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SPEECH

OF

MR. DAVIS OF PENNSYLVANIA,
O N

THE INDEPENDENT TREASURY BILL.
In the House of Representatives, June 27ffc, 1840— been called a currency tinker and other odd names.
Ni'v^ii". this >e true, as charged o^er and over
On the Independent Treasury bill.
Mr. DAVIS sard: Mr. Chairman, before I prt>^ a^aiu oi this -l^Vr, and in the Opposition papers, it
ceed to the consideration t,f the great and imt>ortan. isr*the strMjgesLrafriou that has been offered why a
national question now before the commttto«, A will separation of the iQovei^rient from the banks
read an extract from the Boston Ciu^ier^ a modern should take place. Nothing thr.t the friends of the
bill have said in jts *avor ca»a SP more striking to the
~Whi2 paper. It i* as follows: /
« A 8 w e l l mi<:ht a blacksmith At tempt ic m^nd a wato!i, as^a pyrili^ m m £ / n a a ; that—if th^ President has the
f a r m e r to legislate. What miechit-iS aVe Lureto be e'Aacte !,
w h e n a man born to nothing but the r.tough tail, undertake* .o' pattec t& do re < m-ich mischief, it* &Rould be taken
from him. Had I Deen opposed tD thi?.*bill when I
l
*^Mu Chairman, I am the'Kiri of person herein came here, (which I was not,) I have heard enough
described. I was born to ryy inheuiarce.foulthe]fro** \Vi enemies c convince me that it should pass*
o l o u e h tail; and I have ploughed all' Jay ironvsui^j r ,1'aflitplersed thai my-honorable colleague from
« o until dark,since I have been elected tc as.?at ciij Philadelphia [Mr. SERGEANT] has at length made
h i s floor* l I know very well, sir, that this is not an known to us the principal cause of the opposition
o m m 0 tc opinion in a certain quarter. It is as to this bill. H e , ot all other gentlemen on this
th
^utetf
Constitution under which we live, floor, has had the best opportunity to be informed
«Thether I »"> qualified for this station or not is a on that particular subject. He represents the bank
stion alone for my constituents,who have sent me interest of Pennsylvania, and of all other men i s
best acquainted with their views, wishes, feelings,
>^s I have not heretofore consumed any of the and interests* In eiamining this bill, the gentle*
time of the House, 1 now ask the indulgence of the man said that the amount of money appropriated
n i m jttee J while I present some of the reasons that in it was ft31,00Q. This appeared on the face of
wiU influence my vote on this important ques- ir; but there was something, he said, that was
covered up in it which was hid from public view*
T h e gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. R E E D , ] but which would be perfectly apparent when
-who has just taken his seat, the gentlemen from he mentioned it. The Secretary of the
Pennsylvania, [Messrs. SERGEANT and COOPER,] Treasury, and the friends of the bill, he
and the gentlemen from Kentucky, [Messrs. POPE, \ said, had admitted that it would require
'V^'HITS:, and ANDREWS,] as well as most other gen-j five millions of dollars to be all the time in
tlemen who have spoken in opposition to this bill,* Treasury. Here, said Mr. D. I think the gentleh a v e charged the present Administration with be- f man has misunderstood the Secretary. H e said
ing the cause of the suspension of specie payments that there would not be likely to be more than that
in 1837 and 1839, and all the evil consequences at- amount in the Treasuey at any one time, and not that
tending them; such as the derangement of the cur- that amount would be ail the time in the Treasury*
rency, the issuing of sbinplasters, the redaction in the The interest on that sum, said the gentleman, at
price of produce, and turning the poor laboring man 7 per cent, wilj be three hundred and fifty thousand
out of employ to starve; for the gentleman from dollars, le which add the twenty-one thousand dolPennsylvania [Mr* SjcaaBAur] informed us that they l a r inakea three hundred and seventy-one thouwere in a slate of starvation. All these ewila the* • sand dollars; but yon may double this sum, said be,
say nave t o n e upon the country by Mi\ Van Bn-rj for it will take ten milliens of dollars instead of
rcn*a tampering with the banks; for which he ha* five, and that will be seven hundred and fotty-two



