« AnteriorContinuar »
Dec. 14, 1836.)
The Treasury Circulur.
condition of the public Treasury were known and un. lands $24,000,000-about the sum which I had supposed. derstood, that its distribution, in some form or other, And the footing of the column in the report of the Sec. would be demanded by the country. On the other hand, retary of the Treasury, which answers to iny estimate of it seems to have been determined by the party, and some $77,000,000, is $74,441,702, being two and a half milof those who act with it thoroughly, that the money lions less than I conjectured. More than this deficit, should remain where it was, in the deposite banks, so however, is accounted for by the fact that the bank that it could be wielded at pleasure by the Executive. stock which I had supposed would fall in, within the curHence the report of the Secretary of the Treasury made rent year, has not yet been sold, or the avails of it reto the two Houses of Congress on the 8th day of Decemceived into the Treasury. ber, 1835, (doc. 2, pige 2,) makes the aggregate bal When the true state of things became too obvious to ance in the Treasury, on the 1st day of January, 1836, be any longer successfully contested; when it became no more than $19,147,000; but now the controversy is apparent to every one here and to the public that there ended, he show's, in his report of the 6th of December, was a large amount of public money lying in the deposite 1836, that the true amount of that balance was banks, and likely to remain there for years, an injury 10 $26,749,803, making an error of $7,602,803. There the public, and beneficial to nobody, except bankers and enters into this, and thence arises the egregious error, brokers; and when no other means seemed to offer of an estimate of the receipts for the last quarter of the resisting a distribution of this fund, the country became then current year. After three quarters of that quarter suddenly threatened with a foreign war--and, at one had elapsed; after this was in the hands of inferior offi- time, the walls of our Capitol were actually threatened cers, and, in the ordinary course of business, within the with demolition by the great guns of the French navyknowledige of his several bureaus at Washington, re we were in imminent danger of invasion, and appropriaceipts within that quarter of about seven millions, he es tions to the amount of more than $80,000,000 were timates the aggregate receipts for the whole quarter at called for by gentlemen who are in favor of economy $1,950,000, whereas the true amount, as now reported, and reform, to enable the Executive to prepare for dewas $11,950,000, making a difference in the receipts of fence. But this spectre vanished. Then we that single quarter of seven millions. I think I am very threatened with Indian invasion and Indian massacre on safe in saying that this most extraordinary error never our whole Northwestern frontier. The squabble with a would have occurred in this report if it had been the miserable horde of naked savages in the swamps of Florwish of the Executive to parade before the nation a very , ida, which has engaged the attention of this warlike adprosperous state of the public Treasury, and a large re. ministration for the last year, was magnified into a genceipt for the year 1835. If nothing had been feared eral and formidable rising of all the tribes east of the about the land bill or distribution project, the estimate Rocky mountains, and military preparations were called for that quarter would probably have equalled the actual for that we might be in armor to do battle with them. receipts.
At last a report of the Secretary of War, sanctioned by The statement of the Secretary, however, showed a the President, put an end to all this absurdity; the de. surplus; but he proceeds to calculate it away in the year posite bill passed, after a desperate struggle, and then 1836. He conjeciures that the receipts of that year will came this measure-the Treasury order-intended to deamount to $19,750,000, and of this he allows the public stroy its effect. lands to produce $4,000,000. The whole receipt being This order grew out of the contest to which I have re. less, by about $4,000,000, than sufficient to sustain ferred. It was issued not by the alvice of Congress or the estimated expenses of the year. But in bis report of | under the sanction of any law. It was delayed until ConDecember 6, 1836, he gives the receipts of the same ess was fairly out of the city, and all possibility of interyear al $47,691,898; more, by about $28,000,000, than ference by legislation was removed, and then came forth bis estimate; and of this the public lan is yield this new and last expedient. It was known that these $24,000,000, six times the amount of that estimate. funds, received for public lands, had become a chief
These facis are striking; and if the errors originate in source of revenue, and it may have occurred to some mere mistake, which I am willing to believe, they indi- that the passage of a Treasury order of this kind would cate a most extraordinary degree of ignorance as to the have a tendency to embarrass the country; and as the bill business of the country, and the direction of its capital, for the regulation of the deposites had just passed, the or a mind easily biased and led into error by precon. public miglit be brought to believe that all the mischief ceived opinions.
