« PrejšnjaNaprej »
Oct. 7, 1837.]
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and it will lead to the rankest corruption if it is permitted | West, and particularly in the Southwest ; and, if the adto continue.
ministration should be well disposed, every solvent bank It is said the credit of the Government will be affected if in the Union could resuine specie payments in a few depreciated bank paper should be offered to the public cred- months. The demand for specie having ceased, the Govitors; and it is pretended that the passage of this bill is ne ernment being no longer in the market bidding for it, cessary to preserve the credit of the Government. What every serious impediment to the resumption of specie paycredit do gentlemen allude to? If it is pretended that the ments will be removed. With the crops of the present credit of the Government has not already been tarnished year in the Southwest, and with proper indulgence and if it is alleged that its credit is not every day stained by of- assistance from the Government, the banks in that quarter fering depreciated paper in discharge of public debts, it is need not be long in the rear of the Eastern banks, if at all. notorious that the facts are against the argument. Bank Sir, I repeat that this Government, if it is so disposed, can and other depreciated paper has not only been offered, but promptly restore the present circulating medium of the in many cases it has actually been put off upon a portion country to as sound a condition as it was in before the late of the public creditors, and some of them the most deserv- suspension. Many of the States would no doubt guaraning. A portion of the volunteers of Tennessee were not tee the safety of all the paper of the banks within their only tendered, but actually paid in bank paper, depreciated limits now in circulation. Every solvent bank would furfifteen per cent: below the par of specie, during the last nish satisfactory securities, and all would come under such summer, and when, at the same time, federal officehold-conditions as would guaranty, both to the Government ers, residing just across the line between Tennessee, Ala- and the country, that no advantage would be taken of the bama, and Mississippi, received their salaries in gold and credit thus given to their paper by adding to the amount silver, which commanded a premium of fifteen per cent, in already in circulation. Then, sir, we should no longer Tennessee currency! After this, let no one say that there see in this free country the Government harassing and is no difference established, under the present order of things, oppressing its citizens by collecting its taxes in gold and between the governors and the governed—between the Go- silver, to be distributed among those who have the good Fernment and the people; nor let it be pretended that this fortune to be engaged in the public service, while the great Government has maintained its credit untarnished by the mass of the people have no other currency in use among contact of depreciated paper. But, sir, I affirm that the them but bank paper; a state of things which, for the credit of the Government, in a financial point of view, has honor and character of free Government, ought not to be not been impaired by the payment of bank or other depre- permitted a day longer than a remedy could possibly be ciated paper to its creditors. I mean to say, sir, that the applied. credit of this Government, so far as that credit is the result Then, sir, as a measure of coercion against the adminof the public confidence in the resources of the country and istration--as a measure of compulsion-I would reject this the disposition of the Government to pay its debts, stands bill. We know the administration is hostile to the present as high at this moment as at any time heretofore.
circulating medium of the country ; that hostility is avowThis Government can now borrow whatever money may ed distinctly in the message. In the newspaper organs of be necessary to its wants at as low a rate of interest as at the party, and from a hundred different sources besides, any time of its existence. [Mr. SERGEANT said lower.] we learn that it is the policy of a large party in the counThe gentleman from Pennsylvania, who sits near me, says try to make banks and bank paper as odious as possible that the Government can now borrow money at a lower among the people, and finally to break them down. It is, rate of interest than heretofore. Then it is clear that the then, the policy of this party to prevent the banks from reGovernment has sustained no loss of credit by having paid suming specie payments; it is their policy still further to out depreciated paper up to this time. Why not, then, cripple the operations of the banks. To compel the Govcontinue the practice? Why not make it uniform? Why ernment to take the course, therefore, which the public not at once raise all the paper of solvent banks to the same good requires, and that is to improve the condition of the standard of value, and pay all the public creditors in the present circulation of the country, I would withhold my same medium? There is no reason why they should not, vote from this bill, if there were no other reason in my except the determination which exists with the adminis- mind to justify that course. Withhold the aid required tration to persevere in their fatal course of experiments. by this bill, and all will be well in ninety days; the Guv
