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

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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 103 of 199)
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and if they did, when that expires they will be
transferred to the State institutions.

The gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr.
MoDuFFiK,) has depicted in glowing and ani-
mated language the dangers of the union of the
moneyed interest of the country and the pat-
ronage of the Executive ; and has told us, if
he had the power to control it, the Bank of the
United States should .alw.iva be omjosed to the



President of the United -States. I entirely
agree with him, and the very object of the
amendment is to guard against the dangers of
such a union. We need not be told of the
control which the Executive would have over
all the State banks, if he has the discretionary
power of placing the public deposits in what
banks he pleases. Upon what terms he pleases
and as long as he pleases. We need not be
told that such an unholy and " meretricious
union " would be more deleterious than the
baneful influence of the bohun upas, more de-
structive' than the desolating blast of the si-
moom. In these halls, where the voice of liber-
ty is raised, and the vestal flame of freedom is
continually burning, altars will be raised, and
sweet incense burnt, to the spirit of money and
the spirit of despotism.

Sir, has that gentleman never thought this
meretricious union might be formed between
the Bank of the United States and the Presi-
dent of the United States ? Has he never sup-
posed that, but for the fortunate difficulties be-
tween the present Executive and the bani,
there might now be that very " meretricious
union ; " that the bank might again have been
rechartered ; and all the power, and the influ-
ence, and the patronage of the Executive and the
bank united to destroy the rights of the States,
break down the bulwarks of the constitution,
and raise up one grand consolidated empire ?

The State banks have separate and distinct
interests, and can never- be beyond the control
of the State legislatures. The directors of those
institutions belong to the community in which
they live, have the same interests, the same
feelings, arid must be more Or less under the in-
fluence of the friends and relations by whom
they are surrounded; they must witness the
calamity, and embarrassment, and distress,
which selfish and interested measures may" pro-
duce, and they cannot be insensible to public
opinion. Not so the Bank of the United States.
The directors can have no feelings, no interests,
common with the people, except where the
principal bank is situated ; they have no sym-
pathy for their sufferings ; they do not hear
their complaints nor see their distress; they
are beyond the influence even of friends and
of public opinion ; and to all the complaints, in
every place where a branch is situated," the
single answer may be given, " We have receiv-
ed directions from the principal bank, and we
are compelled to obey them." While it is po-
tent for good, it is more potent for evil. There
is a unity of action, with a weight of power
that is irresistible. The branches, like so many
powerful engines, are all propelled by one mas-
ter wheel ; one man controls and regulates the
whole ; he wills, and money is abundant — all
is plenty, and peace, and prosperity. "A
change comes over the spirit of his dream ; "
lie wills, and the money is drawn into the vaults
of the bank from all parts of the country ; pov-
erty, and distress, and ruin overspread the land.

T will not. extend tho nin.fnrA



DEBATES OF CONGRESS.



415



jAsnARY, 1834.]



Removal ofihe Deposits.



[H. OF R.



Thuesda't, January 23.
The Deposit Question.

Mr. HuNTiNGTOir said : The honorable mem-
ber from Tennessee (Mr. Polk) stated, and
more than once repeated, that, in regard to this
subject, the issue was formed between the Gov-
ernment and the bank. I diflfer with him as to
both the parties which he has named. If he
means by the term " Government," that which
is so called by the travelling agent of the Treas-
ury — one branch of it only, the Executive, or
simply the Ti-easury Department — he has right-
ly named one of the parties ; but if he uses the
term as freemen understand it, as including the
Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Depart-
ments, then the Government is no party to
what he calls the issue which has been closed.
Congress has declared the bank to be a neces-
sary and useful corporation. The Supreme
Court has decided that it is a corporation right-
fully created under the constitution. The
House of Representatives, by a large majority
at the last session, declared it to be a safe place
of deposit for the public moneys ; and the Exec-
utive only has been found in opposition to it as
unconstitutional and inexpedient. The Govern-
ment proper, therefore, has not made itself a
party to the removal of the deposits. The hon-
orable member is equally in an error when he
aflSrms that the bank is a party. However
great and unwearied the efforts have been to
destroy its credit and usefulness, both at home
and abroad ; however unceremoniously the
characters of the honorable and virtuous men
who manage its affairs have been traduced and
slandered; however wanton have been the
attacks on the institution and its directors, the
whole dwindles into insignificance compared
with the results which have followed to the
country from the hostility of those who should
have been its protectors and friends. The
issue is closed between the Treasury and the
people, and it has been tendered by the former ;
and by this House and the Senate is this issue
to be tried, and judgment rendered ; and in its
determination, the bank, as such, and in regard
to its own rights, is comparatively a cipher — a
matter of no moment. The question is, whether
the Treasury shall govern, or the people ? The
observations which I propose to submit to the
House will be comprised in answers to the fol-
lowing questions :

