Slike strani
PDF
ePub

Jax. 11, 1837.)

Treasury Circular.

(SENATE.

cial world, which supplied a currency never surpassed, vent its exportation: for if the Government shall decide and regulated exchanges with an economy unexampled to receive nothing but specie in payment of its dues, the in this or any other country. And do you expect these consequence would be the necessity of retaining a suf. local institutions can be an adequate substitute? Do you ficient amount of the bard metals for the collection and cherish the vain expectation that the States will come to disbursement of the revenue. It might not, indeed, be your relief, and rectify your incompetency? No, sir, necessary to retain the whole amount of 30 millions, asno. Each Stale will say, it is not our affair to provide a suming that to be the annual revenue, since one dollar general currency for the United States; we must leave in specie might be made to pay two dollars in revenue. that to be managed by the General Government. And

But a certain amount, bearing a considerable proportion to does not all experience demonstrate that, while local the revenue, would be retained in the country. The pro. Governments constitute the safest depository of local cess of getting at such a result is of necessity extremely interests, the General Government alone can provide for difficult, and would create much practical inconvenience. the welfare of the whole?

If specie should become very scarce, the collectors of What is the present actual condition of the banking the Government might, from necessity, be forced to recapital of the country? We told you that the moment ceive a portion of the revenue in notes of good banks; you destroyed a Bank of the United States there would but if you received this revenue in specie only, you imimmediately spring up innumerable local banks; that mediately and unavoidably elevate the relative value of banking capital would ihen be greatly extended, and that specie above other parts of the currency, because, while the change might lead to the destruction of all confidence in hard money would perform all the offices of other media the circulating paper medium. And are not these pre of circulation, it would then discharge one other office, dictions in a rapid progress of fulfilment? We are in. which they could not. The result must be to create a formed by the Secretary of the Treasury that the amount demand for specie, and thereby to render it a marketable of bank capital has increased, since the reto on the bank commodity. A man would not then, as now, be as charter, from 200 millions to 300 millions--an increase of ready to receive a debt in good notes as in specie. He fifty per cent.; and that the circulation has increased in will always want the specie, because it would command the same ratio, viz: from 80 millions to 120 millions. a premium. Does not the Senator perceive that gold

I concur with the Senator from Virginia in the position and silver must then cease to be a circulating medium, that no state of things is more calamitous than that which and be converted into merchandise? It would be sold accompanies a decline in the circulating medium of a at an advance, and would be hoarded for that end. Yet country; and the degree of distress is in proportion to the I am far from being certain, if the object in view be to rapidity of such deerease; while, on the other hand, the retain a certain amount of bard money in the country, prosperity of a country is never at least apparently that the remedy which suggests the exclusive use of greater than while the amount of its currency is on the specie has not a certainty of success wbich cannot be increase. But does any man suppose that this can con produced by relying on the patriotism or the voluntary tinue! Can any reflecting man persuade himself that action of a thousand banks and twenty-six independent twenty-six distinct and independent States, looking each State sovereignties. My word for it, in fifteen or twenty one to its own separate interest, will exercise such for. years after the system of the Senator from Virginia shall bearance as not to add bank to bank, and increase the have

gone into effect, although the same identical banks paper circulation within its limits, till the country will may not continue to issue notes of a small denomination, be involved in the danger of some great calamity? 1 yet the aggregate amount of such notes in actual circugreatly fear it. When or how it shall come, no one can lation will not be less than it was at the commencement exactly foresee; but we can all imagine that, if there of the experiment. should occur a great failure, or a great reduction in the But we were told by the honorable Senator that price of the Southern staple, or (what is now actually Great Britain and several other countries of Europe, threatened) a general return of American stocks which baving become enlightened by the example of America, have been sent to Europe on foreign demand, from any are disposed to imitate it. He told us, further, that the cause, of a large amount of the specie in the United people of Great Britian are becoming sensible of the imStates, the necessary consequence would be such a run policy of monopolies, and opposed to the continuance of upon the banks as may cause a general suspension of ine Bank of England, and that the present policy of that specie payments, if not the bankruptcy of many of the Government aims at the establishment of joint stock combanks.. What is their present condition? They are panies, in addition to the large number of private bankers, without conceri, co-operation, or mutual confidence. and by this means ultimately to get rid of the Bank of The moment there is a great and sudden demand, to England altogether. On that subject all I can say is, that meet a corresponding demand abroad, there must ensue such is not the state of my information. I know, indeed, a general panic throughout the country. Each bank, being that they have lately passed a law for the creation, under necessarily unable to measure the exact extent of the de certain restrictions, of joint stock companies; but what mand, will, of course, call on iis own debtors, and the is the state of public opinion in regari) 10 those local same thing, for a similar reason, taking place in all the banking institutions, which so closely, as the Senator other banks, there will probably be a general stoppage thinks, resemble our own? It is distrust, uncertainty, of payments and universal bankruptcy. Was not all and fear. We are all aware that a committee of the this foreseen? Was it not foretold? Were gentlemen House of Commons, at the head of which is the Chancel. not warned, again and again, not to destroy the only lor of the Exchequer, was required to examine into the means on wbich we could with safety rely?

