View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

MR. W E B S T E R ' S S P E E C H

C E R T A I N C A S E S , ON P U B L I C O F F I C E R S ,

i; O M MO N L Y


O e l i ^ e r e c l i n t h e S e n a t e o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s o n I*I**i^li i # , 1 8 3 8 Z

(JF T H K 2 2 D M A I I C H ,


A >f S W K U T O M H . C A I, II O U N •





&, S E A T O X .

O N THE 1 2 T H OF M A R C H ,


: Having at an early stage of the debate
expressed, in a general manner, my opposition to this bill, I
must find an apology for again addressing the Senate, in the
acknowledged importance of the measure, the novelty of its
character, and the division of opinion respecting it which is
k n o w n to exist in both Houses of Congress.
To be able, in this state of things, to give a preponderance
to that side of the question which I embrace, is, perhaps, more
t h a n I ought to hope ; but I do not feel that I have done all
which my duty demands, until I make another effort.
T h e functions of this Government which, in time of peace,
most materially affect the happiness of the people, are those
which respect commerce and revenue. The bill before us
touches both these great interests. It proposes to act directly
on the revenue and expenditure of Government, and it is expected to act, also, indirectly, on commerce and currency;
while its friends and supporters, relying solely on this, altogether abstain from other measures, deemed by a great portion of Congress and of the country to be indispensably demanded by the present exigency.
W e have arrived, Mr. President, towards the close of a half
century from the adoption of the constitution. During the
progress of these years, our population has increased from
three or four millions to thirteen or fourteen millions; our
c o r n m e r c e , from little or nothing, to an export of a hundred
a n d ninety millions, and an import of a hundred and twentyeight and a half millions, in the year 1836. Our mercantile
tonnage approaches near to two millions. W e have a reven u e , and an expenditure, of thirty millions a year. The manM R . PRESIDENT



ufactures of the country have attained very great importance,
and, up to the commencement of the derangement of the c u r rency, were in a prosperous and growing state. The p r o d uce of the fisheries has become vast ; and the general p r o duction of labor and capital is increasing far beyond all e x a m ple in other countries, or other times, and has already reached
an amount which, to those who have not investigated the s u b ject, would seem incredible.
The commerce of the United States, sir, is spread over t h e
globe. Its pursues it object in all seas, and finds its way i n t o
every port which the laws of trade do not shut against its a p proach. With all the disadvantages of more costly materials,
and of higher wages, and often in despite of unequal and u n favorable commercial regulations of other states, the enterprise, vigor, and economy which distinguish our navigating
interest, enable it to show our flag, in competition with t h e
most favored and the most skilful, in the various quarters of
the world. In the mean time, internal activity does not l a g
nor loiter. New and useful modes of intercourse and facilities
of transportation are established, or are in progress, everywhere. Public works are projected and pushed forward in a
spirit, which grasps at high and vast objects, with a bold defiance of all expense. The aggregate value of the property of
the country is augmented daily. A constant demand for new
capital exists, although a debt has already been contracted in
Europe, for sums advanced to States, corporations, and individuals, for purposes connected with internal improvement,
which debt cannot now be less than a hundred millions of
dollars. Spreading over a great extent, embracing different
climates, and with vast variety of products, we find an intensely excited spirit of industry and enterprise to pervade the
whole country ; while its external commerce, as I have already said, sweeps over all seas. We are connected with all
commercial countries, and, most of all, with that which has
established and sustained the most stupendous system of commerce and manufactures, and which collects and disburses an
incredible amount of annual revenue ; and which uses, to this

e n d , and as means of currency and circulation, a mixed
m o n e y of metal and paper.
Such a mixed system, sir, has also prevailed with us, from
the beginning. Gold and silver, and convertible bank paper,
h a v e always constituted our actual money. The people are
used to this system. It has hitherto commanded their confidence, and fulfilled their expectations. We have had, in succession, two national banks ; each for a period of twenty
years- Local or State banks have, at the same time, been in
operation ; and no man of intelligence or candor can deny
that, during these forty years, and with the operation of a
National and these State institutions, the currency of the country, upon the whole, has been safe, cheap, convenient, and
satisfactory. W h e n the Government was established, it found
convertible bank paper, issued by State banks, already in circulation ; and with this circulation it did not interfere. The
United States, indeed, had themselves established a bank, under the old Confederation, with authority to issue paper. A
system of mixed circulation, therefore, was exactly that system which this constitution, at its adoption, found already in
existence. There is not the slightest evidence of any intention, in establishing the constitution, to overthrow or abolish
this system, although it certainly w a s the object of the constitution to abolish bills of credit, and all paper intended for circulation, issued upon the faith of the States alone. Inasmuch
as whatever then existed, of the nature of money or currency,
rested on State legislation, and as it was not possible that
uniformity, general credit, and general confidence, could result
from local and separate acts of the States, there is evidence—
I think abundant evidence—that it was the intention of the
framers of the constitution to give to Congress a controlling
power over the whole subject, to the end that there should be,
for the whole country, a currency of uniform value. Congress has heretofore exercised this authority, and fulfilled the
corresponding duties. It has maintained, for forty years out
of forty-nine, a national institution, proceeding from its power,
With intervals
a n d responsible to the General Government.


of derangement, brought about by war and other occurrences,
this whole system, taken altogether, has been greatly successful in its actual operation. We have found occasion to c r e a t e
no difference between Government and People—between
money for revenue, and money for the general use of t h e
country. Until the commencement of the last session, G o v ernment had manifested no disposition to look out for itself
exclusively* W h a t was good enough for the people, w a s
good enough for Government. No condescending and g r a cious preference had, before that period, ever been tendered
to members of Congress, over other persons having claims
upon the public funds. Such a singular spectacle had never
been exhibited, as an amicable, disinterested, and patriotic u n derstanding, between those who are to vote taxes on the people, for the purpose of replenishing the Treasury, and those
who, from the Treasury, dispense the money back again
among those who have claims on it. In that respect I think
the Secretary stands alone. He is the first, so far as I know,
in our long list of able heads of Departments, who h a s
thought it a delicate and skilful touch, in financial administration, to be particularly kind and complaisant to the interest
of the law-makers—those who hold the tax-laying power,
the first, whose great deference and cordial regard for members
of Congress have led him to provide for them, as the medium
of payment and receipt, something more valuable than is provided, at the same time, for the army, the navy, the judges,
the revolutionary pensioners, and the various classes of laborers in the pay of Government.
Through our whole history, sir, we have found a convertible paper currency, under proper control, highly useful, by its
pliability to circumstances, and by its capacity of enlargement,
in a reasonable degree, to meet the demands of a new and
enterprising community. As I have already said, sir, we owe
a permanent debt of a hundred millions abroad; and in the
present abundance of money in England, and the state of demand here, this amount will probably be increased. But it
must be evident to every one, that, so long as, by a safe use

of paper, we give some reasonable expansion to our own circulation, or at least do not unreasonably contract it, we do, to
that extent, create or maintain an ability for loans among
ourselves, and so far diminish the amount of annual interest
paid abroad.
But let me now, Mr. President, ask the attention of the
Senate to another subject, upon which, indeed, much has already been said: I mean that which is usually called the


Sir, what is that system ? Why is credit a word of so
much solid importance, and of so powerful charm, in the
United States ? W h y is it that a shock has been felt through
ail classes and all interests, the first moment that this credit
has been disturbed ? Does its importance belong, equally, to
all commercial states ? Or are there peculiarities in our condition, our habits, and modes of business, which make credit
more indispensable, and mingle it more naturally, more intimately, with the life-blood of our system ?
A full and philosophical answer to these inquiries, Mr.
President, would demand that I should set forth both the
groundwork and the structure of our social system.
would show that the wealth and prosperity of the country
have as broad a foundation as its popular constitutions. Undoubtedly there are peculiarities in that system, resulting from
the nature of our political institutions, from our elementary
laws, and from the general character of the people. These
peculiarities most unquestionably give to credit, or to those
means and those arrangements, by whatever names we call
them, which are calculated to keep the whole, or by far the
greater part, of the capital of the country in a state of constant activity, a degree of importance far exceeding what is
experienced elsewhere.
In the old countries of Europe there is a clear and welldefined line between capital and labor: a line which strikes
through society with a horizontal sweep, leaving on one side
wealth, in masses, holden by few hands, and those having
little participation in the laborious pursuits of life; on the


other, the thronging multitudes of labor, with here and t h e r e
only, a n instance of such accumulation of earnings as t o d e serve the name of capital. This distinction, indeed, i s n o t
universal and absolute in a n y of the commercial s t a t e s o f
Europe, and it grows less and less definite as c o m m e r c e a d *
vances; the effect of commerce and manufactures, as a l l h i s *
tory shows, being, everywhere, to diffuse wealth, and r i o t t o
aid its accumulation in few hands.
But still the l i n e i s
greatly more broad, marked, and visible in European n a t i o n s *
than in the United States. In those nations, the gains o f c a p ital, and wages, or the earnings of labor, are not only d i s t i n c t
in idea, as elements of the science of political economy, tuxty
to a great degree, also, distinct in fact; and their r e s p e c t i v e
claims, and merits, and modes of relative adjustment, b e c o m e
subjects of discussion and of public regulation. N o w , s i r ,
everybody m a y see that that is a state of things which d o e s
not exist with us* W e h a v e no such visible and broad d i s tinction between capital and labor ; and much of the g e n e r a l
happiness of all classes results from this. W i t h us, labor i s
every day augmenting its means by its own industry; n o t i n
all cases, indeed, but in very many. Its savings of y e s t e r d a y
become its capital, therefore, of to-day* On the other H a n d r
vastly the greater portion of the property of the country e x i s t s
in such small quantities that its holders cannot dispense a l t o gether with their own personal i n d u s t r y ; or if, in some i n stances, capital be accumulated till it rises to w h a t m a y b e
called affluence, it is usually disintegrated and broken i n t o
particles again, in one or t w o generations. T h e abolition o r
the rights of primogeniture ; the descent of property of e v e r y
sort to females as well as males ; the cheap and easy m e a n s
by which property is transferred and conveyed ; the high price
of labor; the low price of land ; the genius of our political i n stitutions; in fine, every thing belonging to ns, c o u n t e r a c t s
large accumulation. This is our actual system. Our politics,
our constitutions, our elementary laws, our habits, all centre
in this point, or tend to this result. F r o m where I now stand,
to the extremity of the northeast, vastly the greatest part o£

t h e property of the country is in the hands and ownership of
those whose personal industry is employed in some form oi
productive labor* General competence, general education.
enterprise, activity, and industry, such as never before perv a d e d any society, are the characteristics which distinguish
the people w h o live, and move, and act in this state of things^
such as I have described it.
N o w , sir, if this view be true, as J think it is, all must perceive that in the United States, capital cannot say to labor and
industry, " Stand ye yonder, while I come up h i t h e r ; " but labor and industry lay hold on capital, break it into parcels, use
it, diffuse it widely, and, instead of leaving it to repose in itso w n inertness, compel it to act at once as their own stimulus
a n d their own instrument.
But, sir, this is not all. There is another view still more
immediately affecting the operation and use of credit. In
every wealthy community, however equally property may be
divided, there will always be some property-holders who live
on its income. If this property be land, they live on rent; if
it be money, they live on its interest. The amount of real estate held in this country on lease, is comparatively very small,
except in the cities. But there are individuals and families,
trustees and guardians, and various literary and charitable institutions, who have occasion to invest funds for the purpose
of annual moneyed income. Where do they invest? Where
can they invest? The answer to these questions shows at
once a mighty difference between the state of things here, and
t h a t in England. Here, these investments, to produce a moneyed income, are made in banks, insurance companies, canal and railroad corporations, and other similar institutions.
placed thus immediately in active hands, this capital, it is evi
clent, becomes at once the basis of business ; it gives occupation, pays labor, excites enterprise, and performs, in short, all
the functions of employed money. But, in England, investm e n t s for such purposes usually take another direction. There
is in England, a vast amount of public stocks, as eight or nine
hundred millions sterling of public debt actually exists, consti


tutmg, to the amount of its annual interest, a charge on t h e
active capital and industry of the country. In the h a n d s o f
individuals, portions of this debt are capital ; that is, they p r o duce income to the proprietors, and income without l a b o r ;
while, in a national point of v i e w , it is all mere debt* W h a t w a s
obtained for it, or that on account of which it w a s c o n t r a c t e d ,
has been spent in the long and arduous w a r s , which the c o u n try has sustained, from the time of King William the Third,
to our o w n days. T h e r e are thousands of individuals, t h e r e fore, whose fixed income arises, not from the active use of
property, either in their o w n hands, or the hands of others, but
from the interest on that part of this national charge to w h i c h
they are entitled. If, therefore, we use the term capital n o t
in the sense of political economy exactly, but as implying w h a t ever returns income to individuals, Ave find an almost incalculable mass so circumstanced as not to be the basis of active
To illustrate this idea further, sir, let us suppose that, b y
some occurrence, (such as is certainly never to be expected,)
this debt should be paid off; suppose its holders were to r e ceive, to-morrow, their full amounts ; w h a t would they d o
with them ? W h y , sir, if they were obliged to loan the o n e quarter part into the hands of the industrious classes, for t h e
purposes of employment in active business, and if this operation could be accompanied by the same intelligence and industry among the people which prevail with us, the result would
do more toward raising the character of the laboring classes,
than all reforms in Parliament, and other general political o p erations. It would be as if this debt had never been contracted, as if the money had never been spent, and n o w remained
part of the active capital of the country, widely diffused and
employed in the business of life. But this debt, sir, h a s created
an enormous amount of private property, upon the income of
which its owners li\^e, which does not require their o w n active
labor or that of others. W e have no such d e b t ; we have n o
such mode of investment; and this circumstance gives quite a
different aspect and a different reality to our condition.

Now-, Mr. President, what I understand by the credit syst e m is, that which thus connects labor and capital, by giving
to labor the use of capital. In other words, intelligence, good
character, and good morals bestow on those who have not capital, a power, a trust, a confidence, which enables them to obt a i n it, and to employ it usefully for themselves and others.
T h e s e active men of business build their hopes of success on
their attentiveness, their economy, and their integrity. A
w i d e r theatre for useful activity is under their feet, and around
t h e m , than was ever spread before the eyes of the young and
enterprising generations of men, on any other spot enlightened
b y the sun. Before them is the ocean. Every thing in that
direction invites them to efforts of enterprise and industry in
the pursuits of commerce and the fisheries. Around them, on
all hands, are thriving and prosperous manufactures, an improving agriculture, and the daily presentation of new objects
of internal improvement ; while behind them is almost half a
continent of the richest land, at the cheapest prices, under
healthful climates, and washed by the most magnificent rivers
t h a t on any part of the globe pay their homage to the sea. In
the midst of all these glowing and glorious prospects, they are
neither restrained by ignorance, nor smitten down by the penu r y of personal circumstances. They are not compelled to
contemplate, in hopelessness and despair, all the advantages
t h u s bestowed on their condition by Providence- Capital
t h o u g h they may have little or none, CREDIT supplies its place;
not as the refuge of the prodigal and the reckless ; not as gratifying present wants with the certainty of future absolute ruin;
b u t as the genius of honorable trust and confidence ; as the
blessing, voluntarily offered to good character and to good cond u c t ; as the beneficent agent, which assists honesty and enterprise in obtaining comfort and independence*
jVTr. President, take a w a y this credit, and what remains ? I
d o not ask what remains to the few, but to the many ? Take
a W a y this system of credit, and then tell me what is left for
labor and industry, but mere manual toil and daily drudgery ?
If w e adopt a system that withdraws capital from active em-


ployment, do we not dimmish the rate of wages ? If w ^ c u r tail the general business of society, does not every laboring- m a n
find his condition grow daily worse ? In the politics o f t h e
day, sir, we hear much said about divorces; and when Ave a b o l ish credit, we shall divorce labor from capital; and, d e p e n d o n
it, sir, when we divorce labor from capital, capital is h o a r d e d ,
and labor starves* The declaration so often quoted, t h a t " a l l
who trade on borrowed capital ought to break," is the m o s t
aristocratic sentiment ever uttered in this country. It is a s e n timent which, if carried out by political arrangement, w o u l d
condemn the great majority of mankind to the perpetual c o n dition of mere day-laborers. It tends to take away from t h e m
all that solace and hope which arise from possessing s o m e thing which they can call their own. A man loves his o w n :
it is fit and natural that he should do so ; and he will love his
country and its institutions, if he have some stake in that c o n n
try, although it be but a very small part of the general m a s s of
property. If it be but a cottage, an acre, a garden, its possession
raises him, gives him self-respect, and strengthens his a t t a c h ment to his native land. It is our happy condition, by the blessings of Providence, that almost every man of sound h e a l t h ,
industrious habits, and good morals, can ordinarily attain, at
least, to this degree of comfort and respectability ; and it is a
result devoutly to be wished, both for its individual and its
general consequences.
But even to this degree of acquisition, that credit, of w h i c h
I have already said so much, is highly important, since its g e n eral effect is to raise the price of wages, and render industry
productive. There is no condition so low, if it be attended
with industry and economy, which this credit does not benefit,
as any one will find, if he will examine and follow out its operations.
Such, Mr. President, being the credit system in the United
States, as I understand it, I now add that the banks have been
the agents, and their circulation the instrument, by which the
general operations of this credit have been conducted. M u c h
of the capital of the country, placed at interest, is vested in

b a n k stocky and those who borrow, borrow at the banks : and
discounts of bills, and anticipation of payments in all its forms,
t h e regular and appropriate duty of banks, prevail universally I n the JMorth, the banks have enabled the manufacturers of
all classes to realize the proceeds of their industry at an early
m o m e n t . The course has been, that the producers of commodities for Southern consumption, having despatched their
products, d r a w their bills. These bills are discounted at the
b a n k s , and with the proceeds other raw material is bought,
a n d other labor p a i d ; and thus the general business is cont i n u e d in progress. All this is well known to those who have
h a d opportunity to be acquainted with such concerns.
But bank credit has not been more necessary to the North
t h a n to the South. Indeed, nowhere has interest been higher,
or the demand for capital greater, or the full benefit of credit
m o r e indispensable, than in the new cotton and sugar-growing
States. I ask gentlemen from those States if this be not so ?
H a v e not the plantations been bought, and the necessary labor
procured, to a great extent, on credit ? Has not this credit
been obtained at the banks ? Even now do they not find
credits, or advances on their crops, important in enabling them
to get those crops to market ? And if there had been no
credit—if a hard-money system had prevailed, let me ask
t h e m what would have been, at this moment, the condition of
things in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas ?
T h e s e States, sir, with Tennessee and the South Atlantic
States, constitute the great plantation interest. That there
h a s been a vast demand for capital to be invested in this interest is sufficiently proved by the high price paid for the use
of money.
In m y opinion, sir, credit is as essential to the great export
The agriculture of the
0 f the South, as to a n y other interest.
cotton and sugar-producing States partakes, in no inconsiderable degree, of the nature of commerce. The production and
sale of one great staple only, is an operation essentially different from ordinary farming pursuits. The exports of the South,
indeed, m a y be considered as the aggregate result of various


forms and modes of industry, carried on by various h a n d s ,
and in various places, rather than as the mere product of t h e
plantation. That product itself is local; but its indispensa/ble
aids and means are drawn from every part of the U n i o n .
What is it, sir, that enables Southern labor to apply itself s o
exclusively to the cultivation of these great articles for e x port ? Certainly, it is so applied, because its own necessities
for provision and clothing are supplied, meanwhile, from o t h e r
quarters. The South raises to sell, and not to consume ; a n d
with the proceeds of the sales it supplies itself with w h a t e v e r
its own consumption demands. There are exceptions; b u t
this is the general truth. The hat-makers, shoe-makers, f u r niture-makers, and carriage-makers of the North, the spinners
at Lowell, and the weavers at Philadelphia, are all contributors to the general product both of cotton and sugar, for e x port abroad; as are the live-stock raisers of Kentucky, t h e
grain-growing fanners, and all who produce and vend p r o v i s ions, in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. The Northern ship-owner
and the mariner, who carry these products to market, are
agents acting to the same end ; and so are they too w h o ,
little thinking of cotton-fields, or sugar estates, are pursuing
their adventurous employment in the whale fisheries, over the
whole surface, and among all the islands, of the Pacific and
the Indian oceans. If we take the annual cotton crop at sixty
millions of dollars, we may, perhaps, find that the amount of
forty-five millions is expended, either for interest on capital
advanced, or for the expense of clothing and supporting labor,
or in the charges which belong to the household, the domestic expenditure, and education.
Thus, sir, all the laborious classes are, in truth, cotton-growers and sugar-makers. Each in its own way, and to the e x tent of its own productiveness, contributes to swell the magnitude of that enormous export, which was nothing at the commencement of this Government, and which now has run up
to so many millions. Through all these operations the stream
of credit has constantly flowed, and there is not one of them

that will not be checked and interrupted, embarrassed, and
thwarted, if this stream be now dried up. This connexion of
t h e various interests of the country with one another, forms
a n important and interesting topic. It is one of the natural
ties of the Union. The variety of production, and mutual
wants mutually supplied, constitute a strong bond between
different States; and long may that bond last, growing with
their growth, and strengthening with their strength.
But, Mr. President, that portion of our productions which
takes the form of export, becomes distinct and visible ; it is
prominent and striking, and is seen and wondered at by everybody. The annual returns all show it, and every day's commercial intelligence speaks of it. We gaze at it with admiration, and the world is no less admiring than ourselves.
With other branches of industry the case is quite different.
T h e products of these branches, being put in the train of domestic exchanges, and consumed in the country, do not get
into statistical tables, are not collected in masses, and are seldom presented, in the aggregate, to the public view. They
are not of the character of a few large and mighty rivers, but
of a thousand little streams, meandering through all the fields
of business and of life, and refreshing and fertilizing the
Few of us, Mr. President, are aware of what would be the
amount of the general production of the country, if it could
be accurately ascertained* The Legislature of Massachusetts,
under the recommendation of the intelligent Chief Magistrate
of that State, has caused to be prepared and published a report on the condition and products of certain branches of its
mdustry, for the year ending in April, 1837. The returns of
the authorities of each city and town were made, apparently,
^vith much care ; and the whole has been collated by the Secretary of State, and the result distinctly presented in well-arranged statistical tables. From a summary of the statements
in these tables, I will take the liberty of selecting a few articles, and of adverting to them here, as instances, or specimens,
of the annual product of labor and industry in that State.

And to begin with a very necessary and important a r t i c l e :
I find, that of boots and shoes, the value of the whole a m o u n t
manufactured within the year exceeds fourteen millions a n d a
half of dollars. If the amount ol other articles of the s a m e
class, or material, be added, viz : leather, saddles, trunks, h a r ness, &c., the total will be not far from eighteen millions a n d a
half of dollars.
I will read the names of some other articles, and state t h e
amount of annual product belonging to each :
Cotton fabrics
Woollen fabrics
Books and stationary, and paper
Soap and candles
iVails, brads, and tacks
Machinery of various kind=s
Agricultural implements
Clothing, neckcloths, <fce.





