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H. OF R.]
Bank of the United States.
[FEB. 13, 1833.
The Government deposites are to be withdrawn, sir, From which sum of $80,865,468 99 deduct the sum and where will you place them? In the State banks, I am due by the bauk, ($37,807,322 74,) and there remains told-yes, sir, in your State banks. And what is the con- an excess of $43,058, 146 25. dition of State banks? Who can answer for their solven- This sum of forty-three millions forms a guaranty to cy? Withdraw the Bank of the United States, and what the holders of the notes of the bank, and to its depositors, restraint is there to excessive, and in some cases fraudu- over and above the whole amount of their claims. lent issues of State bank paper? We have had, in for- Mr. Speaker, is it not idle, sir, is it not worse than idle, mer years, some lessons of woful experience upon the is it not wicked, longer to continue this warfare upon use of these miserable rag shops, for i can call them no- the bank and its currency? I will not take up the time thing else, as places of deposite for the public revenue. of the House by entering into a comparative statement of I have a list of such as broke with your deposites, by the ability of the Bank of the United States and any of which the United States sustained a loss of 1,400,000 the local banks. I have the materials of such a com. dollars. Sir, I will not take up the time of the House in parison before me, and I am warranted in saying there reading this list; I will cause it to be appended to my re- does not exist a bank in the United States possessing marks, which, to use the phrase of a former worthy mem- greater means, I will say as great, in proportion to its ca. ber of North Carolina, is made “more for Buncombe” pital, to meet its engagements, as the Bank of the United than for this House. Sir, I wish my constituents to un- States. derstand where this administration design to put their After the short debate in this House at the commence. money for safe keeping. This loss, sir, was sustained in ment of the session, upon the incipient measures which the course of one or two years' experiment with these have led to the report of this bill, in which debate I took State banks. The United States Bank for sixteen years an humble part, a friend of mine, a personal friend, as if has been the place of your Government deposites. It has anxious to convince me that it was in vain, by any effort been the agent by which you have collected and disburs- on the part of Congress, to save the Bank of the United ed $440,000,000 without the loss of the forty-eighth part States, remarked that it was in vain to struggle, for the of a cent to the Government. Do you expect to find a President intends to crush the bank, and he will do it. better agent? No, sir.
Sir, the declaration made a deep impression upon my Sir, I should like to be informed by the honorable gen- mind. It caused a reflection upon the statesmanlike con. tleman from Tennessee, (Mr. Polk,] the organ of the test carried on by a President of the United States against Committee of Ways and Means on this occasion, whether the currency of the Government in the hands of the peothat committee have investigated the true condition of ple. This man, though he did not speak by authority, the Bank of the United States, whose situation was such, or as one having authority, I would sooner take his opitiin the opinion of the Executive, at the opening of the lions of what the President wilied or intended, than the present session, as to render it doubtful whether it could opinions of any man or set of men. be regarded as a safe deposite of the public revenue. Though I have regretted to believe there was such a Whether he is prepared to echo the sentiment expressed settled purpose on the part of the administration, it has in the Executive message upon this subject.
not abated my anxiety to defeat it by all fair means, nor I will venture the statement, sir, that that committee shall any responsibility prerent me from exposing to my has bad before it the evidence which will satisfy all im- constituents the evil and ruinous consequences of such a partial and candid minds of the perfect solvency and abi- course. As one step toward arresting the evil, or at least lity of the institution. Sir, there never was a period of putting off the evil day, I have moved you, sir, to resince the bank was established, when its means were more ject this bill, and I desire the yeas and nays upon the mo. ample in proportion to its debts, than they are at the pre- tion. sent moment. And every day's operation increases and invigorates its strength and its ability. All the efforts Statement referred to in the report of the Secretary of made to cripple the institution heretofore, have failed,
the Treasury, dated 4th of December, 1832, made in and the injury aimed at the bank has fallen upon the
compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 14th community. And such will continue to be the effect of
July, 1832, showing the amount of losses sustained by all such unjustifiable acts on the part of the Government.
