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JAN, 23, 1837. I
bled, That bank notes and paper currency of every description shall cease to be received or offered in payment, on account of the United States, or of the Post Oğce, or in fees in the courts of the United States, as follows: of less denomination than twenty dollars, none after the 3d day of March, 1837; of less denomination than fifty dollars, none after the 3d day of March, 1838; of less denomination than one hundred dollars, none af. ter the 3d day of March, 1839; of less denomination than five hundred dollars, none after the 3d day of March, 1840; of less denomination than one thousand dollars, none after the 3d day of March, 1841; and none of any denomination from and aster the 3d day of March, 1842. “Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That any person holding an appointment under the laws of the United States, and any bank employed to keep public moneys, which person or bank shall neglect, evade, violate, contravene, or in any way elude, or attempt to elude, the provisions of this act, shall be guilty of an offence against the laws; and the person so offending shall be liable to be dismissed from the service, and the bank so offending shall, on satisfactory information, be discontinued as a depository of public moneys.” And here Mr. W. would remark that, by this bill, bank notes were permitted to be received in revenue payments until the 3d of March, 1842. If, then, the argument of the Senator from Missouri be correct, that to authorize, by act of Congress, the receipt of bank notes in revenue payments be a repeal of the constitution, this bill of the honorable Senator should have been entitled a repeal of the constitution until the 3d of March, 1842. The provisions of this bill were somewhat remarkable. All bank notes under twenty dollars were immediately excluded; the twenty-dollar notes, being the next greatest violators of the constitution, were executed in March, 1837; those of fifty dollars in March, 1838; those of one thousand dollars were reprieved till March, 1841; and in March, 1842, execution was done
on all “bank notes and paper currency of every description,” and “the currency of the constitution” was | Now, how was this prodigious revoluwhy, by dismissing from office any
re-established, tion to be effected? officer of the Government who should receive or offer in payment anything but gold and silver, by which all were to be excluded but converts to the metallic currency of the honorable Senator; and by discontinuing, as a deposi
tory of the public meneys, any bank which should com
mit a similar offence. Now, does any Senator believe that any bank would accept the deposites on such terms? That it must pay out the public moneys in nothing but gold and silver, and transfer the precious metals from place to place, thousands of miles, at the will of the Government. Recollect that not only “bank notes,” but also “paper currency of every description,” is excluded by this bill; and, consequently, bank drafts would be as effectually refused by this bill as bank notes. In
deed, the authority to receive “funds,” Eastern or West
ern, from any bank, constitutes one of the Senator's objections to the bill of the committee. Let us suppose,
the custody of the banks; we are to trust them to the amount of forty-seven millions of dollars, and yet refuse to receive any portion of their paper; or, in other words, trust them for forty-seven millions of dollars, and refuse them credit even for a twenty-dollar note. We are first asked to employ the banks as fiscal agents, and then set about the work of their destruction. Sir, the passage of this bill would insure the abandonment of the deposite bank system; and, as fiscal agents we must have, it would insure the re-establishment of a Bank of the United States, with all its oppressive powers. And here let me ask, can anything be more inconsistent, as well as impracticable, than to employ the State banks as fiscal agents, as depositories of the public moneys, and yet reject their paper? If it be unconstitutional to receive one dollar of the public dues in the paper of any bank, is it not equally unconstitutional to make these unconstitutional banks, issuing this unconstitutional currency, our fiscal agents for the whole amount of our revenue, by bank credits? Under our deposite bill, when we confide money to a deposite bank, have we not previously taken its bond to repay And if we take its bond, why not its paper? Sir, to carry out the gentleman's doctrine, he should discard the deposite banks as fiscal agents, and employ hundreds of separate individual agents, constantly traversing the country in all directions, with mules or wagons loaded with gold and silver. Such a system, and to this it would come, would require an army of agents greater than our whole standing army, to receive, transfer, and disburse, the forty-seven millions of gold and silver, the amount of this year's federal revenue. Such a system would enlarge the patronage and power of the General Government to an almost unlimit. ed extent, and, if successful, paralyze the State Governments, by the destruction of State banks, State credit, | and State institutions. But the whole system is imprac| ticable; and it is time that the country should know that such is the opinion of the whole Senate, with the single exception of the Senator from Missouri himself. Sir,
that senator may rally three or four votes against the bill of the committee, but it will be from objections to the details of the measure, and not because they adopt the opinions of the Senator from Missouri on this subject.
