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TIlE RON. WILLI.&lW WILKDl8,
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ON THE SUB1JtCT O:r

THE ltEMOV AL OF THE DEPOSITES;.

BELITERED

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STADel,

FEBRUA~Y.

18:U•

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CITY 0. WASBINGTeK:
.J'~JITZ"

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BY :rllAlfCIS PRZITO. BLAIIi-

1834.

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SPEECH OF MR.

WILKlNS~

On molion by Mr. CU;I'. thatit be resolvedbt. That, by dismiasi!IJ the late Secretary of the Treasury, bec&l1le he would nat.
eontrary to bit sense ofbit own duty, remove the mOlley of the United8tateain depolile
with the Bank of the United States and its branches, in coaformity with the President".
opinioa, and by appointing bit successor to effect such removal, which has been done.
the President haS asaumed the uercise of a power over the Treasury of the u ..tecl
States, not granted to him by the constitution and Iaw8. and dangerous to tbe liberties 01
'the people.
'
2d. That the reasons assigne~l by the Secretary of the Treasury for tbe J'eIDOftl 01
the money of the 1JJtited States deposited in the Bank or the United States and ita
'branches, communicated to Congt"CIIII on the 3d day of December, 1833, are UJIIatia&c>.
;tory and inaulicient.
" .

Those resolutions being the special order of the day. MI". WILKIN8
'l'08e and addressed the Senate-MR. PRESIDENT: It is in the history of our country, that more than forty
.years ago, upon an occasion not unlike the present, Mr. Madison obse"ed:
, .. The present is a question which ought to be conducted with moderation '
.. and candor,'and.ctherefore, there is no oceaaion to have recourse to those
.. tragic representations which have been adduced. Warmth and passion
., should be excluded from the discussion of a subject which ought to dec. pend on the cool dictates of reason for its decision."
I shall endeavor to profit by the admonition of this gr~t statesman,
whose life an overruling Providence seems to ~olon~. that-he may witness
the universal homap,e paid to his wisdom and hIli patriotism.
I have little hope of being able 110 to carry lJIyself to-da!, as to make
atonement for the absence of ability on my part to throw light upon a subject alread! exhausted bl the research, the arguments, and the talents of
those who have p'receded me. Wide and unnecessarily as the field has
been enlarged, skillful and industrious gleaners have gone over every '<land"
of it, and there is sc~c!ly a grain left for. my ~eeble hands to pick up•.
. I declare to you, SIr, lD the fulness of slDcenty, that I tip-ow myself mto
this debate with great reluctance. Not that I am inclined to shun respon"'bility-but from an almost insurmountable indisposition to tax the patience
..and the ~omplaisance of the Senate. For the truth of this, I might appeal
'to the positive proof dorded by the fact, that sinee I have had the honor of
a seat here, I have adopted, and endeavored to carry out, the character of.
listener, and not that of a debate.. Upon assuming thilt novel deporllnent.
and embarking in this deeply interesting discussion, it only remains for me.
to be cautious, and draw but sparingll upon the vast amount of capital
.1tDck of good feeling and courtesy wlllch IS to be found in this body, and to
tavoid .. all rapid and vexatious curtailments."
It
The aspect ~ven to this discussion, and the deep and solellpl questions
thrown up by It in reference to the Bank of the United States; render -I
..own attitude, and that of Pennsylvania, somewhat peculiar, and'demanCl
from me a preliminary word or two, explanatory of the course heretofore
" pursued by that State and her representatives. Congress, the Legislators
"
In 1851, during the first session of the lid
of Penuylvania, with the light and the fact. then before them. instructed:
'Btl coli. . . . and mpelf te vote for a bill to . .barter the ;sank of the

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United States. I did net hesitate te obey those iBstructions; because my
early impressions upon the constitutional question had given way to the
usage of the couJ.1lrI-fio 1he P.factical cobJtruction of the constitution by
the various departments of the Government, and apparently acquiellced in
by the American People. And believing at that time that the Bank had
kept itself within its chartered limits, add had accommodated itself to thewants of the COUJ,ltry and the usige of the Government, I felt myself free
to act upon the questio!! of expediency, in obedience to the instructions of
the Legislature; and it gave me pleasure upon that occasion, as it would
d~ ~J?On alLothers, to abide by the wishes of the constituent body. The
llDaIUmity which distinguished that body at the period to which I refer, 80,
favorable to tile contimwlce of the Bank, will be sought for in vain here-,
after--forthe il.1llbitious and oppressive conduct of its DU'ectory, subsequent11 so plainly developed, is raptdly changing public sentiment, and I have
not foresiglit sufficient to tell what power win be strong enollgh to impede

_progress.

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CODiiistency is a matter of essential importance to every man of honor;
ad the consistency of my State cannot be less dear and interesting to me.,
I cannot, conceive that I am now about to pursue a course expoSin~ either'
1I\JIelf .or Penn"sylvania to ~e charge of inconsistency, or at all likely to'
come into collision with the instructions of a former Legislature, to which.
I have alluded, because new faets have given a new character to the case;
and it ill admitted on all sides of the house, that the question of a National
,Bank is laid on the shelf,· and by some honorable members it is said that the ,
present controversy has no reference to the recharter. of the llresent instifltion. I am, therefore, left free, imd without danger oi comlDgin contlict
"'en with formerly expressed public sentiment, to enforce my own opiniOJlll
lIpon 1his occasion, ana to purslle my own course in rererence tothe resolutions of the Senator from Kentucky. The present is an insulated inquiry
arising out of a matter of detail-an incident in the administration of theatrairs of the Bank and the finances of the Government"ha'Ving nothing ~
do with the great question of " BaM or no Banlt.~'
.
.
, Before I proceed to the direct discussion of thoae resolutions, I would
qain deprecate the degree of warmth which has been 'displayed in C8Dllexion with the subject. Upon each. side of us we have tragic representa~onfi and frightful pictures of the present and ap"roaching condi!i0n 0f
the country. Weare told that we It'fe .. in the midst of a revolution"that. the constituti&n is prostrated and lying 'bleeding before us-that the
tights of the People are d1sregarded and trampled ltnder febt-of the usurpations of principles by the E~ecutive "hitherl~ bloodletls"-that the §loom'
ftf the Wlnrer of 'r6-'7 is fast spreading aver our convulsed country. In
the fore-grouud of this terrifying picture, and in bold relief, is depicted
an: ambitious President, grasping at all power-sinking the Legislative and
J~dlCial 'depattments of th4! .Government !n that of the ~xecutive-a ~efIJJOt
fast as<iend1Og .~he throne, ~t.h ~e purse In one handaRd the sw8rd 10 the
6ther-a pulihc robber of the nglits and the treasure of the People! All:
this. is to be f:oun~ in tlie .fore-gr~u.nd, whilst tJ:te' p'rinciptes' and p~r ,
ments 0f. the question are' famtly trac~: and obscured m the ~k-grou.~ 9f
the picture. I{ geJ}.tlemen judge4 of political by Rhysical :phenomena, t~«:reo
m~t be sonte reason to apPteliend that the evils thus presented to ulI;m1gh~
nSlt our happy land. It' it were true that a politie.- storm wa.salway•.
preceded by a calm, 'gentlemen .were right in. their view,S, and might w~n
:lbretel the appn*ch of' convulsions.' For, 'until the present· debll.~' commenced, and ~ubsequent to the removal of
deposites, t~ere W88 an
entire calm throughout the country;, ~e cOJ?ldence. in. the adDlinlsttatorof the Government was almost unJNlraUelled; and If, m .that conWeDce~
there was any chailge, it was only mown by its mctellS8. What is th4!

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little mate~ out of whiola this friahtful picture ~ ~w.. ~d Gol~
.by the cunnmg peocil of those awakening and terrifllD8 a~sts .over..,sufif
·an extended canvass? Nothing but the simple fact re1e~red ~ ~n 1;he s~~~~
resolution of -*he Senator from Kentucky. Tha~ resolution? as w~~~. ~
report presented yesterday by the Committee on .Finance l a~hDlt~~ ...~¥
JKl,!er of the Secretary of ilie Treasul'y to transfer the pu~hc. 4e~tes.
Neither of them allege an mfraction of the charter, nor a breash' of c~q1;ract. The national money is aU safe, diminished not one cent, all uJ}.e~­
bezzled, all ready to anliWer any appropriation by Congress. There is ~
People's purse-conftned by the same knot-tied by die same hand whia..
',has ever held it•. ·What, then is the matter? Why a change has been ordered of almost as little consequence of itself as if you had merely c~
the color of the string which boun~ the purse! If to touch a liair of the
head of this angry an« powerful corporate being, this financiall1gent is to
entail distress and civil commotion upon the country; to revisit us with ttte
gloom of '76-'7; to afflict us with disorderS from. which we can hardly hop
to be extricated without serious convulsions. gentlemen will have to hesitate much and deeply to deliberate, if ever they are called upon to give their
votes to revive or continue the existence of that corporation. I hope, before
that day arrives, the Bank will relax in its policy and ease off the screws
with which it is now torturing an unoffending communit,; and if ever tt
gains a re-charter that it may be with such salutar,Y restrictions as the seve~
.lesson we are now receiving, may teach u.s to be mdispensable, and calculated to avoid a recurrence of the present distracted state of the country.
Let me here, sir, take occasion to speak for a moment of this much talketl
-of "union of the sword and the puree" in the person of our Chief Magiftrate. There is no danger of-there cannot be, oy such thing.' Our con
:atitution, and the very nature of our political institutions, forbid it as long
as the People remain free and enlightened. If it were intended tbat CO:fruptiOD should take hold of the People, such corruption as the Bank has
,used, then indeed might you well dread a union of ilie purse and the swon!.
18ut where is even the power over the sword to be found? It is, in faet,
fbardly anything .more than nominal in the hands of the President. To
prove .this, I need not turn to the laws and constitution to show his contin~
.responsibility to the People, and the rigid and numerous restrictions tq»On
':his powers. The President is, indeed, "the commander-in-chief of the
." army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the sever~
." States, when called. into the actual service of the United States." At
this moment we have no militia in actual service, and his command over ~e
~army and navy are so entirely under the control of Congress that the title
of commander-in-chief is almost an empty name. What can he do? What
lise can he make. of this military power? He can neither declare war nor
'make peace. He can raise no men. He can neither arm, clothe~ nor
pay a single man, nor appoint a single officer of the lowest rank, without the
-consent oT Congress. Even the very subsistence of the President himself
depends upon the will of Congress. If he dare to overstep his JIOwers, iae
;is liable to impeachment by a body of representatives entirely indepen4eat.
.of him, and to trial by a tribunal whose term of office exceedf;l his, and
forms a co-ordinate branch of the Q-ovemment. But now to come down
to the particular fact in proof against him, and now under discussion, hie
interference in the removal of die deposites; how far does it manifest any
.attempt at " a union of the purse and the sword?" And, first, as to wbat
.he says. In his "cabinet paper" of the 18th September, 18SS, the President casts from him, in expres!j language, all idea of uniting the public
treasure with the Executive powers. He declares that Congress are the
.peculiar and constitutional gu~rdialls of the public purse, and regrets the SU!.render by that body of iti control over it to tlie Secretary of the Treasury..
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lie admits that the resolution be-the House of Representatives. at their last.
_ion. would have been conclusive uIJOn him. had not ne'll and strong facta.
since come to lidtt; discloling the coniluet and character of the BanJt. So
lauch for hia deClaration,. But what do his actio1l8 themselfes. iu the present instance. prove? That he threw otrpower from the Executive-that he
literall,. separated the sword from the ;purse-that he was ,opposed to the,
miion of the powers of the Executive With the influellce of money. But do
him the injultice to sup~se for a moment that the present Chief Magistrate.,
at the period of life at which he has now arrived; after baving reached that
high. political euence to which there is no parallel, and beyond which.
'DORe but a madman would ever think of looking-that he should abandon
his patriotism and turn his back lipon all his high honors, and the interestr.
of a ~op'le who have voluntarily bestowed them on him, and be governed
by a low, sordid, grovelling ambition of obtaining the influence of gold~
Whither would he go? To what point would he turn his 'attention? To the
Bank. of the United States. Would he have gone to the local Banker
Not at all. He would have courted that Bank which pretends to rule
-the nation-that Bank capable of lroducing all the sensations, all the
influence, which are now perceh'e throughout the country. He would
have resorted to that tremendous institution which has its powerful advoeates in the Senate, and in the other branch of the L~slature-an institution possessin~ suclt vast influence by its millions of COlD, in the commercial
transactions of the country. over the entire trading community, possessiBg
a power, to control which, requires all the virtue and energies of the People
-to that institution which vauntingly avows that the local Banks, movlllg
without concert and unity of action, live only by its forbearance!
So far as the interference of the President has gone, in this .transaction,
it proves his patriutism-his disinterestedness. "No," said he to the Bank
of the United States, .. Begone from me-I know your weight-your influence; but I court no union with you-injurious to my country." lIad
he sought such a coalition, his constitutional pow~r in the enactment of
Jaws, gll:ve him an aIW1ment and an influence, could he have forgotten his
duty to his country fOr one moment, which would have brought the Bank
to Iiir. own terms and views.
Upon the threshold of this debate we are met with the inquiry as to the
Hurce of our information-for the Secretary of the Treasury, in deciding
upon the transfer of the deposites, acted upon two distinct grounds: first,
tlie face of the law of Congress, inco!1K'rating the Bank of the United
States; and second, the high-handed and illegal transactionr. of the Directora of that institution. It has been truly observed. that if the information
was false; and proceeded from an impure source, not recognised by the
law, the Secretary ought to have cast It from him, and was wrong to make
it any part of the gt'Ound of bis official action. This leads me to speak ot
the .. Government Directors," properly so denominated, because they are
appointed and" commissioned by the Government, and are placed at the
JJOard in contradistinction to those Directors who are elected by the Stockholders. The President rarsued, in every view of the subject, the rirhtful
'eourr.e to obtain informatIon of the errors and mischiefs of the Bank, t&enable him to dischaT his ~blic duty; and the Directon acted eorrectly.
both in a moral and omciallight, in communicating the information. I have
already, when engaged upon Executive business, referred to the views, discussions, and'a~ments, in Congress, in 1815, '16, to show the characterattached by all parties to the office of .. GoTernment Director," and which
positi.ely justify our impressions of the course pursued by those ~lic
agents. The clause in the "barter instituting those five Directors. was intiOduced by tlaefriend, of tke bill, that the Government mipt have senti_Ia at the Board, to watch over the conduct of the iRstituticm-to gud

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ille ~c interests and the public money; and for that v~ reuon ,'at owolaw resisted their introduc·ti(lll-.....ilted It upon the very
pund that their duty would be to communicate with the Kxecutive, ana
wIIClose those very mIschiefs of which the Bank hal been guilty.
I have examined, sir, with particular attention, the various clauses ofthe
charter, and I feel fully convinced that the President resorted to the
enly mode within his power, of obtaining information necessary to the dis".
charge of his executive duties. If you deny him this source of information, and seal the lips of the Government Directors, the important duty
impos.ed on him is useless and nugatory.
. The peculiar exigency of the country in 1815. '16, produced the charter
of the present Bank. There was a jealousy of it, and a fear of its political
influence, and that it would become a political engine. Whether those
fears have been realized, or not, the present attitu~e 8f the Bank distinctly
manifests. It is, nevertheless, obviously true, that for SQme time past it hal
been at war with the President and his administration, and in tliis hostile
position, how was the Chief Magistrate, solemnly bound by his oath of
office to watch over .the execution of the laws, to gain information as.to any
alleged infraction of them by the Bank? Ask it as a favor of the whole .
Board? The reply would have been an affront, and, in his person, an inlult
to the whole nation! He turned to the charter for the meaBS of ob~
information, and found that it contained many, but only one to which he
could resort. It contains distinct provisions, pointing out the channels by
which the Stockholders, the House of Representatives, and the Secretary
of the Treasury, may demand and obtain information; but the President,
upon whom is devolved the high and responsible duty of directing a ,eire
facia. upon an alleged forf~ituJ:e of the charter, is to be left in the dark,
unless tie is authonzed to apply to the Govermnent Directors. Cast your
eye over the clauses 'of the charter. The 5th fundamental article provide.
that sixty Stockholders, owning not less than one thousan~ shares, may
. call, at any time, a general meeting of the Stockholders. This call is not in
the power of the President, and it would have been useless in bim to have
appealed to the StockAolders to convoke such a meeti.Pg.
- The 15th fundamental article provides that once
eyery three years a
statement shall be laid before the Stockholders merely of the debt, remaining unpaid, and of the surplus of the profits, if any. Of course this provision could not be resorted to by the President.
.
The 15th fundamental article directs that the officer at the head of the
Treaeury Department, shall be furnished, as often as he may req1lire, with
.. statements of the amouat of the capital stock, and of the debts due to th~
.. corporation, of the moneys deposited therein, of the notes in circulation
.. and of the specie in hand, and shall have a right to inspect such general
.. accounts in the books of the Bank as shall reTate to iuch general state.. ments." It is true that the President would haTe access to whatever limited information these .. statements" would furnish; but it is well and
universally known what a .. statement" means. That it merely exhibits the
. general condition of the money transactions of the Bank; it is nothing more
than the restricted information which the Cashier of the Bank lays before
the Board of Directors at their usual periodical meetinata. If, therefore.
the President had turned to this 15th fundamental article, it would be ill
as my 8OIU'ce of information.
We then come down to the 2M, the last section in the act of incorpora- .
tion, which enacts .. that at aU times it shall be lawful for a committee of
.. either House of COngre88, to inspect the books, and examine into tMfro.. ueding' of the corporation, ana to report whether the provill(Jns 0 the
.: charter b ...e been violated ?r not.'~ And this section gives the -,ower
either to Congreu or the Preadent to order a SCIRK FAO . . I. Here it II weij