the United States, by using local banks as places of I will, sir, with the permission of the House, refer to a
deposite. part of the evidence in the possession of the Committee of Ways and Means upon this subject. It is a statement Elkton Bank of Maryland,
9,865 25 of the condition of the bank on the 1st January, 1833. Alexandria Society, Granville,
2,463 00 The claims against the bank are:
Western Bank of Virginia, Parkersburg, 198 CO 1st. Notes in circulation $17,459,571 79 German Bank of Wooster,
39,552 97 2d. Deposites, public and private 13,547,517 95 Farmers and Mechanics' Bank, Greencastle, 595 00 3d. The debt to the holders of the
Virginia Saline Bank,
10,121 00 funded debt 6,723,703 16 Merchants’ Bank, Alexandria,
3,217 00 4th. Unclaimed dividends 76,529 84 Juniatta Bank, Pennsylvania,
3,200 00 Huntington Bank, Pennsylvania,
2,380 00 Amounting to $37,807,322 74 Lebanon Miami Banking Company,
9,575 00 Its resources are:
Bank of Washington, Pennsylvania,
7,508 34 Specie $8,951,847 60 Cumberland Bank of Allegliany,
1,176 61 Notes of State hanks
2,291,655 04 Farmers and Mechanics' Bank, Pittsburg, 1,311 00 Balances due by State banks 1,596,252 08 Urbanna Banking Company,
2,839 00 Funds in Europe and foreign bills of
Bedford Bank, Pennsylvania,
4,059 57 exchange 3,190,225 43 Farmers' Bank of Canton,
6,598 06 Real estate 3,036,241 52 Union Bank of Pennsylvania,
9,758 00 Debts due by individuals, viz.
Kentucky Insurance Company,
797 00 On notes discounted
43,626,870 32 Marieita and Susquehanna Trading Company, 1,360 00 On domestic bills of exchange 18,069,043 25 Somerset Bank,
69,077 87 Mortgages, &c.
103,333 75 Farmers and Mechanics' Bank, Chillicothe, 23,905 00 Centre Bank of Pennsylvania,
8,938 00 Making $80,865,468 99 Bank of Cincinnati,
Fse. 13, 1833.)
Bank of the United States.
(H. OF R.
Miami Esporting Company,
8,791 00 to inform us. Was it by requiring that the public money Farmers and Mechanics' Bank of Cincinnati, 39,966 01 deposited by the Government in the bank should be apBank of Vincennes,
168,453 27 plied to the payment of the public debt? Had the bank Bank of Edwardsville,
46,800 00 found it necessary to use the public funds to sustain its Planters' Bank of Huntsville,
11,223 53 credit? Had it found it necessary to extend its loans to Franklin Bank of Alexandria,
48,005 00 effect its own purposes? And did the gentleman comBank of Missouri, .
