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longs to itself.” Now, at length, the idea is presented to business, and not mine; I have a great repugnance to the us in a new aspect, emerging from the studied ambiguity exercise of doubtful powers, and still greater to interfeof "executive departments and executive branches," ring with you in the exercise of a power expressly conand we have it: “While the President anxiously wishes to ferred upon you by the law. Yet, in the very moment of abstain from the exercise of cloubtful powers, and to making these selldenying declarations, and acknowledg. avoid all interference with the rights and duties of others, ing the right of the Secretary to decide for himself, with. be must yet, with unshaken constancy, discharge his own out the least constraint, he unceremoniously dismisses the obligations.” So it would seem that the President has Secretary from office, because he will not sign the order exercised this power from the sheer necessity of the case for removing the deposites, and puts into his place a man --a case of great public emergency, that admitted of no who will. Here, sir, is a practical interpretation of the delay-and that he has assumed this high responsibility President's understanding of the right of a high officer to with the utmost pain and reluctance! To be sure, sir, the free exercise of his judgment, in the performance of every body knows that executive power, especially that the duties specifically assigned to him by law. I never high order of executive power which rises above the law, have read or heard of any thing that bore any resemblance is always assumed with great and unfeigned reluctance to the tissue of incoherent and contradictory declarations It would have been exceedingly painful to Cæsar to be contained in this executive manifesto, except in the inconstrained to assume the kingly office; but Cæsar put by stance of a judicial decision made by a Dutch judge in the crown. It was no less painful, as it would seem, to some of the interior towns of New York-Kinderhook, Richard the Third to accept the bloody crown of his perhaps of which I was informed by a traveller. It was murdered relatives, when urged upon him by the clamor a case involving the right of the free expression of opinof his own partisans, and by his own procurement; but, ion on political subjects, and it was strongly urged at the like the President, he could not resist the call of his coun bar that this right was secured by the constitution, and entrymen, saying, as Shakspeare las it:
titled the defendant to a verdict. The judge, who had “I am not made of stone,
determined to decide against the defendant, replied to But penetrable to your kind entreaties,
this argument with a most gracious and complacent air: Albeit against my conscience and my soul."
"O yaw! every man has a right, by de law, to dink for of all the difficulties I have ever encountered in de himself in dis rebublican country, profided he dinks mid ciphering any document, the greatest is that of ascertain- de cort.” And in like manner, the Secretary of the ing the ground upon which the power of removing the 'Treasury had a clear right, by the law, to think and de. deposites has been assumed by the President. What does cide for himself, provided he would only be so pliable as that document import? Does it claim the power of re- to think with the President. But not being possessed of moving the deposites as belonging to the President? Does that convenient pliability, he was dismissed from office, it admit the power to exist in the Secretary of the Treas. for not violating his conscience and betraying his trust. ury? Does it imply that the removal is the act of the Sir, it is too apparent to be disguised by these bungling President or of the Secretary? With the utmost exertion devices that the President of the United States is the of my humble powers of interpretation, I have been una- officer by whose sole and despotic will the deposites have ble to decide. I have been so much struck with the re- been removed from the Bank of the United States. He semblance between the ambiguous title to the crown set alone is the responsible agent in this transaction. It is an forth by Henry the Fourth of England, and that set up by utter perversion of language to say that the Secretary of the President to remove the public deposites, that I could the Treasury has removed the deposites. It is absolutely not resist the temptation of looking into Hume for the false; (I speak in a legal sense;) he had no more agency, record of the former :locument, preserved by the bisto- moral or legal, than the iron pen by which the order of rian as a rare specimen of the perspicuity with which men removal was written. Tbe Secretary of the Treasury respeak when they attempt to justify the usurpation of move the deposites! He refused to remove them! and has power. It is in these words:
paid the penalty of his honest independence, by being "In the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 1, 1 discarded from office. Henry of Lancaster, challenge this rewme of Ynglande, Is this to be gotten over and evaded by producing an and the crown, with all the inembres, and the appurte-order signed by the present Secretary of the Treasury, nances; also I that am descendit by right line of the bloce, and saying “ Here is proof conclusive that the removal coming from the Gude King Henry therde, and throge of the deposites is not the act of the President?” Shall that right that God of his grace hath sent me, with helpe we close our eyes to the true origin and character of this of Kyn and of my friendes to recover it; the which order? Shall we not look back beyond it to the circumrewme was in poynt to be ondone by defaut of govern- stances under which it was given, and the real agency by ance, and ondoying of the Gude laws.”
