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[Dec. 19, 1836.
ites-the issuance of the Treasury order—or the last refused a dollar of it to her creditors there! and that year's snow. One thing is as good as another; for the bank holding $300,000 of her notes, bad to send ibem, banks themselves are the sole judges of their own rea and did send them, to Philadelphia to be cashed, at sons, decide without argument, and without appeal, and great expense, and, what was more material, at great act upon the decision without mercy and without re loss of time, when the city was otherwise pressed for
specie by the double cause of demands to supply the This is now going on in some of the principal cities, Western land purchasers, and failure to receive the acwhere the deposite act, creating a real pressure, gives customed supplies from Mexico, on account of the Tex: to the Bank of the United States and its affiliated insti.
Here, then, was $300,000 more taken out of tutions the power to do great mischief. of this power circulation by ihe Bank of the United States in one they avail themselves; but their sphere of action is limit- ! month, than all the land offices received in four months; ed, not general. Their victims are individuals, and not and if the fact was true, as related to him, the evidence the Union. They destroy individuals, or, at most, isola was clear and incontestable that this bank wag itself ted communities. At the most, they only do a Goliad making the scarcity and pressure which it has been business-kill their prisoners; that is to say, the debtors; falsely throwing upon the Treasury order, and upon a pen-full, or a pail-full, at a time. The debtor part of | President Jackson. Mr. B. asked no one to condemn the community, where the powers of the Bank of the the bank unheard upon this statement; but he also asked United States and its associates predominate, suffer that no one would refuse to have it inquired into by a severely and cruelly; but the remoter parts of the Union committee. are safe. The Briærian arms of the monster no longer The real cause of the pecuniary pressure and de. reach to the extremities of the Union. It can no longer rangement of the exchanges experienced in some of the strike down exchanges, sink the price of produce and large cities, exclusive of that created by some of the property, and demolish merchants and traders in the banks, was the deposite act of the last session. Thal act towns and cities of the South and West. The tragedy causes thirty odd millions of dollars, about fifteen millions of 1833, now performing on the local theatres of some of which is money appropriated to useful and essential of the Atlantic cities, cannot be again extended to the objects, to be suddenly withdrawn from the vortex of country towns and remote States.
business, and transferred to places where it must stagnate Mr. B. remarked upon the statements in Mr. Biddle's for some time before it can come again into active emletter; he chose to refer to that letter as being the re ployment Aware of this, and sensible that the public vealed source of this proceeding against President Jack eye was fixed upon this act as the real source of a bonason, and the fountain from which all the arguments of fide distress, the attempt is made to turn off the effect the opposition are drawn; he remarked upon the state from the act itself, to the mode of its execution. It is ments in it, that it was the great transfer of specie to the not the transfer of these thirty millions, they say, which West which occasioned distress in the East; that much has done the mischief, but the manner of making the specie had gone to the West, and that none had been ex. transfer! This (said Mr. B.) is a repetition of the old ported. Mr. B. said he had prepared himself with facts song about the removal of the deposites. It was not the to reply to these two assertions. In the first place, a removal, but the manner of the removal, which had done Treasury return which he held in his band, showed that no all the mischief in 1833. And when pressed to explain more than $1,463,656 in specie had been received at all what was this mystical manner of acting which was so the land offices under the Treasury order, and a like re magically calamitous, the solution was in the destruction turn showed that $312,811 in gold, and $4,123,004 in of confidence. This was the solution then; it is the silver, had been exported from the United States this solution now; for the president of the Bank of the Uniyear. Here then was an export of specie to foreign ted States expressly declares that the instant recision of countries of three times the amount of ihat which went the Treasury order would restore confidence in twentyinto the land offices; yet the public are to be told by the four hours, and relief in as many days. This was the president of the bank bearing the name of the United declaration during the whole panic of 1833; and its States, that no specie had been exported!