If the constitution is repealed by the reception of bank
notes in revenue payments, why did the Senator from | Missouri never come to the rescue till the 10th of June, 1836; and why did he then permit the session to pass by without any vote upon the measure; and why inas he not reintroduced it at this session? The fact is,
and the country should know it, that the Senator from
Missouri can get no vote for this bill of his, except his
own. Now, at this moment, he may bring it forward,
or at any period of the session; we are anxious he should do so; and all we ask is a vote by Ayes and noes, to show the American people that the Senator from Missouri stands alone on this subject. Now, the measure of the Senator from Missouri is not only impracticable, but defeats the great object of suppressing the small-note currency, and enlarging the circulation of gold and silver.
The Federal Government, aided by i's revenue, by the depositories of its money, and by State legislation, might gradually suppress all bank notes under twenty dollars,
and gold and silver would then necessarily fill the vacuum, and constitute the common currency of the country in the ordinary transactions between the dealer and con
sumer. This would disarm the State banks of nearly all power to do evil, arrest excessive issues of bank paper, substitute gold and silver for all that great portion of the circulation of banks which consists of notes under twenty dollars, render and preserve the banks sound and
solvent, our currency stable, and put an end to all ap
prehension of that explosion of the paper system with which many believe we are now threatened. This was a practical reform of the currency, and one which (Mr. W. said) he was deeply solicitous to see effected; but it can only be effected by the co-operation with Congress of the State Legislatures. The reform, too, must be by gradual and successive steps. Therefore, the bill only proposed the refusal of the five-dollar notes after the Söth December, 1839, and the refusal of the ten-dollar notes after the 30th December, 1841, periods when congress will be in session; and if the States will not then co-operate with us in this reform, we must, as the representatives of their wishes, repeal or modify the measure. But will the measure of the Senator from Missouries. fect any useful purpose? It holds out to the State banks no inducements to suppress their small-note currency. It is a declaration of war by this Government against the people of the States and the banks of the States. It demands that, out of a gold and silver currency in circulation, of twenty-eight millions, (as estimated by the Secretary of the Treasury,) we should pay in this currency a revenue of forty-seven millions, according to the receipts of this year. It demands, then, an impossi: bility, unless an explosion of the State banks is created by draining them of their specie. It demands that this gold and silver be, at all the various points of collection or payment, at all times, in sufficient quantities to make these revenue payments and disbursements also. . It would withdraw gold and silver from general circulation, and confine its use almost wholly to revenue payments and disbursements. It is, finally, an effort, on the part of this Government, to render all the notes of all the State banks uncurrent within the limits of the States, and is equivalent to a demand made by Congress upon the State banks to surrender their charters, or upon the State Legislatures to repeal them; and Mr. W. said he had never been authorized by the State of Mississippi to demand, in their name, a repeal or overthrow of any of their State institutions. To the extent that he was now willing to go, Mr. W. said he had distinctly expressed himself in an address preceding his election: in favor of the abandonment of the small-note currency, in favor of receiving the notes “for larger amounts” “ of the sol. vent State banks,” for “all dues to the National Government;” in favor of the enlargement of the circulation of gold and silver, and against “an exclusively metallic currency.” Mr. W. said, having been elected with the open avowal of these doctrines, he hoped he stood not only upon the basis of his own previously expressed views, but also upon those of his constituents, in sup. porting the present bill, and opposing that of the Senator from Missouri. It remains now to be shown (said Mr. W.) that this bill is in perfect accordance with the policy and recommendation of the President, and is similar to other meas. ures which have received his sanction. In the message of December, 1834, the President declared as follows: “The State banks are sound fully adequate to the performance of all services which were required of the Bank of the United States, quite as promptly, and with the same cheapness. “The attention of Congress is earnestly invited to the regulation of the deposites in the State banks by law. Although the power now exercised by the executive department in this behalf is only such as was uniformly exerted through every administration, from the origin of the Government up to the establishment of the present bank, yet it is one which is susceptible of regulation by law, and therefore ought so to be regulated. Those institutions have already shown themselves competent to purchase and furnish domestic exchange for the convenience of trade, at reasonable rates, and no doubt is e tertained o in a short period all the wants of the o: try in bank accommodations and exchange will be sup
SENATE.] Treasury Circular.
