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[NEW-YORK CITT

fcDITIOtf.]

SPEECH
or

MR. FLOYD, OF NEW YORK,
ON

THE INDEPENDENT TREA|ff;Y BILL

H O U S E OF REPRESENTATIVES.

be a God. The ^reat idol of the Federal party—
the United States Bank—having exhausted its energies in a h e r c e v/a r fa re upon the "old Roman,' *
"
and in the payment of bribes, in the shape of im• A I R , F L O Y D rose and said—
f M « , CHAIRMAN : T h e history of the proposition mense counsel fees, to Senators and Congressmen,
fc
*|o provide for the collection, safe keeping, 7
trans- toppled headlong down, from its own rottenness,
: a,id disbursement of the public revenue/ con- and the wrecks of the State banks were scattered
neil in the bill now under consideration, a fiords, throughout the country in such a profusion of corShoals of
I ihrtik, much instruction for those w^ho would ruption that the whole land stank.
.rn aright the character of the American people, speculators and merchants, who had hoisted all
31rJ s alike creditable to the distinguished indivi- sail to catch the prospering breeze, and were riding,
d u a l at the head of this Governmtlit, who lirst pro- as they supposed, .on the top billow to wealth and
S ,-ert it for the consideration of Congress, and to luxury, were, by the receding wave, left like shell
fhc intelligence of our fellow-citizens, who, through fish high and dry upon the sand, to gape and rot.
otb*^r agents, here assembled, are, as I apprehend, T h e people themselves, in their assocint-d opacity
not escape unscathed. Tht.-u' trea'•tjb'^i& f> carry ii into effect by the form and sanc- as a people, did r
sure, wh-fah the} had coafcrfyatcsLJor theii general
tion of law.
T h e peculiar situation of the currency, when the welfare, had been enti.ustedi for safe koeping to
I 1 an o f an Independent Treasury was first laid those faithless ta^fjnts, tae VnriH'JV&nd r vcail upon
^before the country by the President, in his mes- them for f«iyn,envvvas as ineffectual as -wouid n^v€,
s a / e of 1837, is doubtless well remembered by all been p caU--\ipon the dead to arise; they had n e t h e r
o Tthis floor, and as I then tn ought, and still think, the fliorosition to pay, nor the ability.
The. K/obies of the Stste Le^usteUi res. were over! nperatively called upon the Chief Magistrate to
tnopost- some plan by which the treasure of the :un *iih bank veimii.. ^iVk -mo* weir dinown cp. _»pW, collected from them, and held in trust fvc pl'arices of the ba-ik*-v<Lie»-pnt» ih requisition to
O e m by their servants, should be safely preserved procure the sacred power of the States to sustain
I
\ ' x its appropriate uses, and not subjected to Uu ai*d sup;xKt an insolvent banking interest. T h e
• >il>arrassments and losses which had been an*; stockholder** oi baaks \ii\ .be ^jLekislatulreo,.needed
n ifc'ht i gain be occasioned, by the reckless cupidity ii!> proinptirg u jiropioic their own in-ereo^ T o
such i n the Legislature wtio owed 1 ihe bauks,
m tmpvfircipled corporations.
The whole army of inonied monopolies th rough- threats, uirect or indirect, were used, while
.<- t the country was utterly prostrate and flat; and otht;i> A ere assailed by the most abject entrea^
.-. f n1" nerous retinue of camp followers, consist- ties—for : the veriest beggar for cold victuals
crook the pregnant hinges of the knee"
.» rf oi directors, stockholders,- counsellors, attoi- cannot
Trf'vs, irokers, debtors, and runners, in Congress with more suppleness than a bank aristocrat,
aalti out of it, were unable to give them any aid. whenever " thrift mav follow fawning." And so
Tlvs urrency—if currency it could be calied— effectually was the object pursued, that throughout
roosis*ed of bank paper, for which not a dollar of this -\\ hole confederacy of sovereign states, I beijftOtiev eould be obtained, and which was in truth lieve, without one exception, the legislative power
little i»ore than a certificate of the great gullibility of the State was brought to bow in submission at
*£ t h e People, and the fraudulent bankruptcy of the feet of the bankrupt moneyed association*.
these w h o issued iU Even Ba*l himself ceased to But, sir, while the several States were brought
TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 1840.

