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H. OF R.]
[Oct. 5, 1837.
business world was filled with it. It drove people to the Mr. Speaker: I hope, sir, the House will not think mo pine forests of Maine ; to the town sites on the Gulf of impertinent or obtrusive when I ask their indulgence but Mexico; to every stream and river through ihe whole re for a few moments, to submit some few remarks in justifipublic; to the new cities of the West; and to the engage- cation of the vote which I feel it to be my duty to give upon ments in manufactures, mechanic arts, and discoveries of the bill now under consideration. After so much has been all kinds, in most instances lamentably unsuccessful. said upon this subject, either directly or indirectly, perhaps
My colleague objects that the bill is deceptive; that, I may not hope, sir, to cast any new light upon it, or to under the guise of authorizing an issue of Treasury notes, place it in any point of view in which it has not already it effects a loan. It undoubtedly is a use of the credit of been considered. But when I consider the pledges I am the country, to obtain means of extinguishing some of its under to my constituents, and the very extraordinary course liabilities, and in that sense is a loan. But there is no of measures which has been recommended by the admindeception about it. Notes payable are never issued in istration, I cannot permit this occasion to pass without, at money transactions, excepting for the purpose of substitu- least, making a general exposé of my views, in order that ting credit for money, or promising it, and therefore al. my constituents and the country may see upon which side ways, directly or indirectly, operate as a negotiation for a of the “ fence" I stand in relation to these great and imloan. What difference does it make as to the matter of portant questions. borrowing, whether the money be obtained by one person Sir, I was one of those who used all honorable means to of a third, and paid to a second one, or the note be given prevent the election of the present Chief Magistrate of this directly to the second person? In both cases it is obtuin- nation to the distinguished and exalted station which he ing means on loan; in one instance directly, in the other now occupies. But, sir, I do not entertain any bitterness indirectly. Banks borrow continually, by their bills or of feeling towards the President; nor did I come here as a notes, money of the community. Now, sir, as Treasury representative of the people determined to oppose his adnotes can be issued for no other purpose than to procure ministration, right or wrong, or to throw obstacles in the money or means on the credit of the United States, the way of its success. On the contrary, it was my firm purbill cannot be deceptive, because, as it can have no other pose to divest myself of the shackles of prejudice, and susobject, every body understands it.
tain the administration in every measure which I night I am in favor of the bill as it now stands, without any believe calculated to advance my country's prosperity, and of the proposed amendments, particularly those which pro fearlessly to condemn and resist whatever would, in my pose the sale of the bonds of the United States Bank of judgment, tend to produce a contrary result. And this is Pennsylvania, and to the striking out the provision author- still my determination. izing the Secretary to pay interest when, in his opinion, Sir, the Congress of the United States has been conthe good of the country may require it. It certainly ap- vened under extraordinary circumstances. We are assempears to me that there can be no possible objection to that bled in obedience to the proclamation of the President, to provision. It will guard against the possibility, although take into consideration “great and weighty matters," 1 admit it is not a strong probability, that they will be at which claim our attention. And we find ourselves surany considerable discount, under ordinary circumstances. rounded by a state of things, in my humble opinion, unpreBut we all know the nice calculations of dealers in money; cedented in the annals of this country. I must beg leave and I should be exceedingly sorry to hear the cry, which to differ most materially from the honorable gentleman has so frequently sounded in our ears, of depreciated cur from Massachusetts (Mr. PARMENTEN] who has just rerency applied to any of the issues of the Government. cumed his seat. He tells us there is no general distress in
I have confined myself strictly to the consideration of the the country ; that it is confined to a few individuals, and bill now before the Houso, which appears to me to bo so the merchants in the large commercial cities. But, sir, it absolutely necessary, that it is almost a matter of surprise would seem to me that we have before our eyes the most that so much time should have been employed in discu86- incontestable evidence of the deepest pecuniary distress and ing it. It is called for by the Government to enable them embarrassment in every quarter of this Union. So far as to comply with the requisitions of the public, and it is re I have heard, no section is exempl, save the district of the quired by the people, as being the best mode by which their honorable gentleman from Ohio, (Mr. Duncan,) who deinterests can be subserved.
