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Mar 19, 1834.]
York county (Pa.) Memorial.
[H. OF R.
the withdrawal of their own funds from their own bene- depositories, as a manifest abuse of the provisions of ficial use is the true cause of their present embarrass- the fifteenthi section, and a palpable violation of the pub. mients.
lic faith. The United States Bank had a clear right to With regard to the currency, it is indeed a matter of the use of these deposites until transferred for disburse. surprise to hear from any quarter n denial that this bank ment; and a removal, under color of law, for a different has furnished a sound and useful currency to the people. purpose, was as illegal as it was unjust. It was this We all know that it was owing to the measures and in. breach of the public faith that produced the embarrassAuence of this bank that specie payments were resumed ment and distress which first overtook the commercial in 1817; and that, by it, a useful paper currency was community, and has since spread its destructive influence established which is at home every where. Sir, it is a fact, over the land. This removal for an illegal purpose was of every day's observation with those at all conversant in consummated by a contract with those State banks, made business in the interior, that those who travel, and those by the Secretary; also in the face of an existing act of who emigrate to distant places, constantly apply for Congress, declaring that no contract shall be made by paper of the United States Bank, offering specie in ex- the Secretary, except under an express law.* Such change for it; and thus declaring the truth, that this is contracts being forbidden, no legal obligation could arise a currency equal in value, and for general purposes more out of them, as every lawyer knows. Thus were the convenient even than specie. As matters now stand, public funds, by the agent of Congress, taken from the we distinctly see that the times of 1815 and 1816 are ap- place of acknowledged safety and ample responsibility, proaching; for we already find that the best local bank pa- provided by law, and placed in depositories established per does not furnish a currency beyond its own State line. for State purposes only; not under the control of Con
It is my desire, Mr. Speaker, to examine this interest- gress; the safety of which could be but imperfectly asing subject argumentatively; and I will, therefore, en certained or known, and the legal obligation of repaydeavor to define several important terms and powers ment at least doubtful. What stronger proofs of these from the various uses of which different conclusions have positions can we require than the very bill on our tables, been drawn. The treasury of the United States has reported by the Committee of Ways and Meanshe been defineil, by a late distinguished Senator from Vir- obvious and only design of which can be, to give legal ginia, in the abstract merely, as a state and condition of effect and establish legal responsibilities in regard to such the public revenue; and this definition has been carefully contracts? followed by others: to give it the attribute of place would The Committee of Ways and Means, in their late re totally destroy the great conclusion of the Secretary. port, endeavor to claim for the Secretary of the Treasury The treasury, sir, is a place for the keeping of the pub- powers that appear to be without limitation, unless by lie moneys, while in the custody and under the respon-Executive decree; and it is by this operation they labor sibility of the Treasurer. It is a place, a local habitation to sustain his acts. Can it be believed for a moment, sir, as well as a name, as much so as the vault of the bank in a Government like ours, a Government of Jaws, where is the place for keeping its treasure; it has length, authorities created are defined, and responsibilities spe. breadth, depth; the bank is the attributes of space; it cially provided, that the whole revenues of the nation are need not be in one spot; but all the parts taken together left under mere constructive powers, which may be inconstitute in law one place, and that place is the treasury. terpreted so as to suit the interests or the will of those Another term which has occasioned misunderstanding who may have obtained the reins? No, this cannot be; is the term deposite. The public moneys are one thing, the constitutìonal powers of the several departments are the deposites are a different thing. When the public too well setiled to be overturned by new theories, got up moneys are deposited, they are no longer the moneys of to sanction political experiments. The act of 1789, esthe Government; they are the property of the bank, and tablishing the Treasury Department, was made for the under its entire control; the Government becomes the very purpose of superseding all previous and unsettled creditor, the bank the debtor. The sixteenth section of practices, and of defining the precise action of these two the bank law* refers only to the public moneys before they important officers—the Secretary and Treasurer. On are deposited; it is only prospective, and does not au- reference to that act, passed September 2, 1789, it will thorize the Secretary to interfere with deposites already be found that the Secretary has no discretionary power made. The fifteenth section relates altogether to depos. beyond superintending the collection of the revenue. iles which have been made, and these can only be re. When the revenue is collected, another officer, the moved or changed for the immediate purposes of dis- Treasurer, is appointed to take it into his custody; and bursement under appropriations by law. The removal his responsibility then commences, and continues, withof the deposites made before the 1st of October last, for out the interference of any other, until it be disposed of the avowed purpose of giving the use of them to other by express law, either depositing it in the bank legally
provided, or disbursing it under legal appropriations. Act incorporating the bank, sections 15 and 16.
