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chitects of ruin," the most effectual extinguishers of high-raised expectation, the greatest blasters of human hopes, that any age has produced. They would stand up to proclaim, in tones which would pierce the ears of half the human race, that the last great experiment of representative government had failed. They would send forth sounds, at the hearing of which the doctrine of the divine right of kings would feel, even in its grave, a returning sensation of vitality and resuscitation. Millions of eyes, of those who now feed their inherent love of liberty on the success of the American example, would turn away from beholding our dismemberment, and find no place on earth whereon to rest their gratified sight. Amidst the incantations and orgies of nullification, secession, disunion, and revolution, would be celebrated the funeral rites of constitutional and republican liberty.
But, Sir, if the government do its duty, if it act with firmness and with moderation, these opinions cannot prevail. Be assured, Sir, be assured, that, among the political sentiments of this people, the love of union is still uppermost. They will stand fast by the Constitution, and by those who defend it. I rely on no temporary expedients, on no political combination; but I rely on the true American feeling, the genuine patriotism of the people, and the imperative decision of the public voice. Disorder and confusion, indeed, may arise ; scenes of commotion and contest are threatened, and perhaps may come. With my whole heart, I pray for the continuance of the domestic peace and quiet of the country. I desire, most ardently, the restoration of affection and harmony to all its parts. I desire that every citizen of the whole country may look to this government with no other sentiments than those of grateful respect and attachment. But I cannot yield even to kind feelings the cause of the Constitution, the true glory of the country, and the great trust which we hold in our hands for succeeding ages. If the Constitution cannot be maintained without meeting these scenes of commotion and contest, however unwelcome, they must come. We cannot, we must not, we dare not, omit to do that which, in our judgment, the safety of the Union requires. Not regardless of consequences, we must yet meet consequences; seeing the haz. ards which surround the discharge of public duty, it must yet be discharged. For myself, Sir, I shun no responsibility justly de
volving on me, here or elsewhere, in attempting to maintain the cause. I am bound to it by indissoluble ties of affection and duty, and I shall cheerfully partake in its fortunes and its fate. I am ready to perform my own appropriate part, whenever and wherever the occasion may call on me, and to take my chance among those upon whom blows may fall first and fall thickest. I shall exert every faculty I possess in aiding to prevent the Constitution from being nullified, destroyed, or impaired; and even should I see it fall, I will still, with a voice feeble, perhaps, but earnest as ever issued from human lips, and with fidelity and zeal which nothing shall extinguish, call on the PEOPLE to come to its rescue.
THE REMOVAL OF THE DEPOSITS.
The charter of the Bank of the United States provided that the public moneys should be deposited in the bank, subject to removal by the Secretary of the Treasury, on grounds to be submitted to Congress. In the session of 1832, Congress had passed a resolution, by a very large majority, that the public deposits were safe in the custody of the Bank of the United States. General Jackson, having applied his veto to the bill for renewing the charter of the bank, was determined, notwithstanding this expression of the opinion of Congress, that the public deposits should be transferred to an association of selected State banks. The Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. M’Lane), having declined to order the transfer, was appointed Secretary of State, in the expectation that his successor (Mr. Duane) would execute the President's will in that respect. On the 10th of September, 1833, an elaborate paper was read by General Jackson to the Cabinet, announcing his reasons for the removal of the deposits, and appointing the 1st of October as the day when it should take place. On the 21st of September, Mr. Duane made known to the President his intention not to order the removal. He was dismissed from office, and Mr. Taney, the present Chief Justice, appointed in his place, by whom the requisite order for the removal of the public moneys to the State banks was immediately given.
This measure produced a great derangement in the business of the country, and an almost total suspension of the accustomed action of the financial system.
Universal distress ensued. Memorials on the subject were addressed to both houses of Congress from the principal cities, and very many of the public bodies, in the United States. These memorials formed the subject of prolonged and animated debate during the session of 1833- 34.