These, sir, are samples. The grand total is ninety-one million seven hundred thousand dollars. From this, however,
deductions are to be made for the cost of the raw material
when imported, and for certain articles enumerated under different heads. But, then, the whole statement is confined to
some branches of industry only ; and to present an entire and
comprehensive view, there should be added the gains of commerce within the year, the earnings of navigation, and almost
the whole agricultural product of the State,
The result of all, if it could be collated and exhibited together,
would show that the annual product of Massachusetts capital
and Massachusetts industry exceeds one hundred millions of
dollars. Now, sir, Massachusetts is a small State, in extent of
territory. You may mark out her dimensions seven or eight
times on the map of Virginia. Yet her population is seven

h u n d r e d thousand souls; and the annual result of their labor i o u s industry, economy, and labor, is as I have stated.
M r , President, in looking over this result, it is most gratifyi n g to find that its great mass consists in articles equally essent i a l and useful to all classes. They are not luxuries, but necessaries and comforts. T h e y belong to food and clothing, to
household conveniencies, and education. As they are more
a n d more -multiplied, the great majority of society becomes
m o r e elevated, better instructed, and happier in all respects,
I h a v e looked through this whole list, sir, to find what there is
i n it that might be fairly classed among the higher luxuries of
life ; and w h a t do I find ? In the whole hundred millions, I
find but one such item ; and that is an item of two or three
h u n d r e d thousand dollars for " j e w e l r y , silver, and silver p l a t e d
T h i s is all that belongs to luxury, in her annual product of a
h u n d r e d millions; and of this, no doubt, the far greater portion w a s sent abroad. And yet we hear daily, sir, of the
amassing of aristocratic wealth, by the progress of manufactures, and the operations of the credit system ! Aristocracy, it
is said, is stealing upon us, and, in the form of aggregate
w e a l t h , is watching to seize political power from the hands of
the people ! W e have been more than once gravely admonished that, in order to improve the times, and restore a metallic
c u r r e n c y for the benefit of the poor, the rich ought to melt
clown their plate ! W h a t e v e r such a melting process might
find to act upon elsewhere, Mr. President, I assure you that in
Massachusetts it would discover little. A few spoons, candlesticks, and other similar articles, sonic old family pitchers and
t a n k a r d s , and the silver porringers of our nurseries, would be
a b o u t the whole.
Sir, if there be any aristocrats in Massachusetts, the people
ur<3 all aristocrats ; because I do not believe there is on earth,
i n a highly civilized society, a greater equality in the condition
of m e n , than exists there. If there be a man in the State w h o
m a i n t a i n s w h a t is called an equipage, has servants in livery, or
drives four horses in his coach, I a m not acquainted with him.
On the other hand, there are few who are not able to carry their




wives and daughters to church in some decent conveyance. I t is
no matter of regret or sorrow to us that few are very rich ; h u t
it is our pride and glory that few are very poor* It is o u r still
higher pride, and our just boast, as I think, that all her citizens
possess means of intelligence and education ; and that, o f all
her productions, she reckons, among the very chiefest, t h o s e
which spring from the culture of the mind and the heart.
AJr. President, one of the most striking characteristics of
this age is the extraordinary progress which it has witnessed
in popular knowledge. A new and powerful impulse h a s
been acting in the social system of late, producing this effect
in a most remarkable degree.
In morals, in politics, in art, in literature, there is a v a s t accession to the number of readers, and to the number of proficients.
The present state of popular knowledge is n o t the
result of a slow and uniform progress, proceeding t h r o u g h a
lapse of years, with the same regular degree of motion. I t is
evidently the result of some n e w and extraordinary causes,
brought into powerful action, and producing their consequences rapidly and strikingly. W h a t , sir, are these caxises?
This is not an occasion, sir, for discussing such a question at
length : allow me to say, however, that the improved state of
popular knowledge is but the necessary result of the improved
condition of the great mass of the people. Knowledge is not
one of our merely physical wants. Life m a y be sustained
without it. But, in order to live, men must be fed, a n d
clothed, and sheltered ; and in a state of things in which one ? s
whole labor can do no more than procure clothes, food, a n d
shelter, he can have no time nor means for mental improvement. Knowledge, therefore, is not attained, and cannot be
attained, till there is some degree of respite from daily m a n u a l
toil, and never-ending drudgery. But whenever a less degree
of labor will produce the absolute necessaries of life, then
there come leisure and means, both to teach and to learn.
But if this great and wonderful extension of popular k n o w l edge be the result of an improved condition, it m a y , in t h e
next place, well be asked, what are the causes which h a v e

t h u s suddenly produced that great improvement ? How is it
t h a t the means of food, clothing, and shelter, are now so much
m o r e cheaply and abundantly procured than formerly ? Sir,
t h e main cause I take to be the progress of scientific art, or a
n e w extent of the application of science to art. This it is,
which has so much distinguished the last half century in Europe? and in America ; and its effects are everywhere visible,
a n d especially among us. Man has found new allies and auxiliaries in the powers of Nature, and in the inventions of
The general doctrine of political economy is, that wealth
consists in whatever is useful or convenient to man, and that
labor is the producing cause of all this wealth. This is very
true. But, then, what is labor? In the sense of political
writers, and in common language, it means human industry;
but, in a philosophical view, it may receive a much more comprehensive meaning. It is not, in that view, human toil only—
the mere action of thews and muscles ; but it is any active
agency which, working upon the materials with which the
world is supplied, brings forth products useful or convenient
to man. The materials of wealth are in the earth, in the seas,
and in their natural and unaided productions. Labor obtains
these materials, works upon them, and fashions them to human
use. N o w , it has been the object of scientific art, or of the application of science to art, to increase this active agency, to augment its power, by creating millions of laborers in the form of
automatic machines, all to be diligently employed, and kept at
work by the force of natural powers. To this end these natural powers, principally those of steam and falling water, are
subsidized and taken into human employment. Spinning machines, power-looms, and all the mechanical devices, acting,
among other operatives, in the factories and workshops, are
l^ut so many laborers. They are usually denominated laborsaving machines, but it would be more just to call them labortluing machines. They are made to be active agents; to have
motion, and to produce effect; and though without intellisrtmc:*!, they are guided by those laws of science, which are ex-



act and perfect, and they produce results, therefore, in g e n e r a ]
more accurate than the human hand is capable of p r o d u c i n g - .
When we look upon one of these, we behold a mute f e l l o \ ? ^ *
laborer, of immense power, of mathematical exactness, arxcL o f
ever-during and unwearied etlbrt. And while he is tViuis a
most skilful and productive laborer, he is a non-consumer
least, beyond the wants of his mechanical being. He i s n o t
clamorous for food, raiment, or shelter* and makes no d e m a n d s
for the expenses of education. The eating and drinking-, t h e
reading and writing and clothes-wearing world, are b e n e f i t e d
by the labors of these co-operatives, in the same w a y a s i f
Providence had provided for their service millions of b e i n g s ,
like ourselves in external appearance, able to labor and t o t o i l ,
and yet requiring little or nothing for their own c o n s u m p t i o n
or subsistence; or, rather, as if Providence had created a r a c e
of giants, each of whom, demanding no more for his s u p p o r t
and consumption than a common laborer, should yet be a b l e
to perform the work of a hundred.
Now, sir, turn back to the Massachusetts tables of p r o duction, and you will see that it is these self-moving allies a n d
co-operators, and these powers of Nature, thus employed a n d
placed under human direction, which have come, with s n o b
prodigious effect, to man's aid, in the great business of p r o curing the means of living, of comfort, and of wealth, a n d
which have so swollen the products of her skilful industry*
Look at these tables once more, sir, and you will see t h e
effects of labor, united with and acting upon capital. L o o k
yet again, and you will see that credit, mutual trust, p r o m p t
and punctual dealings, and commercial confidence, are a l l
mixed up as indispensable elements in the general system.
will ask you to look yet once more, sir, and you will perceive
that general competence, great equality in human condition, a
degree of popular knowledge and intelligence, nowhere surpassed, if anywhere equalled, and the prevalence of good
moral sentiment, and extraordinary general prosperity, is t h e
result of the whole. Sir, 1 have done with Massachusetts* I


d o not praise the old " B a y State " of the Revolution , I only
present her as she is.
M r . President, such is the state of things actually existing
i n the country, and of which I have now given you a sample.
A n d yet there are persons w h o constantly clamor against this
state of things. T h e y call it aristocracy. T h e y beseech the
p o o r to make w a r upon the rich, while, in truth, they k n o w
n o t w h o are either rich or poor. They complain of oppression, speculation, and the pernicious influence of accumulated
w e a l t h . T h e y cry out loudly against all banks and corporations, and ail the means by which small capitals become
united, in order to produce important and beneficial results.
T h e y carry on a mad hostility against all established institutions. T h e y would choke up the fountains of industry, and
d r y all its streams. In a country of unbounded liberty, they
clamor against oppression. In a country of perfect equality,
they would move h e a v e n and earth against privilege and monopoly. In a country where property is more equally divided
t h a n a n y w h e r e else, they rend the air with the shouting of
a g r a r i a n doctrines. In a country where the w a g e s of labor
a r e high beyond all parallel, and where lands are cheap, and the
m e a n s of living low, they would teach the laborer that he is
b u t an oppressed slave. Sir, w h a t can such men w a n t ? W h a t
d o they m e a n ? T h e y can w a n t nothing, sir, but to enjoy the
fruits of other m e n ' s labor. T h e y can mean nothing but disturbance and disorder : the diffusion of corrupt principles, and
the destruction of the moral sentiments and moral habits oi
society. A licentiousness of feeling and of action is sometimes
p r o d u c e d by prosperity itself. M e n cannot always resist the
temptation to which they are exposed by the very abundance
a( the bounties of Providence a n d the very happiness ot their
o w n condition ; as the steed, full of the pasture, will, sometimes t h r o w himself against its enclosures, break a w a y from
j t s confinement, a n d feeling n o w free from needless restraint,
betake himself to the moors and barrens, where w a n t , ere
long, brings him to his senses, a n d starvation and death close
his career.
H a v i n g said so much, sir, on the general condition of the



country, and explained what I understand by credit, I p r o c e e d
to consider the present actual state of the currency.
The most recent Treasury estimate, which I have seen, s u p poses that there are eighty millions of metallic money n o w i n
the country. This I believe, however, to be a good deal t o o
high ; I cannot believe it exceeds sixty, at most ; and s u p p o sing one-half this sum to be in the banks, thirty millions are i n
circulation, or in private hands. We have seven h u n d r e d
banks and branches, with capitals assigned for the security of
their notes and bills, amounting to two hundred and eighty
millions. The amount of bank notes in actual circulation is
supposed to be one hundred millions ; so that our whole circulation is about one hundred and thirty millions. The a m o u n t
of debts due to the banks, or the amount o( their loans and
discounts, may be taken at four hundred and fifty millions.
Now, sir, this very short statement exhibits at once a general outline of our existing system oi currency and credit.
W e see a great amount o( money or property in banks, as their
assigned and appropriate capital* and we see a great amount
due to these banks. These bank debtors generally belong to
the classes of active business, or are such as have taken up credits for purposes of investment in lands or merchandise, looking
to future proceeds as the means of repayment. If we compare
this state of circulation, of bank capital and bank debt, with
the same things in England, important dillerences will not fail
to strike us.
The whole paper circulation of England, by the latest accounts, is twenty-eight millions sterling—made up of eighteen
millions of Hank of England notes, and ten millions of the
notes of private bankers and joint-stock companies ; bullion
in the bank, nine and a half millions ; debts due the Bank of
England, twenty-two and a half millions. The amount of
loans and discounts by private bankers and joint-stock companies is not usually stated, I believe, in the public accounts. If
it bear the same proportion to their notes in circulation, as in
the case of the Bank of England, it would exceed twelve mil
We may therefore take the amount of bank debts in E n g -

l a n d , to be thirty-five millions. Hut I suppose that, of the securities held by the Bank of England, exchequer notes constit u t e a large part ; in other words, that a large part of the bank
d e b t is due by the Government. The amount of coin in actual
circulation is estimated to he thirty and a half millions. The
whole amount of circulation in England, metallic and paper,
is usually stated, in round numbers, at sixty millions ; which,
rating the pound sterling at & t SO, is equal to two hundred
a n d eighty-eight millions of dollarsIt will be seen, sir, that our paper circulation is one-half less
t h a n that of England, but our bank debt is, nevertheless, much
greater ; since thirty-five millions sterling amount to only one
hundred and sixty-eight millions of dollars; and this sum, too,
includes the amount of exchequer bills, or Government debt
in the form of such bills, which the bank holds. These facts
are very material to any just comparison of the state of things
in the two countries. The whole, or nearly the whole, capital
of the Bank of England is lent to Government, not by means
of exchequer notes, but on a permanent loan. And as to the
private banks and joint-stock companies, though they issue
bills for circulation, they have no assigned or appropriated
capital whatever. T h e bills circulate on the private credit of
t h e individual banker, or of those w h o compose the joint-stock
companies. In the United States, an amount of capital, supposed to be sufficient to sustain the credit of the paper and
rsccurc the public against loss, is provided by law, in the act of
incorporation for each bank, and is assigned as a trust-fund for
the payment of the liabilities of the bank. A n d if this capital
be fairly and substantially advanced, it is a proper security ;
and in most cases, no doubt, it is substantially advanced. The
<liroetors are trustees of this fund, and they are liable, both
civilly and criminally, for mismanagement, embezzlement, or
breach of trust.
Thte amount of capital, thus secured, is the basis of loans
-uul discounts ; and this is the reason w h y permanent, or at
least lonu;, loans are not considered so inappropriate to hanking
operations, with us, as they are in England. With us, it is


evident that the directors are agents, holding a fund intended
to be loaned, and acting between lender and borrower ; and
this form of loan has been found exceedingly convenient a n d
useful in the country.
In some States, it is greatly preferred to mortgages, though
there are others in which mortgages are usual. Whether exactly conformable to the true notion of banking, or not, the
truth is, that the object and operation of our banks is to loan
money ; and this is done mostly on personal security* The system, no doubt, is liable to abuse in particular instances. There
may be directors who will loan too freely to themselves and their
friends* Gross cases of this kind have recently been detected
and exposed, and, I hope, will be suitably treated ; but, considering the great number of banks, those instances, I thinks
are remarkably few. In general, the banks have been well
conducted, and are believed to be solvent and safe.
We have heard much, sir, in the course of this debate, of
excess in the issue of bank notes for circulation. I have no
doubt, sir, that there was a very improper expansion some
years ago, W h e n President Jackson, in 1S32, had negatived
the bill for continuing the Bank of the United States, (which act
I esteem to be the true original source of all the disorders of the
currency,) a vast addition was immediately made to the number of State banks. In 1833 the public deposites were actually removed from the Bank of the United States, although
its charter was not to expire until 1838, and placed in selected
State banks. And, for the purpose of showing how much
better the public would be accommodated without, than with,
a Bank of the United States, these banks were not only encouraged, but admonished, to be free and liberal in loans
and discounts, made on the strength of the public moneys,
to merchants and other individuals. The circular letter from
the Treasury Department, addressed £o the new deposite banks,
under date of September 26, 1S33, has this significant clause,
which could not have been misunderstood ;
" T h e deposites of public money will enable you to afford increased facilities to-1
commerce^ and t*v extend your accommodation, to individual* : and <ue the duties

w h i c h are payable to the Government arise from the business and enterprise of th*
merchants engaged in foreign trade, it is but reasonable that they should be preferred in the additional accommodation which the public deposites will enable
y o u r institution to give, whenever it can be done without injustice to the claims
of other classes of the c o m m u n i t y . "

H a v i n g r e a d t h i s l e t t e r , sir, I a s k l e a v e to refer t h e S e n a t e t o
t h e 2 0 t h s e c t i o n of t h e bill n o w before u s . T h e r e w e find t h a t
" if a n y officer c h a r g e d w i t h t h e s a f e - k e e p i n g of t h e p u b l i c
m o n e y , shall l o a n t h e s a m e , or a n y p o r t i o n thereof, w i t h o r
w i t h o u t i n t e r e s t , s u c h a c t shall b e d e e m e d a n e m b e z z l e m e n t
a n d a high m i s d e m e a n o r , a n d the p a r t y convicted thereof shall
b e s e n t e n c e d to i m p r i s o n m e n t . "
Sir, w h a t a p r e t t y p i e c e of
c o n s i s t e n c y is h e r e ! I n 1S33 t h e d e p o s i t o r i e s of t h e p u b l i c
m o n e y w e r e n o t e v e n left to t h e i r o w n d e s i r e for g a i n , or t h e i r
w i s h e s to a c c o m m o d a t e o t h e r s , a s b e i n g sufficient i n c e n t i v e s t o
l e n d it o u t ; t h e y w e r e a d m o n i s h e d a n d d i r e c t e d to afford
i n c r e a s e d facilities to c o m m e r c e , a n d to e x t e n d t h e i r a c c o m m o d a t i o n to i n d i v i d u a l s , since t h e p u b l i c m o n e y s in t h e i r v a u l t s
w o u l d e n a b l e t h e m to g i v e s u c h a d d i t i o n a l a c c o m m o d a t i o n !
N o w sir u n d e r t h i s bill, a n y officer w h o shall d o a n y o n e of t h e s e
s a m e t h i n g s , i n s t e a d of b e i n g p r a i s e d , is to b e p u n i s h e d ; h e is t o
b e a d j u d g e d g u i l t y of e m b e z z l e m e n t a n d of a h i g h m i s d e m e a n o r ^
a n d is to b e c o n f i n e d , for a u g h t I k n o w , in cells a s d a r k a n d
d i s m a l a s t h e v a u l t s a n d safes w h i c h a r e to c o n t a i n o u r m e t a l l i c c u r r e n c y . B u t , a l t h o u g h I t h i n k , sir, t h a t t h e a c t s of G o v e r n m e n t c r e a t e d this e x p a n s i o n , y e t I a m c e r t a i n l y of o p i n i o n
that there w a s a very u n d u e expansion created. A contract i o n , h o w e v e r , h a d b e g u n ; a n d I a m of o p i n i o n , t h a t h a d it
n o t b e e n for t h e s p e c i e o r d e r of J u l y , 1 8 3 6 , a n d for t h e m a n n e r in w h i c h t h e d e p o s i t e l a w w a s e x e c u t e d , t h e b a n k s w o u l d
h a v e g o n e t h r o u g h t h e crisis w i t h o u t s u s p e n s i o n . T h i s is m y
full a n d firm belief. I c a n n o t , h o w e v e r , discuss t h e s e p o i n t s
h e r e . T h e y w e r e t r e a t e d w i t h v e r y g r e a t a b i l i t y last y e a r , b y
a o-entleman w h o t h e n o c c u p i e d o n e of t h e s e a t s of G e o r g i a o n
t h i s floor. W h o m s o e v e r h e d i d n o t satisfy, I c a n n o t c o n v i n c e .
Still, sir, t h e q u e s t i o n is, w h e t h e r t h e r e w a s a n e x c e s s in t h e
g e n e r a l a m o u n t of o u r c i r c u l a t i o n in M a y last, or w h e t h e r
t h e r e is n o w s u c h e x c e s s ?


By what standard is this to he judged ? If the question t>e<>
whether there be too much paper in circulation, it may be a n swered by reference to the amount of coin in the banks f r o m
which the paper issues; because I am unquestionably of o p i n ^
ion—an opinion which I believe nothing can ever shake
(he (rue criterion hy which to decide the question of excess, i n
a convertible paper currency, is the amount of that paper c o m pared with the gold and silver in the banks. Such e x c e s s
would not he proved, absolutely and certainly, in every c a s e ,
by the mere fact of the suspension of specie payments; b e cause such an event might be produced by panic, or other s u d den cause, having power to disturb the best regulated system
of paper circulation. But the immediate question now i s ,
whether, taking the whole circulation together, both metallic
and paper, there was an excess existing in May, or is an excess
now existing ? Is one hundred and thirty millions an excessive or undue amount of circulation for the United States ?
Seeing that one part of this circulation is coin, and the other
part paper, resting upon coin, and intended to be convertible,
is the whole mass more than may be fairly judged necessary
to represent the property, the transactions, and the business of
the country ? Or, in order to sustain such an amount of circulation, and to keep that part of it which is composed of paper in a safe state, should we be obliged to attempt to draw to
ourselves more than our just proportion of that metallic
money, which is in the use of all the commercial nations ?
These questions appear to me to be but different modes of
stating the same inquiry.
Upon this subject we may, perhaps, form some general idea,
by comparing ourselves with others. Various things, no doubt,
exist, in diilerent places and countries, to modify, cither by
enlarging or diminishing, the demand for money or currency
in the transactions of business ; still the amount of trade and
commerce may furnish a general clement of comparison between diilerent states or nations. The aggregate of American
imports and exports in 1S36 was three hundred and eighteen millions ; that of England, reckoning the pound sterling

a t $4 SO, again, was four hundred and eighty millions, as
near as I can ascertain ; the currency of England being, as
already stated, sixty millions sterling, or two hundred and
eighty-eight millions of dollars. If we work out a result from
these proportions, the currency of the United States, it will be
found, should be one hundred and ninety millions, in order to
b e equal to that of England ; but, according to the estimates
of the Treasury, it did not, even in that year, exceed one hundred and eighty millions.
Our population is about equal to that of England and Wales.
T h e amount of our mercantile tonnage, perhaps, one-fifth less.
Hut then we are to consider that our country is vastly wider ;
and our facilities of internal exchange, by means of bills of
exchange, greatly less. Indeed, there are branches of our intercourse, in which remittances cannot be well made, except
in currency. Take one example : The agricultural products
of Kentucky are sold to the South ; her purchases of commodities made at the North. There can be, therefore, very little of
direct exchange between her and the places of purchase and
sale- The trade goes round in a circle. Therefore, while the
Hank of the United States existed, payments were made to a
vast amount in the North and East by citizens of Kentucky,
a n d of the States similarly situated, not in bills of exchange,
but in the notes of the bank.
These considerations augment the demand for currency.
M o r e than all, the country is n e w , sir ; almost the whole
of our capital active ; and the entire amount of property, in the aggregate, rapidly increasing* In the last three
years thirty-seven millions of acres of land have been separated from the wilderness, purchased, paid for, and become
subject to private individual ownership, to transfer and sale,
a n d all other dispositions to which other real estate is subject.
jt has thus become property, to be bought and sold for money ;
whereas, while in the hands of Government, it called for no
expenditure, formed the basis of no transactions, and created
no demand for currency. Within that short period our people have bought from Government a territory as large as the


whole of England and Wales, and, taken together, far m o r e
fertile by Nature. This seems incredible, yet the r e t u r n s
show it* Suppose all this to have been bought at the m i n i mum price of a dollar and a quarter per acre ; and s u p p o s e
the value to be increased in the common ratio in which w e
know the value of land is increased, by such purchase, and b y
the preliminary steps and beginnings of cultivation ; an i m mense augmentation, it will readily be perceived, is m a d e ,
even in so short a time, of the aggz-egate of property, in n o m i nal price, and, to a great extent, in real value also.
On the whole, sir, I confess I know no standard by which I
can decide that our circulation is at present in excess. I d o
not believe it is so. Nor was there, as I think, any depreciation in the value of money, up to the moment of the suspension of specie payments by the banks, comparing our currency
with the currency of other nations. An American paper dollar would buy a silver dollar in England, deducting only t h e
charge of transporting a dollar across the ocean, because it
commanded a silver dollar here. There may be excess, h o w ever, I admit, where there is no present depreciation, in t h e
rsense in which I now use the term.
It is hardly necessary to dwell, Mr. President, on the evils
of a suddenly diminished circulation. It arrests business,
puts an end to it, and overwhelms all debtors, by depression
and downfall of prices. And even if we reduce circulation—
not suddenly, but still reduce it farther than is necessary to
keep it within just and reasonable limits—we produce m a n y
mischiefs; we augment the necessity of foreign loans; w e
contract business, discourage enterprise, slacken the activity
of capital, and restrain the commercial spirit of the country.
It is very important to be remembered, sir, that, in our intercourse with other nations, we are acting on a principle of
equality ; that is to say, we do not protect our own shipping
interest by peculiar privileges ; we ask a clear field, and seek
no favor. Yet, the materials for ship-building are high with
us, and the wages of ship-builders and seamen are high also*
We have to contend against these unfavorable circumstances;

a n d if, in addition to these, w e are to suffer further by unnec e s s a r y restraints on currency, and by a cramped credit, who
c a n tell what m a y be the effect ? Money is abundant in Engl a n d , very abundant ; the rate of interest, therefore, is low,
a n d capital will be seeking its investment wherever it can hope
t o find it. If we derange our own currejicy, compulsively curtail circulation, and break up credit, how are the commerce
a n d navigation of the United States to maintain themselves
a g a i n s t foreign competition ?
Before leaving, altogether, this subject of an excessive circulation, Mr. President, I will say a few words upon a topic,
w h i c h , if time would permit, I should be glad to consider at
m o r e length ; I mean, sir, the proper guards and securities for
a p a p e r circulation. I have occasionally addressed the Senate
o n this subject before, especially in the debate on the specie
circular, in December, 1S36 ; but I wish to recur to it again,
because I hold it to be of the utmost importance to prove, if it
c a n be proved, to the satisfaction of the country, that a convertible paper currency may be so guarded as to be secure
a g a i n s t probable dangers. I say, sir, a convertible paper curr e n c y : for I lay it down as an unquestionable truth, that no
p a p e r can be made equal, and kept equal to gold and silver,
b u t such as is convertible into gold and silver, on demand. But
I h a v e gone farther, and still go farther than this j and I cont e n d that even convertibility, though itself indispensable, is not
a certain and unfailing ground of reliance. There is a liability
t o excessive issues of paper, even while paper is convertible at
will. Of this there can be no doubt. W h e r e , then, shall a
regulator be found ? W h a t principle of prevention may Ave
r e l y on ?
N o w I think, sir, it is too common with banks, in judging of
t h e i r condition, to set off all their liabilities against all their
T h e y look to the quantity of specie in their vaults,
a n d to the notes and bills becoming payable, as means or
assets ; and, with these, they expect to be able to meet their
returning notes, and to answer the claims of depositors. So
far as the bank is to be regarded as a mere bank of discount,


all this is very well. But banks of circulation exercise another
function. By the very act of issuing their own paper, they
affect the general amount of currency. In England the Bank
of England, and in the United States all the banks, expand or
contract the amount of circulation, of course, as they increase
or curtail the general amount of their own paper. And this
renders it necessary that they should be regulated and controlled. The question is, by what rule ? To this I answer, by subjecting all banks to the rule which the most discreet of them
always follow—by compelling them to maintain a certain fixed
proportion between specie and circulation ; "without regarding
deposites on one hand, or notes payable on the other.
There will always occur occasional fluctuations in trade, and
a demand for specie by one country on another will arise. It
is too much the practice, when such occurrences take place,
and specie is leaving the country, for banks to issue more paper, in order to prevent a scarcity of money. But exactly the
opposite course should be adopted. A demand for specie to
go abroad should be regarded as conclusive evidence of the
necessity of contracting circulation. If, indeed, in such cases,
it could be certainly known that the demand would be of short
duration, the temporary pressure might be relieved by an issue
of paper to fill the place of departing specie. But this never
can be known. There is no safety, therefore, but in meeting
the case at the moment, and in conforming to the infallible index of the exchanges. Circulating paper is thus kept always
nearer to the character, and to the circumstances of that, of
which it is designed to be the representative—the metallic
money. This subject might be pursued, I think, and clearly
illustiaied ; but for the present, I only express my belief that,
with experience before us, and with the lights which recent
discussions, both in Kurope and America, hold out, a national
bank might be established, with more regard to its function of
regulating currency, than to its function of discount, on principles, and subject to regulations, such as should render its operations extremely useful; and [ should hope that, with an example before them of plain and eminent advantage, State insti-


tutions would conform to the same rules and principles; and
t h a t , in this w a y , all the advantages of convertible paper might
be enjoyed, with just security against its dangers.
I have detained the Senate too long, sir, with these observations upon the state of the country, and its pecuniary system
a n d condition.
A n d n o w , when the banks have suspended payments universally, when the internal exchanges are all deranged, and
the business of the country most seriously interrupted, the
questions a r e —
Whether the measure before us is suitable to our condition ?
Whether it is a just and proper exercise and fulfilment of
the powers and duties of Congress?
W h a t , then, sir, will be the practical operation and effect of
this measure, if it should become a law?
JAko its predecessor of the last session, the bill proposes
nothing for the general currency of the country ; nothing to
restore exchanges ; nothing to bring about a speedy resumption of specie payments by the banks. Its whole professed
object is the collection and disbursement of the public revenue.
Some of its friends, indeed, say, that when it shall go into
operation, it will, incidentally,
produce a favorable effect on
the currency, by restraining the issue of bank paper. But
others press it as if its eifect was to be the final overthrow of
all banks, and the introduction of an exclusive metallic currency for all the uses of the country.
Are we to understand, then, that it is intended, by means, of
w h i c h this is the first, to rid the country of all banks, as being
but so many nuisances, and to abolish all paper currency whatever ?
Or is it expected, on the contrary, that after this system shall
jje adopted for the use of Government, there will still be a
paper currency in the country for the use of the people ?
And if there shall still be a paper currency, will that currency consist of irredeemable Government paper, or of convertible hahk notes, such as have circulated heretofore?