Congress, composed of the representatives of the people,
constitutes that department of the Governinent which See. 15. During the continuance of this act, and whenever re- alone has the constitutional charge of the public moneys; quired by the Secretary of the Treasury, the said corporation Congress raises the revenue, has the custody of the reveshall give the necessary facilities for transferring the public nue, and disburses the revenue. funds fron place to place, within the United States or Territo- | Treasurer are the mere agents of Congress, to take
The Secretary and ries thereof, and for distributing the same in payment of the publi: creditors, without charging commnissions or claiming al- charge of the public funds in the manner prescribed to brance on account of difference of exchange; and shall also do them; the Secretary gives no security, because he has no ant perform the several and respective duties of the commission, part in the custody of the moneys; security is required ors of loane for the several States, or any one or more of them, from the Treasurer, because he has the actual keeping of whenever required by law.
them. It is true, the Secretary joins with the Treasurer Sec. 16. The deposites of the money of the United States, in in disbursing warrants under appropriations of Congress; places in which the said bank and branches thereof may be es- but he has no power to order a single dollar to be changed wblished, shall be made in said bank or branches thereof, un from the custody and responsibility of the Treasurer. les the Secretary of the Treasury shall at any time otherwisc oder and direct; in which case the Secretary of the Treasury The powers given by the 16th section of the bank law ahal immediately lay before Congress, if in seseion, and, if not, go not one jot or tittle further than to order a continusamediately after the commencement of the next session, the Teason of sach order or direction.
· Actcf May , 1320, sec. 6.
H. OF R.)
[Mar 19, 1834. ance of the money in the treasury, but not to remove or tive favor, and will necessarily bring the selected banks change its custody, or the responsibility attached to it. into the field. But, sir, carry out this monstrous power, When the Treasurer deposited moneys in the United and see !o what it leads you. It leads to what is so much States Bank, his security was discharged, pro tanto, deprecated--a direct union of the purse and the sword. and the charge devolved upon the bank until actual Gentlemen have argued that this union would be effected disbursement. The transfer order was a mere notice, in- by reason of the original right claimed by the Executive, tended to meet the distant wants of the Government in of controlling the appointment of a Secretary until one its payments; but not until actual payment, under war- was found disposed to obey him; but, under the view I rants, was the bank discharged.
have taken, the Secretary claims ihe exclusive right to I beg the indulgence of the House while I briefly ex- place the revenue where he pleases. We argues that the amine the power of the Secretary under the 16th section Executive may control his acts, and take the responsiof the bank charter, already referred to. By this sec-bility; and, as he is responsible, the conclusion is, he tion it is provided that the deposites of the public moneys should in fact be the keeper of the fund. Here, at the of the United States shall be made in the United States will of the President, ac:ing immediately, the revenues Bank or branches, unless the Secretary of the Treasury are directly in his power, and, in effect, in his hand; that at any time otherwise order and direct. Now, sir, here is, the commander of the army and navy is also the comis a specific act to be done; the public moneys are to be mander and keeper in fact of the treasury. The argudeposited in the bank, unless the Secretary order other ment of the Secretary in his letter, and those who sustain wise; that is, they shall not be so deposited. Here is the him, has this course: Congress has parted with its power simple affirmative, and here is the simple negative; and over the revenues; has given it to the Secretary absolute. no construction of a grammatical kind, nor any legal in-ly; the Secretary acts under the influence and entire con. terpretation, can go further. Analyze the section by re-trol of the President, and may place it in his hands, as ducing it to its most simple terms, and it stands thus: The the person responsible, and then it can only be reclaimed Treasurer shall place the public moneys which he may by an act of legislation: and that act inay be stayed by have received into the treasury, in the bank, on de- the veto of the very hand that holds the money. Never posite, unless the Secretary shall, at any time, order him was a political contrivance more perfect; and if it can be not so to deposite them. Here is the extent of the order, sustained, the act incorporating the bank should be the limit to the power. What, then, becomes of the