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REMARKS

HOJV.

JOUN

€.

CALHOUN,

U£1,1T£R£S<

IN

THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

MARCH

31, 183i.

MOriON OF MR. WEBSTER,

B»SK

LEAVE TO INXnoUUCB X BILL TO CONTINUE THE CUARTEH 07 THE BANK OF THE UNiTfiO
STATEB FOa SIX TEAUS AFT£a TU£ £ZFiaATION OF THE PRESENT CHABTEEU

WASHINGTON.
1831.

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in

2009

with funding from

Friends of the Lincoln Financial Collection

in

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http://www.archive.org/details/remarksofhonjohnOOcalh

—

REMARKS
THE HON. JOHN

I rise, said Mr. C, in order to avail myself of an early opportunity to express my
opinion oa the measure proposed by the
Senator from Massachusetts, and the questions immediately connected with it, on
the ground that, on a subject so immediately connected with the interests of every
class in the community, there should be an
early declaration of their sentiments by
the members of this body, so that all might
know what to expect, and on what to calculate.
1 shall vote for the motion of the Senator,
not because I approve of the measure he

proposes, but because I consider it due in
courtesy, to grant leave, unless there be
strong reasons to tiie contrary, which is not
the case in this instance; but while I am
prepared to vote for his motion, and, let me
add, to do ample justice to his motives for
introducing the bill, I cannot approve of
the measure he proposes. In every view
\yhich I have been able to take, it is objectionable.
Among the objections, I place
the uncertainty as to its object. It is left
perfectly open to conjecture, whether a renewal of the charter is intended, or a mere
continuance with the view of attbrding the

bank time

to

wind

and what
we compare

ufj its affiiirs;
uncertainty is, if

increases the
the provisions of the proposed bill with the
one or the other of these objects, it is
equally unsuited to either. If a renewal
of the charter be intended, six years is too
short; if a continuance, too long.
I, however, state this as a mere minor objection.
There is another of far more decisive character; it settles nothing, it leaves every
thing unfixed it perpetuates the present
struggle which so injuriously agitates the
country a struggle of bank against bank
one set of opinions against ^another; and
prolongs the whole, without even an intervening armistice, to the vear 1842 a period that covers two presid.ential terms, and,

—

—

—

by

inevitable consequence, running for two
successive presidential elections, the politics of the country into the bank question,
and the bank question into politics, with
tlie

mutual conniption which must be en-

C,

CALHOUN.

gendered; and, during the whole period,
keeping the currency of the country, which
the public interest requires should have
the utmost stability, in a state of uncer-

and fluctuation.
But why should I pursue the objections to
the plan proposed by the Senator from Massachusetts, (Mr. Webster.)
He himself

tainty

acknowledges the measure to be defective,
and that he would prefer one of a more
permanent character. He has not proposed
this as the best measure, but has brought it
forward under a supposed necessity under the impression that something must be
done something prompt and immediate,

—

—

to relieve the existing distress w;hich over-

spreads the land. 1 concur with him in
relation to the distress
that it is deep and
extensive; that it fell upon us suddenly,
and in the midst of prosperity almost unexampled; that it is daily consigning hundreds to poverty and misery; blasting the
hopes of the enterprising; taking employment and bread from the laborer, and working a fearful change in the relative condition of the moneyed man ^nd the money
dealer on one side, and the man of business
and the man of property on the other taking up the former rapidly to the top of the
wheel, whilst it is whirling the latter, with
equal rapidity, to the bottom. Vv'hile 1 thus
agree with the Senator as to the distress, I
am also sensible that there are great public
emergencies in which no permanent relief
can be aUbrded, and when the wisest are
obliged to resort to expedients; to palliate
and to temporize in order to gain time with
a view to apply a more effectual remedy;
but there are also emergencies of precisely
the opposite character; when the best and
most permanent is the only practical measure; and Vv'hen mere expedients tend but to
distract, to divide and confound, and thereby to delay or defeat all relief; and such,
viewed in all its relations and bearing, I consider the present; and that the Senator from
Massachusetts has not also so considered it,I
attribute to the fact that, of the two questions
blended in the subject under consideration,
he has given an undue prominence to that

—

—

i

I

i

'

j
'

j

wliich has by far the least relative import- currency; if that one million be reduced
ance; 1 mean the questions of the bank and one-tenth part, that is to say, one hunof the currency. As a mere bank question, dred thousand dollars, the value of the
as viewed by the Senator, it would be a mat- rest will be reduced in like manner oneter of but little importance, n\ hether the retenth part, that is, three million of dolncAval shou Id b',' for six years or for a longer lars.
And here a very important fact
period,* and a preference might very prodiscloses itself, which explains why the curperly be given to one or the other as it rency should be touched with such delimight be supposed most likely to succeed; cacy, and why stability and uniformity
but I must say that, in my opinion, in se- are such essential qualities; I mean, that
lecting the period of six years, he has a small absolute reduction of the currencytaken that which wdll he much less likely makes a great absolute redaction of the
to succeed than one of a reasonable and
value of the entire property of the comproper duration. But had he turned his munity, as we see in tne case supposed j
view to the other and more prominent where a reduction of one hundred thouquestion involved; had he regarded the sand dollars in the currency reduces the
question as a question of currency, and that aggregate value of property three millions
the great point was to give it uniformity, of dollars, a sum thirty times greater than
permanency, and safety; that in etfecting the reduction of the currency. From this
these essential objects the bank is a mere results an important consideration. If we
subordinate agent, to^be used or not to be suppose the entire currency to be in the
used, and to be modified as to its duration hands of one portion of the community,
and other provisions wholly in reference to and the property in the hands of the other
the higiher question of the currency, I can- portion, the former, by having the currennot think that he w^ould ever have proposed cy in their possession might control the
the measure v/hich he has brought forward, value of all the property of the community,
which leaves, as I have already said, every and possess themselves of it at their pleathing connected with the subject in a &tate sure. Take the case already selected; anil
of uncertainty and fluctuation.
suppose that those who hold the currenAll feel that the currency is a delicate cy diminish it one half by abstracting it
subject, requiri !g to be touched with the from circulation; the effect of which would
utmost caution; but in order that it ma_f be to reduce the circulation to five hundred
be seen, as w;e!l as ielt, why it is so deli- thousand dollars; the value of property
cate; why sligiiL touches, either in de- would also be reduced one half; that is, fitpressing or elevating it, agitate and con- teen millions of dollars. Let the process
vulse the whole community, I will pause be reversed, and the money abstracted
to explain the cause.
If we take the ag- gradually restored to circulation^ and the
gregate property of a community^ that value of the property would agam be inwhich forms the cuiTency, constitutes in creased to thirty millions. It must be obvalue, a very small proportion of the whole. vious, that by alternating these processes
What this pr^ortion is in our country and purchasing at the point of the greatest
and other commercial and trading com- depression, Avlien the circulation is the
munities, is somewhat uncertain. I speak least, and selling at the point of the greatconjecturally in fixing it as one to twenty- est elevation, when it is the fullest, the
live or thirty, though I presume that is not
supposed monied class, who could at pleafar from the truth; and yet this smail sure increase or diminish the circulation,
proportion ot the property of the commu- by abstracting or restoring it, might also at
nity regulates the value otall the rest, and pleasure control the entire property of the
forms the medium of circulation by which country. liet it be ever borne in mind, that
all its exchanges are effected; bearing in
the exchangeable value of the circulating
this respect, a striking similiarity, consimedium^ compared with the pi'operty and
dering the diversity of the subjects, to the
he business of the community, remains
blood in the human or animal system. fixed, and can never be diminished or inIf we turn our attention to the laws creased by increasing or diminishing its
which govern the circulation, we shall find quantity; while on the contrary the exone ot the most important to be, that, changeable value of the property, compared
as the circulation is tlecreased or increas- to the currency, must increase or decrease
ed, the re^t of the property will, all other with every addition or diminution of the
circumstances remaining the same, be de- latter. It results from this, that there is a
creased or inci'eased in value exactly in the dangerous antagonist relation between those
same proportion. To illustrate: If a com- who hold or command the currency and the
munity should have an aggregate amount rest of the community; but, fortunately for
of property of thirty-one millions of dol- the country, the holders of property and of
lars, 01 which one million constitutes its
the currency, are so blended as not to con_