occasioned by the order was the effect of the distribution But Senators, in the course of the debate which after- bill. It has, indeed, happened, that this scheme has wards sprung up on the land bill, went much farther failed; the public understand it righuy, but that was not than the secretary of the Treasury. They denied, and by any means certain at the time the measure was demost unequivocally, that there was any surplus, or that vised. It was not then foreseen that the people would there would be any: and, when some of us offered an as generally see through the contrivance as it has since estimate of what would be the receipts into the Treasury been found that they do. in the current year, we were told that it would be very There may have been various other motives which led difficult to fasten that estimate upon us at this session of to the measure. Many minds were probably to be con. Congress. I, however, for one, determined to relieve sulted, for it is not to be presumed ibat a step like this gentlemen from all trouble on that score, as far as re. was taken without consultation, and guided by the will garded myself. On the 15th of March, 1836, 1 submit of a single individual alorie. That is not the way in ted my estimate of the revenues and expenditures of the which these things are done. No doubt one effect hoped current year, in a speech which I caused to be printed for by some was, that a check would be given to the in pamphlet form. In this I estimated the receipts from sales of the public lands. The operation of the order customs for the year at
$19,000,000 would naturally be, to raise the price of land by raising The public lands at more than
20,000,000 | the price of the currency in which it was to be paid for. And I made the whole amount on hand, and
But, while this would be the effect on small buyers, received and receivable, in that year, in
those who purchased on a large scale would be enabled round numbers, without deducting expen.
to sell at an advance of ten or fifteen per cent. over what ditures.
77,000,000 would have been given if the United States lands had The customs, it seems, have produced $23,000,000, been open to purchasers in the ordinary way. Those which is $4,000,000 more than my estimate. The public I who had borrowed money of the deposite banks and paid
The Treasury Circular.
(Dec. 14, 1836.
it out for lands, would thus be enabled to make sale to cessive issues. The course of business with us has advantage, and by means of such sales make payment to changed of late. Four or five years ago we sent our the banks who found it necessary to call in their large stock alive on foot to market: our four went to New loans, in order to meet the provisions of the deposite bill. Orleans-litile or none of it went to the North. It then The order, therefore, was likely to operate to the com. took us from sixty to ninety days to get our returns. mon benefit of the deposite banks and the great land But now, since the opening of our canal, we have a dealers, while it counteracted the efforts of the obnox Northern as well as a Southern market; and, according ious deposite bill.
to the present course of trade, it takes the merchant There may have been yet another motive actuating from six to ten months to make his returns. He must some of those who devised this order. There was dan.
purchase his produce, let it lie by him till the canals ger that the deposite banks, when called upon to refund open, then ship to New York, and thus in about ten the public treasure, would be unable to do it: indeed, it monthis realize the proceeds. One thousand dollars was said on this floor that the immediate effect of the turned three times is the same in the business of the distribution bill would be to break those banks. Now country as three thousand turned but once. Of course, this Treasury order would operate to collect the specie as the time is three times longer, we want three times of the country into the land offices, whence it would im the amount of money to do the same business. This has mediately go into the deposite banks, and would prove rightly increased three-fold the amount of bank issues. an acceptable aid to them while making the transfers re. Besides, banks do not issue their noles upon the specie quired by law. These seem to me to have been among in their vaults—the notion is utterly fallacious: it is the the real motives which led to the adoption of that order. staple produce of the country which those bank notes
But one of the good effects which it was said this or purchase; it is the pork and four of the West, and the der would produce was, that it would prevent overissues cotton and sugar of the South; that is the true capital of the banks, especially in the West. . Such an opinion, on which the banks make these issues. The busines of however, if sincerely held, must have grown out of a the country could not be transacted if the issues of bank very narrow view of our commerce and currency. | paper were based on the amount of gold and silver There were no overissues, save by the deposite banks alone. Our banks at the West are solely commercial. only, and with respect to them the order would have no They make loans for no other purpose than purposes of such effect. They had made very great leans to land trade; at least if they know the purpose to which it is to speculators; but that business was cut off by the distribu. be applied. They do not knowingly loan their money tion bill. That bill straitened those banks, and forced for the purpose of purchasing public land, nor even for them to draw in their loans: and it was strongly resisted the purpose of building or other improvements. A man, on that very ground; so strongly, indeed, that it was not to be sure, may obtain a loan, and go and buy land with until within two days before the passage of the bill that the money, but that is not the course of our bank busithe opposition could be brought to believe that they ness. A merchant buys $100,000 worth of pork or four could succeed in passing it. Some of the deposite banks on acceptances in New York; he borrows the money to had in their vaults public money to the amount of three buy it; but it is the produce which is the capital that the times their nominal capital. The regular commerce and bank paper represents; it is that which pays the debt. business of the country did not employ much beyond None of our banks expect that gold and silver are to be that capital; the residue could only be applied to extra- | demanded for their notes. Drafts are demanded; these ordinary purposes. The progress of trade is steady. drafts meet the bills of exchange; and thus the whole The commerce of the country advances in a regular transaction is settled. And who calls this overtrading?
