« AnteriorContinuar »
ploy an agent or agents to examine and report upon the ac- “Whenever the President shall express his wishes in recounts and condition of the banks in the service of the lation to any subject, or with regard to yourself, I will so Government, or any of them, the said hank agrees to pay act, I trust, as to merit the respect of the President, and an equitable proportion of his or their expenses and com- preserve my own." pensation, according to such apportionment as may be made [See the letters at large, on the printed appendix to the by the said Secretary.”
journal.] Thus it appears that the necessity for an agent has been The efforts of said Whitney to procure the agency while admitted, his appointment contemplated, and his compen- the Hon. R. B. Taney was at the head of the Treasury sation provided for, to be paid by the deposite banks, from were no less extraordinary, and attended with no better the first inception to the final consummation of the present success. In the month of October, 1833, the said Whitney scheme of State depositories. Is there or is there not, in draughted a letter, and, procuring the co-operation of six substance is not in form, such an agency as is contemplated of the principal banks in Philadelphia, New York, and by the resolution of the House of Representatives? That Boston, caused himself to be recominended to the Hon. R. there is, the minority of the committee think is susceptible B. Taney, then Secretary, as a person every way qualified of the clearest demonstration, from the evidence which has to take charge of a bureau to be created in the Treasury been taken by the committee. It is true that the law con- Department, at a salary of five thousand dollars per antemplates a known responsible agent, to be placed as a guard num. According to this scheme, the Treasury Departover the public money in the deposite banks; the present is ment was to be assimilated to the Bank of the United a secret, illegitimate, irresponsible agent, placed by the banks States, while the deposite banks were to be viewed in the as a spy over the Treasury Department, with an interest light of branches of the mother bank, (the Treasury,) and adverse to that of the public. That there is now, and has Mr. Whitney, at the head of his bureau, was to represent been since a short time after the Hon. R. B. Taney a committee of the board of directors, called the “commitleft the head of the Treasury Department, resident at this tee on the branches. In this department their returns are city an agent of many of the deposite banks, will abun- received and examined, their operations inspected, and the dantly appear from the testimony taken by the committee. general correspondence attended to." The original of this It is equally manifest, from the evidence, that no such letter, of which a copy is herewith appended, is acknowlagency was established while the Hon. William J. Duane edged by said Whitney, in his examination before the or the Hon. R. B. Taney was at the head of the Treasury, committee, to have been written by himself. notwithstanding extraordinary efforts were made to accom- Whether Mr. Taney made a written reply to this letter plish that object during their adıninistration of the Depart- does not appear. If he did, however, it could not have ment.
been favorable to its objects, or that reply would probably The first effort which appears to have been made by have been used, as the reply of Mr. Woodbury to the same Reuben M. Whitney, who is the principal agent of the de- communication has since been used, by said Whitney, as a posite banks in this city, is shown by a letter from the recommendation to the State banks to employ him as their said Whitney to William J. Duane, then Secretary of the agent. There are two distinct propositions contained in 'Treasury, bearing date, Washington, June 15, 1833, a few the letter now under consideration : 1st, to create a bureau months after the said Duane went into office, and several in the Treasury Department; 2d, that Mr. Whitney shall months before the deposites were removed from the Bank be placed at the head of that bureau. That Mr. Taney of the United States. This letter begins with the follow- was unequivocally opposed to each proposition, is manifest ing sentence:
from his letters to Thomas Ellicott and Reverdy Johnson, “ Having enjoyed the confidence of the President to a Esq’rs, as well as his evidence, reported to the House, great degree upon the subject of the bank, and that which (For letters, see appendix.) relates to it, in which he has taken an interest, and knowing After Messrs. Duane and Taney had retired from the the views of the President upon the subject of the removal Treasury, and the Hon. Levi Woodbury was placed over of the public deposites, and that he does not now look that Department, Mr. Whitney renewed his efforts with upon that as a mere isolated measure, but as a part of, better success, and accomplished his object in an indirect and connected with, the general policy of his administra- manner, obtaining a better salary than he would have retion, therefore I look upon that measure as definitively re- ceived at the head of the proposed bureau, with the power solved upon, so far as his views and recommendation have to increase his compensation without any other limit or reweight and influence.” He adds: “I have good reason to straint than what the banks themselves might be able to opbelieve that the President will forward a communication pose to his demands, while his situation opened a field of from New York to you, expressive of his views and wishes speculation difficult to resist by any one who is subject to upon the subject."
