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SPEECH
OF

SO

MR. / \ NILES, OF CONNECTICUT.
ienate, January 5, 1839—In reply to the re- that would be no explanation. If it was rignt one
arks of M r . R I V E S , on the resolution submitted year ago to conduct the financial concerns of the
i him calling on the President for additional Government so as to favor the banks, it is proper
.. formation relative to the transactions between now. "Will gentlemen urge certain measures on
the Government and the Bank of the United the Administration,and then condemn it for adopting
Stales, growing out of the sales of the bonds of those very measures? If what is now alleged against
s lid Bank.
the Secretary of the Treasury was true, the Senator and his associates showld be the last men in
Mr. N I L E S addressed the Senate as follows:
M R . PRESIDENT: If any thing could surprise me, the country to condemn it. Can they blow hot
•oming from a certain quarter, it would be the re- and cold at the same breath, and censure a policy
marks of the honorable Senator who has just taken to-day that they themselves recommended yesterin seat, [Mr. RIVES;] and the same observation day? W e r e they sincere in charging the Admi/ill apply with equal force to his speech the other nistration with hostility to the banks last session?
da} , on his first resolution of inquiry, to which the If so, how can they now turn round and denounce
I oni- now under consideration seems to be a sort of it, if what is alleged was true, for having revived
supplement. I have, however, long since ceased to the deposite system? T h e opponents of that sysbe surprised a t any thing coming from those who tem might, with propriety, complain ; but with
car. be satisfied with nothing as long as they are what propriety or consistency do censures come
not permitted to have the direction of public af- from its friends? H a v e the opponents of the Ad• airs. 'What have we witnessed now and on the ministration generally assumed a new position; or
occasion referred to? A Senator who, during the is this position one th;;i belongs to the •* armed
ast two sessions, at least, was first and foremost, at neutrality" only? I am anxious for information
«.P limcfl and on all occasions, to denounce the Ad- on this subject, and think it somewhat impoitant to
•niiistra'ion for a course of policy alleged to be the cou.itry v *o know whether the Government is
Hostile and ruinous to the banking institutions of to be assrttfeci-, -as heretofore on the ground of an althe country, suddenly changes his position, a n d UgcdhosUhty *f EfH^s. t«t *tn^ credit system, to trade,
-with equal boldness, and apparently with sincerity. nuTiriierce, manufactures, acd :ne business of the
and confidence, charges the same Admini^Hra'ietvj country, or whether this ground-is to be "abandoned,
and directly opposite p&sinon t o be asstill pursuing, as was generally supposed. lh*j s*me an<i> a new T
:
general line of policy, with having fornx"d an im- sumed. W e' Sire icld Proax two high- soirees that*
l
proper, suspicious and dangerous connection with thic gOErift -f a'j*\hd»ii5ed.' M r . Biddle whose
knowledge on this sdbject Can hardly be Hbubted,
the banks—a connection which Las rcs'tored the
deposite system wiihout law, and wtrich will finntly
result in the establishment of a National Ir^uk,
without the action of Congress.
>
T h e Administration is now assailed and depoii'icai power
nounced with a tone of asperity seldom surpassed, the hostile policy of the Government had comfor having done precisely what, we have heretofore pelled him to assume. And the Senator from Virso often been told by the Senator making the < harge, ginia confirms this statement. H e says, that not
and those with whom he now acts, it ou;;ht to only is the war at an end, but that a treaty offendo. It is condemned for t u alleged course of policy sive and defensive has been entered into between
friendly to the present Bank of the United States the Government and the Bank of the United States.
an 1 other State banks, by the same men by whom Future events will doubtless throw more light on
it has been so long and so often denounced for hos- this subject; but as the matter now stands, we a r e
tility to banks and the credit system."
bound to consider that the Opposition have abanSir, how is this strange movement on the pol'ti- doned their old ground, and assumed a new pocal boards to be explained? I shall endeavor to sition.
demonstrate, before I have done, that there has
Taking this to be the fact, the next question is
been no change in the general policy of the Admi- as to the cause of this new movement. Is it *
e
nistration on. this subject. But if there had been, change in the policy of the Administration? Cer-




tainly not, for there has been no change further
T h e b a n k s , in most of the States, resumed specie
than what a change of circumstances has occa- payments; the currency was restored; the exchanges,
sioned. T h i s he would endeavor to demonstrate. in a great measure, regulated; commerce revived,
M r . N . said he would assign a cause, which he be- and every kind of business became active and
lieved to be the true one, as he could discover no prasperoas. If we compare the late period of the
other. T h e clamor, which has been so long and prostration of the currency and credit of the counsuccessfully kept up, of hostility on the part of the try with a similar pcrio I in our history, the rapidiGovernment towards the banks and cred:;, has ty with which we have recovered from the late re- .
answered it* purpose; it has done all it con id for vulsion will appear • -tonishing. Then trie sunthe Opposition, at least for the present. It will no pension lasted four years, and, in a lartre section of
doubt he resumed after a while; but it is now the Union, from six to ten years, with the assistrather stale, and has lost its influence. But it has ance and regulating power of a National Bank.
worked well, and, aided by the cooperation of the Other causes then thos* he had referred to, no
money power, has produced two panics, agitated doubt, had thtir influence; the resources of the
the country prodigiously, and revolutionized seve- country wsre greater now, and it possessed a vastly
ral States. A considerable portion of the people
iier specie currency than it did in 1816- But
believed this charge, so boldly made, so persever- our firmness in maintaining the true specie standard
iogly insisted upon, and even tome of the friends of value, and th>* practical separation of the reveot l i e Administration were deceived, a n d though" nue from the banks, p
| . , c exerted an importits measures wore, whether so designed or not, ant influence. If
rernment is held resportsiunfriendly to the moneyed institutions of the counJbr the disorders of the currency, occasioned by
try. T h e suspension of the banks in M a y , 1.-537, overtrading, it most have some credit for its reg a v e somewhat a new aspect to this controversy, storation, effected in part by its judicious policy.
and the measures which that event rendered it "These results are before the country, and they h a v e
necessnry for the Government to adopt, jrav
had their effect upon public sentiment. T h e disional force and effect to the clamors and dentine -.- russions which have taken place here and elsetions against the Administration, which was held u licrc, have also had :heir iutluence. Both from
responsible for all the disorders of the currency and aigume'nl and experience, m u r h light has been shed
the general derangement and interruption of busi- i a this important subject. T h e people have h a d ~
ness. T h e additional interest which these circum- an opportunity to judge whether the views of the
stance:- gave to the subject, in connection with the friends i f the Administration or its opponents were
discussions on this door on the Independent T r e a - most correct. T h e result has been a reaction in
sury bill, and othei propositions relating to the the public mind, whirh is still going on all over t h e
finances, aroused a universal spirit of inquiry. country. M a n y , who weie deceived or enticed
T h e subject has been taken up by the public press, away, for a time, by the clamor against the G o and has been thoroughly examined and discussed. vernment, have discovered their error. T h e t r u e
Not only have th<? views and measures of the two causes of the derangement of the currency have b e parties been extensively discussed, but the princi- come understood, and the injustice and absurdity
ples for which the friends of the Administration of attempting to hold the Government responsible
contended, have been partially brought into prac- has become apparent to all. T h i s gross delusion
tical operation. W e were not able to pas* the In- e..n uo longer be kept u p .
dependent T r e a s u r y bill; yet we were able to reT h e changes which are going on in public oni
sist the attempts to restore, by legislation, die con- nion, are too palpable to be mistaken. T h e y ay~
nect.on between the revenues of'he couir.-; and the manifested in the tone o* the public press, and m o r «
"banks, and to maintain that separation which !'.e ; i r-mphatically in the elections which have taken plae
suspension of payment had occasioned.
We
"Th-sse, sir, in my judgment, are the circurn
were enabled tc resist all attempts at interference stances -which have induced gentlemen on the oth
on the prut «f Congress, to ?id the berk-?, either by side of this hall to change their ground, and a«f
the Quods *»r the credit ->f ih? CTOveir.mcr.r, !eav,ng s a m e a r t w position. H a v i n g derived a'll the b*
thos.2 5institutions to rcco . e . , upoa theh o.vu re- nefit they c ^ . from the agitation of the questions o f
s o i n r , a n d the operations of the laws of trade. the currency an* finances, and perceiving a r e a c t o n
Abu r b o v e all, we were enabled to ho'd on to 'd:^ t a k ' n o p l a c e , they now wish to abandon the who!
true standard cf vidae. lu on'y s ^ f - a i d true " r e - ; ubject; to arrest thr inquiry which is going one
on,
gulator' 1 of the cu.'iency; to w i t h ) *i*id I r!c'. up and direct the public attention to come new g r o u n d
the credit of the Government, to the standard of of complaint, and raise an excitement about d e gold am: ilver. T h e wisdom of these measure's faulters and extravagant expenditures. T h i s is a l l
h a s been | roved by their results. Their beneficial natural enough, and parhaps perfectly fair in p o influence was soon perceived; sooner and more litical warfare. But it is a htileextraordinarv that
extensively, than then their most strenuous advo- a position should be taken directly opposed to that.
cates an" cipated. By sustaining the true specie so receiiilj' occupied, and the Administration b e
standard, :;nd in the transactions of the Treasury, charged with forming a league, offensive a n d
leceiving only specie or paper deemed equivalent, defensive, with the banks.
the credit of the Government was maintained, which
o w do we
in the Senate?
W y,
operated to raj^e he credit of the sound banks to thrHOpposition, now stand ig for two years kept hu p
after hrivi
i h e s a m e standard. T h e g oeral result is known.
clamor about the h< stility
oT h e coutitrv recovered, in little- more than one ae constant to the banks, have suddenly of the bG c k
r rnment
gone
a
year, from the most severe shock and revulsion it and taken the old position they occupied in 1836,
ever experienced.
when I first took my scat on thte floor. T h e n tbeir