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worthy.' of remark, itiat to enable Congfe88 't(j. judge whether the ehatte'l" . "-

been violated or I)ot, previous to directing a 8cirefacias, they have the ~petial

right, ·by a committee of the House, "to examine into the proceeding' of 'the
corporation," but the Pi-erident upon whom in the very same section of the
law is thrown an equally responsible duty, cannot resort to the same me6.ns
of examination. The exercise of that right of examination depended on
<;ongress-oot ori the President, and could only be made during the seSsion
ofttle National Legisillture~ '. But, if Ii necessity for an inspection of the
bookS and the examination of" the proceeding8" of the Bank should occur
during the recells of Congress. to what povrer was the Presidmt to apply~
No~ t~ a meeting of the Stockholders-nor .to a tri~nnial stat~ment of their
aft'aus-nor to the monthly statements furnIshed by the Cashier to the head
of the Treastlry; and delay would be injurious to the public interest!!.
There wa~ left to him but the one authority to which to apply-the Government Directors; otherwise it was vain and nugatory to imJ?Ose upon him a
duty the performance of which depended upon rus informatIon of the secret
proceedings of the Bank. Thus,it will be perceived, that all who at'e inter':'
e'sted and have a.right to inquire, have sources of information, save the President of the United States. whose duty is as high, and rnns parallel with,
that of Congress. Suppose he had been censured for overlooking abuses
which amounted to a forfeiture of ·the charter, and were ruinous to the
interests of the people, would it have become him to have answered, cc I had
no way of obtaining information."-cc I had no right to communicate with
those public officers commissioned by myself." ~o sustain us in the character which we 'give to these Directors, I would refer to the letter of MI'.
. Secretary Crawford, dated on the 3d of July, 1817, but a ver'! few months
after the Bank of the United States went into operation, In which that.
officer and statesman exclusively eorresponds with the five public directors as the propel' organ of communication and information between the
Executive and the Bank, and the proper channel through which to convey
his sentiments and opinions for the correction of the abuses of the· Banlt.
The .President therefore was right as to his authority to call upon those Dir~ctors for infornlatioll' of deep concern to the public, and it was their duty
to answer that caUl and impart to nim the knowledge they possessed. How
has that authority been exercised? The country was full of intimations of
the mischievous proceedings of the Bank, and of its hostile attitude towards
tPe Government. I~ this posture of affairs, the Chief Magistrate of the
Union, aware that he had a public duty to perform, addressed his lett~r of
the' 14th of A}?ril last, to the three Government pirectors residing in Phila~
. del}?hia, making the inquiries necessary to enable him to judge how far
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those proceedings demanded executive interference.
, It is a mistake that there was any secrecy enjoined or concealment sought:
Tbis charge upon him vanishes upon :l. moment's reference to that paragraph
, 9f hi~ letter upon which the imputation alone rests. In that paragraph he
simply remarks, that he did not wish to have the desired information "extended beyond the .personal knowledge" of those to whom he directed his
letter. He wish~d the information, which was intended for his own satis.faction, and which migh't be made the foundation 9f official action, ~o be
authentic, and hence he 'eautiously confines it to the personal knowledge ot
the Government Directors. He did not wish it to depend on rumor or vagae
newspaper accounts. Such w,as the true and obvious meaning of the letter,
and those who construed it into an injunction of secrecy were mis'taken.
Those Pl.\blic Directors, stationed by the law where the President foun4
them, and called upon them, like faithful sentinels, have given the alaJ1ll--;
like honorable men have told. the trut~ and.Iike men of capacity and iRtel~
Iigence, have given their information in a manner which justifies tht'ir confirmation to office by the Senate of the United States. All the facts disl

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._ed _,.. . . were·proper to 1te laid befOre·tJ.e pab1ie,

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by tbe Peaple, 1he owaera .f one·fifth of tke £apital .etlock of the Bank. .
'. 8Rppoae foNL: IIleIIlMt that • individai Stockholdert bad sought information, wouldltOt that portion of tile Directors elected by them, have bee•
.....iged iD disoiose similar information? If they had btrlieved that there
wu a breach of the charter committed, would it not have been their duty to
pe the inte1l~e to their constituents? ADd what more have the public
dir.ecters Gone wwards their constit_nt?· Independent of tllose tranuctiona ef the Bank, whick &0 deeply aftected the public weal, there were many
Arious and. aggravated acts of injastice towards the Publk Directors themIelves, contaiited in their memorial to us. A prominent and important one
of which was, that they were literally excluded from all participation in-the
proceedings of the BOard, and freq1leJltly from all knowledge of what WaB
4oing.
._
There was another lIICt of fresh occurrenoe-one committed since the com.tDeIICetnent of tbis ftebate, to which, at this moment, I desire to refer-the
refusal of the BaDk of .e UBited States:to transfer to the Banks of depesite, the bqoks, papers, .and funds relating to the payment of the pensions
(as they are commonly called) to the surviving officers and soldiers:of tba
revolution. This is anotAer and a new link in the chain of hostt1ity, by this
AIlcal agent against the Government that created. it. The Directors Of the
Bank pretend"' tojustify thia refusal upon theground that the Kxecutivehaano
.a1lthority to make 'Such order: thus setting up their ,Own judgments iD op,.
sitton to that.f the E~cutive, and withholding from the GoverlPllent ita
own funds. These books and papers contain the evidence of the periods
for which the pensions have been paid; and without them, it is impossible to
~ll with aceuracy what ],MLy.ments baTe heen made. as many changes may
have occurred since the last ·return. Payments to pensioners must, there.
fore, be suspended until those books and papers are procured, or DlIIJie at
fl1Ieh great .risk and uDcertainty as'hardly to justif.Y the measure. The
bank says that the business is of no coneequence to them-they onl'y with.hold the money and t.oeks that they may see that the laws are fl,\thfully
executed. This was taking upon themselves the constitutional province Of
the Executive of the United States! Was it just that they should tell the
Government, and those veteran creditors of the, Govermnent, "You must
-wait-payments shall be suspended until a law suit terminates this new8trife.~'
The change contemplated by the order of the Secretary of .War. was but
-. limited one, for he onli 80UJdlt a transfer of the fUDds in those places
",here banks had been se.ected" to receive' the'~blic deposites, intendin~
thereby to avoid the inconTenience of reccftl.veytng from them to the Bani
'Of the United States, th~ requisite sums of money. If there was Dot a
idetertnilted spirit prevailing with the Bank, to oppose aDd to 'rule, why not,
M all events, surrender the bOoks and the papers, in ord.er that the pay~
ments might proceed? 'Why not ~ve up th.emoneyr Tiley neither pretend
to disblll'lle it tliemse\ves, nor WIll they pennit the 'G(n<ernment to use n.
_~_:lt-the authority 8fthe SecretMy of War, and the oOnstruction ofthe la.8o
for a moment, cfluld be thought even dOllbdUI, benevolence and gratitttde
to those' aged and patriotic claimants, should have indicated a dift'erent
~f1I'Se. But n~! t~el'~fest a. spirit ~nieb every man in the country ..
hound to resist-a spirit wbidl. will !lot ~arQ even' thi9 hQ}y re1ll1lant of tn.
.eers and soldierfl Of the Revolution! I would invoke all who are left of
that'renowned cm-ps-I 'fV~ttld i~lore them to infuse their spirits i~ their
desce~ts--to ~semble ihem·together, and say to them, "In vam have
-we encounteredthe toils and ttle perilsofthe revolution; in vaiitbave we shed
our blood, .~d borne Our wound.s; in vain ha.ve we aehieved.glorious-vicao
ries, -aad gained a political prize'for yo. beyond all valae, anil greaterthu.
ever feU ~ the lot of na.ti:ons; in nin han we oveJ1hrown the oppres.u..
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of one ruler. if Jou now lubmit to the ambition of an 0lpcll1 wUeIl
struggles te rule m the very city where stands our hall of independence!"
Mr. President. I will now proceed-to take up in their eIder. and examine the two resolutions under discussion.
-The first resolution involves the question of political power. and in the
abstract. has really DO beariDg upon the most interestinl5 branch of our llrelent inquir,. It-contends for no corruption in the Preudent of the Umt"ed
States: it SImply charges him. if you analyze it, with entertainin~ partiCll1ar political VIews; having peculiar sentiments and ..,inions as to liis executive dll.ties; and that he assumed powers not granted to him by the CODStitution and laws of the country. because he removed one man from office anel
appointed another in his stead, (but not corruptly.) for the purpose of having
tlie laws executed agreeably to those honest sentiments and opinions. If even
-corruption had. been the cause of the removal from office of the former
incumbent, it would not restore him. nor vacate the appointment of his successor. or at all invalidate any of his official acts. I bike this first resolu.
-tion. and shall treat it as presenting two points for distinct consideration:
lst. The dismissal of the late Secretary from office. 2d. The appointment
of the pre'.lent incumbent as his. successor.
In the progress of this debate, I bad thought that the constitutional
right of removal from office was generally admitted to be vested ia
the President: that the Senate were inclined to acquiesce in the early deci~
.ions of our statesmen. and the continued usage of the Government-an
acquiescence every day~manifested by our acting upon Executive nominations to fill the vacancies occasioned by the exercise of that very power of
removal. Still, to my surprise, the power is assailed by arguments upon
this floor; is denied in the resolutions and proceedings of public meetings, and
in JIl8Jly of the memorials pl'esented to Ul!. With regard. lIir, to Mr.
Duane, it must beobvious to all, by discl081lres which he flas himselfvoluntarily made, particularly in his Orleans letter, that there were many things
~ peculiar in his"situation. opinion, and temper towards the President, that
every public and private consideration rendered his removal unavoidable.
He came into.oftice, ho1dingtowards the President the most unjust sentilIlents. He believed him. unfit for the high station to which the People had
.edled him; that he was the victim of passion and arbitrary feelin~ that he
was gaided, not hy his own judgment. but by a secret c8.bal of Irresponsible advisers; that he had never carried out, and never intended to carry
. out•. any political opinion which he had possessed. How was it possible for
the Chief Magistrate to act and proceed in harmon:y. with any hope of ben...
iit to the country. with a Secrettry, called to aid htm as one ofhi8confidential counsellors, and harboring in his breast such unjustifiable sentiments
and impressiobs. Support frOm such lion adviser. having DO confidence in
the integrity and purity of his prin~i • was not to be expected. But tbiJ
is not an: the ex-Secretary. losing· t of all that decorum and respect due
to the first o8i.cer of the People. an regardless of every thing like grateful
remembrance of that kindness which had placed him in a high and distin~ished position in the Government. tells the President, in one of his 016'Cialletters, that the contemplated measure of the removal of the depoeite..... insisted. upon. not from public cOll'lideratioJl8. but from vindictive and
arbi ~ motives. Such was the indecorous and inaultiDa laaau&e accompmying his remonstrance against the Executive act, called lor DY public
auty uid the general welfare. I wish I could step here. When serio..
diftlclllties had arisen in the councils of the nation. and it becaIIle apparent
that there coald be no coincidence of opinion between the President and
tile "Secretary. the latter gratuitously promisecl to ~. and thereby
remove the obstacle in the way of a meuure honestlybelieTed to be for the
JAlblic benefit; but 80 perverse and hostile was he iD. hi, sentiments towu,la

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the President, that ibis pmmise was disregarded, and he obstinately refuled
to leave a cabinet wherein his presence only produced di8lension. And
why? His two reasons, far from excusing himself, positively justify the
President in the step which he imme<\iately adopted: the first was.-that
when he gave his promise to resign. he thought he would not be called upon
to Juljil it! and, in the second place,-that he detel'mined to remain in office
that he miglat.fix upon the President the clKlrge of interfering witl, hi' o.litIial dutie8! With such sentiments and such views, he ou~ht not to havebeen retained one moment in office. Evel'y personal consideration, aside
from public duty, urged his removal. I do not desire to use one harsh word
towards Mr. Duane per30nally; bat, it may be asked, was it candidwas it fair, with such sentiments, to take office under any administration.
and then to retain the post with a ,iew to overthrow the head of it?
I shall proceed to snow that the act of removal from office was, indepen
dent of the personal considerations I have mentioned, constitutional and
lawful-was not an assumption of power, nor dangerous to the liberties of
the People. Impressed as the Chief Magistrate was, with the conviction
that the removal of the deposites was demanded by the public interest, it
was his duty, and his official oath required him, to take the step he did_
Not to have done 10, would have been shrinking from responsibility, one of
the ver!. qualities sought for by the unity of the executive powers in one
man. This right of removal from office has always been yielded and admitted upon that consitutional command upon him that "ne shall take care
that the laws be faithfully executed." A hi~h and delicate responsibility.
which he could hardly ever meet if the executive officers of the Government
were not under his control and supervision. But, it is argued that the Secretary of the TreaSttry is not the head of one of the Executive departments of
the Government, and, therefore, does not fall under the supervising power
of the Chief Magistrate-that he is alone responsible to the Legi'/ative, and
not to the Executive Department of the Government. This is a doctrine
of entire novelty; for I am sure that in all 'our laws, and in the political
history of the country, no other character was ever given to him than that
of an Executive officer. subject to the supervision of the President. He is
a Rlembel' of the Executive Cabinet; appointed and liable to removal by the
Presidekt. He is, it is true, the supenntendent of the public purse and the
finances of the nation, and these al'e under the exclusive control of the
legislation of Congress. But when that branch of the Government has
acted and passed laws and imposed duties to be performed in relation to
those finances, then attaches the Executive power, and then arises the
J!.risdiction of the President-the duty to see that the laws be faithfully executed immediately brings him into action. In the present
instance, Congress. on the 10th of April. 1816. had passed a law imposing
a care-a duty--on the Secretary of the Treasury, in reference to the deposites, the public finances of the country; and the execution of that
statute. and the duties arising under it, as in all other eases, are intrusted.
by constitutional obligations, to the watchfulness of the Chief Magistrate.
The Treasury certainly belongs to one of the three sreat deJl!lriments of
the Government, and the moment you classifi them. It can fall DO where
bat under that of the Executive. In the law of 1719. creating the Treasu-'
ry Department. the omission of the word Ie Bxecutive."is whoUy accidental'.
-and is too light a circumstance on which to rest the con~ction of a statute.
nus is indeed apparent, by turning to the very next law in the same
Tolume. passed but a few days afterwards, by the lame Congress, in whic'is fixed the salary of the head of the Treasury as one of tlie "Executive
ofticers of Government." The learned Mr. Rawle, in his Commentarie~ ia
enullleratil)g and commenting upon Ie the four Eneutit1' Departments."
iDeludes that of the Treasurv. The id section of the id article of the COD-

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atibtUQn of the UDitecl States has tt. clause: "H. (tile President] may
fl' require the opinion in writing of the princi{MLi officer in each of the Ezecutive Departments, upon any sllbject relating to the dllties of their re.4. spective offices."
It is under this authority that the Secretary of the
Treasury has always been viewed. as the principal officer of one of the
Ezecutive Departments, and in this character was Alexander Hamilton
called upon in 1791 by General Washington, to give his opinion as to the
.constitutionality of the Bank charter of that day. In reference to this inquiry, Judge Story, in the Sd volume .of his Commentaries, !lSKS, " What
... would become of the public interest, if, ..uring the rec:e88 of Congre88,
... the President could not displace an unfllithful head of a Department?"
,It was argued by Mr. Madison and others, "What would become of th.e
<c. public interests if, during the recess of the Senate, the President could
.. Dot displace a corrupt ambassador, or head of JJepartment, or other offi.. cer engaged in the Jiname8 or expenditures of the Government?" The
.authority is to be found in the. very nature of Executive power. The convenience and necessity of its exercise must be apparent-it is indispensable to prevent the failure and non-execution of tlie laws. It is very. true,
that like all other power, it is liable to be abused; ana it is equally true,
that the abusers of it would be liable tOjunishment-for no one doubts that
l"emqvals from office, made from bad an corrupt motives, or with a view to
bestow the office upon dependants, favorites, or sycophants, would be an
impeachable offence, and would subject the Chief Magistrate to removal
from his own high trllst. It is not a little remarkable, that when we are
enforcing this right of removal, to find in the 7th section of the act of 2d
. April, 1789, the very law creating the Treasury Department, the provision
.. that whenever the Secretary of the TretJIJUry shall be removed from ojJice
c. by the President of the United States, or in any other case of vacancy
c. in the office of Secretary," the assistant shall have the charge of the
records of the office..
.
Mr. Secretary Dallas, in his proposition relating to the national circulat.
ing med.ium iB 1815, says: "The acceptance of tbe notes of Banks which
... are not established by the federal authority, in payments to the United
... States, has been properly left to the vigilance and discretion of' the

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.. Ezecutive Department.' "
It appears to me, then, manifest and undeniable, that the Treasllry is one 01the .. Ezeculive Departments" of the Government, over which the constitution gives to the President the supervising power, and requires him "to
take care that the laws," falling within the province of the Secretary, shall
DOt only be generally executed, but shall be executed in the proper manner...
and at the proper time.
Let us, in can-ying out this position. in entire justification of the President,
turn to one or two other provisions of the constitution. Section S 01
article 2, contains the injunction that .. he shall take care that the laws be
wthfully exec~ted." ·W~at is the meaning of this constitutional command? What·ls the meanm~ of the word "care"-and what is the extent
.of the power conferred by it? When the functions and authority of the
Chief Magistrate alsume and are' confined to a milit8ry cast, the modes
of executing them are well clefined and unde.-.tood; but in reference to
1hose duties merdy civil. the constitution is silent, becauBe a particular and
~etailed description of the various modes and manner of executing them.
was entirely imprac:tioable. But, surely, the JIOwer and the duty .. to take
care that the laws be faithfully exeou.ted," 1S not sllspended until some
~pen rebellion shall have broken out ~inst the Government; nor to be
applied and called into action, only in dues of 'insurrection and forcible
tuiiianee. This general executive care and power of supervision is neces..
aary to every well-regulated free Government. However virtuous the
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:reupIe -.y be, the laws will Bot execute 1Mmael..8, and ufaitltful ......,
1!erW ollcen may Ite found at all times aad ia all eoutriea, who- req1lire t.
be watched and lIIOYed by tIM 81Iperior superinteJadiagauthority.
This jnjuJletion to see that t!Ie laws he llithfully executed, is coDlleeteli
with the Chief Magistnte'8 oath of 08ice, whieh binds.him "to preserve..
protect, and defelld the ·constitution." And in the eurcise of it lie is ja....
tified in cODtlulting the happiness, good order, safety, and merals of the
People.
.
Chancellor Kent, in bis Commentaries upon the CODlltitlttion aDd Laws eC
the country, distinctly maintains the position for which I am contendin5..
and declares, that "the a~jntment of the ofticers conceriled in the ulmin..
" iatration of the laws is, WIth propriety, given to the President, for the verr
" reason that he is bound to see that the laws are faithfully executed, and
" because he is charged with all the powers and responsibility of tbar
•• Executive Department." .
The President of the' United States, governed hy a eettled and conIcientious r~ for the public welfare, in his desiN. to I?roduce a transfer
of the deposltes, did not interfere with the national Legislature-that had
acted-and the law had pueed from under the hands of Congrell, and IwI
become the object of his 'constitutional and official" care." That law gaTe
to the Secretary of one of the Executive Departments the JIOwer of removing:
1be deposites of the money of the U-uted States" at any tlme" that he might
1hink proper to order. The time-the condition, arid ,roceeding» of theBank of the United States; and public sentiment towards It-rendered every
thing conneded with it the object of deep and intense national 801icitude~
and awakened in the President an anxious attention and demanded of hi•
.. to take ea,.e~' that tt.e law should not only be executed, but executed ia
the proper manner and at the. proper time. The act of Congrel8 had conferred the unrestricted authority to remove the deposites t but wu silent as
to the ezigenc!b the time, or O'CctJBion-leaving it to be ordered whoever~
ill the view of the Executive, public convenience required it. The vigi'"
lance and the exercise of. thls88pervising ExeC1ltive power il called for, in
a decided manner, in reference to the laws touching the revenue, the financea
of the Government.
As a further example to elucidate my ~ment, let us tum for a moment
to the Post Office Department. In its organization the Postmaster General
it vested with the power of the appointment of all deputy POI8trnasters, aad
~ have not aU our Presidents s1l1'ervise4 that establishment, and examIB.ed how the officer at tile head of It exercised that power? Have they not.
ill their Executive supervision, taken "tare" that fit and cat-ble persona
were appointed, upon all proper occasions, and in the proper timeP And, iC
I am. not mistaken, an instance.has occurred in the history of that depart_
ment, of the resignation, or the removal from olice of the head of it, in con..
tequence of an appointment, C?b,jeclionable to. the President, of a deputy ill
de of our great commercial cities.
Let us sup~e that Coogreu, upcm the preselltoc:cuiOn, should order theSecretary of the Treasury to restore the public depowites to the possessiotl
M the Bank of the United Iil~s, weuld it not be tile duty of the President,
iJl ~ exercise of that nl'J executive aDd civil function whioh we eIaiJn fOl'
him, to interfere~ And if the Secretary' of -the Treasury shoatd refule •
COIIIlpl.,. with the requisition of the. Legislature, or Mould omit to ad at the
proJter time; what would
do with lDm? You mla\lt impeach him; bat
would it be wise or ex . nt to wait the result of tLat prooeediagr The
COIIDti'y, and all Co~, with one veice, Would imperioUsly call uJlOl' the
President to remove' the refrt.etwy oIicerl .And in 8udr carie. is it like),
hla ad.enan. would c:1nup _poD him, as they ....., 1Iae ~ i6
iIe tbst reaobd:itn, ....t.had ,. . .Ulud the' uel-c:i.e • a po. . . oYer the
.. Treuury of the United States not p-antetl to him by the constitution ad