_ Wliat was the condition of the country pre-
vious to the contemplated change in the place
of deposit of the public moneys ?

What is that condition now ?

"What is it to be if the deposits are not re-
stored ?

What causes have produced the present dis-
tressed condition of the country, and the alarm-
ing forebodings of calamities still ereater to be-
fall it?

What is the remedy for these evils ?

Shall Congress apply it ?

There is not one of these questions which is



not full of meaning, and worthy our most se-
rious consideration.

What, then, was the condition of every por-
tion of this great nation while the public moneys
were in their legitimate place of custody, and
the power of the Treasury had not been applied
to disturb and remove them ?

It was one of unparalleled quietness, ease,
and prosperity. Every channel of industry
was fiUed. Full employment was given to the
laborer, who earned his daily bread by the
sweat of his brow — to the mechanic, who
worked in his shop, and furnished the necessa-
ries and comforts of life for himself and all in
his employ — to the manufacturer, who rewarded
the industry of thousands connected with and
dependent upon the successful pursuit of his
business — to the merchant, who was engaged
in prosperous commercial enterprises — to the
farmer and planter, who found a ready and prof-
itable market for the products of their labor.
Payments were made for the productions of
agricultural, mechanical, and manufacturing la-
bor through the domestic exchanges of the
country, at a trifling expense ; and in like man-
ner were payments made for imported merchan-
dise scattered over every portion of the Union.
The Bank of the United States, sustaining its
amicable and confidential relations with the
Treasury, acted the part of a balance wheel,
regulating all the movements of the whole
machinery of currency and exchange, keeping
it in order, preventing the over-issues of the
State banks, and yet befriending them; distrib-
uting the public revenue in every direction to
pay the debts of the Government ; and, through
its loans and exchanges, giving and continuing
health and soundness to every part of the coun-
try, and creating and sustaining a currency
more perfect than any which ever existed in
the most finished periods of the commercial
prosperity of Europe. Our country presented
a scene which we might and did contemplate
with delight, and which called forth our thanks-
givings to the beneficent Author of all Good
for such distinguished mercies. There was not
a dark shade in the picture of our country's
prosperity ; all — all — was bright, delightful in
fruition, cheering in prospect.

What is now the condition of the country ?

Changed, greatly changed ; almost wholly
reversed. Every chaimel of industry is now
partially choked. A paralysis has settled upon
our principal commercial cities, and is rapidly
extending itself in every direction. Business
is suspended ; no new contracts are made ; the
arm of labor has become nerveless ; the cur-
rency is disordered, and money not to be ob-
tained ; a universal panic exists ; fear and alarm
are apparent in the countenances of all ; fre-
quent bankruptcies occur ; commercial credit is
impaired ; and the whole country is in a state
of agitation, excitement, alarm, and fearful ap-
prehension. Is not this statement true ? Does
not every day's post bring us confirmation
of it?



416



ABEIDGMENT OF THE



H. OF K.]



PurcJiase of Boohs /or Members.



[Jantjakt, 1834.



This, however, is but the commencement of
evils still greater to follow, unless an immediate
remedy be applied by the action of Congress.
And this leads to the inquiry what is the pros-
pect before us ? What is to be the condition
of the country, if there be not a reaction, if
business do not revive, confidence be not re-
stored, the usual course of industry and enter-
prise be not pursued, the currency be not re-
stored to its former sound and healthful state,
and active employment be given to the labor
of our citizens, with a reasonable prospect of a
fair and certain remuneration ?

