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H. OF R.]
(Oct. 4, 1837.
member, fairly up for discussion in Congress, Mr. T. would message-a remedy against depreciated currency-could undertake to examine how far the several States can limit be furthered through the instrumentality of a bankrupt and restrain the Governinent, in the exercise of an undoubt-law, not inconsistent with the doctrines contended for in ed power, expressed clearly in the constitution, by grants 1827. But it is unnecessary to dwell longer on the subof privileges and immunities to their citizens, incompatible ject. Enough has been said to show that the President with that which may be made the supreme law of the land. has not exposed himself to just censure or denunciation, But, at present, it was not necessary to enter upon what is and that the Committee on the Judiciary has discharged well known to be debatable ground. The suggestions of faithfully the duty imposed on it by the House. the message can be readily carried out without trenching Mr. T. had arisen to establish those two positions, and upon the privileges secured to incorporated bankers by the not to enter into the debate at large ; and having said all laws of the several States. The condition of the country, that he thought needful for that purpose, he concluded. at this moment, furnishes an opportunity for an apt illus [The hour of half past two having arrived, the House tration of this opinion. The charters of nearly all the took its usual recess till four o'clock.] banks of the country have been forfeited, by a suspension
EFENING SESSION. of specie payments. Until this occurred, the evils of our banking system, although known to be great, were not
TREASURY NOTE BILL. generally esteemed to be intolerable. Since that event,
The House met after the recess. speculators and shavers are out like hawks upon the wing, The bill authorizing an issue of Treasury notes being preying without restraint upon the community, by buying under consideration in Committee of the whole, and selling a depreciated and fluctuating paper currency. Mr. DUNN, of Indiana, moved to amend the bill hy In many cases, those who are interested in fallen banks adding a clause declaring, in substance, that the banks or may, and probably will, amass fortunes, at the expense of merchants indebted to the Government might settle their the producing classes, by purchasing at a discount the lia- respective balances in Treasury notes before they fell due. bilities of the institutions with which they are identified. But it was ruled not to be in order at this time. It will be confessed that this state of things aggravates es The question was then put on the amendment offered sentially the calamities incident to a suspension of specie by Mr. Ruert, of South Carolina, and decided in the negpayments. If the States do not, could not Congress effec- ative. tually interpose to correct this revolting spectacle? Could Mr. WILLIAMS, of North Carolina, said he observed not Congress, after a specified delay in the payment of that, by the bill as it stood, the Secretary of the Treasury their notes and other liabilities, which they are required by was vested with an unlimited power of employing as many their charters to redeem in specie, provide, by a general clerks as he pleased, and at whatever salary he chose to law, that the creditors of such banks may apply to the fix; and he inquired of Mr. CAMBRELENG how many courts of the United States for adequate process? It would clerks were contemplated as necessary, and what was to not be requisite to inflict upon the contractors, or their be their compensation ? agents, personal penalties; but commissioners might be ap Mr. CAMBRELENG expressed great surprise that pointed io take into custody their effects for the benefit of such a question should have been put by the father of the iheir creditors. Such a proceeding towards an insolvent House, who had been in Congress all through the last corporation would produce measurable relief against some war, and had voted for just such a bill to issue Treasury of the mischiefs often complained of. The acts and doings notes, with a similar discretion as to clerks. of such a commissioner would be public. All parties in Mr. WILLIAMS denied that he had voted for the bill terested would bave access to his papers, and thereby be alluded to. able to estimate correctly the value of the liabilities of the Mr. CAMBRELENG said he was sorry to hear it. corporation. At present, under the existing systems of He then referred to a bill passed two years ago, respecting many of the States, the managers of banks that have failed Virginia land warrants, where many clerks were necessary, continue to direct secretly their operations. They, and and in which a similar discretion was entrusted with the they alone, know minutely their condition, and can ascer Department. He thought the inquiry the most absurd tain clearly the value of their engagements. The direct- that could be imagined. ors may, too, give improper preferences to creditors, or Mr. WILLIAMS replied with some warmth to this retransfer the whole funds of the banks to trustees, instead of mark, and a long conversation ensued, in which reference making a fair and speedy distribution of them for the bene was had to the days of Mr. Crawford, the history of the fit of all concerned.