What, Mr. Speaker, is this depreciation of bank paper, ernment will be compelled to receive and pay out bank which, it is said, is an objection to the policy of receiving paper, and that is all ihat is necessary, under proper limit in the collection of the public revenue ? Suppose this itations and precautions, to bring about a general resumpadministration were disposed to restore the currency of the tion of specie payments by the banks. country, and should resolve to receive in payment of all The chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means public dues the notes of all solvent banks upon such con has informed us that one object to be accomplished by this ditions and securities as shall make the Government per-| bill will be to supply a medium of exchange, a species of fectly safe, what would the depreciation amount to ? By paper which we will find very convenient, and a great rethis act of the Government the demand for specie would lief at this time in the West. I can inform the gentleman cease in every part of the Union in a great measure; and, that he will do a much greater service to the West by when the foreign debt shall be paid, the difference in value taking Eastern bank notes and disbursing them on our between bank paper and gold and silver would be more Western frontier. These notes would furnish a cheaper nominal than real in all the larger cities. The gentleman remittance than any Government paper that can be created, from New York [Mr. CAMBRELENG] has told us that in and they answer all the purposes we desire. But, sir, I the city of New York, the great emporium of our trade, know but too well the real grounds upon which this will is and the centre of exchange, bank paper is now only about urged through Congress. It is not because the Governfour and a half or five per cent. below par. Let the Gov ment cannot get along without it; it is not because there ernment, then, resolve to take it in payment of the cus is any particular interest felt in relieving any particular toms, and from that moment it will assume nearly par section of the country. It is because, by this measure, and value, and in less than sixty days all the Eastern banks this measure alone, the administration can venture upon can respune specie payments. The merchants then could any new experiment upon the currency and finances of the pay their bonds; they would ask no more indulgence. Mil country. 'l'his is a principal motive. Another one is, lians will immediately be poured into the Treasury. The beyond all doubt, to furnish a medium of exchange beGovernment would be able to indulge the banks in the ' iween the different sections of the Union, so as to silence,
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if possible, the clamors of those who are continually de I must say a word or two to those gentlemen in this
Oct. 7, 1837.)
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opposition to this bill. As for the bank stock interest, them in behalf of those higher and dearer interests which and those whose course is dictated by the grovelling policy would be put in jeopardy by such a measure of relief, and of preserving the State banks, for the sake of themselves, called upon them to say whether they were not prepared or for the sake of individual interests, I know not whether to suffer still greater evils than those which now oppressed I would most pity or despise them. If I were to consult them--whether they were not ready to sacrifice half their my own personal feelings, I would not suffer an incorpo estates and property, before they would accept present rerated bank to exist; but, sir, it is the various interests lief at so much risk to the constitution and public liberty, with which these banks are connected; it is the general the general exclamation was : “we will sacrifice the whole interest; it is the interest alike of merchant, farmer, and first !” Of such materials are the farmers and mechanics, manufacturer; of the laborer as well as of the capitalist, whom it is my pride-nay, sir, my glory, to represent upon that they shall be protected against the hanıls which are this floor. now uplifted to destroy them.