These questions must be answered, before we can j u d g e
accurately of the operation of this bill.
As to an exclusive metallic currency, sir, the A d m i n i s t r a t i o n
on this point is regularly Janus-faced. Out doors, and a m o n g
the people, it shows itself " all clinquant ^ all in gold." T h e r e ,
every thing is to be hard money—no paper rags—no d e l u s i v e
credits—no bank monopolies—no trust in paper of any k i n d .
But in the T r e a s u r y Department, and in the Houses of C o n gress, w e see another aspect—a mixed appearance, partly g o l d
and partly p a p e r ; gold for Government, and paper for t h e
people. T h e small voice which is heard here, allows t h e a b solute necessity of paper of some sort, and to some e x t e n t ;
while the shouts in the community d e m a n d the destruction o f
all banks, and the final extermination of all paper circulation.
To the people, the lion roars against paper money in all t h e
loxidness and terror of his natural voice ; but to members o f
Congress, he is more discreet ; lest he should frighten t h e m
out of their wits, he here restrains and modulates, and r o a r s
as gently as any sucking dove, or, as it were, any nightingale/* T h e impracticability of an exclusive metallic currency^
the absurdity of attempting any such thing in a country l i k e
this, is so manifest, that nobody here undertakes to support
it by any reasoning or argument. All that is said in its favor,
is general denunciation of paper, boisterous outcry against t h e
banks, and declamation against existing institutions, full of
sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Sir, the moment any one considers it, he sees how ridiculous
a n y such attempt would be. An exclusive metallic circulation
for the second commercial country on earth, in the nineteenth
century! Sir, you might as well propose to abolish commerce
T h e currency of E n g l a n d is estimated at sixty millions sterling: and it is Mr. McCulIoch's calculation, that if this currency were all gold, allowing only one-quarter of one per cent,
for w e a r of metals, the a n n u a l expense, attending such a currency, would be three millions and a quarter a year, or nearly
five per cent, upon the whole. W i t h us, this charge would be

m u c h greater. The loss of capital would be more, owing to
t h e higher rates of interest ; and besides all this, is the cost of
transportation, which, in a country so extensive as ours, would
b e vast, and not easily calculated. W e should also require,
proportionally, more specie than is requisite in England, bec a u s e our system of exchange, by means of bills of exchange,
is, at present, and would be, under such a system as is proposed, much less perfect and convenient than that of England.
Besides, the English metallic circulation is mostly gold, gold
b e i n g in E n g l a n d the standard metal. With us, silver and gold
b o t h are m a d e standards, at a fixed relation ; and if w e should
succeed to keep this relation so true as to preserve both of the
precious metals among us, (which, indeed, is not very probable,) our circulation would be still more expensive and cumbrous, from the quantity of silver which it would contain. The
silver in the world is estimated to be fifty times as much as
the gold in amount, and consequently something more than
three times in value. If both should circulate, therefore,
e q u a l l y , in proportion to value, the currency would be three
p a r t s silver, and one gold.
N o w , sir, the annual expense of such a circulation, upon the
b a s i s of M r . McCulloch's estimate, would exceed the whole
a n n u a l expenditure made for our a r m y and our n a v y . Consider, sir, the amount of actual daily payments made in the
c o u n t r y . It is difficult to estimate it, and quite impossible to
ascertain it, with any accuracy. But we can form some notion of it, by the daily amount of payments in the banks in
some of the cities. In tinles of prosperous business and comm e r c e , the daily amount of payments in the banks of N e w
Y o r k alone has been equal to eight millions. W h e t h e r w e call
t h i s a tenth, a twentieth, or a fiftieth part of all the payments
a n d receipts made daily in the country, w e see to w h a t an
a g g r e g a t e result the whole would rise. A n d h o w is it possible
t h a t such a m o u n t of receipt and p a y m e n t could be performed
b y an actual passing of gold a n d silver from hand to hand ?
Such notions, sir, hardly require serious refutation*
Mr. President, an entire metallic currency would necessarily



create banks immediately. Where would the money be kept,,
or how could it be remitted ? Banks of deposite must a n d
would be instantly provided for it* Would the merchants o f
the cities be seen, in their daily walks of business, with s e r vants behind them, with bags of gold and kegs of silver o n
their wheelbarrows ? W h a t folly is great enough to i m a g i n e
this ? If there were not now" a bank note, nor a bank in t h e
country, and if there should be an exclusive specie c u r r e n c y
to-morrow morning at nine o'clock, there would be fifty b a n k s
before sunset. From necessity, there would be created at o n c e
places of deposite ; and persons having money in such depositories would draw checks for it, and pass these checks a s
money, and from one hand they would pass to another ; o r
the depositary himself would issue certificates of deposite, and
these would pass as currency, And all this would do no m o r e
than just to carry us back two or three hundred years, to the
infancy of banks. W e should then have done nothing b u t
reject the experience of the most civilized nations, for s o m e
centuries, as well as all our own experience, and have returned
to the rude conceptions of former times. These certificates o f
deposite would soon be found to be often issued without a n y
solid capital, or actual deposite. Abuses arising from this
source would call for legislative interference, and the Legislature would find it necessary to restrain the issue of paper
intended for circulation, by enacting that such issue should
only be made on the strength of competent capital, actually
provided and assigned, placed under proper regulation, a n d
managed by persons responsible' to the laws. And this
would bring us again exactly to the state of things in which
we n o w are ; that is to say, to the use of the paper of banks,
established, regulated, and controlled by law. In the mean
time, before this process could be carried through, half the
community would be made bankrupt by the ruin of their business, and by the violent and revolutionary changes of property
which the process would create. The whole class of debtors,
all that live more by industry than on capital, would be overwhelmed with undistinguishing destruction.

T h e r e will then, sir, be no such thing as an exclusive paper
currency. T h e country will not be guilty of the folly of
attempting it.
I should have felt that I h a d occupied too much time with
such a senseless and preposterous suggestion, were it not the
manifest object of partisans to press such notions upon the
attention of the people, in aid of the war against the banks.
W e shall then, sir, have paper of some sort, forming a part
of our currency* W h a t will that paper be ? T h e honorable
gentleman from South Carolina, admitting that paper is necess a r y as a part of the currency, or circulation, has contended
t h a t that paper ought to be Government paper—Government
paper, not convertible nor redeemable, only so far as by being
receivable for debts and dues to Government. My colleague
h a s endeavored to satisfy the Senate, that the aim of the
whole system, of which he regards this bill as but part, is to
establish a circulation of Government paper and a Government
bank. Other gentlemen have taken the same view of it. But,
as the bill itself does not profess any such purpose, I a m
-willing to discuss it in the character in which it presents itself.
I t a k e it for w h a t its friends say it is—a bill making further
provision for collecting the revenues.
We are, then, sir, still to have paper as a general medium of
circulation ; that paper is to be the paper of banks ; but Government is to be divorced from these banks, altogether. It is
not to keep its funds in them, as heretofore. It is to have
nothing to do with them, is not to receive their notes, but is to
collect and disburse its revenues iu specie by its o w n means
a n d its o w n officers.
T h e receipt of the notes of specie-paying banks, it is true, is
to be partially allowed for some time, but it is to be gradually
discontinued ; and six years hence, we are to arrive at the m a turity and the perfection of the system. W h e n that auspicious
d a y comes, Government is to receive and to pay out gold and
silver, and nothing but gold and silver.
N o w , Mr- President, let us anticipate this joyous epoch ; let
us suppose the six years to have e x p i r e d ; and let us imagine
this bill, with its specie payments and all, to be in full opera-



tion at the present hour. What will that operation be ?
the first place, disregarding all question of public c o n v e n i e n c e ,
or the general interests of the people, how will this s y s t e m
work as a mere mode of collecting and paying out r e v e n u e ?
Let us see.
Our receipts and expenditures may be estimated, each, a t
thirty millions a year. Those who think this estimate e i t h e r
too high or too low, may make the necessary a l l o w a n c e .
Here, then, is the sum of thirty millions, to be collected a n d
paid out every year ; and it is all to he counted, actually t o l d
over, dollar after dollar, and gold piece after gold piece ; a n d
how many times counted ? Let us inquire into that. T h e
importing merchant, whose ship has arrived, and who has c a s h
duties to pay, goes to the bank for his money, and the teller
counts it out: that is once. He carries it to the custom-house,
pays it, and the clerks count it over: that is twice. S o m e
days afterwards the collector takes it out of his bags a n d
chests, carries it to the receiver-general's office, and there it is
counted again, and poured into the bags and chests of t h a t
office: that is the third time. Presently a warrant comes from
the Treasury, in favor of some disbursing officer, and the boxes
are opened, and the necessary sums counted out: this is t h e
fourth counting. And, fifthly and lastly, the disbursing officer
pays it to the persons entitled to receive it, on contracts, or for
pennons, salaries, or other claims. Thirty millions of hard
money are thus to be handled and told over five times in the
course of the year ; and if there be transfers from place to
place, then, of course, it is to be counted so much oftener.
Government officers, therefore, are to count over one hundred
and fifty millions of dollars a year; which, allowing three
hundred working days to the year, gives five hundred thousand dollars a day. But this is not all. Once a quarter,
the naval officer is to count the collector's money, and the
register in the land office is to count the receiver's money.
And, moreover, sir, every now and then the Secretary of the
Treasury is to authorize unexpected and impromptu countings, in his discretion, and just to satisfy his own mind !
Sir, what a money-counting, tinkling, jingling generation

w e shall b e ! All the money-changers in Solomon's temple
will be as nothing to us. Our sound will go forth unto all
lands. We shall all be like the king in the ditty of the nursery:
" T h e r e sat the kins, a counting of his money."

You will observe, sir, that these receipts and payments cannot be made in parcels, without the actual handling of each
piece of coin. The marks on kegs of dollars, and the labels
an bags of gold, are not to be trusted. They are a part of
all credit, all trust, all confidence, is to be done
a,way with. When the surveyor, for instance, at the customhouse, is to examine the money on hand, in possession of the
collector, or receiver-general, he is, of course, to count the
money. N o other examination can come to any thing. H e
cannot tell, from external appearance, nor from the weight,
whether the collector has loaned out the money, and filled the
bags and boxes up with sand and lead, or not. Nor can
counterfeit pieces be otherwise detected than by actual handling. H e must open, he must examine, he must count. And
so at the land o/tices, the mints, and elsewhere. If these
officers shali have a taste for silver sounds, they are all likely
to he gratified.
M r . President, in all soberness, is not this whole operation
It begins by proposing to keep the public moneys. This,
itself, in the sense the word is here used, is a perfect novelty,
especially in the United States. W h y keep the public moneys;
t h a t is to say, why hoard them, w h y keep them out of use ?
T h e use of money is in the exchange. It is designed to circulate, not to be hoarded- All that Government should have to
d o with it is to receive it to-day that it may pay it a w a y to*
m o r r o w . It should not receive it before it needs i t ; and it
should part with it as soon as it owes it. To keep it—that is,
in detain it, to hold it back from general use, to hoard it, is a
conception belonging to barbarous times and barbarous Governments- H o w would it strike us, if we should see other
oreat commercial nations acting upon such a system ? If
E n g l a n d , with a revenue of fifty millions sterling a year, were


found to be collecting and disbursing every shilling of i t i n
hard money, through all the ramifications of her vast e x p e n d iture, should we not think her mad ? But the system is w o r s e
here, because it withdraws just so much active capital f r o m
the uses of a country that requires capital, and is paying- i n terest for capital wherever it can obtain it.
But now, sir, allow me to examine the operation of t h i s
measure upon the general interest of commerce, and u p o n t h e
general currency of the country- And in this point of v i e w
the first great question is, JVhat amount of gold and silverwill this operation subtract from the circulation of
country , and from the use of the banks ?
In regard to this important inquiry, we are not without
the means of forming some judgment. An official report from
the Treasury, made to the other House, shows that, for the
last ten years, there has* been, at the end of each year, o n a n
average, fifteen millions and four hundred thousand dollars in
the Treasury. And this sum is exclusive of all that had b e e n
collected of the people, but had not yet reached the Treasury ;
and, also, of all that had been drawn from the Treasury by d i s bursing officers, but which had not yet been by them paid to
individuals. Adding these sums together, sir, and the result is,
that on an average for the last ten years, there have been a t
least twenty millions of dollars in the Treasury. I do not
mean, of course, that this sum is, the whole of it, unappropriated. I mean that this amount has, in fact, been in the
Treasury, either not appropriated, or not called for under a p propriations ; so that if this sub-Treasury scheme had been
in operation, in times past, of the specie in the currency
twenty millions would have been constantly locked up in the
safes and vaults. Now, sir, I do not believe that, for these
ten years, the whole amount of silver and gold in the country has exceeded, on the average, fifty or sixty millions. I do
not believe it exceeds sixty millions at the present m o m e n t ;
and if we had now the whole system in complete operation,
it would lock up, and keep locked up, one full third of all the
specie in the country. Locked up, I say—hoarded—rendered
as useless to all purposes of commerce and business, as if it

-were carried back to its native mines. Sir, is it not inconceivable that any man should fall upon such a scheme of
policy as this ? Is it possible that any one can fail to see the
destructive efleets of such a policy on the commerce and the
currency of the country ?
It is true the system does not come into operation all at
But it begins its demands for specie immediately ;
it calls upon the banks, and it calls upon individuals, for
their hard dollars, that they may be put away and locked
u p in the Treasury, at the very 7nornent when the country is suffering Jbr want of more specie in the circulaiiony and the banks are suffering Jbr means to enable them
to resume their payments.
And this, it is expected, will
improve the currency, and facilitate resumption!
It has heretofore been asserted, that the general currency
of the country needed to be strengthened, by the introduction
of more specie into the circulation. This has been insisted
vn^ for years- Let it be conceded. I have admitted it, and,
indeed, contended for the proposition heretofore, and endeavored to prove it. But it must be plain to every body,
t h a t any addition of specie, in order to be useful, must
either go into the circulation, as a part of that circulation, or
^Ise it must go into the banks, to enable them the better to
sustain and redeem their paper. But this bill is calculated
to promote neither of those ends, but exactly the reverse.
It withdraws specie from the circulation and from the banks,
a n d piles it up in useless heaps in the Treasury. It weake n s the general circulation, by making the portion of specie*
which is part of it, so much the less ; it weakens the banks,
b y reducing the amount of coin which supports their
The general evil imputed to our currency, for
some years past, is, that paper has formed too great a portion of it. T h e operation of this measure must be to increase that very evil. I have admitted the evil, and have
concurred in measures to remedy it. I have favored the withd r a w i n g of small bills from circulation, to the end that
specie might take their place.
I discussed this policy, and
supported it, as early as 1832. My colleague, who, shortly

after that period, was placed in the chair of the c h i e f m a gistracy of Massachusetts, pressed its consideration, at l e n g t h ,
upon the attention of the Legislature of that State. I s t i l l
think it was a right policy. Some of the States had b e g u n
to adopt it.
But the measures of the Administration, a n d
especially this proposed measure, throw this policy all a b a c k .
They undo at once all that w e have been laboring.
and so pertinacious has been the demand of G o v e r n m e n t f o r
specie, and such new demand does this bill promise to c r e a t e ,
that the States have found themselves compelled a g a i n t o
issue small bills for the use of the people, It was a d a y o f
rejoicing, as we have lately seen, among the people of N e w
York, when the Legislature of that State suspended t h e
small-bill restraining law, and furnished the people with s o m e
medium for small payments, better than the miserable t r a s h
which now annoys the community.
The Government, therefore, I insist, is evidently b r e a k i n g
down its own declared policy ; it is defeating, openly a n d
manifestly defeating, its own professed objects.
And yet, theory, imagination, presumptuous generalization,
the application of military movements to questions of c o m merce and finance, and the abstractions of metaphysics, offer
us, in such a state of things, their panacea. And what is it ?
W h a t is it ? W h a t is to cure or mitigate these evils, or w h a t
is to w a r d off future calamities? W h y , sir, the most agreeable
remedy imaginable ; the kindest, tenderest, most soothing, a n d
solacing application in the whole world ! Nothing, sir, nothing upon earth, but a smart, delightful, perpetual, and irreconcileable warfare, between the Government of the United
States and the State banks ! All will be well, w e are assured,
w h e n the Government and the banks become antagonistical !
Yes, sir, " antagonistical !" that is the word. W h a t a stroke
of policy, sir, is this ! It is as delicate a stratagem as poor old
King Lear's, and a good deal like it. It proposes that w e
should tread lightly along, in felt or on velvet, till we get the
banks within our power, and then, " k i l l , kill, kill !**
Sir, w e may talk as much as we please about the resumption of specie payments, but I tell you that, with Government

t h u s w a n i n g upon the banks, if resumption should take
place, another suspension I fear would follow. It is not war,
successful or unsuccessful, between Government and the
b a n k s ; it is only peace, trust, confidence, that can restore the
prosperity of the country. This system of perpetual annoyance to the banks, this hoarding up of money which the country demands for its own necessary uses, this bringing of the
whole revenue to act, not in aid and furtherance, but in direct
hindrance and embarrassment of commerce and business, is
utterly irreconcileable with the public interest. We shall see
110 return of former times till it be abandoned—altogether
The passage of this bill will only create new
alarm and new distress.
People begin already to fear their own Government. They
have an actual dread of those who should be their protectors
and guardians. There are hundreds of thousands of honest
a n d industrious men, sir, at this very moment, who would feel
relieved in their circumstances, who would see a better prospect of an honest livelihood, and feel more sure of the means
of food and clothing for their wives and children, if they should
h e a r that this measure had received its death. Let us, then,
sir, a w a y with it. Do we not see the world prosperous around
Do we not see other Governments and other nations, enuS ?
lightened by experience, and rejecting arrogant innovations
a n d theoretic dreams, accomplishing the great ends of society ?
W h y , sir, w h y are w e — w h y are we alone among the great
commercial states—why are we to be kept on the rack and
torture of these experiments ? W e have powers, adequate,
complete powers. W e need only to exercise t h e m ; we need
only to perform our constitutional duty, and w e shall spread
content, cheerfulness, and joy, over the whole land.
This brings me, sir, to the second inquiry.
Is this measure, Mr. President, a just exercise of the powers of Congress, and does it fulfil all our duties ?
Sir, I have so often discussed this point, I have so constantly
insisted, for several years past, on the constitutional obligation
of Congress to take care of the currency, that the Senate must


be already tired of the speaker, if not weary of the topic ; a n d
yet, after all, this is the great and paramount question. XJntil
this is settled, the agitation can never be quieted. If w e h a v e
not the power, we must leave the whole subject in the h a n d s
of those who have it, or in no hands ; but if we have the p o w er, we are bound to exercise it, and every d a y ' s neglect i s a
violation of duty. I, therefore, again insist, that we h a v e t h e
power, and I again press its exercise on the two H o u s e s o f
Congress. I again assert that the regulation of the g e n e r a l
currency—of the money of the country, whatever a c t u a l l y
constitutes that money—is one of our solemn duties.
The constitution confers on us, sir, the exclusive p o w e r of
coinage. This must have been done for the purpose of e n a bling Congress to establish one uniform basis for the w h o l e
money system. Congress, therefore, and Congress alone, l i a s
power over the foundation, the ground-work, of the c u r r e n c y ;
and it would be strange and anomalous, having this, if it h a d
nothing to do with the structure, the edifice, to be raised o n
this foundation ! Convertible paper w a s already in circulation w h e n the constitution was framed, and must have b e e n
expected to continue and to increase* But the circulation o f
paper tends to displace coin ; it may banish it altogether : a t
this very moment it has banished it. If, therefore, the p o w e r
over the coin does not enable Congress to protect the coin, a n d
to restrain any thing which would supersede it, and abolish its
use, the whole power becomes nugatory. If others may drive
out the coin, and fill the country with paper which does n o t
represent coin, of what use, I beg to know, is that exclusive
power over coins and coinage which is given to Congress b y
the constitution ?
Gentlemen on the other side admit that it is the tendency of
paper circulation to expel the coin ; but then they say, that,
for that very reason, they will withdraw from all connexion
with the general currency, and limit themselves to the sftigle
and narrow object of protecting the coin, and providing for p a y ments to Government. This seems to me to be a x^ery strange
w a y of reasoning, and a very strange course of political con*

luct. T h e coinage-power was given to be used for the benefit of the whole country, and not merely to furnish a medium
for the collection of revenue. T h e object was to secure, for
t h e general use of the people, a sound and safe circulating med i u m . There can be no doubt of this intent. If any evil arises
threatening to destroy or endanger this medium or this currency, our duty is to meet it, not to retreat from it ; to remedy it,
not to let it alone ; w e are to control and correct the mischief,
not to submit to it. W h e r e v e r paper is to circulate, as subsidi a r y to coin, or as performing, in a greater or less degree, the
function of coin, its regulation naturally belongs to the hands
which hold the power over the coinage. This is an admitted
m a x i m b y all writers ; it has been admitted a n d acted upon,
on all necessary occasions, by our o w n Government, throughout its whole history. W h y will we now think ourselves
wiser than all w h o have gone before us ?
This conviction of w h a t w a s the duty of Government led to
the establishment of the b a n k in the administration of General
Washington. Mr. Madison, again, acted upon the same conviction in IS 16, and Congress entirely agreed with him. On
former occasions, I have referred the Senate, more than once,
to the clear and emphatic opinions and language of Mr. Madison, in his messages in IS 15 and 1816 ; and they ought to be
repeated, again and again, and pressed upon the public attention.
A n d now let me say, sir, that no man in our history h a s
carried the doctrine farther, defended it with more ability, or
acted upon it with more decision and effect, t h a n the honorable member from South Carolina. His speech upon the bank
bill, on the 26th of F e b r u a r y , 1SI0, is strong, full, and conclusive. He has heretofore said that some part of what h e
said on that occasion does not appear in the printed speech $
b u t , whatever m a y have been left out by accident, that which
is in the speech could not have got in b y accident. Such accid e n t s do not happen. A close, well -conducted, and conclusive
constitutional argument is not the result of an accident or of
c h a n c e ; and his argument on that occasion, as it seems to m e ,


was perfectly conclusive. Nor could the gentleman w h o r e ported the speech, a gentleman of talent though he is, h a v e
framed such an argument, dviring the time occupied in p r e p a r i n g the report for the press. As to what is actually in the s p e e c h ,
therefore, there can be no mistake. The honorable g e n t l e man, in that speech, founds the right of regulatmg the p a p e r
currency directly on the coinage power. " T h e only o b j e c t / *
he says, " the framers of the constitution could have in v i e w ,
in giving to Congress the power to coin money, r e g u l a t e
the value thereof, and of foreign coin, must have b e e n t o
give a steadiness and fixed value to the currency o f tHe
United States/' The state of things, he insisted, existing a t
the time of the adoption of the constitution, afforded an a r g u ment in support of the construction. There then existed, h e
said, a depreciated paper currency, which could only be r e g ulated and made uniform by giving a power, for that p u r p o s e ,
to the General Government.
He proceeded to say that, by a sort of under-current, t h e
power of Congress to regulate the money of the country h a d
caved in, and upon its ruin had sprung up those institutions
which now exercised the right of making money for and i n
the United States. " For gold and silver," he insisted, u are n o t
the only money ; but whatever is the medium of purchase a n d
sale ; in which bank paper alone was now employed, and h a d ,
therefore, become the money of the country." " T h e right o f
making money," he added, " a n attribute of sovereign p o w e r ,
a sacred and important right, was exercised by two hundred
and sixty banks, scattered over every part of the United
Certainly, sir, nothing can be clearer than this language ;
and, acting vigorously upon principles thus plainly laid d o w n ,
he conducted the bank bill through the House of Representatives. On that occasion, he was the champion of the power
of Congress over the currency ; and others were willing to
follow his lead.
But the bank bill was not all. The honorable gentleman
went much farther. The bank, it was hoped and expected,

