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II. or R. )
Bank of the United States.
[Dec. 18, 1833.
of the American people, that George Washington ap- dled, by the first and only attempt that has erer been proved a measure openly violating the constitution of the made to use the local banks as depositories of the publie country, and evidently calculated to overturn those insti. money! The list is before you, sir, and you can inspect tutions and that country which he and his compatriots in it at your leisure. Confronted with this scene of swinarms had waded through seas of blood to build up and es-aling upon the first experiment, what security have we tablish? Is this the language, or this the import of the for the second? Though the past is not always evidence language of the present day? And is this the return of what the future must be, yet, it is always conclusire which is due from us to that patriot who is cmphatically of what the future may be. Thus, reasoning from the styled in every land, in every nation, and by every party, past to the future, wliat is to be expected? What is the great Fatlier of American liberty? Sir, the name-the to become of the revenue which, by the duties and rememory of that distinguished patriot, whether for deeds straints that you impose on the pleasures and pursuits of of war or of civil rule, will not only be remembered your citizens, is drawn from their pockets, and transferwhen the ephemeral blaze of the popularity of a Jack-red to the Treasury? Let the experience of the memorason shall be extinguished, but they will be embalmed in ble five years of which I am speaking, answer the the tears of a nation's gratitude, when others shall be for- question. gotten, or, if remembered at all, remembered only for If the people can only be brought to understand this ihe public disorders they have caused, the public mis- matter, the delusion vanishes in a moment. Give them chiefs they have done. But, sir, in addition to this, in light and they will act. Let them once see that this rethe year 1806, I believe, we find Mr. Jefferson approving moval is only a sort of trick on them, which is to end in a a bill which established a branch of the mother bank at miserable waste of the public money, as in the instance New Orleans; which, according to my judgment, amount- alluded to, and, my word for it, neither a tyrant's chains ed to a recognition express, of the constitutionality of the nor a magician's wand, can restrain them from action. original charter. For, if that were forbidden by the con. But, sir, I must return to the constitutional question institution, the branches were all liable to the same excep: volved in this inquiry; and, in doing this, I present, as the tions. In the year 1811, this first charter expired; and next link in the chain of testimony, the decision of that such was even then the rage for experiment, that many tribunal which the constitution itself has erected for the of our wisest, best, and ablest statesmen were borne along settlement of just such questions as this. Need I say to by the popular current. A refusal, or at least a failure this House, that the Supreme Court of the nation has adto re-charter the bank, was the consequence; and from judicated on this subject? Are they, for the first time, to that period, 1811, to the year 1816, when the present be informed that that enlightened body of men, who are bank' was chartered, and when to the weight of testimony not surpassed, as jurists, by any body of men on the in favor of its constitutionality was added the respectable globe, have passed on this subject, and decided it favorname of James Madison, the Government moved on, ex-ably to the bank? This is the fact, sir; and yet how little perimenting in various ways; but in one to which it is my regard is paid to this decision by the Executive. The peculiar duty to invite the attention of the House: I ai. Judiciary department of the Government, in better days jude, Mr. Speaker, to the disposition which was made of of this republic, and by wiser men than the present Exthe public money when the country had no “ Bank of ecutive, was hailed as the proud, the glorious bulwark the United States to deposite it in.
