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SPEECHES
DELIVERED

BY

H. CLAY, OF K E N T U C K Y ,
In the S e n a t e of the United States, on the 19th of August, 1 8 4 1 ,

THE MESSAGE OF PRESIDENT TYLER, RETURNING THE BANK BILL, WITH HIS VETO,
AND

IN REPLY TO MR. RIVES, DEPENDING THE MESSAGE

Mr. C L A Y , of K e n t u c k y , rose and addressed the Senate as follows :
Mr. P R E S I D E N T : T h e bill which forms the present subject of our deliberations
had passed both Houses of Congress by decisive majorities, and, in conformity
with the requirement of the Constitution, was presented to the President of the
U n i t e d S t a t e s for his consideration- He has returned it to the S e n a t e , in which it
o r i g i n a t e d , according to the direction of the Constitution, with a message announci n g his veto of the bill, and containing his objections to its passage. And the
question now to be decided is, Shall the bill pass, by the required constitutional
majority of two-thirds, the President's objections notwithstanding?
K n o w i n g , sir, but too well that no such majority can be obtained, and that the
bill must fall, I would have been rejoiced to have found myself at liberty to abstain
from saying one word on this painful occasion. But the President has not allowe d m e to give a silent vote. I think, with all respect and deference to him, he has
n o t reciprocated the friendly spirit of concession and compromise which animated
C o n g r e s s in the provisions of this bill, and especially in the modification of the
s i x t e e n t h fundamental condition of the bunk. He has commented I think with
undeserved severity on that part of the bill ; he has used, I am sure unintentiona l l y , harsh, it not reproachful, language; and he has made the very concession
ivhirh was prompted as a peace offering, and from friendly considerations the

the obligation oi at least aijemp;i,W the vindication of a measure which has met
with a fate so unmerited and so unexpected. ^ "•* ' '
O n the fourth of,April last the lamented Harrison, tlit'President of the United
S t a t e s , paid the ^ebt o'f NaMire. President T^yler, who, WJ V i c e President, succeeded to the ;*uii^ of that o f f i c e ^/tjv^dVn (1*c ei'y of Washiqgfon on the sixth of
that month. * rf<V found the -rh'ji'r V.etropolb Vrupt in gloom ,r-3 very heart filled
with sorrow and sadness, every e y e streaming with tears, and the surrounding hills
yet flinging buck thj ??ho of the bell; whrcyi were tolled on that melancholy occasion. On entering the"Pr^s>den\'ut 'm^psioh hn cfWrir.pftited the pale body of his
predecessor stretched betore him, and clothed in the black habiliments of death.
At that solemn moment I have no doubt that the heart of President T y l e r was
overflowing with mingled emotions of grief, of patriotism, and of gratitude—above
all, of gratitude to that country by a majority of whose suffrages, bestowed at the
preceding November, he then stood the mpst distinguished, the most elevated, the
most honored of all living Whigs of the United States.
tt was under these circumstances, and in this probable state of mind, that President T y l e r , on the tenth day of the same month of April, voluntarily promulgated
an Address to the P e o p l e of the United States. T h a t Address was in the nattfre
of a coronation oath, which the Chief of the State, in other countries, and under




o
other forms, takes, upon ascending: the throne. It referred to the solemn obligations, and the profound sense of d u t y , under which the new P r e s i d e n t entered
upon the high trust which had devolved upon him, by the joint acts of the P e o p l e
and of P r o v i d e n c e , and it stated the principles and delineated the policy by which
he would be governed in his exalted station. It was emphatically a W h i g Address,
from beginning to e n d — e v e r y inch of it was W h i z , and was patriotic.
In that Address the P r e s i d e n t , in respect to the'subject-matter e m b r a c e d in the
present bill, held the following conclusive and emphatic l a n g u a g e :
'* I shall promptly give my sanction to any constitutional impure which, originating %n
Congress, shall have for its object the restoration of a sound circulating medium, so essentially
necessary to give confidence in all the transactions of life, to secure to industry its just and
adequate rewards, and to re-establish the public prosperity.
In deciding upon the adaptation
of any such measure to the end proposed, as ivll a* ifs conformity to the Constitution, I sball
resort to the Fathers of the great Republican school for advice and instruction, to be drawn from
their sage views of our system of government, and the li^ht of their ever glorious example."
T o this clause in the Address of the P r e s i d e n t , I believe, but one interpretation was given throughout this whole country, by friend and foe, by W h i g and Democrat, and by the presses of both parties. It was, bv everv man with whom I
conversed on the subject at the time of its a p p e a r a n c e , or of whom I have since
inquired, construed to mean that the P r e s i d e n t intended to occupy the Madison
ground, and to regard the question of the power to establish a national bank as immovably settled. And I think I may confidently appeal to the S e n a t e , and to the
country, to sustain the fact that this was trie contemporaneous and unanimous j u d g ment of the public. R e v e r t i n g back to the period of the promulgation of the A d dress, could any other construction have been given to its language ? W h a t is it?
*' I shall\ promptly give my sanction to any constiiutional measure which, originating in Congress,"
shall have certain dVfmed objects in view. H e concedes
the vital importance of a sound circulating medium to industry and to the public
prosperity. He concedes that its origin must be in Congress. A n d , lo p r e v e n t
any inference from the qualification which he prefixes to the measure, being interpreted to mean that a United States Bank was unconstitutional, he declares
that, in deciding on the adaptation of the measure to the end proposed, and its
conformity to the Constitution, he will resort to the F a t h e r s of the ereat R e p u b l i can school. And ivho were they 1 If the F a t h e r of his Countrv is to be excluded,
are Madison, (the F a t h e r of the C j,*siiun:oii p ) JuTerson, Monroe, G e r r y , G a l l a t i n ,
and the long list of Republican* * l»o acted with .hem, not to be regarded as among
those F a t h e r s ?
But President T y k e declares no, r.n'*- -hat he should appeal to
them for advice and instruction, but to the light of thei- e v - r elorious E X A M P L E .
W h a t e x a m p l e ! *Vhat other meaning could have been posriblv applied to the
p h r a s e , than that he intended *o i v h r t c wh-M ^ad been done d u n g the administrations of Jefler^on, Madison, and Monroe I
E n t e r t a i n i n g mis opinion of the A d d r e s s , I came to Washington, at the c o m m e n c e m e n t of tne session, v i t h tne mo-t c o n s e n t an J biiovant hopes that t h e
Whigs would be able to ca;ry all ihe.r p:xmu;e.i: mrasi:n:s, m d especially a B a n k
of the United States, by far that one of the greatest immediate importance,
I
anticipated nothing but cordial co-operation b e t w e e n the two d e p a r t m e n t s of
G o v e r n m e n t ; and [ reflected with pleasure that I should find at the head of t h e
Executive branch a personal and political friend, whom I had long and i n t i m a t e l y
k n o w n , and highly e s t e e m e d .
It will not be mv fault if our amicable r e l a t i o n s
should unhappily cease, in consequence of any difference of opinion between us on
this occasion. T h e P r e s i d e n t has been always perfectly familiar with my opinion
on this bank question.
Upon the o p e n i n g of the session, but especially on the receipt of the plan of a n a tional b a n k , as proposed by the S e c r e t a r y of the T r e a s u r y , fears were excited t h a t




:*

t h e P r e s i d e n t had b e e n misunderstood in his A d d r e s s , and t h a t h e had not w a i v e d
b u t a d h e r e d t o his constitutional s c r u p l e s . U n d e r t h e s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s it was h o p e d
t h a t , b y t h e i n d u l g e n c e of a mutual spirit of c o m p r o m i s e and c o n c e s s i o n , a b a n k ,
c o m p e t e n t to fulfil the e x p e c t a t i o n s and satisfy the w a n t s of the P e o p l e , might he
established.
U n d e r t h e influence of that spirit, the S e n a t e and the H o u s e a g r e e d , 1st, as to
t h e n a m e of t h e p r o p o s e d b a n k . 1 confess, sir, that t h e r e was s o m e t h i n g e x c e e d i n g l y outree and revolting to my e a r s in the t e r m *' F i s c a l B a n k ; " hut I t h o u g h t ,
*4 W h a t is t h e r e in a n a m e \ A r o s e , hy a n y o t h e r n a m e , would smell as s w e e t / *
L o o k i n g , t h e r e f o r e , r a t h e r to the utility of t h e s u b s t a n t i a l faculties than to the n a m e
o f t h e c o n t e m p l a t e d institution, we c o n s e n t e d to that which was p r o p o s e d .
2 , A s to the p l a c e of location oi the b a n k .
A l t h o u g h W a s h i n g t o n had passed
t h r o u g h m y mind a s a m o n g the cities in which it might be e x p e d i e n t to place t h e
b a n k , it was believed to be the least eligible of s o m e ihuv or five o t h e r cities.
N e v e r t h e l e s s , we c o n s e n t e d to fix it h e r e .
A n d , lastly, in r e s p e c t to the b r a n c h i n g p o w e r , t h e r e was not p r o b a b l y a solitary
v o t e g i v e n in e i t h e r House of C o n g r e s s for the bill that did not g r e a t l y p r e f e r t h e
u n q u a l i f i e d b r a n c h i n g p o w e r , as asserted in the c h a r t e r s of the two f o r m e r B a n k s
o f the U n i t e d S t a t e s , to t h e s i x t e e n t h f u n d a m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n , as finally i n c o r p o r a t e d hi this hill. It is perfecily manifest, t h e r e f o r e , that it was not in c o n f o r m i t y
w i t h t h e o p i n i o n and wish of majorities in C o n g r e s s , but in a friendly spirit of
c o n c e s s i o n t o w a r d s the P r e s i d e n t and his p a r t i c u l a r friends, that the c l a u s e a s s u m e d t h a t form.
S o r e p u g n a n t was it to some of the best friends of a national b a n k
in t h e o t h e r H o u s e , t h a t they finally voted against the bill b e c a u s e it c o n t a i n e d
that c o m p r o m i s e of the b r a n c h i n g power*
It is t r u e that, in p r e s e n t i n g the c o m p r o m i s e to the S e n a t e , I s t a t e d , as was the
fact, that I did not k n o w w h e t h e r it would be a c c e p t a b l e to the P r e s i d e n t
o r not ; that, a c c o r d i n g to my o p i n i o n , e a c h d e p a r t m e n t of the G o v e r n m e n t should
a c t u p o n its own r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , i n d e p e n d e n t l y of the o t h e r ; and that I p r e s e n t e d
t h e modification of the b r a n c h i n g p o w e r b e c a u s e it was n e c e s s a r y to e n s u r e t h e
p a s s a g e of the bill in the S e n a t e , h a v i n g a s c e r t a i n e d that the vote would stand 2 6
a g a i n s t it to 2 5 , if the form of that p o w e r which had been r e p o r t e d by t h e c o m m i t t e e w e r e persisted in. B u t T n e v e r t h e l e s s did e n t e r t a i n the most confident h o p e s
a n d e x p e c t a t i o n s t h a t the bill would r e c e i v e the sanction of the P r e s i d e n t ; and
t h i s m o t i v e , although not the i m m e d i a t e o n e , had great weight in the i n t r o d u c t i o n
a n d a d o p t i o n of the c o m p r o m i s e clause. I k n e w that our friends who would not
v o t e for the bill as r e p o r t e d were a c t u a t e d , a* t h e y a v o w e d , by c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of
u n i o n a n d h a r m o n y , g r o w i n g out of s u p p o s e d v i e w s of the P r e s i d e n t , and I p r e Binned that he would not fail to feel and a p p r e c i a t e their sacrifices.
But I deeply
r e g r e t t h a t we w e r e m i s t a k e n .
N o t w i t h s t a n d i n g all o u r c o n c e s s i o n s , m a d e in a
g e n u i n e and s i n c e r e spirit of conciliation, the sanction of the P r e s i d e n t could not
tie o b t a i n e d , and the hill has b e e n r e t u r n e d by him with his o b j e c t i o n s .
A n d I shall now p r o c e e d to consider those o b j e c t i o n s , with as m u c h b r e v i t y as
p o s s i b l e , but with the most perfect r e s p e c t , official a n d p e r s o n a l , t o w a r d s the C h i e f
Magistrate.
A f t e r s t a t i n g that the p o w e r of C o n g r e s s to establish a national h a n k , to o p e r a t e
per s c , h a s b e e n a c o n t r o v e r t e d question from the origin of the G o v e r n m e n t , the
President remarks ;
** Men moot justly and deservedly esteemed for their high intellectual endowments, their virtue and their patriotism, have, in regard to it, entertained different and conflicting: opinions.
Congresses have differed. The approval of one President has been followed by the disapproval
of another-"
^
r
t
F r o m this s t a t e m e n t o f j j * ^ * f ? ^ \ ? u \ a y , b © ^ i n f e r r e d t h a t the P r e s i d e n t c o n s i d e r s
t h e w e i g h t of a u t h o r i t y / p r o and c d , ^ ju> b e equa> a n d b a l a n c e d .
But if he int e n d e d to m a k e such ^6 a r r a y of it—-If h e i n t e n d e d lo say that it was in equilib*




