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JUNE 20, 1831.)
Deposite Bank Bill.
(H. OF R.
companies, State banks, and numerous citizens of your doubt with the most incredulous, that confidence and cities, at that time presented to Congress for a renewal of credit are intimately and essentially connected with the the old bank charter, were now produced and read from continuance of the Bank of the United States, and that, if the Clerk's table, without any notice to the House of the they are prostrated by the dissolution of that institution, date they bore, every individual present would have no the country must experience, to its lasting reproach, and doubt left on his mind that they were prepared and signed perhaps its incurable injury, a general disregard of pecuat Philadelphia, or elsewhere, yesterday, or last week, niary engagements. Your memorialists, therefore, conand had immediate relation to the distress now falsely s der it as a fact no longer doubtful or disputable, that if the said to have been produced by the recent removal of the bank be dissolved at the expiration of its present charter, deposites. The very arguments and complaints which and, in truth, unless the public confidence be speedily rewere urged upon Congress then, as reasons why the old stored, universal distress and incalculable loss must and bank charter should be renewed, are urged upon us now will prevail. From the pressing and peculiar exigencies as reasons why the present bank charter should be re- of the time, brought about by a fear of the dissolution of newed, with the single exception that nothing was said the bank, and from a perfect persuasion of the near ap then, as now, in relation to the public deposites. That proach of all the evils which have been anticipated, your the House may see the more clearly these striking resem- memorialists have deemed themselves bound to make this blances between that period and this, I beg to read from appeal to your wisdom, and to present it by a deputation a few of the memorials presented to Congress during the of their fellow-citizens. This deputation, intimately acyears 1809, '10, and '11, and which have remained on quainted with the situation, sentiments, and feelings of our files in one of the upper rooms of the Capitol, undis- your memorialists, they respectfully request may be heard turbed and unexamined, for so many years. 'I read first by counsel on this momentous subject." Finally, it is the from a memorial of the Chamber of Commerce of Phila- earnest pressing prayer of your memorialists, that effect. delphia, in which, after stating that three-fourths of the ual means may be immediately adopted to restore public capital stock of the bank was held by foreigners, the me- confidence, by a renewal of the charter of the Bank of morialists say:
the United States, for a term which shall assure its dura"From the collection of the bonds for duties at the tion; or, if that be not granted, that the public suffering Bank of the United States, it unavoidably results that may be alleviated by a continuance of the institution for there is in that bank a great and constant accumulation a period which will permit it gradually to close its conof the paper of the other banks. This cause, combined cerns." So that, it seems, committees bearing to the with its weight of capital and extensive deposites, has Capitol memorials representing the ruin and distress of given to the Bank of the United States an obvious im- the commercial cities at that time, as now, waited upon portance in the connexion with other banks, which now Congress with their complaints, and yet at that time the renders its continuance almost indispensable to their removal of the deposites constituted no part of the cause safety; for your memorialists are without fear of contra- assigned for the distress complained of. diction, when they assert that, if the Bank of the United I find next a memorial from the Bank of New York, States be dissolved, an effect extensively and deeply in- presented to Congress January 8th, 1811, in which it is jurious will be felt by all the other banking institutions represented that "the demands already made upon State within the range of its operations. In their apprehen- banks have pressed them to their utmost limits; and from sion, it is impossible that the Bank of the United States these causes they will be utterly unable to supply, in any should exact payment from its debtors, and close its con- considerable degree, that aid which has hitherto been afcerns, without its producing all the evils of prostrated forded by the Bank of the United States. The consecredit and general delinquency. "To predict with cer- quences must be very great individual distress and tainty the extent of the evils which must inevitably flow heavy losses, as well to the revenue as to all the moneyed from a dissolution of the bank, is beyond the power of institutions. The renewal of the charter of the Bank of your memorialists. They conceive that among these the United States would render such reductions unnecesevils, however, may certainly be placed an extensive and sary; and, by relieving the apprehensions now excited aggravating loss by all persons interested in the banking through almost every class of the community, restore associations of the country; a destructive disregard of that confidence so essential to the system of public credit punctuality in the performance of contracts, both towards under which the United States have so much prospered." the Government and the citizen; a wide-spreading bank I will trouble the House by reading a single other exruptcy, which will be felt by the commercial, manufac-tract from one of these memorials; it is from the memoturing, and agricultural interests; a diffidence of the sta- rial of the Baltimore Insurance Company, dated 16th bility of Government, both at home and abroad, and a January, 1811. prostration of their confidence and credit, which have so “A refusal to renew the charter of that institution, in happily and successfully administered to the enterprise the present inauspicious and deplorable state of our and prosperity of the country.”
