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H. OF R.]
[Oct. 11, 1837.
because of the new demand for coin created by the exigen- the money which you require is banished, by whatever cies of trade. They have not yet resumed, because al cause, from the channels of circulation. though that demand has entirely diminished, as shown by I lay down, then, this position, and defy any refutation : the rate of foreign exchange, yet there is still demand that the Government must, as a permanent necessity, deal enough to warn them of the consequences of an attempted in that currency in which the people deal; it is the law of resumption, before the trade of the country is in a fit con its creation and inseparable from its condition. It must dition to bear it. Sir, the country is recovering fast from ceive what the people receive, and pay what they pay-a the violent and sudden convulsion into which it has been necessity from which Government cannot escape if it would, lately thrown. It cannot otherwise be, when we consider and ought not if it could. the immense resources of this vast continent, wielded, as I speak of this as a permanent necessity, distinguished they are, by a people whose industry and enterprise ac from the necessities of immediate want. It is struggling knowledge no other limit than the very bounds of the now against this very want, and precisely as any large capearth. But the Government must keep its hands off'; time italist might equally do, by using the resources of its credit must be allowed for the system to react, before any new to supply the temporary absence of revenue. Have we not or additional pressure can be borne.
just passed a law, authorizing an issue of ten millions of If the necessities of circulation are not strong enough 'Treasury paper, for this very purpose ? I mean for the single now to bring specie into general use, as part of the purpose of reserving the Government from the necessity of currency, because of the existing collateral demand in coming down at once to the irredeemable paper of the banks, trade, does it not necessarily follow, that any new de- | And this only to answer the present emergency; for it will mand will have an additional effect in retarding that oper- certainly follow, unless that medium can be restored, in ation ?
which alone the Government is allowed to deal, that we You create this new demand by the bill under consider must issue at least ten millions more, before we return ation ; pass it, and you at once increase the premium that home from the ensuing session, Sir, I went cordially with specie already bears over the ordinary currency; you give you in this use of Government credit; and I will do so again it increased value in the market to the extent of such new should the emergency continue. But I tell you fairly and demand; and to that sanje extent you postpone the day candidly, and I tell the people, too, that this Treasury when it can return into use as a part of the circulating issue is all that saves the Governinent now from coming medium. Until that day comes, it is impossible for the down at once to bank paper. I say this, sir, because your banks to pay our specie upon their notes; they never can revenue laws, exacting gold and silver, are not and cannot do so, until the demand upon them is reduced to a naked be enforced. If you collect any revenue, it can only be in demand for circulation. If I am correct in this reasoning, that very paper, because there is nothing else to pay with. the best that could be hoped for under the proposed law Suppose, then, your law passed, and the currency rewould be, that it should remain a dead letier upon the main, as under such policy it inevitably must, in the constalute book.
dition that it now is; what are you to do? If you could Itbink I have showu that we could have no return to a enforce the law then, I ask why do you not do so now? circulation of specie under its auspices ; and, if this be so, Why do you not now compel your debtors to go into do you believe, does any man believe, that the law could market and buy specie, in order to replenish the Treasury ? be carried into effect ?
