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who talks about merchants spending their is a fụnction which paper cannot perform, time ‘in counting piles of dollars, one by The measure of values must itself possess
If massez of specie are to be paid, intrinsic value, and must itself be free from it is done in bulk, in kegs, or bags, or by sudden or material variations of value. It weighing, or by a transfer of credit on the must have a uniform, and a universal vabooks of a bank. Bills of exchange, re- lue. As well might you attempt to make ceipts, or certificates, representing masses a measure of lengths out of that which of cotton, tobacco, rice, grain, four, leef, has no length, a measure of weights out pork, lead, catile, &c. make the great pay- of that which has no weight, a measure of ments. So far as large mercantile opera- quantities out of that which has no capacity ti0118 are concerned, specie is but an inferior to hold any quantity, as to endeavor to make part of the means of payments. With the a measure of values out of that which has body of the community, it is different. no intrinsic value. The precious metals Specie is, or should be, the main part of alone can constitute a measure of values; their payments, and with every Govern- paper money can measure the value of nothment, it should be the sole instrument of ing, not even of itself; its own value is payments. As to banks, it is in vain for eternally measured by its relation-by its them to expect to live upon confidence. convertibility-into specie. Its want of inThose that atteinpt it will share the fate intrinsic value, its liability to be made in of the Irishman's mare, which her master any quantlty, or to be diminisl.ed in any undertook to make live upon a straw a day. quantity, and its liability to total destrucOne-third in specie, for all its liabilities in tion, entirely disqualifies it for the high circulation and deposites, is the rule of the function of a measure of values. Bank of England. With less than that The Constitution of the United States proportion the bank holds herself to be un- has vested Congress with authority to presafe; with that proportion in hand, she ex- seribe a uniform standard of weights and pects to make up the other two-thirds, if ran measures for the whole Union. Congress upon, out of the debts due her, her credit has not exercised that power; but the comto borrow, and Government aid in Exche- mon feeling of the people has supplied quer bills. Scarcely a bank in the United the defect of Federal legislation. In all parts States undertakes to come up to the Bank of of the Union, they use the same weights and England standard of safety. The Legis. measures. A pound is a pound, a bushel is a lature of Louisiana is the only one that I bushel, a yard is a yard, from one end of have seen attempting to establish that stan- the country to the other. The Constitution dard.
has also vested Congress with authority to There is a concerted attempt at this time regulate the value-not of currency, for in the United States to deciy specie ; 10 there is no such word in the Constitution, ridiculc it, to vilify it, to suppres it, nor any word which can be made to inand to banish it. Gold, especially, clude paper currency—but to regulate the is the object of the vilification of value of the coin of our own mint, and althis party-that gold which slands first so of foreign coin. This power, for fortynamed in the constitution of the United five years, that is to say, froin 1789 to 1834, States, and which, from the earliest records was so erroneously exercised as to underof the human race, has been the chosen value gold six and two-thirds per cent. The money of the world. I do not envy that consequence was the total exclusion of gold party their assiduous labors in the defama. from our circulation. In 1834 this error tion of the precious metals. I do not fear was corrected; and the consequence is, that the success of their exertions. I do not gold is in the full process of restoration to fear even that they will ever succeed in its constitutional place in our currency. With making themselves turn their backs upon respect to foreign coins, instead of making the smallest piece of gold or silver which them current, as the Constitution intended, is offered for their acceptance. The neces. they were nearly all excluded from circulasity of an adequate supply of the precious tion by the act of 1819. This false legislation metals is known and felt by the whole hu- was also corrected in 1834; and foreign
It is the only money which it is coins now enter largely into our circulation. safe for the body of the people to handle. The year 1834--the second year of GeneIt is the main basis for the operations of a ral Jackson's second Presidential term, will bank; and it is the only standard or mea- be an era, a proud and glorious era, in the sure of values. One of the highest func- history of our constitutional currency. It Lions of money is to measure values. That will be the era of the reformation of the mo