We hear the severest denunciations pronounced against I regard the proposition to issue Treasury notes, to sup a paper currency every day upon this floor, yet we are ply any alleged deficit in tho Treasury, and at the same about to add to the stock of paper money now on hand time to supply the circulation of the country, at this par- in the country; and while the whole Union is filled with ticular period, as one of the most mischievous and wicked the clamor which has been artfully excited against all banks, projects that could be resorted to under any circumstances. the nation, in my opinion, is upon the eve of seeing estabThe bad tendency of it cannot be doubted, and the bad lished, under the disguise of sub-treasuries, at every imresults are almost as certain. In the first place, this is a portant commercial point, branches of a great central bank, resort wbich ought to be reserved and held sacred for those located in this city, founded upon the public revenues, high emergencies which happen to all nations, at some and under the control of the Executive Department of the period or other in their history ; emergencies growing out Government ! of a state of war; such as threaten danger to the liberties I happen to know, Mr. Speaker, from a source entitled and independence of the country. Then, and then only, to the highest confidence, and I presume you, sir, know should the Government exercise the power of making quite as well as myself, that the war commenced upon the money, or availing itself, at once, of its power and its Bank of the United States in 1829, by the late President, credit, by issuing its own notes. T'he example, in time of was entered upon with a determination to establish a bank peace, is a bad, and may become a fatal one. 'The object upon its ruins, founded upon the revenue and credit of the now to be accomplished, and which need not again be Government. I happen to know that the election of a pointed out, is sufficiently objectionable, but the conse highly distinguished gentleman of the State of Tennessee quences which may, and probably will, follow from it are to the Senate of the United States was urged by a high appaling. If there is any member in this House, who con- public functionary, upon the ground that he would be highsiders that economy in the Government ought to be ly useful to him in executing his plans in relation to a new cherished and supported—if there be any who hold that bank. How long these original views of the late Presithere is any thing in the idea of reform but a mere name, dent continued to operate I cannot undertake to state. I 8 catch word, to mislead the people; if there are any who had sufficient reason to hope that in 1832 the original dethink that there is any danger to be apprehended from the sign of the President was laid aside, or considerably modincrease of Executive patronage, I call upon them to rejectified. Judging from certain letters which appear to have this bill. I appeal to the gentlemen of the South-I ap. emanated from the Hermitage, of a very late date, I would peal especially to that portion of them who are the advo- infer that the policy of establishing a Treasury bank had cates of States' rights, and who would maintain their due been wholly abandoned in that quarter ; but, sir, even as influence in the confederacy, to oppose this measure. I | late as last summer, there were some symptoms of an abidcall, more especially, upon those who believe that the ing determination to carry out the scheme which was comgreatest danger which threatens our system, is a concen menced in 1829. The tone of one of the leading journals tration of all power in the General Government, to unite in that State, and more particularly the course of a gentlewith me in going against this bill. Has the idea of con man long a member of this House, in his canvass during solidation lost all its terrors? Have all fears of such a re the summer, were striking facts, and they did not pass unsult subsided in this House? If there are any remains of observed. The gentleman to whoin I allude has been rethat spirit yet left, which in former times filled this hall puted to be in the confidence of the late and present adwith remonstrances upon this subject, it is time it should ministrations, and he openly avowed his, intention to suparouse itself. This bill is prepared under the most artful | port a bank founded upon the credit and revenue of the disguises, and the avowed object is attractive and seduc- Government. But, why should I refer to circumstances, tive; it is urged as a measure of relief to the people as well to conjectures, when, by referring to the report of the Secas to the Government; it is said that it will furnish a retary of the Treasury, we shall tind the idea of a Treasury medium of exchange, which will tend greatly to relieve bank fully developed and openly recommended, not in name, the interior and Southwest. I for one, sir, was not taken indeed, but under such feeble disguises that none can misby surprise by the introduction of this measure. I fore- take the true object? I will quote, in confirmation of what saw the probable attempt to establish a Treasury bank, and I have said upon this point, a single paragraph from the I warned my constituents, during the summer, that the ad report of the Secretary of the Treasury. After stating that ministration might seek to repair the mischief their folly it is in the power of Congress to furnish "some paper mchad done the country, by the establishment of a Govern-dium of a higher character and other than what now exists,” ment bank. I had the high gratification of addressing a and which can be readily secured without treading upon large assembly of freemen of my district, not. long since, the debatable ground of either the power or the policy of when I took occasion to state to them, that, although no chartering a national bank,” he proceeds to state that “cerrelief could be anticipated from the early establishinent of tificates, not on interest, but payable in specie to bearer a national bank, yet that the embarrassments which they or order, as well as being receivable for all public dues, labored under could all be removed by the administration, could be authorized to be given in payment to the public by the party in power, if they thought proper ; but when creditor, whenever preferred by him, and sufficient specie I explained to them the means by which it might be at- existed in the Treasury. This kind of paper would be tempted; that it would be by issuing a Government pa very convenient in form, and would differ very little from per, and, in effect, by establishing a bank founded upon the drafts now in use on banks, except being drawn on & the credit of the Government; and when I appealed to known specie fund, and expressing on its face not only
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this, but its being receivable, in the first instance, for all generally, and to benefit the people, as well as to furnish public dues. It would possess the highest credit allowable immediate aid to the Treasury ; as one which has been in society.”