clared on this floor, not many days since, that none had The other bills before the House, for deferring the pay- | been felt or experienced there. And, sir, I apprehend this ment of the bonds due from merchants and granting addi- exception stands “solitary and alone." We find our curtional credit, as well as giving a credit on cash duties, it is rency most awfully deranged-every branch of industry universally concoded will pass, and I trust with few dis- end enterprise prostrate-public confidence withdrawnsenting voices. For one, I feel strongly disposed to afford commerce and trade suspended, and universal bankruptcy every facility, and practise every forbearance, which the and ruin staring us full in the facc. These things, sir, are most liberal legislation will warrant; and it would seem acknowledged to exist, and are brought to our view, and that the administration, whose friends are so generally in their causes assigned, in the message of the President. favor of this forbearing course, and who are so willing to whether he has given the true causes, I will not here stop grant every indulgence to those who have the funds of the
to inquire; but, be that as it may, the evil is upon us, and Government directly in their possession, or indirectly by all eyes are turned upon Congress with the most intense want of punctuality in their own obligations and liabilities; interest and anxiety, to see what measures of relief will be should not be unnecessarily embarrassed in their measures, adopted. And, sir, what relief are we about to extend ? but should be met in a kind spirit by their opponents. In the very first paragraph of the message, the most de
I have no fears in common with soine gentlemen that the ranged and embarrassed state of the finances of the Govskue of a limited amount of Treasury notes, for the present ernment is brought to our notice; and, in the second, we relief of the immediate wants of the Treasury, involves any are told that, owing to the increased embarrassments in the objectionable principle. No apprehension was felt when pecuniary affairs of the country, the public revenue would the issue to a very great amount was made during the war be so far diminished, that the accruing receipts into the with England, and it appears to me that the imagination | Treasury would not, with the reserved five millions, be must be exceedingly active which can discover danger in sufficient to defray the expenses of the Government until this simple process of anticipating the future means of the the usual period for the meeting of Congress. And, sir, Treasury by a convenient and beneficial financial operation. although this increased state of embarrassment in the pe
Mr. CROCKETT addressed the Chair as follows : cuniary affairs of the country is acknowledged to exist, yet
Oct. 5, 1837.)
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a system of measures has heen recommended, and has been shown so much devotion? Did they expect their rulers to brought forward by the Committee of Ways and Means, mock at their calamities, which they themselves had been all having in view but one single object--the relief of the instrumental in bringing upon them? No, sir; they lookGovernment.
ed to those whom they had placed in power to devise some With this view, sir, it is proposed by the bill now under means to relieve them from their calamities. The proclaconsideration to clothe the President of the United States mation of the President was hailed with joy by thousands with authority to cause to be issned ten millions of dollars as a favorable omen. They hugged to their bosoms the dein Treasury notes, to meet the exigencies of the Treasury; delusive hope that their rulers had seen the folly of their and for the redemption of which the faith and credit of the course, and were about to retrace their steps. Sir, alUnited States are to be solemnly pledged. This, then, sir, though the President was pledged to "stread generally in is the great and weighty matter" which we have been as the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor," yet, I imagine senbled to consider ! It is a great and weighty matter" no one believed he designed to tread specially in his footthat the Treasury should be replenished, so that the office- steps. And it was hoped that if he did tread in his footholders may get their pay. But the distress and embarrass- steps at all, he would take his " back track," (if I may be ment of the community seems to be a matter of minor im- allowed to use a hunter's phrase, ) at least in relation to the portance, and of but little concern!
currency and the revenue. But in all this how sadly are Sir, it has been urged by honorable gentlemen that this we disappointed! So far from this, we find him disposed is a measure of relief to the country; that it will supply to plunge still deeper into new and untried experiments ! the country with a circulation and a medium of exchange; Sir, what do we behold! The whole country involved in and I grant that it might offer some temporary relief; but, one wide- spread ruin, and the Government itself bankrupt; sir, I believe it would tend, ultimately, to aggravate the and we are yet to have another “experiment!" Yes, sir, disease. So far from being a measure of permanent relief the State bank experiment has failed, and the golden bubble to the people, I believe it is the entering wedge to an insti- has exploded, and left a wreck of ruin in their train; and tution almost as odious as the Spanish Inquisition. I mean, now, sir, in obedience to the mandate from the Hermitage, sir, a Treasury bank. In fact, if the amendment of the we are to have the Government divorced from all existing honorable gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Ruett) be banks, and wedded to a new and untried system of subadopted, a Treasury bank of issue and deposite is at once treasuries, or, in plain language, a Treasury bank. Sir, established.