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4'."., and danaeroUs to th. liberties of tile people:" !uppoee that duiItc
ire put season tile umversal opinion of the country had called for the reme-

val ef the depNIites on the fint of October lut. anI:l an unyieldiq or unfaithCuI Seeretary had turned a deaf ear to the unbroken voice of the whole
community. and persisted in his refusal to make the transferr to whom
would you appeal? .Whole resJ»Onsibility-whose administration would
ha.~e to answer the censure and indipant condemnation of the Peopler The
President-the President alone would be responsible. In such case he dare
DOt fold his.arms in cold indifference and say "the Secretary of the Treasury is not an ' ezecutive oj!icer'-' he belongs to Co~ess'--he is not uader
myaupervision!!" No. SIr. the position to my mind JS perfec.tly c.lear. that
the Treasury is one of the " executive departmellts" of the government. and
4)f course. in the discharge of his civil functions. falls under the supervisioll
of the President. and that the removal of the late Secretary was justifiable
llPC)D every personal and political consideration.
The second branch of the first resolution. upon which. in part. rests the
eharge against the Preaident, of the unconstitutional and illegal assumption
of power. refers to the appointment of the 81lCCeSSor of the lately displaced
Secretary of the Treasury. By the remoTaI of Mr. Duane, the office beeame
vacant-and it must be filled. The President had a great administration
measure to execute, one which he conscientiousl, believed . essential to the
pub~ic wtlfare and purity of our political institutions. With such an object
m view. and under such impreSSions, it would have been unwise--.bsurdlluMifying, in fact, his own civil functiollll. to have selected a successor-a
cabinet counsellor. not holding, upon cardinal questions, the same ~nci­
pIes and -opinions with himself. Tile political propriety of this coincJdence
Of opinion between the responsible head of the governJllent and the Secretaries of the chief executh'e departments, has always been admitted and uniforml~ practised upon. The exemplary private character of Mr. Taney,
aad his well known high qualifications as a jurist and a statesman, would,. it
was confidently believed, have secured his appointment against all liability·
to objection. But private and public virtues have not afforded him a shield.
It is a mistake to suppose that he crept into· office by a corrupt suppleness
and pliancy to Executive will. His principles and opinions as to the Execu·
1ive measure under discussion, were not of m.ushroom and sudden growth.
'It is well known that Ile had. long before entertained and expressed a eonviction of the propriety of the measure which he has since carried out, and
.acbocated the necessity of the removal of the public deposites with a view
to the winding up of the ·concerns of the Bank. He went into a ~lex­
.ing offi4:e, without desiring it, to execute his own purpose; and the honesf
agreement of opinion between himself and the President, neither affected
his ap"pointment in a moral or pulitical light. Having inclIrred, at an early
period. the responsibility of the advice, his honor oblie;ed him to incur the
-responsibility of its execution. He could not shrink from a duty, the impulse of wliich carried him into an office, out of which he would gladl1
·have remained, if hie J».ivate wishes and the posse88ion of another higll
.8tatil)n harm.nizi~ With the pursuit of his profession, could have prevailed •
. U]IOn taking up, od preeeedingto·the direct conSIderation of the second
resolutioll offered by the Senator from K.entucky, it must not escape obeer·
-ration that that resolution, the report of the Comnntiee of Finance just preaented to us, as well as the memorial of the Bank of the United States,
admit, that the removal of the public deposites had be~n made by the Seeretary of the TreaIIIlry hinaself. They, also, not.only acknowled~ the geaenl cOatrol of that Executive ofticer over those depcHRtes, but that his authori.,. 1'e&Ching beyoad the rigllt of merely ...pe1iding the operation of the
16th. aeetion of the daarter, extends to the withdrawal of the -.oney actualy upen depoIite ill. the Jluk. TIUa eecond re_uu.n.· dlerem, unlike

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the
ehaqes &0 usuaption of ulawful pewer; IMlt, .. I ba.. ahra,.
uid. tenders tlte true and . legitimate question arising out of the 16th MCtion, and the &etion of the Secretary upon it. It il. Wall the act of the
Treasury Department eX,Pf!dient-jIl8tified by the exiating circumatanceaby the emergency? Behevil15 this to be the proper i88Ue, I have all alo.
been unwilling to embarrus. or obscne it; and hence, at an early day in tb&
debate. I Toteci against the amendment offered by my hODOnble friend froID
Mi880uri.
Thi8 16th section. which seem8 to have been received without concern.
when .introdu~d into the charter as an amendment, now awakeD8 uniTenal
attention, and ita true construction becomes, at this moment, an object of
deep national and rlitical attraction. I take up this section, and in my
construction of it, asaume the three positioD8:-18t. That the pOWtf' Of
the Secrehtry of the T reasury over the public d~pusites, is absolute and
unqualified. 2d. That the manner in which he bas executed that
power, is unobjectionable: and 3d. That his retUons are satisfactory and
sufficient. .
Upon the first position: The 16th section, when closely examine4, in connexion with the history and usage of the Treasury Department, will be
found not to restrict, but to be an explicit confirmation. of the unqualified
power which had, without interruption, uniformly been acknowledged and
exercised by the head of that Department.
.
That section divides itaelf into two paragraphs-the first declaring that
the deposites of the mODel of the United States 8hall be made in the Balik
of the United State.. and ita branches, unless the Secretary of the Treasury shall" at any time otherwise order and (lirect." Thus distinctly declaring that. upon aU occasions, the funds shan not only be placed in those
depositories, but shall remain there at the will of the Secretary.
The second paragraph of the section goes no further than merely to impose upon Rim the duty of re\"'rting his. reasons to COilgres8 for the order.
let the occasion be what it Blight upon which the authQrity was exercised.
Thi8 duty of reporting "his reasons" to the Legislature, does not in any
Jl)aDner control the unqualified power granted by the first branch of the
8ection; nor in the 8lightest degree diminish ita force, or restrict it as to the
04:casi.on or "time" upon which it should be exercised. It simply says, in
plain lan~age, to the Secretary, "Exercise your undoubted control over
the depo8ltes as U8ual: but when you do act, all that we require of you is,
to give your reasons to Congress, in order to enable that body to decide
whether any legislation may be necessary upon the subject." The extent of
the authority i8 distinctly defined. and determined by the first branch of the .
section, independently and without restriction, by the l~age that follows.
The one gives the authority, and the other imposes an inCIdental dllty.
It is difficult to as~rtain how, and for what object, this section, new become, in its CODstruction, so interesting to the nation, had creJlt into the
charter of the Bank. I have taken some pain8 to examine ana trace ita
history, and I am yet left to conjecture as to ita object,.or the cause of ita
origin. There is no realion to believe that this amendment was en.!' inteojeel to change the rule, or impair that salutary control over the public finances alway8 vested in. and exercised by, their superintendent. It is conject\U'aI, to be Rlll'e, but I think it not improbable, that it was a proriaion
lOug!tt by the friends of the Bank, who may have been more inclined to
COJltmue under the control of the Secretary of the Treasury, than to be
thrown into the haads of Congress, upon whem popular inftuence and a
combination of the State BankS midit be brought to bear under particular
circ1UD8tancea 1".& the prejadice of tl1e institution. The proTision is not to
t.e fOllnd in the origiDal draft by Mr. Secretary Dallal, nor in the oriainal
bill. Upen ptll'luiagmy i..,.uiry. I fi~d tile amendment to be in the MIMi

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~ • a ge1dl8M1Ul thea a .preleataDve ill -the II.,. &Qat NewHanapihire, and now a ttiMinguithed Senator upoll tltis iloor; it pa$Hll.
lrith a IBMS of other amentimenu; does not appear to haTe attracted aDy atleBtion; produeed no debate, bat was adopted in a way plainly mallifestin~
tlsat it must ha.v.. been well understood to prodllCe no new role nor change,
in the practice of the Treasury Department. The section may haTe been

tk8igned • a beaelt to the Bank, but it is ebrious it was a contillgent ooe,
entirely depending on the mere volition of the Secretary.
, Standing upon the argument that no diminution of authority, nor change
in the usage Of the Treasury Department, were intended by th.e introdllcUoB
of this 16th. ~ction into the Bllnk charter, it is material to ~ back and
ascertain from our political history, the extent of that authority, and the
p~tedents arising under the exercise of it. It will be found that every
~ of that history not only sustains the rights claimed by the Secretary
9f the Treasury. but distinctly marks out the two channels in which run
1I1e separate and well. defined duties of those two ofticers, the Secretary of
the Tl"easury and the Treasurer of the United States. Commencing with
the continental ordinance of 1776, the first on the Hubject of the establishment of a Treasury Department, and ronning thrCNgh the many mutations
in regard to the management of the finances, you will find that it has always
been the indispensabfe policy of the country tolut under the responsible
head of the Treasury, an unqualified· control an superintendence over the
tieposites. The only law which, in definite and precise words, apeaks of
tile disposition and the place of deposite of the puollc money, besides this
16tll seetion, is the ordinance of tile 30th of July. 1779, wherein one duty
imiJ08ed on tbe I I Board of 'I'reaftlry" was .. to deposit. in proper oJitu,
" all moneys arising from loan8, taxe8, and lottene8;" and therein It w••
enjoined upon .. the Trea.twer. to receive and keep" the moneys that might
be so raised. Trace the subject from our earliest day down through the administration of the Department by Robert Morris, Alexander Hamiltnn AllM!rt Gallatin, 'William H. Crawford. and all others, and you diseovernothing
but an' acknowledged and unintf'rrupted exercise of the authority upon the
principles claimedby the present Secretary. Setting out in the pul'81lit ofthi.
Mlbjeet from another point, and passing tht"OUEh anOthel' channel of inquiry,
the Bank charters, ~u will find that, until the bear this am.endmeBt was
made. although these bank charters were always granted upon the belief oftheir necessity as fiscal agents in the management of the financ.es of the
couat.,... yet there is not a single legislative provision, nor a line intronced, impairing the unqualified control of the Seeretary of the Treasury
. over the public (leposites. All the bank bills,'beginning in December, '81,
with that of the Bank of North America. are silent on the BUbjeet, because
public :policy and expediency forbid legislative interference with this necessary power of the Secretary. The proposition of Mr. Dallas, in 1814,
went upon the same principle; and the bill of that year pused the two
Houses of Congress without a word upon the 81I~eet. In the bill of the
rollO'Wing session, this 16th section was introduced in itle way I have BleIlilmed. partaking something of the character of an interpolanOB, without
))l'M1tCing any se.sation, because, to my ..nderstandiag, aDd apparently i.
the c0B8ideration of Congress, it left tile subject just Where they fou.lld it.
What construction. sir. has been put upen this 16th seCtieB, and how bas
its ltOWer been exercised by the predeces8Ol'8 of Mr. T-aney in ofliceP There
ia distinct evidence every where scattered tbPOUgh our documentfJ, that Mr.
Crawford used the power, and freq1lently threatened to exert it to cort'eCt
jIle abuBel of the Bank, aDd te proaote the public mterests atMl the com.
'Mereial eon'femence. He did net confine the uee of the power to ". exer-:·
tion. to restore speoie .payments-nor te the resolution p&"I_ .... '& vi_
to 1hahb,;.chn die ~ of Atd. MMi-....... the 1DGIM1 011 depesite .,

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17
tRe State .Banks. when the Bank of the United States went into operationbut he asserted the authority frequently. 8ub~quent to the adjustment of
all disorders in the currency of the country, and always under the 16th
section of this charter. The instance prior to that period, testified by his
letter of the,sd July, 1817, valuable a.s a precedent upon Dlany points of
the pr€sent controversy, shows distinctly the views he entertained of the
weight of the influence held over the Bank by this power to remove the
deposites, and that he would promptly use it to correct any contemplated
mischief by the Bank. Mr. Secretary Ingham gave the same construction
to the power.
The confmittee of investiga~ion in 1819, was composed of Messrs .
• Spe~cer, Lowndes, McLane, Tyler, and Burwell, and they all agree in
saymg.. They have not recommended the adoption of any immediate measures
.. to correct the ~ay evils and millchiefs they hafe depicted, excepting that
.. of the bill before mentioned., because, by the provisions of the charter, the
.. Secretary of the Trearury has full powe~ to apply a prompt and adequ~e
" ~medy"-and that ,/ remedy," upon which the members of the commlttee united, was the application of the power to .. remove the'deposite;;."
In the history of 'the present Bank, you will find that the advocates for
striking out the ~rovision to appoint five Government Directors, all depended for control over the Bank'in the power of the Government." to withhold
the public deposites." The gentleman then representing the , State of Delaware in tht' House of Representatives, opposed to the bill on the ground
tllat it was to be a Government Bank, declares in one of his speeches:
.. The Hercules ':s in the system-in the power that the Government proposes of continuing o~ withholding its deposites." And the late much
lamented Mr. Lowndes, in March, 1819, remarks: "The charter had given
" to the Government powerful means for reatraining tlu error, and con" trolling the c~nduct of the Bank"-and one is, "the withholding the
public deposites." The member of the committee of investigation in 1819,
from Virginia, (Mr. Tyler,) speaks repeatedly of the control of the Secretary of the Treasury over the deposites;' of his power to select a safe ,d epository; and, in one instance,' uses the phrase, "the Secretary of the
TrefUUry would find a place of deposite."
And Ml'. McDuffie in his report of 15th April, 1850, says: "The Secre" tary of the Treasury, with the sanction of Con~es8, would have the
" power to pr~vent the Bank from ul\ingits power unJUItly and oppruaively,
" and to punish anT ,attempt on the part of the Directors to bring the pecu" niary influence 0 the instittltion to bear upon the politics of the country.
" by withdrawing the Government depoBites from the offending branches.
" But this power would not be lightly exercised by the Treasury, as its
" exercise would necessarily be subject to be reviewed by Congress; it ill
" in its nature a salutary corrective, creating no undue dependence OR the
" part of the Bank."
.
'The very plain and distinct admission in this report, every positi~ll of
which was sustained by the advocates of the Bank. goes further than I con- •
tend for in one particular; for it not only admits the power in the Govern ..
ment to withdraw the public deposites as a punishment for' any attempt at
.. political influence" on the part of the Bank. but adniits that the ]?Ower
may be " lightly exercised by the Treasury." And Mr. Crawford, In his
letter of July 31, 1820, says, that the duty of reporting to Congress was
I I to
prevent the exercise of the power capriciou.ly." Thus it is, that
whilst every authority and precedent admit the unqualified extent of the
power, these two authorities acknowledge that the same power may be used
10 .heck polilical interference-may be exercised" lightly.." and even "CtIpriciolUly'" But, at the same time, cODstruing th~ .econa paragraph of the
2

