View original document

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

REMARKS

MR. WEBSTER,
OK © I F F E H E H T OCCA&XOJIS, OIC

T H E REMOVAL OF T H E DEPOSITED;




A N D ON T K E 6 U B J K C T OF

A NATIONAL BANK:
DBMV8HBX1

IN T H E S E N A T E OF T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S ,

January and February,- i 8 3 4

WASHINGTON:
P R I N T E D B Y 6 A X S S & SKATOJT.

1834.

REMARKS.
-ageOn the 20th of January, Mr. W E B S T E R presented the following resolutions passed at a meeting in Boston:
1. Resolved * As the sense of this meeting, that the business community of this city,
vicinity, and Commonwealth, are in a high state of prosperity, independently of those
embarrassments in the money market, consequent upon the deranged state of the financial and banking operations of the country.
2. Resolved, That all the great branches of industry throughout the Union have, for
three years past, been in a highly prosperous condition, till within the period of a few
months.
3 . Resolved, That the products of agriculture have been unusually abundant the past *
year; that prices at home and abroad are higher than usual, and likely to be maintained under the ordinary circumstances of the money market.
4* Resolved, That the currency, issued by the banks of this State, inasmuch as their
notes in circulation are not more than one-fourth of their capitals, and the securities for
their loans being deemed good, is in sound condition.
5. Resolved, That the currency of the Union at large is also in a safe and sound
state, and that any sudden and undue contraction of bunk issues, which tray have been
lately made, has principally arisen, not from over-issues of paper, but from the disturb*
ed state of our financial and money concerns, incident to the altered condition of the
National Bank.
6. Resolved* That there is the usual quantity of specie in the country, and that foreign exchanges being greatly in our favor, there is no reason to apprehend any drain
of the precious metals* but, on the contrary, we may naturally look for an influx of
7\ Resolved, That the local banks now employed by Government, however well disposed to accommodate the public, cannot, with their small capitals, limited credit, and
scattered resources, and, above all, their entire want of concert and unity of action,
afford that aid to the agricultural classes in the transmission of their products, from the
places of growth to the places of export and distribution, which they have heretofore
received from the National Bank, but which is now, in part, necessarily withdrawn
from them by that institution, in consequence of its change of position in regard to the
Government.
8. Resolved, That the evils arising from the scarcity and high price in money fall
with most severity on the industrious and middling classes of society, who are compelled to make sacrifices of property to provide for their daily payments, while the retired
capitalists are not only exempt from such a loK, but derive a benefit from the increased
value of money*
9. Resolved, That a continuance of the existing embarrassments in business, arising
\ from the deranged state of our money concerns, will not only check the future opera*
tions of the farmer, merchant, manufacturer, and mechanic, and consequently lessen
the employment and wages of the laborer, but will also prove extremely injurious to
those great and useful internal improvements, which must soon be arrested in their
progress, if the pressure on the money market is not relieved? and that all property
: now in existence will become depreciated to a degree that may prove utterlv ruinoua
- to a portion of the most enterprising and useful members of the community.
;: 10. Resolved, That the amount of currency necessary to effect the ordinary payments
in business, though utterly insignificant compared with the wealth of the nation, y e t
w h e n viewed as the measure of value of every species of property, as the basis of all
contracts*, and the medium by which the constant interchanges of property are made,
must be considered of immense importance; and that any sudden and undue expansion
or contraction of the amount required for the ordinary wants of the country', from
whatever causes it may proceed, will necessarily tend to the most calamitous re*
suits*




4
11. He*olved> That the existing embarrassments and panic among all classes of t h e
business community, and which threaten, if not soon remedied, the most serious e v i l s ,
may be attributed, first, to a spirit of speculation and over-trading—the usual effect*
o f long continued prosperity; and secondly, to the transferring the collection of t h e
national revenue from the National Hank to the State banks, and thereby paralyzing,
in some degree, the action of that institution, by whose large capital, solid credit, and
extensive resources, the business operations of the w h o l e country have been sustained
and promoted.
12- Resolved* That, in the opinion of this meeting, a restoration of the National Bank
to the relation in which it stood to the Government prior to the removal of the d e p o s ites, and allowing the public moneys already in possession of the local banks to remain there, till required by the Government, would, in a great measure, relieve t h e
country from the embarrassments, arising From a scarcity and derangement of currency; and, above all, allay that distrust, agitation, and alarm, which is more difficult t o
overcome, and more dangerous in its tendencies if not overcome, than the actual i n conveniences and losses usually incident to an insufficient or deranged currency.
13. Resolved, That, whatever course may be adopted by Congress, in relation t o
matters now in dispute between the Government and the National Bank, it is of vital
importance to the great interests of the nation that there should be a prompt decision,
so necessary for the re-cstablishment of that confidence throughout the whole country,
* which has been greatly impaired by the uncertain and unsettled state of our financial
and money concerns.
14- Resovcd, That the foregoing resolutions have no relation to any party or political purposes, beyond the direct object manifest on the face o f thdm; that the m e e t i n g
comprises persons of all classes and professions, entertaining various and opposite o p i n ions upon the question of rechartering the existing National Bank, or of chartering a
new one in lieu of it; that few of them have any pecuniary interest involved in the fate
of that institution; that they have met together, on this occasion, as citizens, having o n e
common end in view, and with no other purpose or desire than to aid in the re-establishment of that credit and confidence among all classes, so essential to our p r e s e n t
safety and our future prosperity.
15. Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing resolutions b e transmitted, by the Chairman of this meeting, to each of the Senators and Representatives of this State in Con*
gress, as expressive of the opinions and feeling of a portion of their constituents u p o n
the important matters thcroi** referred to; and earnestly requesting them to use t h e i r
best exertions to effect the objects which this meeting has in view; and that t h e y alao
b e requested to lay a copy o f the same before both branches of our National L e g i s lature .
16* Resolved, That a committee, consisting of Henry L e e , George Bond Jonas B*
Brown, Henry F. Baker, James T . Austin, George Darracott, and Charles*Wel)s b e
appoiated to take such other measures, in furtherance of the object of this meeting*
as they shall d e e m proper and expedient.
**'
CHARLES WELLS,
Chairmmu
HJSKIIT F.

BAXSH,

?

Br-wjAMis T . Il K K p, $

tT

^cretartes.

T h o resolutions having been read by the Secretary of the Senate,—
Mr* W E B S T E R said, he wished to bear unequivocal and decided testimony to tho respectability, intelligence, and disinterestedness of the long list
of gentlemen, at whose instance this meeting was assembled. T h e meeting,
said Mr. W . , was connected with no party purpose whatever. It had an
object more sober, more cogent, more interesting to the whole community,
than mere party questions. T h e Senate will perceive, in the tone of these
resolutions, no intent to exaggerate or inflame; no disposition to get up excitement or to spread alarm. 1 hope the restrained and serious manner,
the moderation of temper, and the exemplary candor of these resolutions, in
*qpnnexion with the plain truths which they contain, will give them just
weight with the Senate. I assure you, sir, the members composing this
meeting were neither capitalists, nor speculators, nor alarmists. T h e y are




5

merchants, traders, mechanics, artisans, and others engaged in the active
business of life. T h e y are of the muscular portion of society; and they d e sire to l a y before Congress an evil, which they feel to press sorely on their
occupations, their earnings, their labor, and their property; and to express
their conscientious conviction of the causes of that evil. If intelligence, if
pure intention, if deep and wide-spread connexion with business in its various b r a n c h e s , if thorough practical knowledge and experience, if inseparable
union between their own prosperity and the prosperity of the whole country,
authorize mon to speak, and give them a right to be heard, the sentiments of
this meeting ought to make an impression. For one, sir, I entirely concur in
all their opinions. I adopt their first fourteen resolutions, without alteration
or qualification, as setting forth truly the present state of things, stating truly
its causes, and pointing to the true remedy*
Mr, P r e s i d e n t , now that I am speaking, I will use the opportunity to say
a few words which I intended to say in the course of the morning, on the
coming u p of the resolution which now lies on the table; but which are a&
applicable to this occasion as to that.
An opportunity may, perhaps, be hereafter afforded me of discussing t h e
reasons given by the Secretary for the very important measure adopted by
him, in removing the deposites. But as I know not how near that time may
b e , I desire, in the mean while, to make my opinions known, without r e serve, on the present state of the country. Without intending to discuss any
thing a t present, I feel it my duty, nevertheless, to let my sentiments and my
convictions be understood. In the first place, then, sir, I agree with those
who think that there is a severe pressure in the money market, and very
serious embarrassment felt in all branches of the national industry. I think
this is not local, but general—general, at least, over every part of the country where t h e cause ha* yet begun to operate, and sure to become not only
general but universal, as the operation of the cause shall spread. I f evidence b e wanted, in addition to all that is told us by those who know, the
high rate of interest, now at 12 per cent, or higher, where it was hardly 6
last S e p t e m b e r ; the depression of all stocks, some ten, some twenty, some
thirty p e r cent., and the low prices of commodities, are proofs abundantly
sufficient to show the existence of the pressure. B u t , sir, labor, that most
extensive of all interests-*—American manual labor—feels, or will feel, the
shock more sensibly, far more sensibly, than capital or property of any kind.
P u b l i c works have stopped, or must stop; great private undertakings, employing many hands, have ceased, and others must cease. A great lowering
of the rates of wages, as well as a depreciation of property, is the inevitable
consequence
of causes now in full operation. Serious embarrassments in all
b r a n c h e s of business do certainly exist,
I a m of opinion, therefore, that there is, undoubtedly, a very severe pressure on the community, which Congress ought to relieve if it can; and that
this pressure is not an" instance of the ordinary re-action, or the ebbing and
flowing of commercial affairs; but is an extraordinary case, produced by an
e x t r a o r d i n a r y cause.
**
I n the next place, sir, I agree entirely with the l l t h Boston resolution, as
t o the causes of this embarrassment. W e were in a state of high prosper*
i t y , commercial and agricultural. E v e r y branch of business was pushed far,
a n d t h e credit as well as the capital of the country employed to near its ut*
jmost limits. I n this state of things, some degree of overtrading doubtless
t o o k place, which, however, if nothing else had occurred, would have been
reasonably corrected by the ordinary and necessary operation of things* But,




6
on this palmy state of things, the late measure o f the Secretary fell, and h a s
a c t e d on it with powerful and lamentable effect.
A n d I think, sir, that such a cause is entirely adequate to produce t h e
effect, that it is wholly natural, and that it ought to have b e e n foreseen t h a t
it would produce exactly such consequences. T h o s e must have l o o k e d a t
the surface of things only, as it seems to m e , who thought otherwise, a n d
w h o e x p e c t e d that such an operation could be gone through with* w i t h o u t
producing a very serious shock.
T h e T r e a s u r y , in a very short time, has withdrawn from the B a n k 8 , 0 0 0 , 0 0 0
dollars, within a fraction. T h i s call, of course, the Bank has b e e n o b l i g e d
to provide for, and could not provide for without more or less i n c o n v e n i e n c e
to the public. T h e mere withdrawing of so large a sum from hands a c t u a l l y
holding and using it, and the transferring of it, through the bank collectings
and through another bank loaning it, if it can loan it, into other hands, i s
itself an operation which, if conducted suddenly, must produce considerable
inconvenience. A n d this* is all that the Secretary s e e m s to have anticipatedBut this is not the one-hundredth part of the whole evil. T h e great e v i l
arises from the new attitude in which the G o v e r n m e n t places itself t o w a r d s
the Bank. E v e r y thing is now in a false position. T h e G o v e r n m e n t , t h e
B a n k of the United States, the State banks, are all out of place. T h e y a r e
deranged and separated, and jostling against each other. Instead of a m i t y ,
reliance, and mutual succor, relations of j e a l o u s y , of distrust, of hostility e v e n ,
are springing up between these parties. All act on the defensive; e a c h l o o k s
out for itself; and the public interest is crushed b e t w e e n the upper and t h e
nether millstone. All this should have been foreseen. It is idle to say t h a t
these evils mi£ht have b e e n prevented by the B a n k , if it had exerted itself t o
present them. T h a t is a mere matter of opinion; it m a y be true, or it m a y
not; but it was the business of those who proposed the removal of the d e p o s ites, to ask themselves how it was probable the B a n k would act, when t h e y
should attack it, assail ' its credit, and allege the violation by it o f its charter;
and thus compel it to take an attitude, at least, of stern defence. T h e c o m *
munity have certainly a right to hold those answerable, who have u n n e c e s s a rily got into this quarrel with the B a n k , and thereby occasioned the evil, l e t
the conduct of the Bank, in the course of the controversy, be what it m a y .
In my opinion, sir, the great source of the evil is the shock which t h e
measure has given 'to confidence in the commercial world. T h e credit o f
the whole system of the currency of the country s e e m s shaken. T h e S t a t e
banks have lost credit, and lost confidence. T h e y have suffered vast'y m o r e
than the Bank of the United States itself, at which the blow w a s aimed.
T h e derangement of internal exchanges is one of the most disastrous c o n sequences of the measure. B y the origin o f its charter, by its unquestioned
solidity, by the fact that it was at home evert/ where, and in perfect credit
e v e r y where, the B a n k of the United States accomplished the internal
e x c h a n g e s of the country with vast facility, and at an unprecedented c h e a p
rate. T h e State banks can never perform this equally well; for the r e a s o n
given in the Boston resolutions, they cannot Ifct with the ' s a m e concert, t h e
s a m e identity of purpose* L o o k at the prices current, and s e e the c h a n g e
in the value of the notes of distant banks in the great cities. L o o k at t h e
depression of the stocks o f the State banks, deposite banks and all.
Look
at what must happen the m o m e n t the B a n k of the U n i t e d S t a t e s , in its
process of winding u p , or to m e e t a n y other crisis, shall cease to b u y d o *
m e s t i c bill$, especially in the Southern, Southwestern, and W e s t e r n m a r k e t s .
C a n any man doubt what will be the state of e x c h a n g e w h e n that takfes