tallic currency. The year 1836, the last year siderate man, invested with no legislativeof General Jacksou's second lerm, will be character, may say, that paper money is another glorious epnch in our financial his- lig!iter than gold and silver; th:at.paper will tory. li was in that year that the promis-. buy anything that gold and silver will buy;sory notes of a corporation crased to be a that he does not care what his money is. lawful tender to the United States in diso, made of, provided it will pay his debts.. charge of all taxes, d, bts, and duties due to The unr«flecting man may talk io his way; her. The year 1836 is the epoch of this but the statesinan must look at inoney in deliyerance of the Federal Treasury from its exaltet character.ot a measure of values; the dominion of a corporation;, but the yearand if that measure is. lost or destroyed by. 1832 divides the honor with ii;, for in that his management, he commits a great erroion year ivas the blow struck-she heroic velo and inficis a great injury, upon the entiro applied—which effected the deliverance.. community. We have lust ihat measure. Three noble acts have been performed; but The Federal Government has occasioned a fourth remains to be achieved to consum: its loss, The use of paper at the Fedemate the duties of the Federal, Govern- ral Treasury has banished coin-has set ment in relation to the currency. That er- an example which has been followed by all ror of Mr. Madison's administration, at the the States, and by every individual until. expiration of the existence of the first paper has banisted coin, arid made itself.a. Bank of the United States, must not be re- forced tender in every payment. Paper peated. The notes of the local banks must money is now the actual currency of the not be made a nat onal currency! Thu er- land. It is the medium of all payments; ror ruined the currercy ili 1814 and in 1819, and, being no measure of values, there is no and the repetition of it again ruined it in stabliiy of prices. Every thing flurtuates. 1837. Three times in twenty-five years, Trade is subjected to the hazards of gamb.. has that error deprived the Treasury of its ling. The remely for this evil-the means revenues, the country of a measure of va- for the re-establisment of the measure of lues, and rendered niigatory the uniformity values-ris.for the Federal Governinent to, of weights and measures, in which the use the true measure itself. In supplying whole Vnion had agreed. The effect upon itself with the irue measure, it will cause the community has been the same as if the whole country to be supplied. No na.. every seller had possessed the privilego, tion can salurate itself with gold and siland iind exercised it, of altering his weights. ver more easly than the United States., and measures at his pleasure; lengthening The hundred inillions of exportable proor shortening his yard stick; enlarging. or. ducts, annua'ly sent abroad, to say nothing reducing his bushel; diminishing or increas of domestic mines, and the supplies brought ing his pound weight with every sale, and in by emigrants--will bring back an annual precisely as it suited his own interests in supply. of 12 or 15. millions. We have every instance. This is an enormous and but to invite its presence, by "rea: ing a de-a crying evil, the parent of unnumbered mand for it, and & or 10 millions of this impositi ions npon the whole community, amount will annually remain with us until and especially upon the weaker part. In the national supply is full and complete. paying double for the necessaries of life, Mr. B. would examine some of the ob.. the effect has been precisely the same as if jeccions to the proposed bill. The able the purchaser had.received bui half a pound, speeches which had been delivered by the Half a yard, and half bushel, when he numerous friends of the measure abridge paid for a full pound, a full yard, and a fuli his labor in this respect, and he should con.. bushel. But, sir, I drop this disquisition. fine himself 10 brief notices of a fewof the The pursuit of it wonld carry me 109 far, principal points. At the head ot these objecat the present moment,, into the workings itons, stands the imposing assuniption that of the paper system. I drop it with re- the passage of the bill will infict a severe marking, that the arbitrary Jebasement of wound upon the Staie-banks, and entirely the current coin, formerly practised by disable them to resume specie payments some European Kings, and latéerly, by This assertion is made by the whole body, some Turkish Sultans, was innocent and of the speakers on the opposite side; but harmless, compared to the mischief done they deal in assertion only. No explanain our own country by the loss of a mea- tion is given to justify it, and to show how sure of values, and the consequent, or it is, that an array of eight hundred banks equivalent, destruction of all the measures is to be thus mysterious'y and powerfully of quantities. The thoughtless and incon- affected. The amendment of shie Senator,
from Virginia (Mr. Rives) only proposes able relative state of the balances between this to distribule ilia deposites among twenty, and the other parts of the Union, that for the pro..