159,163 87 plain that the Government had called for its own money Bank of Illinois, at Shawneetown,
28,367 85 when it wanted to pay the public debt? Or had the bank Bank of Steubenville, Ohio,
170,000 00 expected the Government to postpone the payment of Farmers and Mechanics' Bank, Indiana, 43,592 90 the public debt for its benefit? Could the gentleman inBank of Tombeckbee,
138,754 69 form us? In what other way had the course of the admiBank of Nashville,
6,267 29 nistration compelled the bank to oppress the gentleman's Bank of Columbia,
278,361 87 constituents? The gentleman seems to have seized this Bath Bank of Maine,
20,623 05 occasion to express his opinion of the sound state of the
bank. He hoped it might be so, but he confessed that
nothing which had fallen from the gentleman had given Total,
- 1,390,707 00 him any light upon that point. This was not the time or
the occasion to go into that inquiry. His statistics, too, Mr. POLK expressed his surprise that opposition was in relation to the losses heretofore sustained by the trea. made to the bill at this stage. It was most unexpected to sury in consequence of the failure of local banks, which, him. He had expected it to take the usual course, and Mr. P. said, he supposed were also intended for the behe had intended, at the proper time, to move its commit- nefit “of Buncombe,” had nothing to do with the ques: ment to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the tion now before the House. But the gentleman had also Union, where the fullest opportunity for discussion would been pleased to say that he had been informed by some be afforded. The gentleman from Kentucky, [Mr. Wick-one-no one knows who--out of this House, at an early LIFFE,] in his fresh zeal for the bank, manifested upon period of the present session, that all his efforts to sustain more than one occasion during the session, had, however, the bank would be fruitless, for the administration chosen, as he said, to meet it at the threshold, and move had willed its destruction; and, he added, that this bill its rejection. The gentleman from Kentucky says he had was but another step towards the consummation of that anticipated this proposition; that he had expected such a determination. Sir, said Mr. P., I deny that the admibill to be reported." He need not have so informed us; nistration has willed any such thing. It was time that the for he seems to have come to his seat this morning pre-Government had demanded its own money, in the hands pared with notes and documents to make a set speech of the bank, when it wished it to pay the public creditupon the subject. (Mr. WICKLIFFE, in an under tone: ors; and it was also true that the Executive had recomNot at all
, sir.) Mr. P. continued. The gentleman re- mended the sale of all stocks held by the Government, fers to documents and papers; but he did not, he said, not only in this, but in all other incorporated companies. complain of the gentleman's opposition to the bill, whe- The foundation and stability of the bank must indeed be ther made by a prepared speech or not. What he said, frail, if its destruction is to be produced by the mere transwas, that that opposition was unusual upon the first read fer or sale of the Government stock. This was an ading of a bill; and if the House was now forced to a deci- mission which came with a bad grace from those who sion, that opportunity for deliberation would not be boasted of the safety and solvency of the institution. Was afforded which was necessary to enable it to form a the gentleman prepared to concede that it was necessary proper judgment upon the subject matter itself. The for the Government to remain a part owner of the stock gentleman bad pronounced a eulogy upon the bank, and of the bank in order to sustain its credit? But, said Mr. was pleased to add that the country had confidence in its P., under the impression that the bill would be permitted solvency and its good management. This was not the to take the usual course, he should not then trouble the time to consider whether that confidence was misplaced House with the reasons which had induced the Committee or not. It had no necessary connexion with a proposi- of Ways and Means to report it. At the proper time he tion to sell the Government stock. This bill authorized would do so. He thought the gentleman himself would the Secretary of the Treasury to sell the stock upon such see the propriety of permitting it to take that course. terms as he shall deem most for the interest of the Go- Mr. INGERSOLL, of Connecticut, said it was no vernment. It was an isolated proposition. It proposed doubt an unusual course, as had been just intimated by to disenthral the Government from a partnership with its the gentleman from Tennessee, [Mr. Polk,] to reject a citizens in this incorporated company. It proposed to bill on its introduction, without permitting it to take the get rid of the interest which the Government had in this usual reference. But he considered the present question moneyed monopoly. It proposed to do this by a sale of as justifying that course, if any could, and was therefore the Government stock, upon terms not below the market glad that the motion of the gentleman from Kentucky value, or the par value. The gentleman did not seem to Mr. WicklIFFE] had been thus promptly made. He have examined the provisions of this bill, or, if he had, he would treat every proposition, coming from a committee had not understood them. The gentleman will not, he of this House, with all the respect due to it, especially says, call this a wicked proposition, but there was scarcely any one proceeding, as this did, from the committee any other term too harsh, in his judgment, to be applied (Ways and Means) to which he himself belonged; but he to it. What, sir, for the owner of property to offer to could not consider a motion to reject, under existing cirsell it! Was the Government bound to contiriue the part. cumstances, as at all disrespectful to those who reported nership as long as the bank or its friends chose to consider the bill. The agitation of seven millions of stock was that it was for the interest of that institution that it should be a matter not of ordinary occurrence, or of light consecontinued? But the gentleman tells us that his remarks quence—it reached interests altogether more delicate and are intended principally " for Buncombe;” that his speech important than the connexion of the Government with is for his constituents. He charges that the course of the the bank. It affected the great class of private stockadministration towards the bank has oppressed the West- holders, most of whom had purchased into the institution ern country, by compelling the institution to call in its at high prices, and whose property was most seriously loans, and withhold its accommodations. How had the affected by every movement like this, made within these administration done this! The gentleman has not chosen/ walls. It was this class of the community who were con
