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Oct. 5, 1837.]
Sub-Treasury Bll— Treasury Notes.
[H. OF R.
proposition submitted by the gentleman from Pennsylva- Chapman, Cilley, Claiborne, Clark, Cleveland, Clowney, nia, to refer this resolution to the Committee of the Whole Coles, Connor, Craig, Crary, Cushman, Dawson, Davee, on the state of the Union.
Dromgoole, Duncan, Edwards, Elmore, Fairfield, Isaac Mr. CUSHMAN said that, believing every gentleman Fletcher, Fry, Gallup, Gholson, Glascock, Grantland, to have made up his mind on the question in relation to Gray, Griffin, Haley, Hammond, Hamer, Harrison, Hawthe expediency of chartering a national bank, and that the kins, Haynes, Holsey, Hölt, Hopkins, Howard, Hubley, state of the public business would not permit of its further William H. Hunter, R. M. T. Hunter, Ingham, T. B. Jackdiscussion, he moved the previous question.
soll, J. Jackson, Joseph Johnson, N. Jones, J. W. Jones, Mr. HAYNES moved a call of the House, which was Kilgore, Klingensmith, Legare, Leadbetter, Lewis, Logan, ordered ; and the roll having been called over, and 195 Arphaxed Loomis, Lyon, Mallory, J. M. Mason, Martin, members answering to their names,
McKay, A. McClellan, McClure, McKim, Miller, MontMr. MORGAN moved to dispense with all further pro- gomery, Moore, Morgan, M. Morris, 8. W. Morris, ceedings under the call; which was agreed to.
Muhlenberg, Noble, Ogle, Owens, Palmer, Parmenter, The previous question was then seconded—ayes 83, Patton, Paynter, Penny backer, Petrikin, Phelps, Pickens, Does 80.
Plumer, Potter, Pratt, Prentiss, Reily, Rhett, Rives, Mr. REED called for the yeas and nays on ordering the Robertson, Sheffer, Shields, Sheplor, Smith, Snyder, main question ; which were ordered, and were : Yeas 101, Spencer, Stewart, Taliaferro, Taylor, Thomas, Thompnays 101, as follows:
son, Titus, Toucey, Towns, Turney, Vanderveer, Wage. YEAS—Messts. Anderson, Andrews, Atherton, Beatty, ner, Webster, T. T. Whittlesey, Jared W. Williams, Beire, Bicknell, Birdsall, Bouldin, Bruyn, Buchanan, Worthington, Yell-123. Bynum, Cambreleng, T. J. Carter, Chapman, Claiborne, Nars-Messrs. Adams, Heman Allen, John W. Allen, Clark, Cleveland, Coles, Connor, Craig, Crary, Cush- Aycrigg, Bell, Biddle, Bond, Borden, William B. Calhoun, man, Davee, Dromgoole, Duncan, Edwards, Elmore, J. Calhoon, William B. Campbell, Chambers, Cheatham, Fairfield, I. Fletcher, Fry, Gallup, Gholson, Glascock, Childs, Corwin, Cranston, Crockett, Curtis, Cushing, Gray, Haley, Harnmond, Hamer, Harrison, Hawkins, Darlington, Davies, Deberry, Dennis, Dunn, Everett, Haynes, Holsey, Holt, Hopkins, Howard, Hubley, W. Ewing, Richard Fletcher, Fillmore, Rice Garland, Goode, H. Hunter, Ingham, T. B. Jackson, Jabez Jackson, James Graham, William Grabam, Graves, Grennell, Hall, Joseph Johnson, N. Jones, J. W. Jones, Kilgore, Kling- Halsted, Harlan, Harper, Hawes, Henry, Herod, Jeniensmith, Leadbetter, Logan, Arphaxed Loomis, J. M. fer, Henry Johnson, William Cost Johnson, Lawler, Lin. Mason, McKay, A. McClellan, McClure, McKim Miller, coln, Andrew W. Loomis, Marvin, Samson Mason, Montgomery, Moore, Morgan, s. W. Morris, Noble, Maury, May, Maxwell, McKennan, Menefee, Mercer, Owens, Palmer, Parinenter, Paynier, Penny