[JAN. 28, 1837.
plied as promptly and as cheaply as they have heretofore been by the Bank of the United States. If the several States shall be induced gradually to reform their banking systems, and prohibit the issue of all small notes, we shall in a few years have a currency as sound, and as little liable to fluctuations, as any other commercial country.” Here are several facts and principles distinctly stated by the President. First, that the State banks could perform all the services required of the Bank of the United States. Second, that the deposites in the State banks should be regulated by law, and as little discretion as regards the banks left with the Executive as possible. Thirdly, the recommendation to the States of a gradual suppression of the issue of small notes, and the expression of the opinion that, with this reform, the State banks could furnish a sound currency. Now, all this is in exact concurrency with the bill of the committee, and directly contradictory of the views of the Senator from Missouri. So far from desiring the destruction of the State banks, the President considered their services indispensable, as depositories of the public moneys and fiscal agents. So far from opposing regulations by Congress on this subject, and restrictions of executive power, the President distinctly recommended it. So far from desiring the establishment of an exclusive gold and silver currency, and the exclusion of the notes of all State banks from revenue payments, the President desired only the suppression of small notes, and expressed the opinion that, with this reform, the State banks could surnish a sound currency, and of course safely and properly receivable in revenue payments. Again, in the message of December, 1835, the President declared as follows: “It has been seen that, without the agency of a great moneyed monopoly, the revenue can be collected, and conveniently and safely applied to all the purposes of the public expenditure. It is also ascertained that, instead of being necessarily made to promote the evils of an unchecked paper system, the management of the revenue can be made auxiliary to the reform which the Le: gislatures of several of the States have already commenced in regard to the suppression of small bills, and which has only to be fostered by proper regulations on the part of Congress to secure a practical return, to the extent required for the security of the currency, to the constitutional medium. Severed from the Government as political engines, and not susceptible of dangerous extension and combination, the State banks will not be tempted, nor will they have the power which we have seen exercised, to divert the public funds from the legitimate purposes of the Government. The collection and custody of the revenue being, on the contrary, a source of credit to them, will increase the security which the States poor vide for a faithful execution of their trusts, by multiplying the scrutinies to which their operations and accounts will be subjected. Thus disposed, as well from interest as the obligations of their charters, it cannot be doubted that such conditions as Congress may see fit to adopt respecting the deposites in these institutions, with a view to the gradual disuse of the small bills, will be cheerfully complied with; and that we shall soon gain, in place of the Bank of the United states, a practical reform in the whole paper system of the country. If, by this policy, we can ultimately witness the suppression of all bank bills below twenty dollars, it is apparent that gold and silver will take their place, and become the principal circulating medium in the common business of the farmers and mechanics of the country.” Here it is perfectly clear that the exclusion of the notes of the State banks from revenue payments, and the establishment of an exclusive metailić currency, were not contemplated by the President, on the con
JAN. 28, 1837. I
trary, his views were limited to the gradual suppression and disuse “ of all bank bills below twenty dollars,” as the only true practical reform “ultimately” to be accom. plished. And how did the President propose accomplishing this reform? Why, by such regulations, by Congress, in the management of the revenue and custody of the deposites, as would prove auxiliary to State legislation in effecting this object. Now, is not the bill of the committee precisely in accordance with these views of the President? IJoes not this bill propose such regulations being made in the management of the revenue as will, if aided by State legislation, suppress the circulation of all notes below twenty dollars? And the bill of the Senator from Missouri is in direct opposition to this message; for, by the use only of gold and silver in revenue payments, he abandons all hope of so managing the revenue as to make it available in suppressing the small-note currency. The object of the President is the disuse of notes under twenty dollars, that of the Senator from Missouri the disuse of every thing but gold and silver. Nor does the Treasury order in any manner contravene those principles, imbodied in former messages. That this order was perfectly legal and