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NARRATIVE

iiiv

CORRESPONDENCE

C6NCXRNINtf

THE REMOVAL OF THE DEPOSITED,

AN9

OCCURRENCES CONNECTED THEREWITH,

PHILADELPHIA:
1888*

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INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS,
IN May, 1833, I was appointed secretary of the treasury; and in September
following was removed from office, because I would not, prior to the meeting
of Congress, transfer the public deposites from the U. S. bank to state banks.
As I had not sought office, as my appointment had been generally approved of,
and as it was doubtful whether public opinion would sanction my dismissal for
not removing the deposites, the true reason for the change was not avowed; add
even the fact, that I had been removed, was suppressed in the official annunciation
of my successor's appointment.
Pains, however, were taken by partisans of the Executive to prepare the publie
for the change or to reconcile them to it, by exciting suspicions as to the purity
of my motives for resisting him.
Nevertheless, I rested in silence upon my official acts and personal reputation;
especially as I supposed that Congress would institute an inquiry concerning the
removal of the deposites. And I would have remained silent, if the President
himself had not become my assailant on the 19th of November, 1833.
On that occasion, instead of laying before the public the whole of the corres­
pondence which had passed between us, he caused detached passages only to
be published in the official paper; and in consequence I then briefly addressed
my fellow citizens,
Having been again assailed in the official paper of the 7th of February, 1834,
and then concluding that an inquiry would not be made by Congress, I addressed
a series of letters to the people of the United States, in vindication of my conduct
At that time I would have published the whole of the correspondence, between
the President and myself, if all the letters composing it had been in my possession. It was not, however, until July 1837, that I obtained at the treasury de­
partment copies of such of them as were deficient; and, justified by the example
of the Executive, I now present them all in the succeeding pages,
As a part only of the intercourse between the President and myself was maintained by written communications, I connect them by links of narrative. These,
however, are not drawn from memory, but from a record of my feelings and
opinions as well as of occurrences, written at the times severally referred to.
The narrative and correspondence, ending with my removal from office, are
embraced in the first eleven chapters of this volume. The twelfth chapter con*
tains letters, which may be considered semi-official, written after my retirement
In the thirteenth I have presented four of my private letters. The three succeed­
ing chapters consist of a selection of public letters addressed to me in 1834, and
my replies. And in the seventeenth and concluding chapter, I have given an
explanation of some of my opinions of banks as such, and also as fiscal agents.
I have thus collected together some materials towards the formation of a dis­
passionate judgment on interesting questions—a duty which I felt myself called
upon to perform, not only for the protection of my own fame, but as a mark of
pay respect for public opinion*
PHILADELPHIA, 1838,

W. J. DUANE,

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N A R R A T I V E , &c.

CHAPTER

I.

ALTHOUGH I was not personally acquainted with Gen. Jackson,
until 1829,1 ardently supported him, as a candidate for the Pre­
sidency, as early as 1823. I thought, his country owed him a
large debt of gratitude; that it would be useful, to our institu­
tions, to have, in our executive chair, a person, unaccustomed to
intrigues, too prevalent at Washington; and that he, who had
given such sound advice to Mr. Monroe, while President,
would never contradict, in practice, what he then declared to
be, the only patriotic and honourable course, for the chief magis­
trate of a free and enlightened people.
Jn 1828,1 renewed my exertions in his favour, at no little
sacrifice of personal friendship and pecuniary interest; and,
when he was successful, those sacrifices were cheerfully borne.
With great regret, I soon saw some of Gen. Jackson's early
professions departed from. I was not, however, a partisan-;
nor did he, now in power, need my aid. Men, who had stood
in the ranks of his bitter opponents, when I sustained him,
passed over to his side, as soon as he won " the spoils of vic­
tory," and they got no inconsiderable share of them. For my
own part, I desired to partake of the fruits of the triumph,
only as a member of the family of the people.
The President, however, manifested, on several occasions, a
desire to promote, what he, doubtless, considered my advance­
ment With the advice and consent of the senate, he appointed
me a director of the U. S. bank, but I declined the trust He
afterwards tendered to me the office of attorney for the eastern
district of Pennsylvania, which I also refused. Without my
knowledge, he appointed me, with the concurrence of the
senate, a commissioner under the convention with Denmark;
and, when I hesitated, he pressed the acceptance of the trust
upon me, as a duty to the public, and as a relief to himself
from embarrassment.
1

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Before I had executed my duty under the convention with
Denmark, on the 4th of December, 1832, I was invited to
accept the office of secretary of the treasury; and, as the
circumstances, attending the offer, were detailed in a confiden­
tial letter, which, on the next day, I wrote to a friend in Phila­
delphia, I make the following extracts from the original, now
before me:
" The President, has in a formal, kind, and pressing manner,
asked me to accept a seat in his cabinet I confess, I was
surprised, and not only surprised but distressed; but it is best,
while the incidents are all fresh in my memory, that I should
give you a sketch. A member of the cabinet* said—'.Mr.
Duane, I have been particularly desired by the President to seek
this interview with you, on matters of much consequence, not
only to himself, but to the country. The President has for
some time past meditated a change in his cabinet: it has been
deferred until after the termination of the elections in the states;
and, as they are now over, the proposed change is urged anew.
The present secretary of state is to go to France; the present
secretary of the treasury is to take his place in the department
of state; and the question is, who is to go into the treasury ?
It is settled, that a citizen of Pennsylvania is to be appointed;
and the President and his friends have sought in that state for a
person in all respects competent as an officer, and faithful as a
friend. A list of names has been looked at, and, after due in­
quiry, the President is decidedly convinced, that you, sir, pre­
sent the fairest claims to official and personal consideration.
You are of the old democratic party of Pennsylvania, and have
grown with its growth; you are known as a mild but unvarying
friend of the great political principles, which Pennsylvania
cherishes. Your personal reputation, too, gives you a moral
influence, of the extent of which you are not perhaps yourself
aware. You were the early, and have been the steadfast,
friend of Gen. Jackson, and should continue in every proper
way to sustain him, whom you contributed to elevate. So
satisfied, indeed, is the President, of your peculiar fitness for the
department, and of your being just such a person as he can
politically as well as personally rely upon, that I cannot use
too strong terms, in describing his solicitude that you should
not refuse the station.*
* Mr. M'Lane, then secretary of the treasury.

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*' This is more brief than the reality, but perfectly correct
I replied—«I have listened, sir, to what you have stated, with
surprise, and distress; so that it cannot be supposed that I can
give a positive reply. I cannot express, how gratified and
proud I am at this mark of confidence. If, however, I am
now to give utterance to what I feel, it is to ask the President
to blot this matter from his mind. It is true, that I have been
and am sincerely friendly to the President; that I possess the
personal and political confidence of many worthy men in Penn­
sylvania ; and that I have a strong inclination to do all in my
power, to evince my principles and promote the welfare of the
people. But it is also true, that my abilities are over-rated;
that my influence in Pennsylvania is more limited than is sup­
posed; and that no weight can be given, by my accession, to the
administration. Such an occasion as the present cannot be
heedlessly regarded by me, but all considerations united forbid
me to assent I have through life sought the shade, and when­
ever I have been out of it, it has not been from choice. I have
always desired to tread on the earth, lest, in ascending even a
single step of the political ladder, I should be obliged to resume
my former place. Perhaps this is morbid pride, but be it what
it may, it has a powerful influence over me.'
" To this it was rejoined,—«All you have said, Mr. Duane,
shows you have the merit, you deny yourself the possession of.
You have, by declining office on several occasions, omitted to
advance yourself. I am the President's friend and yours, and
am not the man to advocate any thing of a doubtful nature, by
which the public may be affected. Others are more competent
perhaps to judge of your qualifications than you are yourself.
Heretofore there have been difficulties; there may be some at
this time, owing to excitement in the South; but that will soon
cease, and in a few months you will be perfectly aufait as to
all general duties. As to your standing in Pennsylvania, we
have information to be relied on; we believe your appointment
would be pleasing there, and the President desires to do what
will gratify that state. Apart from other considerations, the
President's own spontaneous preference of you is a compliment
not to be overlooked; you will derive credit from it, where
you are not known, amongst all who respect the patriotism and
pure intentions, as well as the natural sagacity of the President
I am persuaded that the appointment would be acceptable to
many of the President's most distinguished friends. Indeed, the

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fact, that he goes to the people, and not to congress, to select,
will give weight to the choice. You will earn a high reputation
in the office proposed; and the labours will be less burdensome
than those, to which you have been accustomed.'
" I then said, «that to tear up, as it were, by the roots, my
business in Philadelphia, on the uncertainty, or even certainty
of continuing in office here for four years, would be very impru­
dent ; that changes of residence, associations, and expenditure,
were sound objections; that friends to me ought not to urge a
proceeding of so doubtful a character.'
44
To this it was replied—* that every man owed something
to his country; that even on the question of mere interest, the
change would be advantageous; that I might be certain of em­
ployment for four years, at six thousand dollars per year; that
the mode of living was that of a private gentleman in Philadel­
phia ; that by identifying myself with Gen. Jackson and his
friends, and making a sacrifice, if it was one, I established a claim
for continuance in this, or appointment to some other station.
** I closed by saying, * that out of thankfulness, and a desire
to make a return for such confidence, my heart urged me to
say " yes;" but my head by no means assented; that it would
be rude as well as unkind to the President to decide at once,
and upon so sudden an appeal on so serious a subject; and that,
therefore, I would reflect.'"
.
Such is a faithful representation of the manner, in which X.
was invited to enter the cabinet. Valued friends,* whom I;
* I consulted four of my friends. Three of them anticipated a prosperous
voyage. The fourth, Mr. James Ronaldson, was not so sanguine. His anticipa­
tions, when compared with the actual results, merit the present notice. His
letter to me, dated the 3d of February, 1833, after describing the disturbed condition of public affairs, and especially the controversies about the tariff, banks,
& c , contains this remarkable passage:
" No one on earth, your own family hardly excepted, will be more delighted
than myself at your welfare; but death and other matters must be taken into
account. A secretary is an officer at pleasure. In such a state of affairs as
ours at present, the position of secretary of the treasury is, of all posts in the
government, the most difficult, and I may say dangerous. Although the neck
of a minister, here, may not be exposed to a block, or his body may not be
imprisoned, the President may do, as kings do—when the storm is gathering,
torn out the officer; and you and I need no proof to assure us, that the acts of
secretaries may be assigned to bribery, and that a turned out secretary, unless
heis a most adroit politician, is a proscribed citizen.*'
My reply of the 6th of February, was as follows:
" M Y DKAR FROND.—It is wisely decreed, that we cannot look into futurity.
If men could foresee, what good or evil would attend them through life, few
would have the courage to undertake the journey: indeed the race of men would

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consulted, exerted themselves to overcome my scruples; and,
when asked for my decision, on the 30th of January, 1833,1
reluctantly consented to serve. On the 1st of February, the
President communicated to me his satisfaction at my decision;
and, when I saw him in March, he added, that he had himself
selected me from the number of those, who had been designated
as most worthy of confidence.
Although changes in the cabinet had been thus provided for,
they were not made until May, 1833. My commission bore
the date of the 29th of that month, and on the 30th I reached
Washington. After waiting upon the President, on the next
day, I went to the treasury department, and took the oath of
office on the 1st of June. On the evening of that day, Mr.
Reuben M. Whitney* called upon me at my lodgings, at the
desire, as he said, of the President, to make known to me what
had been done, and what was contemplated, in relation to the
U. S. bank. He stated, that the President had concluded to
take upon himself the responsibility, of directing the secretary
of the treasury, to remove the public deposites from that bank,
and to transfer them to state banks; that he had asked the
members of the cabinet to give him their opinions on the sub­
ject ; that the President had said, " Mr. Taney and Mr. Barry
had come out like men for the removal;" that Mr. M'Lane
become extinct, or at least would be greatly reduced. In your premonition, I
see the UBual token of your Btrong natural sagacity, as well as a new proof of
your friendship for me. But the die has been cast, and I must proceed "for
better, for worse." God knows how much at variance with my inclination this
result is. A sort of fatality, however, seems to have attended me on many occa­
sions; and, in this instance, especially, I give way more from feeling than
judgment What then is to be done ? why, all that an honest man should do.
The question, what an honest man should do, is, therefore, to be answered; and
to answer it well, I ask your aid, and will ask the aid of all, who desire to see
me useful and respected. If I had had the presumption to seek this elevation, I
might merit the fate of Phaeton. Perhaps I am censurable as it is. And yet the
very perils you describe show, that there is a little merit in consenting to en­
counter them. If there is to be a storm, some one must reef or steer; and if I
•hall be blown off, it will be owing to the niggardliness of nature, in not endowing
me with physical vigour, rather than to any want of courage to attempt, or ex.
ertion to execute my duty. I must not now look back and despond, but forward
and struggle with any difficulty. After all, the greatest bliss of life is the con.
sciousness of intending to do well, and this consciousness will surely console me,
if I shall mistake my way, or fail to reach the end of my voyage.
"Your's,
" W . J. DUANK."

• No relation had ever existed, between Mr. Whitney and myself, to warrant
a supposition, that he called on me as an acquaintance. On two occasions, only,
And we ever before spoken to each other, and neither of these was sought by me.

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had given a long opinion against it; that Mr. Cass was supposed
to be against it, but had given no written opinion; and that Mr.
Woodbury* had given an opinion which was " yes" and " no;"
that the President would make the act his own, by addressing a
paper or order to the secretary of the treasury; that Mr. Amos
Kendall, who was high in the President's confidence, was now
preparing that paper; that there had been delay owing to the
affair at Alexandria ;f but, no doubt, the President would soon
speak to me on the subject; that the paper referred to, would be
put forth as the Proclamation had been, and would be made a
rallying point; that he (Mr. Whitney) had, at the desire of the
President, drawn up a memoir or exposition, showing that the
measure might be safely adopted, and that the state banks would
be fully adequate to all the purposes of government. He then
read the exposition to me; and, as I desired to understand mat­
ters so important and so singularly presented, I asked him to
leave the paper with me, which he accordingly did. He also
read to me divers letters from individuals connected with state
banks. The drift of his further observations was to satisfy me,
that the executive arm alone could be relied on, to prevent a
renewal of the U. S. bank charter.
The communication thus made to me created surprise and
mortification. I was surprised at the position of affairs, which
it revealed; and mortified at the low estimate, which had been
formed of the independence of my character. I listened, however,
respectfully, to one who gave such evidence of the confidence
reposed in him; and awaited the explanation, which he intimated
the President would give.
Soon after this interview, I took occasion to express, my mor­
tification at my position, to the member of the cabinet, who had
represented the President in asking me to accept office.
On the next evening (Sunday) Mr. Whitney again called on
me, in company with a stranger, whom he introduced as Mr.
Amos ^Kendall, a gentleman in the President's confidence, who
would give me any further explanations, that I might desire, as
to what was meditated in relation to the U. S. bank, and who
then called on me, because he was about to proceed forthwith
to Baltimore. I did not invite, nor check, communication.
* It is due to this gentleman to state, that he was, on the occasionreferredto,
opposed to a removal prior to July, 1834, and was for only a gradual change
afterwards.
t Lieut. Randolph's assault on the President

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Very little was said, and perhaps because I could not wholly
conceal my mortification at an attempt, apparently made with
the sanction of the President, to reduce me to a mere cypher
in the administration.
The next morning, June 3d, I waited upon the President, and,
as I had been apprized by Mr. Whitney would be the case, he
soon introduced the subject of the bank. I stated that Mr.
Whitney had made known to me what had been done, and
what was intended, and had intimated that his communication
was made at the President's desire. The President replied, in
a tone of dissatisfaction, that it was true he had conferred with
Mr. Whitney, and obtained information from him as to the
bank, but that he did not make him his confidant, nor had he
told him to call on me.# I enumerated the representations which
* Who is correct, the President or Mr. Whitney? The latter alleged, that he
possessed the confidence of the President; and, as an evidence, detailed the cir­
cumstances, mentioned in the text The President denied, that Mr. Whitney
was his confidant, yet admitted the accuracy of his representations. While
he was in Baltimore, on the 6th or 7th of June, the President related to Mr.
Whitney, what had passed between us on the 3d: so, at least, said Mr. Whitney,
and I think truly, for he repeated to me, what actually had been said, by the
President and myself, in the conversation, referred to. The following letter
will give further aid in deciding the question:
" Washington, June 15thf 1833.
u
The HON. W. J. DUANE, Secretary of the Treasury.
" DEAR SIR.—The object of addressing you this communication, is principally
connected with what relates to myself. Having enjoyed the confidence of the
President to a great degree, upon the subject of the bank, and that which relates
to it, in which he has taken an interest: and knowing the views of the President,
upon the subject of the removal of the deposites, and that he does not now look
upon that, as a mere isolated measure, but as a part of, and connected with, the
general policy of his administration; therefore, I look upon that measure as
definitively resolved upon, so far as his views and recommendations have weight
and influence.
" I have good reason to believe, that the President will forward a communica­
tion from New York to you, expressive of his views and wishes upon that subject.
If, upon the receipt of that, and after a consideration of the matter, you shall de­
termine to transfer the government accounts and moneys from the bank of the
U. S. to state institutions, I presume that it will become necessary to employ
some one, to whom the principal duty (under your directions) of organizing and
executing the measure, and superintending it subsequently, shall be confided.
Indeed, I think, you observed to me, on a former occasion, that such an appoint­
ment would become absolutely necessary, and that duties would arise, to require
the constant attention of one individual.
" In case that measure shall be resolved upon, and such an appointment con­
sequently be required, I take the liberty of tendering to you my services, to
execute the duties, and to solicit the situation. In doing so, however much of
egotism it may savour, I think I may venture to say, from my long acquaintance

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Mr. Whitney had made, and their correctness was admitted.
I said, I feared that I should not be able to see the subject in
with banks and banking, the attention which I have bestowed upon the subject
(particularly in relation to the bank of the U. S.) and consequent familiarity with
it, I should be enabled to discharge the duties and obligations imposed upon the
person filling the situation, with as much credit to your department, and as satis*
factory to yourself, the President, and the country, as any individual, who might
be selected for that important station. At least, assiduity and zeal shall not be
wanting to accomplish all of those desirable objects. I think I may also add,
that I believe, I could make myself as acceptable to the state banks, which might
be selected (if not now so) as any other individual The state banks being required to pay all the expenses attending the measure, it is to be presumed, that,
although the agent would be subordinate and responsible to the treasury department only, it would be desirable he should not be objectionable to them.
44
I have never spoken to the President upon this subject, but circumstances
lead me to think, that I should not be otherwise than perfectly acceptable to him.
The only persons, to whom I have mentioned the subject, connected with the
government, are Messrs. Taney and Kendall, to the former gentleman, about a
week since at Baltimore, who replied in these words, 4 1 have always understood
and taken it for granted, that you were to have the situation, when it is created?
44
Were I to undertake to establish a claim upon the patronage of the government,
I should advert to the large amount of revenue (more than one million six hundred thousand dollars) which I have faithfully paid the public: to the persecution,
which I have experienced from the bank and its supporters, for obeying a mandate of congress, and fearlessly stating to its committee facts, which brought to
light truths, and led to the exposure of the abuses and corruptions, practised by
that institution. These are subjects, which I do not consider it necessary to
enter upon at large now, if it should become so at all.
44
1 believe I may say with safety, that I could relieve you of all trouble and
labour in the organization and execution of the measure, with the exception of
supervising attention. Probably, at certain seasons of the year, when the department is much pressed by the labours, which congress imposes upon it, I
might have it in my power to render you aid in some of the duties, particularly
those connected with the tariff.
44
Being perfectly familiar with the acts of misconduct of the bank, for many
months past, and having all the documents which have been published in relation
thereto, possibly I might render you service, while you have the subject under
consideration, in which case it will afford me pleasure to do so.
44
1 am, very respectfully,
44
Your most obedient servant,
44

44

R. M. WHITNEY."

Treasury Department, June 17<A, 1833.

" I L M - W H I T N I Y , ESO.
44
SIR.—I respectfully acknowledge the letter, which you were so good as to
send to me yesterday. Upon the public matter, therein referred to, I conceive,
that any proceedings, on my part, would be, at least premature, under existing
circumstances. Whenever the President shall express his wishes, in relation to
any subject of public concern, or with regard to yourself, I will so act, I trust,
as to merit the respect of the President, and preserve my own.
44
Allow me to correct you, when you say, that I suggested, that an agent would be
necessary. Of the structure, which you presented to my view, the agency consti-

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the light, in which the President viewed it; to which he remark­
ed, that he liked frankness, that my predecessor and himself had
sometimes differed in opinion, but it had made no difference in
feeling, and should not in my case; that the matter under con­
sideration was of vast consequence to the country; that unless
the bank was broken down, it would break us down; that if
the last congress had remained a week longer in session, twothirds would have been secured for the bank by corrupt means;
and that the like result might be apprehended at the next con­
gress ; that such a state bank agency must be put in operation,
before the meeting of congress, as would show that the U. S.
bank was not necessary, and thus some members would have
no excuse for voting for it My suggestions as to an inquiry
by congress, as in December, 1832, or a recourse to the judi­
ciary, the President repelled, saying it would be idle to rely
upon either; referring, as to the judiciary, to decisions already
made, as indications of what would be the effect of an appeal
to them in future.
After mentioning that he would speak to me again, before
his departure to the eastward, the President said, he would
take with him the opinions of the members of the cabinet, but
would send them to me from New York, along with his views;
and, on his return, would expect me to give him my sentiments
frankly and fully. On the 5th of June, the day before his de­
parture, we accordingly had another conversation, which he
ended by saying, he did not wish any one to conceal his opi­
nions, and that all he asked was, that I should reflect with a
view to the public good.
I had heard rumours of the existence of an influence, at Wash­
ington, unknown to the constitution and to the country; and the
conviction, that they were well founded, now became irresisti­
ble. I knew that four of the six members of the last cabinet,
tuted a part; and I admitted, no doubt, that, for such a structure such a part
might be necessary; but I made no suggestion as to the building itself, or to
any part of it; and, for the obvious reason, that I had not yet begun to consider,
whether the structure itself should be erected.
« As to that part of your letter, which is personal, I will only remark, that no
*
one is so sensible of my deficiencies, as I am myself; and that no one can be
more grateful than I will be, for any advice or aid, that any of my follow citizens
may think proper to give, calculated to enable me to become a useful public
agent For the kind inclination on your part, I am thankful.
" Very respectfully, your's, &c,
" W. J. DCAWK."

2

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and that four of the six members of the present cabinet, opposed
a removal of the deposites; and yet their exertions were nullified by individuals, whose intercourse with the President was
clandestine. During his absence, several of those individuals
called on me, and made many of the identical observations, in
the identical language, used by himself. They represented
congress as corruptible, and the new members as in need of
especial guidance. They pointed out the importance of a test
question, at the opening of the new congress, for party purposes. They argued, that the exercise of the veto power must be
secured; that it could be in no other way so effectually attained
as by at once removing the deposites; and that, unless they
were removed, the President would be thwarted by congress. In
short, I felt satisfied, from all that I saw and heard, that factious
and selfish views alone guided those, who had influence with
the executive; and that the true welfare and honour of the country constituted no part of their objects.
I was painfully impressed with these convictions, and also
mortified that I should have been considered capable of entering
into schemes like these;* when, on the 1st of July, I received
* While the President was in Philadelphia, on the 9th of June, 1833, he re­
quested Col. Duane to favour him with his opinions; and, on a subsequent occa­
sion, he renewed his request It was not, however, complied with. On my own
part, I did not hesitate to submit my views, to one, in whom I naturally Con­
fided, especially as he possessed the confidence of the President also. An original
letter, which I wrote to Col. Duane, on the 2d of July, 1833, is now before me;
and I make the following extract from it, because it exhibits my private thoughts,
at that time, more distinctly than they could be now represented by the pencil
of memory:
44
My difficulty, on all matters, is to arrive at a decision—that is, I am cau­
tious : when the decision is made, I am at rest and immoveable. I do not wish
to anticipate, what may be better said in conversation; but I see no better way,
for the public and myself than to urge the Presidents44
1. To desist from such a prompt proceeding:
44
2. To announce a resolution to proceed, before 1836, in gradually withdraw­
ing deposites:
44
3. To call on congress to appoint a commission, to consider the whole ques­
tion of our currency, banking, & c
44
It is idle to say, that the questions involved are to be settled, or that they can
be settled, by any one man. No country ever presented such a spectacle as this—
a general bank, and as many minor banks, as the cupidity of men, in twenty*
four states, can generate by all the means of delusion and chicanery. No one
ought to have the assurance, to tell the world, that he can furnish a panacea for
ills more numerous, than the progeny of Pandora's box. The truth is, the whole
body is so disordered, that many sane persons mistake the plethora, from foul
humours, as an indication of exuberance of health* That there ought to be some
mode, by which government may collect and pay, throughout our immense coun-

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from the President, the letter and views, embraced in the next
chapter.
try, must be obvious—to collect and pay in coin alone, no one can now think of;
at least I cannot—that there should be some other way, must follow—that collections and payments are How easily made, by the U. S. bank agency, is true—
and, that they can be made so well, if at all, by state banks, I greatly doubt So
that, as regards the mere operations of government, the question is, how shall
the collections and payments be made ? To say, that the U. S. bank is unconstitutional and of evil tendency; and that the state banks are unconstitutional!
irresponsible, and inefficient; is to bring us back to the inquiry, how shall we do
without them ? All the arguments of reason and ingenuity, against banks of all
sorts, pass the main inquiry, what shall be the substitute ? How shall the great
operations of the country be conducted ? How shall society itself be protected,
against the abuses of banks, over which the national government itself has no
sort of influence ? How shall a cancer, spread through the whole frame of society,
be treated, so as to save pain, and prevent death ? Now, I have not the presumption to fancy, that I can answer these questions, at once, if at all. The most
accurate detail of facts and occurrences, at home and abroad, on monetary mat*
ters; and the closest inquiry, into the effects of them; are essential foundations
for decision. If, in the parliament of England, the duty of inquiry is not left to
one or more ministers, surrounded with all the lights of experience and knowledge ; why should it be supposed, that, after a residence of a month, in this
anomalous place, I should be able to settle points of the utmost difficulty and
consequence ? The inquiries, to be made, embrace considerations of constitutional
law; of the rights of the several states; of the complicated interests of a great
and growing people, in transactions between themselves, and between them aU
and foreign nations: and it does not become me, at least, to assert a competency,
and at once, to make them with accuracy and effect An inquiry, into the means,
by which the fiscal operations may be conducted, can scarcely be separated from
an investigation of the means, by which the monetary operations of society may
be carried on; so that questions are presented, upon which men of the highest
intellects, attainments, and experience, have differed, in the countryf to whose
fountains we are so prone to resort for the waters of knowledge.
u
My main desire, therefore, is to procure a patriotic, thorough, and business.
like investigation, of the whole subject of our currency; such an inquiry as ended,
in England, for instance, in the production of the celebrated bullion report For
upwards of forty years, we have been departing, further and further, from the
principles and views of the founders of our government If their principles and
views were unsound, or are unsuited to our present condition, let the discovery
be fairly made, and represented; but, if those principles and views are productive
of human welfare, let us return to them, gradually—as slowly as we departed
from them. It surely is time, on such momentous subjects, to have sound and
stable legislation. Can we have it, without a foundation of facts and elucidations?
Is such a foundation to be laid, amidst the excitements of a session of congress?
—a congress, composed of members so dissimilar, in education, information, opinion, interest, and prejudices. A general committee, of members of both houses,
should sit in the recess, as a commission, authorized to call before them all wellinformed persons, to answer interrogatories on all monetary matters. Specific
information should also be obtained abroad. You understand my object, and
must, I think, consider it at least discreet"

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C H A P T E R II.
Boston, June 26, 183a
W. J. DoAWB, ESQ.,
Secretary of the Treasury.
MY DEAR SIR,

I send you herewith a paper, containing my views upon the
subject of a discontinuance of the government deposites in the
bank of the U. S., and the substitution of certain state banks
as the fiscal agents of the United States, so far as those duties
are now performed by that institution,
The only difficulty, I have for some time had upon the sub­
ject, has been as it respects the time, when this change should
commence. Upon a careful review of the subject, in all its
bearings, I have come to the conclusion, that it ought to be done
as soon as we can get ready, and at furthest by the 1st or 15th
of September next, so that we may have it in our power to
present the new system to congress, in complete and successful
operation, at the commencement of the session.
In the furtherance of this object, it is in my opinion desirable,
that you should appoint a discreet agent to proceed forthwith,
with proper credentials from your department, to the cities of
Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, to consult
with presidents and directors of state banks, in those cities,
upon the practicability of making an arrangement with them,
or some of them, upon something like the following terms, viz.
1st That one bank be selected in Baltimore, one in Phila­
delphia, two in New York, and one in Boston, with a right on
the part of the government to add one in Savannah, one in
Charleston, S. C, one in the State of Alabama, one in New
Orleans, and one in Norfolk, upon their acceding to the terms
proposed, which shall receive the deposites in those places respec­
tively, and be responsible to the government for the whole
public deposites of the United States.
2d. That these banks shall have the right, by a convention of
tHeir presidents or otherwise, to select all the banks at other
points, throughout the United States, in which the public money

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shall be deposited, with an absolute negative by the secretary
of the treasury.
3d. That the secretary of the treasury shall have power to
discontinue the deposites in any bank, or banks, or break up the
whole arrangement, whenever he may think proper; he giving,
in such case, the longest notice of his intention to do so, which
the public interest may admit of.
4th. That the primary and secondary banks shall make re­
turns of their entire condition, to the secretary of the treasury,
monthly, and as much oftener as he may require, and report to
the treasurer weekly the state of his deposites; and that they will
also subject themselves to a critical examination of their books
and transactions, by the secretary of the treasury, or an autho­
rized agent, whenever the secretary may require it.
5th. That the arrangement of the government be only with
the primary banks, which shall be responsible to it, not only for
the safety of the entire deposites, wherever made, but for mat­
ing payments at any places, in the United States, without charge
to the government, in gold and silver or its equivalent, of any
sum which may be required there to be paid by the secretary
of the treasury: that they shall also pay any expenses, that may
attend the removal of the deposites, as also the compensation and
expenses of any agent, temporary or permanent, whom the secre­
tary may appoint to examine into their affairs.
6th. That they will render or cause to be rendered without
charge, every service, which can now be lawfully required of
the bank of the U. S.
7th. It would be inconvenient to employ all the state banks
in good credit, at the places designated for the location of the
primary banks; but it is nevertheless extremely desirable to
secure their good will and friendly co-operation. The impor­
tance of that object is too obvious to require elucidation. It is
supposed it might be accomplished, by an arrangement between
the primary banks and the other institutions in their immediate
vicinity, by which, in consideration of an assumption, by them,
of a share of the responsibilities assumed by the primary banks,
an equitable share, all circumstances considered, of the benefits
of the public deposites, would be secured to the other institutions
referred to. This might be done by allowing them respectively
a credit, at the selected banks, equal to their share of the depo­
sites, taking into view the amount of capital, the trouble of the
primary banks, and all other circumstances entitled to considera-

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tion. If such arrangement could be made, it would increase
the actual security of the government, consolidate the entire
mass of the mercantile community, of the principal cities, in
favour of the system, and place its success and permanency
beyond contingency. If the negotiation on the subject is, in the
first instance, opened with delegations from all the banks, in the
cities referred to, and them candidly informed of the desire of the
government, to award facilities and extend equal benefits to all,
but that in case of failure to make such an arrangement, it
would have to select, at its own pleasure, the requisite number,
there is reason to hope the arrangement would be brought
about Amos Kendall, Esq., would, in my opinion, be a proper
person to be employed in the proposed negotiation. These
views will be regarded by you, as suggestions for your consideration only, and will, if adopted, without doubt, be rendered more
complete and effectual, by such modifications and additions, as
may present themselves to your own mind.
You will at once perceive that it is not my wish to remove
from the bank of the U. S. the funds of the government,
which may happen to be on deposite there when the proposed
change takes place, otherwise than as they may be wanted for
the service of the government, but that they be exclusively
drawn upon for that object until they are exhausted.
In making to you, my dear sir, this frank and explicit avowal
of my opinions and feelings, it is not my intention to interfere
with the independent exercise of the discretion, committed to
you, by law, over the subject. I have thought it, however, due
to you, under the circumstances, to place before you, with this
restriction my sentiments upon the subject, to the end that you
may, upon my responsibility, allow them to enter into your
decision upon the subject, and into any future exposition of it, as
far as you may deem it proper.
I have the honour to be, very respectfully,
your most obedient servant and friend,
AWDREW JACKSON.

To the How. W. J. DUANE,

Secretary of the Treasury.
SIR.—The President of the United States deems it proper to
submit to you, a full development of the policy, which he thinks
it his duty to pursue, in relation to the bank of the U. S., and

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the future management of the public revenue, so far as it de­
pends on his action or authority.
In his first message to congress, in December, 1827, he ex­
pressed his doubts of the constitutionality and expediency of the
present bank of the U. S., and called the attention of his fellowcitizens, as well of congress as of the country at large, to the
question of its re-charter, or the substitution of a new bank,
organized upon different principles.
In his message of December, 1830, he repeated his doubts
on this subject, and threw out for consideration some sugges­
tions in relation to a substitute. In his message of December,
1831, he referred to the opinions expressed in the preceding
annual messages, and declared that he left the subject, to the
consideration of the people, and their representatives. At that
session of congress, the bank petitioned for a renewal of its
charter, and the representatives of the people and of the states,
in congress, by a majority of both houses, passed a bill granting
the request; upon this bill the President deemed it his duty toput his constitutional veto.
The President was then a candidate for re-election. His
veto of the bank bill brought the subject directly before the
people, who were about to express their opinion upon his offi­
cial acts.
By both parties in the contest, the principal issue was joined
upon the bank veto, and, by a decisive majority, the people
condemned the bill passed by congress, and approved the act
of the President, declaring the bank to be both inexpedient and
unconstitutional. To this decision, given by the highest power
known on earth, it was hoped that the bank and its advocates
would cheerfully submit To the public functionaries, who are
now called upon to act on the subject, it seems to the President,
that it ought to be a rule and guide, next in authority to the
constitution itself, because it was given by a majority of the
states, and a majority of the people, who make the law-makers,
and have a right to direct them. He therefore considers it a
settled question, so far as public sentiment is concerned, that the
present bank of the U. S. is not to be re-chartered.
Thus far no suggestions of any particular substitute, seem to
have been received with favour by the great community. To
most of the projects which have been thrown out, the same
constitutional and other objections exist, which have induced
the people to condemn the present bank. In the President's

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view, any bank created by congress, authorized to exercise cor­
porate powers, or transact private business out of the District
of Columbia, without the consent of the states, would be uncon­
stitutional; and it is questionable whether any bank, whose cor­
porate powers should be limited to the District, would succeed
in making such arrangements, with the state governments, as
would enable it to act efficiently under their jurisdiction, as the
agent of the general government, in the management of its fiscal
concerns.
There is just ground to fear, that in the creation of a substitute,
as great danger, if not greater, may be incurred, as that which
now threatens the American people. A corporation of indivi­
duals deriving its powers from congress, pervading every sec­
tion of the Union, will, in the general, by controlling the cur­
rency and leading men of the country, be more powerful, than
the government, and may seriously thwart its views and em­
barrass its operations. This is one of the dangers of the present
bank. But any substitute, which should concentrate the same
or a like power, and be put entirely under the control of the
general government, might by the union of the political and
money power, give the administration of the general govern­
ment more influence, and the government itself more strength,
than is compatible with the safety of the states, the liberties
of the people, and the purity of our republican institutions.
Having considered the subject in all its bearings, the Presi­
dent has come to the conclusion, that all idea of any substitute
for the present bank, in the shape of a new institution, ought
to be abandoned, at least for the present The President having
adopted this opinion, as the guide of his future conduct, it be­
comes the bounden duty of the executive branch of the govern­
ment, to make a different and seasonable provision, as far as it
has power to do so, for this branch of the public service.
The state institutions are, in his opinion, competent to perform
all the functions which the U. S. bank now performs, or which
may be required by the government. At the same time that
they cannot so effectually concentrate the money power, they
cannot be so easily or effectually used for individual, political,
or party purposes, as a bank of the U. S. under any form, or
of any character. It is therefore the desire of the President,
that you should immediately turn your attention, to the making
of such arrangements, as will enable the government to carry
on all its fiscal operations, through the agency of the state banks.

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Connected with this subject, is the question of a discontinu­
ance of the public deposites, in the bank of the U. S., and the
substitution of the state banks for that purpose. That such a
change must at length take place, is admitted by all those, who
acquiesce in the decision of the American people at the last
Presidential election. The question is merely one of time.
The embarrassments, that would unavoidably result from an
omission to make the change until the expiration of the charter
of the bank of the U. S., are too apparent to require explanation.
The least reflection, and the slightest acquaintance with the
subject, will suffice to satisfy all disinterested and unprejudiced
minds, that unless the President looks either to a renewal of
the charter of the present bank, or the establishment of a new
one, from either of which views he is precluded by his declared
opinions, he would best discharge his duty by putting the plan,
which he proposes, in operation, in sufficient season before the
expiration of the charter, to afford a satisfactory test of its
practicability when that time arrives.
The charter of the present bank, expires on the
day of
1836. With the best exertions on your part, it will not
probably be in your power to complete the arrangements, with
the state banks, so far as to enable you to commence the depo­
sites in them, until the middle of September. From that time to
the expiration of the charter is upwards of two years; a period,
which will not be more than sufficient, to test the efficacy and
propriety of the substitute, he wishes to have adopted. The
President is, therefore, of opinion, that it would be a just and
wise exercise of the discretion in the matter, conferred by law
on the secretary of the treasury, to direct the public deposites
to be made in the state banks, from and after the 15th of Sep­
tember, if the arrangements, to be made with them, shall then
have been completed. The President has no doubt that the
proposed experiment will serve to satisfy the people, that a na­
tional bank can be dispensed with, without serious injury or
embarrassment to the public service, or the substantial interests
of the country. If the result be otherwise, it will then become
the right and duty of the government and people, to decide be­
tween enlarging the authority of the general government, and
the exercise of that, which it possesses, within the District of
Columbia.
The only objections, that can be made to so early an exercise
of the authority, conferred upon the secretary of the treasury,
3

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over the public deposites, must have their foundation, either in
the interests of the bank, and the supposed claim of that institu­
tion upon the favour of the government, or in a supposed capa­
city and disposition on the part of the bank, to impair the pub­
lic credit, and embarrass the pecuniary affairs of the country, in
case of a disregard of the wishes, and in an apprehended dete­
rioration of the currency.
The President does not find any insuperable obstacle to the
proposed measure, in either of these considerations. The bank
has now no right to invoke the favour of the government
Whatever may, heretofore, have been its claim in that respect,
it has, the President regrets to say, been forfeited by the
unjustifiable and high-handed manner, in which its affairs have
been administered; an administration in many important respects
unfaithful as an agent of the government, and which, in the
opinion of the President, proves it to be an unsafe one. So far
as the interests of the bank are identified with those of the pub­
lic, and as it respects a careful observance of the public faith, by
securing to the bank the full enjoyment of all the legal rights
which are conferred by its charter, the government will doubt­
less perform its duty. Further than this, the bank has no claim
upon its favourable consideration.
It is the duty of the bank, to wind up its concerns in such a
manner as will produce the least pressure upon the money mar­
ket This duty is rendered imperative, as well in consideration
of the extensive exclusive privileges, which it has so long enjoy­
ed, as by the best interests of the stockholders. But if, on the
contrary, it be the pleasure of those intrusted with the manage­
ment of its affairs, in revenge for a refusal of the government
to comply with its wishes, by continuing to it privileges, when
all moral as well as legal rights to them have ceased, to mark
its dissolution by such an abuse of the national trust, the coun­
try must abide the issue. To succumb to the demands of the
bank, upon such pretences and under such a menace, would be
a virtual subversion of the government, productive of more
immediate dishonour, and ultimate detriment to the best interests
of the nation, than can possibly arise from the adoption of any
other cause. The President is, however, happy to believe, for
reasons hereinafter given, that there is no solid foundation for the
alarm which has been sounded on this subject. That the cur­
rency of the country, could be better preserved by means of a
well regulated and honestly conducted national bank, is very

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possible; although it is quite certain, that the difference between
a circulating medium, supplied by such an institution, and that
which is furnished by the state banks, in the present'prosperous
condition of the country, is greatly exaggerated. But if the
apprehended derangement of the currency should take place, it
will be for the people to say, whether they will seek redress
from the evil, by conferring constitutional power on congress to
establish such a bank. No good citizen, it is hoped, will desire
to have it done in violation of the constitution. If the evil were
upon us, we should not seek an exemption from it, at such a
sacrifice; much less ought we to involve ourselves in it,, upon
the mere anticipation of inconveniences, which may never hap­
pen, and which the President firmly believes are not to be justly
apprehended. He will state the facts, upon which these opinions
are founded—facts which he believes to be incontrovertible—
and he will accompany that statement with such observations
as are in his judgment called for by the occasion, and fully justi­
fied by the nature and character of the transactions referred to.
At the beginning of the year 1831, the aggregate debt due
the bank of the U. S., was $42,402,304. Although it was well
aware, that the government designed shortly to call out nearly
all the large deposite it then had in bank, for the purpose of pay­
ing the public debt, and that its charter would expire in a few
years, it nevertheless proceeded to increase its loans in such
profusion, that in May, 1832, the debt due to it was $70,428,070
—showing an increase in sixteen months, of $28,026,766, equal
to about sixty-six per cent
The motive of this enormous extension of loans can no longer
be doubted. It was unquestionably to gain power in the country,
and force the government, through the influence of debtors, to
grant it a new charter.
The effect of the extension was to put it out of the power of
the bank, promptly and faithfully to pay over the public money
received by it, upon the demand of the government, in discharge
of the public debt The expedient to which it resorted, to sus­
tain itself, under this unprecedented extension of its business;
and the pretences by which it has attempted to justify them; have
proved it to be unworthy of the confidence of the government
It will be recollected, that the greatest extension of the busi­
ness of the bank, was in May, 1832. It has since been proved,
by its official acts and correspondence, that in March, 1832,

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two months before the extension had arrived at its maximum,
a negotiation was commenced with agents representing about
$1,700,000 of the three per cent stock in Holland, and about
$1,000,000 held elsewhere, with the object of relieving the bank,
from its payment for one or more years after it might be re­
quired to be paid by the government After this negotiation
had been commenced, a notice from the treasury department,
that the government intended to pay off one half of the three
per cent stock on the 1st of July, succeeding, brought the Pre­
sident of the bank to Washington, for the purpose of soliciting
a postponement of that payment, until the first of the succeeding
October. Upon his representation, that in case the payment were
required in July, the bank would be unable to accommodate
the debtors of the government, especially in New York, as it
had done, and desired still to do, and upon his undertaking, on
the part of the bank, to pay the interest for the quarter, his re­
quest was granted. By developments since made, it appears
that not even the usual indulgence had been, or was thereafter
extended, to the debtors of the government, or others at New
York, or elsewhere; their accommodations having been largely
curtailed; and that the only conceivable motive of the bank, in
asking the indulgence, and agreeing to pay for it, was its own
inability, with convenience or safety, to pay over a portion of
the large public deposite, on the 1st of July.
The relief, obtained by this indulgence of the government,
was not as extensive as the condition of the bank seems to have
required. The negotiation, with the agent of the Dutch holders
of the three per cents, was continued; and early in the month
of July, when the bank understood that the government intended
to pay off the whole of the three per cents, in the latter part of
the year, a mission to England was projected, with the view
of secretly negotiating with the holders of those stocks, residing
abroad, and inducing them by the payment of an interest equal
to that paid by the government, or greater if necessary, not to
present their certificates for payment, for one year at least
The agent of the bank sailed for Europe, in July, to make the
arrangement, at all events; and on the 22d of August, entered
into an agreement with the house of Baring, Brothers, & Co.,
by which, in consideration of the payment of all expenses,
and a commission of one half per cent, by the bank, they un­
dertook—

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1. To invite the holders of the three per cent stock of the
United States, to retain the stock until October, 1833, the bank
paying the interest quarterly.
2. To pay up the said three per cents on behalf of the bank;
the Barings retaining the certificate, and passing their account
to the debit of the bank, which undertook to pay any interest
they might be obliged to pay.
3. To give the bank a credit, in addition to its running credit,
for a sum sufficient to make up $5,000,000, if the purchased and
deferred stock should fall short of that sum, charging the same
interest as in their running account with the bank—their whole
advances to be reimbursed by the bank, in October, 1833.
The first item of this agreement was in direct violation of the
duty of the bank, to the government, inasmuch as it was an
interference, without its knowledge or consent, to prevent the
payment of the national debt, at the period when it was required,
the stockholders being permitted, as one article of the contract
with them, to retain their certificates. This was the less excusable in the bank, because, the amount, required to be paid on
the 1st of October, was less than $9,000,000, when the public
deposites, at the time the agent was sent to England, and the
agreement was formed, exceeded $11,600,000, and on the 1st
of October, had increased to $13,661,193.
The second item of the agreement, was a direct violation of
the charter of the bank, which forbids the purchase by it of the
public stocks of the United States.
The substance of the three items of this agreement, specifically
set forth, was received by the president of the bank, in a letter
from the agent, about the 1st of October, 1832, the time at
which the payment of two-thirds of the three per cent stocks
was required by the government to be made. This arrangement, relieving the bank from the necessity of making payment
in October, and the succeeding January, to the amount of
$5,000,000, or providing means to meet them other than the
usual resources of the bank, enabled the institution, at the time
of its receipt, to change its policy, measurably suspend its
curtailments, and in some quarters extend its accommodations.
These steps, taken immediately upon the receipt of the substance of the agreement, indicate that the bank sanctioned the
act of its agent, and did hot then contemplate any disavowal,
or change of its terms.