the influence of great pecuniary temptation. Mr. WhitHe (Whitney) suggests the importance of the agency, ney enclosed the said letter from the six deposite banks in and makes a tender of his services, and adds :
Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, sent hy them to Mr. “I have never spoken to the President upon this sub- Taney, io Mr. Woodbury, in his letter of the 4th Novemject, but circumstances lead me to think that I should not ber, 1834, which letter is as follows: be otherwise than perfectly acceptable to him. The only persons to whom I have mentioned the subject, connected
WASHINGTON, November 4, 1834. with the Government, are Messrs. Taney and Kendall; to SIR: The enclosed letter, signed by the deposite banks the former gentleman a week since, at Baltimore, who re- in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, addressed to the plied in these words: 'I have always understood, and ta- Hon. R. B. Taney, Secretary of the Treasury, was comken it for granted, that you were to have the situation municated to him in October of last year. when it is created.
At that time it was deemed best to defer acting upon it It is due to the Chief Justice to state that he gives to the until after the meeting of Congress. That body met and adabove statement, upon his oath, an unqualified contradic journed, without any definitive legislation upon the subject tion. But with this imposing array of high officers, inclu- of the deposite banks. The same, we have good reasons ding the President himself, when said Whitney approached to suppose, will be the result of the approaching session, Mr. Duane, then newly installed Secretary of the Treasu- if renewed legislation shall be proposed. It is the opinion ry, it was of no avail; he received no encouragement, as of many well-informed persons, that the public interests, the following extracts from Mr. Duane's letter, so highly as well as those of the deposite banks, will be greatly procreditable to him, will show. He says, in reply to Mr. I moted at this time by the aid and action of a central agenWhitney :
cy, established upon some principle, particularly in relation | ry of the Treasury had been applied to to constitute, but to organizing and permanently establishing a system of do- which he declined, alleging as a reason the want of power mestic exchanges throughout the country, with which its " under the existing laws." About the same time that general interests and that of the currency are so deeply Mr. Woodbury made those suggestions, on the 5th Novemconnected.
ber, 1834, Mr. Whitney obtained a letter, dated WashingIn many other respects, it is believed that such an agen- ton, 8th November, 1831, of which he speaks as follows, cy will be equally beneficial.
in a letter addressed to the President of the Bank of BurI take the liberty of enclosing, herewith, the letter con- lington, Vermont : taining the suggestions of the deposite banks before allu- - With this I forward you the copy of a letter, written ded to, for your consideration, or adoption of any course by a person high in the confidence of the Executive, to some which you may think proper in relation to the same. friends in New York and Boston.” I am, with respect, your most obedient servant, The following is an extract from the anonymous letter
R. M. WHITNEY. to which he referred for a more particular understanding of Hon. LEVI WOODBURY,
the objects of the agency, and the character of the business Secretary of the Treasury, Washington.
which was to be committed to his charge : [For letter enclosed in above, see pages 160, 161, ante.) view the subject in the same light that I do, and will be
“ The President and Secretary of the Treasury, I know, In this letter of Mr. Whitney he appears to have ahan- gratified if the banks will establish such an agency; and, doned nothing of his original purpose, except in the mode from his talents, experience, and fidelity, no appointment and manner of accomplishing the same. He adheres to the would be more acceptable to them than that of Mr. Whitobjects of the agency, but appears to be prepared to give ney, who has already been recommended to the Departup the Treasury bureau for a central agency, established
ment." upon "some principle, particularly in relation to organizing and permanently establishing a system of domestic ex- tock Young, Esq., states as follows, (sce page 96, journal
The chief clerk in the Treasury Department, McClinchanges throughout the country, with which its general in- of the committee :) terests and that of the currency are so deeply connected.