constitutional, that it was in accordance with the discretionary powers vested in the Secretary of the Treasury by the joint resolution of 1816, Mr. W. said he never doubted; that the motives of the President in issuing this order were pure and patriotic was beyond dispute. The measure was evidently temporary, designed to repress inordinate speculations in the public lands; and it is expressly declared in the President's message to be of little importance, “if the lands were sold for immediate settlement and cultivation.” That it never was designed to establish the principle of excluding bank notes from revenue payments is evident from the fact that payments of customs are received, as formerly, in bank paper. There yet remains one other evidence on this subject, which is conclusive. The fifth section of the act of Congress of June last, regulating the deposites of the public moneys, is in these words: “That no bank shall be selected or continued as a place of deposite of the public money, which shall not redeem its notes and bills, on demand, in specie; nor shall any bank be selected or continued, as aforesaid, which shall, after the 4th of July, 1836, issue or pay out any note or bill of a less denomination than five dollars; nor shall the notes or bills of any bank be received in payment of any debt due to the United States which shall, after the said fourth day of July, 1836, issue any note or bill of a less denomination than five dollars.” Now, this act passed both Houses with unprecedented unanimity. In the Senate it was passed with but six dissenting votes, namely: Benton, Black, Cuthbert, Grundy, Walker, and Wright; not one of whom opposed it on account of the fifth section, but, as clearly stated at the time, because of the distribution principle contained in the thirteenth section. So far as the fifth section is concerned, the vote of Congress may well be considered as unanimous in its favor. The President, also, in his last message, in stating the reluctance, with which he signed this bill, gives as the reason the distribution principle of the thirteenth section; but he thus distinctly eulogizes the provisions of this 5th section, as follows: “In the acts of several of the States prohibiting the circulation of small notes, and the auxiliary enactments of Congress at the last session, forbidding their reception in payment on public account, the true policy of the country has been advanced, and a larger proportion of the precious metals infused into our circulation.” Now, the only act of the last session forbidding the reception small notes on public account is this fifth section of this act, thus eulogized by the President and approved by him on the 23d of June last. Yet this very section is a
repeal of the constitution, if the bill of the committee be thus truly designated by the Senator from Missouri; for both are laws, not resolutions, and both forbid the reception of small notes only. Let us compare their provisions in this respect: The bill of the committee declares: “From and after the passage of this act, the notes of no bank which shall issue or circulate bills or notes of a less denomination than five dollars shall be received-on account of the public dues;” extending the prohibition, in December, 1841, to the notes of all banks issuing bills or notes under twenty dollars. The fifth section of the deposite act declares: “ Nor shall the notes or bills of any bank be received in payment of any debt due to the United States, which shall, after the said fourth day of July, 1836, issue any note or bill of a less denomination than five dollars.” Where is the distinction, in principle, as regards the reception of bank paper on public account, between the two provisions? And the Senator from Missouri, in thus denouncing the bill of the committee as a repeal of the constitution, denounces directly the President of the United States. Congress, no more than a State Legislature, can make any thing but gold or silver a tender in payment of debts by one citizen to another; but that Congress, or a State Legislature, or an individual, may waive their constitutional rights, and receive bank paper or drafts, in payment of any debt, is a principle of universal adoption in theory and practice, and never doubted by any one until at the present session by the Senator from Missouri. The distinction of the Senator in this respect was as incomprehensible to him (Mr. W.) as he believed it was to every Senator, and, indeed, was discernible only by the magnifying powers of a solar microscope. It was a point-no-point, which, like the logarithmic spiral, or asymptote of the hyperbolic curve, might be forever approached without reaching; an infinitesma!, the ghost of an idea, not only without length, breadth, thickness, shape, weight, or dimensions, but without position—a mere imaginary nothing, which flitted before the bewildered vision of the honorable Senator, when traversing, in his fitful somnambulism, that tesselated pavement of gold, silver, and billon, which that Senator delighted to occupy. Sir, the Senator from Missouri might have heaped mountain high his piles of metal; he might have swept, in his Quixotic flight, over