•

d a i l y tirades against the Administration were about', tions, it is clear, can have no relation to any m a t the c o r r u p t and dangerous connection between the j ter of legislation that now is, or m a y be, expected
T r e a s u r y and the deposite banks. T h e " p e t b a n k s " ; to come before the Senate. T h e object is political?
w e r e the constant subject of remark and censure, it is a bold attack on the President and the SecreT h i s continued to be the case until the b a n k s fail- tary of the T r e a s u r y ; and one more entirely g r a t u e d , in 1837, with between twenty and thirty mil- I itous, unfounded, and preposterous, has never
l i o n s o f the public treasure in their vaults. T h i s come from a n y quarter, whether friend, or foe, C2T
e v e n t led both parties to change their position*. neutral.
T h i s may be all right in political warT h e Administration abandoned the deposite bank fare; he did not complain of it; but only wished
system, and the Opposition immediately took it tip. that the responsibility of occupying the titne of t h e
T h e merits of this movement depends on the con- Senate in merely political di*cussion, should be
sideration.which party had the best reason* for their placed where il belonged.
These political debates
c o u r s e . T h e friends of the Administration a b a n - usually originate with the Opposition; they are lite
d o n e d the State bank system because it had failed, assailants; we stand on the defensive; but, for on.?,
a n d proved untrustworthy-; and the Opposition, he be was disposed to meet all assaults oa the spot,
supposed, embraced il for the same re&sun. Ami and thus to settle accounts as we go along, and to
DOW, returning to I heir bid position of 1836, they leave the general reckoning to the people.
What
c h a r g e trie Administration with renewing: it* con- pecial purpose there m a y be in this movement, he
nection with the bankv, and forming a league with, did not pretend to know; but, for some reason or
t h e m for political purposes. In the present in-J other, there seemed to be, on the p a r t , o f th • Senas t a n c e we shall not accommodate them by an eap-i tor, an unusual hasle and anxiety to m a k e known
change of positions. T h e y may abandon their*, I his n e w position to his constituents a n d the country.
b u t we shall not lake it. W e deny altogether the
I will first notice, M r . President, several of the
c h a r g e of a reunion of the Treasury* with the banks. specific charges m a d e by the Senator in his speech
B u t if it was true, M r . Ef. said he would Dot go of yesterday, before I take up the general issue,
w i t h it in that measure, either here or elsewhere. whether '.he Senator's speech, with its i barges,
A n d , in saying this, he believed he spoke the senti- inferences, and imputations, m a d e in a d v a n c e of
m e n t s of all on this side of the H o u s e . W e do not the evidence, is borne out and abstained by the r e g o for the reunion, but for a more complele and ef- port or not. And shall conclude with some .observations on some other topics cdhnected with the
fectual separation.
H a v i n g , M r . President, made these introductory general subject, and by no m e a n s beyond thf proobservations, 1 will proceed to notice some of the per ranp.e belonging to the debate.
r e m a r k s of the Senator, from Virginia, and to exT h e first specific charge against the Secretary of
a m i n e some of the very extraordinary charges j the T r e a s u r y , is the sale of the bond held by the
w h i c h he has made against the Secretary of the Government against the present Bank of th'.' UniT r e a s u r y , and the President himself. I a m a w a r e , ted S a t e s , which was payable in 1839.
T h e dissir, that the gentleman's speech was not m a d e for position of this bond w a s authorized by an act of
m e , or with an expectation that I would reply to it; Congress, passed at its la>t session. It U claimed
h e is aiming at higher game; his envenomed shafts that ihe sale was made on terms not authorized by
a r e aimed at the highest m a r k ; they are if tended the law, and so disadvantageous to the T r e a s u r y ,
to reach the President himself, through the sides as to aulhori/.j a belief that there was an intenof the Secretary of the T r e a s u r y ; and he doubtless tion to favor the B a n k of the United States, which
expected that the honorable Sermtor from N e w was the purchaser.
T w o objections have '>een
Y o r k [ M ; . W R I O I I T J would interpo»e las Strong urged against the legality ol the transaction; one,
a r m to ward off the blow; and I ihink it quiie pro- that the payment was not m a d e in money; trie
b a b l e , that before this debate is ended, the Senator oilier, that a credit was allowed, which the law did
m a y have the honor of a broadside from t h a t q u a r - not authorize.
By ihe terms of the act, the bond
ter.
But, however .his may be, inasmuch as the was to be sold for " m o n e y in h a n d , " and at a sum
Senator has presented a n issue between his speech not less than its par value at the time of s.iie. It
m a d e in advance of the repott, a n d my remarks was sold for its par value, and the avails of the
m a d e a tier il was read, and has thrown out a sort bond agreed to be placed in special depesite in
of defiance^ asserting, in an emphatic tone, that the Bank of the United Stales, to the credit of the
he would demonstrate that all the charges, infe- Treasurer, in specie or its equivalent.
Ir « a* also
rences, a n d imputations in his first speech were stipulated " t h a t the B a n k is to keep i),e money
r
fully and tiiumphanlly established by the repojt, I safely, till drawn out by the T r e a s u r e r , without m a felt called upon to meet the gentleman upon the king any charge t > the United States for keeping
issue he has tendered, and hope I shall be able to or paying it out o n ' h i s drafts. 11
These were the
show that what I said the other day was strictly terms of the sale a t appears from the i c p n before
correct; lhat the report of the Secretary was not me; but I will not fatigue myself or other- b y
o n l y a response to the Senator's resolution, but an rending the correspondence.
It is claimed"that,
a n s w e r to hi* speech and all its accusations.
because the act required payment to be mane in
W h i l s t I feel grateful to the body for its indul- money, nothing but gold and si'l « could be
gence in affording me the opportunity 1 now have received. T h e Senator, nftei ha* ' - ' long a n d
of concluding what I desired |o say, I regret to strenuously contended for the reet ip) at th< TVeah a v e to detain the Senate as long as 1 fear I m a y . sury of the paper of specie, p> j ing bank s, 'si ems
J O , in a debate of this description.
T h i s whole 1 now Renins back to h's hard mono; notibns of
o v e m e n t , I regard, sir, as entirely and exclusive- 1834.
B a t there is nothing in this a r g u m e n t . All
o f a political character.
T h e Senator's re
required by law to be paid in
Tic'"trues
L I B R A R Y
O f




FE8ERAI 'RESERVE
UU\
OF PHILADELPHIA

u

339*

4

Mr W . x ^ u r y k n e w
The n i i . ' m - , the r<-rrip* of land*, a n d !
inmanica'
'be » o r e t a r y o f
I obi to dae* are
•• m m n n ' y . There ''
W # r , until mfttr ih* tale w a s m a d e . T h e n e g o i i l i nothing ui the a d lu d-.-tmgmsh ihi* r*y-B for the sate of the bond w a s c l o s e d o n t h e
rrom any ether to be m.
AM 1" tc Stah of J O I T ; and on th* 13th of A u g u s t , M r .
But by ihe practice of the Trra>-uiy, from •
n formed t h - Secretary of the T r e a s u r y o f
p*n~>!, the nntrs of specie paying bank*- and bank j
credits have been rrirarded .
valeni to specie; the proposition which bad been made by t h e S e and ihe joint resolution of l^lfi iz.we a legal sanc- cretary of W a r as to the disbursement off the m o tion to that practice.
That re-o ution is suit in ney tor the «erv:er o f h i s Department. T h e s e r e force, and a m h t r u e s the receipt of the bills of p r o a c h e s ca«t on Mr. W o o d b u r y , h a v e n o t the
hies-t fonnda
rest upon.
specie paying banks, but is not coinpr.Uory in H
In regard to the conduct o f the S e c r e t a r y o f
provision*, leaving i t d i a o t e U o W J with the Secretary of the Treasury.
Such pap*r, however, ai- War, I see nothing in it to c o n d e m n . It i s w e l l
known bow moneys are drawn from the T r e a s u r y .
rways has been received under certain le-tnct
and no doabt will be, until Congress interfere. The T h e beads of the different Departments m a k e their.
payment for this bond, having been made in specie, requisition"* o o the Secretary of the T r e a s u r y f o r
or what, according to the practice of the Treasury. the sums off money which are w a n t e d for the s e r vice of their Departments, and the warrants o f t h e
w a s equivalent, the charge of illrcality la ent I
groundless, as much so a< if r.pplied to *.h- r»ceipt ' - -ciary of the Treasury are issued u p o n s u c h r e qoi*i<i-n«. T h - money was required" for the m i l i of convertible pater fordutie-.
In regard to the assertion of the bond-, beiaft c okl ; tary service, and U.e Secretary" of W a r p r o b a b l y
y**sed that, by apprizing the B a n k o f the t i m e s
OH a credit, it has no foundation in fact. There
•was no stipulation for credit in the condition* of * h ' t i , and the places where, the m o n e y w o u l d b e
His
the sale. T h e money was agreed to be, and was, wanted, might facilitate the sale o f the bond.
in f a d , deposited in the Bank, to be kep< and interference was little, if any thing, more t h a n t h e
paid out on the draft of the Treasurer. It was. communication o f information which he s u p p o s e d
o f course, subject to be drawn for immediately. mieht have a favorable bearing en the p e n d i n g n e In referring to this part of the contract, Mr. Biddle, e-tiation with the Bank. I can see nothing i n t h i s
in his letier of the first of An^u-'. 1838, ayi ' O n worthy of death or of bonds. But it m a v a p p e a r
the part of the Bank I confirm that understanding.*" j to be a very serious matter in the e y e s o f a n e u It is true that at a subservient period, an arrange- tral.
ment was entered into between the Secretary of the i
But it is insisted upon that the contract w a s d i s Treasury and the Bank, specifying the t:m»
advantageous to the T r e a s u r y , and highly b e n e f i and places of payment in respect to the drattcial to the Bank; and thi^ s e e m s to be a c i r c u m the Treasurer upon this fund. But ihis arrange-1 stance relied upon as proof of a friendly a l l i a n c e
ment was made after the money was in the Trea- between the Treasury and the Bank o f the U n i t e d
sury, and by authority of the gcnrral power off the JStates. It is certainly very strange that s u c h a
Secretary, and not under the authority of the act | charge as this should be m a d e in the face o f f h e
authorizing the sale of the bond. It amown'fact, appearing in the very document upon w h i c h
nothing, therefore, to show that the act did not it professes to be founded, that the offer o f t h e
authorize 'he sale of the bond on credit, becBank of the United States w a s not o n l y the m o s t
the bond has not been so sold. Neither can Ifceiaj favorable, but fhe only one received coming w i t h i n .
be any foundation for a suspicion that there w a s ! the limitations of the law. T h e Secretary p u b l i s h e d
a secret ur,d*rstanding, at the time of the sale, thai j a sreneral notice inviting proposals. H e l i k e w i s e
a credit was to be given. T h e arrancem« nt re-) applied to Mr. Newbo'rf, preiident of the B a n k o f
ferred to was made in consequence of the com- America ia N e w York, to the president of o n e o r
munication which had previously been made to mora of the banks in Philadelphia, wrote to t h e
the Bank, by the Secretary of W a r . sii??r
bankers of the United States in L o n d o n , and to o u r
that this money would be wanted lor th» t i l I f M n i s i e r in Paris. But n o ofle.s coold be o b t a i n e d
of his Department, and in sums of about five hun- in Europe, on account of the shortness of the t i m e
dred thousand dollars per month. Mr. Woodl
the bonds bad to run, and because the law did n o t
states distinctly tha' he knew nothintr of this com- 1 authorize the guaranty on the part of the U n i t e d
municntion when he negotiated ihe bond; but tha , States of their eventual p a y m e n t . N o offers c o u l d
being informed of it by the Bank afterwards,wh.-h be obtained in the Uaiied States except f r o m t h e
claimed that it had relied upon it, th- Secretary of debtor Bank. Publications appeared in s o m e o f
the Treasury thought it no more than paal and e d i - the Bank presses, instigated no doubt by M r . B i d table to conform to it, la drawing out th» depo- die, intimating that the bond might not be p a i d a t
site.
maturity, and that the Bank of the U n i t e d S t a t e s
This interference of the Secretary af W a r has would claim offsets. Under these c i r c u m s t a n c e s ,
n<i offer could be obtained except from the d e b t o r
been commented upon by f>.e m<.-.-er ofthraa i
B-ink, which proposal to purchase in th«* bond o n
lutions wilh great severity. Bu» it i* a little
The
markable that his censure has been c u t , not upon the terms prescribed in the act of Congroaa.
•i oi" ih*- Treasure shows that the m o n e y
the Secretary of W a r , but noon the B e e m a i
was wanted, and it v i « therefore the duty o f t h e
the Treasury. It is said that be »anen
8 ' 'ary to i1i-»po^e off at 'ea-t one of the b o n d s .
to be made a cat's paw of, and permitted the S
Tb»* > t t vpccBc charge is the a.-ranirement for
tary off W a r to negotiate Ihe bond, when the law
had confided this duty to the Secretary of the Trea- the p i i m f i i i of the second bond, which tell d u e i a
1833. It is alleged that there Ls something v e r y
sury. "^'XX the ground." *flsoeaa ci "bis ehar-e .s a p -