meaning then and now is the same: that the Bank of the It is in this way that the public is deceived, and that United States and its affiliated institutions would cease the Treasury order is made the pack-horse, to be loaded scourging the country the instant that Congress would with every thing that can be heaped upon it. The ex grant its president the victory and triumph which he port of four and a half millions of specie to foreign coun demands over President Jackson! The six months' cry tries is called nothing-is said to be none-while one and of the session of 1833-'34 was, that the restoration of a half millions, gone into our land offices, has overset the deposites, or the recharter of the bank, would rethe national ship, and deranged the business of a conti lieve the distress in twenty-four hours, and that nothing neni! One million and a half out of seventy-five mil else ever could relieve it. Now it happens that the test lions has gone into the land offices. Who would feel it? of lime, and the letter of the president of the Bank of How could it disturb the business of the country? And, The United States, has shown that this cry of six months' especially, how could one million and a half, by going duration was entirely erroneous; for the distress did -into the interior of our country, do all this mischief, cease, and unbounded prosperity has ensucd; while the when four and a half millions, by going to foreign couri. only condition on which this was to take place has never tries, is not felt or known? But there was another ope. happened; the deposites are not restored; the bank is ration in specie of which Mr. B. bad been informed, and not rechartered; the distress dic! cease; unexampled which he should bring under the inquiries of a commit prosperity has ensued, which is attempted to be intertee, if he should be so fortunate as to be allowed one, rupted again by those who interrupted it then. and which he mentioned now, not as evidence to con Mr. B. said the deposite act was the offspring of the vince the Senate, but as a ground for demanding a com. land bill, and became the substitute for it. That bill mittee. His information was this: that in the month of had passed the Senate before the deposite bill was September last, the merchants and bankers of New Or- brought in, and, so far as the Senate was concerned, bad leans became suddenly surprised at the mysterious made a previous disposition of the same money. That scarcity of specie. It had vanished as if by magic. A bill was carried through the Senate hy the votes of those meeting was held to know what had become of it; and who are considered as the tutelary deities of the merit was ascertained that the Bank of the United States chants and bankers on this foor; yet the disposition had collected and boxed up $1,800,000 in that city, and which it proposed to make of what was called the pro
Dec. 19, 1836.
ceeds of the sales of the public lands was ruinous to the Mr. B. had a question to put to the defenders of the banks and the merchants of the great Atlantic cities. banks which affected to be crippled and half killed, and It made a call for money, and a distribution of money, unable to lend a dollar, on account of this Treasury which must have driven every debtor to these banks to order. It was this: How comes it that these banks never the immediate payment of every shilling which he owed felt a wound, or uttered a complaint, during the many in any deposite bank; and would bave produced a pres. years in which their paper was excluded from both. sure and consternation which would have pervaded the branches of the revenue of the Federal Government, by whole moneyed system, and the whole business com. the by-laws of the Bank of the United States? Mr. B. munity of the places where they were. This is the pro- / bad read, for another purpose, the 24th article of the vision of the bill. It is the third section, in the form in by-laws of this corporation, by which the notes of all the which it passed the Senate, and went to the House of local banks of the Union were excluded from receivaRepresentatives.
bility in any revenue payment whatever, except the "Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the several notes of the specie paying banks in the same city or place sums of money received in the Treasury as the nett pro where the branch bank was situated. He would now ceeds of the sales of the public lands for the years read the 25th article of the same bank code, which eighteen hundred and thiriy-three, eighteen hundred would show that this exception in favor of the local and thirty-four, and eighteen hundred and thirty-five, banks in the same place with the branch was of mo adshall be paid and distributed as aforesaid, at the Treasury vantage to them, but the contrary, as it merely amounted of the United States, one fourth part on the first day of to a collection of their notes for immediate convertibility July, eighteen hundred and thiriy-six, and one fourth into coin. The article is in these words: part at the end of each ninety days thereafter, until the “ ARTICLE XXV. The offices of discount and deposite whole is paid; and those which shall be received for the shall
, at least once every week, settle with the State years eighteen hundred and ibirty-six and eighteen hun banks for their notes received in payment of the revenue, dred and thirty-seven shall also be paid at the Treasury or for the engagements of individuals to the bank, so as half-yearly, on the first day of July and January, in each to prevent the balance due to the office from swelling of those years, to such person or persons as the respec. to an inconvenient amount.” tive Legislatures of the said States shall authorize and
Here (said Mr. B.) is the condition of the whole caladirect to receive the same."