commerce," your memorialists humbly apprehend, and I read next from a memorial of citizens from Philadel- they feel it their duty explicitly to state, as their unqualiphia, presented to Congress on the 31st January, 1811: fied opinion, that it will have the effect of producing a * That it is with increasing solicitude and the deepest general destruction of commercial credit and confidence. concern that your memorialists reiterate their petition to But what, perhaps, in a national point of view, is still Congress, for renewal of the charter of the Bank of the more to be dreaded, because its calamitous effects would United States. With the extreme of anxiety have they not be confined to your cities, but would make its ravages Awaited the decision of this most important question, and into every quarter of the country, is the imminent jeopwith real distress do they witness the ascendency of sen- ardy into which the whole banking system of the nation timents opposed to the continuance of the bank. Before would be placed. The winding up of the Bank of the a final determination shall, however, exclude all hope, United States necessarily compels the drawing in of the they deem it their indispensable duty to lay before you funds of the State banks to such a degree as will produce A view of the distress which has already commenced, and innumerable failures, and involve your memorialists in of the wide-spreading ruin which has been but faintly irreparable losses." anticipated, but the certainty of which is now plain to I might read from other memorials to which I have every eye, and to accompany this view with their renew-turned, upon the same subject, and presented to Congress ed and urgent entreaties that this overwhelming mischief about the same time, until I would fatigue the patience may yet be staid. It has becume too plain to admit of|of the House. They are all of the same tone and tenor.
VOL. X. --289
H. Or R.]
Deposite Bank Bill.
(JUNE 20, 1834.
Against all this complaint of ruin, of prostration of is for a grant, worth to the stockholders six millions, and credit, and of commercial and pecuniary distress, I have to federalism and British influence sixty millions; and if some evidences, collected from ihe documents of that pe- the memorial contained the truth, there could have been riod, now on our files, to which I wish also to call the no occasion of presenting it; but you, in your wisdom and attention of the House. And the first is a report submitted superior intelligence, would have humbly petitioned Daby Mr. Clay to the Senate of the United States on the 2d vid Lenox, president, and the directors and stockholders of March, 1811, as follows, viz: “Your committee are of the United States Rank, to please to accept a renewal happy to say that they learn, from a satisfactory source, of their charter for eternity, or such shorter term as their that the apprehensions which were indulged as to the honors should appoint." distress resulting from a non-renewal of the charter, are “ We regard the repeated alarms in the memorial as far from being realized in Philadelphia, to which their in- not only groundless, but as a kind of threatening, ill suit. formation has been confined. It was long since obvious ed to your dignity and our independence." that the vacuum in the circulation of the country, which “ The bank memorial is a public declaration that the was to be produced by the withdrawal of the paper of Government and people of the United States are held in the Bank of the United States, would be filled by paper duress by the memorialists, and that the continuance of issuing from other banks. This operation is now actually our independence rests on their willingness to continue going on; the paper of the Bank of the United States is their bank operations. It contains an insulting history of rapidly returning, and that of other banks is taking its favors to us, greater than their royal master ever urged place. Their ability to enlarge their accommodations is upon the colonies. It declares that in the management of proportionately enhanced; and when it shall be further the power of the purse, for twenty years, it has done increased by a removal into their vaults of those deposites every thing for us, and has rendered itself necessary to which are in possession of the Bank of the United States, our future existence. Its silent language is, “Though we the injurious effects of a dissolution of the corporation fail to conquer you by the sword, we hold you suspended will be found to consist in an accelerated disclosure of by the purse strings. We demand your gratitude for the actual condition of those who have been supported by such use of our funds as we have condescended to permit the credit of others, but whose insolvent or tottering you to pay for; and now, if the power is to be withdrawn situation, known to the bank, has been concealed from from us, all your establishments of commerce, finance, the public at large."
