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Jax. 6, 1837.)
Building for United States Courts al Philadelphia - Treasury Circular, &c.
Mr. K. then briefly noticed some remarks of the Sen. to me that there is not a more suitable place where to ator from Massachusetts, (Mr. Davis,] who had stated commence than Philadelphia. that Michigan could not be a State, as, when she formed Mr. CALHOUN called for the reading of the memo. her constitution, she had no fixed boundaries. The Sen. rial; and it having been read, Mr. C. said he had no ob. ator from Massachusetts, Mr. K. said, had insisted that a jection to its being referred to the Committee on the Ju. kxed boundary was inseparable with the idea of a State; diciary; but he hoped they would pause and weigh the and as the United States had claim at least to a part of question a long time before they would give their assent the territory over which Michigan claimed jurisdiction to our commencing a penitentiary system of the United when she framed her constitution, she could not be con. States. There was patronage enough exercised by the sidered as a separate State. Mr. K. said it was perfecto | General Governmeni already--its powers were great ly true that a nation must have a territory over which it and extensive, without their being introduced into & exercised jurisdiction; but an undisputed boundary was State. He objected to a State and General Government not essential to an independent State. A community acting together. He merely threw out these suggesmight be independent, and very powerful too, whose tions to the committee, in the hope that they would boundaries were not well defined. Ourown boundary was pause a long time before they would give their sanction disputed in the Northeast; and who could state the pre to the commencement of the proposed system. cise boundaries of Russia? Yet Russia and the United Mr. GRUNDY said he did not object to the reference Slates were none the less independent communities of of the memorial to the committee of which he was a people because their boundaries were not well settled. member. But as to pausing a long time on the subject,
Mr. K. then adverted to the preamble to the bill, he had made up his mind, and he would say that, so far which had been so strongly objected to that some gen as he could juilge of the disposition of his colleagues, tlemen were willing to vote for the bill if the preamble they would not pause for any length of time; for the were stricken out. He said, as both Michigan and Ohio committee would report in a few days, not only on the now wanted the restriction removed, and Michigan ad subject of penitentiaries, but on court houses also. mitted without restriction, he would certainly have no Mr. BUCHANAN remarked that he was sorry to hear objection, if no body else were concerned but Michigan that the chairman of the Judiciary committee had made and Ohio. If these States had any disinterested love of up his mind on the subject. It appeared to him (Mr. B.) fighting, if he were to consult his own feelings, be would that at some period, not very remote, it would be necessay, let them go at it and fight it out. But a community sary for the Government of the United States to erect of States, he thought, should act on the same principle penitentiaries. How could it be avoided? As long as as a community of individuals. They should keep ihe ihe Government of !he United States are a Government peace among disorderly members. It would frequently executing their own laws, and punishing offenders gratify two bullies to settle a quarrel in the public against them, they must make some provisions for their streets, surrounded by a mob, but no well-organized punishment. The States, without entertaining any hoscommunity would permit such disorder. This squab. tility to the Government of this Union, might find it very ble between Michigan and Ohio, about a few acres of inconvenient to accommodate the prisoners sentenced ground, might set the wbole Union into a blaze, and by virtue of the laws of the United States. What was possibly cost the Government millions of dollars to put to be done? Were they to be set at liberty! Were it down. If the restriction were retained, he had no they not to receive the punishment inflicted by the laws? doubt Michigan would continue to observe it in good He could not suppose that any State would not show A faith, and we should hear no more about it. We should, proper comity to the United Siates courts. But suppose most likely, avoid the borrors of another Toledo cam. it should happen that they were unable or unwilling to paign. He had, therefore, thought it best to retain the do this, in what a situation would the Government be preamble, and not repeal the condition; and he hoped placed! He could not, he confessed, see in this thing The bill would pass, and pass just as it was.
any interference with the rights or the liberties of the The question was then taken on the passage of the States. He had no idea that his calling the attention of bill, and it was passed, by yeas and nays, as follows: the Judiciary, Committee to the subject would have
YEAS_Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Dana, Ful. caused the least debate, or he would not have done it. ton, Grundy, Hendricks, Hubbard, King of Alabama, The petition was referred to the Committee on the King of Georgia, Linn, Nicholas, Niles, Page, Parker, Judiciary. Rives, Robinson, Sevier, Strange, Tallmadge, Tipton,
TREASURY CIRCULAR. Walker, Wall, White, Wright--25.