condition of these local banks. I have before me a reBetween the system of the gentleman from Virginia port of that committee, rendered as late as August last. and the hard-money system, I am far from being sure The joint stock companies in that country are established that the latter is not a more efficacious remedy than any by what they denominate deeds of settlement, which spevoluntary action of the States and of the banks. The cify the conditions under which they are erected. Alier Jard-money system proposes that, in all collections and piesenting an analysis of a variety of these deeds of set. disbursements of the revenues of the Government, specie ilement, the committee enumerate thirleen different de. alone shall be received, and all paper, of every descrip-| fective provisions in the laws, which may require the intion, entirely excluded. The object of both systems is terposition of Parliament, and they conclude by urging to retain a certain amount of specie within the nation, the necessity of the greatest possible prudence and cauby the creation of a necessity for its use, and thus to pre- | tion in the management of those banks.

SENATE.)

Treasury Circular.

(Jan. 11, 1837.

While the language of the report shows very clearly pension of specie payments, and the bank notes in circuthat there is great apprehension felt as to the safety and lation were of different degrees of value, and, neverthe. solidity of these institutions, yet it is so constructed as less, constituted the only medium in which the public prudently to avoid the excitement of unnecessary alarm. dues were paid. The consequence was, that, instead of But supposing it to be true that, in a Government con laxes having the uniform character required by the constituted as is Great Britain, it were possible to dispense stitution, different parts of the country and different with a national bank, and to rely on local joint stock individuals paid the same tax in widely varying values. companies and on private banks, 'let me ask ihe honora- This was a condition which the country could not long ble Senator if the condition of England and America is bear, and the Government would have been wanting to not totally different? You there see a power asserted every duty it owed to the community, bad it tolerated for Parliament to legislate with plenary authority, both such a state of things. For every body must agree that for the future and for existing institutions. Have we there is in reality no difference between exacting any such power! Theirs is a consolidated Government; different rates of duty in different parts of the coun. ours is a confederacy. They have power by their legis-try, and requiring that the same rates shall be paid in lation to guard against malepractices in all the banking media very different in value. Such was the state in institutions in the kingdom. But here there is no such which Congress found the country at the memorable authorily. There, there is not an institution which does session of 1816. The question was, what should be not perpetually act under the control of a general law, dune! That voluntary action of the banks, which is the extending throughout the empire. But here we have sole reliance of the Senator from Virginia, had been one thousand banks, scattered over our immense terri: | fully tried, and found wanting. There had been conven. tory, and in twenty-six States, on which the General tion after convention of the banks, to try if they could Government can exercise no effective control whatever. not agree voluntarily to resume specie payments, but it So that, even were it true that the British Government was found impracticable to do so. Congress felt called could dispense with the Bank of England, it would be upon to interpose, and two great and leading measures far from proving that we could imitate her, when we were devised, as presenting the only prospect of remedy. consider that the local banks in this country are subject One was proposed, or, to speak more correctly, was to twenty-six separate and independent Governments, espoused, by the Senator from South Carolina opposite, over which we have no power to act.

(Mr. Calhoun,) (for it had originally been suggested by We were told, and the country was promised, that on a late Secretary of the Treasury.)