f




2
>on by b a n k influence from withi© a n d from ; h a d t h e y n o t t h e c o u r a g e ^ W h y at least did fliey
ithout, to blot t h e i r statute b o o k s w : 4 i n f a m o u s j not d i s c h a r g e t h e i r s o l e m n duty b}' making: t h e
-spension l a w s , l e g a l i z i n g the fraud? *: i&v*.banks, j a t t e m p t to .save t h e i r c o u n t r y from the d i s a s t e r s
g
ri I d s a n c t i o n i n a t h e i r c o n t i n u a n c e ,. e »$*lu£ \h^'2S. J w h i c h t h e y a l i e g e h a v e o c c u r r e d lor ihe w a n t of
_
*j
t o r e a p a h a r v e s t of w e a l t h from the > tfita tii«y h a d ] a good financial system.
S i r , t h e opposition is indefensible u p o n this p o i n t ,
t h e m s e l v e s o c c a s i o n e d , t h e people w e r e subject to
the t e n d e r m e r c i e s oi' t h e i r o w n a g e n t s , a n d w e r e ' a n d n o one c a n doub: that they feel t h e m s e l v e s
c o m p e l l e d to receive t h e i r o w n m o n e y in a depre- ; to be so, w h o w a s p r e s e n t a few days a g o , a n d
c i a t e d c u r r e n c y ; a n d in p a y i n g t h e i r s e r v a n t s , rheir . w i t n e s s e d t h e i r e x t r e m e s e n s i t i v e n e s s , w h e n Hie
!
m i l i t a r y , civil a n d n a v a l officers, the h a r d y soldier, 1 h o n o r a b l e m e m b e r from N o r t h C a r o l i n a , ( M R .
il
l i k e a n e a g l e in a d o v e c o t e , "
t h e gallant sailor, a n d the l a b o r e r on p u b l i c w o r k s , M O N T G O M E R Y )
w e r e compelled to m a k e u p in q u a n t i t y what the ; fluttered the F e d e r a l forces in this H o u s e by c h a r g \ i n g t h e i r d e l i n q u e n c v h o m e upon i h e m , a n d prov*b a n k c u r r e n c y l a c iced in quality.
S u c h , M r . C h a i r m a n , w a s the situation, but : i n g it from the j o u r n a l s . B u t , sir, " the s e c o n d
faintly d e s c r i b e d , of the c u r r e n c y and t h e c u r r e n c y l sober t h o u g h t of the people, n e v e r w r o n g , a n d
m a k i n g i n s t i t u t i o n s of the c o u n t r y , -when t h e P r e - ] a l w a y s efficient," h a s p r e v a i l e d . U p o n this i s s u e ,
Upon
sident of the U n i t e d S t a t e s , the h i g h e s t public ser- I every m e m b e r of this H o u s e w a s elected.
v a n t of the p e o p l e , elected b y t h e m s e l v e s — b y their •] this issue the A d m i n i s t r a t i o n m a y safely c o n s e n t to
free, u n b i a s s e d suffrages—to w a t c h o v e r t h e i r ji stand or fall. B y this issue the Opposition p r o interests, in the d i s c h a r g e of h i s duty, proposed to I lessed t h e m s e l v e s w i l l i n g to abide, u n t i l c o m p l e t e l y
C o n g r e s s , a n d t h r o u g h C o n g r e s s to the c o u n t r y , {; routed a n d o v e r t h r o w n ; they h a v e scattered t o t h e
t h a t n a t i o n a l h o n o r a n d honesty—-a p r o p e r dis- i| w i n d s e v e r y issue w h i c h i n v o l v e s reason a n d p r i n c h a r g e of n a t i o n a l obligations—yea, justice to !! ciple, and h a v e b e t a k e n t h e m s e l v e s to the h o p e l * s s
t h e m s e l v e s , r e q u i r e d that the people s h o u l d k e e p !; task of c o z e n i n g the i n t e l l i g e n t voters of t h i s c o u n t h e i r o w n m o n e y in thtur o w n w a y — t r u s t i n g n o n e | t r y , by PMTV-;ViS w h i c h rate the intellect of t h e l a b o r but s e r v a n t s selected by t h e m s e l v e s for t h e i r inte-[ in-- v :• '.-i\ par \wiii that of his h o r s e .
g r i t y and fidelity, a n d dissolving, forever, a c o n n e c - j M r . C h a i r m a n , I propose briefly to e x a m i n e t h e
tion w i t h the b a n k s , w h i c h had p r o v e d so disas- ; p r i n c i p a l features of the system n o w u n d e r c o n rous|
on
anta on
A n d , sir, h o w w a s t h e p r o p o s i t i o n m e t b y the { s i d e r a trie s ,toa n dh i toh c o m p a r e it w i t h a t h e s u p p o ge d i s t
m
w c the Opposition r e
s
to
P e d e r a l p a r t y in this H o u s e a n d in t h e c o u n t r y 11 bee a s u
friendly.
B y unqualified, bitter hostility. T h e p r o p e n s i t i e s |
proposes
e
he
ot p r i v i l e g e d o r d e r s a r e the s a m e in all c o u n t r i e s . ! F i r,s t , u 'aT 1 e bill •„ % * i that thed m o n d y ooft tby
,,h ,
D o t h e nobility of E n g l a n d g r a s p with less e n e r g y 1r 1 O*T ^ 1 ? ^ 1 nbe collected, k e p t , a n p a i foru t h a t
S
t h e i r t i t u l a r distinctions, b e c a u s e all the c a u s U , ^
^ * P l r ; o f _ \ h , e l l ??r\l selected
e x p r e s s p u r p o s e , instead of the b a n k s , w h i c h h a v e
w h i c h led to their creation, a n d all the c i r c u m stances a n d a s s o c i a t i o n s w h i c h g a v e t h e m worth been h i t h e r t o e m p l o y e d a s financial a g e n t s .
T h e r e w o u l d s e e m , at first blush, to be n o a n d g r a n d e u r , h a v e l o n g since passed a w a y ?
a n d b e c a u s e the tinsel glitter, w h i c h d i s t i n g u i s h e s t h i n g v e r y s t a r t l i n g in t h e p r o p o s a l that, in a free
t h e m , is but t h e p h o s p h o r e s c e n t g l o w w h i c h m a r k s a n d R e p u b l i c a n G o v e r n m e n t , w h e r e all p o w e r
t h e i r d e c a y 1 N o t at all. A n d t h e F e d e r a l p- vi \ e m a n a t e s from the people, nnd all officers a r e ,
i n this c o u n t r y , w h i c h a p e s , at Rn h u m b l e dis-fa w. . or should be, re.-spo;isiole to t h e m , that so i m tho a r i s t o c r a t i c m u m m e r y of Gtreat B r i t a i n , n e v e r p o r t a n t a c l a s s of public s e r v a n t s a s those e n t r u s t b u c k l e d on t h e i r h a r n e s s in defence of t h e i r fa- ed in any w a y w i t h t h e r e v e n u e of the c o u n v o r i t e priviV*r;ed institutions w i t h m o r e zeaJ, t h a n try, should d e r i v e their a u t h o r i t y a n d feel t h e i r
w h e n t"ho"^ institutions n i d s h n w n t h e m s e l v e s to accountability, a c c o r d i n g to this most s a l u t a r y
he iitterly wor*,hlt.sL a n d c o r r u p t . "W>11, sir, they p r i n c i p l e of R e p u b l i c a n i s m .
If a n i n d i v i d u a l
opposed, ihey defeated the I n d e p e n d e n t T n a s u r y a p p o i n t s a n a g e n t for a n y p a r t i c u l a r s e r v i c e , he
l a n . D i d t h e y p r o p o s e a n y thing in its >tead 1 selects that a ^ e n t with a v i e w to h i s qualificatoth'.ng. r L i k e S a t a n , they had p o w e r to *\o evil, tions a n d responsibility, a n d h e p r e s c r i b e s t h e
but n M t h e p o w ^ r n ^ r in el 1 nation to do gor.a. T h e v m o d e a n d m a n n e r of performing- his d u t i e s a n d
h a d s t r e n g t h V. preveiit thjs m e a s u r e , but no ubiHty e x a c t s s e c u r i t y ior the faithful e x e c u t i o n of his
to p r o p o s e a bettci.
(rust. "Why s h o u l d not the people of this c o u n ;t
try, i n selecting: their a g e n t s , h a v e the benefit of
Too ignorant to teach, too proud to Iri 4 l , ! '
the s a m e w h o l e s o m e m o d e of a p p o i n t m e n t s ' *
t h e y contented themsclvr., with the p-uu honor of W h e n c e c o m e s the irressistible necessity o f a p to
j
Ijei'-irJ able
destroy. S i r , if >h» r'; Mas been de- pointing, as financial a g e n t s , those in w h o s e ser a n g e m e n t in the finances of the G o v e r n m e n t , and lection the people h a v e n o voice, upon w h o s e c o r if from that d e r a n g e m e n t , the business of the I porate e x i s t e n c e no m o r a l obligation c a n rest c o u n t r y h a s suffered, let the b l a m e lie at the door n o r e p r o a c h for d e l i n q u e n c y r a n a t t a c h — t o w h o m
of t h a t p a r t y , w h i c h held a majority upon the a reputation ior honesty or dishonesty is a l i k e inq u e s t i o n of finance in t h i s H o u s e , d u r i n g the last d u i e i e n t , a n d w h o c a n be subject to n o p u n i s h Congress.
It is not with t h e m to deny, that m e n t tor their c r i m e s , h o w e v e r e n o r m o u s a n d
t h e v h a d the p o w e r to r e g u l a t e the finances of the base ? W h e n c e . I say, is the n e c e s s i t y w h i c h
G o v e r n m e n t . T h e y had that p o w e r — t h e y had n s e e m s to rest upon t h e m i n d s of g e n t l e m e n
m a j o r i t y of t h i s H o u s e ; the j o u r n a l s a n d the re- in tho Opposition, th:;* the p e o p l e of this c o u n - '
employ *v.-rm:s of t h i s
c o r d e d votes s h o w s this fact. W h y did they not try must c o n t i n u e u
What
ait
the
qualifications
propose a plan tor k e e p i n g , collecting, a n d disburs- description ?
financial
officer 1
Are
they
i n g the r e v a l u e ' * H a d they not the capacity, or requisite in a

