« ZurückWeiter »
ample and beyond all reasonable doubt, sufficient. New York, and, perhaps some of the other States, have admitted a part of the securities to consist of mortgages upon real estate. To our view, there are several objections to such a policy: it is calculated to expand the system beyond the reasonable demands of the commun. ity, and to excite a speculative demand for real estate. It will also tend, in a greater or less degree, to concentrate the possession of real estate in the hands of capitalists, a state of things which should not be encouraged by legislation. The system of free banking is yet in its infancy, and though plausible in principle, no one can predict with certainty the result of its practical operations. Thus far it has been the means of rapidly multiplying banks, and of enlarging the volume of paper money in some, if not in all the States which have adopted it. This is a significant fact, and suggests the propriety of guarding against an unlimited expansion by rejecting all kinds of securities as a basis of operation, except the State and corporation obligations of our own Siate. These, we think, will afford sufficient means to develop the system as rapidly as a prudent economist could desire. It will be the means of retaining all our State and corporation bonds at home; and of bring. ing back those which have been sold abroad. But though we do not forget that on the other hand it will operate as a powerful incentive to increase the State debt; yet, we are persuaded that there is less danger to be apprehended from this cause than from allowing real estate or the bonds of other States to constitute any part of the securities to be pledged for the redemption of the bills.
In establishing a new system of banking, the question of prohibiting the issue of small bills will very naturally arise; and tak. ing into view the practice of other States, and the difficulty of excluding the circulation of their small bills from our own, it is not easy to decide upon the policy which Missouri ought to adopt in respect to this point. The new coinage of silver and the large increase of gold are facts favorable to the policy of prohibiting the issue of small notes ; but were the banks of Missouri denied the privilege of issuing bills of less denomination than twenty dollars, it would not materially affect the amount of metallic currency unless the circulation of the small bills of other States could be excluded. Many public economists whose opinions are entitled to much respect, are strongly opposed to bank issuess of a less denomination than ten dollars, and some even insist that twenty dol
lars should be the limit. By reference to the history of those States which have been most addicted to banking, and which seem to have profited most by banking institutions, it will be found that a large portion of their issues of paper money consists of bills below the denomination of five doilars. From this it would seem that the practical results were rather in favor than against the use of small bills. Massachusetts, Ohio and Indiana are regarded as models of thrift and enterprise, they have all pursued the policy of issuing small bills, and we incline to the opinion that it is safer to follow their example in this respect, than to hazard the successful operation of our system, by experimenting upon a theory which older and more experienced communities have refused to adopt.
We confess that we have treated this subject under the influence of feelings opposed to banking corporations, but on the other hand we have endeavored to exercise a proper degree of caution in advocating the new system. Not that we doubt of its proving to be a most efficient agent in achieving our extensive works of public improvement, and also in developing the vast resources of the State ; but, because we are not free from the apprehension that when once adopted it will be carried so far in time, as' to develop evils which cannot be clearly foreseen at present.
Believing, however, that no other policy can be devised which will be as well calculated to sustain the great enterprises already undertaken by the people of Missouri, we hold it to be wisdom to use the most efficient and withal the safest means in our power to achieve an object which all men admit to be important, if not even essential, to the prosperity of the State.
Acting in good faith and in accordance with conclusions derived from facts carefully collected and impartially examined, we should adopt the policy which appears to be best calculated to promote the common welfare ; and if time should prove that we have erred in judgment, it will be in the power of those upon whom the evils descend to correct our errors.
We have been impelled to advocate this system at the present time, because if carried into operation, we are perfuaded that it will bring an amount of money capital to the State equal to the amount of State and corporation bonds that may be admitted as the basis of banking operations. This would make Missouri independent of the bond market abroad, and enable her citizens to prosecute their works of public improvement as speedily as prudent and well-judging men could desire If these results should be realized, the interest on our railroad debt and the earnings of the roads will be retained at home, and instead of operating as a drain upon our circulation, will add to its volume through the agency of the banks.
Such consequences are so well calculated to strengthen the financial condition of the community, and develop the resources of the State, that the people of Missouri would be justly chargeable with a lack of enterprise, and even of moral courage, were they to reject a system of free banking lest evils should flow from it which cannot be foreseen.
Desiring that the merits of this subject should be fully discussed and understood by the citizens of Missouri, we respectfully commend its consideration to the press, to the candidates for the General Assembly, and to the people.
Valley of the Ohio.
BY MANN BUTLER, ESQ.
Continued from page 19, vol. XII. No. 2. CLARK'S NEGOTIATIONS WITH VIRGINIA FOR THE ILLINOIS CAMPAIGN.