It would not absorb this sudden increase of It is not overtrading. It is apportioning bank issues to banking resources, but the extra capital found an outlet the demands of commerce, and nothing more. This in loans for the purpose of purchasing public land. currency answers all the purposes of gold and silver. Large amounts of specie were borrowed from the de Gold and silver are useless save so far as they represent posite banks and paid into the land offices, whence it exchanges. It was such overtrading, however, which was soon after returned to the banks, and loaned again the Treasury order put a stop to. It did stop it most for the same purpose. The distribution bill put an end effectually. No bank in the West dare now, or has to this: it went at once to cut up this business by the dared since the emanation of ibis order, to make any
The banks were required to pay back all the loans or any issues. On the contrary, the banks, as soon money deposited with them over and above three fourths as it appeared, all fortified themselves against appre. of the amount of their capital actually paid in; of course hended danger, and with one accord shut their doors their loans were at once cut short. The Treasury order, against all loans whatever. Nor dare they open them therefore, could not be required to do what was already again until that order shall be taken out of the way, undone by an act of Congress. The patient had already less, indeed, the course of business should unexpectedly been depleted: no sooner was the regular physician change. Commerce, as we all know, is one of ihe most gone, but then in comes the quack doctor, and at once ductile things in the world, and it may by circumstances cuts an artery, to make the remedy perfect.
be forced into a new channel; and when it has just It has been said in the President's message, and in the scooped out for itself a new course, then, I suppose, report of his Secretary, that all the banks of the country some other executive order will be thrown in to check were in the habit of making overissues of paper, and that or obstruct the smooth onward flow of the current. this Treasury order was needed as a check upon such is In my speech of the 151h of March last, to which I sues. It is a mere assumption; an entire mistake. Where have adverted, I explained the manner in which the is the evidence to prove it? I speak now, of course, of public funds were made to pay for the public landsthat part of the Union where I reside, and with wbich I performing a circuit from the deposite banks to the am best acquainted, and where this order has had its speculator; from him to the land office, and from the chief effect, and I say that the assertion is wholly un. land office to the deposite banks again-thus operating founded. I know, indeed, that the amount of banking the exchange of the public lands by millions of acres to capital bas been increased of late years: it may, some. Jarge purchasers for mere credit. I was denounced for limes, and in some places, have been too extensive, but this at the time; but the President has adopted (an hon. it never was so there. There never has been in that or which I duly appreciate) the very sentiment, and alpart of the Union too much banking capital. The banks most the language which I then used, in his recent meshave increased their issues, but they have not made ex. I sage; and he tells us that the Treasury order was intend.
Dec. 14, 1836.)
The Treasury Circular.
ed to remedy this evil-an evil which Congress had, in to equal rights under our constitution and laws. An at. fact, remedied effectually before the issuing of that or. tempt was made last winter to urge this same measure, der. It would have been a fortunate thing if the mischief or a part of it, upon Congress, but Congress refused its had been discovered sooner by the executive officers, assent, and now it is forced upon the people by execuand the abuse corrected before it became a subject of tive authority. No doubt it was supposed that the order investigation before Congress.