Here, sir, is the title of Henry ly, to the crown of In what manner, and for what purpose, was the present England, and there is the title of the President to the Secretary of the Treasury brought into office? Sir, he power of removing the deposites. I will not undertake came into office through a breach in the constitution; and to decide which is the more perspicuious document, but his very appointment was the means of violating the law will leave it to be decided by those who have more skill and the public faith. He was brought into his present in such comparisons than I have.
station to be the instrument of executive usurpation. Nor is this a mere matter of criticism. I am always And yet, sir, because his name is attached to the order, disposed to look with respect even upon unfounded pre-we are gravely told that the Secretary of the Treasury tensions to power, which are clearly and distinctly set removed the deposites! It is an insult to the common forth. But I confess that my alarm is greatly increased sense of the nation to say so. This officer was made to when power is usurped under such glosses and disguises do it by the President, who had no more right to remove as we find in the manifesto of the President. On reading the public treasure than I have. some parts of this document, one would suppose that no Sir, shall we be told that the President, from the bare man in the world could have more deference for the fact of his appointing men to office, has a right to assume opinion of the Secretary of the Treasury, or would be to himself all the powers conferred upon them by law? more unwilling to interfere in the slightest degree with He appoints the Federal judges. Let us suppose that the discharge of his official duties, than the President these judges hold their offices by the tonure of executive himself. He says to the Secretary, in substance: This, sir, pleasure; and that when some state prisoner should be is a duty which the law has assigned to you; it is yourlunder trial, the President should say to the presiding
judge-the chief justice, for example-“Condemn that(No creditor of the Government has had to wait one moman," or, as the tyrant Richard said, “I wish the bastards ment for his dues, so far as the bank has been concerned; dead.” If the chief justice should refuse to obey this and moreover, when he received his money, it was money. executive order, and claim the right of judging for him. God grant that I may be able to say so two years hence. self, would the President be authorized to dismiss bim Thus, sir, as it regards the operations of the bank, we from office? Would he have a right to tear off the er- are “in the full tide of successful experiment.” Our mine from his shoulders, and place it upon a mere instru- currency, from unsoundness and derangement, has attain. ment, who would do the deed of blood? Why not, sir? ed a degree of purity and uniformity unequalled by that It would be perfectly justifiable, according to the logic of any country in the known world of the same geographby which the present usurpation is attempted to be jus-ical extent. We have had to pay a mere nominal ex. tified.
change on the most distant commercial operations, and I will now proceed, sir, (supposing the deposites to have the fiscal operations of the Government have been car. been removed by the Secretary of the Treasury,) to ex- ried on without any expense at all. Thus, sir, with a amine the reasons he has submitted to Congress in justifi. solvent bank-The most solvent I might say in the world cation of the act. And, in the first place, without stop--a safe depository for the revenue, and a perfectly sound ping to weigh the reasons assigned, I affirm, that however and uniform currency-in a word, while in the enjoyment true in point of fact, they are not in the slightest degree of all that the heart could desire in these respects, what applicable to the question of removing the deposites. do we now witness? After two years of unremitting and They no more touch that question than if they related unexampled persecution of the bank by the Executive exclusively to the religious opinions of the bank directors. Government; after an unsuccessful attempt to destroy its I allude to the governing reasons, not to those that are credit by all manner of calumnies, which have recoiled thrown in as mere make-weights and after-thoughts. upon their authors; notwithstanding the bank has fulfilled The fact that the power of removing the deposites is to the very letter every stipulation contained in its charter; given to the Secretary of the Treasury, and not to the yet have the public funds of the country been arbitrarily President, evinces that it was the intention of Congress removed from Uris safe depository, where the law had that the removal should be made only for reasons con- placed them, by the President of the United States, withpected with the safety of the public treasury, or the fa- out a shadow of legal power; and that, sir, for no legal cility of the financial operations of the Government offence, but for opinion's sake. Yes, sir, in this land of Since the power is thus vested in the officer charged liberty, where all men were believed to enjoy the most with the administration of the finances, it would be ob.perfect and unrestricted freedom of opinion, and the viously transcending his power to exercise it for reasons right, too, to the unrestrained exercise of all the influence in no way connected with the operations of bis depart. they may choose to exert in political affairs, a great illm.ent. If it were sliown that the bank is not a safe de pos- stitution has been assailed, its stockholders and officers itory of the public treasure, that would be a conclusive disfranchised, and the property of widows and orpliang reason for removing them. If the bank had failed to trampled in the dust by the foot of a tyrant; and all this comply with the stipulations of the charter, in trans- for no other crime than the free exercise of political mitting the public moneys from one point of the Union