backer, Petri- Milligan, Calvary Morris, Naylor, Patterson, Pearce, Peck, kin, Phelps, Pickens, Plumer, Potter, Pratt, Prentiss, Phillips, Pope, Potts, Rariden, Randolph, Reed, Rencher, Reily, Rhett, Rives, Sheffer, Shields, Sheplor, Smith, Ridgway, Rumsey, Russell, Sergeant, Augustine H. ShepSpencer, Stewart, Taylor, Thomas, Titus, 'loucey, Tur. perd, Charles Shepard, Sibley, Slade, Southgate, Stanly, ney, Vanderveer, Wagener, Webster, Thomas T. Whit- Stratton, Tillinghast, Toland, Underwood, A. 8. White, tlesey, J. W. Williams, Worthington, Yell-101. John White, Elisha Whittle cy, Lewis Williams, Sher
Nars-Messrs. Adams, H. Allen, John W. Allen, rod Williams, Joseph L. Williams, Cbristopher H. Wil-
The bill from the Senate, entitled “ An act imposing Hunter, Jenifer, Henry Johnson, William Cost Johnson, additional duties in certain cases on public officers, Lawler, Lewis, Lincoln, Andrew W. Loomis, Lyon,
taken up on its reserence.
Mr. CAMBRELENG remarked that, as this bill correMallory, Marvin, Samson Mason, Martin, Manry, May, Maxwell, McKennan, Menefee, Mercer, Milligan, M sponded in almost all its provisions with the House bill Morris, Calvary Morris, Naylor, Noyes, Ogle, Patterson,
under the same title, reported by the Committee of Ways Patton, Pearce, Peck, Phillips, Pope, Potts, Rariden,
and Means, and referred to the Committee of the whole Reed, Rencher, Ridgway, Robertson, Rumsey, Russell,
on the state of the Union, in order, therefore, that there Sawyer, Sergeant, Augustine H. Shepperd, Charles She might be no delay upon the action of this bill, and as there pard, Slade, Snyder, Southgate, Stratton, Taliaferro,
was only one slight difference between them, he had been Thompson, Tillinghast, Toland, Underwond, A. 8. White, instructed, he said, by the Committee of ways and Means
to move that this bill be at once committed to the same John White, Elisha Whittlesey, Lewis Williams, S. Wil
Committee of the Whole as the other. liams, J. L. Williams, C. H. Williams, Wise, Yorke-101. The CHAIR voted in the affirmative, so that the main
The motion was assented to, nem. dis. question was ordered to be now put.
TREASURY NOTE BILL. Mr. CLARK inquired if it would now be in order to
The House then proceeded to the consideration of the move to lay the subject over until to.morrow.
"bill to authorize the issuing of 'Treasury notes." The CHAIR replied that it would not be in order, the The bill had been amended entirely in Committee of the main question being ordered to be now put. The main question was then reported as follows :
* The following note appeared in the papers of the day: Resolved, That it is inexpedient to charter a national The undersigned, having been casually absent when the question bank.
was taken this morning on the resuluijon "that it is inexpedient to
charter a national bank," would, if they had been present, have voted Mr. WISE called for the yeas and nays on the main qoestion, which were ordered, and were : Yeas 123, nays
John Chaney, 91, as follows:
Henry A. Foster,
John I. DeGraff,
A. P. Grant, Bierne, Bicknell, Birdsall, Bouldin, Brodhead, Bruyn,
Isaac H. Bronson.
James Farrington, Buchanan, Bynum, Cambreleng, T. J. Carter, Casey, October 5, 1837.
in the affirmative.
H. or R. )
(Oct. 5, 1837.