would be unpopular without this exception, and would Another object to be effected by this order is the put have an especially bad effect just before a presidential ting down a paper, and putting up a gold and silver cur election. The sale was therefore so limited in point of rency. This is its purpose, while its effect has been to time, as to continue just beyond the time of election, arid banish almost entirely gold and silver from among us. then to cease. Can any other reason be assigned for the No such thing is now to be heard of. You cannot, in particular date fired upon? There is a provision in the the West, unless it be in towns, get a five dollar bill constitution directly in the face of this order. Those who changed into specie in a ride of thirty miles; not that the drew up the order seemed to have been aware of it, and banks do not pay specie for their notes, but the effect to have avoided employing the same words as are used in on the community is the same as if they did not. In the article of the constitution. But it is not, therefore, consequence of this order, all purchasers of land ex any the less in violation of its provisions. The constituchange their notes for gold and silver. In the town in tion declares that the citizens of each of the United which I reside, there is a bank well provided with re. Slates shall enjoy all the privileges and immunities of sources, and within a circuit of thirty or forty miles the citizens of the several States; even the States them. there are six or seven more equally strong. Before the selves cannot discriminate. But this order gives to the issuing of this Treasury order, the paper of these banks citizens of one State a privilege which the citizens of no constituted the currency of that region of country; but, other State are allowed to enjoy-that of paying for pub. as if touched by the wand of an enchanter, that whole lic land in the ordinary currency of the cotintry. With amount of paper has vanished from circulation: not a some, this argument will have but little effect, especially dollar of it is to be seen. The men who had it carried as it is directed against an executive aci: bu: it is not, it to these banks to get gold and silver, and the banks, therefore, the less sound. But there is another which baving reedeemed it, shut it up in their vaults, where it will find more favor when that will fail. The measure remains to guard their gold. There are still some notes is unpopular; as far as it has been felt and understood, in circulation, but they are noles on remote and incon. it is decidedly unpopular. It is universally condemned venient points-on distant banks in Ohio, on Western throughout the West, at least as far as my acquaintance Pennsylvania, Western New York, Michigan and Vir extends. The very discrimination between citizens of ginia. Our local banks used to receive their bills as cash, different States is unpopular, as it is unconstitutional and and, as the course of business permitted, send them unjust. It is easy, by a familiar exatiple, to show the bome for exchange; but now they husband their own effect of this branch of the order, how it works in prac. notes, and pay them out, so that paper of this kind con tice, and how it will s'rike the minds of plain common stitutes nearly all our circulation, and they are so mixed men. Two neighbors, farmers, whose lands are separa. in small parcels on each bank that it would cost nearly ted by the boundary line between Ohio and Indiana, each half their value to send them home and cash them. have sons for whom they wish to purchase land, and they This is our gold and silver currency. The amount of set out together on a journey into the northwest of India our produce last year was unusually great, and our sup ana to make their purchases. They buy side by side, ply of pork this year, consequent upon it, is very large and enter the land in the same office; they are both citiThere is now a great demand in the Eastern cities for all zens of the United States, and it is the United States that we have to dispose of: our merchants are well inclined sells the land. Yet one of them, he who lives on the to purchase, but they cannot do it; they deal more or Indiana side, is allowed to pay in the ordinary currency less in borrowed capital, and our banks dare not lend of the country, while the other must pay in gold and them. They have tried to get money at the East, but silver. Yet their fences join; they can see the smoke of the Eastern banks would not loan, because their paper each other's chimneys, and nothing separates them but would immediately return upon them. Some of our ad. an imaginary line. Our Western people cannot perventurous men thought of a third expedient: they would ceive the justice of this. They do not understand it, go to an intermediate point in Western New York, and they do not like it; the thing is generally unpopular. where no trade centres, and try to get a loan there, But now, sir, there is an expedient for getting rid of because it would be so long before the money would the effect of this order, which ordinary plain people do make its way to the Eastern cities, and from thence re. not think of. It is the easiest thing in the world for gen. turn to the bank that loaned it. The plan has been tried, tlemen who understand how to manage it. There never and I am told it has to some extent succeeded. I have was any thing more happily contrived to enable those myself seen bundles of notes issued in Michigan, and who are shrewd and experienced in business, to get a payable somewhere in the State of New York, making selection of the public lands, and all for paper. Suppose their way as welcome strangers among us; and such is one of these gentlemen wishes to purchase ten thousand the sort of currency with which we are obliged to do acres of land; he provides himself with no cart to lug business; such has been the effect of tampering with the about gold and silver to make the purchase, indeed, currency by individuals who know nothing of the matter. scorns that cumbrous kind of machinery; he takes an Currency is a thing which admirably regulates itself, easier road. He just goes to three times as many of the which our merchants admirably regulate; but the hand neighbors as he wants thousands of acres of land, and he of ignorance must not touch it. The interference of such promises to treat them for the mere use of their names. regulators is like the effort of some rude giant to inove That, you know, costs them nothing, and so A, B, and the wheels of a machine which he does not understand: C, bonafide residents of the State in which the land lies the only effect is to ruin the engine, or give it a motion which he wishes to enter, authorize him, under their directly the contrary of that which was intended. hand, to enter land in their names. He makes his entry,
Another alleged object aimed at by the order is to pays for it in paper, and then gets the whole transferred check speculation. And here we find a saving provision to himself. This gentleman carried no specie; he did in favor of residents within the State, and of actual set. nothing to help the circulation of gold and silver, and tlers. Thus a discrimination is made by the Executive yet very snugly gets possession, hiniself, of all the land between different classes of American citizens, entitled | he wants. The Treasury order is the very thing for
The Treasury Circular.