?




t
fcot lKJtoestT. capacity, and responsibility * Ajid] which it is impossible to apply it, or any legal pro?

axe n o t a l l tiiree of these secured by the bill under vision, to corporations, a n d that is, by boclily
consideration 1
A s for those of the uppositicn punishment. T h e seventeenth section of the act
w h o sfry t h a t m e n of sufficient honesty cannot be declares any use, by loan, or in any other way, of
fbtmd, I respectfully request t h e m to confine the the public money, an embezzlement, a;,U punishes
d e c l a r a t i o n t o themselves and friends. I m a k e no it with imprisonment.
Sir, if you could have
s u c h c o n f e s s i o n , and submit to no such imputation brought this salutary provision to bear upon the
for t h e p a r t y w i t h w h i c h I act. But, it honest directors and officers of the pet banks, your T r e a i n d i v i d u a l s c a n n o t be found, how is the matter sury would have avoided m u c h of the embarrassftefped
b y employing banks?
W h a t a r e bank ment it has experienced.
officers b a t i n d i v i d u a l s ? and was it ever h e a r t y At the first proposal of the Independent T r e a s u r y
o f t h a t a m a n b e c a m e m o r e honest by becoming plan in 1837, there broke out afresh the contro,ari officer of a b a n k 1 Nay, sir, is not the danger versy w h i c h has ever existed, and e v e r will exist,
i n t h i s r e s p e c t greatly increased by e m p l o y i n g in this country, between the people a n d the mob a t i k s a s depositories 7 for, besides the risk that neyed aristocracy, and privileged classes, a n d that
t h e c o l l e c t o r of revenue may be dishonest, you is the question involved in this bill, w h i c h d r a w s
t h e n h a v e the additional risk that some one out of out such fierce opposition. Shall the people got h e s c o r e of b a n k officers may be so. So tar, then, vern, or shall they submit to be bou:id hand a n d
a s h o n e s t y m a y be considered a desirable quality foot, and abide the dictation of the aristocracy of
i n a n a g e n t , ihe system proposed by the present associated wealth. Such is the issue, and every
Mil h a s a decided a d v a n uge over the deposite Democrat who Lenders or accepts any other issue
b a n k s y s t e m ; besides, by i:, :he people m a y select in the present contest, is unjust to himself and to
t h e i r s e r v a n t s from a m o n g themselves, and may his principles. T h a t the doctrines held by the Opc h o o s e ^^V on*? of the whole mass of citizens of position a r e odious, they k n o w right well they
the U n i t e d States, while, by appointing the banks are offensive in the nostrils of the people, and it is
a s f i s c a l a g e n t s rh-r J:.M-». * nst to the honesty L *' not strange that they should attempt to conceal
t h e officers of the banK, w. .» are selected some- ! them, or that they should attempt to get u p issues,
t i m e s f o r t h e i r morality, and sometimes for their in which the principles which lay at the root of the
knavery*
opposition to this bill may not come directly in
T h e n for the capacity of the agent. W h a t su- question. T h o s e , sir, w h o approve of this bill,
p e r i o r i t y i s claimed tor the banks, in point ot finan- should m a k e it their duty to show that opposition
c i a l s k i l l , over i n d i v i d u a l s ! Y>ues ihe magic of ;i to it arises from those only who would establish a
b a n k c h a r t e r endue those w h o hold office under it favored, distinct class a m o n g us, to be supported
-with s u p e r i o r w i s d o m ? Such a proposition L ab- without labor at the expense of the many.
s u r d i n t h e o r y ; and the deplorable historv of bankM r . C h a i r m a n , call it radicalism, if you w i l l ing" i n s t i t u t i o n s for the last few years, most tnUy call it Jacobinism, if you pleases—the fact, neverp r o v e s t h a t they do not possess skill enough to theless, is, that in this conntry, every great political
s a v e t h e m s e l v e s from the disgrace of suspension contest, has been, and every political contest upon
and insolvency.
principle will be, a war between the r i c h and the
N o w , sir, w h a t is the responsibility of the banks'? poor—^n the part of the rich, a w a r of aggression
"What i s thr security they otTer which cannot be —on the part of the poor, a war of defence. T h e
p r o c u r e d equally well by an i n d i v i d u a l ! W h a t is a r r o g a n c e of wealth is almost universal—the post h e s e c u r i t y you have had from the deposite banks! sessor of riches most naturally slides into the belief
W h y , it has been according to the most approved that the property w h i c h gives him a d v a n t a g e s in
t o r m o f the modern " credit system/' Y o u have the procure.nent of the l u x u r i e s of life over his
h a d t h e banks as corporations for principals, and poor »>jighboi\ should confer additional pergonal
t h e i n d i v i d u a l s composing the banks for sureties; importance ;:ad superior political rights. H e n c e
l i k e m o d e r n commercial pap^r, in which A and i: is that the D e m o c r a t i c party is continally underB , a s m e m b e r s of a firm, d r a w a note, and, to going a process of purification and rejuv en e scenes,
m a k e it perfectly good, A and B . as individuals. if I inav so speak—those who hj.ve g r o w n old a n d
e n d o r s e it; and, with all this bcasted security of the gp-.vi: wealthy, leaving it to find more congenial
b a n k s , t h e y have been utterly unable to pay to the pri.i .pies and associates in the r a n k s of the arisp e o p l e t h e money entrusted to them for their sale tocracy, while their places under the 'Democratic
k e e p i n g ; and while the agents ot the deposite banks banner are filled with enlistments from the y o u n g
a r e i n y o u r lobbies begging you for a postpone- men of our country, whose only prospect of sucm e n t of the day of payment for the money they cess in life, whether their aim be wealth or honor,
o w e y o u , their friends upon th*s tloor are u r g i n g depends upon the preservation of the free, u n t r a m y o n to try them again—to t;~u?* them with more melled, uncontrolled, unprejudiced rights of each
m o n e y , for the purpose, perhaps, of enabling them citizen.
t o p a y w h a t they owe already- Sir, 1 should blush
T h e bill u n d e r consideration is the poor man's
for m y country, if I could say that citizens of the bilk It gives him nothing, it is true—he asks noU n i t e d States could not be found who were trust- thing. It is the poor man's bill, because, lik* few
w o r t h y a s Government agents. I should state what bills passed by law makers, it takes nothing from
a l l men k n o w to be false, if I declared that banks h i m ; it leaves h i m a clear field, and he asks n o
w e r e m o r e honest than individuals. But. sir, there favors : it operates with equal a n d exact justice
a r e k n a v e s enough, both in the banks a:;.1 ^u«- , r r upon a l l ; it knows no man otherwise than as a
-with t h e utmost care di shone si persons ma: ix: ^e- citizen of the United States; and whatever m a y be