5
that does not place the currency on a solid
foundation. It I thought this determination
would delay the relief so necessary to mitigate the present calamity, it would be to
me a subject of the deepest regret. I feel
that sympathy, which i trust I ought, for
the suffering of so many of my fellow citivate, which so strikingly distinguishes zens, who see their hopes daily withered.
modern society from all that preceded it, I, however, console myself with the reflecthere is a strong tendency to create a sepa- tion that delay will not be the result, but,
rate monied interest, accompanied with all on the contrary, relief will be hastened by
the dangers which must necessarily result the view which I take of the subject. 1
from such separation, which deserves to be hold it impossible that any thing can be effected regarding the subject as a mere bank
most carefully watched and resisted.
question. Viewed in that light, the opinions
I do not stand here the partisan of any
rich or the of this House, ajid of the other branch of
particular class in society the
poor, the property holder, or the money Congress, is probably definitively made up.
holder; and, in making these remarks, I In tlie Senate, it is known that we have
am not actuated by the slightest feeling of three parties, v/hose views, considering it
object is snn- as a bank question, appear to be irreconciopposition to the latter.
hope then, of relief, must cenpiy to point out important relations that lable.
exist between them, resulting from the laws tre in taking a more elevated view, and in
currency, in order that considering it in its true light, as a subject
which govern the
the necessity for a uniform, stable, and safe of currency. Thus regarded, I shall be
currency, to guard against dangerous cou' surprised it, on full investigation, there
will not appear a remarkable coincidence
trol of one class over another, may be
clearly seen. I stand in my place simply of opinion, even between those whose
as a Senator from South Carolina, to rep- views, on a slight inspection, would seem
resent her on this floor, and to advance the to be contradictory. Let us then proceed
common interest of these States, as tar as to the investigation of the subject, under
we have the constitutional power, and as the aspect which I have proposed.
far as it can be done consistently with equiAVhat, then, is the currency of the Unity and justice to the parts. I am the par- ted States? What its present state and
tisan, as I have said, of no class, nor, let condition? These are the questions which
me add, of any political party. I am nei- I propose now to consider, with a view of
ther of the opposition nor of the adminis- ascertaining what is the disease? what the
tration.
If I act with the former in any remedy? and what the means of applying
instance, it is because I approve of their it, that may be necessary to restore our
course on the particular occasion; and I currency to a sound condition?
shall always be happy to act with tiicii
The legal currency of this country; that
when I do approve. If I oppose the admi- in which alone debts can be discharged acnistration—it I desire to see povv^er change cording to law, are certain ^old, silver, and
hands, it is because I disapprove of the copper coins, coined at the mint of the
general course of those in authority; be- United States, and issued, by their aucause they have departed from the princi- thority, under an express provision of the
ples on which they came into ofnce; be- Constitution.
Such is tae law. AVhat,
cause, instead of using the immense power now, are the facts? That the currency conand patronage put in their hands to secure sists almost exclusively of bank notes; gold
the liberty of the country and advance the having entirely disappeared, and silver,
public good, they have perverted them into in a great measure, expelled by banks inparty instruments for personal objects.
stituted by twenty-five distinct and injBut mine has not been, nor will it be, a dependent powers, and notes issued under
systematic opposition. Whatever measure the authority of the direction of those in
of theirs I may deem right, I shall cheer- stitutions. They are, in point of fact, the
fully support; and I only desire that they mint of the United States. They coin the
shall afford me more frequent occasions for actual money, (for suchy/e must call bank
support, and fewer for opposition, than notes,) and regulate its issue, and conso
they have heretofore done.
quently its value. If v/e inquire as to their
With these impressions, and entei-taining numberj the amount of their issue, and
a deep conviction that an unfixed, unstable other circumstances calculated to show
and fluctuating currency is to be ranked their actual condition, we shall find that,
among tlie most fruitful sources of evil, so rapid has been theh" increase, and so
whether viewed politically or in reference various their changes, that no accurate into the business transactions of the country, formation can be had.
According to the
I cannot give my consent to any measure
latest and best that t have been able to

Yet, it is worthy
deserves strongly to attract
the attention of those who have charge of
the public aff'airs— that under the operation
of the banking system, and that particular
distribution or property existing in the
shape of credit or stocks, public and pri-

atitute separate classes.

of

remark—it

—

My

AH

_

—

ascertain, they number at least four hundred and fifty, with a capital of not less
than one hundred and forly-five millions
of dollars, with an issue exceeding seventy
millions; and the whole of this immense
fabric standing upon a metallic currency
of less than fifteen millions of dollars, of
which the greater part is held by the Bank
of the U. States. If we compare the notes
in circulation with the metallic currency in
their vaults, we shall find the proportion
about six to one, and if we compare the latter with the demands that may be made
upon the banks, we shall find that the proportion is about one to eleven. If we examine the tendency of the system at this
moment, we shall find that it is on the increase rapidly on the increase. There is
now pending a project of a ten million bank
York; but
before the Legislature of
recently one of five millions was established in Kentucky; within a short period,
one of a large capital was established in
Tennessee, besides others in agitation in
[Here Mr.
several of the other States.
Porter, of Louisiana, said that one of eleven millions had just been established in
that State.]
This increase is not accidental. It may
be laid down as a law, that where two currencies are permitted to circulate in any