18
1~ sec_ .. I do, maintain that the u tluly," diltinet mnil • t. f*I1'J'. "
Which ebl~ tile lecretary AID ~ri his reasofta m C&ngreu, will allfa,..
restrain his diseretion and render him C&lltiOl11l, for the sake of his owa ~­
patation,how he exercises the power. It is for Cengress to review the
proceeding of the Secreta..-! of the Treasury. The Bank itself has ne
light to complain. It is no infringement up()n their charter. They took
the deposifes, knowing the contingency that they were held by an WlCertain
tenure, the will of a SeCretary.
The argument advanced by the honorable "Senater from Maine, (Mr.
Sprague,) as applied to the present case" is fallacious. He 'maintains.
(what I do not pretend to deny) that IOU cannot mak.!l a bank for coI'rllllercial purposes alone: it is only as aji,eal agent, and must continue as sueh to •
the end of its charter: remove its fiscal agency. and you do what Congre!JII
has not the power to do. I admit, that upon this .. fiscal agency" in the
charter, alone depends its constitutionality; but. that agency still exists: it
is not destroyed. nor the' principle in any way affected, by the removal of
, the deposites. Their contingent liability to be removed" was s~read upon
the face- of the charter: and the character of fiscal agent still continaes, whether the Government may have more or less of its funds in the Bank.
Sir, an honorable Senator from South Carolina, opened the statute book,
and making a particular reference to the charter, assumed tlie argument tlurt
the deposites formed a part of the charter; were one of the benefits conferred, ror which the bonu, was given, and could not be removed without a
violation of the contract. I reailily admit that the deposites were one of the
benefits, confeITed by the law upon the Bank; but they were, as I. have
already maintained, a contingent benefit, of a very frail nature, relying
entirely for their value upon the will. of the head of the finances. I admit,
mo, sir, that the charter of the Bank is a contract, not to be infringed upon
without a violation of the pledged faith of the Government; but, I deny that
these deposites ever entered into the" eon8ideration" of that contract, or
imposed any obligation on the part of the G<rVernment. There was an error
in referring to tlie sections of the charter, when the 15th and 16th were
quoted as connected and running into each other, and as containing the
obligatiOn and consideration between the Government and the Bank. These
are contained in the 14th and 15th sections. In the fonner, the Go~I'n­
mettt engage to take the notes of the Bank, "in aU payments to the United
S~tes; Mul, in the latter, (the 15th,) in consideration thereof, the Bank
agrees to transfer the public money wherever required. This is very briefly
stilting the substance of these two CODSecutive sections: but, the next, \th~
16th section,) is ali insulated 'one," substantially declari~ that the d~pnS1.tes
shall be made in the Bank of the United States, subJect to be removed
whenever the Secretary may direct it. No consideration is given, nor could
.y be asked by tbe Government,because there was no mutuality-the
deposites being altogether contingent-subject to the will of an ofticer
entirely independent of the Ban~. Further,' sir,-the 14th section pro1ides tbat the bills or notes shall be .. receivable in all payments to the
United. States, lInless otherwise directed by act oJ Congre88." ,Nothing
short of a 1mb of Congress can prevent the .. bilts or notes" of the Bantt
from being taken in payment of the revenue to the 'Government. But thia
detached, uncOnnected 16th section, treating the public deposites as a less
itiiportaDt matter, and as one not entering into the consideration of the contract, lelves the power and directiGn with the Secretary of the Treasury';'"
l~ft there. too, because Congress did not wish to change the praetice of the
Oevernment, nor bnpllir th~ accustomed control over the depesites. If the
iDtentien t1f 'OOngrtS8 was otherwise, why were not the depoaites. aBd th
wns,a:ii~ ~otelt.plA'ced llp~tl the same footingP If the one enteM in'tb the
~wet "as well. tlle .er. why was it not Illso enacted. that die depo-

,,' 'I
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19
~ites 8hould remaiQ with the Bank " unless otherwise directed by act of Congress?" Let me observe, too, in the conclusion of this part of ,my argument, that the Sl'cretary was not even bound, in the first instance, to place
the deposites in the Bank. Mr. Crawford, upon the organization of the
Bank, in February, 181 7, might have altogether refused to give them the
possession of the public money, if he had beLieved it would be unsafe; or,
that by withholding it, he could avert mischief, oppression, public inconveJ).ience or embarrassment. And I go further, and. affirm that Congress, in
the true spirit of our institutions, could not intend, and never did intend,
to put the public purse, in any way, under tjle control of a Bank; nor to
enable any such institution, upon any occasion, to say, "Weare to be
•
consulted before the Government f;:an make its own disposition of its own
funds!!"
These are my views of the extent of the power of the Treasury over the
deposites; a power sustained by universal usage-by precedent-the opinions of our statesmen, and by the manifest constructIon of the law.
My next inquiry, sir, is, 10 what manner has that power been exercised
upon the late occasion, by the Secretary of the Treasury? For the answer
I might safely content myself with a reliance upon the fact. that he haa
walked in the footsteps of his predecessors, and pursued the precedent
found in the practice of the Government.
The ,first objection to the mode of transfer, came from the honorable
mover of the resolutions, and which was, that the Treasurer of the United
States, and not the Secretary, should have selected the new depository tor
the public money. A stral'lge and novel doctrine, subversive of every principle of the Treasury Department and of the uniform practice of the Government! Foreign to every duty of the Treasurer--an inferior officer who
never has had any thing to do with the selection or control over the place ~f
deposite; What has he to do with the transfer? Is that high and responsible officer of the Govel,"nment at the head of the Treasury, to say to him:
.. I have determined to remove the public deposites, to what place shall they
.. , be carried?" This would be reversing the order of the,offices,.and makilll
the Treasurer the' superintendent of the finances. If you confer upon him
the right to select, he would have authority to change the depository. The
moment the public de,POsites are removed from the Bl1-Ilk of the United
States, the only place mdicated by any law for their reception, the Trea8Q.rer would then, ac<:ording to this doctrine, now broached for the very first
time, have an uncontrolled authority over the deposites. He might restore
them to the parent Bank, or place them in its branches. If the Treaaurer
, had the power to select the depository, what Secretary would ever incur the
responsibility of removing the deposites? There is a particular form of
warrant, known to all times, signed and issued by the Secretary, tQ bring
money into the Treasury. The Treasurer makes no deposites-puts no
money in the Treasury. The treasure is first collected for him by the head
of the Department, and then it is his duty to take care that no money goes
out without his warrant. He has nothing to do with the collection of the revenue into anyone place-nothing to do with custom-house office~r merchants bonds--or with the receivers of public money. The treasure is first
created for him, and then it becomes tlie object of hi8 care.
,
"The Treasury of the United States" is an expression of somewhat indefinite meaning. ' It does not signify locality; nor any precise and distinct
~um of money accumulated in one particular place, or vault, or b\lilding.
It means. more properly, a. credit, a fund, on which the Government.
through its appropriate officer, can draw at pleasure. That officer is the
Treasurer; and that credit or fund is first created by the Secretary. Frem
1776 down to the p"sent day, the Treasurer never haS had anything to
.do with the place of deposite. In all the debates in 1791. in 1 R11 ir 1 A14:

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'15. and '16. and in 1819, the control of the Secretary over the deposites.
wu not obly acknowledged, but his ri~ht to select the place of deposite was
atlmitted Wlth equal unanimity. In gomg through our whole statute book you
will nnd that the only law which, in express words, marks the distinction in
the duties of those two officers in thi!> very particular, iS,the old continental
ordinance of 30th of July, 1779. It is so singularly applicable, that I
~n quote its language: " The Board of Treasury shall deposite in proper
oJftces all moneys arising from loans, taxes, and lotteries;" and the Treasurer " shall receive and keep." .This phrase, denotinO' tbe dut, of the
Treasurer, "he shall receive and keep," was afterwards '1iterally mcorporated with the law of ~ September, 1789, and has but one obvious meaning, that, after the Secretary has" selected the proper offices," and estab- •
lished the fund, the Treasurer shall then "receive" it from his hands, and
" keep" it safe f;-om all drafts not founded on appr~priations by Congress.
One word Mr. President, in answer to the argument drawn from
his official bond. The penalty of that obligation is no higher than the sum
of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. A penalty that never could
have been intended to cover the whole treasure of the United Statp.s! can
carry with it no sllch impression, that his responsibility for many millions
gives him the ri~ht, over the head of the Department, to select the place of
deposite. Its hmited amount obviously shows that it is intended solely as
a security for his own personal fidelity.
The next objection by which the Secretary is assailed for his manner of
removing the deposites, arises out of the much debated "contingent trans",.
.
fer draft~."
A recurrence to d'ates, sums, correspondence, and all the circumstances
at~ending these drafts, will place the COndll~,t of the Secretary far beyoB~
the reacn of any merited censure~ I regret; sir; that in the warmth and
excitement of debate, gentlemen have manifested feel~ngs and adopted ~
uperityof language towards him, not at all justified by Iiis official conduct.Scrutinize his correspondence and instructions in reference to those contiBgent drafts, and you will be cominced that he was not only guided. by a
view te eommercial convenience, benefits, and facilities, but by a manifest
spirit of j~tice and liberality towards the Bank of the United States. No
one can real} this correspondence between the Secretary and the selected
deposite Banks, without being struck with his ardent desire to protect the
commercial community, and save it from aU pecuniary disorders. The
fonn of these transfer drafts, (a copy of which IS now held in my hand,)
modified and improved bv Mr. Secretary Ingham, is the same as thatllsecl
by ~epredecessors of tlie present S~cretary. It is drawn by the Secretary; 8IgDed by the Treasurer, countersIgned by the Comptroller, and recorded by the Register. It is the same form of warrant which originally transferred the public deposites into the Bank of the United States. It was the
first intentio~ of the Secretary, in his measures to execute the order of removal. to drAW the public money gradually out of the Bank of the United
States, ~ national convenience and the wants of the Government would
require; and to manage this matter so gently' as to produce no inconvenience or embarrassment in any quarter. But his liberal intentions were
frustrated, and Iris amicable disposition proudly disregarded by. the Dire~­
tors of the Bank. And even then, the sums draWIi out by those contingent
drafts, were of no imporlance in amount, and were spread over three of the
prillcipal cities of the Union.
..
.
It has pleased honorable Senators, in a harsh but undeserved cen8ure
!lPO~ the Seeretar,r, ~ charge uJ?On him concealment and desingenuou8ness
m hIS manner of ISSUIng aJid,uslDg the transfer drafts. One moments review of the object (or which the drafts were ~ven. and the instructioaa
aecompal1yi»g them. must pro8trate tid!! accusation. There was no concea1.-

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ment; for the drafts w~re issued as a pllblic official act, 51ed through all
the bureaus of the Treasury: and were re-gisteted by the
.ster; whereby
.a public record of them. was made, to which every individua in the country.
has access. In the correspoDllence of the Bank with the Treasurer of the
United States, a knowledge of the existence of these drafts is admitted;
but the Treasury Department is taken to task for not h!l.ving given the information through the customary form of communication. And further, sir,.
as evidence that these drafts were not the lurking and concealed instruments
of qistrust and confu.sion, stealing unexpectedl, upon a confiding and unsus~cting agent, I refer to the aclc.nowledged fact, that the Bank had been
buslly engaged in the reduction oOts loans, to the amount of millions, for
three months before some of these drafts were even presented for payment!
Why? For. no other purpose than that of" being prepared to meet" transfer
drafts of the deposites.
Again, sir. The Cabinet paper is dated on the 18th, and published in
the Globe on the 2sd of September last. Of course the Bank of the Unit~d
States, and the whole countr knew that the measure ef removal would go
into operation on the first 0 October'. At that period, what was the state
Of things, and the peculiar position of the selected Banks, in the cit}" of
New York more particularlyr It is well known that the" Branch draJls,"
(I :will not misname them, for the Judiciary have decided they are not
.0 Bank notes,") were the principal issues and circulation of the Bank of
the United States-that those of other Branches were rejected by the office
. at New York,' and ranged in the pecuniary fluCtuations and exchanges of
ihat city, at a disc.ount of a quarter, a half, and" at one percent. In this
posture ·of atrairs, with increased means, derived from a rapid reducuQn of
loans by the Bank of the United States, two evils were fairly. apprehended
immediately after the tirst of October. One, that the Branch Bank at New
York (I take that as an instance) would refuse to receive, in li~uid;Ltion of
balances, the Branch drafts of all other and distant offices. The other,
that they would make .a rush for specie upon the local Banks. The selected deposite Banks considered themselves perfectly safe; but conceived that
by ·the tirst of these apprehended evils, they mignt be so crippled as not te
be able to carry Qut the liberal instructions or the Secretary of the Treasury, and afford those commercial facilities which he was so anxious should be
extended to the community. Under these impressions, the Treasury Department, with a view in reality to the 'defence of the whole community,
furnished these much abused. and distorted contingent transfer drafts-c8ntin~nt, because they were only to be used in case of the bad behaviour of
the Hank, ·in rejecting the paper ()f their sister Branches, or in; making a
press for coin upon the conti~ous local Bap.ks. The fair and ingenuous
Character of this transaction IS manifest, by the Secretary's letters of inwhich I will now present to the Senate.
Structions to the deposite Banks, _
(Here Mr. Wilkins read Mr. Taney's letters to the local Banks.]
.Who can read these letters, and afterwards; ,with any justice, ~t re
proach .upon t~e act.itselt, or the temper of mind from which it proceededr
" They lnix-erabvely enforce upon the selected Banks to be governed by a
•• disposition to adopt the most liberal course towards otbermoneyed institu.. tions"-u to afford by· means of the public money, increased facilities to .
• r commerce"-u·to extend their accommodations to individuals generally;" .
and (without doing injustice to the claims of others) "more particularly to
the merchants engaged in foreign commerce." Such was the disposition
of the Secretary towards other loeal institutions and the commercial community. But in reference to the' Bank of the United States, a spirit of.
atnity restrained him within limits which the conduct of that insbtution
would have justified him in transcending. In his. letter of the 7th of October to the Girard Bank, he advises them that .it must be distinctly under-

f,

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stood .. with respect to the demand that might be made by the Bank. of the
.. U. States on tIie State Banks, for the payment of ballUlces due by theJD •
balancelJ that might exist at the. .
.. in specie, he had reference only to
.. time oj the removal of the public derolJitclJ, and not to any future balan.. ces that might arise; and that it wit not be required by the Bank of the
.. United States to receive the branch notes and drafts, unless !\tey hav~
" been I:eceived by the deposite Banks in payment oj duties to the Govern-

tIle

.. ment."

. 'Let us, sir'jroceed a little further. The 1st day of October fell on
a Tuesday, an when the application was made to the branch at New York'
to know whether it would redeem the branch drafts, they asked delay in the
~swer until Saturday, and then again until Monday. During this critical
interval, what was in contemplation, or what would be the result, no one •
(lould tell. The power wa.s held in suspense onr the heads of the deposit.
Banks, and whetIier it would be used in an attack upon them for their coin,
or in a refusal to receive the branch drilfts, was an ullcertainty which justi~
fied the Secretary in arming the Government de}l0sitories with those .ran~
fer drafts, to be presented onl;r under the restrictions contained in his instructions, and upon the contingency that self-defence might render theirv-se necessary. :
.
.
. ' .
The whole amount of those transfer drafts was only two million three-.
hundred thousand dollars, spread over the three great commercial cities of
Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore. At the time they- were drawn..
the Secretary- well knew the condition of the Bank of the United Su.tes
and its branches; that they then held upwards of nine millions of the publicmoney, and that .they hadin Philadelphia, and the other two cities, more.
coin than would have been necessary to meet the drafts. If the whole·
amount, therefore, had been drawn in specie, it would not have produced
any embarrassment_ But, sir, the case was very diilerent., Two of the'
dr8fts were returned to the TreasllrJ'. never having been presented, each for'
five hundred thousand dollars, leavmg but one million three hundred thousaJld dollars demanded and taken; a great .portion of that, too, not for more.
than a month after the drafts had been issued, and then only demanded
when the State Banks were drawn upon for specie; and, tinally, that sum;.
80 unimportant to the Bank of the United States, was spread over the three
cities; in New York half a million, the same sQ.m in Philadelphia, and three..
hundred thousand in Baltimore. Here then, sir, you have all the circumstances of this much e~rated transaction of the transfer drafts! How
. dift"erent has been the con-duct of the Bank of the United States in this city
within.a few days past! By their branch here they accumulated a demand
upon the ~ank of the Metropolis, a deposite Bank, to an amount exceeding one hundred thousand dollars. In liquidation of it, and in the hope.
they might produce disorder and embarrass the arrangements of the Government,"they r.cfused to take "branch drafts"-refused a check on the
JNU'ent Bank in Philadelphia-demanded coin, and finally carried oft"from.
this deposite Bank, fifty thousand doUars in specie.
Mr. President, I do not like retaliation by the Gove~·nment, otherwise I
migbt. with great propriety, turn to the decision of the highest. judicial tribunal iii. the country, in the case of the United States against Brewster,
reponed in 7th Peters; and, if I had the ri~ht to advil'le, t.ell the Secre- .
1:afy of the Treasury to stand upon that deClsion of the Supreme Courtto retaliate upon the Bank-to follow their own example, and to reject, in
payment of debts to the United States, those illegal "Branch dralts." But,
sir, I bave no wish to see snch order of just retaliation; and there is no
foundation in fact for the report that the Secretary of the Treasury meanS
to be governed by any other spirit, or views, than those which will preserve, as far as the public interests will permit, the present condition and..