logue of State banks, during the days of the reign of the Now, (said Mr. B.,) let any banker or merchant of the Bank of the United States. All excluded from revenue great commercial cities count up the sums which would payments, both land and customs, except those in the have been payable in the shori period of nine months i wenty-five places where branch banks were situated, under this act. They would have been these: eighteen and the few thus excepted called upon for the weekly milliors and three quarters of a million of dollars on the redemption of their notes. 'This, in fact, was an exclufirst day of July last; six millions on the first day of Oc- sion of their paper, and a receipt of their specie alone, tober last; eighteen millions and three quarters on the and worse to them than a total exclusion; for the nomifirst day of January next; and six millions on the first day nal reception would cease then to be taken out of the of april next; amounting, in the whole, to forty-nine channels of circulation, brought to the branch to meet and one half millions of dollars; for such was the amount the revenue payments, and thence sent back to their of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands for the own counters for redemption in coin. And this conyears mentioned up to 1836. But ihe section also in- tinued to be the case down to the day of the removal of cluded the proceeds of the sales for 1837, which were the deposites. Yet these banks never affected to be unto be divided out on the first days of July, 1837, and able to do business in this long state of total exclusion January, 1838. Their amount cannot be known so as from all revenue payments by the power of the Bank of to be added. The Secretary of the Treasury, on the the United States. is only when one half of the same basis of hard money payments, estimates them at five thing is done by President Jackson that they pretend to millions of dollars; but if these resolutions pass, and the be ruined. Mr. B. said it was time for the public to notes of all the banks in the Union become receivable mark the conduct of banks, and to discriminate between for public lands, the whole national domain may be those which maintained their course as moneyed instituswept. Every acre may be changed into paper, and tions, and !hose which were nothing but shaving shops that paper be added to the mass of the unavailable funds and political engines. Many banks had so acted as to now in the Treasury.
prove that they were at the beck and nod of politicians, Mr. B. deemed it right to bring these facts to the rec and subservient to the mischievous designs of the Bank ollection of the Senate, and to place them before the of the United States. They were ready to close their eyes of those who looked upon the authors of such doors upon borrowers at the approach of the elections, measures as their peculiar protectors. That third sec and to storm Congress with petitions in favor of any tion of the land bill would have been desolation to the movement of the Bank of the United States. Who can great cities; it was opposed as such on this floor; yet it forget their petitions at the veto session, and at the panic passed this Chamber, but hung in the House of Repre: session, in which they stooped so low as to pray to have sentatives until the deposite bill was passed here, and the Bank of the United States kept in existence to rule sent down to supersede it. That deposite bill, which over them, and prevent them from issuing more notes proposes only thirty odd millions for abstraction from than they could pay? Who can forget their refusal to the great channels of commerce, is, in reality, crippling receive ihe public deposites, when that refusal was nebanks and merchants, and distressing the great cities. cessary to help out the Bank of the United States in its What, then, would it have been if forty-nine and a half attempts to embarrass the Government, and injure the millions had been taken from them in the short space of country? These things, and many others, must be renine months? And what would have been its effect membered, and marked; and the community and the upon the Treasury of the United States? Bankrupicy! Government must learn to discriminale between instituFor it is now seen that there will be in the Treasury on tions which conduct themselves on business principles, the first of January next but about forty-one millions of and those which are at the service of politicians whendollars, and that inclusive of fifteen millions of unexpend. ever a political effect is to be produced, and at the ed balances, applicable to objects of great necessity, and service of a revengeful institution whenever it suits her not completed. Let these facts and these views be kept policy to bave a panic in the country, in mind, whenever the land bill and the deposite act are Mr. B. referred to the general state of the country to mentioned.
[Dec. 19, 1836.
prove its general prosperity; be referred to the high stock, and under circumstances which exposed the moprices paid for every thing to prove that money was not tives of some of those who participated in the passage of scarce, except to those whose engagemnets compelled the act to distrust. them to repair to the banks; he referred to the rates of “ The facts that the value of the stock was greatly en. exchanges in the South and West to prove that the ex. hanced by the creation of the bank; that it was well unchanges of the country were good wherever they were derstood that such would be the case, and that some of beyond the reach of the Bank of the United States; and the advocates of the measure were largely benefited by he stated the contents of letters in his possession from it, belong to the history of the times, and are well calcupresidents and cashiers of banks in Ohio, Mississippi,ated to diminish the respect which might otherwise have and Louisiana, to show that there was but one objection been due to the action the Congress which created the to the Treasury order, and that was, that it had not institution. been issued early enough!