V „.. ' "^

4
r i u m — I must respectfully, but most decidedly, dissent from him. 1 think the con*
joint testimony of history, tradition, and the knowledge of living witnesses prove
the contrary.
H o w stands the question as to tin* opinion of Congresses ? T h e
Congress uf 1 7 9 1 , the Congress of 1 8 1 3 - * J 4 , the Congress of IS 1 5 - ' 1 6 , the Congress of 18?J1—'32, and, finally, the present Congress, have "11 respectively and
unequivocally affirmed the existence of a power in Congress to establish a national bank to operate per se* W e behold, then, the concurrent opinion oi five
different Congresses on one side. A n d what Congress is there on the opposite
side'? T h e Congress of 1 8 1 1 ? I was a member of the Senate in that y e a r , when
it d e c i d e d , by the casting vote of the Vice President, against the renewal of the
charter of the old Bank of the United States, And I now here, in my p l a c e , add
to the testimony already before the public, by declaring that it is within my certain knowledge that that decision of the S e n a t e did not proceed from a disbelief
of a majority of the Senate in the power of Congress to establish a national bank,
but from combined considerations of e x p e d i e n c y and constitutionality.
A majority of the S e n a t e , on the contrary, as 1 know, entertained no doubt as to the power
of Congress. T h u s the account, as to Congresses, stands five for and not o n e , or,
at most, not more than one, against the power.
L e t us now look into the state of authority derivable from the opinions of P r e s idents of the United States.
President Washington believed in the power of
C o n g r e s s , and approved a bank bill. President Jefferson approved acts to e x tend branches into other parts of the United S t a t e s , and to punish counterfeiters
of the notes of the bank—acts which were devoid of all justification whatever
upon the assumption of the unconstitutionality of the bank. For how could
branches be extended or punishment he lawfully indicted upon the counterfeiters
of the paper of a corporation which came into existence without any authority,
and in violation of the Constitution of the land? J a m e s Madison, notwithstanding those early scruples which he had entertained, and which he probably still
cherished, sanctioned and signed a bill to charter the late Bank of the United
States. it is perfectly well known that Mr. Monroe never did entertain any scruples or doubts in regard to the power of Congress. H e r e , then, are four Presidents of the United States who have directly or collaterally borne official testimony to the existence of the bank power in Congress.
\ n d what President is
there that ever bore unequivocally opposite testimony—that disapproved a bank
charter in the sense intended by President T y l e r ? General Jackson, although
lie did apply the veto power to the bill for reehartering the late Bank of the U n i ted States in 1832, it is within the perfect recollection of us nil that he not only
testified to the utility of a Bank of the United States, but declared that, if he had
been applied to hy Congress, he could have furnished the plan of such a bank.
T h u s , Mr* President, w e perceive that, in reviewing the a n i o n of the L e g i s l a tive and Executive departments of the (government, there is a vast preponderance
o f the weight of authority maintaining the existence of the power in Congress*
But President T y l e r has, I presume unintentionally, wholly omitted to notice the
judgment and decisions of the third co-ordinate department of the G o v e r n m e n t
upon this controverted question—-that department whose interpretations o f the
Constitution, within its proper jurisdiction and sphere of action, are binding upon
all ; and which, therefore, may be considered as exercising a controlling power
over both the other departments. T h e Supreme Court of the United States, with
its late C h i e f Justice, the illustrious Marshall, at its head, unanimously decided
that Congress possessed this bank p o w e r ; and this adjudication was sustained and
reaffirmed whenever afterwards the question arose before the court.
After recounting the occasions, during his public career, on which he bad e x pressed an opinion against the power of Congress to charter a Bank of the U n i t e d
S t a t e s , the P r e s i d e n t proceeds to say : " Entertaining the opinions alluded t o f
and having taken this oath, the Senate and the country will see that I could not