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This negotiation had been commenced and consummated,
without the knowledge of the government The agreement
formed was even concealed from the directory of the bank, and
they were induced by other considerations, urged by the presi­
dent, to change the policy of the institution.
About the 12th of October, through the publication of the
circular sent out by the Barings, in pursuance of the agreement
with the bank, the government and directory obtained the first
intimation of the transaction. It was now evident that all its
features must come to light, and three days afterwards the pre­
sident of the bank, wrote a letter to the Barings, disavowing
so much of the agreement as related to the purchase of stocks,
and proposing a new arrangement in relation to the deferred
stock, which should at the same time relieve the government
from its responsibility, and the bank from the payment of the
money, at least for one year.
From that time forward, the bank has been struggling to re­
trace its steps, and rid itself of its first secret and unauthorized
agreement It has procured most of the certificates, and surren­
dered them to the government; but has made new arrangements,
avoiding the payment of money for them to a large amount,
thus confirming the inability of the bank, to pay over the public
money, on deposite, when it was required. If the new arrange­
ment proposed, in relation to the purchased stock, and other
stock which the Barings were requested to purchase, under
certain circumstances, has been carried into effect, it is in fact
as much a purchase, and as much a violation of the charter,
as the first transaction.
The President thinks the conclusion cannot be resisted, that
it was the purpose of the bank, or its chief managers, to carry
into effect the illegal contract with the Barings, and that this
result was prevented only by the publicity casually given, of the
transaction; and he does not consider that any confidence is due
to an institution which is ready to violate its charter, and thwart
the payment of the public debt, provided the means and manner
by which it operates can be concealed from the government,
and the country: nor does it recommend itself to public confi­
dence, when it alleges, as reasons for the various negotiations,
and arrangements, a desire to accommodate the public debtors,
which it never did, and to avert the evils of a pestilence, which
had neither appeared nor was anticipated, when they were first
originated. Least of all, can the government place any confi-

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dence in it, when it has attempted, without the least foundation
in fact, to attribute its own illegal and unauthorized acts, to
suggestions made by the government itself.
The President looks upon these transactions, as conclusive
proof, of the inability of the bank, during the year 1832, to re­
fund to the government, its public deposite, for the payment of
the public debt, as it was its duty to do. And he considers the
pretences and misrepresentations, by which it has attempted, to
conceal the true cause from the government and country, as
proving it to be unworthy of public trust Not the least obnox­
ious, of these transactions, is the object, for which the bank
sought to retain the public deposite, and postpone the payment
of the public debt It had used the money of the people, in ex­
tending its loans $28,000,000, in sixteen months, for the purpose
of bringing the people within its power. It ha4 secured, to its
interest, editors and presses, by extraordinary loans, upon unu­
sual terms. By the same means, it had sought to procure the
friendship and respect, of public men, who might have an influ­
ence or a vote, upon the question of its re-charter. By the use
of the public funds, as well as its own, it was attempting to
control public opinion and overawe the government It begged
indulgence of the government, that it might retain its own funds
as the means of controlling it; and, when those funds could no
longer be retained, with its consent, it sought to keep them with­
out its consent, by secret arrangements with the public creditors,
residing in Europe; and, when detected, in this effort, resorted
to direct loans, from the subjects of foreigners, to enable it to
accomplish the same ends.
It was when its loans and accommodations.were approxima­
ting, to the highest point, that the bank came before the govern­
ment, for a re-charter; and they reached their maximum, while
the subject was under consideration in congress. With debtors
to the amount of seventy millions of dollars, it threw itself into
the political arena, and submitted its case to the people of the
United States. Its presses poured forth their arguments, and
predictions of mischief, from the veto of the President. It ex­
pended its money in the publication and distribution of political
essays, affecting the question of re-charter, and impeaching the
acts of the executive. The most direful evils were anticipated,
by its advocates, from its destruction. Every effort, which
money could command, or zeal render, was. made to secure, in
its favour, the verdict of the American people* In this struggle,

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itwas sustained, not only by its own funds, but by a public de~
posite of $12,000,000. It was to be expected, that, after being
defeated, in a conflict so tremendous, it would have acquiesced
in a decision, which it had sought and provoked; and, without
further exerting its power, or spreading its corruptions, would
have been content quietly to wind up its concerns. Contrary
to this just expectation, its organs and advocates declare it to
be again in the field, seeking to over-rule, through an act of the
agents of the people, the solemn decision of the people them­
selves. It has been increasing its accommodations, to the ma­
nagers of the press, and favouring public men with extravagant
loans, for unusual terms, and on doubtful security. The chief
business of the bank, instead of being performed by " not less
than seven directors," as enjoined by the charter, and in accord­
ance with the rules, has been done by committees, whose
proceedings are concealed from the board. To cut off all chan­
nels of communication, with the government, in relation to its
acts and abuses, not one of the five government directors was,
at the commencement of the present year, appointed upon a
single committee. And when those directors sought, to reform
this abuse, and restore the business of the bank, according to
law, and its own rules, that board instead of changing the prac­
tice to conform to the rule, changed the rule so as to conform
it to the practice; thus, not only in practice, but by a positive
rule, violating, repealing, and setting aside an express and ma­
terial provision, in the act of congress which gave it existence.
Although at a more recent period, and by an unusual remo­
delling of the committees, a part of the government directors
has been placed upon some of them, yet, in the exchange com­
mittee, through which most of the extraordinary loans, referred
to, have been made, the government is still wholly without re­
presentation.
The allegation recently so often promulgated, that the trea­
sury of the United States was exhausted, and insolvent, when
it has not, within the last and present year, had less than six
millions of public money in its vaults, might have been passed
over as a harmless misrepresentation; but when the bank seeks,
by substantial acts, to impair the credit, and depreciate the
honour, of the country, at home and abroad, the affair assumes
a different aspect A bill was drawn, by the United States, on
the government of France, for about $ 900,000, being the amount
of the first instalment, then due, under the late treaty of indem-

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nity. The bank became the purchaser of the bill, and it was
accompanied, as required by the treaty, with an order of the
President formally executed, authorizing the cashier of the bank,
or his assignee, to receive the proceeds. But the money, for
which the bill was sold, instead of being drawn out by the
government, remained in the bank. The French government,
contrary to all calculation, suffered the bill to be protested; and
it was paid, out of the funds of the bank, by the agent in Paris.
The bank, without having incurred any damage, save a trifling
expense, and a trifling disappointment, has claimed of the
government, without law, and contrary ,to right, fifteen per
cent, for damages, amounting to about $135,000 with interest.
This it does, although it has had the use not only of the proceeds
of the bill, but of a public deposite, equal to seven or eight millions of dollars, during the whole time, free of charge. This
claim, and the spirit in which it is presented, ill became an
institution, which was created for the convenience of the government, has had, for ten years, an average public deposite of nearly
nine millions of dollars, which it has used without charge, in
loans and exchanges, at great profit, and, even now, has thus in
use about eight millions of the public money.
By these misrepresentations and acts, on the part of the bank,
the President thinks it has forfeited all claim to the confidence
of the government, and ought not to be longer retained in its
service.
In his message, at the opening of the last session of congress,
the President recommended " an inquiry into the transactions
of the institution, embracing the branches, as well as the principal bank;" with a view of ascertaining, whether it was any
longer a safe depository of the money of the people.
The apprehension, intended then to be expressed, was not, that,
upon a final settlement of all its concerns, the bank would not
be able to pay, the government, the amount of its deposite; but
simply, that it was unable, or unwilling, to pay over that deposite,
when demanded by the government, for the public service; in
either of which events, it must be pronounced unsafe. The
committee of ways and means of the house of representatives*
to which the subject was referred, did not make the general
investigation, recommended by the President They confined
themselves, chiefly, to the transactions relative to the three per
ioent stocks, and elicited many facts tending rather to increase,
than diminish, the apprehensions previously entertained. In the
4

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slight attention, paid by them, to the general concerns of the
institution, several important facts, of the same tendency, were
disclosed; particularly in relation to the means, by which it had
kept up the appearance of great strength, during the year 1832,
and the character of its western debt. In the facts, developed
by the committee, the President finds cause, rather of increased
apprehensions for the safety of the public interests, if the connexion between the government and the bank be further maintained, than of any abatement of those expressed in his message.
It is true, that the house of representatives, without examining,
or having an opportunity to examine, on account of the lateness
of the session, and then not being printed the report of the minority, or the evidence upon which the views of either the majority or minority are maintained, declared, by a large majority,
that, in their opinion, the public deposites were safe in that institution. The expression of opinion, though entitled to much respect, is neither conclusive nor obligatory upon the executive
department, if the state of its information leads to a different
conclusion. It is deemed of the less weight now, because, the
subsequent conduct of the bank has evinced its determination,
to persist in and perpetuate the abuses, which have heretofore
given just cause of complaint; to misrepresent its own condition,
and that of the treasury, and to impair the credit of the government itself.
But, the insecurity, of the public deposites, is not the only
reason, which will justify their removal from the bank of the
U. S. The President thinks, that the use of the means and
power, which they give, to corrupt the press and public men,
to control popular elections to procure a re-charter, contrary to
the decision of the people, and to gain possession of the government, which it was created to serve, are substantial reasons,
requiring their removal. He thinks, that reasons equally conclusive may be found, in the exclusion of the government directors from all participation in the principal business of the bank;
performing, in secret committees, that which should be done in
full board; and, cutting off, as far as possible, from the government, all knowledge of its material transactions, and the condition of its debt. But the strongest and controlling reason, in
the mind of the President, is, that, which has been before referred to, and which consists in the necessity of organizing a new
scheme for the collection, deposite, and distribution of the public
revenue, based upon the state banks, and making a fair experi-

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ment of its practicability, before the expiration of the charter
of the existing bank; that the country may have a fair oppor­
tunity to determine, whether any bank of the U. S. be necessary
or not
The President has weighed, with great care, the reasons,
which have been urged, from all quarters, against severing, at
present, the connexion between the bank and the government
A leading objection is, that the bank of the U. S. has the power,
and, in that event, will have the disposition, to crush the state
banks, particularly those which may be selected, by the govern­
ment, as the depositories of its funds; and thus cause wide­
spread distress and ruin, throughout the United States. If this
apprehension be well founded, it proves two things of fearful
import; first, that the bank of the U. S. has the power to ac­
complish the ruin of the state banks, and cause general bank­
ruptcy and distress among the ^>eople; and accordingly, that
there is a disposition to exercise that power, unless its forbear­
ance be purchased by that of the government. A conviction,
that these things are so, instead of inducing the President to
forbear, would only make him the more determined, by all the
legitimate means in his power, to resist a corporation, which,
altogether irresponsible to the people, already holds in its hands
their interests and their happiness. If this despotism be now
partially fixed upon the country, a struggle must be made to
cast it off, or our people will be forever enslaved j and that
struggle can never be made, with less distress to them, or under
more favourable auspices, than at the present moment
But the President looks, as already stated, upon all these
apprehensions, as destitute of real foundation. The same lan­
guage was held, before he put his veto upon the re-charter of
the bank, as well as subsequent to that important act Time
has shown, that the curtailment, of the accommodations and of
the circulation of the bank, produces no sensible effect upon the
business of the country. The establishment of new state banks,
and an extension of the old, fill up the space, from which the
U. S. bank withdraws; and the community, at large, is scarcely
sensible of the change. Such will be the progress of events,
until the bank has wound up its concerns, and ceased to exist;
when its absence will neither be felt nor regretted by the people.
It is the President's opinion, that the power over the state
banks, which the bank of the U. S. now possesses, is derived
almost wholly from its receipt of the public revenue. It is chiefly

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through the money, thus received, that it obtains, directly or indirectly, the paper of the state banks, and raises balances against
them. If its receipts of the public revenue shall cease, its means
of raising those balances will cease. If the state banks become
the receptacles of the public revenue, they will be instantly enabled to raise like balances against the bank of the U. S. and its
branches. That bank will not only be deprived of power, but
that power will be transferred into the hands of the state banks;
thus producing a double effect on both parties. The state banks,
being without branches, have but one point to guard, and all
their concerns are under the eye of one directory; but, the bank
of the U. S. being divided into twenty-six offices or departments,
scattered through the Union, has twenty-six points to guard;
and, not knowing at which an enemy may strike, must be prepared at all. If it make war upon the state banks, selected as the
agents of the government, what can prevent the latter from
accumulating, in the receipt of the revenue, the notes of any
one of the interior branches, to an amount larger than their
specie on hand, and, without notice, presenting them at their
counters for payment 1 How would the bank of the U. S., in
case of a contest, with the state banks, guard against the stoppage, by this process, of all their interior branches in detail; especially when it is considered, that the notes of all its branches,
in consequence of being received in payment of revenue duties,
naturally concentrate at Philadelphia and New York, where
they constitute in fact, as shown by the bank reports, almost the
entire currency in which those duties are paid ? By this tendency of the currency, large balances now accrue, in the principal
bank and Atlantic branches of the U. S. bank, against the interior branches; the inconvenience of which is not seriously felt,
because they are all parts of the same institution. But the state
banks, when in receipt of this paper, will not permit them to
accumulate; and, if they choose to make war on the interior
branches, may, with perfect ease, break them up, one after
another, by throwing back their circulation in masses, which
they will not be prepared to redeem.
It has been urged, as an argument in favour of a bank of the
U. S., as well as not disturbing the present bank by a removal
of the deposites, that great injury will accrue to the country,
from a loss of the general currency, every where of equal value,
now alleged to be furnished by the bank of the U. S. The only
currency, known to the constitution of the United States, is

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gold and silver. This is consequently the only currency, which
that instrument delegates to congress the power to regulate. A
general paper currency, being unknown to the constitution, does
not come within the scope of any of its provisions, and cannot
be regulated under its authority. To prove its usefulness, or
necessity, might prove the expediency of enlarging the powers
granted in the constitution, but not of exercising a power not
granted.
But it is not a fact, that the bank of the U. S. furnishes a
currency of equal value throughout the country. The notes of
one branch are not cashed at another; nor are they taken on
deposite, nor generally even in payment of debts. So far as its
own business is concerned, as independent of that of the government, the notes of each branch are now a local currency, and
their credit confined to its vicinity. But the government, by
receiving all those notes in payment of duties and taxes, throughout the United States, gives the general credit they possess; in
opposition to the policy of the bank. If the favour, of the government, were withdrawn, and branch notes no longer received in
payment of public revenue, the present policy of the bank would
make them as much a local currency circulating only in the immediate vicinity of the branches, whence they issued, as are now
the notes of the state banks. And it is in the power of the government, at any moment, to give a general credit to the notes, of
twenty-six or any other number, of state banks, by announcing
that they will be received in payment of public dues, throughout
the United States. It is not the bank, therefore, which furnishes
the general currency, but the government. The bank only
stamps the paper and puts it in circulation, but it is the government that gives it a general credit. When the U. S. bank shall
cease to be, we shall still have such a paper currency consisting
of the notes of state banks, receivable in payment of the public
dues. It will be, as it is now, the*act of the government, and
that only, which will give it a general circulation and an equal
value. On that score, therefore, no serious inconvenience will
arise to the government or the people.
As an argument, that the present bank ought not to be further
molested, and that its charter ought to be renewed, or another
bank established, to take its place* reference is frequently made
to the distresses of the last war, and the derangement of the
currency, which grew out of them. The President is satisfied,
tiiat, had the old bank of the U. S. been continued in existence,

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during that period, instead of aiding the government, in carrying
on the war, it would have compelled it to make peace on igno­
minious terms. Not only was a large portion of its stock held by
the subjects of the British monarchy, but they had a right to
vote in the choice of directors, and much of the domestic stock
is believed to have been held by men, who were equally dis­
posed to embarrass the prosecution of that war. So far from
aiding the government itself, it would, undoubtedly, not only
have opposed it, but prevented the state banks from rendering
that aid which was actually received from them.
It is unjust to the state banks, to attribute, to them, the em­
barrassments of the government and country, which led to the
suspension of specie payments and a depreciated paper curren­
cy ; all those evils are attributable to other causes*
In consequence of combinations, among men of wealth, op­
posed to the war, the requisite loans of money could not be pro­
cured—disasters overtook our arms, for the want of the neces­
sary supplies of funds; and others were threatened. If patriot­
ism ever actuated banks, it was felt in the operations of many
of the local banks, at that gloomy period. At the hazard of
their existence, they furnished the means of raising armies, and
maintaining them in the field; and it was in their efforts to sus­
tain the government, that they so far crippled themselves as to
be obliged to suspend the payment of specie. If the bank of
the U. S. had then existed, it must have done as the state banks
did; or, it would have effected nothing, in support of the govern­
ment. If it had not joined the combination, against the govern­
ment, it could not have furnished the funds, which the exigencies
of the country required, without suspending the payment of
specie. Instead of hostility and persecution, the government
owed the state banks, gratitude and support Their credit,
during the whole war, was as good as its own; and, without
their aid, the treasury must have stopped payment. But no
sooner had peace arrived, and a profusion of revenue begun to
flow in, than the government, not recollecting that it was im­
possible for the state banks, at once to bring down their business,
and redeem themselves from the difficulties, into which they
had thus been led, insisted upon an immediate resumption of
specie payments; and because a demand, so unreasonable, was
not forthwith complied with, created a new bank of the U. S.
to coerce them. There is not a doubt in the mind of the Presi­
dent, that had not this institution been created, all the state

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banks, which were sound, would have been compelled, by pub­
lic opinion, to resume the payment of specie, as soon as they
were able; and that, in a short period, every section of the
Union would have enjoyed a sound currency. And is it not evi­
dently fallacious, to anticipate now, in a time of profound peace,
and unexampled prosperity, the same results, which then flowed,
not from the destruction of the old bank, but from a desolating
war, the suspension of commerce and universal embarrassment?
We are often told of the alleged difference of exchange, between
the northern and southern states, at that period; and it is attri­
buted to the state banks. Those banks, in the north, which
looked coldly upon the great contest, and.gave no aid or sup­
port to the government, were enabled to maintain the payment
of specie, while more patriotic institutions were compelled to
stop. Their paper consequently depreciated, and that, which is
now so often spoken of as difference of exchange, was in reality,
a difference in the value of the currency, which would never
again arise but under similar circumstances. And who believes,
that public opinion will ever maintain the banks, in any quarter
of the Union, in refusing to'redeem their notes in a time of pro­
found peace and general prosperity ? No such result is to be an­
ticipated. There will only be a difference of exchange, which
can never much exceed the cost of transporting specie, and by
arrangements among the banks may be less.
It is frequently boasted, that the bank of the U. S. is largely
beneficial to the country, in effecting domestic exchange at a
low rate. There are two sorts of exchange business carried on
by the bank of the U. S. The bona fide exchange, in which
the merchant or trader deposites his funds in one branch of the
bank, and takes a check or draft on a distant branch, near the
spot where he wants to use them; or, draws and sells to the
bank, a draft on a fund, deposited to his credit, in a distant
branch, or which he verily expects will be—is undoubtedly
beneficial to the country. But that kind of exchange business,
which is carried on, by drawing and redrawing, to enable spe­
culators to raise funds, and men in desperate circumstances to
sustain their credit, is a soured of much mischief to the country.
It is evident, from developments heretofore made, that a large
portion of the exchange business, now done by the bank of the
U. S., is of this description. If that bank should cease to exist,
there is no reason to suppose, that the bona fide exchange will
not be carried on, by arrangements among the state banks, on

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terms nearly, if not quite, as favourable, as it is now. That
which is profitable to one great institution, carried on through
many branches, must also be profitable to small institutions,
that may take their places.
Merit is often claimed for the bank of the U. S., because it
has faithfully transferred the public funds, without loss to the
government. The transfer, of the public funds, is known to be
a source of profit to the bank, instead of a burden; and, the
more distant the transfer, the greater the profit. The exchange
is always in favour of the eastern cities, where the revenues are
principally collected; and bills, drawn on those points, in the
distant south, or west, to transfer the public funds, or for other
purposes, are sold at a premium. At the same time, the bank
has the use of an average public deposite of near nine millions,
the employment of which, at five per cent., must yield about
$450,000, per year. It would be bad management, indeed,
which should so completely dissipate this profit, and all the
means and stock of the bank, as to cause a loss to the government of any portion of its deposite. But the government has
once lost as a stockholder, if never as a depositor. On the seven
millions of stock subscribed, it long paid the bank an interest of
five per cent, the subscription having been in five per cent, stocks
of the United States; and, from January, 1819, to July, 1822,
the bank either declared no dividend, or declared one less than
five per cent; so that the amount, paid to the bank, during that
period, exceeded the amount received from it, about $822,500.
The losses in the state banks, after the close of the war, were
remarkably small, considering the amount, collected by the
government, during that period; and the convulsion, produced
by the arduous contest, in the business of the banks and the
country. No inference can be justly drawn from them, favourable to the U. S. bank, which has encountered no such difficulties, or unfavourable to the state banks in their future course.
On the whole, the President thinks, the same advantages may
be secured, to the government and community, from the employment of the state banks, as from a bank of the United States, without any of the dangers. He sees no serious difficulty, in transferring the public deposite, at an early period, from the one to the
other; as the first step, in an attempt to dispense with a national
bank. It is not the desire of the President, that the deposite
should be drawn suddenly, so as to embarrass the operations of
the bank of the U. S* or create any shock in its relations with its

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debtors or the community. To make the desired change in as
gentle a manner as possible, it may be expedient, not to require
any actual transfer of funds from the bank of the U. S.; but to
leave the money, now on deposite in that institution, to be drawn
out gradually by the usual treasury warrants for the public ser­
vice, and direct the future deposites to bo made in the state
banks. This plan seems to be recommended, by the double
advantage, that it will give the state banks time to direct their
plans of operations, before any call shall be made upon them,
and leave to the bank of the U. S. no cause to complain of the
harshness of the government. No just ground of hostility, to
the state banks, will be left to it; and, if its affairs have been as
well managed as has been represented, it will be under no ne­
cessity to make oppressive calls upon its debtors.
In the accomplishment of the object in view, there are some
points which must be particularly regarded. The safety of the
public deposites in the state banks employed, must be secured
beyond a doubt.
They must undertake to remit to any part of the United
States, and then pay in gold and silver, or their equivalent,
such portion of the public moneys, received by them, as may
be required, without expense to the government.
They must undertake to perform, if required, without com­
pensation, any other duties or services, which the government
may now lawfully require of the bank of the U. S.
They must agree, to make reports, of their business and con­
dition, to the secretary of the treasury, at least once a month,
and as much oftener as he may require.
They must agree, to subject themselves to a critical investi­
gation, of their affairs, by the secretary of the treasury in person,
or by any agent duly authorized by him.
They must agree, to pay any expenses which the government
may incur, in making the new arrangement, or employing any
agent, temporary or permanent, to look after that portion of the
public interest, which may be intrusted to their care and ma­
nagement.
In fine, the government must be placed on a footing, both in
relation to convenience and expense, at least as favourable to
its interests, as that which now exists.
It will also be expected of the banks, which may be employed
by the government, that they will facilitate bona fide domestic
exchanges, for the interest of commerce and the convenience of
5

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W
the people; grant reasonable facilities, to the payers of the public revenue, exercise the utmost liberality towards the other
state banks; and do nothing unnecessarily to embarrass the bank
of the U . S .
The great object being to rid the country of the dangerous,
irresponsible power, necessarily concentrated in that bank, care
must be taken, not to raise up another equally formidable. Perhaps such a result is impossible, by any organization of the state
banks; as they are amenable to the state governments, on which
they depend for their existence. But, to prevent even an apprehension, in the public mind, of such a result, it will be expedient, to interfere, with the banks employed, as little as possible;
and to require, and exercise, no other or further control, over
them, than is absolutely necessary to secure the public deposites,
and insure a faithful performance of the duties incident to their
transmission. If the banks selected shall, jointly, or any one of
them separately, be detected, in using their power, to favour
one man, or set of men and oppress another; to accomplish any
political purpose whatever; it is the determination of the President, that they shall be no longer employed by the government,
so far as he has power to prevent it. So far as the government
is concerned, they must confine themselves to collecting, safely
keeping, and faithfully paying, the public money, whenever and
wherever required. It is the President's desire, wholly and forever, to separate the control of the currency from the political
power of the country, and from every question which may hereafter be agitated, in the congress of the United States. And he
deems it equally important, to take that control from an institution,
which is not responsible to the states or the people, and has
already attempted as it may again, to subject the government
to its will. As fearful as would be the committing of a controlling power, over the currency, in the hands of the executive, it
is not more so than the concentration in a bank, which aspires
to direct the legislation of congress. To obviate both dangers,
he wishes to see the action of the general government, on this
subject, confined to the grant in the constitution, which only
authorizes congress "to coin money and regulate the value
thereof."
The President is sensible, that his own ease and comfort, as
well as the quiet of his administration, would be promoted, by
leaving to others the whole subject of the bank of the U. S. and
the public deposittes. But he deems it so important, to the ;pre-

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sent and future interests of our country, to the purity of our
government, and the liberties of the people; that he cannot per­
mit any personal considerations to persuade him, to silence or
inaction. Had he no other motive to impel him, he should find
a sufficient one, in gratitude to the people, -who, as he conceives,
re-elected him, to the exalted situation he now holds, chiefly
for the purpose of carrying into effect the principles of his veto
message.
As the subject, of this letter, belongs principally to your de­
partment, the President has thought it proper, to communicate
to you» in writing, the course of policy, appertaining to it, which
he desires to have pursued; as well to enable you, thoroughly
to understand it, as to take upon himself the responsibility of a
course, which involves much private interest, and public con­
siderations of the greatest magnitude.
[Signed.] ANDREW JACKSOIT.
Boston, June 26<Af 1833.

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CHAPTER

III.

WITH these papers, the President sent to me, the opinions of
four of the members of the cabinet, Messrs. M'Lane, Wood­
bury, Taney, and Barry. The following extract shows, what
were the points, on which the President consulted the cabinet,
in the spring of 1833; and what were the results of his own
reflections:
44
The President asks the opinion of the cabinet on the follow­
ing points.
" 1. Whether any thing has occurred, to lessen the force of
the expression, at the commencement of the last session of con­
gress, as to the safety of the U. S. bank, as far as regards the
deposites 1
44
2. Whether the management of the bank has been such,
that the government may rely on it as fiscal agent; and whether
it has heretofore been a faithful agent ?
" 3. The propriety of acquiescing in the renewal of the U. S.
bank charter, under any circumstances; if renewal should be
acquiesced in, under modifications, what ought the modifications
to be?
44
4- The propriety of a new bank, under any circumstances,
or with any modifications: if a new bank is proper, what ought
the modifications and principles to be 1
44
5. What should be the system, for the future distribution of
the public money—the plan of deposite, and mode of distribution!
If the deposites should be withdrawn from U. S. bank, would
it be necessary to receive the public dues in the notes of all the
banks to be selected as substitutes ?
44
The President has given the result of his own reflection—
44
1. That the charter ought not to be renewed, under any
circumstances or on any conditions.
44
2. That the ground, gained by the veto, ought to be firmly
maintained; and no assent given to any bank out of the District
of Columbia.
44
3. That, if there should be a new bank, it ought to be in
the District of Columbia: branches, with permission of the states,
to be established, upon the application of the bank for the pur­
pose, under such restrictions as they should impose: government

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to have the right to appoint a president and as many of the direc­
tors of principal bank and branches, as to secure fidelity, and
a knowledge of its transactions by proper officers of govern­
ment : congress to have the right to repeal and modify the
charter from time to time, as security against corruption, &c.
" 4. Such an institution not to be recommended, until after a
full and fair experiment, to carry on fiscal affairs, without a
national bank of any description.
" 5. Will it be now necessary to devise and settle any system
for deposite and distribution of funds through state banks, to go
into operation, when thought advisable."
This extract, or outline, was taken, I believe, from the opi­
nion of Mr. M'Lane, which covered ninety-one pages. I have
not a copy of it; but, if I had, I should not, perhaps, be justified
in giving it publicity. Of the opinions of the other members of
the cabinet, I have copies, or full extracts. They briefly answer
questions, and have scarcely any exposition of facts, arguments,
or elucidations.
Before I received the views of the executive or the opinions
of the ministers, I had felt embarrassment, not only in relation
to the general subject, but on constitutional points. I was, es­
pecially, in doubt, as to the view, which the President might
have taken, of the 16th section of the Act, chartering the U. S.
bank, which gave to the secretary of the treasury the power to
remove the deposites. When, however, I read the concluding
passage, of his letter from Boston, my anxiety was, in a great
measure, if not altogether, removed. If he meant any thing, I
concluded, that the President concurred in the view, of the 16th
section of.the charter, which I was disposed to take; namely,
that, in passing it, congress had exercised its constitutional right,
to regulate the conduct of the head of the treasury department,
in relation to the careund custody of the public treasure. I sup­
posed, that he admitted, that the secretary of the treasury, re­
presenting the constitutional guardians of the public purse, had
an exclusive right, under their control, to remove or not to re­
move, the public deposites; and that he now pledged himself,
not to interfere, beyond the expression of his own views, or the
use of arguments, to influence mine. Reflecting, however, upon
the means, that might be employed, to induce him to disregard
this pledge; I considered it my duty, tp comply strictly with
his injunction, that I should express to hitn my sentiments frankly
and fully; and 1 accordingly wrote to him the following letter:

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Treasury Department, July 10,1888.
To the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
SIR,

I. On the first of the present month, the undersigned had the
honour to receive the letter, which the President addressed to
him, from Boston, on the 26th ultimo, transmitting a detailed
statement of his views " upon the subject of a discontinuance of
the government deposites in the bank of the U. S., and the sub­
stitution of certain state banks, as the fiscal agents of the United
States, so far as those duties are now performed by that insti­
tution."
If, when, early in December last, the desire of the President,
that the undersigned should assume the station, which he now
holds, was communicated to him, it had been intimated, that a
cessation to deposite the public moneys in the bank of the U. S^
without any legislation upon the subject, was to constitute a part
of the executive policy, and that the undersigned would be called
upon to carry the measure into effect upon his own responsibility,
it would have been in his power to consider, whether he ought
to enter into office or not; and he would not have been com­
pelled, as he now is, either to incur the censure of congress, or
to commence his service by acting in opposition to the Presi­
dent's wishes* But, as no intimation of any kind wag given*
and as the undersigned was thus to come into office, in a manner
as honourable to the President's liberality, as it wasflatteringto
his own pride, he accepted the proffered honour, but still not
without reluctance, resolved to perform his duty so faithfully as
to merit public confidence, justify the President's choice, and
preserve that invaluable treasure, his own self-respect
If, when, on the 30th of January last, the undersigned consent*
ed to serve, and before he had entered on the duties of his sta#
tion, he had known that a change of the depository of the pub*
lie money, notwithstanding the decision of the house of repre*
sentatives, was a part of the President's policy, and very an*»
iously discussed in the cabinet, it would still have been hi?
pleasure, as well as duty, to consider the questions involved*
carefully. But, although late in the month of March, the Presir
dent intimated, that he was agitating the subject himse]£ the
undersigned had no conception, that jt was with a view to any
proceeding, prior to the meeting of the new congress,
It was not, indeed, until the evening of the fay, or of the <Jajr
after, the undersigned entered into office, that he was informed,

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that a change, of the depository of the public money, had been
the subject of cabinet discussion, and that upon the undersigned
would rest the responsibility.*
It will not surprise the President, therefore, to learn the sentiments of the undersigned now for the first time; nor that he
may fail to present such an exposition of his views, as under
different circumstances, he would at least have attempted to
prepare. Subsequently to the 1st of June, the President was so
good as to say, that he would send to the undersigned, the opinions of the members of his cabinet, with his awn views, to be
deliberately reflected upon, with a view to a frank declaration
of the opinions of the undersigned to the President, on his return
from his eastern tour. Those documents were received on the
1st instant, and the President returned on the 4th; so that the
brevity of the interval, and other circumstances interfering, will,
he trusts, be regarded as adequate apologies for imperfection.
While, however, he regrets the imperfection, he is consoled
with the knowledge, that he is but a gleaner in the field of inquiry, after officers, superior to the undersigned in all the advantages of experience, and with whom he will not assert an
equality, except in purity of purpose, and in regard for the chief
magistrate, who has made him their associate.
II. In the conclusion of the President's letter, he has the goodness to say, that, while he frankly avows his own opinions and
feelings, he does not intend to interfere with the independent
exercise of the discretion, committed to the undersigned by law,
over the subject; and that the undersigned may adopt, on the
President's responsibility, the sentiments expressed by him, in
his letter, as the basis in part of his own decision. The undersigned, therefore, concludes, that he has not received the direction of the chief magistrate, to perform an act of executive duty;
but that the President believes, that congress had a right to direct, and hold responsible, an executive agent. And, accordingly, without expressing a doubt on that point, that might be thought
presumptuous, the undersigned will decide on his responsibility
to congress, and that decision shall be the same, as if he had
'■• Here followed the passage, which I struck out, at the interview of the 15th
July, hereinafter described, (page 57.) The words, that I erased, were these,
w
This information was communicated by Mr. R. M. Whitney, who called to
speak to the undersigned, on the subject; and who was listened to, attentively,
as well in consideration of the importance of the communication, as of (he respect
due *to "in individual apparently in the President s confidence.

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received an executive order. This, however, will not, for a
moment, be regarded by the President as indicative of the least
abbreviation of the respect and attachment, which, on many
accounts, he entertains for the President. The expression is used,
in order to evince the perfect sincerity of the undersigned in the
matter referred to him; it is used, in order to make known to
the President, that, however grateful to him the undersigned
may be, and however unwilling to incur the risk of separating
from him so soon, a separation so likely to expose the under­
signed to the shafts of envy or of malice, if such exist, such
considerations are overcome by a sense of the high duties im­
posed on him as a public agent.
It is not more consistent with the principles of the undersign­
ed, to pay a homage to the President, than it would be the desire
of the President to receive it; but since it is so soon his fate to
differ in opinion from the President, the undersigned boldly says,
that no one could have been called to the station, now filled by
him, who could have had a more anxious desire than the under­
signed had, to render the evening of the President's life as tran­
quil, as its noon had been glorious. It is very painful to him,
therefore, to be obliged to decline to adopt the course described
in the President's letter. He has the consolation, however, that
the very opposition establishes a claim to the President's respect,
and is a sure guarantee of sincerity.
Trusting, therefore, to that magnanimity, on the part of the
President, which is inseparable from the purity of his own in­
tentions, the undersigned will frankly state some of the reasons,
that have drawn him to the conclusion, at which he has arrived.
In doing so, he will present the results of brief, but anxious, re­
flection, and incidentally such observations, as a perusal of the
President's letter demands.
III. With regard to the bank of the U. S., even if the
undersigned did not consider it unauthorized by the constitu­
tion, he avows his deliberate and unbiassed belief, that the re­
newal of its charter would be inconsistent, with the duration of
the happiness and liberties of the people. These sentiments are
not formed as a potter moulds his clay, to suit the fashion of the
times, or the order of a customer; they are not the sentiments of
a man, who has a latent grief to assuage, or an injury to avenge;.
they are the opinions of an individual, who, although bowing to
the law, as every good citizen should do, and respecting the
opinions of others, has never omitted a fair occasion to utter his,

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dispassionate belief, in opposition not only to the present, and to
the former bank of the U. S., but to all such monopolies."
Without any desire, therefore, to arraign uncharitably the
motives of others, the undersigned is satisfied, that many of the
acts of the bank, that are complained of, do but justify his uni­
form apprehension of such institutions. He conceives that the
bank has forfeited all claims to favour, and that, if chartered,
with such a weight of complaint against it, the charter might al­
most as well be perpetual as limited.
But, while these are the sentiments he entertains, and while
as an individual he might, in every fair way, utter and publish,
in language becoming a freeman, his strong remonstrances and
upraidings at the three per cent, transaction, and others; he does
not consider it proper, as a public officer, to pursue any other
than an open, decided, and authorized course. He is persuaded
that vindictive justice is so much at variance with the best feel­
ings of the human heart, that a resort to a measure of that kind,
would, by the repugnance that it would create, tend to merge
the more essential consideration of the future destinies of the
country.
At present the bank stands, if not convicted, arraigned before .
the country. It has put itself in the wrong, and the stockholders
have not manifested an inclination even to inquire into the causes
of complaint against the directors. Public opinion is unfavourable
to the continuance of the institution. It is obviously the conviction
of dispassionate men, that no modification can control an institu­
tion, that has the elements of evil in its composition and exist­
ence. The dictates of prudence and policy, therefore, demand,
that nothing should be done against the bank, that might alto­
gether conceal justice under the veil of sympathy.
The main question was put to the people by the President,
and left to them, in such terms, and in such forms, as to absolve
him from all accountability. In this, as in other instances, pos­
terity will do justice to the purity of his purposes, and the vigour
of his acts. And there is no occasion, either for the present or
the future, to adopt a course different from the open and manly
one heretofore pursued. It is not requisite, in order to prevent a
renewal of legal life, to resort to measures, that might be regard­
ed as extreme, if not utterly needless.
IV. The undersigned is persuaded, that the measure would be
regarded as extreme and arbitrary, for these reasons :
6

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1. The charter is the law of the land; it is a contract, that cannot be dissolved, or altered, without mutual consent, or forfeited
without inquiry. The public deposites are a benefit to the bank,
for which it has paid a consideration, and their continuance is a
part of the contract
Has the undersigned a right to rescind this contract? It is certainly true, that he has the power to change the depository, but
he is bound to give his reasons. What reasons can the undersigned give? He must not rely on the reasons of others, unless
he adopts them as his own; he must be satisfied, that the measure is sound in itself and defensible.
If, indeed, there were not other tribunals, before which acts
involving forfeiture might be inquired into, and acts involving
forfeiture were apparent, there might be some apology for an
exercise of extraordinary power by an individual. But if there
has been such misconduct in the corporation, as warrants a forfeiture of its charter; or if there have been such acts done by
the directors or officers, as bring them within the penalties of
the act of incorporation; what reasons can be given, for visiting
the sins of the officers upon the stockholders, without a trial by
* jury, or other judicial proceeding? How could the undersigned
justify himself before congress, even if his opinions were sound,
in declining a judicial inquiry, and in condemning the accused
unheard?
If the President is satisfied, that there has been misconduct,
such as would warrant punishment by judicial agency, why has
it not been, why may it not yet be, resorted to? But if no such
step has been taken, or can be sustained, how can the undersigned
justify the assumption of the powers of jury, judge, and executioner ? Is he to punish unheard, at his own pleasure, and without being able to assign to congress reasons for such an arbitrary act ? Is it consistent with the principles of justice, or the
genius of our institutions, that any man should be able to constitute himself a dictator, in matters affecting the character of
the country, the welfare of the people, and the fame of men,
who are entitled at least to the rights of felons ?
The undersigned has been, like other men, under excitement,
in relation to the bank of the U. S., and upon public grounds
has been desirous to see its existence closed; yet he would not,
under excitement, exercise such a power as is now conferred
upon him; much less will he, now in a high station, and under
the guidance of deliberate reason, do any act, that has not the

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stamp of manliness upon its front He does not think that the
end justifies the means, or that there is any distinction between
moral and political integrity. No doubt, the President believes
the proceeding, under consideration, to be fair, manly, and sound.
The undersigned has learned not to say dogmatically, that he
is right, and that another is wrong. It is sufficient for him, that,
while he sincerely respects the sentiments of the President, the
undersigned cannot at his pleasure change his own convictions,
or present to congress reasons for an act, that he believes to be
arbitrary and needless.
It is true, that congress gave to the undersigned the right to
use this arbitrary power; but for what purposes? Surely not to
enable him to usurp executive or judicial authority. It is the
right of the President to arraign, and the right of the judiciary
to try, the bank. Upon what pretext can the undersigned wrest
these powers from the legitimate organs? Or can it be fancied,
that congress transferred to the undersigned, powers not pos­
sessed by themselves? What, then, is the fair conclusion, in the
absence of all explanation, as to the motives of congress ? Sure­
ly, that dictatorial power was conferred on the secretary of the
treasury, for occasions demanding sudden and extreme action;
or as a salutary check upon the bank; or a mean to promote
the conclusion of its affairs. It never could have been conferred
to enable an individual, whose appointment has not yet been
confirmed by the constitutional advisers of the President, to exe­
cute vindictive justice.
Is there, then, any cause for sudden and extreme action? The
undersigned admits, that the views in the President's letter, are
very striking. They must, when presented to the people, or their
representatives, have a powerful influence upon the question of
the renewal of the charter; but he does not believe that they
warrant the undersigned in resorting to the proposed measure.
It must be a very strong case, indeed, that would justify the
nullification of a contract, made by all the* departments of
government.
2. The measure would be considered extreme and arbitrary,
because the last congress acted upon complaints against the
bank, and because the next congress may follow the example
of the last It cannot be pretended, that, the last congress doubt­
ed the. ability of the bank to meet its engagements. The house
of representatives, by a vote 109 to 46, decided that the bank
•was a safe place of deposite; and one of the last acts of con-

