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REMARKS
• F

MESSRS. BUCHANAN, KING AND BROWN,

IH

REPLY

TO

V ^ I S S R S . D A V I S , P R E S T O N A N D C L A Y , OF K E N T U C K Y ,




OV T H E

THE

SENATE

SUBJECT

OF

CURRENCY

U., ,S. M A R.C H, .6, I % 4 0,

o

•

.

i

WASHINGTON:
PRINTED AT THE GLOBE OFFIOB.
1 840.

Page 2, a blank page, was not scanned.




DEBATE.

THE

CtmHENCY.

DEBATE IN T H E
F R I D A Y , M a r c h 6,

SENATE,
1840.

M,r. D A T W h a v i n g concluded his fjeply to M r .
B U C H A N A N ' S charge o f misrepre*entat : on,
M r . B U C H A N A N addressed the S e n a t e a s follows:
M r . P R E S I D E N T : W h e n I addressed the S e n a t e on
T u e s d a y last, I endeavored to state m y c a u s e o f
c o m p l a i n t in the milde>t manner w h i c h the nature
«f the c a s e admitted, and to treat the Senator from
M a s s a c h u s e t t s , [ M r . D A ^ I S , ] so far as I could,with
c o u r t e s y and respect. T h e remarks of that gentlem a n to-day h a v e absolved m e from a n y such oblig a t i o n , a n d I shall proceed to refer to his misrepresentations ot m y speech in favor of the Indep e n d e n t T r e a s u r y bill as they deserve. At the
s a m e t i m e , I shall e n d e a v o r to perform this duty in
a m a n n e r consistent with m y o w n self respect,
and w i i h the elevated character of the S e n a t e .
T h e Senator, in his labored remarks, has endeavored to d r a w me into a false issue. In this attempt, h e shall not succeed. I a m not thus to
be diverted from m y purpose. H a v e I, or h a v e
I not, a d v a n c e d the argument^ w h i c h he has published to die world, that I urged in favor of the b;h?
T h i s i s the question at issue between us.
In regard to his speech against the Independent
T r e a s u r y bill, I h a v e never said (for I never shall
s a y w h a t I do not k n o w to be true) that he i\id
not m a k e that speech in the S e n a t e .
The
h o u r w a s late—the patience of the body w a s
e x h a u s e d , and he left the seat near m e w h i c h he
u s u a l l y o c c u p i e s , and spoke from another part of
the h a l l .
H e is, therefore, mistaken in stating
ihat 1 sat near where he stood, whilst h e w a s delivering his speech.
N o t h a v i n g the least intention of replying to h i m , I w a s talking freely, when
in m y scat, to those around m e , and w a s out of it
a considerable portion of the time whilst he w a s
s p e a k i n g . 1 not only did not hear him utter a n y
o n e of the misrepresentations of which I n o w c o m plain; hut I most s o l e m n l y declare that I n e v e r
e v e n s u pected h i m for h a v i n g g i v e n them currenc y i n his s p e e c h , until m y attention w a s called to
it by a fiiend on Saturday e v e n i n g last.
This
m a y h a v e be*n t n l p i b l e negligence o n m y part.




W h e t h e r or nor, it h a s taught m e the necessity of
p a y i n g strict attention to that Senator's statements,
should he e v e r reply to m e hereafter.
But, sir, whether the speech delivered a n d the
speech published be identical or not, this c a n n o t
vary the question. It remains precisely the s a m e .
H a s the Senator attributed to me a r g u m e n t s in
support o f the bill which I n e v e r used? T h i s i s the
point in c o n t r o v e r s y .
If the most artful and unfair m a n in the world
had de'ermined to destroy a n y public measure, in
what m a n n e r could he most effectually d a m n it i n
public estimation? It would be to e n u m e r a t e all the
terrible c o n s e q u e n c e s w h i c h would flow from it,
according to the predictions o f its e n e m i e s , and put
litem into the mouth o f its friends as arguments i n
its favor. T h e r e could not by possibility be a n y
stronger admissions of its evil tendency.
S u c h is
the manner in which I h a v e been treated by the
S e n a t o r and such is the character of my c o m p l a i n t
against him.
Sir, the e n e m i e s of the Independent T r e a s u r y
h a v e denounced it, from the beginning, a s a
measure which w o u l d des'roy the banks of the
country, introduce an e x c l u s i v e metallic c u r r e n c y ,
prostrate credit, c h e c k importations, and reduce the
value of property and the w a g e s of labor.
Now,
I conM not offer the least objection against a n y S e nator in the Opposition for u m i n g any a r g u m e n t s
he pleased, to prove thai the bill would be p i o d u c tivr of all these fatal c o n s e q u e n c e s . T h i s w o u l d
br all perfectly fair. W h a t f do object to, is, that
die SenHtor, instead of urging these arguments;
against the bill himsel'", has reiterated, o v e r a n d
over a^ain, that I supported it, because these d i s a s - •
trous c o n s e q u e n c e s would result from its passage.
T h e Senator has placed m e preci>ely in this position. If I can prevent it, he shall not e s c a p e from
this plain question of fact by retreating into a w i d e
field of irrelevant a r g u i n e n t .
If this matter had been personal to m y s e l f alone*
1 migtri have borne it, and probably would h a v e
borne it, in silence. B u t , on the e v e of a Pre>idectial election, my sins are t o b e v i s i t f d u p o n the present Administration, w h o s e principles I support,
T h e President is to be struck at through m y sides
and it is thus attempted to m a k e the public believe
that he also sustains the Independent Treasury biU

d> i

1

s

4
because it will be productive of all the ruinous con-11subject of so mucli unfounded remark, I congratuseipiences which have been portrayed. This is the lated the country that "the prominent arguments
Jfey to nolo&k the whole published speech of the formerly ursred against the Independent Treasury
bill had nearly all vanished a w a y . " A m o n g others
Senator from Massachusetts.
In it first paragraph, he professes his intention of this description, I expre^ed my astonishment,
of making "a biief reply to the new doctrines "that we had no homily from the Senator [ M r .
which have been now, for the first lim*, published C L A T ] against the specie clause of the bill. Kven
here, and c< in* to us through channels that leave this seems to have lost much of its terrors. It is
no doubt of their being the doctrines of the Admi- no longer the terrific mot s e r which w a s to devour
all the banks, and establish a pure metallic C J I nistration."
Nov/, Mr. President, what are these new doc- rency for all the transactions of atl the people of
llilltfr which the Senator says involve "great and the United States."
And yet, in the very face of all t h i s the S e n a Momentous considerations, affecting the most cherished interests of the people?" After heralding! tor, in his speech, has put into my mouth, as a r s u them IQ ih s imposing manner, he proceed* to an- I men's in favor of the bill, and of coarse as consenounctf them. T w o friend- of the Administration, quences resulting from it which I desired, that it
says he, Mr. WALKKit and myself, have dlfclart d would destroy the banks, introduce a pure metallic
that this bill—maik me—this very Independent! currency, suppress credit, and reduce the wages of
Treasury bdl "contains the necessary corrective, labor, and the price of property. Can he point to
[for th«* evils] imputable to the pernicious influence any portion of my speech in which 1 contended
of bank paper, as it will check importations of fo- that this bill would produce these monstrous efIf he himself had n»ged that it would,
reign goods, suppress what thej- call the credit Tys- fect.-?
iem, and by restoring a specie currency, reduce the I say again, I could have made no objection.
M y cause of complaint Wr tint he has sent abroad
wages of the laborer and the value of property."
"This is the character given to the measurelby | to the world his speech, and has t y it p!accd me ii»
its friends; and, alarming as the doctrines aie, I am | the ridiculous attitude of not only adrhiting that
a'l Ifccse objections to the bill ate tiue, but of
gratified thai tney ar^ irankiy avowed."
JNovv, sir, .^hould i not deserve a tstraight jacket: , strenuously urging its passage for this very reason.
ou^ht I not t) be placed in confinement by mv j Tni*<, i repeat, is the poiiu ot the controversy betriends, if these imputations were well founded? ! tween us. In oider to make good his charge, he
"What* s r, t » rise be-ore this august body and to , must prove that I used any such arguments in favor
say, Mr. P.e* dent, 1 support the Independent { of the bill—a task whic'i m> mor a! man can perTreasury bid—first, because it will destroy thej form. 1 never thought or dreamed ot any such arbanks or ihe country, abolish all bank paper, and j guments.
restore a .^p*cie currency; second, because it will
But the Senator proceeds to weave \ii* web with
check importrtlion:-.; third, because it will suppress: much ait. l i e say*:
tlie e n dn >y-rein; and fourth, because it will reciuce | I will now notice the effects i.'j»>n the | -nihlie iK»liry imputed
to this bill.
wart H :-tmple
the waLe- of trie laborer and the value of property!! proposition to W e have aiw.-ty* hern mid Ihat Itbanks, so a.-t to
divoivt- ille Government from the
enable n to hold its own money, end, ther< Idie, harmirefl in ite
At d )et i i s is the ridiculous u'litude in which I !
am placed by the Sena'or's speech. If these impu- j ch H'iiciLT, as it would affect nothing else.
T h i s w a s precisely the character w h i c h I g a v e o f
rations w* re well founded, I must be one of the
thr ug out ny late spp ch.
mest ierte.ous men In existence. Destruction must it Bur, oMr. h(*nva ithe gentleman e from M.«ss;*cb<K*r.Lv> The Senabe my del &ht. N o wild agrarian in the country tor from Pennsylvania, while lie declares that he ia not for an
or, in other
is not hostile
has ever thought of waging i-uch an indiscriminate exclusive, hard money currency, ihev can betrerds regulated, a*
hanks,
well
-war asainst ail property, my own among the rest,] to well rregulated Statettrgves tf
he e x p e s s * himself,
that thim bill trilldiminimh
ima s that whi -h has been attributed to me by the Se- j portation*, .suppress credit, amdstop speeulation, by nhodtfy
tnz the currencyi
so far a^ to icorA: nut thest t
xfraordinary
nator.
ends.'7
N o w , sir, need I i^ay in the presence of this body,
And here permit me to observe, ihat tl»e extreme
before whh h my speech was delivered, that I never candor of the Senator is worthy of all commtndaustd any m e n arguments? On the contrary, in tion. H e seems to have been •hocked at my dem y reply to die Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. structive propensities. H e was unwilling thai tbe
C I . A Y , | 1 advanced no "new doctrines," but purpublic should believe that even thi.v bill was a.* had
s u e d the very »ame course of argument which I as I had represented it to be. In order to apologize
had adopted when thi« measure was first before the tor my indiscretion, and to prevent the couutry
Senate in September, 1837. I was then convince J, rrcm being too much alarmed at DIV a r g u m e n t s he
and so declared in the most solemn manner, that most kindly interposes.
this bill would not injuriously affect the sound and
I am by no means eeUetfted (<.,\e he) that k (the bill) in capasolvent bank* of the country; and my reflections ble of producing all thce*e consequences; but as *t*c.'i. a power fa
imputed to it by ir.<. warmest friends, and those ttkn ure in the
since have served to confirm this conviction. One
ctwncilti
of
it
of the points which I most strongly urged at that forward and confidence andthe Administration, xbal, who bring retrith this rieu?
expectation,
I
in /A/a
tune, in answer to the objections of the enemies of \ ply, con fine myseff to the pus i Huns- a**urncd. Tfcai it will do
tbe bill, was, ihat it would not operate with that the country nogooil, I have never doubled; but I kav* n^ver »ltowed
believe
it
severity upon the banks which they professed to | attain* myself to ascribt dthat it. can exert tnat influence upon ice
which is
to
apprehend. I alleged "that the cause was too jmThose in the councils and confidence of ;he Adp o e n t to produce any such eflect," and "that its ministration bring the bill forward and impu'e these
influence would scarcely be felt;*' and I main- terrible consequences to i»; though the Senator himtained these pr positions in the coarse of my re self recoils from the idea thai it would produce
marks. IQ my hve speech, which lass been the | such disastrous effects I asa'n repeat ilia? this in