we find that the ex-President is not content with having Sir, instead of showing any disposition to grant relief to dictated to the people whom they should choose to be his the people, we are called upon to increase their burdens. successor, but seems now determined to dictate to that suc. We are about to heap upon them another national debt, cessor. I had hoped, Mr. Speaker, that, as the President (for, disguise it as you will, it is nothing less, and has been had attained the summit of his wishes, he would kick from so admitted on all sides,) to the amount of ten millions of under him the ladder by which he had ascended, and take dollars, to relieve the Government; while the people are the dictates of his own judgment as the man of his countold, substantially, that they need not expect any relief; sel; but, sir, mortifying as it may be, we find the message that it is the business of the Government to take care of it. the exact fac simile of certain letters not long since adself; and that it has no power to intermeddle with the con dressed to the editor of the Globe, and published in that cerns of individuals! The Government, after having tam- print. pered with the currency until it is ruined and annihilated Mr. Speaker, I shall not now undertake to discuss the after having prostrated every branch of industry and enter- sub-Treasury system; but, sir, I will say that, unfortunate prise, the commerce and credit of the nation, by practising as has been the result of former experiments upon the curwild and visionary experiments-cuts loose from the peo- rency, I am bound to believe that this new project must ple, and tells them it has no power to grant them relief, or prove much more fatal, if adopted. It is not only calculainterfere with their concerns! They are to be dismissed ted lo heighten the pecuniary distress with which the counwith a lecture on economy. Yes, sir; they are contemp- try is now surrounded, by bringing discredit and ruin uptuously told that they are to look to their own industry and on all local banks, and all who are interested in them, or frugality for relief, without the aid of the Government! Sir, indebted to them, but will add tremendously to the patronthis reminds me of the language of Job's comforters. We age of the Executive, which I think is already much too read in Holy Writ that on a certain occasion Satan was great. My friend from South Carolina (Mr. PICKENS] permitted by the Almighty to try an "experiment” upon told us a few days since, in his answer to this argument, the firmness and integrity of “Job, a perfect and an upright that he treated all such charges with “the most sovereign man, one that feared God and eschewed evil;” that when, contempt.” Sir, let me tell that honorable gentleman that by the power of this arch enemy of the peace and happiness it is easier to dispose of some matters by treating them with of man, Job's fortunes, and his children, and every thing contempt than in any other way. In what, sir, does Escalculated to render him happy, had been driven to the ecutive patronage consist? I answer, in the power of apfour winds, and he was reduced to beggary and ruin; when, pointment and removal from office, and the disbursement in addition to this, " he was smitter with sore boils from of public moneys. The President would have the right to the crown of his head to the sole of his foot," and was appoint and remove every officer who would have any thing groaning under the bitterest agonies of human affliction; to do with either the collection or disbursement of the pubwhen, in short, by one calamity upon the heels of another, lic moneys, and consequently it would place directly under he had been reduced from the highest state of prosperity his control every dollar of the public revenue, and thereby and happiness, to the lowest depths of degradation and unite the sword and the purse of this great nation in the misery, and was wont to roll himself in the ashes upon his hands of a single individual. Sir, we have had a little exhearth, there was but one resource left upon earth to which perience upon this point, in the removal of the public dehe could look for consolation and solace—and that was his posites from the Bank of the United States; and with this wife. And when he cried out to her in the bitterness of accumulation of power the President might trample under his soul, what was her reply? She told him he had better foot the right of suffrage—the most sacred ever guarantied “ curse God and die !” And, sir, pretty much in keeping to freemen-and designate his successor with impunity, if with this is the President's consolation to the people in their he chose to follow the precedent already established. Sir, afflictions.
the liberties of this country were too dearly bought to be Sir, do you imagine the people expected to hear such committed to the keeping of any one man, no matter how language as this from those to whose interests they have pure and unsuspected he may be. "Gold is corrupting,"
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(Oct. 5, 1837.