5
r e m a r k a b l e and suspicious in ibis transaction : the States B a n k of P e n n s y l v a n i a , from its establishb o n d being paid before it became d u e , and when ment to the present day. N o collecting or disbursthe m o n e y w a s not wanted for the purposes of the ing officer has ever been directed, by this D e p a r t T r e a s u r y . T h e tacts a r e , that the bond w a s p a y a - m e n t , to m a k e any deposite w h a t e v e r in said B a n k ;
ble on the 30ih day of September, anil the a r r a n g e - nor h a s any money been placed by the said
m e n t w a s to p a y it in three instalments: on the 15ih Bank to the credit of the T r e a s u r e r of the United
d a y of A u g u s t , the 1 5 h of September, a n d the States, or of this D e p a r t m e n t , or, to my k n o w 15th of October, the interest to cease as the respec- ledge, of a n y of its officers, except the a v a i l s
t i v e p a y m e n t s were made, and the m o n e y to Lie of the transactions specifically referred to a b o v e ,
placed on deposite in the B a n k , and to be drawn and on the details of which, so far as they
o u t on the drafts of the T r e a s u r e r . Although by relate to the present subject, full information.
this a r r a n g e m e n t a part oi" the money was antici- is given i,i the correspondence a n d
tabular
p a t e d , yet a p a r t of it was postponed beyond the statements a n n e x e d . "
Yet, with these facts
period w h e n the bond fell due. It is asked, what before h i m , the gentleman tells u s that the S e c r e w a s the object for this arrangement? One object tary h a s not responded, to his inquiry w h e t h e r a n y
doubtless w a s , a s the s u m was very large, nearly moneys h a v e been deposited in the B a n k of the
t w o millions and a half, that it w a s m o r e c o n v e - United States, other than those g r o w i n g out of the
nient to divide it and receive it at different times. d e m a n d s of ths United Slates upon the B a n k . T h i s
T h e S e c r e t a r y also assigns as another reason, that complaint is not only without a n y foundation, but
he w a s apprehensive that a part of the a m o u n t directly in face of the report.
w o u l d be paid in T r e a s u r y notes not reissuable,
T h e next specification in the g e n t l e m a n ' s bill of
a n d that the whole sum was required to meet the indictment U the allegation that the Secretary of
d e m a n d s upon the T r e a s u r y .
the Treasur3 r has attempted to impose u p o n the
T o prove the alliance between the G o v e r n m e n t public in regard to "special deposites," both in the
a n d the B a n k of the United States, the Senator as- Bank of the United States and other Stata b a n k s .
serts that m o n e y s h a v e been deposited ID that Bank In regard to this m a t t e r , the conduct of the S e c r e in addition to those paid by it to*the United States. t a r y is denounced in the most offensive and o p p r o T h e only case specified, is r p a y m e n t of three h u n - brious terms; language which he was shocked to
dred thousand dollars by the? B a n k of K e n t u c k y . hear applied to a n y high officer of the G o v e r n m e n t ,
T h i s m o n e y , it is confidently asserted, w a s re- by anj'- one honored with a seat on this floorT
ceived in the T r e a s u r y , and was afterward* depo- whether e n e m y , professed friend, or " a r m e d n e u sited in the B a n k of the United States. T h e facts t r a l , " Sir, the S e n a ' o r , with gicat emphasis of
a r c not so. T h e B a n k of K e n t u c k y was indebted tone anil m a n n e r , charged the Secretary with p r a c to the United States, and paid that debt by a check tising a base fraud on the c o u n t r y . [ M r . R I V E S
for three hundred thousand dollars on the Pennsyl- said that he used no such language.] N o , sir, the
I was
v a n i a Bank of the United State-;, in p u r s u a n c e of gentleman did not use this l a n g u a g e .
a n a r r a n g e m e n t m a d e with that B a n k T h e s e facts Stating the high charge he m a d e against the S e c r e a p p e a r from the report. T h e check on the Bank iaiy in my own language. I thought his l a n g u a g e
of the United States m a d e it the debtor of the too foul a n d vituperative to repeat; but I will n o w
U n i t e d States. T h e money was not deposited in do it. H e s a i l that the Secretary had attempted to
that Bank; but the check was sent there, a n d the impose upon the c o u n t r y , to humbug, a n d cheat th>»
a m o u n t of it placed to the credit of the T r e a s u r e r , people.
to
be d r a w n out when w a n t e d . T h i s money w a s
T h e gentleman says these special deposites are the
n the s a m e condition as that received on the bonds: same a s genera) deposites, a n d that, to characterise
w a s a payment from the Bank to the T r e a s u r y , them as special deposites, is altogether deceptive
H o w far they m a v differ from
n J the money w a s left in the Bank on deposite, to and fraudulent.
general deposites, I c a n n o t pretend to say. S o m e
b e paid on the drafts of the T r e a s u r e r .
In connection with this subject, it is charged that of them, it seems, h a v e been special deposites in a
the Secretary of the T r e a s u r y h a s not answered strict legal sense; that is, specie has been deposited,
t h a t part of the inquirif s, in the resolutions, which and kept in a box separate from the funds of the
a s k s whether there had been a n y other transac- b a n k , and "hfe identical money restored or paid o u t
t i o n s between Ihe T r e a s u r y a n d the B a n k of the w h e n called for. But the deposites with the B a n k
U n i t e d States, except w h a t grew out of the sale of the U n i t e d State?, and most of the other S t a t e
a n d p a y m e n t of its bonds. T h i s is a mistake. T h e b a n k s , h a v e not b^en of this character. T h e s e d e Secretary n a m e s the several transactions the T r e a - posites h a v e all Iwen t e m p o r a r y , and made u n d e r
s u r y lias had with the B a n k of the United States, "special c « r i t r a c s , a* to the custody a n d paying o u t
n a m e l y , the negotiation of the bond payable: in of the money. The*;e, in the operations of ihe
1839, the p a y m e n t of the second bond which fell T r e a s u r y , m u s t be distinguishable from general d e d u e in September, 1838, ihe p a y m e n t of three posites, which piesnpposes a general depository, o r
h u n d r e d thousand dollars lor the Bank of K e n - fiscal agent, for receiving a n d disbursing the p u b l i c
t u c k y , and the p a y m e n t in part of the d e m a n d of funds. - Any deposite m a d e under a special a g r e e the United S t a t e . , against the old B a n k of C o l u m - ment, differing in anj- respects from the legal oblibia, for which the Unded S t a t e s ' B a n k h a d taken gations which exist where there is no p a r t i c u l a r
security, and in that way become a trustee for the agreement, would, in some fftise certainly, be a
United States.
After specifying these several special deposite. So far n^ respects the g e n e r a l
transactions the Secretary says: " W i t h these ex- operations of the T r e a s o r y , I h a v e no confidence in
ceptions, there h a v e not been dealings of a n v de- a n y plan of special deposites. In a ;tiict legal
liption, between this D e p a r t m e n t a n d the United ' s e n s e , it is impracticable; a n d , in a n y other, it c a n




c
not essentially obviate the evils of the general deposile system. But the question now is, whether
the Secretary, in using the terms special depositee,
has attempted to practice a fraud upon the country.
Is the gentleman aware that the same language is
used by the agents of the Bank in these transactions? M r . Macalester, who was the agent of the
Bank for the purchase t I the bonds, says: "I will
deposit* the amount thereof, in special deposit*, in
the Bank v{ the United States;" and Mr. Oowperthwait, the cashier, in acknowledging the receipt
of the money, says: " T h a t Charles Macalester,
esq. has this day deposited to the credit of the Treasurer of the United States, in special depotlte, the
snm of two millions two hundred and fifty-four
thousand eight hundred and .-event v-one dollars and
thirty-eight cents, subject to the drafts of the said
Treasurer!** Mr. Diddle, f believe, used the same
language. Does the Senator mean to charge these
gentlemen with having entered s into a conspiracy
with the Secretary of the Trca urv, to practise a
fraud on the public? Will he apply to these gentlemen the offensive terms which he has to M r .
"Woodbury?
M r . President, there is one particular charge
more, which I will notice when I shall have
done with the gentleman's remarks of yesterday. It is, that th.-re was an agreement to
circulate the notes of the Bank of the United States
in the financial concerns ol the Government. It is
not claimed that any such agreement has been made
by the Secretary of the Treasury, but some letter
of instructions from the Paymaster General, or
some offi-er connected with the military service, is
referred to, as having directed the disbursement of
the notes of the United States Bank. If there has
been anv such order, there is no evidence that it
has received the sanction of the head of the Treasury, and no reason to suppose thatsuch can be the
case, as all the moneys placed on special deposite
in the Bank were to be paid out on the drafts of
the Treasurer. Under existing laws, disbursing <;fficers are not prohibited from offering in payment
bank notes which are equivalent to specie on the
spot where offered. T h s is certainly a strange
complaint to cotue from ihe quarter .t does. W h o ,
for the last two years, has so repeatedly and so
earnestly urged the propriety and necessity of receiving and paying out llv bills of specie-paying
banks asthe Senator from Virginia? Not to do this,
he has declared, was to discredit the local bank currency, was to proclaim it to be worthless, and to
induce the holders of bank notes to return them
upon the banks % for specie. In his speech at the
extra session he urges the necessity or receiving and
disbursing the bank note currency a^ a measure of
indispensable iniprr'ance. "But, sir, would not
the example of the Government, in the indiscriminate rejection of all hank paper, have an important
moral influence in exciting the jealousies and suspicions of the whole community? Tf the Government, by its acts, shall declare bank paper to be
worthless or unsafe, will not the people also lake
ihealaini? Will not a general distrust be created
of all banking institutions, and will not every person holding their paper become impatient ;o convert it into specie? 1 ' H«? speaks* of the "just, safe
and paternal policy" which the Government ought




to pursue towards the banks, in receiving and disbursing their notes. And yet, after all thts, it is
now made a serious ground of complaint that the
notes of the Bank of the United States have been
received and disbursed by some subordinate disbursing agents. If gentlemen can blow hot and
cold at the same breath, it will no doubt be difficult
to please them.
It is claimed t.iat the transactions with the Bank
of the United States have been advantageous to
that institution, at the expense of the Treasury—
that the avails of the bonds have been drawn out
by drafts payable at the South and West, at points
where exchange on Philadelphia bore a large premium. But the truth is, this premium was in consequence of the depreciation of the local currency.
On specie, Treasury notes, or bank notes convertible into specie, the difference in exchange was very
trifling, as appears from the Secretary's report. These
distant places of payment are declared by the Secretary of the Treasury to have been a convenience
to the Treasury and a benefit to the public service.
It is no doubt true thai these transactions were
beneficial to the Bank; but it does not follow from
this that they were disadvantageous to the Treasury. It may also be conceded lha' Mr. Biddle
speaks of them as having been highly satisfactory
to him, and somewhat in a strain of exultation and
boasting. This is a weakness of some men possessing talents of *a certain description. In ih" same
letter, in which he speaks of the pacification between ihe Bank anil the Treasury,he very modestly
claims the sole merit, not only of having sustained
American credit in Europe, but of having brought
about the resumption of specie payments by the
banks, which restored the currency, notwithstanding every well informed man in the Union knows
that he placed himself at the head of the non-resuming bank*, and brought all his power and influence into requisition to prolong the suspension. Mr.
Biddle also boasts that the transactions as to the
bonds, brought the Treasury into co-operation with
the Bank in restoring the currency. This is a mere
inference of Mr. Biddle from the facts. But if it
had any foundation, why should the Senator condemn ir, when he has so repeatedly and earnestly
urged the necessity of a co-operation on the part of
the Treasury?
There have been other instances of this weakness still more consj tenons. Ail most tecollect,
that some years since, a distinguished minister ef
tho United Stales, to one of the first powers in
Europe, negotiated a convention of indemnity,
highly honorable to the country and to himself,
but was so unfortunate, as to boast in some of his.
communications of his having overreached and outwitted the French Government; and in consequence
of this unfortunate fatoBseretiaft, tho country come
near being involved in a war with one of the most
powerful nations on the globe. I do not allude to
Ihis hy way of censure, buTonly for illustration, and
10 show that other preat m^n, as well as M r . Bidill':, have sometimes fallen into this unit ruinate
en or. I have now, sir, examined the facts of the
several ttansactions which have been made the
subject* of such severe censure and condemnation.
It only remains for me to consider the more gene-