would furnish a good paper currency to the extent of its own
issues ; but there was a vast quantity of bad paper in circulation, and it was possible that the mere influence of the bank,
and the refusal to receive this bad money at the Treasury,
might not, both, be able to banish it entirely from the country.
T h e honorable member meant to make clean work. He meant
that neither Government nor People should suffer the evils of
irredeemable paper. Therefore, lie brought in another bill,
entitled " A bill for the more effectual collection of the public
revenue." By the provisions of this bill, he proposed to lay
a. direct stamp tax on the bills of State banks; and all notes
of non-specie-paying banks were, by this stamp, to be branded
with the following words, in distinct and legible characters, at
length— a NOT A SPECIE N O T E / ' For the tax laid on such notes
there was to be no composition, no commutation ; but it was
to be specifically collected on every single bill issued, until
those who issued such bills should announce to the Secretary
of the Treasury, and prove to his satisfaction, that, after a day
named in the bill, all their notes would be paid in specie, on
And now, how is it possible, sir, for the author of such a
measure as this to stand up and declare that the power of
Congress over the currency is limited to the mere regulation
of the coin ? So much for our authority, as it has heretofore
been admitted and acknowledged, under the coinage power.
Nor, sir, is the other source of power, in my opinion, at all
more questionable.
Congress has the supreme regulation of commerce. This
gives it, necessarily, a superintendence over all the interests,
agencies, and instruments of commerce. The words are general, and they confer the whole power. When the end is
given, all the usual means are given. Money is the chief instrument or agent of commerce ; there can, indeed, be no commerce without it, which deserves the name. Congress must,
therefore, regulate it as it regulates other indispensable commercial interests. If no means were to be used to this end
but such as are particularly enumerated, the whole authority


would be nugatory, because no means are particularly e r x u i x i e ,
rated. We regulate ships, their tonnage, their m e a s u r e m e n t
the shipping articles, the medicine chest, and v a r i o u s o t h e r
things belonging to them: and for all this we have no a u t h o r i t y
but the general power to regulate commerce ; none o f t h e s e
or other means or modes of regulation are p a r t i c u l a r l y a n d
expressly pointed out.
But is a ship a more important instrument of c o m m e r c e
than money? We protect a policy of insurance, b e c a u s e i t i s
an important instrument of ordinary commercial contract ; a n d
our laws punish with death any master of a vessel, or o t h e r s ,
who shall commit a fraud on the parties to this c o n t r a c t b y
casting away a vessel. For all this we have no e x p r e s s a u thority- We infer it from the general power of r e g u l a t i n g
commerce; and we exercise the power in this case, b e c a u s e a
policy of insurance is one of the usual instruments, or m e a n s ,
of commerce. But how inconsiderable and unimportant i s a
policy of insurance, as the means or an instrument of c o m merce, compared with the whole circulating paper of a c o u i i ^
try ?
Sir, the power is granted to us ; and granted without a n y
specification of means ; and therefore we may lawfully e x e r cise all the usual means. I need not particularize these m e a n s ,
nor state, at present, what they are, or may be. One is, n o
doubt, a proper regulation of receipts at the custom-houses a n d
land offices. But this, of itself, is not enough. Another is a
national bank ; which, I fully believe, would, even n o w , a n swer all desired purposes, and reinstate the currency in n i n e t y
days. These, I think, are the means to be first tried ; a n d if,
notwithstanding these, irredeemable paper should o v e r w h e l m
us, others must be resorted to. We have no direct a u t h o r i t y
over State banks ; but we have power over the currency, a n d
we must protect it, using, of course, always, such m e a n s , if
they be found adequate, as shall be most gentle and mild. T h e
great measure, sir, is a bank ; because a bank is not only able
lo restrain the excessive issues of State banks, but it is able
also to furnish for the country a currency of universal credit,

a n d of uniform value. This is the grand desideratum. Until
s u c h a currency is established, depend on it, sir, w h a t is necess a r y for the prosperity of the country can never be accomplished.
On the question of power, sir, w e have a very important
a n d striking precedent.
T h e members of the Senate, Mr. President, will recollect
t h e controversy between N e w York and her neighbor States,
fifteen or sixteen years ago, upon the exclusive right ot steam
navigation. N e w York had granted an exclusive right of such
navigation over her waters to Mr. Fulton and his associates ;
a n d declared, by law, that no vessel propelled by steam should
navigate the North river or the Sound, without license from
these grantees, under penalty of confiscation,
T o counteract this law, the Legislature of N e w Jersey enacted, that if any citizen of hers should be restrained, or inj u r e d , in person or property, by a n y party acting under the
l a w of N e w York, such citizen should have remedy in her
courts, if the offender could be caught within her territory,
a n d should be entitled to treble damages and costs.
J e r s e y called this act a law of retortion ; and justified it on
t h e general ground of reprisals.
On the other side, Connecticut took fire ; and as no steamboat could come d o w n the Sound from New York to Connecticut, or pass up from Connecticut to N e w York, without a
JNew York license, she enacted a law, by which h e a v y penalties were imposed upon all w h o should presume to come into
h e r ports and harbors, having any such license.
H e r e , sir, w a s a very harmonious state of commercial intercourse ! a very promising condition of things, indeed ! You
could not get from N e w York to N e w Haven by s t e a m ; nor
could you go from N e w York to N e w Jersey, without transhipment in the bay. And now, sir, let me remind the country, that this belligerant legislation of the States concerned,
w a s justified and defended by exactly the same arguments as
those which we have heard in this debate. E v e r y thing which
h a s been said here to prove that the authority to regulate

commerce does not include a power to regulate currency w a s
said in that case to prove that the same authority did not include an exclusive power over steamboats or other means of
navigation. I do not know a reason, a suggestion, an idea,
which has been used in this debate, or which was used in the
debate in September, to show that Congress has no power to
control the currency of the country and make it uniform, which
was not used in this steamboat controversy to prove that the
authority of this Government did not reach the matter then in
dispute. Look to the forensic discussion in N e w York ! Look
to the argument in the court here ! You will find it everywhere urged that navigation does not come within the general
idea of regulating commerce ; that steamboats are but vehicles
and instruments; that the power of Congress is general, and
general only ; and that it does not extend to agents and instruments.
And what, sir, put an end to this state of things? What
stopped these seizures and confiscations ? Nothing in the
world, sir, but the exercise of the constitutional power of this
Government. Nothing in the world, but the decision of the
Supreme Court that the power of Congress to regulate commerce was paramount; that it overruled any interfering State
laws ; and that these acts of the States did interfere with acts
of Congress enacted under its clear constitutional authority.
As to the extent of the power of regulating commerce, allow
me to quote a single sentence from the opinion of one of tlie
learned judges of the Supreme Court, delivered on that occasion ; a judge always distinguished for the great care with
which he guarded State rights : I mean Mr, Justice Johnson.
And when I have read it, sir, then say if it does not confirm
every word and syllable which I have uttered on this subject,
either now, or at the September session*
" I n the advancement of society," said the judge, "labor,
transportation, intelligence, care, and various means of exchange, become commodities, and enter into commerce; and
the subject, the vehicle, the agents and these various operations, become the objects of commercial

These just sentiments prevailed. The decision of the court
quieted the dangerous controversy ; and satisfied, and I will
add gratified, most highly gratified, the whole country.
Sir, may we not perceive at the present moment, without
being suspected of looking with eyes whose sight is sharpened
b y too much apprehension—may we not perceive,, sir, in what
is now passing around us, the possible beginnings of another
controversy between States, which may be of still greater
moment, and followed, unless arrested, by still more deplorable
consequences? Do we see no danger, no disturbance, no contests ahead ? Sir, do we not behold excited commercial rivalship, evidently existing between great States and great cities?
Do we not see an emulous competition for trade, external and
internal ? Do we not see the parties concerned enlarging, and
proposing to enlarge, to a vast extent, their plans of currency,
evidently in connexion with these objects of trade and commerce ? Do we not see States themselves becoming deeply
interested in great banking institutions ? Do we not know
that already, the notes and bills of some States are prohibited
by law from circulating in others?
Sir, I will push these questions no farther : but I tell you that
it was for exactly such a crisis as this—for this very crisis—for
this identical exigency now upon us—that this constitution
w a s framed, and this Government established- Andj, sir, let
those who expect to get over this crisis without effort and
without action ; let those whose hope it is that they may be
borne along on the tide of circumstances and favorable occurrences, and who repose in the denial of their own powers and
their own responsibility—let all such look well to the end.
For one, I intend to clear myself from all blame, I intend,
this day, to free myself of the responsibility of consequences,
by warning you of the danger into which you are conducting
o l l r pviblic affairs; by urging and entreating you, as I do now
u r g e a n f l entreat you, by invoking you, as I do invoke you,
b y your love of country, and your fidelity to the constitution,
to abandon all untried expedients ; to put no trust in in^ennity and contrivance ; to have done with projects which alarm



and agitate the people ; to seek no shelter from obligation a n d
duty : but with manliness, directness, and true wisdom, to a p ply to the evils of the times their proper remedy. That Providence may guide the counsels of the country to this end, before
even greater disasters and calamities overtake us, is my most
fervent prayer!
Mr. President, on the subject of the power of Congress, a s
well as on other important topics, connected with the bill,
the honorable gentleman from South Carolina has advanced
opinions, of "which I feel bound to take some notice.
That honorable gentleman, in his recent speech, attempted
to exhibit a contrast between the course of conduct which I,
and other gentlemen who act with me, at present pursue, and
that which we have heretofore followed. In presenting this
contrast, he said he intended nothing personal ; his only object was truth. To this I could not object. The occasion requires, sir, that I should now examine his opinions; and I can
truly say, with him, that I mean nothing personally injurious,
and that my object, also, is truth, and nothing else. Here I
might stop ; but I will even say something more.
It is now five and twenty years, sir, since 1 became acquainted with the honorable gentleman, in the House of Representatives, in which he had held u seat, I think, about a year and a
half before I entered it. From that period, sir, down to the
year 1S24, I can say, with great sincerity, there was not,
among my political contemporaries, any man for whom I entertained a higher respect, or warmer esteem. When we first
met, we were both young men. I beheld in him a generous
character, a liberal and comprehensive mind, engrossed by
great objects, distinguished talent, and, particularly, great originality and vigor of thought. That he was ambitious, I did
not doubt; but that there was any thing in his ambition low
or sordid, any thing approaching to a love of the mere loaves
and fishes of office, I did not then believe, and do not now
believe. If, from that moment down to the time I have already mentioned, 1 differed with him on any great constitutional question, I do not know it.

13tit, i n 1S24, events well known to the Senate separated us ;
a n d t h a t separation remained, wide and broad, until the end
of t h e memorable session which terminated in March, 1833.
W i t h t h e events of that session our occasions of difference had
c e a s e d ; certainly for the time, and, as I sincerely hoped, fore v e r . Before the next meeting of Congress, the public deposi t e s h a d been removed from their lawful custody by the President.
Respecting this exercise of the Executive power the
h o n o r a b l e gentleman and myself entertained the same opini o n s ; and, in regard to subsequent transactions connected with
t h a t , and growing out of it, there was not, so far as I know,
a n y difference of sentiment between us. We looked upon all
t h e s e proceedings but as so many efforts to give to the Execut i v e a n unconstitutional control over the public moneys. We
t h o u g h t we saw, every where, proofs of a design to extend
E x e c u t i v e authority, not only in derogation of the just powers
of Congress, hut to the danger of the public liberty. W e acted
t o g e t h e r , to check these designs, and to arrest the march of
E x e c u t i v e prerogative and dominion. In all this Ave were but
c o - o p e r a t i n g with many other gentlemen here, and with a
l a r g e and intelligent portion of the whole country.
T h e unfortunate results of these Executive interferences
w i t h the currency had made an impression on the public mind.
A revolution seemed in progress, and the people were coming
in t h e i r strength, as we began to think, to support us and our
I n this state of things, sir, we met here at the commencem e n t of the September session : but we met, not as we had
clone ; w e met, not as w e had parted. The events of May, the
p o l i c y of the President in reference to those events, the doct r i n e s of the message of September, the principles and opini o n s w h i c h the honorable gentleman, both to my surprise and
to m y infinite regret, came forward then to support, rendered
it q * l i t e impossible for us to act together fox a single moment
l o n ^ c r * T 0 l * le leading doctrines of that message, and to the
policy which it recommended, I felt, and still feel, a deep, conscientious, and irreconcilable opposition. The honorable gen-


tlenum supported, and still supports, both. H e r e , then, w o
part. On these questions of constitutional p o w e r and d u t y ,
and on these m o m e n t o u s questions of national policy, w e s e p a rate. And so broad a n d a m p l e is the space which divides u s ,
and so deep does the division r u n , touching even the v e r y
foundations of the G o v e r n m e n t , that, considering the time o f
life to which w e both have arrived, it is not probable that w e
are to meet again. 1 say this with unfeigned and deep r e g r e t .
Believe m e , sir, I would most gladly act with the h o n o r a b l e
g e n t l e m a n . If he would but come b a c k , n o w . to w h a t I c o n sider his former principles and s e n t i m e n t s ; if he would p l a c e
himself on those constitutional doctrines which he has sustained through a long series of y e a r s ; and if, t h u s standing, h e
would exert his acknowledged ability to restore the prosperity
of the: country, and put an end to the mischiefs of reckless e x periments and d a n g e r o u s innovation,— I would not only w i l lingly act with him, I would act wider him ; I would follow
him, I would support h i m , I would back him at every step, t o
the utmost of m y p o w e r a n d ability. Such is not to be o u r
destiny. T h a t destiny is, that w e here part ; a n d all I c a n
say further is, that he carries with him the same feeling of
personal kindness on my part, the same hearty good-will w h i c h
have heretofore inspired me.
T h e r e h a v e boon three principal occasions, sir, on which
the honorable gentleman h a s expressed his opinions upon t h e
questions now under discussion. T h e y are his speech of t h e
1.1th September, his published letter of the 3d N o v e m b e r , and
his leading speeeh at the present session. T h e s e productions
are all m a r k e d with his characteristic ability j they are ingenious, able, condensed, and striking. T h e y deserve an answer. T o some of the observations in the speech of September, 1 m a d e a reply on the d a y of its d e l i v e r y ; there are other
parts of m h o w e v e r , which require a more deliberate e x a m i nation.
>1r. President, the honorable gentleman declares in t h a t
speech, " t h a t lie belongs to the State-rights p a r t y ; that t h a t
party, from the beginning of the G o v e r n m e n t , has been o p p o -

s e d t o a national bank as unconstitutional, inexpedient, and
d a n g e r 0 u s ; that it has ever dreaded the union of the political
a n d m o n e y e d power and the central action of the Government,
t o w h i c h it so strongly tends ; that the connexion of the Governm e n t w i t h the banks, whether it be with a combination of
S t a t e b a n k s , or with a national institution, will necessarily cent r a l i z e the action of the system at the principal point of collect i o n a n d disbursement, and at which the mother bank, or the
h e a d of the league of State b a n k s , must be located. From
t h a t point, the whole system, through the connexion with the
G o v e r n m e n t , will be enabled to control the exchanges both at
h o m e a n d abroad, and, with it? the commerce, foreign and dom e s t i c , including exports and imports."
N o w , sir, this connexion between Government and the
h a n k s , to which he imputes such mischievous consequences,
h e describes to be " the receiving and paying a w a y their notes
a.s c a s h ; and the use of the public money from the time of the
collection to the disbursement."
Sir, if I clearly comprehend the honorable gentleman, he
m e a n s no more, after all, than t h i s ; that, while the public
r e v e n u e s are collected, as heretofore, through the banks, they
w i l l he in the hanks between the time of collection and the
t i m e of disbursement ; that, during that period, they will be
r e g a r d e d as one part of the means of business and of discount
possessed by the banks ; and that, as a greater portion of the
r e v e n u e is collected in large ehies than in small ones, these
l a r g e cities will, of course, derive greater benefit than the small
o n e s from these deposites in the banks. In other words, that, as
t h e importing merchants in a great city pay more duties to Gove r n m e n t that those in a small one, so they enjoy a correspondi n g a d v a n t a g e to be derived from any use which the banks may
m a k e of these moneys while on deposite with them- N o w ,
sir, I would be very glad to know, supposing all this to be
( r t i e , w h a t there is in it either unequal or unjust? The benefit
,s e x a c t l y in proportion to the amount of business, and to the
If individuals in large cities enjoy the incidental
s l i m s paid.
use of more money, it is simply because they pay more money.


It is like the case of credit on duty bonds. W h o e v e r i m p o r t s
goods with the benefit of giving bond for duties, instead o f
m a k i n g present payment, enjoys a certain benefit ; and t h i s
benefit, in a direct sense, is in proportion t o , t h e a m o u n t of
goods imported—the large importer having credit for a large
sum, the small importer having credit for a smaller sum, B u t
the advantage, the benefit, or the indulgence, or whatever w e
call it, is, nevertheless, entirely equal and impartial.
H o w , then, does the collection of revenue through the b a n k s
" centralize " the action of the commercial system? It seems
to me, sir, the cause is mistaken for the effect. T h e greatest
a m o u n t of revenue is collected in the greatest city, because it
is already the greatest city ; because its local advantages, its
population, its capital and enterprise d r a w business towards it,
constitute it a central point in commercial operations, and h a v e
m a d e it the greatest city. It is the centralization of commerce
by these just and proper causes—causes which must always
exist in every c o u n t r y — w h i c h produces a large collection of
revenue in the favored spot. T h e amount of capital is one
very important cause, no d o u b t ; and leaving public moneys in
the banks till wanted, allows to merchants, in places of large
import, a degree of incidental benefit, in just proportion to the
a m o u n t of capital b y them employed in trade, and no more.
I suppose, sir, it is the natural course of things in every commercial country, that some place, or a few places, should go
ahead of others in commercial importance. This must ever be
so until all places possess precisely equal natural advantages.
And I suppose, too, that instead of being mischievous, it is
rather for the common good of all that there should be some
commercial e m p o r i u m , some central point, for the exchanges
of trade. Government, certainly, should not seek to produce
this result by the bestowal of unequal privileges ; but surely,
sir, it would be a very strange and indefensible policy which
should lead the Government to withhold a n y portion of the
capital of the country from useful employment, merely because
that, if employed, while all enjoyed the benefit proportionate-

\y9 a l l would not enjoy it with 'the same absolute mathematical
S o much, sir, for concentration, arising from depositing the
r e v e n u e s in banks. Let us now look to the other part of the
c o n n e x i o n , viz : the receiving of bank notes for duties. How
i n t h e world does this "centralize" the commercial system?
T h e whole tendency and effect, as it seems to me, is directly
t h e other way. It counteracts centralization. It gives all
possible advantage to local currency and local payments, and
t h e r e b y encourages both imports and exports. It makes
3 oca I money good everywhere. If goods be imported into
Charleston, the duties are paid in Charleston notes. New
V o r k notes arc not demanded. Nothing, certainly, can be
fairer or more equal than this, and nothing more favorable to
t h e Charleston importers.
But how would that system work, which the gentleman
himself proposes ?
If his plan could prevail, he would have the duties collected either in specie, or in a Government paper to be issued
t r o m the Treasury : he would reject all bank notes whateve r . If the gentleman, sir, fears centralization, I am astonish
«*tl that he does not ,sce centralization, in all its terrors, in
tliis very proposition of his own. Pray allow me to ask,
sir, where will this Government paper, in the course of its
issue and circulation, naturally centre ? To what points will
it tend ? Certainly, most certainly, to the greatest points of
collection and expenditure ; to the very heart of the metropolitan city, -wherever that city may be. This is as inevitable as the fall of water, or the results of attraction- If twothirds of the duties be collected in New York, it will follow,
of course, that two-thirds of any Government paper receive d f ° r duties will be there received; and it will be more
v a l u a b l e there than elsewhere. The value of such paper
^ v n u l d consist in its veceivability, and nothing else. It would
| W a y s tend, therefore, directly to the spot where the greatest demand should exist for it for that purpose. Js it not so
at 1his moment with the outstanding Treasury notes ? Arc

they abundant in Georgia, in Mississippi, in Illinois, or in
N e w Hampshire?
No sooner issued, than they c o m m e n c e
their march toward the place where they are most v a l u e d
and most in demand ; that is, to the place of the greatest
public receipt. If you want concentration, sir, and e n o u g h
of it ; if you desire to dry up the small streams of commerce,
and fill more full the deep and already swollen great c h a n nels, you will act very wisely to that end if you keep out of
the receipt of the Treasury all money but such paper as t h e
Government may furnish, and which shall be no otherwise
redeemable than m receipt for debts to Government, w h i l e
at the same time yon depress the character of the local circulation.
Such is the scheme of the honorable member in its probable commercial effect. Let us look at it in a political point.
of viewThe honorable member says he belongs to the State-rights
pnrty ; th;it party professes something of an uncommon love
of liberty ; an extraordinary sensibility to ah its dangers ;
and of those dangers, it most dreads the union of the political and money power.
This we learn from the authenticdeclaration of the gentleman himself. And now—oh, transcendent consistency ! oh, most wonderful conformity of m e a n s
and ends ! oh, exquisite mode of gratifying high desires '
behold, the honorable member proposes that the politica*
power of the State sh;d! take to itself the whole function o i
supplying the entire paper circulation of the country, b y
noles or bills of its own, issued at its own discretion, to be
pair! out or advanced to whomsoever it pleases, in discharging the obligations of Government, bearing no promise t o
pay. and to be kept in circulation merely by being made*
receivable at I ho 'Treasury ! The whole circulation of the
country, excepting only that which is metallic, and which
must always be small, will thus be made u\> of mere Government paper, issued for Government purposes, and redeemable only in payment of Government debts. In other words,
the entire means of carrying on the whole commerce of t h e

c o u n t r y will be held by Government in its own hands, and
m a d e commensurate exactly with its own wants, purposes,
a n d opinions ; the whole commercial business of the count r y b e i n g thus made a mere appendage to revenue.
B u t , sir, in order that I m a y not misrepresent the honorab l e m e m b e r , let me show you a little more distinctly what
h i s opinions are respecting this Government paper.
T h e honorable member says, sir, that to make this subT r e a s u r y measure successful, and to secure it against react i o n , some safe and stable medium of circulation, " to take
t h e place of b a n k notes in the fiscal operations of the Governm e n t , ought to be i s s u e d ; " that,, " i n the present condition
o f t h e world, a paper currency, in some form, if not necess a r y , is almost indispensable, in financial and commercial ope r a t i o n s of civilized and extensive communities ; " that. " the
g r e a t desideratum is to ascertain what description of paper
h a s t h e requisite qualities of being free from fluctuation m
v a l u e , and liability to abuse, in the greatest perfection ; " that
" b a n k notes do not possess these requisites in a degree suffic i e n t l y high for this p u r p o s e . " And then he says, " I go
farther. It appears to me, after bestowing the best reflection
I c a n give the subject, that no convertible paper, that is, no
p a p e r whose credit rests upon a promise to pay, is suitable
for c u r r e n c y / 7 " O n w h a t , t h e n , " he asks, " o u g h t a paper
c u r r e n c y to r e s t ? " " I would s a y , " he answers, " on demand
a n d supply simply, which regulate the value of every thing
else—-the constant demand which Government has for its nec e s s a r y supplies." He then proceeds to observe, " that there
m i g h t be a sound and safe paper currency founded on the
credit of Government exclusively." " T h a t such paper, only
to be issued to those who had claims on the Government,
w o u l d , in its habitual state, be at or above par with gold and
s i l v e r ; " that " n o t h i n g but experience can determine what
a r n o n a t ? and of what denominations, might be safely issued ;
h u t that it might be safely assumed that the country would
a b s o r b an amount greatly exceeding its annual income. Much
of its exchanges, which amount to a vast sum, as well as its


banking business, would revolve about i t , and many m i l lions would thus be kept in circulation beyond the d e m a n d s
of the Government/'
By this scheme, sir, Government, in its disbursements, i s
not to pay money, but to issue paper. This paper is no o t h erwise payable or redeemable, than as it m a y be r e c e i v e d
at the TreasuryIt is expected to be let out much f a s t e r
than it comes in, so that many millions will be kept in c i r culation ; and its habitual character will be at or above p a r
with gold and silver. N o w , sir, if there is to be found a n y where a more plain and ^obvious project of paper money, i n
all its deformity, I should not know where to look for it.
In the first place, sir, I have suggested the complete u n i o n
which it would form, if it Avere in itself practicable, b e t w e e n
the political and the money power.
The whole commerce of the country, indeed, under s u c h
a state of law-, would be little more than a sort of incident
to Treasury operations—rather a collateral emanation of t h e
revenue systenn than a substantial and important branch of
the public interest.
I have referred, also, to its p r o b a b l e
consequences upon that which the gentleman regards as s o
great an evil, and which he denominates " the centralization
of commercial action. ,?
And now, I pray you to consider, Mr. President, in t h e
next place, what an admirable contrivance this would be to
secure that economy in the expenses of Government, w h i c h
the gentleman has so much at heart. Released from all n e cessity of taxation, and from the consequent responsibility to
the people, not called upon to regard, at all, the amount of
annual income, having an authority to cause Treasury notes
to issue whenever it pleases,
«« Tn m u l t i t u d e s like which the populous N o r t h
Poured never from her frozen loins, to puss
R h o n e , or the D a n a u ;J1

what admirable restraint would be imposed on Government ;
how doubly sure would assurance be made for it, that all its

e x p e n d i t u r e s would be strictly limited to the absolute and
i n d i s p e n s a b l e wants and demands of the public service !
B u t , sir, fortunately, very fortunately, a scheme so wild, and
w h i c h w o u l d be so mischievous, is totally impracticable. It
r e s t s on an assumption for which there is not the least foundat i o n either in reason or experience. It takes for granted that,
w h i c h the history of every commercial state refutes, and our
o w n , especially, in almost every page. It supposes that irred e e m a b l e Government paper can circulate in the business of
s o c i e t y and be kept at par. This is an impossibility* The
h o n o r a b l e gentleman rejects convertible bank notes, which are
e q u i v a l e n t to specie, since they will always command it, and
a d o p t s in their stead Government paper, with no promise to
p a y , b u t a promise only to be received for debts and taxes;
a n d h e puts forth the imagination, as I have said, so often
a n d so long refuted, that this paper will be kept in circulat i o n in the country, and will be able to perform the great
b u s i n e s s of currency and exchange, even though it exist in
q u a n t i t i e s exceeding, by many millions, the demands of Government*
I f it be necessary, sir, at this day, to refute ideas like these,
it m u s t be because the history of all countries (our own inc l u d e d ) is a dead letter to us. E v e n at the very moment in
w h i c h I am speaking, the small amount of Treasury notes
w h i c h has been issued by Government—hardly a fifth part
of t h e ordinary annual revenue—though those notes bear an
interest of five per cent.—though they are redeemable in cash
at t h e T r e a s u r y , at the expiration of the year—and though,
in the m e a n time, they are everywhere received in Govern*
m e n t dues, are not only of less value than specie, but of
less v a l u e , also, than the notes of non-specie-paying banks—
t h o s e banks whose paper is daily denounced here as " r a g s ,
filthy r a g s . " In my opinion, sir, the whole scheme is as vis; 0 n a r y and impracticable as any which the genius ol project
e v e r produced.
M r . President, toward the close of this speech of Septem-


ber, I find a paragraph in which several other subjects are
brought together, and which I must ask permission to read.
Having commended the wise and noble bearing of the little
State-rights party, of which he says it is his pride to be a
member, throughout the eventful period through which the
country has passed since 1824, he adds :
** In that year, as I have stated, the tariff system triumphed in the councils
of the nation.
W e saw Us disastrous political bearings* foresaw its surpluses,
and the extravagancies to which it would lead ; we rallied on the election of the
late President to arrest it through the influence of the E x e c u t i v e Department of
the G o v e r n m e n t .
In this we failed.
W e then fell back upon the rights and
sovereignty of the States ; and, by the action of a small but gallant State, and
through the potency of its interposition, w e brought the system to the ground,
sustained as it was by the opposition and the administration, and by the whole
power and patronage of the G o v e r n m e n t . "