5
the issue between him and m e . Did I ever im- a subtle and ingenious c o n t r i v a n c e th oughout, for
p u t e a n y such ct use juenccs to 1I12 biil? T h a i iff the purpose of casting odium upon ihe Administration and its friends, by ascribing to them a r g u m e n t s
the question.
T h e Senator next p r o p e l s to c o m m e n t separate- which they never ottered, and sentiments which
ly in detail upon each of the a r g u m e n t s in favor of ih^y h a v e always disavowed.
It is an attempt to impose upon the public the
ihe bill which he ha ; thus imputed to m e , as though
ihey had been 'eading potn ? s of m y speech.
Af- belief that we support the bill, not because it will
ter concluding t;iis poiiion of bis *pe?cb, he re 'a separate t h e b a n k s from the G o v e r n m e n t , b u t b e t . the 3d. «»r 4<f. per d*tv which ihe laboring man in cause it will destroy the b a n k s , introduce a p u r e
h a r d money Holland receives; and thus leaves tt t > metallic c u r r e n c y , suppress credit, and reduce the
be inferred, though he h a s not expressly asserted value of property and ihe wages of labor. T h e
the proposition! that I desire to bring down ihe Senator h a s be ome the witness against us; and he
l a b o r i n g man t> ihe c 1 d n m i o f the miserableserf* cannot, and shall not, escape from the c o a : c g n e n 1
of E u r o p e . T h e Senator has shown m u c h ingenui- c e s o f his own testimony.
t y in ibis effort.
A "flagitious proposition!" T h e h'ghest E n g H e »li* 1 proceed* 10 his hypothetical case. H y - lish authority informs u s t h a t the m e a n i n g of the
1
pothetical I admit it to be ia the first instance; hut word "flagitious^1 is "peculiarly i n f a m o u s : " a n d I
after stating it as snob, he makes it real, by declar- shall leave the Senate and the world to determine
ing that I had ascrai ed tfa * power to the bill of ;
whether this term m a y not be m o r e appropriately
d u c i n g the effect which he - escribas.
applied to the S e n a t o r ' s misrepresentations of m y
And here, sir, permit me to r e m a r k , that after r e m a r k s than to iht^ Independent T r e a s u r y hill.
the disclaimer which I understood him to have
W h a t a wonderful spectacle is presented in this
m a d ? o n T o e d a y las% in regard to this topic, I speech of the S e n a ' o r ! F r o m the first to the last,
should h a v e taken care in my reported speech to from ihe beginning to the end of rry speech, I
h a v e aoppresstid every allusion to the snl
did n o t a t t r i iut-5 to this bill one of the cotisequenwhich could have caused htm pain. l i e has now cesWhich he h a s i m p a l e d m e . W i t h my settled
disclaimed the disclaimer, and I shall act accord*
Fictions of the effect of the bill, I should h a v e
ingly.
ree-i the greatest d u n e * in Christendom t h u s to
H e says:
h a v e causelessly alarmed the fears of the c o u n t r y .
To follow out the case, I have
is4 the incnnn of every I never intimated that it would seriously injure,
mm, Except the exporter, H to be reduced ooe-h&lfin the value m u c h less destroy, t h e State B a n k s . It never e n of wages and property, v tile all foreign mercbandiao will
the same, which will obt ously. in effect, double the price, as 1. tered in*o m y conception that it would introduce a
*
wi!I take twice the amount of labor, or twice the amount of flic pure metallic c u r r e n c y , cr reduce the w a s e s of
products ofiabor, to ptu
labor, or destroy the credit system, or seriously afT h u s far the e i s e is suppositious; hiu the Sena- fect the business of the c o u n t r y in a n y m a n n e r .
I
tor, in plain English, m a k e s r a reahty against m y - treated it throughout, as what the Senator informed
i e l f in th* very next sentence*
are had been uniformly told by i's friends that
4i
I do not ascribe/" sayfc he, "this powei to the it w a s , " a simple proposition to divorce the G o v e r n bill; but it h enough for mc (hat Us friends do.™ ment from the hunk's so as to enable it 10 keep its
W h a t power? W h a t is the immediate antecedent? own m o n e y , and therefore, harmless in its c h a r Is it not this power, ascribed by its friends to the acter, as it would effect nothing e l s e . " T h r o u g h bill, of reducing one half " t h e value of wqges zml out m y speech, it w a s one of my chief purposes in
p r o p e r l y " in the coon try 1 But let us i c i a advocating the bill, a s it had IK en in 1837, to a l little further. In the next sentence he astrs, " w h a t lay the fears of the country, and to prove that it
response will the farmer?, m e c h a n i c s , manufactu- Would produce non^ of these /earful effects.
rer*, and laborers, m a k e to sucU a ji^gidous propoI a m h a p p y to think that m y effort* in this r e sition"
spect, h a v e not proved wholly u n a v a i l i n g . 1 h a v e
>Vhat is thi> flagitious proposition? Is it the good reason to believe t h i t they h a v e had some inIndependent T r e a s u r y bill In it-elf ?
N o , sir; no. flue nee in disabusing the m i n d s of honest men a n d
T o e Senator throughout, widi affected candor, ex- re lie r i n g them from the apprehensions which they
presses the opinion that this hill would prodoce no h a d formerly entertained on the subjec*. I p u r s u e d
such fatal conaeqoences as had been ascribed 10 it the very same course of a r g u m e n t I had done in
b y iifl fr ends.
N o , .sir; it JS palpably an attempt Septembi r, J B37, when I first addressed the Senate
on the part of the Senator to induce the public to on this bi*I- On that occasion, I said: " I n this cribelieve that one of my argument* in favor of ifa 3 sis all which the General G o v e r n m e n t can effect is,
bill was that ii would rtedoce the value of wj
• n the first p ' a c e , to withhold its deposites from the
and property one-half H e was pursuing the course banks, and thus refrain from contributing its funds
which he had adopted throughout every previous to swell the torrent of wild speculation; a n d , in the
part of Ins speech, still persisting in doing me the second place, to restrain the e x t i a v a g a n o e of their
injury of putting arguments into my month which ciedits and issues, in some small degree, by collectI had never littered. A n y plain man w h o read* ing and disbursing our revenue exclusively ia spehis speech would placp tins construction upon it cie, or in the. notes of b a n k s which will pay the
After th? Senator has done me all the mi*chtef he balances due from them in specie, at short intervals.
could, in public estimation, it is now too kit* lor T o accomplish these tw© purposes, as well as to
h i m to say that he did not attribute this a r g u m e n t render the public r e v e n u e more secure, are the o b to m e .
jects of the bill and a m e n d m e n t now before the S e Sir, his speech i- not a m a n l y and open argu- ! n a t e . " I never, for a single m o m e n t of rny life*
m e n t against the Ind--*r;cadeat T r e a s u r y bill. It i< I entertained the idea which the Senator has imputed



