Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

H. OF R.]

Removal of the Deposites.

(Jan. 15, 1834.

correct his acts if they were erroneous? Again, sir; why bank. Without the pledge, (Congress having, as is ad. was any power given to the Secretary of the Treasury mitted by the Secretary, a controlling power over the over the deposites! It was, sir, for the same reason that deposites,) when the deposites were once placed in the we are sent here, which is, not because the people can- bank by order of Congress, they could only be removed not manage their own concerns, or are less competent by a law passed by the concurrence of both Houses, and to do so than we are, but because it is not convenient for approved by the President; but the pledge being de. them to do so. And, for similar reasons, were certain manded and given, the security of the bank is reduced to powers confided to the Secretary of the Treasury over one-third of what it was, and the President alone may the deposites. Congress is not always in session, and, remove the deposites of his own accord. If any man had when it is, it is impossible that it can act with that celeri- predicted that such a construction would have been pat ty which exigencies might require; it was therefore ne- upon the charter at the time it was created, it would cessary to appoint an agent to act for it in such emergen- have been regarded as absurd; and, if the bank had cies; who was never expected to exercise his power ex- known that such was to be the interpretation of the cept in cases which would not admit of delay, and, even pledge, it would have been rejected with disdain. The then, under a strict responsibility to Congress, and to idea of a pledge binding upon the three branches of the Congress alone. The Secretary is, therefore, mistaken Government collectively, but voidable at pleasure by one in supposing that his power over the deposites is a part of of them, is in itself too monstrous an absurdity to deserve the executive duties of his office. Congress never intended the least respect. Does any man believe that the bank any thing of the kind. He is, in truth, but the mere agent would ever bare consented to give a bonus of $1,500,000 of Congress, or the trustee of Congress and the bank. to the United States, for the privilege of retaining the And I understand, sir, that, among individuals, it is well deposites in her vaults, if it had been understood that the understood that the parties to a contract may not only continuance of that privilege was to depend upon the alter it or abolish it at pleasure, but they have an unlimited mere caprice or whiin of the Secretary of the Treasury, control over the acts of their trustee. We have, how- or the Executive? Who would ever have subscribed to ever, a novel case before us--one in which a trustee not a bank which had agreed to give one million and a half of only disregards the expressed wishes of the parties, and dollars for such a precarious advantage! No man in his acts in avowed opposition to the wish of one of the parties, senses would have done so, sir. and refuses to wait to ascertain the wishes of the other; If the construction put upon the bank charter by the but actually denies the power to control him to be in Secretary of the Treasury be just-if bis power to remove either or both of the parties. He takes away the depos- the deposites was not dependant in any degree upon ites from the bank, and now denies our right to interfere their being safe in the United States Bank-and he might in the matter.

at any time, as he asserts, remove the deposites if, in his But, Mr. Speaker, the most extraordinary position taken opinion, the public convenience or interest would in any by the Secretary in his report is this: tbat Congress hav. degree be promoted by it, without any breach of faith or ing made a contract with the bank, by which the depos- moral impropriety; then it would appear to have been ites were to remain in the bank until the expiration of its bis duty to have removed the deposites the moment charter, they cannot pass a law for removing the depos- the bonus of a million and a half of dollars was paid up, ites, without breaking their pledge given to the bank, and and to have struck another bargain for a like sum with a breach of faith; but that be, the agent of the Govern- some of the State banks, and to have continued the same ment, may remove the deposites at pleasure, without traffic as long as it proved profitable, inasmuch as it there being any breach of faith committed. Now, sir, 1 would undoubtedly have been convenient to have as much have always understood it to be a sound principle, that money as possible to apply to the payment of the pubwhat a man does by his agent he does by himself; and lic debt. Such conduct, to be sure, between man and that any act which would amount to a fraud, if done by man, would be regarded with abhorrence, as downright himself in person, is equally a fraud if done through the swindling; but, according to the casuistry of the Secre. instrumentality of an agent. The same principle applies tary of the Treasury, there would be nothing improper to Governments in their intercourse with each other, and in such a course, if pursued by the Government towards in their transactions with individuals and corporations. the bank. I had always supposed that what the plain Another very extraordinary position taken by the Secreta- dictates of common honesty required of men, in their inry, nearly akin to the preceding one, is, that the Govern. tercourse with each otber, was not less obligatory on ment has, by its compact, deprived itself of the power to Governments and public bodies; and that what would remove the deposites from the United States Bank, with. be criminal in an individual, could not be justified in a out a violation of a pledge given, although every depart-nation. ment of the Government should be unanimous in passing I shall now call the attention of the House to some pasa law for that purpose, for the best possible reasons; and sages in this report, and to some facts which go to prove yet one of these departments may remove them for no that the Secretary of the Treasury has actually underreason at all, without any breach of a pledge given, or taken to revise and to repeal acts passed by the Congress the least impropriety. In other words, the entire Gov- of the United States, and to legislate for the nation. He ernment, consisting of the House of Representatives, the lays down two propositions, near the commencement of Senate, and the President, can in no case cause the depos- his report, one of which is in these words: ites to be removed; but the President bimself may do it “ That the power reserved to the Secretary of the at pleasure, without any injustice to the bank. It would, Treasury does not depend for its exercise merely on the according to this mode of reasoning, be a fraud in the safety of the public money in the hands of the bank, nor President to sanction a law for removing the deposites, upon the fidelity with which it bas conducted itself; but but it would be perfectly fair for him to do it without he has the riglit to remove the deposites, and it is his law.

