Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

his bank, with others, took advantage of the peo the Treasury," and in the words of the gentleman that effect; and for that we are not accountable. ple, to put exchange to five, ten, and twenty-five I reiterate his warning, "You give no aid to the It is this: the Slates are now discredited by their per eent, premium, and keep it there, after “s im- banks; you jostle trade.' Sir, you have helped own imprudence; their stocks are under par. porting and keeping, in the midst of our difficul them to the means by which they have deranged This has brought about some of those“ other lia110%," more specie than the country ever had be the currency and jostled trade; you have given bilities” of the bank. If another bank charter fore?

them millions annually to be used under the priv- | could be obtained, the stocks, on the plan of In this sum of $5,000,009, “ to lie idle" under | ileges of a charter; you have helped them to the Hamilton, will be a fund to pay for that stock. the bill, he says you "start with a minimum." power of producing excitement, expansion, and Hence a new demand for them would be created. I think just the reverse, and have given the rea contraction; of speculating on your people; of This is the forlorn hope. Pass this bill, and the sons. By his system, however, it is clearly proved | raising or lowering prices; of corrupting the bank is suspended, and stocks are regulated by we started “ with a minimum," and ended with purity of your public tribunals; and of almost the existing demand, and therefore will continue a maximum. Here is history against prophecy. | perpetuating their own existence, and yet their to fall. Bue is this your fault; or must you vioHe says by the bank the transfer of public funds friends cry “Give, give!The time has come late your duty to consult the interest of those who costs you nothing. Igrane, by the account stated when we should say no to any proposition that hold Siate stocks? Let the speculators in stocks on the bank books, there may be no charge. That looks to the increase of their power.

take care of themselves; the people will take care does not prove it costs nothing; if so, this bill “ This is a war on banks." Not so.

It is a of the public money. would not be expensive. His plan only costs the child's bargain. The people instruct us to say If, sir, you are bound to divest your .policy, people a charter-a barter of iheir Constitution, to the banks,“ Let us alone and we will let you with a view to prop or reinstate these stocks, it and a bonus of $1,000,000 over and above all the alone.Congress has no power to do or say is only on the principle that you can indorse for expense he charges against the sub-Treasury. more by any operation on the currency:

them or substitute your credit for theirs. This ** The banks," he says," are suffering with the But he says, ". Will you give no help to ex is a favorite idea with the friends of the Hamilcommunity.A glorious state of suffering, in- changes?" Sir, the only effect you can produce, || tonian system, but receives no favor with me. deed; one in which they gain everything, and need the only aid you can give, is that of a very large || When it shall be yielded to by the country the lose nothing; in which, having all power, they dealer in exchange, whose purpose and habit it Government will have become a machine for the command everything, and are, therefore, inter is to give it to you at par, everywhere. That || promotion of a privileged order. I will resist it ested to prolong the suffering. I save and except much aid, and no more, we propose to give by as long as it can be resisted, and be one of the here, sir, such banks as have held the deposits this bill, and that only to the extent of our trans last to yield; but being forced to give up I shall sacred, and have done a legitimate business. actions in raising and disbursing a revenue Lim then, with what means I can command, try to

"I will turn you to facis curious to behold." ited to the actual wants of the Government. place myself on a footing with the favored few. * Our expenditures, it is amazing to see how they But why call on us? Your favorite system But I confess I should only do it on the principle have increased within a few years." This is one operated for twenty years, and what did it effect? that when I must be a slave or a master I prefer curious fact, to which I have been curious enough What it failed to make on domestic it made up the latter. to call your attention already, with a view to in foreign exchanges; and it found it more profit The gentleman from Tennessee "calls on genshow wherein lies the curiosity. I should have in commanding all the exchange, at a given rate, tlemen from the South to avail themselves of this been amazed if one so conversant with the bank than to speculate for a season. In this, too, it opportunity to cut off this continual increase of policy as that gentleman, should have failed to founded its only hope of reputation, its only claim expenditure." Sir, I echo the call, send it back point to this "curious fact.” It is the legitimate to regeneration.

to ihat gentleman, and send it in the ears of my offspring of the system which he, with exulta But when you refused its demands how did it | colleagues, and assure them that I mistake greatly tion, ascribes to Alexander Hamilton, in these requite you for years of kind treatment? As if to if the passage of this bill is not the plan. He words: “ Hamilton arranged the plan that has manifest its want of gratitude it threw your cur calls this an " ultra Federal policy.' " Where did never been altered, except once in 1829." He is rency overboard, and destroyed more at its death he get that idea, and how does it appear? He righi, sir; and what was that plan? It was to than it created during its life.

oblained it not from history, not from men who use the banks as depositaries. There the money The operations on foreign exchange afforded a have died, not from Washington, nor Jefferson, was kept to the credit of the Treasurer of the wider field; and while it prided itself in the uni nor Madison, nor Alexander Hamilton. It must United States. Yet he says“ The Treasurer has formity of domestic exchanges the foreign were be the creature of a lively imagination. He asks, never any money in his keeping." By warrants, left to take their course. This may be illustrated “Where is your $5,000,000 of specie to come drafts, and checks, it was drawn, transferred, or by the exchange table here before me, in Senate from? It is not in the country, and what little is paid out, in bank paper, good or bad. By that Document, second session Twenty-Fifth Con in the country is in the vaults of the banks." Is plan the Treasurer's office, and these banks or gress, pages 457, 137, and 138. It shows that from this true; and are the banks to furnish an arguvaults, were called the Treasury of the United 1788 to 1814, exchange on England was at an ment of necessity against this bill by locking up States; for Mr. Gallatin said expressly, " These average discount of three per cent. For the time the specie, that their friends may raise this objecdepositaries are the Treasury of the United great uniformity in the rate prevailed. The widest tion Certain it is that there is now, by the acStates.' (See State Papers, volume two, title range was to 4 premium.

count of the gentleman from Philadelphia, (Mr. Finance, pages 461 and 463.)