and power is templing. It can never be done, sir, with my five millions to bankruptcy in less than one year. If I consent. And, besides, as I humbly conceive, the public were satisfied that there would really be a deficit in the moneys would be much less secure. The public revenue Treasury, which would make it necessary to borrow money is to be taken from the custody of all banks, and commit to enable the Government to perform its functions, I should ted to the keeping of some ten or eleven thousand individ- certainly grant it; but, sir, I would prefer that it should uals, scattered throughout the United States. And, sir, be asked for in plain English in that form. I am opposed although we have recently heard much said about the un to laying burdens upon the people in disguise. If they available funds of the Government, I venture to predict that, are to be taxed, let them understand it, and have an opporif this new experiment be adopted, we have not heard the tunity to provide for it. last of it. We have had an item of this description, in the But I am told, sir, that we do not borrow money or creannual report of our Secretary of the Treasury, for many ate a debt by the passage of this bill; that we only anticiyears; and I fear, sir, that under this new organization of pate funds that are now unavailable. And, sir, is it not ihat Department, it will not require a great while to add possible that a large amount of these unavailable funds may a much larger item to the account, from the failures and forever remain so ? Is not the Government attempting to defalcations of sub-treasurers.
divorce itself from the deposite banks, and thereby to disMr. Speaker, in order to remedy the evils which now credit and destroy them? And, should it so turn out, most afflict this country, I am for commencing the work where unquestionably it will prove a debt to the nation. But, sir, they originated. Let us, sir, in all due charity, instead of in my opinion, this is all a fiction. I concur most heartily charging the whole of these misfortunes to the account of with the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. the people, at least charge one-half of them to the mal- FLETCHER) in the opinion that there is not a dollar in the adıninistration of the Government; and, although it is not deposite banks, belonging to the General Government, that recommended by the President, let us commence econo. cannot be made available to the Treasury by another promizing a little on the part of the Government, and set a cess, just as conveniently as by the measure now under praiseworthy example before the people. I have always consi'eration. Has not the Treasury, for months past, heard it remarked that example was much more forcible been making these funds available, by drawing drafts upon than precept. Let us, sir, instead of creating a national them, even when it was certain that they would be protestdebt, in order to keep up an extravagant and prodigal sysed by the banks ? And I would like to know the differtem of expenditures which has crept into the Government, ence between a protested 'Treasury drast and a Treasury commence the business of retrenchment and reform which note bearing interest. The draft is good against the Treawas promised us a few years since, and adopt some meas sury, with interest and charges of protest, and answers the ure of general and permanent relief to the community as holder every purpose that a note would. It enters immewell as to the Government; and then, sir, and not until diately into circulation, and commands a premium on acthen, may we hope to see better times, and cease to hear count of the exchange it affords. And, sir, while the Govthe complaints that are now continually saluting our ears ernment has these unavailable funds in the banks, the from the tens of thousands of honest, industrious citizens Treasury may make them an inexhaustible source from who have been thrown out of employment and reduced to which to create funds by means of drafts. The Treasury beggary and ruin during this age of experiments.
may draw upon the very same fund five hundred times, and Sir, I deem it unnecessary to detain the House with any the drafts may go the rounds, and come back upon the calculations to show the state of the Treasury, in order to Treasury, and be paid out of the accruing receipts into the prove that the passage of this bill is not required to supply Treasury, and the fund still remain. Then, sir, where is a deficit in the Treasury, as contended for by the friends the necessity of Treasury bills or notes? I can see none, of the measure. It has alreally been shown to this House and am, therefore, induced to believe this measure is proconclusively, to my mind at least, that, by withholding the posed with no other object than to establish the precedent, fourth instalment of the surplus revenue from the States, and thereby make it the prelude to the great unfinished and suspending certain appropriations for useless—nay, measure of the late administration—a Treasury bank; an worse than useless-public works, exploring expeditions, institution, in my humble opinion, more dangerous to the &c., and thereby reducing the expenditures for the pres- liberties of the people than a combination of all the Powers ent year some fifteen millions of dollars, there would be of Europe. But, sir, I will not at this time enter into a ample means in the 'Treasury to meet all demands against discussion of this great question. I will only pray God it, without resorting to the expedient of issuing Treasury that I may never give my sanction to any measure calcu. notes on the credit of the nation. And, sir, if this be lated, in the remotest degree, to establish such an institutrue, would it not be an unpardonable outrage to heap tion. upon the people another national debt, right upon the Mr. Speaker, I fully concur with the honorable gentleheels of the une just discharged ? Sir, we have bad theo man from South Carolina (Mr. Rhett) in the opinion that retical reform Jong enough; I think it is time we should the people expect, and have a right to demand at our hands, begin to carry it into practice. But, on the other hand, it the adoption of some measure which will supply the counis urged that, after withholding the fourth instalment of try with a national currency, which will answer as a methe deposites from the States, and suspending the fifteen dium of exchange between the different sections of the millions of appropriations, there will still be, in any event, Union ; but I am unwilling that these exchequer bills shall a deficit in the Treasury, which renders ii indispensable constitute this national currency. I believe, sir, that it is that this bill should pass. And, sir, we are told that the as much the duty of the Government to foster and encourTreasury is in actual want of those funds at this moment, age commerce as agriculture, or any other branch of indusand cannot . perform its engagements for ten days without try: the prosperity of the one depends upon that of the them. I cannut perceive, sir, how this can be; but if it other; and, sir, when we view society in all its ramificahe true, I, for one, say, so let it be. If the Government tions, we find the interests of all classes so intimately conhas actually brought itself to insolvency, and it be really nected, that whatever affects one must inevitably affect all, necessary to borrow money to pay its expenses, let the The farmer, the planter, the manufacturer, and the metruth come out, and let things be called by their right chanic, are as much dependent upon the merchant as the
Sir, this bill is designed to practise a fraud upon merchant is upon them. And, although the merchants the people, by borrowing money in such a form that they have been denounced with the bitterest epithets, and will not understand it, and thereby shield the Government charged with being the authors of all the evils that now from the odium of bringing itself from a surplus of forty- ' afflict the country-a most base and disgraceful attempt to
Oct. 5, 1837.)