to m e , That the bill w o u ' d destroy the B a n k s bl * a n d i n t r o d u c i n g a p a r e m e t a l l i c currency, I dee v e n restrain thfir e x t r a v a g a n c e e x c e p t " i n s o m e c l a r e that *•! f e a r it w i l l p r o v e to be a very inades m a l l d e g r e e / 1 W a s the i m p u t a t i o n jaMifted by q u a t e restraint u p o n e x c e s s i v e b a n k i n g ; " a n d that
it will n o t afiect the b a n k s at all, u n l e s s a large
a n y r e m a r k s in m y l a t s s p c e e h l
T h a t , I rv
£old and s i l v e r s h o u l d be locked u p in
a g a i n , is the q u e s t i o n b e t w e e n the S e n a t o r a
self. I n that s p e e c h , I d e c l a r e d that ""tir c h i e f o b - ihe v a u l t s of S u b - T r e a s u r e r s — a ca^e not likely
n to occur.
jects in a d o p t i n g the I n d e p e i dent T r e a s u r y a i e , to
I h a v e a l s o stated that it w o u l d , in s o m e degree,
d i s c o n n e c t the G o v e r i merit f r o m a d batiks, to se>
c u r e the p e o p l e ' s m o n e y f r o m the w e e k o f t h e bank- d i m i n i s h o u r impc rts, e s p e c i a l l y alter J u n e , 1 8 4 2 ,
i n g s y s t e m , a n d to h a v e it a l w a y s ready to p r o m o t e ! • h e n the d u t i e s a n i m p o r ; e d g o o d s m u s t be p a i d in
, and thus e n c o u r a g e o u r d o m e s t i c m a n u t a c t h e p r o s p e c t s of the c o u n ' r y in p e a c e a n d to defend j
1s there a p a t r i o t — n a y , is there a m a n in
it in w a r .
I n c i d e n t a l l y , h o w e v e r , it trill do s o m e
g o o d in c h e c k i n g the e x t r a v a g a n t rpirit of s p e c u l a - this c o u n t r y w h o u^ocs not consider this 'a c o n s u m m a t i o n dew« a l l y to be w i s h t d ? "
t i o n , w h i c h is the b a n e o f the c o u n t r y . "
A s I stated before, I ridiculed the idea that this
In the fir^t place, by requiring ep< cie ki all receipts m
penditures of the Government, you will i
dde- bill w o u l d destroy the b a n k s of the country, and
jnand for gold and silver to the amount 01 Are roitltoc.
titnte a p u r e m e t a l l i c c u r r e n c y for bank palam per annum, according to the estimate of the Preside :. \ 1 p e r . I n s t e a d o f d e s t r o y i n g the b a n k s , I proved
large portion of this sum will be drawn from the b;;
this will compel them to keep more specie In their sanlts, in I that it did nut e v e n c o n t a i n a n y p o w e r o f wholeproportion to iheir circulatinn and depositee, and m bank
m e r e g u l a t i o n ; but for this purpose w e must a p xhia, so faraj i may go, will strike at tin roc* «»i the exiei
>
I p e a l to she S t a t e L e s ' s l a t u r e s I a l s o established
evil. 1 fear, however, that ic will prove tube but a very i.
I the p o s i t i o n , that nei her a b a n k of ihe U n i t e d
q u a t e r e s t r a i n t u p o n eXtx ? s i r e bankii
In the second piao this bill wMi, in some degr
lecoodplace,
hies, nc r the B a n k o f E n g l a n d — i n s t r u m e n t s of
oui import
S
™•
«UT i « a t e r p o w e r than . n o I n d e p e n d e n t T r e a s a rur with tliS S S t t f i S f f i ^ S U
tion of the, importing boeinesa at thep
-»ai r y — c o u l d , e v e n if they possessed the inclination,
inost exclusively in the hands of Bi i
I the
manufaiMU: es they can dispose of in oth r portions of the world, restrain the e x c e s s i v e i s s u e s a n d credits o f the
b a n k s o f the r e s p e c t i v e c o o n t r
AMI
and then bring the res) Inam here to glut our markets. Ace
ing to our exisiin? laws, they reeeiv< a credit from the <•
N o w , s r, I h a .
rented to y o u the material?,
ment for the amount of its duties. T
a n d the o n l y m a t e r i a l s , from w h i c h the Senator
and this credit becomes so much capi al in tin li hand?, to i
c o u l d h a v e derived the charge
bis them to make fresh importations. The Independent Trea- j f r o m M a s M
euryhil! remiiree that all amies shall be paid ingo
ilver; ''a g a i n s t n.e, w h i c h is presented in different forms
and after June, 1842; the comprowl
lav will <
credits altogether. We shall then ha\
i du- t h r o u g h o u t the w h o l e c o u r s e o f his s p e e c h ; that I
ties In operation, which will contribute much TO redoes the had a r g u e d that ibis bill w o u l d destroy the b a n k s ,
amount of our importations, and m encourage domestic no .
restore a s p e c i e c u r r e n c y , r e d u c e the w a g e s q{ lafactures.
nd ;hc v a l u e c f property o n e halt*, c h e c k ioiIn the third place, this bill wiil mak< thi
I negreatest economists in the country, so tar seen
i- pi r a t i o n s , a n d uppres* the credit s y s t e m .
concerned. Their neivc of self interssi will bs touched ia hi- ver attributed a n y i ne of these c o n s e q u e n c e s t o the
rot* of economy, and this will induce ihem to unite with
bitl.
It ia too i m p c . u . t in its character to p r o d u c e
people in reducing the revenue and expendituresof the Q
vcrnrueiit to ihs lowest standard consistently with the \
h effec;
good. They will hereafter abhorasarplos n
nncal
T h e S e n a t o r d o e s r.ot s e e m to p e r c e i v e , that e v e n
as they delighted in it formerly, when ilu v used it for bank
u d p r o v e I w a s a hard m o n e y m a n , this
purposes. Any surplus which may esjst I.I fo
locked up iii gold and eilver, in the re
in the slightest d e g r e e , justify his s t a l e ries; and, in proportion to its amount, will de| rivs
s t ot the n a t u r e of m y a r g u m e n t .
It is n o w too
so much of their specie. They will, therefore,
ai
tisane of reducing the revenue to tne'actuai .
irite for h i m lo s a y , &s he h a s d o n e , that h e d i d not
penuMturesef the Government, ro that the specie m ,;.
fl
M m e a t to iuve>tiigate the d e g r e e
c
s deff it of MIT B
of the Sui) I reasuiu a wuh a rapiditv c<
tine: with I in
« ; „ u f h a v e ; but a s I
Influx. Nothtna demonstrated to me
n e e w h i c h the bill m i g h t
bauk». This wasbut a large
tinguiahed financiers which ooi country has i rei
Imjtted U w< uld h a v e s o m e i n f l u e n c e a s a
himself, I believe, friendly to the Independent Treasury. The*e
i r e , he h a d d rccted bis reply to the g e n e r a l
Treasury dmftp,in the natural course of 1
will 6i \
i
nr.enf. H a e n t i m epublished s p e e c h
;i ihe^e s d his n t s , he a n d I
way either into the banks ut t?.<
tarica are situated, or into loan ndi ol itidiridu
x unpleasant conirover
mg duties to pay to the Oo\ i
i
.
tat he d r e w u n j u s t i n New York. A politic creditor r
m ihe
from m y a r g u m e n t ; but that h e i m p u t e d
receiver general in paymeni «».(
WiU
it t«i
New York, receive paymeni, ami transport r-\
t^ m e a r g u m e n t s w h i c h I n e v e r u s e d : not t h a t h e
city? Such instances will be rare He will
i lhat I h a d e x p r e s s e d ihe o p i n i o n that t h e
it to his credit in the bank with which he trai
n iid h a v
e influence LS a c e r r e c l i r e ,
wherever thai wsajv be, This banker! not In New rock,
transmit U far eollectioQ to one oi the bank? there; ami
nrfa c h I c e r t a i n l y C d e x p r t s ? , a n d c l e a r l y d e f i n e d
these banks will draw the specie from our *U>\* isitsry as ran
\ li m y o p i n i o n , w o u l d be the e x t e n t o f i t s i n a s it ia d r a w n from thorn fbfl the p a y m e n i of t h e pul
Thus the equilibrtom will he pi
G vero- f l u e n c e ; but lha* ' e p a l into m y m o u i h , a s a r g u ment ia whhout a large surplus. In othei
• a e o i s i n f a e o r of ih
. that I w o u l d d e s i r o j t h e
drafts wil! be soughi after and procured bj indtsidos
b a n k s , i n t r o d a c e a pure m e t a l l i c c u r r e n c y , p i
duties toner, and ihcy will be presented to th^ loceiren
oeral, and tCCOpted by t h e m instead .
trate credit, a n d r e d u c e the v a l u e of wttges a n d
I h a v e p r e s e n t e d thessj e x t r a c t s
from
my ptopeity.
M y c a u s a «>f c o m p l a i n t i s n o t a n y d e s p e e c h b-fure the S e n a t e , for the p u r p o s e o( ^how*
is w h i c h he m i g h t h a v e d r a w n , f a i r l y o r
i n g h o w absurd it w a s to h a v e i m p u t e d to m e ihe i nfairly* flora m y s p e e c h ; t u t it res's e n t h e f a c t
a r g u m e n t s in f a v o r o f the bill attr.t uted to m e by thai he h a s attributed to m e a r o u m e n t s i n s u p p o r t
t h e S e n a t o r from M a s s a c h u < * t ' s . Instead of ascribi- c f the bill w h i c h I n e v e r urged or t h o u g h t o f U r g i n g .
n g to t h i s bill the p o w e r o f d e s t r o y i n g the b a n k s , H e m i g h t h i m s e l f h a v e c o n t e n d e d , h e m i g h t , i t h e




