The second was, to allow them would know what sum he migh, depend upon as it formerly did-its Treasury, and thus have to compensate themselves for the use of the always having in his hands. It had been avowed the regulation of the public funds. Things went public money. The evils of that plan were by a gentleman on the other side, that this was well (concluded Mr. S.) when you had a system
numerous and manifest; so much so as to render the compensation for the services; and thus the of that sort; and when you parted from it, things | it unnecessary for him to dwell upon them. The pension agents were placed in the same relative went ill, and have gone worse and worse from third plan was the one he was about to propose; condition to the community as banks. What that day to this; until at last, upon this matter of that was, to allow a percentage on the amount was the advantage of a bank? Its capital. It | pensions, no man can tell how much any pension of the disbursements. could lend out its money as an individual could; agent receives-whether one thousand or ten Mr. U. was anxious also to avail himself of a and, generally speaking, it could do no more. A thousand dollars_nor in what way he receives it. || principle which had been recommended by the bank also had its deposits. These varied from I will vote for a remedy for this particular evil.
President of the United States, and wished to test day to day; but, nevertheless, it could tell nearly It falls far short of my idea of a remedy; still, so the sense of the committee upon it. He desired on what it could calculate as its permanent de far as it goes, it is good.
to know how far the prohibitory principle in relaposits, and upon those deposits it would trade. Mr. UNDERWOOD had seen the operation tion to the use of the public money by GovernAnd if money was placed in this manner in the of this pension agency system, and had seen its ment agents would meet with the sanction of the hands of a pension agent, would he not have consequences. In the Siate of Kentucky there Representatives of the people. sufficient instinct of trade not to keep it unem was only one pension agency, and that was located Mr. U. then moved the following as an amendployed? Could any man fail to see that if such in Lexington, some two or three hundred miles ment to the amendment: a system were to prevail throughout the money from the lower end of the State. He lived (the “ Each pension agent shall be allowed as compensation affairs of the United States, the whole Treasury reporter understood Mr. U. to say) some miles for his services - per cent. on the amount of money disof the United States would be placed in the same further west, beyond Lexington.
bursed by him : Provided, That no pension agent shall resituation, and there would be transferred to these Some years since, in pursuance of a statute
ceive as compensation more than $1,500 per annum.
“Be it further enacted, That it shal unlawful for any depositaries of the public money ail the advant which they had, he applied to the Secretary of pension agent to use or apply to his own purposes, or to ages which the United States Bank is supposed
War for the establishment of a pension agency lend to any person or persons, or to suffer any person or to have had, and that, too, without the equiva in his section of country, and stated to the Sec persons to use, any part of the public moneys placed in his lent which the Bank gave, either in bonus, or its retary that, through the instrumentality of the
hands or subject to his control; and, if any pension agent
shall violate the foregoing provisions of this section, he facilities for the distribution of funds? What, banks in Kentucky, the money of the Govern shall, upon conviction thereof before any court of compethen, had been gained by taking it from one set ment could be disbursed to the pensioners in that tent jurisdiction, undergo and suffer imprisonment for a of men or institutions, in order to give it to State without costing one cent. No agency was
period of time not less than one nor miore than five years, at another?
the discretion of the jury convicting the offender." established, even on these favorable terms; and, Mr. S. proceeded to remark on the mode in from that day to this, the pensioners in that The blank in the first part of his amendment, which these matters were in fact managed at the section of country were put to a semi-annual | Mr. U. said, might be filled up in the House. present time, and to show that, under it, no man expense of two or three dollars to obtain the This, he thought, was the best plan that could could tell how much pension agents might re pittance dealt out to them by the Government. be hit upon for the moment to supply the loss of ceive. That they
received something, was agreed Why was this? Let gentlemen look at some that great system which had been so justly charon all sides. Did they get it according to the sections of country, and they would see that acterized by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, amount they distributed? No; but according to there were some States which had four, five, and (Mr. SERGEANT,) which was the only safe systhe amount they had in their hands. There was even six pension agencies, while others had but tem, and that to which we must returri before the great objection to the payment of compensation
financial affairs of this country could be brought by unknown measures, or to unknown amounts. Look at the history of this pension fund. Re- | back to their former sound and healthy condition.
Mr. S. alluded to the selection of State banks, ports from committees had been made here, year Mr. WADDY THOMPSON rose and said that or persons immediately connected with State
after year, calling upon the Secretary of War to there was one great error pervading the country: banks, for the performance of these duties; by establish agencies; he having, by the law as it ll in the estimation formed of those who were at
2611 CONG....1st Sess.
Pension Bill and Pension Agents—Mr. Leet.
