Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The foregoing rule is illustrated thus : The population of Maine, for instance, which is 399,435, being divided by 47,700, the ratio assumed in the bill from the House of Representatives, gives a quotient of 8; the population being then divided by 8, the quotient is 49,929 ; divide by 9, the next higher number, the quotient is 44,381.

The following table exhibits the results in the several States, according to this process.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

Note. - The principle laid down by Professor Dean appears to be this : Each State should have that share of representation which bears the nearest possible proportion to the ratio assumed.

Thus Massachusetts, with 610,000 people, if the ratio be 47,700, should have 13 Representatives, because 13 bears the nearest possible proportion to 47,700.

As 13 is to 1, so is 610,000 to 46,923.

As 12 is to 1, so is 610,000 to 50,833. The first result, or 46,923, is nearer to 47,700, the assumed ratio, than the last result, or 50,833. The number 13, therefore, is more nearly apportioned to the assumed ratio than 12; and further trial of numbers will prove it to bear the nearest possible proportion to 47,700.

Mr. Dean considers that, the ratio being assumed, the number of the House, and of each State's share of representation, should be appor. tioned to the ratio. The error of the bill is thus shown ; its ratio bears no proportion, either to the whole number of the House, or to the respective quotas of representation of the several States. Its ratio is arbitrary, and its proposed number of this House is arbitrary ; that is, the number is not to be found by any process. The necessary consequence is, that no State's share of the House is found by any rule of proportion.

The number of the House being fixed, the ratio should be found by proportion. As 241, e. g. :1:: 11,928,054: 49,494.

Thus, for a House of 241, the true ratio is found to be 49,494; then, by the rule of Professor Dean, each State is entitled to that number of Representatives which, when divided into its whole federative population, produces a quotient or ratio approximating nearest to the true ratio, 49,494; in other words, each State is entitled to that number of Repre. sentatives which bears the nearest possible proportion to the true ratio.

BANK OF THE UNITED STATES.*

MR. PRESIDENT, though I am entirely satisfied with the general view taken by the chairman of the committee, and with his explanation of the details of the bill, yet there are a few topics upon which I desire to offer some remarks; and if no other gentleman wishes at present to address the Senate, I will avail myself of this opportunity.

A considerable portion of the active part of life has elapsed, since you and I, Mr. President,f and three or four other gentlemen, now in the Senate, acted our respective parts in the passage of the bill creating the present Bank of the United States. We have lived to little purpose, as public men, if the experience of this period has not enlightened our judgments, and enabled us to revise our opinions, and to correct any errors into which we may have fallen, if such errors there were, either in regard to the general utility of a national bank, or the details of its constitution. I trust it will not be unbecoming the occasion, if I allude to your own important agency in that transaction. The bill incorporating the bank, and giving it a constitution, proceeded from a committee in the House of Representatives, of which you were chairman, and was conducted through that House under

your distinguished lead. Having recently looked back to the proceedings of that day, I must be permitted to say, that I have perused the speech by which the subject was introduced to the consideration of the House, with a revival of the feeling of approbation and pleasure with which I heard it; and I will add, that it would not, perhaps, now be easy to find a better brief

A Speech delivered in the Senate on the 25th of May, 1832, on the Bill for renewing the Charter of the Bank of the United States. 1 Mr. Calhoun, at that time Vice-President of the United States.

synopsis than that speech contains, of those principles of currency and of banking, which, since they spring from the nature of money and of commerce, must be essentially the same at all times, in all commercial communities. The other gentlemen now with us in the Senate, all of them, I believe, concurred with the chairman of the committee, and voted for the bill. My own vote was against it. This is a matter of little importance; but it is connected with other circumstances, to which I will for a moment advert. The gentlemen with whom I acted on that occasion had no doubts of the constitutional power of Congress to establish a national bank; nor had we any doubts of the general utility of an institution of that kind. We had, indeed, most of us, voted for a bank, at a preceding session. But the object of our regard was not whatever might be called a bank. We required that it should be established on certain principles, which alone we deemed safe and useful, made subject to certain fixed liabilities, and so guarded, that it could neither move voluntarily, nor be moved by others, out of its proper sphere of action. The bill, when first introduced, contained features to which we should never have assented, and we accordingly set ourselves to work, with a good deal of zeal, in order to effect sundry amendments. In some of these proposed amendments, the chairman, and those who acted with him, finally concurred. Others they opposed. The result was, that several most important amendments, as I thought, prevailed. But there still remained, in my opinion, objections to the bill, which justified a persevering opposition, till they should be removed.

The first objection was to the magnitude of the capital. In its original form, the bill provided for a capital of thirty-five millions, with a power in Congress to increase it to fifty millions. This latter provision was struck out on the motion of a very intelligent gentleman from New York, and I believe, Sir, with your assent. But I was of opinion that a capital of thirty-five millions was more than was called for by the circumstances of the country. The capital of the first bank was but ten millions; and it had not been shown to be too small; and there certainly was no good ground to say, that the business or the wants of the country had grown, in the mean time, in the proportion of

• Mr. Cady.

thirty-five to ten. But the state of things has now become changed. A greatly increased population, and a greatly extended commercial activity, especially in the West and Southwest, evidently require an enlarged capacity in the national bank.

The capital, therefore, is less disproportionate to the occasion than it was sixteen years ago; and whatever of disproportion may be thought still to exist will be constantly decreasing. The augmentation of banking capital in State institutions is by no means a reason for reducing the capital of this bank. At first view, there might appear to be some reason in such a suggestion; but I think further reflection on the duties expected to be performed by the bank, in relation to the general currency of the country, will show that suggestion not to be well founded. On the whole, I am disposed to continue the capital as it is.

There was another objection. The bill had divided the stock into shares of one hundred dollars each, not of four hundred dollars each, as in the first bank; and it had established such a scale of voting by the stockholders, as showed it to be quite practicable for a minority in interest to control all elections, and to seize on the entire direction of the bank. It was on this very ground, and under the apprehension of this very evil, that the last attempt to amend the bill, made by me, proceeded. That attempt was a motion to diminish the number of shares, by raising the amount of each from one hundred dollars to four hundred.

There was yet one other provision of the bill, which was regarded as unnecessary and objectionable. That was, the power reserved to the government of appointing five of the directors. We had no experience of our own of the effect of such government interference in the direction of the bank; and in other countries it had been found that such connection between government and banking institutions produced nothing but evil. The credit of banks has generally been very much in proportion to their independence of government control. While acting on true commercial principles, they are useful both to government and people; but the history of the principal moneyed institutions of Europe has demonstrated, that their efficiency and stability consist very much in their freedom from all subjection to State interests and State necessities. The real safety to the

« AnteriorContinuar »