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SPEECH OF MR.

M'DIJFFIE,
i\

ON THE SUBJECT OF THE

REMOVAL

OF

THE

DECEMBER
THE PUBLIC DEPOSITED

D E P

19,

purposes, the removal

to the proposition of Mr. POLK, to refer the report of the Secretary of the Treasury to the Com-

and Means, being under con-

Ways

sideration,

Mr. McDuFFiE

Mr. SPEAKER

I shall

state the reasons

said

now

it is

Sir, to

me

to sub-

In

strict justice, I

Bank

due

to the

money taken from its
be restored; but as this would now

T E

S.

was made by the

Presi-

States, against the opinion

will of the officer to

whom

was entrusted by law.

the

and

power of removal

This, then,

is

the great

and constitutional question which we are
now to determine. Jf?w is it that has removed

legal

the public treasure from the depository established by law, and by what authority has the act

been done?

of the United

mit the resolution jast read.
believe that

proceed,

which have induced

I

1833,

The amendment proposed by Mr. McDurriE dent of the United

mittee of

S

I

maintain that the President of the United
the author of this whole proceeding,and

States, that the public

States

vaults should

shall proceed to

is

show

that,

notwithstanding the

add greatly to the embarrassment and distress of devices by which this assumption of power is
the community, I hare confined my resolution covered over and disguised, he has *' assumed
to the revenue hereafter to be collected, leaving it the responsibility," r more properly speaking,
to the justice of Congress to indemnify the Bank
for any loss it may sustain by the violation of its
I

chartered rights.

believe that

we

are under of the President will be regarded by all parties
as conclusive evidence of his agency in the bu-

the most solemn obligations to adopt this measure obligations founded in the highest consi-

derations of public justice, plighted faith, and political

usurped the power, of removing the depositea.
presume that, on this point at least, the word

I

expediency.

The whole

siness.
Fortunately the author and the reasons
of this measure are not left to conjecture, but
are openly disclosed to the world in a printed

public treasure of the United
States has been removed from the depository established by law, by an arbitrary and lawless

manifesto; and from what has occurred in the
other branch of the legislature, we are now au

I affirm that the
exercise of Execulive power.
act has been done by the President of the Unit-

document, containing the reasons on which the
President of the United States wot the Secrtto*

ed States, not only without legal authority, but.
might almost say, in contempt of the authori-

ry of the Treasury

I

ty of Congress.

We

were

message

told

and

by the President,

in his annual

told with great gravity

that the

thorised to consider that manifesto as an official

ordered the removal of the

Prom

document I propose to read a few sentences, which are perfectly
conclusive of the agency of the President in Uu
public deposites.

measure.

After

that

stating the various

reasoe*

Tretuury had deemed it expe- which rendered it, in his opinion, expedient to.
dient to remove the deposites from the Bank of remove the deposites, the President proceed* to.
the United States, and that he, (the President,) add, " From all these considerations the Prtsi*
approving of the reasons of the Secretary, ac- dent thinks that the State banks ought to be imquiesced in the measure. Now, Sir, I do not mediately employed in the collection and diaSecretary of the

mean

to charge

the

President of the United

States with stating to Congress what is not the
but I
fact accordiog to his view of the subject,

burscmont of the public revenue, and the funds
in the Bank of the United States drawn ot

now

with all convenient despatch." Then, towards
Th*
undeftakeito assert broadly, that the Secretary the conclusion of the document, he says,
of the Treasury did not remove the deposites, President again repeats that he begs his Gabinef
but that to ail legal and rational intents and to consider tho p.ropoaad measure as

I

I

SPEECH OF MR. McDUFFIE.
support of which he shall require no one of them tary of the Treasury shall immediately lay beto make a sacrifice of opinion or principle. Its fore Congress, if in session, and
if not, immediateresponsibility HAS BEEIT ASSUMED, after the most ly after the commencement of the next session, the

most mature deliberation and reflection." And reason of suck order and direction.
he deposites
finally we have his decree formally announced in the Secretary over
words: " Under these consid- The
these

The power
is

of

unqualified.

provision that he shall report his reasons to

imperative

Congress is no limittation Had it not been inthe American people, cannot be commenced too serted, he would have been responsible to Consoon; and HE therefore names the first day of Oc- gress, had he made a removal for any other than
Orations, he feels that a

measure so important

to

good reasons."

tober next, as a period proper for the change of the

Here then

the President dis-

provided the necessary ar- tinctly admits this power to be committed by the
rangements with the State banks can be made." law to the Secretary of the Treasury, and that
Such, Sir, is the authoritative language of the too Mnder a direct responsibility to Congress, the
deposites, or sooner,

President of the United States, and

I

submit to constitutional guardian of the public Treasury

any man capable of understanding" the obvious Yet sir, in the very moment of making this aclmisimport of plain words, to say whether the Chief sion, and of disclaiming all intention to exercise
Magistrate does not openly avow while recog- the least control over the right of the Secretary of
the Secretary of the the Treasury, to form an independent
nizing the exclusive right of
judgment
that he assumes the responsibility and on a subject committed to him by the law, what
usurps the power of removing the public deposites. does the President do? He names the first day

Treasury

While the President begs his cabinet to con- of October as the day on which the deposites are
measure as his own, assumes the re- to be removed. And, as if to remove all doubt as to
sponsibility exclusively to himself, and actually the author and true character of the proceeding,
aider the

pronounces the Executive order,

it

will

be curi- he begs "his cabinet

to consider the

measure as

not instructive, to notice the extraordina- HIS OWN." Not only so, Sir, but the determinary declarations and admissions by which this tion to remove the deposites was officially andangerous assumption of power is accompanied. nounced in the Government paper, three days
From the parts of the manifesto, to which 1 before the late Secretary of the Treasury was

ous,

if

1

will

now ask

the attention of the House, you removed from office, showing conclusively that
suppose that he would as soon submit to the act was done not only without the concur\

would
have his

right arm struck off as to interfere with rence, but against the opinion of the only persoH
the free exercise ofjudgment by the Secretary of then in existence who had a legal right to do it!

the Treasury, in discharging a duty assigned to I am aware that it is argued, that although the
" Far be it from him
him by the law. He says:
Secretary of the Treasury is the officer selected
to expect or require that any member of the cabi- by the law to exercise this high and important
net should, at his request, order, or dictation, do power, under an express and direct responsibility
act which he believes unlawful, or in his to Congress; although the Treasury Department

any

" In the was created as a distinct and
*
independent Deimportant ques- partment, and uot like the other Departments,
to the President; and although thi*
tion, he trusts the Secretary of the Treasury responsible
will see only the frank and respectful declara- very power of transferring the deposites is given
tions of the opinions which the President has in the bank charter to the Secretary of the Treaconscience condemns."

remarks he has made on

*

*

*

this all

formed on a measure of great national interest, sury, while another power is given to the Presibecause the Secretary of the Treasury
deeply affecting the character and usefulness of dent; yet,
his administration; and not a spirit of dictation, is a branch of the Executive Department, it is

which the President would be as

careful to avoid contended that the President has a right to

make

as ready to resist." In a preceding part of the that officer the mere ministerial agent of his will;
document he had said " The existing lawa de- to degrade him in lact, from the dignity of a free
clare that the deposites of the

money

of

the and responsible

agent,

into a

mere Executive

United States, in places in which the bank and instrument.
Congress must surely have had
branches thereof may be established, shall be some purpose in conferring this power of changmade in the said bank or the branches thereof, ing the place of deposite upon the Secretary of
unless the Secretary of the Treasury shall other- the Treasury, while a distinct power was conwas not the
order and direct, in which case the Secre- ferred upon the President.
i

Why

SPEECH OP MR. McDUFFlE.
power given at once to the President, if it was d
signed that he should exercise it? It was denied upon the obvious principle, Sir, that nothin
can be more dangerous to public

liberty,

than

t

upon it, and fix upon others the responsibility
which belongs to itself." Now, at length the
idea is presented to us in a new aspect, emerg" executive
ing from the studied ambiguity of

entrust the sword and the purse to the

departments, and executive branches,"

hands.

it

sam
Under what Government, having an
just pretensions to freedom, have these tw
powers ever been united? In what case has th
King of England dared

to venture

upon such

ar

assumption of prerogative? I very much question
whether either the King of Prance, or the King
of England, eould at this day seize upon the pub
lie

treasure under similar circumstances, withou

being scbject to a peril, which no President can
encounter here that of losing his head. It ha

not been long since a King of France lost his
crown, and narrowly escaped the loss of his life

or a violation of charter not more flagrant than

we are considering
And what, pray, was

1

this

.

the

emergency that con

strained the President, only sixty days before lh(

:

While

stain

and we have

wishes to ab-

the President anxiously

from the exercise of doubtful powers, and
with tke rights and duties

to avoid all interference

of others, he

must

discharge his

seem

yet, with

own

unshaken constancy,
So it would
1

obligations.'

that the President has exercised this

from the sheer necessity of the case

power

a case of

great public emergency that admitted of no delay,
and that he has assumed this high responsibility

with the utmost pain and reluctance! To be
sir, every body knows that executive power,,
especially that high order of executive power
sure,

which

rises

above the law,

is

always assumed

with great and unfeigned reluctance. It would
have been exceedingly painful to Caesar to be
constrained to assume the kingry office ; but

C

meeting of Congress, to interfere with the duties sar put by the crown. It was no less painful, as
of another officer, and assume a responsibility tha it would seem, to Richard the Third, to accept
did not belong to him ? It would seem from th< the bloody crown of his murdered relatives, when

document

to

which

I

have already referred, that

urged upon him by the clamor of his own partiby his own procurement , but like the

nothing could be more painful to the President
thin the necessity of exercising this power.

zans, and

have here

trymen, saying as Shakspeare has it :
" I am not made of
stone,

We

a.

striking exemplification of the ex

traordinary degree in which public men deceive
themselves, as well as others, as to the motives

%y which they are actuated

in

assuming power,

President, he could not resist the call of his coun-

But penetrable to your kind entreaties,
Albeit against my conscience and mv soul.''