opinion, and, if you please, the free exertion of political to another, when required by the Government to do influence. Pray, sir, what right has the President of the so, that would be a satisfactory reason. In fact, any United States to say that the stockholders of the bank, or failure on the part of the bank to comply with its en. its officers, shall not interfere in his election? I believe gagements to the Government would be a reason of that no portion of our fellow.citizens have so studiously more or less weight. Indeed, if it could be shown that abstained from meddling with party politics as the officers the Treasury could make an arrangement with the State of the bank. But supposing they had taken ever so banks more favorable to the Government than that sub- active a part even in nis election, has he any right to forsisting with the bank, even that might be an adequate bid it? Because a citizen has placed his capital in a bank, reason, if the bank would not serve the Government on is he, therefore, disfranchised? Shall be not dare to the same terms. Dut how stands the fact? Are the de- open his mouth in opposition to the election of the Presposites alleged to be unsafe in the bank? Why, sir, it ident, without incurring the guilt and the penalty of viois now admitted by all parties, even by the gentlenian lated majesty? Are we already in the reign of Tiberius? from New York, Mr. CAMBRELENG,) who prophesied so Even in his time, this would scarcely have amounted to dismally of coming disasters at the session before the last that high crime against majesty. This reason, so gravely
—and the Secretary of the Treasury himself-that the urged by the Secretary of the Treasury, following the deposites were perfectly safe in that institution. Not lead of the President, so far from having any weight with only so; but it seems that from baving been an insolvent the House, is of a nature to produce the strongest indig. concern, and an unsafe depository of ihe public funds, as nation. What is the plain English of it? What does the the Government strenuously endeavored to show at the President mean when he says that the bank must not in. last session, the bank now has too much specie in its terfere in his election, or attempt to acquire political vaults! Yes, sir, the charge now is, that this horrible power? Sir, I will tell you what he means. Does any monster is so unreasonably voracious of specie, as to have man suppose that if the bank had consented to be an accumulated more than ten millions in its vaults. It is, lexecutive partisan, and do whatever the administration then, a safe depository. Has it failed in any of its en- ordered, if it had put out Jonathan and put in John when gagements with the Government? Has it refused to commanded to do so, that we should have heard any obtransmit the public moneys wherever required for dis-jections to its exercise of political power? The Presbursement, promptly and without charge? Sir, I speak con- ident's meaning is perfectly plain. When he says the siderately when I say that there is not a Government on the bank agents must not interfere in elections, he means face of the earth, be the sphere of its operations large or that they must not oppose his election, but become the small, which has been so well served in its financial opera-/mere creatures and tools of the administration. tions as this Government has been by the bank. Look, sir, l This, sir, was the attempt made at an early period of at the astonishing fact, that, in the collection and disburse-Ithis administration—I do not say by the President, or by ment of our immense revenue for seventeen years, amount-lariy person then in the cabinet, but by those wbo were ing to four hundred and forty millions of dollars, not a very near the throne. The effort was to induce the bank dollar-no sir, not a single dollar--has been lost in the to discard the president of one of its branches, who was operations of collecting and disbursing! Nor is this all. confessedly competent to the discharge of all the duties
of his station, on the ground of his political opinions. asking authority for using them, than to give him permaThe bank resisted this attempt, as it ought to have done; nently this power of purchasing up the local banks, and and a vindictive war has been waged against it ever since through them controlling the whole community. Sir, we So far as the present board is concerned, (and I believe might resist the mercenaries, but it would be utterly im. those of most of the branches,) its members have care-l possible to resist such an insidious, all-pervading power as fully abstained from mingling, as partisans, in the political this. With twenty millions of public money, the Presicontentions of the country, because it was their interest to dent could get absolute control over some forty or fifty do so. They even made the attempt-a desperate one, local banks, judiciously selected with a view, not to the to be sure-to conciliate this administration, by scrupu- separation of the political and banking power-no, sir, but lously performing all their engagements with the Govern- with a view to a result precisely opposite. Every man ment, and even going beyond them. But it was not to in the least acquainted with the principles of human nabe conciliated by such means. The plans and purposes ture must know that the banks selected would be, or of certain individuals near the President had been thwart. would become, so many political partisans of those in ed; and the feelings of the President have been so art- power. Sir, we have some light thrown upon this subfully wrought upon, that the destruction of the bank has ject by our experience already. It is scarcely two months become his ruling passion, and he scems now to believe that since certain banks were selected to receive the deposites there is no nuisanice in the world that so much requires unlawfully removed from the Bank of the United States, to be exterminated as the Bank of the United States. and already llave we seen two of their officers in the po.