o
g i v e m y s a n c t i o n to a measure of the character described w i t h o u t s u r r e n d e r i n g all
c l a i m t o t h e r e s p e c t o f h o n o r a b l e m e n — a l l c o n f i d e n c e on the p a r t o f the P e o p l e - —
a l l s e l f - r e s p e c t — a l l regard for m o r a l and religious obligations ; w i t h o u t an observ a n c e o f w h i e n no G o v e r n m e n t can be p r o s p e r o u s , a n d no p e o p l e c a n be h a p p y .
I t w o u l d he to c o m m i t a crime w h i c h I w o u l d not w i l f u l l y c o m m i t to g a i n a n y
e a r t h l y r e w a r d , a n d w h i c h w o u l d justly
s u b j e c t me to the r i d i c u l e a n d s c o r n o f a l l
v i r t u o u s men/1'
M r . P r e s i d e n t , I must t h i n k , a n d h o p e 1 m a y he a l l o w e d to s a y , w i t h p r o f o u n d
d e f e r e n c e to t h e C h i e f M a g i s t r a t e , t h a t it a p p e a r s to m e he has v i e w e d w i t h t o o
l i v e l y s e n s i b i l i t y the p e r s o n a l c o n s e q u e n c e s to h i m s e l f o f his a p p r o v a l o f the b i l l ;
a n d t h a t , s u r r e n d e r i n g h i m s e l f to a v i v i d i m a g i n a t i o n , he has d e p i c t e d t h e m i n
m u c h t o o g l o w i n g a n d e x a g g e r a t e d c o l o r s ; and that it w o u l d h a v e b e e n m o s t h a p p y
i f h e h a d l o o k e d m o r e to the d e p l o r a b l e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f a v e t o u p o n the h o p e s ,
t h e i n t e r e s t s , a n d the h a p p i n e s s o f his c o u n t r y Does it f o l l o w t h a t a m a g i s t r a t e
w h o y i e l d s his p r i v a t e j u d g m e n t to t h e c o n c u r r i n g a u t h o r i t y o f n u m e r o u s d e c i s i o n s ,
r e p e a t e d l y a n d d e l i b e r a t e l y p r o n o u n c e d , a f t e r t h e lapse o f l o n g i n t e r v a l s , b y a l l
t h e d e p a r t m e n t s o f G o v e r n m e n t , a n d by a l l p a r t i e s , i n c u r s the d r e a d f u l p e n a l t i e s
d e s c r i b e d b y the P r e s i d e n t ? C a n a n y m a n be d i s g r a c e d a n d d i s h o n o r e d w h o
y i e l d s his p r i v a t e o p i n i o n to the j u d g m e n t oi the n a t i o n ?
I n this case, t h e c o u n t r y , ( 1 m e a n a m a j o r i t y , ) C o n g r e s s , a n d , a c c o r d i n g to c o m m o n f a m e , a u n a n i m o u s c a b i n e t , w e r e a l l u n i t e d in f a v o r o f the b i l l .
S h o u l d a n y m a n feel h i m s e l f
h u m b l e d a n d d e g r a d e d in vi#dditjLT 1O the c o n j o i n t f o r c e o f such h i g h a u t h o r i t y ?
D o e s a n y m a n , w h o , at one p e r i o d o f his l i f e s h a l l h a v e e x p r e s s e d a p a r t i c u l a r
o p i n i o n , a n d at a s u b s e q u e n t p e r i o d .shall act u p o n t h e o p p o s i t e o p i n i o n , e x p o s e
h i m s e l f to t h e t e r r i b l e c o n s e q u e n c e s w h i c h have been p o r t r a y e d b y the P r e s i d e n t ?
H o w is it w i t h the j u d g e , i n the case by no m e a n s ran?, w h o b o w s t o t h e a u t h o r i t y
o f r e p e a t e d p r e c e d e n t s , s e t t l i n g a p a r t i c u l a r q u e s t i o n , w h i l s t , in his p r i v a t e j u d g m e n t , the l a w was o t h e r w i s e I
H o w is it w i t h t h a t n u m e r o u s class o f p u b l i c m e n
i n t h i s c o u n t r y , and w i t h the t w o g r e a t p a r t i e s t h a t h a v e d i v i d e d i t , w h o , at d i f f e r e n t p e r i o d s , h a v e m a i n t a i n e d a n d a c t e d o n o p p o s i t e o p i n i o n s i n r e s p e c t to t h i s
v e r y bank question 1
H o w is it w i t h J a m e s M a d i s o n , the F a t h e r o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n
that great m a n
w h o s e s e r v i c e s to his c o u n t r y p l a c e d h i m o n l y s e c o n d to W a s h i n g t o n
whose v i r t u e s a n d p u r i t y i n p r i v a t e l i f e — w h o s e p a t r i o t i s m , i n t e l l i g e n c e , a n d w i s d o m in p u b l i c c o u n c i l s stand unsurpassed X H e was a m e m b e r o f t h e N a t i o n a l C o n v e n t i o n
t h a t f o r m e d , a n d o f the V i r g i n i a C o n v e n t i o n that a d o p t e d , the C o n s t i t u t i o n *
No
m a n u n d e r s t o o d it b e t t e r t h a n he d i d .
l i e was o p p o s e d i n 1 7 9 1 to the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f the B a n k o f the U n i t e d S t a t e s u p o n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l g r o u n d ; a n d , i n 1 8 1 6 ,
h o a p p r o v e d a n d s i g n e d t h e c h a r t e r o f the l a t e B a n k o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s .
I t is
a p a r t o f the secret h i s t o r y c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e first b a n k , t h a t J a m e s M a d i s o n h a d ,
at t h e i n s t a n c e o f G e n e r a l W a s h i n g t o n , p r e p a r e d a v e t o for h i m i n t h e c o n t i n g e n c y o f his r e j e c t i o n o f the b i l k
T h u s stood J a m e s M a d i s o n w h e n , i n 1 8 1 5 , he a p p l i e d the v e t o to a b i l l to c h a r t e r a b a n k u p o n c o n s i d e r a t i o n s o f e x p e d i e n c y , b u t
w i t h a c l e a r a n d e x p r e s s a d m i s s i o n o f the e x i s t e n c e o f a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o w e r i n
C o n g r e s s to c h a r t e r o n e . I n l S K i , the b i l l w h i c h was t h e n p r e s e n t e d to h i m b e i n g
XVVQ f r o m the o b j e c t i o n s a p p l i c a b l e to t h a t o f the p r e v i o u s y e a r , he s a n c t i o n e d a n d
signed it.
H i d J a m e s M a d i s o n s u r r e n d e r *L a l ! c l a i m to t h e r e s p e c t o f h o n o r a b l e
riien
a l l c o n f i d e n c e on the p a r t o f t h e P e o p l e
a l l s e l f - r e s p e c t — a l l r e g a r d fot
D i d the p u r e , t h e v i r t u o u s , the g i f t e d J a m e s
m o r a l and religious obligations V1
M a d i s o n , b y his s a n c t i o n a n d s i g n a t u r e to t h e c h a r t e r o f the l a t e B a n k o f t h e U n i <ed S t a l e s , c o m m i t a n u M i ; w h i c h justly
s u b j e c t e d h i m " to t h e r i d i c u l e a n d s c o r n
o f all virtuous men ? "
N o t o n l y d i d the President,, as it r e s p e c t f u l l y a p p e a r s to m o , state e n t i r e l y t o o
s t r o n g l y t h e consequences o f his a p p r o v a l o f the b i l l , b u t is he p e r f e c t l y c o r r e c t i n
t r e a t i n g the rjuestion (as be seems to m e to h a v e d o n e ) w h i c h he was c a l l e d u p o n




6
io d e c i d e , as p r e s e n t i n g the sole alternative .of \a^ direct approval or rejection of
the bill I W a s the p r e s e r v a t i o n of the c o n n i v e n c y -Mid the conscience of t h e P r e s i d e n t wholly irreconcilable with the restoration of the blessings oi' a sound c u r r e n c y , r e g u l a r and m o d e r a t e e x c h a n g e s , and the revival of confidence and business
which C o n g r e s s b e l i e v e s will he secured by a n a t i o n a l b a n k ?
W a s t h e r e no a l t e r n a t i v e but to prolong the sufferings ol" n bleedino c o u n t r y , or to send us this
veto?
F r o m the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of the K ^ e e u t i v e d e p a r t m e n t of the G o v e r n m e n t ,
d u r i n g the last t w e l v e y e a r s , \\n< sprung im-M of the public ills which h a v e afflicte j (he P e o p l e . W a s it necessary that that source of >offering should continue t o
op; r a t e , in o r d e r to p r e s e r v e the conscience of the P r e s i d e l unviolated ? W a s
t tilt the only sad and d e p l o r a b l e a l t e r n a t i v e ? I t h i n k , M r . P r e s i d e n t , t h e r e were
o t h e r a l t e r n a t i v e s worthy of the serious and patriotic consideration of the P r e s i d e n t . T h e bill might h a v e b e c o m e a law in virtue of the provision which r e q u i r e d
its return within ten d a y s .
If the P r e s i d e n t had retained it t h r e e d a y s longer, it
would h a v e been a law without his sanction and without his signature- I n such a
c o n t i n g e n c y j tin; I*resident would have r e m a i n e d passive, and would not h a v e been
liable to any accusation c.f h a v i n g himself violated the Constitution* AH t h a t could
h a v e b e e n j u s t l y said would b e , thai he did nut choose to throw himself in t h e way
a* an obstacle to the p a s s a g e ot a m e a s u r e i n d i s p e n s a b l e to the p r o s p e r i t y of the
nation, in the j u d g m e n t of the party winch brought him into p o w e r , of the W h i g
C o n g r e s s which he first m e t , a n d , if* public fame s p e a k s t r u e , of the C a b i n e t which
the l a m e n t e d H a r r i s o n railed a r o u n d him, ami which he voluntarily c o n t i n u e d .
I n an analogous c a s e , T h o m a s M c K e a n , when G o v e r n o r of P e n n s y l v a n i a , than
w h o m the; U n i t e d S t a t e s have p r o d u c e d but few men of equal vijjor of mind a n d
firmness of p u r p o s e , permitted a hill to b e c o m e a law- although, in his opinion, it
w a s c o n t r a r y to the Constitution ot that S t a n . And I have h e a r d , a n d , from t h e
c r e d i t a b l e nature of the s o u r c e , I am inclined to b e l i e v e , although I will not v o u c h
for the fact, that, towards tin: close of the c h a r t e r of the first Bank ot' (he U n i t e d
S t a t e s , d u r i n g the second term of M r . Jefferson, s o m e consideration of the q u e s tion of the r e n e w a l of the c h a r i e r was entertain* d, and that he e x p r e s s e d a wish
t h a t , if the c h a r i e r were r e n e w e d , it might be effected by tin: o p e r a t i o n of the t e n
d a y s ' provision, and his consistency thus p r e s e r v e d .
If it w e r e possible to disinter tin 1 v e n e r a t e d r e m a i n s of J a m e s JMadison, r e a n i m a t e his perishing form, and place him o n c e m o r e in that chair of state which h e
so much a d o r n e d , what would have b e e n his c o u r s e , if ibis hill had been p r e s e n t e d
to h i m , e v e n supposing him n e v e r to h a v e a n n o u n c e d his a c q u i e s c e n c e in the s e t tled j u d g m e n t of the n a t i o n ?
H e would have said that h u m a n c o n t r o v e r s y in r e gard to a single question should not be p e r p e t u a l , and ought to have a termination^
T h i s , about the power to establish a R a n k of the U n i t e d S t a t e s , has b e e n long
enough continued.
Tin* nation, u n d e r all the forms of its public action, lias often
a n d d e l i b e r a t e l y decided it- A b a n k , and associated financial and c u r r e n c y q u e s tions, which had long slept, were revived arid h a v e divided the nation d u r i n g t h e
last ten y e a r s of arduous and bitter slru^rvde ; and the party which put d o w n t h e
b a n k , and which occasioned all the d i s o r d e r s in our c u r r e n c y and finances, h a s i t self been signally put down by one of those great moral and political r e v o l u t i o n s
which a free and patriotic P e o p l e can but seldom arouse itself to m a k e .
Human
infallibility has not been g r a n t e d by God ; and the c h a n c e s of e r r o r a r e m u c h
g r e a t e r on the side of one man than en that of the majority of a whole P e o p l e a n d
their successive L e g i s l a t u r e s during a long period of time, 1 yield to the i r r e s i s t ible force of a u t h o r i t y .
I will not put myself in opposition to a m e a s u r e so i m p e r atively d e m a n d e d by the public voice, and so essential to e l e v a t e m y d e p r e s s e d a n d
suffering c o u n t r y m e n .
A n d why should not P r e s i d e n t T y l e r have suffered the bill to b e c o m e a l a w
without his s i g n a t u r e ? W i t h o u t m e a n i n g the slightest possible d i s r e s p e c t to h i m ,
(nothing is further from my h e a r t than t h e exhibition of a n y such feeling t o w a r d s