2
Ihou; and dollars per annum, drawn from the tax #123,630,692 95. On the 30th September followpayers nnnecessarily by this bill. T h i s , then, said ing it was reduced to #108,745 818. T h e whole
| { r . D . may be j-aid to be the reason given' by the average annual amount in .the bank for sixteea
bank interest for their opposition to it.
ye&is was $6^17,191 17. Of this sum I think it
I have taken si me trouble *o look into this inte- is fair to charge $2,000,000 to the sinking fund,
rest account, by examining the monthly returns of leaving $4,717,191 17 as the amount applicable to
the Bank of the United States for the sixteen years ordinary expenses all the time in the Treasury for
that she was ihe fiscal ag^nt of the Government; sixteen years. Prom this it would appear that the
and then takii g the annual returns of the d e p o s e sum of $5,000,000, as estimated by the Secretary
B a n k s from the removal of the deposites to the sus- of the Treasury, is not much out of the way, and
pension in 1837, and the following has been the re- not $10,000,000, as the gentleman from Pennsylsult of that examination:
vaaia [Mr, SERGEANT] suppo5«?d.
Amount of deposites in the United States Bank
The worst times said the gentleman, that the
auccording to the monthly returns:
country has ever seen, has been under the Sub1818
$7,609 5 0 1 9 0
1826 #6,993.350 45 Treasury system. N o w I am certain, said Mr, D.
1819
2,960,718 08
1827
7,623 228 18 that my honorable colleague does not intend to
1820
2,065,018 58
1828
8,039 255 80 mislead the committee or the public in this matter,
1821
2,337 071 46
1829
8,168,025 59 but he has surely forgotien the distress in the coun1822
3,485 118 30
1830
7,899.904 29 try about tweniy years ago. I will here relate my
1823
6,874 418 HI
1831
8 , 1 8 6 2 4 1 21 own personal experience at that period; and expe1824
8,081 076 98
1832 11,337,722 21 rience, we all know, is the best of teachers, It is
1825
6,393,366 74
1833
8 5 2 9 , 0 4 0 61 not necessary, therefore, for me to go to the statisT h e average annual amount in the Treasury dur- tics of the country, when my own experience is a
ing the above perjnd was $6,717,191 17.
Upon component part of them.
this I had cakuJated an interest of 6 per crnt. but
In 1516, wheat brought, in the Philadelphia
a s the gentleman, who understands interest better market, where the centleman resides, $3 per bushel;
than I do, has c\ arged 7 per rent, he will n*-t enm- corn from $1 75 to $2; oats 75 to 80 cents.
plain, I trust, TH should adopt ihe same, rule for hi*;' . In 1821, prices sunk down so low that wheat
friends,
which will make $7 52?,^5^ 11 \ / i i ° ! ? i brought only 62 4 cents, corn 31 cents, and oats
amount of interest received on t£iv V*e*>o>ii'*r. 5urihi<!( oniy 183'cents per bushel. I ploughed the ground,
i s not all. i am infos n^dth^t ( h e ^ ' e of banking i> to and 3>iVe,drlLe Sf>ed, cut it, threshed it, and hauled
issue two dollar* in pape- frr every dollar of de- »t to market^ a* brth those periods.
T h e land on
posites, and loan \\ ato'Jit also. \x rhis is the tact,. which thisprAm gr£*v cost, in 1815, #125 per acre,
1
then the interest a^c^dnt of the UY^lei &tat^ Bttr'k ami at -;hat t m e jf would not bring: more ihan $50.
alone is $22 5fO£ft8 33.
,
• --•-..•:!
'M**cha*iics, who hud tf reived §1 25 cents per day,
In the dep'-vife"banks, I have taken the amount aTnd Were found, were reduced down to 621 cents,
reported to he on* hand at »he end of each year. I and many were out o*Vinpayment altogetner, and
n o w show the balance yi ' ito^Tr^a^ury, a# r>rw- other *ahoricg* men received wages in the same
rented to Congress by theTSeWetnry <of Ahe Treanroport'm t :L*>nd fell from $125 per acre to $50,
sury.
a**d '"a ftoTte c*ses lower.
Hundreds and thou1834
# 1 1 , 7 0 2 9 0 5 31 Interest
#702,774 31 sands of honest farmers who had pabsed the meri1835
8,892 85e> 42
"
533 571 50 dian of life, and, by a long course of industry, had
1836
2 6 749 803 9 6
«
1,604,988 23 arcumniated a little property to make them com45,968,523
1837
45.968.52S 86flfi
»
2,758,111 43 fortable in old age, if they were one fourth in deb
for their land, and were pushed for it, the
$5 599,445 47 whole was
swept
fromr
them.
Or
if a
If thU amount was all the time in the banks, thr man had one farm clear, and a second on*
Interest accruing on it at 6 percent, would be for which he owed one-half the purchase money, it
• 5 , 5 9 9 , 4 4 5 47; but at 7 per cent, it will be $6,524,- took them both to pay the debt. A s gentlemen of
3 8 6 40. Apply ihe same rule to this that we did the bar generally fatten OD the mist ries of the peo*
to the other, VIE: ihat they issue two dollars in pie, 1 presume the gentleman did not experience
notes for each dollar of deposite, and loan that anv embarrassment at that time.
out also, and you have the sum of $19 574,858 21.
W h a t will the farmer say at this time? W h y , h;8
A d d this to the profits of the United States Bank produce won't seli for as much as he formerly got
a n d you hare the round sum of #41,144,420 44 for it.
realized by less than one hundred banks, by tb l'r
Here apain I will give you my own practical
having: the custody and use of the public money experience. My last year's crop brought me more
1
T h i s explains fhf reason, to a great exte: t, of the monrv than any one crop of the lwt thiee years.
opposition to the bitl now und*r consideration The increased quantity mor»; than made up for the
Those £enilrrnro who live by their wits, and nut diminution oi pric j . Thts ts the case also with
l>y their labor, nnd< r»rand all these thinss.
many of my neighbors. I jecemlv' lereived a letHere it wnl Le proper to remark that a port'on ter from a farmer in my neighborhood, who incf the monry m tl e United States Bank belonged to formed me that h<* had snU\ iromi his last year*!
the sinkirg tut dT onder the act of March 5, 1817, crop 437 dollars worth of hay; and rh t he had 4
;*«Uinir apart ten millions of do.lars to pay the in- r*r 5 ton* vet to spare, whit-h w* uM make it Up 500
terc^tand also to ic luce the principal of the deb dollars. H e h*d beside this,bis wheat, eore, and oali
*>f the RcvnTut on and late war. On the 12 h f f fo self, and he owns and work^ only a ho m ninety
February, 1816, the whole debt amonn'.td to acres of land- W e farrxurs know that w h e u w i