duty to remove them, whenever the public interest or The pledige given to the bank is, that the deposites convenience will be promoted by the change." shall remain in its vaults until the charter expires, and it And a little further on he says, “Neither could 1 act is obligatory on the whole Government. This pledge upon the assumption that the public interest required was undoubiedly required by the bank for its own bene. the recharter of ihe bank; because I am firmly persuaded fit and greater security. But if the Secretary of the that the law which created this corporation, in many of Treasury is right in his opinions, then this pledge does its provisions, is not warranted by the constitution; and nut increase, but greatly diminishes, the security of the that the existence of such a powerful moneyed monopoly

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

is dangerous to the liberties of the people, and to the or not they had the constitutional power to create a bank; purity of our political institutions."

they next inquired whether or not it would facilitate the Here we find the Secretary of the Treasury under-collection of the public revenue, whether it would protaking to decide that a law passed by both branches of mote the prosperity of the commercial interest of the Congress, sanctioned by the President of the United country, and whether or not tle State banks would an. States, and decided to be constitutional by the highest swer any or all of these purposes. If, at the expiration judicial tribunals in the country, is not only in his opinion of the charter of the present Bank of the United States, unconstitutional, but that the bank, thereby created, is a Congress shall again undertake to legislate upon the sub"powerful moneyed monopoly, dangerous to the liberties ject, it will unquestionably again deliberate maturely upon of the people, and to the purity of our political institu- all the questions concerning the constitutionality and ex. tions;" and assigning that as a reason for the course he pediency of establishing a new bank, of rechartering the has pursued towards the bank. Who, sir, gave the Sec- present bank, or of entering into arrangements in regard retary of the Treasury a right to judge whether a law to the keeping of the deposites with the State banks; passed by Congress was constitutional or not? and to de- and if they shall ultimately determine to enter into precide whether the bank was a dangerous institution? Does cisely such an arrangement with the State banks as any gentleman here believe that it ever entered the im- that which the Secretary of the Treasury has now made agination of any man in Congress, at the time the act with them, that will undoubtedly be as much an act of chartering the bank was passed, that the Secretary of legislation as any other act whatsoever it can do. And if the Treasury was to undertake to violate a solemn pledge the Secretary of the Treasury has undertaken, as he cergiven by the whole nation, because he entertained a dif- tainly has done, in this report, to go into a labored inves. ferent opinion from Congress as to the constitutionality tigation of questions relating to the constitutionality and of the law, and the character of the institution created by expediency of establishing a Bank of the United States, it? And, sir, what is it that the Secretary, in under and all the other questions which belong properly and taking to condemn the act of 1816 in such unqualified exclusively to the Legislative Department to determine; terms, so modestly asks us to believe? Why, sir, simply and if he has (as I affirm to be the fact) entered into areither that that Congress was composed of such a set of rangements with the State banks, not authorized by the arrant fools that they could not perceive that this act, constitution, or any law of the land; in what respect, I ask, chartering the bank, was either unconstitutional or dan- has he fallen short of undertaking to legislate for the nation? gerous to the liberties of the people, (both of which are Admitting, for the sake of the argument, that the Secso perfectly clear to his superior understanding;) or that, retary had done right in removing the deposites from perceiving it, they were knaves enough to pass the act, the United States Bank, I should be glad to learn where notwithstanding those objections to it-objections, too, he got the authority to place the money in the State which were probably strongly urged against the passage banks, or to enter into the arrangements he has made of the act at the time the charter was granted.