k

7
couid, have inferred from my speech ihat I was a J have produce U o much ruin and misery among all
hard money m a n , (though this would have been J classes of so nety. This is the crying evil of our
most unjusttowardsrae,)andhave drawn any deduc- country. W o u l d to H e a v e n , I had the power to
tions from this fact which he thought proper; but correct it! W h a t was my argument in relation to
he had no right to make me say that the bill would the subject? I shall read ray remarks to the Seestablish a hard money currency.
nate, as they are short; and because I cannot now
N o w , sir, the whole of the miserable attacks suite them with as much clearness and force as I
which have been made upon me are ba-ed alone did on that occasion.
on the presumption that I am an exclusive hard
W h a t has been the financial history of this country for the
money man.
On this question my opinions have last twomy-iivt» jreanfl l e a n ppeak with positive knowledge
upon this
years since I
never b:en disguised. Although wiser and better first r u m e subject during theIt period of aeighteen of constant Yiinto public life.
has been
history
men than myself may be friendly to a pure metal- bration—of extravagant expatmonfl in the ftuflineiw of the c o p n lic currency, yet when the subject was first try, • t t c b e e t a ) by ruinous contractions. At successive inter
many of t h e best and most eoiei prising men of the country
broached in the Senate, I took a decided stand have been crushed. T h e y have fallen victims at the shrine of
against it, which I have ever since maintained. In the insatiate and insatiable spirit of extravagant banking and
Starting at the extreme point
m y speech of 1837, I used the following lan- speculation. periods, we find that the country of depression of
one of these
has been glutted
guage:
with foreign merchandise, and it requires all our efforts to pay
It is impossible that manufacture.* and commerce can flourish to any great decree in this country without the aid ofentenmve credit. I would not, therefore, abolish bank* ii I could,
A return to a pure metallic currency is Impossible. T o til tk •
such an attempt would tie ruinous as well an absurd. It would
at once dimmish th'i value of all property more than fifty per
cent.; and would, in effect, double the amount o( every mauY
debts. It would enrich creditors at their expense sf the debtors.
ami thus make the rich richer and the poor poorer. It would
paralyze industry and enterprise.
It Woul 1 mvr enterprise
wholesome food to feed upon;.hut would not drive it imo mad

epeculation by administering unnatural stimulants.
This is the ground which I occupied when the
question was first raised before ihe country. It is
ihe ground which I have maintained eve: Since.
I differ in this respect with ray friend from Mississippi, who is now absent, and have had
m a n y arguments with him, in a kind spirit, to
convince him that he was wrong in advocating
a pure metallic currency. On his return, he will
be no little astonished to learn that the Senator fn m
Massachusetts has represented me, in the very
speech which afforded the occasion of several of
these friendly arguments, not only as a hard money man, but as having advocated the Independent
Treasury bill, because it would put down the banks
and inuoduce an exclusive hard money currency.
T h e Senator from MUsLvsippi, whatever m a y b e
his abstract opinions, never used any such arguments 111 favor of the bill. My sentiment* upon
the subject have teen expressed fully and freely,
bo h rtere and elsewheie, as often as the occasion
offered. H o w any Senator could have misapprehended them, I am wholly at a los* to conjecture;
* pecially after I had clearly and distinctly repeated
them in my late speech. T h e published speech of
the Senator from Massachusetts has placed me in a
strange position. It was but the Other day that a
hard money journal < ( high character was sent to
>
m e from New York, Which denounced me in stronc
terms for expressing, in my late speech, srnt?mrnt.s
friendly to the continued existence of banks. A
similar course has been pursued towards me by another p.iper of the same character, in Virginia. On
the oii;er hand, whilst I am thus attacked by the
hard money m*n, the Senamr makes bis appearance, and assess not only that I am a hard money
m a n , but that I had urged the passage of the Independent Trearury bdl, because it would convert
the Unite i S<at°s into a hard money country.
But whilst I am opposed to an exclusive metallic
currency, I am equally hostile to that system of
banking which has been the cause of those expansions and contractions of the paper currency which




the debt thus contracted to foreign nations. At this crisis t h s
h.mks can do nttblOg to nlit-.ve the people. In order to pre
serve their own existence, they are compelled to contract their
loans and their issues. In Urn hour of distress, when their assiatancs is most needed, tht^y can do nothing for their votaries.
Every article sinks HI price, men are unable to pay their debts,
and wide-spread ruin pervades the land. During this first year
wf the cycle, we a r c able to import bin comparatively little foreign merchandise, and this affords the country an opportunity*
ofrecruiting i t s e x n Lusted energies. T h e next year the patient
begins to recover. Domestic manufactures flourish in proper
lion as foreign goods become scare;'. T h e industry and enterprise of our citizens have been exerted with energy, and our
productions h a v e liquidated the foreign debt. T h e third year,
a fair busfneea is done the country presents a flourishing appearance. T h s banks, relieved from the drain of specie required for foreign export, beam once more to expand, and tempt
the unwary to theil ntin. Property of all descriptions commands a fair price. T h e fourth or the fifth year the era of exuavac'iint banking and speculation returns, again to be succeeded
by another ruinous revulsion.
T h i s was the historj of the country, up till 18.^7. s i n c e then
w;1 have travelled the road to ruin m u c h more rapidly than in
r years. Bcfoie thai peiiod, it had required from threx* to
six years to get up an expansion, and ita corn sponoing explosion
We have now wi 1
oundfng ( a c t t h a t we can
through all these ch
ifrdtn one suspension of
•pecie p a y m e n t s t ^another/in little mors than two years.

Now, any person who has read my speech wiih
candor, any person who heard it in a fair spirit,
must have observed that it was exclusively my object to correct the excesses of the hanking system,
nor to destroy th^ banks. I wished, by wise and
wholesoeie Srate legislation, u> reform it in such a
manner as to secure tr> the people the benefits
which may be derived from it without involving
them in iuin bv its periodical excesses. I desired
» a sound mixed currreney established* so that
the wages of labor, ihe value of property, and the
prices of the necessaries and comforts of life, might
have a fixed and permanent character, and not be
liable to the perpetual fluctuations t j which they
are now at every moment exposed.
But the Senator seeks to involve me In inconsistency, and to t rove that I am a hard money man,
notwithstanding my repealed and solemn disavowals of this dqctrtbe, and notwithstanding the admission in his speeeh, that I had declared I
was not friendly to an exclusive hard monify currency, nor hostile to well regulated State Banks.
It is true that, in the very sentence in which he
makes the admtss on, as well as throughout his
speech, h* mollifies its effects, and proceeds to arsne as though'^ had never been made. W h a t course
does he pursue to accomplish this purpose?
H a v i n g ever been the friend of domestic m a n u factures, I endeavored to prove what I honestly
believe to be ti e fact, that "the extravagant amount