Froni^ the gentleman's account, we hfcve erred
h a v e a n abundant crop (a'l other things being |
e q u a l ) the price wilt be lower than w'len the crop I in t h i s , \ t h e n , ^aid Mr. O. aa *n ey£ry thing
i s s h o r t . It is therefore not always the beat times (else: t h a r ^ s , i*fe>, bOT£. committed jfa error b y
f o r farmers when prices aie v e i y hi^h, because it j brin^in^ golaSwMi.5jIyer into thg^a^lftry instead o f
i s g e n e r a l l y ewinp to a s-hort crop. It requires a I merchandise. ^PTiftfe1 'Cliailfc'e; ami . with them
c e r t a i n quantity of grain tor the use of his family gentlemen's opinions change*
W h e n the gentlea n d s t o c k , and if he consumes it all, the high price I man tet-eived twenty ihm^and dollars for going
i s o f n o advantage to him. W e had better have to England, as agent for the United Slates Bank to
t w o hundred bushels of wheat at one dollar, than bring in specie, ii was all rignt to luing specie into
o o e hundred at two dollar * per bushel. For exam- the country; but now it is ah wrong.
p l e : s a y that it takes 50 bushels for bread a n l *>eed*
One t h i n ? ! presume is certain; no m a n that
f a t h a t case w e would have 50 bushels left, at t * o [heard the gentleman will charge him with being a
d o l l a r s , making $100, and in the otier ca^e we hard money man. T o e only thing for our c o n s i d e r
w o u l d have 150 bushels left at $ 1 , making ftl50- ration, on this subj-ct, is, was it be ( ter for the
B u t , sir, we are like ^;her men—we like bij* crops country to b:iii£ this money in gold and silver, o r
a n d high prices t>o
W e hav*, however, heard of merchandise?
T h e Slates hav** creaied stocks
t h e country being rained S J ouen from the Oppo- [sine- 1820, amounting to #174,6116,994, and o v e r
s i t i o n witiiin the \as, few year-, that we understand which the General Government h ivt» no control.
t h e i r object.
Y m want, gentleman, ?o act our They tound their way to Europe. T h e a b o v e
votes', and ihen you c »uld control our money; but amount way all that was brought over in specie*
y o u r Whisj panic >peeche< fall stiil-b rn upon u>. and the re>t WAS brought over i i merchandise.
I will go lo the laborer, s;ns ihe gentlcmta; • > u e o f t h e great evils mat has aill c\etA i\\ts c o u n a n d what will he say?
W h y , I formerly «»n try, ha-i been an over-importation, and ycr the g e n m o n e y that answered my purpose; but now I am tleman wuufd have imported fifty fiv* millions m o r e ,
m preference to the precious meiais. Such is his aver*
o a t of emp'oy, and my family is starving.
M e n starving ia P^aa>y!v^n;a!
Sir, ih's is sion to hard money. Perhaps lias exportation o f
n e w s to me, I t to'jght the complaint wa^ that hard, money is advocated to justify the United
g r a i n w a s too low. This i^; certainly what was States Bank in exporting sp *cie, as she has done*
s a i d to lha farmers.
Since a panic has been to the amount of $3,712,000, in about fourteen
attempted to be g.it up here, I have frequently mo-iths. This seems \o be carrying out the gentleh^ard from home on the subject of lab:-r and m a n ^ principle in full. A t the sa-oe lime that Ihe
-wages, and find that our mechanics are well em- gentleman advocated sending dvs fifty-five millions
p l o y e d in my immediate neighborhood at former of specie out of thi country, he a s » auvocited a
National Bank, as well as some s i s or eight other
prices.
T h i s i*, perhaps, an fixcepiion to th? general sjjeailemeu, No>v, sir, I want to ask these gentler u l e ; and the r e ^ o n is obvious. W e have no bank men whether their bauk is to have a specie basis?
n e a r us, nor have we any thing to do with them. and if so, where is it to c o n e from? Fr.rni the best
E v e r y man keeps his own money, a n l no bank estimate thai can b* ra^de from the statistics of the
m a r k s our checks good with ml paym? the money. country, the amount of gjold and silver in th*
We don't build, nor employ mechanic* of any kind, United S a l t s is a b o f eighty-five millions. Of this,
u n t i l w e are able to pay for what we zet done, with-, 33,105,153 is in the hanks, as is shown by their
o u t going to bank for ihe m ney. Our business is, i «ait return, and the i st is in circulat on, or in the
therefore, regular. I have b^rn watchiasr the course bauds of the people. T h e project of the gentleman
o f events for the last few years, and have noticed from Kentucky, [Mr P.. r e , J and the only one s u b t h e changes and fluctuations that have talc*n place, mitted, was for a sevt-.iiy million b.mk, so restricted
a n d a m of ihe opinioi i h u th* emha f ra.«m-a: of diat it should only issao i\.vo dollars in paper for o n e
the country ks nwin« to wveraetioa b / hanks, or to m specie. U u ler this plaa one ot iwo things i s
their unsUadin*S3 in their acc"uiTn-f]citcon« t»> the certain; either that y »ur circulation will be small,
b u s i n e s s community. I find geaera'ly, where men or y o u laUMt have a largo specie basis.
And
a r e thrown out of employment, that it is for want where, I a*k a?ain, is it to come froin? Can y o u
o f a continuance of bank accommodations to carry get w h i t is ia the h i n d s of the jjeople^ Or wilt
o n business. T o o many of our butties* men de- you, after all your professions of frien Iship tor the
p e n d on bank loans to carry on their business; and S<ate binirs, receive their notes in subscription for
-when that is withheld, th.?y are compelled todi^ch tree ^tock, and ihe*> call on t'nem for t^cir hard caah?
their hands. It h a lamemab?e truth that thr> banks Or will yon g.i to E.i^tand for it, a n l increase the
h a v e U>o much control over the b u s m ^ s of th« mdeb cdness of waich thj genii'em tn com.ilaiay?
country, and thereto, e CAII produce a panic at plea- Th^s-f are ^ue^tions wor hy oV your c lnsrderadou,
sure.
^n i I, fur one, would like to have thf» n answered*
"I don't like hard m o n e y / 1 says the gentleman. Creating more b i n k s is like feeling V e s u v i u s with
" 1 would rather have paper; it don't wc?ar out my oi»; you only increase the name.
p o c k e t so much. W h y , shall the people be c-.im-I T n e ^pntlem4n ha> furoisucd us with a long a c pelted to bjjr silver to pay their debts? W e have I count of ihe expenditures, and also of losses b y
too much gold and silver in this country. W e have I the agents of the Government, from its c o m m e n c e erred in this, a* in every thing else. Ptfty-five mil- [ ment. In this the gentleman has imitated his party*
lions of your foreign debt is occasioned by the im-l H e has dealt in generals, and not descended to
porta'ion of gold and silver.
S m d back y o u r ! particulars, f have also looked over d o c u m e n t
fifty-five millions and pay your debts, on which you 1 N o . 10, of ihe present session, and find that t h e
b a v e to pay #3,300,000 interest."
I amount io*t by disbursing officers, exclusive of