with them. There is not one word in the act chartering I have said, sir, that the Secretary of the Treasury had the Bank of the United States which can be tortured undertaken virtually to repeal an act of Congress, and to into a sanction for that act. I call, then, upon those who legislate for the nation. In the latter part of his report, approve of what the Secretary has done to tell us from he says: “In forming my judgment on this part of the whence he derived his authority for it. The Secretary case, I have not regarded the short time the charter has himself attempts to justify this part of his conduct, by yet to run. But my conduct has been governed by con- saying that, having determined to remove the deposites siderations which arise altogether out of the course pur- from the United States Bank, it was an act of necessity sued by the bank, and which would have equally influ- to place them in the State banks; and that the power to enced the decision of this department, in relation to the do so resulted, of course, from the power to remove. The deposites, if the bank were now in the first years of its fact, however, we know to be otherwise. We know that existence; and upon this view of the subject the following we have a Treasurer of the United States, whose duty propositions appear to be fully maintained.” Here we it is made by the law to receive and keep the money of are told by the Secretary of the Treasury, that he would, the Government; who is chosen on account of his probfor the reasons which he mentions, have removed the ity and high character, and who gives, moreover, secudeposites from the United States Bank, even though it rity in a very large amount for the faithful performance had been in the first years of its existence. And, in an- of his duty. We have a large number of collectors of the other part of his report, he claims the right of removing revenue also--gentlemen, it is to be presumed, of good the deposites, whenever, in his opinion, the change standing, as honest men- all of whom give security in large would promote the public interest or convenience." And amounts for the faithful performance of their duties, in he tells us that “the general interest and convenience of collecting and taking care of the revenue.

All the rey. the people must regulate his conduct." From all this, enue which was likely to accrue in the months of Octo. the inference is not only fair, but irresistible, that, if the ber and November might safely have been left in the present Secretary of the Treasury had been in office at hands of the Treasurer and collectors, or of the Treasurer the time the act chartering the bank passed, he would alone, and, perhaps, would not exceed in amount the have immediately undertaken to inquire into the consti- sum for which the Treasurer and collectors, collectively, tutionality of the act, and its expediency, and, if he had have given security in their official bonds. The money differed in opinion in any of these particulars, he would would probably have been much safer in the hands of instantly have ordered the deposites to be removed, in these officers than in some of the State banks in which defiance of the wishes of the nation and of the Government! it has been placed. It is perfectly clear, from the slightest In order to determine whether or not the act of the Sec-investigation of the subject, that the Secretary had not retary of the Treasury, in removing the deposites from even the tyrant's plea-the plea of necessity-for putting the Bank of the United States, and placing them in the this money in the State banks, and making the arrangeState banks for the reasons assigned by him, and entering ments he has done with them. into compacts with the State banks, amounts to an assump- In reference to the great danger which the Secretary tion of legislative powers, let us consider for a moment of the Treasury seems to apprehend of the United States what were the subjects which most probably engaged the Bank exercising an improper influence in elections, I attention of Congress at the time they passed the act shall only remark, that, however well founded that apchartering the Bank of the United States. The first prehension may be, the danger from the State banks, question, no doubt, which they considered, was, whether united as they will be by the arrangement made with them

VOL. X.-152

H. OF R.)

Removal of the Deposites.

(Jan. 15, 1834.

by the Secretary of the Treasury, and under the influence man of plain common sense, this would appear to be the of the head of the Treasury Department, will be ten times only remedy. And yet the Secretary, in the very next more dangerous than the United States Bank could ever breath, complains that the bank is reducing its discounts. be. As the currency of the notes of all the State banks, He insists that the bank ought, forthwith, to begin to and their value, must be greatly affected by the circum- wind up its affairs, and to collect its dues; that the debt stance of their being receivable in payment of the revenue, due to it is so great, that, unless it is gradually withdrawn, or not, every State bank will, to a great extent, be brought it will produce great commercial distress in the country, under the influence of this Government, or of one of its and declares that the time for winding up its affairs, and officers: and their influence, united with that of the office collecting the debts due to the bank, is now too short; holders and the patronage of the Government, will be and that, if it had been in his power, he would bave sufficient to control all future elections in the country. compelled it to commence winding up and collecting Heretofore, it was entirely practicable to unite the influ- its debts at an earlier day: and yet, sir, in the very teeth ence of all or a part of the State banks against that of the of all this, and in the very same paragraph, he charges United States Bank; and the bank influence in the Union the bank with collecting its debts too rapidly, with a view might be so equally balanced as to amount to nothing. to create distress in the country, and thereby compel But, under the arrangement now entered into with the Congress to recharter the bank! The proof exhibited State banks, the whole power of all the banks can be di- by the Secretary, by which he attempts to convict the rected by a single individual.