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array one class of the community against another--there is currency by other means, it will not take the people long not one sentence of truth in it. Sir, if you destroy the to remove all constitutional scruples out of the way of a merchants, what will become of all the surplus produce of national bank. As for myself, sir, I do not believe that the country? Every cent's worth over and above what either of the objections to a national bank is well founded. every man can consume in his own family would prove a I have never doubted the power of Congress to charter dead loss to him, and consequently every spring to indus such an institution. But, if I had, I should consider mytry and enterprise would be cut off and destroyed. And, self a most egregious bigot were I to set up my judgment sir, under such a state of things, we must inevitably re- against all the precedents on this point. Indeed, sir, I belapse back, in a short time, to the most perfect savage bar- lieve this is a question that cannot now be raised with any barity. Indeed, sir, I look upon commerce us the main propriety. It has been twice determined, after the most source and fountain from which all our prosperity and deliberate investigation by every department of this Govgreatness low. Where, sir is an instance of a nation's ernment, legislative, executive, and judicial. And I am attaining to any distinction greatness, where commerce one of those, sir, who believe that the constitution is as has not been encouraged? If there is one, it has escaped susceptible of being reduced to fixed and settled principles my observation. Why, then, should we not afford the as any other law of the land. If it is forever to remain an facilities necessary to sustain this enterprising class of our unsettled text, and is to be one thing to-day, another tocitizens? It is a fact, universally conceded by all who morrow, and another again the next day, just to suit the know any thing of commercial operations, that the mer whim and caprice of the powers that be, I think we had chants do not bear the loss sustained for want of these better surrender the instrument. We had better have no facilities, and that it ultimately falls upon the laboring constitution, than to have it the mere creature of those in classes. It cannot be expected by any reasonable man power, to administer as they may choose to understand it. that the merchants can buy and sell goods for nothing. And as to the other objection, I think it is equally futile. They are compelled to make a moderate profit, and, con- Suppose we admit that the late Bank of the United States sequently, all expenses incurred by them for want of proper had been guilty of the greatest crime with which it was commercial facilities, they must of necessity charge upon charged-hat of intermeddling in elections, and using its the goods, and ultimately the consumer pays it. So we means to acquire political power. Sir, does that furnish discover that it is the laboring classes, “the democracy of any argument why another should not be chartered, with numbers,” so much talked of in this House, whose inter- such guards and restrictions thrown around it as to prevent est demands a sound and uniform currency throughout the a recurrence of those evils ? Most certainly not. We United States.
