United States. Congress.

Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives online

. (page 155 of 191)
Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives → online text (page 155 of 191)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

In relation to the restriction of the issue of
notes of small denominations, it is strongly
recommended by all those reasons which urge
us to make efforts to increase the metallic cur-
rency of this country. Until this be done, the
laboring classes of our people will never be put
upon an equality in regard to the value of the
wages they receive for their services, with that
value which is paid to all other persons carry-
ing on any kind of business. The five dollar
notes issued by the bank are no doubt of great
public convenience in the present state of our
currency ; but they are principally so to travel-
lers. They are of no convenience to persons
who are stationary; for State bank notes of
similar amounts, where they are put out, answer
all their purposes. The first are not to bcfound
in general circulation. The State banks collect
and hold them as specie, because they are pay-
able everywhere, and they are an article of
traffic in our country towns. The use of them,
then, to the public consists in their convenience
to travellers. Now, this may be obviated by a
substitution of gold coin, which we have the
ability to make to the fuU amount of all such
notes in circulation. It is only necessary for us
to alter our present false statutory relative value
of gold and silver, to a correct standard, by
which the inducement to export the gold now
coined at our mint will no longer exist. It is
probable that this will be done, as the pro-
priety of it is becoming every day more obvious.
But it cannot be done at this session of Con-
gress, and yet, being intended, its connection
with the currency is so important, that it forms
a strong reason for us to abstain from making
any inquiry into the affairs of the bank, which
shall be considered preparatory to the reneycal
of the charter at this session. But a more im-



H. OF E.]

Banh of the United States — Inquiry into its Conduct.

[Makch, 1832.

portant modiflcatioiij of the charter, and one
which we are not prepared to determine, is
that which proposes to limit the dividend to
stockholders to a certain interest, and to deter-
mine what shall he the disposition of the
excess. It wiU be supported by great authori-
ty, and comes recommended by practical men
in money affairs, some of wiom are in favor
of rechartering the bank. Whether it shall be
done as proposed in the memorial upon our
table from Boston, by a pslyment of one per
cent, upon the capital to the Government, and
by permitting the States to tax so much of the
capital as may be assigned to the branches ooe
per cent., or by limiting the dividends to five
per cent, and paying the surplus into the
national Treasury, are questions which we have
no right to determine, until the States shall
• have had an opportunity to express themselves
upon the point, and after it has been thoroughly
canvassed by the public. Under this arrange-
ment, the bank would have no temptation to
use extraordinary means to extend its business,
of which there has been, and upon good grounds,
much complaint. The stock would in ordinary
times be worth a premium of ten per cent.,
and those who hold it would reap a certain
interest of five ; advantages enough, and beyond
which no prudent legislation will place perma-
nently the capitalists in any nation. This and
the other sugestions for a modification of the
charter of the bank, which I have mentioned,
and several others whi<sh I abstain from bring-
ing to the notice of the House, show how im-'
portant a task has been put upon us by the
introduction of the melnorial, and how vain it
will be to restrict the committee which may be
appointed to inquire into the proceedings of the
bank to any time, with the view of passing
upon the main question at this session.

A more interesting reason, however, remains
to be given for the postponement of this subject
to a distant date. We are now upon the eve
of a change in our condition, which makes this
nation the envy and admiration of all other
nations. In one year, and three before ,the
charter of the bank will expire, the public debt
will be paid. To effect this triumph of our
system of Government, and jubilee for our
country, it is proposed to dissolve our partner-
ship with the bank by the sale of the Govern-
ment shares, and this can be done advanta-
geously. Who can foresee the effects which
wUl be produced upon our policy, general con-
dition, and trade, by this natipn's entire freedom
from debt ? It requires, at once, and we are at
this time engaged in making arrangements for
the reduction of more than half of our revenue
from imposts — our only kind of taxation. In
whatever way it may be done, changes in the
dii'ection of our commerce, quantities and kinds
of produce imported and sent abroad, must
follow. Capital will seek other or more ex-
tended channels for speculation and investment,
and the principles regulating consumption will
probably act with an energy never experienced