“Question 1. State all you know upon the subject of In many other respects (he continues), it is believed that inquiry contained in the resolution of the House, which is such an agency will be equally beneficial. I take the lib.
now before you. erty of enclosing, herewith, the letter containing the sug
“ Answer. There is an agent of some of the deposite gestions of the deposite banks, befere alluded to, for your banks residing in Washington, R. M. Whitney. My inconsideration or ption" (not of the bureau, but] “of any formation on the subject is derived partly from letters course you may think proper in relation to the same.
from banks on file in the Treasury Department, and partly which Mr. Woodbury returned the following answer :
from having heard Mr. Whitney say he was employed by TREÁSURY DEPARTMENT,
some of the banks as their agent. Í know nothing of any November 5, 1834.
agreement or contract he may have with any of those Sir: Your communication, addressed to my predeces- banks.. The character of his business I believe to be, to sor, has been perused by me, and, in reply, I would ob attend to their interest so far as it relates to their connexion serve that my own views in relation to its contents corre
with the Treasury Department; that is, he attends genspond, it is believed, substantially, with those entertained erally to all matters in which their operations are required, by him. But though both have been satisfied that, under in relation to the keeping, disbursing, and transferring of the present laws and appropriations applicable to the Treas
the public money. Those operations sometimes operate, ury Department, no such agency as that proposed can be
as the banks say, injuriously to their interests, and he has ostablished by the Secretary of the Treasury, yet it must be frequently called on the Secretary, and other arrangements obvious that the selected banks themselves might, in a fis- have been made, I presume and believe, on his representacal and commercial view, derive great advantage from the
"620. To the same. Does he or does he not examine services and correspondence of an agent of their own, resident in this city, and devoting special attention to their in the returns, &c. of the deposite banks, and prepare the terests. I hardly need assure you that, in respect to in statement of their condition? formation in the possession of this Department, which might made to the Department by the deposite banks. He has
“ Answer. He is allowed to have access to the returns be deemed useful, and which could be furnished without detriment to the public welfare, it would at all times be prepared tabular statements of their condition, for the incheerfully given to any such agent of any of the selected formation of the several banks. banks.
“ 3d. Are these statements substantially communicated I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
to Congress ? Have you any recollection of such an in
“ Answer. I know but of one such statement, prepared R. M. WUTNEY, Esq., Washington..
by him, having been communicated to Congress, and that
was appended to the Secretary's annual report, I believe at If it were possible to misunderstand the effect and inten- the session of 1835–'36. The document so transmitted was, tion of Mr. Woodbury's letter, he has explained both in his I believe, revised by one of the clerks regularly employed communication to the committee. (See journal of commit- for the purpose.” (P. 96 and 97 of journal.) tee, page 12.) He says :
Samuel McKean, Esq., a clerk in the Department, says, "To that application I made answer the ensuing day, in answer to the 8th interrogatory : stating what was my own opinion and what was under- “Mr. Whitney prepared a tabular statement showing stood to be the opinion of my predecessor, (corresponding the condition of the deposite banks near the 1st of Januawith my own,) that the Treasury Department, under the ry, 1835, a copy of which was appended to the annual reexisting laws, had no authority to constitute any such of- port of the Secretary to Congress, in December, 1835. I fice or agency, and, if one was appointed, it must be done cannot state positively whether that table was examined by by the banks themselves.”
any person in the office. There was annexed to that table It is manifest that the same object was to be accomplish- a statement showing the exchange operations of some of ed, the same agency to be constituted, the same officer to the banks, which I understood was prepared by one of the be appointed by the banks themselves, which the Secreta- clerks in the office, from information furnished by Mr.
Whitney. Mr. Whitney also prepared a table of the same “ Answer. The object was said to be to ascertain the description, showing the condition of the deposite banks, particular kind of moneys in which the payments for pub1st December, 1835. This table was very carefully ex- lic lands were made. The information was stated to be amined and compared by myself with the statements re- for the use of the Hon. T. Benton, and the occasion received from the banks, and in some minor points corrected; ferred to was soon after the commencement of the present copies were made and annexed to the same report, I session of Congress. I am not sure whether Mr. Benton think, of the Secretary of the Treasury to Congress. All was said to be in Mr. Whitney's room at the time. the other tables of the same description, up to the time of inclined to think that the reason of his taking the papers the passage of the deposite act, were prepared by clerks in away was, that they might be examined between the inthe Department, principally by myself." (See journal of terval of opening and closing the office.” the committee, p, 113.)