That condition, it is to be feared, wUl be one
of general bankruptcy, and, perhaps, a suspen-
sion of specie payments by most of the local
banks ; the present state of things, gloomy and
fearful as it is, cannot long continue ; the
pressure will be more severely felt ; the causes
which have produced it wiU not cease to oper-
ate, but will accumulate strength, and produce
still more deleterious effects ; the cord is fast
drawing to its ultimate power of tension ; in a
few months it will part. And what will be
the result? Will it not be one which will
jeopard the capital of the State banks, or com-
pel them to refuse the redemption of their notes
in coin? Can the local banks redeem their
circulation and pay their deposits, without call-
ing upon their debtors to make frequent and
large payments ? They have not the power to
coin money, nor can they raise it on their cred-
it. And can these debtors pay without effect-
ing loans elsewhere, or obtaining money by the
sale of their crops or their manufactures?
And are these the resources which are at hand ?
The banks, instead of loaning, are curtailing
their accommodations ; private capitalists will
not lend ; sales of the products of labor cannot
be made. In what manner, then, is provision
to be made for the payment of bank loans?
And if none can be made, the local banks must
resort to other means than collections from
their debtors to provide for the redemption of
their own debts — and they will look in vain
for any such means. It is also not to be forgot-
ten that the whole system of banking opera-
tions in this country has its foundation in pub-
lic confidence- and credit. It is well known
that the banks.cannot redeem all their issues in
coin, if demanded at once ; but the community
feel a security in the integrity, and intelligence,
and prudence of those who have the manage-
ment of these institutions, and a certainty that
the notes will subserve all the purposes to
which they wish to apply them, and thus be
equivalent to coin. While these feelings of
security and certainty continue — while all the
banks are disposed to be liberal and friendly to
each other — ^while the business of the country
is carried on with its accustomed industry and
prosperity, and the revenues of the Govern-
ment are disbursed equally for the benefit of
all, and the domestic exchanges continued with
their usual frequency and rapidity, and without
loss, and the currency is preserved pure — all



will be well, as it was before the Treasury or- -
der relating to the public deposits was issued.
But when the time arrives that money cannot
be obtained in any form to meet outstanding
engagements ; when such a state of alarm shall
exist as that the vaults of the local banks are
to be opened to redeem their notes ; when spec-
ulators in bank notes shall commence the pur-
chase of them at a large discount, to demand
their payment in specie ; when this period ar-
rives, then will most of the State banks be com-
pelled to close the doors of their vaults, and
the scenes of the years 1814 and 1815 again be
witnessed. And though I believe the Bank of
the United States — that monster and tyrant, as
it has been called, which was to crouch at the
feet of the Treasury an humble suppliant for
favor — will ride out the storm without the loss
of a spar, or a sail, or a yard, it is greatly to be
apprehended that the broken fragments of
most of the State banks, which will be seea
everywhere floating, wiU evince what desola-
tion and ruin have befallen them.



Feidat, January 31.
Purchase of BocTcsfor Members.

Mr. Speight asked the unanimous consent of
the House to offer a joint resolution. Leave
being given, he offered a resolution for furnish-
ing to the new members of Congress certain
books of reference which have been furnished
to the old members.

Mr.- Whiitleset objected to the form of the
resolution ; and, after some conversation, it was,
on the motion of Mr. Polk, verbally modified,
with the consent of the mover, so as to read as
follows :

Resolved hy the Senate and Souse of Representa-
tives, That the members of the present Congress,
who have not heretofore received them, be supplied
with the same books that have been ordered to be
furnished to the members of the 22d Congress; the
cost thereof to be paid out of any money in the
treasury not otherwise appropriated.

Mr. Wayne wished, before voting, to know
what the books were which were referred to,
and whether some might not now be out of
print, so that the resolution might, in effect,
be authorizing a reprint of them.

Mr. Speight explained, and stated that his
object in offering the resolution was to furnish
such members as had not been supplied with
them with Gales & Seaton's Eegister of Debates,
and the Documentary History of Congress.