4
t r u s t funds, a n d payment of the public debt, are as
follows, to wit:
G e n e r a l W a s h i n g t o n ' s first term, 13 cents per
$ 1 0 0 , s e c o n d t e j r a , 27 cents per #100; J o h n A d a m s ' s ,
£ 3 cents per $ 100; M r . Jefferson's first term, 32
c e n t s per $100; second term, 64 cents per $100; M r .
M a d i s o n ' s fir*t t e r m , 130 cents per $100; second
t e r m , 112 cents p e r $100, M r . M o n r o e ' s first term,
2 0 5 cents per $100; second term, 2 1 6 c e n t s per $100;
M r - J . CI- A d a m s ' s , 66 cents per $100; General
J a c k s o n ' s first term, 19 cents per $100; second
t e r m , 2 6 cents per $100.
It will be remembered that M r . M a d i s o n ' s administration w a s during the e m b a r g o and war, and
therefore m o r e agents were necessarily employed,
M r . M o n r o e ' s administration met with less opposi
tion than a n y Administration since the adoption o*
c u r Constitution. N o w , sir, look at the pattern Administration of the venerable g e m h m a n from M a s s a c h u s e t t s , [Mr. A D A M S ; ] the loss per h u n d r e d doll a r s w a s 66 cents; and the prodigal a n d wasteful
a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , as his enemies term it, of General
J a c k s o n , only lost 19 cen(s per hundred dollars
the first term, and 2 6 cents the second term. T h i s
is a l w a y s ihe casp, gentlemen; wh<?n we draw you
into particular?, yon m a k e a tremendous noi.-e
a b o u t others, but a l w a y s waste the most money
yourselves.
N o w , gentleman, we will look at another item,
I m e a n the whole a m o u n t of loss to the Government during each A d m i n i s t r a t i o n .
It is as follows :
W a s h i n g t o n ' s 1st t e r m ,
ad t e r m ,
M r . J . Q- Adams,
•* Jeft'ciPOII'S 1st t e r m ,
2d term,
*' Madigon'a Int term,
2J term,
" Monroe's
1st t r r m ,
2d t e r m ,
r
Mr. Adams.
G e n . J a c k s o n ' s 1st term,
2d term,

from
fram
from
from
1mm
from
from
from
from
from
from
Irom

1789
179:4
1797
]<sni
1605
IS(>9
IR13
1K17
1821
I#25
1ft*)
1S33

to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to
in
to

3793,
1797,
1801,
1305,
1800,
1813,
[HI7,
1821,
isy5,
\S2i\
lRi-'J,
I«37,

QCfiC* 46
8:2,359 R-i
85,179 9$
o i , s ? ' j tyj
122,17s .M
371,051 ^
tiHrt.836
51
880,1 U 67
1,56H,476 17
2,^78,558 47
299.798 51
1,305,305 45

G o v e r n m e n t from the b a n k s of the c o u n t r y , which
has been a n unprofitable partnership.
They
desire that their money shall be collected in
the legal currency of the c o u n t r y , a n d be kept
in such m a n n e r as that it c a n be at all
times controlled by their representatives to pay the
honest debts of the G o v e r n m e n t . T h e y have seen
with deep humiliation thai, whilst in the midst of
peace and prosperity (when our land w a s flowing,
as it were, wiih milk a n d honey) with a n overflowing T j e a s u ry, iheir representatives could
not control it. T h e y h a v e seen the b a n k s , who
had the care of it, close their doors and place the
G o v e r n m e n t at defiance, professedly to keep the
precious neetals from gainer out of the country;
when, in the s a m e year, 1837, the imports of specie exceeded the exports $4,510,165.
Therefore,
ihe reasons given could not h a v e been the true
cause* T h e y h a v e seen an additional exp«?nsa created for the people to pay by calling Congress
trgeiher to provide for the defalcation of the bank?;
and, when met together, the President w a s importuned to recommend to Congress, at the earnest
solicitations of the m e r c h a n t s , tno, to grant them
indulgence : n the p a y m e n t of their Government
dues; for destruction, they said, a w a i t e d them, if
he did not, because they could not pay them in
such m o n e y as the G o v e r n m e n t would receive*
H e did recommend the indulgence asked, and he
did not stop to inquire whether the m e r c h a n t s were
his personal or political friends; or whether, by
such recommendation, he would strengthen or
weaken himself. N o , sir—no such thing.
He
acted like a faithful public servant should do. H e
looked at the interest of the whole country without
rrgard to party. On the 10th of October, a bill
passed the H o u s e of Representatives unanimously
granting the indulgence asked for. T h i s act dried
up in part the sources from which the T r e a s u r y
was supplied, and it became indispensably necessary to provide for the deficiency to meet the en*
gagemenis of the G o v e r n m e n t u n d e r laws passed
by Congress.
It was proposed to use the credit of the G o v e r n m e n t by i suing T r e a s u r y notes.
But, sir, w h a t w a s the conduct of the m e r c h a n t s ,
the b a n k s , and their friends? E v e r y paper under
their contrt 1, and all the Whisr ormors in and out
of the H o u s e , commenced a war upon the Government a s . i oon as they were relieved from destruction.
T h e y turned r o u n d — I had like to have
s^aid viper like—to sting: to death the h a n d that had
saved them.
T h e vote on supplying the T r e a s u r y with m e a n s
to pay i's debt*, w a s a strict party v o ' e , or nearly >-o. If there c o u ' d be found the s*me n u m b e r of
farmers in P e n n s y l v a n i a that would act with such
i a _ r a t i t u d e , 1 would disown them.
T o show that this m e a s u r e is p o p u l a r a m o n g the
people* t will give you the election return* for the
years 1336, 1837, 1838, a n d 1839, the last three
years when this Independent T r e a s u r y bill w a s
made a test question:

N o w , gentlemen, w h a t do you think f.he hard
fisted, honest farmer, for w h o m you seem to be so
m u c h intercsied, will think of this, when they *ee nl
O u t of $7,748,318 89 of the earnings of their indust r y that ha* been lost to them in 47 >ears, vour
p a t t e r n administrate n of M r . A d a m s lost $2,278,
558 47 in 4 years, being an a n n u a l Io$s of
$569,639 6 1 , and leaving but $5,570,960 42 to be
apportioned a m o n ^ the other Administrations for
4 3 y e a r s , m a k i n g an average a n n u a l !o>s during
t h e whole 43 years of only $139,557 2 1 . A n d yet
y o u a r e the men who a i e loudest in y o u r professions of economy.
T h e g e n t l e m a n from A d a m s county, P e n n s y l v a n i a , [ M r . CooPt.R ] told us that the decree of party
frad ^one forth, and this bill w a s to pas?. H e says
i n 1833, when the experiment began, we had as
j^oort a currency as any country ever had; but the
b a n k w a s to be broken d o w n , a n d therefore the
depositees were to be r e m o v e d .
T h e decree of party h a s gone forth, k the lang u a g e of the g e n i l e m a n . If he had said the dec r e e of the P E O P L E had gone forth, he would h a v e 1336
b e e n correct- If there is a n y one question upon
'which the people of the district that I h a v e the
h o n o r to represent, is more united than a n
o t h e r , it is on t h a t ot a n entire separaiion of the




Mr. V a n B u r e n .

761,968
7 4 4.350
17,918 majority.

Opposition.

744,350

5
J W e are desirous to confine them to their legitimate
business of banking, and then they will be regular.
They can always calculate with certainty, the extent to which thry can accommodate the public;
108,010 majority.
but while ever their accommodation depends on
the public depositee, and commerce fluctuates as
955,715
1,066,245
1838
it has done, we must expect those sudden revul955,715
sions. But, sir, the banks may well exclaim, "save
me from my friends." They have charged over
110.530 majorify.
and over again that we will destroy them by refusing to let them have the public money; and also,
1,004,004
9 62,53 6
1839
refusing their notes. What inference is to be drawn
962,586
from this? Why it is, that the banks cannot stand
without being propped up by the Government. This
42,418 majority.
is what their professed friends say of them here,
110,530 and I think gieat inju-tice is done by it to such of
O p p o s i t i o n majority in 1838, 42,418 ihe banks as are sound* Bui iC ihis be true, that
M r . V a n Buren's majority in IS39,
18,000 they are in this condition, so rotten as to be unable
E r r o r i n Pennsylvania return.
to stand alone; it is another good reason furnished
170,948 by ytur-elves, gentlemen, why a separation should
j take pl.^oe. 1 would prefer the specie clause, and
T h e a b o v e calculation was taken from a Whie I cash dut.es, going immediately in'w effect, r?o as to
p a p e r , e x c e p t Pennsylvania, and therefore they, j prevent foreign merchants from traJing on the
| the credit given them on duty bonds to the great
w h o s e o r g a n it was, cannot object to it.
T h i s statement exhibits some curious facts. In ! injury of our own merchants and manufacturers.
1 8 3 6 M r - V a n Buren's majority was 17,918 votes. | If the Government was to continue to receive the
W h e n Congress met in September, 1837, the poli- notes of banks, every bank in your larjie seaports
t i c i a n s foresaw that the suspension would produce would be subj-ct to its will, for it could destroy
a n embarrasMnent amongst the people, and espe- them at pleasure, by receiving their notes, and
cially those depending on banks to carry on their then calling; on them for specie, when they must
business.
A war of extermination was waged either comply with its dictates or be so crippled in
a g a i n s t the Administration,
The W h i g orators thetr operations as to be neither able to benefit
p r e d i c t e d great distress, and made many panic themselves or the public.
s p e e c h e s , and circulated them amongst the people.
In refusing to receive their notes the Government
T h e b a n k s , to aid their friends to fulfil their pre- does nothing more than the Bank of the United
d i c t i o n , pnt the screws on the people, as will app* ar States did towards the other banks. It received
b y t h e i r o w n returns on the first of January, 1837, hut few of the country bank notes in payment of
w h e n their loans and discounts in the United States Government dues; but this was all right, because
:
a m o u n t e d to $525,115,702, a<*d on the first of Ja- it was- done by the bank, and no political capital
n u a r y , 1838, they only amounted to $485,631,687; could be made against the Administration, and
b e i n g a contraction in one year of $39,434,015. therefore nothing was ?a;d about it.
S u c h a sudden withdrawal of accommodations of
But it is said that we want a bank to regulate the
* s u c h a large amount of money could have no other currency, exchanges, &c. I have looked into this
effect than to embarrass business men. This was matier and find that the exchanges have been more
' all charged to the Administration, and therefore deranged during the existence of the United States
h a d s o m e effect on the public mind in 1837. The Bank than since.
c h a n g e agatnst Mr. Van Buren on the popular vote
In 1821, when the bank had hern in operation
* at the eleciion was 125,928 votes. At the extra or five years, the notes of many of the banks in Pennc a l l e d session, Mr. Van Buren recommended the sylvania were from 10 to 60 per e m u under p.tr;
:
Independent Treasury system. It then became the N e w York country banks from 10 to 75 pef cent.;
• s u b j e c t of attack by the Opposition. In 1838 there Massachusetts 12 per cent.; restrict of Columbia 70
>
w a s but little change, only about 2.520 votes. This per cent.; Georgia 40 per cent ; Ohio from 50 io 80
s u b j e c t was canvassed freely by (he people, and in per cent. In 1B27 there was another pressure,
1 8 3 9 the "sober second thought of the people" when Pennsylvania country banks were irom 5 to
m a d e a change in favor of the Administration of 75 and 80 per c^nt. discount; Delaware from par
O
1 7 0 , 9 4 8 votes; aad yet wiih this fact scaring yon to 25 per cent.; Maryland from par to H per cent.
full in the face, we are totd thai the people are op- In 1833, when it is said we had as good a currency
* posed to this great national measure. The cende- as any country ever had, Pennsylvania wa* from
m a n fro in Kentucky [Mr* W H I T E ] informed us par to 2 per cent; Alabama wa* from 10 tr» 20 per
that h e would prove by all the modes of attaining cent ; Louisiana from 6 to 8; Mississippi from 5 to
k
p u b l i c sentiment, that the people were opposed to 6; Tennessee from 4 to 5; Mu-suuri, Illinois, IndiSince
this measure; but how did he fulfil that promise? ana, no sale*; Kentucky from 20 to 25
H e t o o k up the returns of 1836, 1837, and 1838T 1833, the rates of exchange have not besn so high,
a n d then stopped. The returns of 1839 did not or bank not*s so low. By this it will be *e*n that
h a p p e n to answer his purpose, and were omitted some gentlemen'* memories are not so very good,
when they Bay that we had the b e ^ currency the
by him.
W e * r e charged with being enemies to the banks woild ever knsw. But, say they, the United State
o f the countrry. H o w is this charge made out? Bank paper was good. Admit this, and what does