“On the establishment of a national bank, it became Having vindicated the Treasury order from the charges the interest of the creditors that gold should be superse. of illegality and unconstitutionality, and shown that it had ded by the paper of the bank as a general currency. A not been ruinous to the country, Mr. B. said he would value was soon attached to the gold coins, which made proceed to show the reasons for which it had issued, and their exportation to foreign countries, as a mercantile the benefits which had resulted from it. President Jack. commodity, more profitable than their retention and use son, it was known, in the exercise of his high constitu at home as money. It followed as a matter of course, if tional duty to see the laws of the country faithfully exe. not designed by those who established the bank, that the cuted, had directed the issuing of this order. He stood bank became, in effect, a substitute for the mint of the before the country as its responsible author. As such he United States. had been denounced. As such he was charged with vio • Such was the orgin of a national bank currency, lating the laws and constitution, and destroying the pros and such the beginning of those difficulties which now perity of the country. As such he is calumniated in the appear in the excessive issues of the banks incorporated Philadelphia letter, which calls this order "the revenge by the various States." of the President upon Congress for passing the distribu " The effects of an extension of bank credits and tion bill.” As such, another condemnation, for the grati-over-issues of bank paper have been strikingly illustra. fication of discomfited politicians and a dethroned nation. ted in the sales of the public lands. From the returns al bank president-another victory in the Senate cham. made by the various registers and receivers in the early ber for those who have been defeated at the polls—is part of last summer, it was perceived that the receipts now sought against him in this attempt to rescind that arising from the sales of the pubiic lands were in. order. Under such circumstances, it is not only right creasing to an unprecedented amount. In effect, howthat he should find defenders, but that he sliould be heard ever, these receipts amounted to nothing more than also in bis own defence. Mr. B. would therefore refer credits in banks. The banks lent out their notes to to the annual message delivered at the opening of this speculators; they were paid to the receivers, and immedisession of Congress, and point the attention of ihe Sen- ately returned to the banks, to be lent out again and Ate and the country to the whole of that profoundly wise, again, being mere instruments to transfer to speculators transcendently patriotic, and paternally beneficent, part the most valuable public land, and pay the Government of the message which relates to the general currency and by a credit on the books of the banks. Those credits to the national domain.
on the books of some of the Western banks, usually Extracts from the President's Message.
called deposites, were already greatly beyond their im
mediate means of payment, and were rapidly increasing. “I beg leave to call your attention to another subject Indeed, each speculation furnished means for another; intimately associated with the preceding one-the cur for no sooner had one individual or company paid in their rency of the country.
notes, than they were immediately lent to another for a " It is apparent, from the whole context of the consti- like purpose, and the banks were extending their busitution as well as the history of the times which gave birth ness and their issues so largely as to alarm considerate to it, that it was the purpose of the convention to estab- men, and reuder it doubitul whether bank credits, if lish a currency consisting of the precious metals. These, permitted to accumulate, would ultimately be of the from their peculiar properties, which rendered them the least value to the Government. The spirit of expansion standard of value in all other countries, were adopled in and speculation was not confined to the deposite banks, this, as well to establish its commercial standard, in rer. but pervaded the whole multitude of banks throughout erence to foreign countries, by a permanent rule, as to the Union, and was giving rise to new institutions to ag. exclude the use of a mutable medium of exchange, such grayate the evil. as of certain agricultural commodities, recognised by the “The safety of the public funds, and the interests of statutes of some States as a tender for debts, or the still the people, generally, required that these operations more pernicious expedient of a paper currency. The should be checked, and it became the duty of every last, from the experience of the evils of the issues of pa- branch of the General and State Government to adopt all per during the Revolution, had become so justly obnoxious legitimate and proper means to procure that salutary as not only to suggest the clause in the constitution for effect. Under this view of my duty, I directed the bidding the emission of bills of credit by the States, but issuing of the order which will be laid before you by the also to produce that vote in the convention which nega- Secretary of the Treasury, requiring payment for the tived the proposition to grant power to Congress to char public lands sold to be made in specie, with a. excepter corporations; a proposition well understood at the tion until the fifteenth of the present month in favor of time as intended to authorize the establishment of a na. actual settlers. This measure has produced many salutional bank, which was to issue a currency of bank notes, tary consequences. It checked the career of the West. on a capital to be created to some extent out of Govern ern banks, and gave them additional strength in antici. ment stocks. Although this proposition was refused by pation of the pressure which has since pervaded our a direct vote of the convention, the object was afterwards Eastern as well as the European commercial cities. By in effect obtained by its ingenious advocates, through a preventing the extension of the credit system, it measstrained construction of the constitution. The debis of urably cut off the means of speculation, and retarded the Revolution were funded, at prices which formed no its progress in monopolizing ihe most valuable tbe equivalent compared with the nominal amount of the public lands. It has tended to save the new States
Dec. 19, 1836.)