H. OF R.]
(FEB. 13, 1833. stantly preyed upon by the gamblers and stockjobbers, least between the Secretary's recommendation just quotwho watch every movement here, and, by artful misre. ed, and the recommendation of the majority of the Compresentations of our proceedings, or those of our commit- mittee of Ways and Means. More than this: the Secretary tees, create a panic in the money market whenever it suits did not recommend carrying this stock into the public their interests to fleece the simple ones. Every thing we market; for he was aware, and so expressed it, that such do in this matter is felt instantly in the great market of a measure must prove abortive, when attempted under New York, and made the occasion of the most disgrace- circumstances calculated to shake the public confidence ful operations. There is a chain of these speculators in the solvency of the institution, or its safety as a place reaching from the lobbies of this hall to Wall street, as of deposite. He only recommended a sale to the bank well connected as the chain of counterfeiters from Canada itself.' Let me read from the Secretary's report again; to the Atlantic cities. These men let no opportunity pass you shall have his very language. Here it is: “A sale of unimproved, to operate on the timid and retired share. so large an amount in the public market could not be exholders in the Bank of the United States; and the share-pected to produce more than the par value; and, if atholders of this description, comprising the trustees of tempted under circumstances calculated to shake public unsettled estates, orphan children, and other persons out confidence in the stability of the institution, would in all of the active scenes of life, now constitute a large portion probability prove abortive. For these reasons, it is of the present stockholders, for the knowing ones have deemed advisable to effect a sale to the bank itself—a mealong since cleared out, and generally at bandsome profits sure believed to be practicable, on terms satisfactory both from their first investments, leaving the helpless and the to the United States and that institution.” This measure, unprotected to take the chances of the wreck. Under therefore, ought not, and could not be chargeable to the these circumstances, we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to Secretary; for there was nothing in his official report to the country, to decide this question at once; whatever we warrant it. do, will be best done, if done quickly. The majority of Why then is it pressed upon us, when you see that the the committee who reported this bill, he was aware, did recorded opinions of the Secretary himself show you that not wish to encourage the speculations to which he had it must, under existing circumstances, prove "abortive," referred; be therefore felt authorized to call on them even and can only lead to wild speculations while this bill is to unite with him in bringing this question to a speedy banging here? You have no public debt yet due, so that decision, whichever way it might go. If the House should the money, if you could realize it from your bank shares, think it good policy to part with the interests of the Go- must remain idle in the treasury till the year 1834 and vernment in the bank, let us say so at once, and if other. '35, when portions of the debt will be payable. You wise, then the sooner that determination is known, the have been legislating all winter to keep a surplus out of better will it be for the country.