Whole, and a substitute submitted by Mr. CAMBRELENG stitute for them your own notes ? To sell the bonds is a adopted.
very simple and common operation, such as approves itself Mr. RHETT moved to amend the first section by in- to every man's experience and understanding. If there gerting in the second line, after the word “notes," the fol- are any reasons for the extraordinary course which it is pro. lowing: “or bills receivable in payment of the public dues;" posed in preference to pursue, they bave not yet been exand supported his amendment at some length, and went plained to my comprehension. somewhat into the subject generally,
In addition to the bank bonds, there are some fifteen or Mr. FLETCHER, of Massachusets, said it was his in- sixteen millions of dollars belonging to the Government, tention not to take any part in the present debate, but look- still in the deposite banks. Upon this fund the Secretary ing at the character of the bill before them, and considering has been in the practice for some time past of making drafts, the circumstances in which they were placed with regard which, though not paid hy the banks, have been received to it, he was not able to content himself with giving a silent for dues to the Government, and have gone into circulavote upon the measure.
tion, and have formed a part of the currency of the counI consider it due to my constituents and due to myself, try. The drasts, as the Secretary of the Treasury informs (said he,) briefly to state the reasons which will influence us, have been found convenient to the Government and to my conduct upon the present occasion.
the people. They have served to pay the debts of the Gove The real object of the bill is, to borrow ten millions of ernment to individaals, and of individuals to the Governdollars upon the credit of the Government; and, if it passes, ment. Why should not this process, a tried and successful its real effect will be, to impose a debt upon the country to process, be continued so far as may be necessary? Here that amount. To justify me in voting for such a bill, two is an actual existing fund, upon which we may draw, and things must be clearly established : 1st. that the wants of upon which we may rely for ultimate payment. We are Government are so pressing as to render it necessary to im- assured that these banks are amply solvent, and will pay, pose on the people a debt of ten millions of dollars ; 2d. if not immediately, yet gradually, and in the end fully. ihat the method in which it is proposed to accomplish this This fund the Government can control and use; it has been object is a proper and suitable method.
and will continue to be under their management; and to issue I presume no one will call in question the correctness of these proposed Treasury notes is only accumulating fund my first position, or deny that the necessity of running the upon fund in the hands of the Executive. This is in acnation in debt must be clearly proved before any such step cordance neither with public policy nor approved practice. can be properly taken. The people will not look with fa- Nothing beyond the real wants of the Government can be vorable eyes upon the recommencement of a national debt; / properly supplied. If there be already means on hand to they will not consider it a light matter ; such a measure meet the wants of the Government, to accumulate new can only be justified by necessity. If the Government has funds in their hands would be an outrage upon the rights any pre-existing means to meet its wants, those means of the people ; it would be dangerous in principle, oppresmust be resorted to in the first place ; and till those means sive and unjust in practice. are exhausted there can be no occasion for imposing a debt Sir, I do not mean to make light or unfounded olijec. upon the people, nor propriety in doing so. Upon this tions. Show me that the wants of the Government depoint, how stands the fact ? In the statement read to us mand a loan, and I will go for a loan, heartily and sincerely; by the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, I should feel myself bound in duty and in conscience to exhibiting the resources out of which, in the course of the go for it; but, until the necessity for it appears, I feel myensuing year, the proposed Treasury notes are to be paid self bound in duty, bound in justice to the people, to oppose and redeemed, he includes six millions due to the Govern
Now, the necessity of imposing upon the country a ment from the Bank of the United States; that is, there debt of ten millions has not been made apparent to my is due from the bank six millions of dollars, payable in mind; so far from it, the contrary clearly and distinctly apthree successive years, with interest, at six per cent., the pears. But, suppose the administration to have made out whole of which it is intended to convert into cash, in the the necessity of involving the country in a debt of ten milcourse of the ensuing year, to provide the means wherewith lions, still the mode in which they propose to effect that to redeem and take up the proposed Treasury notes. With object is subject to strong objections. these bonds of the bank in the vaults of the Treasury, for The bill before us is indirect and deceptive; calculated six millions of dollars, it is proposed to issue Treasury to conceal the real nature and object of the measure which notes, pledging the credit of the country, and to meet and is proposed. It is entitled a bill to authorize the issue of redeem those notes these very bonds are to be sold and dis- Treasury notes. Why not call it a bill to authorize the posed of. Pray, sir, where is the necessity, the advantage, employment of additional clerks? Or, a bill to punish or the propriety of this double operation? Undoubtedly forgery in certain cases ? Both of which are just as inuchi the money which is wanted may as well be raised by the provided for in the bill as is the issue of Treasury notes: sale of the bonds now, as by the issue of Treasury notes. and either of which would just as well express the real obIt is proposed that the notes shall bear interest—though the ject of the bill as the title which it bears. amount is not fixed in the bill-and shall be payable in one The bill bears a false title; it carries upon its front a year. The bonds are upon interest at six per cent., and false name; it imports what it is not ; or rather it does not have a longer time to run than the proposed notes. The import what in fact it is; it is deceptive. Wherever else bonds will serve much better than the notes for foreign designing artisice may prevail, let it not corrupt our legisremittance, and undoubtedly would command a premium lation. Let us deal frankly and openly with the people. in the market. The notes are payable too soon, and, in When we take their money, let us tell them so; let it be other respects, not well fitted for foreign remittance. taken openly and avowedly, not covertly and indirectly.