From 1815 to 1838, exchange on England was SERGEANT,) a superabundance of specie. And in Now, in what does this bíll differ? " The of at an average premium of 8. No uniformity | reply to the gentleman from Tennessee, I answer, fices in the Treasury building, in Boston, New prevailed while it ranged from 1 to 18, and from take a part of that " enormous amount of useless York, Philadelphia, Charleston, New Orleans, | 7 to 21 premium.

specie,” spoken of by the former gentleman, and and St. Louis, are called the “Treasury of the In the coincidence between the fluctuations of put it to the uses of the people in the redemption United States;" here is no difference. But these this commodity at different times, and the rise or of bank paper, and your sub-Treasuiy will have places are not corporations to issue paper money; fall in the deposits and circulation of the United no difficulty ihere is one difference.

States Bank, some" curious facts" appear which The gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr.CushThe money is placed to the credit of the Treas- || it will be amazing to behold. The document first ING] said, " Hamilton tried this scheme and it urer; here is no difference. To be paid on his referred to, and the Document No. 142, Senate, failed." I have been unable to find the authority own warrant, draft, or check, as heretofore; here third session Twenty-Fifth Congress, will exhibit for this declaration. I doubt whether it exists; is no difference. In gold and silver; here is the them.

the more so, since on this point this gentleman sound and material difference. This is not all, Sir, too much has been claimed for this institu and the distinguished gentleman from Pennsyl. sir. “ Hamilton arranged the first, Federalists | tion as a regulator. It assumed that office at vania (Mr. SERGEANT) are at issue. But if he adopted it, have always advocated it, and still do. times, but always looked to you to give it the tried ii and let it go, it was because it failed to The State-rights men proposed the second, have

There is no regulator but specie. strengthen and consolidate the Federal Governalways advocated it, and still ought.

Now, sir, let me answer the two questions of ment as he desired; and this cuts down the grandBut, after stating this "curious fact” about the the other gentleman (Mr. BIDDLE) from Pennsyl est of all pretended objections to the bill. expenditures which caused him to be “amazed," vania.

The gentleman from Massachusetts says, his amazement ceases, and he says, “ Expenses 1. “ When specie gets to the point of attraction, are to have one currency for the Government and have increased, do increase, and ought to in- how is it to gei back?"

another for the people. This has become too crease.” Thus he comes at last to the creed of I answer, by the power this bill gives to indi stale and shallow a pretext for an argument to a true believer. He says, “ The placing the viduals to demand that article in payment. deserve consideration. Still, I will illustrate it. money there to the credii of the Treasurer, sub 2. “ Bank paper being refused by the Govern Put a case.

You reside in the interior of the ject to his draft as though in the Treasury, is an ment is disparaged; how will you restore its “Empire State;" you have an agentor agents in unconstitutional feature.If this be true, then value?"

New York who manage all your moneyed affairs. he and Mr. Gallatin have. furnished additional It is not in our power. Nevertheless, it will Where you live the ordinary medium is paper authority for saying the plan of Hamilton was speedily be done, because every sound bank money. It has become of little value, because unconstitutional. For the money was placed in which has pride of character, or interest in its it is irredeemable. It issued from banks in and the “depositories to the credit of the Treas- good credit, will of itself very soon put its notes about New York. You draw on your agent; he urer,” and “these depositories were called the on the footing of specie, which will naturally pro- | fails to pay, assigning as a reason that your money Treasury of the United States.

duce an influx of specie in their vaults, to be sup was deposited for safe-keeping in banks who re“ Take care how you extract from the people plied by their notes. Those which cannot hope fuse to pay it. After an examination of their affairs and give to a cold, heartless Treasury: That

to reach this point, will forfeit all claims to confi you find ihey have governed their circulation by operation has proved a cooling business to the dence, and die by their own act.

the sum of your deposits, which being withdrawn bank, and has left them "heartless," 100, how The gentleman from Maine, (Mr. Evans,) and in part cannot be redeemed. The bank thereever much of soul they may have had. But of also the gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. Bell,] fore stops. You order your agents to deal in gold what use is this caution? Take his own plan, assert that “this bill will discredit the States." and silver, and remove your deposits, that the and Mr. Gallatin says, " Those depositories are I can perceive but one way in which it can have money which circulates in your immcdiate vicin

means.

"We

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

ests.

ity may be better; that your agent at New York, robbers; that the President will have the power who support this bill. Ifits effect on the currency where your great interests ure, may meet these of an eastern potentate, and that the credit syg. would be wholesome, its passage is still more engagements unembarrassed. Now, when he re tem," the source of all our prosperity, will be desirable; but I view it principally as an engine to ceives and pays out for you, is it your affair or overthrown, and this flourishing country revert manage the national revenue, and I am the more his? Is it one money for him and another for you, to its pristine barbarism. These are the exagger. anxious for its success, because it obviates the or is it not yours in either case? This is the af. ations of heated zeal and distempered fancy. necessity of a measure odious to the people and fair of the people; the Government is their agent. Hatred of the party in power has blinded honor destructive to the harmony of the country. Sir,

I would gladly, Mr. Chairman, call my col able gentlemen; hope, which has so often tanta I do not belong to that school of politicians, who, leagues' attention to the important influence a lized them with the prospect of success, and has under the cloak of doing one thing, are aiming at United States Bank has had, and must always been so often disappointed, has filled them with another not sanctioned by the Constitution. An have, on our southern staple and our facilities to intemperate ardor and made them forget that the honest man will not cheat his neighbor, neither elect between alternative markets; also the vast minds of others are not subject to the same ob will he commit a fraud in the Legislature of the ness of the political results that might inure to struction. The hackneyed politician, whose sole Union for the triumph of party, or the still more the South by throwing such preponderating ma object is to attain success, and the paid advocate || despicable purpose of taxing one portion of the chinery at the North. These are topics grand of special interests, will use every means to ex people for the advantage of another. and overwhelming. But my time is spent, and cite the public feeling and delude ihe public judg. But gentlemen are distrustful of individuals; I desist.