Of all

the difficulties I have ever encountered

particularly the highest acts of execuitiye power,
instances of the sairns reluctant assumption of

n decyphering any document, the greatest is that
of ascertaining the ground upon which the
power
yower are not rare in feistory. It is curious to of removing the deposites has been assumed
by
read, as & commentary on his proceedings, the the President.
What does that document iraterms in which the President regrets the
strong
ort ? Does it claim the power of removing the
necessity of doing what he could have so easily
leposites as belonging to the President ? Does it
avoided. " The President would have felt himdmit the power to exist in the
Secretary of the
self relieved frota a heavy and painful
responsi- Treasury ? Does it imply that the removal is the
bility, if in the charter of the Bank, Congress had
,ct of the President or of the
Secretary? With
reserved to itseif the power of directing at its
be utmost exertion of my humble powers of inpleasure, the public moi&ey to be elsewhere deI
erpretation, I have been unable to decide.
posited, and had not devolved that power excluave been so much struck with the resemblance
not on tke President no, sir, but '
aively"
etween the ambiguous title to the crown set
jne of the Executive Departments /" And
again
orth by Henry the IV. of England, and that s<
"Although according to the frame and principle
p by the President to remove, the public depoof aur government, the decision would seem more
its,that, I could, not resist the temptation of
properly to belog to tke legislative power/* very
ooking into Hume for the record of thef ornw*
sound republican doctrine this " yet, as the Jaw
oeument, preserved by the historian as a rare
imposed it" not upon the President yet, but
peciraen of the perspicuity with which iaen
the Executive Department the
duty ought
peak when they ottempt to justify the sur;pa
t*
to be faithfully and firmly met.",
It would^ ill
ion of power.
It is in thjese words
become the Executive branch othe (*qve rnmesit
" In the
narns of Father. Son* and Holy
from any duty which, lha Jaw imposes
t&
host, I, Henry of Lancaster,,

m
:

.

?

:

challenge

SPEECH OP MR. McDUFFIE,
rewme of Ynglande, and the crown, with all on political subjects, and it was strongly argued
the membres, and the appurtenances; also I that at the bar that this right was secured by the Conm descendit by right line of the blode, com- stitution, and entitled the defendant to a verdict.
and The judge, who had determined to decide against
ing from the Gitde 'King Henry therde,
his grace hath the
defendant, replied to this argument with *
throge that right that God of
"O
sent me, with helpe of Kyn, and of my friende most gracious and complacent air
yaw t
to recover itj the which rewme was in poynt t< every man has a right, by de law, to dink for
:

be ondone by defaut of governance, andondoy himself in dis rebublican country, profided he
M
dinks mid de cort" And in like manner, the
ng of the Glide laws.
Here, sir, is the title of Henry the IV. to the Secretary of the Treasury had a clear right, by

crown of England, and there is the title of th the law, to think and decide for himself, provided
President to the power c*f removing the deposites he would only be so pliable as to think with the
But not being possessed of that conI will not undertake to decide which is the more President.
perspicuous document, but will leave
cided by those

who have more

skill in

it

to

be de

such com-

parisons than I have.
Nor is this a mere matter of criticism.

venient pliability, he was dismissed from office
for not violating his conscience and betraying
his trust.

am

these
Sir, it is too apparent to be disguised by
look with respect even upon bungling devices, that the President of the United
always
unfounded pretensions to power, which are States is the officer by whose sole and despotic
But I confess will the deposites have been removed from the
clearly and distinctly set forth.
He alone is the rethat my alarm is greatly increased, when power Bank of the United States.
I

disposed to

is

is an utter
usurped under such glosses and disguises as sponsible agent in fhis transaction. It
On perversion of language to say that the Secretary
find in the manifesto oi the 'President.

we

It
reading some parts of this document, one woiil< of the Treasury has removed the deposites.
;that no man in the world could have s absolutely false; (I speak in a legal sense,) hu
more -deference for the opinion of the Secretary had no more agency, moral or -legal, than the

suppose

of the

Treasury, omvould be more urtwilling'to

ron pen by which the order of removal was

interfere in the slightest degree with the discharge written.

of his

official

The

duties than the President himself. the deposites!

Secretary of the Treasury remove
refused to remove-them and

He

!

He

says to the Secretary in substance, this, sir, has paid the penalty of his honest independence,
^is a
duty which the law has assigned to you ; it y being discarded from office.
I have a great
Is this to be gotten over and evaded by prois your business, and not mine
repugnance to the exercise of doubtful powers, ducing an order signed by the present Secretary
;

and etill greater to interfering with you

in the ex- of the

Treasury, and saying "here

is

proof con-

power expressly conferred upo.n you clusive that the removal of the deposites is ;sot
by the law. Yet in the very moment of making he act of the President." Shall we close <esur
these self denying declarations, and
acknowledg- (yes to the true origin and character of this order ?
ercise of a

ing the right of the Secretary to decide for him- KShall we not look back beyond it to
self ^without the least constraint, he unceremo- sta nces under which it was given, and.the.real
niously dismisses the Secretary from office be- a^ei^cy by which it was produced.

cause he will not sign the order for removing th
In yvhat manner, and for what purpose, -waa
puts into his place a man who the present Secretary of the Treasury brought
will.
Here, sk, as a practical interpretation of into office !
Sir, he came into office through a
deposites,.

ad

the President's-understanding of the
right of a breach in t be Constitution; and his very appointhigh officer to toe free exercise of his judgment, ment was th,e means of violating the law and the
in the performance ef the duties
He was brought into his present
specifically afaith.
public

igned to hits -by law. I never have read or heard station to be t^e instrument of Executive usurof any thing -that bore any resemblance to the
And y*t, Sir, because his name is aU
pation.

tissue of incoherent

tions, contained in this executive manifesto, ex-

-jptin-the instance of a judicial decision made
by, a Dutch judge in some of -the inferior towns
:

)jifNw York
I

we are gravely told that the
Treasury removed the dep<>
of th
Secretary
It is a*n insuAt to the common, seiise
sites!

and contradictory declara- ;ached

tp the order,

natipjrt to

say

ao,

This

officer

was

raiade

to do,

V-bo had-no mow. light to re*
was informed by a traveller. It was a casein- move the
treasure than I bave
public
e right of the free expression of
we be tgld that the President, from
opinion^
ir^ shay

Kinderhook, perhaps; of which

fcby the President,

SPEECH OP MR. McDUFFIE.
the bare fact of his appointing men to office, has weight. Indeed, if it could be shown that the
a right to assume to himself all the powers con- Treasury could make an arrangement with the
ferred upon them by law? He appoints the Federal State banks more favorable to the Government,
judges. Let us suppose that these judges hold their than that subsisting with the bank, even that
offices bythe tenure of Executive pleasure;and that might be an
adequate reason if the bank would

when some State prisoner should be under trial, not serve the Government on the
But how stands the fact? Are the
the President should say to the presiding judge
"
the chief justice for example
condemn that ledged to be unsafe in the bank?
"
man," or as the tyrant Richard said, I wish the is now admitted by all parties, even
bastards dead."

If

the chief justice should re- tleman from

New

same terms.
deposites al

\Vhy,

Sir,

it

by the genYork, (Mr. CAMBHELENG,)

fuse to obey this Executive order, and claim the who prophesied so dismally of coming disasters
right of judging for himself, would the President at the session before the last and the Secretary
be authorized to dismiss him from office? Would of the Treasury himself that the depcaites were

he have a right to tear off the ermine from

his

perfectly safe in that institution.