If I were to decide upon principle what should be the litical arena. course of a national bank in regard to the politics of the A president of one of these banks, in Baltimore, is becountry, I should say that it is desirable that the present, fore the public, in the newspapers, vindicating, as in and all future banks of a similar kind, should be habitu- duty bound, the Secretary of the Treasury; and I underally opposer to the Executive Government. It would stand another has pursued a similar course somewhere in be an admirable balance in our system, and would tend to Virginia. But we are assured by the President that the check the fearful tendency to executive encroachment. moment the officers of a deposite bank interfere with poliWe have nothing to fear from that operation. The real dan- tics, the deposites must be removed; yet I have heard of ger lies in an opposite direction. It is, that the President nothing yet of any such movement against these banks. should convert the bank into a mere instrument of his But I have no doubt that if they had dared to say a word will, and should wield its power, which has been repre- against the President, they would, before this time, have sented as so tremendous, in addition to the still more tre- received such a hint as was given to the late Secretary of mendous power which he derives from the patronage of the Treasury. such a Government, and that overwhelming tide of popu. Sir, I should be much more disposed to rely on the declarity which will generally follow the man who distributes laration of the President concerning his anxious desire that patronage.
to separate the banking and executive power, were it But, sir, the President seems to be fully aware of the not for the experience we have already had of the woful danger arising from this meretricious connexion between discrepancy between his profession and his practice. I the banking and the executive power of the country. In do not attribute this to any wiltul duplicity in the Presithe manifesto he very properly and wisely expresses him-dent. I believe, when he makes professions, he feels, for self thus: “It is the desire of the President that the con- the moment, as he speaks. But I concur in the opinion trol of the bank and the currency shall, as far as possible, expressed of the President by a gentleman who lately be entirely separated from the political power of the coun- held a distinguished place in his cabinet. I believe, with try." Never was there a more wise and patriotic sentiment, him, that the President “has no fixed principles; that he and the man who should act up to it would be richly enti- does not arrive at conclusions by the exercise of reason," tled to be President of the United States. There, sir, isthe but that "impulses and passions have ruled." precept. Now for the practice. The Presidendir.necms, What has been the difference, then, between the prois anxiously desirous that the control of the banks siould fessions and the practices of the President? I have heard be separated, as far as possible, from t discuitical power a great deal about the principles (I beg pardon for using of the country. And what has he donsuced onls, in effect, a word which I believe is nearly out of the fashion) upon said, that because the official agenie repune Bank of the which General Jackson came into power. And I have a United States have dared to oppose his election, the faith right, sir, to speak of these with some authority, for I of the nation shall not for a moment stand as an impedi- stood then in the midst-yes, sir, in the very brunt of the ment in the way of their condign punishment. And what then unequal contest, waged against “ principalities and more has he done! He has not only punished the Bank powers," when the miserable sycophants-yes, sir, the of the United States, for opinion's sake, by removing the miserable repliles, who have literally crawled in their own deposites, but he has set up the public treasure in the slime to the footstool of executive favor, stood then on political market to the highest bidder! Yes, sir, P sin- the side of those who still held patronage and power. cerely believe that the President of the United States is What, then, were the principles upon which the present doing that which, if not speedily arrested, will create a Chief Magistrate came into power? Why, sir, we had system of executive control, and bank dependance, that taken up the notion that the officers of the Federal Govwill subvert the liberties of the country. By way of sepernment had become a little too pragmatical in interfering arating the bank and currency from the political power with the political contests of the country, and that, as a of the country, and avoiding the corruption which such a matter of principle, they ought to be restrained from connexion must engender, we are to give to the Presi- using the influence of their officers in this way. And, acdent, or to his pliant instrument, the Secretary of the cordingly, the President, in his inaugural address, tolu Treasury, (and after what has occurred he will never the country that one of the crying sins of his predecessors want such an instrument,) some twenty millions of public had been, that they had permitted office-holders to intermoney to be distributed among the various local banks fere with popular elections. throughout the country, according to the complexion of Now, I put it to all men who have eyes and ears to see their political opinions. Sir, the danger of such a system and hear what has passed, and is passing, whether there admits of no exaggeration; and I speak not the language ever was a period since the formation of the Government, of exaggeration when I say that, as Goil is my judge, I when all the officers of the Executive Government, from would rather trust even General Jackson with 50,000 the highest to the lowest, approached so nearly to the mercenary soldiers, with the military bill of the last session llikeness of an army of trained mercenaries, moving at the