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gress authorized the secretary of the treasury to lend a million
of dollars to the bank without security. What has since occur­
red, that should warrant the undersigned, in treating these evi­
dences of confidence with contempt ? What reasons could the
undersigned give for reversing the judgment of those, of whom
he is the mere agent? What has occurred, since the last session
of congress, to change the ground then held ? If any thing oc­
curred, prior to the entry of the undersigned into office on the
first of June, why was not his predecessor called upon to act?
And if nothing occurred prior to that time, what has since hap­
pened, that could justify the undersigned, who has not yet be­
come acquainted with his duties, or been above forty days in
office, in exerting powers, affecting not merely the bank, but
the whole community ? Is he to take it for granted that the last
house of representatives was ignorant or corrupt ? Or is he to
conclude that there has been fraud or mismanagement on the
part of the bank ? He does not pretend, that an adequate inves­
tigation was made by the last house of representatives, but that
house decided on the evidence produced. It was not competent
for any agent to furnish adequate proofs. The minority of the
committee of investigation declare, that a full and protracted
inquiry by congress is necessary to the development of truth;
and yet it is expected that the undersigned shall either have
faculties superior to those of congress, or hardihood that disre­
gards their censure. It is supposed, that although a body, with
power to send for persons and papers, were unable to come to a
decision unfavourable to the bank, or even to express a disbelief
of its safety; the undersigned, without any such inquiry or power
to inquire, is first to do what congress would not do, and then
refer to the reasons of the President as a justification. Such
a reference would not, and ought not to, answer as a defence.
The undersigned is thrown on his own reasons; and if he acts,
and has none, he must stand in a posture before the world, not
more honourable to the President than grateful to himself. It
would, in these malevolent times, be said, that the President
had purchased the conscience of the undersigned, and that the
undersigned had basely sold for office, the only inheritance that
he may have to leave to his children, the unblemished integrity
of their father.
If it does not become the undersigned to treat with disrespect
the decision of the last congress, why should he refuse to await
the interference of the next? Any proceeding now, especially in

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the absence of adequate reasons, would seem to arise from an
apprehension, that the representatives of the people are incom­
petent or corruptible; and that the people themselves are inca­
pable of preserving the institutions of their country, in the event
of a general depravity of their agents. The undersigned is not
willing, by any act on his part, to give sanction to heresies, as
groundless in themselves, as they are pernicious in their tenden­
cies. He would despair of all that is calculated to cheer and
exalt mankind, if he could fancy that his act, or the act of any
man, even if endowed with intellect, or crowned with glory,
were essentially necessary to save the people from themselves.
He cannot have the arrogance to think, or to give colour of
conjecture that he thinks, that he can save the republic, or that
without him it would be lost. It is his duty, on the contrary,
to follow the President's own example, who, instead of proceed­
ing, as be might have done, by scire facias, against the bank,
waited until the representatives of the people assembled, and
submitted his complaint to them. In the absence of peril, the
undersigned, does not consider it his duty to forestal the opinion
of congress. If there is just ground for complaint, it is consis­
tent with our love of our institutions, and our jealousy of their
purity, to believe that an inquiry, if made, will be fairly con­
ducted ; and that the representatives of the people will act, in
consonance with their duty to Heaven, their country, and them­
selves.
But if, contrary to the lessons of experience, the representa­
tives of the people, should be faithless, the bare suggestion of
which the undersigned regrets to utter, the people have the in­
clination as well as the power to change them, and to annul any
act, that may have been the progeny of fraud or corruption.
Have they not the inclination, as well as the power? If not,
then the boasted excellence of our institutions must be a phan­
tom. But, if it is a substance and not a shadow, as the under­
signed thinks it is, it does not become him at least to decide
upon a supposed imperfection, and substitute means, justifiable
only in an insurrection or a siege.
With great deference, therefore, for the President's opinions,
the undersigned concludes, that it would be arbitrary and need­
less to adopt the proposed measure at this time.
V. But, suppose, that the undersigned had reasons, to submit
to congress, to show, that the measure was not arbitrary or
needless, ought the substitutes for the present fiscal depository

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to be accepted ? The undersigned respectfully conceives, that
he has no authority, and that it would be unwise, to adopt the
scheme proposed. Undoubtedly, if the undersigned were to
cease to deposite the public money in the bank of the U. S., it
would be his duty to direct its deposite to the credit of the trea­
surer, in some safe place. But, at the threshold he is met with
the question, what would be a safe place ? Does it become him
to judge of the solidity of an institution by heresay ? But, even
if he chose to take that responsibility, has he any right to go
further? The plan suggested by the President proposes a con­
tract with divers banks, according to which certain service is
to be rendered by one party, for the privilege of trading upon
the money of the other. Has the undersigned authority to
•create a sort of charter ? Has he a right, in any way, or for
any time, to bind the United States? Have the local banks any
right to bind themselves? If they have, what is the security,
and who is the judge of it ? Has the undersigned a right to con­
tract, that certain banks may contract with other banks unknown
to him ? Has the undersigned any right, or is it discreet to leave
to any agent the right, to decide, in the course of two months,
•upon the condition of all the banks, that may be necessary for
the operations of government ? If there is no law, granting
powers needful in doubtful cases, can the undersigned discreetly
take them on his own responsibility? Can it be, for one moment,
fancied, that, beside the summary power to take away, the le­
gislative power to authorize a disposition of the public money,
was conferred upon the undersigned ? Is it to be believed, that
a section of a charter, obviously meant for extreme cases only,
authorized the undersigned, in the absence of any necessity, to
take the public money from a bank, over which there is a con­
trol, and distribute it amongst institutions, over which no control
exists? The 16th section of the U. S. bank charter directs, that
the public money shall be deposited in that institution, unless
the secretary of the treasury shall direct otherwise; but so
jealous were congress of the power, to withhold, thus conferred,
that the secretaiy is enjoined to give reasons immediately to
them; obviously showing, that congress considered themselves
alone competent to judge of the necessity of a removal from
one agent, and the propriety of the substitute. So that the un­
dersigned deems it proper to use extreme caution on ground
untrodden*

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The undersigned is indeed aware, that certain local banks are
now, from a supposed necessity, used as fiscal agents; and that
several of his predecessors, as an act of ministerial duty or supposed necessity, at various times, and under various circumstances, made arrangements with state banks (the particulars of
which he cannot now ascertain, owing to the destruction of the
treasury office); but he also knows, that under those arrangements, the country lost between one and two millions of dollars,
while of upwards of four hundred millions, from time to time in
the custody of the U. S. bank, not one cent has been lost The
undersigned does not use this as an argument in favour of a
renewal of the charter, to which he is opposed, but he states the
facts, to show, that he ought to have very strong reasons, indeed,
to present to congress, for exchanging a certainty for an uncertainty. He repeats, an uncertainty; for if one of his predecessors
was justified in saying, in 1814, that" the multiplication of banks,
in the several states, has so increased the paper currency, that
it would be difficult to calculate its amount, and still more difficult to ascertain its value," how much more doubt should the
undersigned entertain at the present day?
Besides, the undersigned pleads the authority of the President
himself, in the letter now under consideration, as ground for
hesitation. The President does not pretend, that the proposed
scheme will answer; he barely says he thinks it will. No doubt,
he thinks so, and possibly in some measure upon premises presented by local institutions. But even upon such representations
the President does not rely; for he does not suggest a plan for
actual or continued operation, but merely as an experiment Has
the undersigned the right to make experiments upon such important matters? Did congress, in allowing him to retain out of
bank the public money, confer on him legislative and executive
power united? As already alluded to, the anxious care, that at
once the undersigned should report to congress, after resolving
to retain the money out of bank, shows that it was not meant
that the undersigned should make experiments. As it is clear,
therefore, on the President's own view, that he is in doubt as to
a substitute; that he is prepared for a test only; and as the power
of the undersigned will end on his report to congress; can it
surprise the President, that the undersigned is in doubt also? If
an experiment must be made, is it not courteous to those, of
whom the President considers the undersigned in this case the
agent, to await their instruction? Have not the constitutional

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holders of the public purse, the only means, that can be safely
used for making such trials?
But if congress should not interrupt an experiment, and the
experiment should fail, as the undersigned thjnks it would, is
he then to make another? Will not a failure of any precipitate,
undigested, and unsanctioned scheme, give vigour to the claim
of the U. S. bank for a renewal of its charter? Will it not be
urged, that the inadequacy of the President's own project proved
the necessity of retaining an organ, that, for fiscal purposes, had
such obvious advantages over local banks? The President, besides, seems to think, that time will be necessary to test the project, and desirous that the trial may be made, so as to meet the
dissolution of the U. S. bank. This rests on the presumption,
that congress will not interfere; whereas the undersigned believes, that the operations will have scarcely been commenced,
ere the apparatus will be demolished; an occurrence, which,
for the sake of the President as well as himself, the undersigned
desires not to witness.
Then, is it likely that banks of any solidity will embark in
such a project, when they know that it may, and probably will,
be arrested by congress? Is there the least reason to suppose,
that banks of good standing will guarantee the acts of banks in
remote parts of the Union ? Would the undersigned be prudent
in allying the country with banks willing to make such a common cause? So great were the difficulties of the Bank of Pennsylvania, and so great were the losses, arising out of transactions
with distant banks, after the dissolution of the old bank of the
U. S., that it declined to be accountable to the Union for the
public money placed in those banks. Does not the President
see, that, however selfish the U, S. bank may be, the local banks
have not more extended principles of action? Will not the
anxiety to make money, the ignorance, or the imprudence o£
particularly remote, local banks, tempt them so to extend their
loans, and trade upon the public money, that when that money
shall be called for, they may either fail to pay it, or ruin their
debtors by demanding its return? Upon whom would reproach,
in such events, be cast? Not on the banks, but on the secretary
of the treasury, as an oppressive, perhaps a party, measure. It
is manifest; that the welfare of the people demands, that, instead
of being a partner of either, they should be independent of both
United States and local banks.

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VI. If the President knew, certainly, that the IT. S. bank
charter would not be extended, would he advise a change of the
depository of the public money? Would he urge the undersign­
ed to execute articles of co-partnership between the good people
of the United States and divers banking companies, that may
be very well conducted; but whose solvency materially depends
on the solvency of each other, and the solvency of the whole
upon events beyond the control of any or of all? As the cor­
porators, who have so long enjoyed a profitable part of the
sovereign power, who have had the opportunity to amass for­
tune, and who have not been free from abuses to which mono­
polies are liable, are soon to cease in their operations; does it
not become the duty of the representatives of the people, whose
lives, liberties, and happiness are more or less affected by those
institutions, to consider, whether the fiscal operations of the
government may not be conducted without such agency? Could
the inquiry be made at a more propitious time? Is it wise to
make entangling alliances either with an institution not autho­
rized by the constitution of the United States, or with loose cor­
porations, which interfere with, derange, depreciate, and banish
the only currency known to the constitution, that of gold and
silver ? Is it not inconsistent with the dignity of the government,
to be obliged to grant favours or exclusive privileges to parti­
cular descriptions of persons, that would not be otherwise grant­
ed, merely to secure a free and safe receipt and disbursement of
the public income and expenditure? Is it consistent, with the
public spirit and intelligence of the representatives of the people,
to suppose, that they cannot devise a method to escape such
thraldom? But, if, in the wisdom of congress, no such mode can
be found, as will enable the government to conduct its fiscal
operations without the aid of a bank; then it is respectfully sug­
gested, whether some constitutional provision should not be
made, to insure all the good, with as little as possible of the
evil, of a bank.
Although the undersigned limits the inquiry to the mere want
of the government, it is not because he thinks this the only
question worthy of consideration. On the contrary, an inquiry
into the state of the entire currency, if not now demanded, must
soon be required. But it is not to the agents of banks, that resort
may be safely had, in inquiries of this nature. Good and useful
as (hose agents may be, and no doubt are, in all the private re­
lations of life, they are not so free from bias, as voluntarily to
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develope the nature and results of their own operations. The la­
boratory of the people is preferable, their representatives the
manipulators.
The inquiry, that must, at last, be made, and for which pre­
paration may be necessary, is not, which, of two descriptions of
monopolies, alike at variance with the sovereign attributes of the
United States, and the general good of the people, is the least
pernicious; but how their abuses, and the consequences of those
abuses, may be gradually corrected and averted. Such a scru­
tiny would be worthy of the wisdom of congress. It might be soconducted as not to affect injuriously, by its results, any interest;
and an opportunity might be presented to the Union, and the
states, gradually to limit, or remove, institutions, which, whilst
they have some uses, are yet so partial in their operations, and
so liable to be perverted, as to affect seriously the morals, im­
pair the earnings, and endanger the liberties of the people.
Those institutions are now so powerful, and have such a
common interest; men in companies are so prone to do, what as
individuals they would scarcely think of, that any change affect­
ing them will be stoutly resisted. Can they be resisted at all, if
their power shall have no check ere long? Or is the evil only
to be remedied, by one of those convulsions, in which, as in war,
the ruin usually falls on those, who ought to escape?
But if there is any illusion, in this suggestion, of a general in­
quiry, at least there can be none in the particular or preliminary
inquiry first suggested. The fiscal operations of the government
should be safely, steadily, and speedily conducted. How shall
they be so conducted? what shall be the machinery? who the
agents? the undersigned, in the voice of experience, cannot err
in saying, that local banks are not the best
VII. Supposing, that in adopting the proposed measure, the
faith of the country would not be violated; that contempt to
the last, and the next, congress would not be evinced; that the
power, to contract with state banks, exists; and that it would
not be unwise to make the contract; still the question presents
itself, what would be the effect upon society? Would the ope­
rations of the government, or of the commercial world, be fa­
cilitated? Would confidence between man and man be pro­
moted? Would the facility to stand a shock, in the event of a
war in Europe, for instance, be given to the local banks?
These questions, and others of an analogous character, need
not be discussed by the undersigned; for, his predecessor, on all

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accounts so much more competent to advise the President than"
he is, has placed this part of the subject especially, in a point
of view, that cannot, he respectfully thinks, be overlooked by a
chief magistrate, so anxious as the President has proved him­
self to be, to protect the mass of the community from embar­
rassment. From want of experience or information, the un­
dersigned may not anticipate evil so extensive as that appre­
hended by his predecessor; but his fears are still so strong,
that he is quite unwilling to be the one, who is to put the match
to a train, the end of which he has not the sagacity to discern,
Even, if he doubted, whether the U. S. bank could meet
every demand of government, as made upon it, he would hesi­
tate, whether it would not be his duty to forbear, rather than to
increase the evil, by abridging the power of the bank to sur­
mount its difficulties. So that in the absence of all doubt of the
kind, the undersigned would be at a loss for an excuse, were he
to produce, by an act on his part, the very mischief that is ap­
prehended. Credit, like female fame, is of such a peculiar na­
ture, that its blossoms may be blighted even by the breath of
inquiry; what then, might not be the consequence of the blast
of the indignation of government against an agent, in whose in­
terest it was itself so deeply concerned? Much more trivial
changes, than that proposed by the President, have produced
great commercial convulsions. Such a measure, as is urged,
would be regarded by the bank, so decidedly hostile, as to af­
ford it an excuse to shake the fabric of credit, for the purpose
of throwing odium on the government, and producing a persua­
sion, that in the extension of the charter would be found the
only remedy for the mischief. That it would not hesitate to do
so, the President believes—that it ought not to have an excuse
for doing so, the undersigned is certain.
It is, indeed, mentioned, in the letter of the President, that
the U. S. bank will not be able to effect any such purpose. But
the undersigned is not satisfied, that an institution with so large
a capital, with branches at so many important points, acting
with one accord, and for a single end, with specie equal to half
its circulation, has it not in its power to affect the operations of
local banks, with specie equal to about a sixth of their circula­
tion only. If the bank is really so harmless, as this part of the
President's letter supposes, then the alarm, that the undersigned'
has at all times entertained, at the existence of such a power,
is unfounded; and one of the most serious objections to the re-

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newal of the charter is obviated. But the undersigned is not
able to arrive at such a conclusion; he is convinced, that it is
in the power of the U. S. bank, so organized and so secured,
grievously to affect the local banks and the community; the
undersigned thinks that the trial ought not to be made.
Beyond doubt, the power of the U. S. bank to control the lo­
cal banks, and, through them, masses of the people, and through
those masses, some of the constituted authorities of the country,
is of such a character and tendency, as to excite alarm. But
the very existence of such a power teaches extreme caution;
such an adversary should gain no advantage from an abortive
experiment to limit its influence.
The struggle to be made, is not to see, which can do the
other the most harm, the government or the bank. The govern­
ment has but one duty to execute, to inform the people and
their representatives of the apprehended danger. It is not call­
ed upon to maim the bank, lest the bank should master the
country. In any attempt to maim, the agents of the bank
would be those most* likely to escape. The wound would be felt
in the cottage of the farmer, rather than in the palace of the
banker.
On the other hand, if the suggestion of the President is sound,
that the U. S. bank dare not operate oppressively, because the
state banks, having government deposites, might run upon the
branches, then there is a check at all times, in the hands of the
government; and the bank, during its legal existence, will be
careful not to do or omit, what might warrant a total removal
of the deposites.
So that the U. S. bank is represented, by some of the local
banks, as an engine so powerful as to be an object of universal
alarm; and, the next moment, so utterly feeble, that by the sim­
ple operation of a treasury order, the entire branches may be
broken up one after the other, and the paper flung upon them
in masses, which they will not be prepared to redeem 1 Which
of these is the true picture 1 If a treasury order has such talismanic influence, can there be a better pledge for the safety of
the public deposites 1 But if it has no such power, is it discreet
to commence the war ? In all such calculations, as those refer­
red to, the flinging back masses of bank paper, and breaking
up the branches, are items, that seem to have caused no com­
passion for the ultimate sufferers. - It appears to have been for­
gotten, that a large portion of the good and pure people of the

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land would be ruined—and why ruined? because the govern­
ment of their country had put the power to ruin them into the
hands of corporations, intent alone upon their own aggrandize­
ment ! Whether it is wise to make such experiments, the under­
signed, with confidence, respectfully submits.
He submits, with confidence, because he knows the purity of
the President's purposes, and that he will not press for a mea­
sure, to say the least of it, of doubtful and portentous charac­
ter. He is not at all surprised, that excitement should exist; it
was almost unavoidable on the part of those, who are pure
themselves, and who sincerely believe that they see impurity in
others; its existence is even honourable to those, who, to avert
a catastrophe really apprehended, are content to incur some
risk on their own part. No one can imagine, that the Presi­
dent can have had, or can now have, any other than the purest
intentions; his apprehensions are sincere, not factitious; but,
still, the apprehensions, that are entertained, warrant those mea­
sures only, which will bear the cool examination of the future
historian, rather than the test of contemporary feeling. It is of
such measures as are now proposed, that history will be the re­
cord. It will be to the adoption or rejection of them, that pub­
lic men, in after times, will look for examples. It is all impor­
tant, therefore, that the most exalted ground should be taken,
when about to direct movements, that will be compared with
the past, that will affect the present, and be an enduring guide
in future.
The President, indeed, seems to think, that he is but obeying
the will of the people; he believes that his veto message became
the deciding as well as dividing point at elections. But the un­
dersigned is unable to concur with him, that his election was
the result of a contest on that point. In many parts of the
Union, the bank question formed no part of the materials of dis­
pute; in others, many friends of the bank voted for the President;
and every where, thousands voted, for the same reasons, that
had induced them to call him from his farm—they knew his
services to be glorious, and his patriotism to be greater still.
But, if it is true, that, when the President said he left the
question to the people, they really took it up, then the under­
signed respectfully asks, whether it was ever supposed, that the
secretary of the treasury was to be their champion ? Was it not
rather the design of the President, that the people should send
to congress agents, who would be true to their trusts 1 Surely

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this is the constitutional and the patriotic course; and if it shall
not answer, then the undersigned thinks that the days of the re­
public are counted. But, he does not so think, neither will the
President so think, if he shall reflect upon the career of his coun­
try ; on the contrary, the undersigned is persuaded, that, as the
sun of the President's eventful life shall be setting, he will see
his country in the full enjoyment of all the liberty and happiness,
which he has done so much to transmit unimpaired to posterity.
VIII. It may perhaps, be asked, whether the power, confer­
red, by the U. S. bank charter, upon the secretary of the trea­
sury, is to remain a dead letter upon the statute book 1 In the
first place, it may be replied, that, if it should so remain, it may
be honourable to the country as well as beneficial; for it will
appear, that arbitrary principles are not resorted to, whatever
may be the force of extraneous excitement—it will appear, that
the power, given, was not exercised as a substitute for the con­
stitutional prerogatives of the legislature or judiciary. In the
next place, it by no means follows, that, because the undersigned
is unwilling to enter into an alliance with divers banks, that
have interests adverse to each other, and no common interest
but to make all the money they can out of the treasure of the
country, he is to be perfectly passive, in all other respects. It
is the opinion of the undersigned, that the public deposites will
not constitue such a fund, as to warrant extensive operations
on the part of any bank. If the revenue of the present year
shall meet the demands upon the treasury, it does not seem to
be probable, that the surplus will be considerable. It is the
present policy of the constituted authorities to keep down the
income to the wants of the government. The results of legisla­
tive proceedings, of late adopted, cannot be very clearly antici­
pated. So that, it will behoove the U. S. bank to regulate its
operations accordingly. But, it will be the duty of the bank,
whatever may be the amount of deposites, to reduce gradually
the circle of its business, in order to avoid the pressure, upon
the community, arising from a sudden suspension—a pressure
injurious to the bank, as well as to the public and the govern­
ment. And the undersigned thinks, that the country, as the
proprietor of one-fifth of the capital, and upon general principles
also, has a right to call on the bank, so gradually to abridge its
business.
If the bank should not do, what any prudent private banker,
in the certain assurance of an early death, or any incorporated

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local bank, destined to close its business, would do; then, it will
be the duty of the undersigned to consider, in what way he may
so exercise the power vested in him, as to cause a reduction of
its business. The welfare of the country, the convenience of
the government, and the interests of the bank itself, demand,
that all concerned should so co-operate, as to prevent any of
those evils, which flow from changes in the character or amount
of a circulating medium. It may, besides, be in the power of
the undersigned, without any risk of censure, to resort to means,
that would be productive of benefit to all concerned, or at least
not prejudicial to any.
Whatever may be deemed best, should be done cautiously,
gradually, and with a due regard to the rights and interests of
the weak as well as the strong.
IX. The undersigned might proceed, in a more extended dis­
cussion of the subject, under consideration, if such were neces­
sary. He has tried to shun the paths, already beaten by those,
whose opinions the President has availed himself of. He has
indeed consulted his own heart and head as his arbiters. He
has appealed to the aid of common sense, as well as of official
intelligence, and will here close his remarks. Nothing but a
profound conviction, of being in the right, could have induced
the undersigned, to take his first step in opposition to what is so
obviously the President's sincere desire. The undersigned has
too great a respect for the judgment of the President, and too
little confidence in his own, dogmatically to say, that the Pre­
sident is mistaken, and that the undersigned^ cannot be so. Hap­
pily, if the proposed measure really is essential to any great or
good end, it is not in the power of any man, much less of the
undersigned, to set himself up successfully against a chief ma­
gistrate, to whom the country owes so much. Far from seek­
ing such a celebrity, the undersigned is prepared to make any
personal sacrifice, except an acquiescence in a measure, that
he positively believes to be at variance with his obligations to
the country, the President, and himself.
In any event, no change can be made in those sentiments of
sincere respect and attachment, which will ever be entertained
for the President, by his obedient servant,
W . J. DUANE.

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CHAPTER

IV.

O N the 12th of July, I personally delivered the above letter
to the President; and, on the same day, received the following
note; to which I returned the subjoined acknowledgment:
The President presents his respects to the secretary of the treasury:
acknowledges the receipt of his communication of the 10th inst., dis­
senting from the views which have been expressed by the President,
upon the subject of discontinuing the deposites of the funds of the
government in the bank of the U. S.
The President understands the secretary of the treasury to concur
with him, as to the impropriety of renewing the charter of the present
bank, and in the consequent necessity of providing some substitute
for the performance of the duties, now discharged for the government
by that institution; but he appears to be of opinion, that the creation
of that substitute should be left to congress, and that the employment
of state banks for that purpose, either by the secretary of the treasury
or by congress, would be inexpedient; but does not state, what sub­
stitute he would advise the President to recommend to congress.
Waiving for the present the consideration, as to the power of con­
gress to act effectively in the matter, until after either a previous dis­
continuance of the deposites in the bank of the U. S., by order of the
secretary of the treasury, or the actual expiration of the charter; the
President thinks an exhibition of the substitute, which the secretary of
the treasury would deem preferable, to that suggested by the President,
that which he might, if he should find himself able to concur with
the secretary in respect to it, recommend to congress, necessary to a
full consideration of the whole subject. The President, therefore,
respectfully asks the secretary of the treasury to furnish him with
his views upon that point, and to do him the favour to call on him on
Monday morning, to converse further upon the matter.
The President will thank the secretary of the treasury to send him
the reports of the U. S. bank of the 1st of June and 1st of July.
July 12, 1833.
Treasury Department, July 12, 1833.
To the PRESIDENT OP THE UNITED STATES.

SIR.—I have had the honour to receive your note, of this date,
and, agreeably to your desire, send to you, herewith, the reports of
the U. S. bank of the 1st of June and 1st of July.
It will be my duty and inclination, anxiously to reflect upon the
suggestion, which you have made, in relation to a substitute for the

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*?
present public depository, and to wait upon you, as desired, on Monday next.
With the utmost respect, I have the honour to be
your obedient servant,
W. J. DUANE.
Agreeably to appointment, I waited on the President, on the
15th of July. He commenced the conversation, by saying, that
he had read my letter of the 10th of July, (then lying on the table before him) and feared we did not understand each other.
"My object, sir, (said he) is to save the country, and it will be
lost, if wre permit the bank to exist. We must prepare a substitute, or our friends in congress will not know what to do. I do
justice to your motives, but some parts of your letter gave me
uneasiness. One part only 1 will mention, that referring to Mr.
Whitney. I am sorry you put that in, for he is not in my confidence. He is an abused man, sir, and has much information,
of which Mr. Polk and I have availed ourselves—but he cannot be called my confidant. I was sorry to see his name introduced, and don't see that your argument needed it." I replied, that I had been accustomed to write freely, and without
disguise: that, in the present instance, I had barely stated facts:
that I had been unused to official correspondence: that, I confessed, I had been mortified at the approaches of Mr. Whitney; and, when I felt strongly, wrote so: that I meant no
disrespect to the President, however; and, as its omission would
not affect the rest of my letter, I would at once strike out the
passage relating to Mr. Whitney. Suiting the action to the word,
I took up a pen and struck out two or three lines.* "Now (said
the President) we are friends, and should be so. If we differ in
opinion, what of it? it is but opinion after all—and I like you
the better for telling me frankly what you think." He then alluded to passages, in my letter, which had a reference to congress and the judiciary, and deprecated any reliance whatever
upon either. He said, it would be idle to resort to a court,
which had decided that the very bills, which congress prohibited, were legal: that there was but one course, to use the power
possessed by the executive. I replied, that we differed upon
one point only: that he had asked me, on my responsibility to
congress, to remove the deposites; and that I could not remove
them without violating what I considered my duty; that, on all
other points, I agreed with him, and was ready to go hand-in* See note to page 39.

8
V

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hand, to provide a substitute for the U. S. bank. " Sir (said he)
I addressed you as secretary of the treasury, and told you to
use my letter as your shield." "You called on me, sir, (I replied) to exercise a power conferred on me by law; and you said
you did not mean to interfere with the independent exercise of
it. You called on me to do an act, for which I might be impeached; and, if I comply, your letter will be no protection;
for, in effect, it tells me I may do as I please. The very circumstance, that you disclaim the exercise of control over me,
would forbid my holding up your letter as a shield." The President here remarked, that I did not understand the part of his
letter, to which I alluded; but, instead of explaining it, he said,
u
I am preparing a reply to your communication, and ask you
to read it attentively. I am disposed to confide in you, and to
be your friend; and, if any body tells you otherwise—don't believe him." I said, I felt myself worthy of his confidence; that
I had come to speak of a substitute for the present fiscal agent;
that if the U. S. bank were to be soon closed, I did not apprehend evil, as to the public funds or operations; that the funds
of government in the former U. S. bank remained there, until a
few days before it expired; that nearly three years must elapse,
ere the doors of the present bank would be shut; that, in my letter,
I had suggested a relinquishment of all bank agency; but that
time, for inquiry and reflection, as to the plan of a substitute, was
indispensable; that, I doubted, whether a provision for fiscal operations could, or ought to be, made, without inquiry into the condition of the general currency; that a regulation of commerce,
and a control over bank paper, seemed to be demanded; that legislators alone could duly investigate such important subjects;
and that, for sound legislation, there should be some such investigation, as governments, at the head of all others in Europe,
were in the practice of making on important subjects; that I
had no confidence in the competency of state banks, for fiscal
purposes; and that an extension of patronage to them would
only increase evils, already too great. The President said, he
had already declared against delay, and why there should be
none; that there might be, as I supposed, abuses, but there were
other and greater abuses; that to await for inquiry would give
a triumph to the bank; that state institutions were now our
only resource; that he had himself asked congress, so to organize the treasury department, as to dispense with banks, but
that he had nr)t been attended to by congress or the people. Much
of what was further said, on both sides, will be found in the following letters:

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C H A P T E R V.
Washington, July 17, 1S83.
How. W. J. DDANE, Secretary of the Treasury.
SIR,

I have received your letter of the 10th instant, and regret to
find, after a careful consideration of its contents, that the opi­
nions, intended to be conveyed by my letter and communication
of the 26th ultimo, have either been greatly misapprehended, or
have been associated, in the examination which the subject has
received at your hands, with reflections, which have no neces­
sary connexion with them.
A reply to some of the objections you have raised to the course
I have recommended for your adoption, is therefore necessary
to shield my conduct and motives from unfavourable interpre­
tation, to which they might otherwise be exposed, and to which
I am persuaded you do not desire to subject them. This will be
more intelligibly done, by first offering a few observations, ex­
planatory of the sentiments, which appear to have been miscon­
ceived, and, then, by stating succinctly what the measure was, to
which they were directed, and what were the circumstances,
cinder which it was suggested for your consideration and adop­
tion.
The indispensable necessity of some agency for the safe-keep­
ing of the puolic moneys, whilst in a course of expenditure, and
for their transmission from place to place, according to the
exigencies of the public service, beyond what can be derived
from the fiscal department of the government, as hitherto organ­
ized, has been recognised from the establishment of the govern­
ment to the present day. During the existence of the old bank of
the U. S., it was performed by that institution. When the charter
of that institution expired, and public sentiment forbade its re­
newal, this* agency was committed to the state banks, and for
many years it was performed by them. Upon the incorporation
of the present bank, it was transferred to, and has, for many years,
been discharged by, it Its charter is also soon to expire, and
the duty of a reasonable provision for this important branch of
the public service, is thereby unavoidably pressed upon the early
attention of the government

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The establishment of such an agency, of a new one, cannot
be the work of a day. To make it safe and effectual, time, care,
and length of experience are necessary.
In my former communication, I stated that the reasons in fa­
vour of providing a substitute, before the expiration of the charter
of the present bank, if one at any time be contemplated, were too
obvious to require elucidation. This opinion has not been gainsayed by you, nor directly controverted by any one. All subse­
quent reflection upon this point has but served to confirm this im­
pression, and it really appears to me, that nothing short of a design
to give indirect aid to the application of the bank of the U. S.
for an extension of its charter, or to the incorporation of a new
bank, could induce the government to fold its arms and wait
the expiration of the present charter, and thus involve our affairs
in the embarrassments, which would unavoidably arise from the
selection of a new agent on the spur of the occasion.
If this be correct, and I must continue to affirm that it is, the
interesting questions occur—what provision ought to be made
—by whom should it be made—and when should it be adopted?
Those who are in favour of either an extension of the charter
of the present bank, or the incorporation o{ a new one, will of
course look to the adoption of one of those measures as the best
and readiest mode of obviating all difficulty on the subject. But
from both of these resorts, I am precluded by my declared opi­
nions, and in this respect we are of one accord; and as our ob­
jections to both rest upon constitutional'grounds, it becomes our
duty, in the performance of our several functions, to act upon
the assumption, that neither of those steps will be taken. What
other course is then open to us?
In my messages to congress, I have several times brought to
their notice such a re-organization of the treasury department,
as will afford to the government all the facilities of the present
bank, without exposing it and the country to its evils and dan­
gers. But my suggestions on the subject have met with no fa­
vour from congress; and it is due to candour to say, that the
countenance they hav& received in public opinion, has not been
such as to encourage the belief that they will be adopted. Under
these circumstances, I have brought my mind to the belief, that
the employment of the state banks, if they will enter into rea­
sonable terms, is the best, if not the only, practicable resort
Being apprized of your dissent from this opinion, I felt it to be
my duty to call upon you for an expose of any better plan, which

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may have presented itself to your mind; and I learn from you,
that you have not, as yet, been able to devise one which is satis­
factory to yourself.
It remains only, therefore, for me to consider the objections
you have raised to the course pointed out by me, as the only
one which is open to us, according to our views of the consti­
tution. It consists in a discontinuance of the deposites of the
government in the bank of the U. S., and the entering into ar­
rangements with the state banks for that purpose. I will consider
your difficulties upon each branch of the subject.
The mere right to remove the deposites is not controverted,
nor indeed could it be, for the charter of the bank confers this
power on the secretary of the treasury, in terms as plain as the
English language can make them. But it appears to you, that
this is a power conferred on the secretary to be exercised
only in extreme cases, like that of an "insurrection or a siege;"
and that to do it under less urgent circumstances would be an
act of arbitrary and dictatorial power, every way unjustifiable.
You cannot fail, I think, to be satisfied, upon further reflection,
that this is an over-strained, if not an unfounded view of this
matter, the more especially when you find, that in the conclu­
sion of your letter, when pressed by the reflection that the power
must have been given for some probable and reasonable pur­
pose, you virtually admit that it might be justifiably exercised
by the secretary, to coerce the bank into such a management
of its affairs as the fact of its approaching dissolution ought, in
justice to the government and country, to impose upon it If
justifiable from a mere prudential consideration like that, it would
seem to me that it would be much more so when employed to
secure an object of much greater importance, and upon the at­
tainment of which must depend the successful prosecution of
public affairs, in almost all their branches, and without which the
government would be exposed to the greatest embarrassments.
You appear to have arrived at this course of reasoning, by
supposing the deposite of the public moneys in the bank of the
U. S., to be the result of a contract between the government and
the bank, by which that privilege is granted to the latter for a
valuable consideration paid by it, and from which the government
cannot be discharged, otherwise than by the same breach of trust
or fraud, as would be held sufficient to absolve an individual
party to a contract entered into upon good consideration; and
that the fact of delinquency on the part of the offending party

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should be ascertained and found in the same manner, by judge
and jury, or at least with equal certainty. Now, sir, it appears
to me, with all respect, that this view of the subject is entirely
erroneous. The stipulation of the charter, that the deposites
should, in the first instance, be made in the bank of the U. S.,
■does not, to my mind, contain a single feature of a contract
The charter secures to the bank complete and sufficiently valua­
ble rights and immunities, independent of its being made the
depository of the public moneys. That was never intended to
be ranked among its chartered, but considered, and so treated
of, as a mere privilege, dependent upon the free will and pleasure
of the government. Can you figure lo yourself the idea of a con­
tract, which one party has a right to put an end to at his own
pleasure, without ever being under an obligation to assign his rea­
sons, and certainly without responsibility to the aggrieved party?
It is not in certain cases and upon certain conditions that the
deposites may be withdrawn, but, if "the secretary of the trea­
sury shall at any time otherwise order and direct." The secre­
tary, it is true, is to assign his reasons, but to whom? in no
sense to the bank, unless indeed the error, of identifying con­
gress with the bank, is fallen into, but to congress—another
branch of the government, to which the right to know the reasons
which have influenced the officer, is reserved for the purpose of
guarding against the abuse of his power. The bank has, there­
fore, no such right to the possession of the public funds as you
ihave supposed, nor would any congress have ever ventured to
place them so far beyond the reach of the government
The question as to the discontinuance of the deposites, on the
part of the government, is one, therefore, of expediency merely,
and dependent, so far as the bank is concerned, upon the free
will and pleasure of the executive, save only that it is responsi­
ble to congress, for the motives which govern its acts. The
only inquiry is, whether the object to be attained, viz. a reason­
able, safe, and practicable substitute for the bank of the U. S.,
as a depository and distributor of the public funds, through
the agency of state banks, and other considerations now exist­
ing, constitute an adequate and reasonable inducement for the
exercise of a conceded power—a power reserved for the ex­
clusive benefit and security of the government. In tlie decision
of this question, no ideas of " vindictive justice or arbitrary
/dictation" are involved.

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The action of the house of representatives upon the subject,
constitutes also in your opinion a strong objection to the course
which I have submitted to your consideration. You express
a belief that you would " treat with contempt the decision of
the last congress" by its adoption, and seem to suppose that it
is expected of you that you should " have faculties superior to
those of congress, or hardihood that disregards their censure."
These are expressions that have escaped in the warmth of a
discussion carried on by you under honest but excited feeling;
and will, I am sure, be regretted by yourself, upon a more dis­
passionate review of this subject. It would be doing injustice
to both of us, to deem it necessary to say, that I feel myself
incapable of treating a component branch of the government,
over which I have the honour to preside, with contempt, or of
desiring, or expecting, such a course on your part.
In my communication to you, it was my intention to place
the proposed measure on grounds, wholly independent of the
decision of the house of representatives, and I have to regret
that it has not been my good fortune to make myself understood
in this respect. Whether those grounds are tenable or not, is
a question to be decided by the power, to which we are both
responsible, and it is a perversion of them, though certainly un­
intentional on your part, to assume that they necessarily conflict
with that decision. Of that decision and of the circumstances
under which it was made, I have spoken as I thought they de­
serve, but certainly not in a spirit of contempt, and you con­
cur with me in regarding the investigation then made as inade­
quate. Beyond the admission in the report of the majority of
the committee, upon which that decision was founded, that " in
the arrangement made by the agent in England for the purchase
of the three per cent, stock, and the detention of the certificates
(which measures were subsequently disclaimed by the bank)
the institution exceeded its legitimate authority, and had no
warrant in the correspondence of the secretary of the treasury,"
as the bank most unjustly and untruly pretended; it related only
to the safety of the public deposites in the bank, so far as that
depends upon the soundness of its capital and its ability to meet
all demands upon it. It has been my object to satisfy you, that,
assuming all this to be so, there were still sufficient grounds to
justify and require a different disposition of the public deposites.
Those grounds have been frankly stated, and need not be here
repeated. It is sufficient for the present purpose that they may

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be favourably decided upon, without at all coming in conflict
with the decision of the house of representatives. The conduct
of the bank has not been referred to for the purpose of impeaching the decision of the house, but of showing its unfitness to be
employed as the agent of the government, on the score of its
infidelity, and repelling all claim on the part of the institution
to the favourable consideration of the government, in whatever
arrangement the public interest may call for. And it gives me
satisfaction to find from your declarations, " that the bank has
forfeited all claims to favour," "that it has put itself in the wrong,
and that the stockholders have not manifested an inclination
to inquire into the causes of complaint against the directors,"
that in these respects at least we are of the same opinion.
You entertain doubts as to your authority to enter into the
proposed stipulations with the state banks, and you do not believe
-that they will be willing to enter into the engagements which
will be required of them. To the latter suggestion, it is a sufficient reply to say, that my first object is inquiry only, and that
if the state banks refuse, there will be an end of the matter. The
former suggestion is entitled to more consideration.
I did not suppose that any doubt could exist in regard to your
authority to make an arrangement like the one proposed, for
the safe-keeping and distribution of the public moneys, after they
had been once removed from the bank of the U. S., subject of
course to any different disposition of them, which might thereafter be made by law: and you will observe that to avoid any
embarj'assment in the subsequent exercise of such authority by
congress, a power is reserved by the proposed terms, to the
secretary of the treasury, to revoke the arrangement with the
state banks at his pleasure. When the public moneys, by order
of the secretary of the treasury, shall cease to be deposited in
the bank of the U. S., they will stand upon the same footing in
respect to their safe-keeping, as if the charter of the bank had
never been granted; and it appears to me that the authority
given by law to the secretary of the treasury, to superintend the
collection of the revenue, and to the treasurer to receive and
keep the moneys of the U. S., clothes that department with ample power to enter into the proposed stipulations, subject to the
revision of the legislative power. But this is perhaps a question
more properly belonging to the law officer of the government,
who, I understand, entertains no doubt in regard to i t

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But you object to the employment of the state banks, as unfit
agents; and that objection would be equally applicable, whether
they are employed by the treasury, or upon the express authority of congress. The reasons which induce me to favour
the employment of the state banks, have been fully stated, and
will not be here repeated. Some of your objections, however,
require, in justice to myself, a brief notice.
I cannot by any means concur in the opinion, that there is
more danger to be apprehended from losses by state banks, now,
than there was during the war. The probabilities are in my
judgment manifestly the other way. There perhaps never was a
period in our histoiy, since the adoption of the constitution,
when the state banks had greater difficulties to contend with than
at the time you refer to, and there certainly never has been any
in which they stood upon a better footing than at present, or in
which the prospect of their permanent success and stability,was more cheering than it is at the present moment, whatever
may be the fate of the bank of the U. S. That losses were sustained from them is certain; but I think you must admit, that
if the proposed arrangements are entered into, the prospect of
the recurrence of any losses to the government, from that source,
will be but very slight, if any. The system, if so it could be
called* under which the government then acted, was manifestly
imperfect. Some risk must always be encountered in such affairs ; and it is but seldom, if ever, that our hopes in regard to
the* success of public measures are fully realized. Whatever
may have been the facilities derived to the government, from
the establishment of the present bank, we at least cannot differ
in the conclusion, that they have been infinitely over-balanced
by the evils it has engendered, and the dangers which it threatens to the purity and stability of our otherwise enviable institutions, and that it would have been most happy for the country,
if it had never been resorted to.
The substitute I have proposed is, indeed, as you say, like all
human schemes, but an experiment; but, as I have heretofore
stated to you, I have no doubt of its success, and I hope it will
not be thought the less of because I have not assumed its success
to be infallible. It is conceded that something must be done,
and all new measures must, of necessity, partake, more or less,
of the character of an experiment. It may fail, although I feel
the strongest confidence that it will not; but how it can for one
moment enter into the mind of a single unprejudiced man, to
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regard it as a party measure, I am utterly at a loss to conceive.
In the proposed plan, the government seek to employ such
banks, and such only, as are of good credit, and will do the
business required of them with fidelity and despatch: and this
selection will be made, without the slightest respect to persons
or parties, or at least you may rest assured that no ground for
such imputation, will be furnished with my consent. What
those, who prefer to misrepresent the acts of the government,
may say of it, we cannot help and should not regard. If it
should be the case, that there is or should be found any party
in the country, which makes the maintenance of the bank a
point of orthodoxy, we cannot, on that account, be deterred
from pursuing the only course open to us, according to our views
of duty, by the apprehension of any such imputation. The
adoption of such a course would have led to the abandonment
of the policy of the administration, in regard to the most impor­
tant of our foreign relations—to Indian affairs, to internal im­
provements, and of a series of other measures—the successful
prosecution of which has drawn forth the approbation of our
constituents, to so cheering and gratifying an extent
You urge very strongly, that the establishment of the sub­
stitute ought to be left to congress, and appear to think, that
"any proceeding now would seem to arise from an appre­
hension, that the representatives of the people are incompetent
or corrupt, and that the people themselves are incapable of pre­
serving the institutions of their country, in the event of a general
depravity of their agents." If there was the slightest ground
for such apprehension, there would indeed be ample cause for
the adoption of a different course. But it appears to me, and
I trust it will to you, upon further reflection, that the radical
error of this view of the matter, is demonstrated by the answer
that must be given to a single question—can congress make
any provision for the deposite of the public moneys, until after
they have been removed from the bank of the U. S. by order
of the secretary of the treasury—and can they, consistently with
the charter, be removed by any other authority? Certainly not
This was the reply given on the floor of the house of represen­
tatives, when an investigation was asked at the last session, and
it would be renewed with increased force at the next We
may ask congress for further investigation, and that, whether
the deposites are removed or not; but it is now proposed to dis­
continue them in the bank of the U. S., upon grounds, which,.