The other was the destruction of the Bank of the United States we brought forward by the Senator from Massachusetts, should be furnished with a better currency than we (Mr. WEBSTER.] One of these measures was the crea. then enjoyed; a currency unrivalled on the face of the tion of a Bank of the United States. As there existed globe, which was under better regulation, and by which no paper medium of circulation on which the country exchanges were effected at a cheaper rate than in any could rely, the establishment of such a bank was suppart of the earth. The paper of that bank hud its credit posed to be the only alternative left to the Government. established througheut ihe world. It was received in It met with strong opposition, but was carried successAsia; it was received all over Europe, and throughout fully through. li was apprehended, however, that this this entire continent. Our exchanges were managed measure would be insufficient, unless it should be aided with an economy which we must all remember with re by another; and hence the resolution of the Senator from gret at the change which has since taken place; for Massachusetts, which has repeatedly been alluded to in what is the state of our exchanges now? When they this debate, was introduced with a design of stimulating take place between distant places, the premium at the the restoration of specie payments, and remedying a one end of the course ought to be met by the discount state of things which was unjust and scandalous in the at the other end. But is that so? When a merchant at eyes of all commercial communities. That bank bas New York sells a bill on New Orleans at a discount, is been destroyed; and let me here say that I have not the that discount counterbalanced by the premium on a least expectation of any effort being made by my friends s'milar bill at New Orleans? No. A discount is charged to re-establish it. They have no such purpose. An ex: at both ends of the line. And it often happens that at periment is now to be tried as to the power of local neither can you dispose of your bill without great diffi. banks in meeting the wants of the community. Let those culty and sacrifice.

who are rashly trying the experiment be responsible for I too, sir, am aware that we are surrounded with the issue. The resolution of my friend from Massachu. difficullies. In that I concur entirely with the Senator setts was introduced simultaneously with the bill to in. from 'Virginia; but my friends are not responsible for corporate the United States Bank. It was expected this state of things. You all know the reason of it. You that the bank would go into operation early in the next all feel it every day. You know that we are in the year. The Secretary of the Treasury, by the resolution, midst of a dark and dense wilderness. Who is to be the was directed to take measures as soon as might be to in. Moses, whether froin this side or the other of the Sen. sure the payment of all Government dues in four specified ate, (looking at the positions of the Senators from Vir. media, but the discretion intrusted to bim was only 10 ginia and Missouri,) that shall lead us to the promised continue until the 20th of February following: Alier ibat land, is

among those unknown things which the future day, no payment of public dues of any kind was to be alone can disclose.

permitted, save in one or other of the four media which And now I lurn to the questions really before the had been specified. Senate. I beg pardon for the digression into which I Can any man look at that resolution at this day, and have been led in noticing the able and interesting speech seriously entertain any doubt as to its true interpreta. of the Senator from Virginia; the gratification of hearing tion? The Secretary of the Treasury was immediately which I shared in commun with the rest of the Senate. called upon to expound it; aud an uninterrupted usage If, in noticing the few points with respect to which I of twenty years, under succeeding Secretaries, has uni. differ from that honorable Senator, I have departed formly given to it the interpretation which it then refrom the rigid regularity of debate, I must plead his ex ceived. It never was for a moment believed that it ainple as my apology. What are the questions which we vested him with authority to require only specie, or to bave to consider) in 1816, the condition of the country exclude entirely any of the four specified funds in pay. in regard to the currency was this: throughout all the ments to Government; that exposition was not intercountry south of New England there was a general sus rupted for a moment by the act of 1820. I shall not

Jax. 11, 1837.)

Treasury Circular.

(SENATE.