thrown around the liberties of the people, but now, sir, I need not, I will not now stop, to present the list of lo- its authority, as well as our own, is usurperl, and its decal banks which were selected at that time, and in which cisions, like ours, are unceremoniously vetoed and tramit was deposited. My object will be attained by present. pled on. But, to this testimony in support of the constiing the result of the experiment; a result from which it tutionality of the bank, suffer me, sir, 1o add the names did seem to me, the Executive, the nation, and the rep. of all the other Presidents who have, from first to last, resentatives of the nation, might have deduced profitable presided over the destinies of this country; they have lessons of instruction. My worthy colleague (Mr. Allan] all concurred on this subject: nor should it be forgotten alluded to this subject a few days ago; but he was attend that the people of this once tranquil and happy nation ed by a misfortune which was common to us both-[the have sustained the same view, by a general acquiescence Speaker interposed, and he was prevented from going in it, for about forty-two years. Yet, with the testimo. into the subject.) But, I peculiarly thank that Providence ny which is borne by the signatures of a Washington, a wbich has at last placed it “ in order” to spread this Jefferson, a Madison, a Monroe, and the elder and youngfearful subject before the people. I say fearful, not with er Adams; with an adjudication of the Supreme Court, a view to the petty loss sustained by the Government, for an acquiescence of forty-two years on the part of an enI agree with the worthy gentleman from New York, (Mr. lightened community, it is left for Andrew Jackson to SELDEN,] in the opinion, that a loss of a million and a half, discover that the charter of the bank is unconstitutional! if it were even consumed in the flames, or buried in the And when the very act itself is calculated to cast the deep, could not materially affect this great nation—but, deepest reproach on the intelligence and integrity of sir, I say fearful, on account of the precedent, the princi- even a Washington--a nation's boastma world's admiple involved in that proceeding, and the fact that, ruin- ration, one man is found to step forward in the deep, the ous as it then proved to be, it is now again resorted to by desperate adventure, and exclaim, “I take the respona usurpation of power, and in contempt of public faith. sibility!" You have seen, Mr. Speaker, in the annual report of the I have no idea that this word “responsibility” has any Secretary of the Treasury, a small item of about one and terror for that man, whether it be used in reference either a balf millions of dollars, called unavailable funds. You to the rashness and impropriety of his acts, or the manner understand the character of this item, and from year to of executing them. But, sir, little as he and his friends year it occupies about the same place in the report. But, may suppose it; little as they may fear it, the oppression sir, do the great body of the unsuspecting people of this which they are bringing on ihe country, will soon speak country understand it? No, sir- bazard but little in a language which the people must understand. And then, the supposition that it is not understood by perhaps one if there remain even a germ of virtue unextinguished in of every hundred of our citizens. And must they not be the bosoms of our countrymen, the proud despot must astonished to learn, after what has so lately been done by be made to feel. him who has been called the “greatest and best," that But, sir, to pass from this constitutional objection to the this one million and five hundred thousand dollars is an bank, on which the President and his friends have so conamount out of which they, the people, have been swin- fidently relied, I come now to remark briefly on the evils
of a disordered state of the currency, and on that lan- around Kentucky, that, either from its contagious effects, guishing state of commerce which must follow the de. or from sympathy, she contracted it also, and, about the struction of the United States Bank. True it is that a year 1817, as a mere matter, sir, of self-defence, she eswithdrawal of the public deposites cannot have the ten- tablished within her borders forty-two independent banks, dency to destroy, or even materially to affect the bank. by legislative authority, to which was superadıled, still, a The President, or rather those who use him, have in smaller fry of banks, one of which was to be found at al. tended it as a punishment on the bank; and I am aston- most every retail store, tavern, and grog-shop throughout ished that they have been so blind as not to perceive that, the country. Soon, Mr. Speaker, we were presented instead of punishing the bank, they are punishing the un- with an abundant supply of money, such as it was. Our offending people. The withdrawal has already induced State was literally flooder with bank notes; the effect of the bank to curtail its accommodations, and to commence which was, the banishment of the precious metals from the operation of calling in its loans; and this process may circulation. They seemed to disdain a competition with be hastened by a perseverance in the mad course of those such a currency, and unwilling to be represented by it. in power. But who is to suffer by all this? When, of a Those banks, I have said, were called “independent sudden, the millions which are due to that institution are banks." This name originated, not in the mere fact that to be called in and withdrawn from circulation, how is its they had their birth in a land peculiarly devoted to that place to be supplied? And how is the shock to be sus sacred word, but somewhat, perhaps, in the fact, that they tained? Commerce, I insist, sir, must languish; and, when were as strictly, literally, and purely independent in a this is the case, agriculture languishes also. It never has memorable sense, and bumorous application of the term, been, it