le^ted* FOT such this bill provides, in a way in { his rank or calling, Iron* that of a former^ tfte, most




4
noUe of all, down, down, down, to the banker, who far*well, bank suits, cries the attorney—and fltri-

lives upon privilege—it shows no favor and i m - well, bank facilities, and bank counsel £«fS; say
poses ho disability. Is it not the duty of those who the hank Senators, and members of Congress, U
represent all7 to adopt such measures as will afford is estimated, that under this bill, not more than ny*
equal protection to all, and show favors to none ? millions of dollars will be on hand at any on*
' w h y , then, and by whom^ is this measure opposed ? time—but, whatever the amount, it is to he safely
Sir, I will examine this question at :-ome little kept, until paid out in the ordinary operations at
langth.
the Growrnmenr. And it seems to me, that it will
T h e Independent Treasury system is opposed by be in abundant time for the friends of the banks
those classes of citizens who have hitherto pi eyed and the merchants, to propose to borrow more of
upon the Government—who have had the custody the Government, when they have paid up wh$t
and the use of its money so long, that they have they borrowed years ago. But, sir, how, and lo
come to regard it as their own—and who consider whom, Ho the opponents of this bill proposes that
their own particular interests as deserving the pe- the public money should be loaned—'wi& whom
culiar fostering care of the Government, to the ex- deposited 1 Is it proposed that the farmer shall
clusion of all others. Sir, I mean the merchants have the benefit ot it 7 not a dollar: or the meand bankers, and those connected with and de- chanic ? not a cent: but they propose to dispose of
pendent upon them by the operations of their busi- it according to the old fashioned Federal r u l e ness. It is from those, and from their public or- take care of the rich, and the rich will take care of
gans; that proceed the most terrific bellowings the poor : in other words, they propose that the
against this bill. T h e public treasure is about to banks shall have the custody of the money-—that
be wrenched by th^ people from their clutch. Think they shall loan i: :o the merchant and speculator,
you they will yield it without a death struggle'?
who are their principal customers.
A wise man has said, in most apt words, in reN o w , sir, if it be s » vvrong tor the people to keep
gard to legislation; " T o u c h bat a bristle of the on hand their mono/, a f*z w days, between the time
commercial interest and the whole sty will be in of receiving it froin'ihe public debtor, and the time
an uproar.** H o w fully has the truth of this as- of paying it to the publi- <~ reditor, w h y do not gensertion bteen manifested during the last few years tlemen propose some p\?n. by which it m a y b e dein this coubtry ? * Could all the Federal jeremiads posited directly with the .farmers or mechanics of
of the last two years be uttered at once, it would our country? " W h v must the preference b$ given
make an uproar of lamentation which would to the wealth}' bankers? W i l l any one Jiere vendrown the thunders of Niagra. W e r e all ?h^ pahonest than
pers in the pay of the banks and the merchants, ture to say, the bankers are more rather, .much ©ur
farmers and mechanics? I had
rawhich have been filled with mourning for th.jir lost ther trust those who live in log cabins, than those
plunder, spread out in this broad land, thV r would
bank palaces. I
c o v e t it as if a deluge had departed and left a pes- who live in as I can show you mean the true log
cabins, such
in my own district,
tilential scum.
r.nd not such as you see hereabouts, and which
, T h e farmer has been at work, planting his corn, irniy represent those who build them, for they are
dropping three kernels for himself and two for the mei:» shams, built of -labs, and filled with geadebanks. T h e mechanic has been at work in his uer iv. ruffled shins and silk stockings. Sir, we
shop, striking three blows for himself, rind two for
the aeedie
the ban"ks; for it is in about this proportion that shall hear no such proposition—true asno measure*
your system of paper money robs the producer of to the pole, the Opposition will propose
not,
his earnings, and by a silent, but sure process, which does ot the in some way, aid the moneyed
monopolies
counuy.
transfers them to the coffers of the banker ; but the
And
arc these institutions
n tk«
merchant, the broker, and their whale army of de- opinion what gentlemen, are entitled which, i much
ot
to so
pendants, have been agonizing to repossess them- consideration at the hands of the people? Why,
selves of the public treasure—-you have had panic
speeches without number; and pestering: com- *ir, they are associations of individuals invested
mitters of fVom ten to ten thousand. T h e press by the beneficence of State legislators with all
has groaned with arguments to show that the inte- the rights of rhe whole people on a particular ana
rests of these classes should be protected at the ex- pretty important matter, that of making a currency
pense of all the rest. Every mail has been loaded —some of the legislators granting the monopoly,
with speeches to prove tliat Government is or- being general«v in'terested in the association which
ganized to foster the few at the expense of the th*y aid to incoiporate. T h e y are not necessamany. T h e daily sheets in the pay of those inte- rily, or generally, at the outset,, wealthy, though by
rests, filled with vituperation againts those who the operation of a bank t charter they soon become
stand for popular rights, flutter in every breeze, and so; for it is one of the excellencies of a bankare borne abroad on every gale; and here upon charter that it turns into money lenders those who
this floor, at this session, as at forrner sessions, you have most need to borrow; nor have they necescredit, for the essence of modern bank*
hear from the Federal party denunciations, fierce sarily any u
and fearful, against this most safe, most just, most ing is the credit system," which is no more like
credit than a horse chesnut is like a chftsnut
neceapary, most Democratic measure.
horse;
without cash and without
It is complained, by the opponents of this bill, credit; they commence without work by the mere
that it proposes to keep the public money from cir magic and agoing on
bank charter, by which they exculation, '* A h , thereVthe rub;" farewell, public change of
their own notes without interest, for the
dejapites, say the banks—farewell, loans of the
pubnc money, say the merchant and speculator— notes of others bearing interest, they draw