7
place? O r can any <me doubt its necessary effect upon the price of producet
The B a n k has purchased bills to the amount o f sixty millions a y e a r , as a p pears b y documents heretofore laid before the S e n a t e . A great portion of
these, no doubt, was purchased in the South and W e s t , against shipments of
the great staples of those quarters oT the country. S u c h is the course of
trade- T h e produce of the Southwest and the South is shipped to the
North and the E a s t for sale, and those who ship it draw bills on those to
whom it is shipped; and these bills are bought and discounted, or cashed b y
the Bank* W h e n the Bank shall cease to buy, as it must cease, consequences cannot but be felt much severer even than those n o w experienced*
T h i s is inevitable. But, sir, I go no further into particular statements.
My
^opinion, I repeat, is, that the present distress is immediately occasioned,
beyond all doubt, b y the removal of the deposites; and that just such c o n s e quences might have been, and ought to have b e e n , foreseen frgm that m e a sure; as w e do now perceive and feel ground us.
Sir, I d o not believe, nevertheless, that these consequences were foreseen.
With such foresight, the deposites, I think, would not have b e e n touched.
T h e measure has operated more deeply and more widely than was e x p e c t e d .
W e all may find proof of this, in the conversations of e v e r y hour. N o o n e ,
who s e e k s to acquaint himself with the opinions of m e n , in and out of C o n gress, can doubt th'at, if the 'act were now to be done, it would r e c e i v e very
little encouragement or support.
B e i n g o f opinion that the removal o f the deposites has produced the
pressure, a s its immediate effect, not so much by withdrawing a large sum
of m o n e y from circulation, as by alarming the confidence of the community,
b y breaking in on the well-adjusted relations o f the G o v e r n m e n t and the
Bank, I agree again with the Boston resolutions, that the natural r e m e d y is
a restoration of the relation in whirli the Bank has heretofore stood to G o v ernment*
I a g r e e , sir, that this question ought to be settled, and to be settled soon.
And y e t , if it be decided that the present state of things shall e x i s t — i f it be
the determination of Congress to do nothing in order to put an end to the
unnatural, distrustful, half belligerent, present condition o f the G o v e r n m e n t
and the B a n k , I do not look for any great relief to the community, or any
early quieting o f the public agitation. On the contrary, I expect increased
difficulty and increased disquiet.
T h e public m o n e y s arc now out o f the B a n k o f the U n i t e d States* T h e r e
is no law regulating their custody, or fixing their place- T h e y are at the
disposal of the Secretary o f the T r e a s u r y , to be kept where he pleases, as
h e p l e a s e s , and the places of their custody to be changed as often as lie
pleases.
N o w , sir, 1 do not think this is a state of things in which the country is
l i k e l y to acquiesce.
*
M r . President, the restoration of the deposites is a question distinct and
b y itself. It d o e s not necessarily involve any other question. It stands
clear of all controversy and all opinion about rechartering the B a n k , or
creating a n y n e w Bank.
But I wish, nevertheless, sir, to say a few xvor^ of a bearing s o m e w h a t
b e y o n d that question. B e i n g o f opinion that the country is not likely to b e
satisfied with the present state o f things, I have looked earnestly for the
s u g g e s t i o n of s o m e prospective m e a s u r e — s o m e system to be adopted as the
i u t u r o policy of the country- W h e r e are the public m o n e y s hereafter to
b e kept? I n what currency is the revenue hereafter to be collected?
What




8
is to take the place of the Bank in our general system?
How are wer
to preserve a uniform currency, a uniform measure of the value of p r o perty and the value of labor, a uniform medium of exchange and of pay—
mentst
How arc we to exercise that salutary control over the national
currency, which it was the unquestionable purpose of the constitution t o
devolve on Congress?
T h e s e , sir, appear to me to be the momentous questions before us, an<l
which we cannot long keep out of view. I n these questions every m a n m
the community, who either has a dollar, or expects to earn one, has a direct
interest.
Now, sir, I have heard but four suggestions, or opinions, as to what m a y
hereafter be expected or attempted.
T h e first is, that things will remain as they are—the Bank be suffered t o
expire, no new B a n k created, and the whole subject left under the control o f
the Executive? Department.
I have already said that I do not believe the country will ever acquiesce
in this*
T h e second suggestion is that which was made by the honorable m e m b e r
from Virginia, [Mr. R I V E S , ] T h a t honorable member pledges himself t o
bring forward a proposition, having for its object to do away with the p a p e r
system altogether, and to return to an entire metallic currency.
I do not expect, sir, that the honorable member will find much support in
such an undertaking.
A mere gold and silver currency, and the e n t i r e
abolition of paper is not suited to the times. T h e idea has something a
little too antique, too Spartan in it; we might as well think of going to iron
at once. If such a result as the gentleman hopes for were even desirable, I
regard its attainment as utterly impracticable and hopeless. I lay t h a t
scheme, therefore, out of my contemplation.
T h e r e is, then, sir, the rechartering of the present Bank;

and, lastly,,

there is the establishment of a new Bank. T h e first of these received t h e
sanction of the last Congress, but the measure was negatived by the P r e sident* T h e other, the creation of a new Bank, has not been brought forward
in Congress, but it has excited attention out of doors, and has been proposed
in some of the State Legislatures. I observe, sir, that a proposition has
been submitted for consideration, by a very intelligent gentleman in t h e
Legislature of Massachusetts, recommending the establishment of a new bank*
with the following provisions:
44
1. T h e capital stock to be fifty millions of dollars,
" 2. T h e stockholders of the present United States Bank to be permitted
44
to subscribe an amount equal to the stock they now hold.
44
3 . T h e United States to be stockholders to the same extent they now
44
a r e , and to appoint the same number of directors.
44
4. T h e subscription to the remaining fifteen millions to be distributed
41
to the several States in proportion to federal numbers, or in some other
41
just and equal ratio; the instalments payable either in cash or in funded
44
stock of the State, bearing interest at five per cent.
44
5. No branch of the bank to be established in any State, unless by p e r mission of its Legislature.
44
6, T h e branches of the bank established in the several States to be iia*
14
ble to taxation by those States, respectively, in the same manner, and to
44
the same extent only with their own banks.
II
7* Such States as may become subscribers to the stock to have t h e




9

" r i g h t of appointing a certain number, not exceeding one-third, of the direc" tors in the branch of their own State.
* 8. Stock not subscribed for under the foregoing provisions, to be opei*
*
" t o subscription by individual citizens.'*
A project, not altogether dissimilar, has been started in the Legislature of
Pennsylvania. These proceedings show, at least, a conviction of the necessity of some bank created by Congress. Mr. President, on this subject I
have no doubt whatever. I think a national bank proper and necessary.
I believe it to be the only practicable remedy for the evils we feel, and the
only effectual security against the greater evils which we fear. Not, sir, that
there is any magic in the name of a bank; nor that a national bank works
by any miracle or mystery. But looking to the state of things actually
existing around us—looking to the great number of State banks already
created, not less than three hundred and fifty, or four hundred—looking to
the vast amount of paper issued by those banks, and considering that, in the
very nature of things, this paper must be limited and local in its credit and
in its circulation, I confess I see nothing but a well-conducted national institution which is likely to afford any guard against excessive paper issues, or
which can furnish a sound and uniform currency to every part of the United
States. T h i s , sir, is not only a question of finance, it not only respects the
operations of the Treasury, but it rises to the character of a high political
question. It respects the currency, the actual money, the measure of value
of all property and all labor in the United States, If we needed not a dollar of money "in the Treasury, it would still be our solemn and bounden duty
to protect this great interest. It respects the exercise of one of the greatest
powers, beyond all doubt, conferred on Congress by the constitution. And 1
hardly know any thing less consistent with our public duty, and our high
trust nor any thing; more likely to disturb the harmonious relations of the
States in aU affairs of business and life, than for Congress to abandon all
care and control over the currency, and to throw the whole money system of
the country into the hands of four-and-twenty State Legislatures.
I am, then, sir, for a bank; and am fully persuaded that to that measure
the country must come at last.
T h e question, then, is between the creation of a new bank, and the rechartering of the present Bank, with modifications,
1 have already referred
to the scheme for a new bank, proposed to the Legislature of Massachusetts*
by Mr. White. Between such a UQW bank as his propositions would create,
and a rechartering of the present Bank, with modifications, there is no very
wide, certainly no irreconcilable difference. W e cannot, however, create
another bank before March, 1836. This is one reason for preferring a continuance of the present. And, treating the subject as a practical question,
and looking to the state of opinion, and to the probability of success, in either
attempt, I incline to the opinion that the true course of policy is to propose
a recharter of the present Bank, with
modifications.
A s to what these modifications should be, I would only now observe, that
while it may well be inferred, from my known sentiments, that I should not
myself deem any alterations in the charter, beyond those proposed by the
bill of 1832, highly essential, yet it is a case in which, I am aware, nothing
can be effected for the good of the country, without making some approaches
to unity of opinion. I think, therefore, that, in the hope of accomplishing
an object of so much importance, liberal concessions should be made. I lay
out of the case all consideration of any especial claim, or any legal right, of
the present stockholders to a renewal of their charter. No such right can be




io
pretended; doubtless none such is pretended. T h e stockholders must stand
like other individuals, and their interest regarded so far, and so far only* a s
m a y be judged for the public good- Modifications of the present charter
should, I think, be proposed, such as may remove all reasonable grounds o f
j e a l o u s y , in all quarters, whether in S t a t e s , in other institutions, or in individuals; such, too, as may tend to reconcile the interests of the great c i t y
where the Bank is, with those of another great city; and, in short, the q u e s tion should be met with a sincere disposition to accomplish, by united a n d
friendly counsels, a measure which shall allay fears, and promote confidence,
at the same time that it secures to the country a sound, creditable, uniform
currency, and to the Government a safe deposite for the public treasure, a n d
an important auxiliary in its financial operations.
I repeat, then, sir, that I am in favor of renewing the charter of the present Bank, loith such alterations
as may be expected to meet the
general
sense of the
country.
A n d now, Mr. President, to avoid all unfounded inferences, I wish to s a y ,
that these suggestions arc to be regarded as wholly m y own. T h e y are m a d e
without the knowledge of the Bank, and with no understanding or concert
with any of its friends. I have not understood, indeed, that the Bank itself
proposes to apply, at present, for a renewal of its charter. W h e t h e r it d o e s
so or not, my suggestions are connected with no such or any other purpose o f
the Bank. I take up the subject on public grounds, purely and exclusively.
A n d , sir, in order to repel all inferences of another sort, I wish to state,
with equal distinctness, that I do not undertake to speak the sentiments o f
any individual heretofore opposed to the Bank, or belonging to that class o f
public men who have generally opposed it. I state m y own opinions; if others
should concur in thorn, it will be only because they approve them, and will
not be the result of any previous conceit or understanding whatever.
Finally, Mr. President, having stated m y own opinions, I respectfully ask
those who propose to continue the discussion now going on, relative to the
deposites, to let the country see their plan for the final settlement of the present difficulties.
I f they are against the Bank, and against all banks, what
do they propose?
T h a t the country will not be satisfied with the present
state of things, seems to me certain. What state of things is to succeed it?
To these questions, I desire to call, earnestly, the attention of the S e n a t e
and of the country. T h e occasion is critical, the interests at stake m o m e n tous, and, in m y judgment, Congress ought not to adjourn till it shall have
passed some law suitable to the e x i g e n c y , and satisfactory to the country.