the banks of the States, putting to the sword their officers, stockholders, directory, and legislative bodies by which they were chartered; he might, in his reveries, have demolished their charters, and consumed their paper by the fire of his eloquence; he might have transacted, in fancy, with a metalllc currency of twenty-eight millions in circulation, an actual annual businees of fifteen hundred millions, and Mr. W. would not have disturbed his beatific visions, nor would any other Senator— for they were visions only, that could never be realized— but when, descending from his ethereal flights, he seized upon the Committee on Public Lands as criminals, arraigned them as violators of the constitution, and prayed Heaven for deliverance from them, Mr. W. could be silent no longer. Yes, even then he would have passed lightly over the ashes of the theories of the honorable Senator, for, if he desired to make assaults upon any, it would be upon the living, and not the dead; but that Senator, in the opening of hts (Mr. W’s) address, had rejected the olive branch which, upon the urgent solicitation of mutual friends, against his own judgment, he had extended to the honorable Senator. The Senator from Missouri had thus, in substance, declared his “voice was still for war.” Be it so; but he hoped the Senate would all recollect that he (Mr. W.) was not the aggressor; and that, whilst he trusted he never would wantonly assail the feelings or reputation of any Senator,
he thanked God that he was not so abject or degraded as to submit, with impunity, to unprovoked attacks or unfounded accusations from any quarter. Could he thus submit, he would be unfit to represent the noble, generous, and gallant people, whose rights and interests it was his pride and glory to endeavor to protect, whose honor and character were dearer to him than life itself, and should never be tarnished by any act of his, as one of their humble representatives upon this floor. When Mr. WALK En had concluded, Mr. WEBSTER made some inquiries of him in refer. ence to his understanding of the practical effect of the bill on banks issuing notes under the amount of five doljars. Mr. WALKER replied that the bill had followed the language of the joint resolution of 1816; and, as there were different opinions as to the construction of that resolution, there might be as to this bill; but whether it were strictly mandatory on the receivers or not, he felt assured that it spoke a voice that would not be disregarded. Mr. RIVES said that the provisions in this bill in res. erence to banks issuing small notes were the same with those in the deposite bill of last session, which he quoted. Mr. WEBSTER said his only difficulty was respect. ing the receivability of the Virginia land scrip; if the bill was not peremptory on that subject, it ought to be made so. And for this purpose he introduced an amendment, declaring the Virginia land scrip receivable in nay. ment of all dues to the Government; which was laid on the table. Mr. BENTON, to show how the deposite bill was understood by those who executed it, quoted some bank returns from the Bank of Columbus, showing the issue by that bank of notes of one, two, and three dollars. Mr. RIVES returned his thanks to Mr. W. A LE E R for his able and satisfactory desence of the bill. He should not be able to add much to what had been said by the honorable Senator, but was desirous of adding his mite in reply to so much of what had so zealously been urged by the Senator from Missouri, [Mr. Bento N,) as had not been touched upon by the chairman of the Land Committee; and, as he understood there were gentlemen on both sides of the question who were desirous of being heard, he suggested the propriety of deferring surther debate on the bill to Monday. This was, after some conversation, agreed to.
THANKS TO THE VICE PRESIDENT". Mr. BENTON introduced the following resolution: Resolved, Th it the Senate cordially reciprocate the sentiments of personal kindness expressed by MARTIN VAN Bun EN, Vice I’resident of the United States, towards the members of this body, upon taking leave of them; and that the thanks of the Senate be presented to him, in testimony of the impartiality, dignity, and ability, with which he has presided over their deliberations, and of their entire approbation of his conduct in the discharge of the arduous and important duties assigned him as President of the Senate. Mr. B. suggested the propriety of taking up the resolution and acting upon it at this time. The CHAIR stating that this could only be done by unanimous consent, Mr. CALHOUN objected. Mr. BUCHANAN expressed his hope that the resolution would be acted on at once. Mr. CAEHQUN inquired whether it was usual to pass a vote of this kind. Mr. BENTON quoted several precedents to show that it was; whereupon Mr. CALHOUN, observing that it was a mere formal.
Thanks to the Pice President–American Colonization Society, &c.
[JAN. 30, 1837. ity, withdrew his objection; and the question being put, the resolution was agreed to, mem. con. When, on motion of Mr. DAVIS, The Senate adjourned.
Mox D A y, JAN UAn Y 30. AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY.