7
ral charge* contained in the more comprehensive but he describes the process by which this result is
question, whether these facts sustain ithe charges to be brought about. "Who can read this glowing
against the Administration, contained in the speech picture and not feel ihat the country is in great
of the Senator, made in advance of the facts. It danger? The magnitude of the evil no one will
has been emphatically asserted that the documents deny. This, sir, is a very grave accusation; no
accompanying the report, triumphantly sustained, less than a design on the part of the Executive
not only all the specific charges, but all the infer- to supersede the authority of Congress, upon a subences, deductions,and imputations,male in advance ject of the deepest interest to the country.
of the report.
"Well, sir, on what foundation does it rest? Is
W h a t , sir, are those charges? There are three it supported by the report of the Secretary of the
only which I shall notice, passing over all of less Treasury? H a s Mr. "Woodbury furnished evidence
importance, and the numerous imputations and in- against himself of having conspired with Mr. Bidsinuations with which the speech abounds. T h e die to establish a National Bank without law!
first which I will notice, is, that the Secretary of This would certainty be very extraordinary. It is
the Treasury has restored the connection between apparent that this frightful picture of danger,
the Treasury and the Bank of the United States; wrought up with so much art, is a mere creation of
that that Bank has again become the fiscal agent the imagination—that it has no foundation in fact,
of the Government; that this connection, originating derived either from the report or any other source.
from Execcutive power, unregulated by law, will Is it not surprising and lamentable that any gentleresult in the establishment of a National Bank with- man on this floor should take up the mere insinuaout the action of Congress. That I do not state the tions of Opposition presses, and make them the bacharge too strong, I will refer to the published «is of such grave charges against (he Government?
speech of the Senator, revised no doubt hy him- Even Mr. Biddle, the Senator's own witness, bears
self. "These questions acquire a still graver cha- testimony against him.
H e entirely puts down
racter ind deeper interest from :he significant specu- this charge.
H e admits that he has found it nelations, indulged on the appearance of Mr. Bid- cessary to assume the powers of Government, or,
die's letter, b}' certain leading journals known to at least, to fall back into his old position of a N a he friendly to the Bank, and supposed 10 be more tional Bank, to carry the country through the late
or less conversant with its views. One of them, crisis, to sustain American credit at home and
commenting on the letter of the president of the abroad, to protect chartered rights, maintain the
B a n k , says, 'the Bank will no doubt, En the course public faith, and restore and regulate the currenof a short time, by an insensible process become cy.
But having accomplished all this, he abdithe fiscal agent of the Government.'
Another cates, retires, and throws off the cares of empire.
with reference to the same letter, says, 'it will be a He has no longer any controversy with the Goserious, and not improbable spectacle, if we see, vernment, and is resolved hereafter that his Bank
through the instrumentality of concurring circum- shall be confined to its appropriate sphere of acstances, a National Rank re-established without the tion, as a mere State institution.
If the Senator
action of Congress.' " This grave charge is first will place no confidence in the statements of the
introduced in the name, and on the authority, of Secretary of the Treasury, ought he to discredit hi-s
journals friendly to the Bank, and of course hostile own witness? Shall he be permitted to use Mr.
to the Administration.
This is most excellect au- BidsJle as a witness against the Administration, and
thority for any one, even a neutral, to decide, not thrust him aside when his testimony is in their faonly on the acts, but the future purposes, of the Ad- vor? Or is the testimony of the Opposition journals,
ministration.
It is, however, endorsed and on a subject of this kind, held in higher estimation'
reaffirmed by the Senator, who repeats with em than that of Mr. Biddle? But as totally unfounded
as is this imaginary coalition and conspiracy beBank
re-established
withphasis, " a National
tween
and
out the authority of Congress ! What is easier or States, the Executivereally the Bank of the United
the Senator
appears
CD
simpler than to do it by the insensible process and, in the emphatic language of a to believe it,
British statesalready commenced! Let the Executive, at its own man on a memorable occasion, declares, "In the
will and pleasure, adopt the Pennsylvania Bank of name of my country I forbid the bans."
the United States as the fiscal agvnt and depository of the Governtnet; let it join the weight of the
I am somewhat surprised, sir, at the allusion to
public revenues to the already enormous capital of the memorable coalition between Mr. Fox and
that institution; let it superadd the credit arising Lord North, which was So unnatural and preposfrom the connection with the Government to the terous as to have shocked honest men of all parties
and pervading ope: arions in
in England. It
to me that whit
ca extensiveengaged irir>ughout the Union, which the nessed the otherappears when the Senator we witBank is
and have
day,
-menly
U J you not a National Brink re-established to all intent? took his stand with the enemies of the Administraand purposes—re-established without the concurrence tion, the old* opponents of Democracy, that that
U J of Congress, and in despite of its authority.
And was a case bearing a much nearer resemblance to
'J2 would it not be a National Bank of the most dan- the
odious coalition to wnieh he had referred.
gerous and wor^t possible kind, created by the fiat Rut. however, under other circumstances, I might
of the Executive alone, and allied with the Execu- h n v regretted the occurrence; after vyhal I have
tive, and dependent on the Executive." The Se- witnessed, I, for one, have no disposition to forbid
nator goes much farther than the Bank journalists; the bav.ns.
they only assert the fact, or rather insinuate, thai
Mr. President, the next accusation which I will
National Bank, by an "insensible process," maj notice, is, that the Executive does not desire the
re-established without the action of Congress; ) liihment of the Sub-Treasury system, but that



s
liis real object is to restore the State bank deposits tant Interests of the country. Such was the lansystem, unregulated by law and subject entirely lo guage of honorable Senators a few months ago,
Executive discretion. " T h e practice of the Execu- who now tell us that the Administration is not sintive," says the Senaior in his published speech, cere in pressing the Independent Treasury plan,
"even while professing to have adopted the Sub i and only wishes to avoid all legal restraints in the
Treasury system, affords the most complete recogni- use of the b a n k ^ fiscal agents. Were gentletion of the superior value and advantages of banks as men sincere then? If so, what ought to be thought
depositories and fiscal agents. T h e y deprecate, it of their present declarations? But. sir, this charge
is true, a connection with banks; but it is a legal of deception and imposition, practised upon the
connection, sanctioned and regulated by law, it country, cannot be confined to the Executive; it
seems, which they deprecate, not one depending on must ap?!y equally to the supporters of that meaExecutive discretion. Not only the practice of the sure in Congress. W e must all have been parties
Administration, but the express language, both of to this fraud, and equally guilty with the President.
Well, sir, on what authority is this grave charge
the President and Secretary of the Treasury, recognise the high, and, in the present condition cf the preferred against the Executive and his supporters
commercial world, almost the indispensable utility in Congress? T w o circumstances are referred to:
of bank agency in the fiscal operations of the Go- the practice of the Treasury, and a single remark
vernment; but ihey are for leaving the employment of the President in his message, and a suggestion of
of banks to the will and discretion of the adminis- the Secretary in his report. W h a t the practice of
the Treasury has been the past year, we have alreatrators of the Government."
Sir, a more grave and serious charge than this dy examined. T h e Secrelary has placed the avails
could not well be made against the Executive offi- of the bonds, and other payments made by the
cers of the Government. W h a t is it but to de- Bank of the United States, in that Bank, on special
nounce the President and his Cabinet, or at least deposite, to be drawn out as the public service
the Secretary of the Treasury, as attempting to might require. This has been the rnly connection
practise a base fraud upon the country. T h e Ad- between that Bank and the Treasury. It has emministration preach one thing and practice another. ployed four elepositr banks, under the a«t of 1S36,
" T h e Sub-Treasury scheme, although still recom- which was obligatory upon the Secretary; and he
mended, and earnestly recommended in name, and has made temporary special deposites in sixteen
intended possibly to be pressed in fact, is virtually other banks, at points where no other depositories
abandoned in argument. 1 '
T h e people of the were provided by law, and where the safety of the
United States are told b y \ a Senator in hi* place, revenue or convenience of the service required itthat although the President has«, on three occasions, From these facts, it is argued that the Administrain his most solemn official communications, re- tion, in conducting the finances, practices upon the
commended the entire separation of the fiscal con bank deposite system, and thereby gave its s a n c cerns of the Government from all banks, and has tion to it. This is a strange argument, truly. T h e
earnestly, and with great ability, urged upon Con- President proposes a change of the financial system
gress the adoption of that measure—that although ami the establishment of other depositories than
the Secretary of the Treasury, in three official re- banks. This measure the Opposition in the H o u s e
ports on the finances, has urged the adoption of the defeat, and then turn round and charge the A d m i same measure, and attempted to show its practica- nistration with having no confidence in the I n d e bility, safety, utility, and'beneficial influence—not- pendent Treasury plan, because they have been
withstanding all this, the Senator now declares to compelled to conduct the finances partially, at least"
the country, that neither the President nor Secretary upon the old system. W h o ever contended that
meant any such thing; that ihey did not desire tlie the bank deposite system could be entirely j ; s _
measure to be adopted, and were only attempting ptrnsed with, without providing some depositories
to deceive and cheat the people, by a falsi issue, and financial agents as a substitute for the banks?
But although no substitute was provided the
as their real purpose was to use the Slate banks,
and they only wished to get rid of the restraints of concerns of the Treasury have been conducted the
pastyeai with very little employment of banks. W i t h
law.
.\aiM anything : • ', lo the extraordinary charac- the exception of the four employed under the act of
>
• < r of thf" charge, u v\.uld be the fact that it comes 1836, and those all at unimportant points, no banks
fxi.ifl one -A ho, dorii •;. 'he last session of Congress, have been employed, either as general depositories
jatcdly expressed nis astonishment at the perti- or as fiscal agents. The}' have been used only ocnacity with which his measure was pressed upon casionally and temporarily for keeping the public
Congress. The lat guage of the gentleman, and funds, where < iher safe depositories could not be
others atn<• t g bis pn s-.'nt friends, all must remem- found. Instead, theiefore, of the practice of the
ber. They vere really astonished at the perse- Treasury the past year bein^ an argument against
verance an.; obstinacy of the Executive and his the Independent Treasury, it is the strongest possupporters in adhering to this measure. In their sible argument in favor of that measure; and ineyes, WO seemed all to be perfectly infatuated, reck- stead of its proving that the Administration have
less of consequences, blind to what was taking no confidence in the measure, and have virtually
place around ns, and totally regardless of public abandoned it, it demonstrates* its practicability a n d
opinion, which every where, it was said, had de- safety.
clared against it, and yet the same determination
So much for the practices of the Treasury. And
was manifested to carry it through. It must be
forced upon the country against the known will of now for the declarations of the President and Sethe people, and at the sacrifice of the most impor- cretary, showing that they have abandoned the Independent Treasury plan. T h e President says tha