Every part of this most extraordinary statement well deserves attention.
In the first place, sir, here is an open and direct avowal
that the main object for rallying on General Jackson's first
election was to accomplish the overthrow of the protecting
policy of the country. Indeed ! Well, this is very frank. I
a m glad to hear the avowal made.
It puts an end to ail
It was, then, to overthrow protection, was it, that the honorable gentleman took so much pains to secure General Jackson's first election? J commend his candor in now acknowledging it- But, sir, the honorable member had allies and associates in that rally ; they thronged round him from all quarters,
and zealously followed his lead. And pray, sir, was his object, as now avowed by himself, the joint object of all the
party ? Did he tell Pennsylvania, honest, intelligent, straightforward Pennsylvania, that such was his purpose ? And did
Pennsylvania concur in it ? Pennsylvania Avas first and foremost in espousing the cause of General Jackson. Every body
knows she is more o{ a tariff State than any other in the
Did he tell her that his purpose was to break
the tariff entirely down ? Did he state his objects., also, to

j ^ e w York ? Did he state them to New Jersey ? What say
y o u , gentlemen from Pennsylvania, gentlemen from New
Y o r k , and gentlemen from New Jersey ? Ye who supporte d G e n e r a l Jackson's election, what say you ? Was it your
p u r p o s e , also,, by that election, to break down the protective
p o l i c y ? Or, if it were not your purpose, did you know, neve r t h e l e s s — p r a y let us understand that—did you know, neve r t h e l e s s , that it was the purpose, and the main purpose, of
t h e honorable member from Carolina ? and did you still coo p e r a t e with him ?
T h e present Chief Magistrate of the country was a memb e r of this body in 1828. He and the honorable member
from Carolina were, at that time, exerting their united forces
to the utmost in order to bring about General Jacksoirs election. Did they work thus zealously together for the same
ultimate end and purpose ? or did they mean merely to
chajige the Government, and then each to look out for
himself ?
Mr. Van Buren voted for the tariff bill of that year, comm o n l y called the " bill of abominations ; " but, very luckily,
a n d in extremely good season, instructions for that vote happ e n e d to come from Albany ! The vote, therefore, could be
g i v e n , and the member giving it could not possibly thereby
give any offence to any gentleman of the State-rights party,
with whom the doctrine of instructions is so authentic.
Sir, I will not do gentlemen injustice* Those who belonged
to tariff* States, as they are called, and who supported General
Jackson for the Presidency, did not intend thereby to overt h r o w the protecting policy.
They only meant to make
General Jackson President, and to come intc power along
with h i m ! As to ultimate objects, each had his own.
AH could agree, however, in the first step. It w a s difficult,
certainly, to give a plausible appearance to a political union,
-iiiiong gentlemen who differed so widely on the great and
leading question of the times—the question of the protecting
policy- B u t t h i s difficulty was overcome by the oracular


declaration that General Jackson w a s in favor of a "



H e r e , sir, w a s ample room a n d verge enough. W h o c o u l d
object to a judicious
Tariff men a n d Anti*tariff m e n ,
State-rights men and Consolidationists, those w h o had b e e n
called prodigals, a n d those w h o h a d been called radicals, a l l
thronged and flocked together here, and, with all their differ*
ence in regard to ultimate objects, agreed to m a k e c o m m o n
cause till they should get into p o w e r ?
T h e ghosts, sir, which are fabled to cross the S t y x , w h a t ever different hopes or purposes they m a y h a v e beyond it,
still unite in the present wish to get over, a n d therefore all
hurry and huddle into the leaky a n d shattered craft of C h a r o n ,
the ferryman. And this motley throng of politicians, sir, w i t h
as much difference of final object, and as little care for e a c h
other, made a boat of " J u d i c i o u s Tariff," and all rushed a n d
scrambled into it, until they filled it, near to sinking- T h e
authority of the master w a s able, h o w e v e r , to keep t h e m
peaceable and in order, for the time—for t h e y h a d the virtue of
submission—and t h o u g h w i t h occasional dangers of upsetting,
he succeeded in pushing them, all over with his long settingpole.
** Ipse ratcm conto


Well, sir, the honorable gentleman tells us that he expected,
w h e n General Jackson should be elected, to arrest the tariff
system through the influence
of the Executive
H e r e is another candid confession. Arrest the tariff by E x e cutive inflwacc ! Indeed ! W h y , sir, this seems like hoping,
from the first, for the use of the veto. H o w , but by the veto,
could the Executive arrest the tariff acts? And is it true, sir,
that, at that e a r l / d a y , the honorable member w a s looking to
the veto, not with dread, but with hope ? Did he expect it,
and did he rely u\)on it? Did he m a k e the rally of which he
speaks, in order that he might choose a President w h o would
exercise it? And did he afterwards complain of it, or does he
complain of it n o w , only because it w a s ill-directed-—because

it t u r n e d out to be a thunderbolt, which did not fall in the
r i g h t place ?
I n t h i s reliance on Executive influence—sir, I declare I
h a r d l y c a n trust myself that I read or quote correctly, w h e n I
find, i n w h a t I read, or from w h a t I quote, the honorable
m e m b e r from South Carolina, by his own confession, hopin^
o r e x p e c t i n g to accomplish a n y thing by Executive influence;
y e t s o w a s it spoken, and so is it printed—in this reliance, or
t h i s h o p e , or expectation, founded on Executive influence, the
h o n o r a b l e gentleman a n d his friends failed ; and failing in
t h i s , h e says, they fell back on the sovereignty of the States,
a n d b r o u g h t the system to the ground " through the potency
of interposition ; " by which he means neither more nor less
t h a n nullification. So then, sir, according to this, that excess i v e fear of power which w a s so much cherished by the Nullifiers, w a s only a w a k e n e d to a flame in their bosoms when
t h e y found that they could not accomplish their o w n ends by
t h e E x e c u t i v e power of the President.
I a m no authorized commentator, sir, on the doctrines or
t h e o r i e s of nullification. Non noslrzt?n.
But, if this exposi
t i o n b e authentic, I must say it is not calculated to diminish
m y opposition to the sentiments of that school.
B u t the gentleman goes on to tell us that nullification, or
interposition, succeeded,
B y m e a n s of it, he says, he did
b r i n g the protective system to the ground. A n d so, in his
p u b l i s h e d letter of N o v e m b e r 3d, he states that " S t a t e interp o s i t i o n has o v e r t h r o w n the protective tariff, and, with it, the
American system."
W e are to understand, then, sir, first, that the compromise
a c t of 1833 w a s forced u p o n Congress by State interposition,
o r nullification*
jVext ? that its object and design, so far as the honorable
g e n t l e m a n w a s concerned in it, w a s to b r e a k d o w n and des t r o y y forever, the whole protective policy of the country.
And lastly, that it h a s accomplished that purpose, and that
t h e last vestige of that policy is wearing a w a y .
N o w , sir, 1 must say, that in 1833, I entertained no doubt


at all that the design of the gentleman was exactly what he
now states. On this point I have not been deceived. It w a s
not, certainly, the design of all who acted with him ; but that it
was his purpose, I knew then, as clearly as I know now, after
his open avowal of it ; and this belief governed my conduct
at the time, together with that of a great majority of those in
both Houses of Congress, who, after the act of 1S24, felt bound
to carry out the provisions of that act, and to maintain them
reasonably and fairly. I opposed the compromise act with
all my power- It appeared to me every way objectionable ;
it looked like an attempt to make a new constitution ; to introduce another fundamental law, above the power of Congress, and which should control the authority and discretion
of Congress, in all time to come. This, of itself, was a conclusive objection with me ; I said so then, have often said so
since, and say so now, I said, then, that I, for one, should
not be bound by that law more than by any other law, except
that, as it was a law passed on a very important and agitating
subject, I should not be disposed to interfere with it, until a
case of clear necessity should arise. On this principle I have
acted since. When that case of necessity shall arise, however, should I be in public life, I shall concur in any alteration
of that act, which such necessity may require. That such an
occasion may come, I more than fear. I entertain something
stronger than a doubt upon the possibility of maintaining the
manufactures and industry of this country, upon such a system as the compromise act will leave us, when it shall have
gone through its processes of reduction. All this, however, I
leave to (lie future.
Having had occasion, Mr. President, to speak of Nullification and the Nullifiers, I beg leave to say, that I have not
done so for any purpose of reproach. Certainly, sir, I see no
possible connexion, myself, between their principles or opinions und the support of this measure. They, however, must
speak for themselves. They may have intrusted the bearing
of their standard, for aught I know, to the hands of the honorable member from South Carolina ; and I perceived last ses-

- t o n , w h a t I perceive now, that in his opinion there is a conn e x i o n b e t w e e n these projects of Government and the doctrines
o f nullification. I can only say, sir, that it will be marvellous
t o m e if that banner, though it be said to be tattered and torn,
s h a l l y e t be lowered in obeisance, and laid at the footstool of
K x e c n t i v o power. T o the sustaining of that power, the pass a g e of this bill is of the utmost importance. The administ r a t i o n will regard its success as being to them what Cromw e l l said the battle of Worcester was to h i m — " a crowning
arnercy." W h e t h e r gentlemen, who have distinguished thems e l v e s so m u c h b y their extreme jealousy of this Government,
.shall n o w find it consistent with their principles to give their
<iid in accomplishing this consummation, remains to be seen.
T h e n e x t exposition of the honorable gentleman's sentiments
a n d opinions is his letter of November 3d.
T h i s letter, sir, is a curiosity. As a paper describing political operations, and exhibiting political opinions, it is witho u t a parallel. Its phrase is altogether military. It reads like
a, d e s p a t c h , or a bulletin from headquarters. It is full of att a c k s , assaults, a n d repulses. It recounts movements and
c o u n t e r - m o v e m e n t s ; speaks of occupying one position, falling
b a c k upon another, and advancing to a third ; it has positions
t o cover enemies, and positions to hold allies in check. Meant i m e , the celerity of all these operations reminds one of the rap i d i t y of the military actions of the King of Prussia, in the seven
y e a r s ' Avar. Yesterday he w a s in the South, giving battle to
t h e Austrian—to-day he is in Saxony, or Silesia ; instantly he
is found to have traversed the Klectorate, and is facing the
R u s s i a n a n d the Swede on his northern frontier. If you look
for his place on the m a p , before you find it he has quitted it.
Flo is a l w a y s marching, flying, falling back, wheeling, attacking? defending, surprising ; fighting everywhere, and lighting
,,11 t h e time. In one particular, however, the campaigns,
^ e s c r i b e d in this letter, differ from the m a n n e r in which those
o f the great Frederick were conducted. I think we nowhere
r e a d in the narrative of Frederick's achievements, of his takino
^L position to cover an enemy, or a position to hold an ally in


check. These refinements, in the science of tactics and of w a r ,
are of more recent discoveryMr. President, public men must certainly be a l l o w e d t o
change their opinions, and their associations, whenever t h e v
see fit. No one doubts this. Men may have grown w i s e r , ,
they may have attained to better and more correct v i e w s o f
great public subjects. It would be unfortunate if there w e r e
tiny code which should oblige men, in public or private l i f e , t o
adhere to opinions once entertained, in spite of experience a n d
better knowledge, and against their own convictions of t h e i r
erroneous character.
Nevertheless, sir, it must be a c k n o w l edged, that what appears to be a sudden, as well as a g r e a t
change, naturally produces a shock* I confess, for one, I w a s
shocked when the honorable gentleman, at the last s e s s i o n ,
espoused this bill of the Administration. And when I first
read this letter of November, and, in the short space o f a
column and a half, ran through such a succession of political
movements, all terminating in placing the honorable m e m b e r
in the ranks of our opponents, and entitling him to take his
seat, as lie has done, among them, if not at their head, I c o n fess I felt still greater surprise. All this seemed a good d e a l
too abrupt. Sudden movements of the affections, w h e t h e r
personal or political, are a little out of nature.
Several years ago, sir, some of the wits of England w r o t e a
mock play, intended to ridicule the unnatural and false feeling,
the sentimentality',
of a certain German school of literature.
\n this play, two strangers are brought together at an inn.
While they are warming themselves at the fire, and before
their acquaintance is yet five minutes old, one springs up, a n d
exclaims to the other, *c A sudden thought strikes me ! Let u s
swear an eternal friendship !"
This affectionate offer was instantly accepted, and the friendship duly sworn, unchangeable and eternal ! N o w , sir, h o w
long this eternal friendship lasted, or in what manner it ended,
those who wish to know, may learn by referring to the play.
But it seems to me, sir, that the honorable member has carried his political sentimentality a good deal higher than the

of the German school; for he appears to have fallen
s u d d e n l y in love, not with strangers, but with opponents.
H e r e we all had been, sir, contending against the progress
o f E x e c u t i v e power, and more particularly, and most strenuo u s l y , against the projects and experiments of the Administrat i o n u p o n the currency. The honorable member stood among
u s , n o t only as an associate, but as a leader. We thought we
w e r e making some headway. The people appeared to be
c o m i n g to our support and our assistance. The country had
b e e n roused, every successive election weakening the strength
o f the adversary and increasing our own. W e were in this
c a r e e r of success, carried strongly forward by the current of
p u b l i c opinion, and only needed to hear the cheering voice of
t h e honorable member,
** O n c e more unto the breach, dear friends, once more !"

a n d we should have prostrated, forever, this anti-constitutional, anti-commercial, anti-republican, and anti-American
policy of the Administration. But, instead of these encourag i n g and animating accents, behold! in the very crisis of our
affairs, on the very eve of victory, the honorable member
c r i e s out—to the enemy—not to us, his allies—but to the
e n e m y — " H o l l o a ! A sudden thought strikes m e ! I abandon my allies! Now I think of it, they have always been
m y oppressors ! I abandon them, and now let yon and me
s w e a r an eternal friendship \9f
Such a proposition, from such a quarter, sir, was not likely
to be long withstood- The other party was a little coy, but,
u p o n the whole, nothing loath. After proper hesitation, and a
little decorous blushing, it owned the soft impeachment, admitted an equally sudden sympathetic impulse on its own side;
a n d , since few words are wanted where hearts are already
k n o w n , the honorable gentleman takes his place among his
n e w friends, amidst greetings and caresses, and is already enjoying the sweets of an eternal friendship.
In this letter, Mr. President, the writer says, in substance,
t h a t he saw, at the commencement of the last session, that
affairs had reached the point when he and his friends, accord-


ing to the course they should take, would reap the full h a r v e s t
of their long and arduous struggle against the encroachments
and abuses of the General Government, or lose the fruits of
all their labors.
At that time, he says, State interposition (viz. Nullification)
had overthrown the protecting tariff and the American s y s t e m ,
and put a stop to Congressional usurpation ; that he had p r e viously been united with the National Republicans ; and t h a t
their joint attacks had brought down the power of the E x e c u tive ; hut that, in joining such allies, he was not insensible to
the embarrassment of his position; that, with them, victory
itself was dangerous ; and that therefore he had been w a i t i n g
for events ; that now, (that is to say, in September last,) t h e
joint attacks of the allies had brought down Executive p o w e r ;
that the Administration had become divested of power a n d
influence, and that it had become clear that the combined
attacks of the allied forces would utterly overthrow and d e molish it. All this he saw. But he saw, too, as he says, t h a t
in that case the victory would enure, not to him or his cause,
but to his allies and their cause. I do not mean to say t h a t
he spoke of personal victories, or alluded to personal objects,
at alb He spoke of his cause.
He proceeds to say, then, that never was there before, a n d
never, probably, will there be again, so fair an opportunity for
himself and his friends to carry out their own principles
policy', and to reap the fruits of their long and arduous struggle.
These principles and this policy, sir, be it remembered, h e
represents, all along, as identified with the principles and policy
of nullification. And he makes \tse of this glorious opportunity,
by refusing to join his late allies in any further attack on those
in power, and rallying anew the old State-rights party in order
to hold in check their old opponents, the National Republican
party. This, he says, would enable him to prevent the complete ascendency of his allies, and to compel the Southern division of the Administration party to occupy the ground of
which he proposes to take possession, to wit, the ground of the

o l d State-rights party.
T h e y will have, he says, no other
]Vf r. President, stripped of its military language, what is the
a m o u n t of all this, but that, finding the Administration weak,
a n d likely to be overthrown, if the Opposition continued with
u n d i m i n i s h e d force, he went over to it, to join i t ; to act, himself, upon nullification principles, and to compel the Southern
m e m b e r s of the Administration to meet him on those princip l e s ?—in other words, to make a nullification Administration,
a n d to take such part in it as should belong to him and his
friends ? H e confesses, sir, that in thus abandoning his allies,
a n d taking a position to cover those in power, he perceived a
s h o c k would be created, which would require some degree of
resolution and firmness. In this he was right. A shock, sir,
h a s been created ; yet there he is.
T h i s Administration, sir, is represented as succeeding to the
last, b y an inheritance of principle. It professes to tread in the
footsteps of its illustrious predecessor. It adopts, generally,
t h e sentiments, principles, and opinions, of General Jackson—
and all: and yet9 though he be the very prince
of Nullifiers, and but lately regarded as the chiefest of sinners,
it receives the honorable gentleman with the utmost complac e n c y ; to all appearance the delight is mutual; they find him
a n able leader, he finds them complying followers. But, sir,
in all this movement, he understands himself. He means to
go ahead, and to take them along. He is in the engine-car; he
controls the locomotive. His hand regulates the steam, to increase or retard speed at his o w n discretion. And as to the
occupants of the passenger-cars, sir, they are as happy a set of
gentlemen as one might desire to see, of a summer's day.
T h e y feel that they are in progress ; they hope they shall not
b e r u n off the track ; and w h e n they reach the end of their
j o u r n e y , they desire to be thankful!
T h e arduous struggle is now all over* Its richest fruits are
all reaped; nullification embraces the sub-Treasuries, and oppression and usurpation will be heard of no more !
On the broad surface of the country, sir, there is a spot called



t h e H e r m i t a g e / ' In that residence is an occupant very w e l !
k n o w n , and not a little remarkable both in person and c h a r a c ter. Suppose, sir, the occupant of the Hermitage w e r e now t o
open that door, enter the Senate, walk forward, and look o v e r
the Chamber to the seats on the other side—be not frightened,
gentlemen, it is but fancy's sketch—suppose he should t h u s
come in among us, sir, and see into whose hands has fallen t h e
chief support of that Administration, which w a s in so great
a degree appointed by himself, and which he fondly relied o n
to maintain the principles of his own. If gentlemen were
now to see his steady military step, his erect posture, his compressed lip, his firmly knitted brow, and his eye full of fire,
I cannot help thinking, sir, they would all feel somewhat
queer. There would be, I imagine, not a little a w k w a r d
moving and shifting in their seats. T h e y would expect soon
to hear the roar of the lion, even if they did not feel his p a w .
I proceed, sir, to the speech of the honorable member, delivered on the 15th of February last, in which he announces
propositions, respecting the constitutional power of Congress,
which, if they can be maintained, must necessarily give a new
direction to our legislation, and would go far towards showing the necessity of the present bilk
T h e honorable member, sir, insists that Congress has no
right to make general deposites of the public revenue in banks;
and he denies, too, that it can authorize the reception of any
thing but gold and silver in the payment of debts and dues to
the Government.
These questions, sir, are questions of magnitude, certainly,
and, since they have been raised, ought to be answered.
They m a y be considered together.
Allow me in the first
place, however, to cleat them from some extraneous matterT h e honorable member puts the first question thus : H a v e w e
the right to make deposites in the banks, in order to bestow
confidence in them, with a view to enable them to resume
specie payments ? And, by way of illustration, asks the further question, Whether Government could constitutionally
bestow on individuals, or a private association, the same ad-

vantages,, in order to enable them to p a y their debts ? But
t h i s I take not to be the question. T h e true inquiry is, May
n o t Congress authorize the public revenue, in the intervening
time between its receipt and its expenditure, to be deposited in
b a n k s , for the general purpose of safe-keeping, in the same
w a y as individuals deposite their o w n money ? A n d if this
m o d e of safe-keeping be attended with incidental advantages
of considerable importance to the community, is not that a.
reason which may properly govern the discretion of Congress
in the case ? To benefit the banks, or to benefit the commun i t y , is, in this case, not the main object; it is only the incid e n t ; and as to the case put for illustration, it would not be
expected of Congress, certainly, to make deposites with individuals, with a view, principally, of enabling such individuals
to pay their debts : it might, nevertheless, be very competent
to Congress, in some cases, and a very proper exercise of its
p o w e r , to deposite money, even with individuals, in such
m a n n e r as that it might be advantageous to the depositary.
T h i s incidental or consequential advantage results often, from
the nature of the transaction, and is inseparable from it. It
m a y always be enjoyed, more or less, by any one who holds
public money for disbursement. In order to the necessary
exercise of any of its powers, Government doubtless may
m a k e contracts with banks or other corporations as well as
with individuals. If it has occasion to b u y bills of exchange,
it m a y buy them of banks. If it has stock or Treasury not^s
to sell, it m a y sell to banks, as the Secretary of the Treasury
has lately proposed. It may employ banks, therefore, at its
discretion, for the keeping of the public moneys, as those
moneys must be kept somewhere. It can no more need a
specific grant of power in the constitution for such a purpose,
than one merchant, becoming agent for another to receive
a n d p a Y o u t money, would need a particular clause in his
authority, enabling him to use banks for these purposes as
other persons use them. N o question has ever been raised
in t h i s Government about the power of C ongress to authorize
such deposites.
Mr. Madison, in opposing the first bank


charter in 1791, argued, strenuously, that a Bank o f t h e
United States was not necessary to Government as a d e p o s i tory of the public moneys, because, he insisted, its use c o v i l d
be supplied by other banks. This sufficiently s h o w s h i s
opinion. And in 1S00, Congress made it the duty of t h e c o l lectors of customs to deposite bonds for duties in the b a n k
and its branches for collection.
When the charter of the first bank expired, in 1811, a l m o s t
every gentleman who opposed its renewal contended t h a t it
was not necessary for the purpose of holding deposites of r e v enue, because State banks could answer all such p u r p o s e s
equally well. A strong and prevailing tone of argument r u n s
through all the speeches on that occasion, tending to this c o n clusion, viz : that Government may derive from State b a n k s
all the beuefit which a Bank of the United States could r e n d e r .
Iu 181G, when the charter of the last bank was granted, it
contained, as originally presented, no provision for m a k i n g
the public deposites in the bank.
The bill was p r o b a b l y
drawn, in this particular, from the model of the first c h a r t e r ,
in which no such clause was contained, without a d v e r t i n g
to the law of 1800; but a section was introduced, on m y
motion, making it the duty of collectors to deposite t h e
public moneys in the bank and its branches.
It w a s this
section of the law which some of us thought was violated
by the removal of the deposites. T h e main object of t h e
deposite bill of 183G, as we know, was to regulate deposites
of the public money with the State banks ; so that, from the
commencement of the Government to the present time, n o body has thought of making any question of the constitutional
power of Congress to make such arrangements.
The gentleman's other proposition, and which he lays d o w n
with still more confidence and emphasis, is, that Congress canuot, constitutionally, authorize the receipt of bank notes,
though they be notes of specie-paying banks, in payment of
debts to Government ; because, he says, that would make
them money ; and if we make them money, then we are
bound to control and regulate that money. Most certainly,