Not only

so;

shoulders, and place it upon a mere instrument but it seems that from having been an insolvent
who would do the deed of blood?
not, concern, and an unsafe depository of the public
Sir?
It would be
perfectly justifiable, accord- ftmds, as the Government strenuously endeavor-

Why

ing to the logic by which the prcseut usurpation ed to show at the last session the bank now
has too much spe.de in its vaults! Yes, Sir, the
attempted to be justified.

is

now proceed, Sir, supposing the depo- charge now is, that this horrible monster is se
have been removed by the Secretary of unreasonably voracious of specie, as to have acthe Treasury, to examine the reasons he has cumulated more than ten millions in its vaults.
I will

sites to

submitted to Congress in justification of the act. It is, then, a safe depository. Has it failed in
And in the first place, without stopping to weigh any of its engagements with the Government?
the reasons assigned, I affirm that however true Has it refused to transmit the public moneys,
in point of fact, they are not in the slightest de- wherever required for disbursement, promptly
and without charge? Sir, I speak considerately
gree applicable to the question of removing the
when I say that there is not a Government on
deposites.
They no more touch that question
than if they related exclusively to the religious the face of the earth, be the sphere of its operations large or small, which has been so well
I allude to the
opinions of the bank directors.
not to those that are thrown served in its financial operations,as this Governgoverning reasons,
ment has been by the bank. Look, Sir, at the
in as mere
and

make-weights

after-thoughts.

fact that in the collection and dispower of removing the depo- astonishing
bursement of our immend* revenue for sevensites is given to the Secretary of the
Treasury,
and not to the President, evinces that it was the teen years, amounting to four hundred and forty

The fact that

the

no Sir, not a single
intention of Congress that the removal should be million of dollars, not a dollar
made only for reasons connected with the safety dollar, has been lost in the operations of collectNor is this all. No crediof the public treasury, or the facility of the finan- ing and disbwrsing!
cial operations of the Government.
Since the tor of the Government has had to wait one moment for his dues so far as the bank has been
is thus vested in the officer

power

the administration of the finances,

charged with
and moreover, when he received his
it would be concerned;
God grant that I may be
to exercise it money, it was MONET.

obviously transcending his power
no way connected with the opera- able to say so two years hence. Thus, Sir, as it
tions of his Department.
If it were shown that regards the operations of the bank, we are "in
the full tide of successful experiment."
Our
the bank is not a safe depository of the
public
from un soundness and derangement,
treasure, that would be a conclusive reason currency
has attained a degree of purity and uniformity
them. If the bank had failed
for

for reasons in

to
removing
comply with the stipulations of the charter, in unequalled by that of any country in the known
the same geographical extent.
We
transmitting the public moneys from one point world of
have had to pay a mere nominal exchange on
of the Union to another, when required
by the
Government to do so, that would be a satisfac- the most distant commercial operations, and {he

fiscal operations of the Governmnnt have been
In fact, any failure on the
tory reason.
part of
on without any expense at all. Thus,
the bank to comply with its
to the carried
engagements
Government, would be a reason of more or IPS Sir, with a solvent bank the most solvent I

SPEECH OF MR. McDUFFIE.
might say in the world a safe depository for tration ordered; if it had put out Jonathan and
the revenue, and a perfectly sound and uniform put in John when commanded to do so that we
currency in a word, while in the enjoyment of should have heard any objections to its exercise
all that the heart

could desire in these respects of political power?
After two years ol is perfectly plain.

what do we now witness?

The

President's

When

he

meanrag

says the bank

unremitting and unexampled persecution of the agents must not interfere in elections, he means
the Executive Government; after an un- that they must not oppese his election, but besuccessful attempt to destroy its credit by all come the mere creatures and tools of the admin-

bank by

manner of calumnies which have

recoiled

their authors; notwithstanding the

upon
bank has ful

istration.

This,

Sir,

was

the attempt

made

at

an early

the very letter every stipulation con
period of this administration; I do not say by
tained in its charter; yet have the public funds of the
President, or by any person then in the
the country, been arbitrarily removed from this
Cabinet, but by those who were very near
safe depository where the law had placed them the throne.
The effort was to induce the bank
filled to

by the President of the United States, without a to discard the president of one of its branches
legal power, and that, Sir, for no le- who was confes sedly competent to the discharge
Yes, Sir, of all tb.rt duties of his station, on the ground of
gal offence, but for OPINION'S SAKE.
in this land of liberty, where all men were be- his
The bank resisted this
political opinions.

shadow of

most perfect and unrestricted attempt as

lieved to enjoy the

freedom of opinion, and the right too to the unrestrained exercise of

choose to exert

the influence they

all

in political affairs;

a great

tution has been assailed, its stockholders
ficers distranchised,

tive

may So
insti-

and

of-

and the property of widows

it

ought to have done, and a vindic-

war has been urged against

far as the present

board

is

it

ever since.

concerned, (and I

believe those of most of the branches,)

its

mem-

bers have carefully abstained from mingling, as
partisans, in the political contentions of the coun-

and orphans trampled in the dust by the foot of try, because it was their interest to do so. They
a tyrant; and all this for no other crime than even made the attempt a desperate one to be
the free exercise of political opinion, and if you sure to conciliate this administration, by scruplease, the free exertion of political influence. pulously performing all their engagements wi*b
Pray, Sir. what right has the President of the the Government, and even going beyond them

United States

to say that the stockholders of the

But

it

was not

to be conciliated by such

means.

The

plans and purposes of certain individuals
I believe that no portion of our fellow near the President, had been thwarted, an3 the
election?
citizens have so studiously abstained from med- eelings of the President have been so artfully
dling with party politics as the officers of the wrought upon, that the destruction of the bank

bank or

its

officers,

shall not interfere in his

But supposing they had taken ever so has become his ruling passion, and he seems
active a part even in his election, has he any right now to believe that there is no nuisance in the
bank.

to forbid

it?

Because a

capital in a bank,

is

has placed his world that so much requires to be exterminated
Bank of the United States.

citizen

he, therefore, disfranchised? as the

Shall he not dare to open his

mouth

in

opposi-

If I

were to decide upon

principle, what should

tion to the election of the President, without in- be the course of a National

Bank, in regard to
curring the guilt and the penalty of violated ma- the politics of the country, I should say that it is
Are we already in the reign of Tiberius? desirable that the present, and all future banks
jestyl

Even

in his time,

amounted

this

would

scarcely

have of a similar kind, should be habitually opposed
to the Executive Government.
It would be an

to that high crime against majesty

.

This^reason so gravely urged by the Secretary admirable balance in our ^'slom, and would
of the Treasury, jfollowing the lead of the Presi- tend to check the fearful tendency to Executive
dent, so far from having any

weight with the encroachment.

of a nature to produce the strongest that operation.
What is the plain English of it? posite direction.
indignation.

House,

is

What does

We have
The

real

It is

nothing to fear from
danger lies in an op-

that the President should

says convert the bank into a mere instrument of kis
that the bank must not interfere in his election, will, and should wield its power, which has
the President

mean when he

or attempt to acquire political power?

Sir, 1

you what he means. Does any man
suppose that if the bank had consented to be an
will tell

been represented as so tremendous, in addition
to the still more tremendous
power which he
derives from the patronage of such

a Govern-

do whatever the adminis- ment, and that overwhelming tide of popularity
cxecutive partisan,and

SPEECH OF MR. McDUFFIE.
will generally follows the man who distri- ty millions of public money, the President could
butes that patronage.
get absolute control over some forty or fifty local
But, Sir, the President seems to be fully banks judiciously selected with a view, not to
aware of the
from this meretri- the separation of the political and banking pow-

which

danger arising

a result precisely
the hanking and the er no, Sir, but with a view t
Executive power of the country. In the mani- opposite. Every man in the least acquainted
festo he very properly and wisely expresses him- with the principles of human nature, must know
" It is the desire of the President that that the banks selected would
or would beself thus:
cious connexion between

be,

the currency shall, come, so many political partisans of those in
as far as possible, be entirely separated from the power. Sir, we have some light thrown upon

the control of the

bank and

Never was this subject by our experience already. It IB
power of the country."
more wise and patriotic sentiment, and scarcely two months since certain banks were
the man who should act up to it would be richly selected to receive the deposites unlawfully reentitled to be President of the United States. moved from the Bank of the United States, and
political

there a

Now for the prac- already have we seen two of their officers in
seems, is anxiously de- the political arena.
sirous that the control of the banks should be
president of one of these banks in Baltimore
There,

tice.

Sir, is the

The

precept.