So far from this, we have now a bill before us, and which What, sir, that the Government alone should be paid it is admitted on all hands must pass, to save the Secretary in silver and gold, while those who have the payments to from the necessity of so idle an attempt. With more than make receive nothing but irredeemable paper! How vain four millions of dollars now due in New York alone, 80 and idle it is to expect any such thing. If, by any chance, far from exacting payment, we are about to give furiher or lucky, accident, over-ruling those stern necessities lo time on all bonds due and to become due between this which all human affairs are subject, the exigency of the time and the next session of Congress. times should have passed by, before your policy begins, I say, then, confidently, pass what law you may, you then it might, thus chancc-favored, be that the scheme cannot have your revenues paid in specie, so long as it recould be carried out. But it becomes us not to legislate mains at a premium; and that the very first effect of this upon such improbable contingencies. I want no better law, by creating a new demanıl, would be to increase the evidence of what the Government would be twelve months premium, and thus render permanent the very exigencies hence, under the operation of this law, than what is now to which your legislation is now actually yielding. daily passing before our eyes. There are, it is said, (and But take another view of the subject. Suppose the law I presume with an approximation at least to the truth,) carried out, what then would follow? The importer, bcnow in this country eighty millions of dollars in coined sides all other charges for freight, insurance, duties, &c., inetal. By the existing law, (as there is no bank paper is required to pay five or ten per centum for specie to pay convertible into specie,) Government can now receive the duties. Certainly this latter would be added to the nothing but coin in payment of any part of its revenue. price of the commodity; and thus the whole effect of your I ask, confidently, is any part of that revenue so paid ? policy would be to tax the people to this extent, in order With all this abundance of the precious metals, fully three that Government might deal in gold, while they were left times as much as we have had at any former period, do to struggle on, unaided, against all the ills of worthless pawe not all know, that none whatever is paid into the per money Treasury from any source of revenue. I mean none, My view of the subject, then, is that, by passing this when compared even with the lowest necessity of the pub- law now, you postpone to an indefinite period the resumplic service. The mint, it is true, does furnish a small tion of specie payments by the State banks; that until they supply, barely sufficient, if at all, to meet those demands do resume, the law must be inoperative, and the Treasury which coin alone will satisfy. But this does not come in supplied by loans; or, if enforced, besides creating a new any shape of revenue-far from it. It is purchased by and heavy tax upon all foreign merchandise, the sile effret Government, at market rates, and a premium paid upon
will be to enrich the officeholders, and all who feed upon every dollar that is brought in. Such is the present state the public crib, at the expense of the rest of the communiof tbings, under the operation of a hard-money law, while iy. I know, sir, that this last objection has been scouted the only money of the country is in irredeemable paper ; as mere slang, as part of a mere “rabble," and unworthy and such inust ever continue to be your condition, under of notice. But I tell you that it has never been met, and the operation of any laws that you may pass, so long as that it cannot be overthrown. I do not believe (and tha
disbelief is founded on the experience of the present day) ments to the Treasury and to a resumption of specie paythat such a law could be carried out; but if it were, the ments." And, again, in proof of that position, he says, host of Government dependants would grow rich under it. speaking of the deposite banks, that " since the 1st of They would have money worth five or ten dollars more in May, their discounts, as a whole, have been reduced about the hundred than the money used by the people; and $20,388,776 ; their circulation $4,991,791 ; and their the people would be taxed to the extent of this five or ten public deposites $15,607,316, while their specie has didollars in the hundred, to furnish the former with the bet- minished less than $3,000,000.” Such is the encourag. ter currency.
ing account which the Secretary himself gives us of these Now, sir, in all this, my sympathies are with the tax institutions. We have already seen the great reduction in payers, and not with the tax gatherers. I go for the inter- exchange since our session began, evidencing the rapid exest of those who are to pay, and not for those who are to tinguishment of the foreign debt, and the effects manifestreceive. I cannot agree to any policy which might, and I ed by the approaching market for the Southern staples. believe would, lead to these results. It is unwise, unjust, Even the presentation of the bill for an issue of Treasury and unnecessary; and it could not, and ought not, to stand paper, had an effect in bringing down exchange. Putting one day after those results are ascertained.
all these things together, we may safely argue that the I may express myself strongly, but I do not mean to do evil day is passing by; and all that I urge upon you is, so harshly. I see mischief and disaster without end, in any to keep hands off, and let very we! alone. attempt to legislate now as you would have us do by this The resolution of 1816, now in full force, had the effect bill; and it is to save ourselves from utter defeat and shame at that day of bringing about a general resumption of that I beg you to pause with me, and consider the conse- specie payment by the banks. It will do so again, if its quences of such an attempt.