bank of curtailing its discounts, with a view to insure a I shall now advert to some other parts of the report of recharter, are not less extraordinary than the charge itthe Secretary of the T'reasury, from which it will be read- self. He gives a detailed statement of the amount colily perceived that this report must be regarded rather lected by the bank, in a given period, as proof of the as the argument of ingenious counsel, determined to jus- charge; and yet it is susceptible of the clearest demontify what has been done, than as a plain unsophisticated stration, that if the bank had continued to draw in its statement of the reasons for which the deposites were re- discounts, at the same ratio, until the time when its charmoved, such as the law contemplates. "By the way of ter will expire, it would still have a considerable debt enlisting the prejudices of a great political party in sup- outstanding. This was demonstrated a few days ago by port of what he has done, he says:

the gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Bixxer,] in so “The manifestations of public opinion, instead of be- plain and forcible a manner, as to furnish a complete refuing favorable to a renewal, have been decidedly to the tation of all the Secretary has said upon that point. contrary. And I have always regarded the result of the Again: The Secretary lays it down that the bank is a last election of President of the United States as a decla- mere fiscal agent” of the Government, and says that, ration of a majority of the people that the charter ought In the duties which the law requires it to perform, it is not to be renewed. It is not necessary to state here liable to all the responsibilities which attach to the charwhat is now a matter of history. The question of the re-acter of agent, in ordinary cases of principal and agent newal of the charter was introduced into the election by among individuals; and it is, therefore, the duty of the the corporation itself. Its voluntary application to Con- officer of the Government, to whom the power has been gress for the renewal of its charter four years before it intrusted, to withdraw from its possession the public expired, and upon the eve of the election for President, funds, whenever its conduct towards its principal has been was understood on all sides as bringing forward that ques- such as would induce a prudent man in private life to tion for incidental decision at the then approaching elec- dismiss his agent from his employment." He then goes tion. It was accordingly argued on both sides before the into a labored argument to prove that the bank had been tribunal of the people, and their verdict pronounced guilty of such gross misconduct as would have induced against the bank, by the election of the candidate who was any 's prudent man in private life to dismiss his agent from known to have been always inflexibly opposed to it.” his employment;" and, consequently, that it was his duty

I cannot perceive, sir, the least propriety in the Secre- instantly to have removed the deposites from the vaults of tary's introducing topics of this kind into his report, nor the bank. What did the Secretary do, under these cirdo I know by whom he was constituted the judge of the cumstances? Did he immediately draw the money out of motives which governed the people in making choice of the United States Bank, and place it elsewhere, as he has a Chief Magistrate; but I am certain he could not have demonstrated it was his duty to have done, in conformity come to a more erroneous conclusion than he has done. to his own principles and arguments? No, sir; be perEvery gentleman here knows that General Jackson would mitted a great part of the public money to remain where have been elected, whether he was for or against the it was, and would not have removed it when he did, ex. bank. The only hope entertained by his opponents of cept for the subsequent conduct of the bank, and his dispreventing his re-election was dependant on his vetoing position to serve the State banks, by lending them the ihe bank charter. All admitted that if he approved the public money: The Secretary has, then, placed himself charter he would be elected by a great majority. He in this unenviable predicament—this very awkward diwould have been elected if he had sanctioned forty banks, lemma: either his principles are not correct, and his arguby even a larger vote than he received. The recharter- ment is unsound, or he has knowingly neglected to dising of the bank was not the only question upon which charge his duty, by removing the deposites when he was the presidential election turned; on the contrary, it is bound to do so, according to his own sbowing. probable that more than one-half of those who voted for I do not deem it necessary or proper for me, at this the present Chief Magistrate were, at that time, in favor time, to go into an investigation of the other charges exof rechartering the bank.