(Dec. 14, 1836.
him, wbile it keeps down the plain dull man that would prices. Nor is it owing to any deranged or diseased state otherwise be his competitor. Thus genius is patronized, of the currency, or of commerce; these prices, in the and a gold currency introduced.
general, will be maintained; for the price in this country But this is not all. There is yet another way of eva must at last be regulated by the price at which grain can ding the order; and it is provided for in the order itself. be imported from the Ballic and the Black Sea. And, Any man may make a deposite of money in the Treasury indeed, we at the West have reason to complain of the of ihe United States, and a certificate of sucli deposite is prices we get in comparison with those which our staples receivable at the land office as so much cash. It is said, command in the Eastern cities. I have lately seen it indeed, that this is according to a law of Congress. But stated that pork is selling at Montreal at $30 per barrel, what is the provision of that law? It is, that no man and at about the same rate in Boston; while in the West shall obtain a certificate for land till he pays the price we get what is equivalent to about ten or twelve dollars of it into the office of a receiver, or into the Treasury of per barrel. the United States. My construction of this law is, that. (Mr. King, of Alabama, here stated that the price was the individual must bave paid for that particular section $30 in Mobile.] of land, and not merely have made a general deposite of The price, I am sure, is decidedly too low with us. money. This, however, bas been overlooked, and the And now, sir, believing as I do that the Treasury order ordinary course is to deposite a sum of money in one of in question has been productive of all the effects I have the deposite banks; the certificate of which is sent to slated, I hold that it ought to be rescinded, were it as a the Treasury, and then a Treasury certificale is issued mere matter of policy. I am pursuaded that its rescifor the same amount; and I am told that individuals have sion would soon restore the confidence of the people of shaved honest purchasers on these certificates to the the West, now so extensively impaired. We ought to amount of fifteen or twenty per cent. It took them prevent the improper discrimination between specie and about a month to get this thing well into operation. But notes payable in specie. It would enable our banks to within tbe last two months there has been about $200,000 make loans to the amount of our produce, and no more. of this kind of specie capital created for the occasion. Those institutions with us are skilful and cautious; they This is nothing but a fair sample of the practical effect make no loans for the purchase of public lands, nor for of a! attempts to juggle with the public money: The any object which will prevent its speedy return. result always is the injury of ordinary industrious citizens, word, they refuse permanent loans of every kind. Sir, and the enriching and aggrandizing of those who are al. I would prevent the Secretary of the Treasury, or any ready rich, and who are keen-sighted and sagacious. other Executive officer, from making an unwarrantable
It has been said, and it is a familiar answer to objec. | discrimination between different classes of the citizens of tions such as I bave now urged, that, not withstanding all the United States. There should be no such discriminathese difficulties, the price of produce is bigli, and that, tion. We have no right to set up the public property therefore, what has been done to the currency has been to sale, and then say to A or B this is the price if your for the benefit of the country. It is true produce is business is so and so, or if your politics are of this comhigh, and what is the reason? We know in this country, plexion; but if not, you must pay a higher price. It is from the papers, the wants of all parts of our extended against the letter as well as the spirit of the constilution. community, and it has happened partly owing to a failure I would abolish it. It ought to be abolished. It is pecu. of crops, and partly from other causes, that grain is so liarly oppressive on the people of the West. scarce and in very great demand east of the mountains. If there is to be a specie currency, why not try the It is nominally high with us in the West, but not as high experiment in our Eastern cities? Surely it would be as it should be in proportion to other things, because our more convenient there. A man in our Western