nod of their leader. Why, sir, no man can now breathe In every respect, the President has selected the most the air that surrounds the palace, who does not think pre- unfortunate period for this most pernicious interfecisely as the President thinks, and who will not consent rence with the banking operations and credit of the counto be docked or stretched until he fits the bed of Pro. try. We are told, however, that the measure was adoptcrustes, and his political opinions are brought to the true ed to enable the Secretary of the Treasury, by timely arexecutive dimensions. Upon this principle, officers have rangements with the State banks, to prepare a substitute been discarded, and offices filled; and this is the promised for the bills of the United States Bank, and to prevent reform. Yes, sir, this process of turping out officers who the derangement which would otherwise take place in are opposed to the administration, and putting in its par- the currency, at the expiration of its charter. Now, it is tisans, bas proceeded so far, that the very word reform obvious that the removal of the deposites at this time will has become synonymous with turning out an officer and not at all decrease the embarrassment which must take putting in a partisan.
place when the Bank of the United States calls in its debts The rule seems to be, to turn out all who have no oth- and winds up its concerns. The directors of the bank er merit than qualification for the office, and put in those understand their duty and interest well enough to know who will most obsequiously adopt the opinions, and bow that the Government deposites would be a part of the to the will of the President, or of those who control him. debt of the institution, for which they would make the Sir, it is notorious—it is known to the whole world—that same provision as for their other debts. The effect, therethe places of those who have been removed from office fore, of the removal now, was to produce all the present have been babitually filled by noisy and open-mou:hed pecuniary distress gratuitously, and in addition to that partisans of the administration, and very frequently by which must take place at the expiration of the bank inen who have no other merit. When, therefore, the charter. President tells us that he is anxious to separate the con. Nor is there any just foundation for the belief that the trol of the banks from the political power of the country, Secretary of the Treasury can provide any substitute for 1 must understand him to mean ibat he is anxious that the bills of the United States Bank, that will have a genthe control of the banks shall be in the hands of those eral circulation and credit throughout the Union. While who will not dare to oppose his administration.
that bank exists, as a check upon the excessive issues of I appeal to every man who has any knowledge of the the local banks, their paper will be good in their respectevents which are passing, whether, if we decide that the live spheres of circulation. To give them a credit and local banks shall be the depositories of the public reve-circulation beyond this, is what the Secretary of the nue, it will not become a matter of political bargaining Treasury never can accomplish. It is certain that the ar. between the Executive and those banks. All of us know rangements which he has made with the new deposite what is now going on. Indeed, I fear the time will never banks effect no such object. llave these banks stipulacome when the election of a President will not be the all-ted reciprocally to receive the bills of each other all over engrossing and paramount object of the leading and ac- the Union, in payment of the Government dues? No such tive politicians of the country. Do we not all know that promise is made, sir. On the contrary, they stipulate to the great question now at the bottom of all others is, who receive in deposite from the Government only such bills shall fill the throne when the present incumbent shall de- of the banks in their vicinity as are in good credit, and scend from it? It is a contest for the succession, and the usually received by them in the transactions of commerce. administration party is now notoriously organized, as Would a note of the deposite bank at Norfolk be recompletely as a party ever was organized, to insure the ceived from the Government debtors in Charleston? election of the heir apparent." Under this view of Why, sir, if you were to go with a note of the Metropothe subject, I cannot but advert to one of the reasons as- lis Bank to Richmond, you could not make it available, at signed for the removal of the deposites, viz: the appar, to pay a debt to the Government. proaching expiration of the bank charter. Now, if I am Such are the evils to which the community is already capable of reasoning at all, this is one of the very strong exposed and if the Bank of the United States vere de. est reasons why the President should have abstained from stropeu, we should soon have all the blessings of a depredepriving the bank of its chartered rights, by an arbitra- ciated currepih broken banks, and a