On motion of Mr. CLAY, (Mr. Ewing, of Ohio, NAFs--Messrs. Bayard, Calhoun, Clay, Crittenden, Davis, Kent, Moore, Prentiss, Southard, Swift-10.
having been ca'led home by sickness in his family,) the The Senate then adjourned.
Senate proceeded to the further consideration of the joint resolution repealing the Treasury order of July
last, &c. The question being on the substitute offered FRIDAY, JANUARY 6.
by Mr. Rives, for refusing, by the United States, the
paper of such banks as should issue bills under certain BUILDING FOR UNITED STATES COURTS AT specified denominations-PHILADELPHIA.
Mr. SOUTHARD addressed the Senate on the subject Mr. BUCHANAN presented the memorial of sundry remarks on the subject, as given entire in preceding
at large, in continuation and conclusion of his former re. citizens of Philadelphia, praying that an appropriation may be made for the erection of a suitable building for
THE MINT BILL. the accommodation of the courts of the United Siates, - and also for the erection of a penitentiary at that city. On motion of Mr. WRIGHT, when Mr. SOUTHARD
Mr. B. said, in presenting the petition, I recommend had concluded his remarks, this subject and all the it to the consideration of the Judiciary Committee. I other previous orders were postponed, and the Senate can say we have brought the penitentiary system in preceeded to consider, as in Committee of the Whole, Pennsylvania to perfection. Our plan has become a the bill from the House of Representatives supplement. model, not only in many parts of this country, but in ary to the act for establishing a mint and regulating the Europe. And as it will be necessary, at no remote time, coins of the United States. for the United States to erect penitentiaries, it appears The amendment proposed by the Committee on Fi.
[Jan. 9, 1837.
nance, extending the limit of wastage allowed to the gress, when it pronounces it unconstitutional, and refuses chief coiner, from one one-thousandıb part to one and to enforce it.And as well might Congress say it rea half one-thousandth part, was adopted, and the bill, peals a decision of the Supreme Court, when that de. 80 amended, was reported to the Senate.
cision, having opened its eyes to some defect in the ex. Mr. WRIGHT entered into various explanatory de. isting law, induces it to prescribe a new rule for future tails, showing some small changes contemplated by the action. Even when the decisions of the court are palbill.
pably repugnant to the existing law, Corgress cannot reAfter which, the bill was ordered to lie upon the peal them. Congress may direct what decisions shall be table, but subsequently was taken up, and ordered to a made in future, but cannot repeal those already pubthird reading
lished. Neither can it repeal the decisions of the ExAfter transacting some other business, the Senate spent ecutive. The Legislature prescribes rules for the gov. a short time in executive business.
ernment of both these departments, and to each of them The Senate then adjourned.
it must be left to apply them; and each must, in the first
instance, judge how far its own actions square with the MONDAY, JANUARY 9.
rules prescribed, upon its own official responsibility. A
direct declaration of repeal, therefore, must be altoThe CHAIR presented the credentials of the Hon. SAMUEL Prentiss, re-elected Senator for six additional gether inoperative, and of course an absurdity. The
truth is, this Treasury order is altogether an execut ve years, from the State of Vermont. Also, the credentials of Hon. WILLIAM C.. PRESTON, Congress may command its repeal, and doubtless the Ex
act, and can only be undone by executive authority. re-elected Senator from the State of South Carolina.
ecutive would yield such command respectful ubedience. TREASURY CIRCULAR.
But it strikes me there is something in the mode of this On motion of Mr. CLAY, the previous orders were undertaking to effect the repeal of the Treasury order, postponed, and the Senate proceeded to the further con. not consistent with strict parliamentary propriety; at sideration of the joint resolution rescinding the Treasury least, not altogether consistent with the professed pur. order of July, 1836.