ment, but it is matter of astonishment that high- | they think that corporations alone are safe deI have endeavored to present fairly the merits minded statesmen should fall into such extrava positaries of the public funds. A single person of this bill. That I have succeeded, it would be gances. I doubt not the sincerity of other honor is fit for the Presidency, though the destiny of vanity in me to suppose; but I desire it to be re able members, but after an earnest investigation || fifteen million people is placed in his hands; membered that the great good to be effected by of the merits of this bill, and after tearing from a judge on the bench must decide questions init, in my estimation, is to limit the revenue to the my heart every prejudice which might lead me volving the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citiwants of the Government, making it as simple from the path of truth, I feel assured that the zens; and each one of us is trusted with the and economical as a republic ought to be; to close success of this measure will be of lasting benefit performance of great and solemn duties to the up the innumerable avenues to indirect executive to the Government, the country, and all its inter people and the Constitution. Can it be that the patronage, and thereby limit his power to that

• President and the Senate would be unable to find which is given and lawful to be exercised; thirdly, The bill proposes that the public revenue shall men sufficiently honest to take charge of a few to check the alarming tendency of Federal legis- || be kept by the public officers, by men appointed || dollars and cents? If there be so little integrity lation to adopt a rule of construing the supreme for that purpose according to the laws of the land; in the country, why do these moneyed institutions law, by which its decisions, concerning its powers, and it forbids the receipt at the Treasury of any. themselves put confidence in their officers and ride over the supremacy of that law. If I have thing but gold and silver, the legal currency of directors? How was the public money kept durcontributed to this, I have sustained the interest the country. These simple principles are the ing the war of the Revolution, when there were of my constituents, my own, and the interests of essence of ihe measure, and on them will depend no banks in existence? Other nations use indithe country; I shall have cause to be satisfied with its usefulness and efficiency, either as a fiscal vidual depositaries, yet there is no complaint of what I have done, and will rest on a “conscience agent of the Governmentor in its incidental bear loss, no absolute necessity of changing their sys. void of offense."

ing on the industry of the Union. Gentlemen tem. Greece and Rome carried on their mighly have said that they are contrary to the genius of conquests, and filled their exchequers with the

our institutions, that they are more congenial to spoils of the world, and their treasure was conINDEPENDENT TREASURY.

the despotisms of the Old World, and more in fided to the care of individuals. SPEECH OF HON. C. SHEPARD,

unison with the habits and feelings of an enslaved Gentlemen are willing that the revenue should

people. To test the truth of these assertions, let be collected by the officers of the Government, OF NORTII CAROLINA,

us go to the fountain of our legislation, whose pure though the keeping of it must be committed 10 In the House of REPRESENTATIVES,

and living waters are yet refreshing to the patriot || private associations. It is not easy to see the dis

and statesman-to the Constitution itself.' That tinction; if men are too worthless to be trusted June 13, 1840,

instrument authorizes the President and the Sen with the latter duty, it is unwise to allow their In Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, on ate to appoint subordinate officers to assist in interference for any purpose, and banks should

the bill to provide for the collection, safe-keeping, trans managing the affairs of this Government. It says measure boxes, gauge molasses, sell land, and fer, and disbursement of the public revenue.

nothing of corporations; and the inference that saunter about the country as regular tax-gatherMr. SHEPARD said:

its authors intended to impose all the duties aris ers. The case of Swartwout illustrates this view Mr. CHAIRMAN: The few remarks which I in ing under the Constitution on persons selected of the subject; his defalcation occurred during the tend to make will be strictly applicable to the bill according to law, and liable to its penalties, is not connection of the Government with the banks, under consideration. Honorable gentlemen have unreasonable. Congress has power to “coin and while the public officers were ordered to colwandered to other topics which have but little con money," and the States are forbidden to “emit | tect and deposit in these institutions. Yet this nection with this subject; they have traveled over bills of credit," or to “make anything but gold || did not prevent the embezzlement, for if a man be the old ground, so well known to the members of and silver coin a tender in payment of debts;" || disposed to cheat he has ample opportunity durthis House; they have rehearsed the story of the but no mention is made of bank paper, no author- || ing the process of collection. The truth is, that war upon the banks, and indulged in the usual ity is given to make use of the promissory notes whether banks or individuals be the depositaries, tirades against the persons engaged in that famous of private associations, and it is not illogical to the Government is equally exposed to loss; the controversy. A member from Kentucky bas suppose that our fathers endeavored to establish only safe rule is to select trustworthy men, lo affirmed that this question was to be decided by a hard-money Government. There were banks keep a vigilant eye over their conduct, and to inauthority, and, charging certain eminent gentle- || in this country and in Europe when the Federal flict the heaviest penalties on negligence and dismen with having changed their opinions on the Convention was in session; the convenience of honesty. This billgoes far to place guards around subject of the currency, he supposed this fact to these institutions was known and understood by the public treasure; should, however, fine, impris. be a powerful argumeni against the bill. Sir, I its members, and their silence is unaccountable onment, and future disqualification for office be disfer entirely from that honorable gentleman. if corporations be so necessary for the keeping of || unavailing, let the whipping-post and the gibbet Politicians may change with the moon, but their the public money, and if the demand of gold and drive men into the paths of rectitude. conduct should not arrest the progress of great silver be so hostile to liberty and social improve But, sir, I will proceed to a topic of still greater and valuable principles. The human mind is so ment. I am not saying that we are forbidden to importance. It is pretended that the power of much influenced by prejudice, so often governed receive paper and to deposit it in banks, but I the President will be increased by the provisions by circumstances, and is so circumscribed in its wish to show that this bill is not incompatible of this bill, and the patriotic sensibilities of genvision, that the best and wisest are liable to error. with the Constitution; indeed, I consider it in tlemen are aroused by the idea that the ComMust we, therefore, ever continue in the wrong, strict accordance with its epirit-a faithful per mander of the Army and Navy, and the leader of and must we never yield to the lessons of ex formance of the wishes of its framers, wlio never forty thousand office-holders, should also have perience? Mr. Van Buren was in favor of the dreamed of the interpretation of modern commen control of the Federal purse. The zeal of these "safety-fund” system of New York, and Mr. tators. Here, then, I might stop, and ask our animated orators would encourage the belief that Calhoun once advocated the establishment of a opponents for their authority. The burden of l public liberty was in danger, and that the Presinational bank; but do these things justify the as proving the measure inefficient or dangerous lies dent was grasping at all the powers of the Cone sertion that they are dishonest in recommending on their shoulders, and something more than loud stitution in order to change the nature of our this measure; or are they sufficient to draw you, denunciation is necessary to satisfy the public Republic. or me, or any honorable member, from its zealous mind.