changed in its title, and should be called an act to place public moneys? They remain just where they ought to the revenues of the United States in ibe power and keepbe in the treasury; in the custody and power of Coning of the President of the United States; and Congress gress, where no other power can control or interfere will, by a deliberate act, have given up its most import. with them. This place is presumed to be ample and ca. ant constitutional right and duty, the control and disposipacious for their reception and keeping; they are under tion of the public funds. The course adopted by the sufficient responsibilities until Congress can act further, Secretary and the Committee of Ways and Means leads if deemed expedient. But the Secretary assumes a new directly io the extraordinary and alarming results I have and distinct power, and that is, not only to order the mo- stated; whereas the construction I have offered admits to neys to be withheld or suspended, but again to take them this officer only a limited authority to suspend the action out of the treasury, and place them on deposite where he of the Treasurer in making the deposites; keeping each pleases. Now, if, by his first order to withhold, the pub. Department in its proper sphere, and leaving the reve. lic moneys were exposed, as it were, on the highway, nues wbere they should be--in the treasury, in the had not a place of legal keeping and responsibility, he power and under the direct control of Congress alone. might argue, as a matter of necessity, the power to pro. What the subsequent action of Congress may be, I shall, vide some other place of safety or deposite; but when under an appropriate part of this discussion, present to they remain in the oper legal custody, he has no power the consideration of the House. further to interfere. Here we see the reason why gen Permit me here to make a digression from my course tlemen have so ingeniously argued that the treasury is of argument, for the purpose of noticing some of the prom. not a place; that it is a mere abstract state or responsi- inent views which have been ingeniously offered from bility; and, being such, place was only an incident follow. time to time, by those who sustain these measures of the ing the responsibility; and there being none assigned, the administration. When, in early stages of the discussion, necessity of the case threw it upon the Secretary to pro- it was alleged that serious embarrassments and distress vide a place or places. Sir, the Treasury Department affected the community; the fact was denied, or lightly was established in 1789, before any United States Bank treated, until the thunder rolled over our heads, and the was created; and, from the very nature of the case, an bolts came thick and fast” upon us from the east and the appropriate legal place was then provided for the public west, the north and the south: so that no refuge could revenues, and has ever since been continued. The Sec- longer be found under the covering of denial. Our retary argues in his letter through nineteen pages, to bopes were next appealed to, and we were assured that prove his right, in the first instance, to withhold the de- these troubles would soon pass away; for that the void posites; he then* says: “ The propriety of removing the which was created by the necessary curtailments of the deposites being thus evident, and it being consequently bank would be soon filled up by the issue of the new my duty to select the places to which they were to be re- depositories; that it was only removing nine millions from moved,” &c. Here is no argument to show this import- one side of the street to the other. This was but “the ant consequence or additional power whatever; he as- word of promise to the ear,” as we soon experienced; sumes it, and this very assumption, contained in a single the nine millions, the sum on deposite, before it was resentence, is the foundation of the alarming attempt which moved, was kept in beneficial employment and active takes the whole revenue out of the hands of Congress, circulation in the community, through the instrumentality and places it at the will of the Executive. It is this very of the United States Bank. The bank receives its doom stretch of power which has created the greatest excite- from Executive power; it is told to stop and wind up its ment and just alarm; it is this which creates a scramble concerns; it must necessarily withdraw from the comfor patronage, arising out of the deposites; it is this munity a sum sufficient for the repayment of the deposites. which, in reality, will get up political influences in banks The selected State banks, it is soon found, have their own spread over the whole country, as candidates for Execu. troubles, and embarrassments, and home obligations to
answer; so that they can neither supply the void nor af. * See Secretary's letter, with his reasons, to Congress, page 19. ford relief. A new argument is next resorted to, and
Mar 19, 1834.]
York county (Pa.) Memorial.
(H. OF R.