pose of those who desire its repeal. It is laid down in The question being on Mr. Rives's substitute, Jefferson's Manual, the highest autbority acknowledged
Mr. STRANGE rose and addressed the Chair as fol. by us in such matters, that “When the House comlows:
mands any thing, it is by order. But facts, principles, Mr. Presidenl: It was not my purpose to have addres their own opinions and purposes, are expressed in the sed the Senale to-day, but as some gentlemen, who de form of resolutions." Now, the resolutions before us, sire to be heard on this question, have deferred their while they assume the name of resolutions, effect the preparation from an expectation that I would occupy the office of orders, and to perform more, as I think I have Hoor, I am unwilling that inconvenience should result to before shown, ihan even an order would be competent a member of this body from any misconception arising to accomplish. from intimations I may have given. Therefore, although But, again, I am opposed to the resolutions, because not prepared to my own satisfaction, I will ask the in. they propose to prescribe a rule, unnecessarily, as I condulgence of the Senate for a few moments. I could ceive, in a matter where, from its nalure, a large dishave voted upon the original resolutions of the Senator cretion is desirable, being highly convenient, and in no from Ohio sub silentio, because, in so doing, my vote degree liable to dangerous use. I know it is the fashion would have explained itself; but in adopling the substio of the day to suppose that the executive authority is the tute of the Senator from Virginia, I shall be placed in an only one liable to abuse, or in any way likely to threaten equivocal position before my constituents, and therefore the liberties of the country. Among the blessings, Mr. think it neeessary that certain explanatory comments President, for which we of the present day are debtors should accompany my vote. I will not deny, that as to Heaven, there are none, politically speaking, for thoughts flowed in upon my mind during the discussion which we have more just reason to be grateful, than that of the original question, l'occasionally felt disposed to the formation of our constitution has not been left to give them utterance; but prudence, that cowardly and our own bands; that we have received it ready formed, sometimes assassin virtue, destroyed each embryo puro in all its beautiful proportions, by men who seem to have pose as soon as it was formed. But now she changes been commissioned by Heaven for this very thing. Sursides, and whispers me that it is due to myself, and ihose rounded by an atmosphere just purified by the storms whom I have the honor in part to represent, to crave and convulsions of the Revolution, every one feeling the indulgence of the Senate for a few moments.
more strongly than any other want that of an equal, I am opposed to the original resolutions, because they wise, and impartial Government, they addressed them. proposed to rescind an executive order. I do not mean selves to the task with no f«cully biased by local or by this a mere verbal criticism, for I suppose the honor. personal passions. They sought for truth with their able Senator really meant what bis resolution contained, visual organs purged from the mists of prejudice, and and proposes to rescind or repeal an executive order by they found her. They listened to her inspired instruca vote of the National Legislature; and this, with due def. tions, and penned the happy constitution under which erence, I conceived to be a manifest solecism. The we now live, the envy of other nations, and the pride of legislative, executive, and judicial depsrtments of this our own. They divided Government into three depart. Government are wisely separated by the constitution, ments, and prescribed the sphere in which each should and one cannot interfere with the province of another.
Harmony and safety will ever attend its action, The legislative prescribes rules for the executive and while each strictly observes the law of its creation. But judiciary, but cannot itself perform any kegislative or it is difficult to say from which the most direful results judicial function, except in the special cases set forth in are to be apprehended, should it with eccentric movethe constitution. Congress may, if it be necessary and ment forsake its natural orbit, and invade those of its proper, command the Executive to repeal the Treasury sister planets. Viewing tbis matter in the light of exorder, but cannot itself repeal it. Congress passes laws perience, we should be led to suppose that from the lefor the government of every citizen, from the highest to gislative department there was the greatest reason for the lowest, and at his own peril he yields or withholds jealousy of usurpation, or invasion of the province of obedience. As well, and even with more propriety, others. The most remarkable and desolating revolutions might the Supreme Court say it repeals an act of Con. I of wbich modern bistory furnishes an account are those
Jax. 9, 1837.)