of our circulating medium, consisting, in a great desire 1, if possible, to prevent these extravagant
degree, tfihe notes thrown out upon the corntnu- expansions by iLtroducing such bank reforms a s
nity by eight hundred banks, was injurious 10 our would secure to us such a stable mixed currency,
domestic manufactures. In other words, not that which should not be perpetually fluctuating in
banking, but that extravagant banking and do- amount. This was the whole tenor of my remarks
mestic manufactures are directly hostile t * each fr^m beginning to end.
<
At the commencement of the very next paragraph
other "
To establish this proposition, I referred to the I use the following language: "Sir, I solemnly bewell known principle of political economy, ':that if lieve that if we could but reduce thi^ inflated paper
you double the amount of the necessary circula?- bubble to anv thins: Hke reasonable dimensions.
jne medium in ?ny country, yo\j thereby double the New England would become the most prosperous
nominal price of every article. If, when ihe circu- mai.u.acuiring country that the sun ever shone
Jating medium is fifty millions, sn ar iele should upon." The same idea is conveyed throughout.
co t one dollar, it would cost two, if wi'hout It is the redaction of our i^ria'e I paper currency to
any inciease of the u^es i f a circulat ng medium reasonable dimensions, not the destruction of banks
the quantity shculd be increased to one hundted and bank paper, which I have uniformly advocated.
millions.' 1
In my statement of the simple fact known to all
In order to apply this principle to on i
ion,
and placr it in its most striking li^ht before the men, that the foreign manufacturer goes home to
country find the manufacturers, I look the United his hard tn« ney country and purchases his labor
States, which is emphatically • paper money coun- and his materials at half what they cost here, at the
try, not at the present moment of J.aprc5sion, but at moment when oar currency is in a sta'e of the
the extreme point of our periodica) expansion, when sreat* si expansion, the Senator finds his justification for asserting that I desire to establish a hard
every article commanded the highest price; and r
irasted the condition of our mmufactures at that money currency in this country, and to reduce the
point oi time with tho>e of Germany, which is em- wages o{ laK>r and the value of property. Bat this
Though the Independent Treasury bill
phatically a hard money country. I presented the is r ot all.
two extremes, io order to make the contrast 'he was entirely lost sight of at this period of the discossion, and the only point involved was a general
more striking.
principle of political economy, having no reference
At particular stage* of "our expansion, (I paid.) A^, f iI
with juatice apply ihn principle which I hare stated,
our whatever to 'hat bill, he has had the hardihood to
trade with those cotmtnes, and assert, Ihat from th<
Uniproclaim to the world, upon no other foundation
tUncy of our currency, articles arc manufactured in Vi
than what I have stated, that I ur^ed its passage
Germany for one half of their ad
I in tins country '•
^ie present an example In Germany, where the current
because it would establish a hard money currency,
purely metallic, and the cost oi every tniee is induced to a hard
rnuuey standard, a piece ofbroadclotn can he mannfaetnn 'I lot and thuN reduce ihe wages of labor and the value
fifty dollar ; the manufacture of which, in oar country, from of pr
the expansion of our paper currency, would coat one bun
In 1^:JT7 I introduced the very same principle of
dollars. What is the consequence I The foreign French or
poli'ical economy into the discussion, and in simiGermanroanufactorerImports tlii- cloth into our country
sells li for a hundred dollars. Does not every person perc<
lar languag
ented the ruinous consequences
that the redundancy of our currency i^ equal to a premiui
red to the manufacturing interest from
eoe hundred per cent, in favor of the foreign rnanufacturarl
No tariff of protection, nnl«
u;:tt>i] to prohibit]
the
| c< ntractions of our paper curcounteract this a.lvvniapc in favor of {on ign maoufai
rer.cy. Xo Senator then misunderstood my arwould to Heaven that T could ar<>
ittention i
gument. It was reserved for the Senator from
manufacturer of the nation co thi3 important subject.
The forcifn manufacturer will not receive our hank n
<
Ma
late day, entirely to pervert
payment. He will take nothing hoi
ailing, and to endeavor to hold me up to the
or bills of exchange, which are equivalent lit• excountry a * the av< wed •nemv of the poor laborer,
<
jpend this money here, where he would he compels
a- the
i the Independent Treasury
his family, and to purchase his labor and materials at
rate of priced which he receives for his manufacture.-. Do the bill, because it would reduce hi< «
contrary, he goes home, purchasesh*M labor, his wool, and all
The?e periodical expansions and contractions 0 f
other articles which enter ioto his i
ure. at half their
com in this country; and again returns to inundate as with v>- nor currency seriously threaten to ruin our domesrM ? woollens, and to ruin our domestic manufactures. 1 n
* En
tic manufactures. Unless ihey can be prevented,
Cite many other examples, hut thi.s I tratt, will besul
ier, ihesc manufactures must
draw public attention te the subject, This depreciation of our by ss>me mean
sin*;.
V. h n I express ihis opinion, I spt?ak in the
<
currency i«, therefore, equivalent to a direct |
to the foreign over the domestic manufacturer. /
sincerity cf my heart. Whether I am friendly to
ihat our manufacturers should be abic lo siUfialn
the
r domestic industry or not, I leave for
tgtial competition.
b u s * lf i did I propose to convert this country the
termine who have observed the whole
into a hard money country in order to place if in course of my pub!
the same condition wiih Germany and France in
Our periodica] a:
- always preceded by a
regard to domestic manufactures? Far, very un, yen
enormous irnpoitations. The reason is
from it. Such a change would violate all our fired obvious. In proportion to the expansion of our
habit?, and be opposed to the genius of our pet p!o. currency, the prices of all articles ri.^e; and from
The case was presented not u ith thi.s view; but for this enhancement of price, our c o u n t y becomes
the purpose of exhibiting the injurious cc
the best market in the world for the Mile of foreign
quenees arising to manufactures from the redun- manufactures. In ihe year 1P39, our imports were
dancy of our currency at ihe periods of our greatest greater, by forty-four millions of dollars, than they
expansions.
We must trade with these countries, had te*n ia 1838. This excessive importation,
whether wo will or not, and in order to place us In whilst it wa> the immediate cause ef the ruinous
something like a position of equality with them, I revulsion iu the business of the country, and o f the



9
suspension of specie payment?, left our markets
flooded with foreign goods, to the great injury of
our o w n manufactures.
W h e n the explosion
c a m e , manufacturers, merchants, m e c h a n i c s , laborers, and all, fell under its blasting influence.
It w a s m y object to correct the excesses of the
banking system which are productive of the.^e injurious consequences, and not to destroy the banks.
T h e gentleman, althcueh he may take up detached
sentences of m y speech, and pervert their meani n g , can never place any other construction upon
the whole of it than such as I have stated.
T o regulate—to restrain the banks withiti safe
limits—to afford Co the laboring man constant emp l o y m e n t and regular w a g e s — n o t to cause the
w a g e s of labor in one year to mount up with nil
other articles to an extravagant price, and then, by
the revulsion in the succeeding year, to sink to
a l m o s t nothing; these are the ideas which pervade m y speech throughout. After our periodical
explosions, the laborer undergoes calamities and
sufferings much more severe tLan a n y other class of
society. It was to correct this inevitable result, find
thus to benefit, the laborer, that I insisted up^n
b a n k reform. I declared that " an entire suppression o f all bank notes of a lower denomination than
the v a l u e of one week's wages of the laboring man,
is absolutely necessary for his protection.
He
ought a l w a y s to receive his wages in gold and silver. Of all men on the earth, the laborer is most
interested in having a sound a n i stable currency."
Is there any gentleman of any party who will
not unite with me in these sentiments? Ousht w •
not to abolish all small notes, if this were in our
p o w e r , of denominaiions lower than one week's
w a g e s of laboi? T h e history of the proceedings in
this Senate on the currency bill, and on other bills,
p r o v e s that a principle which would produce ihis
effect was sanctioned by all and voted for by all.
. T o s h o w that I expressed no opinion in favor of
a n e x c l u s i v e metallic currency, but directly the reverse, permit me to refer to another paragraph of
my speech.
Hut the Senator faonl Kentucky (Mr. C I . A Y ] leave*HOfltMa
unturned. l i e s a y s that the friends of the lodepcndftnl Ti
ry deatre to establish an e x c l u s i v e metallic currency, as \Ue med i u m o f ;ilt d e a l i n g throughout the Union; and, also, i<» reduce
t h e w a g e s of the pour m a n ' s labor, so that the rich emj
m a y b e able to sell his manufactures a t a l o w e r price. .Now,
Fir, I deny the correctness o f both these propositions; and, in the
first place, I, for one, a m not in favor o f establishing an i jccla
s i v c metallic currency for the people o f this country. I da n .
to s e e the batiks greatly reduced in n u m b e r ; and w o u l d , if I
c o u l d , confine their a c c o m m o d a t i o n s to s u c h loan? or discounts.
for limited.periods, to the c o m m e r c i a l , manufacturing, and
trading Classen of the c o m m u n i t y , a s the ordinary course of
their business aright render necessary. I n e v e r wit?L u» see Jai nie r s a n d mechanics and profess! >nal m e n tempted, by the facility
o f obtaining bank loans j'or lotog periods, U> abandon iheir own
p r w p c r a n d uso'ttl and respec*abisspheres, and r u s h Into wild
and extravagant speculation.
I w o u l d , if t could, radically
reform the present banking s y s t e m , so as to confi ic it within such
l i m i t s as to prevent future suspensions of s p e c i e payment*; and
w i t h o u t e x c e p t i o n , I w o u l d instantly deprive each aad e r e r i
bank of its charter w h i c h should again s u s p e n d . KsMhlr/h .
these or similar reforms, and give us a real specie basis tor our
p a p e r circulation, by increasing the denomination of bank notes
first to ten, and afterwards to twenty dollars, and I shall then
b e the friend, not the e n e m y , of hanks. I know that the ex- I
isteiice o f b a n k s and the circulation of bank p a p e r , are s o l
identified with the habits of our people, that they cannot be
abolished, even if this were desirable. T o reform, and not :o
destroy, is m y motto. T o confine t h e m to their appropriate
b u s i n e s s , and prevent them from ministering to the spirit o f
w i l d and reckless speculation, by extravagant Inane and issues, |
i s all w h i c h o u ^ h : {o be Ueeirce. l i u ; thW I shall say
If ex


perience should prove it to be impossible to enjoy the facilities
w h i c h well regulated banks w o u l d afford, without, at the s a m e
lime, continuing to sutler the e v i l s w h i c h the wild e x c e s s e s o f
the present banks h a v e hitherto entailed upon the c o u n t r y ,
then I should consider it the leaser evil to abolish them altogethl r. If the State I^esrHlatures shall n o w do their duty, I do not
believe that it will evei-become necessary to decide on s u c h a n
alternative.

