Imágenes de páginas

in their own imaginations. They produce comparison between the two classes of his report with every commendation; of agents. Other considerations of great course they cannot object to its authority; weight, and some ot still graver character, and here is a paragraph taken from it belong to the subject. First, in point of which should begin to open their eyes, or amenability, the Government officers are the eyes of the country, to the magnitude amenable to the Government, subject to its of the losses froin Government reliance on laws and its orders; liable to suinmary proTocal banks and their paper money. ceedings for default, and to be pursued by

“ The Government, borrowed, during the short execution wherever they go, and responsiperiod ot the war, eighty millions of dollars, at ble in person and in property, themselves an average discount of fifteen per cent giving and all their securities, for all that is owcertificates of stock, amounting to eighty millions of dollars, in exchange for sixty-eight millions of ing by them. Not so with the banks. dollars in such bank paper as could be obtained. They are the creations of the State Govern. Upon the very face of the transaction, therefore, ments, subject to State laws, and having there was a loss of twelve millions of dollars, great influence over the enactment of State which would, in all probability, have been saved, laws which concern themselves. The if the Treasury had been aided by such an insti. tution as the Bank of the United States. But the States may protect them, and have protect'sum of sixty-eight millions of dollars received by ed them against the Federal demands. They the Government was in a depreciated currency, not have passed acts to prevent the recovery of more than half as valuable as that in which the damages which the charters had fixed; and stock given in exchange for it, has been, and will be redeemed. Here then is another loss of thir. to prevent execution against the banks 'ty-four millions, resulting incontestably and ex

themselves, unless the creditor would conclusively, from the depreciation of the currency, sent to receive his debt in current bank and making, with the sum lost by the discount, notes. This is what has been done; it is forty-six millions of dollars."

what is now done; and here is the evidence Mr. McDuffie says, and says truly, in

of it. his report that this loss of forty-six mil. Jions was only one item in the catalogue of

Mr. B. then exhibited a document, oblosses—that the loss to the communnity, tained from the Department of State, conand to the Government creditors, from using taining the acts passed by the legisla'ures depreciated paper was beyond calculation of different States since ihe suspensiun of His remedy for these losses was a National specie payments in May last. They were Banki; mire is an adequate supply of gold past in States where there were deposite and ver, and especially of gold; and if it banks, then holding about thirty millions of is asked how much gold will be sufficient, public money, sianding in the name of the I answer, that so far as the currency of a Na- 'Treasurer of the United Sta'es, or in the tional Bank is concerned, twenty odd mile names of disbursing officers. These acts, lions would be enough; for that is the maxi. in some instances, reduced the damages mum amount of currency that she ever fur-, which depositors and holders of rrotes were nished. A supply then of twenty odd entitled to recover; and, in some instances, inillions of gold would meet all objections denied execution against the bank, unless arising from the withdrawal of her curren- the creditor wonld endorse upon it that curcy, and that amount will be in the country rent poles should be receivable. Mr. B. before the present term of Mr. Van Buren's said he had seen no instance in which Administration expires, and double that these acts made any exception in favor of amount in seven or eight years.

the United States; and he read the titles of The loss to Government creditors was several of the acts, and tie names of the incredible from the use of depreciated .pa- States in which they were passed, and reper during the late war. Even the Tresu. ferred to the Senators from those States to ry notes was depreciated, in some parts, as say whether there were any exception. No as low as 33} per cent. The loss to creditors Senator answering in the affirmative, Mr. from the use of bank notes, since May-last, B. resumed, and said that hero was an in has also been great. The public moneys in surmountable objection to the future emthe hands of the deposite banks were then ployment of State banks as public deposi30 millions; the Government has been tories, or to the reception of their notes in paying it out ever siare, to the great profit the paymennt of the Federal revenue. Tho of the banks, to the immense discredit of States had interposed between the Federal the Governraont itself, and to the heavy. Government and the holders of its moneyr. Joss of many of its creditors.