'

9
c

' a n a p p r o p r i a t e and occasional use would still be | through a different medium from what he formerly
made of the banks by the Treasury, as is done by did.
others, whenever convenience would require it.
But, sir, the same objection applies to the first
But neither party should be forced into a species of I charge, of a coalition between the Executive and
vassalage—a constant, necessary and dependant ! Mr. Biddle to re-establish a National Bank, withconnection." Is this abandoning the Independent i out the action of Congress. Here are three distinct
Treasury? W h o ever supposed or contended that accusations, all of a serious import, and each one
an occasional use would not be made of banks, : incompatible with the other two. They all cannot
under a n y system, for particular services? This is • be true, but they' all may be false. I have proved
altogether a different thing from the Treasury's } two of them to be so, and believe" it quite easy to
being m a d e entirely dependant on the banks. But . show that the other is like unto them. They all
the Secretary of the Treasury says, in his report, | come from the same prolific source- T h e design
that " b a n k i n g institutions have never been regard-, of re-establishing a National Bank, in connection,
ed by the undersigned as a class of agents generally with the Treasury, and to be a Treasury Bank, is
unsafe when looking to eventual losses." And this entirely inconsistent with the revival of the deposite
is an a b a n d o n m e n t of the Independent Treasury ! ' bank system. Both of these deep plots cannot
The Secretary does not say that he considers banks ! stand together. If we are to be cursed with a N a wore safe than other depositories. His language | tional Treasury Bank, we cannot at the same time
implies the contrary. H e only says that he does not j be afflicted with the deposite bank scheme. "When
consider them generally unsafe in relation to even- j so many deep and dark plots are on foot, to prostual payment; implying that he regards them as j trate the rights and liberties of the people at the
exposed to occasional interruption or suspension of shrine of Executive power, it is some consolation
payment, as has been experienced. that but one of these conspiracies can succeed.
But what do these detached expressions of the Yes, sir, it is fortunate for the country that two
President a n d Secretary amount to, when taken in 1evils of such magnitude cannot exist at the same
connection with the fact, that in the same docu- ' time. But perhaps it is meant that we are to have
menus in which they are found they have boih re-; them in succession; first, the National Treasury
affirmed their confidence in the Independent Trea- Bank, established b> Executive power, and then the
deposite bank system, without law, and subject to
sury, a n d again recommended its adoption?
Sir, I think that I have shown that this serious Executive discretion. After these is to come the
charge against the Administration, put forth with ' Sub-Treasury scheme, as a " paity triumph.'*
so much boldness, of attempting to practice a de- Threatened as the country is •with a succession
ception on the public in relation to the Indepen- of such alarming dangers, no wonder that even
dent T r e a s u r y measure, has not the slightest cir- " n e u t r a l s " have armed themselves, and boldly
cumstance to sustain it; not even the nu'hority of come forward to the rescue.
In reeard, Mr. President, to this last accusation, that
the Opposition journals.
T h e r e is one more charge against the Adminis- the Independent Treasury plan, after being entirely
tration and its friends, on!}-, that I propose to no- abandoned as well as twice superseded by the two
tice. It is, that the Independent Treasury plan is other schemes, is still to be carried through as a
used a s a mere rallying cry of party, and is to be party measure, I have a few words to say. T h i s
carried through as a party triumph. " W h y , then," language, sir, is not new from the honorable Senasays the Senator, "is it again recommended and tor; we have often heard it before, and I believe on
urged upon us? Is it as a rallying cry of party? Is every occasion on which he has addressed the Seit to drive through a party triumph, fatal as I firm- nate on this subject. H e , sir, is elevated above
l y believe such a triumph would be, in the end, to party spirit, and tSt ordinary passions to which,
those who achieve it? Are there, then, Mr. Presi- in the frailly of human nature, others are exposed.
dent, no circumstances" of national exigency ap- H e has no selfish personal objects; but acts only
pealing- to the dormant, yet I hope not \et extin- from pure, patriotic and elevated purposes. These
guished spirit of patriotism, in which we can rise high pretension?, sir, it is not my purpose to dissuperior to this fatal bondage of party, and act (or pute. In regard to them, I only say, let the country judge! Let the country judge be;.ween him and
o u r country?"
It seem>\ then, sir, that there isan intention to car- his little band of armed neutrals, who have seceded
ry this fatal measure through after all; but it is to be from their old associates, ami the friends with
carried through, not for the good of the country, whom I act in sustaining this great measure.
But how is it, that one claiming such pure, disnot from a conviction of its importance and utility,
hut as the "triumph-of party.'? W h y , sir, we had interested, and patriotic motives himself, should be
previously been told that there was no intention to so uncharitable io those who may differ from him?
adopt this measure; that, although recommended Is there any known principle in morals or politics,
"in n a m e , " it was virtually abandoned—ii was by which the great mass who act together, are to
abandoned in practice, and abandoned in argu- be presumed to be dishonest, and the small numment—the President and Secretary of the Treasury ber who differ from them to be honest? On what
were not in earnest ii>. recommending this measure authority does the Senator arraign our motives? On
—they did not wish it to pass, hut desired to em- what grounds does he presume to say, that in susploy the Bank according to their own discretion, taining this great measure, we are actuated by no
and for their own purposes. H o w these conflict- purer motives, no higher considerations, than to
ing charges are to be reconciled I cannot see; it achieve a mere temporary party triumph—that this
*nay be clear to the autru-r of them, as, since he has ineasuie is to be carried by the rallying ery of
taken his new position, he appears to view objects party.




10
In the offensive sense in which the gentleman 1 in its fiuauces, which are the life blood of every
U3es the term, I c a n assure him that this is no Government; and, secondly, the entire s e p a r a party measure; it was neither brought forward at tion and exclusion of the organized moneyed p o w first as such, nor has it been persevered in as such. I er from our political institutions. T h e danger from
N o one ought to know the truth of this better than j either of these sources, I a m aware, is not a p p r e the gentleman himself. 'Where is he now, at the c i a t e d by some, but in the apprehension of others,
head of the little Conservative band of armed | it is real and imminent. It is not an i m a g i n a neutrals, who, en account of this very measure, ! ry danger. T h e evil exists, and has already t a k e n
h a v e receded and withdrawn from the party deep root in our soil; it ought to be, it must b e
with which they had long acted? Th.it this mea- arrested. T h e organized moneyed power has a l sure would temporarily weaken the Administra- ready, by an insensible process, become an i m p o r tion, no well informed m a n doubted. T h a t it was tant, yet an incongruous and alien element in o u r
too strong a measure for the weak nerves of some political system. Our system of civil polity, both
of our friends, was foreseen.
T h a t there were State and Federal, is in its theory purely popular^
m a n y professing to be Democrats, who were so free from any other ingredient, or any modification
connected with banks, as to regard this measure of the great principle of popular sovereignly. I t s
a s in conflict with their interests, was apparent at establishment, as well as its ordinary action, is a
first. T h e r e may have been some whose political j result of the popular will. If any hostile e l e m e n t
views were honestly opposed to it; and possibly becomes incorporated with it, its purity is desiroythere may have been a few whose political aspira- |ed, the harmony of its action is lost, and j a r r i n g
tions lead them to assume a position hostile to it, collisions must follow. 'When the organized m o and to the party that sustained it, or at least, a i neyed power becomes so incorporated with the G o ! vernment as to constitute an essential elenaenposition of " armed neutrality."
In one sense, however, sir, it is a party measure, i tary principle of political power, the system will be
and the rallying cry of party. It is a party mea- [ changed. It becomes at once a mixed s y s t e m ,
sure, in the same sense as the revolution in Eng- : consisting of two element*, the popular will, a n d
(
land of 1688 was a party measure. Sir, that was Lhe associated moneyed power.
T h i s last element is essentially a m i - R e p u b l i c a n ,
a party measure, carried through by a party,
the Whigs of that day, not like their namesakes of ! or even monarchic!, for what i* the principle of
the present d-iy, although, perhaps, resembling J monarchy, but that of independent, irresponsible
them in some points, and especially in the princi- i power, neither derived from, nor responsible to, the
ple oi'confining ihe political power to the wealthy • popular will. T h e organized moneyed p o w e r
classes.
It was a party which overthrew the j when connected with the Government, is equally
tyranny of the SteuartS, and gave liberty a chance independent of the will of the people, and r e m o v e d
to rally. T h e Independent T r e a s u r y , sir, is a j from all responsibility to it. But i cannot now g o
p a n , ' measure in the same sense as was glo- ir.to this question, and have alluded to it only to
rious Revolution. T h a t was emphatically a party show what sort of party views have influenced the
movement, sustained and carried through by the | action of the friends of this great reform m e a s u r e But, sir, whilst it is asserted that the President
rallying cry of party, which was but another name
for the rallying cry of independence and liberty. has abandoned the Sub-Treasury in practice a n d
T h e great civil revolution of 1800 was also a party in argument, we have a commentary upon his demeasure, which overthrew ancient Federalism, ihe c l a r a t i o n that "recent e v e n t s " have strengthened
""What the P r e s i first combination of all the aristocratic elements his confidence in the measure.
into a dynasty of political power, and restored the dent can find,' 5 says the Senator, "in recent events,
Constitution at its last gasp. All great reforms in to .sustain the renewed recommendation of the S u b the political institutions or condition of the people Treasury scheme, it utterly surpasses my p o w e r s
It is then asked,
in this country, and all others, have been party ; of comprehension lo Lmag • ••."
measures, and have lx en sustained, prosecuted, ; in a tone of triumph, ii the banks have not r e s u m e d
and consummated by party efforts, party zeal, and specie payments, If they have n6t restored the c u r the rallying cry of party. But they have been par- . rency, and proved that they are sound and safe d e ties based upon principle, animated by an appre- positories for the public revenue? It is true, sir,
hension of danger, stimulated by the lore of that the banks have, i:: a large section of the U n i
liberty, united and struggling for a great and com- I on, recovered from their prostrate condition, a n d
done :o in a short period.
But it is equally t r u e ,
mon object.
that this has been accomplished, not only wijhout
In tin- sense, sir, the Independent T r e a s u r y is the interference or aid of the Government, but
a party movement, a great reform measure; and whilst the Independent T r e a s u r y has been in p r a c should we he fortunate enough to carry it through tical operation, whilst the revenues have generally
and establish ita principles, it will, in my humble been managed without the agency of banks, either
judgment, in future times, bear some degree of c o m - as depositories or fiscal agents.
H a v e not these
parison with 'he great measures to which 1 have re- "recent e v e n t s " disproved what was so earnestly
ferred. Those who regard it in no higher aspect than maintained on the other side of this Flou.se, that
a mere financial a r r a n g e m e n t , * question of tempo- the banks could not recover If the Government
rary expediency, cannot appreciate the motives of Should divorce itself from them in its fiscal conth i " who consider it as the first important Mrp in cerns? Jn this respect, therefore, "recent e v e n t s "
the reform Of o a r wretched paper money system, on have proved that gentlemen on the other side of the
the one hand, and of our political institutions on the question were wrong, and that its friends were
olh'*r. Its paramount objects are, rtrst, the real right.
Although the bill did not become a l a w ,
independence of the Government ojfa.ll corporations,