in any commercial nation, and of which we
cannot have an idea, until the effects shall be
seen and felt. Its influence upon agriculture,
upon the staples of the South and West, and
upon the manufactures of the North and East,
must all be now left to conjecture. Plans for
public improvement and the enterprises of
private companies will extend the field and
requirements for labor, perhaps entirely altering
its relations of value and employment to the •
existing state of things. What sagacity can
foretell the changes it may occasion in our
general policy, and upon that particularly con-
nected with the disposition of our .vast national
territory ? Upon the sale of that portion of it
lying within the limits of the States ; upon the
application of the revenue to be derived from
the sales of our land, now more than three
millions annually, and increasing in defiance of
all certain calculation? Already we have a
proposition from the Secretary of the Treasury
to sell to the States the national domain situated
in them. It is countenanced extensively, as
the best manner to rid ourselves of a subject of
great national disquietude. The States desire to
possess the lands. They are jealous of that
control which we must have over the lands
while we continue to own them, but which they
think interferes with their sovereignty, actual
interests, and prospective welfare. They have
some reason for discontent, as the payment of
the price of the lands into the national Treasury
exhausts their means. This evil is augmenting,
and may ere long cause feelings which this
Government is not strong enough to control,
but by the exercise of powers which may make
it too strong. The Secretary's proposal is and
win become popular in every part of the coun-
try. Something of the kind wiU be adopted
in a year or two, and the organization of a" '
national bank should and. can be made to have'
some reference to this point, by which the
States may, more conveniently, and without the
pressure of extraordinary taxation, make the
purchase. The twenty-six millions of dis-
counts enjoyed in the West, at this time, by the
indulgence of the bank, and its five millions of
currency in bank checks, are worthless accom-
modations, compai-ed with the results which a
due regard to the subject may produce to the
Western States. It wUl not be as the bank
loans now are, money accumulating upon the
use of credit, with all the contingencies attend-
ing business done in that manner — the mere
increase of capital ; but a national bank, prop-
erly organized, may be made to those States
the means of independence, of sovereignty over
all the lands in their borders, of the prevention
of oppressive taxation, of an increase of popula- .
tion and power.

Wednesday, March 14.
Batik of the United States — Inquiry into its
The House resumed the consideration of Mr.



March, 1832.]

Bank o/the United States — Inquiry into it} Conduct.

[H. OF R.

Clayton's resolution, with tlie amendment
offered tliereto.

Mr. HuBBAED said there had been a discus-
sion of about two weeks upbn the original reso-
lution. Now the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr.
Wayne,) from Ehode Island, (Mi\ Buegbs,)
and from Massachusetts, (Mr. Adams,) had pro-
posed amendments, all of which would proba-
bly lead to further discussion. He would sub-
mit to the House whether other business of im-
portance did not require its action. He moved
the previous question.

A call of the House was moved, and carried ;
and after the call of the House had proceeded,

Mr. Boon moved to suspend the call.

Mr. MoDuFFiE said the question was decisive
for the bank, and aU its consequences. He
hoped there would be a full House when it
was taken. The subject for the last week or
two had been discussed entirely upon one side.
Though he had felt called on to answer several
arguments advanced on the merits of the bank
that had been urged, he had abstained altogether
from entering into the debate. He wanted a
report on the subject ; he did not care how ex-
tensive the investigation was, if it left time to
act on the matter here ; he never could vote
for the inquiry without a limitation of time as
contemplated by the amendment of the gentle-
man from Massachusetts, (Mr. Adams.)

Mr. "Wayne said if the gentleman alluded to
him, he felt bound to say that he had not dis-
cussed the merits of the bank at all ; he had
only endeavored to show the necessity of an
inquiry into its affairs.

Mr. Boon withdrew his motion to suspend
the call.

The absentees were called over, and excuses
made ; eight members were absent, for whom
no excuses were offered.

Mr. Lyon moved to suspend the call.

Mr. "WiOKLUFEB was as anxious to put an end
to the discussion as the gentleman from New
Hampshire, (Mr. HtrsBAED,) hut he wished the
question to be .taken in the usual manner. He
would vote to suspend the call if the previous
question was withdrawn, otherwise he should
vote against it.

Mr. Williams wished for a full expression of
the sentiments of the House on the question.
A precipitate decision, in the absence of mem-
bers, he thought, was improper.

Mr. .Johnson, of Kentucky, said he believed
most of the absentees who were able to be
present were at the door waiting for admit-
tance ; if the call was suspended, and the door
opened, the House would be as full as it had

Mr. HtTBBABD, in reply to the appeal made to
him to withdraw the previous question, said he
thought quite time enough had been spent in
the debate. He could not consent to open the
door to another three weeks' debate.