On the 30th day of January, Mr. WHIOHT, of Ncw*York, presented to the Senate
sundry resolutions, passed by the Legislature of New York, approving the removal of
the deposites, and disapproving" of any Bank of the United States,
m In presenting these resolutions, Mr. WBIGHT, among other observations, expressed
his decided hostility to the renewal of the charter of the present Rank, or the creation
of any other; that he would oppose this Bank upon the ground of its flagrant violations'of the high trusts confided to it, but that his objections were of a still deeper and
graver character ^ that he went against thU Bank, and against any an4 every bank to
be incorporated by Congress, to be located any where within the twenty-four States.
He expressed a strong opinion, too, that the existing distress arose from the cond u c t o r the Bank in curtailing its loans; and that this curtailment had been made with
a view to extort a renewal of its charter from the fears of the people.
A* to what uxts to be done under present circumstances, in order to relieve the public pressure, Mr* WRIGHT said, thut, speaking for himself only, he would sustain th«




11
executive branch of the Government by all the legal means in his power, in the
effort now making- to substitute the State banks, instead of the Bank of the United
States, as the fiscal agent of the Government.
When Mr. WEIGHT had concluded his remarks,
Mr. W E B S T E R said: I cannot consent to let the opportunity pass, without a few observations upon what we have now heard. Sir, the r e m a r k s of
the honorable member from New Y o r k are full of the most portentous import. T h e y are words, not of cheering or consolation, but of ill-boding signification; and, as they spread far and wide, in their progress from the capital through the country, they will carry with t h e m , if I mistake not, gloom,
apprehension, and dismay. I consider the declarations which the honorable
member has now made as expressing the settled purpose of the administration on the great question which so much agitates the country.
^ [ H e r e Mr. W R I G H T rose, and said that he had given his opinion as an individual, and that he had no authority to s p e a k for the administration.]
Mr. W E B S T E R continued. I perfectly well understand, sir, all the gentleiflan*s disclaimers and demurrers* H e speaks, to be s u r e , in his own n a m e
only; but, from his political connexions, his station, and his relations, I know
full well that he has not, on this occasion, spoken one word which has not
been deliberately weighed and considered, by others as well as himself.
H e has announced, therefore, to the country two things clearly and intelligibly:
First, that the present system (if system it is to b e called) is to remain
unaltered. T h e public moneys are to remain as t h e y now a r e , in the State
banks, and the whole public revenue is hereafter to be collected through the
agency of such banks. T h i s is the first point. T h e gentleman has declared
his full and fixed intention to support the administration in this course, and
therefore it c a n n o t bo cloubteel that this course has b e e n doterminod o n b y

the administration. No plan is to be laid before Congress; no system is to
be adopted b y authority of law. T h e effect of a law would be to place the
public deposites beyond the power of daily change, and beyond the absolute
control of the Executive. But no such fixed arrangement is to t a k e place.
T h e whole is to be left completely at the pleasure of the S e c r e t a r y of the
T r e a s u r y , who m a y change the public moneys from place to place, and from
b a n k t o b a n k , as often as he pleases.
T h e second thing now clearly made k n o w n , and of which, indeed, there
have been many previous intimations, is, sir, that a great effort is to be m a d e ,
or rather an effort already made is to be vigorously renewed and continued,
to turn the public complaints against the B a n k instead of the G o v e r n m e n t ,
a n d to persuade the people that all their sufferings arise, not from the act of
t h e administration in interfering with .the public deposites, but from the conduct of the Bank since that was done. I t is to be asserted h e r e , and will be
t h e topic of declamation every w h e r e , that, notwithstanding the removal of
t h e deposites, if the B a n k had not acted wrong, there would have been no
pressure or distress on the country. T h e object, it is evident, will now b e
t o divert public attention from the conduct of the S e c r e t a r y , and fix it on
that of t h e B a n k . T h i s is the second thing which is to be learned from the
speech of the menjber from N e w York.
T h * honorable m e m b e r has said that new honors are to b e gained b y the
Ptefcident, from the act which he is about to accomplish; that he is to bring
b a c k legislation to its original limits, and to establish the great truth that
C o n g r e s s has no power to create a national bank*
I shall not stop to argue whether Congress can charter a b a n k in this little




12

District, which shall operate every where throughout the U n i o n , and y e t
cannot establish one in any of the States, T h e gentleman seemed to l e a v e
that point, as if Congress had such a power. But all must see that if C o n gress cannot establish a bank in one of the S t a t e s , with branches in the rest*
it would be mere evasion to say that it might establish a bank h e r e , with
branches in the several States.
Congress, it is alleged, h a s not the constitutional power to create a b a n k !
Sir, on what does this power rest, in the opinion of those of us who maintain
it? Simply on this; that it is a power which is necessary and proper for t h e
purpose of carrying other powers into effect. A fiscal a g e n t — a n auxiliary
to the T r e a s u r y — a m a c h i n e — a something, is necessary for the p u r p o s e s . o r
the Government; and Congress, under the general authority conferred u p o n
it, can create that fiscal a g e n t — t h a t machine—that something—and call it a
bank. T h i s is what I contend for; but this the gentleman denies, and says
that it is not competent to Congress to create a fiscal agent for itself, but t h a t
it m a y employ, as such agents, institutions not created by itself, but by others*
and which arc* beyond the control of Congress. I t is admitted that the agent
is necessary, and that Congress has the power to employ it; but it is insisted,
nevertheless, that Congress cannot create it, but must t a k e such as is or may
be already created- I do not agree to the soundness of this reasoning- S u p pose there were no State banks; in that case, as the gentleman admits t h e
necessity of a bank, how can he hold such discordant opinions as to assert
that Gongrcss could not, in that case, create one? T h e agency of a bank is
necessary; and, because it is necessary, we m a y use it, provided others will
m a k e a bank for us; but, if they will not, we cannot m a k e one for ourselves*
however necessary. T h i s is the proposition.
For myself, I must confess that I am too obtuse to see the distinction b e tween the power of creating a bank for the use of the G o v e r n m e n t , and the
power of taking into its use banks already created. T o m a k e and to use, otto make and to hire, must require the same power, in this case, and be e i t h e r
both constitutional or both equally unconstitutional; except that e v e r y consideration of propriety, and expediency, and convenience, requires that C o n gress should make a bank which will suit its own purposes, answer its own
ends, and be subject to its own control, rather than use other b a n k s , which
wore not created for any such purpose, are not suited to it, and over which
Congress can exercise no supervision.
On one or two other points, sir, I wish to say a word. T h e gentleman differs
from me as to the degree of pressure on the country. H e admits that in
some parts there is some degree w of pressure; in large cities he supposes there
may be distress; but asserts that every where else the pressure is limited;
that every where it is greatly exaggerated; and that it will soon be over.
T h i s is mere m a t t e r of opinion. I t is capable of no precise and absolute
proof or disproof. T h e avenues of knowledge are equally open to all- But
I can truly say that I differ from the gentleman on this point most materially
and most widely. F r o m the information I have received during the last fe\r
weeks, 1 have every reason to believe that the pressure is \ery severe, has
become very general, and is fast increasing; and I see no chance of its diminution, unless measures of relief shall be adopted by the G o v e r n m e n t .
But the gentleman has discovered, or thinks he has discovered, motives
for the complaints which arise on all sides. I t is all but an attempt to b r i n g
t h e administration into disfavor. T h i s alone is the cause that the removal
of the deposites is so strongly censured! Sir, the gentleman is mistaken.
H e docs n o t — a t least I think he does not—rightly interpret the signs of t h e




13
times. T h e cause of complaint is much deeper and stronger than any mere
desire to produce political effect* T h e gentleman must be aware that, not^
withstanding the great vote by which the N e w Y o r k resolutions were carried,
and the support given by other proceedings to the removal of the deposites,
there are many as ardent friends of the President as are to be found any
where, who exceedingly regret and deplore the measure* Sir, on this floor
there has been going on, for many w e e k s , as interesting a debate as has been
witnessed for twenty years; and yet I have not heard, among all who have
supported the administration, a single Senator say that he approved the re*
moval of the deposhes, or was glad it had taken place, until the gentleman
from N e w York spoke. I saw the gcmleman from Georgia approach that
point, but he shunned direct contact- H e complained much of the Bank; he
insisted, too, on the power of removal; but I did not hear him say he thought
it a wise act. T h e gentleman from Virginia, [Mr, R I V E S , ] not now in his
seat, also defended the power, and has arraigned the Bank; but has he said
that he approved the measure of removal? I have not met with twenty individuals, in or out o f Congress, who have expressed an approval of it,
among the many hundreds whose opinions I have heard—not twenty
who
have maintained that it was a wise proceeding; but I have heard individuals
o f ample fortune declare, nevertheless, that, since it was done, they would
sacrifice all they possessed rather than not support it, although they wholly
disapproved of it. Such is the warmth of party zeal.
Sir, it is a mistake to suppose that the present agitation of the country
springs from mere party motives. It is a great mistake. E v e r y body is not
a politician. T h e mind of every man in the country is not occupied with
the project pf subverting one administration, and. setting up another.
The
gentleman* has done great injustice to the people. I know, sir, that great
injustice has been done to the memorialists from Boston, whose resolutions I
presented s o m e days si-ni-c.1, some of whom are very ardent friends of the
President, and can have been influenced by no such motive as has been at*
tributed to them.
But, Mr. President, I think I heard yesterday "something from the gentleman from P e n n s y l v a n i a , indicative of an intention to direct the hostility of
the country against the Bank, and to ascribe to the B a n k , arid the Bank
alone, the public distress. It was the duty of the G o v e r n m e n t to have foreseen the consequences of the removal of the deposites; and gentlemen have
no right first to attack the Bank, charge it with great offences, and thus
attempt to shako its credit, and then complain, when the Bank undertakes
to defend itself, and to avoifl the great risk which must threaten it from the
hostility o f the G o v e r n m e n t to its property and character. T h e G o v e r n m e n t has placed itself in an extraordinary position, both to the Bank and to
the country, by the removal of the deposites: and also to the currency of the
country.
T h e bills of the Bank are lawful currency in all payments to
Government; y e t w e see the E x e c u t i v e warring on the credit of this national
currency. W e have s e e n the institution assailed, which, by law, was p r o vided to supply the revenue. Is not this a new course? D o e s the recollection
o f the gentleman furnish any such instance? What other institution could
stand against such hostility? " T h e Bank of England could not stand against
it a single hour. T h e Bank of France would perish at the first breath of
s u c h hostility. But the Bank of the United States has sustained its credit
under every'disadvantage, and has ample means to sustain it to the end. I t s
credit is in no d ^ r e e shaken, though its operations are necessarily curtailed*
W h a t has the Bank done? T h e gentleman from N e w Y o r k and the gentle-




14
man from Pennsylvania have alleged that it is not because of the removal of
the deposites that there is pressure in the country, but because of the conduct
of the Bank* T h e latter gentleman, especially, alleges that the Bank begau
to curtail its discounts before the removal of the deposites, and at a time
w h e n it was only expected that they would be removed. Indeed! and did
not the Bank, by taking this course, prove that it foresaw correctly what wag
to take placed and, because it adopted a course of preparation, in order tp
break the blow which was about to fall upon it, this also is to be added t o
the gjrave catalogue of its offences. T h e Bank, it seems, has curtailed t o
the amount of nine millions. Has she, indeed? A n d is not that exactly
the amount of deposites which the Government has withdrawn? T h e B a n k ,
then, li9£ curtailed precisely so much as the Government has drawn a w a y
from it. N o other Bank in the world could have gone on with, so small a
curtailment. W h i l e public confidence was diminishing all around the B a n k ,
it only curtailed just as much as it lost by the act of the GovernmentThe
Bank would be justified, even without the withdrawal of the deposites, in curtailing its discounts gradually, and continuing to do so to the end of its
charter, considering the hostility manifested to its further continuance.
The
Government has refused to recharter it. Its term of existence is approaching;
one of the duties which it has to perform is to make its collections; and t h e
process of collection, since it must be slow, ought to be commenced in s e a s o n .
It is, therefore, its duty to begin its curtailments, so as that the process m a y
be gradual.
I hope that I have not been misunderstood in my remarks the other m o r n ing. T h e gentleman from N e w York has represented me as saying that i t
is not the removal of the deposites which has caused the public distress.
W h a t I said was, that, if the Government had required twice nine millions
for its service, the withdrawal of that amount from the B a n k , without any i n terruption of the good understanding between the Government and the B a n k ,
would not have caused this pressure and distrust* E v e r y thing turns on the
circumstances under which the withdrawal is made. I f public confidence is
not shaken, all is well; but,* if it is, all—all is difficulty and distress. A n d
this confidence is shaken.
I t has been said by the gentleman from N e w York, that Government has
no design against the Bank; that it only desires to withdraw the public d e p o sitee. Y e t , in the very paper submitted to Congress by the Executive D e partment, the Bank is arraigned as unconstitutional in its very origin, and also
as having broken its charter, and violated its obligations—and its very existence
is said to be dangerous to the country! Is not all this calculated to injure the
character of the Bank and to shake confidence! T h e B a n k has its foreign c o n nexions, and is much engaged in the business of foreign exchanges; and wjiat
will be thought at Paris and London, when the community there shall see all
these charges made by the Government against a Bank, in which they have
always reposed the highest trust? D o e s not this injure its reputation? D o e s it
not compel it to take a defensive attitude? T h e gentleman from N e w York
spoke of the power in the country to put down the Bank, and of doing as
our fathers did in the timo of the revolution; and has. called on the people to
rise and put flown this m o n e y power, as our ancestors put down the oppressive rule of Great Britain! All this is well calculated to produce the effect
which is intended; and all this, too, helps further to shake confidence—it all
injures the B a n k — i t all compels it to curtail more and more.
Sir, I venture to predict that the longer gentlemen pursue the experiment
which they have devised, of collecting the public revenue by State banks, the