the treasury: and will you now turn short about, and try This bill proposes to throw seven millions of bank to legislate a surplus into it? Will you make the very misstock into the general market, at prices not less than par, chief which has been over and over again denounced as the the immediate effect of which is to bring at once the worst of all political evils—a surplus in the treasury? or price of all the shares of individuals down to the same have gentlemen become at last convinced that their fanlevel; and probably when it is seen that the Government cied surplus is, after all, nothing but fog? shows a disposition to dissolve its connexion with the bank, There is another view in which he would present this the fall will not stop there: you will drive it down, in all question to the House as a financial measure. This stock probability, far below the par value; in this way not only now yields us $490,000 a year, an interest of 7 per cent. knocking down the property of others, but, by the same on the original investment. As you have no present use blow, defeating the very object which you profess, of for the principal, you throw away this four hundred and selling out your own seven millions at the estimate fixed ninety thousand dollars, the income of the current year, by the bill. The present selling prices are about three besides sinking three per cent. on the value of the prinper cent. advance. The introduction of this bill necessa- cipal sum, which would be $210,000 more, thus making rily diminishes the prices to that extent; for no one would in the whole a round loss to the treasury of seven hun. be so simple as to buy at an advance to individuals, when dred thousand dollars over and above what you have lost your Secretary of the Treasury stands ready to sell his by depreciating the stock, since the Secretary valued it seven millions at a lower sum. Sir, have not the propri- at eight millions one year ago. Mr. I. said there was etors in this institution been yet punished enough One something, he must say, undeserved and unkind in these year ago, their stock stood at about 25 per cent. advance. repeated attacks on the bank. Sir, are you aware that You have already driven them down at a loss of more than the greatest losses this institution has ever met with have 20 per cent., and will you now insist on making them proceeded from their assuming the debts due from the feel your power still further? And why are we asked to local banks (formerly used as places of deposite) to the do this? We are told that we have high authority for this Government, at the time the institution went into operacourse, that it has the sanction of the officer at the head tion? Such, he believed, was the fact. It was, he believed, of the treasury
But he [Mr. I.) had seen no recom- capable of the clearest proof, that the Bank of the United mendation from that officer sanctioning the principles of States lost at least two millions of dollars, by assuming to this bill. When he spoke of the recommendations of the the Government these doubtful debts. But for this, your Secretary, he alluded, of course, to his reports, to the lan- " unavailable funds,” now amounting to $1,400,000, guageo fficial: for he [Mr. I. ] knew nothing, in those mat. would probably have been three or four millions. An inters, of the language confidential.
stitution that had rendered such services to the treasury in This project was first brought to the notice of Congress the days of its distress, ought not now to be harassed in by the Secretary in his annual report at the last session. this needless manner. Let it at least have a quiet and But he did not recommend such a measure as this; on the an easy death. He, for one, would not be instrumental contrary, he “respectfully recommended to Congress to in adding to, or prolonging its pangs, and he hoped a maauthorize the sale of those shares (the bank shares) for a jority of the House would be of the same opinion. sum not less than eight millions of dollars,” to enable him Mr. WAT MOUGH, of Pennsylvania, expressed his to pay off a portion of the public debt. Mark the limit: sincere regret at the necessity which compelled him, a sum “not less than eight millions of dollars.” And even for a very few moments, to intrude himself upon what are we now asked to do? This bill proposes to sell the notice of the House. But, said Mr. W., to remain out our interest at a sum not less than seven millions, thus silent on an occasion so important as the present-to throwing away one million, or making that difference at withhold the expression, either of my opinion on the bill
FEB. 13, 1833.]
Bank of the United States.
[H. OF R.
now proposed to us, or of my indignation against the un- ture to assert it? He will not. He will say nothing here ceasing, unflinching persecution which its presence here which he does not believe. Sir, there is no foundation informs us is still to be waged against this great national whatever for this supposition. The bank has never stepinstitution, would be both disgraceful and derogatory to ped out of her prescribed constitutional path: her vaults the sacred trust I am sent here to fulfil.