of England and France, and the complete prostration of which there is already a natural and dangerous proclivithe executive and judicial authorities beneath the feet ty. They propose essentially to change the office of the of the legislative marked those sanguinary events. But head of the Treasury Department, and, requiring him to to press this portion of the subject no farther, suffice it overlook the security of the national property, compel to say, that true wisdom dictates to each department | him to receive the national dues in a class of funds from great forbearance towards the others, and a no less } wbich the debtor, having the right of selection, will of scrupulous abstinence from infringing upon their rights, course choose what will be most easily obtained, and than a jealous care of its own. The collection of the consequently, in all probability, the least safe and valurevenue is strictly an executive act. The Legislature, able. to be sure, can alone prescribe the subjects of revenue, I am again opposed to the resolutions, because, as Icon. and the mode of its collection; but the funds, to use the ceive, they are intended to censure the President of the language of the resolution, in which receivable, is, in the United States. If any doubt rested upon the mind, upon general, a fair subject to be left to the Executive, under the mere perusal of the resolutions themselves, that the constitution, and the broad range of circumstances doubt must cease as soon as we listen to the comments of which may from time to time arise. The general prin- | their advocates, and the reasons which urge them to their ciple, certainly, (from which neither common reason nor support. Some of the reasons upon which they are convenience will allow of any wide departure,) is, that avowedly supported are the evil motives ascribed to the the public revenue should be collected in what is ob. President, in causing the issue of the Treasury order viously equivalent to so much gold and silver, the ac they are designed to repeal. He is, in effect, charged knowledged standards of value both by the constitution with falsehood; for the Treasury order bears upon its and the usage of trade. What is so equivalent must de. face, doubtlessly under his own authority and direction, pend greatly upon circumstances continually Auctua. the motives which induced him to give it existence; and ting--the currents of trade, and the peculiar application we are bere publicly told that his true motives were of for which any given portion of the revenue is designed. an altogether different kind; thus directly charging bim Sometimes the ease of the citizen may be consulted to with an attempt to deceive the public, in placing before it a great extent, in persect consistency with the security false motives for his official action. But this is not all. of the Treasury; and at others, noihing short of the He is not only charged with falsehood, but at least precious metals themselves will serve the purposes of one of the motives imputed to him is in itself altogether the public demands. I do not mean to say that con base and dishonorable. We are told that some of the gress has not the power of dictating even the funds in land speculators alluded to in the order were bis own which the revenue may be paid, or that there is any particular friends, whose interest he was solicitous to thing improper in her doing so; but that, in general, the promote; that they have already made large investments officer whose business it is to supervise the Treasury, in in the public lands, and are threatened with loss, or at his turn under the supervision of the Executive, will be least a necessity of holding for an inconvenient length of well capable of judging, and much more competent to time, should the United States continue to be a competact to the advantage of the public, under sudden emer. itor with them in unrestricted sales; and that, while the gencies, (which no human sagacity is sufficient to fore. United States is demanding specie, they, by selling for see,) when untrammelled by rigid, inflexible rules; and, paper, would acquire a preference in the market, and therefore, unless strong considerations call for the en be enabled to command better prices; thus making the actment of such rules, it is far better to leave him with President of the United States, in forgetfulness of his the responsibility upon his own shoulders, which, with high station and his well-earned honors, to sell the latter out such enactments, would rest there. Thus the ex for trash to enrich his friends, and prostitute the former ecutive class of public officers would be stimulated to to gratify their avarice. Another motive assigned is, more activity; feeling, in addition to their responsibility that being in heart opposed to the deposite law of the to us, the representatives of the people, a direct re- last session, he was desirous of throwing every difficulty sponsibility to them, our common masters, for the wisdom in the way of its execution, to verify the evil omens utand fidelity of their action.
tered by himself and friends in relation to it, and to ren. I am further opposed to the resolutions, because they der it odious in the eyes of the people. To accomplish proceed upon a principle altogether unknown to custom, all this, the Treasury order was framed, in the hope that and directly at war with sound policy. In general, either the pressure and embarrassments it should produce might a public or private agent is bound to collect the debts of be imputed to the deposite act. It may be that the Presihis principal in specie, or something clearly its equiva- dent of the United States was not well inclined to the de. lent; his undivided attention should be directed to the posite act, and that in truth it is a mischievous measure, interest of him whom he represents. Truly, that dispo. some of the evils of which are now demonstrating them. sition to oblige, which, with rare exceptions, character. selves; that those are now feeling them who could not izes all intelligent men, and still more, in public matters, in any other way be brought to dream of their existence; that love of popularity by which alone, in our country, that in fact the connexion between present difficulties men are either elevated to office or suffered long to re- and the deposite act is so intimate as to make it appear tain it, are ample guarantees that the debtor will not that one was got up by previous design to accompany the be subjected to inconveniences not demanded by the other. But however all this may be, it is well known agent's own responsibility to his principal; and these are the present Chief Magistrate is not a man to accomplish all that bave been heretofore thought safe to allow the his views by any indirection; that a bold and manly, and, deblor, or at all reasonable for him to ask. In fact, it as his enemies think, a rash and reckless policy, is one of generally happens that consultation of his own ease in bis characteristics. Yet gentlemen who advocate ibese making his collections with the least labor and trouble, resolutions ascribe to him conduct highly disingenuous, the law of kindness, and the love of popularity, induce and motives exceedingly dishonorable. It is not my the agent to relax from an observance sufficiently rigid | wish, in malice, to impugn the motives of any one; and of the interests of his principal, and to receive payment if I should refer unfavorably to the motives of a party, I in funds not the most valuable, if not, in many cases, hope no gentleman within or without these walls will somewhat doubtful. Such seems to bave been at one consider it personal to himself, or springing, in the time, to a very alarming extent, the fiscal experience of slightest degree, from individual feel ng. We are all this Government. But these resolutions propose to spur men, and are all liable to have our judgment warped, the flying steed, to impose that as an obligation towards however clear and intuitive originally, by the allurements
(Jas. 9, 1837.