15
more perfectly will they be satisfied that it cannot succeed. T h e gentleman
has suffered himself to be led away by false analogies. H e says, that w h e n
the present Bank expires, there will be the same laws as existed when the
old B a n k expired. N o w , would it not be the inference of every wise man,
tliat there will also be the same inconveniences as were then felt? I t would be
useful to remember the state of things which existed w h e n the first Bank was
created, in 1 7 9 1 ; and that a high degree of convenience, which amounted to
political necessity, compelled Congress thus early to create a national bank.
Its charter expired in 1 8 1 1 , and the war came on the next year. T h e State
banks immediately stopped payment; and, before the war had continued
twelve months, there was a proposition for another U n i t e d States Bank; and
this proposal was renewed from year to year, and from session to session.
Who supported this proposition? T h e very individuals who had opposed the
former B a n k , and who had now become convinced of the indispensable n e c e s sity of such an institution. It has been verified, by experience, that the B a n k is
as necessary in time of peace as in time of war; and perhaps more necessary,
for the purpose of facilitating the commercial operations o f the country, and
collecting the revenue, and sustaining the currency- I t has been alleged, that
we are to be left in the same condition as when the old Bank expired, and,
of course, we are to be subjected to the same inconveniences. Sir, why should
we thus, suffer all experience to be lost upon us? F o r the convenience of the
Government and of the country there must be some bank, (at least I think so;)
and I should wish to hear the views of the administration as to this point.
T h e notes and bills of the Bank of the United States have heretofore b e e n
circulated every where—they meet the wants of every o n e — t h e y have furnished
a safe and most convenient currency. It is impossible for Congress to enact
a certain value on the paper of the State banks. T h e y may say that these banks
are entitled to credit; but they cannot legislate them into the good opinion and
faith of tho public. Credit i* a thing which must take its own course. I t
can never happen that the N e w York notes will be at par value in Louisiana,
or that the notes of the Louisiana banks will be at par value in N e w York.
In the notes of the United States Bank we have a currency of equal value
every where; and I say that there is not to be found, in the whole world,
another institution whose notes spread so far and wide, with perfect credit
in all places. T h e r e is no instance of a bank, whose paper is spread over so
vast a surface of country, and is every where of such equal value. H o w can
it b e , that a number of State banks, scattered over two thousand m i l e s of
country, subject to twenty-four different State Legislatures and State tribunals, without the possibility of any general concert of action, can supply the
place o f one general bank? It cannot be. I s e e , sir, in the doctrines which have
been advanced to-day, only new distress and disaster, new insecurity, and
more danger to property than the country has experienced for many years;
because it is in vain to attempt to uphold the occupations of industry, unless
property is made secure; or of the value of labor, unless its recompense is
safe. But an opportunity will occur for resuming this subject hereafter.
I
forbear from it for the present.
A word or two on one other point. It was said by me, on a former d a y ,
that this immediate question of the deposites does not ^ecessarily draw after
it the question of rechartering the Bank of the United States. It leaves that
question for future adjustment. But the present question involves high political considerations, which I am not now about to discuss. If the question
o f the removal o f the deposites be not now taken into v i e w , gentlemen will
b e bound to vote on the resolutions of the Senator from Kentucky, as to the




16
flower which has been claimed and exercised. T h e question, then, is not a s
to the renewing of the charter of the Bank. B u t I repeat, that, h o w e v e r
gentlemen may flatter themselves, if it be not settled that the deposites are t o
b e restored, nothing will be settled; negative resolutions will not tranquillize
t h e country and give it repose. T h e question is before the country—all agree
that it must be settled by that country. I very much regret that topics are
mixed up with the question, which may prevent it from being submitted to t h e
calm judgment of the p e o p l e . Y e t , I have not lost faith in public sentiment.
E v e n t s are occurring, daily, which will make the people think for themselves.
T h e industrious, the enterprising, will s e e the danger which surrounds t h e m f
and will a w a k e . I f the majority of the people shall then say there is no n e cessity for a continuance of this sound and universal currency, I will acquiesce in their judgment, because I can do no otherwise than to acquiesce.
If
the gentleman from N e w York is right in his reading of the prognostics, and
public opinion shall settle down in the way which he desires; and if it be d e termined here that the public money is to be placed at the disposal of the E x e cutive, with absolute power over the whole subject of its custody and g u a r d s
anship; and that the general currency is to be left to the control of banks
created by twenty-four States; then, I say, that in m y judgment, one strong
bond of our social and political Union is severed, and one great pillar of our
prosperity is broken and prostrate*
[Mr. TAttMAi>«x( of New York, spoke in reply to Mr. WKBSTKH, and denied the
«r?i!i «
. P ° ? e r °J ConSr*?* t o ^eate a bank, although he maintained the power
of the Secretary to make use of the State banks.]
T h e subject being resumed the next day, January 3 1
Mr. W E B S T E R said: It is not to be denied, sir, that the financial affairs
i * i c t o u n t r y b a v e comcy at last, to such a state, that e v e r y man can s e e
plainly the question which is presented for the decision of Congress,
We
h a v e , unquestionably, before us, now, ther views o f the E x e c u t i v e , as to the
nature and extent of the evils alleged to exist; and its notions, also, as to the
proper remedy for such evil,. T h a t remedy is short. It is, simply, the s y s w E r h Z?TStlT0n
f readJ a d ° P t c d ^ t h e Secretary of the Treasury, and
1
™SS I
J "?
7 u m i T t h i a t ™h?™Ver h e s h a 1 1 t h h * proper to r e m o ^ the
public moneys from the Bank of the United States, and place them wherever
e l s e he pleases, this act sha stand as the settled policy and system of t h e
country; and this system shall rest upon the authority of the Executive alone.
T h i s is n e w to be our future policy, as I understand the w a v e significant
import of the remarks made yesterday by the gentleman from N e w York,
and as I perceive they are generally understood, and as they are evidently understood by the gentleman from Mississippi, [Mr. P O I N D E X T E R , ] who has alluded
to them on presenting his resolutions this morning. I wish, sir, to take this, the
earliest opportunity, of stating m y opinions upon this subject; and that opinion
is, that the remedy proposed by the administration for the evils under which
the country is at this time suffering, cannot bring relief, will not give satis*
faction, and cannot be acquiesced in. I think the country, on the other hand,
will show much dissatisfaction; and that, from no motive of hostility to the
G o v e r n m e n t , from no disposition to make the currency of the country turn
upon political events, or to make political events turn upon the question of
the currency; but simply because, in m y judgement, the system is radically
defective—totally insufficient—carrying with it little confidence of the public,
-and none at all more than it acquires merely b y the influence o f the name
w h i c h recommends it.




17

I d a not intend now, Mr. President, to go into a regular and formal argument t o prove the constitutional power of Congress to establish a national
bank. T h a t question has been argued a hundred times, and always settled
the same way. T h e whole history of the country, for almost forty years,
proves that such a power has been believed to exist. All previous Congresses, or nearly all, have admitted or sanctioned it; the judicial tribunals,
federal and State, have sanctioned it. The Supreme Court of the United
States has declared the constitutionality of the present Bank, after the most
solemn argument, without a dissenting voice on the bench*
Every successive President has, tacitly or expressly, admitted the power.
The present President has done this; he has informed Congress that he could
furnish the plan of a bank which should conform to the constitution. In objecting to the recharter of the present Bank, he objected for particular reasons; and ho has said that a Bank of the United States would be useful and
convenient for the people.
All this authority, I think, ought to settle the question. Both the members
from N e w York, however, are still unsatisfied; they both deny the power of
Congress to establish a bank. Now, sir, I shall not argue the question at
this time; but I will repeat what I said yesterday. It does appear to me,
that the late measures of the administration prove, incontestably, and by a
very short course of reasoning, the constitutionality of a bank. What I said
yesterday, and what I say to-day, is, that since the Secretary, and all who
agree with the Secretary, admit the necessity of the agency of some bank to
carry on the affairs of Government, I was at a loss to see where they could
find power to use a State bank, and yet find no power to create a Bank of
the United States. T h e gentleman's perception may be sharp enough to see
a distinction between these two cases, but it is too minute for my grasp. I t
is not said i*1 terms, in the constitution, that Congress may create a bank;
nor is it said, in terms, that Congress may use a bank created by a StateHow, then, does it get authority to do either? No otherwise, certainly, than
that it possesses power to pass ail laws necessary and proper for carrying its
'enumerated powers into effect- If a law were now before us for confirming
the arrangement of the Secretary, and adopting twenty State banks into the
service of the United States, as fiscal agents of the Government, where would
the honorable gentleman find authority for passing such a law? No where
but in that clause of the constitution to which I have referred; that is to say,
the clause which authorizes Congress to pass all laws necessary and proper
for carrying its granted powers into effect. If such a law were before us, and
the honorable member proposed to vote for it, he would be obliged to prove
that the agency of a bank is a thing both necessary and proper for carrying
on the Government. If he could not make this out, the law would be unconstitutional. W e see the Secretary admits the necessity of this bank agency;
the gentleman himself admits it, nay, contends for it. A bank agency is his
main reliance. All the hopes expressed by himself or his colleague, of being
able to get on with the present state of things, rest on the expected efficiency
of a bank agency.
A bank, then, or some bank, being admitted to be both necessary and
p r o p e r for carrying on the Government, and the Secretary proposing, on that
very ground, and no other, to employ the State banks, how does he make
o u t a distinction between passing a law for using a necessary agent, already
created, and a law for creating a similar agent, to be used, when created, for
the same purpose? If there be any distinction, as it seems to me, it is rather
in favor of creating a bank by the authority of Congress, with such powers,




18

and no others, as the service expected from it requires, answerable to C o n gress, and always under the control of Congress, than of employing as o u r
agents banks created by other Governments, for other purposes, and o v e r
which this Government has no controlBut, sir, whichever power is exercised, both spring from the same source^
and the power to establish a bank, on the ground that its agency is necessary
and proper for the ends and uses of Government, is at least as plainly c o n stitutional as the power to adopt banks for the same uses and objects, which
are already made by other Governments. Indeed, the legal act is, in both
cases, the same. When Congress makes a bank, it creates tin agency; when
it adopts a State bank, it creates an agency. If there be power for one,
therefore, there is power for the other. No power to create a corporation is
expressly given to Congress; nor is Congress any where forbidden to create
a corporation. T h e creation of a corporation is an act of law, and, when it
passes, the only question is, whether it be a necessary and proper law for
carrying on the Government advantageously* And the case will be precisely
the same when we shall be asked to pass a law for confirming the Secretary's
arrangement with State banks. Each is constitutional, if Congress may fairly
regard it as a necessary measure.
T h e honorable member, sir, quoted me as having said that I regarded the
Bank as one of the greatest bonds of the union of the States. T h a t is not
exactly what I said. W h a t I did say was, that the constitutional power
vested in Congress over the legal currency of the country was one of its
very highest powers, and that the exercise of this high power was one of t h e
strongest bonds of the union of the States. And this I say still. Sir, the
gentleman did not go to the constitution. H e did not tell us how he understands it, or how lie proposes to execute the great trust which it devolves on
C o n g r e s s , in r e s p e c t to the circulating m e d i u m .
understand it.

X c a n only s a y , sir, how 1

T h e constitution declares that Congress shall have power ** to coin money,
regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin." And it also declares that
** no State shall coin money, emit bills of credit, or make any thina but gold
and silver coin a tender in payment of debts." Congress, then *and C o n gress only, can coin money, and regulate the value thereof
Now, sir, I take
it to be a truth, which has grown into an admitted maxim with all the best
writers, and the best informed public men, that those whose duty it is to protect the community against the evils of a debased coin, are bound also to protect it against the still greater evils of excessive issues of paper.
If the public require protection, says Mr. Ricardo, against bad money, which
might be imposed on them by an undue mixture of alloy, how much more
necessary is such protection, when paper money forma almost the whole of
the circulating medium of the country?
It is not to be doubted, sir, that the constitution intended that Congress
should exercise a regulating power—a power both necessary and salutary r
over that which should constitute the actual money of the country, whether
that money were coin, or the representative of coin. So it has always been
considered; so Mr* Madison considered it, as may be seen in his message*
December, 1816. He there says:
*' Upon this general view of the subject, it is obvious that there is only
** wanting to the fiscal prosperity of the Government the restoration of a
* uniform medium of exchange. T h e resources and the faith of the nation,
*
" displayed in the system which Congress has established, insure respect and
" confidence both at home and abroad. T h e local accumulations of the r e -




19

" venue have already enabled the Treasury to meet the public engagements
" in the local currency of most of the States; and it is expected that the same
** cause will produce the same effect throughout the Union. But for the
4
* interests of the community at large,as well as for the purposes of the Trca**sury, it is essential that the nation should possess a currency of equal valuey
"credit, and use, wherever it may circulate.
The constitution has intrusted
** Congress exclusively with the power of creating and regulating a currency
"of that description; and the measures which were taken during the last
" session ^ in execution of the power, give every promise of success. The Sank
** of the United States has been organized under auspices the mostfavorable^
** and cannot fail to be an important auxiliary to those measures"
T h e State banks put fortli paper as representing coin- As such representative, it obtains circulation; it becomes the money of the country; but its
amount depends on the will of four hundred different State banks, each
acting on its own discretion; and in the absence of every thing preventive
or corrective, on the part of the United States, what security is there against
excessive issues, and, consequently, against depreciation? T h e public feels
that there is no security against these evils; it has learned this from experience; and this very feeling, this distrust of the paper of State banks, is
the very evil which they themselves have to encounter; and it is a very
serious evil- T h e y know that confidence in them is far greater when
there exists a power elsewhere to prevent excess and depreciation. Such a
power, therefore, is friendly to their best interests. It gives confidence and
credit to them, one and all. Hence a vast majority of the State banks,
nearly all, perhaps, except those who expect to be objects of particular favor,
desire the continuance of a national bank, as an institution highly useful to
themselves*
The mode in which the operations of a national institution afford security
against excessive issues by local banks is not violent, coercive, or injurious.
On the contrary, it is gentle, salutary, and friendly. T h e result is brought
about by the natural and easy operation of things. T h e money of the Bank
of the United States, having a more wide-spread credit and character, is
constantly wanted for purposes of remittance. It is purchased, therefore,
for this purpose, and paid for in the bills of local banks; and it may be purchased, of course, at par, or near it, if these local bills are offered in the
neighborhood of their own banks, and these banks are in good credit. T h e s e
local bills then return to the bank that issued them. T h e result is, that
while the local bills will or may supply, in great part, the local circulation,
(not being capable, for want of more extended credit, of being remitted to
great distances,) their amount is thus limited to the purposes of local circulation; and any considerable excess, beyond this, finds in due season a salutary
corrective.
T h i s is 0110 of the known benefits of the Bank. Every man of business
understands it, and the whole country has realized the security which this
course of things has produced.
But, sir, as to the question of the dcpositest the honorable gentleman
thinks he sees, at last, the curtain raised, he sees the object of the whole
d e b a t e . H e insists that the question of the restoration of the depositee, and
the question of rechartering the Bank, are the same question. It strikes m e ,
*sir, as being strange, that the gentleman did not draw an exactly opposite
inference from his own premises. He says he sees the Northern friends of
t h e Bank, and the Southern opposers of the Bank, agreeing for the restoration of the deposites. This is true; and does not this prove ^that the question