Mr. CLAY moved to take up the memorial from the Colonization Society, presented by him on Friday last, expressing the hope that there would be no further de. bate upon it, and calling for the yeas and nays on the question of taking up; which were ordered. The question was then tried, and decided in the nega. tive, as follows: Yras-Messrs. Bavard, Clay, Clayton, Davis, Kent, Knight, Morris, Niles, Prentiss, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Wall–16. NAys-Messrs. Black, Brown, Buchanan, Calhoun, Cuthbert, Dana, Fulton, Grundy, Hubbard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Linn, Lyon, Moore, Nicholas, Norvell, Page, Preston, Rives, Roggles, strange, Tipton, Walker, White, Wright—25.
* The bill to designate and limit the funds which shall be
receivable for the public revenue was taken up as the special order, and Mr. RIVES addressed the House at length in its support, and in reply to Mr. Brnoros. Mr. MORRIS said: I shall vote against the passage of this bill for many and various reasons; but the belief that it violates the principles of the constitution, and is in derogation of the rights of the States, are paramount to all others. That its principles are drawn from a dangerous and mistaken policy, I liave no doubt; and that its passage will be productive of mischief, not benefit, is, to my mind, equally clear. Aster the long discussion which has taken place on all these topics, by the oldest and ablest members of this body, it may seem like arrogance in me to attempt to intrude my opinion on the Senate at this late hour of the debate. I have been a patient and, I trust, not inattentive listener to this whole discussion; and there are some points on which neither side have fully satisfied my mind; and I shall occupy the time of the Senate, for a few moments, not in an argument to prove, or an attempt to prove, the truth or sallacy of any position which has been assumed, but in an opinion only on the doctrines and principles of the bill. That certainty and uniformity are essentially necessary to the existence of any Government, will, I presume, not be denied; and that they are vitally so in the administration of this Government, which is one of laws and limited powers, is, to my mind, beyond controversy; and in no part of our system is the necessity of that certainly and unformity so apparent and needful as in the circula: ting medium or currency of the country. This word “currency,” if we were to judge of its meaning and im. port from what we have heard in debate on this bill, is a word of undefined and unde finable meaning. We have been told of a gold currency, or rather a metallic currency, a paper currency, the currency of one State and the currency of another, and even of a currency in kind in the collection of revenue. In this war of words and phrases I shall not engage; as a member of this body, acting for the whole people of the United States, under the constitution of the United States, I shall take that instrument alone as my guide, and recognise no currency as legitimate but that which it establishes; and I am not in this case left to implication or construction, but seel that I am standing on safe and sure ground. So important was , a standard for the value of property and labor thought to be by the fra
JAN, 30, 1837. )
mers of the constitution, that they provided in express terms for such standard, by declaring that Congress should have power to coin money, and regulate the value thereof and of foreign coin; and, in the very next sentence, they provided for the exercise of power by Congress to punish for counterfeiting the current coin of the United States. Money, as the word is used in the constitution of the United States, must be understood as a definite and technical expression; it means gold and silver only, as formed and fashioned into shape and size by the order of that part of our system of Government possessing the full attributes of sovereignty, and having bestowed upon it arbitrary or positive value. Congress is authorized to borrow money on the credit of the United States. Without this special grant, Congress could not exercise the borrowing power at all. Can Congress, then, borrow any thing but money?' I presume not. Under this grant to borrow money, Congress cannot borrow goods and chattels, cannot borrow horses, cattle, or any other merchandise; nor can Congress, as I contend and believe, under this grant to borrow, obtain bank notes of any description; for if Congress cannot borrow goods and chattels, which contain within themselves an intrinsic value, and money being made the standard of that value, surely they cannot borrow bank notes, which in themselves contain no intrinsic value, but are mere credit, and the representative of money, in place of money being the standard of their value. lf Congress, then, have not the power given them by the constitution to borrow bank notes, I contend they cannot exercise it; for the expressive grant to borrow money excludes the exercise of all power to borrow any thing but money; and if Congress cannot borrow bank notes, I contend that their reception in any other manner, as a part or whole of the revenue necessary for the support of this Government, is equally forbidden. I believe that to allow bank notes to be received in the collection of the customs, or in payment for the public lands, is in fact, to all practical purposes, to require your officers so to receive them; and that each is equally prohibited by the constitution. No one, I presume, will contend that Congress can borrow money for any other purpose than that for which