Now, sir, I should be glad to hear some satisfactory rea- Take their money and tell them so; but do not pick their son why these bonds should not be sold a. once, and the pockets ! proceeds applied to the wants of the Government. Would When the people are to be subjected to a liability of ten not this be a better course, a more direct, a more judicious millions, they should be informed of the fact clearly and course, than to borrow money and impose a debt upon the distinctly ; there should be no concealment in word or country? Why accumulate these different funds in the thought. The bill before us is, in truth, a bill to author. hands of the Government? Why resort to such an in- ize a loan of ten millions. What we want is a loan; and volved and round-about plan of raising money? Why not we ought in fairness and truth to say so. To call the bill go into the market with the bonds of the bank? Why sub-' by a name that does not fairly import its character ; thus
Oct. 5, 1837.)
(H. OF R.
to treat it as something different from what it really is, does the passage of any bill the nature of which is not fixed an 1 not comport with what ought to be the character of the established by the bill itself. It would be to act blindly Government.
and inconsiderately, to vote for a measure in ignorance of We have already, sir, passed a bill entitled an act to what that measure is to be. Should the bill pass in the postpone the fourth instalment of deposite with the States. present form, and should I be inquired of what its effect I fear, sir, that bill raises expectations only to disappoint upon the community was anticipated to be, I could give no them. That payment, if it were really intended, might as answer. I could express no opinion on that point, because, well be made now as ever. I fear, sir, the States will ex- in the present shape of this bill, it is impossible to form any pect it in vain. Postponement, in all probability, will turn opinion what character the notes will assume. I could out to mean repeal. The expectation of payment at a fu- only say, what I should be ashamed to say, that the Exture time will prove, I apprehend, a delusive expectation. ecutive had been authorized to issue notes to suit the purSir, 1 protest against duplicity in any form, on the part of poses of the Government, withont any regard having been the Government. The relation which we sustain towards paid to the concern which the community at large might the people demands from us the strictest truth and sincer- have in this matter. If we are to act with the slightest reity. They have placed confidence in us; they have en- gard to the interest and convenience of the public, we trusted to us their rights and interests; and they have an should fix the interest which the notes are to bcar. Why undeniable claim to be informed fully and clearly, without refer this to the Executive? Is not the House competent disguise, as to every thing we do, and every thing we in- lo form and exercise a judgment on this question? Is not tend. The title and the form of this bill are calculated, in the House as fit as the Executive to determine what rate my opinion, to disguise from the people that we are bor- of interest, what character to the notes, will best subserve rowing money upon their credit; and, in that point of view, the public interest ? If it be best for the Executive to lethe bill is obnoxious to serious objections.