we are gravely assured that it is utterly impossible that ment of rent; on default, the lessor may enter, and is the withdrawal of uine millions from a circulation of more in, as on his former possession; but still he obtains this than a hundred millions could cause general distress. as a new possession urder his contract. Again, it is This view soon appeared as fallacious as others; for it contended, there is no contract as to the deposites, bemust be remembered that nine millions in actire circula- cause, in the original draught of the bank law, the 16th tion may discharge debts and obligations between man section was not contained, although the 20th section and man, in a business community, exceeding a hundred providing for the payment of the bonus was as it now millions. One receiving his claim is enabled to pay his is. The reason of this was, that the deposites were debt to another, and thus a sum, comparatively small, dis- secured virtually to the bank by the 15th section; accordcharges responsibilities to a great aggregate amount. ing to that section, all the moneys of the Government
All these resources failing, our ingenious opponents re- were to be disbursed through the bank, and it was necessort to another course, and endeavor to shift the respon- sarily implied that they should be first deposited there. sibility of these ruinous measures, by throwing the odium Before the law finally passed, it was, however, thought upon others; they allege, we have excited alarm and expedient to have a distinct section providing for that panic, and this has occasioned the distress and embarrass-right. This act was passed as a proposal of the Government which prevail. Panic is not a cause, it is an effect ment; it contains the express right of the deposites to the or consequence arising suddenly from an imaginary bank, and in the 20th section declares that, in consideracause; the just apprehensions of men, under approaching tion of the exclusive privileges and benefits conferred by danger and evils, which they see and feel around and this act upon said bank, the bank shall pay to the United about them, do not constitute panic. The very case States fifteen hundred thousand dollars. Upon the which was related by my colleague (Mr. ANTHONY) in his strength of these provisions, the stock was subscribed; argument was the strongest condemnation of his own and if any man can be got seriously to think or to dream views, and the best illustration of mine; his story was, that the right to the deposites was not the principal and that three physicians combined to try the effects of panic great benefit paid for by the bonus, his conviction can never upon a healthy subject. They select a man in full and be reached by argument. Sir, the Secretary of the perfect health; one of the meets him, and assures him Treasury did not venture so far; for he declares emphatihis appearance indicates disease; the subject declares he cally, in his letter, that the charter is a contract in all its feels as well as usual; soon after, a second meets him, parts; and the committee, on the seventh page of their and repeats the dose, which produces some alarm, and late report, also declare that the charter is a contract in afterwards the third meets him and makes a still stronger express terms. application; it takes serious effect; the poor subject be In analyzing the law incorporating the bank, I find it comes really ill, and dies in consequence. Now, the is reducible to several distinct covenants on the part of the whole force and point of this story rests upon the fact, Government, each with its correspondent obligation on the that the subject was in full health and vigor before the part of the bank, and in each case a specific, appropriate operations commenced; and here is the precise difference remedy. One principal covenant is the contract or grant between the case referred to and that which we have be- of the corporate powers during twenty years; the corfore us. In that which we have charge of, the friends of respondent obligation by the bank is, that those powers my colleague had been trying a course of experiments shall not be violated; the remedy agreed upon is a scire upon the body politic, their patient; they destroyed a facias, to be issued by a court of justice, to try, before a healthy circulation, shattered his constitution, brought on jury, whether the charter has been violated; and, in case a wasting consumption, and at length abandoned him to of violation, it may be annulled. The scire facias may his fate. Others are called to the relief, and, as a matter be issued by order of the President or Congress. Another of conscientious duty, they assure the patient he has been principal covenant is, on the part of the Government, to the subject of improper treatment; that there is no hope receive the notes of the bank'in payment of its dues; the but in retracing his steps, and resorting to different re- correspondent obligation by the bank is, that its notes medies. This was required by every consideration of shall always be paid in specie when required. The rembumanity, duty, and conscience; and I thus leave to gen-edy provided in this case is an immediate act of Contlemen to determine which of the two cases the story best gress prohibiting the receipt of the notes. As the susillastrates.