have never been closed against the wants of the GovernI confess myself quite at a loss to say which feeling pre- ment; and if the subject can be got at, I have no doubt dominates at this moment in my breast; amazement at the it will be found, that even at a moment when the public utter absence of sound financial views on the face of this deposites did not equal those of many private individuals, bill, or detestation of the unrelenting spirit on the part of the demands of the Government were unhesitatingly met, the administration, by means of its advocates on this floor, and her wants supplied beyond, perhaps, her utmost against an institution, admitted by the wisest and best men hopes or expectations. I will venture no further on this of the times to be as absolutely essential to the existence track. I will seek no further to unravel what can only and safety of this Union, as, I had almost said, the consti- pain me. I will only take care that no anxious fear of tution itself, which forms its basis. Sir, I have said I was having a like current turned against myself, shall induce amazed that such a bill, at such a crisis, could emanate me to swerve, even for an instant, from the severe path of from any committee of this House. That amazement, my duty: that I do not fold my arms, and tamely abandon however, is wonderfully diminished when I recall to my all the great principles of the Government, and every inmind the source from whence it does come. It is report. terest of my constituents, while the attempt is being made ed, sir, from the Committee of Ways and Means, and utterly to merge them in the vast mælstroom of political comes into this House under the parental care and pecu- expediency or party intrigue. Could I act thus, i should liar auspices of the honorable gentleman from Tennessee. consider myself unworthy the name of freeman, much Need I say more? It is a scion of the same stock from less worthy to be endowed with the high privilege of a whence sprung the famous submission bill, as it has been representative of a free, manly, and highly intelligent indignantly called, from one end of the country to the people. No, sir, I shall fulfil my duty here, happen what other. A bill, sir, allow me to say, which will go far to may. I shall be deterred by no personal considerations; immortalize all who have had a hand in its concoction, shall fear no personal consequences: personal imputations which, after a most severe and painful travail through this I dread not-I feel myself above them. No honorable House, during which it has suffered all the severity of ana-member on this floor will make them, and such as come tomical dissection, has at length been permitted to drop, from corrupt and dishonorable sources out of doors will as it were, lifeless to the ground, and been buried underpass me as the idle wind. On the subject now before us, the mass of its own dissevered parts, or so changed as no i feel myself strong. I stand, sir, on the broad basis of longer to be recognised by its illustrious founders. A public opinion: I am sustained by the unanimous voice of bill whose title in the first instance should have been my constituents, and of the whole moral and intelligent amended so as to read-to enable the mighty British em community, of which I am the humblest member. The pire to maintain free of all cost its mass of miserable pau- House will pardon me if I indulge for a time in what may pers, to the utter ruin of the free and intelligent yeomen be termed the luxury of this moment. We are no longer of these United States. When I reflect on all this, sir, engaged in that miserable system of bush-fighting, ay, sir, I can no longer be amazed at any thing coming from that bush-fighting, in which we have been struggling for the source.
last five or six weeks. I feel, sir, that I have my head But, sir, what shall we say of the conduct of the admi- above water. I breathe freely. The enemy has ventured nistration in reference to this vast and important interest? from behind his entrenchments; modestly enough, it is How shall we extenuate that? Upon what plea can that true, but still, sir, he is out, and I am too happy to meet be excused? Is it, sir, that the action of this institution him on the plain. My voice shall reach the people, that is hostile to the welfare and happiness of the citizen, or they may know who are their friends, and who it is that injurious in its operations to the great commercial, manu- seek, in the indulgence of a rank personal animosity, to facturing, agricultural, or planting interests of the nation corrupt the sources of their comfort and prosperity, diNo one will ever pretend that such is the case. Is it that minish the value of their property, and take from them the mighty minds of those who now govern the destinies what they now enjoy—a fair and just equivalent for the of this fair empire, are disturbed by the constitutional toil of their hands, and the sweat of their brows. Will question, which once rang through this hall and divided not this prove the issue of these reiterated attacks on the nation? No, sir, not so; for they repose with com- the bank? Who can doubt it? No one, sir. I hold in placency on this ground, and confess it is placed beyond my hands documents ample to prove it: I will presently à doubt. What then can induce them, at a crisis so mo- refer to them; time will allow nie to do no more at prementous as the present, when it is confessed on all hands sent. that this Union is being shaken to its very centre-when And now, Mr. Speaker, to the point. My honorable the minds of all men are filled with the gloomiest fore- friends who have proceded me in this debate bave perbodings of the future, and no one knows how soon the formed this day a great duty to their country, and with security each now feels in the present will vanish, per- that firmness and intelligence which always distinguishes haps forever-when, sir, not one single principle of our their efforts. My honorable friend from Kentucky has constitution is settled or established, even after the lapse amply demonstrated the folly, if not wickedness, of this of nearly half a century--what, I repeat, can induce them expense, in its effects upon the country at large, and more to come into this House, and before this nation, in a spirit particularly upon the West; while my distinguished friend of political recklessness, and ask us, the friends of fired from Connecticut has with equal ability shown its unsound principles, to aid them in their unholy crusade, or expect and ruinous character as a measure of finance. But what us to remain silent while they make their insidious attacks? says the honorable gentleman from Tennessee? Why, forAnd this too, at a time when they know not to what quar- sooth, he has told us, in calm and modest language, and ter to look for support—who are their friends, and who with a most unaffected simplicity of demeanor, that he was their foes? It might be supposed, as sonie extenuation for greatly surprised at the opposition to this bill; that it was them, that the high-minded, honorable, and talented indi. nothing more than an isolated proposition. An isolated viduals who administer the affairs of this institution, had proposition, Mr. Speaker! And have we come to this, indulged in feelings of a just indignation, and set them- sir?' Is it possible that an honorable member of this House, selves up in hostile array against their persecutors. Is this and from the Committee of Ways and Means too, can rise so? Will the honorable gentleman from Tennessee ven-lin his seat, and tell us, the assembled representatives of
the people, that a proposition which strikes at the very of this institution to the people, without which, having so existence of the most important national institution in this long enjoyed them, they would become poor indeed. country, an institution whose benefits are as extensively felt And now, sir, let me ask the honorable gentleman from and acknowledged as, I had almost said, the broad light Tennessee, how and to whom does he propose to sell this of day itself, without whose agency it is well known the stock? to the bank or to individuals? If it be to the bank administration of affairs could not progress, and whose he looks, surely it is with but little hope, for the bank has amount of exchanges in a single year, foreign and domes- been hitherto managed with too distinguished skill to suptic, solely for the benefit of the Government, and the con- pose it capable of the folly of reducing its capital, in divenience of the agricultural, commercial, and manufac- rect opposition to the spirit of its charter, which assigns turing and planting interests, exceeds the enormous sum thirty-five millions of dollars as the amount necessary to of two hundred and fifty millions of dollars; is it possible, enable it to perform its duties to the country, of diminishI say, that a proposition which strikes at the very exist- ing its business, and curtailing its means of usefulness. ence of such an institution, and puts at hazard this vast If, then, the bank be out of the question, it is scarcely convenience, in which the whole Union is so deeply in- probable that any honest capitalist will, under present cirterested, is to be called simply an isolated proposition! cumstances, seek it as a permanent investment. It must The honorable member of the Committee of Ways and therefore remain a long time in the market, before it can Means must excuse me. I cannot view it in that light. become absorbed by the community, greatly depressing My financial vision, humble as it is, cannot adapt itself to the value of the property of the present stockholders, such a focus. An isolated proposition, sir! I consider it, depreciating daily in its own, to the great injury of the and respectfully invoke the attention of the House to this nation at large, and only tending to illustrate the wretchpoint, as part and parcel of that grand system of attack ed infatuation upon which the financial concerns of this against this noble and ably administered institution, began nation are based. It follows, then, as my honorable friend at an early period of the present administration, fully devel- from Kentucky has clearly shown, that no one remains oped in the ever memorable veto message, and now, sir, but the profligate speculator or the Government partisan, brought into this House, that we, too, may be made sub- to avail themselves of this chance; a combination which servient and accessory to its completion. But I trust, sir, we, as legislators, should ever consider it among the first that the representatives of this great nation will at once and highest of our moral duties to discountenance and boldly march up to this question, meet it at the very banish. threshold, and crush it before its influences shall be ai. I regret, Mr. Speaker, that time is not allowed me by lowed to contaminate the air we breathe. But, sir, the the rules of the House to go fully into this subject. I hold honorable gentleman of the Committee of Ways and Means the document in my possession to demonstrate most goes further, and tells us that this bill simply proposes satisfactorily to this House, that certainly there does not