into th^k coffers the wealth of the counUy,

0
r o l l i n l u x u r y and s p l e n d o r ; h a v e their hordes of
A g a i n , sir, it is eharged that this b i l l i s a n a t l a s *
officers a n d a t t o r n e y s ; c o m m a n d legislators and upon the "credit system"
If it could, cut up; t h i t
S e n a t o r s by. t h e i r wealth; have, at their nod a n d system by the roots, eradicate it fotever from t h e
be<fk, t h o u s a n d s of debtor slaves; demand and c a r r y , land, it would be a glorious bill indeed. I a m n o
i n ' y o a r State Legislatures, whatever their cupidit}' enemy to credit; it is the n e r v e a n d sinew of inm a y , from time to time, r e q u i r e ; and turnish in dustry—the life blood of enterprise; it is as m u c h
t h i s c o u n t r y what the nobility of Great Britain the property of an individual who will earn it, as
f u r n i s h e s there—an aiistocracy h a v i n g no feeling his money or his farm. H e that t r i m s the mido r i n t e r e s t in common with the people at large, night lamp to qualify himself for the business; he
l>ut c o n s i d e r i n g them as their chartered privileges, that rises early, and sits itp late, and eats the bread
m a k e t h e m their hewers of wood and d r a w e r s of of industry; he that s q u a r e s his conduct by the
w a t e r s . S u c h a r e the institutions which m a n y de- strictest rules of morality; will net fail to establish
s i r e should h a v e the benefit of the public depo- with his fellow men a character for honesty, capa* i t e s j a n d the honorable gentleman from Massa- city and iL
industry; and that c h a r a c t e r is his credit.
c h u s e t t s [ M r . CusHLNti] asked a day or two since, But the credit system" is, in all its moods and
w h e r e do t h e friends of the bill deposite their tenses, a system of villauy; and I appeal, without
m o n e y 1 Do they lay if away in a chest, or do fear of refutation, to the experience of this whole
t h e y deposite it with the b a n k s ? T h e r e is no doubt country, tinder the operation of that system for the
t h a t g e n e r a l l y those who have any considerable \a>t lew years, for proof of w h a t I say. It h a s dea m o u n t of paper money, deposite it as speedily as stroyed honest credit; it has almost destroyed our
p o s s i b l e with a b a n k ; and why ? Let us see. Sup- commercial c h a r a c t e r ; it h;v; swept millions of
p o s e the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts its blind devotees and innocent victims into the
r e c e i v e s ten or twenty thousand dollars in bills ol whirlpool of irretrievable insolvency ; it has carv a r i o u s b a n k s , about the solvency of which he ried poverty and wretchedness into thousand: of
k n o w s nothing, and can k n o w nothing, would he humble dwellings, which w e r e before the abode of
n o t b e u n w i s e if he kept them over ni'ghf'? H e would competence and happiness; it h a s e x c h a n g e d m a a s soon think of keeping on hand a c a r g o of fresh ny a happy home and fireside for the poor-house ; it
fish.
So if there is a bank in his neighborhood has degraded the moral character of y o u r people,
Tirhich does not suspend often er than once a year, both at home and abroad; and your State sove^
h e hastens to it with his paper money, depositee it, reignties—aye, sir, the hitherto sacred faith c f y o u r
a n d t h e bank has such a hi.^h opinion of it, that JI Stores—has been under the cl credit system,""arid
s e n d s it back to the place where it was made, by is now hawked about tlu- s fleets of E u r o p e a n cities
t h e v e r y first opportunity. Sir, I doubt if there iV like a broken winded noise, by a town crier, and
a haivk in the United States, at thi*; moment, whose finds no purchasers. I wil! give but one instance
b i l l s the honorable gentleman would feel safe in of the effect of this system upon JState credit, and
k e e p i n g for six months.
[ do so with deep humiliation. T h e State of N e w
M r . C h a i r m a n , when the people deal in -did York, " m y own, my native land/* while c a r r y i n g
c o i n , there will be vo need of that peculiar prompt- m with careful energy and good husbandry her
n e s s with which all now act who have on h~nd any nagnineent public works, borrowed money upon
p a p e r money. T h e r e will be no need r.f playing 1 ter credit. She pointed the money lender to h e r
*• R o b i n ' s alive-' with our money, w h e n we have k income, and to her actual resources for his secui n solid coin. T h e i . let the banks suspend o r ! rity; and her promises to pay w e r e eagerly sought
b r e a k : the mint drops will not suffer.
I for", and taken at a p r e m i u m of from Ave to ten
* B u t we a r e told that the banks, to be used as de- I per cent. "Within a y e a r or two, the State, u n d e r
positories, should be good specie-paying, solvent, j a " n e w i m p u l s e / ' has embarked under the aust£
1
h o n e s t b a n k s ] W h e r e is such a one'7 Is it that I pices of the r.red it sit stem] and her stocks, in a
single year, fell twenty*two per cent below p a r ; *
' w h i c h suspended yesterday 7 or the one that failed
»outright the day before 1 or the one from w h k h the and for every severity-eight dollars the Slate rec a s h i e r embezzled half a mil Von last w e e k ? or that ceived, the f?rms of her people are mortgaged to
w h i c h is expected to blow up to-morrow? A n pay one huiul/od dollars, with the interest on the
one hundred dollars. Y o u r money lender is no
honest, solvent bank !—a white crow !
M r . C h a i r m a n it is said that this bill will crip- fool; ne knows that the prodigality "which borrows
p l e the State banks. If it were calculated to have without the means of paying, is n e a r akin to the
t h a t effect, it would not injure it, in my opinion.— morality which w\]\ repudiate the debt when it falls
B u t I deny this. In what way does it a fleet t h e m ? due. Sir, if this bill will destroy this source of
It prevents n o m a n from borrowing their money, f evil, and restore us a sound and healthy credit, its
o r from receiving their notes; nor does it prevent passage should be announced from city to city, and
t h e m from going on, as heretofore, in the full tide from village to village, by the ringing of bells and
of profitable extortion ; and the head and front of the roaring of cannon.
this objection i$9 that, although the bill leaves the
' 11 ir following paragraph is taknn from tin* Journal of
people to be shaved, according to the bank charters f^mmicree. a leading Vt'hijr paper in (ho city of N e w York,
of tkiSepKMuher, 1839 ;
of tne several Slates, in such case made and proA sale
N w York and Eri** Railroad
Tided, it refuses to let the banks have the public mo- beavinir 4£ of £100,000mtferest, payable quarterly in N- stork,
per cent.
York,
n e y , to aid them in that praiseworthy operation.— was m a d e on S a t u r d a y , at auction under the direction of the
'~'anrptrof{*>r, and taken by Messrs. Prtnae, Ward and King,
Y o u cannot cripple the State b a n k s ; they are beat 79,
y o n d y o u r c o n t r o l ; and it is because you cannot as follows: 610,000closing £10,000 at T&k, ©30,000 at 78, and
350*000 nt 774, the
price. Thn Slock is redeemable*
regulate them, that you should have nothing to do fii 1ST>9, and w a s nold on terru»—one-thfrd down, and the