gislate upon this point, why not upon all others? Though There is another objection, which must press with great ihe Executive, in fact, exercised such a power, it would weight upon those gentlemen who hold to a strict construc- hardly be necessary to make a public proclamation of it. tion of the constitution, who hold that Congress has no The earnestness with which the friends of the adminispowers except those expressly granted to it. Those gen-tration press this measure of issuing Treasury notes, in tlernen, who cannot find in the constitution any power to preference to the usual mode of supplying the wants of the charter a national bank, wliere do they find the power to Treasury by a simple loan, is well calculated to excite issue Treasury notes, or bills of credit; for Treasury notes, suspicions. I have no desire to throw any undeserved designed to circulate as currency, are neither more nor less odium upon the administration. I wish them to merii, than bills of credit? No such power is any where express- and, by meriting, to possess the confidence of the entire ly granted.
community. But this measure is little calculated to proThe framers of the coustitution had seen and felt the duce that effect. It is an unusual measure ; it will be atevils of Government paper money. The power to issue tended with extraordinary expense ; it will add to the numbills of credit was expressly withhield from the States; it ber of those in the employ of Government; it will increase was not expressly given to the General Government. How, Executive patronage; it opens a new door to Executive then, does the General Government obtain it? It will be favoritism. In raising money upon these noles, the Exsaid that it is included under the power to borrow money. ecutive may give a preference, and may consult the interLet us see how that interpretation will answer.
ests of favored individuals; whereas a loan would be open No one will deny to the several States the power to bor- equally to all. row money-a power which they exercise every day with: Besides, sir, there are those who see in this measure the out objection. But it is certain that the States cannot is- commencement of a permanent and a most perilous system, sue bills of credit. The power to borrow money, then, It is more than surmised that the Government ivould be does not necessarily include the power to issue bills of credit; | willing to have the whole currency of the country flow and, although the Government has undoubtedly the power exclusively from itself; and is desirous to furnish not only to borrow money, that power to borrow does not, by any
the gold and silver coin, but the whole paper currency also, means, necessarily imply a power to issue bills of credii. from its own exclusive mint; and that the ineasure how I found this argument upon the views of those gentlenien proposed in the first step in the march towards that obwho hold to a strict construction of the constitution, with-ject. The taking measures to render safe and convenient out intending to express any opinion of my own upon this such currency as the people may elect to use, is the busiconstitutional point. The only exercise of this power by
ness and all the business of the Government in relation to the General Governinent occurred during the late war with this subject. It should be kept strictly within the limits Great Britain. The Government, in the first place, en- of that Juty, and should faithfully perform what belongs deavored to obtain a loan in the usual way. The attempt to it within those limits. They ought to follow public senfailed; the loan could not be obtained ; and, as a matter of timent in this matter, not attempt to lead it. necessiiy, the Government resorted to a forced loan, by the But strange and dangerous doctrines have been put forth issue of Treasury notes. An example at such a time, and in relation to the currency of the country; and there is under such circumstances, is rather to be avoided than to cause enough for alarm to render it the part of prudence to bo followed.
watch with care every measure bearing upon this subject. There is still a further objection to this measure. The The issue of paper inoney is at all times a dangerous busiLill provides that the notes to be issued shall bear such in- ness for a Goverriment to engage in, and a busineés pecuterest as the Secretary of the Treasury shall determine. liarly dangerous at the present crisis. Our time is now too This omission to fix the amount of interest leaves tbe short, our action tou hurried, to justify us in adventuring character of the notes wholly indeterminate and uncertain. upon a scheme of a novel character. At such a time, and The interest which they may bear will determine the char- under present circumstances, the only safe way is the old acter and office of the notes. They may be of a character way-the common way. If the Government must have to be taken up as an investment by capitalists; they may money, let it borrow the money in the usual mode. So be of a character to circulate as currency; and which of doing, we shall know what we do. To the adoption of tisese characters they will assuine, depends upon the in- this course, I have heard no substantial objection, I can see Lerest they may bear. Before I can vote for the bill, this no substantial objection; and, until I can obtain some now point must be determined. Before I can vote for the notes, light, it is the only course to which I can give my assent. I must know what the notes are to be. I cannot agree to A great change has come over our national affairs. At H. OF R.]