"10 disenthral the Government from a partnership in this exist at this moment, perhaps there never has at any time incorporated company.” Why, sir, this is strange doc- existed, an institution so sound in all its parts, so beautitrine, to say the least of it. The bill proposes to separate fully harmonious in its action, and beneficial in all its reat once the Government and the bank. Now, sir, although sults, as this much calumniated, much abused Bank of the it is true that, when the Government invited its citizens to United States. join in this partnership, there was no express stipulation beg honorable gentlemen from the West and Southto that effect, yet was there just moral ground to presume west, and, let me add, too, from the South, who entertain that the Government would not desert the stockholders feelings hostile to this institution, not to be led astray by until the term of the partnership had fully expired; and vague, indefinite charges and idle clamor, no matter from this presumption was the more natural, inasmuch as the what source they may come, or under what garb they may citizen was but slow to subscribe in the first instance, and approach them.' Let them examine the system of domes. accepted but reluctantly the invitation to invest.
tic and foreign exchanges, of which this institution is conLet it be remembered, too, that while the Government stitutionally the agent, and the enormous amount of which has derived every possible benefit from the labor and ex- I have heretofore alluded to, exceeding, in one single ertion of the stockholder, the latter has at no time receiv- year, the sum of 250,000,000 dollars: let them test the ed even legal interest for his money. This position, sir, operation of this system upon their own constituents, the in my humble opinion, constitutes a strong moral ground value of their crops and of their property generally, and of objection against this bill. But there are others, and then let them calmly ask themselves, can we, in the face equally strong ones, presenting themselves to my mind. of this evidence, on any ground of political expediency, I cannot abandon the hope that the people of these United or party policy, lend ourselves to prostrate this institution, States will, before long, have their eyes opened to the and with it the value and comfort of all that is most dear true state of this question. I firmly believe that, even at to us? Let them examine and admire the admirable theory this moment, party discipline aside, a vast majority of them of its action, its vital principle, by means of which it exare in favor of renewing the charter of this bank. I will pands, with admirable effect, to meet every exigency, not therefore consent that their interest in the renewal of and having completed its sphere of duties, again contracts this charter should be thus extinguished; and, so far as itself as business subsides, and thus preserves the whole my humble voice and exertions can go to accomplish it, I atmosphere of trade and commerce, as it were, sound and am resolved that they shall not only have the benefit of the healthful. The calm, dispassionate, unprejudiced, pabonus to be paid hereafter for the renewal, but likewise triotic mind will not for a moment hesitate. have all the advantage of the increased value of the seven But, sir, while on this subject, and before I take my seat, millions, in consequence of that renewal, which cannot the House will pardon me while I take as concise a view fail to amount to from two to three millions of dollars. as possible of the grave, and, in my opinion, most unacThis, sir, may never happen: I anticipate the reverse. countable charge against the bank, made from the highAnd I do not hesitate here, in my place, to express my est quarter, as to its solvency and security as a place of conviction, that when that question again comes up for deposite of the public funds. I do not know, sir, how I consideration on this floor, and the country and Congress can better illustrate the fallacy of this charge, than by a are put in possession of the documents proving the actual reference to a document I hold in my hand, from which I condition of this bank, and the vast benefits that result to quote a few facts, as they appear in the report of the New the Union from it, that public opinion will make it im- York Legislature, made on the 31st of January, 1833. perative upon both Congress and the Executive to add From this it will be seen that the whole amount of bank. their sanction to its judgment, and continue the benefits ing capital in the United States, independent of the Bank