—

New

country, one of a cheap and the other of a
dear material, the former necessarily tends
latter, and will ultmiately
from circulation, unless its tendency to increase be restrained by a powerful
and efficient check. Experience tests the
truth of this remark, as the history of the
banking system clearly illustrates. The
Senator from Massachusetts truly said that
the Bank of England was derived from that
of Amsterdam, as ours in turn are from
that of England. Tlu'oughout its progress
the truth oT what I have stated to be a law
of the system is strongly evinced. The
Bank of Amsterdam was merely a bank of

to

grow upon the

expel

it

—

deposite a store-house for the safe-keeping
of the bullion and precious metal brought
into that commercial metropolis, through
all the channels of its widely extended
It was placed under the custody of
ti-ade.
the city authorities; and, on the deposite, a
certificate was issued as evidence of the
fact, which was transferrable, so as to
entitle the holder to demand the return.

An

important fiict was soon disclosed: that
a large portion of the deposites might be
withdrawn, and that the residue would be

'

sufficient to meet the returning certificates;
or, what is the same in efiect, that certifi-

cates might be issued without making a deThis suggested the idea of a bank
of discount as well as deposite. The fact
thus disclosed fell too much in with the geposite.

nius of the system to be lost, and, accordingly, when transplanted to England, it
suggested the idea of a bank of discount
and ot] deposite; the very essence of
which form of banking, that on which their
profit depends, consists in issuing a greater
amount of notes than it has of specie in its
vaults. But the system is regularly progressing under the impulse of the laws that govern it, fi^m its present form to a mere
paper machine a machine for fabricating
and issuing notes, not convertible into specie.
Already has it once reached this condition, both in England and the United
States, and from which it has been forced
back, in both to a redemption of its notes
with great difficulty.
Thfs natural tendency of the system is accelerated in our country by peculiar causes,
which have gieatly increased its progress.
There are two powerful causes in operation.
The one resulting from that rivaliy which
must ever take place in States situated as
ours are, under one general Government,

—

and havinga free and open commercial intercourse. The introduction of the banking
system in one State necessarily, on this
_

_

principle, introduces

it

into all the others, of

which we have seen a striking illustration on
the part of Virginia and some of the other
soutnern States, which entertained, on principle, strong aversion to the system; yet
they were compelled, after a long and
stubborn resistance^ to yield their objections, or permit their circulation to be furnished by the surrounding States at the expense of their own capital and commerce.

The same cause which thus compels one
State to imitate the example of another, in
introducing the system from self;^defence,
will compel the other States in like manner and from the same cause, to enlarge
and give increased activity to the banking
operation, whenever any one of the States
sets the example of so doing on its part;
and thus, by mutual action and reaction,
the whole system is rapidly accelerated to
the final destiny which I have assigned.
This is strikingly exemplified in the rapid progress of the system since its first
At the
nitroduction into our country.
adoption of our Constitution, a period of
forty-five years, there Mere but three banks
in the United States, the amount of whose
capital I do not now recollect, but it was
very small. In this short space they have
increased to four hundred and fifty, with a
capital of one hundred and forty-five millions, as has already been stated— an increase exceeding nearly a hundred fold
the proportionate increase of our wealth
and population, as great as they have been.
But it is not in numbers only that they
have incre^Bed: there has in the same time

been a rapid advance in the proportion
which their notes in circulation bear to the
Some twenty or
specie in their vaults.
thirtv years ag it was not considered safe
for the issues to exceed the specie by more
than two and a half or three for one; but
now, taking the whole, and including the
Bank of tlie United States with the fetate
banks, the proportion is about six to one;
and, excluding that bank, it would very
greatly exceed that proportion. This in>

crease of paper in proportion to metal, results from a cause which deserves much
more notice than it has heretofore attracted. It originates mainly in the number of
the banks
I will proceed to illustrate it.

The Senator from New York, (Mr.
Wright,)
lieving the

in assigning his reasons for beBank of tlie United States to

more dangerous than those of the
bank was more dangerous than many. That, in some respects,
may be true; but, in one, and that a most
be

States, said that one

important one, it is strikingly the opposite;
I mean in the tendency of me system to increase.
Where there is but one bank, the
tendency to increase is not near so strong
as where there are many, as illustrated in
England, where the system has advanced

much

less

rapidly, in

proportion to

the

wealth and population of the kingdom, than
in the United States. But where there is no
limitation as to their number, the increase
will be inevitable, so long as banking
continues to be among the most certain,
eligible, and profitable employment of
capital as is now the case.
With these
inducements, there must be constant application for new banks, whenever there is
the least prospect of profitable employment banks to be founded mainly on no-

—

minal and fictitious capital, and adding
but little to that already in existence
and with our just and natural aversion
to monopoly, it is difficult, on principles
of equality and justice, to resist such application.
The admission of a new bank
tends to diminish the profits of the old, and
between the aversion of the old to reduce
their income, and the desire of the new to
acquire profits, the result is an enlargement
of discounts, affected by a mutual spirit of
forbearance; an indisposition on the part of
each to oppress the other; and finally, the
creation ot a

community of

feeling to stig-

matize and oppose those, whether banks or
individuals, who demand specie in payment
of their notes. This community of feeling
which ultimately identifies the whole, as a
peculiar and distinct- interest in the community, increases and becomes more and
more mtense just in proportion as banks
multiply; as they become, if I may use the
expression, too populous, and from the pres

sure of increasing numbers, in maintaining
their existence, there results a corresponding increase of issues, in proportion to their

means; which explains the present extraordinary disproportion betw een specie and
notes, in those States where banks have
been most multiplied; equal in some to sixteen to one. There results, from this state
of things, some political considerations
which demand the profound attention of
all who value the liberty and peace of the

country.

Whde

the banking system rests on a
solid foundation, there will be, on their
part, but little dependence on the Gov-

ernment, and but little means by which
Government ean influence them, and
the part of the
little disposition on
banks to be connected with it; but in the
progress of the system, when their number
the
as

IS greatly multiplied, and their issues, in
proportion to their means, are correspond
ingly increased, the condition of the banks

-

becomes more and more critical. Every
adverse event in the commercial world, or
political movement that disturbs the present state of things, agitates and endan-

gers them. They become timid, and anxious for their safety, and necessarily court
those in power, in order to secure their
protection. Property is, in its nature, timid, and seeks protection, and nothing is
more grateful to Government than to beunion is the result;
come a protector.
and when that union takes place— when
in fact, becomes the bank
the Government,
direction, regulating its favors and accommodation, the dovv-nfall of liberty is at
hand. Are there not indications that we are
not far removed from this state of things?
Do we not behold in those events which
have so deeply agitated us within the last

A

few months, and which have interrupted
all the business transactions of this community, a strong tendency to this union on
the part of one department of this Government, and a portion of the banking system? Has not this union been, in fact,
consummated in the largest and most commercial of the States?