of persuasion, the fascination of affection, the delusions of them my highly esteemed personal friends, to say that of prejudice, or the madness of passion; and when I find my hostility to the bank is entirely political. To more able, myself differing with another, I am always willing to and, for aught I know, more honest hands, hearts, and suppose, and bave it supposed, that either he or my- heads, than some who have heretofore held some control self have fallen under subjection to one of these malign of its affairs, they could not have been committed. But, influences.
even with them, fagrant abuses have attended its adminThere are gentlemen still living, and on the theatre istration, and the freedom of elections, that life-spring of of public action, whose fame once fired my infant soul our political system, been seriously threatened. If these with admiration, and whose fame I still cherish as the things happen in the green tree, what will be done in boast of my country, But God has given to every ra. the dry? if honest men are borne away upon the tide of tional and responsible being faculties by which he is human passion, what may we expect when, as in the bound to try the actions and opinions of others as well as common course of things may well happen, mere slock. his own; he must be obedient to their decisions, and not jobbers and knaves shall rule over its destinies? Every suffer himself to be led captive at the chariot wheels of tendency, then, to its recharter ought to be resisted, even authority. Tried by this standard, I have found those if the problem were demonstrated that we could not whom I once viewed as little less than demigods, men of manage our fiscal concerns so well without it. like passions with myself, and in like manner subject to These, sir, are some of the reasons that would have idols, as the learned Lord Bacon has been pleased to term indisposed me a priori to support the original resolutions. the various delusions to which the human mind is expo. But gentlemen say they ought to be adopted, and the sed. While, therefore, I am still disposed to accord :o order rescinded, because it was issued in contemptuous them the fame they so justly merit, and allow to them at disregard of the opinion of the Senate, expressed at its the same time patriotism equal to that of Curtius, who last session. If this be so, it is a grievous fault; and that sealed his with his life, I yet see in them motives to as. the alleg d perpetrator hath not been called upon more sail the present administration well calculated to mislead grievously to answer it, is, to my mind, proof positive them, and find in them a practice of indiscriminate con that the accusation is groundless. The circumstance demnation of all its measures. Like the Jews of old, which, as I suppose, gives color to this charge is, that their cry continually is, “can any good come out of Naza. at the last session of Congress it was proposed in the Sen. reth?” They must he indulged in the cry, but it is the du. ate 10 adopt a resolution substantially conformable to ty of every one who loves his counlry to answer that cry, the present Treasury order, which a majority of the Sen. in all its various modifications, whenever he shall believe ate refused to do. To test this matter, let us suppose it groundless, with instant denunciation, lest the people the administration the private agent of a private individ. become deluded by it, and stimulated, as of old, to the ual, whom we will imagine to be Congress. In some of sacrifice of their best friend, their truest benefactor. those moments when ibe mouth unconsciously pours Let me not be misunderstood. Much as I esteem and forth the fulness of the heart, the agent overhears his admire General Jackson as a patriot and wise statesman, principal, while casting over in his mind the large ca. let it not be said I have ever uttered the blasphemous tates of which he is the proprietur, and the vast sums of thought that he bears the most remote comparison with money which, by way of rent, are pouring into his cuf. the sacred personage who fell a victim to Jewish perse fers, “ I believe," says he, “I will instruct my agent to cution. But I do insist that to these original resolutions receive nothing but gold and silver from my tenants." it is a just cause of resistance that they are designed to He debates the matter over with himself, and finally conswell the cry of disapprobation against an administra. cludes to give his agent nu instructions upon the subject. tion pronounced, as I understand, by Nathaniel Macon, But gold and silver are the legal currency of the coun. the political patriarch of North Carolina, the best this try, and the agent, of his own bead and imagination, country has ever witnessed.