President,

it

A

separated, as far as possible, from the political is before the public, in the newspapers, vindipower of the country. And what has he done? cating, as in duty bound, the Secretary of the

He has, in effect, said that because the official Treasury and I understand another has pursued
agents of the Bank of the United States have a similar course somewhere in Virginia. But we
dared to opposo his election, the faith of the na- are assured by the President that the moment
tion shall not for a moment stand as an impedi- the officers of a deposite bank interfere with
;

ment in the way of their condign punishment.
And what more has he done? He has not only

politics,

the deposites must be removed

;

yet

have heard nothing yet of any sudi movement
punished the Bank of the United States, for opi- against these banks. But I have no doubt that
nion's sake, by removing the deposites, but he if they had dared to say a word against the Prehas set up the public treasure in the political mar- sident, they would before this time have received
ket to the highest bidder/
Yes, Sir, I sincerely such a hint as was given to the late Secretary
believe that the President of the United

States of the Treasury.
Sir, I should be much more disposed to rely
doing that which, if not speedily arrested, will
create a system of Executive control, and bank on the declaration of the President
concerning
dependence, that will subvert the liberties of the his anxious desire to separate the banking and
is

country. By way of separating the bank and executive power, were it not for the experience
currency from the political power of the country, we have already had of the woful discrepancy beand avoiding the corruption which such a con- tween his profession and his practice. I do not
nexion must engender, we are to give to the attribute this to any wilful duplicity in the Pi^

President or his pliant instrument, the Secretary sident. I believe when he makes professions he
of the Treasury, (and after what has occurred feels, for the moment, as he speaks. But I concur
he will never want such an instrument,) some in the opinion expressed of the President, by a
twenty millions of public money to be distribut- gentleman who lately held a distinguished place

ed among the various local banks throughout the n his cabinet. I believe with him that the Presi" has no fixed
country according to the complexion of their po- dent
principles ; that he does not
litical opinions.
the danger of such a sys- arrive at conclusions by the exercise of reason,'
Sir,

tem admits of no exaggeration; and I speak not Dut that "impulses and passions have ruled."
the language of exaggeration, when I say that,
What has been the difference, then, between
as God is my judge, I would rather trust even the professions and the practices of the PresiGen. Jackson wih 50,000 mercenary soldiers, with dent?

I have heard a great deal about the prinof the last session asking authori- ciples (I beg pardon for using a werd which I
ty for using them, than to give him permanently aelieve is nearly out of the fashion) upon which
And I have
this power of purchasing up the local banks, and General Jackson came into power.

the military

bill

through them controlling the whole community. a right, sir, to speak of these, with some auwe might resist the mercenaries, but it thority, for I stood then in the midst, yes, sir,

Sir,

would be

utterly impossible to resist

sidious all-pervading

power

as this.

such an

in-

n the very brunt of the then unequal contest,
against "principalities and powers," when

With twen- waged

SPEECH OP MR. McDUFFIE.
the miserable sycophants
yes,
H!A
K nv r,^
ble vArtf ils\r* *.tl*~v have K*,, ii_-

I appeal to
sir, the
every man who has any knowledge
i_j misera-j _/* ^i_
*i
:_l
A
u*
crawled in their of the events which are passing, whether, if we
own slime to the footstool of executive favor, decide that the local banks shall be the depositostood then on the side of those who still held pa- ries of the
public revenue, it will not become a

reptiles,

who

*

_

i

_

i

i

i_

literally

tronage and power. What, then, were the prin- matter of political bargaining between the exupon which the present chief magistrate ecutive and those banks. All of us know what

cip.es

came

into

power

?

Why,

sir,

we had

taken up

is

now

the notion that the officers of the federal
govern- never

going on.

Indeed,

come when the

I

fear the time will

election of a President will

ment had become a little too
pragmatical in in- not be the all-engrossing and paramount object
terfering with the political contests of the coun- of the leading and active politicians of the
try, and that, as a matter of principle, they ought country.
Do we not all know that the great
to be restrained from
using the influence of their question now at the bottom of all others is, who
offices in this

way. And, accordingly, the Presi- shall fill the throne when the present incumbent
dent, in his inaugural address, told the country shall descend from it ?
It is a contest for the
that one of the
crying sins of his predecessors succession, and the administration party is now
had been, that they had permitted office holders
notoriously organized, as completely as a party
to interfere with
popular elections.

ever was organized, to insure the election of the
put it to all men who have eyes and "heir apparent." Under this view of the subears to see and hear what has
passed, and is ject, I cannot but advert to one of the reasons
passing, whether there ever was a period since assigned for the removal of the deposites, viz .
the formation of the
government, when all the the approaching expiration of the Bank charter.
officers of the executive
government, from the S"ow, if I am capable of reasoning at all, this i

Now,

I

highest to the lowest, approached so nearly to one of the very strongest reasons why the Prethe likeness of an
army of trained mercenaries, sident should have abstained from depriving thfc
moving at the nod of their leader. Why, sir, no bank of its chartered rights, by an arbitrary ex-

man can now breathe the air that surrounds the ircise of
than two years,
power. In little more
who does not think precisely as the Presi- by the limitation of its charter, the Bank will
dent thinks, and who will not consent to be cease to have
The
any influence or power.

palace,

docked or stretched until he fits the bed of Proprincipal and controlling objections urged by
and his political opinions are
are completely
brought to the President against the bank,

crastes,

the true executive dimensions.
ciple officers
filled

;

and

Upon

this prin-

have been discarded, and

this is the

promised REFORM

answered by

this fact.

If,

as

we

are told,

it

is

a dangerous institution, and calculated to subvert
Yes, the liberties of the country, can any one suppose

offices
!

process of turning out officers who are that it will do this in two years? What, then, is
opposed to the administration, and putting in its it that the bank could accomplish in this short
partizans, has proceeded so far, that the very period, which has produced such apprehensions ?
sir, this

word reform has become synonymous with turn- I will tell you, sir it may exert an influence in
officer and
the election of the next President, unfavorable to
putting in a partizan.
The rule seems to be,to turn out all who have the executive favorite. Hence; sir, the imporno other merit than qualification for the office, tance of selecting new depositories of the public
;

ing out an

and put in those who will most
and of organizing a system of political
obsequiously revenue,
adopt the opinions, and bow to the will of the banking. And I will venture to predict, that in
from this time, if we do not arrest the
President, or of those who control him.
Sir, it two years
is notorious, it is known to the whole
that proceeding, there will be a perfect organization
world,
the places of those

who have been removed from

of the deposite banks from

Maine

to Louisiana,

and monied power of the counopen-mouthed partizans of the administration try will be concentrated in the same place, and
and very frequently by men who have no other in the same hands. All these banks (the result
inent.
When, therefore, the President tells us is inevitable) will be actuated by the same pooffice,

have been habitually

filled

by noisy and and the

political

anxious to separate the control of the litical spirit, governed by the same influence and
ene man. Not only the twenty milpolitical power of the country, wielded by
must understand him to mean that he is anxious lions of public revenue, but a hundred millions of

that he

is

banks from the
1

that the control of the banks shall be in the hands bank capital will be thus wielded for political
of those who will not dare to oppose his adminis purposes, to the corruption of the public morals,
tration .
and the subversion of the public liberty.

SPEECH OF MR. McDUFFIE.
banks and a rate of exchange averaging from
most pernicious five to ten per cent, operating as a tax to that
interference with the banking operations and extent
upon all the distant operations of comIn every respect the President has selected the

most unfortunate period

credit of the country.

that the measure

for this

We

are told, however,

was adopted

to enable the Se-

merce, for the benefit of
ther

is it

true,

sir,

Nei-

money changers.

that the removal of the de-

cretary of the Treasury, by timely arrangements posites to the local banks has strengthened their
with the State banks, to prepare a substitute for credit, and enabled them to make a correspondthe bills of the United States Bank, and to preing enlargement of their accommodations to the
vent the derangement, which would otherwise community. Indeed, it may be well doubted,

take place in the currency, at the expiration of whether the credit even of the deposite banks
its charter.
Now, it is obvious that the removal has not been impaired by this proceeding-. There
of the deposites at this time will not at all de- is a rumor that one of the deposite banks has recrease the embarrassment which must take
place
when the Bank of the United States calls in its
debts and winds up its concerns.
of the bank understand their

The

directors

quested the Secretary of the Treasury to restore
the deposites to the United States Bank. I will
not vouch for the fact, but it so well corresponds

duty and interest with what I believe to be the true interest of the
well enough to know, that the
government de- deposite banks, that I am the more inclined to
I am well assured, that for the
posites would be a part of the debt of the insti- give it credit.
tution, for which they would make the same pro. last ten years there has been nothing like the
vision as for their other debts.
fore,

The

effect, there-

of the removal now, was to produce

all

the

present pecuniary distress gratuitously, and in
must take place at the ex-

addition to that which
piration of the

Nor

is

that the

there

bank

present pecuniary embarrassment ; and
States were to do what

Bank of the United

a right to do, and what,
quires

it

to

do

I believe,

if

the

it

has

prudence

re-

curtail its discounts in propor-

amount of the deposites removed from
impossible to estimate the extent of the
pressure upon the State banks, or to foresee the

tion to the

charter.

any just foundation

for the belief

Secretary of the Treasury can provide

is
it, it

any substitute for the bills of the United States consequences.
While on this branch of the
Bank, that will have a general circulation and

subject, I will no-

another of the arguments of the Secretary
He says, in the profoundness
exists, as a check upon the excessive issues of of the Treasury.
the local banks, their paper will be
good in their of his financial knowledge, that one object he had

credit throughout the union.