1837

819,303




927,213
819,203

6
it prove? W h y , that y o u had one currency for ihe
Government and another for the people—the very
thing you now condemn. T h e above rates will be
found in Senate document N o . 457, session of 1 8 3 7 8. The United S'ates Bank shaved the notes of its
own branches from 1 to 5 per cent.; M»P Spenc*rV
report to House of Representatives, Jauuarv 19,
1819. Banks, hk* individuals, will have a credii
abroad in proportion to *he.r standing at horn?.
If they stand high in public estimation at horre,
and always redeem their n>>u-sw;H»n presented, in
gold and silver, th?y cannot *ink lower at any
point than the d fl'Tence in transposing the gold
and Mlver. Why is it that bank notes in the sanvState, and even if* th« same h w n , differ so mot h
in value? Is >t not owing ti» the-r standinc in public e.sinnaijo'.? lint we are d i d ihat the lab Ming
cla-ses womd he much bentfred by the cstab'i h
nuur of another JNatinnal B.ink. These things
nave been promised hefnre, without heine reibzed.
I happened to bo in II misburg, in Pennsvlvama,
when the UuiiMd Stkirs Bosk bill of that S'nje
Wiis- _under coosid •r.rion. It- friends ther% iter
the friends of a Uniie I Srat^ Bank here, prophesied thar great got.d would result from V—'bat we
had iitlMt S a t e a In i>*• a »d enbrprisirg r k s fil
men, who p in.e-w.it a ; i i,,o qualifications rvc|;iisieto make them useful; but that they were widiont
the means to ?.M> in to busiies^—that f a t m ^ i s n echanics, and others, who were iu debt, would be
* really benefited by it—that money wou'd be so
plenty that interest would be reduced to four p n
cent, and perhaps lower—in fact, it WHS "he very
bill to benefit ihe middle and lower clashes. Thiw a s t b e p ' o t e s i o n . A \\,w for the prac-.th-e. Mo
ney bad b c o r n e M; plcmy in Pennsyivam •, or a'
least in that section where I tesidc, that men who
could secure it well, could set w r M t they wardM
at five percent, per annum. T h i s w a s a very
common rate of in'cresf.
But in less than
twelve months after the Bankwa> chartered
notice was penemlly gi*en cither to pav m
the money or to pay six per cent, interest. This
was all fair. W e , who were in debt, had no
cause of c irnplairit. It was only the effect tint the
charter of the Bank hi\ u-.on us. AM ilvse thiivjs
I know from ox- --erience, because it look hrl-v* n
thirtv and forty dollars p T annum from me; bin
in Phi aitedidi a it was much ivor>c th HI in ihcouhtiy. T o such an extent was ine wild and visionary spirit 1 1 speculation encouraged, thnt it
created Mich an additional demand for money thai
interest row to ion, fifteen, twenty, and a* hiidi as
thiriy-MX per cent or »hrre per cent, per nion'h,
and it wa •; exceed.nglv difficult for ordinary hu.i
ne^s men t > got Accommodation* at ah, W:JC:I th»
shaver n n l sperulutor rr?n!d command his millions.
Nearly all the nmne)- \vr»r* lent rut through broker*
and bank <ffirers at extravagant rates of i n f rest
In this rasp, g'-nilemen, you profer-sod as much
friendship for u* farmers and laboring men as you
do now. Is it then at all surprising that we.should
be unwilling to trust you agam7
Bui a bank is wanted as a regulator. W e in
Pennsylvania have some experience about this
regulation of the currency- On the 9fh of October
last, the evening of ihe flection, and after the returns from the city and county of Philadelphia