On the 20th of January, Mr. Webster presented to the Senate a series
Remarks, on different occasions, on the Removal of the Deposits, and on the subject of a National Bank, delivered in the Senate of the United States, in the course of the session of 1833 – 34.
of resolutions adopted at a public meeting in Boston, of a remarkably temperate and argumentative character, in which the prevailing distress was traced mainly to the removal of the deposits, and the restoration of the friendly relations between the government and the Bank of the United States was mentioned as the only measure of relief likely to prove effectual. It was stated in one of the resolutions, that the meeting consisted of persons “of all classes and professions, entertaining various and opposite opinions upon the question of rechartering the existing national bank or of chartering a new one, and that few of them have any pecuniary interest involved in the fate of that institution.”
The resolutions having been read, Mr. Webster addressed the Senate as follows:
MR. PRESIDENT, - I wish to bear unequivocal and decided testimony to the respectability, intelligence, and disinterestedness of the long list of gentlemen at whose instance this meeting was assembled. The meeting, Sir, was connected with no party purpose whatever. It had an object more sober, more cogent, more interesting to the whole community, than mere party questions. The Senate will perceive in the tone of these resolutions no intent to exaggerate or inflame; no disposition to get up excitement or to spread alarm. I hope the restrained and serious manner, the moderation of temper, and the exemplary candor of these resolutions, in connection with the plain truths which they contain, will give them just weight with the Senate. I assure you, Sir, the members composing this meeting were neither capitalists, nor speculators, nor alarmists. They are merchants, traders, mechanics, artisans, and others engaged in the active business of life. They are of the muscular portion of society; and they desire to lay before Congress an evil which they feel to press sorely on their occupations, their earnings, their labor, and their property; and to express their conscientious conviction of the causes of that evil. If intelligence,
pure intention, if deep and wide-spread connection with business in its various branches, if thorough practical knowledge and experience, if inseparable union between their own prosperity and the prosperity of the whole country, authorize men to speak, and give them a right to be heard, the sentiments of this meeting ought to make an impression. For one, Sir, I entirely concur in all their opinions. I adopt their first fourteen resolutions, without alteration or qualification, as setting forth truly the present state of things, stating truly its causes, and pointing to the true remedy.
Mr. President, now that I am speaking, I will use the oppor. tunity to say a few words which I intended to say in the course of the morning, on the coming up of the resolution which now lies on the table; but which are as applicable to this occasion as to that. An opportunity may perhaps hereafter be afforded me of discussing the reasons given by the Secretary for the very important measure adopted by him in removing the deposits But as I know not how near that time may be, I desire, in the mean while, to make my opinions known without reserve on the present state of the country. Without intending to discuss any thing at present, I feel it my duty, nevertheless, to let my sentiments and my convictions be understood.
In the first place, then, Sir, I agree with those who think that there is a severe pressure in the money market, and very serious embarrassment felt in all branches of the national industry. I think this is not local, but general; general, at least, over every part of the country where the cause has yet begun to operate, and sure to become not only general, but universal, as the operation of the cause shall spread. If evidence be wanted, in addition to all that is told us by those who know, the high rate of interest, now at twelve per cent. or higher where it was hardly six last September, the depression of all stocks, some ten, some twenty, some thirty per cent., and the low prices of commodities, are proofs abundantly sufficient to show the existence of the pressure. But, Sir, labor, that most extensive of all interests, American manual labor, feels, or will feel, the shock more sensibly, far more sensibly, than capital, or property of any kind. Public works have stopped, or must stop; great private undertakings, employing many hands, have ceased, and others must cease. A great lowering of the rates of wages, as well as a depreciation of property, is the inevitable consequence of causes now in full operation. Serious embarrassments in all branches of business do certainly exist.
I am of opinion, therefore, that there is undoubtedly a very severe pressure on the community, which Congress ought to relieve, if it can; and that this pressure is not an instance of the ordinary reaction, or the ebbing and flowing, of commercial affairs, but is an extraordinary case, produced by an extraordinary cause.