from a non-resident proprietorship, one of the greatest the most fallacious hope of an easier payment of debts obstacles to the advancement of a new country, and the and a lighter burden of taxation. It is easy for a portion prosperity of an old one. It has tended to keep open of the people to imagine that Government may properly the public lands for entry by emigrants, at Government continue to receive depreciated paper because they have prices, instead of their being compelled to purchase of received it, and because it is more convenient to obtain speculators at double or triple prices, and it is convey than other paper or specie. But on these subing into the interior large sums of silver and gold, there jects it is that Government ought to exercise its own to enter permanently into the currency of the country, peculiar wisdom and caution. It is supposed to possess, and place it on a firmer foundation. It is confidently on subjects of this nature, somewhat more of foresight believed that the country will find in the motives which than has fallen to the lot of individuals. It is bound to induced that order, and ihe happy consequences which foresee the evil before every man feels it, and to take all will bave ensued, much to commend and nothing to measures to guard against it, although they may be condemn."
measures attended with some difficulty, and not without Mr. B. said it would be observed by the Senate that some temporary inconvenience. The only power which the reasons for issuing the Treasury order are introduced the Government possesses of restraining the issues of the by the President under the head of "currency,” and State banks is to refuse their notes in the receipts of the not under the head of “public lands;" and that, in his Treasury. This power it can exercise now, or at least whole manner of treating it, the currency is the object, can provide now for exercising it in reasonable time, beand the lands the incident. The regulation of the cur cause the currency of some parts of the country is yet rency is the grea: object; and as the lands, and not the sound, and the evil is not yet universal. But I have excustom-house, was the exciting cause of the swollen, pressed my belief on more than one occasion, and I now bloated, and diseased state of the currency, the remedy repeat the opinion, that it was the duty of the Secretary was directed to the lands, and not to the customs. All
of the Treasury, on the return of peace, to have returned this is visible in the passages read. It is also visible in to the legal and proper mode of collecting the revenue. the original Treasury' order itself, where the discourage. This Government has a right, in all cases, to protect its ment of the ruinous extension of bank issues, the pre own revenues, and to guard them against bad and deservation of the soundness of the currency, and the safety preciated paper. As to the opinion advanced by some of the Federal revenue, are distinctly and prominently that the object of the resolution cannot in any way be set forth among the high inducements to its issue. Very answered; ihat the revenues cannot be collected oiherrightly, then, did the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. wise than they now are, in the paper of any and every WEBSTER] express himself on Thursday last, in the few banking association that chooses to issue paper, it cannot remarks which he then made; very rightly did he de. for a moment be admitted. The thing then is to be done; clare this to be a currency question, and not a land ques. at any rate it is to be attempted. That it will be action! a financial measure of the greatest moment and ex: complished by the Treasury Department, without the tent, affecting every interest and the whole Union! and interference of Congress, I have no belief. It from that rightly did he claim for it that high consideration which source no reformation came when reformation was easy, is due to a measure, not of sectional, but of national con- it is not now to be expected. The great object is that cern. The gentleman is right. The Treasury order is our legal currency is to be preserved, and that we are a regulation of the national currency, issued under the not to embark on the ocean of paper money. I cannot constitu:ional obligation of the
President to preserve and say, indeed, that this resolution will certainly effect the protect the currency of the Federal Government, and desired end. It may fail.