Bank of the United States, Mr, WILLIAMS's votes for Would not all these mischiefs be prevented by a transfer President, and the general politics of the country, in the of the papers and effects of a bankrupt corporation to a pub course of which there was some sharp retort. Mr. CAMlic officer, to whose proceedings all parties interested could BRELENG declining to answer Mr. Williams's query, he have unrestrained access? And would not a measure of moved that the committee rise; but withdrew the motion this character operate to restrain the issues and business of at the request of banks within reasonable bounds? If the stockholders were Mr. DAWSON, of Georgia, who offered an amendapprized that, on the happening of a certain event, the as- ment, restricting the number of clerks to four, and the sets of the bank were to be disposed of for the benefit of all amount of the salary of each at the rate of $1,200 per anconcerned, it is not unreasonable to believe that they would take care to guard against the occurence of such a contin Mr. CAMBRELENG expressed his assent to this gency, hy precautions better than those which have been amendment; and after some remarks from Mr. Haynes, not generally used. This being true, here is a simple mode in heard by our reporter, the amendment was agreed to. which the suggestions of the message can be responded to, Mr. RIVES, of Virginia, proposed to strike out the 2d not inconsistent with the constitution of the United States, section of the amendment inoved by Mr. CAMBRELENG, which does not in the slightest degree encroach upon the the effect of which would be to provide for the issuing of authority of the Slates to grant bank charters, or interfere Treasury potes without interest. with the personal immunities intended to be secured by Mr. R. supported his amendment by a speech, in which such grants; and it has none of the attributes of the meas he insisted that notes of the description de desired, while ure proposed by Mr. Branch, and opposed by Mr. Van they met and relieved the wants of the Government, would Buren, in 1827.
equally meet the great want of the people, by giving them There are other modes in which the great object of the a uniform circulating inedium. He contended that no ob
Oct. 4, 1837.)
(H. or R.
jection could be urged to this measure, save by the advo bill for the administration of all that had been reported. cates of the Bank of the United States, or by persons de. This was the money bill: pass this, and these ten millions sirous of speculating on the necessities of the conimunity; could be converled by the Government into specie, and it these notes would at once reduce the balance of exchange had already thirteen or fourteen millions in the deposite with England ; and this would operate to prevent their de banks which this bill would render permanently unavailapreciation. Treasury notes would circulate better without ble ; so that they would be enabled to do all they desired, bearing an interest than with a low rate of interest; and with or without the sub-Treasury bill. The Treasury were the amount $40,000,000 instead of $10,000,000, it could securely hoard up the avails of these notes, and then would be a safe and salutary measure, and the very best circulate its own drafts. thing Congress could do.
Mr. UNDERWOOD said he had an anendment which Mr. HAYNES suggested that it was of little conse he was desirous to offer as a substitute for the present bill; quence whether these notes should circulate, or should be the substance of which he slated to be, that the Secretary hoarded; for, if they were hoarded, the effect would be to of the Treasury authorize the sale of the bonds due from force out an equal amount into active circulation.