with them.




balance in thirty sn«l sixty days."

6
iBesmd. T h e bill propose* that the revenue, by] the people to collect what is due to them in a cur3
progressive proportions, shall eventually be collect- rency which they cannot pay out to their creditors'
But, say t h e y / n o n e but the notes of specie payed in tbe only currency known to the Constitution
ing banks—-none but notes redeemable in specie
—*solid coin.
A stranger to the influence which private inte- should be received. A specie paying ban if—an
rest has exerted upon the legislation of this country, egregious humbug ! Redeem3ble notes—a monand to the all-pervading power of banking associa- strous fallacy ! W h y , sir, there has grown up with
tions, would appear astonished, that under our na~ this credit system a technical jargon, which is fliptionai compact, the Government or its officers had pantly enough mouthed by " the trade/' everj
ever presumed to authorize the receipt of any thing jpiira.se of which is cunningly contrived to hide a
falsehood under the semblance of truth, oi to sei
else than coin for its revenue.
" Those who formed the Constitution weie hard! ignorance agape while his pocket is picked. Re
money m e n / ' says a distinguished Senator, T h e y deeinable bank notes I T h e r e is no such thing—
had seen the deplorable effects of n. paper money there never was. T h e phrase is not applicable, ir
system, and they therefore recognised, in our trea- truth, to any bank in this country which is doing
ty of union,no money or currency but the precious a profitable business with its usual circulation out
metals; and to prevent, if possible, the future use If a bank has onj hundred thousand dollars oi
of paper money, they expressly provided that it bills Jo circulation, with but ten thousand dollars oi
should not be in the power oi the States to make | specie in it?* vaults, those bills are not redeemable
a n y thing but gold and silver coin a legal tender ! whether any have been refused or not—and when
for the payment of debts. Such are the prohibi- i the whole bank circulation is two or three hundrec
tions of the Constitution; but unfortunately there | millions of dollars, and there is not more than
is no barricado against cupidity; there is ho law, ; eighty millions of dollars in the country, in tht
written or unwritten ; there is no Constitution, | brinks and out of them, that circulation is not rethough purchased by the death of the brave and in- i deemable ; and it is untrue, except in the bank voscribed wiih the blood of patriots, which can stay the c a b u l a r y , to say that it is so. A single fact will
stealthy, serpent-like progress of crawling avarice. j show voir the meaning of the phrase "redeemable
In the teeth of your Constitution, Congress passed a j notes/' and will show the value of notes which are
law making the bills of a United States Bank re- I redeemable in bank parlance. On the 9th day oJ
ceivable in the payment of revenue ; and worse still, | Muy, 1837, every banknote in the city of N e w Yorfc
by a resolution ol 1816. Congress stomns the notes i was redeemable in specie, according to the trut
of the United States Bank and the notes of other ! intent and meaning of t*;<> bank jargon,. Not a bill
banks, as an illegal currency—as a currency un- j had been refused payment—not a bank had refused
known to the Constitution, and, therefore, no cur- \ to pay SULII of its bills as were presented. On" the
rency ; and at tbe same time authorizes them to be j 10th ol May, 1837, every bank note in the city o\
received for debts due to the people. T h e words N e w York was irredeemable—not a dollar could bt
of that resolution fully bear me out in this position. got for it—yet, sir, was it, in truth, worth any lesi
It provides that the Secretary of the T r e a s u r y shall on the 10th of May than it was the day before?—
see that all debtsdue to the United States shall be T h e banks had the same specie on hand—the sain*
paid " in the legal currency of the United States, or notes of their debtors—the same property of e v e r \
in notes of the Bank of the United States, or in kind—the bank officers were rsr honest—yet, in tht
notes of banks which are payable or paid on de- twinkling of an eye, millions o paper money, j U s mand." Now does not this resolution show that such as the opponents of this bill would h a r e ' vo v
the very Congress which incorporated the United receive, became ju;t such as they would have vot
States Bank, consideied legal currency one thing, not receive ; and this change, which is at all trine*
and bank notes another tiling, as indeed they ire 1 hnble to occur, you have no means to prevent feu
T h o s e who oppose the specie eluse of this bill are, die local banks are beyond your control ; no fore
:
of course, in favor of receiving the notes of banks : ght c „ predict it, no sagacity arrest, no*skill can
Sir, is ir the part of wisdom to colled
lor revenue, rnd, consequently, in favor of receiving remedy
for debts due to the people something which is nut your revenue in a currency so uncertain as this
known to the Constitution as money or currency, which to-day is, and to-morrow is not ? Your gold
and which has expressly been declared by a bank and silver changes not- put it safe in your strong
Oongre^s to he different from ' ' t h e legal currency box ; it is good to-morrow, next year, next century •
it loses neither weight nor value; it never suspends of the United States."
M r . Chairman ; It is worth while 'o inquire it is never irredeemable ; vour soldiers, and sailors*
whether there is any good reason for nlottin^ out and workmen will not refuse it, nor will they sufthe Constitution and following some new light fer by its being below par. Put it on board y o u r
kindled by private interest. T h e collection of re- men of war, i+nd send it around the globe; the
venue ibt understood to be, to enable the people to country is yet undiscovered in which it is' not
discharge their debts—to pay their shipbuilders, srvi- known and appreciated as r. valuable circulating
lors, soldiers, &c.
Now," did this Government, medium. T h e experiment of receiving bank paper
from the time of its foundation to the present time, for revenue has been tried, and it miserably failed.
ever contract a debt to be paid in any thing besides T h e Government is yet suffering on account of the
the * legal currency of the United State- '?" I may non-payment hv the banks of their notes, received
»
be mistaken, but 1 doubt if the opponents of this for revenue. The notes of specie paying !banks,
bill, friendly as they are to the credit system, would notes redeemable in speeie received in 1 < t>, and
authorize any such contracts. Such b^ing the deposited with the banks, are yet unpaid ; and these
gase, M r . Chairman, is it |the part of wisdom for very institutions, which cannot, or will not, pay