How far those papers were taken from the office to which Same witness, at page 112, in reply to the 4th interrog- they belonged, by Mr. Whitney, will appear by the followatory, says :
ing question and answer, a part of which relates to that "I have no doubt that the selection of the deposite subject. (See evidence of Samuel McKean, p. 113, 9th banks was sometimes a subject of conversation between question and answer.) the Secretary of the Treasury and Mr. Whitney, and that “Question. State how far the room that he [Mr. Whitthe Secretary obtained from Mr. Whitney all the informa- ney) now occupies is situated from the room of Mr. Jobn tion he could, to enable him to decide as to the propriety McGinnis, jun., (from which the land-office papers were taand expediency of selecting particular banks. Whilst the ken,) and whether, in passing from one to the other, it is statements of the condition of the deposite banks were in necessary to go out of doors, or up or down stairs. my possession, Mr. Whitney had access to them occasion- “ Answer. To that part of the question, the room now ally, and I have sometimes called on Mr. Whitney, as occupied by Mr. Whitney is in the house next but one to being familiar with the subject, to explain certain items that in which is the room occupied by John McGinnis, jun. which I did not exactly comprehend. Mr. Whitney has Mr. McGinnis's room is in the third story of the buildfrequently had access to the accounts of the Treasurer with. ing, Mr. Whitney's on the first. In passing from one to certain banks. How far he may have influenced the Sec- the other, it is necessary to go out of doors, and up or down retary in making transfers I cannot say, though I believe stairs. If there be any communication between the buildthat in some cases, at his instance, the periods for transfers ings, without going out of doors, I have never noticed it, have been extended."
or known of its being used." Richard Ela, Esq., a clerk in the Department, says, in He adds, in conclusion, that the Secretary of the 'Treasanswer to the 20 interrogatory, at page 108 of the journal, ury disapproved his conduct in permitting the papers to go among other things:
out of his room. On two or three occasions Mr. Wbitney has applied The evidence contained in the responses of the clerks in to the Secretary, having first explained his business to me, the Treasury Departinent, and the letters before alluded to, for extension of transfers; on several, indeed I may say as to the existence of the agency, and the character of the many times, he has applied to examine the returns of the business which appertains to it, is not in any degree conbanks."
troverted or impugned by the testimony of the Secretary, John McGinnis, Esq., a clerk in the Department, charg- [Mr. Woodbury,) as far as the same is understood by the ed with the care of business appertaining to the public lands, minority of the committee. It is true that many portions states, (see p. 95 :)
of his evidence are so elaborate and argumentative as not “ 2d Question. At what time did R. M. Whitney come to be intelligible without taking it all together, and bestawinto the Department, and what has been the nature and ing upon it some considerable consideration. In page 12 character of his business, so
as you know?
of the journal he thus describes the nature of the agency “Answer. Mr. Whitney's business with the Depart- and the character of its duties and business : ment commenced soon after Mr. Woodbury look charge of “ But in several other cases where the Department has it, as well as the witness can recollect. The precise nature not been consulted by the banks in any way, to my knowlor character of his business is not known to me, but it is edge, except in the letter of 1833, before given, but where generally understood that he is the agent of several of the the banks had been selected, some before and some since deposite banks.
my entering on the duties of Secretary, I have no doubt "3d Question. Has R. M. Whitney had access to the that they appointed an agent here at an early day after their files of papers in your rooin? If yea, state whether it has selection, and that they did it from a conviction that he been a common habit with him ; if nay, give the particular might be useful to them in both their public and private duinstances of that nature.