20
i s a separate one?
O n the one question, the North and the South a r e
together; on the other, they separate: either their apprehensions are obtuse*
o r else this very statement shows the questions to be distinct.
Sir, since the gentleman has referred to the North and the South, I w i l l
venture to ask him if he sees nothing important in the aspect winch t h e
S o u t h presents'? O n this question of the deposites, does he not b e h o l d
.almost an entire unanimity in the South'? H o w m a n y , from the P o t o m a c t o
;the Gulf of M e x i c o , defend the removal] For myself, I declare that I h a v e
not heard a member of Congress from beyond the P o t o m a c say, either in o r
out of his seat, that he approved the measure. Can the gentleman s e e
nothing in this but proof that the deposite question and the question o f r e charter are the same? Sir, gentlemen must judge for themselves; but i t
appears plain enough to m e , that the President has lost more friends at t h e
.South by this interference with the public deposites than by any or all o t h e r
measures.
I must be allowed now, sir, to advert to a remark, in the s p e e c h of t h e
honorable member from N e w York, on the left of the Chair, [Mr. W R I G H T , }
ZLS I find it in a morning paper- It is this:
** B e assured, sir, whatever nice distinctions may be drawn here as to t h e
** show of influence which expressions of the popular will upon such a
** subject are entitled to from us, it is possible for that will to assume a c o n *
** stitutional shape, which the Senate cannot misunderstand, and, understand** ing, will not unwisely resist."
fMr. W R I G H T said, it should have been share of influence.]
Mr, W E B S T E R continued- T h a t does not alter the sense. Mr. P r e s i dent, I wish to k e e p the avenues of public opinion, from the whole country
>to the Capitol, all open, broad and wide* I desire always to know the state
< f that opinion on great and important subjects. F r o m m e , that o p i n i o n
a l w a y s has received, and always will receive, the most respectful attention
«and consideration.
And whether it be expressed by State L e g i s l a tures, or by public meetings, or be collected from individual expressions, i n
whatever form it comes, it is always welcome. But, sir, the legislation for
the United States must be conducted here. T h e law of Congress roust b e
the will of Congress, and the proceedings of Congress its own proceedings*
I hope nothing intimidating was intended by this expression, [Mr. W R I G H T
intimated it was not.] T h e n , sir, I forbear further remark.
Sir, there is one other subject on which I wish to raise my voice. T h e r e is
a topic which I perceive is to become the general war cry of party, on w h i c h
I take the liberty to warn the country against delusion. Sir, the cry is to b e
raised, that this is a question between the poor and the rich, I know, sir,
It has heen proclaimed, thai one thing was certain—that there was always a
hatred from the poor to the rich; and that this hatred would support the l a t e
measures, and the putting down o f the Bank. Sir, I will not be silent at t h e
threatening of such a detestable fraud on public opinion- I f but one m a n , or
t e n men, in the nation will hear m y voice, I will still warn them against this
.attempted imposition.
Mr. President, this an eventful moment. O n the great questions w h i c h
'^occupy us, we all look for some decisive movement of public opinion. A s I
wish that movement to be freef intelligent, and unbiassed, the true m a n i festation of the public will, I desire to prepare the country for another
assault, which I perceive is about to be made on popular prejudice, another
attempt to obscure all distinct views of the public g o o d , ro overwhelm all
patriotism, and all enlightened self-interest f by loud cries against false




21

danger, and by exciting the passions of one class against another. I a m n o t
mistaken in the omen; I see the magazine w h e n c e the w e a p o n s of this?
warfare are to he drawn. I already hear the din of the hammering of arms*
preparatory to the combat. T h e y may be such arms, perhaps, as reason*
and j u s t i c e , and honest patriotism cannot resist. E v e r y effort at resistance*,
it is possible, m a y be feeble and powerless; but, for o n e , I shall m a k e ara
effort—an effort to be begun now, and to be carried on and continued, w i t h
untiring zeal, till the end o f the contest comes.
Sir, I s e e in those vehicles, which carry 10 the p e o p l e s e n t i m e n t s from*
high places, plain declarations that the present controversy is but a strife
between one part o f the community and another. I hoar it boasted a s the
unfailing security, the solid ground, never to be shaken, on which r e c e m
measures rest, that the poor naturally
hate the rich.
1 k n o w , that u n d e r
the shade of the roofs of the Capitol, within the last twenty-four hours 7 ,
among men sent here to devise means for the public safety and the publkr
good, it has been vaunted forth, as matter of boast and triumph, that onecause existed, powerful enough to support every thing, and to defend e v e r y
thing, and that w a s — t h e natural hatred of the poor to the rich.
Sir, I pronounce the author of such sentiments to be guilty o f attempting:
a detestable fraud on the community; a double fraud; a fraud which is to
cheat men out of their property, and out of the earnings of their labor> b y
first cheating them out of their understandings.
" The natural
hatred of the poor to the rich!"
Sir, it shall not b e till!
the last moment o f m y existence; it shall be only w h e n I am drawn to the
verge of oblivion; when I shall cease to have respect or affection for a n y
thing on earth; that I will believe the people of the U n i t e d States capable o f
being effectually deluded, cajoled, and driven about in herds, by such a b o m inable frauds as this. I f they shall sink to that point; if they so far c e a s e U»
be men thinking m e n , intelligent m e n , as to yield to such p r e t e n c e s an<J
such clamor, t h e y will be slaves already; slaves to their own p a s s i o n s — s l a v e s
to the fraud and knavery of pretended friends. T h e y will d e s e r v e to b e
blotted out of all the records of freedom; they ought not to dishonor thecause of self-government, by attempting any longer to e x e r c i s e it; they ought
to k e e p their unworthy hands entirely off from the cause of republican liberty,,
if they are capable of being the victims of artifices so s h a l l o w — o f tricks s o
stale, so threadbare, so often practised, so much worn out, on serfs anct
slaves.
Ci
" The natural
hatred of the poor against the rich!"
T h e danger ©*
r
a m o n e y e d aristocracy!" " A pow er as great and dangerous as that resisted
by the R e v o l u t i o n ! " " A call to a n e w D e c l a r a t i o n of I n d e p e n d e n c e ! "
S i r , I admonish the people against the objects of outcries like these.
I
admonish e v e r y industrious laborer in the country to be on his guard a g a i n s t
such delusion. I tell him the attempt is to play off his passions against h i s
interests, and to prevail on him, in the name o f liberty, to destroy all t h e
fruits of liberty; in the name o f patriotism, to injure and afflict his country;
a n d , in the n a m e of his own i n d e p e n d e n c e , to destroy that very independence^
and m a k e him a beggar and a slave. H a s he a dollar? H e is advised to d o
that w h i c h will destroy half its value. H a s he hands to labor? L e t him r a ther fold them and sit still, than be pushed o n , by fraud and artifice, to s u p port m e a s u r e s which will render his labor useless and hopeless.
S i r , the very man, of all others, who has the deepest interest in a sounil
c u r r e n c y , and who suffers most by mischievous legislation in m o n e y m a t t e r s *
is the m a n who earns his daily bread by his daily toil* A d e p r e c i a t e d c u r -




22
r o n c y , s u d d e n c h a n g e s of p r i c e s , p a p e r m o n e y , falling b e t w e e n m o r n i n g a n d
n o o n , a n d falling still lower b e t w e e n noon a n d n i g h t — t h e s e things c o n s t i t u t e
t h e v e r y h a r v e s t - t i m e of s p e c u l a t o r s , and of the whole race of those w h o a r e
a t o n c e idle and crafty; a n d of that o t h e r r a c e , too, the Catilines of all
t i m e s , m a r k e d , so as to be k n o w n forever by o n e s t r o k e of the historian's p e n ,
men greedy of other men's property,
and prodigal
of their own.
Capitalists,
t o o , m a y outlive such times. T h e y m a y either p r e y on the e a r n i n g s of labor, b y
their cent per ccnt^ or t h e y m a y h o a r d . B u t the laboring m a n — w h a t c a n
h e hoard? P r e y i n g on n o b o d y , he b e c o m e s the p r e y of alh H i s property*
is in his hands. H i s r e l i a n c e , his fund, his productive freehold, his all, is h i s
labor. W h e t h e r he w o r k on his own small capital, or on a n o t h e r ' s , his living
is srill e a r n e d by his industry; and w h e n the m o n e y of the c o u n t r y b e c o m e s
d e p r e c i a t e d and d e b a s e d , w h e t h e r it b e a d u l t e r a t e d coin or p a p e r w i t h o u t
r r e d i t , that industry is robbed of its r e w a r d . H e t h e n labors for a c o u n t r y
w h o s e laws c h e a t him out of his b r e a d . I would say to e v e r y o w n e r of e v e r y
q u a r t e r section of land in the W e s t — I would say to e v e r y m a n in the E a s t ,
w h o follows his own plough, and to e v e r y m e c h a n i c , a r t i s a n , and l a b o r e r , i n
e v e r y city in the country; I would say to e v e r y m a n , e v e r y w h e r e , w h o
wishes, by honest m e a n s , to gain an honest living, " B e w a r e of wolves in
44
s h e e p ' s clothing. W h o e v e r a t t e m p t s , under w h a t e v e r popular c r y , to s h a k e
44
the stability of the public c u r r e n c y , bring on distress in m o n e y m a t t e r s ,
'* and diivc the country into p a p e r m o n e y , stabs y o u r interest and y o u r h a p 44
pincss to the h e a r t . "
T h e herd of hungry wolves, who live on other m e n ' s e a r n i n g s , will rejoice in
such a stale of things. A system which absorbs into t h e i r p o c k e t s t h e fruits
of other m e n ' s industry, is the v e r y s y s t e m for t h e m . A G o v e r n m e n t t h a t
p r o d u c e s or c o u n t e n a n c e s u n c e r t a i n t y , fluctuations, violent risings a n d fallings
in prices, arid, finally, p a p e r m o n e y , is a G o v e r n m e n t exactly after t h e i r own
h e a r t . H e n c e , these m e n are always for c h a n g e . T h e y will n e v e r let well
e n o u g h alone. A condition of public affairs, in which p r o p e r t y "s safe,
industry certain of its r e w a r d , and e v e r y m a n s e c u r e in his own h a r d - e a r n e d
grains, is no paradise for themG i v e t h e m j u s t the reverse of this state o f
things: bring on change, and change after change; let it not be k n o w n t o - d a y
what will be the value of p r o p e r t y t o - m o r r o w ; let no m a n be able to s a y
w h e t h e r the m o n e y in his p o c k e t s at night will he m o n e y or worthless rags in
the morning; and d e p r e s s labor till double w o r k shall e a r n but half a l i v i n g —
give them tins stale of things, and you give t h e m the consummation of t h e i r
e a r t h l y bliss.
Sir,* the g r e a t interest of this great c o u n t r y , the producing cause of all its
p r o s p e r i t y , is labor! labor! labor! W e a r e a laboring c o m m u n i t y . A vast
majority of us all live by industry and actual occupation, in s o m e of t h e i r
forms.
T h e constitution was m a d e to protect this industry, to give it both e n c o u r a g e m e n t and s e c u r i t y ; but, above all, security. T o that v e r y e n d , with
that precise object in v i e w , p o w e r was given to Congress over the c u r r e n c y ,
a n d over the m o n e y s y s t e m of the country. J n forty y e a r s ' e x p e r i e n c e , w e
h a v e found nothing at all a d e q u a t e to the beneficial execution of this t r u s t
but a woll-couducted national b a n k . T h a t has b e e n tried, r e t u r n e d to, tried
again, and always found successfulI f it be not the p r o p e r thing for u s , let
it be soberly argued against; let s o m e t h i n g better be proposed; let the c o u n t r y
e x a m i n e the m a t t e r coolly, and decide for itself. But w h o e v e r shall a t t e m p t
t o c a r r y a question of this kind by clamor, and violence, and p r e j u d i c e ; w h o e v e r would rouse the people by a p p e a l s , false a n d fraudulent a p p e a l s , to t h e i r