agriculture, and the arts, will fall with us.' We have heard much, during the present winter, of a “This language is not from a band of patriots who undeclaration imputed to the President, “that those who Jertook to aid the nation in the first struggles for selftrade on borrowed capital ought to break.” The same government, but of men who, by subtlety and interces. opinion, it seems, was, in substance, expressed by this sion, obtained a charter, and who have become masters committee of the Senate in 1811. The committee of the head waters of corruption, th the ill-placed were then further of opinion, as I am now, that the rep-bounty of the first Congress. Their delay to close their resentations of distress were greatly exaggerated, if not affairs according to law was not for public good, but in unfounded; that the vacuum produced by the withdrawal preparation for a sudden onset upon a short session of of the paper of the Bank of the United States would be your honorable body. Hence their well-timed subscripsupplied by the paper of other banks; and that State tions to some republican presses. Hence the silence of banks were safe and suitable depositories of the public federal presses, lest discussion should awake in your conmoney,
stituents the spirit of 1776. Ilence the artificial depresI find, also, on our files, a memorial from the patriotic sion of stock, not in market, and the petitions from incitizens of Pittsburg, from which I will trouble the House terested companies and individuals crowding upon you. by reading a few extracts:
Hence the thronging of your avenues, and the artful “ After the Bank of the United States had enjoyed sounding of every Senator and member. Hence the intwenty years of prosperity, had divided, in that term, four timations that a million and a quarter should be placed in million over six per centum, and had held in bondage your Treasury, as a consideration for the ruin of your thousands of our citizens, who dared not to act according constituents; and hence the shameless assertion, that our to their consciences, from fear of offending the British President, who gained his elevation by his able opposition stockholders and federal directors, we had hoped that to the charter of the bank, and other ruinous measures, they would have quietly closed their concerns, and wait is now in favor of renewal.” ed for another turo of fortune, till other classes of citizens, “ The bank memorial, with its accompaniments, is an of at least equal merit, had each shared their four millions; alarming commentary on the original charter. The actual but we have seen, with indignation, a studied delay in depreciation of our silver and gold, by the United States the collections of that bank, indicating a determination to Bank, is not to be compared with the attempts to depregain a renewal under stress of weather; a studied pres- ciate the sterling virtue and republican integrity of our sure on individuals, and on State banks, in order to gain people." auxiliaries; and a studied memorial, containing, in smooth All the representations of ruin and impending distress, language, the most daring insults on the dignity and inde- of the inability of Sate banks to perform the offices of pendence of a free people.”
agents of Government, of derangement of currency, and
of the necessity of a national regulator of currency, made " The memorial next proceeds to associate the bank by the old bank and its friends, did not convince the with the Government, claiming to be a necessary and in Congress of 1810, '11, that it was proper to grant a redivisible part of it, showing the insufficiency of Stale charter. In that most important crisis, the Legislature of banks to answer the dignified purposes of their institu- the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania came to the rescue tion; and, after repeating, for the tenth time, the awful of the constitution. Resolutions were there adopted, calamities a waiting their dissolution, they commend the and are now on our files, instructing her Senators and rehard case of moneyed aristocracies, and of rich widows questing her Representatives in Congrrss “to use every and orphans, interested in their stock, to the wisdom and exertion in their power to prevent the charter of the justice of the Legislature. They again hold up the awful Bank of the United States from being renewed, or any terrors of "a general derangement of credit,' and pray other bank from being chartered by Congress, designed for a renewal of their charter."
to have operation within the jurisdiction of any State,” &c.
Virginia, too, gave similar instructions to her Senators “Now, may it please the Congress, this bank memorial and representatives in Congress, “to use their best ef
JCNE 20, 1834.]
Deposite Bank Bill.
[H. Or R.