the Bank of the United States, (other than those for the Mr. SNYDER said he would vote for the amendment first instalment,) provided they should not sell below par, of the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, if which would amount to about six millions and a half; and we were under the necessity of issuing ten millions of pa if that should be impracticable, then that he lorrow, on per money ; for one, he thought it important that the pa. | those bonds, six and a half millions, at an interest not exper should be of equal value with specie ; unless it is, the ceeding six per cent., payable at any time after two years. consequences will be that the issue of this paper will add He made a few remarks to show the probability that these to, in place of diminishing, the evil which at present ex bonds could be sold at par. As to the question of the conists ; for, disguise this as you may, it is a debt which we stitucionality of Treasury notes, he held that it depended are involving the nation in to the amount of ten millions on the fact whether any fund was provided in band on of dollars. I have been in the habit of always legislating which to found their payment; without this, he contended in a manner that my constituents could understand my they were but mere paper money, and, as such, unconstiacts ; hence I would much prefer a loan of ten millions to tutional. the present proposed mode of issuing warrants to that Mr. RIVES now modified his amendinent, so as to insert amount, redeemable in one year; fur, depend upon it, if the words “ not bearing interest." we keep our faith with the States, we have ten millions to Mr. HOLSEY, of Georgia, opposed the amendment, pay them in 1839. There is now a deficit in the Treasu and argued the danger, or at least the possibility, of such ry of two millions and upwards ; this, together with the notes going below par, and dwelt on the mischievous conordinary expenditure of the Government, will consume all sequences to the country and to the Government. the contemplated revenue of the next year; and, at the Mr. McKIM said he was in favor of Treasury notes end of that time, the money must be raised to redeem the bearing interest, though he considered the security of the warrants, and rest assured that the people will understand United States better than any other in the world. He it when they are called upon to pay it. It is objected, too, had seen them, at one period of the late war, at a discount that if these warrants bear interest, they will be anxiously of 11 per cent. ; but he did not believe that such would be sought for, and, being more valuable than specie, they will the case now. He preferred notes to a loan, as it would be locked up, and withheld from circulation. Admit this, be but for a year, and nobody would want to invest their it will take ten millions of specie or its equivalent to with money in stock which had so short a time to run.
He draw from circulation the warrants, thus adding to the thought it not right to offer to pay the public creditors in means of the banks to resume specie payment. Not only paper not bearing interest, nor did he desire the Governthe wants of the people, but the character of our Govern inent to encounter the odium of issuing paper money. ment, imperiously demands that we should issue none Mr. PHILLIPS reminded the commitice that they were other than a circulating medium which would relieve the to look at all these several bills as but dillerent parts of one deranged state of the currency, and have an equal value connected system, and that the entire system was, in like with specie. I repeat, sir, I would prefer a loan to the manner, connected with and involved in each bill. oiutn of issuing a paper currency, not based on a specie The question was not put on Mr. Rives's amendment, capital, and which the taxes of our constituents must in to add the words “not bearing interesi,” and negatived :
Ayes 56, noes 91. Mc. CAMBRELENG thought it desirable to get this The question was then taken on the amendment of bill into the House without delay; gentlemen need not Mr. UNDER WOOD, which he now offered in the following dread the previous question, because, as the body of the words : bull was in the form of an amendment to the bill originally That the Secretary of the Treasury be authorized to sell reported, the previous question could not be taken before and transfer to the purchaser or purchasers the bonds or the amendment was voted on. He explained the reason evidences of debt executed by the president, directors, and why, though at first in favor of Treasury notes without compmy of the Bank of the United States of Pennsylvainterest, he had since changed his opinion. When he nia, for and in consideration of the stock held by the Uniproposed notes without interest, a large amount was ex ted States in the late Bank of the United States, and to pected to flow into the Treasury ; this was now to be de. apply the money arising from such sale and transfer, in ferred ; and it was safest to add an interest to guard against payment of any demands upon the 'Treasury : Provided, depreciation. Gentlemen ought to remember that one however, That no sale and transfer of said bonds or evimillion of these notes bought up and sent abroad was equal, dences of debt shall be made for a less sum than the nomin its beneficial effects upon the state of the currency, to
inal amount of said bonds ur evidences of debt, exclusive ten millions circulating at home.
of interest. Mr. CHAMBERS, of Kentucky, moved that the com Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That if it be immittee rise ; but the motion did not prevail.
practicable to sell said bonds, or evidences of debt, in the Mr. BELL suggested it would be best to pass at once manner provided in the first section of this act, it shall be upon the amendments that should be offered, then lay this lawful for the Secretary of the Treasury, and he is herebill aside, and take up the others, and go through with by authorized, to borrow six million five hundred thousand them in committee, and report the whole to the House dollars, on the credit of the United States, at an interest without delay. He considered this as the most important 'not exceeding the rate of six per cent. per annun, and 10
the end pay.