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ct1lm.1ercial c:ovae of the CC)untry. This m.eoVer8 auotller m.~
ind.ukence to this overbeari..g in8titutiOll; for thej~ntmwhich I refer.
e8t$u8hes the principle that a "b~ch. dra,ft" is not a .. note or bill.'?
under the 18th section of the charter, and therefore cannot, under the 14di
8~tion. fan under the denomination of those "billsl18d notel" JQJ.de "receiv·
~le in IIll paYlPentsto the Uni~ States."
'. .
A wol'Cl of reply, sir. may be necessary to another objection t:aised by ~
h.pol'!lble Senater. to the form of these transfer dnUts. It i8 all~ that
.thw form and character are 811Ch. not following the J!rovisions of the 4th
section of the law of the 941 of SeptetPber. 1789. that if the cashier or
eer to whom they might be paid. should em~zle the lIlGIley. it would. be
to the los8 of the Government••nd not thac of the deposite Bank.
I have in ~y hand one of these 4rafts: look at tile fwm of it. and you
have at once an answer to the objection. It has to it the siptures of all tile
requisite Treasury officers; and it it made payable to the order of the
President or the Cashier. in his oBlcial capacity. 'flie JlI'esent..~on of the
draft. and the receipt of the money would. therefore, be a c:orponte transaction, conducted by the agent. and which would certainly render hi8 pria.
ciJ!&l, the Bank, responsible. If authority can be called {or upon a leaal
pnnciple $0 plain, I .refer Senato~ to the decision, directly.in point, in._
case of the Mechamcs' Bank agaInst the Bank of Columbia, reported m 5
Wheaton" page :326. The 4th section in tbe law of '~9, to whicK the 8e....•
wr referred, ~d which .specifie8 the dutie8 of the Treasurer, and declares
how . hi8 . warrants shall be drawn, has reference only to wart'IUlts of m,..
btwf~~those for the payJllent of money out of the T~\lry, under
l!oPpropnatioDs to creditors of the Government. and not W. trt.Dsf~ d.... ·
from one depositol'! to another: If it were desired, umler the QbligatioD 4)f
the 15th section of the charter, to transfer public funda fm: t1\e \l$e of the
Government, froJ,ll the Bank of tbe Uaited St• • to aome dietallt place
where there is no branch, or if it were now; desired to restore the public
deposites, you would not resort to the 4th section of the law of '89, for the
fol'lJl of the transfer draft, but to the .one now before us, adopted by the
~tiee of the Go~rnment.
. The same honorabte Senator raised another difticulty on behalf of the
disbursing officers and agents of the Government, which, he contend8,
must pI.'oceed from the m~ner and effect of the transfer of the depo8ites;
and argues that the funds of those officers, placed in local baqk!!•. wt\lllcl·.
upon their own re8ponsibility antJ risk, and D,Ot at that ~f the Govenamtnt'.
Ia advaJUlingthill~gUment, the ~th seoti4)n ~ the act (if the sel ofM....~
1809, was overlooked.. It declares that " public ageats shall keep the pu));
" lic, moneys 'in thei::- hands, in aomeincorporated Bank, to be designated
" ~r that purpose by the President of t~e United States." Of course, if
the disbursing officer deposites the public money in any bank, agreeably 1:9
the designation of the President, he c:omplies with the I"w, and the fund.
~ DO lQOger at his hazard, but at th ...t of the GoveroB\ent.·
.
Tile remaining objection advanced ~t the manner of eJ;ec,uting the
ord~ of removal by the Secretary, is fouJlded upon the alleged want of
authority to make, and the provisions contained in. tbe contrac;ts made
.ith the new d.epositeBanks.
..
. At ~8 moment I shall confine myself to the fil'8t\)ranch efthis ebjee.tioD. .
~tbe other being me!:e matter of detaiJ......an~ offer .very brietly the aD8~
whicR the laws and policy of the Governm"nt so plainly present.
The 6th section of the act of Congress of tao lst of May, l8Sl0, .relied
.upon by gentlemen,. which prohibits contracts frem being made by th.. Secretary of either of the Executive Department8, bas no ~1!g ~pon the
present~. It refers to contracts not founded expressly or lncldentally
upon a law of CODgre$8, and req1liring an appropriation to carry them iAto

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etrect.. But the sound answer to 'tlle objection is, that the authority te make
these contracts with the local Banks is incidental to, and follows, the
• right. to remove the deposites. That authority arises, in the absence of an
act of Congress or positive law, out of the sOYereignty of the United. States,
and because its exerci~ is indispensably necessary to carry'into eft"ect a
duty imposed upon one' of the Departments of the Government. The
'power to remove the deposites-would be useless and nu~tory, without the
Implied right te make the necessary arrangements for theIr reception tty the
new and selected depositories. .There are ~any instances and precedents
in the administration of the atrairs 'of the Government for the exercise of
'these i!lcidental powers. -I refer for an explicit judicial decisiOB to be
found lD the report of the case in 5th Peters' Reports, ~s 127, 128, &c.
[Here Mr. W. read from the report bf the case sustainll~g him in his !lrgu- •
ment.] .
.
"
The removal of the public deposites was not only a rightful exercise of
tJUthority, but the mode of executiDg it is sanctioned by invariable usage of
the Department; by the opinions of our &tatesnlen, and by tRe spirit of our
laws.'
.
EX»>6di.eDcy imd public policy, which must be our guides in coming to a
dec;islon upon any great Executive measure; bear the Secretary fully, out in
the reasons he assigns for the traBsfer of the pVblic money. , 1 justify him,
' -' .
.
and shall assume these positionsi.
, lst. He is sustained by the attitude of the Bank in reference to the ap
proach of the termination ofits charter.
SId. The rapid and unnecessary curtailment by the Bank; as early as the
ht of Aegust, adopted OIl mere rumor, and. without see~n~ any explana- .
tien or negotiation with the Treasury, hastened the action of the Secretary
of that Depaitment.
.
"
.
. Sci. The State Banks are the only and proper depositories in the absence
.,r all law ud legislative provision creating or pointing out any other.
4th. The present distresses of the country are not the immediate and
Deeusary result of the removal of the deposltes, bUt are to be ascribed to
the harsh, vindictive, and coercive measures of the Bank of the United
States. And, lastly, that the deposites' ought not to' be restored--because
the crisis must be met; again to transfer ilie public money wf)uld only add
to the general distrust and increase the disoroer and embarrassments complained of.
. .
'
.: I shall proceed, sir, to advance my views in support of these several
pMlitiOlls in the order in which I have arra~ them. And the fintis, that
the Secretary was justifiecJ. by the approach of the termination. of the Bank
charter.
.'
. When the head Qf allY of the Executive Departments is about to discharge a duty confided to him 'by Congress, and deepl., aft"ecting the concerns f)f the country, he certainly finds his justificlltion in the law which
mrects his action. Be mllst contine himself to what the face of the statute
tells him, without being influenced by extraneous matter; by popular reports
or current rumors. Ttle Secretary, trlen, in deliberating upon the time which
would be expedient for the removal of the public deposites, was bound to
100" on~y t~ the ~harter o( t~ Ba~; and 1>y tha~ instrument it would be
seen'that the institution would have to cloSe its concerns on the 4th of
'March, 1886, two years and ive months fro~ the time ,of the commenc;e~
,ment of the transfer of the. public money.'
.
'.
The secretary of the Treasury had no reason to suppose that Con~s
would renew the charter of the Bank, or extend it even for one hour. He
knew that t1)e institution had arisen eut of the exnordinary emer~ncy of
the ceuntry itt the close of a war. He knew that it had been created solely
for the purpose of removing the financial disorders and embarrassments
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which theR prevailed. He knew that those disorders and embarrassments
had Jl.8Ssed awal, and the emergency, in his opinion, no longer existed to
justi(y the contmuance of the cliarter, and, therefore, he concluded there
was no just gt"ound for the expectation that it would be renewed. In lookiag into the charter of this Bank, it will be perceiv~d that in the very law
itself, its. grave-clothes are placed along sid'e of its swaddling-clothes. This
fact is indicated by the unusual clause in a Rank charter, allowing them
two years "for the final settlement and liquidation of the aftilirs and accounts of the corporation," and which mUat have been inserted .at the time
by·tile framers of the law nuder the evident intention that the .existence of
the Bank should Cease at the period specified. And this very 16th section
itself contains in its spirit an indication of the same intention, for it gives to
the Treasury a power to be exercised upon the distinct notice that the
days of the Banlt were numbered. Thus. then, the Secretary, 'bound oo~n
and confined ~ the law which created the Bank, could form no other
opinion than that it BlUst shortly close its operations, and that the Government aBd the' country must be putip a' posture to meet that event.
But,sir, if it was possible to fresume that it was the official duty of the
. SecretarY' to overlook the act 0 Congress, and to direct his eye to public
opinion-to politieal signs-to every speck of popular sentiment which appeared upon the I,lolitical horizon-upon what cOltclusion would he have
fallen? Every tiimg indicated to him that the Bank must come to a close?
A bill had been mtroduced into Congress.for the renewal of its charter, and
had been lost. The same Chief Magistrate by whose veto that measure
had been defeated, was subsequently re-elected by the People. And here
I wi.lI take occasion to observe, that I do not put the common construction
upon that political event; and in the inference I draw from it, I ditTer in
some degree from the President and the Secretary of the Treasury. I do
not thinlt that result turned upon the question of the recharter of the Bank,
nor was if a popular decision of that inquiry. I believe the P eople, in that
presi~entiaI election, .Ioo~ed. be:rond the BaJi~; and (without meaning; any
mdehcacy towards hts dlstiDgtllshed competitor) were governed by hIgher
and more interesting considerations in tlie re-election of Gen. Jackson.
ThQusaDds of voters threw their weight on the .side of the succesSful candidate, who would vote for a National Bank to· morrow. It is not pretended
that the re-election of the President gave him any new power. It only told
to the world that the People did not expect a renewal, during his term, of the
charter of the Bank. Every ~ne thought, after the bill had been lost-public
. opinion settled down in the belief-that there was an end of the Bank of
the United States. What said the honorable Senator on my right, from
Massachusetts, (Mr. Webster,l in his speech after the veto message came
into the Senate m 1832? . He declared, "the bill is negatived; the Presi" dent has assumed the responsibility of putting an end to the Bank; and
" the country must prepare itselfto meet that change in its concerns, which
I I the expiration of the
charter will produce!" This sentence is a condensed argument, fully justifying the act of the Secretary of the Treasury.
As it cQmes from high aU,thority, examine it. What is meant when we are
told ee the country must prepare" . to meet that state of things to be produced by the extinction Qf the Bank? It surely ineans that the communitv,
the Government, and individuals, must all adopt ' preparatory measures to
meet the coming event-the approaching ~hllnge~ In this early preparation
it cannot be meant that the Government, so deeply interested, must be the
last to act, and to profit, by this timely admonitIon; the honorable Senator himself made it precisely what the Secretary had made it. a queBtion of
time only.
'
.
You might as well censure Congress for not having given a law for the
eontinuance of the Bank, as to blame the Secretary of the Treasury for the

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removal of the ,depositel; becaUIe the act is j1ls~d by every ~PP..OAl
that a new c~ cannot be obtairled. A.re we not broUght to this pointi
The charter i. to be reJlewed, or is not to be ,renewed? And why does not
the Bank. come forward at th~8 session? For if its charter i8 to be renewe4.
the dePQ8ites oUKht te ~ rejltored; and if not, and the deposites were, nev·
ertheless, given back to it, the same 8cene must again be exhibited at s~
time before the 4th of March, '56. I repeat the question: Why does not
th~ Bank now come forward and try the issue with a ne" Conp-eli? Why
DOt, within its last 'two years, ask for that co definitive action/, of whic"
they 8peak.in', their own memorial?
.' .
,
The Secretary truly says in his report-It is a mere question of ",timt.'~
Tw,o and a half years only remained, which left little timeenongh to makti
an experiment which cO,uld not be avoided: I admit it to, be an experiment, Dot courted, however, by the lI.dministration, b1lt rendered inevitabl.
by the law of the country. I'assert too, that this experim~Dt is an impol'~
~t and deeply interestin~ one. It muSt decide wnether the Government
can, or cannot, get along In its fiscal concerns, without the .Bank of ~
United Sta~; and whether our local Banks can be made safe and efficient
depositories of the public money. However serious the ex~ment may
~oubtful if you please-it must be made; and the, earlier It is made, the,
, wer for the public interests, and the better even for the Bank. itself. If,.
between this anel the 4th of March, '36, the trial shall fail, the. Barik oU£ht.
to be ,!ell :pleas~~, and might fairly exul~ in. ~e opportunity thu~.lI:tfonfed
of testing Its utilIty. And s~ame upon It, if It bas confidence 18 Itll OWl}
integrity and uSE'fulness, for no~ permitting, ~th a spirit of liberality, the:
experiment fairly to advance.
'
.
.
. The late Se.cretary, Mr. Duane himself, in his letter of ~ 23d of JlJly
last, says: "The operations of the Bank Of the United States, exceptinK
" such as may be necessary for winding up itsaft'a.irs, will cease on the 4t~
.. 0[ Marek, 1836." And hence he commenced his inquiries preparatory
to the removal of the deJ?Osites. ' A paper of much. -authority yet remains
to be referred to,very deCIsive of the n~essity ·of early preparation to m~et
"the expected change," and for the eountry"to seek new channels of business."-I allude emphatically to the memorial 'of the Bank of the United
Sta~&, signed by its Pr~iident himself,. and presented to Congress. in the
I68SI0»of 1851-'2. 1 wlll quote two of Its paragra{lhs: "l,Tnless the queM.. tion is decided by the present Co.ngress, DO de'fimtive action upon it cail
.. be eXjlected until within two 'lIear8 of the expiration of its charler, a pe- ,
"~d b£fore which, i!l the opimon of your. m~mo~al~sts, it is highlyexp!!~. du·nt, not merely 18 reference to the 18stitution'ltself. but to the mort
.. important intere8t, oj tke fUUion, that the determination of Congr~
.. shO¥ld be known~" And again: "If, on the other hand, the, ~isdom of
.. Congress shall determine that t4e Bank. must cejl.8e to exist, it is, still
It more important that the wuntry 8hould begin early to prtpllre for tM
"ezpected change; and that the institution should liave as-much time as
" Pf>ssible to execute the duty-always a very tielicate and di1ti.cult ene-of
.. aidiJlg the community to 6eek new channel8 oj busine88; and, by gradUfll
"~Jld gentle moVement8, to prea8 with the least inconvenience on t1ie great
"intere8t8 connected wittt it." Thus, in his own representations m.
to Congress two years ago. does the President of the Bank hlmRelf advaI\c.
a complete justification for tile act of the Secretary of the Treasury, in
seekiDg .. new channels of business," and thus beginning "to pr~pare for
the expected change," because it had been determined .. that tile Bank
must cease to exist."
" .
If, therefore, the prop6! and expedient time had arrived for the exercile
of the .authority given to the Secretary, it was the, duty of the Executive
department promptly to ta~e care that it should not pass by to the detri- '

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ment of the public intensts. If there was even a mistake as to time, and
the most expedient moment had not arrivetl, this circumstance would not
convert the exercise of a responsible and plainly authorized duty into ~ .
Ilsurpation, and stamp it as high-hal).ded and despotic.
. In the second place, I contend that the removal of the deposites wa~ hastened by the conduct of the Bank itself. Upon this point we are frequently met by the question, why adopt this important measure only two months
before the.met;tinfi of ~ongress? . '!O ~i~ I repl" that ~e~ay would ~ave
brought With It, lneVltably, poslti~e mJury, Wlthout glvmg the National "~lature the opportunity, or the power, to interpose aDy salutary
provisIOn. Congress would have had nQ authority to interfere with the removal of the deposites. By the charter, they had parted with their power
over the subject, and surrendered the control of it to the head of the Treasury department. · If Congress attempted to interfere before the. Secretary
· W acted, the Bank would have a right to protest against it as a viola.tion of
their charter. The matter rested entirely with the T reasury, and before
Congress could again a88llme jurisdiction over it, the head of that department must first act, and then, by the report of his reasons, give to us the
ri,:,ht of l~gis!ation upon it. · Congress mIght, indeed, in case of the removal, have appointed the new place of deposlte, but could not, until the Secretary had acted, alter one word of the charter, by giving the public money
into the keeping of other hands. The new depOSItory is not the essential
matter of contention here-its mere indication would not be worth ~
perilous delay of two months, and it would puzzle Congress to Ws.;OVel'
any other depositories than those chose. by the Secretary.
.
It is well known, by the assurance of those whose candor cannot be
questioned, as. wel.l as by the language of the late Secr~tary's in!ttrucq.o~8
to the Agent, m hIS letter of the 2sd of July last, that It was not the onginal intention of the Department to take from the Bank of the United
States the deposites ,at the time they were removed; but an abandonment
of that intention was forced upon the present Secretary by the danger and
mischiefs of delay which were threatened, and inevitable, by the early and
vexatious course of conduct adopted by the Bank. This must be apparent
when we recollect tbat as early a8 the first of August, two months before
the removal, upon sheer rllmor, when Mr. DuanE! was in office, adverse to
the measure, the Bank, a mere agent,.too arrogant to ask for inforination or
seek negotiation with its principal, commenced a system of enormous C\lrtailments and severe oppression, imperiously demanding of the government
all that could.be done to check and diSanD it. If the public deposites Iwl
continued with them, accompaRyins their rapid redlU:tions, where would
we D9W be, after a lapse of five or SlX months? Everv thing rushing into
the Bank, through the two wide channels of public deposites and curtailment ofloans, wnat could supply the vacuum? If, in ordinary times, that
startling declaration of the President of the Bank were true, thaf " the
State Banks eDst but by the forbearance of the Bank of the United States!"
what would. now have been their condition and the aondition of their debtors? The extraordinary reduction; from the 1st of August to .the first of
October, of upwards of four millions, shows they were as oppressive befON
as after the removal. If thole early curtailments urged immediate ac~oD.
the curtailments 8ince the Ist of October prove the Wisdom oCthe measure.
My third position, sir, that the State Banks are the only and proper
depositories for the public. money, when it may happen to be removed from
the Bank of the United States, is assumed, because propriety, public opinion,
the unifonn praCtice of the Government, ·aU point to ·them in the absence of
Legislative provision upon the subject. Where else would you carry the
public money? Not to .brokers, stockjobbers, or private bankers? There
was no new national depository provided. The charter of the present

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Bank, although it expressly provides for' the removal of the money, .
is entirely silent as to the new depository to 'which it shall be transferred, .
. Because Congress thereby iJ,l.tendea to leave the subject where they had
found it, 'in tlte hands of the Tr~sury Department. And' it is equally
silent a$ to any new depository upon the terminl!.tiQn of the charter; In
the whole financial history of the country, from the continental el\tablishBlent of the Treasury Department, .in September, '76, down to the present·
day, the deIw.sites have been left under the exclusiv:e control of the 1iea~ of
the Treasury, by whom the State Banks have always beellcmployed SlDce
our first knowledge of them. Follow our history for a moment on this subect. In the' charter of the Bank of North America, granted by Congress
in December, 1781, tbere was no injunct!on thaUn thatinstitution the deposites of the public money shouid be made •. There is the same'absence of all
provision of the 1t,ind in the charter of '91, given to the'old Bank of the .
United States: and duri~ the existence of that Bank, the State Banks participated with it in the enjoyment of the deposites. From '91 till the year
-1800,the merchants' bonds for duties, were not even directed to be deposited in the old Bank for collection, until a special law. oftlle l",tter year,
changed the practice as to six of our chief c~mmercial cities. In 18H,
when the old Bank went down, no new Legislative regulation was' made;
and the fall of that institution was softened 1)y the assuranc'e that the local
Ban~s woul~; of course, become its substitutes aud th~ safe deJ!08i~ries of the
pubhc money. An honorable gentleman now upon this floor jOlDed In that assurance: and a veteran statesman and experienced mercnant,then a representative from Maryhlnd, carned his opinion so far ,as to deClare that the State Banks
were the safest· depositories. In 1819, during the discussion in the House
ot Representatives, when the {lresent Bank was in mur:h trouble and peril,
no Legislative .aotion, designating new depositorieS,'wasat 1.11 proposed; all
seeme<l to unite in the opinion tliat the State Banks would neceRsarily become the holders of the public money. I will now referto'an extractfrom
the opinion of a gentleman, ·th~n a member of the House, and now a distinguished Senator on this floor, (Mr. Tyler.) He asked, ". Would it be a
.. ~k of any: great difficulty, to sub$titute ano~er system for this? I sub.. mit to honorable gentlemen to say wheth~r, lD the event of the Govern.. ment s~lecting a Bank in each. State~ notoriously ~lvent, in lieu· of the
" present, we sliould not be preCisely. situated as we now are? You ta1t,e a
.. Bank in Baltimore" Philaaelphia, New York, Boston, Ric~moud, &c.,
co known to be solvent, and bestow on them the same counten(lnce you
•• bestow on the branches of this Bank,. limiting the reception,of the reve.. nue to their notes'or specie, and giving them the public deposites.· . Will
.. gentlemen assign any good reaSons for sup}l'lsing that the notes of such
.. Banks would not circulate as currently, and as uniformly. as those of this
., ~nstitution?" A~d ~n, .. There 18 no necessity for alarm about the
•• safety of the pl1bhc deposites." And the same gentleman then proceeds
to point out for secu~ty, the very mQde adopted by the present S~cretary of
the Treasury in his arrangements with the State Banks. Upon that occasion, also, General Smith, of Maryland, declared:· cc The control over the
.. State Banks will be greater than over the Bank of the United States."
And in another part of his speech. he says, "You will have a muc. greater
control over the StIlte Banks,- because you are under no obligation to put
l< money in them, and you may change them whenever you think proper •
.. The danger of losing the public deposites will always pe a sufficient con-'
.. trol over them."
.
.
If, during the earlier period of the hi8tOry of our bankinj!; system, the
State Banks were considered by Congress; and by all the officers of the
Treasury, as safe depositories for the national treasure, why should they
not be held in the same estimation· now, when the busines8 i.s better under-