operation be unaffected. I have shown you already the Let me, before leaving this part of the subject, present promise under it. But the bill proposes to repeal that reanother view, which, to my mind, increases the difficulties solution, as the first step in the policy of the new law. to be encountered by the proposed law. I have, so far, Then, the attitude of Government towards these instituconsidered only the demand arising under the accruing rev. tions was one of encouragement and confidence. It of. enue, as that which is to retard the resumption of specie Tered inducements to them to resume, and invited back the payment. But the revenue in arrear, that of which we confidence of the community. The wisdom of that policy are to postpone the payment, will come heavily in aid to was manifested by the result. Now, the very reverse is increase this demand at the very outset of the new law; to be attempted; in lieu of confidence, we present disto what extent we do not as yet very certainly know, but, credit; for encouragement, menaced destruction. I need reasoning from what we do know, the promise is sufficient- not add, that the same end cannot be obtained by such oply appalling. The duty bonds to be postponed, amount in posite means. New York alone to more than 7,000,000 dollars, computed But again, sir, there is in this bill an entire departure to January next, and, including the other cities, to more from the great and leading principles of the adninistration, than 10,000,000 dollars; constituting, to such extent, on the subject of the currency. It looks no further than to whatever it may be, an obstacle at the outset, over and a supply of specie for the Government and its dependants. above what is to be encountered in its ordinary course. There is no account taken of the more important object of
I have heard it said, however, that this very demand to infusing specie into circulation for the common use of the be created under the law, will have the effect of bringing people. Then, the great effort was to enlarge the specie in specie to meet it; and thus it is alleged that the demand basis, by the suppression of small notes. The Governwill occasion the supply. I do not deny this in the least ment, as the greatest creditor of the banks, sought to efdegree. There is nothing more certain, in every branch of fect this by the control incident to its large deposite. The political economy, than that there will be a supply for the banks were encouraged in every way to co-operale ; and demand. But regard for one instant only what this de- the States were appealed to for their aid in the common mand is, and the fallacy of the reasoning will appear at duty of a reform in the currency. once. It is a market demand which is to produce this sup Many of them, where there was a bank issue under five ply. It is an increase only of the same demand, which dollars, met the appeal at once, by a direct prohibition to has already banished coin from circulation ; now it is pur- that extent. chased for exportation, then it will be purchased for Gov But the State of Virginia went farther. She had long ernment, and the effect will be precisely the same in both since realized the benefits of a specie circulation below five cases-to give a marketable value to specie as merchan. dollars, by a prohibition of all paper under that amount; dise, in lieu of the exchangeable value which it would and, on the very first occasion when the charters of her otherwise have as money. None will pretend that, because banks would be reached, so recently as during the last Government will pay it out again, it will thereby circulate, winter, the prohibition was extended to ten dollars, and to unless they can find the term circulation fully satisfied in take effect at an early day. a constant round from the custom-house to the broker, and These were the measures then contemplated for the imfrom the broker to the custom house.
provement of the currency, and begun to be carried out by If it be true, then, that Government cannot command the powerful aid of State legislation. Why are they to the precious metals through its revenue, until they return be abandoned now? It was admitted then, and it is beback to circulation, the inquiry remains to be answered, yond all question true, that specie, either in gold or silver, how that end is to be attained? I would answer, first, it will not circulate by the side of paper. If experience of will be attained even before a very long time, if matters are this were wanting, it is abundant in Virginia, in reference allowed to remain, as far as Government is concerned, pre to small notes; as soon as they were expelled by her law, cisely where they now are.
silver took their place. And there is no doubt that her Let us keep our hands off, and the banks will resume policy could be carried out, by the expulsion of all paper as speedily as reviving trade will allow : within that period under twenty dollars, gold would flow at
once into I will not profess to answer; but their course of dealing the vacant channels. All this can yet be done, by a simsince the suspension evinces the strongest purpose to do ple adherence to the original plan. But your policy is in S'), at the earliest practicable day. The Secretary of the utter disregard of all such intent. Treasury tells us, in his report, that since the suspension The great forcing process now in contemplation, will of specie payment, “the policy pursued by most of them, work the very reverse of what was then so strenuously has been favorable to an early discharge of their engage: 'urged. It will put all our golden dreams to fight, of the
general deposite, all patronage will be at once taken away ;
H. or R. )
(Oct. 11, 1837. halcyon days of hard money, and the States will be com mitted, then, to such opinions, and having uniformly acted pelled, from sheer necessity, tu license once more the very up to them in every time of trial; in the removal of the lowest issue of bank paper. Seeing these things, as I clearly deposites, through the panic era, and the Executive veto, do in prospect, under the operation of the proposed law, I I am not to be frightened from what I have taken as the can have no choice but to raise my voice against it. path of duty, by the new-born fears even of so distinguish
As to so much of the bill as constitutes the collectors of ed a proselyte. the revenue, with the mint and its branches, depositories I distrust the quarter, sir, whence the denunciation comes. of the public money, I have but little to say.