4

t h a t d i s t i n g u s h e d c i t i z e n , long my p e r s o n a l friend,) it c a n n o t be forgotten t h a t h e
c a m e i n t o his p r e s e n t office u n d e r p e c u l i a r c i r c u m s t a n c e s .
T h e P e o p l e did not
f o r e s e e t h e c o n t i n g e n c y w h i c h lias h a p p e n e d .
T h e y voted for him as V i c e P r e sident.
T h e y did n o t , t h e r e f o r e , s c r u t i n i z e his o p i n i o n s with the c a r e w h i c h t h e y
p r o b a b l y o u g h t to h a v e d o n e , a n d would h a v e d o n e , if t h e y could h a v e l o o k e d into
futurity*
If the p r e s e n t s t a t e of the fact could h a v e been a n t i c i p a t e d — i f at H a r r i s b u r g , or at the polls, it had b e e n foreseen that G e n e r a l H a r r i s o n would die in
o n e s h o r t m o n t h after the c o m m e n c e m e n t of his a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ; that V i c e P r e s i d e n t T y l e r would he e l e v a t e d to the P r e s i d e n t i a l c h a i r ; that a bill, passed by d e c i s i v e m a j o r i t i e s of tiie first W h i g C o n g r e s s , c h a r t e r i n g a n a t i o n a l b a n k , would
b e p r e s e n t e d for his s a n c t i o n ; and that he would v e t o t h e b i l l — d o 1 h a z a r d a n y
t h i n g w h e n 1 e x p r e s s t h e conviction t h a t he would not h a v e r e c e i v e d a s o l i t a r y
v o t e in t h e n o m i n a t i n g C o n v e n t i o n , nor o n e s o l i t a r y e l e c t o r a l v o t e in a n y S t a t e
in the Union 1
S h a l l i b e told t h a t the h o n o r , the firmness, the i n d e p e n d e n c e of the C h i e f M a g i s t r a t e m i g h t h a v e b e e n d r a w n in q u e s t i o n if he had r e m a i n e d p a s s i v e , a n d so
p e r m i t t e d t h e bill to b e c o m e a law ? 1 a n s w e r that t h e office of C h i e f M a g i s t r a t e
is a s a c r e d a n d e x a l t e d t r u s t , c r e a t e d a n d c o n f e r r e d for the benefit of t h e n a t i o n ,
a n d n o t for t h e p r i v a t e a d v a n t a g e of the p e r s o n w h o fills it* C a n a n y m a n ' s r e p u t a t i o n for firmness, i n d e p e n d e n c e , and h o n o r , be of m o r e i m p o r t a n c e t h a n t h e
w e l f a r e of a g r e a t P e o p l e /
T h e r e is n o t h i n g , in m y h u m b l e - j u d g m e n t , in such :-*
c o u r s e , i n c o m p a t i b l e with h o n o r , with firmness, with i n d e p e n d e n c e , p r o p e r l y u n derstood*
C e r t a i n l y , L must respectfully t h i n k , in r e f e r e n c e to a m e a s u r e like t h i s ,
r e c o m m e n d e d by such high s a n c t i o n s — b y five C o n g r e s s e s — b y the a u t h o r i t y of
f o u r P r e s i d e n t s — b y r e p e a t e d decisions of the S u p r e m e C o u r t — b y the a c q u i e s c e n c e
a n d j u d g m e n t of the P e o p l e of the U n i t e d S l a t e s d u r i n g long p e r i o d s of t i m e — b y
i t s s a l u t a r y o p e r a t i o n on the i n t e r e s t s of the c o m m u n i t y for a s p a c e of forty y e a i s ,
a n d d e m a n d e d by the P e o p l e w h o s e suffrages p l a c e d P r e s i d e n t T y l e r in that s e c o n d office from w h e n c e he was t r a n s l a t e d to the first, that he might h a v e s u p p r e s s e d t h e p r o m p t i n g s of all p e r s o n a l p r i d e of p r i v a t e o p i n i o n , if a n y a r o s e in
h i s b o s o m , a n d y i e l d e d to the wishes a n d w a n t s of his c c u n t r y .
Nor do 1 bel i e v e t h a t , in such a c o u r s e , lie would h a v e m a d e t h e smallest sacrifice, in a just
tsenso, of p e r s o n a l hen >r, firmness, or i n d e p e n d e n c e .
B u r , sir, t h e r e was still a third a l t e r n a t i v e , to w h i c h I a l l u d e , not b e c a u s e I m e a n
t o i n t i m a t e that it should be e m b r a c e d , but b e c a u s e I a m r e m i n d e d of M by a m e m o r a b l e e v e n t in the life of P r e s i d e n t T y l e r .
It will be r e c o l l e c t e d t h a t , after
t h e S e n a t e had passed the resolution d e c l a r i n g the r e m o v a l of tin* public d e p o s i t e s
f r o n t t h e late B a n k of the U n i t e d S t a t e s to h a v e b e e n d e r o g a t o r y from the C o n s t i t u t i o n and laws of the* U n i t e d S t a t e s , tor which resolution P r e s i d e n t , then S e n a t o r , T y l e r had v o t e d , the G e n e r a l A s s e m b l y of V i r g i n i a i n s t r u c t e d the S e n a t o r s
from that S l a t e to vote for the e x p u n g i n g of that resolution.
Senator Tyler dec l i n e d voting in conformity with that i n s t r u c t i o n , and r e s i g n e d his s e a t in the S e n a t e of the U n i t e d S t a t e s .
T h i s he did b e c a u s e he could not conform, and did not
t h i n k it right to go c o u n t e r , to the wishers of those w h o bad p l a c e d him in the S e n *
rile.
If, w h e n the P e o p l e of V i r g i n i a , or t h e G e n e r a l A s s e m b l y of V i r g i n i a w o r e
his only c o n s t i t u e n c y , he would not set e.p his own p a r t i c u l a r o p i n i o n in o p p o s i tion to t h e i r s , w h a t omjht \o be the ride of ins c o n d u c t w h e n the People* of t w e n t y six S t a t e s — a whole n a t i o n — c o m p o s e his c o n s t i t u e n c y ?
Is the will of the c o n s t i t u e n c y of o n e S t a t e to be r e s p e c t e d , and that of t w e n t y - s i x to b e wholly d i s r e g a r d e d f I s o b e d i e n c e d u e only to the single S t a t e of Virginia ? T h e P r e s i d e n t
a d m i t s t h a t the b a n k q u e s t i o n d e e p l y a g i t a t e d and c o n t i n u e s to agitate the n a t i o n .
It is i n c o n t e s t a b l e that it w a s the g r e a t , a b s o r b i n g , and c o n t r o l l i n g q u e s t i o n , in all
o u r r e c e n t divisions and e x e r t i o n s ,
T a m firmly c o n v i n c e d , a n d it is m y d e l i b e r a t e j u d g m e n t , that an i m m e n s e m a j o r i t y , not less t h a n t w o - t h i r d s of the n a t i o n ,
d e s i r e s u c h an institution.
Alt d o u b t s in this r e s p e c t ought to b e d i s p e l l e d by t h e




s
recent d e c i s i o n s of t h e t w o H o u s e s of C o n g r e s s ,
I s p e a k of t h e m as evidence
of
p o p u l a r opinion.
I n t h e H o u s e of R e p r e s e n t a t i v e s , the m a j o r i t y w a s 1 3 1 to 1 0 0 .
If t h e H o u s e had b e e n full, a n d but for # the modification of t h e 16th f u n d a m e n t a l
c o n d i t i o n , t h e r e would h a v e b e e n a p r o b a b l e m a j o r i t y of 4 7 . I s it to b e b e l i e v e d
t h a t this large m a j o r i t y of the i m m e d i a t e R e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of the P e o p l e , fresh from
a m o n g s t t h e m , a n d to w h o m t h e P r e s i d e n t s e e m e d i n c l i n e d , in his o p e n i n g m e s s a g e , to refer this v e r y q u e s t i o n , h a v e m i s t a k e n t h e w i s h e s of their c o n s t i t u e n t s ?
I p a s s to the s i x t e e n t h f u n d a m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n , in r e s p e c t to the b r a n c h i n g p o w e r , on which I r e g r e t to feel m y s e l f obliged to s a y t h a t I think the P r e s i d e n t has
c o m m e n t e d with u n e x a m p l e d s e v e r i t y , and with a h a r s h n e s s oi l a n g u a g e n o t fav o r a b l e to the m a i n t e n a n c e of that friendly a n d h a r m o n i o u s i n t e r c o u r s e w h i c h is
so d e s i r a b l e b e t w e e n c o - o r d i n a t e d e p a r t m e n t s of the G o v e r n m e n t .
T h e Presid e n t could not h a v e b e e n u n i n f o r m e d that every o n e of the t w e n t y - s i x S e n a t o r s ,
a n d e v e r y o n e of the h u n d r e d a n d t h i r t y - o n e R e p r e s e n t a t i v e s w h o v o t e d for the
bill, if left to his o w n s e p a r a t e w i s h e s , would h a v e p r e f e r r e d the b r a n c h i n g power
t o h a v e b e e n c o n f e r r e d u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y , as it w a s in the c h a r t e r s of t h e t w o form e r B a n k s of the U n i t e d S t a t e s I n c o n s e n t i n g to t h e r e s t t i c t i o n s u p o n t h e e x e r c i s e of t h a t p o w e r , he m u s t h a v e b e e n p e r f e c t l y a w a r e t h a t t h e y w e r e a c t u a t e d
b y a friendly spirit of c o m p r o m i s e and c o n c e s s i o n .
Yet n o w h e r e in his m e s s a g e
d o e s h e r e c i p r o c a t e or r e t u r n t h i s spirit.
S p e a k i n g of the a s s e n t o r d i s s e n t
w h i c h the c l a u s e r e q u i r e s , he s a y s : ** T h i s iron rule is to give way to no c i r c u m s t a n c e s — i t is u n b e n d i n g and inflexible.
I t is the l a n g u a g e of t h e m a s t e r t o t h e
vassalA n u n c o n d i t i o n a l a n s w e r is c l a i m e d forthwith.4"
T h e tfc high p r i v i l e g e "
of a submission of t h e q u e s t i o n , on t h e p a r t of the S t a t e R e p r e s e n t a t i v e s , to t h e i r
c o n s t i t u e n t s , a c c o r d i n g to t h e m e s s a g e , is denied*
H e p u t s t h e c a s e s of t h e p o p u l a r b r a n c h of the S t a t e L e g i s l a t u r e e x p r e s s i n g its d i s s e n t *fc by a u n a n i m o u s v o t e ,
a n d its resolution m a y b e d e f e a t e d by a tie vote in t h e S e n a t e , " a n d ** b o t h b r a n c h e s of t h e L e g i s l a t u r e m a y c o n c u r in a r e s o l u t i o n of d e c i d e d d i s s e n t , a n d y e t t h e
G o v e r n o r m a y e x e r t the v e t o p o w e r c o n f e r r e d on him by the S t a t e C o n s t i t u t i o n ,
a n d t h e i r legislative action b e d e f e a t e d / '
*' T h e S t a t e m a y a f t e r w a r d s
protest
a g a i n s t s u c h unjust i n f e r e n c e , hut its a u t h o r i t y is gone."
T h e President continu e s : " T o i n f e r e n c e s so v i o l e n t , a n d , as t h e y s e e m to m e , irrational,
I cannot
yield my consent.
N o c o u r t of j u s t i c e would or could s a n c t i o n t h e m , w i t h o u t r e v e r s i n g all t h a t is e s t a b l i s h e d in j u d i c i a l p r o c e e d i n g , by i n t r o d u c i n g p r e s u m p t i o n s
at variance
with fact, a n d i n f e r e n c e s at the, expense of reason.
A S t a t e in a c o n d i t i o n of d u r e s s e would be p r e s u m e d to s p e a k as an i n d i v i d u a l , m a n a c l e d and in
p r i s o n , m i g h t b e p r e s u m e d to he in the e n j o y m e n t of freedomF a r better to s a y
t o t h e S t a t e s , boldly and f r a n k l y , Congress
wills ^ and submission
is
demanded-**
N o w , M r , P r e s i d e n t , 1 will not ask w h e t h e r these a n i m a d v e r s i o n s w e r e p r o m p t e d by a r e c i p r o c a l spirit of a m i t y a n d k i n d n e s s , but I i n q u i r e w h e t h e r all of t h e m
are perfectly just.
B e y o n d all q u e s t i o n , those w h o believed in t h e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l right of C o n g r e s s
t o e x e r c i s e the b r a n d l i n g p o w e r within the S t a t e s , u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y a n d witl/out
l i m i t a t i o n , did m a k e no small c o n c e s s i o n w h e n t h e y c o n s e n t e d that it should b e
s u b j e c t e d t o t h e r e s t r i c t i o n s specified in t h e c o m p r o m i s e c l a u s e . T h e y did n o t T i t is
t r u e , c o n c e d e e v e r y thing ; t h e y did not a b s o l u t e l y r e n o u n c e the p o w e r \o e s t a b l i s h
b r a n c h e s without t h e a u t h o r i t y of the S t a t e s d u r i n g the whole p e r i o d of the e x i s t e n c e
of the c h a r t e r ; hut t h e y did a g r e e t h a t r e a s o n a b l e t i m e should be a l l o w e d to t h e
s e v e r a l S t a t e s to d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r t h e y would or would not give t h e i r a s s e n t to t h e
e s t a b l i s h m e n t of b r a n c h e s within their r e s p e c t i v e limits. T h e y did not t h i n k it
r i g h t to l e a v e rt an o p e n q u e s t i o n , for t h e s p a r e of t w e n t y y e a r s ; nor that a S t a t e
should be p e r m i t t e d to g r a n t t o - d a y a n d r e v o k e t o - m o r r o w its a s s e n t ; n o r t h a t it
should a n n e x o n e r o u s or i m p r a c t i c a b l e c o n d i t i o n s to its a s s e n t , but t h a t it nhotild
definitively d e c i d e the q u e s t i o n , after t h e l a p s e of a m p l e t i m e for full d e l i b e r a t i o n .
A n d w h a t w a s t h a t t i m e X N o S t a t e would h a v e bad less t h a n four m o n t h s * a n d