They might interpose again and forever, But the money test cannot complete the Bg so doing, they injured the Vunited States, and laid a ground for complaint powerful than in Congress. Its irrésistibile and collision with the State Governments. influence here was well described at that Every consideration of harınony and mutu• time by the intrepid and sayacious Mr. al independence, should forbid the possió Randolph. This is what he said : bility of such occurrences for the future.

“Every man you meet, in this House or out of Ayain : The deposite banks, whether a it. with some rare exceptions, which only served National Bank or catalogue of State banks, to prove the rule, was either a stockholder, presiwere the friends of high taxes and low ap- keeper, runner, engraver, paper-maker, to a bank. propriations. They went for surpluses, *

We are tied band and foot, and for the accommodation of themselves and bound to conciliate this great mammoth," (the a few of their friends. They went for banking interest.] taxing the nation to the uttermost, and Such was the power of the banks at that stinting appropriations to the minimum, time; and the consequence was, an average that enormous surpluses should remain in surplus of near seventeen millions per antheir hands for loans to themselves and num. To be sure it only lasted three years ; friends. He (Mr. B.) had a lable in his and the reason was, ihat the barks only hand, obtained from the Treasury Departo ruled the couniry for three years. It was ment, and showing the annual amount of a short ride, and a merry one; and now balances in the Treasury from the founda- for a plunge. Let us see the next four or tion of the Government to the present tine, five years. and which he would read. It was valua


Balance ble for two purposes: 1. To show how


$1,478,526 little need the Government has for large 1819

2,079,992 balances; 2. How large these balances 1820

1,198,461 became when the banks were p :werful and



1822 the Government connected with them. In

4,237,427 the first years of the Government, the banks

Here the average is reduced to about two were few in number, and comparatively millions per annum; and why? Because weak; and then the surpluses stood thus: the banks had tost their dominion over the Year.


Country and the Government, and had 1789


neither the means nor the influence to in1790


flate the Treasury. It was the season of 1791


their first catastrophe in time of peace; and 1792


753,661 everything went down in proportion to their 1794

1.151,924 own great fall. It was the season of a 1795

516,442 ġeneral collapse. Let us pass on to the 1796


next ascension, to the next perihelion, of 1797

1,021,899 ) 1798


this ballooning of the banks. About the 1799

2,161,867 year 1833, when the National Bank had 1800

-2,623,311 lost the prospect of a re-charter, but ex

panded its business, and when local banks Thus, during this period of twelve years, were increased in nnprecedented numbers, when the National Bank had but ten mil. and as many as ninety of them became the lions of capitai, and State banks were few depositories of the public moneys, their and weak, the average surplus for twelve years did not amount to one million of dol. The result, on the Federal Treasury, was ::

power and influence again became immense. Jars. Now for a different picture. Behold


Balance. 1815--'16-'17.








35,759;630 These three years covered the brief sea. Here is another season of five years of Bon of bank omnipotence after the conclugreat power in the banks, and of close con: sion of the late war. The second National nection with them by the Federal GovernBank, with its thirty-five millions of capi- ment. The result is, an average balance, tal, was then just created ; State Legisla- that is to say, an annual surplus, of about tares littered local institutions by the forty twenty-seven millions of dollars! What at a tine. Bank influence was predomi- a comment upon the connection between nant every where; and no where more Bank and State! A connection which ex


the years

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hibits the Federal Treasury as a mere ap. I have read explodes this objection. It pendage to a rising, dying, plunging and shows that the Government has no balances falling balloon. We who have been here of any consequence, except when it is confor some years have seen the inside work- nected with banks. When free from that ing of this connection, and have seen the connection, or when the banks are too weak voies which created these enormous sur to exert an influence over the public counpluses; votes to promote all taxation—10 sels, the surplus on hand is next to nothing; prevent all reduction of taxes and to pre- a million per annum in the earlier stages of vent all possible appropriations, even for the Government, and two millions per anthe defence of the country, and for the num in later times. The table shows how cempletion of the fortifications; and we little need there is for any surplus; for it is have seen these votes regularly coming notorious that the Government machine from the friends of the banks. I'o complete worked far better when it was a touch-andthe picture, it is sufficient to say that the go business with the Treasury, than it ever banks had their second catastrophe, in time did with its ten, tweniy, thirty, and forty of peace, in May last; and that now the millions of surpluses. There will be no balance in the Treasury iz low enough! surplus to be hoarded if the Government