It is cer I have no confidence in that counsel which springs from tainly subject to very strong objections, not the least of the zeal of recent conversion--opinions that are hastily taken vehich is, ihe very great increase of patronage to which it up, are as speedily laid aside, and are worthy of no reliance must give rise; and a patronage of the most dangerous in- whatever. fi uenee, as being so immediately connected with the public No, sir, in my humble judgment the danger of recurrence
Neither is this objection at all answered, when it to a national bank is to be looked for in the very opposite i said that the patronage will be less than that exercised quarter : in the immature conception and hurried execuis the intereourse between the Government and the deposite tion of this sub-Treasury scheme. I do not mean to prebanks; because, by the simple substitute of a special for a dict it, because I would not be understood as disparaging
the judgment of those who confide more readily than I do. on the score of safety, the difference is incalculable.
But suppose they should fail; suppose it should be found Whether I regard, then, the pernicious influence which impracticable to carry out the new scheme; that the currenenis bill must exercise upon the currency, if now enacted cy should grow worse ; that bank paper should continue sto law, or the inadequacy of its provisions for the sufe; irredeemable ; and the people become wearied out with your Kooping of the money, I am equally constrained to withhol, rigid exaction of coin from them, while nothing but paper
assent. In the first aspect, it has never been submitted is paid to them: I ask you, and I put it to ihe serious the country, and has had very little consideration here. consideration of the country, what remedy would then be he innovation is too great, the transition too violent, from found ? You could not fall back upon ihe State banks.
They had just been divorced, and common decency would T'he people are too deeply interested in the consequences forbid the new espousal. Where, then, would you find -brich may tollow, to have this usage changed, without refuge? Why, sir, as was done once before, in the arms of the most matured consideration. For myself, sir, I want a national bank, and nowhere else.
I am not at all answered in the objections thus advanced,
without foundation. You relied as confidently when
The the public money was transferred to the State banks, that President himsel, in proposing ite cantites, and the subject they would not fail
. Every official report and every State
paper was replete with their commendation. We were Let it be discussed, then, as it will be, and as all great iold that they were equal to every emergency, in the fiscal public measures ought to live a long roue be complete em sed verse in operations of the Government, and furnished its best and Their primary assemblies , and through the press, before it safest reliance. And yet, within two short years, the whole
What better asNo inconvenience can possibly arise from this postpone- surance can you give us now than you offered then? ment; first, because the time must necessarily be short, as
Why may not your new scheme fail? I believe that it Congress will be again in session, within six weeks from
must, inevitably must, if attempted now. And when it dhe ndjournment. And, seconds because the whole sys- does fail, I can imagine no possible resource left, but that ihm proposed is now, under the late orders of the Treasury, which our new concert so carnestly deprecates. I pray in as full and complete operation, as is especially ordained you to excuse me, then, if I do not see with his eyes. buy the law under consideration. The Secretary has already Sir, in attempting these sub-T'reasuries now, the Gov.
at olice, Department. There is nos sorcashion web show far fohis great nothing but danger in the attempt-opinions differ amongst
We are told, however, by an honorable members from the position, good; and if you do not, there is no escape,
One word more, sir, to the honorable member from South the present bill, we are strengthening the interest of that poris sugge’tion, sir, has come from man every remarkable is directed. I understand him as making an appeal to the party se very Sue to a distinguished statesmane
oun thesariestate in the scheme, as their surest and safest protection against the must be ordained at once, as the only safeguard against the they are looked upon as the natural allies of the South, restoration of a great national banking insistortion and this because their labor holds the same position to capital in ratiocination seems to be thrown out as a sort of bugbear,
their country that our slaves hold to their owners at the Sir, in my humble sph-re at home, or in the halls of our
How these Northern democrats may relish the doctrines Sinto Legislature, my opinions on the subject of a federal of their new ally, I need venture no prediction. I doubt
whether they can he brought to rally around the standard bank need no new confession. compromising foe to any such institution. I believe the
of a leader, who denies them any place, even in the coin
mon scale of humanity. existence of such a bank is inconsistent with the purity, and dangerous to the safety of popular government. I have
Is it upon principles such as these, that the Northern and, what is above all, to fix and confirm that opposition, I templated by this bill? These are they, I presume, who entertain no doubt whatever that it has no sanction, either
are appealed to in the occasional addresses of certain newsin the spirit or the letter of the constitution, Strongly com
papers, as the “democracy of numbers," contradisiin
is enacted into law.