"While that

bank

tice

respective spheres of circulation. To give them
a credit and circulation
this is what the

in

Secretary of the Treasury never can

effects

beyond

It is certain that

plish.

accom-

the arrangements which

view

was

removing the deposites at this tme,
community from the injurious
which would otherwise result from the
in

to save the

depreciation of the notes of the

Bank

of the

he has made with the new deposite banks effect United States, at the expiration of its charter !
no such object. Have these banks
the extravastipulated Now, Sir, can anything surpass
reciprocally, to receive the bills of each other all gance of this notion, and is it not amazing that
over the Union, in payment of the
government such wretched absurdities should be gravely predues ? No such promise is made, sir. On the sented to Congress ? Here, Sir, is a bank not
contrary they stipulate to receive in deposite from
the government only such bills of the banks in

only solvent by the admission of the Secretary,
but having in its vaults ten millions of specie,

their vicinity as are in

good credit, and usually and a capacity of realizing in sixty days a suffireceived by them in the transactions of com- cient fund to redeem its whole circulation ; and
merce.
yet we are told that as the day approaches when
Would a note of the deposite bank at Norfolk these notes will be certainly redeemed by specie
be received

from

the government debtors in

Charleston

Why,

sir, if

if demanded, they will depreciate in value, to the
you were to go with a great loss of the holders? Why, Sir, a common
note of the Metropolis Bank to Richmond, you farmer would ridicule the nonsense of the man
could not make it available, at par, to pay a debt who should tell him that a note held by him on

to the

?

his

government.

Such

are the evils to which the

community is
the Bankof the United

wealthy neighbor, and which wfluld be cerwhen due, would become less valua-

tainly paid

ble at the moment of its payment, than it was
already exposed, and if
States were destroyed, we should soon have all when it had two years to run.
the blessings of a depreciated currency, broken
Who, Sir, can really believe that the notes of

SPEECH OP MR. McDUFFIE.

10

the bank will depreciate to the extent of one does it amount to? That the increase of the
fourth of one per cent? And yet, this miserabl
public deposites is equivalent to a reduction of
pretext is thrown in to palliate this pernicious and the discounts of the bank. In other words, the
ruinous measure, which must greatly depreciate
the value of every species of
property throughou
the country.

bank is condemned for not extending its discounts by lending out the Government deposites, when the Government was notoriously
I will now
proceed to consider the only sub- making arrangements to remove these depostantial ground
assigned by the Secretary for sites! Yes, Sir, the bank that has been dethe removal of the
It is a ground
nounced for extending its discounts at a period
deposites.
which,

if it

were true

in point of fact,

entitled to the consideration of the

would be of great commercial embarrassment the bank
It is that had on that
very ground been charged with

House.

alledged that the unusual and unnecessary cur- using its funds to control the elections that
tailment of the Bank of the United States from
very bank is now denounced from the same
the 1st of August till the 1st of
October, had quarter, because when the public deposites were
produced such extensive embarrassment in the about to be removed by a lawless exercise of

commercial community, as to render

it absolutely
power, it did not extend its discounts upon the
necessary for him to act so promptly in the bu- faith of those deposites! Can any thing be
siness, that he could not even wait until Con- more characteristic of the capricious despotism

gress should again be in session. If this were exercised over the bank? The directors of the
true if it can be shewn that the bank has
pur- bank would have deserved to be cashiered, if

sued an unusual and
unjustifiable course in curtailing its discounts to oppress the community,
this

would

certainly be a reason of considerable

weight, justifying the course pursued
Secretary of the Treasury.

they had not provided for the approaching storm,
by preparing to deliver up the public depo&ites
instead of lending

them out under the

existing

by the circumstances.

Secretary of the Treasury goes on to
a most dismal account of the public distress
give
from the first of August, to the 1st of October, the
produced by this unreasonable conduct of the
bank reduced its loans to the enormous amount
bank, alleging that the removal of the deposites
of between six and seven millions of dollars,
became an imperious duty as a means of arrestwhereas, in truth, the bank in that period, reducing it. I grant, Sir, that if the domestic bills
ed its discounts only one million ten thousand
purchased by the bank are fairly to be regarded
dollars!
I repeat, Sir, that the discounts of the
as a
the curtailment from Auof its

But what are the

facts?

We

The

are told that

part

bank

I

to this

speak technically were reduced only
extent; and the whole amount of the re-

loans,

gust to October, amounted in the aggregate to a
little more than four millions. But the exchange

ductions in

all the
operations of the bank, in- business cannot with any propriety be so regardcluding the domestic bills purchased, (which are ed. It does not consist of loans, but as the
mot loans, (was little more than four millions of
term imports, it is the means of transferring
dollars, and yet we have been officially informed
funds from one place to another. When a northby the Secretary that the reductions of the bank, ern merchant or manufacturer purchases cotton
" collections
or to use his
peculiar language, its
t the south, he sells a bill to the bank payable at
from the community," have amounted in two New York in
ninety days, and by the time it

months, to upwards of six millions of dollars. It falls due the cotton is there and sold to meet it.
is worth
while, Sir, to look a little more minute- The object of this transaction is to save the risk
ly into the process by which the Secretary reaches and trouble of
from the north
transmitting

this financial result.

money

The sum

of $6, 334,000 set to
purchase the cotton. The bill is paid off in
as the precise amount of the curtailment is rull at its
maturity, as a matter of course, and

down
made up by adding
domestic

bills

to the discounts proper and
of exchange purchased, the in-

crease of the public
deposites amounting to upwards of two millions. Now, Sir, whether we

upon no commercial

principle

could

it

be

re-

arded as analogous to demanding the payment
But even if they were so
of a discounted note.
regarded, the whole amount of the curtailment

consider the Secretary as using the technical

would be only four

language of banking or the language of common sense, I cannot but regard this as a gross

That is to say the Government had evinced a determination to de-

tempt

to

impose upon the community.

What,

millions, instead of six, as

the Secretary States.

prive the

bank of eight

millions

of the capital

SPEECH OF MR, McDUFFIE.

II

of the
upon which its discounts had been based, and jpressive to the whole country, to be sure
It can never be justhe bank to prepare for this contingency had re- ground on which it acted.

duced

its

discounts

four

of

millions

about one half of the extent to which

were about

dollars, tified

for inflicting a

public injury, (here

is

means nice question of casuistry,) by alleging mistaken
bank had opinions of its own, when the means of obtain-

its

But the
to be diminished.
not only been thus curtailed in its banking capi- ing information absolutely certain, were so obThe change was a/-,
tal, but it has been subjected, in common with viously within its reach.
the State banks, to all the panic and pressure ways designed to be gradual."
and lawless act of the Go-

Now, Sir, did the Secretary suppose when he
from made these assertions, that the manifesto of the
prudence President was entirely forgotten? Did not the

produced by

this rash

vernment.

Its reductions, therefore, so far

being excessive, are such as common
rendered indispensable to its safety, and are less President publish his decree in September, that
than the act ot the Government would seem to the deposites should be all removed on the 1 st

But a further charge is brought against of October, and sooner if practicable? Yet in
bank by the Secretary. It is that it has the very face of this declaration of the Presiadopted the heartless and monstrous policy of dent, we are told that it was always designed
require.

the

its vaults to prepare it- to remove the
deposites gradually, and that the
movements of the Govern- bank ought to have ascertained this by asking'
ment! It seems that between the 1st of August the Secretary of the Treasury. Sir, wh was
and the 1st of October, its specie had increased the Secretary of the Treasury? Was it not Mi.

accumulating specie in
self for these hostile

$639,000, and the Secretary
drawn from the State Banks.

does he adduce of this

fact?

wasJDuane; and pray what information could he
proof have given if the bank had applied? Subsequent
Sir, strange events have shown that he was quite in the dark

believes"

it

And what

Why,

appear, that the Bank of the United on the subject. The whole spirit of the proStates had permitted the balances due to it by
ceedings of the Government, made it the duty of
the State banks to increase from $368,000 to the bank to consider the removal of the
depo-

as

it

may

$2,268,000 during the two months in which this

sites as

a measure decided upon and prepared

operation is alledged to have taken place! Such, for all the consequences of so dangerous and
Yet when the adminisSir, are the proofs that the Bank of the United hostile a movement
States has endeavored to drain the State banks tration has
brought this great calamity upon the
of their specie.
country without the shadow of a cause, and the
.