might with as much propriety say that, because the late The power of Congress to supply the country with some President of the United States interfered in the election of sort of national currency that is uniform throughout the his successor, and brought the power and patronage of his Union, in order to assist the domestic exchanges of the office into conflict with the freedom of elections, we ought country, I believe has been admitted, and even insisted therefore to abolish the Executive Department of this upon, by every administration, from the foundation of the Government. Such an argument is absurd and preposGovernment down to the last. The first charge which General Jackson ever preferred against the United States And, sir, I avail myself of this occasion to express my Bank was, that it had failed to fulfil the expectations of firm belief that a national bank, based upon correct princithe people and the object of its creation, viz: to furnish the ples, is the only institution capable of giving the country country with a sound and uniform currency ; but in this such a currency as is essential to its prosperity. And I am I think he was mistaken. The present Chief Magistrate, sustained in this opinion by this remarkable fact, that, Jurhowever, “with the lights now before him," has determin- ing the space of about forty years, wbile such an institution ed that Congress has no such power. But, sir, I think he was in operation in this country, there was never, at any must have read through magic spectacles, and will have to time, a material derangement in the currency, or pecuniary read again. He surely will not be sustained by the repre- distress ; and that, during the two short periods, comprising sentatives of the people in a position so unprecedented and only about eight years, in which the Government attemptabsurd. Admitting, then, as it surely must be, that Con- ed to do without one, we had an entire suspension of specie gress not only has the power, but that it is our indispensa- payments by all the local banks, and the deepest distress ble duty, to supply the country with a national currency and embarrassment in the pecuniary affairs of the country. and medium of exchange, the question naturally arises, And, sir, although we have recently had it from high auhow is this to be accomplished ? Did any man ever seri- thority, and from different sources too, that a large majorously believe that the commerce and trade of this great ity of the people of the United States are opposed to such nation could be carried on by an exclusive metallic cur an institution, with due deference, sir, I must take the rency? I answer, no; this question is too clear to admit liberty to dissent from that opinion. Upon the score of of controversy. In the next place, sir, are the State banks expediency, I am bound to believe there is an overwhelm. able to furnish such a currency? Of this I shall leave ing majority in its favor. And, sooner or later, humiliating every man to be his own judge; but, judging for myself, as it may be, the Government must return to it; and I hope if there be any thing in past experience, I should say it is the day is not far distant. most clear and manifest they cannot. Then, sir, the great The community, sir, and especially the commercial comand important question comes up: What will accomplish munity, who have been struggling against winds and tides, this end? By one set of politicians, sir, u national bank is and Government experiments, to sustain their credit and said to be the only institution capable of supplying this reputation, hare borne their misfortunes with much longcurrency, and past experience is quoted as incontestable suffering and forbearance. But, sir, the time may come evidence in support of this position; while, on the other when forbearance will cease to be a virtue. hand, it is most vehemently denounced as both unconsti I am fully aware, however, that a national bank cannot tutional and dangerous to liberty. These, sir, are grave and now be established. We have had incontestable evidence weighty objections, if well founded ; and, if any other of that fact this morning.* nd, sir, even if there were a means can be devised to accomplish this end, which will probability of its success, situated as I am, I would not be free from constitutional objections and less dangerous to presume to make the proposition. It is due to those who liberty, I will most gladly embrace it. And, sir, I concur have more experience to take the lead in a measure of so with the honorable genıleman from South Carolina, (Mr. RHETT,] that, unless the country be supplied with such a
* Resolution adopted declaring it inexpedient to charter a national
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[Oct. 5, 1837.
much importanee. But, sir, I am ready to act my part, would not be paid, but would be protested and allowed to whenever the subject may be presented. In conclusion, circulate through the community upon the credit of the Mr. Speaker, I will only say that, for myself, I am perfect Governinent, and a Treasury note, which was to circulate ly satiated with new and untried experiments, and I hope exclusively upon the credit of the Government, and with and believe the country is so.
the belief that the amount it represents will be paid the Mr. HAMER had thought last night that the debate on moment the banks are in a condition to pay ? Now, if any this bill was closed; but it seemed that they had taken a gentleman was so astute as to be able to point out any diffresh start that morning. He himself did not rise to make ference-not the metaphysical, but the practical, differa speech, but briefly to throw out a few suggestions in re ence-he would be glad to hear it. Both were certainly ply to some things that had been thrown out by gentlemen circulated on the credit of the Government. in the course of the discussion.
But it seemed that these notes, in the opinion of some Some complaints had been made of the order in which gentlemen, were unconstitutional ; and then, from all quarthe business of the House had been brought before it. ters, they were told it was a loan--a loan in disguise. Gentlemen had urged that this bill ought to have been laid Well, if it be a loan, did not the constitution expressly aside, and that the bills to allow time to the deposite banks, authorize the Government to borrow money for its needful and to postpone the payment of merchants' bonds, should wants ? If it be a loan, as they admit it to be, and so Mr. have been first disposed of, before the final action was had H. admitted, in one sense, but not in the ordinary sense upon the present bill. Now, there were two reasons why in which a loan was understood—but if it were, the conthat was not the proper course.