The resolution was ordered to be engrossed
for a third reading.

The Speakee stated to the House that an
oversight had been committed in passing to a
third reading the resolution offered by Mr.
Speight. That resolution involved an appro-
priation of money, and must, therefore, first be
considered in Committee of the whole House.

On motion of Mr. Speight, the House went
into Committee of the Whole on the state of the



DEBATES OP CONGRESS.



417



Febeuaky, 1834.]



Hemoval of. the Deposits,



[H. OF K.



Union, Mr. CouifOE in the chair, and took up
the resolution.

Mr. Speight amended his resolution by add-
ing that the whole of the Register of Debates,
from the first to the ninth volume, inclusive,
and the whole of the Documentary History
published, should be purchased for those mem-
bers of Congress who had not yet received
copies of those works.

Mr. FosTBE inquired of the mover what
the books were which would be covered by
the resolution, and what would be the cost of
them?

Mr. Speight replied, that the gentleman had
the same information as he had ; what the cost
would, be, he could not say. He had stated
what the works were which he had in view.

Mr. Foster suggested that the resolution
ought to specify the books. He observed that
the resolution, as amended, went to provide,
not only for new members, but for the old ones
also. The House was improving. Instead of
resisting the practice of furnishing themselves
with books, they were extending it. He
wanted to have an estimate of the expense of
carrying the resolution into effect, that the
people might know how much they were voting
to themselves over and above their pay.

Mr. Speight said the gentleman seemed
wholly to have misunderstood the resolution,
and his purpose in moving it. It was merely
to put the new members on the same footing
with the old, in relation to two works very
important to a right discharge of their public
duty on this floor.

Mr. FosTEB deprecated the resolution with
warmth, as going to produce a scene of perfect
confusion : the resolution went back for years,
and those who had been members of the House
years ago would be sending to the Clerk for
volumes to complete their sets, &c. He
would in the House move to refer the resolution
to the Library Committee, with direction to
report the expense of carrying it into efffect.

The question was taken on Mr. Speight's
amendment, and it was carried.

The committee rose, and reported the resolu-
tion as amended.



Thuesdat, February 6.
The Deposit Question.

The House next proceeded to the consid-
eration of the deposit question.

Mr. Peyton said : Mr. Speaker, it is strange.
Indeed, that the man who has given his life to
theservice of his country, who has toiled and
perilled so much in defence of its institutions,
should now be represented as dangerous to its
liberties and regardless of its laws. These
sentiments have been urged and reiterated
against the President from the commencement
of this debate. I wUl endeavor, Mr. Speaker,
in a plain, brief manner, to answer some of
Vol. XIL— 27



these charges, before I proceed to the consid-
eration of the subject before the House.

I agree with the gentleman from South
Carolina, (Mr. MoDuefie,) that it is dangerous
to unite money and political power. But, sir,
we must trust somebody ; and I had rathei
intrust the management of the treasury to those
whom the American people have selected as
the guardians of their liberty, than leave it
exposed to those who have become furious by
the rebuke they have received at the hands of
the people. Sir, we have exhibited before the
nation and the world an extraordinary spectacle
— a scramble for the control of the public
money. An attempt is made to wrest it from
the constituted authorities by gentlemen whom
the people pronounce undeserving of their con-
fidence. Yes, sir, they demand that the public
treasure, which is the " soul of the body
politic," shall be yielded up at the overbearing
dictation of this strange alliance, formed by a
union of party leaders from all points of the
political compass. Well, sir, if power is to
change hands, let us see if the country wiU be
benefited by it. "Who are they who demand
the change? Are they not the same restless
spirits who so lately brought their country to
the brink, " where is but one step down, and
aU was lost?" Let us pause and survey the
scene ! We hear of tyrants, and revolutions,
and resistance. Who is producing this uproar,
this clamor for the public treasure, and grasp-
ing at that power, I had almost said, in a revo-
lutionary tone, which they were not able to
reach in the spirit of our institutions — which
the stern voice of a republican people denied
them ? What do we behold ? Why, those
who but yesterday glared upon each other
with a tiger's look, and bristles up, are now
folded in each other's patriotic arms, and laud-
ing each other as public benefactors. They
benefactors of the country ! '' It is an insult
to the nation to say so." I borrow the phrase
from the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr.
McDuffie.) " The Federal Union — it must be
preserved : " that was the sentiment uttered
by a patriot, and responded to by freemen,
which saved the country. Now, sir, I ask for
the true cause of all we see and hear ? There
is no man so weak or credulous as to believe,
for a moment, that it is to be found in this
petty question of giving the bank the use of
money, which its friends boast it can well do
without ; or in the pecuniary interest of a few
rich men in Europe and America, who own
and control the bank. No, sir ; this is the pre-
text seized upon to scatter firebrands through
society. A deep game of ambition is playing,
not unlike those to which honorable gentlemen
have referred us in the history of other nations.
We can occasionally get a glimpse of the cloud
boiling over above the horizon, and hear the
thunder in the distance. Gentlemen are throw-
ing high die for power ; and, with a boldness
characteristic of the high order of their intel-
lect, are willing to stake all, and stand the