Its success, as is obvious, exercised according to the manner pointed out by the must essentially depend on the course pursued by the author of the joint resolution of 1816, and according to
Treasury Department.”. the manner, though not to the same degree, that the Mr. B. would add nothing by commentary to the powregulation of the currency was effected by the Bank of
er or appositeness of these quotations. They were up. the United States during the whole period of its exist.
to the exigencies of the present occasion, fitied it as if ence. The constitution recognises nothing for money | made to order, and superseded the necessity of argubul gold and silver. The President is the sworn pro ment or illustration. One thing ought to be well ob. tector, defender, and preserver of that constitution. To served, that this speech, going the whole length, not onpermit any part of its guarantees to be subverted and de ly of justifying the present
Treasury order, but blaming stroyed, is a dereliction of duty, or a defect of vigilance the Treasury Department in 1816 for not having done in bím. The joint resolution of 1816 does not grant, but the like, and expressing the fear that it might not do it recognises and enforces, his constitutional duties and
in time to come, was delivered on the 26th day of April, powers over the preservation of the constitutional cur.
1816, four days before the passage of the joint resolution of rency. The author of that resolution, in the speech from that year! consequently, and as the whole speech proves, which I have read extracts-a speech abounding with all the powers and duties claimed in that speech for the just sentiments-recognises all this authority, and pro- Treasury Department, and the Executive Government, claims all this duty of the President as attributes of the
over the regulation of the currency, the restoration of Executive Government, existing anteriorly to his resolu- the constitutional money, and the exclusion of State bank tion; a measure only rendered necessary because these paper from revenue payments, were independent of that powers and duties had been neglected. Listen to him: resolution! were founded-Ist, upon the constitution; * There are some political evils which are seen as soon 2d, the act of 1789, that the customs should be paid in 88 they are dangerous, and which alarm at once as well gold and silver coin only; 3d, the act of May 10th, 1800the people as the Government. Wars and invasions, the fundamental act for the general sale of the public therefore, are not always the most certain destroyers of landsmand directing that all purchasers should make pay. national prosperity. They come in no questionable ment for the same in specie, or in evidences of the pub. shape. They announce their own approach, and the lic debt of the United States! These were the foundageneral safety is preserved by the general alarm. Not tions of the gentleman's argument; these the laws the so with the evils of a debased coin, a depreciated paper violation of which he bad in his eye; these the ground currency, and a depressed and falling public credit. Not of his complaint against the existing administration; these so with the plausible and insidious mischiefs of a paper the future ark of his financial bope. These are the laws, money system. These insinuate themselves in the shape faithful expositors of the constitution, in aid of whicb, of facilities, accommodation, and relief. They hold out and to compel the speedy execution of which, the joint
(Dec. 19, 1836.
resolution of 1816 was conceived and passed. The au Government but specie; and yet no regard was paid to thor of the resolution said at the time that the success of the imperative injunctions of the law in this respect. the resolution depended upon the Treasury Department, The whole strength of the Government, he was of opinand expressed his fear that it might fail of its objection, ought to be put forth to compel the payment of the through the fault of that Department-a fear in which duries and taxes to the Government in the legal currency the gentleman's misgivings were prophetic, until the of the country." splendid and beneficent administration of General Jack Now (said Mr. B.) the Senate will doubtless be willing son rose upon the political horizon, to bless and exalt his to hear what was said by the friends of the administration country; to command the admiration of the world, civi- in 1816, to those powerful appeals from the gentleman lized and barbarian, and to realize the gentleman's own who so strenuously plead the cause of the laws, the concherished and adored vision of 1816--the constitutional | stitution, and hard money. He had looked over the currency restored, and the bloated and pestilential car speeches of that day, and found the whole of their ancases of the paper system expelled from the doors of the swers compressed into a short paragraph by Mr. Sharpe, Federal Treasury.