region, traders cannot gei funds to buy withi, and competition in if he selects a tract of land from the public domain, but the purchase is put down. As the causes of these high is obliged to go away to get the money to pay for his prices are not generally understood, I will briefly sketch purchase, loses his opportunity. His footsteps are an outline of my views on that subject. There is an im- iracked by the speculator or his agent, and the land is pression gone abroad that the people of the United Sates gone. 11 he would secure his section, he must carry his ought, of course, to be exporters of grain. But never specie in his saddle-bags, and take a pistol in his hand to was there a more incorrect idea. It is against the ordi defend himself from robbers. Is it in this way you would nances of nature, and the whole course of human things. compel your citizens to seek out their home upon the We never can be exporters of grain unless there be war public domain? As soon as he finds a spot to suit him, or famine in Europe. A great part of Europe, the north he must carry away the specie to a land office; and when. part of Asia, the north coast of Africa, Egypt, and the ever a large quantity accumulates there, an ox-cart, with islands in the Mediterranean are all grain-growing coun. a guard, musi be employed to bring it back to the spot tries. Grain is their great commodity: England, too, is whence he got it. This, sir, has been all the specie cuira rich grain country': All these regions of the earth will rency of which we have heard so much. This is the acsupply their own demands for bread, and are destined to tive circulation of the precious metals. This is the way do so, while a large part of their clothing will be drawn in which the Secretary makes up his statements on that from our great South.
subject. The money is carried one way in saddle-bags, We have at the North populous cities, extensive manu and the other way in a cart. I would put an end to this factories; in addi'ion to which, there is our immense ma. state of things. I would try the hard money experiment, rine, our navy, our merchanımen, our fisbing vessels, all if it must be tried, on the seaboard, where it is easier to to be supplied froin our own grain region. Yet we are try it. As long as your land is offered at sale, it is law. seldom in the habit of reflecting ibat it is but a belt of ful for all your citizens to buy it. You have no right to about four or five degrees of latitude which, in this disfranchise any of them, under the plea of compelling country, produces wheat advantageously. This com them to get up a specie circulation. paratively small portion of our country is relied on to It is said by the Secretary that he does not possess the supply our whole northern continent, the West India same power over the deposite banks since the distribu. islands, and South America, all of which are, in this point ring act which he did before. He succeeded, he tells of view, entirely dependent upon us. Is it astonishing us, in keeping down the rate of the exchanges until the that the price of wheat should be high? It is no Goy passage of that law. Now, sir, there is one species of ernmental arrangement. It is not Ilie skill of any ad. control, which, it the Secretary do not possess, Congress ministration which has given to our farmers llic existing I dues, and ought to exercise it. It is said that there are
Duc. 15, 1836.]
Statements of Commerce and Navigation.
several of the deposite banks who have millions of the off” until the last moment. He repeated, that if the public treasure in their vaults, and who use it, by their appropriations had been made in time to be used, which officers or agents, in shaving upon notes or exchanges. would bave been done had it not been for the extraordi. They take advantage of the difficulty of the times, and nary organization of the committees of that body, by virtually act as brokers, thus keeping up the pressure which they were controlled by those gentlemen in favor and embarrassing the public, while they make enormous of surpluses, the case would have been far different profits out of the public money. I would institute an from what it was. There would not have been so much inquiry into this matter, and if banks are guilty of prac- surplus to talk of, and there would have been no occatices of this kind, I would at least leave them to do it sion for this new application of the term to an unexwith their own money, and not with the money of the pended balance. It was a new idea to prevent the appeople of the United States.