A plain statement will dissipate these clouds support? Sir, I think and act independently on An honorable member from New York (Mr. and relieve the anxieties of honorable gentlemen, all occasions. The people whom I represent are BARNARD) said that the real object of the bill was if they are sincerely in search of truth and not too proud and too generous to expect a base sub to "govern" or to "regulate the State banks, | playing the game of petty politicians for selfish serviency to. any man or any party; all that they though its title wag“ A bill for the collection, purposes. If the Government and the bank's be wish is an honest devotion to their welfare, and a safe-keeping, transfer, and disbursement of the connected, the public money will be deposited in conscientious discharge of the solemn duties re public revenue." He thought it analogous to the these institutions, subject to the drafts of certain quired by the Constitution.

iariff' laws, which were passed for the benefit of officers, in pursuance of old and established laws. Sir, it'this will contain in its womb but a small domestic manufactures, while they were called Whether it be a bank chartered by Congress or portion of the evils which its enemies have fore acts for the collection of revenue; and he seemed a State Legislature, the keeper of the money is cold, it is the worst measure ever introduced into to think it difficult for some of us to “digest”a || compelled to obey the command of these officers; a deliberative assembly. We have heard that the measure of such a churacter. The gentleman is it cannot be said that the fund is to be used for an public treasure will be surrendered to thieves and ll entirely mistaken, at least in regard to one of those ll improper or illegal object; the deposilury cannot

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

inquire into the motives and designs of the public banks and the credit system; the demand of coin | probable that the sum above mentioned must be agenis, though it be suspected that they are west is considered a discrediting of paper issues and supplied by the banks, and they should be preing the treasure of the nation, but drafts in the the complete overthrow of the present order of | pared for this additional demand for the precious legal form and from the proper authority must be things, and thence they have launched into a swol metals. By the last report these institutions had prompily paid. It thus appears that the revenue len eulogium of the glorious udvantages of credit. $33,000,000 in coin, and upward of four hundred of the country must be under the control of some The error of honorable gentlemen consists in not millions in debts, while they owed much more one, and existing statuers have placed it under discriminaling between a standard of value and than one hundred millions to the community. Can the care of officers in the Department of the Treas currency and credit. Every Government is bound it be possible that corporations so rich, and havury; they have it deposited in banks, they draw to furnish its people with the former, and every l) ing such entire control of the business of the it out according to the exigencies of the public Government has performed that duty; but, as to country, are unable to redeem $5,000,000 of their service, and on their intelligence and integrity we credit and currency, these have generally been own notes? Or is it reasonable to suppose that rely for a faithful discharge of these important left io those engaged in business; and it is now their usefulness would be destroyed by the refu

sal of the Government to use their paper? Sir, officers, and, from the construction put on the Con- || lations of private individuals. If one man has these professed friends of the banks are their stitution since the days of Washington, he can earned more than he needs the surplus is loaned worst enemies; they have done more injury to remove them at pleasure; if they thwart the plans to another, on whose industry and integrity he paper currency by prating about its weakness, of ambition, if they refuse to be the tools of cor can depend. Money is lent and borrowed from and dragging the subject into politics, than the ruption, or if they decline to use the public money a sense of mutual interest; this has been the case most frantic bullionist could effect by argument. for any purpose which the Presideni may dictate, from the time of Adam, and will continue to the I think better of these institutions than their pohe can ejeci them from office, and substitute in end of the world. Is there anything in this bill | litical allies. I believe they are perfectly able to their stead men of more pliant and less scrupu to discourage men from using their

own prop answer the call made by this bill, and if they are lous character. This might happen under a Chieferty or making such contracts as their interests not, they would soon fall without the help of Magistrale who could have the folly to attempt a may dictate? Is there a clause prohibiting individ- external violence. stretch of authority, if we resolve to keep inis || uals or corporations from loaning and borrow But it is said that if the Government refuses Government and the banks united. Would our | ing money or receiving the promissory notes of || paper the people will follow its example, and in situation be different if this bill becomes a law? whomsoever they may be willing to trust? The ihe general distrust nothing but coin will be reThe officer in charge of the public property might Federal Government is forbidden to treat paper ceived with satisfaction. This result is not probbe cajoled by his superior or driven to a violation as money, not for the purpose of dishonoring able; so long as paper is convenient for commerce, of his oath and his duty to the country; through that which circulates, but because it should not and so long as it is redeemed promptly by those him the Presidentcould bribe dishonest poliucians discriminate between its citizens by using the who issue it, the thunder of Washington will be or raise a secret army to war on the rights of his promissory note of one and refusing that of an felt no more than a popish bull. The greater fellow-citizens, or use the nation's money to grat- | other, and because the interest of the whole so governs the less, and the hundreds of millions ify still lower propensities. Thus, in either case, ciety will be promoted by adopting a new policy. used in the business of this vast and enterprising whether banks or individuals be the depositaries, Sound credit is a powerful agent in the produc- | country cannot yield to the small dealings of the the President will have an indirect control of the tion of wealth and the advancement of individ Government; the thousands who throng the avepublic money so long as the power of removal ual happiness; but gentlemen are greatly mis nues of commerce and congregate in the busy from office is admitted, so long as subordinates taken in supposing that the extravagances and marts will consult their own interests and conmust depend on the smiles and favor of the Chief corruptions of the banking system have pushed venience and not the wishes of politicians. GenMagistrale.

this country so rapidly in the career of national eral Jackson and his party were charged with The most prominent measure of the late Ad- | prosperty. The fertility of a virgin soil, hith- endeavoring to destroy the late national bank; ministration proves the truth of this argument; erto untouched by the plow-share, the enter and yet it became stronger among the merchants the Secretary of the Treasury refused to obey the prising spirit of our people, which no difficulty and traders, because they believed it to be sound; President and remove the deposits from the Bank can subdue, and the unfettered liberty enjoyed usefulness and safely being the tests which govof the United States; he was displaced, and his under our free institutions, have caused the won ern the opinions of prudent and practical men. successor readily executed the mandate of his su derful development of the resources of this highly A few years ago the State of North Carolina forperior. Shame, then, on this hypocritical clamor favored land. But, sir, let us take a view of the bade its officers to receive notes under five dolagainst the great measure of reform! Where is practical operation of this measure.