Mr. Adams said he doubted whether the
gentleman would find his object (stopping the
debate) answered by the course taken. The

printed resolution provided that the committee
be chosen by ballot.

The Spbakeb said he was informed by the
Olerk that it was so printed by the mistake of
the printer.

The Clerk read the original resolution offered
by Mr. Clayton. •

Mr. Adams. Suppose the resolution is adopt-
ed in that shape, tlie question arises as to the
number of the committee, which may be de-
bated for six weeks. The gentleman from
Geoigia, (Mr. Wayne,) who had addressed the
House greatly to his- satisfaction, said he did
not debate the merits of the bank. Sir, if a
question is seriously made as to the number of
the committee, tlie merits of every thing will be
open to debate. The gentleman from New
Hampshire (Mr. Hubbaed) will not accomplish
the end in view by moving the previous ques-
tion, when other points on the resolution are
open to debate. He (Mr. A.) had given notice
of the amendment he proposed in anticipation
of this motion. The reason of his amendment
was, that the original resolution, in his opinion,
transcended the powers of the House.

The Speakee said the question before the
House was the suspension of the call ; the pre-
vious question was not a subject of debate.

Mr. Adams said, showing the original resolu-
tion to be an improper one afforded a very good
reason against suspending the call. The resolu-
tion was improper, because, when an inquisito-
rial proceeding is instituted, care should be
taken not to transcend the powers of the House.

The Speaker repeated it was not in order to
debate the resolution on a motion to suspend
the CaU of the House.

Mr. Adams said he was not debating the
resolution; he was only stating the grounds
why the call should not be suspended. In
settling a question of so much national impor-
tance, which involved not only the rights of this
corporation, 'but the power of the House itself,
there should be a full attendance of the mem-
bers. The amendment he should propose was
founded on the idea that the original resolution
transcended the power of the House. He did
not wish any member placed in a humiliating
situation before the House, but he hoped the
call would not be suspended.

Mr. Root said he hoped the call would be
suspended, and the motion for the preTious
question be seconded, that the debate before
the House might proceed. He had been at-
tacked by two of his colleagues in a manner
that required him to repel or explain, or both ;
which he was anxious to do. He supposed it
would not be proper for him to go into the
matter at this time.

The Speakeb said it would not.

Mr. EooT could not vote in a manner that
would deny himself that privilege.

Mr. EvREETT would remark that the previous
question was a motion odious at aU times ; its
only proper interposition is when the friends
of a measure think the opponents have pro-



H. OF E.]

Bank of^ United States — Inquiry into its Conditct.

[Maech, 1832.

tracted the debate beyond reasonable limits.
It wag apparent this was not the case here.
The friends of the bank had hardly entered into
the debate. He hoped the gentleman from
New Hampshire (Mr. HnBBAEp) would consent
to withdraw it.

Mr. Htjbbabd said it was due himself to state,
that before the gentleman from Georgia (Mr.
Wayne) addressed the House, he had attempted
to get the floor for the purpose of moving the
previous question. He had detennined to em-
brace the first opportunity for that purpose. The
important business which pressed itself on the
attention of the House forbade him to withdraw
it, especially after the annimciation of the gen-
tleman from New York, (Mr. Root.)

Mr. Jenifee said if the previous question was
sustained, the chaii-man of the Committee of
Ways and Means would have no opportunity of
vindicating himself and other persons impli-
cated. He could not vote to deprive them of
that right.

Mr. Ceaig rose to inquire whether this gen-
eral debate was in order.

The Speaker said it was in order to discuss
the propriety of suspending the call, but not the
previous question.

Mr. Lyon withdrew the motion to suspend
the call, in order, he said, to put an end to the
debate. It was immediately renewed by
another member.

Mi\ Beabdsley said the question before the
House was the suspension of the call, which is
opposed, because the previous question, which
follows, will prevent the gentleman from South
Carolina (Mr. MoDtifeie) from addressing the
House. That gentleman certainly does not wish
to address the House against the original reso-
lution. When it was proposed to send it to the
Committee of Ways and Means, that gentleman
stated that the inquiry should be gone into fully
and completely. He presumed he did not wish
now to change his ground. The object of the
amendment of the gentleman from Massachu-
setts was principally to append a limitation of
time to this resolution. He would inquire
whether that limitation could not be equally
well effected by instructions, independent of the
resolution. He should not support the previous
question from any wish to prevent the discus-
sion proposed by his colleague, (Mr. Root,)
but the time had arrived when other objects
required the attention of the House.