Mr. B. said, he ha! for years pointed out can succeed in breaking its connection with the Bank of the United States, while the the banks. Economy can then be practiced, depository of the public moneys, as the ally as well as professed. It can then be pracof taxes, and the enemy of appropriations; tised by those who are really in favor of it. he had made the same remark upon the Mr. B. said, that at the ex'ra session he local deposite banks almost as soon as they had given it as his opinion, that the payment were'in operation; and he had now given of the Federal revenues in gold and silver the evidence to show the justice of the ap- would not occasion more than four or five 'plication of this character to them both. millions of dollars to be taken out of circuIt was a most fatal objection to all connec- lation; in other words, that four or five tion with those banks; an objection from millions would accomplish the annual paywhich the Goverr ment agents would be inent of the whole revenue. A further wholly free. Wish the mints and indi. study of the subject, and a view of the table vidual officers, to keep the public moneys, of balances which he had just presented, inthere would be no inierest here to create dduced him to believe that two or three supluses for the benefit of banks and their millions would be sufficient. One million favorites.

was found to be sufficient in the first twelve A third answer to this objection is, that years of the Government, and two millions it goes to the form of our Government, and in the five years froin 1818 10 1822, inimpeaches the capacity of the people 10 clusive. The same amount would have administer their ows Government. The been equally sufficient at all other objection is, that the agents selected by the times. He was against surpluses; Government, and responsible to it, cannot he was against any financial calculation be trusted to keep the public moneys; and, for leaving any amount whatever in therefore, the custody of the money must the Treasury; he was opposed to any scheme be confided to bank directors, who are not of finance which had for its basis any reappointed by the Government, nor respon- serve of money in the Federal Treasury. sible to the people. This is the objection; This was an old subject with him (Mr. B.] and, upon its face, it impeaches ihe capa. He had made his acquaintance with it city of the people to administer their own twelve years ago. He had then tried his Government, and to take care of their own young hand, for the first time, on a financial property: This is an inevitable inference; subject, and on resolutions submitted by and. , ertaps, another inference will also himself to repeal so murh of the Sinking result;

namely, that if banks are necessary Fund act of 1817 as directed a reserve of to the Federal Government, she will have two millions per annum to be kept in the the same power to create as to adopt these Treasury. He had then shown it to be an institutions.

unnecessary precaution; that it was far A fourth objection made to the Independ better to cut down taxes to the estimated ent Treasury is, that it will hoard specie- expenditure, and invest the Government that it will cause the Government to become with a contingent authority to borrow the an immense miser, hoarding in the deep re- two millions in the event of a need for it 10 cesses of vaults, and confining with bolts, meet appropriations before Congress would bars, and safes, a vast accumulation of gold asseżnble. This was his opinion twelve and silver. Sir, the table of balances which years ago; it was his opinion now. Ile

ry, a

was opposed to any plan for leaving a sur- Every body knows better.