[Oer. 5, 1837.
the commencement of this present year, there was in the It has been remarked by several gentlemen during the hands of the Government a surplus of nearly twelve mil- debate, but not by my colleague, that they did not clearly lions of dollars, exclusive of the whole amount to be depos- comprehend the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, ited with the States. The fourth instalment of the depos- and they have avowed their inability to come to any definile money (between nine and ten millions) has been with. ite conclusion as to the real state of the Treasury. This held from the States; there is due to the Government from opinion was expressed and urged, immediately upon the the late United States Bank six millions, exclusive of in- report being laid upon our table, by raembers usually arterest; and now ten additional millions are demanded, to dent in their political predilections and prejudices, quite as meet the expenses of the current year; and this, too, be- soon as it could be expected that so voluminous a docu. sides all the ordinary revenues of the country-a country, ment, embracing views of finance and public policy, as whose whole annual expenses during the administration well as various statistics, could be examined. next preceding that of General Jackson were hardly twelve · Having long entertained the most favorable impressions millions of dollars!
of the superior talents of the Secretary of the Treasury, Under circumstances like these, does it not behoove the whose ability and assiduity in the duties of his high stations people to look to their public affairs ?-- to look to them at have been almost proverbial in the nation for many years, once ?---to look to them now ?-- to look to them cooly and I read his report with great attention, and discovered, as I dispassionately, with minds free from the influence of party thought, a plain, lucid, and perspicuous view of the finanspirit, and with a sincere and honest desire to preserve in ces of the country. I put down, therefore, in my own mind its purity and excellence our free constitution, and to pro- the attacks upon him as the effusions of political opposition, mote the prosperity and happiness of the people as well as without any more meaning than the general dissatisfaction of the Government ?
of those who disagree with the present administration. I Mr. CUSHING said it would be idle for him to think of am the more confirmed in this impression, because, since adding any thing to the force and clearness of the observa- the first few days of this session, after an opportunity of full tions of his colleague, (Mr. FletcuER;] but one of the re- examination, all this hostility to the report of the Secretary marks made by that gentleman had recalled to his recollec- has ceased, and it appears to me to be generally considered tion a curious fact, bearing upon the question at issue, a correct, able, and interesting exposition of ihe finances which he begged leave to state to the House.
and financial concerns of the country. I find by this report It would be remembered, that one of the main arguments that there will be, in all probability, at the end of the year of those gentlemen who deny the constitutionality of a na- 1837, if there should be no deductions from the outstanding tional bank, is the consideration that the power lo establish appropriations, a deficit of about twenty-two millions of such a bank is not expressly given to Congress in the con- dollars; but if, as the Secretary of the Treasury supposes, stitution; that it is what is called a constructive power; and fifteen millions of dollars of unexpended appropriations may that a proposition was made in the convention which fram- pass over to the year 1838, then there would be an absolute ed the constitution to confer on Congress power to create deficit of seven millions of dollars, to meet which, and for corporations, and rejected.
contingencies, and for the purpose of having a balance in Now (said Mr. C.) the analogy between this question the Treasury on the first of January, 1838, this bill propoof a naticnal bank, and that of bills of credit, is perfect in ses an authority to the Treasury Department to issue ten all its parts. There is no express power in the constitu- millions of dollars of Treasury notes. This amount would tion for Congress to issue bills of credit. It is a construct have been nineteen or twenty millions of dollars, if the payive power, just as much as the power to establish a nation- ment of the fourth instalment of the surplus revenue had al bank; and Mr. Pinckney, of South Carolina, proposed, not been postponed to January 1st, 1839; and it will be as may be seen by the printed journal of the convention, seen by the conditions of the postponement bill, that the that, in the enumeration of the powers of Congress, one Treasury is entirely cut off from getting back any of the clause should read thus : “ To borrow money and emit bills twenty-seven millions distributed among ihe States, which of credit." This latter branch of the proposition the con- by the original law the Secretary would have had a right to vention rejected : the actual provision as to loons being in call for. these words : “To borrow money on the credit of the Uni- Now, sir, my respected colleague would appropriate the ted States."
nine and a half millions in deposite banks, and four and a Mr. C. said that, without himself admitting the conclu- half millions standing to the credit of disbursing officers in siveness of the arguments adverse to the constitutionality of said banks, or as much as may be necessary to meet the a national bank, he did not see how those who did enter- wants of the Treasury. If this could be done there would, tain that view of the constitution could consistently support of course, be no need of issuing Treasury notes. But have a law for the emission of bills of credit.