repeat the argument in regard to it. It accomplished, it wants legal authority. It has on its very face all the and was designed to accomplish, but one purpose, which air of executive legislation. It has a preamble setting was the abolition of the credit system in the purchase of | forth the reasons which have led to its enactment. The the public lands, and the substitution therefur of pay. Secretary who put it forth seems strongly to have felt ment in hand. It did not interrupt for a moment the the necessity of sheltering himself under the invulneracontinuous interpretation of the resolution of 1816-an ble name of bis chief. But were there even authority interpretation which extended into three successive ad for the order in the letter of the law, I should still argue ministrations, and through seven years of a fourth. Is it against its gross injustice in practice. not too late, after this long adherence to one interpre. And this brings me now to inquire, what has been the tation, to say that Congress has misunderstood it; that effect of this order, in its actual operation on the commu. all the Secretaries have misunderstood it; and that your , nity? The order prosesses to proceed on the principle usage for such a course of years is at this late day to be that the public lands are sold for a valuable considera. surrendered as without a true foundation! It has been tjon, if payment be made in bank notes, and that specie said tbat the resolution was restrictive. It was so in so alone can constitute a just equivalent for their value. far as it rejected the notes of non-specie-paying banks, And I admit that if the Secretary had gone on to provide but it was mandatory so far as it went to enumerate and that the specie thus received should be the property of specify the different media in which payment might be the Government, there would at least have been consiste made. It was restrictive so far as bad notes were con. ency in the course he adopteil. But the moment the cerned, but it conferred a legal right on the payer to order appeareil, there was an instant pressure for spemake, and a legal obligation on the receiver to accept, eie, especially in the West and Southwest. The banks payment in one of the four scveral ways which the law were called upon, and specie in all quarters was put in provided. But if the Secretary of the Treasury had requisition, for the purpose of paying for the public authority to select some and to reject others of these lands. The pressure upon the banks in Kentucky was modes, then bis rejection and selection must be applied great. Gentlemen talk to us about the inconsiderable universally. He has no right to discriminate between amount that has been received, which is stated at citizen and citizen. He has no right to say to the citizen ( $1,800,000, exclusive of $300,000 more, which was of Boston, from you I will receive notes of the banks in placed on deposite at Washington, and the certificates of Boston, but not of the Bank of the United States. Or which were received as cash; say, in round numbers, to a citizen of New York, from you I will receive Uni two millions of dollars. It is very true that this amount ted States Bank bills, but not bills of the banks in Bos.

was not great, but the argument drawn from it is not a ton. No. If he had a right to say that either of the fair one. We must recollect that when the operation four kinds should be received in preference to the rest, commenced no one knew what was to be its extent. No be is bound to make that rule and that preference to individual bank could possibly tell, and each was left in reach every where throughout the country. But what total uncertainty as to what would be required of them. does he do? He not only discriminates between differ- The banks could not foresee that no more than two milent branches of the revenue, making regulations to ap lions of dollars would thus be drawn from them. If they ply to one branch which do not apply to the others, but, had known this beforehand, they might have made their in reference to that one branch which is the subject of arrangements to meet it. But on all the banks of the his order, he discriminates between different classes of West and of the Southwest daily demands were made individuals. I heard it contended by the Senator from for specie. There was, at once, not only a cessation of North Carolina (Mr. STRANGE] that the exception in re- discounts, and the purchase of bills of exchange, but the lation to actual settlers has now expired by its own lim. banks made heavy calls upon their debtors. This state itation. True, sir; but if Congress rises and leaves Ibis of things operated with peculiar severity on the West. vast power in the hands of the Executive, how soon may It happened just about the time when our people begin the discrimination be revived? Unless this order shall to carry their live stock to market. The ordinary be rescinded, will not the Executive draw his conclu. course of the trade is this: They draw bills upon themsions, from the silence of Congress, that it approved selves, or on their friends, at the markets to which they what he has done? And may he not suppose that he is are destined, which are discounted by the bank, and authorized even to go fartber, and carry down his prin- with the proceeds of which they purchase their stock, ciple of discrimination from classes to individuals? and meet their engagements. No business with us is

I speak now of the question of power. Suppose the more beneficial to all parties. The purchaser of stock Secretary had reversed his rule--suppose he had said diffuses money through the community, and on reaching that the citizens of the States in which the land lies the market he makes his sales, and is thus enabled to should have a right to purchase only with specie, while pay the bills which he had drawn. All this was immethose who came from a distance might make their pay. diately interrupted, in consequence of this Treasury ment in notes. If he has absolute power over the subject, order; for how could the banks venture to discount, with he might as well have made the one discrimination as the such an order hanging over their heads! If they purolber. And he may not only discriminate between differ- chased bills, the operation was equivalent to a disburse. ent classes of individuals, but between different places. I ment of so much specie; for if they paid in these notes, have been, indeed, informed that at one of the land offi.they immediately returned upon them for specie. The ces specie, under the order, was not required. Where is Senator from Virginia has told us about the effect of the this dispensing power! Where did the Secrelary get it? course pursued by certain collectors in Ireland, in refu. Not from the words of the order, for that applies equally sing to receive in payment the notes of Irish banks. to all.