23
love o f i n d e p e n d e n c e , to resist the establishment of a useful i n s t i t u t i o n , b e cause it is a b a n k , and deals in m o n e y ; and who artfully u r g e s t h e s e a p p e a l s
w h e r e v e r h e thinks there is m o r e of honest feeling t h a n of e n l i g h t e n e d j u d g m e n t , m e a n s n o t h i n g but d e c e p t i o n . A n d w h o e v e r h a s t h e w i c k e d n e s s to
c o n c e i v e , a n d t h e h a r d i h o o d to a v o w , a p u r p o s e t o b r e a k d o w n w h a t lias b e e n
found, i n forty y e a r s * e x p e r i e n c e , essential to t h e p r o t e c t i o n of all i n t e r e s t s ,
>by a r r a y i n g o n e class against a n o t h e r , and by a c t i n g o n s u c h a p r i n c i p l e as
that the poor always hate the rich^ shows himself t h e r e c k l e s s e n e m y of allAn e n e m y to his whole c o u n t r y , to all classes, a n d to e v e r y m a n in it, h e
d e s e r v e s t o be m a r k e d especially as the poor mail's
curse/
M r , P r e s i d e n t , I feel that it b e c o m e s m o to b r i n g t o t h e p r e s e n t crisis all
of i n t e l l e c t , all of d i l i g e n c e , all of devotion to the p u b l i c g o o d , t h a t I p o s s e s s .
I a c t , s i r , in opposition to n o b o d y . I desire r a t h e r to follow t h e a d m i n i s t r a tion, in a p r o p e r r e m e d y for the" p r e s e n t distress, t h a n t o l e a d ,
I h a v e felt
so f r o m t h e b e g i n n i n g , a n d I h a v e felt so u n t i l ' t h e d e c l a r a t i o n of y e s t e r d a y
m a d e it c e r t a i n t h a t t h e r e is no further m e a s u r e t o b e p r o p o s e d .
T h e exp e c t a t i o n is, t h a t the c o u n t r y will get on u n d e r t h e p r e s e n t s t a t e of t h i n g s .
B e i n g m y s e l f e n t i r e l y of a different opinion, a n d l o o k i n g for n o effectual relief
until s o m e o t h e r m e a s u r e is a d o p t e d , I shall, n e v e r t h e l e s s , b e m o s t h a p p y to
be d i s a p p o i n t e d B u t if I shall not be m i s t a k e n , if t h e p r e s s u r e shall c o n t i n u e , a n d if t h e i n d i c a t i o n s of g e n e r a l public s e n t i m e n t shall p o i n t in t h a t
d i r e c t i o n , I shall feel it my d u t y , let the c o n s e q u e n c e s b e w h a t t h e y m a y , t o
p r o p o s e a law for altering
and continuing
the charter of the Hank
of the
United
States*
On Saturday the 22d of February, in a debate on presenting a memorial from
Maine, M r . FORSYTH having*, on the day before, described what he understood to b e
the e x p e r i m e n t which the Executive Government was trying1, in r e g a r d to the public
deposites—Mr* W E B S T E R rose a n d a d d r e s s e d t h e S e n a t e a s follows:
M r . P R E S I D E N T : T h e h o n o r a b l e m e m b e r from G e o r g i a s t a t e d y e s t e r d a y
m o r e d i s t i n c t l y t h a n I h a v e before l e a r n e d it, w h a t t h a t e x p e r i m e n t is w h i c h
t h e G o v e r n m e n t is n o w t r y i n g on t h e r e v e n u e s a n d t h e c u r r e n c y , a n d , I m a y
a d d , o n t h e c o m m e r c e , m a n u f a c t u r e s , and a g r i c u l t u r e of t h i s c o u n t r y . I f I
r i g h t l y a p p r e h e n d him- this e x p e r i m e n t is a n a t t e m p t t o r e t u r n to a n e x c l u s i v e
s p e c i e c u r r e n c y , first b y b e i n g a b l e , t h r o u g h t h e a g e n c y of t h e S t a t e b a n k s ,
t o d i s p e n s e w i t h a n y B a n k of t h e U n i t e d S t a t e d ; a n d t h e n t o s u p e r s e d e t h e
u s e of t h e S t a t e b a n k s t h e m s e l v e s .
T h i s , sir, is t h e e x p e r i m e n t .
I t h a n k t h e g e n t l e m a n for t h u s s t a t i n g its
character.
H e h a s d o n e his d u t y a n d d e a l t fairly w i t h t h e p e o p l e , b y t h i s
e x h i b i t i o n of w h a t t h e v i e w s of t h e E x e c u t i v e G o v e r n m e n t a r e , a t this i n t e resting moment.
I t is c e r t a i n l y most p r o p e r t h a t t h e p e o p l e should s e e
d i s t i n c t l y t o w h a t e n d or for w h a t o b j e c t it is t h a t so m u c h suffering is a l r e a d y
u p o n t h e m , a n d so m u c h m o r e a l r e a d y in visible a n d n e a r p r o s p e c t .
A n d n o w , s i r , is it p o s s i b l e ! — i s it p o s s i b l e t h a t t w e l v e m i l l i o n s of i n t e l l i g e n t p e o p l e c a n b e e x p e c t e d v o l u n t a r i l y to s u b j e c t t h e m s e l v e s t o s e v e r e d i s t r e s s , o f u n k n o w n d u r a t i o n , for t h e p u r p o s e of m a k i n g trial of a n e x p e r i m e n t
l i k e this? W i l l a n a t i o n t h a t is i n t e l l i g e n t , well i n f o r m e d of its o w n i n t e r e s t ,
e n l i g h t e n e d , a„nd c a p a b l e of s e l f - g o v e r n m e n t , s u b m i t to suffer e m b a r r a s s m e n t
i n all its p u r s u i t s , loss of c a p i t a l , Joss of e m p l o y m e n t , a n d a s u d d e n a n d d e a d
s t o p in its o n w a r d m o v e m e n t in t h e p a t h of p r o s p e r i t y a n d w e a l t h , u n t i l it
s h a l l b e a s c e r t a i n e d w h e t h e r this n e w - h a t c h e d t h e o r y shall a n s w e r t h e h o p e s




24
o f those w h o ha%*3 devised iti Is the country to be persuaded to bear e v e r y
thing, and bear patiently, until the operation of such an experiment, a d o p t e d
for such an avowed object, and adopted, too, without the co-operation o r
consent of Congress, and by the E x e c u t i v e power alone, shall exhibit its results?
I n the name of the hundreds of thousands of our suffering fellow-citizens, I
ask, for what reasonable end is this experiment to be tried? W h a t great a n d
good object, worth so much cost, is it to accomplish? W h a t enormous e v i l .
is to be remedied by all this inconvenience and all this suffering?
What
great calamity is to be averted? H a v e the people thronged our doors, a n d
loaded our tables with petitions for relief against the pressure of some p o l i t i cal mischief, some notorious misrule, which this experiment is to redress?
H a s it been resorted to in an hour of misfortune, calamity, or peril, to s a v e
the State? I s it a measure of remedy, yielded to the importunate cries o f
an agitated and distressed nation? Far, sir, very far from all this.
There
was no calamity, there was no suffering, there was no peril, when these m e a *
sures began. A t the moment when this experiment was entered upon, t h e s e
twelve millions of people were prosperous and happy, not only b e y o n d t h e
e x a m p l e of all others, but e v e n beyond their own example in times past.
T h e r e was no pressure of public or private distress throughout the w h o l e
land. All business was prosperous, all industry was rewarded, and cheerfulnessand content universally prevailed. Y e t , in the midst of all this e n j o y m e n t ,
with-So much to heighten, and so little to mar it, this experiment c o m e s u p o n
us, to harass and oppress us at present, and to affright us for the future. S i r , ,
it is incredible; the world abroad will not believe it; it is difficult e v e n for us.
to credit it, who see it with our own e y e s , that the country, at such a m o ment, should put itself upon an experiment fraught with such immediate a n d
overwhelming evils, and threatening the property and the employments of t h e
people, and all their social and political blessings, with severe and l o n g - e n d u r ing future inflictions*
A n d this experiment, with all its cost, is to be tried, for what?
Why,
simply, sir, to enable us to try another " experiment;" and that other e x p e riment is, to see whether an exclusive specie currency may not bo better
than a currency partly specie and partly hank paper! T h e object to which
it is hoped we may arrive, by patiently treading this path of endurance, is t o
banish from the country all bank paper, of all kinds, and to have coined
money, and coined money only, as the actual currency of the country!
N o w , sir, 1 altogether deny that such an object is at all desirable, even i f
it could be obtained. I know, indeed, that ail paper ought to circulate on a
specie basis; that all bank notes, to be safe, must be convertible into gold
and silver at the will of the holder; and I admit, too, that the issuing of v e r y
small notes, by many of the State bank*, has too much reduced the amount
o f specie actually circulating through the pockets of the people. It may b e
remembered that I called the attention of Congress to this subject in 1 8 3 2 ,
and that the bill which then passed both H o u s e s , for renewing the B a n k
charter, contained a provision designed to produce some restraint on the circulation of very small notes. I admit there are conveniences in m a k i n g
small payments in s p e c i e ; and I have always not only admitted, but c o n tended, that if all issues of bank notes under five dollars were discontinued,
much more specie would be retained in the country, and in the circulation;
and that #reat security would be derived from this. But we are now debating
about an exclusive specie currency; and I d e n y that an exclusive specie currency
is the best currency for any highly commercial country; and I d e n y , especially,
that such a currency would he best suited to the condition and circumstances o f




25

the U n i t e d States. With the enlightened writers and practical statesmen ot
all commercial communities, in modern times, I have supposed it to he admitted that a well regulated, properly restrained, safely limited paper currency, circulating on an adequate specie basis, was a thing to be desired—a
political public advantage, to be obtained, if it may be obtained; and, more
especially, I have supposed that in a new country, with resources not y e t half
developed, with a rapidly increasing population, and a constant demand for
more and more capital; that is to say, in just such a country as the United
States a r e , I have supposed a safe and well regulated paper currency to be
allowed to produce particular and extraordinary advantages; because, in such
a country, well regulated bank paper not only supplies a convenient medium
of p a y m e n t s and of exchange, but also, by the expansion of that medium in a
reasonable and safe degree, the amount of circulation is kept more nearly
commensurate with the constantly increasing amount of property; and an
extended capital, in the shape of credit, comes to the aid of the enterprising
and the industrious. It is precisely on this credit, created by reasonable
expansion of the currency in a new country, that men of small capital carry
on their business. I t is exactly by means of this that industry and enterprise
are stimulated- If we were driven back to an entire gold and silver currency, the necessary and inevitable consequence would be, that all trade must
fall into the hands of large capitalists. This is so plain, that no man of r e flection can doubt it; I know not, therefore, in what words to express my
astonishment, when I hear it said that the present measures of Government
are intended for the good of the many instead of the few*—for the benefit of
the poor, and against the rich; and when I hear it proposed, at the same
moment to do away the whole system of credit, and place all trade and commerce therefore, in the hands of those who have competent capital to carry
them on without the use of any credit at all. T i n s , sir, would be dividing
society by a precise, distinct, and well-defined line, into two classes; first,
the small class, who have competent capital for trade, when credit is out of
the question; and, secondly, the vastly numerous class of those whose living
must become, in such a state of things, a mere manual occupation, without
the use of capital, or of any substitute for capital.
N o w , sir, it is the effect of a well-understood system of paper credit to*
break in upon this line, thus dividing the many from the few, and to enable
more or less of the more numerous class to pass over it, and to participate in
the profits of capital, by means of a safe and convenient substitute for
capital; and thus to diffuse, vastly more widely, the general earnings, and
therefore the general prosperity and happiness of society. Every man of
observation must have witnessed, in this country, that men of heavy capital
have constantly complained of bank circulation, and a consequent credit
system, as injurious to the rights of capital. T h e y undoubtedly feel its
effects. All that is gained b y \ h e use of credit, is just so much subtracted
from the amount of their own accumulations, and so much the more has gone
to the benefit of those who bestow their own labor and industry on capital m
smalt portions. T o the great majority this has been of incalculable benefit
in the United States; nnd, therefore, sir, whoever attempts the entire overthrow of the system of bank credit, aims a deadly blow at the interest of that
great and industrious class, who, having some capital, cannot, nevertheless,
transact business without some credit; and can mean nothing else, if it have
a n y intelligible meaning at all, than to turn all such persons over to the long
list of mere manual laborers. W h a t else can they do, with not enough of
absolute capital, and with no credit? T h i s , sir, this is the true tendency, anoS