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by your own showing, require no further investigation; and
instead of the construction which is apprehended, from not going
to congress in the first instance, the more natural construction
would be that by asking their interposition, we evince a dispo*
sition to throw on congress the responsibility of an act which
does not belong to them—the authority to perform which has
been expressly delegated to a different branch of the government
After you have exercised the authority, vested in you by the
charter, we may submit the arrangement to congress for its
revision, but until that is done they cannot act in the matter.
Of the possible disposition and capacity of the bank, to give
an injurious shock to public credit, and to cause embarrassment
in private affairs, I have spoken on a former occasion. I do not
allow myself to be deterred from the performance of what I
regard as a duty, by these considerations, nor have I any ap­
prehension that the adoption of the course I have recommended,
is likely to produce a re-action in the public mind, that may
strengthen the efforts of the bank to obtain a renewal of its
charter. I understand, I think, the character of my countrymen
too well to entertain any such fears. Putting oat of view all the
rest of the long catalogue of the misdeeds of that powerful and
dangerous institution, save only the recorded evidence of its
•deliberate design to frustrate the measures of the government,
for the payment of the public debt, its ungenerous attempt to
throw the odium of its conduct in this respect from its own
shoulders, upon one of the departments of the government, and
when this failed, to palliate its acts by two unfounded preten­
tions—the alleged desire to afford facilities to the debtors of the
government which were never rendered—and to guard against
the effects of a pestilence which had not yet appeared—taken
in connexion with a systematic design, to deprive the represent­
atives of the government of all influence at its board, and in
many important particulars, of all knowledge of the administra­
tion of its affairs—these facts alone, as long as they remain as
they now stand, uncontroverted and incontrovertible, will for­
ever keep down such a re-action as that which' you have antici­
pated. Be assured, sir, that the people of the United States,
instead of estimating the damages, which have actually resulted
from these high-handed measures, or of regarding them as re­
quiring no further notice, because some ef them are no longer
operative, will take a higher and a nobler view of their own
duty, and of the duties of their agents—they will tremble for the

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character of their government in the eyes of the world, when
they find it continuing its confidence in an institution which has
so manifestly proved itself unworthy of public trust
The danger is the other way. Look, for a moment, at the
past and the probable course of the subject hereafter. The bank,
obviously for the purpose of extending its influence and strength­
ening its arm, for the contest in regard to the renewal of its
charter, increases its loans to such an enormous extent, that, in
the short space of sixteen months, $28,026,766 of additional debt
to it is created. Thus armed, it comes to the trial, and notwith*
standing its immense powers, the government and the people
triumph over all its efforts—it is defeated—and the question- of
its continuance, so far as the voice of the people can settle it,
is settled—the rapidly approaching expiration of its charter,
renders the early provision of a substitute for it, as a government
agent, desirable—it»throws itself again upon the country, and
menaces it with evils, which are the consequence of the power
it has abused. Suppose it successful—suppose the government
deterred from the exercise of its conceded authority, and that,
preferring its ease and quiet to the performance of duty, it shall
leave matters to remain as they now stand, until the actual ex­
piration of the charter. What, allow me to ask you, will be
the state of things then? Will not the same menaces be held*
out? Will not the same danger be portrayed, and the «ame aft*
peals made to the cupidity of some and the fears of others ?-*■
and will not their force be immeasurably increased, by,the fact,.
that the government will be found wholly unprepared for the
change, and at the mercy* of the state banks, or whoever eK4V
it is driven to resort to for aid on the spur of the occasion? Will
not the temptations to a violation of the constitution, by re-char*
tering the bank, be a thousand fold increased, from what they
would be, if by a reasonable and sfeadjr exercise of its authority,
government had prepared itself for the exigency, in the only way
I have endeavoured to show it has it in its power to do? Shall
we be excusable^ sir, when that period arrives, for having left
the government in so defenceless a state? I fear not I am there*
fore for pursuing the only course which I think promises success
and safety. If its prosecution draws after it embarrassments
(which it will not do, if there has not been and is not hereafter
gross mismanagement,on the part of the bank) we cannot help
it Controversies, wllich cftnnot be avoided with credit, are

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\

always best dealt with by bold and manly encounter at the
threshold.
You may rely upon it, sir, that our fellow citizens would
suffer more pain, from seeing the government thus overawed by
a creature of its own making, than they would experience
regret at any consequences that may possibly flow from the
proposed measure. So far as it depends upon me, they shall
never be exposed to such humiliation. To say that \ye condemn
the conduct of the bank, and are opposed to a renewal of its
charter, is doing but little to prevent this persevering and reck­
less institution from ultimately succeeding in its efforts. This
„ can only be effectually done by the timely adoption of a sub­
stitute, which will enable us to satisfy the people that we can
do without the bank of the U. S.
Let us then, do our duty, the people will do theirs. They
have never yet failed .to suppert me, when in the line of my
duty, and I do not doubt their approbation in the performance
of it in the present instance.
„ ..
You are mistaken in supposing that I desire you to adopt
my reasons instead of your own, for the decision which you
may make on the subject. All that was intended by me, in
this respect, was tp leave it for you to decide, how far my de­
clared opinions, as to the policy which the government ought to
pursue, ought, as being the person more immediately responsi;
■ We to the people, for the administration of the executive branch,
., to influence your, course on a doubtful point; and that whatever
sveight you should think proper to give to it, you might be at
4$erty to AVOW it, as well as the reasons upon which it is found­
ed. I did not then, nor do I nqw, think it necessary to anti­
cipate the inconveniences that may result from a material differ­
ence of opinion, between the President and the head of a de­
partment,'on a subject of policy deemed vitally important, and
which in most of its operations is placed under the immediate
* /'superintendence of that officer.
The circumstance of your differing in opinjpn from me, and
the failure to communicate your views at an earlier period, re­
quired no apology. That I am disappointed in the result, I
frankly confess to you: for as I knew that we agreed so well
in our general opinions, in regard to the bank, I did not, I admit,
apprehend so serious a difference of opinion in; the details of
our respective^ duties. Contenting mysgtf with informing you,
before you entered upon office, on two occasions, that the

>

■<

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question of a removal of the deposites was under consideration
in my cabinet; that I had asked their opinions, in regard to it,
respectively; and not apprehending that you would understand
me as referring to an appeal to congress on the subject; I
thought it would be more delicate and respectful to yourself, to
avoid any thing like a previous stipulation, in relation to the
manner in which your official duties should be performed.
Not having required explanations from you, I do not complain
that you did not tender them in advance. I reciprocate most
sincerely and cordially, the assurances you make to me of con*
tinued respect and attachment. Although I owe it to candour
to say, that I have been led by the tenor of your letter to fear,
that you have suffered erroneous impressions to exercise an
undue influence over your feelings, I have seen nothing, which
in the slightest degree weakens that unqualified confidence,
which I have heretofore placed in your integrity and honour.
Your call to my cabinet was wholly unsolicited on your
part I will not conceal from you the satisfaction that I de­
rived from the reflection, that it might serve to elevate in the
estimation of the country, a name, which, though in an humbler
sphere, had been conspicuous in the early struggles for those
principles, which it has always been my desire to cherish and
support. I yet owe it to truth to say, that your selection was
only regarded by me as a tribute justly due to the opinion, I
had formed of your talents and character. That it may prove
a source of gratification to yourself, ana\ usefulness to our com­
mon country, is the sincere prayer of your friend,
"
" And obedient servant,
ANDREW JACKSON.

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CHAPTER

VI.

As soon as I received the foregoing letter, I prepared a reply,
dated the 19th of July, and would have presented it, but for the
reasons, which I stated in my fifth letter, addressed to the peo­
ple of the United States, on the 3d of March, 1834. Among
other considerations, I doubted, whether the President himself
weighed arguments addressed to him; and I felt satisfied, thai
answers were prepared for him, which were not his own
Friendly personal explanation seemed, therefore, to be prefera­
ble. I supposed, that I might be able, thus to counteract extra­
neous influence. The result, however, did not answer my ex­
pectations, and, in consequence, I have ever since regretted
that I withheld the following letter. In addresses to the public,
and in letters to individuals, in 1834,1 quoted passages from itr
and now present it, entire. There is not a material statement,
argument, or elucidation, in it, which I did not use in my per­
sonal intercourse with the executive.
Treasury Department, July 19, 1833.
To the PRESIDENT OP THE UNITED STATES.

. I..SIR.—I have had the honour to receive the letter, which
you addressed to me, on the 17th, in reference to my communi­
cation of the 10th inst, and, before I proceed in the discussion
of the general subject, beg leave respectfully to notice two inci­
dental matters, that require explanation.
1. I think it due to you, sir, as well as to myself, to say, that
I am unconscious of having been, as you suppose, under any
erroneous impressions respecting you, while I was writing my
former letter. It is true, that, finding myself, unexpectedly, in
a painful position, I addressed you with an ardour, that is, per­
haps, unusual in writing to the chief magistrate; but I persuaded
myself, that you would attribute that circumstance, to the zeal,
for the public welfare and for your own fame, which I had been
taught to cherish. Erroneously or not, I sincerely believed,
that the measure, contemplated by you, would be unwarrant­
able in itself, and mischievous in its consequences; and if, in my
anxiety to induce you to relinquish it, or at least to relieve ma

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from censure, I forgot, even for a moment, the respect that is
due to you, it would be a source of serious regret
2. In preparing my letter of the 10th inst, I considered it
proper that the manner, in which I entered office, should be
distinctly understood, and it gives me pleasure to find, that there
cannot now be any doubt upon that point. It is admitted, that
I entered office, not only without stipulation, but without any
intimation of your decision as to the future. The only informa­
tion given to me, according to your own recollection, was, that
you had asked the opinions of the members of the cabinet, on the
subject of the deposites. Even in this particular, my recollection
conflicts with yours; but, even according to yours, you barely
said, the deposite question was still under consideration, that is,
there had not been a decision upon it, and I was left wholly to
conjecture, what was the nature of your inquiry, and the bent of
your own inclination. These I did not learn until after I entered
office. The delicacy you manifested I duly appreciate; but
there existed no just ground for disappointment on your part,
upon an enlarged view of the circumstances. It may have been
natural to suppose, that a person, so resolutely opposed, as I
was, to the bank of the U. S., would not hesitate, when able, to
cripple that institution. But I assure you, sir, that the more un­
willing I was to aid the bank, the more cautious I considered
it my duty to be, lest, in the execution of a public duty, I should
be influenced by any personal prepossessions. I felt assured
that any act on my part would be attributed to my well known
opposition to the bank, rather than to a sense of duty; and, there­
fore, I resolved not to act adversely, unless I should be clearly
sustained by considerations of a public nature.
II. In order that the pending discussion, may be conducted
in a clear and explicit manner, I beg leave to recur to your
letter of the 26th of June last. The very first page of it distinctly
announces your wishes. You say, that you had, for some time
past, meditated a change of the public depository; that the only
existing difficulty was as to the time, at which a change should
be made; and that you had come to the conclusion, that it should
be made prior to the 15th of September next, in order that the
system might be in complete operation at the commencement
of the ensuing session of congress. After explaining your desire,
that preparation for the change should be made by the agency
of Mr. Amos Kendall, you concluded by saying, that, in frankly
Avowing your own opinions and feelings, "you did not intend

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to interfere with the independent exercise of the discretion,
vested in the secretary of the treasury by law, over the subject."
If, in consequence, I had simply said, in reply, that I would
give instructions to the designated agent, you would have natu­
rally supposed, that I favoured the change, in the way and at
the time suggested: but I conceived it to be due to you, sir, as
well as to myself, to speak frankly upon so grave a topic. Seeing
that you had thrown the whole responsibility upon me. That
you had declared your intention not to interfere with the inde­
pendent exercise of my discretion upon the subject, and that
you merely allowed me to adopt your reasons as my excuse or
justification; I could not hesitate as to my course. I considered
a change of the depository altogether unwarrantable on my
part, and took the freedom to state my objections in detail. Upon
those objections, you have been so good as to present to me your
comments, in your letter of the 17th inst, now before me; and
those comments I now proceed, frankly but most respectfully,
to notice.
I may admit, that, almost from the commencement of tli3
government, bank agency has been employed, in conducting
its fiscal operations; and that a substitute must be provided for
the present agent: but, while I further admit, that preparation
for such a change cannot be made in a day, I do not admit that
the present agent will cease to operate « soon," and that the in­
*
terval between the present time and March, 1836, should be so
regarded. I also admit, that, before the extinction of the present
agency, provision should be made for another; but I do not admit,
nor have I ever supposed, that government should fold its arms,
and decline to act until 1836: the whole tenor of my letter of
the 10th inst., forbids such an inference. In it, I urged the
agency of congress, as essential for preparatory measures. So
that the purpose hinted at is contradicted by my expressed re­
commendation.
It being agreed, then, that a substitute for the present fiscal
agent, should be selected prior to the dissolution of the latter,
the real questions are, as you have yourself stated them—what
provision ought to be made? by whom should it be made? and
when should it be adopted?
I have already avowed my concurrence with you, sir, in say­
ing that the present bank of the U. S. ought not to be re-char­
tered; and I also concur with you, if it is your opinion, that the
constitution does not authorize the creation of a new corporation:
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but I do not admit, that it is patriotic or discreet to adopt the
agency of local banks. On the contrary, if bank agency is
necessary for the operations of government, the power to create
a well-regulated auxiliary should be at once sought for, by an
amendment of the constitution. Such has been at all times my
opinion, strongly confirmed even by the limited experience of
fifty days in this department.
But the constitutional obstacle exists; and, therefore, you in­
quire, what other course is open to us? To this question, you,
in the first place, reply, that you had, on several occasions,
asked congress, so to organize the treasury department, as to
afford to government all the benefits, without the evils of the
present bank; but that your suggestion had not been attended
to, either by congress or the people. Upon this, permit me re-spectfully to remark, that your appeals to congress prove two
things; first, that you believed the treasury department, might
be so organized as to avoid the evils and yield the services of
the bank; and secondly, that you considered congress to be the
proper authority to provide a substitute. With what propriety,
then, could I interfere? Were I to do so, congress might well
say,—" Sir—the President himself repeatedly urged us to pro­
vide a substitute for bank agency; but we did not think proper
to act; yet you, a subordinate, have undertaken to usurp our
power! your interference was as indiscreet itself, as it was dis­
respectful to us." Such, sir, might, with propriety, be said, ac­
cording to your own example or explanation.
It by no means follows, however, because congress and the
people have not hitherto favourably received your suggestions,
that they will continue to be passive. It is reasonable, and re­
spectful to the legislature, to believe, that they did not consider
it necessary or proper to legislate in 1830, for their successors
in 1833, 1834, 1835, or 1836. Such were my own opinions,
when I respectfully asked you to make one more appeal to con­
gress, ere you urged me to do what I absolutely believe it to be
my duty to avoid.
Instead, however, of presenting the question, " what provision
ought to be made V to the representatives of the people, chosen
since your veto message, it is your pleasure to pass at once to
the next question, " by whom should the substitute be provided V*
and you decide, first, that the provision should be made by
yourself, and, secondly, that state banks should be the substitute.
To all this I may have no right to object I simply place the

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facts before you, in my own excuse^ that is, you have been so
good as to assure me, and to cheer me with the assurance, that
you will not interfere with the independent exercise of the dis­
cretion vested in me by law, over the subject; and you further
tell me, that you have heretofore thought it your duty to con­
sult congress on the subject So that I consider myself not
only free to follow the dictates of my own judgment, but bound
to bear in mind, that, in my course, I have before me the ex­
ample given by yourself.
It is your pleasure, then, to conclude, that local banks are
the best, if not the only, substitute, before any effort has been
made to do without them; and you have come to this conclu­
sion, you assure me, among other reasons, because I had not
myself yet offered a substitute. Upon this allow me respectfully
to remark, that, on so grave a subject, I deemed inquiry and
thoughtfulness essential; and that I might well be thought pre­
sumptuous, if when, but a few weeks in office, and on three
days' notice, I had done what no one had even attempted, that
is, submitted a detailed plan for fiscal operations, independently
of banks. In my letter of the 10th, and in our conversation oa
the 15th inst., my preference was indicated—a separation from
bank agency. This would involve the employment of federal
agents in its stead; and for that change the co-operation of con­
gress would be essential. Nay, it may be well questioned,
whether such an inquiry should not be connected, with an ex­
amination of the entire subject of the currency, involving a consi­
deration of the diversified interests of the country, in its foreign
and domestic relations, and even the relative rights and duties of
the Union and the states severally. On all these topics, it may
become my duty diffidently to express my own opinions; but
congress alone are competent to develope the fruits of experi­
ence. It is by the legislators of the two most free and enlight­
ened nations of Europe that, inquiries are made on momentous
subjects; the aid of ministers there, is only initiative and aux­
iliary. I desire, therefore, to have time to inquire and reflect
as to the positive good and contingent evil of a substitute, and
to have an opportunity to present my views to congress. This
is the course, which, I respectfully conceive, is pointed out by
a due regard to public considerations, and by respect for you
and for myself. Any other would be precipitate, perhaps mis­
chievous.

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III. If, however, you have definitively, come to the conclu­
sion, that you are the proper authority to select a substitute,
and that local banks are the best, the next inquiry will be,
whether those banks will or can execute those duties, which
are now performed by the bank of the U. S. In any such in­
quiry, it may become me to engage, so that, if called on, I may
have information to submit to congress. But as soon as such
an inquiry shall have been made, and you shall arrive at your
third question, " when should the substitute be adopted V* it will
be my duty to pause and consider, how I ought to exercise the
discretion, vested in me by law, which, you confess, is indepen­
dent of your control, and with which you assured me you
meant not to interfere. So that, really, sir, the questions are
reduced, as you say, to one of time only. You believe that a
change should be made in two months, whereas, I think nothing
should be done without legislative co-operation.
In order to ascertain, whether my opinion should be consi­
dered erroneous, or otherwise, I carefully read your reasons;
and, not being convinced by them, I respectfully submitted mine
to you, but without effect; upon mine you commented in your
letter of the 17th inst., which I now have before me; and I
proceed respectfully but frankly to consider, what you have
therein thought fit to urge.
1. In my former letter, I took the freedom to say, that a re­
moval of the deposites, from the bank of the U. S., without such
a cause as would justify legal proceedings, would be regarded
as arbitrary. In reply, you, in the first place, say, that the
manifold offences of the bank are an adequate justification; a
remark which I meet by again asking, why, if its offences are
so great, are they not punished in the authorized way 1 If the
legislature and the judiciary have the purity, which I rejoice
to see you are now inclined to think they have, there is a dou­
ble remedy; but if those tribunals are shunned, why should I
set myself up as their substitute 1
2. You, in the next place say, that the deposites may be re­
moved, for the alleged offences, or for public purposes, because
I virtually admitted at the close of my former letter, that they
might be removed as a matter of expediency; but, if you will
be so good as to examine my letter, you will not discover the
supposed inconsistency. In the body of that letter, I maintained,
that a " continuance" of the deposites was a part of the con­
tract ; and, at the close of it, I said, that, if faithful means should

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not be taken, to wind up the institution, it would be my duty to
consider, how I ought to exercise the power vested in me by
law, so as to prevent the threatened evil. What is this but a
link in the chain of my general argument, that the power was
granted, to guard the public funds, and to meet any emergency
or tendency to abuse ?
3. It is your opinion, sir, that I err in supposing, that the re­
moval of the deposites would be a breach of faith. • You main­
tain, that the benefits, conferred by the charter, independently of
the deposites, are quite enough for the considerations given by
the bank. Allow me, however, respectfully to suggest, that it
is not usual thus to regard engagements, especially those to
which a nation is a party. The bank gave a million and a
half of dollars, and its services as fiscal agent for twenty years,
on the national promise, that it should enjoy, during the whole
of those twenty years, the exclusive privileges conferred by the
charter; among those exclusive benefits are the public deposites,
and they are a material part—the bank has an exclusive right
to them, wherever it is or has branches, until such circum­
stances shall exist, as warrant a cessation to deposite altogether.
So that, until removed, for reasons satisfactory to the secretary
of the treasury, any deprivation of the deposites would be a
breach of public faith. And, therefore, allow me, sir, respect­
fully to say, that I do figure to myself a case, *that is not unu­
sual, in which one party reserves a right to suspend or close ope. rations—not a suspension at the mere will of a party, but for
reasons satisfactory to those, who are established by the con­
tract as the judges—in the present instance, first, the secretary
of the treasury, and, secondly congress.
4. I am constrained to say, that in your observations upon
the proceedings of the last congress, on the question of the de­
posites, I do not find an adequate cause for abandoning my
opinions, heretofore expressed, on that point. If, as is alleged,
the bank is an unfaithful agent, unworthy of favour, let none be
shown; but it is not favour, it is right, that is asked; and right
is asked, because the honour of the country forbids a denial of
it, unless justified by reasons manifestly sound and fairly estab­
lished. It would seem, however, that I had not the satisfaction
to understand your views, upon this part of the subject, and I
am still so unfortunate as to remain unenlightened. You do me
no more than justice, however, in believing that I am incapable
of perverting your views; and, allow me, respectfully, to add,

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that much of the stress, almost complaint, which you are pleased
to lay, upon passages of my former letter, is under a miscon­
ception of their character. In my letter of the 10th inst., I
endeavoured to show, that the members of the last congress
might regard a removal of the deposites, by me, as a contempt
of their decision; and that their removal, within a few months
of the meeting of a new congress, would be regarded as equally
disrespectful to them. In short, I made the act and the case my
own, as I believed, and still believe, it to be; and did not fancy
that imputation would or could rest upon any body else. In­
stead of so regarding the matter, however, I regret, sir, to see,
that you supposed I desired to place you in that awkward posi­
tion—a conclusion utterly at variance with my intentions.
5. It became me, I conceive, as an officer, to whom the law
had given a very extraordinary discretion, to look, with anxiety,
to the probable results of any proceeding on my part. My ex­
perience taught me to believe, that no sound banks would enter
into such arrangements as you proposed. I also doubted my
right to make such arrangements on the part of the public. It
is true, that, if the deposites were removed, matters would be
just as if the U. S. bank had not existed, arid it might be my
duty to provide for their temporary safety. But, still I do not
believe, that I have authority to make, with local banks, such
arrangements as you propose. For reasons satisfactory to my­
self, I may instruct public officers to cease to deposite in the
bank of the U. S., and I may provide for a temporary safe-keep­
ing of the public funds; but, it would be my duty, in such an
event, to report immediately to congress; and I have no right
to enter into stipulations, that might interfere with their decision.
So that, with all possible respect for the law officer of the gov­
ernment, I am disposed to rely on my own judgment, more par­
ticularly as, in the event of a mistake, I must be the sufferer.
6. My aim, throughout, in relation to local banks, has been
to justify myself. I respect your experience and judgment, but
I still think the government ought not to sanction those institu­
tions. I am not able to perceive the distinction between a legis­
lative sanction of one bank, and an executive patronage of fifty
—that is, I cannot conceive, why the former is pernicious, if the
latter are harmless. According to my convictions, the adoption
of local banks is the most open to complaint—for it is proposed
to confer upon an officer, who may be removed at your plea­
sure, a power to select, among greedy competitors for the public

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money, such as he may think fit to favour; and, although you
or I, sir, would not abuse such a power, it ought not to be ex­
ercised without legislative authority. Our institutions rest upon
the basis, that no power should be conferred, unless essential for
the public welfare, and that, when conferred, the power should
be well defined and distributed, as well as easily checked.
Nor am I able to concur with you, sir, as to the present appear­
ances or probable consequences of local banks; instead of re­
garding the stimulated system, that banks have mainly pro­
duced, as an indication of social happiness or moral excellence,
I regard it as an omen of the disease and decay of both.
It may be, that I view these matters erroneously. In my so­
licitude for my countrymen and for posterity, I may magnify
the danger. But my fears are not of a late date. I cannot for­
get the past Nor can I conceal from myself the fact, that the
local banks, at large, cannot pay more than one silver dollar for
six in paper, if so much. Much less can I disregard the cir­
cumstance, that the income realized from banks, is a tax mainly
paid by those who labour and produce—and that upon such
persons ruin heavily falls, in the event of any catastrophe.
Banks, limited in number and in profits, and purely and wisely
conducted, as some banks may be, may aid enterprise and pro­
mote trade. I object to the perversion of what may be useful
—to the extension of national patronage to a system, that, as
such, is delusive if not mischievous—to the adoption of institu­
tions, which usurp the sovereign attributes of the Union. It may
be impracticable, successfully to interfere in relation to them—
but it may well be doubted, whether the growth of such institu­
tions should be promoted by governmental agency.
7. You are of opinion, that there is a radical error in my
view of that part of the subject discussed, which relates to a
reference of the question of the deposites to the next congress.
In order to demonstrate my supposed error, you ask, whether
the deposites can be removed except by the secretary of the
treasury? to which there can be no other reply than, that the
secretary alone can remove them. You then, however, inquire,
whether congress can make any provision for a deposite of the
public money, before its removal? to which you reply it cannot,
and that a removal, therefore, must be the first step. In this,
however, I cannot concur; on the contrary, I am satisfied that
congress may control the whole matter. Your conclusions are,
that the existing grounds for removing the deposites are suffi-

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cierit; and that, so far, congress have nothing to do with the
question; that it would be throwing on them a responsibility,
not belonging to them, but to another branch of the government;
that, when a change shall be made, it will be time enough to
submit it to the revision of congress; but, that, until the change
be made, they cannot act. But, sir, I cannot concur in this view
of the subject; the positions assumed, I humbly conceive, are
untenable. The bank charter reserves to congress the right to
decide, after removal of the deposites, whether the removal was
proper or not. So that I respectfully contend, that congress
have a right to decide, whether a removal should or should not
be made at a future day, for they are to judge of the reasons.
Nor do I admit, that the responsibility rests on the executive
branch of the government; on the contrary, you grant, in your
letter of the 26th of June, that the secretary of the treasury has
by law a discretion, which he may use independently; inde­
pendently of whom? Surely of every authority but that of the
law, and of congress, to whom his conduct is to be submitted.
I may, indeed, be in error, but it would appear to me to be at
least singular, that the secretary of the treasury should be clothed
with a power, which his superiors could not exercise, guide, or
control, without his previous action; that, if they should think
the public funds in danger, they could not protect them, if he
thought otherwise. According to my impressions, the powrer
of congress must be wholly unsuited to its objects, if it may not
be exercised to instruct the agent to do, or how to do, or not to
do, the act, for which, if done, he is obliged to give them his
reasons. So that, in the absence of all necessity, I desire to
submit the question of the removal of the deposites at first, to
those who are to decide upon it at last.
8. With regard to the mischievous effects, which I ventured
to anticipate, you seem to be in doubt, whether some of them
would not result from a removal of the deposites, and you say
that you are prepared for the hazard. It is not my lot, however,
to have such redeeming merits, as would shield you from public
wrath, in case evil should succeed any of your public acts.
Your services, sir, constitute so large a fund of public indebt­
edness, that you may take the chance of having the balance
reduced; but as I have not an item to my credit on the public
ledger, I must take care not to have one against me.
The view, which you present, of the past conduct, and future
designs, of the bank, does not alter the convictions expressed in

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my former letter. There is no man more ready than I am to
promote or meet any scrutiny; nor are there many, who would
more readily incur hazard than I would, when satisfied of the
soundness of a proposed measure: but I should not consider
myself as acting patriotically or wisely, were I, in the expec­
tation of uncertain excuse, from an excited people, to execute
an act of at least a doubtful character, contrary to my own
dispassionate conviction. I cherish the good will of my fellow
citizens, as dearly, sir, I assure you, as you do; but, as I have
been taught; that I could best secure their confidence by main­
taining my own good opinion and self-respect, I take care not
to offend myself. Besides, sir, allow me to say, that, if the mis­
deeds of the bank are so glaring as you represent them to be,
and I desire not to palliate any that are so; if the public voice
has so loudly pronounced condemnation; it seems to me, that
there need not be either alarm or hurry at present—a delay of
a few months cannot change what has already occurred, nor
could a removal of the deposites remedy any past evil. As to
the apprehension, that the world would regard a continuance
of the deposites, a proof of governmental confidence, it should
have no existence: the deposites are continued, because public
faith should have greater sway, than the desire to punish malconduct by unusual means.
9. You are pleased, sir, to inquire, what will be the state of
things, if matters shall remain as they now do, until the expi­
ration of the charter? To which I reply, that this is a consider­
ation, into which I have no occasion to enter. As an agent, I
have only to consider, whether I ought to act now. The future
I leave to those, who are competent to provide for all contingen­
cies. I cannot anticipate, that the constituted authorities will
neglect their duty; nor do I apprehend evil, even if their action
should be deferred. The charter of the old bank of the U. S.
expired on the 3d of March, 1811, and the public money re­
mained in its vaults within thirty days prior to that date. To
suppose that the government will, or can, be humiliated by its
own creature, unless I act prior to the meeting of congress, is
investing me with a power, of which I cannot conceive the
nature; and seems to be inconsistent with a due estimate of the
virtue and intelligence of the people. It is, besides, making the
bank, powerful as it is, more powerful than the country itself—
a conclusion to which I cannot come. On the contrary, 1 am
persuaded that dispassionate men would regard the act of re11

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moving the depdsites, not conservative df protective, but angfjr
and vindictive—utterly out of keeping with the attitude, tfiat
should be assumed by a nation, that has the bank absolutely at
its mercy.
10. If, sir, consistently with the duty, which I owe to bur
country, and the respect that is due to myself, I could fully arid
at once concur with you, I should feel more pleasure than I
can describe. Independently of my just sense of your past confidence, there are, especially at the close of your letter, such
expressions, as, of all that you could have used, were most likely
to lead me to the designated point—but I am not permitted to
subject my judgment beneath my feelings. According to a
decree of Providence, diversity in opinion is almost as universal,
as that in features, among men." So that, as it is no more in
the power of a human being, to alter his convictions at will,
than to change the shape of his person or the cast of his countenance; we are taught to entertain towards each other a charity;
that leads at once to the development of truth, and the preservation of the inestimable right of freely forming and expressing
opinions. If I err, therefore, I ask for myself only the same
liberal interpretation of my motives, which protects yours from
scrutiny or doubt.
Certainly, if the possession of your friendship is, as it must be,
desirable; if the exalted station, which I occupy, is an object of
laudable ambition; and if it is painful and perilous to risk friendship and place—the motives that govern my conduct must be
of no common character. If I decline to concur with you, I
do nothing to conciliate others. If I oppose the U. S. bank,
I am still unwilling to foster the local banks. My motives
are those, which I have heretofore avowed, and have herein
repeated. For them, or for my conduct, you cannot be. at all
accountable. If the act, sought to be done, ought to be performed, you will have exerted all your energies, to show that
it would be proper. If the act, sought to be done, shall be deem­
ed improper, justice will be done to your motives. As to mine
*—they may be impeached by malignity, perhaps, for whose are
not ? but I have no fears on that account. Good men will not
unkindly suppose, that an individual, reared in the school, to
which you have delicately alluded, can have no generous motives. They will not believe, that a person, taught, with almost
the rigour of Hamilcar, to entertain an hereditary dislike of all
privileged classes, has a leaning towards the most powerful,

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that has hitherto existed in our country. Nor will they believe,
that he, who, through life, in public posts, and private station,
opposed all monopolies, desires to perpetuate the greatest.
IV. * * * What, then, sir, let me, ere I conclude, pause and
ask, is the extent of the difference between us ? You ask a removal of the deposites two months hence—that is, about two months
before the meeting of congress, if a suitable arrangement with
local banks can, in the mean while, be made: but, you add,
that you do not mean to interfere with the independent exercise
of the discretion, vested in me by law as to the removal. On
my part, I ask that the wisdom of the legislature, so soon to
meet, may be resorted to, on the question—especially as there
is no pressing need of earlier action. Thus I exercise my discretion. The difference, then, is, as to time, and the time but
a few months. I respectfully conceive, that all sound considerations are in favour of such a reasonable delay.
With the utmost respect and consideration,
I am, your obedient servant,
W. J. DuAir*.

.

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M

CHAPTER

VII.

I WAITED upon the President, twice on the 19th, and again on
the 20th of July; and at those interviews, the same course
of argument was pursued, which is laid down in the preceding
letter. I desired to bring the President to a point, and that
was not easily effected. At last, he said, " I want to press
no man's conscience. My wish is to meet congress, with
a declaration, that we have a safe substitute, for the U. S.
bank. How can we do this, without inquiry. I desire Mr.
Kendall to make that inquiry. I doubt, whether the state
banks wi}l come into my plan of mutual guarantee, whichI consider the onjy safe one; but we tnust try. For one, I
shall be for positively removing the deposites, if the three per
cents shall not be given up by the bank, in October. But the
law gives you the power—the act must be yours. What,
hpwever, I want, is, inquiry^ not to make an arrangement.
Information ought to be got even for congress; and it is
through you, it should be collected. Now, do you understand
me ? Until we get information, and consider it, we shall remain uncommitted.'*
I supposed, that I now understood the President, and even
began to flatter myself, that I had gained a point. I understood
him, that there was to be a fair inquiry, such as the importance
of the object demanded; that information, needful for a decision
in such a case, was to be collected; and, that, until such information should be collected and considered, there was to be no
commitment; that my own sense of duty was not to be interfered with; and that, if the U. S. bank should deliver up the
three per cents, in October, a removal of the deposites would
not be pressed upon me.
Under these impressions, and, far from suspecting, that the
basis, on which they rested, had been insincerely laid, or would
be faithlessly changed, I prepared the following letter of instruction: the paragraphs E, F, G, H, I, K, L were copied from the
President's plan of state bank agency, quoted from his letter
from Boston, dated June 26th' (see page 12.) The remaining
paragraphs were introduced by myself.

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Instructions.
(A.) " SIB.—The operations of the bank of the U. S., excepting such
as may be necessary for winding up its affairs, will cease on the 4th
of March, 1836. If, in the opinion of the secretary of the treasury,
adequate reasons shall justify the measure, he may, at any time prior
to that period, cease to deposite the public money in that bank.
(B.) " The President, therefore, considers it his duty to ascertain
whether a substitute for the present public depository may not be had;
in the event of a change prior to the termination of the charter, or at
the dissolution of the bank, should it until then remain the depository.
(c.) "It is the opinion of the President, that to conduct the fiscal
operations of the government, bank agency is necessary ; and, as he
cannot, consistently with his avowed sentiments, sanction any national
institution, he desires to seek for agents, amongst the banks incor­
porated by the several states, in their individual capacity.
(D.) " The President,, paving designated you as the agent to make
the necessary inquiries, I beg leave to present to you the views that
he entertains as your guide; it being understood that you are to make
inquiries of all the hanks in the principal cities, in which primary
banks are to be selected, in order that an ample scope for selection
may be had.
"
(E.) " 1 . That one bank be selected m Baltimore,one in Philadelphia,
two in New York, and one in Boston, with a right, on the part of the
government, to add one in Savannah, one in Charleston, S. C , one,
in the State of Alabama, one in New Orleans, and one in Norfolk,
upon their acceding to the terms proposed, all which shall receive the
deposites in those places respectively, and be each responsible to the
government for the whole public deposites of the United States,
wherever made.
(F.) " 2. That those banks shall have the right, by a convention of
their presidents or otherwise, to select all the banks at other points
throughout the United States, in which the public money shall be de­
posited, with an absolute negative.by the secretary of the treasury(G.) " 3. That the secretary of the treasury shall have power to dis­
continue the deposites in any bank or banks, or break up the whole
arrangement, whenever he may think proper, he giving, in such case,.
the longest notice of his intention to do so, which the public interest
may warrant.
(H.) " 4 . That the primary and secondary banks shall make returns
of their entire condition to the secretary of the treasury monthly, or
oftener, if he shall require it, and report to the treasurer weekly, the
state of his deposites with them respectively; and that they shall also
subject themselves to a critical examination of their books and traiMK

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actions, by the secretary of the treasury, or. an authorized agent,
whenever the secretary may require it.
(i.) " 5 . That the arrangement of the government be only with the
primary banks, which shall be responsible to it, not only for the safety
of the entire deposites, wherever made, but for making payment at
any places in the United States, (without charge to the government,)
in gold or silver, or its equivalent, of any sum which may be required
there to be paid by the secretary of the treasury: that they will also
pay any expenses of an agent, temporary or permanent, whom the
secretary may appoint to examine into their affairs.
(K.) " 6. That they will render, or cause to be rendered, without
charge, every service, which can now be lawfully required of the
U. S. bank.
(L.) " 7 . It would be inconvenient to employ all the state banks is
good credit, at the places designated for the location of the primary
banks; but, it is, nevertheless, extremely desirable to secure their
good will and friendly co-operation. The importance of that object
is too important to require elucidation. It is supposed, that k might
be accomplished by an arrangement between the primary banks and
the other institutions in their immediate vicinity; by which, in consideration of an assumption by them of a share of the responsibilities, assumed by the primary banks, an equitable share, all proper ^
circumstances considered, of the benefits, of the public deposites,
would be secured to the other institutions referred to; this might bo
done, by allowing them respectively a credit at the selected banks,
equal to their share of the deposites, taking into view the amount of
capital, the trouble of the primary banks, and all other circumstances entitled to consideration. If such an arrangement could be
made, they would increase the actual security of the government,
and consolidate the entire mass of the mercantile community of the
principal cities, in favour of the system, and place its success and
permanency beyond contingency, if the negotiation upon the subject shall, in the first instance, be opened with delegations from all
the banks, in the cities referred to, and if they shall be informed of
the desire of the government, to award facilities, and extend equal
facilities to ail; but, that, in case of failure to make such arrange­
ment, it would have to select, at its own pleasure, the requisite number ; there is reason to hope that the arrangement may be brought
about.
(M.) " 8. If the banks, or any sufficient number of them., shall be
disposed to make such arrangements as are contemplated by the President, it will be necessary to inquire of them whether their several
charters authorize them to make such an arrangement as is contem­
plated ; that is, whether the president and directors may lewfiilly enter
into the engagements required.

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(N.) ««9. In order to ascertain whether the proposed arrangement is
practicable, under circumstances, that may be expected to arise, in­
quiry should be made of all the banks, whether, if this arrangement
should be made prior to the 4th of March, 1836, it will be in the
power of the bank of the U. S. to embarrass or interrupt it; and
whether any proceeding of that kind is to be apprehended. In case
any such proceeding may b§ apprehended, it will be proper to inquire,
what would be the probable effects of any collision or contest (between
the selected banks and the bank of the U. S., or other banks favour­
able to or combining with it), not only upon the banks themselves,
but upon the community at large.
(o.) "10. In order that a full investigation may be had upon mat­
ters deeply interesting to the country, it is desirable that the views
of the President herein expressed should be fully communicated to
the banks proposed to be made public depositories; and that the banks
should be required to give specific replies in writing,-embracing state­
ments of their affairs respectively, on the first day of the present
month—the capital actually paid in—the amount of notes in circu­
lation—the amount of specie'actually on hand—the amount of deposites—the amount of debts due to the banks respectively—the amount
due by them respectively—the nature and amount of the bank property
of each—and all other facts that you may deem necessary to be
known to enable the government to act advisedly, and to understand
the true condition of the banks proposed to be made depositories.
(p.) " Apprehending that any proceeding whatever, especially at the
present time, may be likely to promote what is called stock specula­
tion, with all the mischiefs and tendency of gaming, I respectfully
express my conviction, that your agency ought not to be regarded
as a matter to be kept secret, but, on the contrary, that its objects
should be explicitly avowed upon all proper occasions. Secrecy is
not necessary, nor is it practicable if it were so; so that to attain a
public object, the means should be open in themselves and in their
developments. It will, of course, be proper to communicate, from
time to time, the progress you may make.
(a.) " Having thus, sir, placed before you the views of the President,
and such suggestions, on my own part, as seemed to be called for,
it becomes my duty to myself, in order to guard against expectations,
on the part of the banks, that may not be realized, or misapprehen­
sion elsewhere, distinctly to say, that my performance of the present
act of duty, as an executive agent, is not to be understood as an in­
dication of any intention, on my part, under existing circumstances,
to exercise the power vested in me by law. Whether such an emer­
gency may not arise, as may warrant the exercise of that power, it
is unnecessary now to anticipate; it is sufficient to observe, that, in
my opinion, none such exists at present.*'

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CHAPTER

VIII.

WHEW, on the 22d of July, I waited on the President, with
this draft of instructions for his agent, I supposed, that he would
pursue the natural course of personal explanation. H e evaded
it, however; saying, he would see me, after reflecting upon
what I had prepared. Instead of doing so, however, he sent to
me the following letter: .
"Washington, July 22, 1833.
*' MY DEAH SIR :—I cannot perceive the propriety of the concluding
paragraph (Q) in the draft of instructions, proposed to the agent of in­
quiry, which you have submitted to me this morning; unless you
are determined not to acquiesce in the decision which the President,
on advisement with his cabinet, may make after a full view of all the
circumstances of the case. You may not be aware that such is the
construction which the paragraph authorizes, and that it is manifestly
at variance with the views which render the inquiry expedient. The
great object to be obtained by the inquiry is to ascertain whether the
state banks will agree to become the agents of the government, on
the terms proposed, for the safe-keeping and transmission of the pub­
lic moneys. If they will, the ground taken by the President, should
circumstances remain as they now are, is that it will be then expedi­
ent and just to resort to them as a substitute for the bank of the CJ. S.
as a fiscal agent. But lest in the course of the inquiry something
might arise which would justify a different course,, it was deemed
best by us, at our last interview, that there should be no commitment
beyond the inquiry at this time, as to the action of the government
in regard to the change of the deposites; and that on the latter point
a decision should be postponed until the report of the agent should
be received, when there would be a full consideration of the conduct
of the bank, and of all the matters connected with the substitution of
another fiscal agent.
" Previously to inquiry, however, you declare that nothing has
yet occurred to render necessary the movement anticipated by it, and
thus leave me to infer that should the inquiry establish the competen­
cy of the state banks to perform the agency proposed to them, you
will not feel yourself at liberty to carry into effect, the decision,
transferring the public deposites to them, which the President, on
advisement with his cabinet, may make. Please inform me whether
I am correct HI supposing that this is your determination. If I am,
it will then be my duty in frankness and candour to suggest the
course which will be necessary on my part.
"I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
" A N D R E W JACKSON.*'

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I considered this letter, not only a violation of the assurance,
given in the President's letter, from Boston, that he did not
mean to interfere, with the independent exercise of the discre­
tion, conferred on me by law; but a palpable infringement of
the agreement, admitted in the above letter itself, that there was
to be no present commitment. The construction, put upon the
concluding paragraph, of the draft of instructions, was forced
and unwarranted. That paragraph (Q) simply stated,fjn writing,
what, the above letter itself show*, had been agreed upon orally,
that there was to be no present commitment. The question of
the actual removal of the deposites had been reserved; and yet,
the above letter demanded a commitment at once.
These and other manifestations of bad faith, gave me much
uneasiness. My inclination, therefore, was to refuse to omit the
paragraph objected to. It occurred to me, however, that but one
change was proposed; that the instructions still required the
agent to collect information; and that, if fairly collected, such
information must disabuse the President himself. Under such
impressions, I returned the following reply:
" Treasury Department, July 22, 1833.
•* To THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

" SIR : In answer to the letter which I have had the honour to re»
ceive from you, this afternoon, I beg leave to state that, having
understood your present object to be merely an inquiry into the practi­
cability of the. arrangement, which you desire to make with the state
banks, in case it should be deemed proper to employ them as substi­
tutes for the bank of the U. S., and that there should be no commit­
ment beyond that inquiry, it occurred to me that it would be prudent
to insert in the instructions to the agent, a paragraph, which would
prevent misconception, that might otherwise be produced, undesign­
edly on his part, in the minds of the directors of the state banks, or
of those of the public. If such misconceptions should be otherwise
guarded against, as they may be, I have no desire on my own account
that the paragraph (Q) should be retained.
"I have already, both in writing and verbally, had the honour to
state to you, that, after the fullest consideration which I have been
. able to give the subject, I do not, under existing circumstances, feel
myself justified in substituting state banks for the bank of the U. $.,
• as the depository of the public money; but that I am readytomake, un«
<*^er your direction, the fullest inquiry as to the propriety of the change.
£ln the discharge of the high trust confided to me, it has been my
desire to act according to my best judgment, with all the lights before
jne. And although I do not anticipate such a change in my views on

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the subject, even if the inquiry should establish the practicability of
employing the state banks, as will lead me to remove the deposites
for any cause now known to me, before congress shall have had an
opportunity to act upon the matter, yet I am open to conviction, and
will not fail to give the fullest consideration to any new facts which
may be presented, and to any information that may be obtained in
the proposed inquiry. I shall also be ready to enter into a full examination of the whole subject, when you shall, as you propose, bring it
before your cabinet. But if, after receiving the information, and hearing the discussions, I shall not consider it my duty, as the responsible
agent of the law, to carry into effect the decision that you may make,
I will, from my respect for you and for myself, promptly afford you
an opportunity to select a successor, whose views may accord with
your own on the important subject in contemplation.
11
Beyond this conclusion I respectfully conceive I cannot go without improperly committing myself; a position in which I understood
I was not to be put before inquiry. Were I now to say, that I would
persist in my present opinions, be the results of inquiry and discussion
what they may, I should evince a recklessness to be rebuked; on the
other hand, were I to pledge myself hereafter to abandon my present
sentiments, without knowing whether any thing may arise to justify
the change, I should betray a weakness to be pitied, perhaps despised.
All that I can promise, therefore, consistently with the respect due
to you as well as myself, is, that, when the moment for decision, after
inquiry and discussion, shall arrive, I will concur with you, or retire.
" W i t h the utmost consideration, your obedient servant.
W. J. DUANE."