forts in opposing, by every means in their power, the re. desired, to retain any discretionary power in the execunewal of the charter of the Bank of the United States.” tion of the laws, which, from its nature, is susceptible of The resolations of Pennsylvania were presented to Con being defined by law. The Executive, and his friends gress on the 22d, and those of Virginia on the 26th of upon this floor who sustain him in the recent executive January, 1811. Congress refused to renew the charter; measure of the removal of the deposites, desire to see the old bank expired with the termination of its charter, him, and not only him, but his successors in the execuand none of the evil consequences which had been anti- tive office, relieved from the responsibility of exercicipated, and were so confidently predicted by the bank sing discretionary power in relation to the safe-keeping, and its friends, were found to follow. No distress, no management, and disbursement of the public money, as ruin, no prostration of credit or of commerce, were far as, by legislative provisions, it can be done. The found to exist. This bank expired, too, with its busi- bill which has been presented contains provisions suited, ness extended up to its maximum point almost to the last in the opinion of the committee who prepared and hour of its existence. Even the minority of the Commit- brought it forward, to attain this end. i have invited tee of Ways and Means, in their counter report, at the gentlemen who may think its provisions inadequate, or present session, admit that that bank expired " with a who may suppose that too much power is still left in the circulation then flowing through the country greater than bands of the Executive, to come forward with their mod. the maximum of its amount at any previous time, with ifications, still further limiting and confining his power. the usual extent of deposites, public and private, in its if they will neither accept this bill, nor propose to vaults; with nearly all its canvass of every kind spread amend and make it more perfect, the conclusion must be, to the last hour of its voyage, and which the just and that they prefer the law as it is to any new legislative amicable relations subsisting between the administration provision. If they do not co-operate with us in perfectand the bank made it safe to spread for the good of the ing and passing this bill, the conclusion will be irresistible country."
that the charge which lias been made against the PresiIf this be so, why may not the same thing happen upon dent, of a desire to seize upon powers which do not be. the termination of the charter of the present bank? long to him, was designed to produce an erroneous im. There can be no reason why it should not go quietly out pression upon the public mind, and is wholly unfounded of existence with the termination of its charter, without in fact; that they prefer the existing laws to any amendproducing any violent shock either upon the currency or ments which can be made; and, in a word, that the real the commercial prosperity of the country, unless it be the purpose to be effected by all the violent and impassioned will of the bank, unnecessarily and wantonly, to use its appeals which have been made, charging him with usurpimmense power to inflict it, to induce thereby a general ation, was to operate upon the public, with a view to belief of the necessity of its continuance, and, if possi- procure a continuance of the present odious bank moble, procure a recharter. Should this be the determina-nopoly. tion of its managers, it will be better to bear the tempo I shall briefly call the attention of the House to the rary inconvenience which it may produce, rather than details of this bill. The bill provides, 1st," the mode of fasten upon the country a lasting evil.
selection ;" 2d, “the securities proper to be taken;" The House has decided, by such a majority (fifty-three) and, 3d, the manner and terms on which they are to be a3 renders it morally certain that that decision is not like employed.” By the existing law, the Secretary of the ly to be reversed, that the present bank ought not to be Treasury possesses the power to select the banks of derechartered. They have decided that the present bank posite, to prescribe the terms and conditions of their em. is not regarded now, as the old bank was not regarded in ployment, and to discontinue them at pleasure. The 1810, '11, either as an indispensable Government agent, bill continues the power of making the selections in the or as a regulator of currency.
first instance to the Secretary of the Treasury, upon cerNo new bank has been recommended, for most obvious tain terms and conditions prescribed, but when once sereasons: 1st. Because, by the terms of the present bank lected, he is, by the 9th section, expressly prohibited charter, no other bank could be created by Congress, to from discontinuing any such bank as a depository, “so go into effect before the 4th of March, 1836, when that long as the said bank shall continue to do and perform the charter expires. 20. No new bank could furnish a reme- several duties and services required to be performed" by dy for the commercial distress and embarrassment, real the bill, and "so long as said bank shall continue to be in or pretended, complained of; because that distress or all respects a safe depository of the public money." It embarrassment, wliether real or imaginary, must bave run is only for failure or refusal, on the part of any bank of deits course and passed away before any new bank could posite to perform the duties and services prescribed and commence operations; and, thirdly and mainly, because stipulated to be performed, or that it shall have so exany bank, organized upon the principles of the present tended or conducted its business as to render it an unsafe bank, would be subject to the same objections that the depository, that the public moneys which it may hold on present bank is; would probably be owned by the same deposite are to be removed. And if Congress be in ses. persons, and be subject to the same abuses. - I doubt sion, it cannot even then be discontinued without the whether it is in the power of statutory provisions to pro "approbation of Congress previously obtained.” In the vide chains strong enough to confine so tremendous a recess of Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury is aupower, if it shall be disposed to abuse it. The objection, thorized to remove the public moneys for the causes only therefore, to the employment of State banks, that a na. already stated, and in that case is required to “report to tional institution is necessary, either as a regulator of cur- Congress, at the commencement of the next session, the rency or a Government agent, cannot, upon any sound facts and reasons which have induced such discontinu principles, be maintained.