H. OF R.]
(Oct. 4, 1837.
apply the money so borrowed in payment of any demands United States, at the Treasury thereof, after the expiraupon the Treasury; and all money borrowed under the tion of one year from the dates of the said notes respecprovisions of this section shall and may be repaid at the tively ; [from which said dates, for the term of one year, pleasure of the Government of the United States at any and no longer, they shall bear such interest as shall be exiime after the lapse of two ycars from the time it shall have pressed upon the face of the said notes; which rate of inbeen borrowed.
terest, upon each several issue of the said notes, shall When it was negatived: Ayes 80, noes 91.
be fixed by the Secretary of the Treasury, by and with the Mr. DUNN, of Indiana, oftered now the amendment he advice and approbation of the President; but shall in no had before proposed, as follows:
case exceed the rate of interest of six per centum per an- : “Including all balances owing by the late deposite banks, num.] The reimbursement herein provided for shall be and all sums owing on duty bonds, whether such balances made at the Treasury of the United States to the holders on bonds or Treasury notes shall, at the time of any such of the said notes respectively, upon presentment, (and offer to pay, be due or not."
shall include the principal of each note, and the interest Mr. CAMBRELENG opposed this amendment. The which may be due thereon at the time of payment.] For Government might as well allow'a merchant now to antici- this reimbursement, at the time and times herein spe. pate his bonds, by buying up depreciated paper and taking cified, the faith of the United States is hereby solemnly them up before they fell due. Let the notes be received pledged. when the debt fell due, and not before. The other arrange Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the said Treament might embarrass the Treasury.
sury notes shall be prepared under the direction of the Mr. ROBERTSON, of Virginia, suggested that if this Secretary of the 'Treasury, and shall be signed on behalf amendment should be adopted, the United States Bank of of the United States by the Treasurer thereof, and counPennsylvania might pay the whole amount of their bonds tersigned by the Register of the Treasury ; and that those to Government in that way.
officers respectively shall, as checks upon each other, and Mr. FILLMORE supported the amendment, contending to secure the public safety, keep separate, full, and accuthat it was the right of the creditor to set off Treasury rale accounts of the number, date, denomination, and notes, if he could get them, against his debt to the Govern amount of all the notes signed and countersigned by them
This would hold out a strong iriducement to all respectively; which said accounts shall be carefully precreditors of Government to take these notes, and they served and placed on file in the Treasury Department; and, would thus be sooner brought into circulation.
also, similar accounts, kept and preserved in the same manMr. DUNN insisted that the terms of his amendment ner, of all the said notes redeemed, as the same shall be excluded the United States Bank from availing itself of it, returned and cancelled ; and the Treasurer shall further as suggested by Mr. ROBERTSON. The effect of his account quarterly for all such notes delivered to him for amendment would be to prevent the depreciation of these signature or issue by the Register. The Treasurer and
Register of the Treasury are hereby authorized, ly and Mr. CAMBRELENG said the merchants would be left with the consent and approbation of the Secretary of the just as they were now; they could buy these notes and Treasury, to employ such additional temporary clerks as hold them till the time their debts to Government fell due. the duties enjoined upon them by this section may render It would leave both the banks and the merchants precisely necessary: the compensation of each clerk so employed to where they were now,
be fixed by the Secretary, Mr. CHAMBERS, of Kentucky, went into a speech Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of some length, in which he animadverted, with severi- of the Treasury is hereby authorized, with the approbation ly, on the firiancial measures proposed by the adminis- of the President of the United States, lo cause to be issued tration, and insisted that it was very manifest that the ob- such portion of the said Treasury notes as the President ject was to place the banks at the mercy of the Secretary may think expedient, in payment of debts duc by the Uniof the Treasury, and eventually to crush them. He did ted States, to such public creditors or other persons as may not wish the bill to leave the hands of the committee till choose to receive such notes in payment, as aforesaid, (at some security was provided against such a result.