never can be, otherwise. There exists so close, as any institutions ever were, or ever will be. Yes, sir, so inseparable a connexion between the two, indeed, be they, with a very few honorable exceptions, among which tween all the diversified operations of our national indus. was found that located in the town in which I reside, were try, that each may be considered an important artery in independent" even in this that they had nothing to dethe great system; and when either is oppressed, the whole pend on. The natural, the inevitable consequence was, must suffer. But, sir, I should insult the good sense and ihat, after having diffused their poison through all the common experience of this body, were I to labor to en- veins and arteries of our trade and State commerce; after force so plain a proposition, as that the prosperity of the having entered into all our transactions, and unsettled, country must suffer deeply by a withdrawal of the advan- not alone every recollection of a sound currency, but also tages hitherto afforded by the United States Bank, unless every just conception of the fair value of property, both those advantages can be supplied from some other quar- real and personal, by a movement almost simultaneous, ter. And this, I know, is promised; but how is it to be there was one general explosion of those ephemerals, accomplished? We are told that it is to be done by rais- and thousands after thousands of our citizens were ining up, and liberally endowing, the local institutions, volved in ruin. The honest farmer, or tradesman, who whose notes are to take the place of those of the United bad exchanged the fruits of his industry, or even his land, States Bank. Hoy superlatively ridiculous is such a cal. his home, for this paper, was left to suffer, unregarded, if culation; and how shameful the deception which is thus not unpitied. The present Bank of the United States to be played off on the people. Sir, is it seriously be- was yet in its infancy, and its benefits bad scarcely then lieved that the notes of these floating institutions can ever been felt in the fertile valley of the West. But such, Mr. rise to that character and credit which have been attained Speaker, was the general pressure, such the general by those of the Bank of the United States? That their embarrassment in that patriotic State, that, in the fruitcredit can ever extend beyond their immediate vicinity- fulness of her invention, and to obtain a temporary rethe narrow circle within which their operations are con- lief from her burdens for it was truly nothing more-a fined? If so, who is it that so believes? Can be be point- resort was had to a “relief system,” which was followed ed out here! For the honor, the credit of this House, by internal commotion, and a distracting “old and new Mr. Speaker, I hope not. The constituents of other court" question, which proved peculiarly destructive of gentlemen may have faith in this system of petty banking; good feeling there, and of good faith in the solvency of but, sir, if they had been drilled in so severe a school of that State abroad. Sir, I even now address gentlemen beadversity on that subjecí, as have the people of Ken- longing to the great commercial cities of the country, tucky, sure I am they would turn from such a proposition whose experience on this subject will bear me out in the with horror and disgust. I speak of this matter, not from declaration, that, by this state of things in the West, in history, but from a personal knowledge of what I say. Kentucky particularly, the credit of that State, bold and The same causes will produce the same, or at least similar patriotic as she was known to be, and freely as she had effects, whether in the State of New York or the State of bled aroung the flag and standard of independence and Kentucky.. And if, from the history of Kentucky, her liberty, suffered beyond calculation; yes, sir, to an expast experience and difficulties, the members from New tent which it is painful for me even yet to reflect on, York and the residue of the States, can be shown that the much more so to be compelled to describe. But all this effect of the present measure, I mean the adoption of an came of disordered state of the currency, and a rage extensive system of local banking, must, of necessity, for local banking: I am persuaded, Mr. Speaker, that, prove not alone injurious, but ruinous; why, then, sir, in this history of what has happened to other States, they should also turn from it with horror and disgust, and gentlemen may read and see what may happen to their join us in the attempt to avert its evils. But to proceed own, similarly situated; and do they, can they desire to the view which I intend to present on this subject. thus to afflict their peaceful, their unoffending constiWe have already seen that, from 1811 to 1816, there was tuents, and their country? I trust not. I, at least, for no Bank of the United States; money was at best but one, cannot join. That State, which is endeared to scarce-and even that scarcity was greatly increased, par- me as the land of my birth, and which is now sound in ticularly westward, by the operations of the war. While purse and principles, has emerged from this gloomy conthis struggle, however, was going on, every other consid- dition, and never, no, never, sir, shall she again, by any eration was absorbed in the deep interest which it excited; vote or act of mine, be cursed with a recurrence of scenes and it was not until its close that ways and means, or rath- so afflicting. er mean ways, were devised to deluge the country with a With the notes or bills of the United States, we may spurious currency. A great scarcity of money every journey Eastward, Westward, to the North or the South'; where engenders a bank fever. So it was then, and so they are every where in demand, every where equal and malignant a form did it assume in Ohiu and other States uniform in their value. And this is not all. They are
H. or R.)
Bank of the United States.-National Currency.