I declare that to reform, and not to destroy, the
bank*, is my motto. T n i s w a s my language i n
1S37. it is m y language n o w . T h e greatest e n e mies of the e institutions are those w h o are u n willing to arrest them, by wise legislation, in their
reckless and ruinous career, and thus prevent them
from destroying themselves. T h e r e is no truth
more certain than this: that if the influence of the
banks should prevent the adopiion of such legislation as will afford to the people the facilities w h i c h
they have a riqhl to demand from these institutions,
without, at the s a m e time, inflicting the evils w h i c h
their wild excesses have hitherto entailed upon the
country, they will finally be crushed by public
opinion. T h i s I should regret for m a n y reasons^
although it is possible that a much better banking
system might arise from their r u n - .
It is true that I expressed a serious doubt
\vh her the present banking system w o u l d be
wisely regulated by the States.
I feel confident
that this c a n never be effectually accomplished
whilst nine hundred banks exist, pouring forth u p on the country, at the periods of expansion, bank
r.o'es of all denominations from a dollar and u p wards. Y o u cannot h a v e sound banks unless y o u
reduce their number.
Out of the larse c o m m e r cial cities, where bank*; transact their business
much more by m e a n s of bank credits, deposites,
and checks, than by the issue of notes, no bank
can make m o n e y , and at the same time be safe,
without an extended theatre for circulation. C o u n try banks, whose circulation is limited to a circumference of a few miles in diameter, if they do a
profitable business, must, from the very nature of
things, force their paper upon the public to such a n
amount as to render them insecure.
In the d a y s
of expansion, when speculation is raging, tfcpy m a y
not be in immediate danger.
W h e n the R e v e r s e
c o m e s , and panic arise*, the nines of such a bank
may be all thrown upon it for redemption in a s i n gle day, or a single week.
It can m a k e no safe
calculation of the extent to which it can maintain
its circulation, as it could do if this circulation c o vered a large space of country. One of the greatest reforms of our banking system would, therefore, be great\y to reduce their nnmber.
N o w as to the wages of labor: I really thought
it was impossible that I could h a v e been m i s u n derstood, until I read the speech of the Senator*
In combating the remarks of the Senator from
Kentucky, ( M r . C L A Y , ) I proved that what the la*
boring man ought, above all things, to desire, w a s ,
such a reform in our banking system a^ would afford
him "constant employment and regular w a g e s , paid
in a sound currency.' 1 It is ruinous to him for
his wages to be risin™ with the kite of speculation
one year, and the very next year to have them reduced to almost nothing, and even to be without e m ployment altogether. H e never benefits by extravagant speculation. It brings to him nothing but
unmitigated e v i l , because the increased prices
w h i c h he is obliged to pay for the necessaries a n d

10
I regret, exceedingly, that any thing of a person-(
comforts of life, counterbalance, and more than [
counterbalance, this a d v a n t a g e . W h a t he desires al character has grown out of this matter. It wan
is stability and regularity in the business of the the fariheit thing imaginable either from m y inten\
1
country. H e ought to be able to raise his family tion or m y wishes. But when the Senator though '
proper to treat m y complaints with the scorn and
in peace and comfort, and to look forward to the
next year for the s a m e reward for his honest toil contempt which he said they deserved, I believed it
that he received the last. On this subject no anx- to be a duty which I o w e d to myself, to hurl back
i o u s doubts ouqht to harass his mind. H e oueht to his defiance, and he may m a k e the most o f it.
M r . P R E S T O N rose and congratulated the SH
feel himself independent so long as it shall please
the A l m i g h t y to g i v e him health and strength to nate and the country on the explanation j u s t made'
earn his bread by the sweat of his face, without by the Senator from P e n n s y l v a n i a . H e ( M r . P.),
being i n v o l v e d in those periodical crashes of the had understood his speech precisely as the Senator
"banking system, which are produced by extrava- from Massachusetts [Mr. D A V I S ] had, a n d h e was
gant e x p a n s i o n s of the currency. Under the pre- highly gratified to find that he had entirely misapsent system the laboring man cannot calculate prehended h i m . T h e impression left on his mind
what a May may bring forth. H e receives high by the remarks of the Senator from Pennsylvania*
w a g e s to-day and in starving for w a n t of employ- and the speeches of other prominent friends o f the
m e n t to-morrow. In illustrating these v i e w s , I most Administration, in support of the Sub-Treasury
cheerfully admitted in m y speech that "that coun- bill, w a s , that it w a s the object of the party in
ry is most prosp erous where labor c o m m a n d s the power to break down the banking i n s i t u t i o n s of the
greatest rewardjjwhere one day 7 * labor will procure States, to Jestroy the credit system, and to reduce the
not the greatest nominal amount of a depreciated w a g e s of labor, and that to a c c o m p l i s h these results I
currency, but most of the necessaries and comforts they supported that bil'; but it seemed he wasentire-1
o f life." A n d I said that by correcting your bloat- ly mistaken. H e understood the S e n a t o r from
ed credit system in such a manner as to reduce P e n n s y l v a n i a n o w to say that he w a s not opposed I
"the amount of your bank issues within reasonable to b a n k s , but merely wished that s o m e restraint \
and safe limits, and establishing a metallic basis for mipht be placed on them, so as to p r e v e n t their |
your paper circulation," you would greatly benefit running their credit into extravagance. T h e hothe laborer. H e could then purchase more of the norable Senator from T e n n e s s e e [ M r . G R U N D Y ] I
necessaries and comforts of life for one dollar "than had made the s a m e declaration, and the honorabk
he could have done in the days of extravagant ex- Senator from Arkansas [Mr. S E V I E R ] h a d express- f
pansion for one dollar and a quarter." Besides, he ed himself of the s a m e opinion. H e regretted that
w o u l d then enjoy the advantages which he never the Senator from Mississippi [ M r . W A L K E R ] was
can do under the present s y s t e m , "of constant em- not present, to define his position a l s o . B u t what
p l o y m e n t and regular w a g e s , " without being "in- s a y s the honorable Senator from M i s s o u r i [Mr.
v o l v e d in ruin by a recurrence of those periodical B E N T O N ] o n this subject? H e had stood by tbU
e x p a n s i o n s and contractions of the currency, which hard m o n e y question from the first, a n d when he
h a v e hitherto convulsed the country." T h e last w^s solitary and alone in *its support. H e had
thing o f which I ever dreamed, w a s to bring his fought himself through an ocean of cibloquy whil?
w a # e s d o w n to the pure metallic standard. I \vi*hed the little fishes huddled around him to protect them
to adopt that safe mixed currency which I so fully from the roar of popular opinion. W i l l h e also
described in the course of my remarks, and which favor us with an explanation, lest perhaps w e may
w o u l d be a blessing to manufacturers, merchants, h a v e misapprehended his course a n d his sen- I
m e c h a n i c s , laborers, and all the people of the c o u n - timents on this subjeci?
try, because it would produce certainty and stabiliMr. K I N G said he had witnessed w i t h UD- |
ty in all the transactions of life.
feigned regret the direction this debate had taken; |
It w a s the ardent desire of H e n r y the 4th, the but it w a s not his habit, nor would he n o w take i
great monarch of France, so to govern his country, part in a personal altercation.
H i s only purpose '
that every laborer in his dominions might have a in rising w a s to notice some of the remarks o f the f
pullet in hi* pot on S u n d a y s . In our o w n highly Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. P R E S T O N . ] H e
favored land, even at the period of the g r e a t e - f e x - had listened to that Senator with no little surprise
p a n s i o n , the laboring m a n could not afford to re- H e stares that the impression made on his m i n d by
gale himself and his family with a roast of beef. If the speeches of the prominent m e m b e r s o f this
h i s w a g e s were high, the monopolists of this article, body, w h o sustain the Admiuistrotion, and p a n i c u - I
aided by the banks, raised the price of this acces- lariy by those of the Senator from P e n n s y l v a n i a ,
sary O] hr c m a m u c h greater proportion.
[Mr. B U C H A N A N , ] w a s , that it w a s the object of
I repeat that the Senator might h a v e argued as the party now in power to breaK down the banking
he pleased a-ain*! the Independent Treasury biil, insti uiions of the States, to destroy credit, and rea n d this would h a v e afforded me no cause of c o m - duce the wa^es of labor, and that they advocaxed
plaint. H e might have inferred, from my argu- ihe Independent T r e a s u i y bill upon theground that
m e n t , however unjustly, that I w a s friend'y to a it w o u l d produce these results. No«*, said M r . K. j
pure metallic currency, and I should not have c o m - while these charges were confined to the dirty !
p l a i n e d before the Senate. Bur w h e n he put into newspapers of the day—tho>e vehicles of detracmy m o m h , a s a leading argument in favor of the tion and misrepresentation—ihey deserved not the
bill, that it would restore an e x c l u s i v e metallic cur- *lit»htest notice; but c o m i n g , as th°y n o w do, from
rency to the country, I felt myself obliged, hy im- a Senator who stands high in the estimation o f the '
perious necessity, to correct the misrepresentation, country, and deservedly c o m m a n d s the respect of
b e c a u s e it w a s doing m e the most galling injustice. this body, they a s s u m e an i m p c r t a n c e w h i c h de*