What

is

the safety

fund system of iSew York but a union between the banks and the State, and a consummation, by law, of that community of
fcelingin the banking system, which I have
attempted to illustrate; the object of which
is to extend their discounts; and to obtain
which, the interior banks of that State have
actually put themselves under the immeThe
diate protection of the Government.
Already have
etlects have been striking.
mere paper ma
they become substantially
chines; several having not more than from
one to two cents in specie to the dollar,
when compared v.ith their circulation; and

taking the aggregate, their average condition will be found to be but little better.
I care not (said Mr. C.) whether the
present commissioners are partisans of the
present State administration or not; or
whether the assertion of the Senator from
New York, (Mr. Wright,) that the government of the State has not interfered in
the control of these institutions be correct.
Whether it has taken place or not, interference is inevitable.
In such state of
weakness, a feeling of dependence is unavoidable, and the control of the Government over the action of the banks, whenever that control shall become necessary to
subserve the ambitiort or the avarice of
those in power, is certain.
Such is the strong tendency of our banks
to terminate their career in the paper system ^in an open suspension of specie payment. Whenever that event occurs, the
Erogress to convulsion and revolution will
e rapid.
The currency will become local, and each State will have a powerful
interest to depreciate its currency more
rapidly than its neighbor, as the means,
at the same time, of exempting itself from
the taxes of the Government and drawing
the commerce of the country to its ports.
This was strongly exemplified after the
suspension of specie payment during the
late war, when the depreciation made the
most rapid pi'o^ress, till checked by the
establishment of the present Bank of the
United States^ and when the foreign trade
of the counti-y was as rapidly converging
to the point of the greatest depreciation,
with a view of exemption from duties, by
paying in the debased currency of the
place.
What, then, is the disease v/hich afflicts
the system; what the remedy; and what the
means of applying it? These are the questions M'hic I shall next proceed to consider.
What I have already stated points out the
disease. It consists in a great and growing
disproportion between the metallic and paper circulation of the country, effected
through the instnimentaiity of the banks,
a disproportion daily and hourly increasing
under the impulse of most powerful causes,
which are rapidly accelerating the country
to that state of convulsion and revolution
which I have indicated. The remedy is to
arrest its future progress, and to diminish
tlie existing disproportion— to increase the
metals and to diminish the paper advancing till the currency shall be restored to a
On
sound, safe, and settled condition.
these two points all must be agreed.
any party capable of
There is no man of
reilecting, and who will take the pains to
inform himself, but must agree that our
currency is in a dangerous condition, and

—

—

—

that the danger

is

increasing; nor

is

there

any one who can doubt that the only safe
and eftectual remedy is to diminish the
disproportion to which I have referred.
Here the extremes unite the Senator
from Missouri, (Mr. Benton,) who is the
open and avowed advocate of a pure metallic cun-ency,and the Senator from Massachusetts, (Mr. Webster,) who stands
here as the able and strenuous advocate of

—

—

the banking system, are on this point united, and must move from it in the same direction, though it may be the design of the
one to go through, and of the other to halt
after a

moderate advance.

There

is another point in which all must
be agreed; that the remedy must be gradual
the change, from the present to another and sounder coundition, slow and

—

cautious.

The

necessity for this results

from that highly delicate nature of currency which I have already illustrated. Any
sudden and great change from our present
to even a sounder condition, would agitate
and convulse society to the centre. On
another point there can be but little disagi-eement. Whatever may be the different
theoretical opinions of the members of the
Senate, as to the extent to which the reformation of the currency should be carried, even those who think it may be carried practically and safely to the restoration of a metallic currency, to the entire
exclusion of paper, must agree that the
restoration ought not to be carried further
than a cautious and a slow experience
shall prove that it can be done, consistently witli the prosperity of the country, in
trie existing nscal and commercial condiTo go beyond the point
tion of the world.
to which experience shall show it is proper
to go, would be to sacrifice the public interest merely to a favorite conception.

There may be ultimately a disagreement
of opinion where that point is, but since all
must be agreed to move forward in the
same direction and at the same pace, let
us set out in the spirit of harmony and
peace, though we intend to stop at different points. It may be that, enlightened
by experience, those who intended to stop
at the nearest point may be disposed to
advance farther, and that those who infarthest, may halt on this side,
so that finally all may agree to terminate
the journey together.
This brings us to the question of how
shall so salutary a change be effected?
What the means and the mode of application?
great and difficult question, on
which some diversity of opinion may be

tended the

A

expected.

No one can be more sensible than I am
of the responsibility that must be incurred

in proposin* measures on questions of so
much magnitude, and which, in so distracted a state of the public mind, must effect
seriously great and influential interests.
But this is no time to shun responsibility.
^The danger is great and menacing, and
While,
delay hazardous if not ruinous.
however- I would not shun, I have not
'

I have waited
ti-ie responsibility.
for others, and" had any one proposed an

sought

adequate remedy,

I

would have remained

And

here, (said Mr. Calhoun,)
me express the deep regret which I
feel that the administi-ation, with all that
weight of authority which belongs to its
power and immense patronage, had not,
instead of the deposite question, which
silent.
let

has caused such agitation and distress,
taken up the great sutyect of the currency:

examined itgravely and deliberately

no power any where, but in this Government the joint agent of all the
States, and through which the concert
of the action of the whole can be efis

—

fected, adequate to this great task. The
responsibility is upon us, and upon us
alone. The means, if means there be,
must be applied by our hands, or not applied at all ^a consideration, in so great an
emergency, and in the presence of such
imminent danger, calculated, I would sup
pose, to dispose all to co-operation, and to
allay every party feeling in the heart even
of the least patriotic.
What means do we possess, and how