hibited against the bank by the Secretary of the Treasury There are some gross inconsistencies into which the and the Government directors. Those charges will be a Secretary has fallen, in his extreme anxiety to convict very proper subject of inquiry hereafter by a committee, the bank of improper conduct, which can scarcely have when we come to inquire about the propriety of recharescaped the observation of any gentleman who has ex- tering the bank, (if, indeed, that question shall be brought amined this report. In the first place, the Secretary before us.) But the questions we are now to determine complains heavily of the bank for increasing its discounts. are, simply, whether ihe deposites ought to have been And what, sir, let me ask, would occur to you as the removed, and whether they ought to be restored; and proper mode to remedy the evil of too large discounts? there is one fact admitted by the Secretary himself, Would not the obvious cure for the disease be, to reduce which, in my opinion, is conclusive of both these ques. its discounts, by calling in a part of its debts? To every Itions, namely: the fact that the deposites were perfectly

Jan. 15, 1834.)

Removal of the Deposites.

(H. OF R.

safe in the Bank of the United States. Knowing this fact, be to compel Congress to recharter that institution. The the whole question, as to the present and future disposi- reverse of that proposition is true. Put back the depostion of the deposites, should have been left to the deter- ites, sir, and the country will remain tranquil, and you mination of the representatives of the people in Congress. will gain ample time either to charter a new bank on They would, it was well known, assemble here from proper principles, or to make such other arrangements every part of the Union, with a perfect knowledge of the as wisdom shall suggest for dispensing with a United situation of the State banks in every part of the country, States Bank altogether. But, sir, refuse to put back the and of the wishes of their constituents; and, after going deposites, and you force upon the people a currency coninto a full examination of the conduct of the Cnited States sisting of depreciated notes of insolvent State banks; they Bank, they could have made every regulation necessary will be involved in distress, and driven to madness, and to the safe keeping of the public revenue, and have they will grasp at the most obvious and certain remedy guarded against all the distressing consequences which for the evils which they will determine no longer to enhave, and must inevitably continue to result from the hasty, dure; in other words, they will demand a recharter of the unnecessary, and illegal act of the Secretary of the Treas- United States Bank! I am aware, sir, of the strong obury. What these consequences are, and will be, it is jections of the present Chief Magistrate of the nation to annecessary for me to undertake to depict. If, sir, one- rechartering the Bank of the United States; but I tell tenth part of what we hear about the commercial distress you, that if the evils I forebode, from the refusal to put of the country, the decline in the price of bread-stuffs, back the deposites, shall come to pass, even he will, if he tobacco, and all the other products of the soil, be true, it is the man I take him to be, consent to recharter it, in is enough to make us deplore and condemn the precipi- order to relieve the distresses of the country. Far be it tate act of removing the deposites. But, sir, these from me, sir, for one moment to believe that a President calamities have only commenced. I hear that the State of so distinguished for his patriotism and devotion to his Ohio is about to charter a new bank, with a nominal cap- country would look upon her distresses as unmoved as ital of four or five millions of dollars; that Indiana is about Nero was by the flames of Rome. No, sir; he will yield to create a bank with ten or eleven branches in different his own convictions to the united voice of the nation, and parts of that State; and I perceive that North Carolina you will find the same arm which was raised to repel her has already chartered three new banks with large capi- invaders at New Orleans will be again stretched forth to tals, and is about to charter others; and we hear every relieve her from distress, even though the only means of day of new applications for bank charters throughout the affording that relief be to sign a bill to recharter the Union. Already, sir, there are five dollars in paper money bank, to which he is at present so much opposed. in circulation for one dollar in specie to redeem it. The I have endeavored to discuss the subject before us, Mr. specie will be diminished or withdrawn from circulation, Speaker, not upon party grounds, but with a sole view and the paper money will soon be doubled in amount; to what I consider the interest of my country. And I and we are hastening fast into the situation we were in the shall be compelled, for the reasons I have stated, to vote year 1815, and shall be overwhelmed with the ruinous for the resolution of the gentleman from South Carolina, consequences of a depreciated paper currency.