we not a bill now before us, giving the deposite banks from Mr. PARMENTER addressed the Chair as follows: four to nine months for the payment to the Government of
Mr. Speaker: I have listened with great interest to the the balances due? Is it not agreed, on all hands, that the observations of my honorable colleague who has just taken security of the debt, the welfare of the people of the States his seat, (Mr. FLETCHER,) as I always have elsewhere, interested, require an accommodation ? Has not one of the when I have had an opportunity, from my great respect for Representatives of a State in which two of the deposite his high moral worth and distinguished talents; but, enter- banks, having a large balance, are located, said on this floor taining somewhat different views from those presented by that it would be impossible for the banks to pay within the him and other gentlemen on the same side of the question, time proposed by the bill now before us, and that he should I will, with your leave, state the grounds upon which I ask for more time? Is there the slightest doubt in this dissent.
House that the bill from the other branch, now before us, My colleague assumes two conditions which he considers must pass, or, if amended, by showing greater indulgence? as indispensable prerequisites to the propriety of supporting This resource will then fail. As to the amount of four and the bill under consideration, which are : first, that the a half millions in the hands of disbursing officers, there must Treasury is in need of the money ; second, that the pro- always remain from three to five millions of dollars in their posed mode is the best one for raising the money. On the hands. All experience bas shown such amount to be neimportance of establishing these points, I agree with him, cessary. These sunis are drawn to pay contracts actually and shall endeavor to show why i consider the present bill fulfilled, and always belong to the creditors of the Governnecessary, and the best calculated for the convenience both ment, and are, of course, entirely useless for a supply to the of the Ciovernment and the people.
Treasury. Unless the operations of Government totally
Ост. 5, 1837.]
(H. of R.
stop, it must be obvious that there always will be some few My colleague objects to the bill, because no rate of intermillions of dollars in the hands of the disbursing officers est is specified; and he cannot give it his vote until he of the army, navy, Indian department, and other objects of knows precisely what the obligations of the Government expenditure, awaiting the call of creditors of the Government.
are to be. It appears to me that this is one of the most He also thinks that it would be proper to sell the bonds of valuable provisions of the bill, because the rate of interest the United States Bank of Pennsylvania, which are held can be so fixed all the way from a very low rate to the by the Treasury Department. It appears to me that there maximum of six per cent that the Secretary of the Treasare to this proposition several objections. I am not certain ury will put it at the most advantageous rate for the Govthat it would be exactly proper to put those bunds into ernment and for the community. And it appears to me market. It might, by possibility, have an injurious bear- the rule would be a very plain one, to place the rate so that ing upon the institution. If so, it ought not to be done, they would not be hoarded by the capitalists, or fall below par as an act of justice. It is not like an ordinary mercantile in the market, however small the demand for Government transaction. The directors of the bank undoubtedly had some dues. And although, as has been strongly urged, there is object in view in fixing annual payments, and I hope the very small probability that, under almost any circumstances, Government will never give a cause of complaint to ibis they would be below par, yet it is better, in my judgment, institution of the slightest character. Where will these to leave the whole matter to the discretion of the Secrebonds be sold ? My own opinion is, that the bank would tary of the Treasury, who will understand best what the purchase its own bonds. It appears to me it would be un- wants of the case may require. willing to multiply and vary its obligations in the stock It is objected, that the issue of Treasury notes is unconmarket. It has already post notes on the London Ex-stitutional; that they are bills of credit, and prohibited by change; and, it appears to me, it would be unwilling to the constitution of the United States; that they were never have these bonds there. If, then, these bonds should now issued in but one instance, and that during the war with go into the market, and the bank should think proper to Great Britain, when it was difficult or almost impossible to purchase them, the debtors of the bank must necessarily be obtain a loan. If it were unconstitutional to issue Treascalled upon, and thus distress the cominercial and trading ury notes, the fact that we were at war, and it was difficult community to that amount. If sold in Europe, (London to obtain a loan in any other manner, would not have made most