7
t h e i r debts, insist, by their friends here, that you to the specie clause, that its effect will be to estas h o u l d trust them again. W e are told, with some- blish an exclusive metallic currency in this count h i n g of a chuckle of triumph, that the late Presi- try. If such a result could be brought about by
d e n t adopted the State bank deposite system, and degrees, «o as to produce no commercial distress;
p r o n o u n c e d them good and sufficient,for all the no sudden fluctuation in prices; no unjust effect
p u r p o s e s of depositories; and we are urged to ad- upon existing contracts, it were in my opinion a
h e r e to a system which he, " the nobl* ^ ^ o m a n ot consummation devoutly to be wtshed. And, sir, I
t h e m a l l , " approved, Sir, the fact ai J! ;fr? ST^*** t?ly upon the experience of the whole world, in all
m e n t s h o w the character of the two p<jri9*». JLiUti iges3 under all Governments, and under all circume f i l h o u r , the Democratic party yielded to the cla- stances, for the proof of what I say, when I assert
tiaor of the banks and merchants for the deposites, that, from the time that A b r a h a m bought the
afid ordered them to be made in the State banks. cave of Macphelah of Enhron, the son of Zahor,
Tfhat plan failed; they have abandoned it, deter- for which he l t paid four nundred shekels of silver
m i n e d to trust them no more, but to regard the eco- current money with the merchant," down to the
n o m y of the old Scotch proverb : " H e that cheats present time, gold and silver have been " currant
me once shame fa' him—if he cheat me twice, moiiey" every where—while I assert that no paper
*haipe fa* me"—while the party which " learns no- money, which was not guarantied by the faith of a
t h i n g forgets nothing," would " totter on in blunders Government, eve"r passed as " c u r r e n t money" out
t o the last."
of the country in which it was made; and I chalS i r , there is another plan for keeping the public lenge the friends of paper money here or elsewhere
m o n e y , and for furnishing: a circulating medium, to point cut that system of paper* money, whether of
a n d that is by a United States Bank; this, has, in a Government or of banks, which has not failed.
o n e instance been avowed to be THE measure of the Sir, what is the objection to an exclusive metalOpposition upon this floor; and would, I suppose, lic currency—and I lay aside now the inconve"be generally acknowledged, were it not that such nience of the change, whatever that inconvenience
a n avowal would be a blur upon the escutcheon of may be—what is the objection 1 W h y , you are
a party on whose banner is inscribed " OFFICE, NOT met at the threshold with the cry, there is not
PRINCIPLE," and whose virtue, like that of the Vene- enough—not enough 1 Did ever any one find out
t i a n women, is " n o t to leave undone, but to keep how much would be enough 1 N o man ever did.
unknown,"
No man ever can ; and they who pretend to tell
M r . Chairman, if it is in the power of experience you with any certainty, are, in my opinion, quacks,
to established a truth, then is it proved beyond all who presume npon the ignorance of others, to asquestion that the United States Bank was a" failure. sume a character for greater knowledge for themI speak of it as a bank, and not as a Government selves. I do not pretend to say how much is
a g e n t , supported and sustained by the money of enough; but this I know, that if in proportion to
t h e people; and as a bank, I say it was a failure. our industry, enterprise, and production, we did
I appeal to this whole country, whether from the not have a fair proportion of the gold and silver in
time that Bank ceased to be a Government Bank ; the world, it would be the first instance in which
from the moment it took a Suite charier-, although the laws of trade, which, unchecked and untramh e that should have known best, declared it to be a meled, are the hiws of God, failed to administer
better charter than the other, and more profitable to good and ample justice.
the stockholders—I say, sir, I appeal to the whole
Another objection to a specie currency, is its inc o u n t r y to say, whether from that moment that convenience of transportation. W e l l , sir, let us
B a n k did not take the down mil road; and aUnough see what this really amounts to—-ind the objection
in its steep-down course, he who had d- reeled its comes, you will remember, from those who profess
destinies hitherto, deserted it, declaring it to be in themselves to be the hard-fisted, hard-working, log
a prosperous condition—1 ask whether that United cabin men. Fancy yourself, M r . Chairman, stopStates Bank, with the same capital—a better char- ping at the log cabin of a W h i g , in an Illinois
ter, the same directors, the same field of operations, prairie, where what is lacking in choice viands,
is not now in ruins ? And, ?*i-', if, while that Bank will, I dare say, be more than made up by a right
w a s the Government agent, it was able to make large hearty welcome—and the good man ot the house,
dividends, to pay large counsel fees to Senator? who has lately received a speech of one of his
and Congressmen, to publish large editions of poli- friends here, is bemoaning the wretched stete of the
tical electioneering- pamphlets; and if, when it country, and his own sad condition in particular—
ceased to be a Government agent, it became insol- and, among other things, laments that paper movent; is it not "confirmation strong as proof of ney wilt not pass at the land office—that he wishes
Holy "Writ," that all those immense profits and to enter a section of land Lhat adjoins his farm,
nleftns of profligacy were drawn from the Govern- for which he has the one hundred dollars of gold
ment, and not from its legitimate operations as a in his chest, but that th-j inconvenience of transb a n k l And yet, in the face of all tl:e.>e facts, a portation is such, th?»t he is compelled to forego the
large party in this country U in favor of such an purchase. You r^k him how much the gofd, neinstitution'. I should be at a loss to account for such cessary to pay for the land weighs, and he tells you
an obliquity of reason, did I not sometimes fancy about five ounces ! about as much as a good-sized
that I could hear the leaders of thai party, saying jack-knife I
to each other in the language of Demetrius, the
M r . Chairman, this is a fancy sketch—the log
silversmith, " S i r s , ye know that by this craft we cabin gentry of your cities may be bent to the
h a v e our wealth/ 1
earth, under a rive ounce weight—but there is no
It is further objected to this bill, and especially log cabin man in Illinois, and i have aeen many of