sent, at least, but lille need be apprehended from five banks, so that seven hundred and se
the effect of natural causes. Of deliberate acts ven:y-five would remain unprovided for, of hostility, as there could be no motive for such, and; consequently, subject to ruin under that there should be no apprehension on our part. We plan. But there is a readier answer to this trust that, supported by the community of this objection. The bill only proposes to remit city, and by the State, the banks will be able to these banks to the condition they were in surmount all obstacle, and on or before the tenth
of May to resume and maintain specie payments' under the dominion of the Bank of the
From this authentic report, it is seen that United States. They were then in a com• the banks of the city of. New York have pleie state of divorce from the Federal Go determined to resume specie payments on vernment, having no share of the public deposites, or any share in the privilege of or before the 10th of May. next; that they
ask nothing but the co-operation, or forpaying the Federal revenue with their notes. bearance, of other banks, and are afraid of They were contented with that condition, nothing but the deliberate hostility of some and affirm that they flourished under it; and such of them as wish for the estab- to say, Mr. Biddle's ba:sk in Philadelphia..
non-resuming banks in other cities, that is lishment of a National Bank, are still in. This is the language of the banks in New. favor of that condition, and of being divor York. They ask nothing, and they fear: ced from the Government. The only dif- nothing, from the Federal Government.. ference is that they will:submit to a divorce Thty Bear nothing from the Sub-1'reasury imposed by the by-laws of a Federal Bank, bill. They declare their only danger to be but will resist it coming froin Congress. in the conduct of the non-resuming banks This answer is enough to explode the ob- of some neighboring cities. Now, which jection. It not only puts an end to it, but is entitled to inost credit in this contradicmakes it ridiculous. No further answer is tion of. opinion, the New York banks, or necessary to be given; but a further answer. the politicians on this floor? Certainly it is at haid, and will be given. It comes is a case in which the opinion of the banks from an authoritative source. The report must prevail. They know their own conof the committee of the barks of New dition; they know the condition of otheis; , York, on the resumption of specie pay. they have the work of resumption to perments, made on the 28th of February last, form, and they say they can perforin it. If and approved in a general meeting of the they can, all other barks must be able to. banks of the city, holds this language : do it likewise, or must have imposed false
« In contemplation of the resumption of specie hoods upon the country when they stopped payments by the banks of the city of New York, paymeni la-t May; for all then declared. on or before the 10th of May next, and under the inat they did not stop from their own weakuncertain contingency of a simultaneous or early cesumption by the banks of some of the other ness, but from the example of New York; great commercial cities, il.is incumbent on those and that they would be ready to resuine of New York to adopt all the measures within whenever her banks did. This was the the limits of their resources, which may enable language of all, and of none more publicly them not only to resume, but also to maintain spe- and positively than that of Mr. Biddle's cie payments."
bank. The banks, then,, upon their own. “The fall in the rate of foreign exchanges, now showing, are all able to resume, and it is considerably below par in our city paper, renders not for politicians, who cannot be admitteå it absolutely certain, that no exportation of specie to know the condition of the banks as well can take place, and more than probable that a
as the banks do themselves, and who havo considerable influx may be expected. This fact, now indisputable, must have au effect on public their own political objects to accomplish opinion, and ought to remove the apprehensions by prolonging ihe suspension—it is not for of those who may haye believed our ef. thein to discover excuses for the future forts for an early resumption premature.. Socure failure of the banks in the acts of a Gov.. as all the banks in the United States are, against ernment, the whole of whose acts are, in foreign demands we are justified in expecting their eyes, full of folly and ruin. Even if their co-operation. If this is obtained, we do not perceive any obstacle to an early, easy, and safe. these politicians stood before the country as resumption of specie payments.'