But even if the bank had curtailed its dis- denunciations of the community begin to burst
counts to the extent alleged, and that curtailment forth in all
quarters, in a voice of thunder, why,
had produced all the suffering experienced, the forsooth the
Secretary of the Treasury exclaims
j

Executive Government, and not the bank,

is re-

sponsible to the country for the calamity.
ver have read a more unfair and

I ne-

Thou canst not say I did it." It was the
bank, that monster of corruption, that heartless
Jesuitical argu- tyrant, that has produced all this sun%ring,withtl

ment than

the one used by the Secretary to out
necessity, and purely to- gratify its vindictive
throw the odium of his own conduct on the
No, Sir. It is in vain that the adfeelings."
bank? It is well worth perusal.
ministration, after wantonly producing this great
"
The capacities of the bank, therefore, at this calamity, by an act of injustice and tyranny, attime, to afford facilities to commerce, was not tempts to throw the responsibility and the odium,

only equal, but greatly superior to what it had upon the persecuted victim of its injustice.
been for some time before; and the nature of the
I will now proceed to inquire whether the speciinquiry made of the State banks, confined as it fic charges brought against the bank, and which

was

to the four
principal commercial cities,show have been made the grounds of removing the deed that the immediate withdrawal of the entire
in fact.
It is alposites, have any foundation
deposites from that bank, so as to distress it, leged that the bank has violated its charter, in
was not contemplated. And if any apprehen- delegating certain Executive functions to what i

sions to the contrary were felt by the bank, an called the exchange committee; whereas one of
inquiry at this Department, would no doubt have the fundamental articles of that charter declares

been promptly and satisfactorily answered. (1 " that not less than seven directors
wonder WHO would have answered it.) The tute a board to do business."

shall consti-

" And
Now, if it were true that the charter has beea
Secretary proceeds:
certainly it was the
-duty of the bank, before it adopted a course op- violated, the President might have ascertained by

SPEECH OF MR. McDUFFIE.

12

consulting that charter, that

it

was

his

duty to

r

direct a scire facias to be issued
against the bank
in order to have this question decided
judicially

by the

federal court, instead of

which the power delegated

ommittee
ecretary

condemning and

exercised.

is

Seem to regard

the

to

Exchange

The President and
it

his

as an independent

punishing the institution in tbig summary manner without a trial. But it did not suit the tem-

ower, exercised without any effective responsiwhereas the proceedlity to the directors;
igsofthis Exchange Committee are regularly

per of the President or the purpose of

ntered on the books of the bank, which are sub-

visers to adopt a legal

course.

Indeed,

his adSir, I

mch

board of directors at every regular
and as only a few days intervene be-

to the

ittecl

questipn whether a respectable lawyer
could be found in the United States, whe would

ween

hazard his reputation by standing up before the
court upon such an issue.

xchange Committee are constantly open
nspection and review of the Government

In providing that not less than seven directors
should constitute a board, the charter meant no

ors.

thing more
the

bank

that the legislative authority oi
the power of prescribing the rules anc
thai)

general government, shoulc
not be exercised by less than seven] directors
regulations for

its

The commitment of

with the approbation of the board, and in con
Even
formity with the rules prescribed by it.
1

person acquainted with the details of banking
knows that a large portion of the business of al

necessarily done by its officers, withou
the presence of the directors, though by thei
If all the duties oi a president of a
authority.
is

bank, were required to be performed in the pre
sence, and by the direction of the whole board

would be impossible to carry on the busines
of banking. *It would be like forbidding th

it

President of the United States to perform an;
of his appropriate duties, without the presenc

the
meetings, the proceedings of
to the

these

Indeed,

it

may be

every act laid open to it sinspection. No conealment from the Government directors was

s

ossible

under these circumstances, when it is
bank are always

otorious that the books of the
to their inspection, if they

pen
3

Sir, to

which

I

do not think the President woul

A great effort has been made to
pression, that there

and unprecedented

is

create the

im

something extraordinar

in the operations of the

change committee. It is treated as a dangerou
and recent innovation. Now, as early as th
year 1821, when Mr. Cheves was at the head

thought proper

inspect them.

against the bank
of
surprised to see, is the old story
he three per cents again! This dish, it seems,

Another charge brought

which

we

I

was

have cooked and served up in all the
modes of culinary preparation, so as to
This charge was
adapted to every palate.
are to

arious

r

>*

and referred
wrought forward at the last session,
o the Committee of Ways and Means; who
the bank
eported that the arrangement made by
with the holders of the three per cent, stock, so
far

from delaying, actually hastened its payment.
was that arrangement so vehemently de-

Why

nounced?

I will briefly

explain

and concurrence of the members of the legisla vernment had determined
a very inconvenient incumbrance per cents, in October, 1831,
live body
readily submit.

direc-

almost said that the

roceedings of the Exchange Committee are cared on under the eye of the board, so speedily

certain executive duties to

subordinate committees, is no violation of this
article, provided these committees are appointee

banks

leetihg,

to

it.

pay

The Go-

off the

three

at a period of great

the commercial compecuniary pressure upon
of that
munity, owing to the large importations
The bank took that liberal and compreyear.

hensive view of the

effect

which

this

operation

would produce upon the credit of the country,
which it would have been well if the Government had taken, and stipulated with the holders

the bank, this veiy authority to purchase bills

the certificates
of these three per cents, that
should be delivered up to the bank, and the

exchange, was delegated to the president an

amount bearing a

cashier alone.

the credit of the holders on the

<

But

it is

aHedged that

this

arrangement

is

a

invention designed for the purpose of excludin
the Government directors, not only from a du
the bank, b
participation in the operations of
from a knowledge of them. Now, Sir, the a
surdity of this suspicion will he seen at once
looking into the machinery and details of this sy
tern, and by ascertaining the circumstances u
1

specified interest,

entered to

books of that

in-

arrangement the Government
to be responsible for the stock, and ceasceased
if the ared to pay interest on it sooner than
had not been made. How, then,
rangement
were the views of the Government thwarted?

stitution.

By

By

this

the relief which the

bank thus extended

to

community at a moment of great pressure?
Without any losi to the Government, or any dethe

SPEECH OF MR. McDUFFIE,
bank
Was by this means enabled to avoid curtailing
some six millions of its accommodations until
Jay in the redemption of the public debt, the

commercial embarrassment passed
The arrangement, Sir, was essentially

the crisis

away.

of*

benefieal to

13

riably exacted the legal damages from individuals in similar cases.
In the case of Stephen Gi-

was adduced that the prowas immediately paid by the agent

ard, conclusive proof

ested
rf

bill

Girard, and not by the agent of the Govern-

and that not one cent of damages was
parties and injurious to none, ment
and I am utterly at a loss to conceive why the sustained
by the'Government. Yet the twenty
ghostly form of these extinguished three per >er cent, damages were exacted to the utter"
all

ints. is now conjured up in the array of most farthing. Under these circumstances it is
Charges against the bank. It serves no other a shame, a crying shame, that the administrapurpose than to evince the spirit of the prosecu- ion should thus not only refuse to pay ita just
tion.
debts, but assuming the judicial power of deAnother charge gravely urged against the ciding in its own ease, attempt to forestal the
bank, and ef which the administration ought to opinion of the tribunals which are alone compeIn every view it
be .ashamed, is .the criminal audacity of demand- tent to decide the question.
bill of was the
duty of the bank to make this claim,
ing from the Government, on a protested
exchange, the same damages which the Govern- and of the Government to pay it. It was the
ment itself has universally demanded of indivi- only mode of obtaining damages from the French
duajs under like circumstances!
Government; for unless our Government shall
The Government being desirous to obtain >ay damages, it can exact none from France.
funds here in exchange for foods in Paris, the To say nothing of the other stockholders, the
bank in the spirit of kindness and accomodation people of the United States own one-fifth of the
which has marked all its transactieas with the stock of the bank, and they have a right to deGovernment, voluntarily offered ,to purchase a mand thai the administration do not sacrifice upbill of exchange from the Treasury here upon the wards of thirty thousand dollars of their
money,
French Government, upon better terms than >y its arbitrary and faithless conduct towards
could be obtained any where else, or to advance the bank. In every respect, this is one of the
the money to the Government here, and under- nost audacious charges ever brought by the adtake the collection of the bill as its agent. The ministration against the bank, to justify the highTreasury declined the agency of the bank, and aanded measures by which they have attempted
sold it the bill on the French Government as a to destroy it.
mere commercial transaction. From some cause
I will now proceed, sir, to consider that
charge
the French Government refused to pay the bill against the Bank, which is the real moving
and it was protested in Paris. The agents of cause of this persevering and relentless perseIt is, as the executive expresses it, that
the Bank there, paid it for the honor of the bank. cution.
" has
But the President of the United States alleges the bank
attempted to acquire political
that the sum paid here for the bill, was left in power," a charge unknown to any code qf law,
the bank and simply added to the amount of the moral or political, and of that fearful vagueness
If this were true, it would which indicates the arbitrary spirit in which it
public deposites.
The first specification under this
not vary the case as to the legal liability of the originates.
Government for damages. But it is not true. charge is founded on a resolution of the Board
On the contrary, the Secretary of the Treasury of Directors, authorizing the President of the
under the authority of an act of Congress, gave Bank to have certain documents printed to ilTo my mind this seem?
public notice that the nine hundred thousand dol- lustrate its operations.
lara obtained for this bill, would be loaned out to be a very harmless resolution, but as the Prefor the benefit of the claimants for French spoli- sident of the United States has denounced it as
ations to whom it belonged. It was, therefore, a dangerous precedent, clothing the President
as much taken from the available fund :ef the of the Bank with powers subversive of the liber,
bank, as if it had been immediately pa J?over to ties of the country, I will beg leave to read ij
the claimants.
The directors would have been for the information of the House
Resolved,
stupid in the extreme, if they had regarded this that the President be authorized to cause to be
as an addition to the Government deposites, anc prepared and circulated such documents and.
made it the basis of discounts. The bank hav- papers as may communicate to the people inforing sold the bill in London, would have been mation in regard to the nature and operations of the
liable to the full amount of legal damages on its bank."
Now, I pray to know, sir, what applibeing protested, but for the good fortune of hav- cation of the funds of the stockholders could be
ing an agent in Paris who paid it. And now more useful and judicious, when ihe institution
Sir, after the bank has saved its own credit ant and its credit were assailed by every species of
that of the Government by this payment, the ad- misrepresentation and calumny ? But the Presiministration comes forward with a charge agains dent of the United States seems to regard it as
>