One mem

lars, and made their circulation penal, and yet the proposition to increase the power of the Ex ber declaims loudly on the benign effects of pa they came from the adjoining States, temporary ecutive? Where is the clause by which he can per; another theorizes on the benefits to be de convenience triumphing over principle. Gentleexercise more influence than at present? This rived from gold and silver. I shall endeavor lo men need not fear that confidence will be deattempt to deceive the people is worthy of scrib discover the real influence of this bill on the busi- || stroyed; the danger to be apprehended is too little Lling partisans and traveling orators; it ought not ness of the country and the character of our insti- || suspicion, too much dependence on the honesty to appear in this House, where we should as tutions.

and intelligence of the money dealers. The office semble and deliberate like dignified statesmen. If If the coin paid to the Government be hoarded of currency is to present a uniform standard of gentlemen are fearful that the President may ex up, great distress would certainly be produced value, and furnish the means by which commodercise an improper influence on the Department | throughout all classes of the community; but it ities may be exchanged and contracts regulated. of the Treasury, the only way to remedy this evil is levied for the purpose of being used; it comes In this country it is mixed, composed of coin and is to affect an amendment of the Constitution; and from the pockets of ihe people into the Treasury, paper, the last greatly preponderating. The reio make that Department directly responsible to and it will go to the public creditor to defray the lations of business demand, and will have, a sufthe Representatives of the people. A proposal of expenses of Government. The head of a fumily ficiency of this circulating medium; the refusal This nature would involve grave considerations; may spend thousands of dollars, and yet rarely of paper by Government will alter the proporit might be feared that the Chief Magistrate would have, at the same time, more than a few hun tions heretofore existing; there will be more spebe rendered weak and inefficient, or the Secretary dreds; his affairs are so managed that his expend- cie and less paper; more of the substantial and of the Treasury himself become too powerful, or iture keeps pace with his income, care being not quite so much of the convenient; more strength she Legislature would engross too much author taken to provide for any contingency that may and a little less activity. ity and trample under fooi the coördinate branches reasonably happen. Thus it is with the Federal When the public funds consisted of promissory of the Government. But the passage of this bill Government; iis revenue is constantly accruing, notes, and were deposited in banks, they formed eannot be an obstacle to any change which may and passing away in a similar manner, unless an the basis of new loans, and in some cases were be desired by the wisdom and patriotism of the Administration should have the madness to col used as capital, though in reality they were the country; the question now at issue concerns the lect more than is wanted for necessary purposes. simple' obligations of these institutions themkeeping of the public money, and whether it be It is impossible, however, to expect an exact cor selves. If, instead of having this deposit, they placed in banks or in the hands of our own offi- | respondence between receipts and expenditures; || be called on to redeem $5,000,000 of previous cers for safety and disbursement, the ultimate one or two millions are required for the Mint, and promises, it is not astonishing that all interested control of it may be given at any time to whom allowance must be made for casualties, so that in large issues should be violently opposed to this soever the voice of the nation shall direct. the Treasury will always have a considerabie bill. According to safe practice a bankercan lend The management of the “independent treas sum above its immediate liabilities. Persons well

in paper three times more than he has in coin; ures" will require the appointmeni of a few more acquainted with the details of finance (and the and if he lose the advantage of the Federal revofficers and clerks, and io this extent the patron calculation is easily made) have supposed that enue, his circulation will be curtailed probably to Age of the President must be increased, but it will | $5,000,000 would be the amount usually in the the amount of $20,000,000. This result may be be shown, in the progress of my remarks, that hands of public officers. Whatever may be the unpalatable to the receivers of dividends, and to this is trilling in comparison with that which will annual income, this will be the extent of the dc those whose prospect of wealth is dependent on be lopped off by separating the banks from the mand for Government, and the remainder will heavy loans and endless credit; but in placing Government.

go into circulation, or return to the coffers from a moderate and wholesome check on the manuBut, Mr. Chairman, the strongest feature of which it came. When the system becomes es facture of paper, this bill confers a great benefit this bill is that denominated the " specie clause,' tablished its operations would be regular, and on the people, who are deeply concerned in the which orders the revenue to be collected in gold banks, merchants, and inen of business, will con maintenance of a sound and steady currency. and silver. This provision will go into operation duct their affairs accordingly; the dealer in money The history of banking shows a constant pronegradually to avoid the injurious consequences of will soon learn to foresee the amount of specie ness to overaction; the anxiety of the stockholder a change too sudden, and to enable all classes to thai may be called for, as also that which will as to make large profits, and the greediness of the accommodate their affairs to the future condition suredly come back to his vault by the course of borrower, who too often is a mere speculator, of the currency The enemies of this measure trade, and thence may be known his ability to seduce all parties beyond the limits of prudence. have denounced it as, a scheme to prostrate the accommodate customers and borrowers. It is || The former thinks that the demand for his notes

26th Cong.... IST SESS.

Independent Treasury-Mr. Shepard.

HO. OF REPS.