Neither indir plus dollar in the Treasury; he was op . viduals, or nations, ever lost time in count. posed to the issue of Treasury notes to sup- ing masses of specie. Ordinary sums are ply deficiencies; he was for the contin- counted without loss of time, and masses are geot authority to borrow, if necessa- transferred by weight, or in kegs or bags.

small sum to meet appropria- With respect to the other part of the obtions, and then paying it off out of the first jection-the impossibility of getting an ade. surplus. In this way, and by increasing quate supply—it is an objection refuted by and diminishing the amount for the flexible the experience of all nations, and particuobjects of expenditure, such as fortifications, larly by our own experience. At the close ships, harbors, light-houses, &c. the small, of the Revolution we had nothing but deoccasional, and alternate deficiencies and preciated paper; in six or seven years afterexcesses in the revenue could be easily, wards, we had an adequate supply of gold safely, and economically inet and provided and silver. Su of France: In 1800 she had for.

nothing but assignats, depreciated as low Not specie enongh in the world to sup- as our old continental bills. In seven years ply the demand which this bill would create, afterwards she had a specie currency of five and not tiine enough in the year to count it, hundred and fifty millions of doilars. So of if there was enough, is another of the ob- England: In 1819 she had nothing but de. jections to this bill. This is relied upon by preciated paper; Parliament passed an act many speakers, and grave calculations are for the resumption of specie payments, and gone into to show that the three hundred allowed four years for the banks to supply and sixty-five days in the year would be too themselves. In two years the Bank of short a time to suffice for the counting in England reported an acquisition of twenty and counting out the Government revenues, millions sterling in gold—one hundred if paid in gold and silver. Sir, there is a millions of dollars—and that she was ready species of argument which the logicians call to resume. The same bank nɔw, at this the argumentum ad ignorantiam-an ar- moment, has made an acquisition of six gument to igporance; but this argument millions sterling-thirty millions of dollars goes beyond that, for it is an argument to in the brief space of nine months. In the lowest degree of ignorance. If any an- May last, her supply was three and a half swer was due to it-the counting part of it millions sterling; in January, it was nine -it might be found in the act of 1789, when and a half.

But to come to our own counthe revenues were directed to be paid in try. Our customn-house returns show that gold and silver coin only; and also, in a specie flows in upon us annually in large speech delivered on the tioor of the House inasses, and either remains with us, or goes some years ago, when the collection of the off again, precisely as it sui's our own policy revenues in hard money was so strenuously to retain it or not. Our correct returns of urged by a gentleman, now so entirely op- imports and exports of specie go back to the posed to it.* But no answer is due to it. year 1821, and this is the result:



* Extract from Dr. Webster' speech on the Bank “As to the evils of the present state of things,

of the United States Charter Bill, Feb. 1816. Mr. W. adinitted it in its fullest ex entf me "No nation had a better currency than the U. was not mistaken, there were some millions in States. There was no nation which had guarded the Treasury of paper which were nearly worth118 currency with more care ; for the framers of less, and were now

wholly useless to the Governthe Constitution, and those who enacted the ment, by which an actual loss of considerable early statutes on this subject, were HARD MO. amount must certainly be sustained by the Trea. NEY MEN; they had felt, and therefore duly sury. This was an evil which ought to be met appreciated, the evils of a paper medium; they at once, because it would grow greater by indul. therefore, sedulously guarded ihe currency of th: gence. In the end, the taxes'must be paid in the United States from debasement. The legal cur. {gal money of the country, and the sooner that was rency of the United States was gold and silver brought about the beller. coin; this was a subject, in regard to which Congress had run into no folly. *

Gold “If Congress were to pass forty statutes on the and silver currency, he said, was the law of the subject, he said, they would not make the law land at home, and the law of she world abroad; more conclusive than it now was that nothing there could, in the present state of the world, be no should be received in payment of duties to the (ther currency. In consequence of the inmense Government but specie; and yet no regard was paper issues having banished specie from circu. paid to the imperative injunctions of the law in Jarion, the Government had been obliged in direct ihis respect. The wholo sirengik of the Govern. violation of existing statutes, to receive the amount ment, he was of opinion, oughi to be put forth to of their taxes in something which was not recog. compel the payment of the duties and taxes to the nized by law as the money of the country, and Government in the legal currency of the coun which was, in fact, greatly depreciated. try."



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1829 1830 1831

per annum.