were mostly i n , the bank officers held a meeting to »
consult about the propriety of suspending specie
payments. Fourteen banks were represented, and
five were for suspension and the big bank w a s Oil*
of the number for suspension; and nine were
a?ain>tir. Therefore it is reasonable to suppott
that the nine banks who were unwi bng tosuspend f
were able to c m inue specie payments. But the
next day when the big bank opened, *he sent word
r»und to tt*e others that she suspended forthwith,
and ih*» rest followed her e x a m p l e T h e conse*
qiier.ee has b^cn the withdrawal from circulation of
nearly all the pre''io-rs m e t a l s and their place was
filled with the w >rs*, trash that ever displaced any
people. Th«" best informed men of that State are
of opinion thai neariy all the banks in Pennsylvania crtuld have contmurd specie payments, and
;hat lhov were entirely so1 vent; but we had a regulator, and i hey mus1. follow her regulations. But
for the n d*le Man 1 taken by Gove.nor Porter to
>ee that the law* were faith Tally exeouted, and that
no not? or bill of a less deiiojaiinvion than five
dollars should be i'.^ned, the whole S<at2 would
luiveb-en aga : n fl »od d whh shin pi asters as it
'^as in 18.17; for the universal law regulating curr*Miey is, that rwy !::nd^ ef the vam? denomination
will not circulate together. Where one is more
va'^able than the other, the least valuable will be
kr}>t going, while the other will be hoarded up.
For instance, if yon h i v e Ave dollars in gold, and
a five dot ar bill, you will part w h h the bill first;
;
>i;t if you h*id n > note, the j-o'd would then be
u;ed. S o p the circulation of all the five dollar
hills in the country, and half eagles will soon take
their place.
T h e bill now under consideration differs in two
v^ry essential particulars from the late practice in
the kind of money to be received, and the manner
of keeping it Ielween ihe time of receiving and
disbursing it.
Prom the commencement of the Government,
the public money has he-:n received and disbursed
*>Y i-flic-is appointed by the Government, and therefore if they were dishonest, they had an opportun.ty to embezzle it; a n ] besides all ibis, you had
to risk the safety of the banks. Under this bill you
h r . v e b u t o n e set of officers; and if ta:ik officers
are rnon* honrst ihnn other men, their services can
he h»d; bin this I do not admit. Iu all Governm e n t s and also to larg* private transactions, more
or le>.s losses will occur from faithless a g e n t s and
this will always be the case until mau becomes infallible.
One of th^ strongest rea ons why this bill should
pa^s at the present time is, that it is generally concycled that the ieidj istment of the tariff will come
up for consideration at the next session of Coni*iV<R. That peri-id wilt, perhaps, be the freest from
objections to considering th? s u b j e c , of any time
that can be selected
Aftei a storm w e usually
have a calm; and a ca.!m will, therefore, be likely to
Aueceed the co.nin^ Presidential election, and it
will, moreover, come on before parties divide off
on other Presidential candidates. T h e members
will come together freer from excitement than
usual, and therefore will be better prepared to act
with that calm, cool, and deliberate consideration
that its importance requires. I would here s a y to

7
t h e h i g h tariff m e n at the North, and to the anti- e v e n to bring you to .starvation, a s the gentleman
UurifT m e n of the S o o t h , that you should meet toge- from Philadelphia would h a v e it? T h e labor of
ther u p o n i-ome middle ground with that spirit of any country is its wealth; and when you protect
c o n c e s s i o n and compromise that actuated those men the interest of the laborer, y o u promote the inteto w h o m y o u are indebted for (he form of Govern- rest of the country; but, h o w is this to be done? is
m e n t under which y o u live. If either extreme the great question. H e r e the parties seem to be at
s h o u l d succeed, injustice may be done. Pennsyl- issue. T h e Democrats contend that the laborer is
v a n i a occupies: that ground. W h i l e she will never be best rewarded who receives his pay in the kind o f
b e h i n d her sister Statrs in furnishing the necessary currency of which a month 1 * or day's wages will
m e a n s to support the Government, in either men or buy most o f the necessaries of life for hts family.
m o n e y , at the s a m e time, s o far a s I a m informed, For instance, the gentleman from Virginia [Mr*
h e r p e o p l e do not desire more taxes to be levied H O L L E M A N ] informed us, the other day, that he
t h a n w i l l meet the necessary expenses o f the G o - knew a man that received thirty thousand dollars for
v e r n m e n t ; and in laying them, she will ask discri- one month's work, in continental m o n e y , and then
m i n a t i n g duties to protect the manufacturing inte crave it all for a uniform coat, worth only thirty
rests.
T h i s is the first deliberative body in which dollars, in hard money. N o w , if this man had re*
I w a s e v e r honored with a seat, and this is m y first <e v e l forty dollars in hard m o n e y for his month's
effort i n this body; and a s one of the Represent- work, he would have had ten dollars left; but when
a t i v e s of the Keystone State, it' I could suggest any t»e s o t # 3 0 , 0 0 0 , he had nothing left. T h i s is a fair
t h i n g fof lne consideration of Congress that would illustration of the position of the two parties; for
t e n d t o harmonize their conflicting views on that in-1 the Opposition contend that the largest nominal
an<
tere*lin£
* heretofore exciting qursiion, it would amount, without reference to Us value, is the best
h i v e r y gratifying to my o w n feelings; but, sir, if w a s e s .
wi% permit the banks to enter the Mm of interested
Now, sir, if this bill will be the means of taking
y o u t iP_^ w , v rom w j | | h a v e vour sallcrv anrlvnur tob- away the props that have held up and supported
«r t a n s y u will h a v e your gallery and your lob
H l i n e d with thrir officer* and agents, advocating;. rotten institution.*, and will weed them out from
K^ h tariff, and all for th<» interest of the dear peo- amongst the : ounrf ones, we shall s.>on recuro to a
j * professedly, hut in fact to creaic a larse surplus S'torid circulating medium; and the man who refor t h e m to trade upon
Should you employ the ceives his werk'.s pay on Saturday night will be
b a n k s a f f a m as depositories, I doubt not but the pic- certain that his mmn-y will b* go d until the end of
d i c t i o n of my honorable colleague from Philadel- the next week. T h e ch%nges and fluctuations in
p h i a [ M r , SJCUGEANTJ will be fulfilled, and that ten the prices of produce a l w a y s operate more injurig i i l ' l i o M of dollars will not be too larue an e M i m a c ously on (he poor man than on any other c h r s , bef o r the balance in the Treasury. T h - r e has been cause his ivaurs are the last to rise, when a <;eneial
s o r r l e effort made to agitate this in'eie-tins question rise in prices takes place.
a t t h e prescni s**a^ion; but of all times that could be
In Pennsylvania contracts arc usually made ,n
s e l e c t e d , this would be the most unlortun*te for the th** winter for the succeeding sururm r, both for
country*
building and farming operations, and the prices
I h a v e been no little arnu>ed,sir, to hear the very fixed by th'* day, mouth, or year, a s the casir may
k i n d profession** of friendship from the gentlemen in lie. Mechanics generally fix iheir prices in the
t h e Of'positifju, 1o liic interests o f the farm«*r.;, me- winter, or i-arly in the spring, from which they canc h a n i c ^ and laboring m e n . Y e s , sir, the real hard not well dcp'it.; and it not. unfrequently happens
fis'ed m e n , as they are called. These professions tha* betore the season i* b*ilf ovi r, their bread and
in this hall, who can scarcely meal A W M J C ' S in piic-j fiom 25 to 50 awl \t\ s-*mo
a r e made by men
t u r n over the leaves in their portfolio without their cases 100 p»-r c wt yet the.r wages remain stations i l k g l o v e s o n . N o w , sir, I don't doubt their s n- ary. T h i s frequently happens after the g ain has
c e r i t y , but are th^y as competent to judge *>f their b e m sold by the farmer, and the mills are nearly
interests a s practical business men are? W h i l e empty, the whole crops of the country, or nearly
t h e y profess one thing, they practice another, Y w , so, being in the hands of the speculator-.. In Pmlas i r , ibey are for exclusive privileges and m o n o p o - ttelpkU, hni;ditig »s generally done b> contra ; made
l i e s — t h e very antinod<,% of the poor man's interest. in the comnnno-merit of the season. T h e compeT h e y are too much like the banks—they form tition I e-ng gre:.t ^ni^ngsf ma ter builder^ for busic o m b i n a t i o n s and control a larger a.n«>unt of labor j ness, c v-ry ihinK i-i e^iiuia'cd ai existing prices,
that depends mainly upon bank facilities to carry under which ban Is «uc enga^A* &". b i t b« f*>re the
o n business. W h r t u there is a n y sudden revulsion btiildin::s *re ha'f up, ihv price of Itvirg advances
i n the money ».v.iik«d, as it is called, she poor m in fiO or 75 per c m . ;».nd the workmen, in justice to
i s ei.'her ftirm 1 to ccnstMii. to a seduction of *.is tjj^msclve-; and families, lurn ov.i i n hiijhrr wajres,
wag**S or b • t -rown out of employ n'tegcther; an<l a»id, c.MNxr(]'o ntly, in m«iny r..«>,r *% t»o- undertaker
SI
theu rights as ri iyens are too nfl; n infring.-d up'Mi IOM-1! i»y t^.e c^nttact. It is he ,su I c i c h a n t s arnl
r*a c»mpl
h<
lluctoa i..KIS tha* un^i-Kit's bu: ioc-s,
by their e/!»p: (1 in»o especially a n t e with tlie vi«'ws denee, :<iid <»per^te•« so touch a&? tins'd<*sip»vs cvulx*
of
i»u^ii.o%s tnen #
I ask
:it»cs\
t ^orv,
the 1>JMIU.*> a-.d I/, burins* met •f r
»
i ^ ( o an * ^ ^! . h -\n i»« l-eve \ to *" o-.u-ed maoiiy by exlook round a.id J CC whe'h. r *h»* h c.ders :'<r.e paie-i n^, a.icl c nracU.'Hs m ilr* circulating m e Wiii:^ party do not s.-em >> be delighted w i i i iu»: d e :i.
t i l i r b e s t W r i t e r s o t l n o l . l f c : t : r a ->
\ s u#,;
present distress of ilj#- r.omdry, tecau*" i; will Uavr
as
:
o * u.f#- cy
t h e effect *o p ac«- ihetn in power; and wh< th. r the our ablest s ate^nvn, inform \\ . ;?.i
h a n k s and atl th" moneyed men of that p a n y are of a cou .hv si-ir.ds in the s-tmi- u»U'j'.n io ihc h dy
not a*gravjtU'»s i* to its utmest stretch of severity, politic, hat the bk»od in our \ei*.s d^es to f i e hu.*