9
s o m e o f t h e m from five to nine months, for consideration. W a s it, therefore, ent i r e l y c o r r e c t for the President to say that an *' unconditional answer is claimed
forthwith?"
Forthwith means immediately, instantly, without delay, which cannot b e affirmed of a space of time varying from four to nine months. And theP r e s i d e n t supposes that the *' high privilege" of the members of the State Legislat u r e s u b m i t t i n g the question to their constituents is denied* But could they not
at a n y t i m e during that space have consulted their constituents?
T h e P r e s i d e n t proceeds to put what I must, with the greatest deference and res p e c t , c o n s i d e r as extreme cases. H e supposes the popular branch to express its
d i s s e n t b y a unanimous vote, which is overruled by a tie in the Senate. H e supp o s e s t h a t ** both branches of the Legislature may concur in a resolution of decided d i s s e n t , and y e t the Governor may exert the veto power.'* T h e unfortunate
c a s e of* the State whose legislative will should be so checked by Executive author i t y , would not be worse than that of the Union, the will of whose Legislature, in
e s t a b l i s h i n g this bank, is checked and controlled by the President.
B u t did it not occur to him that extreme cases brought forward on the one side,
m i g h t b e met by extreme cases suggested on the other ? Suppose the popular
b r a n c h w e r e to express its assent to the establishment of a branch bank by a unani m o u s vote, which is overruled by an equal vote in the Senate. Or suppose that
b o t h b r a n c h e s of the Legislature, by majorities in each exactly wanting one vote
to m a k e them two-thirds, were to concur in a resolution inviting the introduction
of a b r a n c h within the limits of the State, and the Governor were to exercise the
v e t o p o w e r , and defeat the resolution. Would it be very unreasonable in these
t w o c a s e s to infer the assent of the State to the establishment of a bank?
E x t r e m e cases should never be resorted to. Happily for mankinds their affairs
a r e b u t seldom affected or influenced by them, in consequence of the raritv of
their occurrence.
The* plain, simple, unvarnished statement of the case is this : Congress believes
i t s e l f invested with constitutional power to authorize, unconditionally, the establ i s h m e n t of a Bank of the United Slates and branches, anywhere in the United
S t a t e s , without asking any other consent of the States than that which is alreadv
e x p r e s s e d in the Constitution. T h e President does not concur in the existence of
t h a t p o w e r , and was supposed to entertain an opinion that the previous assent of
t h e S t a t e s was necessary. Here was an unfortunate conflict of opinion. H e r e
w a s a case for compromise and mutual concession, if the difference could be rec o n c i l e d . Congress advanced so far towards a compromise as to allow the States
to e x p r e s s their assent or dissent, but then it thought that this should be done
w i t h i n some limited, but reasonable time ; and it believed, since the bank and its
b r a n c h e s wt*r^ established for the benefit of twenty-six States, if the authorities of
a n y one of them really could not make up their mind within that limited time
s i l l i e r to assent or dissent to the introduction of a branch, that it was not unreasona b l e , after the lapse of the appointed time, without any positive action, one way
o r the other, on the part of the State, to proceed as if it had assented. Now, if
t h e power contended for by Congress really exists, it must be admitted that here
w a s a concession—a concession, according to which an unconditional power is
p l a c e d under temporary lestrictions—a privilege offered to the States which was
not extended to them by either of the charters of the two former Banks of the
U n i t e d States. And I am totally at a loss to comprehend how the President
r e a c h e d the conclusion that it would have been l l far better to say to the States*
boldly and irankly, Congress wills, and submission is demanded. 1 ' Was it bettei
for the States that the power of branching should be exerted without consulting
t h e m at all ? W a s it nothing to afford them an opportunity of saying whether
they desired branches or n o t ? How can it be believed that a clause which qualifies, restricts, and limits the branching power, is more derogatory from the dignit y , independence, and sovereignty of the States, than if it inexorably refused to