Mr. Boon said, as the question was about to
be taiken on suspending the call, he would state
that, of the eight members who were absent,
without excuse, two were sick in bed, and five
or six were in attendance at the door.

The question on suspending the call was car-

The call for the previous question was then
tried, and was not seconded by a majority of
the House ; the yeas being 80, the nays 100.

Mr. Adams said he would now move his
amendment to the amendment of the gentle-
man, (Mr. Wayne.)

Mr. SuTHEBLAND wished to meet the amend-
ments separately.

Mr. Adams then withdrew his motion.

Mr. Clay moved a call of the House ; which
was lost.

The question was taken on Mr. Wayne's
amendment, and lost — yeas 26, nays 164:.

Mr. Adams then moved his amendment to
the original resolution, as follows :

To strike out after the word " appointed " the
remainder of the resolution, and to insert " to in-
spect the books, and to examine the proceedings
of the Bank of the United States, to report thereon,
and to report whether the provisions of its charter
have been violated or not ; that the said committee
have leave to meet in the city of Philadelphia, and
shall make their final report thereon, on or before
the fourteenth day of April next ; that they have
power to send for persons and papers, and to employ
the requisite clerks ; the expenses of which shaU
be audited and allowed by the Committee of Ac-
counts, and paid out of the contingent fund of this

Mr Adams's amendment was adopted by tho
following vote :

Teas. — Messrs. Adams, Adair, C. Allan, Allison,
Appleton, Armstrong, Arnold, Ashley, Babcock,
Banks, N. . Barber, John S. Barbour, Bariinger,
Barstow, I. C. Bates, Branch, Brigge, Bullard,
Burd, Cahoon, Choate, Collier, Lewis Condict,
Silas Condit, Eleutheros Cooke, Bates Cooke,
Cooper, Corwin, Coulter, Craig, Crane, Crawford,
Creighton, Daniel, John Davis, Dearborn, Deunv,
Dewart, Dickson, Doddridge, Drayton, Duncan, G.
Evans, J. Evans, E. Everett, H. Everett, Ford, Gil-
more, Grennell, Heister, Hodges, Horn, Howard,
Hughes, Hunt, Huntington, Ihrie, Irvin, Jenifer,
Kendall, Henry King, Letcher, Marshall, Maxwell,
E. McCoy, McDufiBe, McKay, McKennan, Mercer,
Milligan, Muhlenberg, Newton, Pearce, Pendleton,
Pitcher, Potts, J. Keed, Root, Russell, Wm. B.
Shepard, A. H. Shepperd, Slade, Smith, Southard,
Spenoe, Stanberry, Stewart, Storrs, Sutherland,
Taylor, P. Thomas, Tompkins, Tracy, Vance, Ver-
planck, Vinton, Washington, Watmough, Wilkin,
B. Whittlesey, F. Whittlesey, E. D. Wliite, Wick-
liffe, Wilde, Williams, Young — 106!

Nays. — Messrs. Alexander, E. Allen, Anderson,
Angel, Barnwell, James Bates, Beardsley, Bell,
Bergen, Bethune, James Blair, John Blair, Boon,
Bouck, Bouidin, J. Brodhead, J. C. Brodhead,
Cambreleng, Oarr, Carson, Chandler, Chinn, Clai-
borne, Clay, Clayton, Coke, Conner, Davenport,
Dayan, Doubleday, Felder, Fitzgerald, Foster,
Gaither, Gordon, Griffin, T. H. Hall, W. HaU,
Hammons, Harper, Hawes, Hawkins, Hoffman,
Hogan, Holland, Hubbard, Isacks, Jarvis, Jewett,
R. M. Johnson, Cave Johnson, C. C. Johnston, Ka-
vanagh, Kennon, A. King, J. King, Lamar, Lan-
sing, Leavitt, Lecompte, Lent, Lewis, Lyon; Mann,
Mardis, Mason, McCarty, W. McCoy, Mclntire, T.
E. Mitchell, Newnan, Nuckolls, Patton, Pierson,
Polk, E. 0. Reed, Eencher, Roane, Soule, Speight,
Standifer, Stephens, F. Thomas, W. Thompson,
J. Thomson, Ward, Wardwell, Wayne, Weeks,
Wheeler, C. P. White, Worthington— 92.