I wrote this in good faith. T h e assurance, with which it
closed, was uncalled for and impolitic. It is the best evidence,
however, of my confidence, that good faith would be observed,
on the part of the executive. Information w a s to be collected.
I had made the collection of it material to myself. It w a s only
after the receipt of information, and consequent discussion, that
I could be called upon to observe m y agreement to retire. There
was no suspicion, that, upon receiving that agreement, the whole
foundation, on which it rested, would be removed; that is, that
the President would forbid the agent to collect information.
Yet, as soon as the above letter was delivered, the pre-existing
state of things was changed in every material part, as if to compel my retirement. The instructions were sent to me with the
following note:

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Washington, July 28, 18*3.
To the SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
DEAR SIB,

I have received your note, in reply to the observations, which I felt
myself obliged to make, in regard to the concluding paragraph of
the instructions, proposed to be given to the agent of the treasury.
It is-entirely satisfactory, and manifests a spirit, which, I trust, will
enable us, before the time arrives fof acting upon the report of the
agent, to agree as nearly as may be desirable in the decision which
may be made on the subject.
I return you herewith the draft of the instructions, with some notes,
suggesting a few changes, which you will doubtless see no impropriety in adopting, leaving out the last paragraph.
I am, very respectfully and truly, your's,
ANDREW JACKSON.

This I regarded as a new demonstration of insincerity. Ibstead of " notes suggesting a few changes," the original draft,
in my hand-writing, was sent to me, with the material parts
erased and changed.
Instead of paragraph (c), according to which I had made the
President, as I supposed he was, an opponent of any national
bank, he introduced the following:
" It is the opinion of the President, that hereafter as heretofore,
bank agency will be found convenient, in managing thefiscaloperations of the government; and, as he cannot, consistently with his
avowed sentiments, sanction any national institution, organized upon
the principles of the existing bank of the U. S., he deems it proper to
ascertain whether all the services now rendered by it, may not te
performed by the banks incorporated by the several states, on terms
equally or more favourable to the government."
The paragraph (D) was altered by striking out these words:
" It being understood that you are to make inquiries of all the
banks in the principal cities, in which the primary banks are to be
selected, in order that ample scope for selection may be had."
Paragraph (L), and the following important paragraph (N),
were struck out altogether:
" In order to ascertain whether the proposed arrangement is practicable, under circumstances, that may be expected to arise, inquiry
should be made of all the banks, whether, if this arrangement
should be made prior to the 4th of March, 1836, it will be in tftd
power of the bank of the U. S. to embarrass or interrupt it; and

v<
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whether any proceeding of that kind is to be apprehended. In case
any such proceeding may be apprehended, it will be proper to inquire,
what would be the probable effects of any collision or contest, (be­
tween the selected banks and the bank of the U. S., or other banks
favourable to or combining with it,) not only upon the banks them­
selves, but upon the community at large-"
And this new paragraph was added:
•' You are not to consider yourself precluded, by these instructions,
from making any other propositions to the said banks, for the pur­
pose of ascertaining on what terms they will undertake the service
referred to; and you are at liberty to receive any propositions from
them that they may think proper to make."
Again the question arose, whether I ought not now to resist
By not resisting this departure from the admitted agreement of
the 20th of July, I might waive my right to complain thereafter
of its violation. On the other hand,, it seemed to be my duty to
the public, not to be thus driven* by artifice, from my post
The aim, of the clandestine advisers of the President, evidently,
was, to effect a breach between us, upon a collateral point
They would rejoice, if able to say, that I had refused to perform
a duty purely executive, and had been removed for refusing. In
truth, however incorrect the course of the President was, the pre­
sent did not appear to be thefitoccasion to notice it The mission
of an agent, to make inquiry, I had no right to resist; nor could
I dictate, what should or should not be the nature of his inquiry.
It was only as to the removal of the deposites, that I could ex­
ercise an independent discretion. As to retirement, it was con­
templated in sincerity, and under a persuasion that there was
and would be fairness all round. But it became questionable,
whether an agreement to retire was obligatory, under an op­
posite state of things. Finally concluding, that doub'ts on this
point might be reserved, and that public considerations de­
manded a sacrifice of my present feelings, I sent the.instructions
to the agent, on the* 23d of July, and resolved to await the
event
<

3*..

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CHAPTER

IX.

SOON after the departure of his agent, the President himself
left Washington; and both returned about the 25th of August
In the interval, but one incident occurred, which I am disposed
now to notice; and I am so inclined, because, in March 1834,
it was the subject of public animadversion. At that time, the
official paper asserted, that, prior to the 8th of September, 1833,
I had proposed to the executive, to remove the deposites, in
case congress should not act upon the subject This I consi­
dered it my duty to contradict publicly, by showing what really
had occurred.
White the President was abseAt, some conversation, concern­
ing the subject of the deposites, took place between some of the
members of the cabinet;4 and, at length, early in September,
when it was known, that I persisted in my refusal to remove
the deposites, and even hesitated about resigning, a middle
course was suggested to me. I was asked, whether I would
fix a day, on which I would remove the deposites, after the
meeting of congress, in case they should not act upon the sub­
ject After an anxious conversation, with the secretary of
state, at his instance, and, as I supposed, with a view to expla1nation between him and other members of the cabinet, I wrote
and sent to him a note, of which the following is a copy, to
which were prefixed certain extracts, on the subject of the de­
posites, therein referred to;
" September 8, 1833.
* * DEAR SIR.—The foregoing are the extracts, the force of which
*
you consider greater, than I do. My conviction has been and is,
that no cause for a change of the depository does exist, such as war­
rants the exercise of the power of the secretary of the treasury; that
until adequate cause to change shall arise*, it will he his duty to deposite as at present, unless congress shall Otherwise direct: so that I
can give no assurances but these—I will change the depository as
soon as congress shall direct me to do so, or aa*seon as such cause
shall arise as will in my judgment justify the*fct: but if congress
shall not sanction a removal of the deposites (that is, do so previous
to removal) I am not at liberty to say that I will act at a given time,
for I do not know that at that time there will be any more cause than
there is now for a change.

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" * This is the result of reflection since I saw yon last evening. I
will respectfully and without bias listen to what may be said hereaf­
ter, but I have no expectation of varying in the least from my pre­
sent position. I am willing, and ready, and anxious to go home, as
soon as the President shall say such is his preference, rather than
do what I should ever after regret and condemn.
" * Most kindly and respectfully, your's,
"'W.

J. DUAIHC.

"'HON. L. M'LANE,&C.'"

The official paper, of the 24lh of March, 1834, called the
accuracy, of my statement, in question; stating, that, it had be­
fore, and then had, assurances from all the members of the
cabinet, disclaiming all knowledge, on their part, of the above
letter. Upon the appearance of this publication, the secretary of
state, out of respect for truth, as well as for himself, spontane­
ously caused the following communication, to be published in
the official paper; thus falsifying its statement, and corrobora­
ting mine, in all material respects—expressing doubt only, as
to whether my communication had been made, orally or in
writing:
" Washington, March 25<A, 1834*
" To MR. BLAIR, Editor of the Globe,
" In an editorial article in the'Globe' of yesterday, relative to a
recent letter of Mr. Daane to the Commercial Intelligencer, it is
among other things, stated, 'that we had assurances from all the
members of the cabinet, disclaiming any knowledge on their part, of
the letter to which Mr. Duane has referred,' &c.; and it is also stated,
'such assurances we now have.'
" Being disappointed in the expectation, that the ' Globe' of this
morning would have contained such an explanation as would remove
the misapprehension, which the statement is calculated to produce, I
deem it proper to inform the public, tliat I have at no time had any
personal or written communication with the editor of the ' Globe' on
the subject, and have given him no assurances in regard to Mr*
Duane's letter. It is true that, upon one occasion, immediately after
the appearance of Mr. Duane's sixth letter, I stated td one gentleman,
in answer to an inquiry from him, that I had then no recollection of
receiving from Mr. Duane such a letter as he had referred to, but that
it was not impossible that he had written, and that I had received it;
because I remembered that I had held with him the conversation to
Which he alluded, and that, remaining silent at the time, he returned
me the next morning, or soon afterwards, an answer—according to

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my recollection, a verbal one—substantially the same as that which
it was asserted his letter contained. On the same occasion, I particularly urged that no notice should be taken of it in the ' Globe.'
" I have only to add, that since Mr. Duane's recent letter, I have
given no assurances to any one, nor expressed any doubt that Mr.
Duane wrote the letter according to his statement; but neither that
letter, nor any thing that passed between Mr. Duane and myself on
the subject, was communicated by me to the President.
" I am, your obedient servant,
« Louis M ' L A N E . "

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• *
=

*

C H A P T E R X.

*' A stfSfc* time after the return of the President's agent, he s§nt
td the treasury department, his report and various documents;
which I submitted to the President, with the following note:
To the PHESIDENT

H3!?k"'*" *•-'*£
Treasury Department, September 9,-1833.^
g IR .—On the 23d of July, I sent to Mr. Kendall, the agent whom
you had designated, the prescribed instructions, for ascertaining,
whether the state banks would agree to become the agents of the
government, on the terms proposed, for the safe-keeping and trans­
mission of the public money.
i>3wSt'. *
"
I have the honour, to lay before you the agent's rejrort, ropstner
with the correspondence, that took place in the course of his mission;
and shall be at any time ready, to co-operate in the contemplated
full consideration of all matters, connected with the employment of a
fiscal agent.
> ^ty
£&££?**'
With great respect,
vjBBjpy
Your obedient servaHtjr™*
OP THE UNITED STATES.

W . J. DuANJSr

' i
■ > : - >'-7fc
The mission of the agent w a s abortive, in all the particulars,
which had been deemed essential. The plan of bank agency,
which the President had considered the only safe one, was, I
believe, unanimously rejected. The answers of some of the
banks, willing to act, showed, that they ought not to be trusted.
Several of the most substantial institutions refused to act as
fiscal agents, under any circumstances. The materials (para­
graph o,) from which the condition of the banks was to he as­
certained, had been very imperfectly furnished. Some of the
banks answered, that the proposed plans were impracticable.
Others pointed out the fallacy of the means suggested for the
security of the public money. Others denied, that state banks
could give such facilities as government required. The banks,
most ready to become depositories, showed the least ability to
pay their own responsibilities in coin. Yet, it was into this
chaos, that I was asked to plunge the fiscal concerns of the coun­
try, at a moment when they were conducted, by the legitimate
agent, with the utmost simplicity, safety and despatch. iC *.

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n

On the 10th of September, the cabinet convened; all the"
members present, but ]\fr. Barry; After a pause the President
Spoke as follows^.
" GENTLEMEN—I have got here (holding up a paper) the re­
port of the agent on the deposite question, arid I want to call
your attention to it. The first question is, whether the state
banks are safe places to put the public moneys in. The next is,
whether, if they are, it is not our duty to put them there—
whether we are not called upon by the late disclosures, of the
corrupt conduct of the U. S. bank, to cast off the connexion at
once* This is an Important business. You know I have long
had it in agitation, and what took place in congress. I deemed
it my duty to ask your opinions; and, although I mentioned
to Mc Duane, that the subject was under consideration, I
must, in justice to myself as well as. to him, say, I did not
think it proper, before his appointment, to explain to him
my views. But after doing so, I did think it due to our
country, that we should go on. The present is a niost serious
state of things. How shall we answer to God, our country
or ourselves, if we permit the public money to be thus used to
corrupt the people? Observe, I do not want immediate action,
but I desire a day to be fixed. Nor do I want to touch a dollar
of the money that is in bank; but I do want that the money,
coming in, may be put where it will be safe, and not used for
purposes of so infamous a kind. I want harmony in my cabinet
I am well pleased wTith you all. I want to go unitedly in this
solemn duty. The former conduct of the bank, in its corrupt
loans^ in its attempts to depreciate the credit of the country,
its whole corrupt state* justified our acting:—but the last dis­
closures leave us no excuse for further delay. The country
will reproach us if we do not go on. By the last resolution of
the bank, the whole of its funds may be employed for corrupt
purposes; and remember, that, for a part of the sum spent, no
explanation or voucher is given; that it was by accident one of
the directors, Mr. Wager, noticed this monstrous abuse. And
give me leave to tell you, that this is a small part, could the
truth b£ got at. I anxiously desire, then, that we should at
last do something. This report, if you put confidence in it, and
I think you may, shows the readiness of the state banks to take
the public money; and their ability and safety as substitutes
for the present agent. Why, then, should we hesitate ? Why
not proceed, I say, as the country expects us to do? Here are
13

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the papers. When you have read tHem, let us come to an un­
derstanding."
' *
When the President had concluded, I thanked him for alluding
to my position, as I desired it to be understood, that, until after
my entry into office, I did not know that a removal of the deposites was contemplated, without further action by congress.
The President then handed the report and papers of the agent,
to the secretary of state, and we separated.
In the letters, which I addressed to my fellow citizens, early
in 1834, in vindication of my conduct in office; I placed nlyself,
I trust, beyond the reach of aspersion. Nevertheless* it may be
improper now to pass over all the incidents, which occurred at
the time, at which I have arrived in the present narrative..
As soon as the occurrences, alluded to in the eighth chapter,
took place, my confidence in the sincerity of the President began
to waver. It appeared to me, that, although my retirement,
in a manner not dissatisfactory to myself, might be aimed
at; means'were taken, at the same time, to prevent clamour
at my expulsion from office, should that taie place. With _
the latter object, I was assailed simultaneously in the semi­
official newspapers, at Concord, Boston, Albany, New Y&rk,
Trenton and Cincinnati, especially; and it was at the same
time intimated to me, that the agent to the state banks had
stimulated such attacks. As I had not tangible evidence on
the latter point, I was not disposed to make a specific appeal
to the President about it Nevertheless, utter silence seemed
to be improper, and to favour the views of his clandestine asso­
ciates. Accordingly, I resolved to have as full an explanation
as, under the circumstances, could be obtained. With that
view, I waited upon him on the 14th of September, and a long
conversation took place. I opened it by saying, that the Presi­
dent could not but be aware, that I was then every day as­
sailed in leading papers of the administration; that it had been"
intimated to me, that the purity of my motives had been called
in question by persons in his confidence; and that I wished him
to say frankly, whether there existed any complaint or doubt
on his own part. It is impossible to describe the earnestness
of the President's professions, in reply. He declared that no
one had attempted to shake his confidence; that it remained as
it ever had been; that he regretted even a difference in opinion
between us; and that he would put all doubt at rest, by con-

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ferring on me the highest appointment then at his disposal.
This he mentioned twice" in th$ course of our conversation,
saying, he had meditated a change from one honourable station
to another, not only as an act proper in itself, but in order to
do what would be satisfactory to myself and friends. To
these intimations I replied, that I was pleased to find that the
President's confidence continued undiminished, but that I had
no desire for office or any ambition to gratify.
Within half an hour after this conversation took place, I wrote
an account of it, which is now before me; followed by my re­
flections at the moment. Before the interview, to which I have
just alluded, it had been intimated to me, that the President
meant to offer me another station; and; I confess, the question
presented itself, whether this intention was with a view to ren­
der my Voluntary retirement certain, or really was a mark of
true regard; My inclination was in favour of the most charita­
ble interpretation; and yet with that, I could not reconcile the
silence and inactivity of the President, while I was daily as­
sailed in semi-official newspapers. I am not aware that I have
-• at any time scf expressed myself as to do him injustice on this
point; yet I think it proper to say, that I now believe he sup­
posed I had made up my mind to resign, and that by a new ap­
pointment he meant to render the change innoxious to my feel­
ings and interest.
On the 17th of September, the members of the cabinet again
assembled. The President opened the proceedings by saying,
that he trusted advantage had been taken of the time, which
had passed since the preceding meeting, maturely to consider
what he had then said. Then, addressing himself to* the secre­
tary of'state, he asked his opinion as to the propriety of a speedy
. change of the place of public deposite. Mr. M'Lane at once
proceeded to state his objections, in detail, in an emphatic and
v
lucid manner. When the secretary of state had closed, the
President put the same question to me; and I simply answered,
that I desired to have the whole subject presented in the clear­
est light before congress—that I had full confidence in their
desire as well as ability to correct abuses, and avert the mis­
chiefs referred to by the President—that I deprecated the pro­
posed connexion with state banks—and apprehended serious
evils to the public, in case the contemplated change should be
made. The secretary at war, when appealed to, said, " You

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know, sir, I have always thought, that the matter rests entirely
with the secretary of the treasury*" The secretary of the navy
entered into an explanation of the opinion, which he had given
in April, against a removal of the deposites prior to the summer
of 1834. Although he had then considered an earlier change
injudicious, he must now go with the President. The attorneygeneral barely said, that he had been from the beginning for an
immediate change, and was now more than ever for it.
The President then said, " Gentlemen—I desire to meet you
to-morrow, and will then make known my own views."
On the next day, the members of the cabinet accordingly
assembled, and the President caused his secretary to read to
them the document, subsequently so well known as * the paper
read to the cabinet on the 18th of September."
Very little, if any thing, was said after the paper had been
read. As those present were retiring, I approached the Presi­
dent, and asked him to allow me to take and read his exposi­
tion. He directed his secretary to deliver it to me, and he
did so. I then asked the President, whether I was to under­
stand him as directing me to remove the deposites? He replied,
that it was his desire, that I should remove them, but upon his
responsibility; adding with great emphasis that, "if I would
stand by him it would be the happiest day of his life.".
When I retired, I had to consider, not merely whether I
ought to remove the deposites, but whether I should resign. I
was sensible that I had erred in giving any assurance on the
latter point, and doubted whether subsequent occurrences
had not absolved me from all obligation to respect it. I de­
sired to avoid a surrender of an important post, and yet wished
to part from the President without unkind feeling. It had oc­
curred to me, that I might accomplish both these ends by ask­
ing for a written expression of the President's wish that I should
retire; and, in giving me such a memorandum, I did not per­
ceive that there would be any committal of himself. It seemed
to me that, assailed as I had been and menaced with new at­
tacks, the President, if really my friend, would not desire to tie
up my hands.
I was reflecting upon these points, when, early on the morn­
ing of the 19th of September, the President sent to inquire,
whether I had come to a decision. I replied* that I would
communicate it on the 21st. On the morning of the same day
* See page 111,

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(19th), the President's secretary called on me to state, that the
President had determined to announce the decision on the deposite question, in the Globe of the next day. He then pro­
posed to read to me a paper prepared for that purpose; but I re­
fused to listen to it, stating that I had the President's exposition
then before, me, and was preparing a defensive paper on my
own part? that the President ought to wait one day longer to en­
able me to present that paper, and to say finally whether I would
or would not concur with him; and that any such publication
in the Globe, as was proposed, would be a gross indignity to me
as an officer and a man. The secretary said, he believed the
President would proceed; that the l^ew .York Evening Post
was urging a decision; and that, as to himself, he had no wish
to express. I then at once wrote and delivered to him, a remon­
strance against the proposed publication.* Nevertheless, on the
following day (20th) it appeared in the Globe, as follows:.
" We are authorized to state that the deposites of the public money
will be changed, from the bank of the U. S. to the state banks, as
soon as necessary arrangements can be made for that purpose, and
that it is believed they can be completed in Baltimore, Philadelphia,
New York, and Boston, in time to make the change by the 1st of
October, and perhaps sooner, if circumstances should render an ear­
lier action necessary on the part of the government,
" It is contemplated, we understand, not to remove at once, the
whole of the public money now in deposite in the bank of the U. S.,
but to suffer it to remain there until it shall be gradually withdrawn
by the usual operation of the government. And this plan is adopted
in order to prevent any necessity, on the part of the bank of the U. S.,
for pressing upon the commercial community; and to enable it to
afford, if it think proper, the usual facilities to the merchants. It is
believed, that by this means the change need not produce any incon­
venience to the commercial community, and that circumstances will
not require a sudden and heavy call on the bank of the U. S., so as
to occasion embarrassment to the institution or the public."
As soon as I read the above quoted annunciation in the Globe,
I put aside the defensive exposition which I had been preparing;
and, on the 21st of September, wrote and personally delivered
to the President the annexed letter. The conversation, which
took place on the occasion, was long and occasionally ani­
mated. The following brief sketch of a part of it will sqfRce
for the purposes of the present narrative:
»
* See page 111.

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Secretary. I have,at length, waited upon you, sir, with this letter.
President. What is it?
S. It respectfully and finally makes known my decision, not to
remove the deposites, or resign.
P . Then you do not mean, that we shall part as friends.
S. The reverse, sir, is my desire; but I must protect myself.
P. But you said you would retire, if we could not finally agree.
5 . I indiscreetly said so, sir; but I am now compelled to take this
course.
P . I have been under an impression that you would resign, even
as an act of friendship to me.
S. Personal wishes, sir, must give way. The true question is,
which must I observe, my promise to execute my duty faithfully, or
my agreement to retire, when the latter conflicts with the former ?
P . I certainly never expected that any such difficulties could
arise between us; and think you ought still to consider the matter.
S. I have painfully considered it; and hope you will not ask me
to make a sacrifice. All that you need is a successor, and him you
may have at once.
P . But I do not wish to dismiss you. I have too much regard
for yourself, your family and friends, to take that course.
S, Excuse me, sir, you may only do now what you said, in your
letter of the 22d of July, it would be your duty to do, if I then said
I would not thereafter remove the deposites.
P . It would be at any time disagreeable to do what might be in­
jurious to you.
S. A resignation, I think, would be more injurious. And permit
me to say, that the publication in yesterday's Globe removes all deli­
cacy. A worm if trodden upon will turn. I am assailed in all the
leading papers of the administration ; and if my friend, you will not
tie up my hands.
P . Then, I suppose you mean to come out against me.
S. Nothing is further from my thoughts. I barely desire to do
what is now my duty; and to defend myself if assailed hereafter.
[Here the President expatiated on the late disclosures in relation
to the bank, the corruptibility of congress, &c.; and at length tak­
ing a paper from his drawer said]
P . You have been all along mistaken in your views. Here is a
paper that will show you your obligations—that the executive must
protect you.
S. I will read it, sir, if such is your wish, but I cannot anticipate
a change of opinion.
P . A secretary, sir, is merely an executive agent, a subordinate,
and you may say so in self-defence.

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S. In this particular case, congress confers a discretionary power,
and requires reasons if I exercise it. Surely this contemplates res­
ponsibility on my part.
P . This paper will show you, that your doubts are wholly ground­
less.
S. As to the deposites, allow me, sir, to say, my decision is posi­
tive. The only question is as to the mode of my retirement.
P. My dear Mr. Duane; we must separate as friends. Far from
desiring, that you should sustain any injury, you know I have in­
tended to give you the highest appointment now in my gift. You
shall have the mission to Russia. I would have settled this matter
before, but for the delay or difficulty [as I understood the President]
in relation to Mr. Buchanan.
S. I am sincerely thankful to you, sir, for your kind disposition,
but I beg you to serve me in a way that will be truly pleasing. I de­
sire no new station, and barely wish to leave my present one blame­
less, or free from apprehension as to the future. Favour me with a
written declaration of your desire, that I should leave office, as I can­
not carry out your views as to the deposites, and I will take back
this letter [the one I had just presented].
P . Never have I had any thing, that has given me more mortifi­
cation than this whole business. I had not the smallest notion that
we could differ.
S. My principles and opinions, sir, are unchanged. We differ
only about time—you are for acting now, I am for waiting for con­
gress.
P . How often have I told you, that congress cannot act until the
deposites are removed.
S. I am unable, sir, to change my opinion at will upon that point.
P . You are altogether wrong in your opinion, and I thought Mr.
Taney would have convinced you that you are.
S. Mr. Taney, sir, endeavoured to prevail on me to adopt his
views, but failed. As to the deposites, I barely desired a delay of
about ten weeks.
P . Not a day—not an hour; recent disclosures banish all doubt,
and I do not
how you can hesitate.
S. I have often stated my reasons. Surely, sir, it is enough that
were I to act, I could not give reasons satisfactory to myself.
P . My reasons, lately read in the cabinet, will release you from
complaint.
S. I am sorry I cannot view the subject in the same light.

Our conversation was further extended, under varying emo­
tions on both sides; but without any change of opinion or de­
cision—at length I retired, leaving the following tetter:

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CHAPTER XI.
Treasury Department, September 21«t, 1833.
To the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR.—I have the honour to lay before you:
1. A copy of my commission, empowering and enjoining me to
execute my duty according to law, and authorizing me to hold my
office at your pleasure.
2. A copy of my oath of office, wherein I solemnly pledged myself
to execute the trust committed to me with fidelity.
3. A copy of the 16th section of the law chartering the bank of
the U. S., whereby the discretion, to discontinue the deposites of the
public money in that bank, was committed to the secretary of the
treasury alone.
4. An extract from your letter to me of the 26th of June, wherein
you promise not to interfere with the independent exercise of the dis­
cretion, committed to me by the above mentioned law over the sub­
ject.
5. An extract from your exposition of the 18th inst., wherein you
state, that you do not expect me, at your request, order, or dicta­
tion, to do any act which I may believe to be illegal, or which my
conscience may condemn.
When you delivered to me, on the 18th inst. the exposition of
your views, above referred to, I asked you whether I was to regard
it as a direction by you to me to remove the deposites. You replied
that it was your direction to me to remove the deposites, but upon
your responsibility ; and you had the goodness to add, that if I would
stand by you, it would be the happiest day of your life.
Solemnly impressed with a profound sense of my obligations to
my country and myself, after painful reflection and upon my own
impressions, unaided by any advice such as I expected, I respectfully
announce to you, sir, that I refuse to carry your directions into
effect:
Not because I desire to frustrate your wishes; for it would be my
pleasure to promote them, if I could do so consistently with superior
obligations:
Not because I desire to favour the bank of the U. S., to which I
have ever been, am and ever shall be opposed:
Not to gratify any views, passions or feelings of my own—but
1. Because I consider the proposed change of the depository, in
the absence of all necessity, a breach of the public faith.

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2. Because the measure, if not in reality, appears to be vindictive
and arbitrary, not conservative or just.
,'
3. Because, if the bank has abused or perverted its powers, the
judiciary are able and willing to punish; and in the last resort, the
representatives of the people may do so.
4. Because the last house of representatives of the United States
pronounced the public money in the bank of the U. S. safe.
5. Because, if, under new circumstances, a change of depository
ought to be made, the representatives of the people, chosen since
your appeal to them in your veto message, will in a few weeks as­
semble, and will be willing and able to do their duty.
6. Because a change to local and irresponsible banks will tend to
shake public confidence, and promote doubt and mischief in the ope­
rations of society.
7. Because it is not sound policy in the Union, to foster local
banks, which, in their multiplication and cupidity, derange, depreci­
ate, and banish the only currency known to the constitution, that of
gold and silver.
8. Because it is not prudent to confide, in the crude way proposed
by your agent, in local banks; when, on an average of all the banks,
dependent in a great degree upon each other, one dollar in silver
cannot be paid for six dollars of the paper in circulation.
9. Because it is dangerous to place in the hands of a secretary of
the treasury, dependent for office on executive will, a power to favour
or punish local banks, and consequently ma'^e them political machi­
nery.
10. Because the whole proceeding must tend to diminish the confi­
dence of the world in our regard for national credit and reputation;
inasmuch as, whatever may be the abuses of the directors of the bank
of the U. S., the evil now to be endured must be borne by innocent
persons, many of whom, abroad, had a right to confide in the law
that authorized them to be holders of stock.
11. Because I believe that the efforts made in various quarters to
hasten the removal of the deposites, did not originate with patriots
or statesmen, but in schemes to promote selfish and factious purposes.
12. Because it has been attempted by persons and presses, known
to be in the confidence and pay of the administration, to intimidate
and constrain the secretary of the treasury, to execute an act in direct
opposition to his own solemn convictions.
And now, sir, having with a frankness that means no disrespect,
and with feelings, such as I lately declared them to be, stated to you
why I refuse to execute what you direct; I proceed to perform a ne­
cessarily connected act of duty, by announcing to you, that I do not
14

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intend voluntarily to leave the post, which the law has placed under
my charge; and by giving you my reasons for so refusing.
It is true, that, on the 22d of July, you signified in language sufficiently intelligible, that you would then remove me from office, unless I would consent to remove the deposites, on your final decision.
It may also be true that I should then have put it to the test; and it
is also true, that under a well grounded assurance, that your bank
plan, the only one then embodied in the instructions drawn up by
me for your agent, would be, as it proved, abortive, that for this and
other causes, you would be content, I did state my willingness to retire, if I could not concur with you.
But I am not afraid to meet the verdict of generous men, upon
my refusal, on reflection, and after what has since occurred, to do
voluntarily what I then believed I never should be asked to do. If
I had a frail reputation, or had any sinister purpose to answer, I
might be open to censure, for a neglect of punctilious delicacy; but
I can have no impure motives, much less can I attain any selfish
end. I barely choose between one mode of retirement and another;
and I choose that mode, which I should least of all have preferred,
if I had not exalted and redeeming considerations in its favour.
I have, besides, your own example: I do not say, that, after you
had promised " not to interfere with the independent exercise of the
discretion vested in me by law," you were wrong in interfering, if
you really thought the public welfare a superior consideration to a
mere observance of assurances made to me; nor can you say that I
err, when, upon a solemn sense of duty, I prefer one mode of removal
from this station to another.
The course is due to my own self-preservation, as well as to the
public; for you have in,all your papers held out an assurance, that
you would not " interfere with the independent exercise of the discretion committed to me by law" over the deposites; and yet, every
thing but actual removal of me from office, has been done to effect
that end. So that, were I to go out of office voluntarily, you might
be able to point to official papers, that would contradict me, if I said
you interfered; and I should thus be held up as a weak and faithless
agent, who regarded delicacy not shown to himself more than duty
to his trust
Sir, after all, I confess to you, that I have had scruples, for it is
the first time that I have ever condescended to weigh a question of
the kind; but I am content, that it shall be said of me, that in July
last I forgot myself and my duty too, rather than that it should be
said, that, now, knowing the course that you pursue, I had in any
way favoured it. On the contrary, if I have erred, I am willing to
be reproved, but my motives no man can impugn.

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My refusal to resign cannot keep me one moment longer than you
please in an office that I never sought, and at a removal from which
I shall not grieve on my own account; it must, on the contrary,
hasten my exit. So that, if you shall proceed in wresting from the
secretary of the treasury the citadekin his possession, the act can
only be accomplished by a mandate, which will be my apology for
no longer standing in the breach.
And now, sir, allow me to repeat to you in sincerity of heart, that,
in taking the present course, under a solemn sense of my obligations,
I feel a sorrow on your account, far greater than on my own. I
have been your early, uniform, and steadfast friend; I can have no
unkind disposition, but shall cherish those of a kind nature that I
feel. You proudly occupy the hearts of your countrymen; but still
it is the lot of humanity at times to err. I do ample justice to your
motives, but I am constrained to regret your present proceedings;
and I devoutly wish that you may live to see all my forebodings
contradicted, and your measures followed by results beneficial to
your country, and honourable to yourself.
With the utmost consideration, your obedient servant,
W. J. DUANE.

Washington, September 21,1833.
To the SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

SIB.—After you retired, I opened and read the paper you handed
to me: I herewith return it as a communication which I cannot re­
ceive. Having invited the free and full communication of all your
views, before I made up a final opinion on the subject, I cannot con­
sent to enter into a further discussion of the question.
There are numerous imputations in the letter, which cannot, with
propriety, be allowed to enter into a correspondence between the Pre­
sident and the head of a department. In your letter of July last, you
remark—" But if, after receiving the information and hearing the.discussion, I shall not consider it my duty, as a responsible agent of the
law, to carry into effect the decision that you may then make, I will,
from respect to you and for myself, afford you an early opportunity to
select a successor, whose views may accord with your own on the im­
portant matter in contemplation." My communication to my cabinet
was made under this assurance received from you; and I have not
requested you to perform any thing which your sense of duty did
not sanction. I have merely wished to be informed, whether, as
secretary of the treasury, you can, consistently with your opinion
on the subject of the deposites, adopt such measures in relation to
them, as in my view the public interests and a due execution of the

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laws render proper. If you will now communicate that information,
it will confer an obligation on
Your obedient servant,
ANDREW JACKSON.

• [Upon the receipt of the foregoing note, I wrote an acknowledgment, which
I withdrew, to change its phraseology, and sent the following in lieu of it]
Treasury Department, September 21tt, 1833.
To the PRESIDENT OP THE UNITED STATES.

SIR.—As you had not, in any written communication, given a di­
rection as to the deposites; but, on the contrary, had left the action
to the secretary of the treasury, as a matter of option, I deemed it
my duty, when I had the honour to receive from you, your exposi­
tion of the 18th inst., to ask you, whether I was to consider myself
directed, to remove the deposites; and you replied that I was directed,
on your responsibility.
I was preparing to lay before you, an exposition of our relative
position and views, from the first moment of my entry into your ad­
ministration, when your decision was authoritatively announced in the
Globe,—a proceeding unsanctioned by me, that rendered all further
discussion needless, and any attempt of the kind derogatory to myself.
A communication, justificatory of my course under present cir­
cumstances, which I delivered to you this day, having been return­
ed, on account of alleged objectionable matter therein, the presence
of which, if disrespectful, I regret; it now becomes my duty, in reply
to your letter returning that communication, respectfully to announce
my unwillingness to carry your direction as to the deposites into ef­
fect ; and in making known that decision, without meaning any sort
of disrespect, to protect myself, by protesting against all that has
been done, or is doing, to divest the secretary of the treasury, of the
power to exercise, independently of the President, the discretion com­
mitted to him by law over the deposites.
I have already, sir, on more than one occasion, and recently, ,
without contradiction, before the cabinet, stated that I did not know,
until after my induction into office, that you had determined, that
the deposites should be removed without any further action by con­
gress. If I had known that such was your decision, and that I should
be requested to act, I would not have accepted office. But, as soon
as I understood, when in office, what your intention was, I sought
for all information, calculated to enable me to act uprightly, in the
embarrassing position, in which I was unexpectedly placed.
You were so good as to transmit to me, to that end, from Boston,
not only the opinions of the members of the cabinet, but your own
views in detail, upon the deposite question; but, instead of intimating
to me, that my disinclination to carry those views into effect, would

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be followed by a call for my retirement, you emphatically assured
me, in your letter of the 26th of June, that you " did not intend to
interfere with the independent exercise of the discretion, committed
to me by law over the subject."
Fully confiding in the encouragement thus held out, I entered into
an exposition of my objections to the proposed measure. Discussion
ended in an understanding, that we should remain uncommitted,
until after an inquiry, which your agent was to make, should be
completed, and until the discussion of the subject in the cabinet. But
pending the preparation for the inquiry, I received your letter of July
22d, conveying what I understood to be an intimation, that I must
retire, unless I would then say, that I would remove the deposites,
after the inquiry and discussion, in case you should then decide to
have them removed,
I would have at once considered this letter as an order to retire,
and would have obeyed it, if I had not thought it my duty to hold the
post entrusted to me, as long as I could do so with benefit to the
country, and without discredit to myself. Instead, therefore, of retiring
voluntarily or otherwise, I subjected my feelings to restraint, and
stated, as you quote in your letter of this day, that, if I could not,
after inquiry and discussion, as the responsible agent of the law, carry
into effect the decision that might be made, I would afford you an
opportunity to select a successor, &c.
Under these circumstances, the inquiry was entered upon. It ended
in showing, as I had predicted, that the plan submitted to me on the
26th of June, was impracticable; and, in a report, without any de­
fined substitute, according to my comprehension of it.
After a consideration of the subject in the cabinet, you gave di­
rections as stated at the commencement of this letter; and I wrote to
you, that I would make a communication to you on Saturday the 21st
instant, and I accordingly did so, as hereinbefore stated.
Unto the present time, therefore, I have been struggling, under
painful circumstances, not to retain a post that I never sought, and
the loss of which I shall not regret on my own account, but, to main­
tain it for the country, under a serious sense of duty to it, and to
avert a measure that I honestly feared might affect yourselfWithout entertaining, or desiring to manifest towards you, sir, the
slightest disrespect, but solemnly impressed with a consideration of
my responsibility to the country, and my duty to myself, I now defi­
nitely declare, that I will not in any way aid or assist, to cause the
public money to be deposited in any other institution, bank, or place,
than that provided by the 16th section of the Act chartering the U.
S. bank, until congress shall direct or authorize such change to be
made, unless good cause shall arise, such as, in my judgment, does
not now exist.

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I am further constrained, owing to occurrences and circumstances,
that in part have come to my knowledge, or have taken place of late,
to leave it to you, sir, to determine, whether I am, or am not, any
longer to remain a member of your administration.
I sincerely hope, sir, that you will consider, that I owe it to my­
self, my family, and my friends, not to leave my course, at this
most trying moment of my life, open to doubt or conjecture; that my
conduct has already sharpened the dagger of malice, as may be seen
in the public prints; that you, who have been assailed, in so many
tender parts, and in whose defence I have devoted many a painful
day, ought to make allowance for me, in my present position; that
were I to resign, I could meet no calumniator, without breach of
duty; that I ask such order or direction from you, in relation to my
office, as may protect me and my children from reproach, and save
you and myself from all present and future pain; that I desire to
separate in peace and kindness; that I will strive to forget all un­
pleasantness, or cause of it, and that I devoutly wish, that your mea­
sures may end in happiness to your country, and honour to yourself.
With the utmost consideration, your obedient servant,
W . J. DUANB.
Treasury Department, September 21,1833.
To the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR.—Allow me, with great respect, to present to you another
view, in addition to those stated in my letter of this date.
If I understand your wish, as it is to be collected from your note
of this date, which I have just now again perused, it is to hold me,
upon principles of delicacy at least, to my assurance of July 22d,
that unless I agreed with your decision, after inquiry and discussion,
I would promptly afford you an opportunity to obtain a successor,
according in your views.
I pray you dispassionately to consider, whether you did not ab­
solve me, even upon principles of delicacy, from all obligations, upon
this view of the matter.
1. On Wednesday, September 18th, I signified in cabinet, my desire to take
and examine your exposition; and you gave it to me, saying, in reply to my inquiry
as to your direction, that I was to consider myself directed to act, on your respon­
sibility.
2. On Thursday morning, September 19th, you applied to me, to know if I
had come to a decision, and I returned by your messenger, who brought your
note, this reply:
**To the PRESIDENT or THE UNITED STATES.
a
SIR.—Upon a matter that deeply concerns, not only myself, but all who are
dear to me, I have deemed it right, as I have not a friend here to advise with, to

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ask the counsel of my father* at this crisis: I wrote to him last night, and am
aure that nothing but sickness will prevent his presence to-morrow night: on the
next day I trust that I shall be able to make a communication to you*
With the utmost respect, your obedient servant
W. J. DUANE.
''September 19th, 1833."
3. On the same day, Thursday, the I9th of September, your private secretary,
Major Donelson, called on me to say, that you proposed to publish, in the Globe
of the next day, your decision. I replied, that I thought you ought not; that I
was not a party to it; and as a matter of delicacy to myself could not approve
of it.
Lest words should be forgotten, I wrote and delivered to Major Donelson this
reply:
"A.

J. DONELSON, ESQ.

M

DEAR SIR.—The world is so censorious, that I am obliged, upon reflection,
to express to you my hope, that you will not regard me as approving of any pub* If I had consulted Col. Duane, and had removed the depositcs or resigned,
the partisans of the executive would have extolled my conduct, as an instance of
filial piety: but, as I would not remove the depositee or resign, they ridiculed ttxy
desire to consult him. This was the more remarkable, because the President
himself had not only requested Col. Duane's opinions, but had, in several instances urged me to consult him. Nevertheless, when thus rebuked, in 1834,1
was silent. On a recent occasion, however, I felt myself called upon to allude to
this subject; and to show, that, while I was in office, Col. Duane had sanctioned
my own spontaneous inclination, to refuse to remove the depositcs, or resign;
and from the letter, written on the occasion referred to, I am induced to make
the following explanatory quotations:
44
It may be askedr why, after having had, on the two points above alluded to
[the removal of the deposites, and the question of resignation] ray father's appro*
val of my own preferences, I desired a further conference with him. I answer
without disguise. Between the 12th and 18th of September, the President gave
me reason to apprehend, that he would insist upon an unconditional surrender;
and would not, in writing, ask me to retire. There was a lurking reluctance, on
my part, to refuse to resign, after having said that I would. Although released,
by the bad faith, with which I had been treated, from the observance of an as*
surance, which I ought never to have given, I still paused. Such was the state
of my feelings, on the 18th of September, when the President's exposition was*
read to the cabinet, and delivered to me for my decision. I desired to gain time
fbr the purpose, and began to write a defensive exposition on m / own part, or of
myself for refusing to remove the deposites. While writing it, I certainly looked
around, and in vain, for some friendly countenance. I desired to sift the question,
whether I should resign, or not I was anxious that a less excited eye, than my
own, should be cast upon my exposition, lest it should contain what I might
thereafter regret And, under the influence of these feelings, I am not ashamed
to say, I wished to confer with my father. If there was the least weakness, in
this, I am not sensible of i t My feelings were the natural effect, of a deep sense
of the value of reputation—a demonstration of struggles, between respect for my
eountry and myself, and my early attachment to the President"
M
When I was desirous to confer with my father, the official annunciation, that
the deposites would be removed, had not appeared. When the President took
that step, on the 20th of September, my scruples vanished—an oppressive weight
was removed from my heart—and I spontaneously refused to remove the depo­
sites, or resign."

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lication. It would seem to me but delicate to defer such an act, until J shall
either concur or decline. However, all that I desire to have understood, is, that
I do not approve of the course you mentioned. Were I the President, I would
consult, at least reasonably, the feelings of a man, who has already anxiety
enough. As to the newspapers, they will know what has been done, without an
official communication.
" Very respectfully, your's,
"W.

J. DUAOTC.

"September 19^,1833."
4. In the Globe of Friday, September 20th, you caused it to be announced to
the world, that the die was cast; thus altogether disregarding the rights of the
secretary of the treasury, and my own feelings and fame; and refusing besides
to wait even until the next day to receive my decision.