—

can they be applied?
If the entire banking system was under
the immediate control of the General Government, there Would be no difliculty in

devising a safe and effectual remedy to restore the equilibrium, so desirable between
the specie and the paper which compose
means of our currency.
But the fact is otherwise.
applying it. Had that course been pursued, With the exception of the Bank of the U.
my zealous and hearty co-operation would States, all the other banks owe their
not have been wanting. Permit me also to origin to the authority of the several States,
express a similar regret, that the adminis- and are under their immediate control,
tration having failed in this great point of which presents the great difficulty expeduty, the opposition, with all its weight and rienced in devising the proper means of eftalents, headed on this question by thediB- fecting the remedy, which all feel to be so
tinguished and able Senator from Massa- desirable.
chusetts, who is so capable of comprehendAmong the means which have been suging this subject in all its bearings, had not gested, a Senator from Virginia, not now
brought forward, under its auspices, some a member of this body, (Mr. Rives,) propermanent system of measures, based upon posed to apply the taxing power to supa deliberate and mature investigation into press the circulation of small notes, with
the cause of the existing disease, and cal- a view of diminishing the paper and inculated to remedy the disordered state of creasing the specie circulation. The reWhat might have been medy would be simple and effective, but
the currency.
brought forward by them with such fair is liable to great objection. The taxing
prospects of success, has been thrown on power is odious under any circumstances;
more incompetent hands; unaided by pa- it Avould be doubly so when called into extronage or influence, saving only that in- ercise with an overflowing treasury; and
fluence which truth, clearly developed, still more so, with the necessity of organand honestly and zealously advanced, may izing an expensive body of officers to colbe supposed to possess^ and on which I lect a single tax, and that on an inconmust wholly rely.
siderable subject. But there is another,
But to return to the suhject. Whatever and of itself, a decisive objection. It would
diversity of sentiment there may be as to be unconstitutional palpably and dangertlie means, on one point all must be agreed;
ously so. All political powers, as I stated
nothing effectual can be done; no check on another occasion, are trust powers, and
interposed to restore or arrest the pro- limited in their exercise to the subject and
gress of the system by the action of the object of the grant. The tax power was
States.
The reasons already assigned to granted to raise revenue for the sole purprove that banking by one State compels pose of supplying the necessary means of
all others to bank, and that the excess of carryingon the operations of the Governbanking in one, in like manner compels ment. To pervert this power from the oball others to like excess, equally demon- ject thus intended by the Constitution,
to
strate that it is impossible; for the States, that of repressing the circulation of bank
acting separately, to interpose any means notes, would be to convert it from
a reveto prevent the catastrophe which cer- nue into a penal power a power in its na^
tainly awaits the system and perhaps ture and object essentially different
from
the Government itself, unless the great that intended to be granted in the Consti'
and growing danger to which I refer be tution; and a power, which in its full extimely and effectually arrested.
Tliere tension, if once admitted, would be suffiits bearings;

in all

pointed out its diseased condi
proposed

tion; destgnated the remedy, and
some safe, gradual, and effectual

—

—

Id
cient of itself to give an entire control to
this Government over the property and the
pursuits of the community, and thus concentrate and consolidate the entire power
of the system in this Government.
Rejecting, then, the taxing power, there
remains two obvious and" direct means in
possession of the Government which may
be brought into action to effect the object
intended, but neither of which, either
separately or jointly, are of sufficient efficacy, however indispensable they may be
as a part of an efficient system of measures, to correct the present or repress the
growing disorders of the currency; I mean
tliat provision in the Constitution
which
empowers Congress to com money, regulate the value tliereof and of foreign coin,
and the power of prohibiting any thing but
the legal currency to be received either in
whole or in part, in the dues of the Government.
The mere power of coining
and regulating the value of coins, of itself^
and unsustained by any other measure,
can exercise but a lim.ited control over the
actual currency of the country, and is inadequate to check excess or correct disorder, as is demonstrated by the present
diseased state of the currency. Congress
has had, from the beginning, laws upon the
statute books to regulate the value of the
coins; and at an early period of the Government the mint was erected, and has
been in active operation ever since; and
yet, of the immense amount which has
been coined a small residue only remains
in the country; the great body having been
expelled under the operation of thebanking system. To give efficacy to this power, then, some other must be combined
with it. The most immediate and obvious
is that which has been suggested, of excluding all but specie in the receipts of the

Government.

This measure would be

ef-

fectual to a certain extent; but with a declining income, which must take place under the operation of the act of the last session, to adjust the tariff, and which must
greatly reduce the revenue, (a point of tlie
utmost iniportance to the reiormation and
regeneration of our institutions,) ihe efficacy of the measure must be correspondingFrom the nature of things,
ly diminished.
it cannot greatly exceed the average of the
Government deposites, which I hope Mall
before many years be reduced to the smallest possible amount, so as to prevent the
possibility of the recurrence of the shameful
and dangerous state of things Avhich now
exists, and which has been caused by the
vast amount of the surplus revenue.
But there is in my opinion a strong,
if not an insuperable objection against
resorting to this measure, i-esulting from

the fact that an
exclusive receipt of
specie in the Treasury would, to give it
efficacy and to prevent extensive speculation and fi aud, require an entire disconnection on the part of the Government with
the banking system in all its forms, and
a resort to tiie strong box as the means
of preserving and guarding its funds
means, if practicable at all, in the present
state of thnigs, liable to tlie objection of being iar less safe, economical, and efficient
than the present.
What then, Mr. C. inquired, what other
ineans do we possess of sufficient efficacy,
in combination with those to which I have
referred, to arrest the farther progress and
correct the disordered state oi the currency.^ This is the deeply important question,
and here some division of opinion must be
expected, however united we may be, as I
trust we are thus far, on all other points.
I intend to meet this question explicitly
and directly, without reservation or concealment.
After a full survey of the whole subject,
I see none, I can conjecture no means of
extricating the country from its present
danger and to arrest its farther increase,
but a bank ^the agency of which, in some
form or under some authority, is indispensable. The country has been brought
into the present diseased state of the currency by banks, and must be extricated by
their agency.
must, in a word, use a
bank to unbank the banks, to the extent
that may be necessary to restore a safe and

—

—

We

—

stable currency just as we apply snow to
a frozen limb in order to restore vitality
and circulation, or hold up a burn to the
flame to extract the inflammation. All
must see that it is impossible to suppress
the banking system at once. It must continue for a time. Its greatest enemies, and
the advocates of an exclusive specie circulation, must make it a part of tiieir system
to tolerate the banks for a longer or a
shorter period. To suppress them at once
would, if it were possible,^ work a greater
revolution' a greater change in the relative
condition of the various classes of the c(mimunity, than Avould the conquest of the
country by a savage enemy. What, then,
must be done? I answer.^ a new and safe
system must gradually grow up under and
replace the oltl imitating, in this respect,
the beautiful process wh ch we sometimes
see, of a wounded or diseased part in a living organic body, gradually superseded by
the healing proc'ess of nature.
How is this to be effected? How is a
bank to be used as the means of correcting
the excess of the banking system? And
what bank is to be selected as the agent ot
effecting this salutary change? I know, said

—

—

.