pension of specie payments by the bank would be a matI now beg leave to examine the construction of the law ter notorious, no intermediate agent or inquiry was necesincorporating the bank, with a view to the action of Con- sary to the direct action of Congress. The last principal gress, under its present circumstances. It has been bold-covenant, on the part of the Government, is that of the ly asserted and assumed, that to restore the deposites to 16th section, that the deposites shall be made in the bank the bank requires legislative action, in the shape of a new or its branches; the correspondent obligation on the part law: this position I deny, as I believe, upon the clearest of the bank is, that the deposites are safe, and shall be groands of sound and proper construction and legal inter-repaid on legal demand. In all deposites this is the impretation. Upon the best reflection I could give to the plied but clearly established obligation, perfectly known subject, I had come to this conclusion, and I find it in and understood in law as well as in reason and common accordance with high authority, both in and out of Con- sense; it is not expressed, but is well understood by all; ges. When the Committee of Ways and Means approach there can be no other conditions, unless they are made in this subject, they see the difficulty, and endeavor to get express terms. Did you ever hear that, when a person over it by laying hold of an idea that the bank had no deposites money in a bank, the officer expressly says, It is right to the deposites as matter of contract. They rea- agreed we will keep your money safely, and repay it on de. son the point, but not with much confidence; they con- mand? No, sir; this is not expressed, because it is perfect. send that the power given to the Secretary by the 16th ly understood and known to be the legal obligation. In all Kection of the law was a reservation of the original right, contracts, when one party actually fails to perform, the and thus not a new contract. Why, sir, a reservation, other may annul the contract. In this case, a peculiar from its very nature, is a resumption, upon certain terms remedy, or mode of rescinding the contract, is provided, or conditions, of a right or power which had been granted; in case of violation. By one of the articles, the Secretary
grant with an unqualified reservation of part is a legal of the Treasury is furnished with a weekly statement of absurdity; but a grant with a reservation under certain the situation of the bank, its debts, credits, and specie Lerms, the reservation itself, is a matter of contract. A funds, in a general form. This is the evidence provided lease is made with power to re-enter in case of non-pay- for him to act; and upon it, if he believes the bank na
longer a safe depository, able to pay on demand, he has ant right, and exacting important duties from the bank, to the power to order a suspension of the deposites. This continue until 1836. The propriety and expediency of this is merely an inchoate act of a cautionary nature. The measure was fully considered when it was granted, so far as Secretary has no right to rescind this important contract. related to time; and now the mere agent of Congress unCongress reserve this to themselves; and, by the express dertakes to rejudge their act; and, as a reason to justify agreement of the parties, they are constituted the final himself, declares it inexpedient to continue this right for umpire or arbiter in regard to the contract, and are to that time, and therefore repeals this provision of the law. judge between the bank and the act of the Secretary. Moreover, the Secretary nowhere notices an important cirThe Secretary reports the fact and his reasons to Con- cumstance: that a period of two years beyond March, 1836. gress, to enable them to judge as arbiters, not in a legisla- is expressly given by the charter to enable the bank to coltive character, because no legislation is required; this is for lect debts and discharge its obligations. It is further stated the benefit of the bank, as Mr. Crawford expressly asserts, by the Secretary, that, at the late presidential election, in his letter on Edwards's application.* The power of the people decided what he calls the issue, and confirmed Congress, then, is to confirm the reasons of the Secretary, the opinions of the President as to the bank. This, sir, or not. If they confirm, the contract is wholly rescinded; is a novel and dangerous doctrine, that the election of a if they do not, the right of the bank is at once restored, candidate is to confirm his opinions in regard to what the and may be enforced judicially. If ordinary remedies future interests of the people may require. I am glad to do not reach the case, then the remedy by mandamus to find that a Senator from Pennsylvania denies this conclusion, the Treasurer is the appropriate one; the contract is re- Either the present bank, or a national bank in some prostored, and only remedy is of a judicial character. I per shape, is demanded by the people of that State almost hold it perfectly clear that the confirmation of the Secre. unanimously. Public improvements to be made with tary's act must be by the concurrent assent of both Houses; our surplus funds; a tariff for protection; the land bill, and that a dissent by either, both having a full opportuni- which would yield to the State a sum large enough to ty and means to act, will be deemed conclusive as to the save her citizens from an oppressive tax-in all these disaffirmance of the action of the Secretary, and the full cardinal points of her policy, the President's opinions were restoration of the right to the bank. This right may for opposed to Pennsylvania. To suppose for a moment that, a time be withheld by the hand of power; but, sooner or by her strong support in his election, she confirmed or later, justice must be done, and the faith of this nation assented to opinions so destructive to her best interests, will be redeemed.