sound judges, their judgment could not "A continued suspension, on the part of some banks. But they do not so stand; they do not
come in competition with the opinion of the of the other great commercial cities, can alone render the resumption on our part difficult, and stand as sound judges, but as frail and falli.. may prevent a free application of the legitimate ble partisans, whose habitual vaticination of rokources of New York. Yet, such is the favor- ruin fon every act, of the Government,,
whose thousand and one mistakes heretofore ing of the banks, than in the custody of the committed; whose burning desire to get into officers appointed by the Government to power by destroying the credit of those in keep them. This is an objection which power must reduce them to the condition of both reason and experience rejecis. Reapermanent prophets of woe, predicting des- son teaches us that a number of men acting truction, as a matter of course, from every together, will do that which each one of thing which their adversaries do.
them, individually, would scorn to do. The establishment of a Treasury bank is Thus, a board of bank directors would do the next objection to this bill. It is declar- an act which each member of che board, ed to be a Treasury bank; and then a fright- in his own individual c.ise, would spurn ful pieture of the evils of such a bank is to do. Take the case of the thirty millions drawn by each speaker, and held up to ter- of public deposites in the hands of the rify the people. I thank them for this ob- banks in May last. They were in the cusjection; it kills off four others which this tody of boards of directors; and, as boards, party have made against this administra- the directors acted in refusing the restitution, and on each of which they have in- tion of these deposites to the Treasurer of sisted with all the vehemence with which the United States, and to the disbursing they now urge this one. It kills off the officers in whose names they stood. But whole charge of intending to establish a suppose these thirty millions had been deNational Bank in New York; the whole posited with the members of the same charge of intending to impose the safety boards in their individual capacities, their fund system upon the whole Union; the personal honor, to say nothing of their whole charge of intending to govern the bonds and securities, bound for the resticountry, by a corrupt league of pet barks; tution--they would have restored 1 the and the whole charge of intending to im- amount to the last dollar, and felt the deeppose an exclusively metallic currency up. est huiniliation at the slightest delinquenon the country. The establishment of a cy. Such would have been their conduct. Treasury bank is inconsistent with these An individual is a safer depository than a four charges, and being the last charge, it board; and far better would it be to confide kills off the others. In this, it does us good the public deposites to any one single diservice. It shows what stuff the gentle- rector of a bank, than to the whole together men's charges are made of. It kills off four as a corporation. A corporation has no soul of their most serious charges at a blow; and no conscience : an individual director and now we will kill it off, and so finish has both; and these, with his bonds and sefive together. This can be done with two curities, would be the liighest pledge for. words; in the_first place, there is not one his fidelity. This is what reason teaches feature of a Treasury bank in the bill; in us. Now for experience. We have Treathe second place, I pledge myself to vote surers of the United States, and but one to eradicate it, if gentlemen can show me a Treasurer at a time. These Treasurers single feature.
have passed through their hands, counting Sensible that there is nothing in the bill from the foundation of the Government, to justify the objeetion, gentlemen fly off about eight hundred millions of dollars. to suppositions, and charge a future design Has any part of these eight hundred milto erect a Treasury bank upon th= found a lions been lost in their hands ? No: not dation of an Independent Treasury, and to one cent! Again: we have Treasurers of the furnish the Government with boundless Mint, one at a time. These treasurers have supplies of money, by the issue of ex- had ihe actual keeping, counting, and paychequer bills in the shape of Treasury ing out, of seventy-three millions of dolnotes. To these imaginations of the gen- lars in gold and in silver. Has one piece tlemea, I can only oppose positive denials, of it been lost in their hands ? No: not and wait for time to perform its office upon one! Under the bill before us, the Mints this accusation as it has done upon all that are to be made 'deposilories of the public they have made for eight or nine years moneys. Experience shows them to be past. For one, I shall never vote for such safe places; their peculiar occupation makes å bank, nor for no other issue of Treasury them proper places; and I wish we had notes.