rate of exchange ry exercise of power. In little more than two years, by averaging out inctha to ten per cent., operating as a tax the limitation of its charter, the bank will cease to have to that extent Are all the distant operations of comany influence or power. The principal and controlling merce, for the benefit of money changers. Neither is it objections urged by the President against the bank are true, sir, that the removal of the deposites to the local completely answered by this fact. if, as we are told, it banks has strengthened their credit, and enabled them to is a dangerous institution, and calculated to subvert the make a corresponding enlargement of their accommoda. liberties of the country, can any one suppose that it will tions to the community. Indeed, it may be well doubt. do this in two years? What, then, is it that the banked whether the credit even of the deposite banks has not could accomplish in this short period, which has produced been impaired by this proceeding.There is a rumor such apprehensions? I will tell you, sir; it may exert an that one of the deposite banks has requested the Secreinfluence in the election of the next President, unfavora- tary of the Treasury to restore the deposites to the United ble to the executive favorite. Hence, sir, the import- States Bank. I will not vouch for the fact, but it so well ance of selecting new depositories of the public revenue, corresponds with what I believe to be the true interest of and of organizing a system of political banking. And I the deposite banks, that I am the more inclined to give it will venture to predict, that in two years from this time, credit. I am well assured that, for the last ten years, if we do not arrest the proceeding, there will be a per- there has been nothing like the present pecuniary emfect organization of the deposite banks, from Maine to barrassment; and if the Bank of the United States were Louisiana, and the political and moneyed power of the to do what it has a right to do, and what, I believe, prucountry will be concentrated in the same place, and in the dence requires it to do-curtail its discounts in proporsame hands. All these banks (the result is inevitable) tion to the amount of the deposites removed from it, it is will be actuated by the same political spirit, governed by impossible to estimate the extent of the pressure upon the the same influence, and wielded by one man. Not only State banks, or to foresee the consequences. the twenty millions of public revenue, but a hundred mil. While on this branch of the subject, I will notice anJiuns of bank capital, will be thus wielded for political other of the arguments of the Secretary of the Treasury, purposes, to the corruption of the public morals, and the He says, in the profoundness of bis financial knowledge, subversion of the public liberty.
that one object he had in view in removing the deposites
at this time, was, to save the community from the injuri- commercial embarrassment--the bank that had on that ous effects which would otherwise result from the depre- very ground been charged with using its funds to control ciation of the notes of the Bank of the United States at the elections--that very bank is now denounced from the the expiration of its charter! Now, sir, can any thing same quarter, because, when the public deposites were surpass the extravagance of this notion and is it not amaz- about to be removed by a lawless exercise of power, it ing that such wretched absurdities should be gravely pre- did not extend its discounts upon the faith of those desented to Congress? Here, sir, is a bank not only sol-posites. Can any thing be more characteristic of the ca. vent by the adınission of the Secretary, but having in its pricious despotism exercised over the bank? The directvaults ten millions of specie, and a capacity of realizing ors of the bank would have deserved to be cashiered, if in sixty days a sufficient fund to redeem its whole circu- they had not provided for the approaching storm, by prelation; and yet we are told that, as the day approaches paring to deliver up the public deposites, instead of lendwhen these notes will be certainly redeemed by specie, if ing them out under the existing circumstances. demanded, they will depreciate in value, to the great loss The Secretary of the Treasury goes on to give a most of the holders. Why, sir, a common farmer would ridi- dismal account of the public distress produced by tbis uncule the nonsense of the man who should iell him that a reasonable conduct of the bank, alleging that the remonote held by him on his wealthy neighbor, and which val of the deposites became an imperious duty, as a means would be certainly paid when due, would become less of arresting it. I grant, sir, that if the domestic bills purvaluable at the moment of its payment, than it was when chased by the bank are fairly to be regarded as a part of it had two years to run.
its loans, the curtailment from August to October amountWho, sir, can really believe that the notes of the ed in the aggregate to a little more than four millions. bank will depreciate to the extent of one-fourth of one But the exchange business cannot with any propriety be per cent.? And yet this miserable pretext is thrown in so regarded. It does not consist of loans, but, as the term to palliate this pernicious and ruinous measure, which imports, it is the means of transferring funds from one must grently depreciate the value of every species of place to another. When a northern merchant or manuproperty throughout the country.