What was that consequence? The stoppage of the Bank Sir, I have leard it contended for, again and again, of Dublin and its branches. Nor could ibat gentleman and votes have been given recording such as the opinion have pronounced a more severe condemnation of the of the majority of this chamber, that payment for the order ihan by the example which he quoted from the public lands is a tax on the community. I do not myself kingdom of Ireland. The banks, as I have said, were think so. But I put the question to those gentlemen run upon. Individuals who possessed specie were unwil. who do, and I ask them how this order can be justified, ling to part from it, and reserved it for investment in if all taxes are required to be uniform! I come to the the public lands. And there was a general accumulation, conclusion that its legality cannot be established, either for the purpose of paying it into the land offices. Well, under the joint resolution of 1816 or the law of 1820. I sir, it was carried to the land offices; and when it got

VOL. XIII.-24

SENATE.)

Treasury Circular.

(Jan. 11, 1837.

there, whose was it? What became of it? Was it the them will not continue long. It may suit the purposes property of the Government? No, sir. Did you get of the Senator from Virginia so to represent it. It may it? No, sir. It was carried to the deposite banks, not be agreeable to him to be seen at open war with a and there it was credited as so much money to the Gov. measure of the administration; but there is nothing in ernment. The whole transaction, therefore, amounted the terms of !he order, and nothing in the policy on to this: you forced all the purchasers of the public land which it rests, which is temporary in its character. No, to become collectors of specie for the deposite banks. sir. Let Congress adjourn, and leave on the Western The money was not collected for the Government. You States this invidious, this unjust and degrading discrimicannot call for it. It is the property of those banks, to nation in the payment of common dues to a common be used as they please. You have refused to credit Government, and, my word for it, this order will not banks for the notes they issued; you have occasioned all only be continued, but it will carried farther, and other this vast inconvenience; and, finally, instead of getting discriminations will be made, under your alleged sanction, the specie which you have been at so much trouble to to suit the varying views of the administration. Sir, give collect, you get nothing but bank credits.

us equality. We are a common crew in the same noble, The money was transported from the seaboard, from the same glorious ship of stale. Is it not right that we the Western and Southwestern banks, from the theatres should all be placed under the same common laws, and of business, where it might have been constantly and ad- share alike the common justice of our country? I provantageously used, and taken into the interior, to banks test against the continuance for an hour of an iniquitous of very limited business. And even there they were order, which subjects the Western and Southwestern afraid to use it, lest it might be suddenly called for. portions of this Union to a rule so irreconcilable with any The difference of the two operations, before and after principles of justice or equity. the order, is this: Before the order, purchasers of the My friend from Ohio, who sits near me, (Mr. EWING,) public lands paid for them in bank notes, convertible into has offered this resolution, which abolishes this odious specie; after the order, they paid for them in specie, con distinction, and places all parts of the community, and verted into bank credits. It was just reversing the order every branch of ine revenue, upon a fouting of perfect of things. You began with paper, and obtained specie e quality, if you wished it; but under the order you began with But it is said we ought not to do this; and if we do it specie, and obtained only bank credits. The practical it will imply censure. And the Senator from North effect throughout all the Western and Southwestern Carolina, (Mr. STRANGE, ] at a loss to make out a censo. States has been to make all the interests of society col. rious charge from the words of the resolution itself, re. lectors of specie for the benefit of the deposite banks, sorts to the language of a Senator to supply the deficienwithout the least benefit whatever to the Government; cy: Sir, if we repeal the statule of a Legislature, does for these banks were not required to preserve the speci-il imply censure on the Legislature? May we not repeal fic specie, and pay it over to the Government. Such a statute of our own, and yet fix no stigma on our for. was the demand for specie under this order, that I mer deed? May we not, then, rescind an order or edict have heard of as much as 40 per cent. being given for of executive authority, without any such implication? gold to carry to the land office, and in some instances Has it come to this, that a mere difference of opinion is specie has been transporied to the land offices, to be censure? Are we to be afraid to express our sentiments sold there as a marketable commodity. The order had of a public measure, lest, peradventure, we wound the a double effect. It withdraws specie both from circula. feelings of the Chief Magistrate or the Secretary of tion and from the banks that could use it for the benefit the Treasury? Sir, I have been struggling, associated of the community, that it may perform the unprofitable with my friends, for a long time, against the complete circuit of being taken to the land offices, and thence ascendency of executive power; and we have sometimes back to the banks, when it becomes their property. been encouraged by a momentary hope of being able to