10
the S t a t e s a n y p o w e r w h a t e v e r to d e l i b e r a t e nnd d e c i d e on the i n t r o d u c t i o n of
b r a n c h e s 1 L i m i t e d as the t i m e w a s , and u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y as t h e y w o r e required
t o express t h e m s e l v e s , s t i l l those States ( a n d that p r o b a b l y w o u l d h a v e been the
case w i t h the g r e a t e r n u m b e r ) that chose to a n n o u n c e t h e i r assent o r dissent could
d o so, and get or p r e v e n t t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n o f a b r a n c h .
B u t the P r e s i d e n t rem a r k s t h a t *' the S t a t e m a y e x p r e s s , a f t e r the most s o l e m n f o r m o f legislation,
* its d i s s e n t , w h i c h may f r o m t i m e to t i m e t h e r e a f t e r be r e p e a t e d , in f u l l view of
* its o w n i n t e r e s t , w h i c h can n e v e r be sepui a ted f r o m the w i s e and b e n e f i c e n t ope* r a t i o n o f this G o v e r n m e n t ; a n d vet C o n g r e s s rn*-ey, by v i r t u e o f t h e last proviso,
* o v e r r u l e its l a w , a n d u p o n g r o u n d s w h i c h , to si-- .1 S t a t e , w i l l a p p e a r to rest on
* a c o n s t r u c t i v e necessity a n d p r o p r i e t y , and not: ; 0 m o r e . "
E v e n i f the dissent o f a S t a l e should be o v e r r u l e d , in the m a n n e r supposed by
the P r e s i d e n t , h o w is the c o n d i t i o n oi that S t a t e worse than it w o u l d h a v e been if
the b r a n c h i n g p o w e r had been a b s o l u t e l y and u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y asserted in the
charter?
T h e r e w o u l d have been at least t h f p o w e r ol d i s s e n t i n g c o n c e d e d , w i t h
a h i g h d e g r e e o f p r o b a b i l i t y t h a t i f the dissent w e r e expressed no b r a n c h would
be i n t r o d u c e d .
T h e last p r o v i s o to w h i c h the P r e s i d e n t refers is i n these w o r d s : '* A n d pro* v i d e d , n e v e r t h e l e s s , T h a t w h e n e v e r it shall become necessary a n d p r o p e r for
1
c a r r y i n g i n t o e x e c u t i o n a n y o f the p o w e r s g r a n t e d by t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n , to estab* lish at) office or offices in a n y o f the S t a t e s w h a t e v e r , and t h e establishment
4
t h e r e o f shall be d i r e c t e d b y l a w , it shall be the d u t y o f the said d i r e c t o r s to es4
t a b l i s h such office o r offices a c c o r d i n g l y . "
T h i s p r o v i s o was i n t e n d e d to r e s e r v e a p o w e r to C o n g r e s s to c o m p e l the bank
to establish b r a n c h e s , i f the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f t h e m s h o u l d be necessary to the great
purposes o f this G o v e r n m e n t , n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g the dissent o f a S t a t e .
I f , for exa m p l e , a S u i t e had once u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y dissented to the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f a
b r a n c h , and a f t e r w a r d s a s s e n t e d , the' h u n k c o u l d not have been c o m p e l l e d , w i t h out this r e s e r v a t i o n o f p o w e r , to establish the, b r a n c h , h o w e v e r u r g e n t the w a n t s of
i lie T r e a s u r y m i g h t be.
T h e P r e s i d e n t , I t h i n k , ou<>hr to have s e e n , in the f o r m a n d language o f the
p r o v i s o , the s p i r i t o f c o n c i l i a t i o n i n w h i c h it was d r a w n , as 1 k n o w .
I t does not
assert the p o w e r ; it e m p l o y s the language o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n itself, l e a v i n g every
o n e f r e e to i n t e r p r e t that l a n g u a g e a c c o r d i n g t<> b; s o u n sense o f the i n s t r u m e n t *
W h y was it d e e m e d necessary to s p e a k o f its beintr t4 the l a n g u a g e o f t h e mas*
ter to the v a s s a l , " o f " this i r o n r u l e , " t h a t 4* COUJJI ess w i l l s , a:;d s u b m i s s i o n is d e manded?"
W h a t is this w h o l e F e d e r a l G o v e r n m e n t but a mass oi* p o w e r s a b s t r a c t e d f r o m the s o v e r e i g n t y o f the several S t a t e - , a n d u i e l d c d , b y an o r g a n i z e d
G o v e r n m e n t , for t h e i r c o m m o n d e f e n c e nod g e n e r a l w e l f a r e , a c c o r d i n g to the
g r a n t s o f the; C o n s t i t u t i o n ? T h e s e p o w e r s are necessarily s u p r e m e ; t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n , the acts o f C o n g r e s s , and treaties b e i n c so d e c l a r e d by the express w o r d s
o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n .
W h e n e v e r , t h e r e f o r e , this G o v e r n m e n t acts w i t h i n t h e p o w ers g r a n t e d to it by the C o n s t i t u t i o n , s u b m i s s i o n and o b e d i e n c e are d u e f r o m a l l ;
f r o m States as w e l l as f r o m persons.
A n d it ibis p r e s e n t the i m a g e o f a master
a n d a v a s s a l , o f S t a t e s u b j e c t i o n and C o n g r e s s i o n a l d o m i n a t i o n , it is the C o n s t i t u t i o n , c r e a t e d o r c o n s e n t e d to b y the S u i t e s , t h a t o r d a i n s these r e l a t i o n s .
Nor
can it he s a i d , in the c o n t i n g e n c y s u p p o s e d , t h a t an act o f C o n g r e s s has
repealed
an act of State legislation.
U n d o u b t e d l y , in case o f a c o n f l i c t b e t w e e n a S t a l e
C o n s t i t u t i o n or .State l a w , a n d the C o n s t i t u t i o n o f the U n i t e d S t a t e s , or a n a c t of
C o n g r e s s parsed in p u r s u a n c e o f i t , the S t a t e C o n s t i t u t i o n or S t a l e l a w w o u l d
yield.
B u t it c o u l d not at least be f o r m a l l y or t e c h n i c a l l y said that t h e S t a t e C o n s t i t u t i o n o r l a w was r e p e a l e d .
I t s o p e r a t i o n w o u l d be suspended o r a b r o g a t e d b y
(he n e c e s s a r y p r e d o m i n a n c e o f the p a r a m o u n t a u t h o r i t y .
T h e P r e s i d e n t seems to have r e g a r d e d as o b j e c t i o n a b l e t h a t p r o v i s i o n i n t h e
clause w h i c h declares t h a t a b r a n c h h e i n u o n c e e s t a b l i s h e d , it s h o u l d not a f t e r -




11
w a r d s b e withdrawn or removed without ine previous consent of Congress- T h a t
p r o v i s i o n w a s intended to operate both upon the bank and the States* A n d ,
c o n s i d e r i n g the changes* and flucti a ions in public sentiment in some of the States
w i t h i n t h e last lew y e a r s , was ibe security against them to be found in that prov i s i o n u n r e a s o n a b l e ? O n e Legislature mi^ht invite a branch, winch the next
i n i " l i t a t t e m p t , by penal or other legislation, to drive away. W e have had such
* ' x u m p l « s heretofore ; and 1 cannot think that it was unwise to profit by experif*nc«*.
B e s i d e s , an exactly similar provision was contained in the scheme of a
h a n k w h i c h was reported by the Secretary of wie T r e a s u r y , and to wliich it was
u n d e r s t o o d the President had civen his assent. But, if I understand this message,
t h a t s c h e m e could not have obtained his sanction, if Congress had passed it witho u t a n y alteration whatever. It authorized what is termed by the President local
d i s c o u n t s , and he does not believe the Constitution confers on Congress power to
e s t a b l i s h a bank having that faculty. H e says, indeed^ 4t I regard the bill as as* s e r t i n g for Congress the riciht to incorporate a United Stales Dank, with power
* a n d r i g h t to establish offices of discount and deposits in the several States of this
* U n i o n , with or without their consent ; a principle to which J have alio ays here* tofarc
been opposed, and which can itetu r obtain t<iy saniti'm"
1 pass with
p l e a s u r e from this painful theme, deeply regretting that I have been constrained
s o l o n g to dwell on it.
O n a former occasion 1 stated lha', in the event of an unfortunate difference of
o p i n i o n between the Legislative and Executive departments, the point of differ*
e n c e might be developed, and it would be then seen whether they could be brought
u> c o i n c i d e in any measure corresponding with the public hopes and expectations.
I r e g r e t that the President has not, in this message, favored us with a more clear
a n d e x p l i c i t exhibition of his views. It is sufficiently manifest that he is decidedl y o p p o s e d to the establishment of a new Dank of the United Stales formed after
t h e t w o old models. 1 think it is fairly to he inferred that tin? plan of the S e c r e t a r v of the T r e a s u r y could not have received Ins sanction. He is opposed to the
p a s s a g e of the bill which he has returned ; but whether he would give his approb a t i o n to any bank, and, if any, what sort of a bank, is not absolutely clear. I
t h i n k it may be collected from tin; message, with the aid of information derived
ihrovi^h other sources, that the President would concur in the establishment of a
b a n k whose operations should be limited to dealing in bills of exchange, to deposi t e e , and to the supply of a circulation, excluding the power of discounting promi ^ s o r v notes. And 1 understand thai some of our friends are now considering
t h e practicability of arranging and passing a bill in conformity with the views of
P r e s i d e n t Tyler. Whilst I regret that I can take no active part \n such an exp e r i m e n t , and must reserve to myself the right of determining whether 1 can or
c a n n o t vote for such a hill after 1 see it in its matured form, I assure my friends
t h a t t h e y shall find no obstacle or impediment in me. On the contrary, I say to
t l i e m ? go on : God speed you in any measure which will serve tlie country, and
*jrcst$rve or restore harmony and concert between the Departments of G o v e r n ment.
An Executive veto of a Bank of the United States, after the sad experie n c e of late y e a r s , is an event which was not anticipated by the political friends of
t h e P r e s i d e n t ; certainly not by me* But it has come upon us with tremendous
w e i g h t , and amidst the preateM excitement within and without the metropolis.
T h e question now is, What shall be done? W h a t , under this most embarrassing
a n d unexpected state of things, will our constituents expect of us 7 W h a t is r e q u i r e d by the duty and the dignity of Congress?
I repeal, that if, after a careful
e x a m i n a t i o n of the Executive message, a bank can be devised winch will afford
a n y r e m e d y to existing evil*, and secure the President's approbation, let the prot e c t of such a bank be presented. it shall encounter no opposition, if it should
r e c e i v e no support, from me.
B u t what further shall we do? Never, since I have enjoyed the honor of par-