(Dxe. 18, 1833.
every where equal to the amount of gold and silver case to be, that a single bank, which has blessed the counwhich is represented on their face. Can this, I ask try, is to be pulled down and destroyed, because it has again, be expected of any of these miserable local banks, refused to kneel before the shrine of power, and one constructed as they are on small capitals, and for local hundred, perhaps five hundred others to be raised up, purposes? No, sir, it cannot. And a reckless and mis- merely to subserve the purposes of ambition. And more guided President, a pliant Secretary of the Treasury, than this, a sacred charter is to be disregarded the Secand the whole host of hireling editors, may combine their retary is to seize on the deposites-nay, sir, to purchase efforts to puff them into importance; they may white- up all the State banks, if lie could act so corruptly--and wash them with resolutions, reports, manifestoes, and then the President is to seize them--the sword of the na. every thing else, yet will the country detect the imposi- tion in one hand, its purse in the other. Oh liberty! oh tion, and, sooner or later, frown the combination into my country! May that God who commanded that the tide contempt.
of victory should roll on the side of thy patriots, avert the But, sir, another objection to the United States Bank, evils which threaten thee! and one which demands my notice, is, that it wields a Mr. Speaker, many considerations might be urged in dangerous political power, and should, therefore, be de- favor of restoring the deposites. They were placed in stroyed. This objection is urged and relied on as one of the United States Bank by virtue of a solemn engagement the cardinal justifications for the removal of the public with Congress—they have been lawlessly deforced-and deposites. It is called a wicked “mammoth,” a great it is to be hoped this House will not justify so despotic a political machine, manufacturing small men into great proceeding. But, sir, I have done. I am sure that I have ones, and great men into very small ones. It is no part been honored by this House beyond any interest which of my character, Mr. Speaker, to disguise my feelings my desultory remarks could have excited, and it would or opinions on subjects, when I venture to discuss them, therefore bé criminal in me to trespass longer on a panor shall I do so on this. I believe, and I know I believe tience and politeness to which I feel so deeply indebted. it honestly, that the real objection to the bank consists, I leave other branches to be discussed, and other and not in the fact of its greatness and its power as a machine, more interesting considerations to be presented, by those but in the simple fact that “the powers that be," and es- who will follow me. So far as I am concerned, sir, the pecially “the powers that would be," have been unable, subject is submitted to the House. either by threats or promises, to subject this great mam. Mr. McDUFFIE, at the close of Mr. Carlton's speech, moth to their own purposes, or to render it subservient requested him to withdraw his motion, as a decision upon to their selfish views. Yes, sir, here lies the great secret it would, in some measure, forestall the consideration of at last; and over all denials, formal and official, I shall another motion now before the House. still entertain my own opinions of the fact. It has refu. Mr. CHILTON, with some complimentary remarks, sed to lend its aid, or employ its machinery, in the busi- consented, and his motion was withdrawn accordingly. ness of manufacturing great inen out of exceedingly small The memorial was then referred to the Committee of ones, and herein consists its great sin at last. A sore evil Ways and Means, and ordered to be printed. this doubtless is in the eyes of some men; but, in mine,
NATIONAL CURRENCY. this stern honesty of the bank constitutes its best, its brightest, its strongest recommendation. It is, however, Mr. EWING offered the following: proposed to destroy this fearful influence, as it is called; Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and Means be and let us now, for a moment, inquire how it is intended instructed to inquire into the expediency of authorizing a to be done.
national currency of thirty-five millions of dollars, to be Sir, I answer, by increasing it, at the least calculation, founded upon the faith of the United States, and to be one hundred fold. We have now one bank, and it is in- unconnected with, and independent of, all direct Executended to destroy that, by raising on its ruins perhaps one tive control, except as may be required for the nominahundred-perhaps five hundred more. If bank power tion of directors; said currency to be struck, perfected, and bank influence be a curse, as is contended, destroy and issued, in a department of the Mint of the United them all together. Put them all down, and let us return States, under regulations to secure an impartial distribution again to the good old state of things, when we had noth- thereof among the several States respectively, according ing but a metallic currency-no swindling shops--no rag to representative population, if the same be required, in money; But, if we are to continue banking, as the com- virtue of the plighted faith and resources of each State, mercial world seems to have determined we must, let us so requiring, to the United States, for its redemption, ac. then have the best bank, the best currency, the most uni- cording to the legal stipulation on its face, and the payform system that can be devised. And that system is the ment of such bonus to the Treasury of the United States, present bank. But, sir, it is vain-it is preposterous for to defray expenses and to guaranty ulterior responsibility, gentlemen to tell me that either the throne, or