they can collect money from imports; when in the Treasury of the nation, it is all a part or parcel of the revenue of the country. It follows, then, most clearly and conclusively to my mind, that what Congress cannot borrow they cannot collect as taxes, dutics, imports, or excises, because, under these heads, is the whole power of Congress to raise means for the support of this Government circumscribed; the receiving money for the public lands, or any other property belonging to the United States, I consider as falling under that class of collections embraced in the word “duties.” I therefore consider this bill, which allows bank notes of any description, or under any circumstances, to be received in payment of any debt or demand on this Government, to be entirely incompatible with the constitution itself. There is another view of this bill which, to my mind, makes it equally objectionable on constitutional grounds: it is its dangerous interference with the power and rights of the States. State banks, like all other State institutions, belong exclusively to the States, and cannot rightfully be made subject to any other than State legis. lation; Congress, therefore, cannot exercise its moneyed power, a power which is derived from the people of the States, to induce any portion of that people, or a corPoration created by themselves, to exercise their powers differently from that which the laws of the State permit or require, and thus supersede State laws by the acts of Congress in measures which are purely local State concorns. What does this bill provide? That the paper of certain State banks shall be, or, if you please, per
mitted to be, taken in the payment of thc revenue of this Government, on condition that such banks will adopt certain regulations which Congress shall prescribe. It is true that we do not attempt any coercive power over the banks, but we make use of moneyed power, a power often far more dangerous and destructive to the rights of the country than sorce itself. That money is power, is an established maxim. We, then, offer the State banks the keeping of our money, and of course its use for the time being, provided they will conform to certain regulations which we prescribe. Is not this a palpable interference with State sovereignty, and of course a violation of the constitution of the United States? It seems to me there can be but one answer to this question. It is no removal of the objection, at least to my mind, to say that the banks will make the regulations required by this bill by contract; this view of the subject rather increases the objections. Corporations derive all their power of action from their charters alone. If I may use a figurative expression, they can only live and move therein; they cannot contract away any of their powers, nor can they acquire new power by contract—I mean the power of action as corporations; yet, if Congress can contract with State banks, who, by the grants in their charters, have power to issue one, two, or three dollar notes, to forego that power, and issue no notes of a less denomination than five dollars, I cannot see why Congress cannot extend the contract to the issuing of notes of any amount whatever, or even to the buying up the charter itself, and thus defeat the very end and object of the institution; and this right of Congress can be extended so as to put an end to all power of State legislation over an institution created by the State for wise and valuable purposes. But, sir, I object to this whole policy of bargaining with State institutions, or with citizens of a State, for any part or portion of the State sovereignty. If you can do it in one instance, you can do it in all instances; and the State Governments will be less than the corporations which they have created, when you take those corporations into your keeping for any purpose whatever. Sir, I regret, I deplore, the constant tendency which I witness here to extend the action of this Government into the orbit of State power; you prescribe oaths and forms for the settlement of disputed claims, and the rights of property, between citizens of the same State; you authorize your courts to take cognizance of and punish offences which are properly cognizable in State courts, and punishable by State laws; and you invite the citizens of the States to come to you in their primary assemblies against their own Government; thus unce asingly, as time is bringing all things to an end, are you putting an end to the sovereignty of the States. II ow soon we shall find a grand central Government in the ten miles square is not for me to conjecture; but against this whole process I do, as a Senator in the Congress of the United States, enter my most solemn protest. Mr. President, I trust I shall not be considered as de. parting from the plan which I had marked out for myself on this occasion, by a brief notice of some of the arguments I have heard on this question. It will be remembered that they commenced with the introduction of the resolution offered by my colleague to rescind the Treasury order of July last, requiring money payment for public land. The argument in the early stages of the debate was directed against the power of the President to issue that order; as I have no doubt that the power was constitutionally excrcised, and as that part of the argument seems to have been abandoned, I shall not now notice it. There is one seature, however, of that argument deserving a passing remark. It has been said by gentlemen that they could not support the resolution of my colleague, as they consider, in doing so, they cast