11

Mr.

C,

that a diversity of opinion will be
to the agent to be selected,

found to exist as

among tliose who agree on every other
and who,

in particular, agree

point,

on the neces-

means of ef-

sity of using some bank
fecting the object intended; one preferring
a simple recharter o£ tlie existing bank—
another the charter of a new bank of the U.
States a third a new bank engrafted upon
the old, and a fourth the use of the State
banks as the agent. I wish (said Mr. C.)
to leave all these as open questions; to be
carefully surveyed and compared with each
other; calmly and dispassionately, without
prejudice to party feeling; and that to be
selected which, on the whole, shall appear
to be best the most safe; the n.ost efli
cient; the most prompt in application; and
the least liable to constitutional objection.
It would, however, be wanting in candor
on my part, not to declare that my impression is, that a new Bank of the United
States, engrafted upon the old, will be
found, under all the circumstances of the
case, to combine the greatest advantages,
and to be liable to the fewest objections;
but this impression is not so firmly fixed as
to be inconsistent with a calm review of
the whole ground, or to prevent my vielding to the conviction of reason, should the
result of such review prove that any other
is preferable.
Among its peculiar recommendations may be ranked the considera
tion, that while it \vT)uld afford the means
of a prompt and effectual application for
mitigating and finally removing the existing
distress, it would at the same time open to
the whole community a fair opportunity of
participation in the advantages of the in-

as the

—

—

what they may.
Let us then suppose, (in order to illustrate and not to indicate a preference,)
that the present bank be selected as the
stitution, be they

agent to effect the intended object. What
prov^isions will be necessary.'^
I will suggest those that have occurred to me, mainly, however, with a view of exciting the
reflection of those much more familiar with
banking operations than myself, and who
of course, are more competent to form a
correct judgment on their practical effect.
Let, then, the bank charter be renewed
for twelve years after the expiration of
the present term, with such modifications
and limitations as may be judged proper,
and that, after that period, it shall issue
no notes under i^n dollars; that Government shall not receive in its dues any sum
less than ten dollars, except in the legal
coins of the United States; that it shall not
receive in its dues the notes of any bank
that issues notes of a denomination less
than five dollars: and that the United
States Bank shall not receive in payment,

or on deposite,the notes of any bank whose
notes are not receivable in (he dues of the
Government; nor tlie notes of any bunk
wiiich may receive the notes of anv bank
whose notes are not 'receivable by the Government. At the expiiatiqn of six years
from the commencement of the renewed
charter, let the bank be prohibited from issuing any note under twenty dollars, and
let no sum under that amount be received
in the dues of the Government, except in
specie; and let the value of gold be raised
at least equal to that of silver, to take effect immediately, so that the country may
be replenished with the coin, the lightest
and the most portable in proportion to its
value, to take the place of the receding
bank notes. It is unnecessary for me to
state, that at present the standard value of
gold is several per cent, less than that of
silver, the necessary effect of which has
been to expel gold entirely from our circulation, and thus to deprive us of a coin so
well calculated for the circulation of a country so great in extent, and having so vast
an intercourse, commercial, social, and political, between all its parts, as ours.
As
an additional recommendation to raise its
relative value, gold has, of late, become an
important product of three considerable
States of the L^nion Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia
to the industry of
which, the measure proposed would give a
strong impulse, and which in turn would
greatly increase the quantity produced.
Sucli are the means whicli have occurred
to me.
There are members of this body
far more competent to judge of their practical operation than myself, and as my object is simply to suggest them for their reflection, and for that of others who are more
familiar with this part of the subject, I
will not at present enter into an inquiry as
to their efficiency, with a view of determining whether they are fully adequate to effect
the object in view or not. There are doubtless others of a similar description, and perhaps more efficacious, that may occur to the
experienced, whichi would freely embrace,
as my object is to adopt the best and most

—
—

And it may be hoped that, ii
on experience it should be found that neither these provisions, nor any other in the
power of Congress, are fully adequate to
effect the important reform which I have
proposed, the co-operation of the States
may be afforded, at least to the extent of
suppressing the circulation of notes under
five dollars, where such are permitted to
be issued under their authority.
I omitted in the proper place to state my
reason for suggesting tv.elve vears as the
term for the renewal of the charter of the
bank. It appears to m.e that it is long
efficient.

13

enough

to permit the agitation and distracnow disturbs the country to subside, while it is sufficientlj^ short to enable
us to avail ourselves of the lull benefit of the
light of experience, which may be expected
to be derived from the operation of the system under its new provisions. But there is
another reason which ajjpears to me to be
entitled to great weight. The charter of the

tion which

Bank of England
ed

for the

has recently been renewterm of ten years, with very im-

portant changes, calculated to furnish much
experience upon the nature of banking operations and currency. It is highly desirable, if the bank charter should be renewed,
or a new bank created, that we should have
the full benefit of that experience before
the expiration of the term^ which would be
effected by fixing the period for the time
I have designated.
But as my object in
selecting the recharter of the Bank of the
United States was simply to enable me to
present the suggestions I have made, in
tlie clearest form, and not to advocate the
recharter, I shall omit to indicate many
limitations and provisions, which seem to
me to be important to be considered, when
the question of its permanentrenewal is presented, should it ever be.
Among others,
I entirely concur in the suggestion of the
Senator from Georgia, of fixing the rate
ot interest at five per cent.; a suggestion
of the very highest importance, as having a
most important bearing on the value of property and the prosperity of the country, in
every branch of its industry, and to which
but one objection can, in my opinion, be
presented; I mean the opposing interest of
existing State institutions, all of which discount at higher rates, and which may defeat
any measure of which it constitutes a part.
In addition, I will simply say, that I, for
one, shall feel disposed to adopt such provisions as ai^ l>6st calculated to secure tl>e
Government from any supposed influence
on the part of the bank, or the bank from
an improper interference on the part of the
Government; or which nrny be necessary
to protect the rights or interes.ts of tlie
States.
Having now stated the measure necessary to apply the remedy, I am thus brought
to the question can the measure succeed.'*
which brings up the inquiry of how far it
may b^ expected to receive the support of
the several parties which compose the Senate, and on which I shall next proceed to

—

make

a few remarks.

First, then, can the State ri§ht party give
it their support
that party ot which I am
proud of being a member, and for which
I entertain so strong an attachment
the

—

—

stronger because we are few among many.
Jn proposing this question, I am not igno-

rant of their long standing constitutional
objection to the bank, on tlie ground that
this was intended to be, as it is usually
expressed, a hard money Government
Government whose circulating medium was
intended to consist of the precious metals^
and for which object the power of coining
money and regulating the value thereot,
was expressly conferred by the constitution.
I know hov/ long and how sincerely
this opinion has been entertained, and un*

—

der

how many difficulties

tained.

it

has been main-

my

intention to attempt
to change an opinion so firmly fixed, but I
may be permitted to make a few observations, in order to present what appears to
me to be the true question in reference to
this constitutional point
in order that we
may fully comprehend the circumstances
under which we are placed in reference to
It is not

—

it.