By another provision in the bill, the power is exThe State banks, then, are to be employed, either pressly reserved to Congress at any time to pass a "law under our law as it exists, or under the law as Congress for the removal of the public money from any of the said may modify it. The bill before us proposes modifications, banks.” The power reserved to Congress to remove is limiting and defining, with more precision than has here- absolute. Congress may by law order a discontinuance tofore been done, the executive discretion and power. of any of the selected banks as depositories, at its mere It is tendered to the House, and especially to those who will. The Secretary, by the provisions of the bill, poshave raised the cry of a union in the President of the sesses no such power. He can only remove the public sword and the purse, when in fact he possesses neither. money from their keeping for the causes specified in the The present Executive does not desire, and never has bill, and which have been already stated. So long, there.
H. OF R.)
Deposite Bank Bill.
(JUNE 20, 1834.
fore, as any bank selected as a depository shall perform ty for the safe-keeping of the public moneys deposited the stipulations of its contract, and shall remain in a safe in any of the selected banks; and for the faithful percondition, it will hold the public money on deposite, not formance of the duties and services which any such bank at the pleasure of the Executive, but independent of him. may by its contract have stipulated to perform. Neither the original selection, nor the continued em 3d. The bill provides the “manner and terms" on ployment of these banks by the Treasury, under such which the banks selected are to be employed. circumstances as the bill provides, can by possibility be They are, 1st--To credit the Treasury for all deposites used as a Government patronage, to control or in any de- as specie. gree influence them in their operations.
2d. To pay all checks, warrants, or drafts, drawn on The power of making the original selections was con- such deposites, in specie, if required by the holder tinued in the head of the Treasury Department-first, thereof. because the general management of the finances, and the 34. To pay its notes and bills in specie, on demand. safe-keeping and disbursement of the public money, ac
4th. To'furnish the Government the necessary facording to law, appropriately belongs to that officer, and cilities for transferring the public funds from place to have always been confided to him; and, secondly, because place within the United States and the Territories therethe selections could be made by him as conveniently, and of, and for distributing the same in the payment of the with as much safety to the public, as regards the security public creditors, without charging commissions or claimof public money, as by any other officer. It is true that ing allowance on account of difference of exchange. Congress migbt, by law, designate the banks in which the 5th. That no bank selected as a depository of the public money shall be kept. And the committee who public money, shall, after the 3d of March, 1836, issue prepared this bill, in their report, state that "there could or use any note or bill of less deromination than five dol. be no objection to that mode, provided it be deemed lars. practicable to make the selections in such manner as to These several conditions and terms of employment are protect and preserve the public funds to be deposited at once self-evident, and will require that I should add therein." It was believed, however, that Congress, from but a word or two by way of explanation. The general its numbers and organization, could not so conveniently scope and tenor is, to make the public money, wherever ascertain the condition and safety of the banks to be se- deposited, equal to specie, and to secure the transmission lected as the principal officer of the Government. Ano- of funds from place to place, where money may be requir. ther suggestion bas been made, and that is, that all the ed to be disbursed, free of expense to the Government, banks at the point or place where the revenue may be and by making it the interest of the deposite banks in received, and which may be found to be in a safe condi- consideration of the use of the deposites, when not called tion, shall be employed in proportion to their respective for for the public service, to induce them, after a given capitals. The objection to this plan is, that it would too future day, to cease issuing small notes, and thereby grad. much disperse the public funds, produce unnecessary com- ually introduce in their stead a metallic circulation. At plication in the accounts of the Treasury, and some in- a still more distant day it may be proper to extend the convenience in making disbursements, especially of large latter condition to banks issuing notes or bills of a less amounts, for the public service. The plan adopted by denomination than tens or twenties; but it was not deemthe bill continues to the Secretary of the Treasury the ed necessary to embrace such a provision in this bill. If power of making the selections, with the restrictions over it be deemed expedient, Congress may hereafter extend his power of discontinuance already stated. He is to se- the law (should the bill pass) in this respect. lect “such of the banks, incorporated by the several With a view to attain the same end, the bill contains a States, as may be located at or convenient to the points or further provision, that, after the 3d of March, 1836, the places at which the revenues may be collected ;" and at notes or bills of no bank shall be received in payment of the principal points of collection, in the principal cities, debts due to the United States, which shall, after that where large amounts are received, he is required to select date, issue any note or bill of less denomination than five at least two banks, provided that they be, "in bis opin- dollars. In regard to the banks of deposite, it is impoion, safe depositories of the public money, and shall be sed, as a condition upon which they shall be employed, willing to undertake to do and perform the several duties that they shall, after a given future day, cease to issue or and services, and to conform to the several conditions use small notes; and in regard to all specie-paying banks, prescribed by the bill.”