8
th&to, who would look his horse in the face, and l i v i n g ; and h i m that is cheated, wronged, defraudutter such an absurdity. Sir, the good,people of ed, his h a r d earnii gs w r u n g from him each Saturthis country would little know the extent of their day night by this damnable system of legalized inmisery a n ^ s u t i e r i n g , but for the opposition efforts direction. 'Monday morning's sun must find h i m
at work without a m u r m u r , or it will find him dishere and elsewhere.
T h e r e is little danger, M r . C h a i :r m a n , but that charged.
I would that this bill might have one half the
the merchant, w h o has half a miH ?n of dollars,
w h i c h he wishes to send from N e w Y o r k to Char- effect in bringing ; bout Ta m^vV/iic circulating m e leston, will iind the ways and m e a n s of doing it. dium that its enemies a:f "bur to it. I should then
Y o u r concern and mine, should be to provide, so think still better of it than I do. But it will do
far as we can, a good currency for the men of something ; it will at lea:-t prevent the people's
small means—a class which comprehends nine- money from being used to sustain antMTOubhcAn
tenths of the people of this country—that the man institutions; it will take a lit tteprtffcT O l d >i»g inwho has ten dollara T /and wishes to travel ten miles, jury from them. T h e y ca • ^M*v* $W* oill, n o
may have that which is valuable when he sets out, longer beat the cripple "with l i t o © # ^ 0 » w ~ h ; they
aritf will not spoil before he reaches the end of the con no longer lend the people thefcfr w Q money,
and, by their most approved deposite system, mfcke
journey.
Most heartily do I wish that a bank note below the owner of money pay interest while he is being
the sum of twenty dollars might never again be cheated ont of the principal.
seen in this country ; that the hand-to-hand currency
T h e monetary aflairs of this nation wilt no lon—that in which the mechanic receives his mon*h- ! ger be subject to irresponsible corporations; it will
ly, and the laborer his weekly wages—might be in be at least refusing the sanction of this Governthe precious metals, upon w h i c h he would be ment to the creation, or the perpetuity of a distinct
c h a r g e d no discount; of which he could lay by a and privileged class, forming a moneyed aristosmall portion for a rRiny day, without fear of its cracy, liiore odious and more dangerous than any
spoiling; and in which he would no longer be the other aristocracy w h i c h ever existed, because + heir
victim of that most current form of scoundrelism, privileges a r e stolen from the mass of the people,
counterfeit aud depreciated b a n k paper. Sir, the and their immense income is an immense extorlosses by counterfeits and broken banks fall most tion. T h i s bill effects, in this most desirable regr^cvouily and almost exclusively upon the poor form, but little ; it can effect but little ; the subject
man. I do not doubt that the merchant, who re- is not one on which you can exercise a direct and
ceives a million of dollars a year, suffers less in efficient authority ; the subject is u n d e r the control
this way than the laborer, who gets but a hundred of the State Governments. H a d we the power, *
and fifty.
T h e first, never moves without his should be in favor of doing m u c h more than th\
counterfeit detector and his weekly or dniiy list of bill ran do, to check the rapid strides of the m o r
broken b a n k s ; and if, by chance, he takes a bill ed oligarchy ; for, as I live, I believe that the *
•
which is below par, one which his deposit' b;mk civil w a r which this country sees, will be a r <•
*
will not receive, it will nevertheless answer per- of the people to demand a restoration of their r i t ,
fectly well to pass away to hL\ porter or cartrnan, w h i j h have been apportioned oui. by yt-ur legiM
wheu Saturday niVhr comes; 2nd he, sir, takes it tors am:>ng the favored f«\v. And if the syMr>n i
to the grocer to purchase provisions i->r his family, to go on increasing in all its blasting, wither and there suffers a deduction at' five, ten, or fifteen influences upon the prosperity ui" the people,
per cent, from his u i uing ;, Nir, if \ ..;. mom-ved tuoril character ot the country, and the honor.*
man lost as m u c h in proportion as the wording | your Government, the oooner that crisis arrives th.
classes do by bank paper, every bank charter weald j better ; and when it does come, may God speed the
be, repealed in si£ months. Does the labouring right.
man complain 1 T o whom shall he utter his comMr. F . eonehtded his remarks at the hour of eigh
plaints'? *To his employer, think you 1. H e dare 1 o'clock, v. M. ; a t which hour
not; he must submit; his family must cat less, or | M r . B A R N A R D obtained the floor; and on f
perhaps starve m o r e ; another boy or girl must be ; motion, the committee rose, and
taken from school and put to service for a bare
T h e House adjourned.

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