26
t h e u n a v o i d a b l e result of t h e s e m e a s u r e s , w h i c h h a v e b e e n u n d e r t a k e n w i t h
t h e p a t r i o t i c o b j e c t of assisting t h e p o o r a g a i n s t t h e rich!
S i r , I a m well a w a r e t h a t b a n k c r e d i t m a y b e a b u s e d .
I know that t h e r e
is a n o t h e r e x t r e m e , e x a c t l y t h e o p p o s i t e of t h a t of w h i c h 1 h a v e n o w b e e n
s p e a k i n g , and no less s e d u l o u s l y to b e a v o i d e d . I k n o w t h a t b a n k p a p e r
m a y b e c o m e e x c e s s i v e ; t h a t d e p r e c i a t i o n will t h e n follow; a n d t h a t t h e evils
t h e losses, and the frauds c o n s e q u e n t on a d i s o r d e r e d currency,
fall on t h e
rich and t h e p o o r t o g e t h e r , but with e s p e c i a l w e i g h t of ruin on the poor.
I
k n o w t h a t t h e s y s t e m of b a n k credit m u s t a l w a y s r e s t on a s p e c i e b a s i s , a n d
t h a t it c o n s t a n t l y n e e d s to be strictly g u a r d e d a n d p r o p e r l y r e s t r a i n e d ; and i t
m a y b e so g u a r d e d a n d r e s t r a i n e d .
W e n e e d not give up the good which
b e l o n g s to it, t h r o u g h fear of t h e evils w h i c h m a y follow from its a b u s e . W e
h a v e t h e p o w e r to t a k e s e c u r i t y against t h e s e evils. I t is o u r business, a s
s t a t e s m e n , to a d o p t t h a t s e c u r i t y ; it is our business not to p r o s t r a t e , o r
a t t e m p t to p r o s t r a t e , t h e s y s t e m ; but to use those m e a n s of p r e c a u t i o n ,
r e s t r a i n t , a n d c o r r e c t i o n , w h i c h e x p e r i e n c e lias s a n c t i o n e d , a n d w h i c h a r e
r e a d y at our hands.
I t w o u l d be to o u r e v e r l a s t i n g r e p r o a c h , it would be p l a c i n g us below t h e
g e n e r a l level of the intelligence of civilized S t a t e s , to a d m i t t h a t w e c a n n o t
c o n t r i v e m e a n s to enjoy the benefits of b a n k circulation, a n d of avoiding, a t
the s a m e t i m e , its d a n g e r s . I n d e e d , sir, no c o n t r i v a n c e is n e c e s s a r y - I t is
contrivance,
and the love of c o n t r i v a n c e , t h a t spoils all. W e a r e d e s t r o y i n g
o u r s e l v e s b y a r e m e d y w h i c h no evil called for. AVe a r e r u i n i n g p e r f e c t
h e a l t h b y n o s t r u m s a n d rjuackcry.
W c h a v e lived, h i t h e r t o , u n d e r a w e l l c o n s t r u c t e d , practical, a n d b e n e f i c i a l ' s y s t e m ; a system not s u r p a s s e d b y a n y
in the w o r l d ; and it s e e m s to m e to be p r e s u m i n g l a r g e l y , l a r g e l y i n d e e d , on
the credulity and self-denial of t h e p e o p l e , to r u s h , with such s u d d e n a n d
i m p e t u o u s h a s t e , into n e w s c h e m e s and n e w t h e o r i e s , to o v e r t u r n a n d a n n i hilate all t h a t w e h a v e so long found useful.
O u r system has, h i t h e r t o , b e e n one in which p a p e r lias b e e n circulating
on t h e strength of a s p e c i e basis; that is to s a y , w h e n e v e r y b a n k n o t e was
c o n v e r t i b l e into s p e c i e a t t h e will of the holder. T h i s h a s b e e n o u r guard
against excess. W h i l e b a n k s a r e bound to r e d e e m their bills, b y p a y i n g sold
and silver on d e m a n d , a n d a r e at all times able to d o t h i s , t h e c u r r e n c y is
safe and c o n v e n i e n t . S u c h a c u r r e n c y is not p a p e r m o n e y , in t h e odious
srnsc.
It is not like the continental p a p e r of r e v o l u t i o n a r y t i m e s ; it is not
like the worthless bills of b a n k s which h a v e s u s p e n d e d s p e c i e p a y m e n t s . O n
the c o n t r a r y , it is the r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of gold and silver, a n d c o n v e r t i b l e into
gold and silver on d e m a n d , a n d , therefore, a n s w e r s t h e p u r p o s e s of gold a n d
.silver; a n d so long as its credit is in this w a y sustained, it is t h e c h e a p e s t ,
the b e s t , a n d t h e m o s t c o n v e n i e n t circulating m e d i u m .
I have already
e n d e a v o r e d to w a r n t h e c o u n t r y against i r r e d e e m a b l e p a p e r ; against b a n k
p a p e r , w h e n b a n k s do not p a y s p e c i e for t h e i r own notes; a g a i n s t that m i s e r a b l e , a b o m i n a b l e , and fraudulent policy which a t t e m p t s to give v a l u e to a n y
p a p e r , of a n y b a n k , o n e single m o m e n t longer than such p a p e r is r e d e e m a b l e
on d e m a n d in gold a n d silver. A n d I wish most s o l e m n l y and e a r n e s t l y t o
r e p e a t that w a r n i n g . I see d a n g e r of that state of t h i n g s , aheadI see i m m i n e n t d a n g e r t h a t m o r e or fewer of t h e S t a t e b a n k s will s t o p s p e c i e p a y m e n t s . T h e late m e a s u r e of t h e S e c r e t a r y , a n d the infatuation with w h i c h
it s e e m s to b e s u p p o r t e d , tend d i r e c t l y a n d s t r o n g l y to t h a t result.
Under
p r e t e n c e , t h e n , of a design to r e t u r n to a c u r r e n c y w h i c h shall be all s p e c i e ,
w e a r e likelv to h a v e a c u r r e n c y in w h i c h there* shall b e no s p e c i e a t alh
We are in d a n g e r of b e i n g o v e r w h e l m e d with i r r e d e e m a b l e p a p e r — m e r e




27
p a p e r , r e p r e s e n t i n g n o t gold, nor silver; n o , sir, r e p r e s e n t i n g n o t h i n g b u t
b r o k e n p r o m i s e s , b a d faith, b a n k r u p t c o r p o r a t i o n s , c h e a t e d c r e d i t o r s , a n d a
r u i n e d p e o p l e . T h i s , I fear, sir, m a y b e t h e c o n s e q u e n c e , a l r e a d y a l a r m ingly n e a r , of tins a t t e m p t , u n w i s e , if it be r e a l , a n d g r o s s l y f r a u d u l e n t , if it
be o n l y p r e t e n d e d , of e s t a b l i s h i n g an e x c l u s i v e h a r d m o n e y c u r r e n c y !
B u t , s i r , if this s h o c k could be a v o i d e d , a n d if w e c o u l d r e a c h t h e o b j e c t
of a n e x c l u s i v e m e t a l l i c c i r c u l a t i o n , w e should find in t h a t v e r y s u c c e s s s e r i o u s
and i n s u r m o u n t a b l e i n c o n v e n i e n c e s . W e r e q u i r e n e i t h e r i r r e d e e m a b l e p a p e r ,
nor y e t e x c l u s i v e h a r d m o n e y .
W e require a mixed system.
W e require
s p e c i e , a n d w e r e q u i r e , t o o , good b a n k p a p e r , f o u n d e d o n s p e c i e , r e p r e s e n t i n g
s p e c i e , a n d c o n v e r t i b l e i n t o s p e c i e , on d e m a n d .
W e r e q u i r e , in s h o r t , j u s t
s u c h a c u r r e n c y as w e h a v e long e n j o y e d , a n d t h e a d v a n t a g e s of w h i c h w e
s e e m n o w , w i t h u n a c c o u n t a b l e r a s h n e s s , a b o u t to t h r o w a w a y .
I a v o w myself, t h e r e f o r e , d e c i d e d l y against t h e o b j e c t o f a r e t u r n t o a n
exclusive specie currency,
I find g r e a t difficulty, 1 c o n f e s s , in b e l i e v i n g a n y
m a n s e r i o u s in a v o w i n g s u c h a n object.
Tt s e e m s t o m e r a t h e r a s u b j e c t for
r i d i c u l e , a t this a g e of t h e w o r l d , t h a n for s o b e r a r g u m e n t .
B u t if it b e t r u e
t h a t a n y a r e s e r i o u s for t h e r e t u r n of t h e gold a n d s i l v e r a g e , I a m s e r i o u s l y
a g a i n s t it.
L e t u s , sir, a n t i c i p a t e , in i m a g i n a t i o n , t h e a c c o m p l i s h m e n t of t h i s g r a n d
experiment.
L e t u s s u p p o s e t h a t , a t this m o m e n t , all b a n k p a p e r w a s o u t
of e x i s t e n c e , a n d t h e c o u n t r y full of s p e c i e . W h e r e , s i r , s h o u l d w e p u t it, a n d
w h a t s h o u l d w e d o with it? S h o u l d w e s h i p it, b y c a r g o e s , e v e r y d a y , from N e w
Y o r k t o N e w O r l e a n s , a n d from N e w O r l e a n s b a c k to N e w Y o r k ?
Should
w e e n c u m b e r t h e t u r n p i k e s , t h e r a i l r o a d s , a n d t h e s t e a m b o a t s w i t h it, w h e n e v e r p u r c h a s e s a n d s a l e s w e r e to be m a d e in o n e p l a c e o f a r t i c l e s t o b e t r a n s ported to another?
T h e c a r r i a g e of t h e m o n e y w o u l d , in s o m e c a s e s , c o s t
h a l f a s m u c h a s t h e c a r r i a g e of t h e g o o d s . S i r , t h e v e r y first d a y , u n d e r s u c h
a s t a t e o f t h i n g s , w e s h o u l d s e t o u r s e l v e s to t h e c r e a t i o n of b a n k s .
This
would b e c o m e i m m e d i a t e l y n e c e s s a r y find u n a v o i d a b l e .
W e m a y assure
o u r s e l v e s , t h e r e f o r e , w i t h o u t d a n g e r of m i s t a k e , t h a t t h e i d e a of a n e x c l u s i v e
m e t a l l i c c u r r e n c y is t o t a l l y i n c o m p a t i b l e , in t h e e x i s t i n g s t a t e of t h e w o r l d ,
with an active and extensive commerce.
I t is i n c o n s i s t e n t , t o o , w i t h t h e
g r e a t e s t g o o d of t h e g r e a t e s t n u m b e r ; a n d t h e r e f o r e I o p p o s e it.
B u t , sir, h o w a r e w e t o g e t t h r o u g h t h e first e x p e r i m e n t , s o a s t o b e a b l e
t o t r v that w h i c h is t o b e final a n d u l t i m a t e
t h a t is t o s a y , h o w a r e w e t o
get rid of the S t a t e banks?
H o w is this to h e a c c o m p l i s h e d ?
O f the B a n k
o f t h e U n y e d S t a r e s , i n d e e d , w e m a y free o u r s e l v e s r e a d i l y ; b u t h o w a r e w e
t o a n n i h i l a t e t h e S t a t e b a n k s ? W e d i d not s p e a k t h e m into b e i n g ; w e c a n n o t
s p e a k t h e m o u t of b e i n g . T h e y did n o t o r i g i n a t e in a n y e x e r c i s e of o u r
p o w e r ; nor do they o w e their continuance to our indulgence. T h e y are r e sponsible to the S t a t e s ; to us they are irresponsible.
W o cannot act upon
t h e m ; w e c a n o n l y a c t w i t h t h e m ; a n d t h e e x p e c t a t i o n , a s it w o u l d a p p e a r ,
i s , t h a t b y z e a l o u s l y c o - o p e r a t i n g w i t h t h e G o v e r n m e n t in c a r r y i n g i n t o o p e r a t i o n its n e w t h e o r y , t h e v m a y d i s p r o v e t h e n e c e s s i t y of t h e i r o w n e x i s t e n c e ,
a n d fairly w o r k t h e m s e l v e s o u t of t h e w o r l d !
S i r , I a s k o n c e m o r e , is a
g r e a t a n d i n t e l l i g e n t c o m m u n i t y t o e n d u r e p a t i e n t l y all s o r t s of suffering, for
p h a n t a s i e s l i k e these?
H o w charmingly practicable, how delightfully p r o b a b l e , all this l o o k s !
I find it i m p o s s i b l e , M r - P r e s i d e n t , to b e l i e v e t h a t t h e r e m o v a l of t h e d e p o s i t e s a r o s e in a n y s u c h p u r p o s e a s is n o w a v o w e d .
1 b e l i e v e all t h i s t o
b e an afterthought.
T h e r e m o v a l was resolved on, as a strong m e a s u r e
a g a i n s t t h e B a n k ; a n d n o w t h a t it h a s b e e n a t t e n d e d w i t h c o n s e q u e n c e s n o t




28

at all apprehended from it, instead of being promptly retracted, as it s h o u l d
have been, it is to be justified on the ground of a grand experiment, a b o v o
the reach of common sagacity, and dropped down, as it were, from the c l o u d y
** to witch the world with noble policy," It is not credible—not possible*
sir, that, six mouths ago, the administration suddenly started off to astonish
mankind with their new inventions in politics, and that it then began its m a g nificent project by removing the deposites as its first operation. No, sir^
no such thing. T h e removal of the deposites was a blow ai the Bank, a n d
nothing more; and if it had succeeded, we should have heard nothing of a n y
project for the final putting down of all State banks. No, sir, not one word.
W e should have heard, on the contrary, only of their usefulness, their e x c e l lence, and their exact adaptation to the uses and necessities of this G o v e r n ment. But the experiment of making successful use of State banks having*
failed—completely failed, in this the very first endeavor; the State b a n k s
having already proved themselves not able to fill the place and perform t h e
duties of a national bank, although highly useful in their appropriate sphere;
and the disastrous consequences of the measures of Government coming thick
and fast upon us, the professed object of the whole movement is at once
changed, and the cry now is, Down with all the State banks! down with all
the State banks! and lot us return to our embraces of solid gold and solid
silver!
Sir, I have no doubt that, if there are any persons in the country who h a v e
seriously wished for such an event as the extinction of all banks, t h e y
have not, nevertheless, looked for the absence of all paper circulation. T h e y
have only looked for issues of paper from another quarter.
W e have already had distinct intimations that paper might he issued on the
foundation of the revenue.
T h e T r e a s u r y of the United States is intended
to become the Bank of the United States, and the Secretary of the T r e a s u r y
is meant to be the great national banker- Sir, to say nothing of the crudity
of such a notion, I may be allowed to m a k e one observation upon it. W e
have heretofore heard much of the danger of consolidation, and of the great
and well-grounded fear of the union of all powers in this Government. Now,
sir, when we shall be brought to the state of things in which all thp circulating paper of the country shall be issued directly by the T r e a s u r y Department, under the immediate control of the Executive, we shall have consolidation with a witness!
Mr. President, this experiment will not amuse the people of this country.
T h e y are quite too serious to be amused- T h e i r suffering is too jntense to
bo sported with.
Assuredly, sir, they will not be patient as bleeding lambs under the deprivation of great present good, and the menace of unbearable future evilsT h e y are not so unthinking—so stupid, I may almost say—as to forego the
rich blessings now in their actual enjoyment, and trust the future to the contingencies and the chances which may betide an unnecessary and a wild experiment. T h e y will not expose themselves at once to injury and to ridicule*
T h e y will not buy reproach and scorn at so dear a rate. T h e y will not
purchase the pleasure of being laughed at by all mankind, at a price quite so
enormous.
Mr. President, the objects avowed, in this most extraordinary measure, are
altogether undesirable. T h e end, if it could be obtained, is an end fit to be
strenuously avoided; and the process adopted to carry on the experiment,
and to reach that end, (which it can never attain, and which, in that respect,
wholly fails,) does not fail, meantime, to spread far and wide a d e e p and