:

the

bank of Assailing the credit of the nation equivalent to clothing the President of the Bank
it demands its legal rights!
Sir, the with the whole fiscal and military power of the

because

faitb of the nation has been tarnished
deeply
tarnished by the utter disregard the Govern
oient has manifested, in a mere question of lega

country.

He

says :
expected when the moneys of the
United States were directed to be placed in that
bank, that they would be put under the eentrol
right, to the great moral and religious precep
of doing unto others as it would that others of one man, empowered to spend millions with
should do unto it. The Government has inva out rendering a voucher or specify ing the object?

"Was

it

SPEECH OF MR. McDUFFIE.
Can

they be considered safe with the evidence
of thousands have been spent
for highly improper, if not corrupt
purposes, thai
the same motive may lead to the expenditure ol
hundreds of thousands and even millions more.
And can we ustify jourselves to the people by
longer lending to it the money and power of the
Government, to be employed for such purposes?"
It seems that the President of the United States
has an instinctive abhorrence for discretionary
executive power delegated to any one but himself.
What is this power vested in the President
of the Bank ? It is not only harmless and innocent in its object, but perfectly safe as a responsible exercise ot power.
The President acts under the authority of the directors, with whom he
fcefore us, that tens

is daily

associated,

who have

daily opportunities

of inspecting his proceedings, and to whom he
is, therefore, under a constant and direct respon-

ments, when conferred on Mr. Biddle, is all a
piece of cheatery, but when a discretionary power of levying war and spending money without
any limitation is conferred upon himself, it is as
fair a thing as ever was.
The President of the United States asks if a
bank whose directors make such an application
of the public funds is fit to be the depository of
the public treasure ? Sir, I wish the President of
the United States had been as faithful to thetrust committed to him as the agent of the people of the United States, who own one fifth part
of the stock in this bank, as the directors and officers of the institution have been to their trust,
as the agents of the stockholders in general.
What, tli en, are the respective dutiss of the President of the United States and the President of
the Bank, as representatives of the stockholders,
and how have those duties been performed The
It is equally the duty of
contrast is striking.
them both to promote the prosperity and credit
(

sibility for the exercise

in him, as to the

of the disci etion vested

amount he may spend

in printing documents explaining the operations and vin- of the bank, in order that its capital
dicating the credit and the character of the bank. large profit, and its bills' furnish a

yield a
sound curYet the President of the United States thinks rency. But what has been their conduct ? For
this very insignificant power subversive of public several
years past, Mr. Biddle has been night
libeity, when he is himself clothed with a discre- and day exerting talents of the highest order,
tion a thousand times more dangerous.
Sir, with a singleness and devotion never surpassed,
when I recur to what was done here at the last ;o promote the credit and usefulness of the bank.
session
when I reflect that an act was passed, And what has the President of the United States
I will not call it a law, and that too at the special )een
doing in the same period? Has he exerted
instance and request of the President,
clothing lis influence to advance the credit and success
him with the power not only to spend the whole of the bank, as the relation he bears to the stockrevenue, but to exhaust the credit of the nation holders and the country required him to do ?
in arraying a military power against a sovereign No, Sir.
On the contrary, he has been strainState of this Union, I confess I cannot but fee] ing
every nerve, and attempting to move heaven
surprise and disgust to hear that President mag and earth to accomplish the destruction of its
At a
nifying a molehill into a mountain, and talking credit, and consequently of its prosperity.
about the danger of executive discretion A sim- time when the bank was as solvent as any bank
ple resolution authorizing the President of the in the world, he suggested that the public depoBank to print explanatory documents is a mon sites were not safe in its vaults. This charge,
strous proceeding, but an act clothing the Presi which in any other country would have shaken
dent of the United States with dictatorial power, the redit of any other bank, coming from such a
is all perfectly fair and proper ! This brings very source, made not the slightest impression upon
Nothing can be
forcibly to my recollection another Dutch anec- the Bank of the United States.
dote, and as I am in the way of drawing illustra- said more highly creditable to the bank than that
tions from this excellent class of our citizens, from it was able to stand up against this assault upon
whose very eccentricities lessons of wisdom may its credit by the executive government, and a
be deduced, I beg leave to relate it. In a certain confederacy of speculators and stock-jobbers,
Dutch vicinity, I will not say Kinderhook lest a which would certainly have prostrated the Bank
question of location should arise a lottery was of England.
And what a lesson are we taught at this very
authorised, and on a certain day the neighbors
all assembled to witness the
turning of the wheel. moment of the danger incurred by unskilful perThe drawing commenced, and blank after blank sons who venture to meddle with edged tools.
was drawn by the principal persons in the neigh- The administration, or more properly the Presiborhood until a general suspicion of unfairness dent, has struck a blow that it was supposed
A large bully stepped for would shake the credit of the bank to its deepest
began to prevail.
ward as the champion of his neighbors, threat- foundations. That blow has recoiled. And while
ening to smash the wheel to atoms, and declaring the credit of all the other banks has been shaken
that it was all a " willainous piece of gheatery."
y the concussion, the Bank of the United States
In the midst of his rage, when every one was stands alone on a rock of adamant, bidding a
trembling for the safety of the wheel, a friend proud defiance to the storm, and generously exstepped up to him with great exultation, ex. tending the hand of succor to other institutions.
"
claiming
my dear sir, have you heard the Yes, sir, I am informed that within a few days
news ? You have drawn the highest prize." 3ast this bank tendered a loan of $50,000 to one
"
What, (said he) the highest prize It 's as fair of the local banks to relieve it from the pressure

may

!

,

!

a ding as ever tecs."
produced by this reckless and vindictive act oj
And so, Sir, in the estimation of General Jack- jxecutive madness. Such, Sir, is the contrast
ton, the discretionary power to print a few docu- between these two Presidents.

SPEECH OF MR. McDUFFlE.
I come now to another of t he specifications
under the charge against the bank, of " attempting to acquire political power." It is alleged by
the Secretary of the Treasury that between the
1st of January, 1831, and the 1st of May, 1832,
a period of sixteen months, the bank increased
its loans the enormous and
unprecedented sum

of $28,000,000.
And it is inferred that this extension of its loans could be designed for no
other purpose but to give the bank a political in
fluence to be used in opposition to the election oi
General Jackson. I will first examine the facts
and then the logic of this specification. The
" the
Secretary states that
aggregate debt due to

15

the relief of the commercial community. They
were so applied, Sir, and were the means of saving
probably hundreds and thousands from great
distress, if not from bankruptcy.
I

a

well recollect the lugubrious vaticinations of

gentleman from

LENG,)

who

New

Fork, (Mr.