Mr. Adams moved the committee consist of
seven — ad«pted.



MiROH, 1832.]

Bishop Flaget — Semission of Duties,

[H. OF R.

The House then (at eight o'clock) adjourned.

MoNDAT, March 19.
Bishop Flaget — Semission of Duties.

The bill for the relief of Benedict Joseph
Flaget was read a third time.

[The hill authorized the remission of the du-
ties on certain paintings and church furniture,
presented by the king of the French to the
Catholic Bishop of Bau-dstown, Kentucky.]

Mr. HoGAir, of New York, regretted that he
felt it his duty to oppose the passage of the bill,
although it was for the benefit of the inhabit-
ants of a State where he had many personal
friends. What was the object of the bill ? Was
it intended to. secure any public benefit? Did
it address itself either to the justice, the equity,
or the policy of the House ? Did our constitu-
tion recognize any connection between church
and State ? If the biU had been in a general
form, extending the like benefit to all churches
similarly situated, it would have been better
entitled to consideration; but what was its
object ? To remit the duties on certain paint-
ings presented to a particular church. It was
but two days since that the House was very
near refusing its assent to remit the duty on
so useful an article as railroad iron, though that
duty was required neither for protection nor
revenue. This bill proposed to promote no na-
tional interest — it addressed itself to the mere
liberality of the Bouse, and asked Congress to
pay back from the Treasury a sum of money
which had legitimately come into it. The table
of the House already groaned with the loads of
petitions on subjects pretending some lawful
claim to its regard ; but if the House proceeded
to ratify mere applications to its liberality, the
table would not only groan, but would be soon
broken down with the mass of such applica-

Mr. WicKLiFFE regretted the gentleman from
New York (Mr. HpoAsr) had not selected some
other of the numerous bills which had been,
and were now upon the calendar, to press the
considferation of those general principles to
which he had invited the attention of the House.
The duty of defending the principle involved in
this bUl had, however, by the opposition of the
gentleman, been devolved upon him, and he
would detain the House but a very short time
in its discharge. About four years since he had
presented the application of the worthy indi-
vidual whom the bill proposed to relieve. That
application had always met with the favor of
the Obmmittee of Ways and Means, and the
bill had two or three times passed this House
without objection, but was never acted upon
in the Senate, for want of time. The question
was again before us, approved by the united
voice of the committee who reported the bilL
Mr. Speaker, the House will pardon me, said
Mr. W., while I ti-espass long enough upon
their time to do justice to a worthy man,

Bishop Flag^, for whose relief this bill is de-
signed ; he is my constituent and friend. He
is a man who has devoted a life of near seventy
years in dispensing acts of benevolence and
the christian charities. He was once a resident
of this District, having under his charge the
valuable college of Georgetown, where his la-
bors in the cause of science, morality, and reli-
gion, will long be remembered by all who
knew him.

His destiny, or the orders of the church to
which he belongs, placed him at the head of
the Catholic church in Bairdstown, where, in
the exercise of the duties of bishop and philan-
thropist in his diocese", he has endeared himself
to the community whose society he adorns.
This is not all, sir. With his own means, aided
by the liberal contribution of the members of
his own church, and of individuals belonging
to other denominations, he has built up a col-
lege, which is both the pride and ornament of
the little village in which it is situated. In this
college are taught all those branches of useful
knowledge and of science, which qualify man
for the duties of life and its rational enjoyments.
This college, without the aid of governmental
endowment, brought into existence and sus-
tained by individual enterprise, will lose noth-
ing in comparison with any college in the Union.
Sir, I believe it the best west of the mountains.
In it are annually instructed about two hun-
dred of the youth of our country upon terras
moderate. Aid we have in its discipline a per-
fect guaranty for the preservation of the morals
of our young men. Its portals are opened to
all denominations. Religious bigotry does not
extend its unhallowed infiuences over the con-
sciences of the professors or their pupils. The
benevolence of its founder and its conductors is
felt in all ranks of society. The orphan and
the destitute find ready access to the benefits
of this institution ; and when there is an in-
ability to pay the moderate charges of board
and instruction, none are made. I will say
nothing, sir, of the immense amount of money
expended on the buildings of this college.

Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives → online text (page 155 of 191)