s i r I agree with the honorable member, that when bank notes
b e c o m e money, w e are bound to ontrol and regulate them.
I t h a n k him for this admission ; since it goes a great way to
s u p p o r t that proposition for which I have been contending.
r h a t b a n k notes have become money in fact, that they answer
t i r e u s e s of money, that, in many respects, the law treats them
sis m o n e y , is certain. W h y , then, are we not already bound
t o control and regulate them ? The gentleman will say, bec a u s e we have not, ourselves, made them money. But is
t l m t a n y answer ? If they have become money in fact, they
r e q u i r e the same regulation, and we have the same authority
t o bestow it, as if they had acquired that character by any acts
o f o u r own : because our power is general ; it is to take care
o f the money of the country, and to regulate all the great
c o n c e r n s of commerce.
B u t let us see how this opinion of the honorable member
s t a n d s upon the authorities in our own history.
W h e n the first bank was established, the right of Congress
t o create such a corporation was, as we all know, very much
d i s p u t e d . Large majorities, however, in both Houses, were of
o p i n i o n that the right existed, and they therefore granted the
c h a r t e r ; and in this charter there w a s an express provision,
t h a t the bills of the bank should be receivable in all payments
t o Government. Those who opposed the bank did not object
t o this clause; on the contrary, they went even much farther;
a n d Mr, Madison expressly insisted that Congress might grant
or refuse, to vState banks, the privilege of having their notes
received in revenue. In 1791, therefore, men of all parties
supposed that Congress, in its discretion, might authorize the
receipt of b a n k notes. T h e same principle was incorporated
into the bank charter of 181G ; indeed, it w a s in the bill which
t h e gentleman himself reported ; and it passed without objection from any quarter. But this is not all. Mr. President, let
u s look into the proceedings of the session of 1S15—'16 a little
m o r e closely. At the commencement of that session, Mr. M a d ison d r e w our attention to the state of the currency; by which
he m e a n t the paper currency of the country, which was then


very much disordered, as the banks had suspended specie p a y m e n t during the w a r , and h a d not resumed. E a r l y in the prog*
ress of the session, the honorable member from South Carolina
moved that this part of the message should be referred to a select committee. It w a s so ordered. T h e committee w a s raised,
a n d the honorable gentleman placed at its head. As chairman
of the committee, he introduced the B a n k hill, explained it, defended it, and carried it triumphantly through the H o u s e , having in it the provision which I h a v e before mentioned.
But there is something more. At the same session the gentleman introduced the bill for the further collection of the reve n u e , to which T h a v e already referred, and in which bill he
carried the receivability of bank notes m u c h farther, and provided that notes of any bank or bankers tvhich were
and paid, on demand, in specie, might be allowed a?id accepted in all payments
to the United States.
So that the
honorable gentleman himself d r e w , with his o w n pen, the very
first legal enactment in the history of this G o v e r n m e n t , by
which it w a s provided that the notes of State b a n k s should be
considered and treated as money at the T r e a s u r y . Still further, sir. T h e bill containing this provision did not pass the
H o u s e ; and as I d e e m e d some provision necessary, indispensably necessary, for the state of things then existing, I introduced, I think the very next day after the failure of the honorable gentleman's bill, three resolutions. T h e t w o first were
merely declaratory, asserting that all duties, taxes, and imposts,
o u g h t to he uniform, and that the revenues of the United States
ought to be collected and received in the legal currency, or in
T r e a s u r y notes, or the notes of the Bank of the United States,
as hy law provided. These two resolutions I agreed to w a i v e ,
as it w a s thought they were not essential, and that they might
imply some degree of censure upon past transactions. T h e
third resolution w a s in these words;

*And resolved^ further,
T h a t the Secretary of the Treasury he, and he hereby
i % required find directed to adopt such measures as he may deem necessary to
^aus*% as Boon as may be, all duties, taxes, debts, or sums of money accruing or
becoming pnyable to the United States, to be collected and paid in the legal cur-

v e r i c y o f t h e United S t a t e s , or T r e a s u r y notes, or notes of the Bank of the United
S t a t e s , a s aforesaid ; and that, from and after the first day of February next, no
^ u c h d u t i e s , t a x e s , debts, or s u m s of money accruing or becoming payable to the
l / n i t e r l S t a t e s , as aforesaid, ought to be collected or received otherwise t h a n in the
leg-al c u r r e n c y of t h e United States, or T r e a s u r y notes, or notes of the B a n k o*
t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s , as aforesaid. 1 "

T h e Senate will perceive that, in this resolution of mine!,
t h e r e w a s no provision whatever for receiving bank notes, exc e p t of the Bank of the United States, according to its charter.
W e l l , w h a t happened thereon ? W h y , sir, if you look into the
N a t i o n a l Intelligencer of a succeeding day, you will find it
s t a t e d , that Mr. Calhoun moved to amend Mr. Webster's resol u t i o n , by "extending
its provisions to the notes of all banks
ujhich should, at the time specified therein^ pay their notes in
specie, on
T h is amendment was opposed by me, as being unnecessary
i n a s m u c h as all such bills would be received of course as they
a l w a y s had been received. The honorable member said* that
for his own part he did not himself think it necessary ; he
t h o u g h t such bills would continue to be received, as they had
b e e n , without any new provision ; he had offered the amendm e n t , however, to satisfy the doubts of others; but since it was
o p p o s e d , he would withdraw it, and he did withdraw it. The
r e s o l u t i o n passed the House, therefore, exactly as I had prep a r e d it. But in the Senate it was amended, in the manner
w h i c h the honorable member had proposed in the H o u s e ; and
in this amendment the House ultimately concurred.
T h e provision was thus incorporated into the resolution, bec a m e part of the law of the land, and so remains at this very
m o m e n t , Sir, may I not now say to the honorable member,
t h a t if the constitution of the country has been violated by
treating bank notes as m o n e y — " T h o u art the man !"
H o w is it possible, sir, the gentleman could so far forget his;
o w n agency in these most important transactions, as to stand
up h e r e the other day, and, with an air not only of confidence,
but of defiance, say: " B u t I take a still higher ground ; I strike
at the root of the mischief. I deny the right of this Government
to treat bank notes as money in its fiscal transactions
On thi&


great question I never have before committed myself, t h o u g h
not generally disposed to abstain from forming or e x p r e s s i n g
I will only add, sir, that this reception and payment o f b a n k
notes was expressly recognised by the act of the 14tht A p r i l ,
1836, by the deposite act of Jnne of that year, and b y t h e bill
which passed both Houses in 1S37, but which the P r e s i d e n t
did neither approve nor return. In all these acts, so f a r a s I
know, the honorable member from South Carolina h i m s e l f
So much for authority.
But now, sir, what is the principle of construction u p o n
which the gentleman relies to sustain his doctrine ? " T h e g e nius of our constitution/' he says, "is opposed to the a s s u m p tion of power." This is undoubtedly true: no one can d e n y it.
But he adds, " whatever power it gives, is expressly g r a n t e d / *
But I think, sir, this by no means follows from the first p r o p osition, and cannot be maintained. It is doubtless true t h a t no
power is to be assumed; but then powers may be inferred, or
necessarily implied. It is not a question of assumption, it is a
question of fair, just, and reasonable inference. To h o l d t h a t
no power is granted, and no means authorized, but such a s a r e
granted or authorized by express words, would be to establish
a doctrine that would put an end to the Government. It could
not last through a single session of Congress. If such opinions
had prevailed in the beginning, it never could have b e e n put
in motion, and would not have drawn its first breath. M y
friend near me, from Delaware, has gone so fully and so ably
into this part of the subject, that it has become quite unnecessary for me to pursue it. Where the constitution confers on
Congress a general power, or imposes a general duty, all other
powers necessary for the exercise of that general power, and
for fulfilling that duty, are implied, so far as there is no prohibition. We act every day upon this principle, and could not
carry on the Government without its aid. Under the power
to coin money, we build expensive mints—fill them with officers—punish such officers for embezzlement-—buy bullion—
and exercise various other acts of power

T h e constitution says that the judicial power of the United
S t a t e s shall be vested in certain courts. Under this general aut h o r i t y w e not only establish such courts, but protect their
r e c o r d s b y penalties against forgery, and the purity of their
a d m i n i s t r a t i o n by punishing perjuries.
T h e Department of the Post Office is another and signal ins t a n c e of the extent and necessity of implied powers* The
w h o l e authority of Congress over this subject is expressed in
v e r y few w o r d s ; they are merely " t o establish post offices and
p o s t roads.>> Under this short and general grant, laws of Conpjress h a v e been extended to a great variety of very important
e n a c t m e n t s , without the specific grant of any power whatever,
a s a n y one m a y see who will look over the post office laws.
In t h e s e laws, among other provisions, penalties are enacted
a g a i n s t a great number of offences j thus deducing the highest
e x e r c i s e of criminal jurisdiction, by reasonable and necessary
inference from the general authority. liut I forbear from trave r s i n g a field already so fully explored*
T h e r e are one or two other remarks, sir, in the gentleman's
s p e e c h , -which I must not entirely omit to notice.
I n speaking of the beneficial effects of this measure, one (he
sa-y?5) would be, that " t h e weight of the banks would be taken
f r o m the side of the tax-consumers,
where it has been from
t h e commencement of the Government, and placed on the side
of t h e tax-payers.
This great division of the community necessarily grows out of the fiscal action of the Government."
Sirj I utterly deny that there is the least foundation, in fact^
for this distinction- It is an odious distinction, calculated to
inspire envy and hatred ; and being, as I think, wholly groundless, its suggestion, and the endeavor to maintain it, ought to be
resisted and repelled. W e are all tax-payers in the United
S t a t e s , w h o use articles on which imposts arc laid; and who
is t h e r e that is excused from this tax, or does not pay his proper
p a r t of it according to his consumption ? Certainly no one.
O n the other hand, who are the tax-consumers ? Clearly
t h e a r m y — t h e navy—the laborers on public works, and
other persons in Government employment. But even these


are not idle consumers; they are agents of the Government and
of the people. Pensioners may be considered as persons who
enjoy benefit from the public taxes of the country without rendering present service in return ; but the legal provision for
them stands on the ground of previous merits, which none deny.
If we had a vast national debt, the annual interest of which
was a charge upon the country, the holders of this debt might
be considered as tax-consumers. But Ave have no such debt.
If the distinction, therefore, which the gentleman states, exists
anywhere, most certainly it does not exist here. And I cannot
but exceedingly regret that sentiments and opinions should be
expressed here, having so little foundation, and yet so well calculated to spread prejudice and dislike, far and wide, against
the Government and institutions of the country.
But, sir, I have extended these remarks already to a length
for which I find no justification but in my profound conviction
of the importance of this crisis in our national affairs. W e are,
as it seems to me, about to rush madly from our proper spheres.
W e are to relinquish the performance of our own incumbent
duties ; to abandon the exercise of essential powers, confided
by the constitution to our hands for the good of the country.
This w a s m y opinion in September; it is my opinion now.
W h a t we propose to do, and what we omit to do, are, in my
judgment, likely to make a fearful, perhaps a fatal inroad upon
the unity of commerce between these States, as well as to embarrass and harass the employments of the people, and to prolong existing evils.
Sir, whatever we may think of it now, the constitution had
its immediate origin in the conviction of the necessity for this
uniformity or identity in commercial regulations.
The whole history of the country, of everj^ year and every
month, from the close of the war of the Revolution to 1789,
proves this. Over whatever other interests it was made to extend, and whatever other blessings it now does, or hereafter
m a y , confer on the millions of free citizens who do or shall live
under its protection, even though, in time to come, it should
raise a pyramid of power and grandeur, whose apex should

l o o k d o w n on the loftiest political structures of other nations
a n d o t h e r ages, it will yet be true that it was itself the child
o f p r e s s i n g commercial necessity. Unity and identity of comm e r c e a m o n g all the States was its seminal principle. It had
b e e n found absolutely impossible to excite or foster enterprise
i n t r a d e , under the influence of discordant and jarring State
r e g u l a t i o n s . The country was losing all the advantages of its
p o s i t i o n . The Revolution itself was beginning to be regarded
u s a doubtful blessing. The ocean before us was a barren
w a s t e . No American canvass whitened its bosom—no keels of
GUT* ploughed its waters. The journals of the Congress of the
Confederation show the most constant, unceasing, unwearied,
b u t a l w a y s unsuccessful appeals to the States and the People,
to renovate the system, to infuse into that Confederation at
o n c e a spirit of union, and a spirit of activity, by conferring on
Congress the power over trade. By nothing but the perception of its indispensable necessity—by nothing but their consciousness of suffering from its want, were the States and the
people brought, and brought by slow degrees, to invest this
p o w e r in a permanent and competent Government.
Sir, hearken to the fervent language of the old Congress, in
J u l y , 1VS5, in a letter addressed to the States, prepared by Mr.
jVlonroe, Mr. King, and other great names, now transferred from
t h e lists of living men, to the records which carry down the
fame of the distinguished dead. The proposition before them,
the great objects to which they so solicitously endeavored to
d r a w the attention of the States, was this, viz: that "the United
States, in Congress assembled, should have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the trade of the States, as well with
foreign nations as with each other." This, they say, is urged
upon the States by every consideration of local as well as of
federal policy ; and they beseech them to agree to it, if they
w i s h to promote the strength of the Union, and to connect it
by the strongest ties of interest and affection. This was in
July, 1785In the same spirit, and tor the same end, was that most important resolution which was adopted in the House of Dele-


gates of Virginia on the 21st day of the following J a n u a r y .
Sir, I read the resolution entire :
« Rexfdvcdy T h a t E d m u n d R a n d o l p h , [and others,] be appointed c o m m i s s i o n e r s ,
w h o , or any five of w h o m , shall meet such commissioners as m a y he a p p o i n t e d b y
the other States in the U n i o n , at a time and place to be agreed on, to t a k e i n t o
consideration the trade of the United S t a t e s ; to examine the relative s i t u a t i o n s a n d
trade of the said S t a t e s ; to consider h o w far a uniform system in their c o m m e r c i a l
regulations may he necessary to their c o m m o n interest and their p e r m a n e n t h a r m o ny, and to report to the several States such an act relative to this great object, a s ,
w h e n unanimously ratified by them, will enable the United States 3 in C o n g r e s s
Assembled, effectually to provide for the s a m e : that the said commissioners s h a l l
immediately transmit to the several States copies of the preceding resolution, w i t h
a circular letter requesting their concurrence therein, and proposing a t i m e a n d
place for the meeting aforesaid,"

Here*, sir, let us pause. Let us linger at the waters of this
original fountain. I^et us contemplate this, the first step, in
that series of proceedings, so full of great events to us a n d to
the world* Notwithstanding the embarrassment and distress
of iho country, the recommendation of the old Congress h a d
not been complied with. Every effort to bring the State
Legislatures into any harmony of action, or any pursuit of a
common object, had signally and disastrously failed. The e x igency of the case called for a new movement; for a m o r e
direct and powerful attempt to bring the good sense and patriotism of the country into action upon the crisis. 7 solemn
assembly was therefore proposed—a general convention of
delegates from all the States. And now, sir, what was the
exigency? What was this crisis ? Look at the resolution itself;
there is not an idea in it but trade. Commerce! commerce! is
the beginning i\nd end of it. The subject to be considered and
examined was " t h e relative situation of the trade of the S t a t e s ; "
and the object to be obtained was the "establishment of a uniform system in their commercial regulations, as necessary to
the common interest and their permanent harmony.** This is
all. And, sir, by the adoption of this ever-memorable resolution, the House of Delegates of Virginia, on the 21st day of
January, 1786, performed the first act in the train of measures
which resulted in that constitution, under the authority of

w h i c h you n o w sit in that chair, and I have now the honor of
a d d r e s s i n g the members of this body*
M r. President, I am a Northern man, 1 am attached to one
o f t h e States of the North by the ties of birth and parentage ;
b y t h e tillage of paternal fields ; by education; by the assoc i a t i o n s of early life, and by sincere gratitude for proofs of
p u b l i c confidence early bestowed. I am bound to another
N o r t h e r n State by adoption, by long residence, by all the cords
o f social a n d domestic life, and by an attachment and regard,
s p r i n g i n g from her manifestation of approbation and favor,
w h i c h grapple me to her with hooks of steel. And yet, sir,
w i t h the same sincerity of respect, the same deep gratitude,
t h e same reverence, and hearty good will with which I would
p a y a similar tribute to either of these States, do I here ack n o w l e d g e the Commonwealth of Virginia to be entitled to
t h e honor of commencing the work of establishing this constit u t i o n . T h e honor is hers ; let her enjoy it; let her forever
w e a r it proudly ; there is not a brighter jewel in the tiara that
a d o r n s her b r o w . L e t this resolution stand, illustrating her
records, and blazoning her n a m e , through all time!
T h e meeting, sir, proposed by the resolution was holdeu. It
t o o k place, as all k n o w , in Annapolis, in M a y of the same year ;
b u t it w a s thinly attended, and its members, very wisely,
a d o p t e d measures to bring about a fuller and more general
convention. Their letter to the States on this occasion is full
of instruction. It shows their sense of the unfortunate condition of the country. In their meditations on the subject, they
s a w the extent to which the commercial power must necessarily extend- T h e sagacity of N e w Jersey had led her, in agreeing to the original proposition of Virginia, to enlarge the object
of the appointment of commissioners, so as to embrace not only
c o m m e r c i a l regulations, but other important
s u g g e s t i o n the commissioners adopted, because they thought,
iXx they inform us, " that the power of regulating trade is of
sxtch comprehensive extent, and will enter so far into the gene r a l system of the Federal Government, that to give it efficacy,
a n d to obviate questions and doubts concerning its precise na-


lure and limits, might require a correspondent adjustment o f
other parts of the Federal system." Here you see, sir, t h a t
other powers, such as are now in the constitution, were e x pected to branch out of the necessary commercial power; a n d ,
therefore, the letter of the commissioners concludes with r e c o m mending a general convention, " to take into consideration t l i o
zv/io/c situation of the United States, and to devise such f u r ther provisions as should appear necessary to render the c o n stitution of the Federal Government adequate to the e x i g e n c i e s
of the Union."
T h e result of that convention was the present constitution.
And yet, in the midst of all this flood of light, respecting i t s
original objects and purposes, and while we cannot but s e e
the adequate powers which it confers for accomplishing these*
purposes, we abandon the commerce of the country, we b e tray its interests, we turn ourselves a w a y from its most c r y ing necessities. Sir, it will be a fact, stamped in deep a n d
dark lines upon our annals ; it will be a truth, which in all
time can never be denied or evaded, that if this constitution
shall not, now and hereafter, be so administered as to maintain
a uniform system in all matters of trade ; if it shall not protect
and regulate the commerce of the country, in all its great interests, in its foreign intercourse, in its domestic intercourse, in its
navigation, in its currency, in every thing which fairly belongs
to the whole idea of commerce, either as nn end, an agent, or
an instrument, then that constitution will have failed, utterly
failed, to accomplish the precise, distinct, original object, in
which it had its being.
In matters of trade, Ave were no longer t u b e Georgians, Virginimis, Pennsylvanians, or Massachusetts men. W e were to
have but one commerce, and that the commerce of the United
States. There were not to be separate flags, waving over separate commercial systems. There was to be one flag, the K PI.IJRIBITS UNUM; and toward that was to be that rally of united interests and affections, which our fathers had so earnestly invokedMi\ President, this unity of commercial regulation is, in my
opinion, indispensable to Ihe safety of the union of the States

I n p ^ a c e it is its strongest tie. I care not, sir, on w h a t side, or
i n w h i c h of its branches, this constitutional authority m a y be
a t t a c k e d . E v e r y successful attack upon it, m a d e a n y w h e r e ,
w e a k e n s the whole, and renders the next assault easier and
m o r e d a n g e r o u s . A n y denial of its just extent is an attack upon
it- W e attack it, most fiercely attack it, whenever w e say w e
w i l l not exercise the powers which it enjoins* If the Court
h a d yielded to the pretensions of respectable States upon the
s u b j e c t of steam navigation, and to the retaliatory proceedings
o f other Stales ; if retreat and excuse, a n d disavowal of p o w e r
h a d been prevailing sentiments then, in w h a t condition, at this
m o m e n t , let me ask, would the steam navigation of the count r y be found ? T o us, sir, to us, his c o u n t r y m e n , to us, w h o
feel so much admiration for his genius, and so m u c h gratitude
for his services, Fulton would have lived almost in vain. State
g r a n t s and Stale exclusions would have covered over ail our
Sir> it is in the nature of such things, that the first violation,
o r t h e first departure from true principles, d r a w s more import a n t violations or departures after it ; and the. first surrender of
j u s t authority will be followed by others more to be deplored.
If commerce bo a unit, to break it in a n y one part is to decree
its ultimate dismemberment in alb If there be m a d e a first
<;hasm, though it be small, through that the whole wild ocean
will pour in, and we m a y then labor to throw u p e m b a n k m e n t s in vain.
Sir, the spirit of union is particularly liable to temptation
a n d seduction, hi moments of peace and prosperity. h i w a r ,
this spirit is strengthened b y a sense of c o m m o n danger, and
by a thousand recollections of ancient efforts and ancient glory
in a common cause. J Jut in the calms of a long peace, and the
absence of all apparent causes of alarm, things near gain an
ascendency over things remote. Local interests and feelings
o v e r s h a d o w national sentiments. Our attention, our regard,
a n d our attachment, are every moment solicited to what touches
us closest, and we feel less and less the attraction of :» distant
o r b . Such tendencies we are hound by true patriotism, and


by our love of union, to resist. This is our duty; and the moment, in m y judgment, has arrived when that duty is summoned to action. W e hear, every day, sentiments and arguments
which would become a meeting of envoys, employed by separate Governments, more than they become the common Legislature of a united country. Constant appeals are made to local
interests, to geographical distinctions, and to the policy and
the pride of particular States. It would sometimes appear that
it was, or as if it were, a settled purpose to convince the people
that our Union is nothing but a jumble of different and' discordant interests, which must, ere long, be all returned to their
original state of separate existence; as if, therefore, it was of
no great value while it should last, and was not likely to last
long. T h e process of disintegration begins, by urging, as a facty
the existence of different interests.
Sir, is not the end obvious, to which all this leads us ? W h o
does not see that, if convictions of this kind take possession of
the public mind, our Union can hereafter be nothing, while it
remains, but a connexion without h a r m o n y ; a bond without
affection; a theatre for the angry contests of local feelings,
local objects, and local jealousies ? E v e n while it continues t o
exist, in name, it m a y , by these means, become nothing but the
mere form of a united Government. M y children, and the children of those w h o sit around me, may meet, perhaps, in this
Chamber, in the next generation; but if tendencies, now but
too obvious, be not checked, they will meet as strangers and
aliens. They will feel no sense of common interest or common
country : they will cherish no common object of patriotic love.
If the same Saxon language shall fall from their lips, it may be
the chief proof that they belong to the same nation. Its vital
principle exhausted and gone, its power of doing good terminated, now productive only of strife and contention, the Union
itself must ultimately fall, dishonored and unlamentedT h e honorable member from Carolina himself, habitually
indulges in charges of usurpation and oppression against the
Government of his country- He daily denounces its impor*

tsuit measures, in the language in which our revolutionary
f a t h e r s spoke of the oppressions of the mother country. Not
m e r e l y against Executive usurpation, either real or supposed,
d o e s he utter these sentiments, but against laws of Congress?
l a w s passed by large majorities, laws sanctioned, for a course
of y e a r s , by the people. These laws he proclaims, every hour,
to be but a series of acts of oppression. He speaks of them as
if it w e r e an admitted fact, that such is their true character.
T h i s is the language which he utters, these the sentiments he
expresses, to the rising generation around him. Are they
sentiments and language which are likely to inspire our child r e n with the love of union, to enlarge their patriotism, or to
teach them, and to make them feel, that their destiny has made
t h e m common citizens of one great and glorious republic ? A
principal object, in his late political movements, the gentleman
himself tells us, was to unite the entire South; and against
w h o m , or against what, does he wish to unite the entire South ?
Is not this the very essence of local feeling and local regard ?
I s it not the acknowledgment of a wish and object, to create
political strength, by uniting political opinions geographically?
While the gentleman thus wishes to unite the entire South, I
p r a y to know, sir, if he expects me to turn toward the polarstar, and, acting on the same principle, to utter a cry of Rally!
to the whole North ? Heaven forbid! To the day of m y
death, neither he nor others shall hear such a cry from me.
Finally, the honorable member declares that he shall now
m a r c h off, under the banner of State Rights ! March off
from w h o m ? March off from what ? W e have been contending for great principles. W e have been struggling to
maintain the liberty and to restore the prosperity of the country ; we have made these struggles here, in the national councils, with the old flag, the true American flag, the Kagle and
the Stars and Stripes, waving over the Chamber in which we
sit. He now tells us, however, that he marches off under the
State-rights banner !
Let him go. I remain. I am, where I ever have been,
and ever mean to be. Here, standing on the platform of the


general constitution—a platform, broad enough, and f i r m
enough, to uphold every interest of the whole country-—I
shall still be found. Intrusted with some part in the a d m i n i s tration of that constitution, I intend to act in its spirit, and i n
the spirit of those who framed it. Yes, sir, I would act a s if
our fathers, who formed it for us, and who bequeathed it t o
us, were looking on me—as if I could see their venerable
forms, bending down to behold us, from the abodes above. I
would act, too, as if the eye of posterity was gazing on me.
Standing thus, as in the; full gaze of our ancestors, and o u r
posterity, having received this inheritance from the former, t o
be transmitted to the latter, and feeling, that if 1 am born for
any good, in my day and generation, it is for the good o( t h e
whole country, no local policy, or local feeling, no temporary
impulse, shall induce me to yield my foothold on the Constitution and the Union. I move olV, under no banner, n o t
known to the whole American people, and to their constitution and laws. No, sir, these walls, these columns
" fly
F r o m their firm base as soon as I . "

I came into public life, sir, in the service of the United States,
On that broad altar, my earliest, and all my public vows, have
been made. I propose to serve no other master. So far as depends on any agency of mine, they shall continue united States;
united in interest and in affection ; united in every thing in
regard to which the constitution has decreed their union ;
united in war, for the common defence, the common renown,
and the common glory ; and united, compacted, knit firmly
together in peace, for the common prosperity and happiness of
ourselves and our children.