three or four more of them, and then all A third objection is to the insecurity of the public moneys might be deposited in the public moneys in the hands of the Go- them. vernment agents. Gentlemen suppose that But gentlemen, in support of their objerthe moneys will be much safer in the keep- tion, made an assertion, and started an in
quiry which has ended in the total over. The nominal amount of such halances is about throw of their position. They ventured $2,500,000.Schedules of most of them, late as upon a question of facta question of seen in a report to the House of Representatives, figures and records a question to be an. made by this Department on the 15th January last; swered by documentary evidence. It was and another, with more detailod explanations, is as to the comparative amount of past losses; now preparing, in conformity to a resolution of whether the Government had lost most by whole amount, there should first be deducted a
the Senate, passed the 15th instant. From the using banks, or by trusting to their own
sum for what has been ascertained to be proba. fiscal agents; and in this inquiry gentle- bly secured or paid. This ranges from $1,000,000 men were bold 'in their affirmation that to $1,150,000. the comparison was to the disadvantage
“Of the nominal balances, a further sum, of the Government agents, and entirely in equal to near $300,00w, has never been put in favor of the banks. How unfortunate for arisen from a knowledge that noching would ap
suit; and, in most cases, this is believed to have their argument this attempt to do honor to pear to be due when the vouchers were all of the banks! It has led to official inquiries fered, and the allowances made which were conat the Treasury Department, and here is sidered legal.” the answer. It is a communication from Thus stands the comparison between the the Secretary of the Treasury, dated Febru- banks and the collectors and disbursing ary 28th, of the present year:
agents; and the difference is more than five “In answer to the first inquiry, as to the to one in favor of the collectors and these amount of balances against all banks which have agents. In both instances, the comparison been used as public depositories that is not se- goes back to the foundation of the Governcured, or will probably be lost, adding thereto ment, and it is to be observed that the the estimated loss that has accrued by taking losses among the collectors almost entirely on public account depreciated bank notes,' I would observe, that it is computed those balances accrued under the old system, before the Bo lost will be about $1,000,000, and the loss by four years' law took effect--that law which taking such notes about $5,500,000; making, in brings the accounts of every moneyed the aggregate, $6,500,000. This is without the addition of any interest, as are the subsequent
agent to a close every fourth year. This statements
. If interest was cast on the above law, with other regulations at ihe Departbums, the aggregate would exceed $13,000,000. ments, have nearly put an end to losses by
“ The data on which this computation rests are, collectors. In the war Department, in the that the nominad balances against banks that disbursement of one hundred millions in have been public depositories, and in default, are
the last fifteen years, there has not been now, though excluding what stands to the credit of disbursing officers, about $7,000,000. Or this the loss of a dollar. The other Departsum near $1,076,000 stands against old bank de menes have also been greatly improved. If positories, and the residue against recent ones. the comparison had been confined to the The loss to the Treasury loy taking depreciated last fifteen years, since the new law and notes in 1814, '15, 216, and '17, is estimated at the new regulations have been in force, it quite $5,500,000, and there is now on hand of would have resulted still more to the dissuch notes, then received and never paid away or collected, about $80,000 more, as is more fully credit of the banks and to the honor of the detailed in a report to the Senate from this De Government agents. But it is not by the partment, made the 1st instant. These constitute losses appearing on the Treasury books an aggregate of $12,580,000.”
that this great question is to be answered. To these losses from local banks is to be Those books only show the direct losses to added the sum of $233,422, for the princi- the Goveroment from the use of bank pa. pal and interest of dividends due from the per and banks as depositories; the indirect Bank of the United States, and withheld fosses to the Government, and the losses on a pretexted claim for damages on the to its creditors and to the whole communiprotested bill of exchange on the French ty from the use of depreciated paper, must Government. The answer to the second also be taken into the account; and then the branch of the inquiry stands thus:
mischief from the use of these banks and “ In answer to the second inquiry, as to the their paper money appear in their enorinous, amount of balances against all kinds of collect incalculable, and appalling amount. Gen. ing officers, which has noi been secured and will tlemen of the opposition have recurred cion, computed that it will not exceed from with great commendation to the report of a $900,000 to $1,200,000. From the long period committee to the House of Representatives, covered by these balances, connected with their of which Mr. McDuffie was chairman, great number, it must be obvious that the amount some seven or eight years ago, to show tae which has been wholly lost cannur, in many evils of a Treasury bankthat phantom of cases, be ascertained with accuracy.
* But the data for this estimate are as follows: which there is no existence any where but