proably,) it would, to the amourft of six millions of it constitutional. I come to the conclusion myself, that dollars, afford facilities for again over-trading, instead of Treasury notes were issued at that time for the same being employed to relieve our own country. I do not be- reason as now, because they are the most convenient to the lieve that at this time there is a very large unpaid amount Government and the people. of good debts from American to English merchants. The I have not entertained the opinion, Mr. Speaker, that fall in exchange and specie shows that it is very much di- the present embarrassments of this nation have arisen from minished, and, it appears to me, we ought to avoid any what may be properly called general distress. I believe, course which would tempt to excesses in our foreign im- and think I shall be sustained in the opinion by the sentiportations in the slightest degree. But the objection of sub-ments of many men of business in the commercial cities, stituting the sale of these bonds for the Treasury notes is that the stoppage of specie payments was owing to the still greater in another view. It is an object to make this is- alarm excited in the community, which caused a rush upsue of Treasury notes incidentally beneficial to the commu- on the banks for the precious metals, and thereby matonity, by furnishing a means of remittance, and one of a rery rially lessened their means, and by the imprudence and valuable character. The Treasury notes would flow from the extended speculation into which the debtors of these instidisbursing points to the communities who may want them for tutions plunged. Had it not been for these circumstances, reinittances. The West and South would receive them in the suspension would not' have taken place; and, but for payment of debts, or for the sale of their cotton and other them, before this time specie payments would have been great products, as well as for lands held by individuals and resumed. It is true that the consternation was universal ; companies. They would find ibeir way back to the Atlantic the panic was overwhelming; but that the evil was not cities, forming a highly valuable circulating medium per- deep-rooted, and that there was not, in reality, a scarcity haps until the time arrives, which cannot be very far dis of the precious metals in the commercial world, is shown tant, of a resumption by the local banks of specie payments. by various facts. Contrary to the expectation of most
It has been argued that it would be preferable to au- persons in this country, the Bank of England continued, thorize a loan in the form of certificates of stock. This ap- and still continues, specie payments, and money is abunpears to be liable to as exceedingly strong objections as any Jant, and there is no want of coin and bullion for all purwhich would apply to the sale of the bonds of the United
poscs. The speculations and investments in lands, States Bank. So far as it relates to the incidental benefit amoun:ing to many millions of dollars ; engagements in to the commercial community, it would be a slugglish novel manufacturing concerns; building of railroads in all operation. The stock would be all taken in the large cities, / parts of the country ; and establishments of every variety and the proceeds pass directly to the Treasury, where it which ingenuity could invent—a few of them useful and would remain until called for by the Government creditors, profitable, but many, very many, most sorrowfully ruinous and perform none of the offices of a nieaus of remittance. in their resultsmall tended to produce the mischief. The But nay colleague and other gentlemen say, you do not ordinary means of the banks were probably equal to their need Treasury notes, because you can continue to make " liabilities; but the inability of their debtors, in consequence Treasury drafts, and they will hereafter answer as they of their imprudent and indiscreet course, crippled these inhave heretofore. If these Crafts were, in every particular, stitutions, and brought on the calamity of a suspension of as beneficial as Treasury notes, they would be objectionable, specie payments—an evil which, while it continues, will inasmuch as they go to the world with the stamp of dis- blight every effort of enterprise and industry, honor upon their face; they carry with them, as they pass The amount of specie within the control of the banks from hand to hand, an indelible record of the discredit of of the country was equal to their wants, greater than it the bank upon which they are made, and are therefore to has been in many instances and at many times; but unbe shunned and discarded as soon as possible, as offensive safe and improvident men obtained access to their resources ; to the merchant who has a just sense of the importance of not that I mean to censure the managers of the moneyed credit and punctuality. They are, moreover, inconvenient institutions more than I would individuals, and copartnerin amount, and unsuited to the habits and usages of the ships, and corporations, for everybody was infected with people.
the mania of speculation ; the whole atmosphere of the Vol. XIV.-79