viewed in that light by all parties in and out of this House, Sir, after this development of the plans which have been and even till within the last forty-eight hours, I did considered at the Treasury, who will be found bardy enough not consider that there was any serious opposition to hereaster to deny that Treasury bank is not to be—will an issue of Treasury notes, or Government stock, in not be, supported by the party in power ?
some form. On my journey to this city, I frequently Regarding it thus as the settled policy of a large and heard it suggested that such a measure would be eminentpowerful party to establish a bank connected with the pub- ly calculated to give relief, and one which Congress should lic Treasury, and to supply a circulating medium of the adopt by all means, if practicable : and, what is worthy country with paper issued directly by the Government, I of remark, these suggestions, in almost all instances, shall consider the republic in danger until this crisis is past. came from the opposition from the political friends of If, sir, you do no more than pass this bill, you set an ex those who are now opposing this bill on this floor. After ample of the most dangerous nature. Once establish the my arrival here, the project was frequently spoken of, and practice of supplying all real or alleged deficiencies in the always with favor; in fact, a sentiment decidedly friendly Treasury by issuing 'Treasury notes, and it cuts off all hopes to the measure prevailed here, so far as I heard any expres. of retrenchment-of limitation or moderation in the public sion on the subject, (with one or two exceptions,) untit expenditures. When an appropriation of money shall about forty eight hours ago, and after this bill had been hereafter be asked for some new and extravagant work of some time under discussion, when suddenly it seemed that internal or other improvement, we shall have the objection new light had broken in upon this matter. Yesterday no longer urged upon this flour that the state of the finan- morning, Mr. Speaker, we heard from New York that ces will not admit the expenditure ; that there is no money specie had fallen in that great commercial mart—that Treasin the Treasury.. Every one will know that the fact is not ury drafts were worth as much all 10 about 1 per cent. as so; that, for the cost of the plates and paper, the Govern- specie-stocks rising and trade apparently reviving. There ment can make as much money as we desire for every pur was also, Mr. Speaker, every reason for the public then to pose. The argument that we are in want of money will suppose, not only that this bill would pass, but that duty be clamored down. We shall be enabled forthwith to buy bonds would be extended, and further time given to the deall the Indian lands between the Mississippi and the Rocky posite banks to pay the balances due from them as provided Mountains-to enrich all the agents, jobbers, traders, and by the bills on your table. Now, sir, it is a little singular other favorites upon the whole Western frontier. We can that on the receipt of this news, and when it would seem construct as many artificial harbors upon our lake and At- that better times were dawning upon the country, when lantic borders as we desire. We shall be able to erect a business appeared to be reviving, and when this and other chain of artificial fortifications upon our whole frontier measures recommended by the Executive, which it might boundary, on such a plan as to defy the approach of a for be supposed would pass this House, appeared to have the eign enemy. We shall be able to place all our public es effect to allay excitement and restore confidence-I say it is tablishments upon a scale of magnificenco and grandeur singular, sir, at such a moment, that a most vigorous efcorresponding with our great name and boundless resources; fort is suddenly made to defeat this bill, and prevent the for there will, for a long time, be no want of money in the issue of Treasury notes, which, on all hands, so far as I Treasury. We shall, indeed, have a splendid Govern- have understood, has been viewed as a measure so well calment, and be able to challenge the admiration of all the culated for the relief of the country. We have heard nations; but, whether our wisdom or our folly will most much, sir, on the subject of the Government taking care astonish mankind, I leave it for the advocates of this bill of itself without any care for the people. The measures to determine.