par,] on the face. (And the Secretary of the Treasury is He therefore moved to lay this bill and amendment aside further authorized, with the approbation of the President of for the present, and take up the bill to provide for the final the United States, to borrow, from time to time, not under settlement of accounts with the late deposite banks. par, such sums as the President may think expedient, on
A question of order was raised by Mr. CAMBRELENG, the credit of such notes) Provided, That it shall not be but the motion, after some discussion, was decided to be lawful for the Secretary of the Treasury, or any dis bursin order.
ing officer of the Gorernment, to pay out or circulate any The motion, however, was negatived : Ayes 78, noes 96. Treasury note or notes, so long us there remains in the
The question was then put on Mr. Dunx's amendment, hands of such disbursing officer, or the Treasurer of the and decided in the negative without a count.
United States, any specie or other availuble funds : And The question then recurring on the amendment of Mr. provided further, That the whole amount, or so much of CAMBRELENG, (in fact upon the whole bill,)
the five millions of dollars as by law is to remain in the Mr. WISE said he wished to take a "woodpecker's Treasury for contingencies, shall be kept on hand in tap" on this “hollow beech tree;" he accordingly moved Treasury notes, until the exigencies of the Government the following amendments to the bill :
shall render their use or circulation necessury. That the President of the United States is hereby autho Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the said Treas. rized to cause Treasury notes for such sum or sums as she ury notes shall be transferable, by delivery and assignment may think expedient) the exigencies of the Government endorsed thereon, by the person to whom the same shall, require, of
the face thereof,
of denominations less than one hundred dollars for any one ury notes shall be received in payment of all duties and note, to be prepared, signed, and issued, in the manner taxes laid by the autliority of the United States; of all the hereinafter provided.
public lands sold by the said authority, and of all debts due Sec 2. And be it further enacted, That the said Trea in the United States, of any character whatsoever. And sury notes, authorized to be issued by the first section on every such payment credit shall be given for the amount of this act, shall be reimbursed and redeemed by the '[of the principal and interest, which, on the day of such
Oct. 5, 1837.]
(H. Of R.
payment, may be] due on the note or notes thus given in and remedial only, or was to be a fixed and permanent payment.
system. Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary Mr. DUNCAN complained of the many occasions on of the Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized and di- which the friends of the administration were compelled to rected to cause to be reimbursed and paid (the principal and sit and listen to the taunts of the opposition, who were interest of) the Treasury notes which may be issued by continually charging them with being under Executive invirtue of this act, at the several time and times when the Auence, and so forth. He would admit that they acted tosame, according to the provisions of this act, should be thus gether, and what of that? The friends of the Government reimbursed and paid. (And the said Secretary is further had come here for the very purpose of acting together, to authorized to make purchases of the said notes at par, for relieve the country from its present distress. But the opthe amount of the principal and interest due at the time of position were continually raising the panic note, and yet purchase on such notes. And so much of any unappropri- did nothing towards relief. They not only refuse to act ated moneys in the Treasury as may be necessary for that themselves, but they endeavor to embarrass and prevent purpose, is hereby appropriated for paying the principal and others from so doing. Was it not but the other day, that interest of said notes. ]
one who claims to be a leader of the other side, (Mr. Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That a sum not ex. Wise, ) told them “ that he would offer nothing, and he ceeding twenty thousand dollars, to be paid out of any hoped that none of the opposition would offer any propounappropriated money in the Treasury, be, and the same sition for relief ?" Mr. D. then referred to the various is hereby, appropriated, for defraying the expense of pre measures now proposed, and contended that they were all paring, printing, engraving, signing, and otherwise inci- calculated to afford relief to the banks and country at large. dent to the issuing of the Treasury notes authorized by this He referred to the short period remaining of the session, act.