the power as may be prescribed. And said currency, so authorized behind the throne, is at all concerned for the existence and loaned, according to the prescribed ratio, to States of bank influence; they are concerned for the direction requiring its use, when loaned to the people through State which is to be given to that influence. They had sooner instrumentality, shall be received in payment of public see the country beset by five hundred pet banks, and have lands, and in payment of all other revenue accruing to the them continually worshipping before the throne, shouting General Government, and shall be obligatory upon the "hosannas” to him that sits thereon, and to the “heir state issuing the same, to redeem, on demand, at her office apparent,” than to tolerate the existence of one bank, of discount and deposite; which said State office, when with an influence (which, like a cabinet, may be called established, under State guarantee to loan and to redeem merely "a unit”) perfectly concentrated and not dis- said currency, shall be the place of deposite of all public persed. Say, sir, that the Bank of the United States is a money collected or belonging to the General Governdangerous institution at the centre. These mad folks ment, within the limits of the State where it exists. Also, propose to cure the evil by placing a worse, yes, an in- to inquire into the comparative expediency of establishing finitely worse institution, not only at the centre, but all a national bank based upon a specie capital, to be furnisharound the circumference. If a man's domicil were on ed by the several States, as sole stockholders thereof, on fire in the centre, would he attempt to extinguish the a scale proportionate to the representative population of flames by firing it in a hundred other places? Will this each, with a branch in each State; the institution to be reasoning do? It may do here, sir, but it will not satisfy regulated in strict accordance with uniform general rules the country. They will perceive the true secret in this adopted by Congress, under a directory of State appoint
Dec. 19, 1833.]
Rules of the House.—Removal of the Deposites.
[H. OF R.
ment, and each State to enjoy the benefit of a capital, and REMOVAL OF PUBLIC DEPOSITES. exercise a power in accordance with her vested interest The House resumed the consideration of the motion to therein. Said committee to report by bill or otherwise. refer the Secretary of the Treasury's report on the de.
Mr. McKIM moved to lay the resolution on the table--posites to the Committee of Ways and Means; and the but withdrew it at the request of the mover, who then, question being upon the motion of Mr. McDufrie to add in a short speech, (which we regret was delivered in so to the motion for reference the following instruction to low a tone of voice as to be but partially heard at the the committee: distance of the reporter's desk,) explained and supported “ With instructions to report a joint resolution, prothe resolution.
viding that the public revenue hereafter collected shall The resolution was agreed to.
be deposited in the Bank of the United States, in compli. The House then, on motion of Mr. STEWART, adance with the public faith, pledged by the charter of the journed.
Mr. McDUFFIE rose, and addressed the Chair as fol. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19.
Mr. Speaker: I shall now proceed, sir, to state the RULES OF THE HOUSE.
reasons which have induced me to submit the resolution Mr. WHITTLESEY called up the consideration of a just read. In strict justice, I believe that it is due to the resolution laid by him on the table yesterday, going to Bank of the United States, that the public money taken rescind so much of the rules of the House as permits the from its vaults should be restored; but as this would now admission of every person to the floor of the House, who add greatly to the embarrassment and distress of the comshall be introduced by the Speaker or by a member. The munity, I have confined my resolution to the revenue resolution was accordingly taken up for consideration, and hereafter to be collected, leaving it to the justice of Cona somewhat lively debate occurred.
gress to indemnify the bank for any loss it may sustain by Mr. ADAMS was opposed to the amendment, ch'efy the violation of its chartered rights. I believe that we on the ground that, as similar facilities were granted by are under the most solemn obligations to adopt this meas. European governments to our citizens when abroad, it ure-obligations founded in the highest considerations of would be gratifying that we should be able to reciprocate public justice, plighted faith, and political expediency, such attentions to strangers of respectability when visit. The whole public treasure of the United States bas ing our seat of Government.
been removed from the depository established by law, by Mr. HARDIN was constrained to advocate the amend- an arbitrary and lawless exercise of Executive power. I ment in self-defence. He had scarcely heard one word of affirm that the act has been done by the President of the what fell from the gentleman from Massachusetts, and was United States, not only without legal authority, but I actually obliged to consult the papers next morning to might almost say, in contempt of the authority of Condiscover what had been done in the House.
gress. Mr. WHITTLESEY explained his motives in offering We were told by the President, in his annual message the amendment, which had respect solely to the greater and told with great gravity-that the Secretary of the facility of doing the public business, which was now much Treasury had deemed it expedient to remove the deposinterrupted by the crowd of strangers admitted into the ites from the Bank of the United States, and that he, (the lobbies of this House.