MARCII TO KASKASKIA, IN 1778; AND CAPTURE OF KASKASKIA.
An important episode in the history of the valley, now presents itself, which can no longer be omitted without leading the narrative too much out of its chronological order; — it is the Virginia conquest of the Illinois. Hitherto the war in Kentucky had been carried on, by the perseverance and gallantry of the backwoodsmen themselves, with little assistance from the power of Virginia; excepting the supply of gunpowder, which had been procured, by the devotion of Messrs. Clark and Jones. The tremendous struggle of the Revolution, involving everything dear to a free and generous people, demanded, as it most gallantly received, all the energies of the Commonwealth. The State had no disposable means to act on so remote a frontier as her western domain ; nor does she seem to have distinctly perceived the important diversion of the Indian force from her more immediate frontier, which might be effected, by supporting the exertions of emigrants to the Kentucky frontier. Every Indian engaged on this distant quarter, was saved to the nearer bome of the parent State.
Nor did the public councils anticipate the rich acquisitions offered to the military ambition of Virginia, by the British posts, in the western country. These were views of policy too refined and distant, to command attention, amid the storms, which assailed the heart of the State. They, however, gained force with the progress of the Revolution, and the increasing population of Ken
But they were particularly aided, by the ardent and impressive representations of Major George Rogers Ciark. He had witnessed the rise and growth of this section of the State, from its earliest buddings at Harrodsburg and Boonesborough; he had pedetrated its condition and its relations with the instinctive sagacity, which stamped him the most consummate of the western commanders. Clark had seen, at a glance, that the sources of the Indian devastations were to be found in the British posts at Detroit, St. Vincents, and Kaskaskia.
Artificial forts have ever been the talismans of military influence over the savages, since Europeans have erected them among these barbarian tribes. The heart-rending ravages spread by the barbarians of the western world, and which have ever been displayed in their hostilities, were aggravated by the ammunition, the arms, and clothing distributed at these military stations. And as if these were not sufficient to excite the furious passions of the Indians, rewards for scalps were commonly offered at the British posts. Hence they were reproached as haurbuyers by our people.
Clark thought that if these strongholds of the enemy could be taken, the streams of hostility and destruction, which had overflown Kentucky, and devastated the western frontier, would be dried up; and a counter influence establisbed over the Indians.
Under the influence of these views, the governor and council of Virginia, in 1778, seem to have taken into consideration the policy of an expedition, earnestly pressed on them by Clark, against the posts of the enemy, though situated many hundreds of miles from the main seat of the population and resources of the State. Still this expedition must be mainly attributed to the genius of Clark, who had first foreseen its necessity, in his visits to Kentucky, and urged it, upon the councils of his native State.
So strongly bad he been impressed with the importance of this movement, that in the summer of 1777, he had dispatched two spies, of the name of Moore and Dunn, to reconnoiter the situa-. tion of these remote posts of the enemy. From these emissaries he learned, that great activity on the part of the militia prevailed, and the utmost encouragement was given to the Indians, to prac.. tice their cruel ravages on the rebels.
Yet notwithstanding the enemy had resorted to every misrepresentation to prejudice the French inhabitants against the Virginians, by telling them that these frontier people were more shocking barbarians, than the savages themselves, the spies reported that strong traces of affection for the Americans, existed among some of the inhabitants. Not that these military agents of Clark's were acquainted with his contemplated expedition, or any body else, till it was laid before the governor and council of Virginia. To this body Clark had determined, he tells us, to submit this matter, when on the 1st of October, 1777, he left Kentucky. “At this time,” he says, "every eye was turned upon me, as if expecting some stroke in their favor; some doubted my return, expecting that I would join the army in Virginia. I left them with reluctance, promising them I would certainly return to their assistance, which I had predetermined.”
Clark remained a considerable time at Williamsburg, settling the accounts of the Kentucky militia, and, as he says, “making remarks on everything I saw or heard, that could lead me to a knowledge of the disposition of those in power.”
During this period, the genius of the Republic, under the good Providence of God, had achieved the victory of Saratoga.* The spell of British regulars, like that of British ships and sailors in more recent times, was broken. The spirit of Virginia may well be supposed to have partaken of the general triumph; and on the 10th of December, 1777, Clark opened the plan of the Illinois campaign to Governor Henry.
At first the Governor was captivated by the brilliant prospect presented by such a campaign, of striking a fatal blow at the enemy and in the heart of their savage allies ; yet a detachment on 80 distant a service appeared hazardous, and daring to an alarm
* October 17th, 1777.