Sir, what offence have the Western and Southwestern arrest its lawless career. But, sir, its march has been States committed, that thry are to be subjected to an in. steady, onward, and, i lament to say, triumphant. It dignity which is not inflicted on the rest of the commu is now practically the supreme power in ihe State. nity? Why are we to pay our dues to the Government Every branch of the Government bends beneath its sway. in specie, while the rest of our fellow-citizens are allow. The doctrine of unity in the executive administration, ed to pay in bank notes! Even if there were authoris recently introduced; the obedience which, in pursuance ty for it in the law, the requisition would not be accord. of it, is exacted from all executive officers, from the ing to justice or equity. And all sentiments of fraternal highest to the lowest; the practice of proscription of all regard, as well as all principles of equality, cry aloud who do not conform to the prevailing creed, with the against snch revolting distinctions. Why are our banks kindred usage of profuse official and oiber rewards to and our people alone to be be subjected to this rule? i all who do, often without regard to character, integrity, protest, most solemnly, on behalf of my constituents, or merit, and the exercise of boundless power over the against so disgraceful an inequality; and I call upon the public treasure, ard by means of a concealed, myste. Government either to carry out their hard-money system rious, and irresponsible agency over the banks in which every where, at the custom-houses as well as the land of it is deposited, have stamped a totally new character fices, or efface from its records a discrimination which upon the Government. It has become a vast organized cannot continue a day or an hour without dishonor and machinery, controlled by the will of one man, and degradation.

moved by a single hand. It is a monarchy in disguise, The honorable Senator from Virginia tells us that the with lewer privileges practically enjoyed han are exer. measure is temporary. I wish he liad made it out, or cised in some monarcbies. There, acis of the Crown could do so now. How is it temporary? On its face? may be exposed, censured, denounced, corrected, by No, sir. It has just began its wide-sweeping ruin. It the power of Parliament. But here we are not to com. began on the 15th of August, and it tolerated for a time plain of or remonstrate against executive acts. We the exercise of some indulgence. Its full operation only must not presume to censure them. We must bear, in commenced on the 15th of December, 1836, and there is silent and dutiful submission, whatever ills the acts of nothing in its terms that looks like a temporary provis. the Executive may bring on the country. Or, if we at. ion. There is nothing in the President's message, or in tempiany corrective, we must graciously suppose that we the report of the Secretary, which announces to a suffer are not going counter to the executive will, and by a fiction ing community that the heavy burden imposed upon Iconvert a permanent measure into a temporary order!

Jan. 11, 1837.)

Treasury Circular.

(SENATE.