propriations from being passed; and, instead of letting Mr. BENTON observed that he should want to make ihe money remain for iwo years before it could be call. some exposition of facts, wbich he thought would go far ed a surplus, as under the usage of the former law, to imto invalidate the statements made respecting the pre. mediately seize upon it for distribution. vious effects of this Treasury order, and to demonstrate We have often (said Mr. B.) had fisteen or sixteen clearly what had been its practical and beneficial results. millions of surplus in the Bank of the United States, For this purpose he should want a little more time, in and not one word was said about it; and if the appropriaorder to get the returns, and such other documentary tions of the last session had been made in time to be used, evidence as it would be necessary for him to refer to. (and there were many, too, that had been given up by He should show then to the Senate, far more satisfac. their supporters,) there would be no more surplus in the torily by facts, than the gentleman from Ohio had been Treasury now than bad frequently been in the Bank of able to do by argument, why the banks bad been pre- the United States, without causing excitement or alarm. vented from extending the usual accommodations to the Mr. B. only rose to say that he concurred with the Senapublic. While on his feet, he would say that be en. tor from Obio in his construction of the law as to Treastirely concurred with the Senator from Ohio in his con ury certificates of deposite, and to state what he had struction of the law as respected payments into the pub. heard, that the officers of the Government had given it lic Treasury, for the purchase of lands. It had been the same construction. What he had further to say was, bis'opinion for sixteen or seventeen years past, that the that some disposition of this resolution of the Senator law ought to be so construed, though it had remained from Ohio should be made, which would permil the orbut as a dead letter on the statute book. He remember. dinary business of the Senate to go on without interruped that some years ago a register of a land office in tion, and not to have the important bills attending the Missouri, construing the act as he and the Senator from commencement of the session blocked out by a protract. Ohio did, refused to receive from a purchaser a Treas. ed debate. He wished that the resolution might be laid ury certificate of deposite, and he (Mr. B.) was applied on the table for the present, to give him time to refer to to by the individual to get the money returned to him. the documents necessary to be used in reply to the Sen
He had, however, heard it said since his arrival here, ator, and that the ordinary business of the Senate might (though he did not get his information from any officer of the Government,) that as soon as the attention of the Mr. WEBSTER expressed his assent to a postponeSecretary was turned to the law, he bad given it the ment of the discussion, but hoped it would not extend same construction that had been given to it by himself beyond the residue of the week. He knew of no suband the Senator from Ohio.
ject more important, or in which the public mind seemWhile up, he would remark, that as to this large ed at this moment to take a deeper interest. The cone amount of surplus on hand to distribute, which showed dition of the country in reference to the currency was that there was so great a mistake on the part of those admitted on all hands to be greatly deranged. A state who said that there would be none, (though they said of things, indeed, existed which was anomalous and unso with the necessary qualifications, that the appropria- precedented; for while the price of all sorts of commodtions should be made in time to be used,) yet when they ities was unusually bigh, there existed at the same mocame to look at the President's message, they found ment a scarcity of money. Such a state of the pecuni. that of this large surplus, fifteen or sixteen millions of ary interests of the country called for investigation, and it was appropriated money, which could not be used, demanded the prompt attention of Congress. He con. because the year was half gone before the appropria cluded by expressing a hope that Monday might be fixed tions were made. This (said Mr. B.) we represented upon for the further consideration of the resolution. so often last session on this floor, that if walls had tongues, Mr. EWING bad no objections to such an arrangeas they are said to have ears, they would again and ment, though he was opposed to any unnecessary delay. again reverberate the warning. But (said Mr. B.) the He said a few words in reply to some of the remarks committees were so organized, being controlled by which had fallen from Mr. GRUNDY, disclaiming all gentlemen who were in favor of distribution, and con agency in retarding the appropriations for the purpose sequently anxious for surpluses, that the necessary ap- of creating a surplus, &c. but reserved himself for the propriations were “slaved off,” sor the purpose of ma fuller discussion of the subject. king them.
The resolution was then postponed to and made the In this way they might have surpluses in abundance at order of the day for Monday. every session, and the whole revenue mighi, by keeping STATEMENTS OF COMMERCE AND NAVIGAoff the appropriations till too late to be used, be con.
TION. verted into surplus. It was almost incredible (Mr. B. said) to see ihe manner in which business was procras
The joint resolution introduced some days ago by Mr. tinated at the last session. These few leaves, said Mr.
Benton, providing for the earlier preparation of the an. B., (turning over a few pages of the acts,) contain
nual report on commerce arid navigation was read a
third time, and passed. every private act passed by Congress at the last session. They were Mr. Whiltlesey's acts—acts sent up by the
When the Senate adjourned. industry of one single man in the other flouse. Here, said Mr. B., (turning again to the volume,) are the re
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15. mainder of the acts; and when you come to look at them, Mr. RIVES presented the credentials of Richard E. you will find that the appropriation bills were “stayed PANKER, Senator elect from Virginia; and