would be an absurdity. If her vote had any reference to As the last argumentative point, I will now briefly ex- his opinions, it was that, by signally proying her attachamine the letter or report of the Secretary of the Treas- ment to him, she hoped that his views or his prejudices ury, containing his reasons for removing the deposites. would change, and that, in grateful return for her supHe first discusses his powers, and then applies his reasons port, he would favor and foster those great interests so under those powers. The authority of the Secretary, necessary to her prosperity and her very existence. under the old law, he asserts was to ensure the safety of Another reason assigned by the Secretary, for the rethe public funds and their faithful application. The law moval of the deposites, is that relating to the three per incorporating the bank he declares did not alter the former cent. stock: this was a transaction highly useful 10 the law. He afterwards enlarges his position, but without public, and in nowise injurious to the Government. It any reason assigned, and suggests that it is the duty of was referred to Congress, who decided upon it, and the Secretary to withdraw the deposites whenever the were fully satisfied as to the measure; and it seems most change would in any degree promote the public interest; extraordinary, when the superior power expresses the and, as if this rule were not broad enough, he subsequent- opinion in regard to a transaction, * " that it does not ly adopts the conditions to be whenever the public in- call for, or admit of, any action of Congress upon it;" the terests and convenience require it, t of which he is to be mere agent should offer it, as a justification for his subsethe judge. It is very clear that this is no rule whatever; quent action. it depends merely on opinion and undefined discretion. Another reason is, what is called the French bill; a Here we have a singular case, whether we examine it claim for interest or damages, by reason of the refusal of morally or legally. An important contract is made; a the French Government to pay a bill drawn by our Gov. heavy consideration is paid by one party for the principal ernment, and paid or purchased by the bank. The benefit; and yet we find the one party declaring that this answer here simply is, as this claim is not yet legally devery benefit may be withheld by it, whenever its interests termined, that, if the bank can recover the amount as a or convenience require it. We here see the strange legal claim, the directors, or trustees, cannot release.or absurdities to which the Secretary is driven, to find a relinquish it; if they do, they are themselves responsible; principle broad enough to cover the reasons which he af- if it be not a legal claim, they cannot recover it; and, if terwards assigns. A principle, at variance with conmon they do recover it, it forms a just claim against the sense and common justice, is laid down so as to include French Government, and must be paid ultimately by the reasons to be offered, instead of reasons furnished to them. meet an established principle. The Secretary does not The remaining reason of any consequence, which I say that the bank is not a safe depository, willing and able shall notice, is, that the bank has expended large sums of to perform its engagements. No person ventures this as- money in printing various pamphlets and publications, sertion. And yet, if the views I have already submitted that interfered with the politics of the country; or, in have any force, then the safety and the ability of the bank other words, with the objects of men in power. This to pay were the sole conditions attached to the depos- expenditure was made to sustain the credit of the instituites. But what are the reasons assigned? Those which tion, in public opinion; it had been assailed by the head appear important I will briefly examine. The substance of the administration, and the presses under official of the first is, that, as the charter will expire in March, patronage all joined in the cry, to destroy public confi1836, the bank should close its concerns, and, as one dence in it, and ruin the interest of the stockholders. step towards that end, the deposites be withdrawn. This the directors having charge of these interests, in many is a singular reason, and requires only to be stated to ex- cases the sole dependence of widows and orphans, bepose its fallacy. Congress pass the law giving an import- lieved it their duty, as it was their right, because nothing
in their charter or the laws forbids it, to publish various * See documents attached to report of the committee. + See Seeretary's letter, page 2.
* See Report Committee of Ways and Means, 1833.
Mar 19, 1834.]
[H. of R. documents and publications, showing the solid and safe count, I have procured from the proper authority the excondition of the bank, the principles on which it was con- act amount of all dividends made since the commencement ducted, and the great injustice of the continued attacks of the charter to this time, and find, to my astonishment, upon it. No unprejudiced mind can see that the com- that the stockholders have received only the average diviplaint on this head is, not that the bank issued documents dend of $5.31 per cent. per annum; and owing to the in. and publications, but that these publications were not increase being in the last years only, the cash value of this accordance with the plans and wishes of those in power; average does not exceed five per cent., a sum less than if they had been of a more suppliant character, you would the common dividends of State banks, and less than the have heard no complaint in this respect. The attacks ordinary worth of capital in any concern of business. made were through a political channel; and to repel True it is, there is a large surplus fund; but when debts these attacks, and defend itself, the same channel must are paid and capital refunded, with losses and expenses be, in some respects, resorted to; not for the purpose of incident to winding up such an institution, little will probacquiring political power, which would be useless or in. ably remain; certainly not enough to make up the defijurious to any institution of this kind, but to preserve and cient dividends. protect the rights and interests which the laws had con
I will now present the account as it stands between the ferred upon its stockholders, who had no concern with bank and the Government. The average amount of pubpolitics more than the rest of their fellow-citizens. The lic deposites, from the commencement until last October, share of the Government in these expenditures is esti- is, in round numbers, $7,000,000; the interest of which, mated at $10,000 or $12,000; and to remedy this, the Sec- per annum, is $420,000; one-fifth going to the Governretary removes the deposites, which, through the bank, ment on its stock, leaves to the private stockholders produced to the Government more than a hundred thou- $336,000 annually, as the gain from the deposites. On sand dollars a year, besides sinking the real selling value the other hand, the bank has paid a bonus to the Governof the public stock at least a million and a half; and all ment of $1,500,000. This sum, on interest from the time this, sir, under the plea of consulting the public interests paid and averaged, is equal to $156,000 per annum. In and convenience. It is also said, as a matter of com- addition to this, the bank received, kept, remitted in spe. plaint, that the bank had granted large accommodations cie funds, and disbursed the revenues, without risk, loss, to owners of extensive printing establishments which expense, or charge to the Government. What were these were favorable to its interests. The bank had, at that services worth? Receivers of public moneys from land sales time, money to lend to all applicants who gave satisfac, are allowed one per cent. on sums received and paid into tory security to the directors; and, as it is not pretended the nearest bank, with $500 in addition; probably equal in that these accommodations have been the means of ex- the whole to two per cent. Pension agents receiving cluding any other applicants, I am utterly at a loss to see and paying, where no branches of the bank are fixed, are the force of this reason, and can only ascribe it to the allowed, according to the Blue Book, two per cent. for the strong desire of the Secretary to invoke every feeling of same services performed by the several branches. This is party or power against this institution.