Ho. of Reps.
this time administering the affairs of the nation. | guarded? If there was one fund that, more than raised. No; that would not do. The tariff reIt had been thought that they wanted boldness. another, “had need the guard of dragon watch || gions are to be humbugged by a show of inNever had there been a greater mistake. It re- with unenchanted eye,” it was this very fund, crease, while the southern section is to be amused quired boldness of the highest character, consid- || applied as it was to the wants, and, in many,
in by opposition to it. The same game was to be ering the principles upon which this Administra stances, to the necessities, of those who gave us played as was now going on in regard to the tion pui itself before the country, to come here in all our institutions; and yet we are told that the Cumberland road. The President's friends in the face of the world, and endeavor still further | cheapest, best plan, was to give it to private the West say that he is in favor of the road. to impose on the credulity of the country, by agents, that they might loan it out. Was there | The South is told that he is opposed to all such offering a proposition directly at war with all the ever so monstrous a proposition asserted as this, works, on constitutional grounds. The tariff principles ihey had professed upon the leading considering by whom it is asserted? The Pres was not to be raised; still money must be had; measure of the Administration.
ident of the United States had recommended that some other means must be resorted to, says the PresWhat was the proposition now made? He it should be made felony for any sub-treasurer or ident. What other means were there, but to borappealed to some gentlemen-to some of his col- | keeper of the public money to touch one dollar; row money upon interest, which they would not leagues, whom he saw in their seats, and who, and yet, so far from making it felony M this case, do, or to resort to the expedient of the poor he knew, were sincere in their opinions as to the the agent was told that he must use the money, spendthrift, who gives his note when he has Sub-Treasury, and he would ask them whether and that this was all the compensation which he spent his money? and whilst, with the recklessthey could reconcile their opinions on that sub would receive. Was there ever such palpable, ness and immorality of all spendthrifts, they have ject with the vote which they were now called impudent inconsistency. It was felony to touch no expectation of being able to meet their notes, upon to give? For popular etrect, and he believed any other moneys appropriated to pay the public and no provision made, but must give other notes mainly, if not exclusively, for popular effect, creditors, because the money was ihereby put in to pay those which were outstanding; for the sum without raising an eye to the great interests of jeopardy. But not only was it not felony in re total of the financial abilities of our American the country, a habitual war has been carried on gard to this the most sacred of all the funds of Necker is to give his note. against the banking institutions of the country. the Government, but the agents were absolutely The matter, then, stood thus: The President And what was the condition of things in relation instructed to make use of the money. And the wanted money, which was only to be got by borto the pension fund at this time? Banks were House had been told by a highly respectable rowing, or by issuing Treasury notes, in either not appointed agents. None but individuals were gentleman of the Administration party, (Mr. of which alternatives interest must be paid. If appointed. But who are those individuals? For HOLLEMAN,) that this was the only compensa we had the money, it would be wrong thus to the most part officers, presidents, or cashiers of tion which the agents were to receive. With appropriate it before the occasion occurs for banks, and receiving and discharging the trust, what grace could the President of the United which it is required, with a view to its being no one doubts, not for their own, but for the States turn out of office a pension agent for doing loaned out by individuals for individual profit. benefit of the banks. that which he was instructed to do?
But it is infinitely worse. Why appoint them? Was it that the benefit But what further? It was seen that this money What is the proposition? Why was the House might inure to them, instead of the institutions was deposited in the hands of agents months in asked to act on this bill with such indecent haste ? with which they were connected? Did anybody || advance of the necessity for its payment; and Were they not setting aside the ordinary busibelieve it? Here was one of those tricks which now, at a time when the Government was liter ness of the country, in order that they might' had so much characterized the practice of this ally living from hand to mouth, when it had not make provision for the payment of a debt that was Administration, and by which they accomplished money to meet its ordinary expenses, these not due, by paying interest on the very money their favorite objects without responsibility. In moneys were to be paid out months in advance raised for the purpose? What would be thought the first place, the public money was deposited of the time at which they were wanted. In other in private life of an individual who thus conducted in the banks-and what more? Why, the next words, money wanted for severe present emer his affairs? branch of the subject was that over which an gencies could not be got, yet money was to be There were thirty or forty agents for the disequal clamor had been raised-What right had raised and appropriated in advance for the pay- bursement of the pension fund. The amount the banks or individuals to the use of the public ment of debts not yet due. And, in the mean proposed to be raised is $3,000,000. The avermoney? All said there was no such right, unless time, what was done with the money? It was age time which will be required is six months, the Government could thereby save money or not even to be locked up in the nugatory and giving to these agents nearly $90,000 amongst make a better contract for keeping and disburs- | foolish manner proposed as to other moneys, to them. Why, sir, it would be just the same ing its funds. And yet, in the face of this, the meet a debt due in future-to provide for the ex thing to give them this $90,000 without the compublic money had been and was deposited with penditures of the Government--but, what makes plex process of borrowing it to give to them that individuals, it is true, instead of banks-the it worse than foolish and nugatory, it was thus they may loan it out again. If he (Mr. T.) was profits, however, inuring to the banks, yet with to be raised, and interest paid upon it, that it may not greatly in error on all these points-and if he out giving to the public that security which the be given to agents to be used as they might think let it be shown this struck him as one of banks would furnish.