Allow me, therefore, very respectfully, but confidently to say, that
I was thus discharged from any sort of obligation, or respect for, or
on account of the past.
You gave me no opportunity to let you know, whether I would or
would not afford you an opportunity to choose a successor; in short,
the secretary of the treasury was, as far as an executive act could
do it, nullified; and I hold, therefore, that after such a course, I
may stand before my country, acquitted of any disregard even of
delicacy.
Trusting, sir, that you will be so good as to permit this to enter
into your consideration, with my former note of this date, and that
we may close, without discredit to either, the pending matter,
I am, with the utmost consideration, your obedient servant.
W . J. DuANE.
September 23,1833.
To the SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

SIR.—Since I returned your first letter of September 21st, and
since the receipt of your second letter of the same day, which was
sent back to you at your own request, I have received your third and
fourth letters of the same date. The two last, as well as the first,
contain statements that are inaccurate; and as I have already indi­
cated in my last note to you, that a correspondence of this description
Is inadmissible, your two last letters are herewith returned.
But from your recent communications, as well as your recent con­
duct, your feelings and sentiments appear to be of such a character,
that after your letter of July last, in which you say, should your
views not accord with mine " I will from respect to you and for my­
self, afford you an opportunity to select a successor whose views
may accord with your own, on the important matter in contempla­
tion," and your determination now to disregard the pledge you then
gave—I feel myself constrained to notify you that your further ser­
vices as secretary of the treasury are no longer required.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
[Signed.]

ANDREW JACKSON.

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CHAPTER

XII.

THE concluding letter, in the preceding chapter, terminated
all intercourse whatever, between the President and myself!
Within the five years, which have intervened, I have often read
the foregoing correspondence; truly inclined to discover any
error of fact or temper, and to avow the discovery, if made.
The result, invariably, has been, a persuasion that no just cause
of complaint existed. No attempt has been made to confute any
of my statements; and, as to my conduct, the preceding letters
manifest any thing rather than disrespect for the executive. If
I ofFended at all, it was against myself. The tone of my com­
munications, instead of being excusably indignant, was inex­
cusably deprecatory.
I remained in Washington, until the 27th of September. In
the early part of that day, as I was preparing for my intended
departure, about noon; I was informed, that I had been assailed
in the official paper. Supposing this to be the case, I wrote a
parting letter to the President's secretary, which, I hoped,
might check the course of impending proscription. Nothing
was more remote from my inclination, than to " come out"
against the President; as he termed it, at our last interview.
My long silence, under aspersion on one side, and amidst de­
mands for explanation on the other, proved my sincerity in this
respect. The only anticipation, which I entertained, was, that
there would be an official inquiry; and, until then, I resolved to
rest upon my personal reputation and official acts.
The letter, which I thus wrote to the President's secretary,
was left in the care of a friend, to be presented or sent to him;
and, as soon as 1 had thus disposed of it, I left Washington. To
my surprise, I received an acknowledgment of it, a few days
afterwards; an acknowledgment of such a character, that I
at once wrote a commentary upon it I was impressed with a
belief that the reply had been prepared by Mr. Kendall, at the
desire of the President; and that it ought not to be regarded as
the personal act of Mr. Donelson. Nevertheless, I was so re­
luctant to say or do any thing, that might in any way affect
the latter, that I would not place those letters before the public
eye, in my defensive exposition of 1834. If it was fastidious­
ness, it was an error, which I felt disposed to correct, in the
present publication.
Accordingly, I sent, to Mr. Donelson, the commentary, which
I had written on the 5th, and 6th, of October, upon the reply,
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which he had sent to me, on the 29th of September, 1833. At
the same time, however, I intimated, to him, my unwillingness
to publish the reply, if it was his own spontaneous act. No
nnswer, to this appeal, having been made, I feel myself justified
in presenting the following letter:
" Washington, September 27, 1833.
" A. J. DONELSON, ESQ.
" DEAR SIR.—If I had called, personally, to bid you farewell, I

know no reason, why you should not have been inclined, to re­
ceive that token of my respect kindly. I write to you, however,
first, to say 'that word—farewell;' and, secondly, in order
that at least one sincere friend of the President may be able to
say to him, if proper, what I now mention. I have been told,
this morning, that the Globe has already opened a battery upon
me. I do not deprecate such a course for my own sake, nor
is what I am now going to say 16 be regarded as a threat. If
it is desirable, by the President, that there should be another
Berrien campaign, or that our relations should be placed before
the public eye—I am ready: but it seems to me, that, in such
conflicts, the public reputation suffers; and that injury and in­
sult have been administered to me, in such quantity, as to de­
mand no further aid of that kind. I have, besides, such a fund
of good nature; and have been trained up so closely to the rule,
of taking no offence at wanton and unmerited assaults; that I
do not desire to throw the first stone, or any stones at all; but,
as I told the President, on Saturday, ' even a worm, if tram­
pled upon, will turn;' and he must not blame me, if I choose to
consider him, and not F. P. Blair, responsible for a continuation
of calumny and aspersion. The President, even on Saturday,
said things, which I shall not mention here, indicative of the
kindest feelings and highest confidence: so that, it would seem
to be uncharitable, now to countenance the typographical assas­
sination of a man, who, at great risk, defended the President
from such a fate, when he was himself attacked; and whose
only misfortune or offence is, that he cannot, or will not,
unbelieve, or unthink, as Gallileo did, to escape a dungeon.
Rather than remain in the damps of a dungeon, I might say, I
unbelieved and unthought; but, thank God, I barely lost office,
by declining to make the attempt. I say, I lost no more, for,
to the day of his death, the President must, in his heart, applaud
my course, and admit me to be an honest man.
" Accept my best wishes for the health, peace, and honour of
yourself and family.
" Very respectfully, your's, & c ,
"W.J.DUANE."

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" Washington, September 29, 1833.
«W. J. DUANE, Esq.

" DEAR SIR.—Your note of the 27th was not received, until
yesterday evening, some time after I was informed, that you
had left the city for Philadelphia. Had it been received earlier,
I should certainly have availed myself of the opportunity it af­
forded, to hold a personal interview with you; which, I trust,
would have resulted in some explanations, that might have
been useful, in placing your relations with the President on a
more satisfactory footing.
" With the fullest access to the President's feelings and senti­
ments, on the question of the deposites; and at the various
stages of its discussion, both in and out of the cabinet, I cannot
be mistaken in saying, that he was at all times friendly to you,
and never disposed to doubt the purity and integrity of your
motives. There was no indication of a different disposition on
his part, until the receipt of your paper, stating finally your
reasons for not executing the measure; and I think I may ven­
ture to say, without offence to you, when a retrospect is taken
of the point at issue, that it is not surprising, he should have
been at some loss to account for the manner, in which you dis­
posed of it You may recollect, that this paper, stating your
determination on the subject of the deposites, was not commu­
nicated for several days after it was announced to be an exe­
cutive measure; and, that, among the reasons alleged for your
justification, were several, which, having but little to do with
the merits of the question, were calculated to impugn the mo­
tives of those, who differed from you.
" After he learned, that you had doubts of your power, to act
without the consent of congress, the President strove to give
his communications, on the subject, such a form as, without
interfering with your discretion, was calculated to impress you
with the necessity of carrying them into execution. Thus, re­
garding you as open to conviction, he hoped to obtain your
concurrence; and, at the-same time, he trusted, that you would
see in the delicacy, which he observed, additional proof of his
confidence. At all events, he did not doubt, that you would
readily reconcile, such a course with his duty, under the cir­
cumstances of your appointment: for, it must have been appa­
rent, if he omitted to state to you, when you were called into
the cabinet, that he was resolved, on contingencies, which were
likely to happen, to take such steps as he might lawfully do to

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remove the deposites, he could not allow this omission to pre­
vent the execution of the measure: nor could he suppose that
you, as his friend, however much you may have regretted or
lamented his determination, would be willing to thwart it, after
the most public and solemn annunciation of the reasons, on
which it was founded.
" But I beg you to understand, that it is far from my wish to
be considered here, as expressing an opinion, one way or the
other, on the course which the President pursued, in relation to
the question of deposites. I only aim at meeting the sugges­
tions, in your note, respecting the relations, which may be
hereafter maintained between yourself and him. And, in this
spirit, I feel authorized in assuring you, on the part of the Pre­
sident, that he is not conscious of having injured you,. or of
having justified the slightest suspension of those feelings, which
recommended your call to his cabinet, and which he had hoped
would have been the means of extending the theatre of your
usefulness to the country. But, on your part, he feels, that
justice has not been done to him, in your communications; and
that he was warranted in supposing you did not intend to se­
parate as his friend. It is with you, however, to determine,
whether this supposition shall be realized, or may be at once
banished.
" In answer to the observations you have made respecting the
course of the Globe, I can only say, that the President is not
responsible for it: nor ought he to be held accountable for the
views, which the editor may entertain of your conduct, or his,
or for the manner in which he may discuss that of either as a
public question. He is satisfied, however, that Mr. Blair will
not do yourself or him intentional injustice; and that on this, as
on other subjects, connected with the administration, he can
have no motive to impair its weight, by fomenting personal dif­
ferences among its friends, or giving unnecessary publicity to
such as may unfortunately exist.
" In conclusion, allow me to assure you, that I feel sensibly
the proofs of kindness, which I have received at your hands,
and that it will afford me the greatest happiness to be the me­
dium, by which your relations with the President may be put
on their old footing.
" With best wishes, for the prosperity and happiness of yourself and family,
" I remain your's, respectfully,
" A . J. DONELSON."

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"Philadelphia, October 5, 1833.
" DEAR SIR.—On the 3d inst., I received a reply to the note,
which I spontaneously wrote to you on the 27th ult Ostensi­
bly it is your own act, but I cannot consider it really so. The
circumstances, without doubt, were these—you communicated,
to the President, the note, which I sent to you; and, at his de­
sire, you returned the reply now before me. Considering it the
President's letter, therefore, I proceed to comment upon it.
" You are under an impression, that, if there had been an in­
terview between us, prior to my departure from Washington, the
relations, between the President and myself, might have been
placed on a more favourable footing. Independently of other
considerations, the letter before me shows, that such an expec­
tation could not have been realized. For my own part, I had
no explanation to give. The true time, for explanation, was on
the 21st ult, and I had anxiously availed myself of it. On
that occasion, I delivered to the President my letter of that date,
and stated its purport. A long conversation ensued, but our
respective views were irreconcilable. Finally, to avoid a hos­
tile breach, I offered to take back the letter referred to, if the
President would state, in writing, that he desired me to leave
the department. This I asked, in order that my lips might not
be closed with the official seal, and that I might be free to de­
fend myself, if attacked. But even this he would not grant.
Under excitement, he required an unconditional surrender of
the post: and, as I refused, it was taken by storm. Private ex­
planation, therefore, a few days after, even if agreeable to me,
could have had no effect All that I desired in the note, which
I sent to you, was, that the President should not add injury to
injury, by*countenancing the calumnious course of the official
paper, and even that reasonable request has been evaded or
denied.
" In the second paragraph of the letter, which you sent to me,
it is confessed, that the President indicated a disposition to be
unfriendly, and to doubt the purity of my motives, after I had
presented my letter of the 21st ult This admission is a serious
one. It shows the true state of the President's feelings, and
also accounts for the shameful course of the official paper.
There would have been no hesitation, it seems, in blasting my
reputation, if it could have been done! What must be thought
of such conduct on the part of the chief magistrate? What

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must be thought of the assertion, in a subsequent part of the
letter, which you sent to me, that the President is not conscious
of having injured me, or justified a suspension of former friend­
ship 1 When conscious of his innocence, a removed minister
may defy open assaults upon his fame; but who is safe, when
the executive is willing to whisper away reputation, by indi­
cating a disposition to doubt 1 The President should have been
one of the last to entertain a doubt. He well knew how un­
willing I had been to accept office. He is the only individual,
whose resentment and whose favour had ever been presented
for my choice; and he knew that I had not hesitated in making
an election. Had I removed the deposites, I might have re­
mained in office. If I had merely handed to him the key of
the treasury, he would have given me the mission to Russia.
Instead of arousing suspicion, my resistance, under such cir­
cumstances, should have commanded his respect. Of this he
seems to be now sensible. If I may confide in his sincerity,
he offers an apology for his doubt. He does not pretend, that
he had one tangible circumstance warranting doubt. For the
colour of an excuse, he is driven to an appeal to myself! I am
gravely asked, to take a retrospect of the manner, in which I
disposed of the point at issue, and then to say, whether the Pre­
sident had not some reason to be in doubt. I have taken the
review suggested, and can find in my conduct no justification
for his unfriendly and suspicious indications. Let me, how­
ever, scrutinize what is alleged.
" It is, in the first place, said, that my determination on the
subject of the deposites, was not communicated, until several
days after their removal was announced to be an executive
measure. This view of the matter is erroneous. My decision
was stated formally in the cabinet, on the 17th ult, and in
writing on the 21st. On the 20th the meditated change was
made known in the official paper, but not as an executive mea­
sure ; on the contrary, the public were allowed to suppose, that
I concurred in the proceeding, or that it was my own act It
was not until after my retirement, that the change was an­
nounced as an executive measure, or that the reasons for it
were published. There was, therefore, no thwarting, no un­
locked for opposition, such as is hinted at The only question,
on which I hesitated, was, whether I ought or ought not to
resign; on that alone did I seek friendly counsel; but even for

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that purpose, the President refused to wait one day. He pro­
ceeded uninterruptedly throughout, just as if I concurred with
him. In June, he indicated September as the time proper for
the change, and on the 20th of that month the change was
announced.
" It is said, in the next place, that, among my reasons for re­
fusing to remove the deposites, there were several, which were
calculated to impugn the motives of those who differed from
me. The reasons alluded to are these—
" Because, I believe that the efforts, made in various quarters, to hasten the
removal of the deposites, did not originate with patriots or statesmen, but in
schemes to promote factious and selfish purposes.
u
Because, it has been attempted, by persons and presses, known to be in the
confidence and pay of the administration, to intimidate and constrain the secre­
tary of the treasury, to execute an act in direct contradiction to his solemn con­
victions."

" These, and my other reasons, for refusing to remove the
deposites, were not hastily formed or wantonly uttered. My
confidence in their soundness rested upon a mass of circum­
stances. The President himself could give negative evidence*
What patriot, or statesman, or even disinterested person, urged
him to remove the deposites ? Were the only patriots or states*
men of the country to be found in the banks and clubs of Boston,.
Albany, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore 1 Did a few
individuals at Washington represent the public virtue or private
disinterestedness of the Union ? The President was exceedingly
anxious to have at least a majority of the cabinet with him j
and, to gain that object, would undoubtedly have told them, if
any patriots or statesmen sustained his course. To my know­
ledge, no such support was ever given, or appealed to. For
my own part, I confidently assert, that of the many persons*
who wrote and spoke to me on the subject, there was not one*
whose zeal could not be fairly traced to the spirit of faction or
of speculation. My belief on this point, therefore, was not
factitious or voluntary, but absolute and inevitable.
" With power to send for persons and papers, I am satisfied,
that I could establish the existence of a conspiracy, to drive
me from office, and-to cast suspicion around my conduct, in
order to excuse that outrage. The file of the official paper itself
is testimony in point. The simultaneous attacks made upon me,
in eastern, northern, and western newspapers, sustain my belief.
The paragraphs in them were so nearly identical in drift and

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phraseology, that they could not have been spontaneous or
indigenous. I have no doubt whatever of their origin, at
Washington.
" The reasons referred to, therefore, had much to do with the
merits of the question. I had a right, I was bound, to avow
my dispassionate belief; and I am quite at a loss to conceive,
why the President, whose motives I did not call in question,
should identify himself with individuals, who should be permit­
ted to rely on their own acts and reputation.
"Considering the manner, in which, in his letters of the 21st
ult., the President dwelt upon my refusal to resign, I am sur­
prised at not finding an allusion to it, in the letter which you
sent to me. For my own part, I am not willing to pass this
point over in silence. The more I reflect upon my decision,
the more I am satisfied with it. Good faith and good feeling
towards me, I am satisfied, did not exist; or, if they did on the
part of the President, they were counteracted and perverted.
I was assailed in the official newspaper, and ought not to re­
linquish the means of self-defence. The annunciation in the
Globe of the 20th ult, was such an outrage as subverted all
past relations and agreements. These, and other considera­
tions, satisfied me, that 1 could not be justly rebuked for re­
fusing to resign. But, if no other consideration existed, the one
that 1 am about to mention sustains, in my own breast, the de­
cision to which I came. I erred, in July, in saying I would
retire at a future time, for I could not foresee what would then
be the state of affairs, and the true nature of my duty. This
error in July placed me in this dilemma in September; either,
I must observe my oath of office of May, to execute my duty
faithfully, or I must observe my assurance of July that I would
resign. I refused to resign, because, by resigning, I would vio­
late my duty; and, because, by not resigning, I did injury to no
one. The President was not retarded one moment, or in any
other way affected. Even if there could have been any un­
pleasantness in the act of removing me from office, I relieved
him from it To my conduct in this particular, therefore, I look
back without regret, and forward without apprehension.
" In the third paragraph of the letter before me, it is said, that
the President evinced delicacy towards me, as soon as he learn­
ed that I had doubts of my power to act without the consent
of congress; that this delicaey was manifested in the form given
to his communications; that he could not be expected, however,

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out of delicacy to me, to abandon a measure resolved upon,
under contingencies likely to happen; and that he had not sup­
posed, I would be willing to thwart him, after a solemn annun­
ciation of the reasons for removing the deposites. Allow me to
say, that the basis of this paragraph is a mistake, and that the
superstructure is also erroneous. I never had a doubt of my
power to act, without awaiting the consent of congress. On the
contrary, I was satisfied that I had the power, but ought not to
exercise it, because congress had declared the deposites to be
safe where they were. It is also incorrect to pretend, that the
President did, at any time, prior to the 18th ult., announce, even
to the cabinet, a resolution, that the deposites should be removed.
The utmost that Mr. Whitney said, and that the President
confirmed, was, that he would assume the responsibility of di­
recting the secretary of the treasury to change the depository.
Instead of announcing, that the deposites should be removed,
whether the secretary concurred or not, the President assured
me, in his letter of the 26th of June, that he did not intend to
interfere with the independent exercise of the discretion, given
to the secretary of the treasury by law. Of whom did he thus
confess, that the secretary was independent? surely of every
authority but congress. With what propriety, then, can it be
pretended, that I thwarted the President, by barely exercising
the discretion, with which he promised not to interfere, and
which he admitted I might exercise independently? Even the
paper read to the cabinet on the 18th ult., avows a respect for
the rights of the secretary of the treasury: the President affects
to be shocked at its being supposed, that he would urge the secre­
tary to do what his conscience disapproves; but, if the secretary
obeys his conscience, he is condemned for thwarting the Pre­
sident!
" A person, unacquainted with the true state of things, might
suppose, from the fourth paragraph of the letter under consi­
deration, that I had been writing to the President, to restore for­
mer cordiality. My note had no such object. The manner in
which he severed our former ties, was so offensive, that any
overture on my part, would have been utterly improper. I am
incapable of cherishing resentment, but I am not disposed to
kiss the hand that smote me. The purpose of my note was to
warn the President, that I would hold him publicly accountable
for attacks, made upon me, in the official paper; and that I de­
sired no war in disguise or hollow truce, but open hostility or
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honest peace. To meet my fancied overture, it is said, obviously
on the authority of the President, that he is not conscious of
having injured me, or justified a suspension of former feelings;
that, on the other hand, my communications warranted a supposition, that I did not intend to separate in friendship; and,
finally, that the future state of our relations is to be decided by
myself. Upon the face of this, there appears even condescension;
and yet I am constrained to say, the appearance is not sustained
by the existing reality, any more than by past transactions. As
to my own feelings, while in office, I desire no Better exposition
of them, than my communications that are referred to. I believed that the President had gone astray; but I relied on his
honesty of purpose, and struggled to remain his friend. It is
true, I did not show this in the way that is so acceptable, and
therefore so usual, at Washington, by a servile acquiescence
in whatever he said or did. My sense of duty, as a friend, dictated a frank but respectful avowal of my own unbiassed sentiments. If I erred at all, it was in a way opposite to the one
complained of. In consideration for the President, I sometimes
forgot what was due to myself. Let me now place his conduct
in contrast with mine; and, while making the comparison, let
it be borne in mind, that, instead of having sought office, I was
actually enticed into it.
" It is said to have been meritorious, on the part of the President, and complimentary to myself, that he did not communicate to me, ere I entered office, what was in contemplation aa
to the deposites; and, I confess, silence would have been honourable to both parties, if it had been suitably followed up. But,
when occurrences, after I entered office, are reviewed, I may
well consider that to be an injury, which I might otherwise
have been proud of The President ought to have explicitly
told me, ere I entered office, what he would expect me to do,
under pain of expulsion for refusing; or, having omitted to warn
me, he ought not to have pressed me to act in contradiction ta
my sense of duty. Nor is this all that I may complain of. After
I was in office, and he had expressed his own opinions and
wishes, he added, that he did not mean to interfei^ with the
independent exercise of the discretion given to me by law, in
relation to the deposites. So that, even if 1 had been told, or
had foreseen, ere I entered office, what were his views, he afterwards guaranteed to me the right of independently exercising
my own discretion. Let me, then, ask, was it not an injury—

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to entice me into office without notice as to the future; then to
tell me I might act independently; and then to dismiss me from
office for doing so? If this conduct did not warrant even re­
sentment, I must be utterly ignorant of the true nature of an
injury.
" Besides—had I not a right to complain, that the first infor­
mation of the President's past proceedings and future views,
was given to me by Mr. R. M. Whitney? Why, if good faith
really existed, was friendly, oral explanation, discontinued on
July 22d? Why, after the agreement of July 19th, that there
should be no commitment, until after the return of the agent,
did the letter of July 22d, require me to commit myself? Why,
after I said I would resign, in case, after the collection of infor­
mation, I could not agree with the President, did he forbid the
collection of that information, and yet ask me to resign? Why
were attacks, made upon me in official newspapers, counte­
nanced? What object could the President have had, in the an­
nunciation in the Globe of the 20th ult., but to hasten my de­
parture from office by that outrage? What could be more
offensive, what could more clearly betray anger, than the way
in which my letters of the 21st ult, were sent back to me? If
the least desire, for such explanation as you refer to, existed,
why was it not then manifested? Why was the appointment
of my successor announced in a manner so unprecedented?
" In short, I am at a loss to know, what was omitted, that was
calculated to sully my reputation, and wound the pride and
feelings of myself and family. It is said, indeed, that the Pre­
sident is unconscious of the injustice done me; but, how can
this be reconciled even with the confession, alluded to in the
early part of this letter, that he had indicated not merely an
unfriendly disposition, but a willingness to call my integrity in
question? If present declarations are sincere; if the President
is ready to brighten the chain of friendship; and if it rests with
me, whether this shall be done or not; a singular contrast is
thus presented with past transactions. Those declarations cer­
tainly are an admission, that I was wronged. The President
would not be willing to maintain former relations, if he credit­
ed the calumnious insinuations of the official paper. If he is
sincere, why does he countenance them ? My note to you, sir,
of the 27th ult, was an appeal to him. I said boldlyr because
truly, that to the day of his death, he must believe me to be an
honest man. The letter you sent to me, in reply, may be con-

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sidered a concession on this point But what avail those pri­
vate demonstrations 1 I asked the President to control the offi­
cial paper: he replies, that he is not accountable for Mr. Blair,
and that Mr. Blair will not do me intentional injustice. After
my experience at Washington, I cannot consider the one so
irresponsible, or the other so just. The voice of Mr. Blair is
usually the echo of the voice of the President; and the mischief
consists in the inability to discriminate. I do not complain of
the mere insinuations of the official paper, but of the counte­
nance given to them by their appearance in it In that paper,
of the 3d inst, (a week after my appeal to you) you may not
find an open editorial attack upon me, but you will find what
is much more shameful In an adopted article, it is insinuated,
that my refusal to remove the deposites was the effect of such
corrupt influence, as, it is said, made certain editors the present
advocates, although they before had been the opponents of the
bank U. S. The poison, it is true, is mixed up with various
disguises, but its venomous nature is nevertheless apparent
The official paper has no more reason to attribute to me any
other than the most virtuous motives, than I have to assert, that
Mr. Taney was bribed by the state banks, for doing what I
would not do. How can such demonstrations of malignity be
reconciled with the President's professions 1 Would he stand
patiently, and witness the assassination of an unarmed man?
If not, why does he remain silent, when even a hint to the writers
for the Globe, his daily associates, would be imperative 1 The
official paper couples my name with dishonour. The official
placard is sent abroad, and circulated widely at home. Sus­
picion as to myself may affect my children, who are not more
innocent than their father. The President sees all this, privately
makes bland professions, but declares he cannot be accounta­
ble for Mr. Blair, and that Mr. Blair will not be intentionally
unjust! How can such contradictions be reconciled? After all,
I may not return blow for blow, but surely there is no claim
upon my forbearance.
" I have now, October 6th, closed this letter, so far as it has
reference to the President I have had no desire to offend, and
hope what I have said may not be the cause of unpleasantness
to yourself. Personally I entertain, towards you, kind and re­
spectful feelings only.
" Truly, your's, & c ,
" W . J. DUANE."

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[The following is a copy of the letter* in which I enclosed and sent the forego*
ing one.]
" Philadelphia,

January 20, 1838.

" A. J. DONELSON, ESQ.

" D E A R SIR.—You are aware, that, in 1834,1 addressed several
letters to the people of the United States, in vindication of my con­
duct in office. On that occasion, I would have published the whole
of the correspondence between the President of the United States,
and myself; on the subject of the removal of the deposites, if all the
letters composing it had been in my possession. It was not until
July last, however, that I obtained, from the treasury department,
copies of such of them as were deficient.
" I am now disposed to put in a tangible, or printed, shape, such
unpublished papers, as may elucidate the subject of the deposites, or
my conduct in relation to them; and it has occurred to me, that I
ought to include the note, which I wrote to you on the 27th of Sep­
tember, 1833; and the reply, dated the 29th, which you sent to me.
Nay, I am inclined to go further. When I received the reply, just
alluded to, I considered it the President's, and not yours; and, accord­
ingly, wrote a commentary upon it. Hesitation followed, however,
and that letter was laid aside. I now intend to add it to the collec­
tion, above-mentioned—simply as a commentary, written in 1833,
unaltered in substance, and but little changed in phraseology. Ere
I carry this intention into effect, however, it seems to be proper, that
I should send this commentary to you, to be submitted, if you please,
to the President; so that, if the letter of the 29th of September was
not written and sent under his direction, its true character may be
explained.
" If there is any part of the commentary, which the circumstances,
existing in 1833, did not excuse, Iregret it. I did not then, nor do I
now desire to offend any one.
" If an apology is requisite, for making the printed collection,
above-mentioned, it will be found in the natural right of self-defence.
The obligation, to preserve life itself, is not more sacred, than that
to protect reputation. Time and adverse circumstances have taught
me, to review the past dispassionately; and yet, the more closely I
examine it, the more sensibly I feel that I was wronged. My object,
however, is not to complain, much less to indulge resentment. I
barely desire to account for my anxiety to shield my character from
injury.
"With this view, it seems to be justifiable to publish the letter of
the 29th of September, 1833, especially. Either it was written in
the spirit of truth and sincerity, or it was not. All who. had any
agency, in preparing it, will naturally disclaim any crafty or covert

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design. Taking it for granted, therefore, that it was written in good
faith, its professions and assertions may be placed side-by-side, or
in contrast, with other assertions. For instance, in the Globe of the
7th of February, 1834, it was alleged, that, prior to the 8th of
September, 1833, the President had pronounced my effort to put
off the removal of the deposites, a ' finesse to favour the bank/ It
is, on the contrary, asserted in the letter of the 29th of September,
1833, that, up to the 21st of that month, his confidence in me remained undiminished. Again, in his protest of the 17th of April,
1834, to the senate, the President said, * other causes existed to justify' my removal from office, besides my refusal to remove the deposites. The letter of the 29th of September, 1833, however, shows,
that, after my removal from office, the President was willing to
smoke with me the pipe of friendship, if I would consent to bury the
hatchet; a willingness utterly irreconcilable with any knowledge of
* other causes to justify' my removal from office.
" These are some of the considerations, which induce me to publish the letter, that you sent to me, and which overcome the scruples,
entertained on that point, on a former occasion.
" If I err, in adopting the present mode of accomplishing my object, I hope you will excuse me.
" With respect and regard,
" Your obedient servant,
" W . J. DUANB."

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CHAPTER

XIII.

THE foregoing chapters contain the direct and indirect correspondence, between the President and myself, from June to
October, 1833; connected by links of narrative, so as to form a
continuous chain.
When, in 1834,1 had occasion to address my fellow citizens,
I desired to sustain my memory, by my letters, written, while I
was in office, to mutual friends of the President and myself?
and, as I had not kept copies of them, the originals, at my request, were returned to me. Of these, constituting a sort of
diary or record, of my feelings, sentiments, and acts, I was
inclined to form another chain; but the number is so considerable, and so much of the substance is already embraced in the
preceding narrative, that I now present four only of my familiar letters. These are selected, so as to represent my impressions at four distinct periods. The first letter was written, after
I was offered, but before I accepted, office; and shows my reluctance to accept it The second was written after I accepted,
but before I had entered, office; and shows some of my motives,
for consenting to serve. The third, written while I was in office,
represents my feelings and sentiments, at that time. And the
fourth, written after my retirement to private life, shows my
impressions at that, to me, interesting moment:
44

Washington, December 13, 1832.
"
I have received your letter of the lOtfe
inst. I have not decided [upon the offer of office]. Time ha*
been allowed for consideration at home; and I am unable to*
predict the result Mr. Barry's health is very precarious. Heis not going to England. Mr. Stevenson is, it is rumoured. T h e
truth is, I have not been off Capitol-Hill, but twice, since I came
here; once, for half an hour, on a visit of ceremony to the President; and, on another occasion, to see the secretary of the
treasury. My object has been to work hard [as a commissioner
under the convention with Denmark], in order to return home,
where I am much wanted, such is the state of the family, owing
to sickness, &c. Therefore, I see little of what is going on here,.
and hear less. My mind, besides, has been engrossed and disturbed by the matter above referred to [the offer of office]. M y
sentiments remain as they were a week ago. The proposal, stript
of all that fancy decks it with, is this—

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u
Please to abandon your business, now yielding an adequate income. Break
Up house-keeping at Philadelphia, and commence it here. Take your children
from the best, to the worst, schools in the Union. Change from simple life and
old associates, to gaudy show and new faces, generally with masks. Take your
family where medical skill has scarcely a resting place, from the seat of its excellence. If you will do all this, you shall have a large annual compensation——
as long as you remain-in office! How long that will be depends—on many
contingencies! As to whether, on your return to business, you will find the
stream dried up, or still flowing that is not taken into account! Neither can
any thing be said about the envy, malice, and slander, to which you may be exposed
for these will be counter-balanced by the honour, and the glory, and
the distinction of a high place."

" Really this seems to be a common sense view of the mat­
ter. Add to this, the return home again! which I cannot better
describe than in this way. When Mr. ex-secretary
was
about to depart from this place, his goods were sold at auction.
Happening to be here at the time, and seeing the auction flag
at his door, I resolved to pass a vacant half hour at the sale,
which had just commenced. I opened a door, on the left side
of the hall, into a small parlour; and there, to my surprise, I
saw Mr.
himself, in a room destitute of all furniture but
a few chairs, on one of which he was sitting. The fire was
almost out, and beside it a poor cat was sitting, which, I fancied
at least, looked condolingly at her master, whose countenance
really was cast down. * The altogether,' as the French say,
of this scene, was such, that I was embarrassed, when making
an excuse for entering; and I was glad to get off, with this les­
son on the blessings of leaving office! In the large drawingroom, I saw the topaz to this ebony of public life. There was
Mrs. secretary
bidding for silk curtains, and satincovered chairs, and glistening chandeliers, and other decorations
of a minister's abode. She looked delighted with the present, and
with the anticipations of the future—a future so unlike the
anticipation! * * * * * *
Now, I have no notion of
such a lottery-business—of such pantomimes, farces, and tra­
gedies ! I will write to you again, when I have aught to say,
that will interest you. I expect to be at home on the 20th.
" & c , &c."
"Philadelphia, May 19, 1833.
"
1 received, last night, your letter of the 12th
inst [alluding to rumours of my appointment] Mine to you, (at
Charleston) written about the same time, will have told you,
that the President had offered the appointment to me, and that
I had accepted it You must not suppose, however, that I act-.

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ed without deliberation. Exactly such scruples, as arose in
your mind, presented themselves to my own. The desire of the
President was made known to me early in December last, and
I did not decide until about two months afterwards. I put, as
you did, into one scale my duty as a citizen, and into the other
my duty as the head of a large family. Certainly, if injury to
my family would have been the probable result, I would not
have consented to act; especially as there could not but be very
many persons, at least as competent as, probably more suitable
than, myself. But on a close scrutiny, I concluded that I might
make a sacrifice, without absolute danger to my children; and
that, therefore, as a good citizen, I ought to accept an offer so
unexpected and remarkable.
" Various considerations combined to bring me to this con­
clusion. Theoretically, the door of the temple of distinction is
open to all men; but mine is the only instance, perhaps, in
which a man, destitute of fortune, family influence, or factious
support, has been permitted, much less invited, to enter. So
that, as a sort of representative of humble men, I did not choose
to refuse, and thus sanction a notion, that none but men of for­
tune or influence could be selected. Besides, I confess to you,
that I have thought myself treated, by * the titularies of the
dignitaries' of Pennsylvania, for upwards of twenty years, very
much as Cinderella was treated by her sisters. Not that I have
the vanity to suppose, that I possess the redeeming merit of the
despised sister; but, I know that dunces, greater than even I
admit myself to be, have been ever and anon hoisted over my
head; and that too by ropes mainly pulled by myself, while I
supposed, I was labouring solely for the public. So that I have
no objection to see the said ' titularies' for once disappointed,
in their desire of keeping me always blowing the fire, without
tasting the food that it cooked. In short, I have always had the
affections of the privates; but the officers and non-commissioned
officers of the Pennsylvania line, for some reason or another,
have always been unkind to me. To my great joy, the privates
are now well pleased. Nothing can surpass their obviously
heartfelt satisfaction at my elevation, unless it is the palpable
chagrin of divers officers and aspirants!
" I leave this for Washington on the 26th."
#
#
#
" Washington, August 23, 1833.
However grievous it may be to suppose such
a thing, it is true, that there is an irresponsible cabal, that has
17
u

s

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»

-,

more power than the people are aware of. We must not won­
der, that the President has not withstood the extraordinary in­
fluences, that have been around him. Constant attacks upon
him naturally led him to lean upon those, who defended him.
The vast number of applicants for office, and the character
of their solicitations, have sapped his confidence in the purity
of men; so that he seems to suppose, that all have their prices,
And then, the incessant torrent of adulation has had the effect
to persuade him, that he positively is the infallible person,
his flatterers represent him to be. Human nature is the same
at all times, and in all places. Alexander hired a person to
remind him, every day, that he was but a man; and yet he
struck down Clytus, because he doubted his descent from
Ammon—the same Clytus, who had saved his life in battle.
Napoleon also became as spoiled a child, as was ever dandled
on the lap of fashion. I might enumerate many other instances of
such frailty. The President himself is not sensible of his change,
or of his true position; and, if one were to hint this, it might
be deemed an insult Need I tell you, that my devotion to him
was genuine ? or rather, not to him as a mere man, but as one
taken from the ranks of the pure people. I thought, that, coming
from them, he would retain the stamp of their unadulterated
principles. What motive can I have for differing? What
inducement have I not, for concurring ? but I can only concur
in what I can defend and applaud, in the midst of a wilderness,
during the perils of the sea, or on the bed of death.
" The person you mention, Mr. Kendall, I have seen but four
times in my life, up to the present hour; and at no time have I
been in his presence longer than about ten minutes. All I can
say is, that his conduct to Mr. H. Clay never seemed to me to
be that of a pure man. Consequently, as it is in my nature to
be repelled or attracted at once, I have obeyed m^ impulse in
avoiding. He is a man of great power as a writer, as the Sun­
day mail report, veto, &c, prove. So that it is natural, that the
President should lean upon him; and so he has a right to do.
What I object to is, that there is an under current—a sly,
whispering, slandering system pursued, that is utterly mischie­
vous and cruel. So intense is the anxiety of Mr. Van Buren
to succeed, that he favours those, who have private access to
the President's ears. The latter is very anxious for Mr. V's
success. The apprehended separation of the parts induced the
friends of the latter, to desire to have a flag up, to rally for a

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fight All this may be very well; but, when they want me to
hoist the flag, I must pause and ask, is that one of my public
duties ? was I brought here to be a public executioner, not only
of others, but of myself?
" I am just beginning to feel, that, in this station, I might * do
the state some service.' I came here, very reluctantly, know­
ing my deficiencies, and the proneness of men to cavil and con­
demn. Now, that I am here, I should like to «try,' whether
I could not do some good; and, of course, on that account,
should regret a change. Otherwise, it would contribute to my
tranquillity. The crisis must soon arrive. If nothing to alter
my present views shall arise, I must decline to remove the
deposites. A dismissal (for such would be a compulsory resig­
nation) would be a sad example to future officers. It will be
a cruel blow to me, but one, under which I must not stagger
or fall. Think of this—in a letter to me, the President said,
• it is not my intention to interfere with the independent exercise
of the discretion, committed to you by law over the subject.'
One would think this conclusive; and so, perhaps, it would be,
if he were left to himself; but I tell you, Catos and Ciceros are
not as numerous here as Catpines and Cetheguses. The New
York pernicious and immoral doctrine, that we are not a com­
mon family, and that there is a perpetual warfare for 'the
spoils,' has many followers here. The great and common
good of all is deemed a chimera! This rests upon a low esti­
mate of human nature, and makes us Tartars in principle, and
savages in practice. My notions, resting upon an elevated
conception of the goodness of Providence, are far different I
do not believe* in the saying, ' homo homini lupus*—that men
are, or were meant to be, beasts to prey upon each other. I do
not believe, that our form of government is founded on a con­
viction of man's baseness, but upon an assurance that the mass
mean well, and are able to protect themselves against the
abuses of individuals. Lorenzo Dow, or the Mormonites, could
not preach a doctrine more incomprehensible to the folks here,
than mine is. I mourn to say it.
" I have thus opened my heart, and but a little, to pour some
of its contents into the crucible of your judgment; so that, if
any result shall be heard, that may make you regret my posi­
tion, you may know what were my motives and feelings, and
see that I shall bear it, as a man should do, who has nothing
to reproach himself with."

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" Philadelphia, October 7, 1833.
"
I have received your letter, enclosing ex­
tracts from some of the Pittsburgh papers. Great freedom, I
confess, is taken with me; but, as I have passed through thirty
political campaigns, I am not much annoyed by paper shots.
And yet, I have just now sent * a card' to the newspapers,
which, I foresee, will not please the ultras on either side. My
desire was to be silent, and I will remain so, if possible. You
will admit, however, that it is not a trifle, when ' the great
Globe itself,' insinuates, that my late course was the effect of
bank influence! that is, the official paper, almost the only one
the President reads, and whose editors really are his special
confidants, insinuates, by quotation, that the same means,
which, it says, converted Mr. Webb and others, changed me!
A man must have no small stock of good nature, as well as of
conscious innocence, to bear this calmly; 'and as yet I do so
bear it, I assure you. With as much truth and decency might
I say, that Mr. Taney had been bribed by the state banks.
The slanderers themselves do not believe what they say of
me; and if any one else does, the day of my justification must
at last arrive.
*
" The belief, that this will be so, cheers me amidst flatteries
on one side, and menaces on the other. Some persons are now
cordial, who used to be reserved; and some are now surly,
who used to be cordial! Such is this queer world! The for­
mer, perhaps, think, I must now change my opinion of the bank,
because the President sanctions a persecution of me; if so, they
are mistaken: and the latter suppose, that their chilling looks
will make me regret my resistance against the President, which
is as great a mistake as the other. In short, it seems to be
thought strange, that I should have refused to worship man or
mammon either! It seems to be supposed, that there must have
been some secret in the business! Now I scarcely need tell you,
that the only secret was this—1 did not choose to be frowning
upon myself, for the remainder of my life, as would have been
the case, if, to please the President or benefit myself, I had be­
trayed my trust to the country. Who would not be Carnot, the
opposer of Napoleon, in his strides to power, but his friend in
adversity; rather than Talleyrand, who fawned upon him in
prosperity, but deserted him when * fallen from his high estate?
Were the President to become a Billisarius, not one of the crea­
tures, now in his confidence, would guide his steps—what I
would do, after all his injustice to me, I need not say to you.

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" The truth is, I consider the President intoxicated with power
and flattery. ' Constant dropping wears away stones.' Why,
indeed, should we be surprised, that he bent under the influence
of such passions, as, in ancient and modern times, overcame
men, greater by nature and education than he is. It is the fact,
that men change, that makes a republic preferable to a monarchy.
Washington and Jefferson would not trust themselves with
power longer than eight years. Gen. Jackson was, at one time,
so fearful of the influence of power and passion upon himself,
that he was in favour of limiting service in the Presidency to
four years! But what a revolution do we behold! now he is not
only content to retain power for eight years, but desirous to
transfer it to a favourite! Such is the effect of power and flat­
tery ! Are you amazed? I am not, the matter is easily explain­
ed. When he came into office, the President supposed, that he
would find much purity at Washington, especially among his
supporters, who had been making so many professions. Instead
of that, he found the leaders at the heads of factions, each desi­
ring to drive the coach of state. He found his tables groaning
under the weight of petitions for offices. He saw several of
the late friends of his competitor, standing, with caps in hand,
to catch the falling crumbs. He heard adulation from every­
body, plain truth from nobody. He came into office, to be the
friend of a whole people, but he became the mere purveyor for
the hungry expectants of discordant factions. In short, all the
circumstances around him were calculated to make him enter­
tain an exalted opinion of himself, and a contemptuous one of
others. His own natural passions contributed to this result.
Such is my explanation—my apology, if you please. He is
changed, or else we knew him not.
"This, however, is not the darkest cjoud in the political
firmament To hear people talk, you would suppose, that if
Caesar were to grasp a crown, there would be no Brutus to
protest against his putting it on. This is a sad omen. Indeed;
it is every day said, that the President can break down any
one. If this is true, it is a mournful truth; for it amounts to a
command to be silent, to avoid being crushed! If we need not
dread Gen. Jackson personally, ought we not to be alarmed at
his example 1 Are we safe, when we see so many ready to
sustain him, right or wrong ? These, I repeat, are sad omens;
and our republic could not long endure, if our territory was
small, our population dense, and if we had not state govern­
ments.

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" So little control has the king of the French over the public
purse, that he could not honour a draft, drawn upon the faith
of a treaty. The king of England, in his appeals to parliament,
on money matters, uses language almost supplicatory. Here,
in our own Pennsylvania, the governor is absolutely deprived
of all agency concerning the public money: the custody of it
is given to our state treasurer, who holds his office indepen­
dently of the governor, and is annually elected by the legisla­
ture. Yet, in our boasted federal government, where the purse
ought to be under the immediate control of the representatives
of the people, the President wrests it from their agent, and dis­
tributes the money among greedy competitors for it, well dis­
posed, if required, to exercise political or other influence in
payment for the boon!
" This proceeding, I have not yet heard any one bold enough
to justify. The usual excuse is, that the President's intentions
are pure. No doubt, he has some patriotic motives. No one
supposes that he means to aggrandize himself. Nevertheless,
he is operated upon by resentments within, and influences with­
out His resentment may be natural, at many bitter attacks.
The influences are of two kinds; one to accomplish political
purposes, through affiliated banks; the other, to make money
by land and stock operations. So that, however correct some
of the motives of the President himself may be, jobbers in poli­
tics and stocks have been the true agents, in promoting late
occurrences.
" But what a dangerous course, to make motives an excuse!
Who can tell what motives predominate? Who or what is safe,
if acts may be excused, by the allegation of the* actor, that his
intentions were good? Every body believed, before Clough
was tried, that he had murdered Mrs. Hamilton; but if any
one had hanged him, even after his conviction and escape, it
would have been murder, if not done under sentence. The
case of the bank, surely, was not clearer than that of Clough.
If it had sinned, the law pointed out the mode of trial; but the
way provided by law was designedly shunned; the bank was
taken out, as it were, and executed, without inquiry, jury, or
judge; and, because I would not be the executioner, I deserve
to be executed too, I suppose 1 What a happy state of things in
this age of intellect!"
*
*
*
#
#
#

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CHAPTER

XIV.