is caused by the business of the country, and the port all the merchandise that was to be carried, at Charleston took the paper of a local bank, it latter imagines the supply to proceed from real, at a fair price, the usefulness of both would be was deposited in the branch of the national insti. active capital. This may be true to a certain ex diminished, and a portion of the expenditure || tution, whose manager immediately demanded tent; bui'as the paper increases the price of prop would be a loss to the community. If $50,000,000 || payment, which was cffected by means of specie erty rises, and, reacting on the banks, induces be able to keep in motion the plow, the ship, or a draft on Europe. This Government would greater expansion. These alternate influences and the shuttle, and perform the contracts of trade, not touch the notes of State banks, except for a continue to operate until the condition of things what good could be obtained by doubling this moment, to suit the temporary convenience of the is entirely artificial, the trading men being deeply sum? Money would be depreciated, and all kinds citizen, but it gave strength and circulation to the indebied to the banks, and these utterly unable of property would rise in the market; corn might issues of the great mammoth. How, then, can to redeem their obligations. While the flood is be sold for six dollars instead of three, but the the passage of this bill injure the State corpogoing on it is easy and agreeable to glide in the farmer would pay in the same proportion for land rations? Under no circumstances can they be current. High wages, high prices, and plenty | and labor, for the comforts and luxuries of life, benefited by the receipt and disbursement of the of money make us rejoice in the prosperity of the land for the education of his children. In a coun Federal revenue. In addition to this, the paper country; but when there is a reflux of the tide, try where improvement is constantly going on, of a national bank would find its way to the chanand debtors are called on to pay, unrewarded la where new lands are opening, where cities are nels now occupied by that of the local institutions. bor, the sacrifice of property, and "hard times, building, and the mechanic arts are rapidly ap- || Having the advantages which would be conferred mark the period of contraction. Self-interest is proaching perfection, there must be a gradual in- || by law, and the credit which would be given by the guide and counselor of these trading com crease of the currency, but it should be according the countenance of Government, it would be a panies. The object of the capitalist is not to fur to the wants of busi not the caprice and self favorite with the public, and perform much of the nish a good currency to the people, but to make || ishness of individuals. Gentlemen need not fear || duty now devolved on its rivals, and, of course, a profitable investment of his money. If it be a deficiency; if trade be left to itself, if bankers reap the best of the harvest. The friends of the advantageous to extend the business, it is done be put on the same footing with other industrious national bank are, therefore, the enemies of the without caring for the soundness of the circulat. || classes, if credit be free as the air of heaven, the State corporations. The refusal of paper in this ing medium; and if it be necessary to “stop ac circulating medium will be adapted to the capa bill will be a wholesome check on its issue, but commodations,” the decree goes forth amid the bilities of the country, to its varied industry, and we do not also present a competitor in the margroans and sorrows of a ruined community. In || gigantic enterprises.

ket for the business of the people. many cases, cunning and unscrupulous men creep Honorable members are addicted to being elo Mr. Chairman, one of the strongest arguments into the command of these institutions; they act quent when speaking of the happy effects of a in favor of this measure is its tendency to introfor the benefit of themselves, their friends, and swollen currency. The poor young man, start duce stricter habits of economy, and to make the confederates, regarding neither the interests of || ing into life with no capital bụt his moral quali- | people understand any malversation which may stoek holders nor the welfare of the country. || ties, the hidden resources of the country brought occur in the conduct of their affairs. In 1824 and Such persons are worthy of the gallows. But if to light and ministering to our greatness, the high || 1828, under the pretense of collecting revenue, the managers of the system be honest, and dis wages which carry solace to the wearied laborer laws were passed imposing heavy taxes on the posed to do their duty, how can they avoid the and his humble family, are topics on which they people of this country, for the purpose of properiodical crises under which we suffer? Where disport in their peculiar strain of declamation. tecting domestic manufactures. I shall not descant is the index to point out the limit of issues, be- || Why will they not sometimes view the dark side on the subject, but will merely remark that these yond which it were unsafe to go? Who can tell of the picture? Why will they not notice those enactments were considered unjust and oppressive when the demand for paper ceases to be natural, periods of our history when the banks are re by those who did not participate in the bounties and the cravings of a morbid appetite begin to tracing their hastý steps, when the price of all granted; they were contrary to those modern operate?

articles is brought down, when labor is almost || principles of philosophy which teach that comIt is said that the foreign exchange is the test worthless, when the debtor is pressed to the earth, merce should be free and industry unrestricted; that, if specie be exported, the currency is re and one universal cry of distress pervades the | they were in violation of the spirit of the Constidundant and should be contracted. This is a land? Between the years of 1816 and 1821, dur- || tution, which forbids that the Government should remarkable principle; the evil has occurred, and | ing the existence of the late national bank, fifty be prostituted to the interests of a particular class the community is injured, though the banker millions of paper were drawn from circulation; or section of this wide-spread Confederacy. Under may moderate the mischief by listening to the previous expansions had created the heaven in their operation large sums of money were collected warning received from countries across the water, which the gentlemen delight, but the banks were from the people which were not necessary for the that have a sounder currency. Should it happen, forced to call on their debtors in order to sustain public service; in a short time the national debt however, as is the case in England, that the for their own credit, and thence began the fall of was liquidated, as if the present generation alone eign nation, with which we have dealings, has | prices, the destruction of property, and the de should pay the price of our liberties, and the also expanded her circulating medium, the state rangement of business so well known to those most ridiculous, expensive, and unconstitutional of exchanges will not indicate the disease; or if acquainted with commercial affairs. Since that schemes were projected to absorb the revenue, we borrow large sums of money from European time similar events have occurred, though not of and yet there was a surplus in the Treasury of capitalists, the test is completely destroyed; in a character so disastrous; and now we are in the $40,000,000. Sir, does the history of England or deed the rate of exchange would be in our favor, midst of a paper revolution, unequaled for its France, or even Turkey, exhibit a policy so unand yet we might be gasping from a plethora of extent and appalling consequences, crushing the just and foolish ? Monarchs have taken the proppaper. Sir, so long as companies, organized for merchant, embarrassing the artisan, and depriv- || erty of their subjects to carry on war, by which private purposes, and pursuing private objects, ing the laborer of the common necessaries of life. their ambition might be gratified, their territories have the entire control of the currency, and are Can these fluctuations benefit any class of the increased, and their families enriched; but in this assisted by the funds and power of the Govern- || people, or advance any species of industry? If | Republic, established for the benefit of the whole ment, so long will the standard of value be ren we are pushed forward by expansion, we are people, whose ancestors refused to pay King dered uncertain, the condition of our citizens fluc- dragged further back than our old position by George a small tribute, we have an instance of tuating, and their best interests placed in constant contraction. This country does not need an ar levying more taxes than are wanted, or could be jeopardy. It is ridiculous to ask a remedy of tificial stimulus; the spirit of our people is not wisely spent! This fund was deposited in the those who are thinking only of themselves; these broken by the despot's frown; the reward of in- || banks, which loaned it out to the real owners at corporations have received their privileges from | dustry is tempting beyond example; the field for an interest of six per cent., and kept them from Government, and all that is now asked is to di- || enterprise is rich and varied. The fear is that we feeling the burden that had been imposed; but minish, in a slight degree, the dangerous monop- || may advance too rapidly, that our strength will finally the authors of this miserable system of oly. The refusal of paper at the custom-house not be equal to our growth, and that we may be duplicity and plunder, to conceal the enormity of and land office will remind the banker that he is wanting in those great qualities of virtue, stabil their conducts proposed that these millions of dolliable for the payment of his notes; he will be | ity, and moral excellence which elevate and adorn lars should be distributed among the States. Thus called on daily for the precious metals, and he will a nation.