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stood, conductetl with increased capital under the Iir;ht of experience, resting upon a firmer basis, with new features thr~wR illto their ch8.rters, confering security and guarding against the suspension of specie payments? It
is remarkable, that the frieiuls of the 'old Bank of the United States left
the dept?siteswith the State Banks, whilst the adversaries of it rested their
, "pposition upon the same confidence in the State, Banks; and during the
interval between the qld and. the present Bank of the United States, Congress
left them there. And let it be remembered, that the projectors and friends
of the new Bank, never tliought, of any other than th~,s~me depositm:ies,
or of any change in the usage, of the Government-for tIllS 16th, -section.
out ~f which o~r controversy springs, was introduced' by a gentl~n op,. "
'
posed to the hIll. '
The 14th fundamental article of the. present charter, itself authorizes, in
certain cases, the employment of State Banks, to be ~rst approved by the
Secretary of the Treasury.' The l~t instance which I' !!hall cite to show
the confidence of Congress and of the Governm~nt in Sta"te Banks, is to be
found in the 4th section of the law of sd. of Match, 1809, and wm,ch directs
that "public agents shall keep the public moneys in their hands, in some
" inc!'rporated Bank, to be designat~d for that purpose by the President of
" the United States." The average amount of public money in the hands
of disbursing officers of the Government, is very ,gr,eat-essentially , they
are public deposites. Yet this provision by Congress was made when the
014 Bank of Jhe United States was in being, and does not order the moneys
to be there deposited; and so the statute stands through the tUne of the
present Bank and its many branches. indicating no preference over any incorporated State Banks.
,
.
.
The contracts made with the State banks upon their receiving the public deposites have been critically and severely scrutimzed. They can bear
the close examination they have received.. for they are discreet. and cautious.
effectually guarding the peoples' money and the public interests. Look at '
those, arrangements. The Secretary bas secured over the selected Banks
every salutary control-has assumed to himself every necessary source of
information-if not more effec.tuallYi at least as great as the charter gave
him in refe.r.ence to the Bank of the United States. In the,se arra~ments
he has followed in the foot-steps of Mr. Crawford and Mr. Rush. They
are not only prudent and economical-for none of the expenses fan upon
the government-but they are liberal, guarding the interests and providing
for the accommodation!! of the 'qI,erchants. and the convenience of tne trading
commnnity. But these arrangements are, at, any rate. mere .matters oT
detail. open and subjt'ct to be regulated, at any moment by the interference
of Congre~s.
".
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It has been argued that the People have confidence m the Bank of the UDlted State'l onlj; and those who have money to deposite place it there. Not
so--this is an erro·r. You may test ~y where the, comparative confidence
in State banks and the Branches of the Bank of the United States. and
you will discover the fal~acy of that position. I
give you an ins~ce
exV-cted from the OffiCIal returns. By that of the Bank of the UDlted
States, it appears that the deposites of individuals in their Branch at New
York. on the 2sd of December, was
- 81.064,411

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In th~·Mechanics' Bank of New York, on the 11th of J'anu..
, . ary, individual deposites were ..
81.124,570
, 870,478
In the Manhattan Bank, on'fSlLme day,
6rO.Oi1
In Bank of America. 17th January.
81,665.015

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This not only ex,hibt the tomparative confidence. but it sh&1Vs' the' na....
re~sented to exist. by so large a ~m:lying idle in
ftl,}'" three of~~ citl' banks of New York!.'
,
,
My 4th posItion IS. that the present dl8tresses of the country. extend
.as far as they may, are not the immediate result of the removal of tile public
deposites, but are to be directly aScribed to inte"vening measures adopted
by the Balik of the United States, from selfish and resentful motives, her
great object being the coercion of the country into her own 'Views. '
Hcrivever deeply, upon all occasions. I may derlore any measure of. 'distress, whether partial or general, which may fal 'upon my fellow-citizens,
I C8.J.Inot resist the impression that o,llr'present embarrassments are magnified by political newspapers and by the partislUlS' of the Bank out of dClOrs.
They have succeeded. ,too. hi producing panic-distrust-want of confidence-(sure precut-sors of distress,)~l readily produced when they refer
to money-tQ the. purse-to that sensitive thing called" the money market"
.:-and all uf which we are efficiently but unrortu~ately continuing Ilnd extending b,}'" our terrifying forebodings and alarming discussions here. The
moment these shall be terminated the ,panic Will subside. Anu let that
,terminatiOn be as it may" there is, strength, elasticity, and enterJlrise in
abundance in the People to accommodate themselves to any condition of
things which may succeed this discussion. It must not be forgott~n, t~.
in our attempts to establish the true cause of the prevailing and injurious
_ panic, that the Bank is bound to make good every thing which its friends
may allege. To accomplish its purposes, the exertions of its varied and
extens!ve power ruust go hand in hand with the alarms that ar~ s'prea~, and
must lDstantaneously cause embarrassment to be felt where It ls SlUd embarrassment prevails.
' , 1n ,making allusion to the' strena-th and vast resources of our community ..
proving its ability-to extricate itself from real or fancied embarrassmeBts,
and of the necessity of throwing itself upon its own rowers, I am called
upon to notice the frankness and independence of the committee recentl,
deputed by the New York merchants, and who visited this city in OppOSItion to the Executive measure which I now advocate. The report of t1!at
committee, and the proceedings adopted upon it by their constituents, afford,
to the commercial community" an example worthy to be. followed. They
distinctly avow the capacity of that community to carry itself through the
present embarraSsments, to safety and prosperity; and independently resolve
to rely .pon their own energies, upon their calmness, liberality, and mutual
The report, of that adversary committee merited 'reference
'forbearance. _
on ano!her account. It overthrows an allegation made upon this floor and
-elsewhere. well framed to excite in the breasts of citi~ens of other States,
tilt? most sensitive feelings of alarm and jealousy; for it distinctly avows
that the secret and ultimate object of the I!resent struggle is to break down
the Bank of the United States, and from· Its ruins and scattered materials
to erect a new institution in the city of New YQl'k. The committee of that
city, well informed and enlightened on the subj.ect, returned to, their con·
sUtuents and distinctly declared there is no such project here. The:r exonerate the first and second officers of the Government from all -such mtention. If I could think for one moment that the struggle'ncXV going on was
iVith i. view to that selfish and interested object; that ther:e secretly lurked
under , this Executive measure. any such purpose or s,c~elDe of 'State
tlvalry, I would promptly turn my back upon the whole affaIr and abandon
the rroceeding I am now endeavoring to sustain. ,Whenever the contest
tIIa\ be between 'cr Wall street and Chesnut street,U I~n go for Chesnut
Nay, more; I will never give my vote for a Bank of the United
Stittes, unless it is to be placed in the good city of William Penn. The
PHpte of Pennsylvania do. indeed, struggle and compete with New York

ture of tbe pressure.

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-but not tin the tJiOrdid qu.estion of the locality of a Bank,. We have a
lliIther and more durable object before us; ODe upon whieh nly pd e&Bet1tiilly rests the commercial welfare i.Dd prosperity o( 0111' State. We aim at.
. and strlJggle fur the trade of the great West. Upon the interesting and im. portant policy of internal improvemeJlts, we carryon and maintain a high
and honorabfe contest, not to be terminated.. I trust, until we take from our
nvals of th~:" Empire ~~te," the ri,ch prize held in the neutral hands of
our enterpns~ng fellow-cItIzens of the Western States.
.
. But let me return to the inquiry I have just entered upon.
Where are these .distresses found? They are local, not national. They
evin~e no general calamity. ·1 cannot. believe that they have fa1le1180 se~
~ously, .01' to suc~ gn;at extent. upon one.~lass of .our citizens,'held by. n;te
1ft the hIghest estmiation. I mean the fair Amencan merchants.--a. higbminded and most excellent portion of our community;. who continually add
to the honor of their country abroad. and ~hose enteIJ)Jjse discovers their·
hand and their impress upon every public undertaking. at home-whose
hearts swell and' eX{l&nd like the canvass of their ships, . and carry their
public spirit and theIr benevolence into' every quarter of our country.. .To
anrt a calamity from such a community. I woul{\' be willing to make almost
any sacrifice. save that of the rights of my Government and of the People to
the ambition of the Banlt.
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. . . .
Tra~e up these distresses. and I again aSk--Where are they to be found?
Certainl~ not in an unusual number of bankruptcies and suspeDsions--for it
is undentable that they are less numerous than they were with\n a recent
period, when the Bank was undisturbed in the full po&session of the public
money. Are not those distresses-at all events as yet-limited to your
speculators, to brokers, to stoeltjobbers; to those wlio live by daily and
weekly borrowing;. to those who languish and pine ayr.ay under a continual _
feverish excitement, in watching eV'ery morl1ing's discount of the Banks,
and to whom curtailment is another word for bankniptcy?
. There has been, in fact, recently, a new epoch in the speculations of our
count-ry. I refer to the vast and unusual amount of investments in new
banks-in public stocks, canals, rail roads aud State securities. These are
depressed for a time by that great power which controls the money market;
and let the unfortunate sufferers look to that power. as the wanton author of
their distresses: but, sir, here 1 stop. and draw the cheering distinction,the -great mass of the People are safe and undisturbed, for the simple reason that the People are not indebted; they are unembartaf)sed, from the great
abundance and recent prosperity of the country: the bone, and Jinew, and
muscle of the country, are sound'and healthy.
I again repeat it, that our embarra.8s~ents are tirtijiclal-for there is no
real cause for them; because, sir, we hll:veat this moment, within our favor.ed country. all the elements of great prosperity-heaith-unusual,ly abundant crops, whiehbear' a fair vitlu&-!reneral peace amongst 0111' commercial customs abroad-no ex~rt' deman'a for our sl":cie, but an influx of it
.pon us-im~orts comparatively light-our manufactures, as yet. safely
protected, ano undisturbed by the ~tati~n of that question of policy so
Vitally interesting to them; the ,spirit of internal improvements advancing
and giving employment to our industrious laborers; our local Ba:nb all
standinl/i fi:rm, and their .:paper circulation intrinsically as gt)oo as e'fer;
fftore COlD 10 the countrl now than there was on the 1st Octdber l~t, and
the vast acc~mulation 0 it lying idle in the vaults of the Bank of the Uftited
StateR, renden her perfec~ly safe. This happy eondition of the cOIlntrythis ab'lDdanee, rend~red the moment ielected by the Secretary of the Trea.ury, !1 ~c1l1iarly.lt oire for the transfer o( the pu~ic dep08ites.
It IS usel~s, Slr. for me to r.e~tthat the tb.6liey is all in the e6untty, anti in the! hands Of tfltoIJe whose very occupation it is to leml it

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out, accompanied, 'tOo; by the i~tructions and the injunction of the.
Secretary of the Treasury, to dispose. of it in commercial facilities. But.
the Bank' of the' UJ1ited .states 'overihadows us, and yet governs-conuolling the wishes,· and restricting the actions of the' other banks. With this
exertion of her power, ai:led by her alliAnce with influential newspapers.
she has succeeded inext,ensively spreading distrust and want of confidence.
Of course, in· public stocks,. and in State securities, a depression must follow
if she continues her course--failures and suspensions must eventually ensue.
Hence, too, in the business 'of merchandise. there is little done, because the
JJ1erchanti are afraid to buy and· sell; Our commission merchants are afraid
to seek consignments-domestic sllles .of Southern crops have been limited •.
but' a rec..ent r,ise in tu~pe in the great staple of that section of the U nipn,
whilst thia discussion has ,been.goillg .on, shows that the deposites had no
influence upon its foreign market •... Sufficient time has not yet elapsed to.
permit a fe-InVestment in this country.of the capital withdrawn by the payment of the iIistahnent of the public debt. The very few. among UII who
.are disposed', in a moment. of general alarm, to let out. their monel" find, a
more profitable invest~ent in buying notes and public stocks. 'Ihere.is a
general contraction of all e~ents to pay money-a " terrtlpin system'-'
adopted~:very man draws himself within his shell, and buries dee~rl or
~ugs m'Or.e, c~osely. the purse ,which contains the obj~ct of his care an~ con- _
tmual pursUIt.
But. the ,simple refusal' o{ the Government any longer to keep its
accounts in the Bank of the United States was not the primary cause of this
state of thi~gs,nor, in any way, adequate to prOduce such effects •. We·
have now ilie same alarm-the same rep'resentation&-the same, drama
which was performed upon the going down of the; old :Bank of t\Je
United Stat.es in ~811; now in rehearsal by a new company.. The alamUsta
1hen found their way into the newspapers, into the .lobbiel! an(l galleries of
the halls of CQngress; and their successors, following their example, are
now exhibiting to us the same scenes. I cannot believe they will termi,nate·.
in " deep tragedy." What. did, then, produce th~ pressure? It is a grave.
and. serious, question, to which ~be People will respond in' their indignant
condemnation of the Bank., I answer-it was not the Government, but the.
l!iJn~, by,rieldi.ng to a spirit ofre~entment~f v!ndictivene88~haYing in
VIew ~ltenor.obJ.ec~e,'r~possesslon of the pubhc m?ney, and the perpetuaUon of ItS charter•. And.. regardless of the happmess of the community, that corporation vexatiously produced ,the convulsions with which we
are ~ow distracted; In the indulgence of ,his arrogant and resentful spirit,
abe broke up lIll amity between herself and the State Banks, and turned her
~k. upon the commerci~ comm~nity; whose convenience 'and interest she
refuses to eonsult, because she, has quarrelled with the Secretary of the
Treasury!! ,The Bank. swelling itself up to a consequence,not justifi~d by
its charaCter, was determined to contend with its prlncipal, regardless how
the. innoc:ent might s~el;"in.the conflict•. She proudly ~e~uses ~l communication Wlth th~ admlm~tration, an~ dechnes all n~tiation Wlth the local
Banks. Why 80, at a Juncture so Important to the Jnterests of all? Upon
~re pc~ion$ than one, in her eventful and disastrous history, she had to
ask .\ndu~p'ce .and to sue for favers from the State, Banks, and had tofty
to the Executive for safety. Why did She not turn back, in grateful re-.
membrance 4)f the favors she had received, and say to other Banks and to
the merchants: ., We are'badly treated by the' Government; the administra- ,
" tion is encroaching upc>n 'our chartered rights; but this aif'ords no reason
" for the disruption of aU amity between us. and the 1Jpreading of distrust •
" and al~ over the country?" Sir. she maintained a.go~.understand.ing
with ,thOle institutions and with the .Treasury. as long as she thongllt it was
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~ontrarl policy, hostility to aU around wu, immediately commenced.
Mr. President, in the examination of this Executive measure, it ia natural to tum round and inquire what was th. state of the com'munity and
the condition of our'commercial cities, pr0ceding and at the time of its takine
eft'ect.
, I believe there is al ways something' in the ltate of the business in eur
large cities at the commencement of the winter leason, which rrooucel a
sligllt and increased demand for money; but this is hardly wor,th taking
into the. presentaccount. A ~reatamount of capital had been abstracwl froID
our chief A~lantic cities and tnvested in the wa., I have mentioned, and uow,
when wanted by the merchants, they have Jt not, and cannot, upon the
'", emergency, re-pos!IMs themselves of it. But I refer more p,trticularly t&
... the 'new taril' systetn which went into operation on the 4th of March lut,
establishing short creditl and' cash payment of duties. This, in etfect, haa
taken away from our commercial, comhlunity an imJllense car»ital. The
crellits on some goods, largely imported. were six, ten. and twefve months.
This was actl1alfy a capital loaned by the Government to the merchants,
sufticient to trade upon. By the change in the policy of the country, these
loaal were withd~awil. and at the momellt when the etfects of this new system werlf,beginning,fairly to be felt and to press upon the commercial community, the Ban~ of the United States comm~nced a ~apid r.edQ.Ction of its
loans. Thus taklD~ advantage of the change tn the tantf pohcy of the Governmellt,- and seizlDgupon it as a favorable opportunity to work out its
purpos,,: of resentment, by putting, the screws to the Peeple. I am net
aware that gentlemen are apprized of the serious and extensive ell"ects. a~d
tlee increaSed demand, for mQney b1. the merchants, produced by this recent
cbaDF in the tarill: ,In Ule city ot New York it appellrs to be acknowledged
that ihe increased deman,d within tile Jear, would be at l~st ten millions of
d~lIars~, In tbec~ty of Philadelphia,- by an authentic statement in my hand,
: from ,the ,4th of March to the 1st of January. it would e1ceetl two millions
-in Boston it would be something less; and. I presume, in Baltimore still
leas., ~u,t extel!d t~e system, through all the importing tewns and cities
the Unum, and It wdl tie obvioua that the augmented demand upon one por,tien of our community, whose wants or abundance spread "'arm or infuse
confidence. mUllt . have been excessive' and of itself a most plentiful source
, of pecuniary and commercial pressure. At such a moment, with ollr commercial community, iq tbis novel aDd peculiar posture--the Bank of the
United States should have advanced to the very verge of its own safety, to
, ba~e preserved its own friends and neighbors at least from the first rigorous
trials of this new policy. ,But how was itr In the month of May, 1882,
,rec,eding the eliction', tbey bad run up their loans to the maximum, exc:eedIng seventy millions of dollars, more tllaD ~ouble their capital; an~ that, too,
wilen there approached a payment of an mstalment of the national debt.
whiclt'could only be met by " removing/he deporite'l" yet then. when not
110 rich and secure in tellotlrces a8 at present, they could. ~ttlitously,
up their loans to an excen unknown at all other periods! I'hey could thea
come forward 'and ~sk favors, arran~lnents, accommodation from the GOYernment. Why did they not do 110 latelyf Why not nowr To ..vethe
t:OlJlmereial community, which was the deceptive ex~dse then given by tile
BanIC. Mr. Secretary McLane ,~tonce and liberally aBsented to all that Was'
'reljuired. Tht'y aUeged , they were prepared to meet the payment
the S
~r cent. stock; but if it was discharged 00 tbe firat of July, the withdrawal
of the amount from their accommodatioDs would bring down a 'pressure
llpttn the merchants and ror that reas.m, which was readily yitlded to, ~r
sued £OJ' an extensioR of the time fo the first or October. 'ni'ey obtained
iL, ,But how d~d they use t~ priyileger Neither to lave O1Ir henor ~bl'Qad;
Dor to accommOdate ou't merchants at nomeJ for tbeir .000ns, instead orbe\nc
kept up; immediately begail to be curtaileCl.
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In page 19 of their ~wa re~rt, they speak of "the u:panrive power.
in the institation when the tocml, of the country ref{uired its
"aid." And upon the same page they say, "the Bank enlarged its basi" nell to meet tile commercial wants of the colin try, and when thoaetodnl.
" were IUpplied, the business ·of the Bank of COUI'8e subsided." And again,
in page 21 the, say, "Wberever large payments are made by the Govem" ment, as it IS necessary ttl withdraw from the use of the community cOo&< siderable sums, the process requires some delieacy in recalling from disn tant parts of the United States as much as Alay answer the inlmediate en.
U genc)" yet not enough to pre" di,advanlageou,ly on llu community."
'WhY do they not, sir, upon tbe present occasion, exercise their funetion.
upon tbis fair policy~ When the rumor about the dep08i~ went forth, wby
not negotiate with the Goyernment as they did in ISS2~ Why': not in 18SS
.. well a8 in 18S2, plead tbe cause of the merch~nt, and sue for accommodating arrangel8ents~Vihy not represent in tbeir own former language
" the situation of the cemmercial communitY"--and that it .. would require
an tile aid and all the forbearance that could b& given ·th.em~" Had theysb
conducted themselyes in tbe ~resent crisis, they. would have feund, as they
formerly found, every disposition on tbe ~rt of the Secretary to go hand ia
hand with them to relieve the commercial community.
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8ir, I ~ave called their curtailments not "gradual," but rapid -and ~p­
pressive. Allow me to exhibit, to sustain me in. this· assertion; extracta
fl'om their own official returns.
" SO valUable

PlI'BLIC III'POSIT"S.