to frighten us into instant submission.
guished, we find now, from any democracy of men—who I say, then, emphatically, that the present embarrassed hold no place in the thinking, acting part of the commu condition of the Treasury is not owing to its connexion nity, but are classed as mere dead weight, to be thrown at with the banks. You have not now money enough to the will into either scale of the political balance.
credit of the Government, in all the banks north of the If there be any such party in our favored land, I thank Potomac put together, (the quarter where the principal Heaven that it is unknown in the quarter of the country revenue is collected,) to.carry on the Government for two from whence I come. We have there, sir, I am proud to weeks. The Treasury is without money ; not because the say, as honest and sturdy a race of democrats as ever the banks have stopped payment, but because its supplies ure sun shone upon. of intelligent, thinking, independent, cut off. Its revenue is stagnant in the hands of iis debtand free men; each doing and acting for himself in all ors, and not in the vaults of the banks. There is money questions of public interest; having perfect equality of enough due to you, but you cannot get it in, and so it is right, and participating, to the fullest extent of a free precisely with the banks. You and they are both obliged, citizen, in the direction and control of all public affairs. being operated upon by the same causes, to give time to
This, sir, is the character of the democracy with wbich your debtors, and to wait for the reaction of trade, the reI am familiar; nor I apprehend are our true Northern de- vival of commerce, before you can again get afloat. mocrats of a texture any whit inferior. But I desire my Neither is this reasoning at all weakened by the fact constituents at least to know to what sort of democracy the that you have some five or six millions yet on deposite in merits of this bill are addressed by its friends. Not to in the Southern and Western States, which is styled “untelligent and thinking men, but to a class who are counted available"-meaning that you cannot command it for use. only by their numbers, anú are estimated to have no in. You cannot command it, simply because you have no use fluence in public affairs, save as a mass holding a certain for it in the place where it is. In the Northern and Eastposition toward capital.
ern States, where you had use for the money, you have [Mr. Pickers here asked the floor, and was understood withilrawn it rapidly since the suspension, and so you to say, that he did not lay down the proposition as broadly would have done from those South and West, could you as was stated by Mr. Mason. He meant only to say, that have used the money at the place where it was. Suppose, the tendency of the institutions at the North wis to or then, that this money, instead of being on deposite in the ganize capital, and to make labor tributary to it; and, un banks, was locked up in sub-treasuries in gold and silver. less such tendency were checked, would finally reduce Five or six millions of bullion is too large a sum to be labor there to a state of vassalage.]
suddenly transferred from one quarter of the country to Having thus given my objections to the passage of any the other without producing very rerious effects upon the law at this timc, which has not for one of its principal trade and business of those places whence it is taken ; and objects a reformation of the currency, or, I should more yet you would have no other resource whatever in order properly say, which will not by its operation lead back to make it "available," but to bring it away in bulk, the banks to a resumption of payment, I proceed briefly transporting it at heavy cost across the country from the to suggest what my opinions are of the ultimate attitude place where it was collected to the place where it was which the Government should assume towards these insti. wanted. tutions. I have no expectation or belief, notwithstanding You could not command a dollar by means of exchange; the cry which has been raised against the banks, through for the very causes that now make your deposite “unthe press and otherwise, that by any action of this Govern- available" there, have run up exchange to rather more than ment these institutions can be destroyed. It is not in your the expenses of transportation. And thus that whole fund, power to do so, sir, if you would; and, if attempted by even if now in gold and silver, and in sub-treasuries to any means, direct or indirect, every effort that you could boot, would be just as unavailable to Government, in the make would eventuate in defeat. They are created by the present condition of the country, as their deposite is in the States-are incorporated, and have life given to them by banks mentioned. Government would not attempt to bring their separate law-for their being they lean upon the away the nietal. The country would not allow itself to be States, and are as entirely independent of you, as you can
thus drained; or, if it were done, the very operation would ever become of them. Most of the States have a large open the people's eyes to the working of the machinery, moneyei interest in their stock, and participate largely in and all would cry out against it. No, sir ; if this whole their management by the immediate appointment of di- "unavailable fund” in the South and West were now lockrectors.