President,) approving of the reasons of the Secretary, acMr. THOMAS, of Louisiana, said that he was at the quiesced in the measure. Now, sir, I do not mean to bottom of the whole affair; having, from his great fond-charge the President of the United States with stating to ness for the ladies, moved the clause in the rule which Congress what is not the fact according to his view of the was now proposed to be stricken out. The ladies were subject--but I undertake to assert broadly, that the Sec. now perfectly well accommodated in a new gallery pre retary of the 1'reasury did not remove the deposites, but pared expressly for their use, and for gentlemen accom- that, to all legal and rational intents and purposes, the repanying them; and he therefore hoped the amendment moval was made by the President of the United States, would prevail.
against the opinion and will of the officer to whom the Mr. ADAMS, after some further remarks in support of power of removal was intrusted by law. This, then, is bis view, moved to amend the amendment, 80 as to re- the great legal and constitutional question which we are tain the power in the Speaker to admit strangers at dis- now to determine. Who is it that has removed the pubcretion.
lic treasure from the depository established by law, and This, however, was negatired; and Mr. WuITTEBBET'S by what authority has the act been done? amendment was adopted.
I maintain that the President of the United States is the Mr. WILDE then moved further to amend the rule re- author of this whole proceeding, and shall proceed to specting admission, so as to strike out the words "treas. show that, notwithstanding the devices by which this as. urer, comptroller, register, auditor.”
sumption of power is covered over and disguised, he has Mr. WARD called on him for a reason why these offi- assumed the responsibility,” or more properly speakcers should be taken out of the rule.
ing, usurped the power, of removing the deposites. I Mr. WILDE said he should go into no discussion, on presume that, on this point at least, the word of the Presthe old maxim, “de minimis non curut lex;" and as to aident will be regarded by all parties as conclusive cridence reason why they should be taken out of the rule, it was of his agency in the business. Fortunately the author sufficient to say, that he never had been able to discover and the reasons of this measure are not left to conjecture, why they were ever put in.
but are openly disclosed to the world in a printed maniMr. WARD demanded that the question on Mr.WILDE's festo; and from what has occurred in the other branch of motion be taken by yeas and nays; but the House refused the Legislature, we are now authorized to consider that to order them.
manifesto as an official document, containing the reasons The question was then put; when Mr. SPEIGHT again on which the President of the United States—not the moved for the yeas and nays.
Secretary of the Treasury-ordered the removal of the The SPEAKER said the House had just refused to public deposites. From that document I propose to read order them.
a few sentences, which are perfectly conclusive of the Tellers were then demanded and ordered, and the agency of the President in this measure. After stating vote, thus taken, stood, yeas 92, nays 107.
the various reasons which rendered it, in his opinion, exSo the motion was lost.
pedient to remure the deposites, the President proceeds
H. OF R.)
Removal of the Deposites.
(Dec. 19, 1833.
to add, “From all these considerations, the President ceeding, he begs " bis cabinet to consider the measure as thinks that the State banks ought to be immediately em- his own." Not only so, sir, but the determination to reployed in the collection and disbursement of the public move the deposites was officially announced in the Gov. revenue, and the funds now in the Bank of the United ernment paper, three days before the late Secretary of States drawn out with all convenient despatch.” Then, the Treasury was removed from office, showing conclutowards the conclusion of the document, he says, “ The sively that the act was done not only without the concurPresident again repeats, that he begs his cabinet to con- rence, but against the opinion of the only person then in sider the proposed measure as his own, in support of existence who had a legal right to do it? I am aware that which he shall require no one of them to make a sacrifice it is argued, that although the Secretary of the Treasury of opinion or principle. Its responsibility has been as- is the officer selected by the law to exercise this high and sumed, after the most mature deliberation and reflection.” important power, under an express and direct responsiAnd, finally, we have his decree formally announced in bility to Congress; although the Treasury Department these imperative words: “Under these considerations, he was created as a distinct and independent department, feels that a measure so important to the American people and not, like the other departments, responsible to the cannot be commenced too soon; and he therefore names President; and although this very power of transferring the first day of October next, as a period proper for the the deposites is given in the bank charter to the Secretary change of the deposites, or sooner, provided the neces- of the Treasury, while another power is given to the sary arrangements with the State banks can be made." President; yet, because the Secretary of the Treasury is