1
mands immcdfate correction and refutation. Will | induced to divest themselves of this power, most of
the Senator designate any portion of any speech the evils which have grown out of the banking sysdelivered on this floor, by any friend of the Admi- tem, as at present conducted, would, in his opinion,
nistration, in vvhich such objects are avowed? H e , be remedied. H e sincerely hoped it would meet
M r . K. had been strictly attentive to the discus- with a favorable consideration.
sions on the Independent Treasury bill, and on no
One word, said M r . K . as to my friend
occasion had he heard an argument used, vvhich, I from Mississippi, now absent.
T h e Senator
properly understood, was calculated to make the from South Carolina has, as I conceive, done
impre>sion which the Senator declares had been I great injustice to the views of that gentleman,
m a d e upon his mind: lea^t of all eculd it be as to the operation of the Independent Treasury
made by the remarks cf his friend from Penn- bill. H e is represented as having contended that
sylvania, who has discussed this great question it would prostrate the banks, and bring about an
-with an ability which few can equal, and with that exclusive metallic circulation. Now, sir, whatcharacteristic frankness and fairness which should ever the peculiar notions of that gentleman may
have saved him the necessity of correcting misre- be, as respects the advantages ti> be derived fiom
presentation, intentional or otherwise. Sir, said banks, he too well understood what would be the
M r . K. my friend has over and over again declared, operation of the measure he advocated, to contend
in the most explicit terms, that he was no advocate that any such effects could, by possibility, be profor an exclusive metallic currency; that he wished duced by it. Sir, we were indebted to the geutleto see the banks so reformed as to enlarge the basis man and his friends for what, to me, appears opiof Specie circulation; thus securing to the counJry j nions so absurd. Again and asain have they dea welt regulated mixed currency—specie for the j clared, on this floor, that such would be the effects
ordinary transactions of business, and a paper al- j of the adoption ot the Independent Treasury; and
•ways convertible. Would this destroy State banks, j they have denounced it accordingly, in such unor pr* stratc credit, or deprive the laborer of a lair j measured termv, that I was disposed to give them
compensation tor his labor? N o , sir, no; but di- j credit for honestly believing what they so roundly
rectiy the reverse; and of all classes, those who \ assorted, and so strongly condemned. I had no
live by the swear of their brow would have most idea it was for political effect. But really (said
cause to rejoice at such a reform of the currency. M r . K.) it is too bad to aitempt to fix upon the
M y friends, said Mr. K. are opposed to bank ex- ! friends of ihe Administration opinions they never
pensions which lead to the most extravagant and j entertained, arguments they never used, but which
ruinous speculations, deranging the business of ihe | they have con>tantl3r repudiated.
country, and terminating in a refusal to redeem
Mr. K. slid he well knew the opinions of the
their notes in specie. These expansions, we have greater portion of those with whom be was politibeen told by the Senator from South Carolina, and cally associated here: his intercouse with them had
his friends, were produced by the State bank ciepo been of the most unreserved character; and he
site system. Admit them to be correct. Does it would take this occasion to say that the charge that
not prove conclusively that we should no longer they were the advocates of the destruction of the
mix up our affairs with theirs—that we should not State b a r k s , and an exclusive specie circulation,
subject ourselves to the inconvenience and loss
consequent on their failure to pay over the public j was entirely destitute of foundation. Their object
moneys placed with them for safekeeping. My | was to reform, not to destroy.
friends a*e in favor of collecting the reve- ' Mr. C L A Y of Kentucky said he really did not
n u e in sp?cic, so as iu enable the Govern- know where he wa^; but there is the gallery, and
m e n t to meet its obligations according to the thvre the countenance of ihe Faiher of l i s Country
requirements of the Constitution, while the t beaming down upon us, and yet it seemed to him
Senator from South Carolina would compel the j as if persons and things had lo t their identity. W e
rece pt of the depreciated paper of non-specie-pay• now bear that there is no intention on the part of
ing bank?: at least such was the proposition once the friend? of the Administration, to injure
m a d e by hi.n; but meeting with no countenance, j b a n k s — n o desire to destroy the credit >y>tem
even from his own friends, he was compelled to j of the country—no wbh lo reduce the wages of laabandon it. My friends, as far as I know their \ b<«r. W h y , really, one is almost temp'ed to imao p i n o n s , are opposed to any interference with the j gine thnt the present display has been the result ot
State banks. T o the^S;ates they leave, what to previous arrangement, to give an opportunity for a
W h y , was not the whole
them properly beloiig*, their regulation and control. general n c a n t a t on.
"We are content to act within our ccmliiu'ional ; tenor of ihe argument of the Senator from Mjieisspheres—ro to collect, keep, and disburse oar reve sippi, [Mr. W A L K E R , ] m his speech on the Subnue, s s wi 1 enable KS to m e t , in good faith, all Tieasory, to prove ihe evils of banks and the creour obligations, and not again subject ourselves to dit system, and ihe beneficial effects that would rethe taunts and sneers of the Senator from Soo'h sult from W exclusively metallic currency, and reCarolina and hit friends, that the Government was ' doted wages of labor, which were 10 he effected by
a bankrupt concern, because it could not compel the pas?a£e of thai b:ii? And has not thi> been the
the banks u> pay ever ihtir c'cposites. Mr. K. said course of all the angumsjn^s of gentlemen on that
he looked with £reat interest to the success of the side of the chamber? H e was aware that ihe Seproposition made by his friend from Pennsylyania nator from Pennsylvania was not what 13 cona few days past, bo to amend the Constitution as sidered a whole heg man—he stopped at the I alfto prohibit the issue of bank notes of a le?s denomi- way house—not the half-way house of Conservanation than twenty dollar*. Could the States be • U*m, but of a mixed currency. H e confessed that
!
he was surprised and gratified at the declarations



12

and recan'ations of gentlemen this morninsr, bnt | van'a, a zf alous and able advocate of th? constituhe warned the country against confiding much in tional Treasury bill, ursrins, as an argument in its
favor, that it would, among other effects, "supthe sincerity of those m a l m * them.
Mr. KI:>G. T h e Senator from Kentucky, in press credit!"* H e would only say that, if that and
his remaik<, had used the terms ' r e c a n t , "recan- some othtr a r s u m e n s which had been attributed to
tation." Does ihe Senator intend to convey ih- hint by the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. D A imputation that 1 have r* canted: thjit I have] vrv] had ready been used by him, much as he P
chanted any opinion heretofore held by m e a n this admired the Senator from Pennsylvania for his
subject? I desire the Senator t > point lo any vote talents, and respect d him for his integrity, he
ever given, or tentimert eve r ottered by me, Which is should h»ve considered him as an enemy in disinconsistent with ihe principles avowed in the j t - ! guise tot S very measure which he was advoeat : nz,
m a r k s 1 have made ih > morning.
and to wh.ch it was but an act of justice t i him to i
Air. C L A Y said his rem Ark v.* a* not intended to say that he brought that powerful aid, always afforded by him when h<- takes part in any imporapply to the Senator from Alabama parttcufli
but to the former c< ur>e of ihe party with which tant debate. Ho would add that he had never
the Senator acted. H e h a d und'.isioou the course of [heard, or known, a i g u m e t ^ so entirely prcposte- I
the Kxerutivc to be such as he hadeharac etized it, ! rons ?s some of tho^e that had been attributed to
and he consid< r*d all that supporu A his Ad mints- the s c n i e m a n irom Pennsylvania, to be used by
nation as concurring in the policy indicated by h;s any one, either in that body or elsewhere, In their
measurer.
ad- oeacy of t ia* measure. N o r had he known such
M r . B R O W N said: TI at a very #?xtraord n n y I arguments to be imputed to ;iny member of this {
orable to Ac'constitutional Treasury sys- <
spectacle had been presented to Hie Senate du
the progress of the present debate. Atter the ter- em, except in the rorrespondence of hired letter
mination of a di cession* which was of a nature ' H r t r , or in the columns of new-papers, devoted
highly irr.tatinsr, and of a strictly per-onal charac- to bank interests.
J
ter, between the Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr.
W h a t d d the Senator from South Carolina [Mr.
BOCHAN/.N] and the Senator from Massachusetts, PRKSTON,] and the Senator from Kentucky [Mr
\
[Mr. DAVIS j two other Senators had thooght pro- I Ci AY] mean by the general alteration that the
per to volunteer in the debate, and to interfere in friends of the Administration in that body were in fa* \
a manner which he did not, to say the least of it, vor ot abol shin^ the banking system in the States? f
deem the most courtecus, especially towards «»ne Do they mean to charge the friends of ihe Administra- i
Of the parties who had teen engaged in this conD with hostility t » the bankiog anil credit SJS etn,
troversy.
because they are opposed to a £« vernmeat of bank- I
in^ corporations, instead of a government of the I
T h e Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. P s
TON,] and the Senator frc m Kentucky, [Mr. C L A Y ] people ? Do they mean to charge ihem with hos- [
had, with much apparent gravity, congratulated i tihty to the banks because they are dispo5ed to cor- ?
the country on the recantations, as they have I reel their abuses, and to arrest that system of swind- I
chosen lo teirn them, in regard to the bank- linj? and outrage which has been practised to such
ing system, which have been made on the pre- i n extent on the peep e of this country ? Is it this
sent occasion, as they allege, by the gentle- I that they call hostility to banks, and an attempt to
man from Pennsylvania, and other Senators! Irappres? the credit system? Are <hcy themselves [
fr.cndly to the policy of the Administration. I wilting to uphold and to tolerate such abuses? If
W h a t recantations had been made by any Senate r so, let them bed 11/avow if, ami the people would j
/nendly to the Administration! H e had not heard then understand the value of that credit system, in '
them, if any had been made; and he was quite i ore, behalf of which, MJ many eulogies hud been ut- i
if the Senators from whom these remarks had j leretl, and so much alarm had been express
fallen, had done justice to the a guments and views I Mr. B. sail that, so far as h~ hail understood the
of almost the entire body of those on this floor who j views of the friends of the Administration, both in |
had .supported he constitutional Treasury system, [Congress and e'sewh^re, their leading object was, y
that they might have spared themselves the trouble | in r gard to the banking system, so far as he indt- '
of offering their congratulate ns to the country, for • rrct agency of the Federal Government could ef* j
recantations which had never been made, and feet if, to regulate, not to destroy it; to enforce * |
p o u n d and honest system of banking, instead off
which, indeed, thcr.^ was no necessity to make.
In regard to the Senator from Pennsylvania, [Mr. (bat system of fraud and abuse which had been so
BnenjK^N,] he had .said nothing, ia the course of I expensively and injuriously practised on the counhis triumphant vindication y that had even the sem- I try, tinder the miscalled credit system. T h e y bfblance of a recantation. On the contrary, he had j lieved, and tire great bt (\y of them, there znd else^
only re-aflirmed and reiterated the views and opi- j whir*-, had so argued, that the Constitutional
nions ^ h i c h he bad before repeatedly ezpreiH Treasury system was the measure, (fall oihers, best'
ed, as to the effects of the constitutional Trea- j calculated to effect ihe>e important objects. T h e y be~|
sury on banks and the currency of the country. j tieved that the fiscal transactions of the Federal!
If he had expressed the opinions then for the fits' JGoverr.ment shouM be confined to a metallic eur-j
time attributed to him, on that floor, they would J rency, leaving to the States the undisturbed right off
have been utterly inconsistent with all those which c^arterin^ and regulating banks, and au'horizing
he had, on many occasions before, avowed, and the circulation of bank paper, in such m a n n e r s 5
which were to be found so explicitly set forth in j hey Ul'ght doera proper.
his published speeches, is^de, on former occasions,
Indeed, the clamor constantly raised against til*,
on this subject. What! the Senator from Pencsyl- '/riends or the Adminr-tra'ion, that they wished W '
>