for restoring the deposites, and against the substitute proBut, sir, attempts have been made, and are now being posed by the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Jones.) made, by some of the presses under the influence of the I am aware, Mr. Speaker, that certain newspaper State banks, to reconcile the people to the evils they are editors, assuming the office of dictators, have declared enduring, by telling them that the prevailing pressure that all who vote for the restoration of the deposites will arises from the collection of the debts due to the Bank of be considered by the people as enemies to the President, the United States; and that the evil would be still greater and friends of the bank. I deny, sir, the power of these if deferred two years longer. This pretence, though gentry to decide what the people shall or will do. It plausible, is entirely erroneous, and intended to deceive will not be correct to infer that I am a friend the existthe people. It is not the simple fact of having to pay up ing Bank of the United States from the vote I shall give what is due to the bank, which creates the distress; it is in favor of restoring the deposites. For, sir, although I the circumstance of having to do so unexpectedly. If the believe that Congress has full power to charter a bankSecretary had not interfered with the bank, but had per- although I believe a bank is very useful, if not indispenmitted it to go on regularly in winding up its business, all sable, in carrying on the fiscal operations of Governmentits debtors would have gone on to make provision to pay although I doubt if the establishment of banks by the what they owed; they could have gone on to collect the State Governments is not in violation of the constitution debts due to them from the country merchants, and the of the United States—yet I cannot, with propriety, be country merchants from the people, their customers; called a friend of the existing Bank of the United States. instead of being compelled to draw in, as they will now I came here, sir, strongly inclined to think it might be be, all that is due to them, and to leave the products of our best policy to charter a new Bank of the United States, the soil to rot in the warehouses for want of purchasers. instead of rechartering the old one; and nothing has yet There would also, it must be perceived, be two whole occurred to change that impression. I am, moreover, years allowed for the wisdom of Congress and of the whole although convinced that the deposites ought to be restored, people to provide against consequences now suddenly, for the reasons I have already assigned, far from being unexpectedly, and unnecessarily brought upon us by the satisfied with all the conduct of the bank. I allude more rash act of the Secretary of the Treasury. If no other rem- particularly, sir, to the large loans it has made to the edy could be suggested, it must be obvious, even to the editors of newspapers, upon what I regard as insufficient most common understanding, that it would have been per- security. And, sir, ridiculous as is the pretence set up fectly easy to guard against all the evils we must now suffer, by the Government directors, of their occupying higher either by rechartering the present bank, under proper ground than the other directors, as being, in some sort, restrictions, or by chartering a new one. And every representatives of the people, I cannot consent to overgentleman here must admit, however odious the bank look the charges which they have made against the other may be to him, that these are grave and important ques- directors; unless, indeed, the charge made against these tions, which the people alone have the right to deter- Government directors, that they were endeavoring 10 mine, through their representatives in Congress. destroy the bank, and acting as spies upon their brethren,

Equally erroneous is the idea advanced by the gentle. (which is, in some degree, countenanced by their own man from New York, (Mr. CAMBRELENG,] that the effect admissions,) shall be sustained by evidence. of restoring the deposites to the United States Bank will! Not less erroneous, sir, would be the inference that

H of R.]
Removal of the Deposites.

[Jan. 15, 1834. my vote for restoring the deposites springs from enmity the public mind, and may have the effect, unless contrato the President. On the contrary, I came here, sir, with dicted, I take leave to say that, although I admired the the expectation and intention of supporting the adminis- courage with which the party called the nullifiers stood tration in many, if not all, of its leading measures. I still up in what I regarded as a very bad cause, against fearful expect to do so. But I never can consent to do an act of odds, and although I feel a very high personal regard for injustice, in order to support any administration which several gentlemen in this House, with whom I have becan be formed. I will never consent to degrade the body come acquainted since I came here, and who are said to to which I belong, by a tame submission to the will of any belong to that party, yet my sentiments in regard to the set of men on earth, in opposition to the soundest dic- powers of the General and State Governments are so ditates of my own judgment and the good of the nation. rectly at war with theirs, that I, for one, can never form I have, sir, with some surprise, heard it suggested that, any political combination with them. But, sir, I do not as the administration and the bank were now engaged in conceive that I must support a measure wbich I consciena contest, in which one or the other inust fall, it was the tiously believe to be wrong, merely because other gentleduty of the friends of the administration to sustain it in its men condemn it, with whom I happen to differ upon course towards the bank, although they should believe another and still more important question. I am bound, that the removal of the deposites was inexpedient and sir, to do what is right, without waiting to inquire who unjust towards the bank. To such a proposition I can will go with me in doing so; and I confess that I am not never assent. The demands of justice are inexorable. surprised that the nullifiers should condemn the act of the How often have we been told, “Let justice be done, Secretary of the Treasury, but rather amazed that it though the heavens should fall?" And, sir, would it not should be approved by any portion of the members of be better that twenty administrations should fall, than that this House. we should degrade the character of the nation in the I shall say, sir, but very few words in reference to some eyes of the whole world, by sanctioning one act of ac- remarks which fell from the gentleman from New York, knowledged injustice? We are told, from high authority, [Mr. CAMBRELENG,) on yesterday, before I have done. that we cannot serve God and mammon;" and, in my That gentleman eulogized the present Chief Magistrate estimation, it is impossible for those who, though friendly of the Union for a great revolution which he had effect. to the administration, believe that the deposites have been ed in favor of what he called State rights. Now, sir, I improperly taken away from the Bank of the United do not profess to belong to the State rights party, accordStates, conscientiously to vote against their restoration, ing to the modern acceptation of the term. It is true, merely to please a party to which they belong. There sir, I claim many rights for the States, and I trust I will is no alternative for a gentleman so situated but one: he be disposed to go as far in maintaining their rights as any must either stick to his party, and go against his country; other gentleman present; I even considered myself as a or adhere to his country, and abandon his party. In truth, very good State rights man until within the last few Mr. Speaker, the members of this House ought never to years. But, sir, I do not approve of the State rights act as the partisans or as the enemies of any adıninistra-doctrine alluded to by the gentleman from New York, tion, but to act as the friends of the country, and as which has been in vogue, I believe, for about ten or the representatives of the people, with a single eye to twelve years, and which is in no way distinguishable from their prosperity and happiness.