Such, sir, is the authoritative language of the President a branch of the Executive department, it is contended of the United States, and I submit to any man capable of that the President has a right to make that officer the understanding the obvious import of plain words, to say mere ministerial agent of his will; to degrade him, in fact, whether the Chief Magistrate does not openly avow from the dignity of a free and responsible agent, into a while recognising the exclusive right of the Secretary of mere Executive instrument. Congress must surely have the Treasury—that he assumes the responsibility and had some purpose in conferring this power of changing usurps the power of removing the public deposites. the place of deposite upon the Secretary of the Treasury,
While the President begs his cabinet to consider the while a distinct power was conferred upon the President. measure as his own, assumes the responsibility exclusive- Why was not the power given at once to the President, ly to loimself, and actually pronounces the Executive if it was designed that he should exercise it? It was de order, it will be curious, if not instructive, to notice the nied upon the obvious principle, sir, that nothing can be extraordinary cieclarations and admissions by which this inore dangerous to public liberty, than to intrust the dangerous assumption of power is accompanied. From sword and the purse to the same bands. Under what the parts of the manifesto to which I will now ask the Government, having any just pretensions to freedom, have attention of the House, you will suppose that he would these two powers ever been united? In what case bas as soon submit to have his right arm struck off as to in- the King of England dared to venture upon such an asterfere with the free exercise of judgment by the Secre- sumption of prerogative? I very much question whether tary of the Treasury, in discharging a duty assigned to either the King of France, or the King of England, could him by the law. He says: “Far be it from him to expect at this day seize upon the public treasure under similar or require that any member of the cabinet should, at his circumstances, without being subject to a peril, which no request, order, or dictation, do any act which he believes President can encounter here—that of losing lis head. It unlawful, or in his conscience condemns.”
* has not been long since a King of France lost his crown, “In the remarks he has made on this all-important ques- and narrowly escaped the loss of his life, for a violation of tion, he trusts the Secretary of the Treasury will see only charter not more Aagrant than this we are considering. the frank and respectful declarations of the opinions which And what, pray, was the emergency that constrained the President has formed on a measure of great national the President, only sixty days before the meeting of Con. interest, deeply affecting the character and usefulness of gress, to interfere with the duties of another officer, and his administration; and not a spirit of dictation, which the assume a responsibility that did not belong to him? It President would be as careful to avoid as ready to resist.” would seem from the document to which i bave already In a preceding part of the document he had said: “The referred, that nothing could be more painful to the Presiexisting laws declare that the deposites of tlie money of dent than the necessity of exercising this power. We the United States, in places in which the bank and branch have here a striking exemplification of the extraordinary es thereof may be established, shall be made in the said degree in which public men deceive themselves, as well bank or the branches thereof, unless the Secretary of the as others, as to the motives by which they are actuated in Treasury shall otherwise order and direct, in which case assuming power, particularly the highest acts of executive the Secretary of the Treasury shall immediately lay before power.” Instances of the same reluctant assumption of Congress, if in session, and if not, immediately after the power are not rare in loistory. It is curious to read, as a commencement of the next session, the reason of such commentary on his proceedings, the strong terms in which order and direction. The power of the Secretary over the President regrets the necessity of doing what he could the deposites is unqualified. The provision that he shall have so easily avoided. “ The President would bave felt report his reasons to Congress is no limitation. Had it himself relieved from a heavy and painful responsibility, not been inserted, he would have been responsible to if in the charter of the bank, Congress had reserved to Congress, had he madle a removal for any other than good itself the power of directing, at its pleasure, the public reasons,”
Here, then, the President distinctly admits money to be elsewhere deposited, and had not devolved this power to be committed by the law to the Secretary that power exclusively"_not on the President--no, sir, of the Treasury, and that, too, under a direct responsi- but on one of the Executive departments!" And again: bility to Congress, the constitutional guardian of the pub-"Although, according to the frame and principle of our lic treas: ry. Yet, sir, in the very moment of making this Government, the decision would seem more properly to admission, and of disclaiming all intention to exercise the belong to the Legislative power,” very sound republican least control over the right of the Secretary of the Treas- doctrine this-"yet, as the law has imposed it" --not up. ury to form an independent judgment on a subject com- on the President, but “ upon the Executive depart. mitted to him by the law, what does the President do? ment, the duty ought to be faithfully and firmly met." He names the first day of October as the day on which It would ill become the Executive branch of the Gov. the deposites are to be removed. And, as if to remove ernment to shrink from any duty which the law imposes all doubt as to the author and true character of the pro-lupon it, and fix upon others the responsibility which be