the deposite banks included, it is made a condition upon 20. The bill next provides the securities proper to which the United States will agree to receive their notes be taken.” Before any bank shall be selected, the third or bills in payment of public dues. The latter provision section requires that the Secretary shall be furnished with is but a modification of the joint resolution of Congress a full statement of its condition and business, that he may of the 30th of April, 1816, under which the notes of sol. be enabled to judge of its safety. Being first satisfied vent specie-paying banks are now received in payment from an inspection of such a statement, and from other to the United States. That resolution prohibits the colsources of information within bis reach, that a given bank lectors of the revenue from receiving any thing but the would be a safe depository, and would be willing to re- legal currency, (gold or silver coin,) the notes of the ceive the public money on deposite, upon the terms of Bank of the United States, or the notes of such other the bill, he is authorized to make the selection ; and by banks as may redeem their notes in specie. This resoluthe 8th section he is authorized to enter into contracts tion of 1816, by prohibiting the receipt of the notes of with the selected banks. With a view to the continued any bank which does not redeem its bills in specie, makes safety of the public funds in any of the selected banks, he it the interest of all banks which wish to obtain general is authorized to require them, as one of the conditions credit and circulation for their notes, by having them re. upon which they are to hold the public deposites, that ceived in payment of the revenue,' to continue the they shall furnish from time to time, as often as required, payment of specie for their notes on demand; and so not exceeding once a week, such statements of their this provision in this bill is designed to make it the intecondition and business, and shall also agree to permit an rest of all banks, which desire to obtain for their notes a inspection of the general accounts in the books of the like general circulation and credit, by having them rebank, as shall relate to such statements. And as an ad-ceived by the United States in payment of debts, to cease ditional security to the public, the Secretary is by the 7th to issue small notes. This provision cannot be regarded section authorized, whenever in his judgment the same as an attempt, on the part of Congress, to regulate the shall be necessary, to take additional or collateral securi- !paper currency of the State banks--for the constitution
JUNE 20, 1834. ]
Deposite Bank Bill.
[H. OF R.
al power to do this has already been denied-but as a to which the discussions had extended, (having occupied declaration on the part of Congress of what kind of mo- almost our exclusive attention for three months,) the imney shall be received in payment of public dues. This patience of the public mind to bave the question which power Congress have a clear right to exercise; and if, as so much agitated the country settled, compelled me, from a consequence flowing from such declaration, the State a sense of the paramount importance of having a speedy banks shall voluntarily co-operate, and, for example, re- decision by this House, to forego a reply to any thing which sume specie payment, as most of them did shortly after was then said. I am not now about to go into the arguthe resolution of 1816, or as they may, should this bill ment of that report--nor do I propose now to notice much become a law, cease to issue small notes after March, of what, at that time, had an opportunity been afforded, L 1836, in order that their other notes, of other denomina- desired to notice. The time has passed; and it is unneces. tions, may be received by the United States--such a con- sary, because the report has since been sustained by the sequence would be a legitimate one: and yet, in another deliberate judgment of the House. But though I do not case, would Congress have interfered to regulate the pa- propose, and will not, at this late period of the session, per currency which they issue. If all the State banks, permit myself to be drawn into the general argument, I after the resolution of 1816, bad suspended specie pay- do ask the indulgence of the House whilst I notice the ment, as they might, the revenue would have been col. character which marked the discussion on the part of lected in coin. They chose, however, voluntarily, to those opposed to the principles of the report, as well as pay specie for their notes; and, as they did so, the Uni. one or two most extraordinary grounds upon which it ted States permitted the notes of many of them to be re- was sought to reverse them. ceived. And so, if this bill shall pass, and the State The report discussed temperately the various ques. banks shall, after the 3d March, 1836, voluntarily con- tions connected with the removal of the deposites. How tinue to issue small notes, their notes of other denomina- the views it presented were met by those in opposition, it tions will not be permitted to be received by the United becomes my duty now to notice. Were they met, and at. States; but if they choose to cease the issuing of such tempted to be refuted, by bold and manly argument? notes, then their other notes may be received in pay. Were the positions laid down by your committee encoun. ment. It is wholly voluntary on the part of the State tered, and attempted to be overturned by reason? No! banks. They may or may not continue to pay specie; Instead of argument, we had ebullitions of feeling and of they may or may not cease to issue small notes. There passion. Instead of reasoning, we heard unmeasured de. is no attempt to check or control them by Congress. If nunciations and bitter invectives against the Chief Execthey voluntarily cease to issue small notes after the day utive Magistrate. Instead of calm discussion, we heard mentioned in the bill, and it is believed most of them, repeated here all the violence of party strife, gleaned and especially those of large capitals will, it is not doubt. from partisan newspapers; and upon grounds like these ed that the currency they circulate will be in a sounder the House were called upon to reverse the report of your state, and the country gradually furnished with an in- committee. creased metallic circulation, to fill the vacuum occasioned The minority of the Committee of Ways and Means, in by the withdrawal from circulation of the small notes at the counter report which they presented, set out by af. present issued by them.