compels the tenants to pay in gold and silver. They But this objection is intimately connected with anoth. complain ihat it would have been far easier for them to er; and that is the tendency of the adoption of these res have paid in the notes of specie-paying banks. With olutions to the re-establishiment of the United States what justice could the principal complain that he had Bank. The whole of the party with whom I have the been contempluously treated by his agent, because he honor lo act concur in the opinion that this institution had not construed his not commanding him to demand cannot exist consistently with ihe constitution; and many gold and silver, as an instruction not to demand gold who differ from us in other matters unite with us in be- and silver? I confess, had I the honor to have been at lieving it one highly dangerous to the public weal. But the head of the Treasury Department, I should have reathese are questions not now for discussion; they may be sored in this way. Notwithstanding a proposal to give considered as settled by the verdict of the people. But, me special instructions upon this matter, Congress has sir, a new trial is moved for, and all sorts of devices are thought it expedient to leave me to my own discretion, set on foot to prepare the mind of the only tribunal upon my official responsibility, and expects me to adopt which can decide whether or not it shall be granted to such measures as this novel crisis of affairs may, from lend a favorable ear to the application. None is more time to time, require. My situation is difficult and delilikely to be successful than the conviction that the fiscal cate, and it behooves me, with statesmanlike eye, to concerns of the country are prone to gross mismanage. survey the scene; and, with manly and judicious firm. ment without it. If, therefore, Congress shall, by the ness, to adopt such measures as are demanded by the adoption of these resolutions, give color to such a belief, exigency. Puerile fears, or irresolution, on my part, genilemen have already warned us in their speeches of may endanger the whole national treasure. But we are the bearing it is likely to have upon the question of the told that the Executive has no right to consider the state recharter of the United States Bank. This recharter is, of affairs; no right to take any measures with reference in my humble opinion, the main object for the accom to the currency of the country, or the disposal of the
plishment whereof the present administration is abused public lands. That these are matters exclusively with qand vilified, and all the other party machinery set to Congress. Indeed, sir! and, pray, why have we any Ex
work. Among other things, with the cunning characteris-ecutive at all? Why does not Congress just pass laws, tic of a certain little animal common in our country, the and place their execution in the hands of agents of their bank pretends to be dead. But it is a delusion: the mon- own selection and appointment? Simply because our ster is not dead; it does not even sleep. Lowe it to the re. forefathers were too wise to adopt any such form of speciable gentlemen connected with ibal institution, some l government. They knew that a perpetual legislative
Jan. 9, 1837.)
body was the most tyrannical of all institutions, and that thought proper to assume. If the Treasury order is ilintervals in its sessions, as well as its existence, were es. legal, I would ask, in the first place, what need of fursential to liberty; But they did not intend that, during ther legislation! Does a law derive more efficacy from those intervals, the vessel of state should float down the repetition? Or does its obligation depend upon the stream of events without a pilot. No, sir, they constitu- number of ponderous tomes it may fill? If gentlemen ted a responsible Executive; responsible to the great really believe there is a law now existing which over. sovereign power from whom, and by whom, he is called reaches the Treasury order, are they not sporting with to the exercise of high, useful, and honorable functions. us when they ask us to pass another? If the Executive Where the Legislature prescribes for him particular is in fact regardless of a law passed in 1816, will he be rules, provided they be such as the constitution allows more mindful of a law passed in 1837? But let us hear them to prescribe, he is bound to follow them with im- whai law is violated, or, rather, alleged to be violated, plicit obedience; but, where they have omitted to do so, The Senator from Massachusetts, in a speech delivered ihe broad chart of the constitution is the only limit to a in 1816, informs us that by the statute all duties and taxdiscretion which he is not only at liberty but is bound to es were required to be paid in the legal money of the exercise. He is criminally negligent if, within those United States or in Treasury notes. What was the lelimits, be fails to adopt such measures as the public exi- gal money of the United States? At that time Congress gencies may demand. He has not only a right, but is had legalized no money except gold and silver, and bound, to judge when such exigencies exist, and so to United States Bank notes; and, of course, if only legal frame bis measures as to pass them in safety. Whether money was receivable, nothing but gold and silver, and he acts, or forbears to act, he has not only to encounter Treasury notes, and United States Bank notes, were the strict ordeal of public opinion, but may be called up receivable; but the following joint resolution was then on to answer, on impeachment, for excess on the one adopted: hand, or laggard indifference on the other. And is the
The joint resolution of 1816. right of judging to be denied him, when such responsibility for events rests upon his shoulders? When not
" That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he here. tinction is to be snatched from him by the decision of all duties, taxes, debts, or sums of money, accruing or only the fame which has been his passport to high dig- by is, required and directed to adopt such measures as
be may deem necessary to cause, as soon as may be, his cotemporaries, and himself
tried and degraded upon becoming payable to the United States, to be collected down to posterity marked with the opprobrious words of and paid in the legal currency of the United States, or tyrant, usurper, knave, fool, or coward?