August lst,

87.599;841.47

October 1st,

~9.182,17S.98

))eeembe.. 1st, •

~5.162.S60.6S

January 1st, •

8"4.250.509. is

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. TheSe sums include tbe credits to the Treasurer, those of public olicers,
and redemption ef the public debt.
.. . . "
BAifJt L,ANS.

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". Cllrtailmentt.
864,160,S49.14
August lit, 6O,094,202.7S· .
October lst,
84;166,146.!U
December lst,
54,45S, 1M. 67
Sg,M7,244.41
84.166~14G $1
Thus, the curtailmtnl from'lst Au~st to lst October, is
And, increase of the public money during the same time, iB 8I,512,SSI.71
Curtailment from lst August to 1st December,.
• 89,607,244.41
Decrease of public moneys between lst August and lst December ONLY. •
• 82,4S7,480.82
So, to D;leet decrease of public moneys in four months, which was only
82,4S7,480.82, they curtailed 9 millions 6 or 700 thousand dollars!
Decrea,e ·of public monltYs between the lst of Allgust anf! the 1st If
JANVAllY, is only 8S,S69,S81.84.
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The Bank curtailed between the lst AuguBt and tat October, b~fore the
de~iteB were removed, in two montM, near 8800,000, KOlLE than the
wllole amount of public Noney which thel paid ove~ aJte,. they were removed up to the I~t of JanuarylaBt.
. But, this is not all: when its en.counts . were at their maximum, Yiz.-in
lIa" 18S2,they were _.
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870,428,OrU.
Therefore, their reduction from the lst of M.y, 18S2, to 1st of August,
laSS, fifteen moaths, was ODly •
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" Whilst in/our DlODtbl fro. tat Augut. 'SS, to Ist.Dece..ber, 'SS, it .....
we have Been, 9 millions and between 6 and 700 thou!JI.nd dollars. That
is, during the former period, at the rate of 8417,000 a month; and during
.~ latter period at the rate of 82,401,811.
In further .,roof of tltis rapid and oppressive reduction of loans, cast your
-elM over t~eir returns, and see hoW' It has fallen on the branches. I will
CI'Ve you an lastance or two.

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The Nashville Branch.
'ItsIOJDS were, on 9th January, UlSS,

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8S,710,585
],946,415

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on ISth November, ISSS,

Red,aced in ten months -

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ISl.764.090
The Pittsbur8" BrantA.

at its maximum,

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loans on 24th January, J8SS, were
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. •.. ". OJ) .51st,January, 18S4 !Reduced in one year

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81,739,216
81,610,141
1,052.264
8557.88S

.·-Antl in the last. two ",onths, ending on the last day of January,
the sum of .112,850
In the Boston branch, (if 1 am not mistaken in the extract from the oli-cial return,) ~e reduction of loans in the last ~ix months, is 8S,iOO,OOOJ
leaving in. that..city now upon loan, only 81,6S6,000•
. It will be seen that their loans were run up to an exceuive amount, jUlt
Wore th. veto; then rapidly diminished, until the election of 18S2 haJ.
passed: tben iner~sed until the removal of the depoaites was spoken of.
and then this exceuive' reduction made.
I wish we could stop, here; but we must proceed and add to the list the
redactions which this great controlling institution obliges all the local Banks
i1Rmedi_!ely to . Qlake. Anc,{ yeu must also threw into this account of the
euaiailment of discnunts, tbe aggravatillp; circumstance that the panic unjllstly impaired confidence in ttie State BaDkll, and their issues constantly
I,"elarned upon them,. and thereby diminished the fllnd upon which they
discounted.
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of its wanton disposition, and its dlsregard of all appeals to it ,to eave
the eommunlty. A prominent one is. the refusal of the Directors to join
'the loc..l Banks in any arrangement for the relief and to ease oft' the
pressure from .the public, when. they well knew that the administration
.and the Secretary_ of the Treasury would cheerfully have cencurred in
.~rei to have attained that object. Any liberal scheme of &GOd UD,derstanding and mutual forbearance does not suit their p1lrpble; ancfhence it
happen. that the State Banka witltinthe immediate rsnge of their inftuence,
memoriali~e Congress for the restoration of.' the cleposites; becaule It is
..nly by that measure they can propitiate this angry power, and find peace .
. for tbemsel v e s . ' ·
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Anotlier evidence of their refuaal'to interpose and reli~ve in, any way
the wants of those who sull'ered. by even a.. ~rtial and tempol'lll'1 exercise of that mighty "expansive powel'" of which they . t . is to be found
in the fact that they even _
\'emBed "to cO,nsider" the resoilluons oll'ered
at the Board last fan by the public Directors, set forth upon ,-ge is of
their memorial, which hiUl for their ot;ect a union, and a u concert of ac- tien" among the Banks .ofPbila:delpllla, in the hope of 'restori. . ~nfi4ence, and giving ease to the mercantile com.unity. .
The last, and certainly one of the IDOIt atea.inly eppre8si•• &c.ta ia the

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condemning catalGg1:1e,. is the1l' resolution of ~ 18th of ~ligust last-alm~t
twG months before the removal of the dl"~8Ites-breaklDg up the domestic
eJclaange between the Atlantic cities snd the West. and lietween the town.
of the West and of the iBterior; and this has beenfollowed by a system of
exaction in the increase of the rates of exchange. This one act. throwinr; aside
all othel'8 in the series of their conduct, in the days of Mr. Secretary Crawford,
as"be l'YewS in his letter of the Sd of July, 1811. written upon this very subject·
Domestic exchanges. would have left with the Government no alternati'Ye.
anti in the 'Yiew of that statesmtln would. of itself, justify the measure ef
tfle present Secretary of the-Treasury. The whole,of the great West have
left thil act more sensibly than anv other parts of the Union. 'AU the towns
of the valley of the "Ohio and Mississippi, com~ncing with the city of my
own residence, are so intimately connected in all Ute pecuniary intercourse,
continual interchange in commodities, and ('orrespondcnce springing from
trleir active, honorable, and enterprising commerce, that this blow fell upon
thlim. in a hidden way, with peculiar severity; but y'hen traced to the arm.
which inflicted it, the S('cretary of the Treasury must stand acquitted from
all blame. This bUiliness of domestic exchange had been entireIY-llurrendered to the Bank of the United States-a mon6~ly which it secured to ...,
itself by means of its great Cllpital, the occupation of all our chief towns by
its branches. the use of the public deposites, and the extensive circula- .
tion of its 1I0tes; and it suddenly and captiously" broke it up. without giviug
time for the country to prepare for and build up any new system in its
stead. There was another injurigus effect produced by the resolution of -the
ISth of August. It invited the purchase of drafts upon the Atlantic cities,
thereby i11('reasiog the_l~ommetcial responsibilities there, and adding to the
demand for mOllel upon the Eastern merchants. How. then, can we be
mistaken aboat t~e cause of the distress~ The old Bank_of the United
States. in 1811, refused by Congress a single bour of extension or time,
surrendered the public depo~ite~-we"t down-closed its atrairs-witbput
inDicting distress upon the country. The recent death of that successful
merchant and benevolent man. Stephen Girard, suddenly closed the doors.
ot his Bank over a discount gf busines!'-paper, to an amount. I believe. of
upwards of four millions of dollars, without' producing any shock or con:fulsingthe commercial' community of Philadelphia.
I admit the -Bank of the United States ought to have ,'educed its discounts; because they had less ability. after the remov,al of the deposites.
to accommodate the community to the extent of the m-eans derived (1'8111
the posllessi~n of the public money, than they had anter!or to its transfer; But thiS reduction ought not to have been dispro>portloned to the demand likely til lie made upon them. That Bank holds the_ main-spring that
regulates all th.e machinery of discounts, domestic exchange, and commercial facilities. This is the great I)o\\"er of the Bank, and it is wielded by
one-hand and oQemind of vast resources, of hi~b ambitictn, and inftexible
in tbe pursuit of·a determined purpose. In the pursuit of that purpose,
they suddenly, almost entirely, ceased the business of discount. They oppressively,c1osed their iron doors over their ten and a half milliolls of specie~
abd turned their eustomers adrift, to seek relief by knocking at other
~OOl"S, which they had. allO taken care silOU,1d be closed a&ainst them:
- ~here was no lIecesslty tn adopt so oppressive a course. Such excessive
e~rtailmerit could oJ}ly have been rendereilnecenar! by changing the relatbe power of the J,lank of the U. Staetes and the local Banks, anil bringing the
sa'ety .of the one witllin the, control of the many. Of this no danger did
exist; and, from the small amount of capital a,nd separate administration of'
the lecal Bank_, a. wt!lI as theirentite want of cOncert uf action, neyer can
Ie Inought to exist.
Bank of the United ,States. covering the whole
coa.try; b~,:ing her twen~~five. bra~che8 o~cup~nc all the, stron"est Clom-.
_merd~l .-Ibofts of'lfIe- tJnl~J .....Itiller e..h~D'ybi'l,Wlth an Immense,

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eapital, enJoyed the cctntrol of the banking business, holds the discounts pf
the country in the palm of her hand. She can produce a simultaneous and
uniform action throu~hout our entire empire. When she touches the chord
at one end, its vibl'atloDs arll instantane9usly felt through all the ramificlltioris of com!Derce, the busirlell, and the interests of this enterprising natioJl.
Her hard hand now presses on the chord of contr-action, and the only notes
that are heard. are those of ranic and distress.
In reference to this, pl'essure upon the country. we are asked-What
can the ~ank do? I answer, every thing. It is rich, secure, powerful, and
lDftuential. By a 'single breath it can dispel the panic ana restore confidence. By one morning's discount it can substitute cheerfulness for gloom.
It is'the ruling power of the country, and ought to take the guidance and
lead oW iR restoring amitt and mutual forbearance between itself and the
other banking institutions. Let it do this-not for the Bllke of the Government, but for the community, Let it negotiate, as it has done upon former
occasions, not so ur~ent as the pre~ent. out of regard for its debtors, aad
let its hostile attituue t8 the Government be n" impediment in the way of
its usefulness. If the termination ot its charter was not near enough to jus, .tify the· removal of the deposites, it has not approached so near as to excuse'
persistance in its refusal to forbear. In one word, who can doubt the power of the Bank of the United States to alleviate~ . It ollght to go to tJte
very ver.ge of the precipice, and peril its own safety to give relief. Its cir..
culation eannot be aifected, its notes are secured as a I~gal tender to the annllal amount of'many millions, in paylnent of debts to the Government. Ita
wealth, safety. a~d strength, are well boasted of ,by its advocates, alld yet
it will nQt relax in its rigid policy. To show that it is out of the reach of acei~ent or hostility, 1 refer to a. bTief extract in my hand taken from its month~
Iy returR, dated en the 3d,of ,the presllnt mhnth. But previously let meobserve that, in 1831 the Bank voluntnrilr parted with 5 millioD8 of~pccie, called then Burplu8; so that I)n theJirat ofMarcl" 1832, their specie was I'educed
to,ixaod a balf milliens, when their paper circulation was greater than ,at
pr~sent, and. foreign exchange stood on i. very ditrereD~ footiBg~
. I

Statement of the Bank of the U. S. on the 3d :lebruaty, 1834.
Notes discounted, and Billiof Exchange,
Netes in ~ircull\ticm,
Specie.
- .
Dile bv State Banks,
)'uncls in Europe,
Private deposites remain nearly staHonal'Y-:lad at
Amollnt of public money of all sorts yet Oil deposite,

S54,842,9rs
19,260,472
10,523,385
1,386,951
1,550,000
6,i15.312
3,066,561

64

90
69
65
00
60
72

In the last month they have decrea8ed their loans on the line of notes on
. personal security; that is, businesS .paper, more than a milliOl of dul\lin,
and at the same time, have added more than half a million to their specie!
Sir, what is a pIlnic...that sudden terror inspired by a misapprehension of
danger-tllat fright without, real cause, which &ubstitutes distrust fer confidence. an,d threatens to overSpread our fair land with commercial disasterP
,I refel' Senators, .and the public, to an appropriate and happy answer, gi¥en
by the President of the Bank of the United States himself, 01) Monday the
30th of April, '32, to a question put to bim by the Committee of lnvestietion, and to be founll in your printed documents of that year. You Will
there discover how admirably well that intelligent gentleman, O9t only PQrtrays" a panic," hut exhibits in himself and in his own institution the very
simple and' ready means of driving the evil from OUf continent. H! proceed-s"and ai~ures us ,. bow little is required to produce a panic," ana that
the ineaus to allay it are about as trifling. He tells us that. the most dQU-

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trous period in the tinancial history of England was in the fan of 1825; anet:
that tile storm which then broke upon that country wfUI subduell, and the
whole kingdom, and the Bank of England (considered now as almost a part
of their constitutioll) saved by trivial means and accidental occurI:ences bordering on the ridiculous-" the unexpeeted arrival of about two ~undred'
" thousand sovereigns from France, the discovery, in the cellars of the Bank,
"of England, of eight hundred thousand one-pound notes, long before con"demnei:l to be burnt, and the intervention of a Sunday." The accomplished financier then describes to us how the same storm which had thus·
broken upon England passed over this country but a few weeks bcforehow it had threatened to produce the same results-the same dismay and
confusion in all our ~reat interest.... And -pray, sir, how was this frightful
crisis metP The witness answers, and sar' "by a resolute and deci,led
step to rally the confidence of the country.' By whomP By the Bank and<
himself. How? Bya ride from Philadelphia to New York, after a littletrouble, to put the Bank in an attitude of safety, and the increase Of its
. loans by one morning's discount, to the paltry amount of tifty thousand dellars! ! This, too, at an unplopitious moment, when the Bank had to make
a very large payment of the national debt, and when there was a demand
upon them from abroad for their coin. Thus, conftdence revived and dis·
may vanished af the only moment, in our financial concerns, when the m0ral courage of the President of the Bank seems to have failed him; for hehimself declares that he "never felt any uneasiness about the Banks of thi..
country. except on that occasion." lIear a little furl her his own language.
when speaking of this mighty dort, tbe increase in one ttay, at the Branchof -N ew York, gf' its loans to the amount of fifty thousand dollars! He testities-uFrom this moment conti.lence revived, and the danger passed. }
" then thought, and still think, that this measur~, the increase of the loans
.. of the Bank, in tbe face of an approaching panic,.could alone have averted
,. the same consequences which, in a few days 'afterwards, Were operating.
" with such fatal eft'ect upon England. I have never doubted that tile delay
"of a week would have'been of infinite injury, and that the prompt interpo-"sition of the Bank was the occasion of protecting the couJltry from a great
.. calamity!.!" To all this very excellent doctrille, I have only to say-Go,
and do ill 1884, as YOIl did in 18i5-take a ride to New York, and extend
your loans!
.
.
Mr. President, we hear much upon this floor of "dilOrderB in the Ctlrrmcy." I deny theirexistence-:'there is'no such 'thing. Because, at this
moment, there is Bot a single note In circulation of any bank in the United
Statell which is not as good, at this moment, as it was before, or at the time
of the removal of the deposites. There can be no conrusion~no disorders.
in the paper currency, so long as the State Banks continue to pay specie.
Why should there be, whilst they an stand firm, and promptly pay the COiD
upon presentation at their counters. in fulfilment of the promise carried
upon the face of their notesP And, in reference to the notes of the Dank of
!lie Vnited States, you are secuJe from any disorc1er, because the law of
Congress guaranti~ their circulation, and secures them from interruption,
by the obligation imposed on the Government in the 14th section of the
charter. If, during the present absebce of. amity" and prevalence of diamay, any of the lOcal banks should be crashed, and there should succeed
8Us»8nsioDl of specie payments, then, I confels, there would be, indeed.
confusion and IJdi80rders in the currency." Those !(uotations made by
Senators from tables of Bank..-ote exchaD~ are not entitled to that degree
of infidenC8 which should govern us in furming an estimate of th" eft'ects of
any ~t political measure, or aft opinion of tlie true condition of the country. They are made. up by interested persons, who live and fatten upea
tbe very inequality and confusion which tbey themselves represent to prevail
in BulL-note circulation. The truth of the cue is, that the dilFerence ia