ed up there 'in gold and silver, sooner than encounter the Virginia has an immense fund invested in her. banks, cost and risk of transportation, and the clamor that would the income from which is appropriated to education, to in- be raised against it in those States, we should go quietly lernal improvement, and to other favorite objects of her tu work, as we are now doing, and issue Treasury notes State policy. . Besides all which, the banks of each State to answer in its place, until the restoration of trade to its furnish to each the entire paper circulation within its bor- accustomed channels would allow its being made available ders—a source of profit in which the States themselves by the use of bills of exchange. largely participate. For good or for ill, then, these banks Trcating the banks, then, as they certainly are, instituare so closely interwoven now, in all their relations with tions dependent for their being upon the States alone, and State interests, that they cannot be eradicated, even by the yet exercising so important an influence upon the trade power upon which they depend for existence.
and business of the country, it becomes us next to inquire They enter largely into, and influence to a great extent, what is the best and safest relation in which the Governall the elements which affect the trade of the country ; and ment can place itself toward them, to avoid, as far as thus, whether you are connected with, or divorced from may be, a recurrence of the evils under which we now them, whenever trade or the course of exchange (in which labor. they largely deal) is deranged or injured, your finances In the first place, I see no prior necessity, either as rewill be immediately affected. You may be divorced from gards the welfare of the Government or the banks, for any them a mensa, and a vinculis, and should a period ever connexion between them whatsoever. A sudden and vio. occur again, when there is a general suspension of specie lent separation, such as is contemplated by this bill, I have payment, your 'Treasury will stop payment in unison with already said would, in my judgment, be impracticable in the banks, precisely as it has done now; and the only dif- the present condition of the country. I believe the tranference between you will be, that they will stop payment sition (from the state of things which such a *divorce" as a measure of precaution, and you from necessity. would create) would be a national bank, as inevitably as
H. OF R.]
[Oct. 11, 1837.
a CMP SRO Baner som here requested that the Clerk might
from anarchy and confusion a people always seek relief in the committee, I avail myself of the occasion to ask a share despotism.
of its attention. Before atiempting to express my views, The process of separation must be gradual after it is permit me, sir, to advert to an amendment which I had commenced. And its commencement must await the en the honor, some two weeks past, to lay upon the table, tire recovery of trade, accompanied, as such recovery will and which, with some modifications, it is still nıy wish, be, by a sound and healthful currency ; that is to say, a at a proper time, to present. currency, so far as it is paper, convertible into specie at will.
read a part of his proposed amendment.] The Government may, I think, under such circumstan My proposition, sir, substantially is, that the public ces, and at such time, confine its receipts to gold and sil treasure shall be placed as a special deposite in the local ver, and with hold its revenue, while resting between col- banks. lection and disbursement, from all use, whether of banks The bill before us, Mr. Chairman, presents for our conor others.
sideration two questions, essentially distinct, which, howI am aware that strong objections hold to keeping so ever, seem frequently confounded: one, as to the medium much money idle as would reinain permanently on hand in which the public dues should be paid; the other as to under any system that may be adopted. But my decided the manner in which they should be kept. The one is a impression is, nevertheless, that the patronage and politi- question of currency : the other of custody merely. cal influences with which its use by these corporations Agreeing, sir, with my colleague, (Mr. James M. Mamust be attended, together with the great incentive which sox,] that no Government ought to exact from the people, it offers to overtrading, are objections far stronger. And a currency which they cannot command without a heavy from such inaction of the public money I should look for sacrifice, I am prepared to go farther than he is. After so another great practical good. It would invite, in the most strongly protesting against such a policy, he must pardon urgent manner, as a fixed policy, a scale of revenue re me for saying that in insisting, as he does, on specie, or duced to the lowest standard of the most economical ad- the notes of specie paying banks, he runs counier to his ministration.