stitution authorized them to borrow money whenever the The first was, that, so far as had been seen by the course, necessities of the country required them to do it. How and gathered from the declarations of gentlemen in the op was it a loan? Why, it was just such a loan as he would position, they were opposed to all the measures brought make to an individual to whom he was indebted, and who forward; and hence it was but fair and reasonable that the called upon him for a settlement, and he could not pay friends of those measures should be allowed to select the him, but gave him his note promising to pay him in a year. order in which they should be brought before the House. In that sense, but in no other, was it a loan; but no one That was one reason.
would so understand it. It was precisely that kind of The other was, that the Government ought to act, in transaction too. Those who had claims upon the Governregard to this matter, precisely as an individual would in ment called for their money; the Government had not got similar circunstances. Suppose that he owed a thousand it, because the merchants and the banks could not pay her, dollars, and was unprepared to pay it when called upon, and what does she do? Why, give her notes, and say and asked time of his creditor; that creditor said he would she will pay up at the end of a year. This is a plain every give him time if he (the creditor) could raise it from any day transaction between individuals. other source-must not that creditor ascertain first whether Again, it was said this bill would be a burden upon the he could raise the amount of money before he could in- people. How a burden upon the people? He heard that dulge him (Mr. H.) his debtor ? That was precisely what complaint rung throughout the House, and he asked, how they wanted to ascertain in the present case. They were was it a burden upon the people ? Did it propose any first to ascertain whether they had the means of granting new tax upon them? Did it propose ang levying of fresh the indulgence proposed in the other two bills, before they burdens?' Did it take any money out of their pocket? If could lake upon themselves to do so. This was fair and they regarded the bill passed to withhold the fourth instalreasonable, and was the only perfectly proper course. ment of deposites with the States as furnishing the means
Now, in regard to the arguments advanced that morning to redeem these notes, in that way it was a burden. But by the very able gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. nobody pretended that these notes were to be so redeemed, FLETCHER.] That gentleman insisted that this bill was or to be redeemed at all, except when the deposite banks unnecessary,' and assigned his reasons. He said they and the merchants paid up their debts. should sell the claim upon the Bank of the United States. Gentlemen talked, too, a good deal about the people not Why, the Government was now out of money, and wanted understanding this. Mr. H. had a higher respect for the funds immediately. Which, then, was the most reasonable: intelligence of the people. They would understand it; for the Government to go into the market and force a sale they did understand it. of that claim, and the paper she holds against the Bank of Mr. PHILLIPS then took the floor, and commenced an the United States, or to issue Treasury notes, and take argument against the bill, but his remarks were cut off by time to render that debt available, or collect it at maturity ? the arrival of the hour (half past 2) for the House to take Was a forced sale advantageous, under any circumstances, its daily recess till 4 o'clock. either to an individual or to the Government ? Certainly It is better, therefore, that the notes should be issued.
Evening Session. Again: There was a large amount in the deposite banks, The House then resumed the consideration of the "bill said the gentleman. Now, they heard that repeatedly be to authorize the issuing of Treasury notes," being the subfore, but did not every gentleman there know, that the stitute reported from the Committee of the Whole on the amount in the deposite banks could not be commanded at state of the Union. that time? Nay, more: was it not insisted by gentlemen Mr. PHILLIPS resumed his remarks. He endeavored of the opposition, that that money should not be commands to prove that the most injurious effects had resulted from ed under one, two, or three years.
the late measure of the Secretary of the Treasury in allowWhat was another argument connected with this propo. ing a large amount of deposites to remain in several isolasition? It was that they might issue Treasury drafts upon ted banks, while he withdrew nearly the whole sums dethe banks, and suffer them to be protested, and circulated posited with the banks on the seaboard. It was his opinthrough the community, as now, instead of notes. Why, ion that much of the distress now existing in the commerin the first place, they had heard from all quarters of the cial cities was to be attributed to that measure.
He reUnion, that the Secretary of the Treasury had no right to ferred to the prospects of the country for the ensuing year, issue drafts upon the banks, knowing they would be pro- and contended, that from the report of the Secretary, and tested. But suppose he had the right, was there any dif- the statements given in the House, if a balance were ference between those drafts now circulating and the Treas-drawn, the amount of difference between the expenditure ury notes they proposed to issue ? Where was the difference and receipts would not exceed two or three hundred thoubetween drawing a draft upon a bank, which they knew sand dollars. He would tell them frankly, that when he