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exchange can reaUy never be any thing more than the eJ:p8!Ise of transmitting the Rotes for payment, and bringmg back the Colin. For this reason.
distant 80ating notes-even distant branch notes-have never been received
.. at par. And if, by these interested tables of Bank-note eJ:change. there
appears to be any decrease in the value of distant State Bank notes, it cannot be very well ascribed to the removal of the deposites, for that measure
was rather of a character to strengthen those Banks, and to weaken the
power which held over them.the control and the supremacy.
.
·The Secretary of the Treasury, in his official report,presents, and in my
mind,'substalltiates the charge against the Hank of the United States ofhaY'ing "used its means with a view to obtain political power."
.
1f this charge has been sustained by reasonable evidence. DO one will deny
• that of itself it aWorded sufficient ground, independent of all other considerations, to justify the removal of the depoaites.
'Upon the purity of ourelectionll-upon the e:s:ercise of the right of ·suf·
fr~ without reward and not perverted by corrupt practices, dep~nd ·the int~rity with which the Government will be administered, the pr.,rvation
of our rights, and the continuance of our political institutions.
.
It would eJ:cite deep and universal condemnation to employ the money of
the stockholders alone to in8uence our elections and "with a view to ob·
tain political power"-or, to permit any moneyed corporation. the creature
or the Government, to throw Itself into our political controversies. But,
what would be the indignant judgment of every citiz.en against that dil't"c.wry that would use the People" money to corrupt the People! That would
uote tbe Government stock and dividends to overturn the Government! 'Who
would employ the public deposites left with them at the will of an adminiatration to vilifl' electioneer against, and destroy every member of that
administration.
' .
. In all times of our political history, no matter of whom the dominant party
might be composed, the interference of Banks in the politics of the country
has been universall'y censured and doomed to public punishment. 10.1811 •. a
prominent and dishnguished gentleman now upon thIS loor, advanced to hia
constituents. as one of his reasons for his e!Jsential aid in putting down the old
Bank of the U. S., thjlt it had been "reported" it had in a particular quarter of
the rountry interfered in the polities of the day. The committee of the other
House, in the report to which I have already referred, of 50th of April. 1880,
speaks of the punilJhment to be in8icted on the " directors who would briRg
u the pecuniary in8uence of .the institution to bear upon the politic. of the
"country." T~e present Bank of the United States should be less PI'eSUIPPtuous, and endeavor to profit by lessons and examples·sprea.d before it. The
old Bank of ~orth America. incorporatell.by CJongress in December. 1781,
because '~ the exigencies of the United States rendered it indispensably nee
. cessarl'" lost its charter granted by Pennsylvania, ill 1785, because, in the
. adinimstration of its aWairs. it had "been found to be injurious to the wei·
fare of the State and its tendency incompatible with the public safetv." 01
the oWence of which [ now speak and of ltS well-merited punishment. there.
can be but one opinion. The only contested question is-BJ what evidence
Is the accusation sustained? I answer. by tbat kind and wel!dtt of proof, full
to the point~ if you are governed by that rule which requires the best testimothe peculiar and difficult nature 'of the case will admit. The Directors
t6emselY'es, aware of the deep irn.presllion made by the evidence against
them, admit substantially the whole of the facts upon whlch tbe cl1a~ against
them rests, but labor to e:s:plain them away-to draw their own lDfen=,nces
to conceal their real Intention under the assumed and false argument and pretence of SELF-DEFENCE. In this admission they yield the point; for .their
self-defence went far beyond answers to tbe argulUents and objections contained in the veto mesll~: bound by no limits in their language and proeeedings they aimec1 at the entire overthrow, personally !1nd politically, of

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tbeir adversaries. to whom trusts of d~p interest had bean committed by
the People. Say, for a moment, there is no JI08itive llroof. Do you ask
for it in a clise like this? Do IOU demand it in the instance when the
doings of the aBsociation are all secret and with closed doors? Do you call
for t06 same direct evidence as If you were trying an issue before a judicial tribllnal? Look around you"":look every where-cast your eye over
the whole countrl-a Bank atmosphere ,every 'where covers the land, full
of political interference and influence. Immediately succreding the presentation of their memorial in '31, '32, they' opened their cofl'ers and
poured out their money like water. I am ,adverse to allusion to the 'ini:1ividual accounts of any of our citizens. It is sufficient to rely upon the
pages of the Bank report made by the Boa~d of Dir~ctors themselves, aad
bY,a reference to them, it will be perceived that in the execution of ,th9se
resolutions which, placed the whole funds of t.he institution, public, and
private, at the uncontrolled disposal of a single officer of th~ Bank, they
disbursed and incurred the expenses, within a short and recent period, to the
amount of S58,265,94-and during the same period the total 'expenses •
under the head of " 8talionm'Y and printing" ran up to the sum of S105,- .'
057 73. So much for their own acknowledgments under their own
I
hands! BlIt, the public directors, with all the caution allli solemhity whicb.
ou,,",t to characterIze an official memorial to Congrcss, openly ,charge IlpoB.
the Bank a total expenditure in the years 1831 andl8Si upon the saDie
"
Qbjects of S8l ,882 67, ,instead of &58,;265 94 admitted b'y the Bank pf w!tich
in the first 8ix mont/IS of the year 18S], there was laVIshly, expeudedthe ,
sum of S29,979 92; and ,in the lallt 8ix month8 of HiS~, the sum of
Ji"
S~6,543 72!!. For myself, sir, I am ,willing to yield to the Bank the right
of reasonable expenditure fO,dhp. publication and cir«ulation .of ,. reports to
Congress," of" speeches in Cougress." aud for" essays on currency alld
Banks." But I can go no furtber; for w~ are then ,bf9Ugbt to the material.
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important, and culpable class of" publicationlJ,." I mean that which the
1
Directors themselves denominate in their report, "OTHER MISCELLANEOU8PUBLICATIONS" n What doe,S this mysterious ,phrase coverP'
I
Not" spel'ches in Congre,ss." Bot" reports to Congress," nor .. essays on
'
Banks and Currency." WI~ nohpeclfy? Why mystery 'am,l'concea.lment
'~
by a public. Government instItution? They refuse, to eXhibit an account
I
and to produce vouchers! Why not divulge; more parlicularll where suth
1
enormous, expenditures were 11\ade in part out of the People s' money by ','
one Director alone, and that Director, in fact, forbid by the Board to disclose whim public accusation ,called ('or light and information!! Let me see
thiS' account for" miscellaneous publicatinns,'" and if we 'are in error in' the
conclusions we have drawn, I will be' the very first to acknowledge, that
i,njustice has been done. Their concealment justifies the accusatorr, de~
mand UpOR them. Let us see tMs list of" .miscellaneous publications!' In
these, do they assail, or defend? We may easily conjecture what has
been 8ecretly done, when we see what they have publicly said and laid upOn
our tables. I refer, sir, to .. the Report of the Committee of Dil'ectors of
tbe Dank of the United States," in which a langi1age 80 reprehensible and"
80 indecorous is held tnwards our public officers, that finally the only reward
, 'I
9f the Bank will be found in a general burst of public reproof. The whole
'\
tenor of that Bank production is marked with a degree of bitterness unbecoming a public and exculpatory docuiDent. and using the inexcusable hm·
~.
guage and epithets of .. the individual Andrew' Jackson," of whom thele • ':
Directors" cannot speak without wounding their own self-respect." of" what
'!I,
is called a Cabinet," and'wherein, in the very same p:uagraph. they place
the Prl'sident of the United States along side of, and upon a level Wltti. the
criminal counterfeiters of their notes!!
.
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Mi'. President: I shall proceed, in hastening to a conclusion, to answer an
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. :~D~ral objection, coveril!C the whole ',gl'OlJnd, to that Executive measure
which ordered the romoval oftbe depo8ltes for the purpose of checking the
abuses of the Bank, an~hecessarill preparatory·to the approaching tennin&- '
ti,on of its ehar~.. Tbey contend, with one voice, that in any eveut,the
pro.:eedin~ by .cire Jacill8 'ought to have been resorted to by tile President~·
thereby gaving to t6. Bank the right. of judicial inquiry! and the trial by
..jary. No one can' hold in more. sacred regard than I do, ~hat constitutional
right of the trial by jU!1' and I would at once admit the conclusive force
bfthe position, if that judicial JU'oceeding had been at all adapted to the case,
or the fit aad etl'ectual remedy for the mischiefs complained of. But, it wu
not, aDd could not be, the proper corrective. I shall repel the argument by
taking two views of the subject. . First, let us suppose that a .eire Jacial
~ad been ordered, returDJ.ble .to the fan session of'S5 ofthe Circuit C!>urt .in
. the .Eastern District of P!hnsylvania. Does it not immediately strike every
one aeq uainted with the tedious and slow J!rogress of judicial proceedings. that
th~ pleadings, preparation of evidence, trial. and the decisjon in a momentous
cause upon a final writ of error in the Supreme Court of the United States,
would at least produce thilt delay which would carry you to the end of the
session of that Court in the winter of 1855-6, and before that, the charter
would have fallen by it's own limitation. If a .eire luei", had even issued,
either by t.he direction of Con~es8, or the order of die President, the remo, val of the de~itea.. must inevlta!)ly an.d i~~ediately h!lve followed. If t!'at
process had ISSUed, and the solemn Judicllll proceedlDg bad been pendlDg
. u.pon the. avowed bel~ef that the c~art!!r was forf~ited, would you haye con-.
~ " boued With the Bank the possession of the public money? . W OIlld not the
order of removal have beensimultaneQus with, and justified by, the order of
the .eire facia.? What woufd haye been t.he distrust, embarrassments, and
disorders, if that grne and alarming proceeding had been adopted P In such
case, would not tlie Bank; and·the Government too, be obliged t~ prepare for
a decision against t,he corporation? And would not that have been made an
.. excuse for cllrtl!.ilments, and the infiictictn 'of distress, to coerce a discontinc.ance, as tbey now in that way seek a restoration P A .eire facia. followed
by a judgment of forfeiture, would have been an (lbrupt termination of their
el&arter, and the buaine88 of tbe Bank, whilst the removal of the depcJsites,
.adopting the miMer course, simply checks its (J/Juses, and suiTers h to ~
on, witli the credit of its issues: un~mpair~d, to ~e elld ~f its time. But r
take the other view of tbe subject.
'
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. The seire facia. is authoril.ed by the last section of the. charter of the
.Bank, which enacts that Congress, or the President, may direct that writ to
issue in case either shall believe" the provisions oj .tT,e charter to have been
iliolated.:" It is, therefore, the statut~ and prop'r remedy only in one particular class of easels. ' Those whicb arise out, of ,. a Yio~ation of the provisions of the charter," and which would bring down upon the institution
a judgment' offoJCfeiture. But, it is not the temedy. and it would be Utileless to resort to it, ill very many instances of grave and deep import to the
..interests of. the People._ the cominerce and business of the nlltion. Utw.n
these. they might inSict aggravated and lastill~ injuries and. distress, Without transcending the limits.or violating the prOVisions of their charter by corruptly, op{»ressively, and partially carrying their vast b.ankjng powers and
pecuniary lD~uence to their utQlost limits. I might particularize many serious public mischief!! demanding the prompt and energetic interference of
:the Executive which could not be reached by the process of .tire faciaa.
. 'For instance: Bringing tile inftllence of theil' money to beal' upon tlie poli'tics of the cGuntry; securing to themselves an ulljust mono~lr.r; a wanton
pressure upon State Banks. thereby crippling the commercIal community
.and rendering ihe public debtors lehs able tG pay their government; a vexatious curtailment of loans. with an increase of the pqblic deposites; the case
referred to by Mr. Crawford in his letter of the soth of May, 1828; the

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disruption of the domestic exchanges, on an oppressive system of
and exaction. as protested against by the same Sei:retary in his letter
of the 3d of July, 1817; with many other commercial emergencies. or finan~
cial exigencies which might be represented; in all which the Bank would
laugh at, and defy the process of ,cire facia" whilst the inierference of the
Treasury Depa'l'tment, if it did not humble and bring them to terms, would.
at all events, lesaen and check their power to do mischief. I will content myself with one other case to fortify my position. Suppose the.Bank
ofthe United States (and the sup{»Osition would not have been exttavagant
U~R one or two occasions in its history) to be notoriously insolvent, or te
I'efuae specie payments; neithel' circumstance would be a forfeiture of Its
charter; nor a ground for a writ of ,cire faciaa, and in neither case could
the Secretary of the Treasury refuse to take its _tes in paymeut of debts·
due to the Government; yet, who would say that under the power of this
16th section he ought not tu remove the public depositesi
The restoration of the depositea is the great and ultimate object of the
Bank of the United States. Must it be gratified! For myself, I answer
no! For I am unwilling to yield to measureyf coercion preferred by the
Bank to the experiment of reason and negotiation. Restoration isbut another name for dominion: restore. and the Bank rules now and for ever~eatore, and by the same means it must obtain a recharter upon its own
terms-a perpetuity of ita monopoly!. H"W does it happen that the repoSsession of the deposites is the only remedy proposedP Will nothin~ elseappeasei Restore, and the Ba~k will not .Ieru. It must !Itill pursue some
course of oppression to retain pos.session,and secure the great'anll vital
ebject at which its ambition ultimately aims. And is it possible that
our countrv, which we 110 continuall,r ~xtol as the most ha.ppy. abundant~
and prosperous on earth. must rely, for a c:onti.Duance of its blessings, uJlOn
the restoration of the deposites. and the will of the Bank of the Umted
States! Can we not, to preserve our jnde~eodence, turn upon our own
resources, our own industry. enterprise, and commercial capital, streDgth~
enedby State Bank facilities, and supported by a cerdial tl~sposition ~o !!o~
operate on the part of the Secretary of the Treasuryr 1 a(n very wIlhng
frankly to confess, that I believe there are many with. whom the original
question is.now changed; for. let me, for the sake of the argument, yield for'
the Dloment that it was not expedient, on the first of October last, . to lui.ve
removed the deposites. yet, as the measure has been fairly' and honorably
executed. and anetperiment made. which coulli not be very long }K)stporiedt
the question is now changed. and presents itself in a Bew aspect. To return
the depOsites now, would be to add to the present distresses; for, you would
thereby thro~ the State Banks into disorders, and embarrass.their borrow~n.
And certainly before very-long, you would have to commence measures
again to take them from the Bank of the United State~becaase there is
no presumption of. its beinr; able to obtain a renewal of .its charter. SlLtisfy me of that fact. and I will, at any moment. vote for a restoration q,f
the public money. Thi~ state of uncertainty.is opp~essive upon the local
banlis and paralyzes their means of usefulness. Speaking for myself.an.d
witb('ut undertaking to judge for others. I cannot view the ,uestion in.
any light, with those who vot. for a restoration. tho as a question of chlU'ter or no charter~ To my mind there is no escaping from the position.
Yes! Let me correct m1aelf. There may be one asylum to whicli ~ntle­
man can fly-emigration. IJat tbem emi~te-not to "the tJnci~ domInion!'"
but, to mod.m Virginia! Where the descendants. of a race of noble ancestors have made the wonderful political discovery. that of all Banks in
the world, in which to deJlOSite tlie People's money. an uncon.,UtutiontJl
Bank is the best!! A Bank. accordinf to tbeir political scruples, having
no legal exist.ence-a mere nonentity.! Why sliould gentlemen order a
restoration, which Inust be temporary, unless tliey mean finally to vote for a
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Let Senators, let impartial men, take up the prominent acta .f the Doant
of Directors for the last two years, and decide tbe question, whether it is,
possible to continue the relation of prineiP.!LI and agent between the Bank aad
the Government of the United States, WIth any hope of harmony and utility
to the countr,.~ Commence with the presentation of their memorial to Con-gress, in 1851-'i, the intet:ference which immediateiy succeeded. in the
politics and elections of the country; their det'eptive conduct in reference
to the postponement of the instalment of the three per cent. stock in 1852;.
the damages claimed on the French bill; th" expulsion.from the Board (it
can be called by no other name) of the Public Directors, and of Mr. McCallister, a high-minded Director, chosen by the Stockholders themselves;.
their dillregard of the justice and gratitude of the nation, manifested by their
withholding the books and funds appropriated for the payment of a {»ubli.c
debt due to the su"ivingoflicers and soldiers of the revolution; their mflic-tion of unnecessary distress upon the commercial community; the public
insult thrown upon the American People by the language ana epithets applied to their Cllief Magistrate and his Cabinet, in the Baok Report laid upon
.our tables.
Take all these into consideration, and they evince a spirit of hostility, 80
unjust, as to leave no room to doubt on which side the nation will throw
itself; and that upon the Bank, the wanton aggreslor in the conflict, will
fan a judgment of universal condemnation.
Sir, I give way to no political despondency. ] do not ~ree that we are
either" JD the midst of a revolution," or at all approximatulg to one. Our
constitution and political institutions are all safe, for public sentiment is
sound and the People uncorrupted. Executive usurpation is much talked of
by those out of power, but never dreamed of by him upon whom the chal'ge
is 80 greundiesily made. The assertion of Bank superiority, and the. atteml,t at Bank control,may produce distress for a time upon an innocent community, but when that institution arrogantly attempts to swell itself up to'
the importance of one of the co-ordinate branches of the Government, and
aims to check the proper action of any of the Execative Departments, it only
evinces its own feebleness.and will sink under the derision of the whole nation.
Mr. Ingham, in a correspondence with the Bank in 1829, well said, "The
.. Banlt cannot avoid the action of the Government in all its legitimate ope" ations and policy, however disposed it miaht be, after calcarating the 1111.. mensity of Its coft'ers and the expausion 01 its power, to assert ,utllority,
" a superiority, orinsensibiJity to such action. The pretension cOl1ld only
U excite a smile.
Compared to tM Government tM Bank i. e88entia1ly in,e rignijicant." The sentiment is a noble and patriotic one! And r call
upon tlie People, in the name of their sacred institutions, to carry Ol1t the
elevated sentiment-to resist this" expansion of. power;" and this" inseDsi~iliti,"on the'.,.rt of the Bank to the wants and the conrforts of the community. I call UJ!OII the country to !'8collect that the Bank is a mere corporation. ODe of the Implied means simply, convenient t. carrying on the fiscal
concerns of the Government; not one of the great endl for which our GovernlIIent was formed-not indispenably necessary-nor tD be tolerated becausesBE'may think herself indispensably reql1isite- to the operations pf the G 0
vernment. I call u(»On Congress, sllltaiDed by JI.IbHc sentiment.!o drive'
back this usurping lDstitution within it its legttimate sphere of bankinJ'
and fiscal agency. Let it recede within the liqa~ts designated by the .spint
of ita charter. Let it ceue its attempts t(JT transcend all aathorityabandon its vain and mistaken eft'orts to conquer and to rule. Let it SO conduet itself, and it ma,. eheck the-popular tide wltichil now setting 10 stronsly Blainst it, and find favor, in the eyes 01 flltllre legillation.

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Digitized by

Coogle