O N T H E -J2d







O n T h u r s d a y , the 22d of March, Mr. C A L H O D S spoke at length in answer to
M r . W E B S T K i t ' s speech of March 12.
W h e n he had concluded, Mr. W E B S T E R immediately rose, a n d addressed the
S e n a t e as follows:

Mr* P R E S I D E N T : I came rather late to the Senate this morni n g , and happening to meet a friend on the avenue, I was
admonished by him to hasten my steps, as u the war was to be
c a r r i e d into Africa," and 1 was expected to be annihilated. I
lost no time in following the advice, sir, since it would be
a w k w a r d for one to be annihilated without knowing any thing
n b o u t it.
Well, sir, the war has been brought into Africa. The honorable member has made an expedition into regions as remote
from the subject of this debate, as the orb of Jupiter from that
of our earth. He has spoken of the tariff, of slavery, and of
the late war. Of all this I do not complain. On the contrary,
if it be his pleasure to allude to all, or any of these topics, for
a n y purpose whatever, I am ready at all times to hear him.
Sir, this carrying the war into Africa, which has become so
common a phrase among us, is, indeed, imitating a great exa m p l e ; but it is an example which is not always followed by
success. In the first place, sir, every man, though he be a
m a n of talent and genius, is not a Scipio; and in the next


place, as I recollect this part of Roman and C a r t h a g i n i a n h i s tory—the gentleman may be more accurate—but as I r e c o l l e c t
it, when Scipio resolved upon carrying the war into A f r i c a ,
Hannibal was not at home. N o w , sir, I am very little l i k e
Hannibal, but I am at home ; and when Scipio A f r i c a n u s
South Carolinaensis brings the war into my territories, I s h a l l
not leave their defence to Asdrubal, nor Syphax, nor a n y b o d y
else. I meet him on the shore, at his landing, and p r o p o s e
but one contest,
*c Concurritur;
** Aut cita mors, aut victoria lffita."

Mr. President, I had made up my mind that if the h o n o r a b l e
gentleman should confine himself to a reply, in the o r d i n a r y
w a y . I would not say another syllable. But he has n o t d o n e
so. He has gone off into topics quite remote from all c o n nexion with revenue, commerce, finance, or sub-treasuries, a n d
invites to a discussion which, however uninteresting t o t h e
public at the present moment, is too personal to be declined
by me.
He says, sir, that I had undertaken to compare my political
character and conduct with his. Far from it. I attempted n o
such thing. I compared the gentleman's political opinions a t
different times, with one another, and expressed decided o p position to those which lie now holds. And I did, certainly,
advert to the general lone and drift of the gentleman^ s e n t i ments and expressions, for some years past, in their b e a r i n g
on the Union, with such remarks as I thought they deserved ;
but T instituted no comparison between him and myself. H e
may institute one, if he pleases, and when he pleases. Seeking nothing of this kind, I avoid nothing. 1-et it be remembered, that the gentleman began the debate, by attempting to
exhibit a contrast between the present opinions and conduct
of my friends and myself, and our recent opinions and conductHere is the first charge of inconsistency; let the public judge,
whether he has made it good. He says, sir, that on several
questions I have taken different sides, at different times : let

h i m s h o w it. If he shows any change of opinion, I shall be
c a l l e d on to give a reason, and to account for it. I leave it
t o t h e country to say whether, as yet, he has shown any such
B u t , sir, before attempting that, he h a s something else to
s a y . H e h a d prepared, it seems, to draw comparisons himself.
H e h a d intended to say something, if time had allowed, upon
o u r respective opinions and conduct in regard to the war. If
t i m e had allowed! Sir, time does allow—time must allow.
A. general remark of that kind ought not to b e , cannot be, left
t o produce its effect, when that effect is obviously intended to
h e unfavorable. W h y did the gentleman allude to m y votes,
o r m y opinions, respecting the w a r , at all, unless he had somet h i n g to say ? Docs he wish to leave an undefined impression that something was done, or something said, by m e , not
n o w capable of defence or justification ? something not reconcileable with true patriotism ? H e means that, or nothing.
A n d n o w , sir, let him bring the matter forth : let him take the
responsibility of the accusation : let him state his facts, I am
h e r e to answer : I a m here, this day, to answer. N o w is the
t i m e , and now the hour. I think w e read, sir, that one of the
g o o d spirits would not bring against the arch enemy of m a n k i n d a railing accusation ; and w h a t is railing, but general rep r o a c h — a n imputation, without fact, time, or circumstance ?
Sir, I call for particulars. T h e gentleman k n o w s m y whole
conduct well : indeed, the journals show it all, from the mom e n t I came into Congress till the peace* If I h a v e done,
t h e n , sir, a n y thing unpatriotic—-any thing which, as far as
love to country goes, will not bear comparison with his, or
a n y m a n ' s conduct—let it now be stated. Give me the fact,
the time, the manner. He speaks of the w a r ; that which w e
call the late w a r , though it is now twenty-five years since it
terminated. H e would leave an impression that I opposed
it. H o w ? I w a s not in Congress when w a r w a s declared,
n o r in public life, a n y w h e r e . I w a s pursuing m y profession,
keeping company with judges and jurors, and plaintiffs and
defendants- If I had been in Congress, and had enjoyed

the benefit of hearing the honorable gentleman's speeches, f o r
all I can say, I might have concurred with him. Hut I w a s
not in public life. I never h a d been, for a single hour ; a n d
w a s in no situation, therefore, to oppose or to support t h e
declaration of war, I a m speaking to the fact, sir ; and if t h e
gentleman has any fact, let us k n o w it.
Well, sir, I came into Congress during the war. I found it
waged, and raging- And what did I do here to oppose i t ?
Liook to the journals, J„et the lionorable gentleman t a x h i s
memory. Bring up a n y tiling, if there be any thing to b r i n g
u p — n o t showing error of opinion, but showing w a n t of loyalty
or fidelity to the country. I did not agree to all that Avas p r o posed, nor did the honorable member. I did not approve of
every measure, nor did he.
T h e w a r had been preceded by the restrictive system, a n d
the embargo. As a private individual, 1 certainly did n o t
think well of these measures. It appeared to me the e m b a r g o
annoyed ourselves as much as our enemies, while it destroyed
the business and cramped the spirits of the people.
In this opinion I m a y have been rigid or w r o n g , but t h e
gentleman w a s himself of the same opinion. H e told us, t h e
other day, as a proof of his independence of party, on g r e a t
questions, that he differed with his friends on the subject of
lho embargo. H e w a s decidedly and unalterably opposed to
it- It furnishes, in his judgment, therefore, no imputation
either on m y patriotism, or the soundness of m y political opinions, that I w a s opposed to it also. I mean opposed in opinion : for I w a s not in Congress, and h a d nothing to do with
the act creating the embargo. And as to opposition to measures for carrying on the war, after I came into Congress, I
again say, let the gentleman specify—let him lay his finger on
a n y thing, calling for an answer, and he shall h a v e a n answer.
Mr, President, you were yourself in the House during a
considerable part of this time. T h e honorable gentleman m a y
m a k e a witness of you- H e m a y make a witness of any body
vise. He may be his o w n witness. Give us but some fact,
some charge, something capable in itself cither of being proved

or d i s p r o v e d . Prove any thing, state any tiling, not consiste n t w i t h honorable and patriotic conduct, and I a m ready to
a n s w e r it. Sir, I a m glad this subject has been aliuded to, in
a m a n n e r which justifies me in taking public notice of it *
b e c a u s e l a m well aware that, for ten years past, infinite pains
h a v e b e e n taken to find something, in (he range of these topics,
w h i c h might create prejudice against me in the country. T h e
j o u r n a l s have all been pored over, and the reports ransacked,
a n d s c r a p s of paragraphs, and half sentences have been coll e c t e d , put together in the falsest manner, and then made to
H a r e o u t , as if there had been some discovery. But all this
f a i l e d . The next resort was to supposed correspondence. M y
l e t t e r s were sought for, to learn if in the confidence of private:
f r i e n d s h i p I had never said any thing which an enemy could
m a k e use of With this view, the vicinity of m y former resid e n c e h a s been searched, as witli a lighted candle. N e w
J-fampshire lias been explored, from the mouth of the Merrim a c k to the White Hills. In one instance, a gentleman had
left t h e State, gone five hundred miles off, and died. His
p a p e r s were examined—a letter was found, and I have und e r s t o o d it w a s brought to Washington—a conclave w a s held
to consider it, and the result was, that if there was nothing
else against Mr. Webster, the matter had better be let alone*
Sir, I hope to make every body of that opinion who brings
a g a i n s t me a charge of want of patriotism. Krrors of opinion c a n be found, doubtless, on m a n y subjects; but as conduct
flows from the feelings which animate the heart, I know that
n o act of m y life has had its origin in the w a n t of ardent love
of country.
Sir, w h e n 1 came to Congress, I found the honorable gentlem a n a leading member of the House of Representatives. Wei],
sir, in w h a t did AVO differ ? One of the first measures of magn i t u d e , after I came here, w a s Mr. Dallas's proposition for a
b a n k . It w a s a w a r measure. It w a s urged as being absol u t e l y necessary to enable Government to carry on the warG o v e r n m e n t wanted revenue—such a bank it w a s hoped
w o u l d furnish i t ; and on that account it w a s most w a r m l y


pressed and urged on Congress. You remember all this, Mr*
President. You remember h o w much some persons supposed
the success of the w a r and the salvation of the country depended on carrying that measure. Yet, the honorable member from South Carolina opposed this bill. He n o w takes to
himself a good deal of merit—none too much, but still a good
deal of merit, for having defeated it. Well, sir, I agreed with
him. It w a s a mere paper b a n k — a mere machine for fabricating irredeemable paper. It w a s a n e w form for paper
m o n e y ; and instead of benefiting the country, I thought it
would plunge it deeper and deeper in difficulty. I made a
speech on the subject : it has often been quoted. There it
i s ; let whoever pleases, read and examine it. I am not proud
of it, for any ability it exhibits ; on the other hand, I am not
ashamed of it, for the spirit which it manifests. But, sir, I
say again, that the gentleman himself took the lead, against
this measure—this darling measure of the Administration. I
followed him ; if I w a s seduced into error, or into unjustifiable
opposition, there sits m y seducer.
W h a t , sir, were other leading sentiments, or leading measures of that day ? On w h a t other subjects did men differ ?
T h e gentleman has adverted to one, and that a most important one : I m e a n the navy. H e says, and says truly, that at
the commencement of the w a r , the navy w a s unpopular. It
w a s unpopular with his friends, who then controlled the politics of the country. But he says he differed with his friends;
in this respect, he resisted party influence, and party connexion, and w a s the friend and advocate of the navy. Sir, I commend him for it. He showed his wisdom. T h a t gallant little
n a v y soon fought ifself into favor, and showed that no man,
w h o had placed reliance on it, had been disappointed.
Well, sir, in all this, I was exactly of the same opinion as
the honorable gentleman.
Sir, I do not k n o w w h e n m y opinion of the importance of a
naval force to the United States had its origin. I can give no
date to my present sentiments on this subject, because I never
entertained different sentiments. I remember, sir, that imme-

d i a t e l y after coming into my profession, at a period v/hen the
n a v y w a s most unpopular, when it w a s called b y all sorts of
h a r d n a m e s , and designated by many coarse epithets, on one
of t h o s e occasions on which young men address their neigh*
b o r s , I ventured to put forth a boy's hand in defence of the
navyI insist-ed ou its importance, its adaptation to our circ u m s t a n c e s , and to our national character; and its indispensab l e necessity, if we intended to maintain and extend our
c o m m e r c e . These opinions and sentiments I brought into
C o n g r e s s ; a n d , so far as I remember, it was the first, or a m o n g
t h e first times, in which I presumed to speak on the topics of
t h e d a y , that I attempted to urge on the House a greater att e n t i o n to the naval service. There were divers modes of
p r o s e c u t i n g the war. On these modes, or on the degree of
a t t e n t i o n and expense which should be bestowed on each,
different m e n held different opinions. I confess I looked with
m o s t hope to the results of naval warfare, and therefore I
i n v o k e d Government to invigorate and strengthen that arm of
t h e national defence. I invoked it to seek its enemy upon
t h e seas—to go where every auspicious indication pointed,
a n d where the whole heart and soul of the country would go
w i t h it*
Sir, we were at w a r with the greatest maritime P o w e r on
e a r t h . E n g l a n d had gained an ascendency on the seas over
t h e whole combined Powers of Europe. She had been at w a r
t w e n t y years. She had tried her fortunes on the continent,
but generally with no success. At one time the whole continent had closed against her. A long line of armed exterior, an unbroken hostile array, frowned upon her from the
gulf of Archangel, round the promontory of Spain and Port u g a l , to the foot of the boot of Italy. There w a s not a poru
w h i c h an English ship could enter. E v e r y w h e r e on the land,
t h e genius of her great enemy had triumphed. He had defeated armies-, crushed coalitions, and overturned thrones; but,
like the fabled giants, he was unconquerable only while he
touched the land. On the ocean, he was powerless. That


field of fame w a s his adversary's, and her meteor flag- w a s
streaming in triumph all over it.
To her maritime ascendency England owed every t h i n g s
and we were now at war with her. One of the most c l i a r m ing of her poets had said of her, that
** H e r march is o'er the mountain w a v e ,
" H e r home is on the J e e p . ' 1

N o w , sir, since we Ave re at war with her, I was for inter*
cepting this march ; I was for calling upon her, and p a y i n g
our respects to her, at home ; I was for giving her to k n o w
that w e , too, had a right of way over the seas, and t h a t our
marine officers and our sailors were not entire strangers o n
the bosom of the deep ; I was for doing something more w i t h
our navy, than to keep it on our shores, for the protection of
our own coasts and own harbors; I was for giving play to its
gallant and burning spirit ; for allowing it to go forth u p o n t h e
seas, and to encounter, on an open and an equal field, w h a t ever the proudest or the bravest of the enemy could b r i n g
against it, I knew the character of its officers, and the spirit
of its seamen : and I knew that, in their hands, though t h e
flag of the country might go down to the bottom, while t h e y
went with it, yet that it could never be dishonored or disgraced.
Since site was our enemy—and a most powerful e n e m y —
I was for touching her, if we could, in the very apple of her
eye ; for reaching the highest feather in her cap ; for clutching at the very brightest jewel in her crown. There seemed
io me to be a peculiar propriety in all this, ns the war w a s
undertaken for the redress of maritime injuries alone. It was
a w a r declared for free trade and sailors' rights. The ocean,
therefore, was the proper theatre for deciding this controversy
with our enemy, and on that theatre my ardent wish was, that
nur own power should be concentrated to the utmost.
So much, sir, for the war, and for my conduct and opinions
as connected with it- And, as I do not mean to recur to this
subject often, nor ever, unless indispensably necessary, I re-

p e a t t h e demand for any charge, any accusation, any allegat i o n w h a t e v e r , that throws me behind the honorable gentlem a n , or behind any other man, in honor, in fidelity, in devoted
l o v e to that country in which I was born, which has honored
m e , a n d which I serve* I, who seldom deal in defiance, n o w ,
l i e r e , in my place, boldly defy the lionorablo member to put
l i i s insinuation in the form of a charge, and to support that
c h a r g e by any proof whatever.
T h e gentleman has adverted to the subject of slavery* On
t h i s subject, he says I have not proved myself a friend to the
S o u t h . W h y , sir, the only proof is, that I did not vote for his
Sir, this is a very grave matter ; it is a subject very exciting
a n d inflammable. I take, of course, all the responsibility bel o n g i n g to my opinions ; but I desire these opinions to be
understood, and fairly stated. If I am to be regarded as an
e n e m y to the South, because I could not support the gentlem a n ' s resolutions, be it so. I cannot purchase favor, from any
q u a r t e r , by the sacrifice of clear and conscientious convictions.
T h e principal resolution declared that Congress had plighted
its faith, not to interfere, either with slavery or the slave* trade,
in the District of Columbia.
N o w , sir, this is quite a new idea. 1 never heard it advanced until this session. I have hoard gentlemen contend,
t h a t no such power was in the constitution; but the notion,
that though the constitution contained the power, yet that
Congress had plighted its faith not to exercise such a power,
is an entire novelty, so far as I know. I must say, sir, it appeared t o m e little else than an attempt to put a prohibition
into the constitution, because there w a s none there already.
For this supposed plighting of the public faith, or the faith of
Congress, I saw no ground, either in the history of the Government, or in any one fact, or in any argument. I therefore
could not vote for the proposition.
Sir, it is now several years since 1 took care to make my
opinion known, that this Government has, constitm ionally,
nothing to do with slavery, as it exists in the Stales. That

opinion is entirely unchanged. I stand steadily by t h e r e s o lution of the House of Representatives, adopted, after m u c h
consideration, at the commencement of the G o v e r n m e n t
which was, that Congress have no authority to interfere i n t h e
emancipation of slaves, or in the treatment of them, w i t h i n
any of the States ; it remaining with the several States a l o n e
to provide a n y regulations therein which humanity a n d t r u e
policy m a y require. This, in my opinion, is the c o n s t i t u t i o n ,
and the law. I feel bound by it. I have quoted the r e s o l u tion often. It expresses the judgment of men of all p a r t s of
the country, deliberately formed, in a cool time ; a n d i t e x presses m y judgment, and I shall adhere to it. But t h i s h a s
nothing to do with the other constitutional question ; t h a t is to
say, the mere constitutional question, whether Congress h a s t h e
power to regulate slavery and the slave trade in the D i s t r i c t
of Columbia.
On such a question, sir, w h e n I a m asked w h a t the c o n s t i tution is, or whether any power granted by it has been c o m promised a w a y , or, indeed, could be compromised a w a y
must express m y honest opinion, and always shall e x p r e s s it,
if I say any thing, notwithstanding it m a y not meet c o n c u r rence either in the South, or the North, or the East, o r tho
West. I cannot express, by my vote, w h a t I do not believe.
He has chosen to bring that subject into this debate, w i t h
which it has no concern ; hut ho may make the most of it, if
he thinks ho can produce unfavorable impressions on the S o u t h ,
from my negative to his fifth resolution. As to the rest of
them, they were commonplaces, generally, or abstractions; in
regard to which, one may well not feel himself called on to
vote at all.
And n o w , sir, in regard to the tariff. T h a t is a long chapter,
but I a m quite ready to go over it with the honorable m e m b e r .
He charges me with inconsistency. T h a t m a y depend on
deciding what inconsistency is, in respect to such subjects, and
how it is to be proved. I will state the facts, for I h a v e t h e m
in m y mind somewhat more fully than the honorable m e m b e r
has himself presented them. Let us begin at the beginning-

I n 1 S 1 6 ? I voted against the tariiF law, which then passed. In
1 8 2 4 , I again voted against the tariff law, which w a s then
p r o p o s e d , and which passed. A majority of ±sew England
v o t e s , in 1S24, w a s against the tariiF system. The bill receive d b u t one vote from Massachusetts ; but it passed.
p o l i c y w a s established ; N e w England acquiesced in it, conf o r m e d her business and pursuits to it ; embarked her capital,
and e m p l o y e d her labor, in manufactures; and I certainly adm i t t h a t , from that time, I have felt bound to support interests
t h u s called into being, and into importance, by the settled policy
o f t h e Government. T have stated this often here, and often
e l s e w h e r e . T h e ground is defensible, and I maintain it.
A s to the resolutions adopted in Boston, in 1S20, and which
resolutions he has caused to be read, and which he says he
p r e s u m e s I prepared, I have no recollection of having d r a w n
t h e resolutions, and do not believe I did. But I was at the
m e e t i n g , and addressed the meeting ; and w h a t I said on that
occasion has been produced here, and read in the Senate years
T h e resolutions, sir, were opposed to the commencing of a.
h i g h tariff policy. I was opposed to it, and spoke against it—
t h e city of Boston was opposed to it—the Commonwealth of
M a s s a c h u s e t t s was opposed to it. Remember, sir, that this
w a s in IS20. This opposition continued till 1S24. The votes
all s h o w this. But in 1824, the question w a s decided; the
G o v e r n m e n t entered upon the policy; it invited men to emb a r k their property and their means of living in it. Individuals
h a v e done this to a great extent j and, therefore, I say, so long
a s the manufactures shall need reasonable and just protection
from Government, I shall be disposed to give it to them- W h a t
is there, sir, in all this, for the gentleman to complain oi ?
W o u l d he have us always oppose the policy, adopted by the
c o u n t r y , on a great question ? Would he have minorities
n e v e r submit to the will of majorities?
I remember to have said, sir, at the meeting in Faneuil hall,
t h a t protection appeared to be regarded as incidental to reven u e ; a n d that the incident could not be carried fairly above the


principal: in other words, that duties ought not to be laid, f o r
the mere object of protection. I believe that w a s s u b s t a n t i a l l y
correct. I believe that if the p o w e r of protection be i n f e r r e d
only from the revenue p o w e r , the protection could only b e i n cidental.
But, I h a v e said in this place before, and I repeat n o w , t h a t
Mr. Madison's publication, after that period, a n d his d e c l a r a tion that the convention did intend to grant the p o w e r of p r o tection, under the commercial clause, placed the subject i n a
n e w and a clear light. I will add, sir, that a paper d r a w n u p
by Dr. F r a n k l i n , a n d read b y him to a circle of friends i n P h i l adelphia, on the eve of the assembling of the convention^ r e specting the powers which the proposed n e w G o v e r n m e n t
ought to possess, shows, perfectly plainly, that, in r e g u l a t i n g
commerce, it w a s expected Congress would adopt a c o u r s e ,
which should protect the manufactures of the NorthHe
certainly went into the convention himself under that c o n v i c tion.
Well, sir, and n o w w h a t does the gentleman m a k e o u t
against me in relation to the tariff ? W h a t laurels does h e
gather in this part of Africa ? I opposed the policy of t h e
tariff, until it h a d become the settled and established policy of
the country. I h a v e never questioned the constitutional p o w e r
of Congress to grant protection, except so far as the r e m a r k
goes, made in Faneuil hall, which r e m a r k respects only the
length to which protection might properly be carried, so far
as the power is derived from the authority to lay duties on i m ports. B u t the policy being established, a n d a great p a r t of
the country having placed vast interests at stake in it, I h a v e
not disturbed it ; on the contrary, I h a v e insisted that it o u g h t
not to be disturbed- If there be inconsistency in all this, the
gentleman is at liberty to blazon it forth; let him see w h a t h e
can m a k e of it.
H e r e , sir, I cease to speak of myself; and respectfully ask
pardon of the Senate for h a v i n g so long detained it, u p o n a n y
thing so unimportant as w h a t relates merely to m y o w n public
conduct and opinions.