With

this

view,

I

do not deem

it

ne-

cessary to inquire whether, in conferring
the power to coin money and to regulate
the value thereof, the constitution intended
to limit the power strictly to coining money
and regulating its value, or whether it intended to confer a more general power over
the currency; nor do I intend to inquire
whether the word coin is limited simply to
the metals, or may be extended to other
substances, it through a gradual change they
may become the medium of the general
circulation of the world.
I pass these
points.
Whatever opinion there may be
entertained in reference to them, we all
must agree, as a fixed principle in our system of thinking on constitutional questions,,
that the power under consideration, like
other political powers,, is a trust power, and
that like all such powers, it must be so exercised as to effect the object of the trust as
Nor can we
far as it may be practicable.
disagree, that the object of the powder was
to secure to these States a safe,, uniform^
and stable currency. The nature of the
power; the terms used to convey it; the history of the times; the necessit}>with the
creation of a common Government, ot having a common and uniform circulating medium; and the power conferred to punish,
those who, by counterfeiting, may attempt
to debase and degrade the coins ot the country; all proclaim this to be the object.
It is not my purpose to inquire whether^
admitting this, to be the object. Congress is
not bound to use all the means in its power
to give this safety, this stability, this uniformity to the currency, for which the power was conferred
nor to inquire whether
the States are not bound to abstain from
acts on their part, inconsistent with these
objects; nor to inquire whether the right of
banking, on the part of a State, does not
directly, and by immediate consequence.

—

—

injuriously affect the currency whether
the effect of banking is not to expel the
specie currency, which, according to the
assumption, that this is a hard money government, it was the object of the Constitution to furnish, in conferring the power
to coin money; or whether the effect of
banking does not necessarily tend to diminish the value of a specie currency, as
certainly as clipping or reducing its weight
would; and whether it has not, in fact, since
its introduction, reduced tiie value of the
coins one half. Nor do 1 intend to inquire
whether Congress is not bound to abstain
from all acts on its partj calculated to affect injuriously the specie circulation, and
whether the receiving of any thin§ but
specie, in its dues, must not necessardy so
affect it by diminishing the quantity in circulation, and depreciating the value of what
remains. All these questions I leave open:

There is one howI decide none of them.
If Congress has
ever, that I will decide.
a right to receive any thing else than specie
in its dues, they have the right to regulate
its value; and have a right, of course, to
adopt all necessary and proper means, in
the language of the Constitution, to effect
the object. It matters not what they receive, tobacco or any thing else, this right
must attach to it. I do not affirm the
right of receiving, but I do hold it to be
incontrovertible that, if Congress were to
order the dues of the Government to be
paid, for instance, in tobacco, they would
have the right they would be bound to
use all necessary and proper means, to give
it a uniform and stable value; inspections,
appraisement, designation of qualities, ana
whatever else would be necessary to that
object.
So, on the same principle, if they
receive bank notes, they are equally bound
to use all means necessary and proper, according to the peculiar nature of the subject, to give them uniformity, stability, and
safety.
The very receipt of bank notes on
the part of the Government, in its dues,

—

would,

^

it

is

conceded, make them money,

as far as the Government may be concerned, and by a necessary consequence, would
make them, to a great extent, the currenc^r
of the country. I say nothing of the positive provisions in the Constitution which
declare that, "all duties, imports, and
excises, shall be uniform throughout the
United States," which cannot be, unless
thatin which they are paid, should also have,
as nearly as practicable, a uniform value
throughout the country. To effect this,
where bank notes are received, the banking power is necessary and proper within
the meaning of the Constitution; and consequently, if the Government has the
right to receive bank note* in its dues, the

power becomes constitutional. Here lies,
said Mr. C, the real constitutional queshas the Government a right to retion
ceive bank notes or not ? The question is
not upon the mere power of incorporating;
a bank, as it has been commonly arguedf
though, even in that view, there would be
as great a constitutional objection to any

—

of the Executive, or anythe Government, which
association of State banks
as the means ot giving the
uniformity and stability to the currency
which the Constitution intends to confer.
The very act of so associating or incorporating them into one, by whatever name
called, or by whatever department performed, would be in fact an act of incor-

act on the part
other branch of
should unite any
into one system,

po ration.
But, said Mr. Calhoun, my object, as 1
have stated, is not to discuss the constitutional questions, nor to determine whether
the bank be constitutional or not. It is, I
repeat, to show where the difficulty lies—
a difficulty which I have felt from the
time I first came into the public service.
I found then J as now, the currency of the
country consisting almost entirely of bank
notes. I found the Government intimately
connected with the system, receiving bank
notes in its dues and paying them away

under
fact

its

appropriations as cash.

was beyond

my

control;

it

The
existed

my time, and without my agency; and I was compelled to act on the fact as
it existed without deciding on the many questions which I have suggested, as connected
with tliis subject, and on many of which, I
have never yet formed a definite opinion.
No one can pay less regard to precedent
than I do, acting here in my representative
and deliberative character, on legal or constitutional questions; but I have felt from
the beginning the full force of the distirxtion so sensibly taken by the Senator from
Virginia, [Mr. Leigh,] between doing and
undoing an act, and which he so strongly
illustrated in the case of the purchase of
Louisiana. The constitutionality of that
act was doubted by many at the time, and
among others by its author himself; yet he
long before

would be considered a madman who, coming into political life, at this late period,
would now seriously take up the question of the constitutionality of the purchase, and, coming to the conclusion that
it was unconstitutional, should propose to
rescind the act, and eject from the Union
two flourishing States, and a growing
Ten-itory; nor would it be an act of much
less madness thus to treat the question of
the currency, and undertake to suppress
the system of bank circulation, which ha^
been growing; up from the beginning ef