12
i t c i p a t i n g hi the p u b l i c c o u n c i l s o f the n a t i o n — a p e r i o d now of near thirty-fiv«
y e a r s — h a v e I m e t C o n g r e s s u n d e r m o r e h a p p y or m o r e f a v o r a b l e auspices. Nev e r have 1 seen a H o u s e o f R e p r e s e n t a t i v e s a n i m a t e d by m o r e p a t r i o t i c disposit i o n s — m o r e u n i t e d , m o r e d e t e r m i n e d , m o r e business-like*
N o t e v e n that House
w h i c h d e c l a r e d w a r i n 1 8 1 2 ; nor that w h i c h in I S l o - ' l G laid b r o a d and deep
f o u n d a t i o n s o f n a t i o n a l p r o s p e r i t y , i n adequate p r o v i s i o n s for a sound currency*
b y the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f a B a n k o f the U n i t e d S t a t e s , f o r the p a y m e n t of the nat i o n a l d e b t , a n d for the p r o t e c t i o n o f A m e r i c a n i n d u s t r y .
T h i s H o u s e has solved
the p r o b l e m o f the c o m p e t e n c y o f a large d e l i b e r a t i v e body to transact the public
business.
I f h a p p i l y t h e r e had existed a c o n c u r r e n c e o f o p i n i o n and cordial coo p e r a t i o n b e t w e e n the d i f f e r e n t d e p a r t m e n t s o f the G o v e r n m e n t , and all the mem*
hers of the p a r t y , we s h o u l d have c a r r i e d e v e r y measure c o n t e m p l a t e d at the extra
session, w h i c h the P e o p l e had a r i g h t lo e x p e c t f r o m o u r p l e d g e s , a n d should have
b e e n , by this t i m e , at our r e s p e c t i v e h o m e s .
W e are d i s a p p o i n t e d in one* and
an i m p o r t a n t o n e , o f i h i t series of measures ; but shall \vc t h e r e f o r e d e s p a i r ? Shall
we a b a n d o n ourselves to u n w o r t h y feelings and sentiments'?
S h a l l we allowourst'Ives to be t r a n s p o r t e d by rash and i n t e m p e r a t e passions and counsels?
Shall
we a d j o u r n nnd go home in disgust ? N o ! N o ! N o !
V higher* nobler, and
m o r e p a t r i o t i c c a r e e r lies before us*
L e t us h e r e , at the east end o f Penns y l v a n i a a v e n u e , do our d u t y , our w h o l e d u t y , and n o t h i n g short o f our dmv»
t o w a r d s our c o m m o n c o u n t r y .
W e have r e p e a l e d the s u b - T r e a s u r y .
W e have
passed a b a n k r u p t l a w , a b e n e f i c e n t measure o f s u b s t a n t i a l and extensive relief.
L e t us n o w pass the b i l l for the d i s t r i b u t i o n o f the proceeds o f the public
l a n d s , the r e v e n u e h i l l , and the b i l l for the benefit o f the oppressed people o f this
District.
L e t us do a l t — l e t us d o e v e r y t h i n g we can for the p u b l i c good. I*
w e are f i n a l l y to be d i s a p p o i n t e d in o u r hopes o f g i v i n g to the c o u n t r y a bank
w h i c h w i l l once more s u p p l y it w i t h a sound c u r r e n c y , s t i l l let us go home and
t e l l our constituents that we d i d a l l that we c o u l d u n d e r a c t u a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s ; and
t h a t , i f we d i d not c a n y e v e r y measure for t h e i r r e l i e f , it was o n l y because to dtf
so was i m p o s s i b l e .
I f n o t h i n g can be d o n e at this e x t r a session to put upon a
m o r e stable and s a t i s f a c t o r y basis the c u r r e n c y and exchanges o f the; c o u n t r y , let
us hope th?*t hereafter some w a y w i l l be f o u n d to a c c o m p l i s h that most desirable
o b j e c t , e i t h e r by an a m e n d m e n t o f ttie C o n s t i t u t i o n l i m i t i n g and q u a l i f y i n g the
e n o r m o u s E x e c u t i v e p o w e r , and e s p e c i a l l y the v e t o , or b y increased m a j o r i t i e s in
the t w o Houses o f Congress c o m p e t e n t to the passage o f w i s e and salutary laws*
the P r e s i d e n t ' s o b j e c t i o n s n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g .
T h i s seems to me to be the course n o w i n c u m b e n t upwn us to pursue ; a n d , by
c o n f o r m i n g to i t , w h a t e v e r m a y be the result o f l a u d a b l e e n d e a v o r s tiow i n pro*
gress or in c o n t e m p l a t i o n i n r e l a t i o n to a n e w a t t e m p t to establish a b a n k , we
shall go h o m e b e a r i n g no s e l f - r e p r o a c h e s for neglected or a b a n d o n e d d u t y .
M r , Rivrcs h a v i n g r e p l i e d to the r e m a r k s o f jVlr. C i . w —
M r . C L A Y rose i n r e j o i n d e r .
I have no d e s i r e , said h e , to p r o l o n g this unpleasant d i s c u s s i o n , but 1 must say that 1 heard w i t h great s u r p r i s e a n d r e g r e t the
c l o s i n g r e m a r k , e s p e c i a l l y , o f the h o n o r a b l e g e n t l e m a n f r o m V i r g i n i a , as, indeed,
T d i d m a n y o f those w h i c h preceded it.
T h a t g e n t l e m a n stands i n a p e c u l i a r situation.
I f o u n d h i m several y e a r s ago in the half-way
house* w h e r e he seems
a f r a i d to r e m a i n , and f r o m w h i c h he is y e t u n w i l l i n g to go.
I had t h o u g h t , after
the t h o r o u g h r i d d l i n g w h i c h the r o o f o f the house had r e c e i v e d in the b r e a k i n g up
of ' t h e p e t - b a n k s y s t e m , lie w o u l d have fled s o m e w h e r e else for r e f u g e ; b u t there
be s t i l l s t a n d s , s o l i t a r y a n d a l o n e , s h i v e r i n g a n d p e l t e d b y the pitiless s t o r m . T h e
s u b - T r e a s u r y is r e p e a l e d — t h e p e t - b a n k system is a b a n d o n e d — t h e U n i t e d States
b a n k b i l l is v e t o e d — a n d n o w , w h e n there is as c o m p l e t e and p e r f e c t a r e - u n i o n
o f the purse a n d the s w o r d i n the bauds o f the E x e c u t i v e as e v e r t h e r e was u n d e r
O e u e r a l J a c k s o n or M r , V a n B u r e n , the S e n a t o r is for d o i n g n o t h i n g ! ^The S e n -




13
a t o r i s Tor g o i n g home, leaving the Treasury and the country in their lawless condition !
Y e t no man has heretofore, more than lie has, deplored and deprecated
a s t a t e of things so utterly unsafe? and repugnant to all just precautions, indicated
a l i k e b y sound theory and experience in free Governments. And the Senator
t a l k s t o us about applying to the wisdom of practical men, in respect to banking,
a n d a d v i s e s further deliberation ! W h y , I should suppose that we are at present
in t h e v e r y best situation to act upon the subject. Besides the many painful years
w e h a v e had for deliberation, we have been near three months almost exclusively
e n g r o s s e d with the very subject itself.
W e have heard all manner of facts, statem e n t s , nnd arguments in any way connected with if. W e understand, it seems to
m e , a l l w e e v e r can learn or comprehend about a national bank. And we have,
at l e a s t , s o m e conception too of what sort of one will be acceptable at the other
e n d o f the a v e n u e . Yet now, with a vast majority of the P e o p l e of the entire
c o u n t r y crying out to us for a bank—with the P e o p l e throughout the whole valley
o f t h e Mississippi rising in their majesty, and demanding it as indispensable to
t h e i r w e l l - b e i n g , and pointing to tlu-tr losses, their sacrifices, and their sufferings,
for t h e want of such an institution—in such a state of things, we are gravely and
c o l d l y told by the honorable Senator from Virginia that we had best go home,
leaving" the purse and the sword in the uncontrolled possession of the President,
a n d , a b o v e all things, never to make a party bank ! W h y , sir, does he, with all
h i s k n o w l e d g e of the conflicting opinions which prevail here, and have prevailed,
b e l i e v e that we ever can make n bank but by the votes of one party who are in
f a v o r o f it, in opposition to the votes of another party against it ? I deprecate this
e x p r e s s i o n of opinion from that gentleman the more, because, although the hono r a b l e S e n a t o r professes not to know the opinions of the President, it certainly
d o e s turn out in the sequel that there is a most remarkable coincidence between
t h o s e opinions and his own ; and he has, on the present occasion, defended the
m o t i v e s and the course of the President with all the solicitude and all the fervent
z e a l of a member of his Privy Council,
[A laugh.] T h e r e is a rumor abroad
t h a t a cabal exists—a new sort of Kitchen C a b i n e t — w h o s e object is the dissolut i o n o f the re^lulai Cabinet—the dissolution of the Whig party—the dispersion of
C o n g r e s s , without accomplishing any of the great purposes of the extra session-—
a n d a total change, in fact, in the whole face of our political affairs. I hope, and I
p e r s u a d e myself, that the honorable Senator is not, cannot be, one of the compon e n t m e m b e r s of such a cabal ; but I must say that there has been displayed bv
t h e honorable Senator to-day a predisposition, astonishing and inexplicable, to
m i s c o n c e i v e almost all of what I have said, and a perseverance, after repeated
c o r r e c t i o n s , in misunderstanding—for I will not charge him with wilfully and int e n t i o n a l l y misrepresenting—the whole spirit and character of the address which,
a s a man of honor and as a Senator, I felt myself hound in duty to make to this
body.
T h e Senator begins with saying that I charge the President with *4 perfidy ! "
l>id 1 use any such language? i appeal to every gentleman who heard me to sav
w h e t h e r I have in a single instance gone beyond a fair and legitimate examination
o f i h ^ Executive objections to the bill. Yet he has charged me with *' arraigning** the President, with indicting him in various counts, and with imputing to him
m o t i v e s such as I never even intimated or dreamed, and that, when I was cons t a n t l y expressing, over and over, my personal respect and regard for President
T y l e r , for whom 1 have cherished an int-imate personal friendship of twenty years 1
s t a n d i n g , and while I expressly said that, if that friendship should now be interr u p t e d , it should not be my fault ! W h y , sir, what possible, what conceivable
m o t i v e can I have to quarrel with the President, or to break up the Whig party?
W h a t earthly motive can impel me to wish for any other result than that that party
shall remain in perfect harmony, undivided, and sfiaN move undismayed, boldly,
a n d unitedly forward to the accomplishment of the all-important public object*