trading politicians, combined with the representabecome more scrupulous in the use of his credit. Some gentlemen have been seized with a won tives of selfish and grasping interests, passed laws I am not sanguine in the hope that this measure derful regard for the institutions of the States; for the benefit of the few at the expense of the will produce a complete reform; it will certainly | lips which have poured, forth scorn and derision many, and, when the result of the policy began abate the evil, and the Federal Government has upon the doctrine of State rights have lately used to be manifest, a cunning scheme is devised to not authority to do more. If these abuses con most honeyed phrases, and invoked the South to blind the eyes of the country, by returning the tinue to afflict the country, the power of the States interfere and reject a measure that will destroy money which had been improperly seized, and by must be invoked for a correction.

their local banks. Sir, the real object of this pre- || endeavoring to have it believed that this GovernA learned member from Massachusetts (Mr. tended sympathy is to play on the feelings of hon ment was a paternal benefactor. Sir, do you think CUSHING] seems to think that the prosperity of a orable members, and use them to advance a meas that the juggling conspirators could have concountry is commensurate with the quantity of its ure condemned by our constituents, and utterly summated the plan of deception if the revenue circulating medium. If the currency be some repugnant to their interests; the hope is to destroy had been paid in gold and silver and been kept thing valuable, its increase is undoubtedly an evi this bill, and establish a great national bank, by the public officers? If $40,000,000 in coin had dence of industry and enterprise, but considered which is so friendly to the States, and so little been accumulated in the Treasury, every branch as a mere instrument of commerce, as a means to hostile to their own corporations !

of industry would have suffered so intensely that effectuate a particular purpose, as a measure of Let us compare the effect of such an institution the people would have seen the real nature of these value and exchange, its excellence depends on its

hypocritical enactments, and with one voice, from ethiciency for the desired object. A railway be- || ing to the act of 1816, the officers of the revenue Maine to Louisiana, demanded a repeal. Such tween two large cities may be useful and profit- received the noles of any bank which paid specie is the beautiful operation of this measure, thatthe able; but if another be constructed, though the at the place of reception, or the notes of the na Government and banks are made to exert on each former could convey all the passengers, and trans. tional bank payable anywhere. If the collector Il other an indirect but wholesome influcnce; the

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

err,

demand for specie will tend to keep the issues of who will always have private interests in view, | peal from those with whom they have no sympaper within properlimits, and unjust or improv and secret objects to attain? When gentlemen pathies of feeling reach their hearts and influence ident legislation will receive a sure check from its talk on this subject, they should distinguish be their conduct? Cold and calculating, they might bearing on the moneyed interests of the people. tween the exchange of equal values and the ex sweep from existence the State banks, established

Mr. Chairman, have been amused at the change of banker's paper. There is no difficulty to foster the dawning commerce of our ancient various and contradictory objections which have about the first, and as to the various depreciations sovereignties, and create a dependence on thembeen made to the passage of this bill. One mem of the last, these must be corrected by ceasing to selves throughout this extensive empire. They ber tells us that mosi of the coin will be collected screen them from the penalties of the law, and by might concentrate the trade of the country at ai New York, and it must be transferred to ditler the stern sense of an honest community.

particular points when the wishes and welfare of ent places where it may be wanted by the Gov. But, sir, we are told that a corporation of large ihose whose industry has brought it into existernment, and thence it will return by the course capital, chartered by this Government and sus ence would give it another direction. Sir, can I of trade to the city from which it came. He tained by its revenues, would furnish a paper me vote to place the happiness and the prosperity of concludes, therefore, that specie will be traveling | dium equivalent to specie; would control the is my constituents at the command of strangers, who about the country and keeping commercial affairs sues of State banks, and prevent those expansions || know them not? Can I give to a few bankers the in constant agitation, as if drafts payable at the and contractions of the currency that so often con control of their commerce and the regulation of depository in New York and sent to St. Louis, vulse the country. I grant that the powers of their industry? Should I become the servile infor instance, would not be readily cashed by mer such an institution, wielded with prudence, wis strument of cunning politicians, who, having nachants or bankers of that city who stand in need dom, and patriotism, would produce a happy ef tional words on their lips, are entirely governed of eastern funds, and thus prevent the movement || fect, and if such qualities were often found among || by local feelings, and assist in sacrificing my own of a single dollar. Another member opines that men, the State corporations themselves would not home and my own friends to pamper the pride a great bank is to be erected, where all the specie | require a master, but would perform their duties and increase the wealth of the people of other of the country will be hoarded and paper will be faithfully. What reason have we to think, how- || sections? No, sir; let this Government be sepissued to take the place of our present currency,

ever, that more virtue, good sense, and love of | arated from all banks; let it raise aloft the standas if this bill countenances or approves of any country, will be found in the managers of a na ard of the Constitution as the guide of the counsuch project, or does not contain provisions which tional bank than in those of the State institutions? | lry and the protector of the people; let it warn a fair and honorable statesman would consider Will not the offices of each be distributed by in men of business from the shoals and quicksands ulterly hostile to the life of a monster so obnox- || trigue and favoritism? Will not all be equally | hid under the smooth current of unsound credit; ious. A third gentleman is stuffed by his leaders desirous of large dividends? Will not all be let it be the signal of safety in the hour of diswith both these ideas; and not perceiving their closely importuned by needy borrowers and rest tress, the solid bulwark of national honor amid inconsistency he pours them forth with all the less speculators? Where is the test of sound the rage of disastrous speculation and the petty gravity of conviction, and congratulates himself operations that will be accessible to the one and tricks of temporary expediency! with having dealt a heavy blow on the Inde not to the other? Why should the President of The enemies of this great doctrine have endeavpendent Treasury and its supporters when his the great company heed the signs of a coming | ored to degrade it into a mercenary scheme for the simplicity has only excited their pily and laugh storm and prepare for its fury more readily than benefit of the public officers. This view is more ter. Sir, honorable members are compelled to his humble and weaker brethren? Sir, the truth | consistent with the narrowness of their own resort to their old tactics. Overthrown in argu is manifest, that the same tendency to overaction minds and the bitterness of politica! feeling than ment, they create men of straw of vast dimen pervades the whole system, the same liability to the important consequences that will flow from sions and bad propensities, against whom they war and the same want of means to avoid the fatal | its adoption, either to the advantage or the injury most lustily, or charges of corruption and imbe consequences of mismanagement. Great Britain of our descendants. My own opinion is, that the cility are made against the Administration, which has a national bank of immense resources, and connection which has existed between the Govfinally sinks into the awful crimes of buying a yet, from 1797 to 1823, that corporation could not ernment and the moneyed class of our citizens few flowers, or eating with a silver spoon, or using