11

still the separation nl the Treasury from banks has
practically prevailed, with the exceptions referred
to, g r o w i n g out of payments by the B t n k of the
United States- "Recents events," therefore, have
proved that the separation has not, as was constantly asserted last session, injured the banks even
ill their prostrate condition. T h e alarm, then, that
this financial system would injure the banks, 4 and
destroy credit, is proved, by the experience of the
past y e a r , 10 be wholly unfounded.
And if we
c o m p a r e the rapid recovery of the credit and curreacy of the banks now, with ihe protracted struggle which they pdsxed through at the close of the
last w a r , it would seem a /air and just conclusion
that the disconnection of the revenue from them
facilitated and accelerated their restoration.
But this i* not all. "Recent events" have proved
that the concerns of the Treasury can be conducted
without a n y bank agency whatsoever. This has
actually been done the past year, with the exceptions n a m e d , without any substitutes being provided by law, either as depositories or fiscal aeents.
If the concerns of the Treasury have been safely
managed on ihe principles of the separation, without the substitutes, or any of the safeguards which
the bill provided, does it not demonstrate, that had
it become a law, its operation would have been
found convenient, safe, and highly beneficial?
T h e experience, therefore, of the past year, has
proved that bank credit and currency has not suffered, b u t probably been benefitted, by the disconnection of the Treasury with banks; and it iias also
p r o v e d that the concerns of the Treasury can be conducted without their agency. These are two very
important, points which "recent events" have established.
But, sir, it is triumphantly asked whether, in his
allusion to "recent events," the President refers to
the defalcations of his sub-treasurers? And who
a r e these defaulters whom the Senator denominates
a s sub-treasurers? They are the late collector of
J J e w Y o r k , the late district attorney of the same
city, a n d a disbursing officer in ths army. These
a r e the Senator's sub-treasurers; but, unfortunately
for his purpose, they were sub-treasurers under his
favorite deposite bank system; and their defalcations occurred under that system; and yet ths
gentleman sneeringly characterises these officers as
sub-treasurers. Sir, not one of them was a subtreasurer, according to the provisions of the bill
which passed the Senate at the last session. One
was a collector of the customs, but would not have
beeu a depositary of the revenue had diat bill become a law; one was a disbursing officer in the arm y , a n d 'he oilier a district attorney, who WHS
neither a receiving or disbursing officer. W h a t ,
then, ha /e the defalcations of these officers to do
with the Sub-Treasury? I will tell y j u , sir, what
they h a v e to do with it. They show, or particularly that of the c<iilector, the urgent necessity of
some of the legal provisions and safeguards • itained in the Independent Treasury bill; they prove
the defects of existing laws, and die imperious nfceswity for additional guards, checks and securities,
in respect lo all public agents who either receive,
keep, or disburse the public funds; ihey demonstrate the importance and necessity of a great moral
principle contained in that bill, which made the



conversion of the public funds a crime, a felony.
This principle would have thrown around your
Treasury a moral obligation of immense force. If
there is any one consideration which will operate
with more force than any or all others, on men in
responsible and honorable public stations, it is the
apprehension of the loss of character, to be followed by disgrace and infamy. This powerful restraint has been wanting. T h e policy of your laws,
instead of making it a crime to use the public m o ney, has encouraged its use by the agents having
the custody of it. And, in regard to defaulters,
they are not subject to a criminal prosecution, and
incur no other responsibility than a liabdity to a
civil suit, for the money which they have plundered
from the Treasury.
But we are told, sir, that such is the weakness of
human nature, that it will not do to entrust the
public treasure to men in public office. " F a r
better would it be in my humble judgment, to heed
the prayer which divine wisdom has taught to h u man weakness, and ' to lead not' public officers
(who are but men) into ' temptation, 1 by committing to their custody large sums of money."
The
weakness and depravity i>i' human nature may be
a sound principle in theology, but in politics it is
the principle of despotism; the basis on which
all Governments rest that tread in the dust the
rights and liberties of the people. This is not the
first time we have heard this language from the
same quarter. It has been repeated in every discussion of the financial question before the Senate
the last two ses»ions. T h e weakness of h u m a n
nature 1 Public officers who are but men cannot be
trusted; they ought not even to be exposed to temptation. T o whom shall public trusts be confided,
if not to men? Shall they bs intrusted to corporations, which are above the weakness of h u m a n nature, and removed
from temptation?
What
slavish doctrine is this to be heard in the Senate of
the United States? Sir, 1 have listened to this language with astonishment in this hall, coming, a* it
has, from a quarter whence I should have least
expected sentiments so derogatory to freemen, so
discouraging to popular liberty from a Representative of that enlightened Commonwealth, which,
on former occasions, speaking through her distinguished and enlightened sons, was the first to
proclaim and defend th >se great truths-, of the m o ral and intellectual capabilities of man, for the
high purposes of self-government. Is this the language, sir, we hear from a professed disciple of
Jefferson, claiming to be brought up at ihe feet of
Gamaliel; a disciple, I will not say, without a n y of
the principles of his ir aster, but certainly wanting
in some, of the most essential and fundamental
principles which distinguished that illustrious man.
Sir, did Jefferson talk about the weakness and
frailty of man? Did he distrust the people? Let
him speak f>r himself: " S o m e , " says thi^ great
reformer, "suppose that man cannot be tiusted to
govern himself. H a v e we, then, found angels in
the form of kin~^ to govern him? Let history answer this question." M r . Jc/fesson said thai -'fish,
weak, and timid aristocrats alone distrusted and
feared the people, whilst the honest Republican,
who was content with a common share of the benefits oi social institutions, had confidence in the

12

mass, as be was willing to enjoy his own rights in
common with them, believing that the only just and
effectual way to secure his individual rights, was to
guard and protect the rights and liberties of all. H e
did not believe that men were too frail to be entrusted with power, or the public treasure. If he
had any error, it was in going to the o p p o s i e extreme, and entertaining too exalted an opinion of
the moral and intellectual capacities of mankind.
T h i s doctrine, that from the weakness of human
nature, men cannot be safely trusted with the
custody and direction of the public revenue, is not
a n argument against the Sub-Treasury bill only,
but it is equally an argument against all free Governments.
Yes, sir, against all Governments
which profess to consult the rights and interests of
the people. It is consistent only with a Government purely despotic, where the rulers form a distinct class from the rest of the nation, and are permitted to oppress and plunder them at their pleasure.
T h e unreasonable distrust of the Executive, who
is a mere popular magistrate, elected by the people,
Responsible to them, and liable at all times to be
impeached by their Representatives, is a part of
ihe same doctrine, founded on the " w e a k n e s s " of
human nature. Whether it was this sentiment of
distrust of mankind, which had induced the leaders
of Conservatism to assume the position ot""armed
neutrals," I cannot say. But certain it is, they appear of Jate to have lost all confidence in men, as.
• public agents, and to put their trust only in corporations. T h e other chief of the armed neutrality, the honorable Senator from N e w York, [Mr.
TALI.MADGE,] whom I do not now see in his pl-ace,
ha.-, also become alarmed at the "Weakness" of hum a n nature, the dangerous influence of" the public
funds and Executive power, on men in office, seems
to have disturbed the Conservative composure of
his natural disposition.
H e has not only expressed his tears of this influence, in eloquent strains of
his own, but lias added to them the more soft and
touching language of poetry.
This influence, he
Gays, comes over us like
" T h e yweiit .South, breathing on ft bed of v i o l e t . "

Alaiming, sir, truly alarming ! W h o can hope
to stand before such an influence as this? T h e sordid love of money, and the selfish lore of office,
refined down to the odoriferous breath of the sweet
South, arising from a bed of flowers. I a m not
aware, sir, who is the author of this poetry; but
Whoever he may be, I hardly.think he designed it
for an ami Sub-Treasury speech; yet it really affords the strongest argument against that measure
which its opponents have urgedB u ' , Mr. President, if ih"5 arguments of the gentlemen, derived from the weakness of human nature, were well founded, I appeal to them for thf ir
remedy. If they dare not trust sub-treasurers—as
they chouse to call all receiving officers and all who
m a y have the. custody or disbursement of the public funds—because (hey are men, pray, sir, whai
•will they d< ? W h a t is their scheme for collecting,
keeping and disbursing the public revenur? If peisons are not safe fiscal agents, what will they substitute? Will they substitute corporations, not only




for depositories, but for collecting and disbursing
agents? All our revenues pass through the hands
of three ?ets of officers—the receiving, keeping and
disbursing officers. T h e receipts of the revenue are
at numerous points, on your extensive commercial
seaboard, on the lakes, and your sixty land offices
in the extensive region of the West. Your disbursements are made in almost every part of our outstretched territory, and to the Indian tribes beyond
your settlements, and on board of your public ships
in foreign countries. W e have disbursing officers
for the army, the navy, for the fortifications and
public works, with the Indian tribes, and on board
public ships.
If public officers cannot safely be trusted, because, under a lax and defective system of laws,
some have proved defaulters, we must employ corporations for all these various services at hom^ and
abroad. Certainly there are no more grounds to
distrust public officers as depositories than a s receivers and disbursers of the revenue. To accomplish this object, it will become necessary to put
these corporations on wheels, as they now fortunately do not possess the power of locomotion.
And 3*ou must construct railroads, so as to enable
them to move with celerity where the exigencies
of the public service may require. T h e troops are
to be paid in Florida; you must put some respectable hank on wheels, and send it off to attend to that
service. Annuities are to be paid to the Indians,
and some "Western bank must be despatched beyond
the settlements for that service.
But, sir, if all this was practicable, the gentlemen could not get over the difficulty, springing
from the weakness of h u m a n nature. T h a t is a
very serious difficulty to get over, sir, and, as I have
already said, is fatal to all free government, a n d to
human liberty. Be* what is a corporation? A
mere abstraction, ar. -.leal, imaginary being, existing in law, but not .n fact. IFor a) we see ot
know of its existence or actions, is of an association of individuals. Its actions, although in a legal sense the ar.ts of-the corporation, are in reality
the acts of the directors and officers who are ein
powered to control the corporation. They, in fact,
pre the corporation. All that is gained, then in
employing corporations as financial agents is to
substitute one set of officers for another the officers of a corporation for those of the Government.
It is to entrust your funds, to officers whom w e dr.
not appoint, and over wnom we nave no control
instead of officers of our own creation, subject to
our own laws, accountable at all tunes to the Government, liable to be removed, and. subject to such
regulations, restrictions, and pains and penalties, as
Congress may prescribe. Are not the officers o(
banks subject to the same weakness, and exposed
to the same temptations, as officers of the United
States? H a v e there not been as many defalcations
and frauds by corporation officers as by those of
this Government? It is true, that in every instance
such frauds might not expose the T r e a s u r y of the
United States to a loss, if it had funds deposited in
a bank controlled by such officers; but it is, however, true, that all the losses the United States have
sustained by banks have been in consequence of
the fraudulent and dishonest condur.i of their ofnr s . But it seems to be claimed that it is wrong (

