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Dec. 21, 1836.]
restore the currency to a better state; and success followed that effort. But what is meant by the “constitutional currency,” about which so much is said? What species, or forms of currency, does the constitution allow, and what does it forbid? It is plain enough that this depends on what we understand by currency. Currency, in a large, and perhaps, in a just sense, includes not cnly gold and silver and bank notes, but bills of exchange also. It may include all that adjusts exchanges, and settles balances, in the operations of trade and business. But if we understand by currency the legal money of the country, that which constitutes a lawful tender for debts, and is the statute measure of value, then, undoubtedly, nothing is included but gold and silver. Most unquestionably there is no legal tender, and there can be no legal tender, in this country, under the authority of this Government orany other, but gold and silver, either the coin: age of our own mints, or foreign coins, at rates regulated by Congress. This is a constitutional principle, perfectly plain, and of the very highest importance. The States are expressly prohibited from making any thing but gold and silver a tender in payment of debts; and, although no such express prohibition is applied to Congress, yet, as Congress has no power granted to it, in this respect, but to coin money, and to regulate the value of foreign coins, it clearly has no power to substitute paper, or any thing else, for coin, as a tender in payment of debts, and in discharge of contracts. Congress has exercised this power, fully, in both its branches. It has coined money, and still coins it; it has regulated the value of foreign coins, and still regulates their value. The legal tender, therefore, the constitutional standard of value, is established, and cannot be overthrown. To overthrow it, would shake the whole system. But if the constitution knows only gold and silver as a legal tender, does it follow that the constitution cannot tolerate the voluntary circulation of bank notes, convertible into gold and silver at the will of the holder, as part of the actual money of the country? Is a man not only to be entitled to demand gold and silver for every debt, but is he, or should he be, obliged to demand it in all cases’ Is it, or should Government make it, unlawful to receive pay in any thing else? Such a notion is too absurd to be seriously treated. The constitutional tender is the thing to be preserved; it ought to be preserved sacredly, under all circumstances. The rest remains for judicious legislation by those who have cornpetent authority. I have already said that Congress has never supposed itself authorized to make any thing but coin a tender, in the payment of debts, between individual and individual; but it by no means follows from this, that it may not au. thorize the receipt of any thing but coin in payment of debts due to the United States. These powers are distinct, and flow from dist, rent sources. The power of coinage is a general power; a Portion of sovereignty, taken fom the States and conser. red on Congress, for the sake both of uniformity and &reater security. It is to be exercised for the benefit of *ll the people, by establishing a legal tender and stand. ard of value in aii transactions. But when Congress lays duties and taxes, or disposes of the public lanois, it may direct payment to be made in whatever medium it pleases. ‘ihe authority to lay taxes includes the power of deciding how they shall be Pai'; and the power granted by the constitution to dispose of the territory belonging to the United States carries with it, of course, the power of fixing not only the price, and the conditions, and time of payment, but also the medium of payment. Both in respect to duties and tax**, and payments for lands, it has been, accordingly, the °onstant practice of Congress, in its discretion,” pro
vide for the receipt of sundry things, besides gold and silver. As early as 1797, the public stocks of the Gov. ernment were made receivable for lands sold; the six per cents, at par, and other descriptions of stock in proportion. This policy had, probably, a double purpose in view—the one to sustain the price of the public stocks, and the other to hasten the sale and settlement of the lands. Other statutes have given the like receivable character to Missi-sippi stock, and to Virginia land scrip. So Treasury notes were made receivable for duties and taxes; and, indeed, if any such should uow be found outstanding, I believe they constitute a lawsul mode of payment, at the present moment, whether for duties and taxes or for lands. But, in regard both to taxes and payments for lands, Congress has not left the subject without complete legal regulation. It has exercised its sull power. The statutes have declared what should be received, srom debtors and from purchasers, and have left no ground whatever for the interference of executive discretion or executive control. So far as I know, there has been no period when this subject was not subject to express legal provision. When the duty act and the tonnage act were passed, at the first session of the first Congress, an act was passed also, at the same session, containing a section which prescribed the coins, and fixed their values, in which those duties were to be paid. From that time to this, the medium for the payment of public debts and dues has been a matter of fixed legal right, and not a matter of executive discretion at all. The Secretary of the Treasury has had no more power over these laws than over other laws. He can no more change the legal mode of paying the duty than he can change the amount of the duty to be paid; or alter the legal means of paying for lands, with any more propriety than he can alter the price of the lands themselves. It would be strango, indeed, if this were not so. It would be ridiculous to say that we lived under a Government of laws, if an executive officer may say in what currency, or medium, a man shall pay his taxes and debts to Government, and may nake one rule for one man, and another rule for another. We might as well admit that the Secretary had authority to remit or give in the debt of one, while he enforced payment on the other. I desire, sir, even at the expense of some repetition, to fix the attention of the Senate to this proposition, that Congress, having by the constitution authority to dispose of the public territory, has passed laws for the complete exercise of that power; laws which not only have sixed the price of the public lands, the manner of sales, and the time of payment, but which have fixed also, with equal precision, the medium, or kinds of money, or of other things, which shall be received in payment. It has neglected no part of this important trust; it has delegated no part of it; it has left no ground, not an inch, for executive interposition. The only question, therefore, is, what is the law, or what was the law, when the Secretary issued his order? The Secretary considers that that which has been uniformly done for twenty years, that is to say, the receiving of payment for the public lands in the bills of specicpaying banks, is against law. ...so calis it an “indulgence,” and this “indulgence the order proposes to gontinue for a limited time, and in favor of a particular class of purchasers. If this were an indulgence, and against law, one might well ask, how has it happened that it should have continued so long, cspecially through recent years, marked by such a spirit, of thorough and searching reform? It might be asked, too, if this bc illegal, and an indulgence only, why continue it longer, and especially why continue it as to some, and refuse to continue it as to others? 15ut, sir, it is time to turn to the statute, and to see SENATE.] what the legal provision is. On the 30th of April, 1816, a resolution passed both Houses of Congress. It was in
the common form of a joint resolution, and was approved by the President; and no one doubts, I suppose, that, for the purpose intended by it, it was as authentic and valid as a law in any other form. It provides that, “from and after the 20th day of February next, [1817, 1 no duties, taxes, debts, or sums of money, accruing or becoming payable to the United States, ought to be collected or received otherwise than in the legal currency of the United States, or Treasury notes, or notes of the Bank of the United States, or in notes of banks which are paya. ble in specie on demand, in the said legal currency of the United States.” This joint resolution authoritatively fixed the rights of parties paying, and the duties of officers receiving. So far as respects the notes of the Bank of the Unitcd States, it was altered by a law of the last session; but, in all other particulars, it is, as I suppose, in full force at the present moment; and as it expressly authorizes the receipt of such bank notes as are payable and paid on demand, I cannot understand how the receipt of such notes is a matter of “indulgence.” We may as well say that to be allowed to pay in Treasury notes, or in foreign coins, or, indeed, in our own gold and silver, is an indulgence, since the act places all on the same ground. The honorable member from Missouri has, indeed, himself furnished a complete answer to the Secretary's idea; that is to say, he defends the order on grounds not only differing from, but totally inconsistent with, those assumed by the Secretary. He does not consider the receipt of bank notes hitherto, or up to the time of issuing the order, as an indulgence, but as a lawful right while it lasted. How he proves this right to be now terminated, and terminated by force of the order, I shall consider presently. I only say now, that his argument entirely deprives the Secretary of the only ground assigned by him for the Treasury order. The Secretary directs the receivers “to receive in payment of the public lands nothing except what is directed by the existing laws, viz: gold and silver, and, in the proper cases, Virginia land scrip.” Gold and silver, then, and, in the proper cases, Virginia land scrip, are, in the opinion of the Secretary, all that is directed to be received by the existing laws. The receipt of bank notes he considers, therefore, but an indulgence, a thing against law, to be tolerated a little longer, as to some cases, and then to be finally suppressed. Apparently not at all satisfied with this view of the Secretary, of the ground upon which his own order must stand, the member from Missouri not only abandons it altogether, but sets up another, wholly inconsistent with it. He admits the legality of payment in such bank notes up to the date of the order itself, but insists that the Secretary of the Treasury had a right of selection, and a right of rejection also; and that, although the various modes of payment provided by the resolution of 1816 were all good and lawful, till the Secretary should make some of them otherwise, yet tha", by virtue of his power of selection or rejection, he might at any time | strike one or more of them out of the list. And this power of selection or rejection he thinks he finds in the resolution of 1816 itself. i incline to think, sir, that the Secretary will be as little satisfied with the footing on which his friend, the honorable member srom Mišouri, thus places his order, as that friend is with the secretary’s own ground. For my part, I th nk them both just half right; that is to Bay, both, in my humble judgment, are just so far right as they distrust and disclaim the reasoning of each other. Let me state, sir, as I understand it, the honorable mem. ber's argument. It is that the law of 1816 gives the secretary a selection; that it provides four offerent
| modes, or media, of payment; that the Secretary is to
[Dec. 21, 1836.
collect the revenue in one, or several, or all these four modes, or media, at his discretion; that all are in the disjunctive, as I think he expressed it; and that the resolution or law is not mandatory or conclusive in favor of any one. According to the honorable member, therefore, if the Secretary had chosen to say that our own eagles and our own dollars should no longer be receiva. ble, whether for customs, taxes, or public lands, he had a clear right to say so, and to stop their reception. Before a construction of so extraordinary a character be fixed on the law of 1816, something like the appear. ance of argument, I think, might be expected in its fa. vor. But what is there upon which to found such an implied power in the Secretary of the Treasury? Is there a syllable in the whole law which countenances any such idea for a single moment? There clearly is not. The law was intended to provide, and does provide, in what sorts of money or other means of payment those who owe debts to the Government shall pay those debts. It enumerates four kinds of money or other means of payment; and can any thing be plainer than that he who has to pay may have his choice out of all sour? All being equally lawful, the choice is with the payer, and not with the receiver. This would seem to be too plain either to be argued or to be denied. Other laws of the United States have made both gold and silver coins a tender in the payment of private debts. Did any man ever imagine that in that case the choice between the coins to be tendered was to lie with the party receiving? No one could ever be guilty of such an absurdity. And unless there be something in the law of 1816 itself, which either expressly, or by reasonable inference, consers a similar power on the Secretary of the Treasury in regard to public payments, is there, in the nature of things, any difference between the cases? Now, there is nothing, either in the law of 1816, or any other law, which consers any such power on the Secretary of the Treasury, either directly or indirectly, or which sugges's, or intimates, any ground upon which such power might be implied. Indeed, the statement of the argument seems to me enough to confute it. It makes the law of 1816 not a rule, but the dissolution of all rules not a law, but the abrogation of all existing laws. According to the argu: ment, the Secretary of the Treasury had authority, not only to refuse the receipt of the Treasury notes, which had been issued upon the faith of statutes expressly making them receivable for debts and duties, and notes of the Bank of the United States, which were also made receivable by the law creating the bank, but to refuse also foreign coins, and the coinage of our own mint; putting thus the legislation of Congress for five-and-twenty years at the unrestrained and absolute discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury. It appears to me quite impossible that any gentleman, on reflection, can undertake to support such a construction. But the gentleman relies on a supposed practice, to maintain his interpretation of the law. What practice’ tlas any secretary ever refused to receive, the notes of specie-paying banks, either at the custom-house or the land offices, sor a single hour? Never; Has any Secretary presumed to strike foreign coin, or Treasury notes, or our own coin, out of the list of receivables? such an idea certainly never entered into the head of any secretary. The gentleman argues that the Treas: ury has made discriminations; but what discriminations? I suppose the whole truth to be simply this; that, admitting at all times the right of the party paying to pay in notes of specie-paying banks, the coilectors and receivers have not been held bound to receive notes of distant banks of which they knew nothing, and could not judge, therefore, whether their notes came within the jaw. Those collectors and receivers were bound to reDec. 21, 1836.]
ceive the bil's of specie-paying banks; but, as that duty
arose from the fact that the notes tendered were the notes of specie-paying banks, that fact, if not notorious or already known to them, must be made known, with reasonable certainty, before the duty to receive them became imperative. I suppose there may have been Treasury orders, regulating the conduct of collectors and receivers in this particular. Any orders which went further than this would go beyond the law. The honorable member quotes one of the by-laws of the late Bank of the United States; but what has that to do with the subject? Does the honorable member think that the by-laws of the late bank were laws to the people of the United States? The bank was under no obligation to receive any notes on deposite except its own. It might, therefore, make just such an arrangement with the Treasury as it saw fit, if it saw fit to make any. But neither the Treasury, nor the bank, nor both to: gether, could do away with the written letter of an act of Congress; nor did either undertake so to do. But, sir, what have been the gentleman’s own opinions on this subject heretofore? Has he always been of opinion that the Secretary enjoyed this power of selection, as he now calls it, under the law of 1816? Has he heretofore looked upon the various provisions of that law only as so many moveable and shifting parts, to be thrown into gear and out of gear by the mere touch of the Secretary's hand? Certainly, sir, he has not thought so; certainly he has looked upon that law as fixed, definite, and beyond executive power, as clearly as other laws; as a statute, to be repealed or modified only by another statute. No longer ago than the 23d day of last April, the honorable member introduced a resolution into the Senate, in the following words: “Resolved, That, from and after the day of » in the year 1836, nothing but gold and silver coin ought to be received in payment for public lands; and that the Committee on Public Lands be instructed to report a bill agcordingly.” And now, sir, I ask why the honorable member moved here for a bill and a law, if the whole matter was, in his opinion, within the power of the Secretary of the Treasury? The Senate did not adopt this resolution. A day or two after its introduction, and when some little discussion had been had upon it, a motion to lay it on the table prevailed, hardly opposed, 1 think, except by the gentleman's own vote. A few weeks after this disposition had been made of this resolution, the session came to a close, and, seven days after the close of the session, the Treasury order wade its appearance. But this is not all. There is higher authority than even that of the honorable member. Looking to the expiration of the charter of the Bank of the United States, the President, in his annual message in December last, said it was incumbent on Congress to discontinue, by law, the receipt of the bills of that bank in payment of the public revenue. Now, as the charter was to expire on the 3d of March, there was nothing to make its bills receivable after that period, except the law of 1816. To strike the provisions respecting notes of the bank out of that law, another law was indeed necessary, according to my understanding; but I do not conceive how it should be thought necessary, upon the construction of the honorable member. Both Houses being of opinion, however, that the thing could not be done without law, an act was passed for that purpose, and was approved by the President. Here, then, sir, is the gentleman’s own authority, the authority of the President, and the authority of both Houses of Congress, for saying that nothing contained in the law of 1816 can be thrust out of it by any other power than the power of a subot quent statute.
I am, therefore, of opinion that the Treasury order of the 11th of July is against the plain words and meaning of the law of 1816; against the whole practice of the Government under that law; against the honorable gentleman's own opinion, as expressed in his resolution of the 23d of April; and not reconcileable with the necessity which was supposed to exist for the passage of the act of last session. On this occasion, I have heard of no attempt to justify the order on the ground of any other law or act but the act of 1816. When the order was published, however, it was accompanied with an exposition, apparently halfofficial, which looked to the land laws as the Secretary's source of power, and which took no notice at all of the law of 1816. The land law referred to was the act of 1830; but it turns out, upon examination, that there is nothing at all in that law to support the order, or give it any countenance whatever. The only clause in it which could be supposed to have the slightest reference to the subject is in the proviso in the 4th section. That section provides for the sale of such lands as, having been once sold on credit, should revert or become forfeitel to the United States through failure of payment; and the proviso declares that no such lands shall be again sold on any other terms than those of “cash payment.” These words, “cash payment,” have been seized upon, as if they had wrought an entire change in the important provisions of the law of 1816, and already established an exclusive specie payment for lands. The idea is too futile for serious refutation. In the first place, the whole section applies only to forfeited lands; but the truth is, the term “cash payment” means only payment down, in contradistinction to credit, which had formerly been allowed; just as the words in the tariff act of July, 1832, mean payment down, instead of payment secured by bonds, when it says that the duties on certain articles shall be paid in “cash.” As to the second section of the land law of 1820, which was set forth with great formality in the exposition to which I have referred, as furnishing authority for the Secretary’s order, there is not a word in it having any such tendency; not a syllable which has any application to the matter. That section simply declares that, after the first day of July in that year, every purchaser of land at public sale shall, on the day of purchase, make a complete payment therefor; and the purchaser at private sile shall produce a receipt for the amount of the purchase-money on any tract, before he shall enter, the same at the land office. This is all. It does not say how the purchaser shall make complete payment, nor in what currency the purchase-money shall be received. It is quite evident, therefore, that that section lends the order no support whatever. The defence of the order, then, stands thus: The Secretary founds it upon the idea that nothing but gold and silver was ever lawfully receivable, and that the receipt of bank bills has been all along an “indulgence” against law. For this opinion he gives no reasons: The honorable member from Missouri rejects this doctrine; he admits the receipt of bank notes to have been lawful until made unlawful by the order itself; and insists that the Secretary’s power of stopping their further receipt arises under the law of 1816, and is an authority derived from it. But, then, the long and halfofficial exposition which accompanied the publication of the order has no faith in the law of 1816 as a source of power, but makes a parade of a totally and perfectly inapplicable section, out of the land law of 1820. Grounds of defence so totally inconsistent cannot all be sound, but they may be all unsound; and whether they be so or not, is a question which I would willingly leave to the decision of any man of good sense and honest judgment. I take leave of this part of the case for the present. I SENATE.]
[Dec. 21, 1836.
may pause at least, I hope, until those who defend the order shall be better agreed on what ground to place it. Mr. President, the subject of the currency is so important, so delicate, and, in my judgment, surrounded, at the present moment, with so much both of difficulty and of danger, that I am desirous, before making the few observations which I intend on the existing condition of things and its causes, to avoid all misapprehension, by a general statement of my opinions respecting that subject. I am certainly of opinion, then, that gold and silver, at rates fixed by Congress, constitute the legal standard of value in this country; and that neither Congress nor any State has authority to es' ablish any other standard, or to displace this. But I am also of opinion that an exclusive circulation of gold and silver is a thing absolutely impracticable; and, if practicable, not at all to be desired; inasmuch as its effect would be to abolish credit, to repress the enterprise, and diminish the earnings of the industrious classes; and to produce, faster and sooner than any thing else in this country can produce, a moneyed aristocracy. I am of opinion that a mixed currency, partly coin and partly bank notes, the notes not issued in excess, and always convertible into specie at the will of the holder, is, in the present state of society, the best practical currency—always remembering, however, that bills of exchange perform a great part of the duty of currency, and, therefore, that the state of domestic exchanges is always a matter of high importance and great, actual bearing on commercial business. I admit that a currency partly composed of bank notes has always a liability, and often a tendency, to excess; and that it requires the constant care and oversight of Government. I am of opinion, even, that the convertibility of bank notes into gold and silver, although it be a necessary guard, is not an absolute security against occasional excess of paper issues. I believe, even, that the confining of discounts to such notes and bills as represent real transactions of purchase and sale, or to real business paper, as it is called, though É." a sufficient check, is not always so; because I elieve there is sometimes such a thing as over-trading or over-production. What, then, it will be asked, is a sufficient check? I can only repeat what I have before said, that it is a subject which requires the constant care, watchfulness, and superintendence of Government. But our misfortune is, that we have withdrawn all care and all superintend. ence from the whole subject. We have surrendered the whole matter to eight-and-twenty States and Territories. With the power of coinage and the power and duty of regulating commerce, both external and internal, this Government has little more control over the mass of money which circulates in the country, than a foreign Government. Upon the expiration of the charter of the Bank of the United States, new banks were created by the States. Sixty or eighty millions of banking capital have thus been added to the mass since 1832. All this it was easy to foresee: it was all foreseen, and all fore told. The wonder only is, that the evil has not already become greater than it is; and it would have been greater, and we should have had such an excess as would perhaps have depreciated the currency, had it not been for the extraordinary prosperity of the country. No very great exces". I believe, has as yet in fact happened, or rāh: no Yo"y. §reat excess does now exist. There are suffi. cient evidences, I think, of this. . In the first place, the amount of specie in the country is far greater than was ever known efore, and it is not - exported. In the next place, as all the banks as et maintain their credit, and 'ali pay specie on demand, the
whole circulation is, in effect, equivalent to a specie circulation; and the state of the foreign exchanges shows that the value of our money, in the mass, is not depreciated, since it may be transferred without any loss into the currency of other countries. Our money, theresore, is as good as the money of other countries. If it had fallen below the value of money abroad, the rates of exchange would instantly show that fact. There has been, therefore, as yet, or at least there exists at present, no considerable depreciation of money. If, then, it be asked, what keeps up the value of money in this vast and sudden expansion and increase of it, I have already given the answer which appears to me to be the true one. It is kept up by an equally vast and sudden increase in the property of the country, and in the value of that property, intrinsic as well as marketable. None of us, I think, have estimated this increase high enough, and for that reason we have all been looking for an earlier fall in prices. It seems obvious to me that an augmentation in the value of property, far exceeding all former experience in any country, even our own, has taken place in the United States within the last few years. The public lands may furnish one instance of this rapid increase. It was estimated last session, by my honorable friend from Ohio, [Mr. Ewing,) that the demands of ac-tual settlers for land for settlement were eight millions of acres per annum, on an average of some years. These eight millions, if taken up at the Government prices at private entry, would cost $10,000,000. Now, partly by cultivation, but more by the continued rush of emigration, both from Europe and the Atlantic coast, the value of these ten millions in a very few years springs up to forty millions; that is to say, lands taken up at one dollar and a quarter an acre, soon become worth five dollars an acre for actual cultivation, and in intrinsic value. And it is to be remembered that these lands are alienable and saleable, with as little of form and ceremony, almost, as if they were goods and chattels. Now, if we make an estimate, not merely on the eight millions of acres required for actual settlement, but on the whole quantity selected and taken up annually, we shall see something of the addition to the whole amount of property which accrues annually from the public lands. A rise has taken place, too, though less striking, in the value of other lands in the country; and property, in goods, merchandise, products, and other forms, is rapidly augmented, also, both in quantity and value, by the industry and skill of the people, and the extension and most successful use of machinery. Another most important element in the general estimate of the progress of wealth in the country, is the wonderful annual increase of the cotton crops, and the prices which the article bears. Last year's crop reached, probably, to eighty millions of dollars. . Now, most of the cotton produced in the United States is sold, once, at least, in the country, and much of it many times. The bills drawn against it when shipped, either for Europe or the Atlantic ports, are usually cashed at the place of drawing, commonly, no doubt, by means of bank notes or bank credits. I put all these cases but as instances showing the increased value of property and amount of business in the country, and accounting, therefore, for an expansion of the circulation, without supposing great excess; since it is obvious that the circulating money of a country naturally bears a proportion to the whole mass of property, and to the number and amount of business transactions. But there is another cause of a less favorable character, which may have had its effect already; or if not, is very likely to have it hereafter, in augmenting the circulation of bank notes: I mean the obstruction and embarrassment of the domestic exchanges. In a proper
and natural state of affairs, the place of currency, or
Dec. 21, 1836.]
money, is filled to a great extent by bills of exchange; and this continues to be the case, so long as the rates of exchange remain low and steady. Nobody, for example, will send bank notes or specie from New York to New Orleans, if he can buy a good bill at par, or near par. But when exchange becomes disturbed, when rates rise and fluctuate, bills cease to be able to perform this function, and then bank notes begin to be sent about from place to place, in quantities to supply the place of bills of exchange, in payment of debts and balances. AH such, and all other derangements and distractions in the free course of domestic exchanges, necessarily produce an unnatural and considerable increase of the circulation. So far as our circulation has been or may be augmented by this cause, so far both the cause and the effect are to be deplored. In my opinion, we have certainly reason to fear this excess hereafter. What is to prevent it? Is it possible that so many State banks, sofarapart, so unknown to each other, with no common objects, no common principles of discount, and no general regulation whatever, should act so much in concert, and upon system, as to maintain the currency of the country steady, without either unjust expansion or unnecessary contraction? I believe it is not possible. I believe many of those who insist so much on hard-money circulation believe this also; and that they press their im. practicable hard-money notions, from a consciousness that the discontinuance of a national institution has brought the country into a condition in which it is threatened with issues of irredeemable paper. ... Our present evil, however, is of a different kind. It is, indeed, somewhat novel and anomalous. With high Feneral prosperity, good crops, generally speaking, an abundance of the precious metals, and a favorable state of foreign exchanges, men of business have yet felt for some months an unprecedented scarcity of money. That is the state of things; its cause, in my opinion, is expressed in a few words: it is the derangement of internal intercourse, and internal exchange. Our difficulty is not exhaustion, but obstruction. Every body has means enough, but nobody can use his means. All the usual channels of commercial dealing are blocked up. The manufacturers of the North cannot obtain from the South the proceeds of the sales of their articles; the South finds money scarce, too, in the midst of its abundant exports. In a country so extensive and so busy, every merchant's means become more or less dispersed, and exist in various places in the shape of debts. Exchange is the instrument, the wand, by which he reaches forth to these means, wherever they are, and uses them for his immediate and daily purposes. But this instrument is now broken. He can no longer touch with it his distant debt, and make that debt present money. He seeks, therefore, for expedients; borrows money, if he can, till times change; pays enormous rates of interest to maintain credit; thinks things, when at the worst, must soon change; looks for reaction, and sacrifices to capitalists, to brokers, and money-lenders, the hard earnings of years, rather than fail to fulfil his commercial engagements. It is a happy and blessed hour, this, for greely capital and grasping brokerage; an excruciating one for honest industry. The very rich grow every day richer; the laborious and industrious, every day Poorer. Meantime, the highways of commercial dealing *nd exchanges grow more and more founderous, or are *ll breaking up. Specie, always most useful as the basis of a circulation, when most in repose, gets upon the move; Any time the last four months it might have hap. Pened, and many times doubtless it has happened, that teamboats from New York, carrying specie to Boston, have passed in the Sound steamboats from Boston carrying specie to New York. Boating and carting money,
backward and forward, becomes the order of the day; and there are those who, the more they hear of specie hauled and transported about from place to place, in masses, the more they flatter themselves with the idea that the country is returning rapidly to a safe and happy specie circulation! There may be other minor causes. They are not worth enumerating. The great and immediate origin of evil is disturbance in the exchange; and, in my opinion this disturbance has been caused by the agency of the Government itself. The fifty millions in the Treasury have been agitated by unnecessary transfers. As a large portion of this sum was to be deposited with the States at the beginning of next year, the Secretary seems to have thought it necessary to cut up, divide, and remove assigned portions of it before the time came. It is this idea of removal that has wrought the mischief. In consequence of this, money has been taken from places of active commercial business, where it was much needed, and all used, and carried to places where it was not needed, and could not be used. The agricultural State of Indiana, for example, is full of species the highly commercial and manufacturing State of Massachusetts is severely drained. In the mean time, the money in Indiana cannot be used. It is waiting for the new year. The moment the Treasury grasp is let loose from it, it will tend again to the great marts of business; that is to say, the restoration of the natural state of things will begin to correct the evil of arbitrary and artificial financial arrangements. The money will go back to the places where it is wanted. It will seek its level, and its place of usefulness. In my opinion, the proper execution of the deposite law did not make it at all necessary for the Treasury to order these previous local changes. The law itself is not answerable for the inconvenience which has resulted. When the time came, the States, all of them, would have been very glad to receive the money where it was. They wanted but an order for it. They desired no carting. Can any thing be more preposterous than to transfer specie from New York to Nashville, when to a man in Nashville specie in New York is two per cent. more valuable than if he had it in his own house? There is always a tendency in specie, not actually in the pockets of the people, towards the great marts and places of exchange. Those who want it, want it there. There the great transactions of commerce are performed, and there the means of those transactions naturally exist, simply because there they are required. Now, what reason was there for disturbing the revenue, thus lying where it had been collected, and thus mingled with the commerce of the country? Why laboriously drag it off, for from its place of useful action, to places where it was not wanted, and could do no good, and there hold it under the key of the Treasury This anticipation of the operation of the deposite law, this attempt at local distribution, this arbitrary system of transfer, which seems to forget, at once, the hecessities of commerce, and the real uses of money, I regard as the direct and prime cause of the pressure felt by the com: munity. But the Treasury order came powerfully in aid of this. This order checked the use of bank notes in the West, and made another loud call for specie. The specie, therefore, is transferred to the West, to pay for lands; being received for lands, it becomes public revenue, is brought to the East for expenditure, and passes, on its way, other quantities going West, to buy lands also, and in the same way to return again to the East. Now, sir, how does all this improve the currency? What fraud does it prevent? what speculation does it arrest? what monopoly does it suppress? I am very much mistaken if all this does not embarrass the small purchaser of land much more than the large one. He who has fifty or a hundred thousand dollars to lay out, may collect his specie, not