Whether we shall long remain a free peo recommended by the administration have been denounced ple will soon cease to be a question. Sir, when we shall on this for as having a single eye to that object, and it once have set the example of replenishing the Treasury, has been made matter of complaint here that no measures upon any alleged emergency in time of peace, by issuing of relief, for the people were proposed. This, however, Treasury notes, the practice will become permanent. In has been looked upon as a measure calculated to relieve the a Government like ours, we shall never be able to retrieve people as well as ihe Government; as a measure that would a false step like this; we shall never be able to correct a throw into circulation ten million of dollars, which would policy which will be entwined with so many interests, until be equal to so much addition to the specie capital of the å revulsion shall come, which shall shake, ay, prostrate country-furnishing great facilities, either as remittances the now seemingly solid columns which support the fabric. or domestic exchanges, particularly to all classes of the of our liberty in the dust.
commercial community. And yet, sir, the moment there Mr. Bell made some remarks upon the subject of the is a prospect that this measure will be adopted, and carried connexion between commerce and the banking system in too as an administration measure, the whole opposition parthis country, and showed how much of the prosperity of ty are arrayed against it; and unless I have entirely misthe country depended upon the credit system; and conclud- understood the scope and tenor of this debate, their hosed by moving to strike out the enacting clause of the bill. tility to the measure, if it did not originate on reception of
Mr. CAMBRELENG asked for the yeas and nays; the news from New York above alluded to, it did, at least, which were ordered.
then assume a more vigorous, obstinate, and powerful Mr. BRONSON said he felt unwilling that the question shape, so much so as to impress upon my mind most strongshould be taken on the motion now pending, and that the ly the belief that there was some connexion between the bill should finally pass from this House, without giving his cause and effect. views upon the measure under consideration ; and, from the Did gentlemen of the opposition suppose that if this bill peculiar character which this debate had now assumed, and passed it would immediately give relief, restore confidence, particularly since the remarks of the honorable gentleman and redound to the credit of the administration ? That from Tennessee, Mr. Bronson said he felt more strongly such will be the effect, to a very great extent, I have no impelled to state some of the reasons which would influ- doubt; and I had hoped that this consideration might not ence his vote, and which rendered it clear to his mind that be entirely overlooked by the opponents of this bill; or, if the bill under consideration should become a law. I have noted by them, that it would not add zeal to their opposition. (said Mr. B.) regarded this measure as one peculiarly cal. I hope it has not. culated to relieve the pecuniary distresses of the country Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the debates on this bill,
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and given thein all due attention; and the various objections distress must be felt through all the ramifications of society ; which have been raised in the progress of this discussion and yet, sir, how can that result be avoided if this bill is against an issue of Treasury notes, have received from me defeated ? attentive consideration.
But, sir, another and more weighty objection is now I was in favor of the project from the first, if the state of urged to this bill. After it had been debated nearly two the Treasury was such as to warrant it, and I have heard days, it was suddenly discovered to be an enemy in disnothing yet which to my mind is a sufficient objection guise ; a scheme fraught with all sorts of mischief to the against it. Let us look for a moment to the ground which country, and danger to our institutions; in short, an inwe occupy in relation to this matter, and the point at which cipient step towards a Treasury bank, as an entering we have arrived in this discussion.
wedge towards a permanent national paper currency. The Is it not, sir, a conceded point that the Treasury is near-changes have been rung upon these words, in all forms and ly or quite exhausted—that in a short time it will be neces- shapes, until the ear is weary of the repetition; and, like sary to raise money, either by loan or otherwise, unless the the old United States Bank, which the gentleman from unavailable funds now in hand can be realized ? I shall Massachusetts insisted had become a kind of “stalking not here go into a review of the financial condition of the horse" in this House, sir, this idea of a “ Treasury bank, country, or the state of the Treasury, as exhibited by the “a Government paper currency,” has become a kind of Secretary's report, or the various explanations of that report, “ stalking horse" to this bill, which is led in upon this which have been made on this floor. I assume the position floor by every speaker of the opposition, to frighten memthat there is no money in the Treasury, or that such will bers out of their votes in favor of this measure. Now, sir, be the case very shortly-and that money is needed to carry I am as much opposed to a Treasury bank as any of the on the operations of the Government. We are told so by gentlemen who oppose this bill; and I would go as far in the Secretary of the Treasury, and by the chairman of the opposing any measure which would be an incipient step Committee of Ways and Means. The whole of this debate towards such an institution, or towards the establishment has proceeded upon that supposition ; and with the excep- of an irredeemablo Government paper currency, as the most tion of the honorable gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. patriotic of them; but, after a very candid examination of BELL,) and perhaps one or two others, such has been al- the subject in all its bearings, and after a careful perusal luwed to be the true state of the Treasury by all who have of the bill, I cannot discover the lurking dangers with addressed the House on this subject. There can be no
which other gentlemen seem to think it is fraught. I am question that such is the fact, and the point that is now not able to perceive any foundation for a Treasury bank presented is simply, in what manner shall we replenish the or for a permanent Government paper currency lurking Treasury; I say merely the Treasury, and not an exhausted | about the bill, or incident to it. it is, sir, a very plain, or bankrupt Treasury; for, sir, we have ample resources, as intelligible bill, just what it purports to be on the face of it, soon as they can be realized, without resorting to taxes or and meaning nothing more than is expressed ; a mero temduties. It is only necessary to resort to some temporary porary expedient, to enable the Treasury, by an issue of espedient to enable the Government to go on and to fur- Treasury notes to a limited amount, to fulfil its obliganish the Treasury with the necessary means, until the debts tions ; thus anticipating the moneys due to the GovernJue to the Government, and the ample but at present un ment, and at the same time to do it without laying any available means which we have, can be realized without taxes or new duties. The issue of Treasury notes is conunnecessary distress or pressure upon the people.