8
man or animal system; the regularity of both fall, the farmers are told that tuc
being alike necessary to a healthy action. If this done it.
If Mr. Van Buren is chargeable with the low
principle becoirect, the following statement will
show the cause of our embarrassment. In 1835, price of produce—but which I do not think correct
January 1st, the amount of banknotes in circula- —we will try some of the gentlemen's favorites by
tion wa* $103,692,495; in 1836, it increased to the same rule, and see how they stand. T h e ave#140,301,038; in 1837, it increased to #149,185,890; rage price of flour in Philadelphia during M r .
in 1838, i t w a s r e l u c e d to $116.138,910; in 1839, Adams's administration was, agreeably to H a it was increased to $134 170 955; and in 1840, it zard's Register, a good Whig paper, $5 14J; Gen.
wasagaift reduced to $100 968,572. By the above, Jackson's first term, $5 61; second term, $6 16$;
it will be seen that, from 1835 to 1836, the increase and Mr. Van Buren's, $7 26, Now, gentlemen,
wf circulation was $36 608,513; and from 1837 to if high prices are an advantage, where does your
1838, it was reduced $33,046,980; and in 1838, it favorite Administration stand? I say here, without
was increased $22,042,045; and between the 1st of the fear of contradiction, that flour was lower darJanuary 1830 and 1st of January 1840, it was ing his Administration than during any four years
again reduced $27,212 384. If the Opposition be together since 1790*
correct, (which I do not admit) that the AdminisBy comparing the years in which the banks istration ha* produced those changes by what they sued most excessively, with the excessive importaare pleased to term a war on the banks, then they tation and excessive sates of public lands, it will b«
have fumised the very best reason that can be given seen that they kept pace with each other, and that
for the separation* That these changes have af- the whole action of the body politic wa* stimulated
fected prices, there can be nr> doubt; and this is all by the excess of bank paper; and vice versa when
charged to the Administration. If crop* fail, and a contraction took place. If then the Independent
bread brcome^ high, the poor man is told that the Treasury bill, now on your table, will tend to
President has been the cause of it. If crops are i check this excess, it will do much good, and I trust
good and we have a double quantity, and prices will be of lasting benefit to the people of this Union.