When, Mr. President, shall we get back to the good was this: that the bank notes of specie.paying banks are old times, when a President of the United States never equivalent to specie, being in fact the representatives of stepped out of his own sphere to assume powers not specie. Bank' notes of such banks are nothing more granted to him, or to control the discharge of duties than so much told or counted specie; and they are so respecially assigned to subordinate officers! As to this ceived. This was the principle on which Mr. Hamilton Treasury order, I do not view it as an act of the Secre- proceeded. It was a convenient arrangement, and is tary. It has his hand, but not his heart--not bis mind. attended with no risk, so long as the bills are convertible From the face of the order itself, I should draw the con. at pleasure into that which they represent. The Secclusion that he has been the unwilling executor of the relary could stop whenever he pleased. It saved much bidding of another. Like its prototype, employed for time; it was one of the greatest of time-saving machines. the removal of the deposites, it is an act of ihe execu. It was like paying a sum of money by the check of an tive will, directly against the will of the officer particu- individual upon his bank. That is not “paper money." larly charged with a public duty. But, unlike that Your creditor or the Government collector calls upon case, the Secretary clings closely to his office, and, you with a demand, and you draw your check for the rather than part with it, executes the arbitrary command amount; when presented at bank it is instantly paid or of his master. He does not choose, with a manly inde passed to your credit. Such a check is equivalent to pendence, to sacrifice his place and preserve his charac- the specie it will command. Such representatives of ter. And I understani that this order has been issued, specie ought to be received in payment of all Guvern. not only against the judgment and feelings of the Sec. ment dues; and there should be no discretionary power retary, but of the whole cabinet. I have heard so, and of refusing them, either by the collectors or the deposI believe it. There are those here who do know, and ite banks. The result, then, to which I would come, is who, if I err, can contradict me. But I believe it. And the adoption of this rule, viz: that when a bank note is now, when we un lerlake to examine the order, and con presented to a collector in payment of a debt to the front it with the law, we cannot touch it. We may Government, if, at the place where such payment is not repeal an executive order, because, forsooth, to do made, it is at par, that is, equal to so much specie, the so casts a censure on the Executive. Why, sir, if the collector shall be obliged to receive it; if it is not, then honorable Senator from Virginia is unwilling to throw he shall be at liberty to reject it. If the note is not censure on the Executive, he should have furborne the what it purports to be, the representative of specie to delivery of his able and eloquent speech. That whole the amount on the face of it, then there ought to be no speech, from beginning to end, was directed against obligation to take it. The place of payment is what I that order, which he says we must not repeal, lest we would adopt as the test of all bank notes offered to us. censure the President. Why, sir, if that is his ground, if they are equal to specie there, they ought to be re. he should have withheld his amendment; for what, after ceived. It may be said that the effect of such a rule all, is the difference, in effect, between the resolution of will be to accumulate large sums of money at places the Senator from Ohio and the amendment of the Sena. where the Government does not need them; and thus lor from Virginia? The Treasury order is now in full subject it to the expense of transporting them to where operation. And what is the proposal of my friend from they are required. But to test this objection, we have Ohio? To rescind it in terms. . His language is open, only to look back for a moment to the hard-money sys. direct, manly, but not offensive. But the Senator from tem, and inquire, what would be the state of things if Virginia cannot agree to the proposal. Well, sir, and specie alone should be received. Would not ibat plan what does he do in his amendment? He avoids, to be accumulate in the banks of the Western and Southwest. sure, the word “rescind,” but he res:inds the order just ern States vast amounts of gold and silver? And what as effeclually as the Senator from Ohio. I am quite is the Government to do with it? It is not needed there, sure that my friend from Ohio intended nothing offen and it would have to be transported at the expense of sive in the resolution offered by him. He thought that, Government to where it is needed. So that my plan without offence, the poor privilege might still be lest to requires the transportation of a packet of bills, where us of repealing our own acts, expressing our own opin that would require the transportation of a wagon load ions, and even of repealing executive acts, when we of specie. I think that the plan of making bank notes deemed that the good of the country requires it. It ap at par at the place of payment the test of the receiva. peared to him to be the most direct and manly course, bility of paper will save time, and have quite as good if we meant to repeal the order, that we should say so. effect as the requisition of gold and silver. He added, it is true, another resolution; but I am wil. I object to the amendment of the Senator from Vir. Jing, on behalf of my friend, that the first resolution ginia chiefly on account of its last clause. As to that should be abandoned allogether, and the last alone part of it which requires the suppression of small notes, adopted. That will sufficiently accomplish our pur. (though I believe that, in practice, it will prove perfect. pose, and accommodate the measure to the delicate and ly nugatory, that it will effect just nothing,) I am quite nervous sensibility of any friend of the administration. willing to indulge him with the experiment. Nothing, That is all concerning which I feel any solicitude, and I am persuaded, will come out of it; bul try it. But the with this I will be content. All we seek is, that an end last clause of his amendment says that no notes shall be shall be put to this invidious and disgraceful discrimina. received which the deposite banks are not willing to re. tion.

ceive and credit to the United States. He adds, to be But it is said that there will be great difficulty in adopt. sure, that this shall be under the supervision and con. ing this course; and the Senator from Virginia has ac. trol of the Secretary of the Treasury. Such a provision cordingly guarded his amendment by the addition of a leaves the whole country in total uncertainty. Nobody proviso, which goes to make the amendment authorize can know to-day what is to be the rule to-morrow. And the reception only of such notes as the deposite banks as to the added clause, it will, in practice, make no dif. shall be willing, under the direction and supervision of ference; without it, the whole matter would have depend. the Secretary of the Treasury, to receive, and to credit ed on the mere pleasure of the deposite banks; and to the United States as cash. Though I admit that the with it, should the Secretary occasionally revise the prooperation may be altended with great difficulty, yet Iceedings of those banks, he will still be governed by the cannot think it insuperable. What was the ground on wishes of the deposite banks. I object to the intrusting which the first Secretary of the Treasury received bank of such a power either with the Secretary or with the poles for the duties due to Government? The ground deposite banks. It places that which should be fixed,

« PrejšnjaNaprej »