told us that the

CAMBRE-

bank had seduced

the merchants into the excessive importations,
it could not save the
country from general

and

But experience, which has falsified
shewn that the bank underown duties and operations much better

bankruptcy.
this

prediction, has

stood

its

than those

who chose

to step out of their appro-

however enlightened on the genethe bank" on the 1st of January, 1831, amounted ral subject of political economy. Thj country
to $42,402,304 only, whereas on the 1st of May, not only passed through the crisis, by means of
1832, its loans amounted to $/0,428,07G. Now, the wise and liberal course pursued by the
in fact, the discounts of the bank amounted to bank, but passed through it without a
struggle.
$33,575,403 at the former date, and had only risen The merchants would not fail, even to accomto $47,375,078 at the latter date, making a dif- modate the gentleman from New York, and the
ference in the accommodations to the community country was brought out of its difficulties so naof only $13,799,675, instead of twenty-eight mil- turally and smoothly, that it was hardly aware of
The bank is certainly entitled to the
lions as the Secretary's statements would induce the crisis.
the public to suppose. But this is not all.
At highest commendation instead of being obthe former period, the bank had a debt due to it noxious to censure, for effecting this great public
by the Government of $8, 674,681, and by Baring benefit, without impairing its own credit a re& Co. $2,387,331, making a sum of 1 1,062,012, sult which the gentleman from New York deemwhich added to the discounts, raised the debt due ed utterly impracticable. If I were to select
to the bank in January, 1831, exclusive of do- the period, or the incident in the history of its
mestic bills, to $44,637,41 5,.beingonly $2,737,663
less than the amount of discount in May, 1832.

priate sphere,

jroceedings, best adapted to illustrate

its

use-

would be precisely this. And I will
It is apparent from this view, that the aggregate >nly remark further on this point, that the inteldebt due to the bank in January, 1831, including ect of that man must be wolully perverted, who
$10,456,653 of domestic bills, was $55,094,068 can see in this proceeding no other motive or
instead of $42,402,304, as represented by the
bject, than to interfere in the Presidential elecon.
Secretary of the Treasury, making the differI have gone through all the charges
ence between the debt due to the bank at the
brought
two periods selected for comparison, even if we against the bank that I deem worthy of notice,
include the domestic bills, only $15,334,002, and and I now beg the attention of the House to those
if we exclude these bills as not
properly classed urgent considerations which impel it to an inlinewith bank loans, the difference will be only liate interposition ef its authority. I need not
$4,877,349. It will be here perceived that to ell those who hear me of the actual and impendmake out his charge of an unprecedented exten- ng distress and ruin which threaten our comsion of its loans by the bank in the sixteen mercial cities, and finally the whole country. The
months artfully selected, the Secretary hassw/>- ividences of this are every where to be seen.
pressed the debts due to the bank by the United We can neither turn to the right nor to the left,
States, and by Baring & Co. amounting to without perceiving anxiety and dismay in every
"
$1 1,062,012, in stating the aggregate debt due countenance. Is it not, then, the solemn duty of
And I am con- Congress to interpose its constitutional power to
to the bank" in January, 1831.
iulness

it

strained, Sir, to believe that this suppression was arrest the progress of this desolating torrent ?
are called upon, Sir, by every consideration
intentionally made, as the facts wore upon the

We

face of the monthly statements, and of a nature which can grow out of a just regard for our own
not to be overlooked, or misunderstood. When contemned authority, or for the rights and liberthe bank converted its government and foreign ies of the people. The President of the United
debt into cash, what course could it pursue but States has unlawfully seized upon the public
make a corresponding extension of its discounts ? reasure. Where, Sir, is that treasure at this
This was not extending its debt, but changing moment? No man here can tell us. By what
its character, by lending to our merchants what
uthority has the President taken it ? Let genit had collected from the government and folemen produce it if they can.
a total igTo censure this, argues
Sir, Congress is peculiarly called upon to
reigners.
norance of the duties of the bank, and disregard indicate its right to the guardianship of the
of the pressing wants of the commercial commu- mblic treasure, because the President has atIt was a
period emj'ted to forestall its decision and places it in
nity at the period under review.
of unprecedenth large importations, when the a situation which may preclude the free exercise
heavy commercial debt contracted, and the unu- fits judgment. Why, Sir, was the change of
sual amount of bonds due to the government, he deposites, made only siity days before
required that the bank should draw in all its meeting of Congress? I will tell you the reaThe President was fearful that he could
resources from other quarters) and apply them to son.

SPEECH OP MR. McDUFFIE.
not induce even a drilled majority to do that
which if already done upon his responsibility, it
might be induced to sanction. He is a military
man, Sir, and he knows the effect produced in
desperate emergencies, when the General throws
himself into the breach, and calls upon his sol
diers to rush to his rescue, or witness his destruction.
There could not have been selected a

time, than the European prices published at the
here.
I presume all other
descrip-

same time

have experienced a similar de-

tions of property

pression, and can well imagine that all property
in stocks, public, or
private, must have suffered
even in a greater degiee. It is stated on good

authority, that the stock of the Girard Bank,
the one selected in Philadelphia to receive the
time for performing this act better calculated to Government
deposites, has fallen from 70 to 54
show' the President's defiance of the Legislative since the 1st fof October.

And yet, Sir, the Secretary of the
An administration that will thus wantonly
Treasury has come here with the miserable I
with public faith and private property, to
had almost said impudent pretence that he was tamper
the selfish purposes of individuals
constrained to do it by the necessities of the promote
whatever else it may be called does not deIt is not true, Sir.
The President
country.
serve the name of Government.
In what, I
had only to announce that the deposites would
would ask is all this to result? I am not sure
not be removed until the question should be first
that I know precisely what is its
object, but I
submitted to Congress, and the public mind
can tell you very certainly what will be its end,
would have been put at ease. The Secretary
It will be, Sir, the sacrifice of the industrious
well knew this
But the Executive Government
and enterprizing classes of the community, to
has thought proper to thrust itself forward and
promote the interest of speculators and stockplace the subject in such a position as almost to
Hundreds of industrious men, whose
jobbers.
deprive Congress of its free agency. We are credit is their
principal capital, will be ruined,
now told by a gentleman from New York, (Mr.
while the money lenders and money changers
CAMBHKLENR,) thatthe restoration of the depo- will realize
princely fortunes, making a rich harsites to the Bank of the United States was an
vast of the public distresses.
If there be
any
idea that struck him with alarm; that the .{ounspeculators in the stocks whether connected
try had already suffered too much *rom one re- with the
administration or not who have stipumoval to be able to endure the effects ..of another.
lated to deliver certificates of State bank stock
It is for this reason that I have made
my reso- on a given day, they
may profit by this act of
lution prospective.
I am not so reckless of the
the Governmont. But if there be any who have
sufferings of .the community, as to take away the
calculated to make this measure subservient to
money which has been actually deposited in the
Authority.

in the

their speculations

selected banks.
I know we shall be told that
the picture of public distress is exaggerated.
One gentleman, indeed, { Mr, VANDERPOKL,) told
us the other day, that it was all a humbug to ascribe the prevailing distress to the removal of the
If this be a humbug, it is a very medepositesu
But whatever gentleme may
lancholy one.
have thought three days ago, I believe there is
no one who would now be bold enough to say
that (the removal of the deposites has had no
agency in producing the public distress. The
calamity can hardly be over estimated. Any
idea which we can form of it here, will fall short
of the sad reality. I ronfess, Sir, I have been
astonished at the accounts brought by every
mail.
I,did net believe that a scene of distress
so sudden aad extensive, could have been pro-

States

Bank,

pointed.

The

affected than

And now,

stock of the United

that they will be disapstock of that bank has been less

I rejoice

any

other.

Sir, in

must be permitted

concluding

to say, that if

my

remarks,

we

ratify this

I

proceeding of the President'and Secretary of the
Treasury, by refusing to order the restoration of
the deposites in addition to the present suffering and distress of the people, we shall permit
a system of political banking to be entailed upon
the country, utterly incompatible with public
If we intend that it shall ever be arrestliberty.
ed it roust be done now. For if we give time
the complete establishment of this confederacy
between the Executive Government and the
State banks in all its ramifications of dependant
duced by the miserable tampering of the Go- nterests, I will defy all human power to break
vernment with the system of commercial credit. the league or resist the man who wields its powIt is a .mistake to suppose that it is confined to er.
Is it not apparent that it will convert the
the merchants or to the commercial cities. It deposite banks into dependants and partisans of
will extend like a wave until it affects every class the President?
Is it not equally apparent that
and reaches the furthest limits of the country. the politician who controls these banks, will indiIn relation to one of the great national interests, rectly control all those who are indebted to
I can speak with positive knowledge, as to the
hem, and thus obtain an absolute control over
depression this measure has produced in the va- the public will? If this House shall confirm the
lue of property.
I confidently believe that eve- act of the President, it will be, in my humble
ry cotton planter, who did not sell his crop at opinion, establishing in perpetuity, a corrupting
the commencement of the season, has lost two connexion between the banking capital and the
'cents on every pound of his cotton, in consejolitical power of the country, and placing them
quence of this measure. It is a fact without )oth in the hands of one man . I trust in God
precedent, but conclusively shown, by a compa- that the country will- not be destined to such a
rison ef the Liverpool and Charleston prices cur- condition by the vote of this House. If it should,
can only pray that a power more than human
rent, that the price of cotton has been habitually
fivecents lower .in this .country, at any
given may be interposed for its rescue.
]

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