Treasury notes, or notes of the Bank of the United Try him as a private agent to whom you have com
States, as by law provided and declared, or in notes mitted your affairs. A wide space intervenes-seas roll of banks which are payable and paid on demand, in between you, or for some other reason he is not within from and after the 20th day of February next, no such
the said legal currency of the United States; and that, reach of instruction. An important crisis takes place, duties, taxes, debts, or sums of money, accruing or be: and by a single step he may make your fortune. crisis passes, and the step is not taken. You hear of coming payable to the United States as aforesaid, ought this crisis, and, believing that you have trusted your af.
to be collected or received otherwise than in the legal fairs to a wise man, you do not doubt that all that was
currency of the United States, or Treasury notes, or proper to have been done has been done. , When next banks which are payable and paid on demand, in the said
notes of the Bank of the United States, or in notes of you meet your agent, you say to him, "Where are the legal currency of the United States." golden ingots you have amassed for me? where the treasures of E hiopia and the Indies!" "I have them not,” And this, it is said, compels the Secretary of the Treas. replies your agent. “Why,” you inquire, "did you ury to receive in payment of public dues, at the option not perform such and such an act?" "I did not," the of the debtor, either gold or silver, or Treasury notes, agent doggedly replies; “you did not tell me to do it." or United States Bank notes, or notes of banks which Would you not seize him by the throat, and indignantly are paid or payable on demand in legal money. Lan. exclaim, “Stupid dolt! did I tell you not to do it?'' guage, I suppose, Mr. President, is subject to various Tell me not, then, that the most important public agent interpretations, according to the relationship which the may doze in the palace provided for his accommodation, speaker bears to the subject-matter. As, for instance, and move only when quickened into action by legisla. if a creditor, addressing his agent, should say to him, tive impulse.
“ You must collect for me either gold and silver, or But this brings us to another point. Senators say that Treasury notes, or United States Bank notes, or notes Congress has already prescribed the role in this case, of specie-paying banks,” could he understand him in any and declare that this order is in violation of it, and there. | other sense than that he would be satisfied with either, fore illegal; and upon this point, methought, the other leaving to his agent to collect in either fund, according day, the highly distinguished Senator from Massachusetts to the dictate of convenience? if the creditor should "bit bis thumb at us." I do not mean to say that that intend to assume the singular attitude of speaking maingentleman knew any thing of the character, or even the ly in behalf of his debtorgought not the agent to be dis. name, of the humble Senator from North Carolina, but tinctly apprized, in some way, that such was the fact, he alluded to a class to which I have the honor to be before he could be justly charged with disobedience of long. I know that the Senator from Massachusetts orders in not allowing the debior to choose the fund in wields a ponderous lance, and with the arm of a giant, which he should pay? And would not every one be filand I should be loth to encounter its deadly thrust. led with astonishinént, should a debtor be found unrea. But be bas, as I think, assumed to himself ground on sonable enough to insist to the agent, that, upon any inwhich a stripling might venture to assail him.
structions he might have received from his principal, he, eagle, "towering in his pride of place,” may drop a the debtor, acquired a right of action against him for leather from his plumage, destined at sume future day declining to obey those instructions? But the Senator to give force and direction to the arrow which wounds him, from Massachusetts will not, I am persuaded, differ with so did the Senator from Massachusetts, in one of those me upon this principle of law: that in construing statutes, able effusions which contributed to place him on that reference may be had to the old law, the mischief, and enviable elevation he now occupies, furnish arguments, the remedy. What does the history of the times inform strong and irresistible, against the position he has now us was the old law, and the mischief, at the adoption of