fined to ten millions, beyond which amount no issue can be By the strong role in this House last evening on the made; and, to make assurance doubly sure, I will myself subject of selling the United States Bank bords, it was un propose the amendment offered in Committee of the Whole, equivocally determined that we would not adopt that mea- by the gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. Johnson, ) limitsure. We must then call upon the deposite banks for the ing the time within which these notes shall be issued to immediate payment of all balances due from them, and also the first of June, 1839, or some other shorter time, so as upon the merchants for the instant payment of the duty to throw around the bill all those safeguards necessary to bonds, or a resort must be had to the issue of Treasury notes render it, as it is intended to be, and as it purporis to be or Government stocks for a short time until those claims on the face of it, a measure merely teinporary. By the can be realized. Can gentlemen devise any other course ? passage of this bill, we shall, sir, be able to extend all rea
You have now, sir, npon your table a bill postponing sonable indulgence to the Government debtors, at a time the payment of duty bonds nine months, and another allow- when it is not only the interest but the duty of the Goving time to the deposite banks to pay the balances due from ernment to do so ; we shall furnish a temporary circulation them, neither of which are yet acted upon in this House, which may and will be used, not only as a remittance to but both of which, so far as any opinion has been elicited, Europe, but between the different parts of the Union ; meet with universal favor. In fact, sir, I doubt whether which will have a tendency to equalize exchanges, retain there is a nember on this floor who is not prepared to sup our specie from foreign exportation, restore commercial port both of those measures ; and gentlemen opposed to the confidence, and in every way relieve the country, without administration and to this bill
, are supposed to be particu-injury to the Government or danger to our institutions. larly favorable to those. Can gentlemen of the opposition, I say without danger to our institutions; for, really, then, fail to see the effect that the defeat of this bill must sir, I cannot see the least shadow of foundation for the have upon those measures ? Are they sincere in desiring apprehensions of gentlemen on that point.
This is a a delay upon the duty bonds, and the allowance of further measure which has before been adopted by this Govtime to the deposite banks, and yet oppose this measure, ernment, and without any objection as to its constitutionaliwhich is defeated must necessarily result in the defeat of ty. It is no new experiment, sir; no trifling with the both those bills ? Are they willing to assume the respon- supposed powers given us by the constitution; but the jusibility of denying any extension to the banks, or on the dicious exercise of those powers clearly granted, and an duty bonds, which must be the inevitable consequence of exercise sanctioned as well by authority of a former Conrefusing to pass this bill? I apprehend, sir, that gentlemen gress, as by sound discretion and a just regard for a sufferhave not duly weighed these considerations, and yet it ing country. would seem impossible that they can have overlooked the But, Mr. Speaker, before resuming my seat, I feel fact that, by exacting immediate payment of the duty bonds bound to notice. more particularly some of the remarks of and bank balances, not only the security or safety of the the honorable gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. BELL.] debts might be endangered, but that increased pressure and 'That honorable gentleman, sir, addressed himself to vari