redeem its own notes. Within the last twelve was corruptive of both. It did not advance the a cambric handkerchief. The object of this viru months it has been on the verge of suspension, permanent interests of society, and if prolonged lent siander and petty persecution is to divert the having been saved by borrowing millions from might so change the character of our institutions public mind from the real issue, to keep the peo France; and so far from controlling the small as to render profitless the blood and treasure that ple from considering the great questions which banks, her directors have charged the late disas were expended in their establishment. This subihey are called decide, and slyly elevate a party ters on those companies. Behold, too, the Bank | ject has caused all the strife and turmoil that have whose heart's desire is to establish a national of the United States, that has attracted so much made the last eight years so memorable in our bank.

attention during the last few years! Was the history. The party in power refused to recharThe beauties of such an institution have been paper currency sound, stable, and worthy of con ter the late national bank, whose stockholders imoften portrayed to this House, and to the coun fidence from 1816 to 1821? Have there been no mediately threw themselves into the arms of the try. A circulating medium at par throughout sudden expansions and contractions, at one time Opposition, and the question became the promthe Union, domestic exchanges regular, and at a maddening the public mind with the exciting || inent topic of political controversy. General small charge, the State banks compelled to re stimulus, and at another destroying the hopes and Jackson was charged with designing to tamper deem their issues these are the boasted blessings blighting the prospects which a selfish policy had with that institution; and he retorted with acto be conferred by a national bank! It is cer caused to spring forth? Let the merchant, let the cusing the bank of using its funds in operating tainly convenient for travelers to have a paper honest citizen, answer at the bar of his country. on the public mind. Members of Congress and currency, that will be received in all the es; Where now is this great institution, the model of men of infuence received loans or high compenbut they constitute an exceedingly small part of finance, the cynosure of all eyes, the everlasting sations for service, which were stigmatized as the community, and the trouble of taking a few topic of eloquence and declamation? Almost in || bribes, and the varying state of the bank's disgold pieces would save them from the loss and a state of hopeless bankruptcy, the pity of its counts was said to be without reference to the annoyance of using the noies of local corpora friends, and the scorn of its enemies. Ought this business of the country, and intended to produce tions. This advantage is also counterbalanced to have been its condition at the end of a long panic and uneasiness throughout the land. The by another consideration: it is not the ability of career, if there be so much magic, so great safety removal of the deposits was proclaimed an act of a national bank, or the skill with which it might and excellence in a national institution? Where tyranny, and defended as necessary to curb a be managed, that gives a general currency to its were the skill and wisdom of its directory, the bold and intriguing corporation. The substitubills, but the Federal Government receives them sagacity which could penetrate into the future; tion of the Slate banks to keep the public money in payment of dues, and thus gives them credit in where the lofty bearing of strength and confi was hailed as a deliverance, while the Opposition sections far distant from the place of redemption. dence? Sir, have they passed away in the energy considered them mere political machines, brought Were the note of any bank or an individual that marked the progress of a bold and violent up to aid the policy of a corrupt Administration. stamped with such an authority, it also would warfare?

I know nothing of the truth of these charges go everywhere and be cagerly sought after. The Whatever force may be in the statements of and criminations, though to this day they are granting of this favor to a special association is honorable gentlemen as to the usefulness of their believed by thousands of honest and intelligent a great monopoly, and can only be justified by favorite measures, is weakened by the fear that its citizens. The secret doings of factions, and the the overruling law of necessity.

privileges might be exerted to che detriment of private arrangements of public men, can never Exchange between two points depends on the ihe country. We have a diversity of climate, soil, be fully understood; but in matters of this kind, business of commerce, on the productions sold and population. One State is agricultural, an a well-grounded suspicion is sufficient for an arand the merchandise purchased, and on the rela other manufacturing, a third commercial, or there gumeni, and patriotism bids us to be ever watchtions subsisting between them as debtor and cred may be rivals in the same pursuit. And is there ful in guarding the purity of our noble instituitor. Natural causes, therefore, govern exchange, no danger that an institution of great power might tions. An association of capitalists prays for the and if there be no tampering, no interference by be prostituted to sectional purposes. A charter | grant of extraordinary privileges, even the power the Legislature, it will always be on a proper fooi granted to-morrow would aggregate capital from of controlling the commerce, regulating the ining. Nobody complains of exchange between New all parts of the trading world. It would soon dustry, and valuing the property of fifteen mil. York and Liverpool, and merchants would think belong to foreigners and vagrant natives, and lion people. This is refused; and is it unreait ridiculous to speak of regulating it by a bank; it would be controlled by a few merchants and sonable to suppose that these men would use for it is rarely much above or below the par stand brokers of New York or Philadelphia. In these uncommon efforts to attain their objects? Would ard. If a trader in New Orleans had $1,000 to men would be united the money dealer and the they scruple to form an alliance with needy polipay a debt in Philadelphia, and a draft could not local partisan. Profit would be the first object, ticians, that were in search of new weapons to be bought on fair terms, he could transport the and the aggrandizement of their city or section | attack their adversaries? Would they hesitate to money by water at the small expense of one or the next consideration. Would they care for the work zealously in the cause of a party whose two per cent. This is done in all parts of the well-being of a distant community if it came in elevation will redound to their own personal adworld, and where is the need of an artificial ruler, conflict with their own interests? Would an ap- 1l vantage? Or, let us suppose that an ambitious

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »