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May 27, 1836.]
after some remarks from Mr. PRESTON and Mr. KING, of Georgia, in opposition to the resolution, and from Mr. KlNG, of Alabama, and Mr. PORTER, in its support, Mr. KING, of Georgia, moved to lay the whole sub. ject on the table; which motion was agreed to: Ayes 18, noes 15. The Senate then adjourned.
FR10 Ay, MAY 27. EXPUNGING RESOLUTION.
Mr. BENTON rose and said that there was a Senator who would leave the body to-morrow, in consequence of having been called to fill a high station in one of the States; and that this Senator wished to have an opportunity, before his departure, of addressing the Senate . on a subject in which he took a great interest, and respecting which he had been instructed by his Legislature. The subject to which he alluded was the expunging resolution, and he asked the Senate to take it up. It would be laid down again, Mr. B. said, as soon as the Senator should finish his address. The resolution was accordingly taken up for consideration; when Mr. HILL rose and addressed the Chair, as follows: Mr. President, the preamble and resolution of the Senator from Tennessee, [Mr. White,) which have been introduced as a substitute, are of that hermaphrodite character that pleases neither side, and, being abandoned on all hands, must fall to the ground. They are only important so far as they countenance the principal argument that has been urged against expunging the record; and it is remarkable that the burden of the song has been, not that the condemnatory resolution was right, but that it was a violation of the constitution to expunge what was clearly wrong from the journal. “Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same.” Here is a positive act to be performed; and, when the act is done, the injunction is fully complied with. If it were intended to apply to all journals, as relating to this or that particular session of the Senate, the language would have been so definite as not to be mistaken. If it had been intended to keep and preserve the original manuscript journal, language conveying that idea would have been used. The mandate of the constitution has been fully complied with, when the journal has been kept a sufficient time to “publish the same.” Copies are then multiplied; so there can be no mistake as to what the journal contained; and any subsequent vote of either House to expunge any particular part of any single copy of the journal, is no more a violation of the injunction to keep a journal, than it is of that part of the constitution which authorizes the people to elect members of the House of Representatives. The Senator from Virginia, [Mr. Leigh,) probably as an offset to the resolutions recently passed by the Legislature of his State, directing the Senators from that State to present and vote for expunging the condemnatory resolution from the journal, a few days ago presented a memorial from John Timberlake and others, of that State, against expunging. These memorialists consider the proposition to expunge to be “a plain and palpable violation of the constitution;” and it is remarkable that they offer the following as the only reason against its constitutionality: “Suffice it to say, that to their humble understandings, “to keep,” as here used by the constitution, means to preserve; and that the latter clause of the constitutional provision, as previously quoted, furnishes a key to the interpretation of that which precedes it; since it would be obviously impossible to publish the journal,
from time to time, if such journal had not been kept and preserved.” Here is an admission that the journal is to be preserved only for the purpose of being published. What is the inference? It can be no other than that, when thus kept, the whole purpose of the constitution has been complied with. I will hereafter make inquiry for what other purpose the journal can be kept. In relation to the keeping of the journal of the House of Representatives for thirty-five years, I have received information from the Clerk, in the following letters: Hous E or lor:rn Es ENTATIves U. S. ..?pril 6, 1836. DeAn Sin: In answer to the inquiry contained in your letter of this morning, I have to state that the original rough manuscript journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, (those read on the mornings,) have not been preserved to a period anterior to the commencement of the first session, eighteenth Congress, (1823-4.) For your further information, I enclose you a copy of a communication from Mr. Burch on the subject. With very great respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant, W. S. FRANKLIN, Clerk House of Representatives U. S. Hon. Is AAc IIILL, United States Senate.
Office, IIouse of RErnese NTATIVEs U. S. .spril 6, 1836. SIR: I entered this office a youth, under John Beckley, who was the first Clerk of the House of Representatives under the present constitution of the United States, and who died in the year 1807. During the recess of Congress, he put me at what was termed “recording the journal” of the preceding session, which was to write it off from the printed copy into a large bound volume. I inquired of him why it was that it was copied, when there were so many printed copies? Ile answered that the printed copies would probably, in time, disappear from use, &c.; the large manuscript volume would not. The “r ugh journal,” as it was then termed, and is still termed, being the original rough draught read in the House on the morning after the day of which it narrates the proceedings, was not, and had not, from the beginning, been preserved. I inquired the reason, and was answered, that the printed copy was the official copy, as it was printed under the official order of the House; and, as errors, which were sometimes discovered in the rough journal, were corrected in the proofs of the printed copy, the printed copy was the most correct, and that, therefore, there was no use in lumbering the office with the “rough journal,” after it had been printed. Two of Mr. Beckley's immediate successors in office, Mr. Magruder and Mr. Dougherty, viewed the matter as Mr. Beckley viewed it. I know the fact, from having called their attention to the subject. 1 often reflected upon the subject; and it appeared to me to be proper that the “rough journal” should be preserved, although I could not see any purpose whatever to be answered by doing so. I often conversed with the clerks of the office upon the subject; but, as we were only subordinates, the practice was not changed till the first session of the eighteenth Congress, (1823-4,) when I determined, without consulting my superior, that the “rough journal” should no longer be thrown away, but be proserved, and bound in volumes; and it has been regularly preserved and bound since. With great respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant, S. BURCH. Col. WALTEn S. Fr. ANKLIN, , .. clerk House of Representatives U. S.
[May 27, 1836.
By these letters it appears that the original manuscript journal, the journal which is read on the morning of every day succeeding that of the proceedings, was kept and preserved precisely long enough to answer the pur. pose designated by the memorial from Virginia. It was kept long enough to be published, when the original journal was destroyed or laid aside, and a new manuscript copy was taken from the printed published jourmal. IIere are facts in relation to the journal that cannot be gainsaid; facts which prove that even the destruction of the original manuscript journal, after that journal has been printed and published, was never dreamed to be a violation of that clause of the constitution which requires each House of Congress to keep a journal of its proceedings. For the first thirty-five years, in construing the constitution, plain common sense had not been driven from our legislative halls by the refinement of sophistry; the world of argument had not then been turned upside down; ingenuity had not then contrived to turn a plain duty of the representative to obey his constituents into a violation of his oath and his conscience. In the year 1823, the Senate of Massachusetts passed a resolution to expunge another resolution from their journal, passed in 1813, which the public sentiment had condemned. A member of the Legislature of that State sor the present year informed me that he recently examined the manuscript journal, containing both the expunged and expunging resolutions. Both of them were psssed by an exact vote of the two political parties. The old federal party had the ascendancy in the Massachusetts Senate in 1813, and the resolution, that it was unbecoming a moral and religious people to rejoice in the success of our army and navy, was passed by the votes of that party alone; and in ten years afterwards, the first time the democratic party bad the full ascendancy, that party voted to expunge the resolution from the journal. The constitution of Massachusetts requires the keeping of a journal, and directs that the ayes and noes of each branch of the Legislature shall be entered on that journal; but it does not require that this journal shall be published. In this it differs from the constitution of the United States, in relation to the journals of Congress; but the distinction makes altogether in savor of the doctrine of expunging. In the case of Massachusetts, the resolution was expunged, but the manuscript journal (the only official copy in existence) was not touched. In our case, the condemnatory resolution may be expunged; and either the manuscript record may remain unmolested, or it may be ring-marked and crossed, or it may be entirely obliterated; and in neither case can it be considered a violation of the constitution, because, from the time the journal has been kept long enough to be published, every printed copy of that journal is an official copy; so that no vote to expunge, nor even any act of defacing the manuscript journal, can militate with the mandate of the constitution, which requires each House of Congress “to keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same,” after the journal shall have been kept a sufficient length of time to be published. Some thirteen years ago, I first visited the city of Washington, during the sitting of Congress. The Supreme Court of the United States was at the same time in session. A gentleman of the bar, now of the Senate, from Kentucky, [Mr. Clay,) was engaged before the court on one side of a case; and another gentleman from the same State, (Kentucky,) then, and now, a member of the House of Representatives, of somewhat rougher aspect, (Mr. Hardin,) argued the case on the other side. I listened attentively to both. The rougher gentleman, in the course of his argument, talked of the practice in Kentucky, and with great nonchalance informed the
court how he gained an important land cause in that State. He created, he said, a false or feigned issue before the sitting of the court, and led the ant gonist party to confine his attention exclusively to the taking of testimony in relation to that feigned issue. Keeping the real point a secret from the adverse party, he carried his case at the trial by surprise. Marshall and Bushrod Washington, then on the bench, smiled at the frank expression of the blunt attorney, who told the story as if he really thought he deserved credit for the trick. There are many feigned issues, Mr. President; but few who practise them are as candid as was this Kentucky lawyer before the Supreme Court. When the idea was first broached, that a resolution having no necessary reference to any existing laws could not be expunged from the legislative journal of the Senate, because the constitution requires the Senate to keep a journal of its proceedings, I would not have believed that such a feigned issue could be entertained so long as really to have assumed the appearance of settled seriousness. Surely, in all the expunging that heretofore has taken place, it never before entered into the heart of man to conceive such an objection as this. . It is said the constitution requires a journal to be kept; and therefore no part of this journal can be mutilated, struck out, or destroyed. If it be an imperative constitutional injunction to preserve, there must be some object to be gained by the preservation. The journal can be useful for no other purpose than the preservation of evidence of proceedings. All those parts of the journal relating to laws that have become obsolete, or to proceedings that are of no consequence, are valuable only as objects of curiosity, or as matters of history: the public interest could not suffer, if such parts were utterly destroyed. The journal of the Senate is kept and preserved for no other purpose than to show when and how laws are passed, and it is of as much consequence to preserve the engrossed bill or resolution in that branch of the Legislature in which such engrossed bill or resolution originated, as it is to preserve the journal of proceeding, to show the progress and history of the same bill or resolution. If both the engrossed bill and the journal were destroyed, the enrolled bill on parchment would remain, which would be evidence of the existence of the law; and even if that enrolled bill were destroyed, the law would still be in existence, if there remained anywhere published copies, which had becn certified as from the original. The object of possessing an official copy of the journal of legislative proceedings, is simply to preserve collateral evidence that existing laws passed in due course of legislation: other evidence than these journals, such as petitions on which laws are predicated, reports of committees on those petitions, minutes of reference, original draughts of bills or resolutions or amendments, may be equally important; and yet it will not be urged that the destruction or obstruction of these either weakens the force of the law, or violates the constitution. There are various ways in which the manuscript journal of the Senate may be obliterated or destroyed. The building may take fire; and that, with the journal, may be accidentally burnt: a thief may steal it, and carry it off, or bury it in the water or in the earth: the minutes may take fire during an evening session, and thus prevent the Secretary from copying the proceedings at length. The constitution requires a journal to be kept: would all these casualties or acts by which the journal shall be destroyed, be so many violations of the constitution? Even if the resolution now under consideration, without reciting it, went so far as entirely to obliterate a former resolution that should be deemed improper to be retained on the journal, I cannot concede that the act of obliteration would be unconstitutional. If that resolution were an existing law, still intended to be kept in force, the act of obliteration would not nullify the law: applied to a simple declaratory resolution that was never intended to have the force of a law, the obliteration cannot harm the people for whose benefit all laws are made; and if it does not horm them, it can be no infringement of the constitution, such as is worthy of reprobation. I marvel much at the pertinacity with which this question is attempted to be discussed as an infringement of the constitution. It seems to me that, by taking the ground they do, the opponents of the expunging resolution blink the real question: it has all the appearance of a mere subterfuge. The horns of this altar will not protect them—the cry of “a violated constitution,” as it is a virtual confession that the people are right in demanding the obliteration of an infamous record, so it furnishes strong presumptive evidence of consciousness that the resolution to be expunged was wrong in itself. My object is not, Mr. President, so much to argue the question of power in the Senate to expunge, as to show that the sentence of condemnation passed on the President of the United States was not only extra-judicial, but unjust; for I conceive it to be a most inglorious evasion that Senators now say this sentence of condemnation imputed to the President no crime. If the Senators from Louisiana [Mr. Ponten] and Virginia [Mr. Leigh] will look back to the criminal charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” which were almost daily made in this body two years ago, they may well conclude that the people of the United States will repose little faith in the assertion now, that the resolution of April, 1834, imputed to the President of the United States no criminal intention. To show that it was the intention to impute the highest criminality to the President, in the passage of that resolution, the speeches of more than one Senator who voted for it might be quoted. . One single extract from the speech of the Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. CLAY,) after the resolution had passed, will serve my purpose: IN SENATE, April 30, 1834.— Mr. CLAY rose: “Never,” said he, “Mr. President, have I known or read of an admiuistration which expires with so much agony, and so little composure and resignation, as that which now, unfortunately, has the control of public affairs in this country. It exhibits a state of mind feverish, fretful, and fidgetty; [a beautiful alliteration!] bounding ruthlessly from one expedient to another, without any sober or settled purpose. * * * o * * * “But I would ask in what tone, temper, and spirit does the President come to the Senate? As a great state culprit, who has been arraigned at the bar of justice, or sentenced as guilty? Does he manifest any of those compunctious visitings of conscience which a guilty violator of the constitution and laws of the land ought to feel? Does he address himself to a high court with the respect, to say nothing of humility, which a person accused or convicted would naturally feel? No, no. He comes as if the Senate were guilty; and as if he were in the judgment-seat, and the Senate stood accused before him. He arraigns the Senate; puts it upon trial; condemns it. He comes as if he felt himself elevated far above the Senate, and beyond all reach of the law, surrounded by unapproachable impunity. He who professes to be an innocent and injured man, gravely accuses the Senate, and modestly asks it to put upon its own record his sentence of condemnation! When before did the arraigned or convicted party demand of the court which was to try, or had condemned him, to enter upon their records a severe denunciation of their own conduct? The President presents himself before the Senate, not in the garb of suffering innocence, but in imperial and royal costume, as a dictator to rebuke a
MAY 27, 1836.) Public Deposites. [SENATE.
refractory Senate; to command it to record his solemn protest; to chastise it for disobedience.” Concluding: “The Senator [Mr. Gnunny, of Tennessee] thinks that there is no coverlet large enough to protect all the various elements of the opposition. He is mistaken; there is one of sufficiently capacious dimensions, recently wove at a Jackson loom, called a protest, on which is marked a violation of the constitution, and an assumption of enormous executive power; and the honorable Senator had better hasten to place himself under the banners of those who are contending against power and prerogative for free institutions and civil liberty. And he had better lose no time, for the protest is the last stroke upon the last nail driven into the coffin (not of Jackson--may he live a thousand years! but) of Jacksonism!” Mr. HILL here closed his remarks in regard to the expunging resolution, and proceeded to a detailed exposition of various alleged transactions of the Bank of the United States; embracing the private accounts of numerous individuals, a history of the management of the branch of the bank at Portsmouth, &c., which occupied between two and three hours in the delivery. After he had finished, The resolution was laid on the table.
On motion of Mr. CALHOUN, the Senate then proceeded to consider the bill to regulate the deposites of the public money. The question being on the amendment of Mr. WRIGHT, Mr. WRIGHT modified his amendment in that part which requires that seven millions shall be always kept in the Treasury, by striking out the word “seven,” so as to leave the blank to be filled by the Senate. Mr. WRIGHT, in offering his amendment, said he rejoiced that this interesting subject had at last come to its discussion before the Senate; and he rejoiced still more to see, as he thought he did see, a disposition upon all sides of the House to consider the bill with a sincere desire to agree upon a law which should hereafter regulate the deposites of the public moneys in the State banks. He would assure the Senate that he entered upon the discussion with the most earnest hope and intention that their deliberations might be brought to a successful termination, and that provisions might be agreed upon which would not only meet the assent of a large proportion of the Senators, but be satisfactory to the country, and quiet the complaints and remove the apprehensions which now surround the subject. Mr. W. said he ought further to inform the Senate, before he proceeded with the remarks he had to make, that no pride of authorship could attach to him in the amendment he had offered. The sections which related to the regulation of deposites, were the bill digested by the Committee of Ways and Means of the last House of Representatives, as he had been informed, and supposed to be true, with the advice of the head of the Treasury Department, and was reported to that House, but not acted upon. He did not himself profess a sufficient acquaintance with the subject to be able to frame a safe and proper bill to regulate these deposites, which would accommodate the Treasury, and at the same time be so far consistent with the interests of the banks, as to induce their assent to its provisions: He had not so minutely examined the Provisions. of these sections as to be able to pronounce the opinion that they were, in all respects, right in themselves, or referable to others which might be suggested. The ast two sections of the proposed amendment related to a subject distinct from the regulation of the deposites SENATE.]
and had been added in pursuance of recommendations made by the Secretary of the Treasury in his last annual report to Congress. They were therefore propositions of the Secretary, for the temporary disposition of any surplus which might remain in the Treasury; and he had offered them to the Senate because they met much more perfectly his views than any other propositions for the disposition of that surplus which he had heard from any other quarter. He was not, therefore, the author of any portion of the amendment he had presented; and his action must not be considered as influenced by any such relation to any of the provisions. He would go farther, and say that he was unconscious of feeling any peculiar attachment to any of the propositions he had presented, and would most cheerfully yield them, and give his support to any others which he could convince himself were better suited to the objects all had in view. Among those objects it appeared to him that the security of the public treasure must stand first. He was not among those who entertained the least apprehension as to its entire security in its present condition, but he was fully conscious, if further accumulations were to take place, that a change of that condition would become indispensable. His confidence in the safety of the deposite banks, at the present time, was perfect; but he could not fail to see, that if the amounts in deposite went on increasing, a just apprehension might soon be entertained that the capital and means of the banks might not be adequate to their immense responsibilities. Some indulged this apprehension now, and he was desirous to adopt measures which should not only arrest its increase, but put an end to it for the future. Another leading object in any action upon this subject (Mr. W. said) must be the convenient use of the banks as the fiscal agents of the Treasury. And here it should be borne constantly in mind, that the Senate were attempting to legislate in reference to institutions, not existing by the authority of Congress, not subject to the control or direction of Congress, and in no way to be affected by the action of Congress, in their character of fiscal agents, any further than their respective voluntary assents should bind them to such subjection, and thus connect their interests with the legislation of Congress. We were, in effect, (Mr. W. said,) merely making proposals to these institutions for a contract, in any law we might pass; and it therefore became us, while we performed scrupulously and rigidly our office and duty as guardians of the public treasure, so far to regard the interests to be consulted upon the other side as not to make our terms or proposals such as must meet the refusal of the banks, and thus deprive the Treasury of their essential services. It was, in his judgment, the wisest protection of the public interests to offer to the deposite banks such terms as would make it their interest to discharge promptly, honestly, and faithfully, their duties to the Treasury, and to keep carefully and safely the public moneys intrusted to them; and he could not consent to adopt any parsimonious policy which would so tie down these banks as to compel them to make an unsafe and hazardous use of the moneys in deposite, to indemnify themselves against our exactions. Such a course would be to draw the most unsafe banks only into our service, and to excite them to a use of the public moneys dangerous to the institutions and insecure to the public. A third object, which should not be lost sight of in the legislation under consideration, was a healthful condition of the monetary system of the country. Mr. W. said he could not, for a moment, doubt that the large accumulation of the public revenues in the banks had done much to promote the spirit of excessive speculation which, during the past year, had seemed to pervade
every section of our vast country and every branch of enterprise. The ten or eleven millions, beyond any former year, which had sought investment in the public lands, must, to a very great extent, have emanated from these reservoirs of surplus funds. The year was one of plenty and profusion in every department of trade and business; and the capital of the banks, and in the banks, not required for the legitimate uses of commerce, must seek other employment. Hence, accommodations were liberal, and speculations ran wild; for, rely upon it, (said Mr. W.,) those gentlemen are mistaken who have supposed, and have told us, that banks lock up the money intrusted to their keeping, and deprive the community of its use. Such is not the nature of these institutions. Such is not their interest; and as soulless existences, their interests are their only governing principle. The fault is here. They will not keep money in an unproductive state; and when the proper customers of banks, those who require loans for commercial purposes, when speedy returns are certain, do not apply for their means, they will loan them to those who are engaged in speculations; to those who, it is known, intend to apply the funds obtained to the purchase of property not convertible to cash at pleasure, but dependent upon casualties which render the use hazardous to the stability of banking facilities. The commercial community are, at this moment, experiencing a severe pressure for money. Is not the principal cause to be found here? Were the millions which have been invested in speculations upon real estate, derived from bank accommodations, within the eighteen months last past, to be returned within the reach of legitimate commercial calls, does any one suppose the pressure at present existing would have been felt? Does any one believe it would continue for one day In so far as the great accumulation of the moneys of the Government in the deposite banks may have promoted this spirit of speculation, and encouraged these loans, it is the imperative duty of Congress, when legislating upon the subject of the public deposites, to devise some mode of correcting the existing evil, and of preventing its recurrence in suture. In our use of the State institutions as the fiscal agents of the Treasury, we should, as far as may be in our power, so regulate that use as to promote, not to disturb, the great moneyed interests of the country, and the success and prosperity of commerce, which is our principal dependence for the revenues to be deposited. With these preliminary remarks (Mr. W. said) he would proceed to consider, very generally, the bill, and amendment, and to point out some of the principal dis. ferences between the two proposed measures. He should not, at this time, enter into minute details, but should confine his remarks to those differences which he thought highly essential. The first he should notice was the liberty given to the Secretary of the Treasury, by the amendment, to select additional deposite banks. The provision, in terms, authorized an entire new selection under the law, as those now used had been selected when there was no law upon the subject; but he was most happy to be able to say to the Senate that he was not aware, nor did he believe, there was the least intention or desire on the part of the Secretary, or of any one else, in the execution of this power, to dismiss a single one of the existing deposite banks. He did not know, or believe, that any bank now employed was considered an unsafe depository of the public money, or had failed in any essential particular to perform its duties promptly, and faithfully, as a fiscal agent of the Treasury. He did believe, however, that if the public moneys were to remain in the banks, additional selections ought to be made at some of the more important points. As he was more particularly acquainted with the condition of things May 27, 1836.]
in the city of New York, he would confine his remarks to that point. Three banks of deposite had been selected, and were now employed in that city. Two of those banks were, by their charters, restricted as to their amount of loans; and his recollection was, that the utmost extent to which they could go was twice and a half the amount of their capital stock. All the other banks in the city and State of New York, with very few exceptions, were subject to the same restriction and limitation; and Mr. W. said he did not doubt that the third deposite bank, from the large amount of its capital, and the known discretion and safety of its directors, was practically subjected to the same limitation. Hence it would be apparent to all that an amount of public deposite must frequently accumulate in these three banks at that point, which, connected with the capital and means of the banks themselves, would constitute a fund far beyond the amount of loans they were at liberty to make. What, he should be asked, is done with this surplus? Is it not locked up, without use to the banks or the community? He was ready, as he believed, to answer the inquiries, and to say that it is not locked up and kept from the use of that commercial community. When such a state of things is found to exist, those deposite banks suffer balances to remain to their credit in the neighboring banks of the city, upon which those banks extend their loans. He could not say that there were permanent arrangements between the banks as to these balances; but he believed he could say, with perfect safety, that they constantly existed to a greater or less extent, and that, in this indirect way, all the deposites at that point were made to constitute, as far as these deposites could properly be made to constitute, capital upon which accommodations were extended to the customers of the banks. The system, however, (Mr. W. said,) was, in his judgment, very objectionable. These balances, suffered to remain in the banks not selected as deposite banks, were, from the necessity of the case, payable to the deposite banks upon demand, at their pleasure. It gave them, therefore, a command over the neighboring institutions, which should not exist, but from an unavoidable necessity. If we so arrange the disposition of the public momeys, that more banks than those now selected must be employed to use them for the accommodation of the business community, there is no reason why each bank should not be made principal in its own use, and be responsible directly to the Treasury, and not indirectly, through its neighboring and perhaps rival institutions. Mr. W. said it gave him great pleasure to say that he had never heard of a charge of unfairness, or an unnecessary exertion of the power possessed by the deposite banks in the city of New York over their debtor banks; but there was something invidious in so limiting the number of the deposite banks there, as to create the constant necessity of permitting part of the public moneys on deposite to remain in other banks, and be used by them, or to be taken from use, and locked up in the deposite banks. It added an unpleasant responsibility to the deposite banks, because, by the arrangement, they were compelled to be answerable, not only for their own use of the moneys intrusted to them, but for the use, by neighboring and rival institutions, of portions of those moneys; and it placed the neighboring and rival institutions, which would consent to take and use any part of these moneys, in the unpleasant position of agents to their rivals, and, so far, subject to their power and control. This state of things, Mr. W. said, he believed ought not to exist; and either that the amount of deposites in the banks ought to be reduced to a limit within their chartered powers of disposition, or that the number of deposite banks ought to be increased to an extent which would produce that consequence. The bill introduced by the honorable Senator from
South Carolina, [Mr. CALhoun, ) confined the deposites to the existing deposite banks, and contained a positive prohibition against the selection of others, except at points where the public service might require it, and where there was now no such bank. Of consequence, the exception would not afford a remedy in the case he had described; and he did not doubt that the situation of New York must be substantially that of Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and many other similar points, where the principal collections of the revenue were made. For these reasons, he preferred the amendment he had offered to the original bill, so far as this difference was concerned. The next difference he proposed to notice, Mr. W. said, was the omission, in the amendment, of any provision for the payment of interest upon deposites. This omission, so far as his action was concerned, had been made upon the assumption that some disposition other than that of a deposite in the banks, would be made of any surplus of the moneys so deposited, beyond the contemplated expenses of the Government. Should this not be so, and should the public moneys continue to accumulate in the banks, without appropriation and expenditure, he was clearly of the opinion that the banks ought to allow a reasonable interest for their use. He was, however, so unwilling to make an investment of this description, because he held it so directly, if not compulsorily, an inducement to the banks to make a hazardous, if not improvident, use of the money in deposite with them, that he would not, in this stage of the proceeding, discuss the principle involved, or express an opinion as to any rate of interest which he might think it proper to exact. He yet entertained the strongest hope that the adoption, by the Senate, of the proposition he had made for the investment of any surplus which might be found to exist, would entirely supersede the necessity of action upon this proposition; and he took it for granted, if his, or any other of the several propositions for taking the surplus from the banks, and placing it beyond their reach, should prevail, all would concede that the use of the moneys which would remain in deposite would be no more than an equivalent for the services required of the deposite banks, in their characters as fiscal agents of the Treasury. If none of those propositions should meet the approval of the Senate, then he might be compelled to consider, practically, some mode of requiring the banks to pay an interest upon the deposites, and the rates of interest which should be charged. He would not, however, at present, anticipate the difficulties which would be found to arise from any provision of this sort. A further consideration connected with this part of the subject, Mr. W. said, it became his particular duty to bring to the notice of the Senate. He could not speak as to other States than the one he had the honor in part to represent here; but the banks of his State, as he had before remarked, were limited in the amounts they were permitted to loan; and in the city of New York, it happened, as he was informed and believed, and would hereafter often happen, that the amount of public deposites in the deposite banks there, would be greater, when added to the capital and means of those banks, than they could use by way of loans. Under the present arrangement, he had described the mode in which the surplus of such deposites was made useful and available to the mercantile community. The system pursued, on the part of the deposite banks, of letting balances stand to their credit in the neighboring institutions, upon which they could make loans, reached this great"and useful object; and the fact that these balances were permitted to remain without interest, enabled the banks thus accommodated to extend to their customers nearly the same liberality which could be extended by the deposite banks, were they permitted