S i r , the honorable member is pleased to suppose that our
s p l e e n is excited, because he has interfered to snatch from us a
v i c t o r y over the AdministrationIf he means b y this any
p e r s o n a l disappointment, I shall not think it w o r t h while to
m a k e a remark upon it. If he means a disappointment at his
q u i t t i n g us while we were endeavoring to arrest the present
p o l i c y of the Administration, w h y , then, I admit, sir, that I,
f o r o n e , felt that disappointment deeply. It is the policy of the
A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , its principles, and its measures, which I oppose*
I t i s n o t persons, but things ; not men, but measures. I do wish
m o s t fervently to p u t an end to this anti-commercial policy ;
a n d if the overthrow of the policy shall be followed by the
p o l i t i c a l defeat of its authors, \tfhy, sir, it is a result which I
s h a l l e n d e a v o r to meet with equanimity.
S i r , as to the honorable member's rescuing the victory from
u s , o r as to his ability to sustain the Administration in this
p o l i c y , there m a y be a drachm of a scruple about that. I trust
t h e citadel will yet be stormed, and carried, by the force of p u b lic opinion,- and that no Hector will be able to defend its walls,
B u f n o w , sir, I must advert to a declaration of the honorable
m e m b e r , which I confess did surprisa me.
T h e honorable
m e m b e r says, that, personally, he and myself h a v e been on
friendly terms, but that w e always differed on great constitut i o n a l questions ! Sir, this is astounding.
A n d yet I w a s
p a r t l y prepared for it j for I sat here the other d a y , and held
r a y breath, while the honorable gentleman declared, and rep e a t e d , that he always belonged to the State-rights party !
A n d he m e a n s , by w h a t he has declared to-day, that he has
a l w a y s given to the constitution a construction more limited,
b e t t e r guarded, less favorable to the extension of the p o w e r s
of this Government, than that which I h a v e given to it. H e
h a s a l w a y s interpreted it according to the strict doctrine of, the
school of State rights ! Sir, if the honorable member ever bel o n g e d , until very lately, to the State-rights p a r t y , the connexion w a s v e r y much like a secret marriage. A n d never w a s
secret better kept. Not only were the espousals not acknowle d g e d , b u t all suspicion w a s avoided. T h e r e w a s no k n o w n

familiarity, or even kindness b e t w e e n them. On the c o n t r a r y ^
they acted like parties w h o w e r e not at all fond of each o t h e r ' s
Sir, is there a m a n , in m y hearing, a m o n g all the g e n t l e m e n
n o w surrounding us, m a n y of w h o m , of both H o i i s e s , h a v e " b e e n
here m a n y y e a r s , and k n o w the gentleman and m y s e l f , p e r fectly ; is there one, w h o ever heard, supposed, or d r e a m e d ,
that the honorable m e m b e r belonged to the State-rights p a r t y
before the year 1S25? Can a n y such connexion be p r o v e d
upon h i m — c a n he prove it upon himself, before that t i m e ?
Sir, I will show you, before I resume m y seat, that it w a s n o t
until after the gentleman took his seat in the chair w h i c h y o u
n o w occupy, that a n y public manifestation, or i n t i m a t i o n , w a s
ever gi^en b y h i m , of his h a v i n g embraced the p e c u l i a r d o c trines of the State-rights partv.
T h e truth is, sir, the honorable gentleman h a d acted a v e r y
important and useful part during the w a r . B u t the w a r t e r m i nated. T o w a r d the close of the session of 1S14—'15, w e r e ceived the n e w s of peace. This closed the 13th Congress.
the fall of 1S15, the 14th Congress assembled. It w a s full o f
ability, and the honorable gentleman stood high a m o n g i t s d i s tinguished members. H e remained in the H o u s e , sir, t h r o u g h
the w h o l e of that Congress; and n o w , sir, it is easy to be s h o w n ,
that during those two years, the honorable gentleman t o o k a
decided lead in all those great measures, w h i c h he h a s s i n c e
so often denounced as unconstitutional and o p p r e s s i v e — t h e
bank, the tariff, and internal improvements. T h e Avar b e i n g
terminated, the gentleman's mind turned itself toward i n t e r n a l
administration and improvement.
H e surveyed the w h o l e
country, contemplated its resources, s a w w h a t it w a s c a p a ble of becoming, and held a political faith not so n a r r o w a n d
contracted as to restrain him from useful and efficient action.
H e w a s , therefore, at once, a full length a h e a d of all o t h e r s ,
in measures, w h i c h w e r e national, and w h i c h required a b r o a d
and liberal construction of the constitution to support t h e m .
T h i s is historic truth. Of his agency in the bank, a n d o t h e r
measures connected w i t h the currency, I h a v e already s p o k e n ,

a n d I do not understand him to deny any thing I have said, in
t h a t particular. Indeed, I have said nothing capable of denial.
T$o\v allow m e a few words upon the tariff. T h e tariff of
I S 16 w a s distinctly a South Carolina measure. Look at the
v o t e s , a n d you will see it. It w a s a tariff, for the benefit of
S o u t h Carolina interests, and carried through Congress by
S o u t h Carolina votes, and South Carolina influence. E v e n
t h e Tnini?mc7u^ sir, the so-much-rep reached, the abominable
that subject of angry indignation and wrathful
r h e t o r i c , is of Southern origin, and has a South Carolina
Sir, the contest on that occasion w a s , chiefly, between the
c o t t o n - g r o w e r s at home, and the importers of cotton fabrics
f r o m India. These India fabrics were made from the cotton
o f that country. T h e people of this country were using cott o n fabrics, not made of American cotton, and, so far, they
w e r e diminishing the demand for such cotton. T h e importa t i o n of India cottons w a s then very large, and this bill w a s
designed to put an end to it, and, with the help of the minirnu?7t9 it did put an end to it. T h e cotton manufactures of
t h e North were then in their infancy.
T h e y had some
friends in Congress, but, if I recollect, the majority of M a s sachusetts members and of N e w E n g l a n d members were
a g a i n s t this cotton tariff of 1816. I remember well, that the
m a i n debate w a s between the importers of India cottons, in
t h e North, and the cotton-growers of the South. T h e gent l e m a n cannot deny the truth of this or uny part of it. Bost o n opposed this tariff, and Salem opposed it, warmly and
vigorously. lint the honorable member supported it, and the
l a w passedA n d n o w be it a l w a y s remembered, sir, that
t h a t act passed on the professed ground of protection ; that
it h a d in it the minimum
principle, a n d that the honorable
m e m b e r a n d other leading gentlemen from his own State,
supported it, voted for it, and carried it through Congress.
A n d n o w , sir, w e come to the doctrine of internal improvem e n t — t h a t other usurpation, that other oppression, which lias
c o m e so near to justifying violent abruption of the Govern-

ment, and scattering the fragments of the Union to the f o u r
winds- H a v e the gentleman's State-rights opinions a l w a y s
kept him aloof from such unhallowed infringements o f t h e
constitution ? H e says he a l w a y s differed w i t h me on c o n stitutional questions. H o w w a s it in this, most i m p o r t a n t ,
particular ? H a s he here stood on the r a m p a r t s , b r a n d i s h ing his glittering sword against assailants, and holding o u t a
banner of defiance ? Sir—sir—sir—it is an indisputable t r u t h ,
that he is himself the m a n — t h e ipse that first brought f o r w a r d ,
in Congress, a scheme of general internal improvement, a t t h e
expense, and under the authority of this Government.
sir, is the very man, the ipsissirnxis ipse, w h o , considerately,
and on a settled system, began these unconstitutional m e a s ures, if they be unconstitutional. A n d n o w for the proof.
T h e act incorporating the B a n k of the United States w a s
passed in April, 1816. For the privileges of the charter, t h e
proprietors of the bank were to pay to Government a bo?ztis,
as it w a s called, of one million five hundred thousand d o l lars, in certain instalments.
Government also took s e v e n
millions in the stock of the bank. E a r l y in the next session
of Congress—that is, in December, IS 16—the honorable m e m ber moved, in the House of Representatives, that a committee be appointed to consider the propriety of setting apart this
bonus, and also the dividends on the stock belonging to t h e
United States, as a permanent fund for internal improvement.
T h e committee w a s appointed, and the honorable m e m b e r
was made its chairman. H e thus originated the plan, a n d
took the lead in its execution. Shortly afterwards, he r e ported a bill carrying out the objects for which the committee had been appointed. This bill provided that the dividends on the seven millions of bank stock belonging to
Government, and also the whole of the bonus, should be
permanently pledged, as a fund for constructing roads and
canals; and that this fund should be subject to such specific
appropriations as Congress might thereafter m a k e .
This w a s the bill; and this w a s the first project e v e r
brought forward, in Congress, for a system of internal i m -

T h e bill goes the whole doctrine, at a single
j u m p . T h e Cumberland road, it is true, w a s already in progr e s s ; and for that the gentleman had also voted. B u t there
w e r e , and are n o w , peculiarities about that particular expend i t u r e , which sometimes satisfy scrupulous consciences; b u t
t h i s bill of the gentleman's, without equivocation or saving
c l a u s e — w i t h o u t if, or and, or but—occupied the whole g r o u n d
a t once, and announced internal improvement as one of the
o b j e c t s of this Government, on a grand and systematic plan.
T h e bill, sir, seemed, indeed, too strong. It w a s thought, b y
p e r s o n s not esteemed extremely jealous of State rights, to
e v i n c e , nevertheless, too little regard to the will of the States*
S e v e r a l gentlemen opposed the measure, in that shape, on that
a c c o u n t ; and a m o n g them Colonel Pickering, then one of the
representatives from Massachusetts, E v e n T i m o t h y Pickeri n g could not quite sanction, nor concur in, the honorable gent l e m a n ' s doctrines, to their full extent, although he favored the
m e a s u r e in its general character.
H e , therefore, prepared an
a m e n d m e n t , as a substitute; and his substitute provided for
t w o very important things, not embraced in the original bill:
First, that the proportion of the fund to be expended in each
S t a t e , respectively, should be in proportion to the n u m b e r of
its inhabitants.
Second, that the money should be applied in constructing
s u c h roads, canals, & c , in the several States, as Congress
m i g h t direct, taith the assent of the State.
T h i s , sir, w a s Timothy Pickering's a m e n d m e n t of the honorable gentleman's bill. A n d n o w , sir, h o w did the honorable
gentleman, who has a l w a y s belonged to the State-rights party,
h o w did he treat this amendment, or this substitute? Which
w a y , do you think, his State-rights doctrine led him? W h y ,
sir, I will tell you. H e immediately rose, and moved to strike
o u t the words "with the assent of the State J" H e r e is the
j o u r n a l under my hand, sir ; and here is the gentleman's motion. A n d certainly, sir, it will be admitted, that this motion
w a s not of a nature to intimate that he h a d become wedded to
State rights. But the words were not stricken out. T h e mo-

tion did not prevail. Mr. Pickering's substitute w a s adopted,
and the bill passed the House in that form.
In Committee of the Whole on this bill, sir, the honorable
member made a very able speech, both on the policy of inter
nal improvements, and the power of Congress over the subject.
These points w e r e fully argued by him. H e spoke of the importance of the system ; the vast good it would produce, and
its favorable cfFect on the union of the States. " L e t us, t h e n , "
said h e , " b i n d the republic together, with a perfect system of
roads and canals. Let us conquer space. It is thus the most
distant parts of the republic will be brought within a few days'
travel of the centre ; it is thus that a citizen of the West will
read the news of Boston still moist from the p r e s s . "
But on the power of Congress to m a k e internal improvements ; ay, sir, on the power of Congress, hear him ! What
were then his rules of construction and interpretation? How
did he at that time read and understand the constitution ?
W h y , sir, he said that " he was no advocate for refined arguments on the constitution. T h e instrument w a s not intended as a thesis for the logician to exercise his ingenuity on. It
ought to be construed with plain good s e n s e . " This is all very
just, I think, sir ; and he said much more. H e quoted many
instances of laws, passed, as he contended, on similar principles, and then added, that " he introduced these instances to
prove the uniform sense of Congress, and of the country, (for
they had not been objected to,) as to our powers ; and s u r e l y / '
said he, "they furnish better evidence of the true interpretation of the constitution, than the most refined and subtile arguments.^
Here you see, Mr. President, how little original I a m . You
have heard me, again and again, contending in m y place here
for the stability of that which has been long settled; you have
heard me, till I dare say you have been tired, insisting that the
sense of Congress, so often expressed, a n d the sense of the
country, so fully known, and so firmly established, ought to be
regarded as having decided, finally, certain constitutional questions. You see now, sir, what authority I have for this mode

o f a r g u m e n t . Bnt while the scholar is learning, the teacher
r e n o u n c e s . Will he apply his old doctrine, n o w — I sincerely
w i s h he would—to the question of the b a n k , to the question
o f t h e receiving of bank notes b y Government, to the p o w e r
o f Congress over the paper currency ? Will he, sir, Avill he
a d m i t that these ought to be regarded as decided, by the sett l e d sense of Congress and of the country? Oh! no. F a r
o t h e r w i s e . F r o m these rules of judgment, and from the influence of all considerations of this practical nature, the hono r a b l e m e m b e r now takes these questions with him into the
u p p e r heights of metaphysics, into the regions of those refinem e n t s , a n d subtile arguments, which he rejected with so much
decision in 1817, as appears by this speech. He quits his old
g r o u n d of common sense, experience, and the general unders t a n d i n g of the country, for a flight among theories and ether e a l abstractions.
A n d n o w , sir, let me ask, w h e n did the honorable member
relinquish these early opinions and principles of his? W h e n
did he m a k e k n o w n his adhesion to the doctrines of the Stater i g h t s party ? W e have been speaking of transactions in 181 (J
a n d 1817. W h a t the gentleman's opinions then were, w e
h a v e seen. But w h e n did he announce himself a State-rights
m a n ? I h a v e already said, sir, that nobody k n e w of his claimi n g that character until after the commencement of 1S25 ; and
I h a v e said so, because I have before me an address of his to
h i s neighbors at Abbeville, in M a y of that year, in which he
recounts, very properly, the principal incidents in his career, as
a m e m b e r of Congress, and as head of a Department ; and in
which he says that, as a m e m b e r of Congress, he had given his
zealous efforts in favor of a restoration of specie currency; of
a due protection of those manufactures which had taken root
d u r i n g the w a r ; and, finally, of a system for connecting the
various parts of the country by a judicious system of internal
i mprovement.
A n d he adds, that it afterwards became his duty, as a m e m ber of the Administration, to aid in sustaining, against the

boldest assaults, those very measures, which, as a m e m b e r o f
Congress, he had contributed to establish.
And now, sir, since the honorable gentleman says he d i f f e r e d
from me on constitutional questions, will he be pleased t o s a y
w h a t constitutional opinion I have ever expressed, for w h i c h
I have not his express authority ? Is it on the b a n k p o w e r ?
the tariff power ? the power of internal improvement? I h a v e
shown his votes, his speeches, and his conduct, on all t h e s e
subjects, u p to the time w h e n General Jackson b e c a m e EL c a n 1
didate for the Presidency. F r o m that time, sir, I k n o w w e
have diifered ; b u t if there was a n y difference before t h a t
time, I call upon him to point it o u t — w h a t w a s the o c c a s i o n ,
w h a t the question, and w h a t the difference ? And if, b e f o r e
that period, sir, by any speech, a n y vote, a n y public p r o c e e d ing, or by a n y other mode of announcement w h a t e v e r , h e
gave the world to know that he belonged to the S t a t e - r i g h t s
party, I hope he will now be kind enough to produce it, o r t o
refer to it, or to tell us where we m a y look for it.
Sir, I will pursue this topic no farther- I would not h a v e
pursued it so far—I would not have entered upon it a t all
had it not been for the astonishment I felt, mingled, I c o n fess, with something of w a r m e r feeling, w h e n the h o n o r a b l e
gentleman declared that he had always differed from m e o n
constitutional questions.
Sir, the honorable member read a quotation or two from a
speech of mine in 1S16, on the currency or b a n k question.
W i t h w h a t intent, or to what end ? W h a t inconsistency d o e s
he show? Speaking of the legal currency of the country, t h a t
is, the coin, I then said it w a s in a good state. W a s not t h a t
t r u e ? I w a s speaking of the legal currency; of that w h i c h
the law made a tender. And how is that inconsistent w i t h
any thing said by me now, or ever said b y me?
I declared then, he says, that the framers of this G o v e r n m e n t
were hard-money men. Certainly they were. But, are not the
friends of a convertible paper hard-money men, in every p r a c tical and sensible meaning of the term? Did I, in that speech,
or any other, insist on excluding all convertible paper from

t h e uses of society ? Most assuredly I did not. I never quite
s o far lost m y wits, I think. There is but a single sentence
i n t h a t speech which I should qualify if I were to deliver it
a g a i n — a n d that the honorable member has not noticed. It is
a p a r a g r a p h respecting the power of Congress over the circul a t i o n of State banks, which might perhaps need explanation
o r correction. Understanding it as applicable to the case then
b e f o r e Congress, all the rest is perfectly accordant with m y
p r e s e n t opinions.
It is well known that I never doubted the
p o w e r of Congress to create a bank ; that I was always in favor
o f a bank, constituted on proper principles ; that I voted for the
b a n k bill of 1S15 ; and that I opposed that of IS 16 only on acc o u n t of one or two of its provisions, which I and others hoped
t o b e able to strike out. I am a hard-money man, and always
h a v e been, and a l w a y s shall be. But I k n o w the great use of
s u c h b a n k paper as is convertible into hard money, on d e m a n d ;
w h i c h m a y be called specie paper, and which is equivalent to
specie in value, and much more convenient and useful for comm o n purposes.
On the other hand, I abhor all irredeemable p a p e r ; all oldfashioned paper money ; all deceptive promises ; every thing,
indeed, in the shape of paper issued for circulation, whether
b y Government or individuals, which m a y not be turned into
gold and silver at the will of the holder.
But, sir, I have insisted that Government is bound to protect an<J regulate the means of commerce, to see that there is
a sound currency for the use of the people.
T h e honorable gentleman asks, W h a t then is the limit ?
M u s t Congress also furnish all means of commerce ? Must it
furnish weights and scales, and steelyards ? Most undoubtedly, sir, it must regulate weights and measures, and it does
so. But the answer to the general question is very obvious.
Government must furnish all that which none but Governm e n t can furnish- Government must do that for individuals
w h i c h individuals cannot do for themselves. T h a t is the very
e n d of Government. W h y , else, have we a Government ?
A n d can individuals make a currency ? Can individuals regu-

late money ? The distinction is as broad and p l a i n a s t h e
Pennsylvania avenue. N o m a n can mistake it, or w e l l t > l U r i .
der out of it. The gentleman asks if Government m u s t f u r n i s h
for the people ships, and boats, and wagons. C e r t a i n l y n o t
T h e gentleman here only recites the President's messsL&e o f
September- These things, and all such things, the p e o j > l ^ c a n
furnish for themselves; but they cannot make a c u r r e n c y •
they cannot, individually, decide what shall be the m o n e y o f
the country. T h a t , everybody k n o w s , is one of the p r e r o g atives and one of the duties of Government; and a d u t y ^ v h i c h
I think w e are most unwisely and improperly n e g l e c t i n g .
m a y as well leave the people to make Avar and to m a k e p e a c e
each m a n for himself, as to leave to individuals the r e g u l a tion of commerce and currency.
Mr. President, there are other remarks of the g e n t l e m a n of
which I might take notice. But, should 1 do so, I could, o n l y
repeat w h a t I have already said, either n o w or h e r e t o f o r e .
shall, therefore, not now allude to them.
M y principal purpose, in what I have said, has b e e n ; first,
to defend myself—that was my first object ; and n e x t , a s t h e
honorable member has attempted to take to himself t h e c h a r acter of a strict constructionist, and a State-rights m a n , a n d
on that basis to show a difference, not favorable to m e , b e t w e e n his constitutional opinions and m y o w n , h e r e t o f o r e , it
has been my intention to show that the power to c r e a t e a
bank, the power to regulate the currency by other a n d d i r e c t
m e a n s , the power to lay a protecting tariff, and the p o w e r of
internal improvement, in its broadest sense, are all p o w e r s
which the honorable gentleman himself has s u p p o r t e d , h a s
acted on, and in the exercise of which, indeed, he h a s t a k e n
a distinguished lead in the councils of Congress.
If this has been done, m y purpose is answered. I d o not
wish to prolong the discussion, nor to spin it out into a colloquy. If the honorable member has a n y thing n e w to bring
forward ; if he h a s a n y charge to m a k e — a n y proof, or a n y
specification ; if he h a s a n y thing to advance against m y opinions or my conduct, m y honor or patriotism, I a m still at h o m e .

I a m h e r e . If not, then, so far as I a m concerned, this discuss i o n will h e r e terminate.
I w i l l s a y a few words, before I resume m y seat, on the
m o t i o n n o w pending. T h a t motion is, to strike out t h e speciep a y i n g p a r t of the bill. I have a suspicion, sir, t h a t t h e m o t i o n will prevail. If it should, it will leave a great v a c u u m ;
a n d h o w shall that v a c u u m be filled?
T h e p a r t proposed to be struck out, is that which requires
a l l d e b t s to Government to be paid in specie* It m a k e s a
g o o d provision for Government, and for public men, t h r o u g h
a l l classes. T h e Secretary of the T r e a s u r y , in his letter, at
t h e last session, w a s still more watchful of the interests of the
h o l d e r s of office. H e assured us, bad as the times w e r e , and
n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g the floods of bad paper which deluged t h e
c o u n t r y , m e m b e r s of Congress should get gold and silver*
I n m y opinion, sir, this is beginning the use of good m o n e y ,
in p a y m e n t s , at the w r o n g end of the list. If there be bad
m o n e y in t h e country, I think that Secretaries and other e x e c u t i v e officers, and especially members of Congress, should
b e the last to receive a n y good m o n e y ; because they h a v e
t h e p o w e r , if they will do their d u t y , a n d exercise the p o w e r ,
o f m a k i n g the money of the country good for all. I t h i n k ,
s i r , it w a s a leading feature in M r . Burke's famous bill for
e c o n o m i c a l reform, that lie provided, first of all, for those w h o
a r e least able to secure themselves. E v e r y b o d y else w a s to
h e well paid all they w e r e entitled to, before the ministers of
t h e C r o w n , a n d other political characters* should h a v e a n y
t h i n g . T h i s seems to me very right. But Ave h a v e a preced e n t , sir, in our o w n country, more directly to the purpose ;
a n d as that w h i c h w e n o w hope to strike out is the part of
the bill furnished, or proposed originally b y the honorable
m e m b e r from South Carolina, it will naturally devolve on h i m
to supply its place. I wish therefore to d r a w his particular
attention to this precedent, w h i c h I a m now about to produce.
Most m e m b e r s of the Senate will r e m e m b e r , that, before
t h e establishment of this G o v e r n m e n t , and before, or a b o u t
t h e t i m e , that the territory w h i c h n o w constitutes the State oi

Tennessee was ceded to Congress, the inhabitants of t h e e a s t ern part of that territory established a government for t h e m selves, and called it the State of Franklin. They a d o p t e d a
very good constitution, divided into the usual branches o f l e gislative, executive, and judicial power. T h e y laid a n d c o l lected taxes, and performed other usual acts of l e g i s l a t i o n *
They had, for the present, it is true, no maritime p o s s e s s i o n s ,
yet they followed the common forms in constituting h i g h officers ; and their governor was not only captain-general a n d
commander-in-chief, but admiral also, so that the n a v y m i g h t
have a commander w h e n there should be a n a v y .
Well, sir, the currency in this State of Franklin became v e r y
much deranged. Specie was scarce, and equally scarce w e r e
the notes of specie-paying banks. But the legislature d i d n o t
propose any divorce of government and people ; they d i d n o t
seek to establish two currencies, one for men in office, a n d o n e
for the rest of the community. T h e y were content with n e i g h bor's fare. It became necessary to pass w h a t we should c a l l ,
now-a-days, the civil-list appropriation-bill. T h e y passed s u c h
a bill; and when we shall have made a void in the bill n o w
before us, by striking out specie payments for Government, I
recommend to its friends to fill the g a p , by inserting, if not t h e
same provisions as were in the law of the State of F r a n k l i n ,
at least something in the same spirit.
T h e preamble of that law, sir, begins by reciting, that t h e
collection of taxes, in specie, had become very oppressive to
the good people of the commonwealth, for the w a n t of a circulating medium. A parallel case to ours, sir, exactly- It r e cites further, sir, that it is the duty of the legislature to h e a r ,
at all times, the prayer of their constituents, and apply a s
speedy a remedy as lies in their power- These sentiments a r e
very just, sir, and I sincerely wish there w a s a thorough disposition here, to adopt the like.
Acting under the influence of these sound opinions, sir, the
legislature of Franklin passed a law, for the support of the civil
list, which, as it is short, I will beg permission to read :

<* Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Franklin,
and it is
enacted by the authority of the same, T h a t , from t h e first d a y of J a n u a r y ,
A . I X 1 7 8 9 , t h e salaries of the civil officers of this c o m m o n w e a l t h be as follow,
to wit :
" H i s excellency t h e g-overnor, per annum, one t h o u s a n d deer s k i n s ; h i s h o n o r
t h e c h i e f j u s t i c e , live h u n d r e d do. do.; the attorney general, five h u n d r e d d o . d o . ;
s e c r e t a r y to h i s excellency the governor, live h u n d r e d racoon d o . ; t h e treasurer of
t h e S t a t e , four h u n d r e d and fifty otter d o . ; each county clerk, three h u n d r e d beaver
d o . ; clerk of t h e house of commons, t w o h u n d r e d racoon d o . ; members of a s s e m b l y , per diem, three do. d o . ; justice's fee for signing: a w a r r a n t , one m u s k r a t d o . ;
t o t h e constable, for serving a warrant, one mink do** E n a c t e d into a law this 18th day of October, 1 7 8 8 , u n d e r the great seal of t h e
** W i t n e s s his excellency, & c .
<c Governor, captain-general,
** and admiral in and over said Stated*

T h i s , sir, is the law, the spirit of which I commend to gentlemen, I will not speak of the appropriate?iess
of these
several allowances for the civil list. But the example is good ;
a n d I am of opinion, that until Congress shall perform its duty,
b y seeing that the country enjoys a good currency, the same
m e d i u m which the people are obliged to use, whether it be
skins or rags, is good enough for its own members.