and earnestly entreated the opposition, that if they would Mr. WISE remarked with severity upon the bill, as be not act themselves, at least to permit others to act for the ing but the commencement of the system of a Treasury benefit of the people, bank. The system was to be presented not at once, but Mr. W. C. JOHNSON rejoined with animation; when piecemeal. The first, and the largest stride was to familiar the question was taken and his amendment rejected. ize the minds of the people with Treasury issues. The Mr. GRENNELL moved to amend the penal section of plea urged for this was the necessities of the Government; the bill, by supplying a manifest omission of the case of a but an honorable gentleman from South Carolina had come man's having in his possession counterfeit Treasury notes, out boldly the other day, and avowed his opinion that the with the intent to pass them; but (owing, as was believed, Government ought to have a permanent paper circulation. to a misapprehension of the vote) it was declared to be Mr. W. entered his protest against a new public debt, and negatived. a Treasury bank. He compared the conduct of the ad The amendment of Mr. CAMBRELENG, as amended, ministration to that of the famous Fanny Wright, who, was then agreed to, and the committee rose, and reported after denouncing matrimony in the most unmeasured terms, the bill to the House ; whereupon was next heard of as Mad. Darusmont. So this Govern The House adjourned. ment was for a divorce from all banks; but the next thing heard of would be its marriage to the worst bank on the
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5. face of God's earth—a Treasury bank. Mr. W. concluded a short, bul animated speech, by
NATIONAL BANK. moving that the committee ise.
After transacting some other business, the House passed The motion was negatived : Ayes 82, noes 89.
to the unfinished business of yesterday, which was the conT'he question was then put on his amendment, and it sideration of the resolution reported from the Committee of was rejected.
Ways and Means, declaring it to be inexpedient to charter Mr. CAMBRELENG, with a view to prevent the Bank a national bank; and the question being on Mr. SERGEANT's of the United States from availing itself of Treasury notes motion to refer the resolution to the Committee of the to purchase its bonds to the United States, (which it would, Whole on the state of the Union, if possible, certainly do, as it would be a profitable operation,) Mr. BYNUM, who was entitled to the floor, said he modified his amendment by adding, after the word banks had not risen on yesterday, so much with the intention of “due when said Treasury notes shall be offered in pay, making a speech, as to express his hearty concurrence in ment."
the sentiments expressed by the honorable gentleman from Mr. DUNN moved as an additional section to the bill, a Georgia, (Mr. Glascock,) and the honorable gentleman provision that the power of the Secretary of the Treasury from New York, (Mr. Clark,) and he exceedingly reio issue Treasury notes do cease on the 1st Monday of May, gretted that it became the duty of the Chair to interpose 1838; but it was rejected without a count.
and arrest the remarks of those honorable gentlemen, Mr. FILLMORE wished to amend the bill by striking knowing that they would have been able to place the subout the clause which provides a penalty for having in a ject in a clearer point of view than it was in his power to man's possession paper similar to that used for the Treas- do. He also rose to express his astonishment at the exury notes, with intent to counterfeit; but his motion was traordinary course pursued by the gentleman from Pennnegatived after a short discussion.
sylvania, (Mr. Sergeant,] in moving to commit the resoMr. DUNN offered to amend the bill by adding the fol- lution to a Committee of the Whole on the state of the lowing proviso:
Union, after having been indulged by the House for three Provided, however, That the late deposite banks, and or four days in succession, in lecturing the House and adpersons indebted for Juties on extended bonds, may pay ministration, and eulogizing--almost delivering a funeral tho saine at any time in Treasury notes, whether said debts, sermon over the corse of the dead monster-the bank. or such Treasury notes, are due or not at the time of such After all this, it appeared to him strange that the gentle
man should conceive it to be his duty, to the prejudice of Mr. W. C. JOHNSON moved to insert a provision those who feel it to be their duty to oppose a recharter of that the power to issue 'Treasury notes cease on the second the United States Bank, to move to commit the resolution Monday of June, 1839, and seconded the motion by a to the Committee of the Whole, thereby depriving them of short speech urging the importance of testing the question the opportunity of defending themselves, or replying to the whether the measure proposed in this lill was temporary' arguments adduced by the gentleman, because it is well
offer to pay.
H. OF R.]
(Oct. 5, 1837.
known that the rules prevent a member in Committee of | ism. These gentlemen then said that he was non-coinmit-