14

the Governmenl;, -which has penetrated
into and connected itself with every
branch of business and every department
of the Government, on the ground that
the constitution inteniled a specie circulationj or who woukl treat the constitutional question as one to be taken up

de novo, and decided upon

elementary

principles, without reference to the imperious state of facts.
But in raising the question whether my
friends of the ^tate right party can consistently vote for the measure which I have
suggested, 1 rest not on the ground that
then' constitutional opinion, in reference
to the bank, is erroneous.
I assume their
opinion to be correct— I place the argument, not on the constitutionality on un-onstitutionality^ but on wholly different
ground. I lay it down as an uncontrovertible principle, that, admitting an act to
be unconstitutional, but of such a nature
that it cannot be reversed at once, or at
least without involving such gross injustice
to individuals and distress to the community, that it cannot be justitied; we may,
under such circumstances, vote for its tem-

consistenly with your obligation to tK«
constitution, refuse to vote lor a measure,
if intended, in good faith, to effect the object already stated.^ Would not a refusal to
vote for the only means of terminating it,
consistently with justice, and without involving the horror of revolution, amount in
fact and in all its practical consequences to
a vote to perpetuate a state of things, which

must acknowledge to be eminently unconstitutional and iughly dangerous to the
liberty of the country ?
But I know that it will be objected, that
the constitution ought to be amended, and
the power conferred in express terms. I
feel the full force of the objection. I hold the
position to be sound, that when a constitutional question has been agitated, involving
all

the powers of the Government, which experience shall prove cannot be settled by
reason, as is the case of the bank question,
those who claim the power ought to abandon
it, or obtain an express grant by an amendment of the constitution; and yet, even
^yith this impression, I would at the present
time feel much, if not insuperable objection,
to vote for an amendment, till an effort
for undoing gradualshall be fairly made, in order to ascertain
ftorary continuance
y, as the only practicable mode of ter- to what extent the power might be dispenminating it, consistently with the strictest sed with, as I have proposed. I hold it a
constitutional objection. The act of the sound principle, that no more power should
last session, adjustingthe tariff, furnishes be conterred upon the General Government
an apt illustration. All of us believed that than is indispensable; and if experience
measure to be unconstitutional and op- shall prove that the power of banking
pressive, yet we voted for the act without is indispensable, as I believe it to be, in the
supposing we violated the constitution in actual condition of the currency of this
so doing; although it allowed upward of country and of the world generally, I should
eight years for the termination of the sys- even then think that whatever power ought
tem, on the ground that to reverse it at to be given, should be given with such resonce, would spread desolation and ruin over trictions and limitations as would limit it to
a large partion of the country. I ask that the smallest amount necessary, and guard
the principle in that case be applied to this. it with the utmost care against abuse. As
It is equally as impossible to terminate,
it is, without farther experience, we are
suddenly, the present system of paper cur- at a loss to determine how little or how
rency, without spreading a desolation still much will be required to correct a disease
wider and deeper over the face of the coun- which must, if not corrected, end in convulsions and revolution. I consider the
if we can
try. If it can be reversed at all
ever return to a metallic currency, it must whole subject oi banking and credit as unbe by gradually undoing what w^e have dergoing at this time, throughout the civildone, and to tolerate the system while the ized world, a progressive change, of which
process is going on. Thus, the measure I think I perceive many indications.
which I have suggested, proposes for the Among the changes in progression, it apEeriod of twelve years, to be followed up pears to me, there is a strong tendency in
y a similar process, as far as a slow and the banking system to resolve itself into
cautious experience shall prove we may go, two parts one becoming a bank of circuconsistently with the public interest, even lation and exchange, for the purpose of
to its entire reversal, if experience shall regulating and equalizing the circulating
prove we may go so far, which, however, I medium, and the other assuming more the
must say, I, for <me, do not anticipate; but character of private banking, of which
the effort, if it should be honestly com- separation there are indications in the tenmenced and pursued, would present a case dency of the thiglish system, particularly
every way parallel to the instance of the perceptible in the late modifications of the
charter of the Bank of England. In the
I
tariff, to which I have already referred.
go farther, and ask the question, can you, meantime, it would be wise in us te avail

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J

15
t^nrselves of the experience of the next few
years, before any cliange be made in the
constitution, particularly as the course
which, it seems to me, it would be advisable to pursue, would be the same whether
the power be expressly conferred or not.
I next address myself to the members of
the opposition, who principally represent

the commercial and manufacturing portions
of the country, where the banking system
has been the farthest extended, and where
a larger portion of the property exists in
the shape of credit than in any other section;
and to whom a sound and stable currency
is most necessary, and the opiposite most
dangerous. You nave no constitutional objection to you it is a mere question of exipediency; viewed in this light can you vote
measure delor the proposed measure.^
signed to arrest the approach of events

—

A

which

I

have demonstrated, must,

if

not

arrested, create convulsions and revolutions; and to correct a disease which must,
if not corrected, subject the currency to
continued agitations and fluctuations; and
in order to give that permanence, stability,
and uniformity, which is so essential to your
safety and prosperity. To effect this, may
require some diminution on the prolits of
banking; some temporaiy sacrifice of interest; but if such should be the fact, it
will be compensated in more than a hundred fold proportion, by increased security and durable prosperity'-. If the system
must advance in the present course without
a check, and if explosion must follow, remember that where you stand will be the
crater' should the system quake, under
your feet the chasm will open that will engulf your institutions and your prosperity.
Can the friends oi the administration vote
for this measure? If I understand their
views, as expressed by the Senator from
Missouri, beliind me, [Mr. Benton,] and
the Senator from N. York, [Mr. Wright,]
and other distinguished members of the
party, and the views of the President, as

—

expressed in
not how they
profess to be
currency. I

leported conversations, I see
can reject the measure. They
the advocates of a metallic
propose to restore it by the
most effectual measures that can be devised; gradually and slowly, and to the extent
that experience may show that it can be
done consistently with a due regard to the
public interest. Farther, no one can desire to go.
If the means I propose, are not
the best and most effectual, let better and
more effectual be devised. If the process
which I propose be too slow or too last, let
it he accelerated or retarded.
Permit me
to add to these views, what, it appears to
me, those whom I address ouglit to feel
with deep and solemn obligation of duty.
They are the advocates and the supporters
of the administration. It is now conceded,
almost universally, that a rash and precipitate act of the Executive, to speak in the
mildest tenns, has plunged this country
into deep and almost universal distress.
You are the supporters of this measure
you personally incur the respimsibility by
that support. How are the consequences
of this act to terminate. Do you see the
end.P Can things remain as they are, with
the currency and the treasury of the country under the exclusive control of the Executive.^ And by what scheme, what devise, do you propose to extricate the country and the constitution from their present
f^

dangers?
I have now said what I intended. I have
pointed out without reserve what I believe
in my conscience to be for the public interest.
May what I have said be received
as favorably as is the sincerity with which it
has beeen uttered. In conclusion, I have
but to add, that, if what I have saitl. -hall in
any degree contribute to the adjustment of
this question, which I believe cannot be
left open without imminent danger, 1 -hall

rejoice; but if not, I

shall

the consolation of having
duty.

at least

have

discharged

my

I

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