firming that 'the removal of the public deposites from An amendment of the existing laws, regulating the re- the Bank of the United States is an act upon which the lative value of the gold and silver coins of the United judgment of the country is now irrevocably passed.” States, and the value of foreign coins, constitutes an im- What this public judgment is they have not stated, but portant part of the scheme of currency of the Secretary left to be inferred. In the same paragraph they assume of the Treasury, as communicated in his letter to the that the act of removal was wholly indefensible, witiiCommittee of Ways and Means--and which accompanies out color of probable cause, a violation of the bank chare their report with this bill. But as the subject of regula. ter, an inroad upon the property and security of the citi. ting the value of the coins is embraced in other bills upon zens, and upon the rights of the legislative department." your table, I will reserve any thing further which I may These bold assumptions are taken for granted; no argu. have to say upon the subject of the currency, (if, indeed, ment is adduced 'lo prove or sustain them--and upon I shall say any thing,) until those bills come up for con- premises thus erroneously assumed, the minority proceed bideration.
to give their opinion. In the paragraplı next succeeding, The bill contains another provision: that the Secretary they say that the power of removing the public deposshall annually report to Congress the banks in the em-ites is granted or reserved by the 16th section of the bank ployment of the Treasury--and that, until other selections charter, to be exercised by the Secretary of the Treasu. are made by him, the banks at present holding the de- ry," &c. If it was a power either "granted or reserved," posites shall continue to be the depositories. It will be to be exercised by the Secretary of the Treasury," at all times in the power of Congress, by calls made upon (and the minority concede that it is the one or the other,) the Secretary, to know the amount of public money in it is difficult to conceive how its exercise, by the Secretaeach, and the state and condition of each, as regards its ry of the Treasury, can be either "a violation of the safety,
bank charter," or "an inroad upon the property or secu. I have now gone through with the substantial details of rity of the citizen," or upon the rights of the Legislathis bill. Should it pass, I believe its provisions such as ture. But why is this power stated in the alternative? fully to guard and secure the public money deposited Why is it said to be a power "granted or reserved?" and to be deposited in the State banks.
It must be the one or the other; and if the one, it cannot I must ask the indulgence of the House before I con- be the other. Did the ininority doubt which it was? If clude, to be permitted very briefly to notice what I have it was a power granted by the bank charter, it was not a heretofore been precluded the opportunity of noticing. power reserved; and if it was reserved, it was not a new Wben the report of the Committee of Ways and Means power thus for the first time granted to the Secretary, but upon the subject of the removal of the deposites, and the was a recognition of a pre-existing power. The majority employment of the State banks, concluding with the res of the committee had, in their report, maintained that it olution which it is the object of this bill to carry into ef- was not a new power, but a reservation of the old power fect, was before the House, I reluctantly yielded the very possessed and exercised by the head of the Treasury De. strong desire which I then felt to meet in argument, and partment, since the passage of the act of 1789, establishrefate, if I could, much of what was then urged against ing the Treasury Department. If this was an error, wly the principles and doctrines of that report. The length was it not shown to be sucli by the minority?