As soon as the circumstances, connected with my removal
from office, became publicly known, meetings were held in
various parts of the Union, at which resolutions were passed,
disapproving of the conduct of the executive, and commending
the resistance, which had been made to him. From among the
letters, addressed to me, on the occasion, and my replies thereto,
I am induced to select the following:
u

Virginia—Norfolk, January 9,1834.

" W . J. DUANI, ESQ.

" SIB.—By one of a series of resolutions adopted at a meeting of the
citizens of this place, recently held, (a copy of which resolutions I
have the honour to enclose herewith) you will perceive, that it be­
comes my duty, 'to communicate to you the thanks of that meeting,
for your honest though ineffectual effort to preserve the public trea­
sure from the invasion of the federal executive; and to assure you,
that in the retirement to which your independence has driven you,
you possess their best wishes for your welfare and happiness/
" My fellow citizens could not have imposed upon me any task, in
the performance of which I should have derived more satisfaction.
Although personally unknown to you, I have watched, with keen
anxiety, the course you have pursued under the late trying circum­
stances in which you found yourself most unexpectedly placed; and
let me add, that I have witnessed the result, so far as this concerns
your character, with a delight proportioned to the anxiety which the
occasion naturally inspired. You have set a noble example, sir,
which must be useful in our country. Solitary and unsustained by
any friendly support, yet unmoved by persuasion, unseduced by flat­
tery, and unawed by power, you have faithfully done what you be­
lieved to be your duty, knowing well the fate which awaited you for •
the conscientious expression of your opinion, in a matter confided
by the law to your sole discretion, and deeply involving the public
faith and the public interest. If I differed with you in every opinion
you have expressed, I should still admire the modest but manly
firmness you have manifested,.under such circumstances; and should
still applaud that holy patriotism, which induced you to prefer what
you thought to be the good of your country, to all other considera­
tions. But concurring with you as I do entirely, in each and every
one of the opinions you have announced as yours, although my ad­
miration of your conduct may not be greater, yet the pleasure I feel
is much increased. The charge imputed to you, is that you. have

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preferred Rome to Csesar—your country to your friend. Such an
accusation is a compliment; the conviction an honour you have well
deserved; and whatever may be the penalty of such supposed guilt,
your own approving conscience, and the applauding sympathy of
many of your fellow citizens, must give to you heartfelt consolation.
" Although this is my own language, sir, yet I am very confident
that it expresses truly, the feelings and opinions of those whose organ
I am—who have seen personified in you, that proud independence of
thought and action they have been accustomed to admire, and which
they delight to cherish, as the sole means, under the protection of
Providence, by which our rights and liberties can be preserved.
" Most cordially, sir, do I unite with my fellow citizens, in offering
you our best wishes for your welfare and happiness, while you may
remain in the retirement to which you have been driven because of
the independent assertion of your legal rights.
" I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
" LITTLETON W. TAZEWELL."

"Philadelphia, January 15,1834.
"LITTLETON W. TAZEWELL, Esa.

" SIR.—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of the 9th instant, communicating to me, by the desire of the citizens
of Norfolk, their thanks for my conduct, in endeavouring * to pre­
serve the public treasure from the invasion of the federal executive.'
" It was in the political school in which Virginia had so many emi­
nent men, that I was taught, that the highest human obligation of a
public agent, is duty to his country: so that to receive the approba­
tion of any portion of the people of your patriotic state, especially
through one of its most distinguished sons, is peculiarly grateful to
my heart; for it satisfies me, that I have not strayed from the path,
which has been abandoned by so many others.
" Tn a free state, it is the duty of every citizen, to watch the conduct
of those, who are invested with power; and it was consistent with
your character to do so, with keen anxiety, in my case, under the
circumstances which followed my entry into office. Out of my own
state, I had occupied no station in which I might have had an oppor­
tunity to make known my principles; and enough, it seems, was
known of the characteristics of others, to arouse the fears of those,
who have a knowledge of human nature, and of the causes of the
decline of republics. Far from regretting, that eyes, so competent
as yours to scrutinize, were fixed upon me, I rejoice at your super­
vision, since I am indebted to it for the lolly praise that you have
bestowed upon me; praise, which, while it greatly exceeds my merit,
consoles me under defamation, as merciless as it is unmerited.

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" Of the extent of my information, or the soundness of my judgment,
upon the questions, in relation to which I differed in opinion from the
President, it does not become me to speak : but in the pride of truth,
I may say, that you have not over-rated the purity of my motives,
or the sincerity of my convictions; and I cannot err, in adding, that
further explanation must make this more evident, if that is possible.
To give a further explanation, many public and private appeals have
been made to me; a circumstance at which I ought not to be sur­
prised. If I had felt such resentment, as the course pursued towards
me was well calculated to excite, I would have long since arraigned
the conduct of others and challenged an inquiry into my own:
but, I believed, that personal indignation alone, however just, did
not warrant a display of ministerial transactions , and that the dis­
*
closures of ex-secretaries, usually made under excitement, were not
calculated to create respect for our institutions, abroad, or to confirm
attachment to them at home. Many grave questions were connected
with my case, and I was unwilling, by any reference to them, to af­
ford a pretext for saying, that I had an inclination to affect the action
of congress. Besides the disinclination to separate, in feelings of dis­
content, from friends still attached to the President, I had a repug­
nance, even to repel the blows of one, whom I had so long supported;
especially as I considered him the victim of unworthy influences and
unhappy passions. So confident, indeed, was I, of the propriety of
my course, while in office, that, if I had not been officially, falsely,
and malignantly assailed, I would have preserved the silence which
I had imposed upon myself, on my retirement to private life. The
right of private correspondence, I exercised; but in the extracts, from
two letters, which were published without my consent, there is no
trace of resentment, much less of malignity; nor is there a senti­
ment in them in relation to the chief magistrate, which I am not ready
to maintain by fact and argument.
" If I may not, even on this occasion, advert to the incidents of my
brief official career, it seems to be due to you, that I should not leave
the subject wholly unnoticed. The service which I was asked to
perform, seems not to be distinctly understood. The official reasons
for performing what I refused to execute, do not embrace an expla­
nation, which I consider due to myself, if not to the people or their
representatives. The true nature of the service required, consisted,
not in the mere act of removing the deposites, but in removing them,
from an unwillingness to await the action of congress, or to resort
to the appropriate agency of the judiciary, upon questions connected
with the bank of the U. S.—not in the mere substitution of one fiscal
agent for another, but in exercising, for penal ends, a power given solely
for conservative purposes. Hostile as I was to the bank, and willing
18

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M I was to investigate the transactions of its officers in the strictest
manner, in the legitimate way, I perceived that a co-operation, in the
scheme proposed, would be inconsistent with my duty as a public
agent, my principles as a citizen, and my sympathies as a man. And,
although, owing to my friendship for the President, and my anxiety
to be certain that I was right, I kept myself open to conviction, still
my first impressions remained unchanged to the end. If I had thought
proper to resign, I might have received the mission to Russia, on the
spontaneous assurance of the executive himself; but I could not fa­
vour a change, which was at variance with my duty, and which
would have given scope for plausible, if not just, reproach. On the
contrary, released, as I finally was, from all obligation of delicacy,
by acts so wanton as to have meditated insult stamped upon their
front, I determined, so far as it depended on me, * to preserve the
public treasure from the invasion of the federal executive,' by not
voluntarily relinquishing its guardianship, conferred on me by the
law.
" Recurring to the past, I find nothing on my part to reprove. I
did not profess to be a courtier, or to be free from the influence of
feelings, which, perhaps, become private, rather than public, life. To
the last moment I struggled to believe, that the weapons, with which
I was assailed, were in unseen hands, and that they were employed,
not on account of an hostility on my part, which never existed,
towards the President, but because I was his true friend, striving to
frustrate a purpose, injurious to his country and his own fame, and
which, if successful, could serve those only who held places, that
belonged to better men.
" Sir, if there ever was a man, associated with the President, who
had a fonder desire than another, to win him back to the observance
of early professions—to lead him to the performance, on his own
part, of what he had recommended to one of his predecessors—to aid
him in increasing his fame, by elevating the character of his country
abroad, and reconciling his countrymen to each other at h o m e humble as I may be, I aver that I was that person. Whether I mis­
took the character of the chief magistrate, or he forgot himself; it is
sufficient for me to know, that, whilst, apart from duty to the public,
I had no motive to resist his will, there was every inducement to
retain his friendship. But much as I preferred his confidence to a
heartless proscription, on the loss of it; I dared not do, what, if done,
ought to have deprived me of his favour, and of my own esteem.
" That I have the support of your weighty opinion, not only upon
the main question, but on other points, on which my sentiments have
been made known, is a source of sincere pleasure to me. It is pos-

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sible, and barely so, that when the main question was first unex­
pectedly presented to me, I may have expressed some sentiment, in
which you, or some of your fellow citizens may not concur; if so, I
have a guarantee for liberality in the wishes, for my welfare and
happiness, which you have so eloquently and feelingly expressed.
" Those wishes I accept with due sensibility; I will cherish a re­
membrance of them to the latest moments of my existence; and un­
til then shall not cease to desire that you and your fellow citizens
may have all the rewards, that are merited by patriotic citizens and
generous men.
" With the utmost respect, I am sir,
" Your obedient servant,
« W . J. DuANE."
"Ltesburg, (Virginia,) 16th January, 1834.
" W . J. DuANE, ESQ.

" SIR.—I take pleasure, as the organ of a public meeting of the citi­
zens of the county of Loudoun, Virginia, held on the 13th instant,
in communicating the sentiments of that meeting, in relation to your
conduct as secretary of the treasury.
" On motion of John A. Carter, Esq., the following resolution was
adopted:—
•* Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting are given to W. J. Duane, late
secretary of the treasury, for his firmness in not obeying the commands of the
President, by removing the deposites from the bank of the U. S., and for his
moral courage, in preferring duty to office."

" The meeting was called by a public notice, inviting all parties
to meet, and unite in an expression of their sentiments in relation to
the removal of the public deposites; and the consideration, that it
was divested of party purpose and party feeling, enhances the value
of the sentiment, which the meeting has expressed in relation to your
course as a public officer. It affords me increased pleasure to commu­
nicate to you, that Mr. Carter's resolution was received with evident
satisfaction, and was passed with great unanimity, by the meeting.
" Permit me to express my entire and hearty concurrence in the
sentiments of the resolution, and to indulge in the hope, that your
firmness, integrity, and honourable conduct, in the memorable event,
(which may yet form an important epoch in the page of our history,)
may not be unproductive of public good; but that, in the future ad­
ministration of our government, your conduct, * in preferring duty
to office,' may become an example, which, though lost on the pre­
sent, shall be held sacred by every future, successor to the distin­
guished office, from which a despotic influence ejected you.
" I have the honour to be, very respectfully,
" Your obedient servant,
" FLEMING HIXON,

Secretary"

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u

Philadelphia, January 27,1834.

" F. HIXON, ESQ.

" SIB.—I duly received your letter of the 16th inst., communicating
the thanks of the citizens of Loudoun county, Virginia, for my con­
duct, while secretary of the treasury, in resisting a removal of the
deposites, and * in preferring duty to office.'
" The commendation, which your fellow citizens have been pleased
thus to bestow, is not a tribute of flattery to pride or power, but an
assertion of principles: it is not merely intended, with the accustom­
ed generosity of Virginians as men, to soothe a fellow citizen unjustly
oppressed; but, with their hereditary spirit as patriots, to condemn a
wanton abuse, if not an absolute usurpation, of power, by the chief
magistrate of the Union. As such, I am delighted to receive the ap­
probation, which you have conveyed to me; and, if any thing could
add to my pleasure, it is the circumstance, that those who honoured
me with their support, had assembled without a reference to ' party
feeling, or party purpose.' Allow me respectfully to express my
opinion, that parties exist in all free states, of necessity: men sepa­
rate on leading principles, and by temperate discussion develope truth.
Factions are the destroyers of republics, for their objects are purely
selfish. A faction, and not a party, now rule our country: devotion
to a man has been substituted for love of liberty: the ruling faction
intend, by using the fame of Gen. Jackson, and the money of the
people, to perpetuate their power. So that I am not surprised, that,
in Virginia especially, where base passions have never predominated
in public affairs, all minor considerations should be merged in a holy
anxiety for the preservation of those institutions, upon which our
own prosperity, and that of our posterity, depends.
" The course, of late pursued by the President of the United States,
seems to warrant your use of the word * despotic' It cannot be
said, that those, who use that word, have any unworthy motive as
to the chief magistrate, personally. We must all regret, that his
name will not shed as bright a lustre upon the page of his country's
history, as it would have done, if he had retired to private life, as he
had at one time meditated, at the close of his first term of service.
Nor can any improper political motive be assigned for censuring the
conduct of an officer, who is not to be again a candidate. The true
aim of condemnation is to prevent similar, or more alarming, abuses,
on the part of others. As to the President, he has only done, what
many men of greater abilities have done before—partaken too freely
of the cup, in which power and flattery were mingled. Our institu­
tions are founded upon a knowledge, of the proneness of men to be­
come thus intoxicated; and it was under a sense, if not of their own
weakness, of what that of others might be, that some of our patriotic

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chief magistrates refused to retain authority beyond the second term
of service. The infatuation of Gen. Jackson is not more singular
than that of Aratus, who was the most public-spirited assertor of
liberty in Greece: under the influence of the mean passions of envy
and revenge, he sacrificed not only the freedom of his country, but
his own fame—a memorable instance, as Plutarch tells us, of human
weakness, calling for compassion for the man, but jealousy of the
passions, to which he fell a victim.
" In my humble judgment, the most alarming indication of the pre­
sent memorable period, is the readiness of so many of the people,
especially in the middle states, to sustain the President, right or
wrong: they are so infatuated as to suppose, that, because he may
not desire to usurp power like Cromwell, or to amass wealth like
Verres, he can be actuated by no other passion, injurious to his coun­
try : in my opinion, the President is ruled by the lustful spirit of do­
mination—a selfish desire to concentrate in his own hands all such
power as may enable him to gratify other passions: artful men feed
this appetite, and through its gratification, satisfy their own selfish
wants. Actuated by this spirit, the President thinks all, who do not
resist it, dear friends, and all who do not bend to it, bitter enemies.
Frequent success produces a desire for new triumphs, and a dread of
being frustrated in any object. To rule, therefore, even in minor mat­
ters, becomes the darling passion, before which remonstrance stands
in vain. How happy should we consider ourselves, that the consti­
tution allows us soon to terminate, what reason cannot change—a
course at variance with public principle, and private prosperity.
" Be pleased to express to your fellow citizens, my high sense of
their confidence and kindness, and my anxious wishes for their
honour and happiness; and for yourself, accept my warm acknow­
ledgments for the grateful manner in which you have made known
to me the sentiments of the meeting of which you were the organ.
" Respectfully, your obedient servant,
" W. J. D U A N E . "

"Pittsburgh, February 7,1834.
" W . J. DUANB, Esa.

" SIR.—We have the honour of annexing a copy of one of a series
of resolutions, adopted by the largest public meeting (and we may
say the most respectable) ever held in this city, on the 6th inst. It
is a duty, which gives us great satisfaction to perform. The reso­
lution expresses the honest feelings of a great majority of your fel­
low citizens here. We cordially unite with them, in rendering you
our best wishes for your prosperity and happiness, and our mutual

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approbation of your independent course, and firm attempt to preserve
inviolate the public treasure from executive usurpation.
" Very respectfully 6zc,

" THOMAS FAIRMAN,
" JOHN ARTHURS,
" ISAAC LIGHTNER, J R . "
"Retolved, That W. J. Duane,forhis attempt,4 to preserve the public treasure
from the invasion of the federal executive,' deserves the thanks, and will receive
the approbation of every true friend of this country."
"Philadelphia, February 12,1834.
" THOMAS FAIRMAN, ESQ., and others.
"FELLOW CITIZENS—For my conduct, as secretary of the treasury,

in relation to the public deposites, I have received, through your let­
ter of the 7th inst., the thanks 'of the largest and most respectable
meeting' of the citizens of Pittsburgh, that had ever been held.
Among the testimonies of approbation, which I have had the honour
to receive from various parts of the country, there is not one that is
more pleasing to me than that which I thus acknowledge. In the
course of the last twenty-five years, I have had frequent opportuni­
ties to become personally acquainted with the patriotism, enterprise,
and social virtues of your fellow citizens; and I am delighted to re­
ceive from them, now, marks of confidence, in relation to my conduct
as a public agent, so much in accordance with the evidences of
friendship which I have hitherto had as a private citizen.
"That I did, while in office, what I thought it my solemn duty to
do, is, perhaps, all that I need say. How much I did to avert the
crisis at which we have now arrived, it does not become me to men­
tion. That I did all I could, will be a consolation to me, under the
sad reflection that I was unable to do more. That I had not the grati­
fication successfully to contribute to prevent the existing distress, and
increasing apprehension as to the permanency of our institutions, I
deeply lament: but I devoutly hope that the wisdom of congress,
when appealed to by the states and people, may effect, political re­
formation and social relief.
" From observations recently made, in the senate of the United
States, it might be inferred that, those, who had been selected by the
President, as the most competent persons to advise him on points of
public policy, had not exerted all their energy to check him in his
headlong career; it might be supposed, that there had been no fore­
sight and no warning as to the evils which we all now suffer: and,
therefore, as the President keeps a veil over the evidences of what
some of his advisers did, it is due, especially to my predecessor and
to myself, that I should assure you, as I do, that there was foresight,
and that there was warning, but to no purpose whatever; on the con­
trary, such counsel was rejected by the President, who, in prefe-

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rence, adopted a scheme pressed upon him by persons, whose names
even, he was unwilling to see in an official communication made to
him—a scheme which has produced the disruption of public confi­
dence, and the prostration of private prosperity.
" If, fellow citizens, the people of our country desire to place their
posterity in a condition like that of the unhappy Poles, let them
slumber now, and they may be certain that calamity will come here­
after. If they desire to see the will of one man the supreme law,
they will continue to send, as they now do, deputations to beg, from
their own agent, relief from the wrongs which he has rashly inflicted,
and will not redress. But, if they wish to be deemed descendants
worthy of the men of 1776, and if they covet to receive for them­
selves, in time to come, such gratitude as we now feel towards those
who have gone before us, they will arouse, and proclaim to congress
the necessity for an immediate resistance to that lustful spirit of domi­
nation, which impels the President in a course as pernicious to his
country's happiness, as it is subversive of his own fame.
" I rejoice that Pennsylvania begins to feel, as she should do, at a
crisis like the present; and I shall be proud indeed to see her again
the ally of Virginia, that patriotic state, which has ever been gal­
lantly in the van, when the liberties of the people have been in dan­
ger. Let us trust, that she will prefer a co-operation for honour, to be
gained in saving the republic, to a combination for * spoils' to be
wrung from the people as tokens of their degradation.
" We, in Pennsylvania, whose motto is * Virtue, Liberty, and Inde­
pendence,' have been too long debased: in times of difficulty, we
have been flattered and prized; but our power has been used for no
other end than to sustain outrage upon our own pride. We have
been rent asunder, not by parties, honestly contending about princi­
ples, but by factions, solely intent upon the gratification of their own
selfish ends. We have so long permitted ourselves to be drilled by
the recruiting sergeants of demagogues at home, for superior dema­
gogues abroad, that, instead of having the pride to desire to command
our own servants, we seem to seek the shame of becoming their ser­
vile tools. Let us begin a real reform; let us teach our agents to
attend to the duties, for which they are compensated, and to have the
modesty to allow us to have something to do with what concerns
ourselves and our posterity; let us sustain those agents in all their
rights as officers and citizens, but forbid them to be hereafter not
merely our dictators but our tyrants.
" I hope that nothing may be found in this letter, which the occasion
does not demand. If I err in any particular, yqu will, I am sure, ex­
cuse me in consideration of my motives. I have no resentment as to

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the past, no expectation as to the future, to gratify. Although one of
the earliest and most ardent advocates for the elevation of Gen. Jack­
son, I never, directly or indirectly, asked a favour of him; on the
contrary, I assumed two, of four appointments, tendered or conferred
upon me, with unfeigned reluctance. Had I chosen to remove the
deposites, I might have retained one office of honour and emolument;
and, if I had voluntarily given up that office, I might have obtained
another. That I refused to occupy either of those stations, or, in other
words, that I did what caused my expulsion from one, and necessarily
prevented my getting the other, seemed so marvellous in the eyes of
men, who had been through life ready for the highest bidder in the
political market, that they imputed corrupt motives to me, because.
they had never been actuated by any other themselves. I scorn them
all, well knowing that if they could prove what they say, they would
not be content with the mere exhibition of calumnies.
" From education, inclination, and habit, I have been accustomed
to take a lively interest in public affairs. At the present time, my
solicitude has imperceptibly led me to write a much longer reply to
your letter, than you may have expected or desired: go back and
abridge, I will not; so that I submit it to your indulgent acceptance,
as an indication of my desire to promote what I consider essential to
the preservation of our rights as citizens of a free state, and of our
happiness as members of a virtuous community.
" I request you to express to your fellow citizens my high sense of
their approbation, and to accept, for yourselves, my warm acknow­
ledgments for the manner in which you have made that commen­
dation known to me.
" Respectfully, your obedient servant,
♦ W, J. DUANE."
«

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CHAPTER XV.
'• Germantown, 15th February, 1834.
" W. J. DUANE, ESQ.

" SIR.—At an unusually large and respectable meeting of the peo­
ple of Germantown, and its vicinity, * without distinction of party,'
opposed to the * arbitrary, vindictive, and unjust' proceedings of the
President, in regard to the bank U. S., the following resolution was
enthusiastically adopted:
'* Resolved, That the patriotic devotion of our fellow citizen, W. J. Duane, to
his constitutional duty, and his firm and manly determination, to sustain the
rights of the people, and the integrity of the nation, at the hazard of incurring
the displeasure of the executive, and of subjecting himself to an unrelenting and
bitter persecution, is alike honourable to himself, and a source of just pride to
Pennsylvanians."

" I enclose a copy of the proceedings of the meeting, and have the
honour to be, sir, your obedient servant,
" J. S. LITTELL, Chairman, fyc"

"Philadelphia, February 20,1834.
*• J. S. LITTELL, Esa., Chairman, Sfc.

" SIB.—I regret that I have not had au earlier opportunity to ac­
knowledge your letter of the 15th inst., enclosing a copy of a resolu­
tion ' enthusiastically adopted at an unusually large and respectable
meeting of the people of Germantown, and its vicinity, without dis­
tinction of party,1 approving of my conduct, as secretary of the trea­
sury, in relation to the public deposites.
" As I may be justly proud of the commendation of those, who
have no personal knowledge of me, since they decide according to
my acts alone; so, on the other hand, may I rejoice at a public ex­
pression of the good opinion of my immediate fellow citizens, since
they determine upon an acquaintance with my general character also.
" I gratefully receive, therefore, the testimonial of approbation,
which you transmitted to me; and request you to express to those,
whom you represent, my earnest wishes, that the efforts now making
by so many of our countrymen, may restore social tranquillity and
effect political reform.
" To the accomplishment of those ends, nothing is wanting but
that the people themselves should attend to their own duty. No farm­
er ever derives such advantage from his land, as when attended to
by himself. All agency tends to abuse of power. He, who leaves
to others what he should do himself, may expect tofindweeds abstract­
ing the substance, without which wholesome fruit cannot be gathered.
"Our political system is but a large farm; so large, that we ne­
cessarily must have agents everywhere, and the greater the number
the more necessity for watchfulness. The eye of the master, says
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the proverb, makes the horse fat; and it may be as truly said, that if
the people close their eyes, the agents will fatten themselves without
much regard to the wants of their employers.
" A new profession, I think, has been added to those of divinity,
physic, and law: I mean that of mere politicians; individuals who
do not wait to be called into service by the people, but who combine
to make themselves their masters. The members of this profession
have a common cause> if not in actual opposition to the substantial
welfare of the country, at least for the maintenance of intrigues, bargains, conventions, and conspiracies, which, in the end, leave to the
people, the empty honour, or rather the overflowing shame, of being
now and then allowed at elections to vote as they are commanded.
Hence it is, that we so seldom find representatives consulting the
actual voters, while they obsequiously attend to the schemes of those,
who govern the machinery.
" Some persons dislike to see men, women, and children, labouring
in a cotton factory; the regularity with which human beings move
at the sound of a bell, seems to present a picture of humiliation; but
it only seems to be humiliation, for in our happy country, at least,
it is not yet in the power of man to degrade his fellow. This is not
the case, however, in our political factory; and, if it is the pleasure
of the freemen of Pennsylvania, to be mere operatives in it, although
it may be sport to themselves, it must be death to their posterity.
We all tremble at the evils of an aristocracy of mere wealth, but we
hug the chains of an oligarchy of mere power. Does the President
hear or listen to the voice of the people? not at all; the whispers of
mere politicians alone reach his ears, and these are always communicating such intelligence only, as may flatter the vanity of the one,
or gratify the selfishness of the other. What political truth can be
more obvious, than that the few are ever drawing the power of the
many to themselves. As well may a man expect to see his private
affairs in a flourishing condition, without any personal inspection on
his own part; as the people should hope to enjoy the fruits of civil
liberty, when the superintendence of the temple is committed, without
supervision, to those who have an interest in its pollution.
" Reflect for a moment upon the host of agents, spread throughout
the land, all connected by a tie, that none desire to sever. I do not
speak of individuals; I am treating upon principles. The mo3t powerful combinations may be formed by their instrumentality. The
machinery, if once put fairly in motion, can scarcely be stopped by
any other means, than a counter combination on the part of the people, to which there are many obstacles. Having had an opportunity,
a brief and imperfect one I confess, to comprehend how such official
combinations may be effected; and being well satisfied, that a com*

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bination has been commenced; I most anxiously trust, that the peo­
ple will not regard this new and insidious foe to their liberties with
indifference; but that they will forthwith proceed to * set their house
in order,' for their own honour and the welfare of their posterity.
" With kind wishes, I am, respectfully your's,
« W . J. DOANB."

M

" Columbus, Ohio, February 26th, 1834.

W. J. DUANE, Esa.

" DEAR SIR.—In pursuance of a duty enjoined on us, by a public
meeting, held in this town on Saturday last, we communicate here­
with, a resolution passed by that meeting, approving * the able, virtu­
ous, and independent course of William J. Duane, late secretary of
the treasury, in resisting the arbitrary and illegal attempts of the
President of the United States, to possess himself of the uncontrolled
command of the national treasury.'
" Unquestionably, a life of virtue meets its highest reward in the
approval of a man's own conscience. An honest man, in his private
relations, looks no further. The faithful public servant, however, de­
lights in the conviction, that his conduct has deserved and received
the approbation of his country also. The people whom we represent
on this occasion, believe this additional reward to be yours. Stern
and incorruptible integrity, they fear, has become rare; and in high
places rarer still. If they see a spirit of independence that bends to
no unworthy influence; a fidelity in public trusts, unshaken by strong
temptation ; and a sense of personal honour that spurns the sugges­
tions of ambition—these, they would cherish as the sure means of
preserving the republican institutions of their country, and perpetua­
ting their blessings. When they look on your conduct as secretary
of the treasury, they behold you resisting the abuses of power, op­
posing the dictations of despotism, and despising the allurements of
corruption. And in that view, they recognise one pleasing, one re­
freshing feature in the dark and gloomy picture which is spread out
before them in the history of the present administration. You have
asserted a strong claim upon the respect, and confidence, and affec­
tions, of your countrymen; may you long live to enjoy the happy
distinction, and to continue the exhibition of so bright an example of
purity, and patriotism, and worth.
We are, sir, very respectfully,
"JOSEPH RIDGWAY, i
" JOHN G. MILLER, >
" ROBERT N E I L ,
)

Committee"

« Philadelphia, March 8,1834
" FELLOW CITIZENS.—I have just now received your letter of the
26th ult., announcing the grateful circumstance, that my conduct,
while I was secretary of the treasury, had been commended by your

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fellow citizens of Franklin county, without distinction of party, who
assembled at Columbus, on the 22d of the last month.
" It is difficult to acknowledge such a flattering letter as yours.
If I unhesitatingly accept the praise which it gives, I incur the hazard
of being thought vain; and if I disclaim the merit that is attributed,
I may be accused of affectation. Without accepting praise, or dis­
claiming merit, I avow that I feel pride and pleasure at the appro­
bation, that is expressed by so many of my fellow citizens, whose
opinions are so obviously dispassionate. The love of distinction is
natural to us all; it accompanies us from the cradle to the grave;
and is a strong incentive to the performance of acts, that confer
honour and benefit upon our country. Nevertheless, if it is a weak­
ness, to be delighted with the good opinions of others, I am content
to have this added to the number of my foibles. It should be an
apology for me, that I did not seek praise. I was unexpectedly ele­
vated to a high station, and did not anticipate the pain, attendant upon
* its occupation, much less the consolation that has followed my re­
moval from it.
" If you will closely examine my reasons, of a public nature, for
refusing to remove the deposites, you will conclude, I think, that I
could not, without reproach, have pursued a different course. So
that really it was not less in self-defence, than on the public account,
I resisted the President. Independently of the reasons referred to,
there were considerations of a somewhat private nature, which had
an influence upon me. And I think those considerations, will be
better understood in Ohio, than any where else. For, owing to your
position, brief existence as a state, and rapid advancement, you have
more political equality, amongst your fellow citizens, than is to be
witnessed in any other part of the Union.
" It is said, indeed, that all our countrymen are equal. And I
admit, that in elections by the people, the pretensions of every man
may be fairly set before them. But how rarely has any of our
executive magistrates taken any of his cabinet associates, from what
are emphatically the ranks of the people. The mass of private, un­
aspiring men, has been passed by, and selections have been almost
universally made from those only, who were sustained by wealthy
or influential connexions.
" When, therefore, I was unexpectedly transferred from the ranks
of the privates, to the national staff, I confess to you, that I felt a
deep solicitude, not only on my own account, but because I foresaw
that my conduct, would have an influence upon the pretensions of all
men, who, like myself, had no extraneous influence to rely upon.
Infidelity in my trust, or incompetency in its execution, would be
made an apology for taking future occupants of high places from

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amongst trading politicians alone. So that, whether, it was arrogant
or not in me to do so, I felt and acted as Napoleon's grenadier did
in battle, after he got the cross of the legion of honour; *I now have
to fight,' said he, * not only for my own honour, but for that of all
the privates in the line of the army.' And when I was asked to re­
move the deposites, I had to consider the effect of my decision, not
merely upon the country and myself, but upon the mass from which
I had been taken. Even if I had good reasons to give for obeying
the President, I was sure my motives would be called in question.
It would have been said, that my submission, was a proof that all
. men had their prices, and especially those suddenly elevated from
the humble family of the democracy. In short, it would have been
urged, that my conduct proved the necessity for ranks, classes, and
distinctions among men.
" So that as Ihad not a solitary reason to give to congress, for
removing the deposites, every public and private consideration called
me to do my duty, happen what might. And I am entirely mistaken
in our countrymen, if you would not have witnessed the like conduct
on the part of such of them as are not of the mere class of politicians
by profession.
" Your fellow citizens will accept, I trust, my grateful acknow­
ledgments for the honour they have done me. And to yourselves I
give the assurance of my kind wishes, and sincere respect.
" Truly, your's, & c ,
« W . J.DlTANE."
"JOSEPH RIDOWAY,
2
M
JOHN G. MILLER,
> Central Committee.*7
"ROBERT NEIL, Esa's.)

"East Ville, Northampton county,
Virginia, U8th February, 1834.
"W.J.DcANK,Esa.

" SIB.—I have the honour to transmit enclosed, a copy of the pro­
ceedings of a meeting held in this place on the 22d instant, to take
into consideration the removal of the deposites from the bank o f
the U. S.
"In discharging the duty devolved on me by one of the resolutions
adopted on that occasion, of expressing to you * the entire confidence
of that meeting in your patriotism and integrity,' I have the good
fortune to be instrumental,->however humbly, in bestowing upon you
the patriot's dearest reward—an assurance of the approbation, by
your fellow citizens, of your past conduct and services, and of their
continued confidence in the purity of motive and honesty of purpose,.
which will characterize your future exertions for the public weal—a
reward, sir, alike honourable to the giver and the receiver.

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" I am no politician by profession, sir, and rarely, if ever, take any
part in politics, otherwise than by a quiet vote at the polls, yet it was
impossible to be an uninterested observer of some of the political
events which a few short months have unfolded. Amongst all those
which have transpired in the narrow range of my memory and observation, there has not been, in my apprehension, one which,
whether we look to the principles or to the consequences involved,
is more alarming than the late executive act of removing the government deposites, upon the President's sole responsibility; and, as it
seems to me, without the shadow of constitutional or legal authority
for so doing—unless, indeed, 'it be true that when a duty is by law
specially assigned to a particular officer, the President may control
him in the performance of it;' and if this be true, «then it is most
manifest that the will of the President is the supreme law, and every
barrier between him and the treasury is annihilated, and that the
union of the purse and the sword in one man's hands, which the patriotic Henry so much denounced, and which constitutes the best description of despotism, is completely realized.' But passing by the
public and individual distress which fills our land, and the moral
stain of violated public faith, as unworthy the least consideration,
and regarding a deranged currency, and all other actual and probable consequences of this ill-advised executive measure, as nothing—
nay, counting the vested chartered rights of the bank, for which it
has amply paid in treasure and in service, as of no account, there is
still a question growing out of this executive innovation, of fearful
import to the liberties of the people. It is the question involved to
some extent in all the presidential usurpations. In what or in whom
does the supreme law of the land reside? Is it in the Constitution of
the United States, and in the laws and treaties made in pursuance
thereof, or is it in the sic volo, sic veto of the President? I take these
to be the momentous questions which the country is novr to be called
upon to decide. It was, sir, the firm and independent stand taken by
you, in relation to these very questions—a stand which was not to
be changed by the flattering offer of a foreign mission on the one
hand, or by threatened disgrace on the other, that has won for you
the confidence of your fellow citizens here and elsewhere. I have
only to add, sir, that the resolution referred to, expressed the general
sentiments of my neighbours, in and out of the meeting.
" With perfect respect, your obedient servant,
"N. J. WINDER."
"Philadelphia, March 6,1834.

*' SIR.—To the testimonials of the approbation of my conduct, as
secretary of the treasury, which I have had the honour to receive

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from various parts of your patriotic state, I gratefully add the com­
mendation of the citizens of Northampton county, without distinction
of party, which you communicated to me in your letter of the 28th
of the last month.
" I have read with instruction, as well as pleasure, the resolutions
upon general principles, adopted by your fellow citizens. They ac­
cord admirably with the spirit that hajs ever distinguished Virginians,
and are a sure presage that acts will follow declarations. Those who
framed our political institutions, necessarily left them imperfect. At
the commencement of his presidential service, Mr. Jefferson said,
they were l in the full tide of successful experiment;' and it becomes
us to entertain the same cheering conviction still. Good men may
honestly differ in opinion as to the extent of the power of the federal
executive. Even amongst those, who condemn the conduct of our
present chief magistrate, there is a contrariety in sentiment; some
think he usurped powers designedly withheld from him, while others
believe that he merely abused powers already possessed. Instead of
entering into nice disquisitions, or searching for lines of distinction
not easily found, I have usually examined the President's conduct
according to the plain rules of common sense, and have found it in­
defensible.
" He must have known, that the people, of every country pretend­
ing to be free, had at all times struggled to retain the power of the
purse within their own control. He must have been aware that, in­
fluenced by the examples of the parliaments of England and France,
in particular, many of the pure patriots of 1789 protested against
the union of the purse and sword in the same hand. It must have
been obvious to him, that none of his predecessors had trodden upon
what so many of their countrymen regarded as hallowed ground;
and he could not but have felt that, in departing from their example,
he was accumulating extraordinary powers within his own grasp.
So that, even if the true limits of executive power had not been
sufficiently defined, patriotism, magnanimity, and modesty, urged
him to forbear. But instead of forbearing, he flung his single will
into the scale, turning it against his country, and in favour of him­
self.
" In my humble opinion, after the President had promised the
secretary of the treasury not to interfere with the independent exer­
cise of the discretion committed to him by law over the subject of
the deposites, and after he had failed, by argument, to persuade that
officer to concur with him, he ought to have thus addressed him:—
«Sir—According to my interpretation of the constitution, congress
had no right to confer upon you a power to be exercised indepen­
dently of the executive. I am to see the laws faithfully executed,

s
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Unless you remove the deposites, you. will not be wisely using your
discretion, and I may remove you from office. But I cannot forget,
that, ever since the foundation of our government, it has been at least
doubted whether the secretary of the treasury is, or ought to be, a
mere dependant upon the executive. This republican jealousy,
Andrew Jackson will not be the first to disregard. I will not spurn the
warnings of Henry, Gerry, and other such men. In a future time,
example in grasping a doubtful power might do more mischief than
the exercise of that power now can enable me to do good. The bank,
it is true, is a pernicious institution; but I can, at first, operate upon it
by a scire facias, and prevent waste of funds by an injunction—and
in a few weeks the representatives of the people will assemble; they
were elected after I put forth my veto message; they will bear to the
capitol the national verdict. I respect the virtue of the people and
their agents too sincerely to doubt the result—and I, at least, shall
have done my duty.'
" I respectfully conceive that such a course as this would have
been honourable to the country, to its institutions, and to the Presi­
dent himself. But instead of such a course, he pursued another,
which has brought our social relations into confusion, and our politi­
cal institutions into doubt. He has sanctioned the doctrine of the
enemies of free government, that the people are incapable of pro­
tecting themselves, and that their representatives have their prices;
modestly concluding, that all virtue is in himself, and that without
him the republic would perish. From this it must be apparent, that
the proceedings of the President have not been regulated by fixed
principles, but impelled by mischievous passions, artfully excited by
unworthy confidants.
" But, sir, the acts which we now condemn, must be followed by
consequences so beneficial as to compensate for all our present vexa­
tions. Another weak part in the frame of our government has been
discovered, and a new occasion presents itself for removing doubts
and averting dangers. We are not labouring upon a tempestuous
sea merely to preserve the barque of our own political day—we have
in our hands the destinies of millions who are to succeed us in our
own land, and even those of the tens of millions who, in other climes,
regard us as pilots, leading them into such a haven of liberty, secu­
rity, and peace, as we proudly occupy ourselves.
" Amidst such considerations as these, questions about a bank, or
its alleged misconduct, are subordinate. If the constitution has been
violated, there should be some redress. If there has only been an
abuse of power, constitutional means to prevent a second outrage
should be adopted. As to the currency and the fiscal operations of
the government, these subjects properly belong to the representatives

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of the states and people. It would be deplorable, indeed, if their
virtue and intelligence were less pure or enlarged than those of the
President; and it is a singular argument, to be employed by per­
sons professing to be republicans, that an illegal assault upon a bank
is essential to the preservation of the public liberty.
" This doctrine is such as has ever preceded the prostration of a
free government. * I relied on my good people,' said Napoleon, when
he shut up the doors of the legislature: * I am more necessary to
them than they are to me—all that I do is for the glory of France.'
In like manner our President appeals to the people, in public, and ex­
cuses the exercise of an arbitrary power, by an intimation that their
representatives are corruptible! And yet this is the conduct which
is applauded in the addresses and resolutions of many of our coun­
trymen, who would be very much offended, if we suggested that they
were preparing the yoke of slavery for their posterity.
" No state in the Union has a fairer claim than yours, to take the
lead in opposition to the political heresies and encroachments of the
present day. The duty that is imposed upon Virginia, must be a
grateful one. The struggle now is, to determine whether the consti­
tution and laws shall prevail, or whether we are to be ruled by a com­
bination of persons holding offices, who act upon the prejudices and
passions of an unsuspicious people; who pervert the palladium of
freedom, the press, into an engine of proscription; and who have the
audacity to do all this in the name of the very principles which they
trample in the dust.
" Be pleased, sir, to express to your fellow citizens, my grateful
sense of the honour conferred by their approbation, and to accept for
yourself my cordial thanks for the manner in which you made that
approbation known to me. Such incidents as these I shall cherish
amongst the happiest of my life.
" With great respect, your obedient servant,
" W . J. DuANK.n

« ChiUicotke, March 24,1834.
M

W. J.DUANK, Esa.

" In obedience to a resolution, of a large and respectable meeting,
of the citizens of the county of Ross, and State of Ohio, convened
at the court-house, on the 17th instant, I have the honour to
transmit to" you, the resolutions of two public meetings of our citi­
zens. Although we differ from you, in opinion, both as to the con­
stitutionality and utility of the bank U. S., these resolutions embody
the sincere feelings of respect and regard entertained towards you,
by a great majority of our citizens, for your manly firmness and pa­
triotic devotion, to the best interests of our country—in opposing the
20

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removal of the public deposites, from the bank U. S., while you were
acting as secretary of the treasury.
"Permit me, sir, to assure you, that it affords me real pleasure to
add, most respectfully, my mdividual esteem and sincere regard, for
that high and honourable self-respect and stern integrity, which in­
duced you to prefer your duty, to your country, to a compliance with
the dictates of power.
" I have the honour to be, your obedient servant,
44

DUNCAN M'AKTHUK."

» Philadelphia, April 22d, 1834.
U

GKN. DUNCAN M'AKTHUR,

" SIB.—I have the pleasure to acknowledge your letter, transmit­
ting a resolution, adopted at a meeting of your fellow citizens of
Ross county, Ohio, commending my conduct, while I was secretary
of the treasury, in refusing to remove the public deposites. Such
testimonials of confidence would, under any circumstances, be grate­
ful to my heart; but they are peculiarly acceptable, when I consider
the fact, to which you allude, that approbation is bestowed by your
fellow citizens, although they differ from me in opinion, respecting
the bank U. S. I sincerely thank them for a liberality, that is as
honourable to themselves, as it is kind to me.
" That there should be a difference of opmion, between many of
our fellow citizens, respecting the bank U. S., is not surprising. Un­
fortunately, the country has been thrown into a state of excitement,
unfavourable to dispassionate inquiry. A controversy is confined to
a single bank, whereas the whole subject of a paper currency should,
in my humble opinion, be thoroughly investigated. This I took the
freedom to suggest, to the President, in July last; adding, that infor­
mation could only be obtained by a development of facts, and an in­
terchange of opinions. That, to begin with a secretary's report,
would be inverting the order of things; and this anomaly would be
presented, that congress would have no other data to act upon, than
such as the rare diligence of a few members, of a numerous body,
would have collected. Thus the action of the legislature would be
determined by a majority, who, from want of information, must vote
upon the faith they may put in a public officer, or in a few of their
colleagues—a course, the reverse of that pursued in all important in­
quiries, in modern times, by analysis. My impression was, that it
would be discreet, to imitate the popular branches of the two govern­
ments, which are in advance of all others in Europe, those of Eng­
land and France. In England, although the ministers are members
of parliament, it is the practice of that body to submit all important
and complex subjects to a committee of inquiry* general or special.
On the memorable occasion of the suspension of, and return to, cash

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payments, a committee, composed of individuals of the first talents,
was instituted; and, ailer a laborious inquiry, and examination of
persons of great experience, the celebrated bullion report was pro­
duced. On other questions of national interest, the same course is
pursued, with beneficial effects.
" Such an investigation, on the subject of a paper currency, as now
existing; or, indeed, on the question at large of a paper currency, I
believed, might have been conducted with great advantage. For my
own part, I am of opinion, that the morals, interests, and liberties of
the people are injuriously affected by the paper system, as it is termed;
and, I think, we shall not have a safe and sound currency, while
we have bank monopolies. Nevertheless, I am sensible of the advan­
tage of further inquiry. But, until satisfied that I err, I must adhere
to opinions, long held upon reflection; asking only such a liberal in­
terpretation of my motives, as I should be ashamed to deny to others.
" I pray you, sir, to present my cordial acknowledgments to your
fellow citizens; and accept, for yourself, my sincere thanks for the
friendly terms, in which you have conveyed their wishes. That you
may all long enjoy health, and soon see the termination of existing
vexations, is devoutly desired by
" Your's, very respectfully,
"W.J.