nullification, except by the name, and the want of firmness But, sir, it is a total mistake to suppose that, if the depos- in its advocates to carry it out to its legitimate results. ites are restored, the administration must be broken As to the revolution effected by the President, in referdown. The people of this country, sir, have good sense ence to this system of State rights, I have much more enough to distinguish between acts which are right and reason to thank him than the gentleman from New York. such as are wrong, even in those men in whom they It is most true, sir, that, about twelve months ago, the repose the highest confidence; and, sir, they have mag- President did effect a great and glorious revolution in ref. nanimity enough not to condemn their agents for one erence to the doctrines maintained by the modern State improper step. Every gentleman present has probably rights party, by issuing his proclamation; by, which the had some personal experience of the truth of these re- whole system, it is to be hoped, was prostrated in the dust, marks. It is idle, therefore, to suppose that the present never to rise again. I thank the President for that revoadministration is to lose its influence from the mere cir- lution, sir, most heartily and sincerely, from the bottom of cumstance of restoring the deposites. In truth, the most my heart. effectual way to injure the administration will be, as I The gentleman from New York was also pleased to pay think has been demonstrated, to refuse to put them back. a bigh compliment to Virginia, upon her consistent course; If the real ground of apprehension is, however, that a for which I return him my hearty acknowledgments. restoration of the deposites may have the effect of defeat. The gentleman went a little too far, perhaps, when he ing some ulterior object-of influencing and controlling said she was always right; for I think she has not always future elections among the people-by means of the com- been exactly consistent, even on the subject of State bined influence of the office-holders and of the State rights. But, sir, I do verily believe she always intends banks, I admit it may, and hope it will, have the effect. to do right, and is, in fact, at least as often right as any But it cannot break down the present administration. It other State in this Union. And I am glad to hear that is a great mistake in the members of this House to act on she is right upon this question of removing the deposites, the erroneonis principle that the administration is infalli- which she heartily condemns. It is always gratifying to ble; that, sir, is an attribute which does not belong to me to hear any thing said in favor of the old Dominion, humanity. We ought, sir, never to look at the source not only, sir, because it is my own country, but from more from which a measure springs, but to decide it upon the elevated considerations. I have always felt proud of my great principles of unalterable justice, and of duty to our State; I feel more so now than ever, from the proofs she constituents.

has recently exhibited that she still continues to be govThe suggestion bas been made, Mr. Speaker—not in erned by those noble principles of justice and honor, this House, to be sure, but elsewhere-that the attempt to which cause her to condemn an act of injustice, although restore the deposites is merely the effect of a combi- done for the purpose of destroying an institution to which nation between what is called the national republican she has always been opposed. party and the nullifiers. And, sir, although the imputa- When Mr. M. had concluded his remarks, Mr. tion is known to be false by those who make it, yet as it BEARDSLEY took the floor, and, on his motion, the was designed to produce an erroneous impression upon House adjourned.

« ZurückWeiter »