If the money was de proper, and for their own benefit. At a time the boldest propositions he had yet had occasion posited in banks, the whole stock of the banks when the Government could not pay its own to notice. was hypothecated as security. But how was it debts, it demanded money in advance to be let Mr. LEET, of Pennsylvania, rose and said: on the other hand? Could as sufficient security out for private purposes and individual profit, or, I take occasion to say, Mr. Speaker, without be procured from an individual who was needy what was worse, the profit of banks.
having three minutes' warning that. I should be enough to accept this agency? Or, in any event, Nor was this all. How was the money to be called upon to take any part in this, to me, unexcould a security be procured equal to the hypoth- || got? If any one thing was more disingenuous pected debate, that I sincerely believe that the ecation of the whole stock of the banks? Yet, than another in the message of the President of sentiment which my honorable colleague [Mr. still the cry was, the public money is not to be the United States, it was the covert calls of the SERGEANT] has expressed, is nothing more than used. Oh!'no-who had the right to use it? No Administration for money. What had the Pres what is due to the Legislature of the State of one-neither a bank nor an individual; and yet ident said in a recent message? He (Mr. T.) | Pennsylvania. If you recur a moment to the it was openly avowed here, and by one of the took some pleasure in the recollection that he had causes which have produced the present state of party of the Administration, that that was the had the good fortune first to make an issue with things in that State, you may readily satisfy best mode of compensation for these disburse the President of the United States as to the re yourselves that the future prospects of General merts. Give to these agents the use of the public sources of the Government. It had been denied Harrison or of our present Chief Magistrate, Mr. money, although it cannot be done by law, that in the official organ that he, (Mr. T.,) when he Van Buren, have had nothing at all to do with was the doctrine; and yet we were told by gen had made a direct issue with the President upon the condition in which the Legislature is now tlemen speaking in behalf of the Administration, this point, had only said what every one knew, placed. In the carly part of the session of the give this money to the agents that they may use that there would be a deficiency in the Treasury || Legislature, I think on the 23d of"January last, it, instead of giving them a fixed salary.
This statement had been made directly in the a law was passed authorizing the Governor to Now, if the policy here laid down was a just || face of that part of the message which said that negotiate a permanent loan of $870,000, and also policy in relation to the pension fund, why was the resources of the Government for the next a temporary loan of an equal amount, in anticiit not just when applied to all others? Why year would meet the current expenses of the pation of the permanent loan, for the should a douceur be given to private agents for Government without a resort to loans or taxes. meeting the interest that would fall due on the the disbursement of this fund, by permission to Everybody else knew better. No man who val 1st of February have the money for their own profit, and not be ued his reputation would deny it. But Mr. T. was The Executive of that State made an effort to given in every other case? If this was the best willing to attribute the error to unintentional procure a loan to pay this interest on her debt; mode of compensation as applied to the pension inaccuracy, but the Globe tells us that it is but, owing to the existing condition of our monfund, was it not so when applied to the keeping otherwise. He (Mr. T.) had said on a former etary affairs, as to the causes of which gentleand disbursing of all the public money?
occasion, that he knew they would be coming men may conscientiously differ, the money was What was the great objection to the use of the || here before long, cap in hand, asking for money; not to be procured. Such, sir, is the simple fact; public money? It was, that it was thereby placed and they would come sooner than was ex it could not be obtained. The question then in jeopardy; but if it was as safe when used, and pected. And on what pretext have they come ? arose, what was the Governor to do? And as promptly forthcoming when wanted, and Why, of unexpected judicial decisions against what did he do? It is true that, in the House of withal kept and disbursed without expense, what the Government. Were not those decisions | Assembly, in accordance with what was believed objection could there be? And what was there known? Or, in any event, might they have not to be public sentiment and feeling, a bill was about this particular fund that it should be de been anticipated ? And now they were told passed by one of the most decided majorities that posited in the hands of individuals, and loaned that it would be necessary to raise more money.
has ever been known in that body on a question out by them? Why should this fund be put in How? Not by an increase of taxes, says the of currency—the vote standing 69 to 24-fixing jeopardy, in danger of being lost, whilst all other President-not by an increase of the tariff, which the 15th of February (the present month) as the of the public moneys is to be more scrupulously " is the only meang now by which money can be ll day on which all the banks were to resume specie