418



ABRIDGMENT OF THE



H. OF E.]



Removal of Ae Deposits,'



[Febecabt, 1831



hazard of the cast. " To rule or ruin" is the
bold design. Sir, it would be patriotic, and
command our highest admiration, to see a states-
man love his country better than himself; not-
withstanding that country had withdrawn its
confidence, and had driven him from a high
station. A Oato could love his country even
in banishment ; and that country, he said, was
not " Utioa or Adymettum, but Eome." But,
sir, I appeal to all America whether it was
love or hate — deadly hate; whether it was
patriotism or ambition, which formed this
unnatural union ? In what else do they agree
but war, unsparing war, upon the President ?
Is this patriotism ? Do they hate each other
less, or Andrew Jackson more ? Say, sir, that
to-morrow's sun rose upon this administration
swept, from the earth — that every member of
it should meet a Brutus while -he sleeps — that
all power should devolve upon these leaders,
who assume to be the guardians of constitu-
tional liberty : what then? There is not room
in the chair of state for more than one man.
" England could not brook the double sway of
Hal and Hotspur." Would, this. new love some
gentlemen profess for courts and federal jury
trials continue? Would the father of the
American system adhere to his recent declara-
tion in favor of a strict construction of the
constitution? Would you expect ..from isuch
materials a harmonious, patriotic action in the
Government ? USTo, sir, you will as soon see the
Stony mountains raising their snow-capped
heads amidst the pines of .Carolina, as you will
see the father of the American system, and the
fiery prince of nullification,, moving quietly
along, upon principle, in the great questions
which have disturbed the peace of the American
family. Eemove the cause of this, union, and
the union itself is broken up in an instant. No
more tears will be shed for the bank, which,
by the bye, have fallen as fast on the other side
of the question in days which have passed ; for
some gentlemen seemed to have a fountain at
command. But let success crown the coming,
struggle, and the. measures and principles of
this administration be battered down ; would
not the unnatural folds in which this knot of
politicians is linked . together be unrolled?
Would not those hyena glances, which are now
drawn to a focus and bent on the white house,
flash and dart at one another ? I question, sir,
if jealousy and rivalry would not take the place
of patriotism ; and if ambition should predom-
inate, then would come a struggle which would
test the energies of our frame of government —
the firmness, the moderation, the virtue, and
the patriotism of the people. If I could be
permitted to state the case, sir, we would see
on each side men of transcendent talents, of
disappointed . hopes, chafed ambition, backed
by orators in boldness, chivalry, and "the
power of speech to stir men's blood," such as
the revolution of France produced — each con-
trolling presses which have it in their power
spread delusion over the face of the land, to



"thick as autumnal leaves in Vallambrosa,":
carried on the four winds. More, sir. On the
one side, would be arrayed this bank, with all
its treasures, with all the attendant, sources of
corruption which would be opened ; upon the
other side, there would be arrayed an army of
twenty-five thousand iState troops, to assert the
claim of their. favorite, under the banner, of
State rights.

:Mr. Speaker, gentlemen have ransacked histo-
rians and poets for tyrants' names, and cases of



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 103 of 199)