I

13

for the G o v e r n m e n t to expose public officers 10 most kind and friendly spirit, I cautioned a:sd adthe t e m p t a t i o n of having the custody and control of monished my excellent friend over the wity, (looka l a r g e a m o u n t of money. Would not this argu- ing towards M r . CLAY of Kentucky,) not to suffer
m e n t a p p l y with equal foroi to the bank.*;, and if himself to be deceived by appearances. I told him*
j a s t , be fatal to the whole banking system?
that the indications of public opinion, when the
M r . P r e s i d e n t , the honorable Senator from Vir- result of a panic or other temporary causes, could
ginia r e m a r k e d that he should be happy to see his not b« safely be relied upon, and that it would be
friend f r o m Pennsylvania [Mr. BUCHANAN] Secre- no more than a reasonable foresight to forbear
tary of the T r e a s u r y ; but that gentleman, very making any distinct arrangements for taking poswisely, i n m y opinion, promptly declined the "prof- s e s i o n of the W h i t e H o u s e in 1841. Subsequent
fered h o n o r . T h i s led the Senator from Virginia events have proved the seasonableness and wisdom
to r e m a r k , that he was not surprised at it, consider- of this advice, which I have no doubt was received
ing t h e "rottenness of the whole concern." Of the in the same friendly spirit in which it was proffered.
s o u n d n e s s or rottenness of the Administration, the T h e prospect for the success of any Opposition
g e n t l e m a n , in his new position at the head of the candidate is not quite so good now as it was then;
" a r m e d neutrality," now become a reinforcement to and what is more discouraging for my distinguished
the Opposition, may not perhaps be the most im- friend, there appears now to be some reason t©
p a r t i a l or competent judge. It does not appear to doubt whether he will get on to the course. W i t h
be a position favorable for the discovery of truth, all his skill and experience as a tactician, the milia s old friends and old objects evidently appear to tary chieftain, and the expounder of the Constituthe S e n a t o r ' s political vision very different from tion, appear to have got the btart of hi-.i i:i the
w h a t they did when he was on this side of the Presidential race.
H o u s e . H e can now discover a dark spot upon the
But, sir, notwithstanding all these
s u n , a n d see faults of vast magnitude and propor- circumstances, it is still possible thediscouraging
Oppo^iti>n
tions, w h i c h he did not discern at all when in his may succeed.
T h e i r spirit is unsubdued, their
old position. Whether there was a fog on the thirst for power unabated, and their perseverance
other side of the hall, or whether it is wilful blinda better
mind
ness o n the part of those who cannot see objects worthyisofcertain, ifcause. doBut to my will be one
thing
they
succeed, it
ene x c e p t in the light they desire to see them, I will tirely owing to the powerful reinforcement they
not u n d e r t a k e to determine; but, from some cause have received from Ihe gallant band of armed
or o t h e r , the position is very unfavorable to the neutrals. T h a t party, it is true, cannot boast of
d i s c o v e r y of truth.
their numerical strength, but what they lack in
B u t whether the Administration is a "rotten numbers they make up in zeal and courage. Like
c o n c e r n ' ' or not, I think the Senator from Penn- all other deserters, they are distinguished for ihe
s y l v a n i a m a y have good reasons for his decision, bitterness of their feelings. Some of their chief
after w h a t he has witnessed here and in the other leaders appear to hate the President so badly, as
e n d of the Capitol, of a disposition to assail, upon almost to excite a suspicion that they had once
t h e m o s t frivolous grounds, the head of the Trea- been his friends. T o make up for past errors, they
s u r y D e p a r t m e n t . It is difficult to satisfy gentle- are now most spirited and active in the war carm e n in a n y thing, and it seems utterly hopeless to ried on against the Administration and its friend*
a t t e m p t to please ihem in the concerns of the T r e a - They have thrown themselves into the breach, and
s u r y . T h e Secretary is either hostile to the banks, seem resolved to lead the "forlorn h o p e , " and to
o r indifferent towards them, or has too much affec- merit the highest honors, even if they do not share
tion for them; he is either discrediting their bills, or the richest rewards, of victory.
i m p r o p e r l y aiding in circulating them. H e cannot
T h e precise
this formidable reins h a p e his course exactly so as to please gentlemen, forcement havenumbers of ascertained. I think,
not been
a n d this is remarkable when they show no much when ihey rallied under their own flag, they musa n x i e t y to be pleased.
Under these unfortunate tered
city of
York;
c i r c u m s t a n c e s , and as the Senator from Pennsyl- at ihethree hundred in the Maine, N e w made a and
recent election in
they
spiv a n i a h a s declined the honor, it has occurred to rited movement, and having a very popular candim e that, in a certain contingency, an arrangement date, c a m e out in all their strength. T h e result
m i g h t be made in regard to the T r e a s u r y which was glorious. If I mistake not, and I appeal to
w o u l d be perfectly satisfactory to all the gentlemen my friend from M a i n e [Mr. W I L L I A M S ] to set m e
o n the other -side of the H o u s e .
T h e event to righ if I am in error,
two hundred
w h i c h I refer, is the election in 1840; for should and eighty-two votes, allthey polled this splended
told. On
t h e combined forces of the Opposition be successa noble struggle, a wag is said to have ref u l , the honorable Senator from Virginia, who has result of that had it not been for the unfortunate cirmarked,
l o n g given his attention to financial subjects, cumstance of there being eighty-three thousand scats h o u l d be placed at the head of the Treasury! tering votes cast for .Messrs. Fairfield and Kent,
I t is true, sir, the event on which this important the candidate of the armed
r e s u l t to the financial interests of the country de- been elected in spite of fate ! neutrality would have
p e n d s , is not only contingent, but its occurrence is
In my own State, at the last election, they polled
r a t h e r doubtful. And the prospect of its takin«»
about fourteen hundred votes, out of fifty thoup l a c e is not biigthening, but daily becoming darker^
T h e elections ihe past year, and other indicatians sand. Most of these, it is now believed, have reof p u h l i c sentiment, do not seem to favor the opi- turned to their first love, and the residue, follow;u<:
n i o n that such a result is very probable. Still the example of their chiefs, have gone bag a*id
h o w e v e r , it is possible. At the last session, in the' baggage over to the c a m p of the enemy. In JMew
York, where one of their chiefs resides, this partv




14
m u s t b e m o r e n u m e r o u s , a n d n o d o u b t they c o n - period is to b e selected? T h i s is a v e r y i m p o r t a n t
t r i b u t e d largely t o w a r d s t h e late g l o r i o u s victory m a t t e r . If his o p i n i o n s in 1834 were to form '.he
a c h i e v e d by the c o m b i n e d force.*; a n d I really h o p e basis o f h i s a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , h e should c e r t a i n l y
t h a t injustice a n d i n g r a t i t u d e will n o t p r e v a i l , b u t h a v e m y h u m b l e s u p p o r t . A better head of t h e
t h a t their disinterested s e r v i c e s will b e duly a p p r e - T r e a s u r y I could not desire. H i s financial p r i n c i c i a t e d a n d s u i t a b l y r e w a r d e d . I n t h e Old D o -ples a t that time w e r e :• o u n d , e n l i g h t e n e d , a n d p a m i n i o n , w h e r e the most distinguished chief of the triotic, a s explained on this floor in a speech e q u a l l y
a r m e d n e u t r a l s belongs, their forces m u s t be formi- distinguished for fervid e l o q u e n c e a n d just a n d p a d a b l e in n u m b e r * , a n d lepec.table in c h a r a c t e r . triotic s e n t i m e n t s . I h a v e a n e x t r a c t from t h a t
T h e r e m a y be irome in olhcr Slates, of w h i c h I speech before m e , w h i c h I h a v e n o doubt the S e n a tor's n e w friends will be gratified to h e a r r e a d , a l h a v e n o information.
N o w , M i . P r e s i d e n t , t h e i m p o r t a n c e arid t h e t h o u g h 1 a m s o r r y , a t this late h o u r , to detain t h e
^
v a l u a b l e services of this r e i n f o r c e m e n t , will not, I S e n a t e :
KxtracL from Mr. Hire*-'*! sjr.ec/i of 1S34.
h o p e , b e estimated a c c o r d i n g to iheir n u m b e r s , b u t
reforms, social, political, or economical, required
a c c o r d i n g to ihcir zeal, their a c t i v i t y , a n d the great by"Ofall theioti rests Of the cuuniry, that which is most urgenttha great
sacrifc< ;s they h a v e m a d e of feeling, interest, a n d ly demanded, and which promises, in its accomplishment, the
l o n g cherished friendships, from a p u r e love of largest results of utility, se urityand pub'ic ben< fit, i.-. hoyond
ftheCiarerttnitm
it * C o *
print:
- On t h i s subject I h a v e a w<<rd to -a- ""•••II; aria ',., ihe
,.'.
I,
•• •
of . '• • Constitution, to /jr a hard
to n.\ w e n h v frier. Is of the Opposition pro;- . money Government. We are too much in the habit, Mr. Prepaper system as necessary and
a n d , ! doubt not, they will t a k e a hint Irom me s;>it-!ji", <ii itigardlftXl»the •vite Af a with the delusive pallia.ton of
and ol
content
kind]}-.
I s a y to y o u then, g e n t l e m e n , receive incurable, supposed i... be derived from tiie corttiolirig supremathose evils
to
Whatever intluence
these alKes g r a c i o u s l y , a n d treat them not only cy ofa National Hank.
-uch an institution may he
exert; in
JQStly. hat generously a n d kindly.
Do n o t esii- foundries^ ot'the currency, supposed towould he preserving the
that object
much more efm a < - their merits a c c o r d i n g to the poor s t a n d a r d of fectually promoted by a return, asfar as practicable, to a methe;, r rirtabers, but a c c o r d i n g to their desires to taiHe circulation. Thf first nep towards tiial ret urn, is to let
s e r v " yap. O v e r l o o k , I beseech y o u , their past I hi Bank of ihe United States go down. lieiuir thus supplied
"Tlie ordinaiy channels ol" circulation
erior>; you will r e m e m b e r that they were t h - n in with gold nn<\ silver, the tJoverunienl would he prepared, without hardship to the public creditor, to reotmv; payment of it.*
a 1
Miton, a n d s u r r o u n d e d b y y o u r e n e m i e s ;
ilar.-. in specie, and thus rr alize a reform, than nliich none
a n d let all their votes a g a i n s t y o u be " e x p u n g e d " could fie mare deeply interesting, in > very aspect, to the safefrom , < u r m e m o r i e s
B e n o t only just to t h e m , ty rnul prosperity of the counti g.**
Sir, these a r e noble, elevated a n d patriotic sr-ntib u t i . n e r o u s ; a n d should y o u b e successful, (of
"Which, b o w e v e r , there is very little p r o s p e c t , ) I menhs: s o u n d a n d enlightened, resting on t h e firm
hop< 10 be e x c u s e d for r e m i n d i n g y o u in their b e - basis of the C o n s t i t u t i o n a n d the eternal p r i n c i p l e s
halVn-f y o u r settled p r i n c i p l e , w h i c h I trust will n o t of right and justice. T h e s e s e n t i m e n t s a r e w o r t h y
b e forgotten in ihe disposition o r t h e spoils; it is the occasion that called them forth, a n d w o r t h y
t h i s — ' t i n t the highest honors
should be coitjerred
on that a n c i e n t a n d " u n t e n i f i e d " C o m m o n w e a l t h from
whose r e p r e s e n t a t i v e they c a m e . A t '.hat l i m e ihe
the t.-rr-t deserters.
M r P r e s i d e n t , I a m satisfied that should the a l - g e n t l e m a n w a s ihe bold a d v o c a t e ut' a. reform i n o u r
lied i . r c r s of ihe Opposition s u c c e e d in 184(1, t h e financial s y s t e m , a n d for precisely the s a m e r e f o r m
Claim* of the h o n o r a b l e S e n a t o r from V i r g i n i a we now d e s i r e — a reform which, in a " s o c i a l , c o m wili 1"- s i strong that they c a n n o t b e resisted. H e m e r c i a l a n d political p o r t of v i e w , " h e d e c l a r e d tti
will o placed a t the head of the T r e a s u r y .
T h e n , be more desirable than all o t h e r s . W h e n the c h a n sir, all o u r financial difficulties will be at an end; nels of circulation w e r e filled with gold a n d silver,
theTe will b e n o m u r e w a r on the b a n k s o r t a m p e r - he w a s far collecting t h e public r e v e n u e in specie
i n g with t h i c u r r e n c y ; h e will p u r s u e that h a p p y only, a n d for bringing the G o v e r n m e n t b a c k to
M S d i u m , a v o i d i n g , on the o n e h a n d , hostility to the w h a t it w a s intended to be by its d a r n e r s ; a s i m p l e
b a n k s , a n d o n t h e other, too g r e a t affection for " h a r d m o n e y G o v e r n m e n ) . " W e l l , s i r ihe c h a n t h e m . T h e n the condition of t h e T r e a s u r y will nels of c i r c u l a t i o n a r e n o w full; there a r e , a t this
b e prcM'«ied a s c l e a r l y a s the n o o n - d a y t u n ; n o lime, n e a t l y one h u n d r e d millions of specie i n the
mystification, n o o b s c u r a t i o n , b u t e v e r y tiling plain c o u n t r y , m o r e t h a n three t i m e s w h a t t h e r e w a s
w h e n this speech w a s delivered. W o w , then, i 3 the
a n d intelligible.
Still, sir, there m a y b e s o m e doubt a s to the p r i n - time; n o w is the a c c e p t a b l e time; the c o n t i n g e n c y
c i p l e s on w h i c h thf* future C h a n c e l l o r o f the E x c h e - h a s o c c u r r e d ; the question i s before C o n g r e s s a n d
q u e r will a d m i n i s t e r t h e finances. L i k e m o s t other the c o u n t r y , a n d I call on the Senator to r e d e e m his
g r e a t m e n w h o h a v e figured largely, a n d for a pledge, to help to c a r r y o u t thi* great a n d glorious
l e n g t h of t i m e , his s e n t i m e n t s a p p e a r s to h a v e u n - reform.
d e r g o n e v e r y i m p o r t a n t fluctuations a n d c h a n g e s .
But, sir, 1 fear 1 shall a p p e a l to h i m in v a i n ; he
P e r h a p s , in this respect, there is n o m a t e r i a l diffe- h a s long since a b a n d o n e d these noble s e n t i m e n t s ,
r e n c e b e t w e e n h i m and m a n y ol his c o n t e m p o r a r i e s , for r e a s o n s n o d o u b t satisfactory to himself, a n d has
e x c e p t in o n e i m p o r t a n t p a r t i c u l a r . W h i l s t they e v e n a t t e m p t e d to d i s a v o w them o r e x p l a i n them
h a v e been going one w a y , h e h,r» been go'r.vj. tha a w a y , l a s o m e publication since, h e h a s attempted
other; whilst thev h a v e been a d v a n c i n g , h e h a s to destroy die e n u r e sense a n d m e a n i n g of the lanbeen rrr-d:ng.
g u a g e I h a v e quoted, by a forced construction, makT'
ir, la*" c o u n t r y w o u l d like to k n o w w h e - ing th^ • w h o l e sense d e p e n d on t h e qualifying
•fh**i the T r e a s u r y will be a d m i n i s t e r e d a c c o r d i n g lo clauso a> Bo t h e c h a n n e l s of c i r c u l a t i o n being
t h e v•e-.isof the S e n a t o r at a n y o n e distinct period, filled with gold a n d silver. S i r , n o . o n e e v e r did
•or a c c o r d i n g to his v i e w s at s e v e r a l distinct periods, a d v o c a t e a r e t u r n to the h a r d m o n e y policy o f the
tended and blended together; a n d if the former, w h a t I Conslitution, a n d the collection of t h e r e v e n u e in !