14
which it has a v o w e d to he its a i m ?
W h a t i m a g i n a b l e interest or feeling can I
h a v e other than the success* the t r i u m p h , the glory of the W h i g p a r t y ? But that
t h e r e m a y be designs and p u r p o s e s on the part of certain other individuals to place
m e in inimical relations with the P r e s i d e n t , and to r e p r e s e n t me as personally opposed to h i m , I can well i m a g i n e — i n d i v i d u a l s who a r e beating up for recruits, and
e n d e a v o r i n g to form a third p a r t y with m a t e r i a l s so scanty as to be wholly insufficient to c o m p o s e a d e c e n t c o r p o r a l ' s g u a r d . I fear t h e r e a r e such individuals,
though I do not c h a r g e the S e n a t o r as being himself one of t h e m . W h a t a spectacle has b e e n p r e s e n t e d to this nation during this entire session of Congress*
T h a t of the cherished and confidential friends of J o h n T y l e r , p e r s o n s who boast
and claim to h e , par excellence, his exclusive and g e n u i n e friends, b e i n g the bitter,
s y s t e m a t i c , d e t e r m i n e d , u n c o m p r o m i s i n g o p p o n e n t s nf e v e r y l e a d i n g measure ot
J o h n T y l e r ' s administration ! W a s t h e r e e v e r before such an e x a m p l e presented,
in this or a n y other a g e , in this or a n y o t h e r country ? I have myself known the
P r e s i d e n t too long, and cherished t o w a r d s him loo sincere a friendship, to allow
my feelings to be affected or alienated by any thing which has passed here to-day*
If the P r e s i d e n t c h o o s e s — w h i c h I a m sure he c a n n o t , unless falsehood has been
whispered into his e a r s , or poison poured into his h e a r t — t o d e i a c h himself from
m e , I shall d e e p l y r e g r e t it, for the s a k e of our c o m m o n friendship and our common c o u n t r y ,
i now r e p e a t , what I before said, that, of all the m e a s u r e s of relief which the A m e r i c a n P e o p l e h a v e called upon us for, that of a national bank
and a sound and uniform c u r r e n c y has b e e n the most loudly and importunately
d e m a n d e d . T h e S e n a t o r s a y s that the question of a b a n k was not the issue made
before the P e o p l e at the late e l e c t i o n .
I cyin s a y , for o n e , my own conviction is
diametrically the c o n t r a r y .
W h a t may h a v e b e e n the c h a r a c t e r of the canvass io
Virginia, I will not say ; p r o b a b l y g e n t l e m e n on belli sides w e r e , e v e r y where,
g o v e r n e d in some d e g r e e by c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of locul policy.
W h a t issues may,
t h e r e f o r e , h a v e been p r e s e n t e d to the p e o p l e of Virginia, e i t h e r a b o v e or below
l i d e - w a t e r , 1 a m not p r e p a r e d to say.
T h e g r e a t e r r o r , h o w e v e r , of the honorable S e n a t o r is in thinking that the s e n t i m e n t s of a p a r t i c u l a r p a r t y in Virginia are
a l w a y s a fair e x p o n e n t of the s e n t i m e n t s of the whole U n i o n .
[ A laugh.] I can
tell that S e n a t o r that w h e r e v e r I w a s — i n the g r e a t valley of t h e Mississippi—in
K e n t u c k y — i n T e n n e s s e e — i n M a r y l a n d — i n all the circles in w h i c h I moved—
e v e r y w h e r e , " Bank or no Bank** was the g r e a t , the leading, the vital question.
At H a n o v e r , in Virginia, d u r i n g the last s u m m e r , at one of the most remarkable
aud r e s p e c t a b l e and gratifying a s s e m b l a g e s that I e v e r a t t e n d e d , I distinctly announced my conviction that a B a n k of t h e United S t a t e s was i n d i s p e n s a b l e . As
to the opinions of G e n e r a l H a r r i s o n , I k n o w that, like m a n y o t h e r s , lie had entertained d o u b t s as to the constitutionality of a b a n k ; but J also k n o w that, as the
election a p p r o a c h e d , his opinions turned m o r e and m o r e in favor of a national
b a n k ; and I s p e a k from n;y own personal k n o w l e d g e of his opinions when I say
that 1 h a v e no m o r e d o u b t he would h a v e signed tliat bill than that y o u , M r . P r e sident, now o c c u p y that chair, or that I am addressing y o u ,
I rose not to say one word winch should wound the feelings ot P r e s i d e n t T y l e r .
T h e S e n a t o r says that, if placed in like c i r c u m s t a n c e s , I would h a v e b e e n t h e last
man to avoid p u t t i n g a direct veto upon the bill, had it met my d i s a p p r o b a t i o n ;
and he d o e s m e the honor to a t t r i b u t e to me high qualities of stern a n d unbending
intrepidity.
I h o p e t h a t in all that relates to p e r s o n a l firmness—all that concerns
a just a p p r e c i a t i o n of the insignificance of h u m a n l i f e — w h a t e v e r m a y b e a t t e m p t e d
to threaten or a l a r m a soul not easily s w a y e d by opposition, or a w e d o r intimid a t e d by m e n a c e — a stout heart and a s t e a d y e y e that can s u r v e y , u n m o v e d and
u n d a u n t e d , a n y m e r e p e r s o n a l perils t h a t assail this poor t r a n s i e n t , p e r i s h i n g frame,
I m a y , vvithont d i s p a r a g e m e n t , c o m p a r e with other m e n . B u t t h e r e is a s o r t of
c o u r a g e w h i c h , I frankly confess it, I do not posses*—a boldless to which I d a r e
not a s p i r e — a valor which I cannot covet,
I cannot lay myself d o w n in t h e w r y




15
o f t h e w e l f a r e and happiness of my country. T h a t I c a n n o t , I have not the coura g e to d o . 1 c a n n o t interpose the p o w e r with which I may be i n v e s t e d — a p o w e r
c o n f e r r e d , not for my personal benefit, nor for my a g g r a n d i z e m e n t , but for m y
c o u n t r y ' s g o o d — t o check her onward m a r c h to o r e a t n e s s and glory,
I h a v e not
c o u r a g e e n o u g h , I a m too cowardly, for that.
I'would not, I dare* not, in the e x e r c i s e o f s u c h a trust, lie d o w n , and place my body across the path that leads niv
c o u n t r y lo p r o s p e r i t y and h a p p i n e s s . T h i s is a sort of courage widely different
f r o m t h a t which a man may display in Ids private conduct and personal relations.
P e r s o n a l o r p r i v a t e courage is totally distinct from that higher and nobler courage
w h i c h p r o m p t s the patriot to offer himself a voluntary sacrifice to his c o u n t r y ' s
good.
N o r d i d I s a y , as the S e n a t o r r e p r e s e n t s , that the P r e s i d e n t should have r e signed.
I i n t i m a t e d no personal wish or desire that he should resign. I referred
to t h e fact of a m e m o r a b l e resignation in his public life. And what I did say w a s ,
t h a t t h e r e w e r e other alternatives before him besides vetoing the h i l l ; and that it
w a s w o r t h y of his consideration whether consistency did not r e q u i r e that the? e x a m p l e w h i c h he had set when he had a constituency of one S t a t e , should not be
f o l l o w e d w h e n he had a constituency c o m m e n s u r a t e with the whole U n i o n . A n o t h e r a l t e r n a t i v e w a s , to suffer the hill, without his s i g n a t u r e , to pass into a law
u n d e r t h e provisions of the Constitution.
A n d I must confess I see in this no
s u c h e s c a p i n g by the b a c k - d o o r , no such j u m p i n g out of the w i n d o w , as the S e n a t o r t a l k s about.
A p p r e h e n s i o n s of the imputation of the want of firmness s o m e t i m e s i m p e l urn to perform rash and i n c o n s i d e r a t e acts. It is the g r e a t e s t c o u r a g e
t o b e a b l e to b e a r the imputation of the want of c o u r a g e .
But p r i d e , v a n i t v e o o l i s m , s o u n a m i a b l e and offensive i:i private life, are vices which p a r t a k e ' o f The
c h a r a c t e r of crimes in the conduct of public affairs.
T h e unfortunate victim of
t h e s e p a s s i o n s cannot see beyond the little, p e t t y , c o n t e m p t i b l e circle of ids own
p e r s o n a l interests. All his thoughts are withdrawn from his c o u n t r y , and c o n c e n t r a t e d o n his consistency, his firmness, himself. T h e high, the e x a l t e d , the s u b l i m e e m o t i o n s of a patriotism, which, soaring t o w a r d s H e a v e n , rises f a r ' a b o v e all
m e a n , l o w , or selfish things, and is absorbed by one soul-transporting thought of
t h e g o o d and the glory of o n e ' s c o u n t r y , are n e v e r felt in his i m p e n e t r a b l e bosom.
T h a t patriotism which, catching its inspirations from the immortal G o d , and leavi n g a t an i m m e a s u r a b l e distance below alt lesser, grovelling, personal interests
a n d feelings, a n i m a t e s and prompts to deeds of self-sacrifice, of valor, of devotion
a n d o f d e a t h itself—that is public v i r t u e — t h a t is the noblest, the s u b l i m e s ! of all
p u b l i c virtues !
1 s a i d nothing of any obligation on the p a r t of the P r e s i d e n t to conform his
j u d g m e n t to the opinions of the S e n a t e and H o u s e of R e p r e s e n t a t i v e s , although
t h e S e n a t o r argued as if I had, and p e r s e v e r e d in so arguing, after r e p e a t e d corrections.
I said no such thing. I k n o w and r e s p e c t the perfect i n d e p e n d e n c e of
e a c h d e p a r t m e n t , a c t i n g within its p r o p e r s p h e r e , of other d e p a r t m e n t s .
But T
r e f e r r e d to the majorities in the two Houses of C o n g r e s s as further and strong e v i d e n c e of the opinion of the P e o p l e of the United S t a l e s in favor of the establishm e n t of a B a n k of the United S l a t e s . A n d I c o n t e n d e d that, a c c o r d i n g to the
d o c t r i n e of instructions which prevailed in Virginia, and of which the P r e s i d e n t is
a d i s c i p l e , and in p u r s u a n c e of the e x a m p l e a l r e a d y cited, he ought not to have
r e j e c t e d the bilk
r h a v e heard that, on his arrival at the seat of the G e n e r a l G o v e r n m e n t to e n t e r u p o n the duties of the office of Vice P r e s i d e n t , in M a r c h last, when i n t e r r o g a t e d how far he m e a n t to conform, in his new station, to certain peculiar o p i n i o n s w h i c h w e r e held in Virginia, he m a d e this patriotic and noble r e p l y : " I a m
V i c e P r e s i d e n t of the United S t a t e s , and not of the State of Virginia ; and I shall
b e g o v e r n e d by the wishes and opinions of my c o n s t i t u e n t s / '
W h e n I heard of
t h i s e n c o u r a g i n g and satisfactory reply, believing, as I most religiouslv d o , that a




Hi
large majority of (lie People of the U n i t e d States are in favor of a national UanU,
(and gentlemen may shut their eyes to the fact, deny or dispute, or reason it a w r f
as they please, hut it is my conscientious conviction that two-thirds, if not m o r e , «*!
the People of the United Stales desire such an institution,) I thought I beheld a"
f
sure and certain guaranty for the fulfilment of the wishes of the P e o p l e of the U n i t # d
States.
I thought it impossible that the wants and wishes of a great P e o p l e , who
had bestowed such unbounded and generous confidence, and conferred on him * U ( i |
exalted honors, should be disregarded and disappointed.
I t did not e n t e r into m $
imagination to conceive that one, who had shown so much deference and respetl;
to the presumed sentiments of a single S t a t e , should display less towards the sen**
timents of the whole nation.
I hope, M r . President, that, in performing the paintul duty which had devolved
on m e , I have not transcended the limits of legitimate debate.
I repeat, i£ nil
truth and sincerity, the assurance to the Senate and to the country, that nothing Jilt
a stern, reluctant, and indispensable sense o f honor and of duty could have forced
from me the response which I have made to the President's objections.
B u t , in-*
stead of y i e l d i n g without restraint to the feelings o f disappointment and mortification excited by the perusal o f his message, I have anxiously endeavored to temper the notice o f it, which I have been compelled to t a k e , by the respect due to
the office of C h i e f M a g i s t r a t e , and by the personal regard and esteem which 1
have ever entertained for its present incumbent