of Kentucky, a gentleman of genius and ability, and Mr. B. repeated the date of the speech from which he whose tragical death had since alıracted so much public had read an extract; it was the 26th of April, 1816, four notice and commiseration. days before the passage of the joint resolution of that
“In reply to the argument of Mr. Webster, that the year. He now had another extract from another speech remedy for the evil was in the power of the Secretary of the same gentleman, also delivered before that joint of the Treasury, by requiring payment of the dues to resolution was passed, and clearly indicative of his inten- the Government in specie, Nr. s. said the gentleman tion in bringing forward that measure, to compel, as had not demonstrated that there was specie enough in soon as possible, the complete re-establishment of the the country for the purposes of the payment of the revo currency of the constitution as the sole and exclusive
enue to the Treasury, nor that the banks have not the currency of the Federal Government. It was a speech means ultimately to force the Government to take their delivered in February, on the passage of the charter of paper in payments to the Treasury. The disposition the Bank of the United States, and in which the speaker was not wanting in the officer at the head of that Detook the great and true ground that the law and Treasupartment to apply the remedy, if it was in his power:”. ry Department, and not the bank, ought to be the true
This was the answer! a deplorable confession of the regulator of currency. Mr. B. only read the parts which condition to which the Federal Treasury had been reduwere applicable to the point in debate, namely, the legal ced by receiving State bank paper in payment of the currency of the United States, and the speedy and com federal revenues! That policy had begun under Generpulsory payment of the whole revenue in that currency. al Hamilton, and been folowed up by other Secretaries, Extract from Mr. Webster's speech on the Bank of the in violation of the laws and constitution, until nothing but United States Charler Bill, February, 1816.
inconvertible paper remained in the Treasury, and
lilde else in the country. All their fine phrases about “No nation had a better currency than the United specie-paying banks, and paper equivalent to specie, and States. There was no nation which had guarded its cur
no paper but what ihe collectors and depositories of the rency with more care; for the framers of the constitution, revenue would receive as cash-all these holiday phrases and those who enacted the early statutes on this subject bad ended, as such schemes must forever end, in the were hard money men; they had felt, and therefore duly eventual general use of paper, the eventual general ban. appreciated, the evils of a paper medium; they, there ishment of specie, and the eventual general stoppage of fore, sedulously guarded the currency of the United banks, and universal depreciation of paper money: This States from debasement. The legal currency of the Uni was the only answer which could be given in 1816, and ted States was gold and silver coin; this was a subject in
the only one that could be given until President Jackregard to which Congress bad run into no folly. son's measures for restoring the constitutional currency. Mr. W. declined occupying the time of the House to shall have raised that currency to seventy five millions of prove that there was a depreciation of the paper in cir- dollars. There is now specie enough in the country to culation; the legal standard of value was gold and silver; make all revenue payments in gold avid silver; and the the relation of paper to it proved its state, and the rate purchasers of the public land, speculators and bank borof its depreciation. Gold and silver currency, he said, rowers excepted, have found no difficulty in getting spewas the law of the land at home, and the law of the world cie to make iheir payınents. Land office returns prove abroad; there could, in the present state of the world, be this. The sum of $1,463,656 was paid into the land of no other currency. In consequence of the immense pa-fices, in gold and silver, from the 15th of August, when per issues having banished specie from circulation, the the order took effect, down to the middle of November, Government had been obliged, in direct violation of ex to which the returns were made up. This was a million isting statutes, to receive ihe amount of their taxes in and a half for three months, being at the rate of about six something which was not recognised by law as the mon millions per annum. This would buy near five millions ey of the country, and which was, in fact, greatly de of acres of land at the present minimum price; and five preciated.
millions of acres of public lands, in addition to other “ As to the evils of the present state of things, Mr. sources of supply, is double as much as the progressive W. admitted it in its fullest extent. If he was not mis selilement of the country has ever required.
Does the taken, there were some millions in the Treasury of pa- demand for this small sum-a sum which does not go out per which were nearly worihless, and were now wholly of the country, but enters immediately into general ciruseless to the Government, by which an actual loss of culation through the Government payments-cannot such considerable amount must certainly be sustained by the a demand be supplied out of the seventy-five millions in Treasury. This was an evil which ought to be met at the country, especially when four and a half millions once, because it would grow greater by indulgence. In were exported to foreign parts this very year, not to rethe end, the taxes must be paid in the legal money of turn again? of the seventy-five millions of specie in the the country, and the sooner that was brought about the country, the banks alune were computed by the Secrebetter.
if Congress were to tary of the Treasury to have forty-five millions in their pass forty statutes on the subject, he said they would not vaults. Can they not spare a few millions for the ser. make the law more conclusive than it now was, that vice of the country, especially when the measures of nothing sbould be received in payment of duties to the President Jackson's administration have increased their