29

^general distress, and to agitate the country beyond any thing which has heretofore happened to us in a time of peace*
S i r , the people, in m y opinion, will not support this experiment*
They
feel it to be afflictive, and they see it to be ridiculous; and ere long, I verily
believe, they will s w e e p it away with the resistless breath of their o w n v o i c e ,
and bury it up with the great mass of the detected delusions and rejected
follies o f other times. I seek, sir, to shun all exaggeration. I avoid studiously all inflammation and all emblazoning. But I b e s e e c h g e n t l e m e n to
open their e y e s and their ears to what is passing in the country, and not to
d e c e i v e themselves with the hope that things can long remain as they are, or
that any beneficial change will come until the present policy shall be totally
abandoned. I attempted, sir, the other day, to describe shortly the progress
of the public distress. Its first symptom was spasm, contraction, agony.
It
seizes first the commercial and trading classes. S o m e survive it, and some
do not.
But those who, with whatever loss, effort, and sacrifice, get through
the crisis without absolute bankruptcy, take good care to make no new' e n gagements, till there shall be a change of times. T h e y abstain from all further undertakings; and this brings the pressure immediately h o m e to those
who live by their employments. T h a t great class now begin to feel the distress* H o u s e s , warehouses, and ships, are not now, as usual, put under contract in the cities, v Manufacturers are beginning to dismiss their hands on
the seacoast and in the interior; and our artsians and mechanics, acting for
themselves only, are likely soon to feel a severe want of e m p l o y m e n t in their
several occupationsT h i s sir, is the real state of things. It is a state of things which is daily
growing worse and worse- It calls loudly for remedy; the people demand
remedy* and they are likely to persist in that demand till remedy shall c o m e .
F o r one^ sir, I have no new remedy to propose. M y sentiments are
k n o w n . I a m f ° r rechartering the Bank, for a longer or a shorter t i m e , and
with more or less of modification.
I am for trying no new experiments on
the property, the e m p l o y m e n t s , and the happiness of the whole people.
Our proper course appears to me to be as plain and direct as the P e n n s y l vania A v e n u e . T h e evil which the country endures, although entirely n e w
in its extent, its depth, and its severity, is not n e w in its class. Other such
like e v i l s , but of much milder form, we have felt in former times. In former
times w e have been obliged to encounter the ills of disordered currency, o f a
general want of confidence, and of depreciated State bank paper. T o these
evils w e have applied the remedy of a well-constituted national bank, and
h a v e found it effectual.
I am for trying it again. Approved by forty 3Tears*
e x p e r i e n c e , sanctioned by all successive administrations, and by Congress at
all t i m e s , and called for, as I verily believe, at this \cry moment, by a vast
majority of the people, on what ground do we resist the remedy of a national
bank? It is painful, sir, most painful, to allude to the extraordinary position
o f the different branches of the Government; but it is necessary to allude to
it* T h i s H o u s e has once passed a bill for rechartering the present Bank.
T h e other House has also passed it, but it has been negatived by the P r e s i dent; and it is understood that strong objections exist with the E x e c u t i v e to
a n y B a n k incorporated* or to bo incorporated, by Congress*
Sir, I think the country calls, and has a right to call, on the E x e c u t i v e to*
reconsider these objections, if they do exist. Peremptory objections to all
banks created by Congress have not y e t been formally announced. I hope
t h e y will not be. I think the country demands a revision of a n y opinions
which may have b e e n formed on this matter, and demands, in its own n a m e ,




30

and for the s a k e of the suffering people, that one man's opinion, howevejr
elevated, may not oppose the general judgment* No marl in this c o u n t r y
should say, in relation to a subject of such immense interest, that my singlewill shall be the law.
I t does not become any man, in a G o v e r n m e n t like this, to stand p r o u d l y
on his own opinion, against the whole country. I shall not believe, until i t
shall be so proved, that the Executive will so stand. H e has, himself, m o r e
than once, recommended the subject to the consideration of the people, as Et
subject to be discussed, reasoned on, and decided. A n d if the public will*
manifested through its regular organs, the Houses of Congress, shall d e m a n d
a recharter for a longer or a shorter time, with modifications to remove r e a sonable and even plausible objections, I am not prepared to believe that t h e
decision of the two Houses, thus acting in conformity to the known will of t h e
people, will meet a flat negative. I shall not credit that, till I see it. I c e r tainly shall propose, ere long, if no change or no other acceptable proposition be made, to make the trial. A s I see no other practical mode of relief,
1 am for putting this to the test. T h e first thing to be done, is to approve or
disapprove the Secretary's reasons. Let us come to the vote, and dispose o f
those reasons. In the mean time, public opinion is manifesting itself. I t a p pears to me to grow daily stronger and stronger. T h e moment must shortly
come when it will be no longer doubtful whether the general public opinion
does call for a recharter of the Bank. W h e n that m o m e n t comes, I am for
passing the measure, and shall propose it. I believe it will pass this H o u s e ;
I believe it cannot be and will not be defeated in the other, unless relief a p pears in some other form.
Public opinion will have its way in the Houses of legislation and elsewhere; the people are sovereign, and whatever they determine to obtain
must be yielded to them. This 5 is my belief, and this is my hope. I am for
a B a n k as a measure of expediency, and, under our present circumstances*
a measure of necessity. I yield to no new-fangled opinions, to no fantastical
experiments. I stand by the tried policy of the country. I go for the safety
of property, for the protection of industry, for the security of the currency.
A n d for the preservation of all these great ends, I am for a bank; and, as
the measure most likely to succeed, I am for continuing this B a n k , with
modifications, for a longer or a shorter period. T h i s is the measure which I
shall propose, and, on this question, I refer myself, without hesitation, to the
decision of the country.
At a subsequent period of the same debate, in answer to observations of Mr.

FORSITH,

Mr. W E B S T E R said: T h e gentleman asks, what could be done if this
H o u s e ' s h o u l d pass a bill renewing the Bank charter, and the other House
should reject it? Sir, all I can say to this is, that the question would then be
one between that other House and the people. I speak, sir, of that honorable House with the same respect as of this. Neither is likely to be found
acting for a long time on such a question as this, against the clear and well
ascertained sense of the country. Depend upon it, sir, depend upon it, this
" e x p e r i m e n t " cannot succeed- I t will fail—it has failed—it is a complete
failure already.
Something, then, is to be done, and what is it? Congress cannot adjourn,
leaving the country in its present condition- T h i s is certain. E a c h H o u s e
then, as I thiak, will be obliged to propose something, or to concur in s o m e -




31

thing. Public opinion will require it. Sir, negative votes settle nothing*
If either House should vote against a bank to-day, nothing would be determined by it, except for the moment. T h e proposition would be renewed, or
something else proposed. T h e great error lies in imagining that the country
will b e quieted and settled, if one House, or even both, should pass votes
approving the conduct of the Secretary in removing the public depositesThis is a grand mistake. T h e disturbing and exciting causes exist, not in
men's opinions, but in men's affairs. It is not a question of theoretic right
or wrong, but a question of deep suffering, and of necessary relief! No votes,
no decisions, still less any debates, in Congress, will restore the country to
its former condition toitkoiit the interposition and aid of some positive measure of relief
Such a measure will be proposed; it will, I trust, pass this
House. Should it be rejected elsewhere, consequences will not lie at our
door. But I have the most entire belief, that, from absolute necessity, and
from t h e imperative dictate of the public will, a proper measure must pass,
and will pass into the form of law.
T h e honorable gentleman, like others, always takes it for granted, as a
settled point, that the people of the United States have decided that the
present Bank shall not be renewed. 1 believe no such thing. I see no evidence of any such decision. It is easy to assume all this. T h e Secretary
assumed it, and gentlemen follow his example, and assume it themselves.
Sir, I think the lapse of a few months will correct the mistake, both of the
Secretary and of the gentlemen.
T h e honorable member has suggested another idea, calculated, perhaps,,
to produce a momentary impression. It has been urged in other quarters;
and it is, that, if the Bank charter be renewed now, it will necessarily become
perpetual- Sir, if the gentleman only means that if we now admit the necessity or utility of a national bank we must always, for similar reasons, have
one hereafter, I say, with frankness, that, in my opinion, until some great
change of circumstances shall take place, a national institution of that kind
' will always be found useful* But if he desires to produce a belief that a
renewal of its charter now, would make this Bank perpetual, under its present form, or under any form, I do not at all concur in his opinion. Sir,
nobody proposes to renew the Bank, except for a limited period. At the
expiration of that period, it will be in the power of Congress, just as fully as
it is now, to continue its charter still further, or to amend it, or let it altogether expire. And what harm or danger is there in this? T h e charter of the
B a n k of England, always granted for limited periods, has been often renewed,
with various conditions and alterations, and has now existed, I think, under
these renewals, nearlv one hundred and fifty years. Its last term of years
was about expiring recently, and the Reform Parliament have seen no wiser
way of proceeding than to incorporate into it such amendments as experience
had shown necessary, and to give it a new lease. And this, as it appears to
m e , is precisely the course which the interest of the people of the United
States requires in regard to our own Bank. T h e danger of perpetuity is
wholly unfounded, and all alarm on that score is but false alarm.
The
B a n k , if renewed, will be as much subject to the will and pleasure of C o n gress, as a new bank with a similar charter; and will possess no more claim
than a new one for further continuance hereafter.
T h e honorable gentleman quotes me, Mr. President, as having said, on a
former occasion, that, if Congress shall refuse to recharter the Bank, the
country will yet live through the difficult}'. W h y , certainly, sir, I trust it
will live through it. I believe the country capable of self-government, and




32
that they will remedy not only such evils as they cannot live through, b u t
other evils also, which they could live through, and which they would b e a r ,
if n e c e s s a r y , but which, nevertheless, being great evils, and wholly u n n e c e s s a r y , they are not disposed to endure. I s the gentleman entirely s a t i s fied, if he can only persuade himself that the country can live under t l m
evils inflicted on it by these measures o f the E x e c u t i v e Government? Si*¥fe
I doubt not the people will live through their difficulties; and o n e w a y o f
living through them is to put a s p e e d y close to them. T h e people haVe
only to will it, and all their present sufferings are at an end. T h e s e sufferingsflow from no natural cause. T h e y c o m e not from famine or pestilence, n o f i
from invasion or war, or a n y external public calamity. T h e y spring directly,
and exclusively from the unwise and unjustifiable interference of the S e c r e tary of the T r e a s u r y with the public moneys* B y this single act, h e has d i ^
ordered the revenue, deranged the currency, broken up commercial confidence^,
created already a thousand bankruptcies, and brought the whole business o f
the country into a state of confusion and dismay. T h i s is a political evil^
and a political evil only. It arises from m i s m a n a g e m e n t entirely and exctttw,
Sively. T h i s mismanagement, this sole cause of the whole distress, the peoplfe
can correct. T h e y have but to speak the word, and it is done. T h e y have but 7
to say s o , and the public treasure will return to its proper p l a c e , and the pub*lie prosperity resume its accustomed course.
r
T h e y have but to utter this supreme command, these words o f high b e hest; they have but to give to the public v o i c e that imperative unity w h i c h
all must hear, and all must obey, and the reign of misrule aAd the p r e v a l e n c e
o f disaster will expire together. Public sufferings wjH then b e r e m o v e d , |j$g
removing their cause. Political mischiefs will be repaired b y political redress*
T h a t which has been unwisely d o n e , will be \Wsely undone; and this is the ^ a y t
sir, in which an enlightened and independent people live through thetr
dijf*
ctdtici.
And,'sir, I look t o no other source for relief; but I look confidently*
t o this. 1 dare not, indeed, under* present appearances, predict an i m m e d i a t e
termination of present trouble; that would be rash. I t m a y take time fi>r#
the people to understand one another in different parts o f the country, aild
to unite in their objects and in their means. Circumstances m a y d e l a y
this union of purpose and union of effort.
I k n o w there are powerful
causes, now in full activity, which m a y not only prolong, but increase the*
commotion o f the political elements. I s e e indications that a storm U o n .
the wing. 1 a m not ignorant of the probable approach of a crisis, in which
contending parties, and contending passions, are to be intensely excited; k |
which the great interests of the country are all to be d e e p l y convulsed; Hgd
which, in its c o n s e q u e n c e s , may e v e n touch the action of the G o v e r n m e n t itself. ^
I n preparing to m e e t such a crisis, should it c o m e , I fouutynyself on those grejU,
truths, which our o w n experience and the e x p e r i e n c e oT all other n a t H p <
have established. I yield to no new-fangled theories, to no wild and *l$h
experiments- I stand, too, upon those high duties which the constitution p f
the country has d e v o l v e d upon us; and thus holding o n , and holding fast, b y
a c k n o w l e d g e d truth and manifest duty, I shall take events as they c o m e ;
and although these black and portentous clouds m a y break on our heads, and*
the tempest overpower us for a while, still that can never be forever^
o v e r w h e l m e d , that can n e v e r go finally to the bottom, which truth and d u t y
bear up.