Imports. Exports. seven millions per annum, but flows out 1821 $8,064,890

$10,468,059 1822 3,360,836

again; that with a demand for it, it flows

10,810,189 1823 5,897,896


in at the rate of twelve and a half millions 1824 8,379,835

9,014,553 per annum, and nearly all remains with us. 1827 6,150,765

8,797,955 This is the effect of a demand for specie 1836 6,880,967


for the Federal Treasury. Let that demand 1827 8,152,130


continue. Let the Governinent continue 1828 6,489,741

8,242,476 7,400,612

4,924 020 to collect, and above all, to pay out specie 8,155,964

2,178,773 and in a few years the national supply will 7,305,945

9,014,931 be complete. The country will possess as 1832 5,907,554


much as it can use, be it a hundred, a hunThis includes a period of twelve years. dred and twenty, or a hundred and fifty The imports for that period amount to the millions. The supply will find its own large sum of $83,356,000... The average level, and the excess will flow off. import was about seven millions of dollars

These, sir, are the main objections to the If the specie policy of Gen. bill. They are the principal ones which Jackson had then been in force, a large have been urged. They will not bear ex. proportion of this import would have re- amination. Every argument resulting mained in the country; but the paper mo- from them is an argument in favor of the ney policy was then in the ascendant. The bill, instead of being against it. And what Bank of the United Siales was then omnipo- is the alternative proposed by thos who tent; and her policy was to export specie, object to this bill ? "By the Federal gentlefor the double purpose of niaking a profit men the alternative is openly proclaimed to on the export, anii creating a vacuum at be a National Bank : th:it is to say, Mr. Bidhome, to be filled by her own notes; and, dle's bank; for they mean no other. By a above all, to deprive the country of specie, few of the Republicans, a resort to the State and reduce the local banks to the use of banks is the alternative. The Federal genher notes for their capital; so that when tlemen agree to take this latter alternative she wished to upset the Government, ta for the present, rule the elections, or to convulse the mo- their National Bank-as a half-way house to

:--as so much gained towards peyed world, she would have nothing to that institution. This is candid" in those do but to order a curtailment of two or three gentlemen. It is candid, if it is not wise. millions a month, and charge it upon any act, no matter what, of the Federal Gs. They will go with a few of our friends to vernment. This was the policy, which dle can blow up that house any night that

the half-way house, knowing that Mr. Bida then prevailed, and accordingly, large as he pleases, and that the Chesnut street the import of specie was in these twelve

palace must then become the refuge of the . years, the export was still larger : it was $84,280,000. Thus, instead of retaining terrified inmates of the demolished stopping any part of what came in for the use of the place.

Mr. B would not dilate upon the dancountry, there was actually sent out about a million more than came in.

gers of this alternative. To learn danger The next period of five years shows the -to take warning-from an enemy, is a effect of the specie policy. The imports has its full application on this occasion. If

maxim of great antiquity, and one which and exports for this period stand thus:

neither the conduct of the Opposition, their Imports.

Exports. 1833 $7,070,368

language, their speeches on this foor, can

$2,614,951 1834 17,911,661

1,676,258 warn gentlemen, it would seem to be al1835 13,131,447

5,748,174 most in vain to appeal to past experience, 1836 12,166,372


to witness the present, or to contemplate 1837 10,954,432

the future. The State bank deposite system, Behold the difference! Our imports for with the use of their paper money, has failfive years aniounting to sixty-two millions; ed us in time of war und in time of peace. our exports almost nothing. The average It has twice failed in time of peace. It is import for the whole five years, including now in a state of failure. The late deposite 1837, amounting to about twelve millions banks now owe the Government six and a and a half of dollars; and cur 'exports, ex. half millions of dollars, which an empty cept for the extracrdinary year of 1837, Treasury in vain calls for... To rely upon only averaging a liule over three millions. them again, is to walk into the pit in broad This is the state of our own experience. day with the eyes wide open. 'Our bankIt shows that, without any demand for ing system, always on fallacious principles-specie, it Aows in upon us at the rate of always unsolid and delusive-is now be


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