facturer purchases cotion at the South, he sells a bill to I will now proceed to consider the only substantial the bank payable at New York in ninety days, and, by ground assigned by the Secretary for the removal of the the time it falls due, the cotton is there, and sold to meet deposites. It is a ground which, if it were true in point it. The object of this transaction is to save the risk and of fact, would be entitled to the consideration of the trouble of transmitting money from the North to purchase House. It is alleged that the unusual and unnecessary the cotton. The bill is paid off in full at its maturity, as a curtailment of the Bank of the United States from the 1st matter of course, and upon no commercial principle of August till the 1st of October, had produced such ex- could it be regarded as analogous to demanding the paytensive embarrassment in the commercial community, as ment of a discounted note. But even if they were so reto render it absolutely necessary for him to act so prompt-garded, the whole amount of the curtailment would be Jy in the business, that he could not even wait until Con. only four millions, instead of six, as the Secretary states. gress should again be in session. If this were true-if it That is to say, the Government had evinced a determinacan be shown that the bank has pursued an unusual and tion to deprive the bank of eight millions of the capital unjustifiable course in curtailing its discounts to oppress upon which its discounts bad been based; and the bank, to the community, this would certainly be a reason of con- prepare for this contingency, bad reduced its discounts siderable weight, justifying the course pursued by the four millions of dollars about one-half of the extent to Secretary of the Treasury.
which is means were about to be diminished. But the But what are the facts: We are told that from the 1st bank has not only been thus curtailed in its banking canof August, to the 1st of October, the bank reduced its ital, but it has been subjected, in common with the State loans to the enormous amount of between six and seven banks, to all the panic and pressure prosluced by this millions of dollars; whereas, in truth, the bank in that rash and lawless act of the Government. Its reductions, period reduced its discounts only one million ten thou- therefore, so far from being excessive, are such as comsand dollars! I repeat, sir, that the discounts of the mon prudence rendered indispensable to its safety, and bank-I speak technically-were reduced only to this ex-are less than the act of the Government would seem to tent; and the whole amount of the reductions in all the require. But a further charge is brought against the operations of the bank, including the domestic bills pur- bank by the Secretary. It is, that it has adopted the beart. chased, (which are not loans,) was little more than four less and monstrous policy of accumulating specie in its millions of dollars; and yet we have been officially in- vaults to prepare itself for these hostile movements of the formed by the Secretary that the reductions of the bank, Government. It seems that between the 1st of August or, to rise his peculiar language, its collections from the and the 1st of October, its specie had increased $639,000, community," have amounted, in two months, to upwards and the Secretary “believes” it was drawn from the of six millions of dollars. It is worth while, sir, to look a State banks. And what proof does he adduce of this little more minutely into the process by which the Secre- fact? Why, sir, strange as it may appear, that the Bank tary reaches this financial result. The sum of $6,334,000, of the United States bad permitted the balances due set down as the precise amount of the curtailment, is to it by the State banks to increase from $368,000 to made up by adding to the discounts proper, and domestic $2,268,000, during the two months in which this operabills of exchange purchased, the increase of the public ton is alleged to have taken place. Such, sir, are the deposites, amounting to upwards of two millions. Now, proofs that the Bank of the United States has endeavored sir, whether we consider the Secretary as using the tech to drain the State banks of their specie. nical language of banking, or the language of common But even if the bank had curtailed its discounts to the sense, I cannot but regard this as a gross attempt to im- extent alleged, and that curtailment had produced all the pose upon the community. What does it amount to? That suffering experienced, the Executive Government, and the increase of the public deposites is equivalent to a re- not the bank, is responsible to the country for ihe calam
duction of the discounts of the bank. In other words, ity. I never have read a more unfair and jesuitical argu, the bank is condemnedíor not extending its discounts by ment than the one used by the Secretary to throw the
lending out the Government deposites, when the Govern- odium of his own conduct on the bank? It is well worth ment was notoriously making arrangements to remove perusal. these deposites. Yes, sir, the bank that has been del " The capacity of the bank, therefore, at this time, to nourced for extending its discounts at a period of great afford facilities to commerce, was not only equal, but