DUAIO."

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CHAPTER

XVI.

"Walnvt-Hill, Dallas county (Alabama), March 30,1834.
« W. J. DDAHK,

Esa.,

" SIR.—ID obedience to a resolution, of a meeting of our citizens,
in Selma, I have the honour to transmit, to you, a copy of sundry
resolutions, passed by them in relation to the removal of the deposites, from the U. S. bank. From those resolutions, you will learn,
that your patriotism and firmness are appreciated here; and that,
by all parties, for the meeting was composed of all parties.
"Permit me, although an entire stranger, to express my high
respect for you, in consequence of your manful resistance against
power. May heaven grant you many days, to enjoy that peace of
mind, which virtuous integrity has secured you.
" I have the honour to be, with high consideration, your's, &c,
"JAMKSMEEK."
u

Received, That we view the question of the removal of the deposites, as en­
tirely distinct and separate from the re-chartering of the U. S. bank.
u
Received, That the conduct of W. J. Duane, in refusing to order the depo­
sitee to be removed, was highly deserving of praise, and satisfies as that he is a
worthy, independent, and patriotic citizen; and that his removal was a wanton
and oppressive abuse of power.
" Received, That we believe the language used in the above resolutions to be
expressive of the opinions of a large majority, without distinction of party, of
the people of Alabama.*1
- Philadelphia, April 12,1834.

" Sis.—I have the honour to acknowledge the letter, which you
wrote to me, on the 30th uit., under the direction of a meeting of
citizens of Alabama, assembled at Selma, on the 15th uit., to express
their sentiments, in relation to the removal of the public deposites
from the U. S. bank.
" Next to the approbation of our own conscience, we naturally
cherish the good opinion of those, who are intimately acquainted
with us. I could not, however, be more proud of the confidence of
my particular friends, than I am of the commendation, which your
fellow citizens have bestowed on me. We are not only personally
unknown to each other; but, in all human probability, we are ever to
remain so. When, therefore, you and your fellow citizens spontaneously approve of my conduct, as a public agent, and when you ask
Divine Providence to grant me a tranquil life, I am deeply impressed
with feelings of thankfulness and pride.
" That it was my duty to resist, at all hazards, what I considered
a pernicious proceeding, on the part of the President, is not now questioned by any of his dispassionate friends. The removal of the pub-

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lie deposites, as an act of policy or propriety, has not been seriously
defended any where. In the senate, the measure has been condemned
by a large majority; and, in the house of representatives, the question
has been studiously shunned. The nature of the opinion, of the peo­
ple themselves, no reflecting person can have a doubt about. Never­
theless, I am sorry, to have to say, that the executive persists in his
course; and, therefore, no change is to be expected, until the repre­
sentatives of the states and people shall be able to control this veto
power. In this quarter of the Union, there is excitement. Mild as
our people are, from inclination and habit, I should be apprehensive,
if our territory were not so extensive, and our citizens necessarily so
widely separated. Let us hope, that, as we discover weak parts in
the frame of our institutions, we may have the virtue and the wis­
dom speedily and peaceably to change them; so that all the blessings,
contemplated by the founders of the republic may be enjoyed for ages.
" Be pleased, sir, to make my respectful and grateful acknowledg­
ments to those, of whom you are the organ, and to accept for your­
self the assurance of my kindest wishes.
" With great consideration, your's, &c.,
"W. J.DUANE."

- * Jbdbon, Northampton county, N. C, March 31,1834.
*
*»W. J.DUANE, ESO.

" SIB.—I have the honour to transmit to you, a copy of the pro­
ceedings, of a meeting, held at this place, on the 22d inst., to take
into consideration the removal of the public deposites.
'* In discharging the duty, assigned to me, in one of the resolu­
tions, of tendering to you the thanks of the meeting, for the firmness
and independence, with which you resisted presidential encroach­
ment, upon the discretion, expressly confided to you by law; and of
their entire approbation of your refusal, to remove the public money
from the bank U. S.; permit me individually to assure you of my pro­
found respect and admiration, for the manly and patriotic efforts,
manifested on that occasion, to rescue the constitution and laws from
executive usurpation.
" I am, with great respect, & c ,
M

M

SAMUEL CALVERT.**

" Philadelphia, April 14,1834.
SAMUEL CALVERT, ESQ.

"SIR.—Your kind and complimentary letter, of the 31st ult., I
have just now had the gratification to receive; together with a copy
of the proceedings, of a number of the citizens of Northampton county,
N . C , who assembled to consider the subject of the removal of the
public deposites.
"If we detach our feelings from the questions, now discussed
throughout the country, we shall find the spectacle to be a very im-

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posing one. A chief magistrate, re-elected almost by acclamation,
assumes power, which had been confided to other hands. By this
proceeding, he paralyzes the energies, and abridges the comforts, of
hundreds of thousands of those, who but lately shouted in his ap­
plause. Respectable deputations wait upon him, and he anticipates,
their request to be heard, by denouncing their motives. Others pre­
pare to approach him, and he will not listen to them, except upon
terms prescribed by himself. Turning to the representatives of the
states, the people find their agency studiously evaded; and, then, look­
ing upon their own immediate representatives, they find them shun­
ning the question, whether the particular act of the executive, that is
complained, is right or wrong. Unable to gain redress in any other
way, the people assemble in their several districts; and, after peace­
ably asserting their rights and principles, provide, by the operation
of elections, * new guards for their future security.' There is excite­
ment, but it is the exercise, which gives-tone to the constitution, and
without which we should sink into political death.
" Many of our fellow citizens have suffered, and are suffering;
but still complaint alone is heard. The sea of liberty is tempestuous,
but the safest vessel upon it, belongs to him, who raised the storm.
There is no thunder but that of the press; no lightning, but that
which flashes from the eyes of patriotism. After all, the contending
parties are of one country, of one family; and, like their fathers,
will be, in the end, of one mind.
" The spectacle, I say, is imposing. We see how prone man is,
to abuse his * little, brief, authority.' We find, how careful we should
be, in selecting our public agents. We are delighted to perceive,
how peacefully and efficiently we may correct abuses, by the simple
operation of an election. In fine, discovering, from time to time, the
weak parts of our political machinery, we are enabled so to add to
its strength, as to transmit it improved to posterity.
" I am inclined, therefore, to think, that our social ills will be more
than compensated, by the political advantages, which must result from
agitation. The oak itself gains vigour, in successive blasts. So may
it be, with our glorious republic.
" Returning to the particular purpose of this letter; I pray you to
tender to your fellow citizens, my grateful acknowledgments, for the
honour, which they have done me. If purity of purpose merited such
commendation as is given, I dare to say, in the pride of truth, that
I am not unworthy of it.
" On your own part, sir, accept my cordial thanks, for the very
handsome manner, in which you executed the duty assigned to you.
" Kindly, and respectfully, your's,
«W.J.DUANK.M

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"BeUfonte, Pennsylvania, May 3,1834
44

WILLIAM J. DUANE, ESQ.

" SIR.—At a meeting of * the citizens of Centre county, opposed to
executive usurpation,' held in this place on the 24th ult., the undersign­
ed were appointed a committee to communicate to you the following
resolution, passed by an unanimous vote of that meeting, as expres­
sive of their admiration of your firmness and magnanimity in refu­
sing to be made the instrument for accomplishing the removal of the
public deposites from the U. S. bank, contrary to your own sense of
duty.
" Be assured, sir, the meeting could not have assigned us a task
more congenial to our own sentiments, or more grateful to our hearts;
and we cannot refrain from using the opportunity to express to you
our entire approbation of your conduct on that trying occasion, and
to declare our belief that history presents few brighter or nobler ex­
amples of pure and exalted patriotism, than was exhibited by you in
yielding up the lucrative and honourable station which you occupied,
and with it the favour of the President and of the then powerful party
which sustained him, rather than consent to a measure which you
believed to be unwise and unjust.
" The resolution which we have been instructed to convey to you,
is in these words, viz.
"Resolved, That we cannot find words to express our high admiration of the
honest, manly, and independent conduct of W. J. Duane, in preferring the ap.
probation of good men and his own conscience, to political preferment and the
favour of men in power.*

"With sentiments of unfeigned respect,
" We are your obedient servants,
44

ROLAND CORTIN,

44

JOHN HARRIS,

44

44

JAMES BURNSIDK."

Philadelphia, May 7th, 1834.

" FELLOW CITIZENS :-<—I have received your letter of the 3d inst.,
and am truly gratified at such a mark of the confidence and kind
feeling of so many of the freemen of Centre county. Among those
who attended your meeting, I recognise some of my old political and
personal friends, who in trying times were faithful to our democratic
doctrines; and I rejoice to see them still attached to principles more
than to men.
44
The course which I pursued in a high station has been applaud­
ed by many patriotic citizens in several of the states, as well as in
our own; and as the love of reputation is deeply implanted in the
human breast, I need not conceal the circumstance, that I am proud
of such approbation. Through life I have borne in mind the proverb,
that * he who cares little how men look upon him, cares less how he

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acts;' and I think virtue itself must be despised by those who do not
covet human rewards for its exercise.
" You commend me so highly as to lead me to suppose, that you
believe but few would have acted as I did. Whether others might
not have thought it right to do what I refused to execute, is not what
you consider. You appear to think, that, whether right or wrong,
but few would have preferred duty to office. If your conjecture is a
correct one, the matter is worthy of serious attention. My own impression is, that there are few citizens, in private life, who would not
have acted as I did; but among those, who are mere politicians, few
would have any scruples whatever. This is a consideration that
cannot be too soon or too closely attended to. We have no inconsiderable number of persons who make politics a trade, and who
think all means justifiable so that they accomplish their purpose.
" The theory of our institutions is admirable. It is supposed that
the door to political stations is open to all citizens equally, and that
the people themselves directly or indirectly select for those stations
individuals most distinguished for probity and capacity. Were this
beautiful process carried into execution, the glory of the republic,
and the happiness of the people, would be complete. But what is the
reality ? Do the people themselves select their agents, or choose as
agents those most distinguished for purity and fitness ? Is not the
ordinary operation of selections mere political play-acting? and if
this is the case, how can it be expected that those, who are elected
by slight-of-hand operation, will resist the practice?
" The consequence of all this is, that the trade in politics is in full
operation; there is great competition, and, as is usual in such a state
of things, work is done cheaply and badly. Temptation is almost
universally followed by consent, and but few resist those who have
the power to fill their purses or leave them empty. Thus we see a
laxity of all political ties. Men ' assume as many shapes as Proteus,
constantly wear the mark of dissimulation, and live a perpetual lie.'
He who speaks on one side to-day, votes on the other to-morrow.
He who on one day denounces or applauds one candidate, on the
next denounces or applauds his opponent, according to the state of
popular feeling. These politicians are like the dog of Amsterdam;
when set to watch his master's shoulder of mutton, he resisted strange
dogs, who tried to get it out of the basket, but as soon as they got it
out, he joined them in devouring it.
" In private life any man would be hooted, who would pretend
that we ought to be honest only when it would be profitable to be
so; but it seems to be considered a different affair in public life. So
general is the impression that public men, as they are called, have loose
political morals, that the dread of being thought politically dishonest

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scarcely exists. I have understood, indeed, that such politicians as I
am alluding to, meeting at Washington, sometimes compare notes, t6
see in which state the people are most easily imposed upon, and that
in one instance, at least, the honour was given to Pennsylvania. I
am not, fellow citizens, censuring individuals, but calling attention
to vicious practices, which probably prevail in all places and parties*
I am trying to account for the circumstance, that Cow persons but
mere politicians get into offices, and for the consequent circumstance,
that so very few like to leave them. We prefer a republic, because
men are prone to abuse power, and because abuses are prevented or
corrected by frequent elections. But if the power to change is not
exercised by the people themselves, the great advantage of a repub­
lic is lost, and selfish cabals become our masters. Men no longer
serve their country from patriotic motives, or from the lofty and laud­
able desire to be now or hereafter esteemed, but simply to gratify
those selfish passions which sap the foundation of public virtue*
" My best wishes for the health of your fellow citizens and your­
selves, are respectfully offered by
*' Your's, truly,
" W. J. DUANK."
" To ROLAND CURTIN,
44
JOHN HARRIS,
"JAMES BURNSIDB,

J
> Committee, Sfc."
}

" Tuscaloosa, {Alabama,) May, 16,1834.
44

W. J. DPANE!, ESQ.,

"SIR.—In accordance with one of the resolutions, passed at a large
and respectable meeting of your fellow citizens, held at the town of
Tuscaloosa, on the 14th inst, I have the honour of transmitting, to you,
a copy of the preamble and resolutions, adopted by the same, as a to*
ken of their respect, and of their approbation of the course, pursued by
you, in your late relations with the people of the United States, as se­
cretary of the treasury. The meeting was composed of men, of differ­
ent political parties; who thought it their privilege and duty, as citi­
zens, to express their approbation, or disapproval, of the official acts
of public officers, and of public measures; and who are determined
to resist all encroachments on our constitution, or assumptions of
power, come they from whence they may.
" As our government is a government of opinion, the meeting con­
sidered it important, that an expression of opinion should be had, in
the capital of Alabama; and also for the purpose of putting the pro­
per issue before the people; convinced, that, when the question shall
be properly understood, public sentiment will speak in a voice that
cannot be misunderstood; and that * principles, not men,' will once
more be the motto of the American people.
" I have the honour to subscribe myself, sir, your's, & c ,
44

BENJAMIN C. OPPKLT."

21

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t m Jfoofoed, That the late secretary of the treasury, W. J, Duane, deserves the
highest commendation of freemen, for his patriotic efforts, to prevent the executive from seizing the public purse; thereby following the worthy example of the
patriots of '76, who could neither be coaxed nor coerced to do that, which their
consciences did not approve; nor to abandon their post voluntarily in time of
danger: and, that we present h b conduct as a model for all our public officers to»
imitate.*'
«• Philadelphia, June 24,1834,
"B. C. OPFELT, Esa.

" I have the honour and gratification to acknowledge your letter of
the 16th ult.j and would have performed this duty, at an earlier mo­
ment, if I had not been absent from this city, on a journey, in the
eastern states, from which I have just returned.
" It will ever be a source of delight to me, that so many of my
. fellow citizens have commended the course, which I considered it my
duty to pursue as a public agent. So far as our countrymen them­
selves have expressed their sentiments, the public voice is unques­
tionably against the proceedings of the federal executive. The re­
presentatives of the states have condemned them in the most empha­
tic manner; and the representatives of the people, in congress, havef
in effect, censured them, by studiously avoiding any expression of
opinion on the subject. Those demonstrations will be unavailing with
the present chief magistrate; but they must have a salutary effect
hereafter. His successors will hesitate, ere they substitute their own
will, for the constitution and laws; and * subordinates' will be en*
couraged to be * refractory,* should they be required to act in opposi­
tion to their convictions, principles, and duty.
" Be pleased to assure your fellow citizens, that I am proud of their
approbation, and thankful for the support of their good opinion. May
their prosperity, generally and individually, be as great as their pa*
triotism is obviously pure and generous.
" Accept, sir, on your own part, my thanks for the gratifying terms
of your letter, and my kind wishes now and hereafter.
♦ Very respectfully, your's,
*
» W. J. DVAKK."

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CHAPTER XVII.
44

IN September, 1792, in one of the prisons of Paris, Journeac Saint-Meard
was called forth and questioned. He avowed, that up to the 10th of August,
he was an open royalist. At this there arose a murmur, which was appeased
by one of the self-made judges saying, ( We are not here to judge of opinions,
but of the results of them.' He was Teleased!"
CarlyWe French Revolution, vol. iii., p. 51.

In the preceding pages, I have presented all that I originally
proposed to embrace in the present volume. Subsequent oc­
currences and reflections, however, induce me to close it with
an explanatory chapter. It will have been observed, that, in
my official letter.of the 10th July, 1833, (see chapter iii, ppge
38,) I not only expressed my sentiments respecting banks as
such, but suggested a relinquishment of them as fiscal agents.
Within the intervening five years, there has been much discus­
sion on the question of a separation of the government from
banks; and as was to have been expected, several of my friends
asked for an exposition of my sentiments. Without presuming
to say that my opinion is of any consequence, I do not hesitate
to avow that it is unaltered. I think now, as I did while in
office, that federal fiscal duties, like all other federal services,
should be performed by federal officers; and that if we have
not, or cannot obtain, agents worthy of such trusts, the fabric
of liberty itself must be in a state of decay. It is not my pur­
pose, however, now to sustain my opinion by argument. I
barely desire, in the shape of a letter from one friend to another,
to show the nature of my views while I was in office.
- i

Philadelphia, November 3,1837.

MY DEAR SIR.—I have received, from another friend, as well
as from yourself, the Madisonian, of^Friday last. It asks, whe­
ther I did not, while in office, in 1833, propose to separate state
from banks—whether I did not submit a sub-treasury plan to
the President—and whether he did not indignantly reject it?
This, in another shape, is the substance of the paragraph, to
which you call my attention, and which you appear to think I
ought at once to notice publicly. I might answer these ques­
tions, with two monosyllables, yes to the first, and no to the two
last; but that would not be perfect in itself, or respectful to you.
Although I do not consider myself now called upon, to notice
these matters; I agree with another of my friends, who tells me,

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that " all facts should be known," and that " entirfe silence on
my part may not be excusable." I propose, therefore* to give
you such an explanation, as I may hereafter, if desirable, make
public. My silence, hitherto, has not been the effect of indiffer­
ence. I contemplate the past, the present, and the future, as
anxiously as any one can do. My share, in the common cargo
of our public ship, is as precious to me as the share of any
one else can be to him. But I hesitate, unasked, to say how
the ship should be steered; especially as, for expressing an
humble opinion, one may be flung over-board.
That I ought to have such an apprehension, is evident even
from your own letter. Forgetting the past, you are evidently
surprised at the suggestion, that I favoured a separation of state
from banks. Why should you be surprised? I did not differ
from the late President, on points now agitated. My opinions
of his conduct, in 1833, and of its consequences, remain un­
changed; but my sentiments, in relation to currency and banks,
are also unaltered. When you commended me, in 1833, what
was it that you praised? Surely not an abandonment, but my
maintenance, of the right of opinion. Praise could not, any
more than proscription, induce me to adopt any particular doc­
trine, unless I considered it sound in itself. To guard against
any expectation of that kind, I publicly announced, on my re­
tirement from office, that occurrences at Washington had made
no change in my principles; and, I am sure, you will not find
any thing to the contrary in my succeeding publications.
What, then, were my opinions, while I was in office? You
will find them avowed in my letter, of the 10th of July, 1833,
to the President. I do not dogmatically assert, that they are
sound; but I do assert, that they have been long and dispassion­
ately entertained. My principal object, in writing the letter,
just referred to, was to projeure delay until the meeting of con­
gress, with a view to an inquiry into the whole subject of the
currency. It seemed to me, that, until after such an investiga­
tion, no sound decision could be made as to afiscal*agency.
Nevertheless, I suggested a total separation of state from banks;
and, if that was an offence, I still plead guilty. Probably you
think it an offence; and, therefore, I feel myself somewhat in
the position of a malefactor, when asked, if he has any thing to
say, why sentence should not be passed upon him? The diffi­
culty, that I have, on the occasion, is, as to the manner, in
which I may most clearly and briefly explain myself.

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If a parttfnly,of what we every day hear, is true, our country
has been, for a long time, in a state of suffering, and is now
absolutely paralyzed. We, for whom Providence and the foun­
ders of the republic did so much; we, who have a new country,
no national debt, no nobility, no hierarchy, no standing army;
we, who have all these.mighty advantages, nevertheless, present
such a spectacle of embarrassment and discord, as no other
country exhibits! We have neither a public treasury, nor a
public currency! Is this a humiliating state of things? If it is,
what was the original cause of it? Is our system of government,
a failure? If our institutions are admirable in themselves; must
they not have been neglected or abused by those, who should
have honoured and sustained them?
What, I repeat, was the original cause of the evil, which, we
all admit, exists? Were you here, as I am asking this question,
you would, probably, answer, " it is all owing to the refusal to
renew the charter of the U. S. bank." This is the same explana-'
tion, that is given by very many of our respectable and intelli­
gent fellow citizens; and far am I from treating it disrespect­
fully.* All I ask is, the right to examine it strictly. What, then,
had the refusal to re-charter the U. S. bank to do with existing
evils? You answer, that the bank was a regulator, a balancewheel, a safety-valve. What did it regulate—what explosion
did it prevent? There can be but one answer; namely, that
it regulated, or prevented the explosion of, a paper currency.
Consequently, according to the representation of the friends
of the U. S. bank themselves, the true source of existing evils
was—an unrestrained issue of paper as money.
I need not, for my general purpose, stop here to consider,
whether the U. S. bank really was a regulator of this paper
currency; and yet, I will briefly consider that point. To show,
that it never did restrain the issue of paper as money, all that
is needful is, to state undisputed facts; that, in 1791, there were
but three banks; that there are now upwards of six hundred;
and that, during forty of the intervening forty-six years, the
U. S. bank was in operation. The proposition, that the U. S. bank
* In a private letter, dated October 17,1833, (a part of which my correspondent unjustifiably made public,) I designated the conduct of the President, in
removing the deposites, as "unnecessary, unwise, vindictive, arbitrary, and unjust ;" and I still entertain the same opinion. The evils, anticipated, followed
his course; bat the removal of the deposites was not the original or sole cause
of them. The combnstiblefl existed; but, instead of separating and reducing
them, the Executive added to the heap and set it on fire.

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was an efficient regulator, is, therefore, erroneous. It may have
kept out of circulation, as much paper of other banks, as its
own amounted to; but that portion was insignificant, when compared with the mass. Besides, the U. S. bank had no such patriotic design as has been attributed to it. If it excluded local
bank paper, it was not because that paper injuriously affected
the public, but because its circulation interfered with its own
profits. Instead of interrupting the mischievous issue of local
bank paper as money, it added to the volume of the current,
which ultimately swept us on the breakers, where we now are.
My design, however, is not to discuss this point I desire to
keep your attentiomfixedupon a more important one, namely—
that, according to the statement of the friends of the U. S. bank
themselves, the original and true source of existing evils, was the
unrestrained issue of paper as money. And now, let me ask,
who are accountable for this state of things? Are the framers
of our constitution accountable? We all profess to revere them
and their labours! Loud are our boasts of attachment to the
constitution! Let us see, whether we really know what the labours of the framers of the constitution were, and whether we
have not most shamefully neglected both precept and example,
The framers of the constitution declared their object to be,
* to promote the general welfare." Were they wise and skilful,
*
as well as virtuous? Or, were they incompetent to execute
what they undertook to perform? After labouring at our public edifice, did they leave it unfinished? Did they suppose, that
it would tumble down, unless supported by the props of chartered banks? Did they consider a bank-wheel necessary, to
keep in motion the machinery which they had made; and,
that without it, the machinery would stand still? Did they suppose, that congress would be compelled, to sell a part of the
sovereign power over the currency, to private and irresponsible
persons, and to give them the public money to trade upon, in
order to keep that money safely ?
If such is the true character of our political edifice, and if our
public agents are such knaves, that the public money cannot be
safely left, for a short time, in their hands, the world has been
sadly imposed upon; and, ours cannot be a " model republic."
But those, who built that edifice, were skilful as well as honest
workmen; and, let none of the consequent shame rest upon
them, if their successors, in the public service, are not as honest as themselves. The framers of our constitution, I repeat,

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we?e* wise. They welt knew, how human happiness could be7
promoted, and they did all, that it was possible for them to do,
to insure its duration. They were aware, that the soil, labour
and money are the elements of riches, or of those things which
contribute to human welfare—that those things are increased,
in proportion to the facilities of exchanges—and that exchanges
are multiplied, according to the confidence, that, for produc­
tions, money may be had on demand. They were acquainted
with the mighty resources of their country, and with the import­
ance of the use of the precious metals, for their development
They knew that all wise states, by the regulation of commerce
and by treaties, sought to keep in circulation an abundance of
coin; and they had every reason to suppose, that the metals in
circulation throughout the world would be adequate to all le­
gitimate wants. They knew, that a system of commercial credit
prevailed in Europe, which, without the aid of paper of banks
of circulation, answered all the purposes of trade. They knew,
that bank paper, issued as loans, is a fictitious capital; that it
swells the circulating medium beyond the true wants of trade—
enhances the price of commodities—and drives coin out of circu­
lation. In short, they had had a sad experience of the mischiefs
of a paper currency; and did all that they could do, to secure to
posterity something more than a mere promise of an equivalent
With this view* and possessed of this knowledge, the framersof our constitution conferred upon congress the power to regu­
late commerce, and prohibited any tax upon exports. To in­
sure the presence and purity of coin, they forbade the several
states to issue bills of credit, coin money, or make any thing
but gold and silver a legal tender. To maintain a metallic
currency, and to protect the users of it, congress alone was au­
thorized to coin money, regulate its value, and punish counter­
feiting. They also provided, that all duties, imposts and excises
should be uniform throughout the Union. In short, the framers
of our constitution considered the guardianship of the standard
of value, the universally received equivalent, the measure of all
commodities, among the attributes of the sovereignty of all the
states united; and they did all that they could do, to prevent
usurpation, or interference with it, on the part of any of the
several states. So intent were they upon making the currency
of the rest of the world, the currency of their own country; so
little inclination had they, to imitate the parent country, m its
establishment of the bank of England, that they refused to grant
to congress the power to create a corporation.

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Such, my good sir, was the anxiety, the wisdom, and the
foresight of the framers of our constitution. They never en­
tertained, nor has any sane person evei* entertained, the notion,
that productions were to be bartered, or that coin was to be
carted from place to place, for the purposes either of society
or of government. They never supposed, that true credit con­
sisted of, or depended upon* paper issued as money. They well
knew, that banking, in its true signification, was not a modern
invention, but that it had existed in the earliest ages, of which
we have information; that exchanges had been at all times ef­
fected, through bankers of deposite; that notes of banks of circu­
lation are not the instruments, for effecting exchanges between
the people of one country and those of any other; and, therefore,
they well supposed, that all our exchanges might be effected
by means of productions, bills of exchange and coin.
And, yet, in utter contempt of all that had been thus done
and forbidden, by the framers of our constitution, the very evils
and abuses, which they deprecated and guarded against, have
been almost ever since in rank existence and growth! Our
country has presented the unexampled, and truly monstrous
existence of two sovereignties, each selling to chartered com­
panies, powers, which the general sovereignty alone can right­
fully exercise itself! That is, congress, to whom the federal
convention absolutely refused to grant a power to create a cor­
poration, nevertheless creates one, and sells to it, what it has
no right to sell—a power to issue paper as money. The several
states, too, although positively forbidden to issue bills of credit,
or to coin money—that is, to meddle with the currency—sell
to chartered companies a power to do* what they cannot law­
fully do themselves, that is, issue paper as money! Is it won­
derful, then, that we have had expansions, revulsions, suspen­
sions, and consequent distresses ? Can we look forward to an
exemption from them, while the existing anomalous state of
things shall exist 1
I am aware of all that you would say to me, were you pre­
sent. You would probably smile at what you may consider
my simplicity, to say the least. But, I pray you to bear in
mind, that I only humbly represent what the framers of our
constitution actually thought and did. If they knew not what
they were about, I have an apology, if I also am in error. All
that I ask is, that the wise men of our day, if they are strong,
may also be merciful.

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If there had been no bants of circulation, would the bounties
of nature and the energies of man have remained dormant?
To suppose so, is to contemn experience and to degrade our­
selves. Is it the presence of bank paper, that produces prospe­
rity ? Money is not to be had but for an equivalent. Nor are
productions to be had but for money, or the assurance that it
may be had. It is to the abundance of things in demand; it is
to industry, stimulated by that demand, and producing objects
for consumption or exchange; it is to our growth, as an untaxed
people; that we must mainly attribute our advancement. Bank­
ers, indeed, represent themselves as the horse, that drags the
public cart along; but, it may be doubted, whether banks have
not been such a burden, as no other country or people but our
own could have sustained. Would it not be preposterous to
say, that our grain, iron, timber, cotton, wool, tobacco, coal,
the fish on our eastern coasts, or the whales of the Pacific,
would remain unproduced, undeveloped, unsought, unused
and unexchanged, without the aid of bank paper 1 The exist­
ence, the abundance and the demand of those things stimulate
men to obtain them; and, when obtained, they bring in other
things, by exchanges, or coin, as the framers of our constitu­
tion intended.
If the will of those wise men had been obeyed, inequality in
condition, luxury and vice would not have made such rapid
advances, as they have done; there might not have been so
many towns, or such crowds as there are in them; but there
would have been more men at the plough; and there would
have been more integrity, frugality and content There would
not have been fluctuations, revulsions and panics, ruinous in
their consequences. There would not have arisen the mighty
power of upwards of six hundred banks, holding the borrowers
of four hundred and fifty millions in a state of dependence.
These suggestions are not the work of fancy; much less,
have I any desire to abridge the legal existence or powers of
any bank whatever. The existing institutions did not give being
to themselves. If it was an error, to bring them into opera­
tion, the people themselves were the offenders, or their agepts;
and, among those agents, none was more efficient than the late
President himself. No, I am speaking of what is called our
banking system; I am explaining what were my opinions
while I was in office, and what was the true nature of my sug­
gestions at that time.
22

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The three propositions, which I have advanced, are these;
that the power, to create a corporation, was withheld from
congress;—that the power to emit paper as money, was withheld from the several states—and that the framers of our con­
stitution contemplated but one currency, that of coin. The
constitution itself and our fiscal history prove the truth of these
propositions. Is further evidence needful ? You have some­
times mentioned the names of Mr. Madison, Mr, Hamilton and
Mr, Gallatin, Each of those gentlemen sustains some one of
the above propositions. I have at this moment before me the
statement of Mr, Madison, in his own hand-writing, that the
federal convention refused to confer on congress a power to
create a corporation. In his argument, in relation to a bank
of the U. S., Mr, Hamilton declared that the power, to emit *
paper as money, had been wisely withheld from the several
states; and that any reliance upon such an expedient would be
fallacious. In the essay on currency and banking, which was
written by Mr Gallatin, and widely circulated at the expense
of the bank U. S., that gentleman declares, that, if practicable,
we ought to return to a metallic currency. It is true, he seems
to think the difficulty of a return insuperable; but he gives the
most substantial reasons, why we should return if we can.
He declares that the system of credit, prevailing in Europe, is
not attended with such consequences as follow our system;
that revulsions there do not affect the currency, the standard
of value or contracts in general. Now, we know, that our
revulsions affect them all; and, therefore, it is not surprising,
that Mr, Gallatin would return to a metallic currency, if prac­
ticable. As to the practicability of such a return, that is a
point upon which much may be said; but I do not propose
now to consider it. What I aim at is, to place the authority
of Mr, Madison, Mr, Hamilton and Mr, Gallatin, in a point of
view in which you may not have considered it
I observe the remark, ready to start from your lips, that Mr.
Madison when President signed a bank charter; and I am
also aware, that those are scoffed at, who presume to dissent
from Judge Marshall. But sarcasm is not argument Mr.
Madison must have been right in 1791, or wrong in 1816; or
the reverse. He could not have been right on both occasions,
for on each he took opposite sides. On which occasion he
was right, and on which wrong, every one may decide for
himself. For my own part, I believe Jie was right in 1791 \

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for he was then in the vigour of life, was imbued with the spi»
rit of the federal convention, and free from all constraint;
whereas, in 1816, his vigour had diminished, he was over­
whelmed with political difficulties, and, in choosing between
two evils, he adopted the one, which he deemed the least or
the least enduring.
As to the opinions of eminent judges, they are but opinions,
after all; and what are judicial opinions ? Are they infallible,
or, like the Median laws, unchangeable ? Turn, I pray you,
to the volumes of opinions of judges in England and of our
own law luminaries. How many of them agree, or will stand
the test of future examination ? How many of the lights, that
once dazzled beholders, continue to burn ? Wax preceded oil,
* but oil was preferred, and then came gas to obscure them both!
Why, then, may not one humbly dissent from the doctrine laid
down in the case of M'Culloch? Suppose that case could
be argued before the present judges of the Supreme Court,
what would their judgment be ? Would it sustain the doctrine
of their predecessors? I think not And what would be then
said ? surely, that the present judges were political partisans,
as had been said of their predecessors.
There ought, or there ought not, to be paper as well as coin,
Let that matter be settled. If there ought to be paper, what
sort of.paper should it be ? Ought there to be an auxiliary un­
der the public seal; or should there be a chartered bank, withbranches; or are we to have, what is called a system, which
produces revulsions affecting the currency, the standard of
value, and contracts generally ? How can a choice be made
in the midst of universal intolerance ?
It is alleged, that a bank with branches may be so organized,
that abuses may be prevented. But it is added that those, who
have scruples about the right of congress to create such an in­
stitution, must abandon them. Can they do so any more than
a Lutheran can change his creed, because Bossuet and Fenelon,
pious divines, entertained a different one? Is it wise, charitable,
or modest to say to men, who have through life disinterestedly
opposed a national bank, that they have been fools for doing
so? Who are thus called fools? Not only majorities of the
people, but majorities of our federal and state legislators? Have
all the opponents of .such an institution, for the last forty-six
years, been in darkness? Have its friends alone had the wel­
fare of their country at heart? Are they alone patriotic, pure

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and wise? If its friends consider a national bank desirable,
why are not obstacles removed in a constitutional way ? The
alien act was not rendered constitutional by the signature of a
president, or the sanction of a judge; nor can such a signature
or such a sanction make a corporation constitutional. Where
there are doubts, widely and seriously entertained, a decent re­
spect should be paid to them. The constitution has been more
than once amended; and the process is so simple, that the refusal
to resort to it seems to admit that the recourse would be fruit­
less. Certain it is, that the struggles for majorities in congress,
on this subject, have increased the fierceness of resistance. No
one can doubt that, if there ought to be a bank auxiliary, for
social or fiscal uses, a bank for the whole country is infinitely
preferable to a multitude of irresponsible institutions. If there
ought to be a general bank, there will be one, should the states
or people, by an amendment of the constitution, so decide. But
if the states or people shall not, by an amendment of the con­
stitution, sanction one, it should not be otherwise introduced.
If otherwise introduced, it never will command the pubh> con­
fidence; and, on the contrary, will be the source of continual
discord.
This, my dear sir, is a tedious introduction to the explanation
promised at the commencement of this letter. Let us return
to the point from which we set out. The Madisonian places
me among the proposers of what is called the sub-treasury, and
I proceed to state the facts, so far as I am concerned.
When I entered office, in 1833,1 had not the inclination or
the power to leave behind me my opinions about currency and
banks. Although they had been long entertained, they were
not held dogmatically. On the contrary, I was at all times
anxious for explanation and correction if in error. I had not
looked forward to the performance of any particular duty in
office; yet, scarcely had I entered it, when a scene altogether
new and unexpected was presented. I was asked to abandon
the existing fiscal machinery, which as such was safe and effi­
cient; and to introduce other machinery, in the safety and effi­
ciency of which I had no confidence. If I had any resentment
or prejudices to gratify, or if I had any favourite plan to pro­
pose, an opportunity was now presented for indulging the one
or introducing the other. But I had no resentment, prejudice
or plan. The responsibility, which had been devolved on me,
demanded caution, inquiry and thoughtfulness. I considered

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the removal of the existing fiscal agent, prior to 1836, certain
and inevitable. The executive called on me to introduce state
banks in its stead. I did not think it patriotic or wise to adopt
such a substitute; nor did I approve of the design of the Presi­
dent, to forestal the action of congress upon the subject, and to
grasp legislative as well as executive powers in the same hands.
My most anxious efforts, therefore, were directed to one object
—to gain time, not only for averting evils but for making in­
quiry; so that I might advisedly, as well as diffidently, submit
my views to the consideration of congress. What those views,
after reflection, would have been, it is of course impossible
now distinctly to say. It is certain, however, that I would have
respectfully suggested such an investigation of the whole subject
of our currency, as legislators in England and France wisely
make on all momentous subjects. In my letter of the 10th July,
1833,1 intimated to the President, that such an appeal ought to
be made, and that all connexion with banks should be discon­
tinued. He asked, what substitute for them, or plan of fiscal
agency, I proposed; and I answered, that nearly three years
must elapse, ere the existing agent would retire; that congress
alone could rightfully act upon the subject of a substitute; that
it would be my duty to inquire, and to report the results to con­
gress; and that they would have the wisdom, as well as the
power, to determine what the true interests of the country de­
manded. The President, however, deprecated any delay; and
objected to any inquiry, except whether state banks would act
as fiscal agents. He said, he had himself suggested such an
organization of the treasury department, as would render the
use of banks needless; but that he had not been favourably at­
tended to, either by congress or the people, and that state banks
were now the only resource.
Although thus checked in what I considered the most dis­
creet course, I did not abandon all hope of delay, or of an in­
quiry by congress; and, consequently, I did not cease to con­
sider whether a fiscal agency, independent of banks, might not
be created. During my reflections, my attention was naturally
carried back to the time, when the whole machinery of our
government was first put in motion; and the result of this retro­
spect necessarily was the conclusion, that the salutary action
of the general machinery did not then depend upon the aid or
presence of any bank-wheel, nThere seemed to be no novelty
in dispensing with bank agency. All other governments collect

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and disburse by the agency of their own officers. The obvious,
and the actual course, at the formation of our own government,
was to execute fiscal duties, like all other federal duties, by
federal agents; and, to a certain extent, this had been ever since,
inevitably, the practice. This was the principle, the rule—and
the departures from it were, in reality, the experiments. Nei­
ther was there political heresy, any more than novelty, in dis­
pensing with banks; the early republicans, m whose faith I had
been instructed, had deprecated a connexion between state and
banks, and experience had justified their resistance.
Nevertheless, as the rule had been departed from, and as the
departure had been long acquiesced in, a return to first princi­
ples became a serious consideration. For my own part, I
barely agitated the subject orally when on a visit to this city, in
July, 1833, and by correspondence while at Washington. The
laws contemplated, that the actual operations of receiving and
paying should be performed by public officers. The treasury
circular of the 1st of May, 1831, prescribed the currency in*
which dues might be collected, and the manner in which deposites should be made. The aid rendered by the banks of
deposite was confined, 1. to safely keeping the public funds;
2. to transferring them as required; and 3. to the purpose of a
check upon public officers. The inquiry which I agitated was,
whether the treasury at Washington and branches from it
might not take the places of the U. S. bank and branches, and
accomplish the purposes of safely keeping, transferring and
checking. As to the nature of the currency, coin or bank notes,
I confess I contemplated merely an extension of the restriction
of the existing treasury order. It prohibited the acceptance of
any note under $ 5 ; and I was disposed gradually to extend
the prohibition. Instead of limiting operations to the mere
wants of the government, I was inclined to aid commercial
transfers; and I could not conceive, why such a service might
not be rendered and remunerated} as well as the transport of
letters by a post-office department
Although these and similar views presented themselves, I
traced out no plan. Suggestions and inquiries only were made
orally or in my correspondence. Answers to several of my
letters are now before me, and I make the following quotations
from two of them:
A letter, dated at Philadelphia, on the 18th of August, 1888*
SayS-

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u

Having said so much on a subject [the unrestrained issue of paper as money j
which I can never tire in execrating; I most heartily approve of your plan*
Tiie hank of deposits and exchange would be exempt from all the exceptions, to
which banks of circulation are subject. It would fulfil the purposes of internal
exchanges and commercial transfers. In looking forward to such a measure, it is
necessary to anticipate what might be said in opposition. The appointment of
d6puty*treasure*s Would be opposed, par example^ by the Riehmond Enquirer,
on the ground of inordinate patronage, and large salary officers. This is all, I
can see likely to be brought forth, unless the usual quantity of incoherent decla­
mation ; such as the essays of Cato, in the U. S. Gazette, all of which I have
had the patience to read, but of which the mind cannot call up a sentence worthy
pf regard."

Another letter, dated at Philadelphia, on the 3d of Septem­
ber, 1833, says—
•* You forget, for I wrote to you twice, expressing the last time concisely my
entire confidence and recommendation of your plan, either as local depositories,
such fua the loan offices of former times were, or as deputy-treasuries, both of
which forms you suggested three or four times, and which I expressed my
wishes to see realized- The only difficulties, I suggested, arose out of the idea,
about placing the money power in the hands of the Executive—a fallacy in itself,
stnee the mode of abuse of what is called the money power is, in feet, the very
thing whicli your plan would correct, that is, the issuing of paper as money,
which is not money but credit The other difficulty was, the pretext, that would
be set up, of the government turning broker, if a small per-centage was pro*
posed to be charged on drafts.
u
I think if yon Were to make a project of this description, in some methodi­
cal form, and submit it to the President, the effect would be good.*

Although thus and much more zealously encouraged, I
barely continued to agitate the subject What my correspon­
dent called plans, were suggestions only, intended to elicit re*
marks* My impression was, that the change, which I discuss­
ed, was calculated to promote political purity. As to the
safety of the public funds in the hands of our own officers, I
confess, I never supposed, that the bars, bolts, and chests of
bankers could be stronger than oaths of office, love of country
and the dread of infamy*
But, as I have repeatedly said, although these were my im­
pressions, my main object was—an inquiry by congress. And
consequently, if I understand the true meaning of the word
M
conservative," my views were wholly of that character. I
was not, indeed, one of those conservatives, who pretend that
government should have nothing to do with the currency: on
the contrary, I coftsidered the preservation of a sound currency
one of the objects and obligations of government. The power
to coin money was meant to be an active power; and one of
the objects of the power to regulate commerce was to secure

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an adequate supply of coin. On the other hand, I was not one
of those conservatives, who are fordoing nothing, because it
may be difficult to do any thing: on the contrary, I saw in the
increase of the abuses of an unrestrained issue of paper as
money the strongest of all reasons for their red uction. Neverthe­
less, I was not for a secretary's project, any more than for an
executive experiment: / was for collecting facts and elucidations on monetary questions, and for such Sound legislation as
congress should build up on that foundation.
If I may not say, positively, that the most salutary effects
would have been produced, if this course had been adopted;
at least I cannot err in asserting that a series of distresses and
discords, such as has seldom been witnessed any where, would
have been avoided. The incidents of the last few years have
impaired our political reputation, as well as our morals—to say
nothing of social and commercial embarrassments. In a mo­
ment of universal peace, and notwithstanding our vast resources,
there is a general suspension of payment, except in paper,
which no one can tell the value of. To meet this crisis, con­
gress was called; and yet the Executive omitted to mention
the true source of the evil, or its aggravation by his predeces­
sor. Instead of suggesting means to secure a currency for the
general purposes of society, he seemed to consider the fiscal
currency as the only proper object of legislative solicitude. It
is not surprising, therefore, that the late session was abortive.
And in the meantime, (as if it was intended to tempt public
officers to abuse their trusts, and thus, to create an impression,
that bankers are the only honest agents) the public money is
left in the hands of the receivers generally, and they may run
at large, like a steed without hopple or halter!
But I must stop in my own career. Let me
then say that, in 1833, I did suggest a separation of state
from banks, and did inquire how that object might be accom­
plished. Whether my views were sound or not, I have no
apprehension, that you will accuse me of desiring to establish
a government bank, or to extend the bounds of executive power.
Finally, " unless (as Sir William Temple says,) you mean to
quarrel and not to argue with me, you will not call my opinions
absurd, because they may not agree with your own."
Your's, & c ,
W. J. D.

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