13
d e s t r o y bank*, and introduce an e x c l u s i v e metallic I w a s its tendency to correct the abuses o f the pac u r r e n c y , w a s , to s a y the least of it, absurd and r oer system, and estabii-h a sound and honest s y s r i d i c u l o u s . H o w could they put d o w n the system j (em ot banking, in place of that which has produced
in t h e several States by federal legislation? T h e y j ^ucn disastrous c o n s e q u e n c e s to the people of the
c o u l d not interfere with or r e t r a i n ihe Slate Leri>- | United States. If *he w i s i to b r i n j about a rel a t u r e s in c h a t t i n g banks. IV o legislation had j form in the*e abu es by the indirect a g e n c y of the
b e e n proposed, nor could a n y be proposed h e . e , power J of the F e icrar* G o v e r n m e n t , constitution*
c o n s i s t e n t l y with the Constitution, to prevent the ally exerieJ, be hostility to b a n k s , then the Presip e o p l e from using paper m o n e y in their pecuniary f dent, in c o m m o n with the ;rreat majority of the
transact!* n> u i b one another.
American people, w a s o b n o x i o u s to the chargeBtif, sai I Mr. B . because the bill to estab- | S o far from furnishing proof of hostility to the s y s l i s h the Constitutional Treasury did not a u - tem, it afforded the only m t a n s of preserving i u
thorize the receipt of bank notes in the p a y m e n t of | T n o s e in reality are its e n e m i e s , w h o are to favor o f
G o v e r n m e n t dues, it w a s therefore a circu nstanc- 1 J pcrpe noting it* abuses.
c o n c l u s i v e to s h o w , according to the logic o; [
W h y , he would a>k, all this a l a r m about the
g e o t l e t n e n in opposition, that ihe entire svs e m wa | banking sys e m , and patriotic indignation at the
t o b e a b o l s h e d ! T h i s kind of argum^n', if arpu idea of a hard m o n e y currency? E>id any one bem e n t it w a s entitled to be called, might suit for the I • i e ? e that the banking sy*teta in the State
he
p u r p o s e s of misrepresentation, but if w o u l d not a n - meant an honest banking s y s t e m — w a s really e n s w e r to establish the truih of a proposition.
dangered? On the contrary, w a s tnere any candid.
A n o t h e r mode of argument, equally c o n c l u s i v e , I an i intelligent individual, taking into v i e w the unito p r o v e that the Administration and its frien !* versal ty of ihe existence of the -3'stem in our c o u n w e r e ia i a v o r of abolishing all the State banks, am I try, and the powerful interests enlisted in ittf behalf,
i n t r o d u c i n g an e n t i e metallic currency, was the that did not believe that the real danger w a s n o t
p r a c t i c e , by th-5 Opposition, of holding un to the] •hat the system would be destroyed, but that it
p u b l i c v i e w the opinions of a few of its friends a s j WOO Id not be sufficiently regulated, whether it e x the o p i n i o n s of all the D e m o c r a t i c party.
ist-d in the form of a N a t i o n a l B i n k , or of State
H e w o u l d put a few cases to prove, no- m e i v l v nan ks.
t h e f a l l a c y , but the extreme injustice, of such reaMr. B would not say th*t these alternate e x h t s o n i n g . S o m e of the friends of the Opposition,] b t:ons of a'arm and indignation which we had
w h o s e o p i n i o n s had of.en been quoted in that quar- witnessed here were affected, or intended to a n s w e r
ter, o n financial matters, as oracular, hat-1 a d v o - po'iticat purposes.
'1'hat a pressing e m e r g e n c y ,
c a t e d the here y that banks were strong in propor- howeyer, existed in the ranks of the Opposition,
t i o n a s their quantity o f specie w a s small; nut would which required the use of all such m e a n s , none
it b e fair to charge this n e w discovery in the ere in could doubt, w h o daily witnessed the extraordinary
s y s t e m u» Ihe Opposition, as a party?
A g a i n , the expedients that were reported to for th^ purpose o f
S e n a t o r from South Carolina [VJr. P R E S T O N ] had m sustaining a c i u ^ e that can o n l y exist by e x t r a n e trod need a proposition in tha; bodvviuiing the former ous and artificial m e a n s . T h e effort to operate o n
b a n k ^ u s / c ; s o n , t o c o m p e l the Sti-retary ol die T r e a - public opinion by panics and misrepresentation,was
s u r y to r< ceive m payment of the public dttea, the de- an o:d expedient, which had been tiied on former
p r e d a t e d notes of those banks, w h i c h w a s advocated , occasions, m u c h more favorable to success than the
b y th^ Senator from K e n t u c k y , [Mr. C u r ; ] but I present period. X h e v had tailed then, and he i re-would it h a v e been lair to have held the w h o ' e ot | di^ted that they w, uld fail a g a i n .
t h o s e in opposition answerable for a proposition so ,
Mr. C A L H O U N .
I n s - to say that n o one i*
s u b v e r s i v e of public credit? A n d , a g a i n , s o m e of I authorize i to 5peak for mc.
I speak for myself, I
t h e leaders of the former Federal party a v o w e d a nave chat.ge 1 no opinion. On the contrary, e v e r y
p r e f e r e n c e for monarch v, while s~>me of 'he parti <ia> \s experience confirms me in the opinion that
s a n s o f the s a m e party, o f the present d a v , h a v e ihe banking sy>tem, as it s t a n d s — I m e a t banks o f
expres>ed simdar sent.ments.
H e alluded to M r c i r c u l a t i o n — h a s prove 1 to be one of the greatest
H a m i l t o n , and s^me other distinguished leader* oi calamities that ever befel the country.
t h e Federal patty o f that d a v , and also to an indiI m;*ke no war on the b i n k s . T n e system w a r s
v i d u a l o f ihe p esent d a y , of the Opposiu »n, who against ii^Hf, and i* destined to fall bv self-slaughh a d , in a ser.es of e s s a y s in a Federal paper, ad j t-r. It contains within itself the elements of itx
v o c a t e d a m o n a r c h y . M r . B . said that he had put j own destruction; and Rfntlemen o n both sides m a y
t h e s e c a s e s , n »t to fix u p o n the O f >pos:ton party c o m b i n e to s a v e the system, but it will be In v a i n .
the political heresies they contain, but to show the
e x t r e m e absurdity of one party endeavoring; to hold I s true character is now in a c»urse o f rapid deW e witness this day its baneful eft h e other responsible for the opinions o f a few on'y j veiopment.
j fe^.ts on the curr ncy and the business of the* c o u o o f its members.
t sry; but w e h a v e m u c h to learn of it* rics-,dating
B u t , said Mr. B . tbc Senator from Kentoetr? | c »n?equences on iLs m< rals a n d politic*. }£ I s h o u l d
[ M r . C L A Y ] h a d not been content with imputing t stand a l o n e , I .shall be found in opposition to i u *
o p i n i o n s o declared hostility against all banks s y - t e m .
t o thi »e friendly to the Administrati *n in that j N o w let me s a y that I k n o w nothing of the vieww.
c h a m b e r , hut had thought proper to extend 'he (of the Senator from PenneyIvania, luither than
s a m e charge to the Piesident of the United S'ate**- [than as they are developed in his res lutton. I
Vv'iin h o w muoh justice this charge has b . e n made, wish to be uodersfood to be utterly opposed to its o b a reference to t h - m e s s a g e s o f the Chief Magistrate Iject. Wr h i»y present c o n v i c t i o n , I shall n e v e r
w o u l d s h o w . A leading argument, in his r e c o m - jeo^*»nt to engraft the banking s y s t e m O J the C o n m e n d a t i o n of the constitutional Treasury
system, stitution.