the nearest analogous case; although in those cases there is Mr. Speaker, I desire it may be distinctly understood, no risk nor charge of remittance. In adopting two per I appear not as the advocate of the bank; 1 care not for cent. as a reasonable rate of commission for all the serher interests, except as they are connected with the best vices of the bank, we may be assured that if the same interests of my country; and in endeavoring to sustain her services had been performed by agents and officers, the rights, I feel that I am supporting the cause of justice expense, risk, and losses to the public would have been and of public faith, not less than the welfare of the commu- double that amount. I further find that the average renity; for, to use the eloquent language of my clistinguished ceipts of the revenue for the last seventeen years, accord. colleague, (Mr. Binney,] the shaft which was aimed at the ing to the statistical tables, amounted to $25,000,000, and bank has glanced aside, and fallen on the bosom of the the disbursements to the same sum, within a small fraccountry. Sir, I never held a share of the stock, nor tion. The average deposites arise from the interval behave I ever had accommodation, loan, or favor from that tween receipt and payment. Two per cent. on the source; my constituents have no connexion with the insti- amount thus ascertained yields $500,000, which, added to tution to warp their feelings or mine, nor do we feel any the bonus, amounts to $656,000, as the value given annuother interest in its continuance or its rights than as we ally by the bank in money and services to the Governbelieve it beneficial to the country in producing a useful ment, while it receives only 336,000 dollars. If two currency, and affording a credit necessary to the conveni- per cent. is deemed too high a rate, take one per ence and prosperity of the people.
cent., and still the Government is gainer to an immense According to the best reflections I have been able to
amount. give the subject, I am led to the conclusion that a re
According to these views, (and members may satisfy charter of the present institution, with proper modifica- themselves of their accuracy,) we see that this institution, tions, will be most useful and least inconvenient: but if this assailed and vilified as it has been, during its charter, has should not be deemed expedient, I cheerfully go for a annually conferred immense pecuniary advantages upon national bank, to supply the place of the present one, at the community, besides its general benefits and adyanthe proper time, under restrictions and alterations that tages extending throughout the country, without even may be deemed unexceptionable; and, in this course, 1 be- the usual return for its capital; and we also find that, inlieve I represent the general interests and opinions of my stead of preying and fattening upon the Government, the constituents.
public gains, in money and useful services, have been im Before I conclude, Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to submit mense in amount. These considerations should at least to the House certain statements, which I think will be remove our prejudices, and invoke our justice towards found interesting. Throughout this debate, and out of this much-injured institution. this House, from the highest authority to the lowest de Sir, I have now done; and, after thanking the House pendant on Executive favor, we have heard it daily for their indulgence, I have only to add the hope that aounded that the bank was a monster of avarice; grasp-my views on this interesting and important subject may ing and fattening upon the spoils of labor and industry; a be received in the same spirit they have been offered barpy preying upon the vitals of the community and the the spirit of candor and honesty of purpose. Government. By arts like these, impressions were naturally made that the stockholders were obtaining ex
MADISON COUNTY (KY.) MEMORIAL. orbitant profits. To ascertain the true state of the ac Mr. LOVE presented a memorial from the citizens of