own doctrine. There is but little difference between his And again : by confining its receipts to gold and silver, scheme, indeed, and that of the bill before us, which he the collection of the revenue would exercise a salutary denounces as oppressive. The only difference is, that he control over the issue of the State banks. It would do so, would permit the whole revenue to be paid in notes of by presenting at their doors, to the extent of that demand, specie paying banks, whereas this bill permits three-fourths always an inexorable creditor-a curb sadly wanted by the only for the ensuing year, gradually diminishing the probanks in their late career. The receipt by Government of portion, until, at the end of four years, specie only shall gold and silver only, after the paper medium becomes free be received. But at this time, and until the banks shall ly and immediately convertible into coin, presents nothing oper, their vaults, both propositions are equally oppressive; inconsistent with the position that Government must deal for until that shall happen, and no man can foretell the in the same currency in which the people deal, because day, there can be no notes of specie paying banks, and coin and paper immediately convertible are substantially gold and silver therefore is exacied by both. To afford the same.
any effectual relief, we must receive such currency as the But I can see no advantage, and on the contrary a fruit- people can procure ; we should take from them until the ful source of mischief, in making Government officers the resumption of specie payments by the banks, such notes keepers of the cash. Place about them what guards you as they take from each other; such as the State governmay, in the shape of commissioners, inspectors, or what ments receive in payment of public dues-provided they ever else, peculation will be endless. There is no security be not too greatly depreciated. If gentlemen can insure in it, and it will involve heavy and unnecessary expense. a speedy resumption, it may be well to insist on gold and The chief and over-ruling objection, however, is the end- silver, or the notes of banks which pay it out; but to exless source of patronage to which it would give rise. Make act either at this time, is to be guilty of the very oppresthe machinery as simple as you may, and open to view, sion my colleague so justly denounces. The only remedy wherever money is, temptation will creep in, and corrup for the evil which those wbo have the power propose to tion in every form following at its heels. But the money apply, is to be found in the plan they have adopted of iscan be safely kept, under the m st ample security, and freed suing Treasury notes. The manufactory of paper nioney from every objection of patronage or political influence, by just established in Washington, is to afford us a currency a simple system of special deposites in the State banks, re adequate to all our wants. My colleague, who supported maining always in specie, the separate property of the the measure, disavows any design of creating this currenGovernment, and paid out in kind upon drafts from the cy with a view to circulation. I am glad that he does. Treasury.
But the object has been explicitly avowed by many of its I have thus stated my objections candidly and fairly to the friends on this floor. We have been told by the l’resident bill. They go more to its peculiar machinery, and to the that eight or ten millions will suffice for public payments; time at which it is brought forward, than 10 ils general and, with the view of meeting those payments, we author. scope as a measure of State policy in the saliject which it ize the issue of ten millions in 'Treasury notes.
It only is intended to affect. There is no sufficient reason, as I requires authority to continue them in circulation, by a rehave already declared, satisfactory to my mind at least, issue, to supply the whole annual revenue. Should this why it should be passed now at the close of a short and system become established, all the channels that lead to hurried session. And I take leave of it, therefore, in the the Treasury will be supplied with our new paper money, confident hope that this great subject of the relations be- and not a dollar of specie, in all probability, find its way tween bank and State will, at a future day, be presented to it, except what may flow from the inint. This tlie in such form as will upite those counsels which are now plan of our hard-money Government; and, to reconcile us so unhappily divided.
to it, the gentleman from Maryland, [Mr. McKim,] by a When Mr. Masox had concluded
strong figure of speech, calls this paper gold and silver. Mr. ROBERTSON, of Virginia, addressed the chair as I do not profess to measure ihe consequences of this follows:
new issue of paper money. I believe it to be calculated, Mr. Chairman : As the gentleman from South Carolina if not intended, to throw discredit upon the State banks, (Mr. LEGANE) has declined for the present occupying the and am unwilling myself to engage in a war upon them. door, and no other gentleman seems disposed to address All the States have adopted the policy of banking. Their