I

15
now, and will not then be, any banks that do not issue
notes less than twenty dollars. This, however, I
do not suppose was the gentleman'* object. At
that period the idea of restricting and regulating
the currency, by the regulations and influence of
the revenue, was a prominent and disinct feature in
the Senator'* financial policy. H e designed to restrain
and control the currency of the States, by the F e deral revenue; and thus to effect, indirectly, what
he admitted we have no power to do directly.
In the undue importance attached to this measure, and the management of the bill when before
the Senate, some gentlemen supposed at the lime
that they discovered political designs; an opinion
that subsequent events appear by no means to have
weakened.
1 now, sir, come to the extra session, when the
Senator's financial views appear to have undergone no essential change.
H e proposed his corrency bill as a substitute f r the bill reported by
>
the Senator from New York, [Mr. W A I G H T , ] without any change, except a provision designed to
stimulate the batiks to resume specie payments.
At the last session an important change appears to
have taken place in the financial policy of our future head of the Treasury. T h e principle of controlling the State bant* currency, simply by the
management and influence of the Federal revenues, was abandoned, and - e were, presented with
a most gigantic and splendid scheme of a leagtte
of State banks, to be connected with the Treasury,
and under the direction of the Secretary.
Of all
the projects for conducting the finances, this, in my
judgment, was the most dangerous and alarming.
T h e plan was, to recharter and take into the service of the United Slates twenty-five of the largest
and most respectable of the State corporations, to
give them the entire monopoly of the revenue, to
authorize them to supply a Federal currency to be
received for the public dues and to circulate
throughout the Union, and to clolhe them with
power to regulate and control the entire currency
of the country, under the supervision and direction
of the Secretary of the Treasury. This w a s a combined engine of a National Uank and a T r e a s u r y .
Bank, of the worst and most dangerous character.
T h e combined power of these t enty-five large
banks, with the revenue and credit of the Government, acting under ihe direction and control of the
Secretary of the Treasury, with authority to coerce
and regulate the other Slate banks, would have
been a centralization of the moneyed power, and a
union of that power with the Government in a
At the n xt session, in 1837, we reached the third form of all others Ihe most dangerous.
stage in the Senator's financial views, as disclosed
in w h a t was called his currency bill, and his manIt is scarcely possible for the imagination to
a g e m e n t of ll.a. bill before the Senate. T h e bill conceive of an engine more formidable or more
in itself was well enough, it only re-enacted the joint dangerous that this. It would have had the posresolution of 1316, with a provision designed to session and control of Ihe public revenue, of public
restrain and regulate th* issues of the State banks. credit, and, to a great extent, of the general curA t that time, 'his had, to a limited extent, been rency and credit of the country. W h a t is a centhe policy of ihe Administration; I had not much tralized authority over the entire currencj' and cre~
confidence in .r.Lut was willing to give it a fair did of the Union but a power over commerce, m a trial. I voted for ihtr bill, and am by no means sure nufactures, over imports and Aport*- over ihe pubn o w , that if we cannot establish the Independent lic revenue, and the entire business of the connT r e a s u r y , it would be wise to adopt that bill, which try? And what is a control of the business of the
in its practical operation, in one or two years from country but a power over the politic* of the counthis time, I think in 1840, would entirely exclude try? But it is not my purpose to examine this
ved power
a l l b a n k paper from your revenue; for there is not splendid scheme of centralized iri<

specie, until there was gold and silver enough in
t h e c o u n t r y for the purpose. N o one, sir, prop o s e s to carry out this hard money policy until the
c h a n n e l s of circulation are filled. T h i s was the
object of the >pecie provision in the bill of last
session. But is the Senaior now in favor of collecting the revenues in specie, at any time and under
a n y circumstances? I>o his present objections to
that policy rest on the ground that the channels of
circulation are not full, or do ihey apply to the
principle of the policy itself? L?t his course for
the last three years answer these question*. W h a t ever h i s reasons may be, no one can doubt that he
h a s abandoned his hard money policy or 1834.
T h e next we learn of his financial notion* was in
his course in regard to the deposite act of 1836.
H e advocated and voted for that bill, which first
legalized the connection between the Government
a n d the Slate banks, but proftrstd to do it with
g r e a t reluctance, and only as a choice of evils.
I m m e d i a t e l y after its passage, a controversy comm e n c e d among the Opposition presses respecting
the paternity of that law. Some claimed that it
justly belonged to the distinguished Senaior from
S o u t h Garolin i, [Mr. CALHOUN,] and others that a
distinguished Senator from Massachusetts, not
now in his seat, [Mr. "WEBSTER,] was its author
a n d p a r e n t . But at the commencement of the next
session, the Senator from Virginia* and his friend
from N e w York [Mr. TALLMADGK] seemed to claim
that they, if not the authors of it, were chiefly
responsible for it. A measure which they had
s u p p o r t e d with ifreat reluctance, and uiider a si rt
of d u r e s s , had become their favorite measure. II
a word was «^aid directly or incidentally against it,
o n e or both of the gentlemen immediately took the
floor as its champion. If not their natural child, it
h a s certainly become their offspring by adoption.
M r . President, those of us on this side of the
H o u s e , who voted for that measure, also a«ted
u n d e r a conviction of necessity and a choice of evils.
"We considered ti a measure, that could only be justified e n the gro nd of necessity, growing out of the
p e c u l i a r a n d a i a r i n i n g s t a t e ofour financei;bul vvedid
not then,nor since,regardit as involving anycomprom i s s i o n of political principal*, or as interfering, in
the slightest degree, with our political relations.
We, sir, did not regard it as a puint t'ut a new dep a r t u r e , or for commencing a new political reckoning.
H o w it may have been viewed by the
S e n a t o r from Virginia, and his friend from New
Y o r k , is not foi me to say.




16

united with the Government. 1 expressed my
views of it at the time, and I have now only alluded
to it as one of the m a n y wise financial schemes of
the future Secretary of the T r e a s u r y , in case the
combined forces of the Opposition should succeed
an event which, when viewed in connection
•with a scheme like this, or a National Bank, I a m
rejoiced to say, is not very probable. It is the a u thor of this scheme who is so constantly filled with
apprehension at the increase of Executive power,
and the corrupting and dangerous influence of the
public revenues.
M r . President, I h a v e come down to (he present time, and what is to be'the great financial
scheme of the honorable Senator, at the present session, it is perhaps too early to determine. So far
a s an opinion can be derived^ from the speech on
which I have had occasion to comment, nearly one
third of which is devoted to the general question,
the Senator seems now lo be in favor of the depoposite system, solely on the ground of its being the
most safe and convenient, and without regard to its
incidental power, to which he once attached so
n.uch importance, of restraining and regulating the
general paper currency. In urging its superiority
over the Independent Treasury plan, ho relies on
these two considerations alone.
In regard to the question whether the Independendent Treasury or the State bank deposite system
is most safe for the public revenue, it has been fully
di«eu?sed heretofore, and I am not disposed now to




go into is. Nothing, perhaps, can be addietMfc
either side to what has been already said; a n t f r
will only remark that th* arguments which ha~e
heretofore been urged on our side have not in t •
least degree been weakened by any defalcating
other events which have occurred since this SO1
ject was before the Senate at the last session;
the contrary, they have received additiona" S'l -i 1
and force.
I have now, sir, concluded what I had o s.»y.
In examining the financial opinions and \ i . vs of
the honorable Senator from Virginia, I have endeavored to present them fairly, and if I have fallen info
error,it is not intentional. W h e t h e r he is dh osed to
do justice to the Administration or not, I a m .tosfrous
to do justice to him. In the notice take of his
opinions and public acts, I really hope I ha e been
as candid and impartial as he has in exami^.ng thr
official conduct of the Secretary of the T r e a s u r y .
As in the contingency supposed, the Senator is to
be placed at the head of the Treasury, I have
deemed it important that the country should k n o w
what his financial principles and policy have been
at different periods, that he should stand before the
country as he has been, and as he now is, in li
new position, at the head of the " a r m e d neutrality," now allied with the Opposition forces.
I regret to have detained the Senate so lon«» in a
debate of this description, and thank gentli°«K
on both sides of the H o u s e , for their attention.