ties as banking institutions. Some of the banks are so situ"Answer. Mr. Whitney has on two or three occasions ated, as to their extensive capital and discounts, their heavy referred to papers in my clarge relating to the sale of the business in exchanges, their large deposites, payments, public lands, and on such occasions witness believes it was and transfers, that it is manifest to all acquainted with such to procure information for some public use. In one in operations, as stated in the above letter, addressed to my predstance, the purpose was stated to be for the use of a Senator. ecessor, and in my reply of November, 1834, before an
“4th Question. Has he or has he not taken the files nexed, that an intelligent agent or correspondent here might of original papers containing returns from the land offices, often prove very useful and convenient, both in respect to or some other papers, to his own room, to be examined ? their business in behalf of the Treasury, and the business
“ Answer. Yes, in the instance referred to in answer to with the commercial community, as well as with each other, question third, Mr. Whitney applied to me to see the re- while, in cases dillerently situated, an agent here would be turns of the moneys received at the land offices, in pay- of little or no benefit whatever, ment for public lands. They were shown to him; and, after " In answer to the next question, I know nothing with aclooking at them, he desired me that I would permit him to curacy beyond what has already been stated, as to the dutake them to his room, stating, at the same time, the ob- ties he is to discharge for those banks which eni ploy him. ject for which he wanted them; and I did not hesitate to let But I presume, as just intimated, it is to communicate the him have them. They were returned on the following day. earliest information on all subjects he may suppose to affect
"5th Question. For what object did he state he want- their interests, whether as public depositories or private ed them, and who was the Senator awaiting in his room banking institutions ; to give his advice and aid when callto obtain the information ? State also when it was. ed for or deemed useful in the transaction of their business
of either character; to be the organ, at times, of presenting | plied to have any measure adopted or changed, wbich he their wishes to the Department in respect to subjects connect- represented to have a material bearing on the deposite ed with their public obligations; and to procure here, and banks he represented, and in which cases I have, of course, communicate, the best intelligence in his power, on the state asked him, if he did not voluntarily state them, his reasons of the money market at home or abroad, on the condition in favor of his request. of the currency and of the exchanges, and on the suppo- “On the topics of the public money and the banks gensed legislation likely to happen in Congress, either as to the erally, he has often, of his own accord, offered his views, banks themselves, or as to heavy appropriations to be paid as other persons have who have taken a particular interby them; and, in fine, on any other topic which he may est in those subjects; and I have always, when they have consider interesting or beneficial to his employers.” been so offered by him or others, endeavored to weigh
In page 14, Mr. Woodbury, in answer to the question, properly the facts and arguments offered, and I have fre"What official or unofficial connexion existed between said quently felt obliged to differ in opinion from him as well as agent and the Treasury Department ?" replies, at great others on such topics. Sometimes, also, I have inquired length, in his eleventh answer, which extends through as to particular facts or events connected with the exchanges three or four pages of the journal, from which it will be or banking, both of Mr. Whitney and others, whether seen that Mr. Whitney is recognised as the agent of the merchants, bankers, or men of practical intelligence, on deposite banks, and business is transacted with him in the such subjects, but have done it with a view, in all cases, saine manner that it is with agents and attorneys in fact, to inform myself fully and accurately, before deciding on who have full power from their principals to bind them in any pending question or measure, and, in several instances, the settlement of claims, the execution of acquittances, re- have written to a distance for such information, when not ceipts, &c.
able to procure what was satisfactory here." Page 15.-" Of the present resident agents who occa- Page 10 of journal of committee.—"Question 19. Hate sionally transact business with the Department, I under- you ever authorized, or directed, or requested R. M. Whitstand that two of them, Mr. Causten and Mr. Law, keep ney, or other agent of the deposite banks, to issue or give their offices in their houses, and two of them, Mr. F. instructions, directions, requests, or information of any Dickins and Mr. Whitney, keep their offices in the same row kind, by circulars or otherwise, to land or other receivers of of buildings now occupied by the Treasury. But it is pre- the public money, or to any other officer or officers, agent suned that the two last persons hire their rooms of the pri- or agents, of the Government? vate owners of the buildings, as the Departigent has done “ Answer. That it (the Treasury Departınent] urged since the fire in 1833, and as neither of these agents has on the banks, their officers and agents, whenever seen or hired them from this Department.”
consulted in respect to the topic, a general correspondence “ With all of those agents before named, [he having bc- and agreeinent to redeem their notes, when taken for pubfore given a list of agents, ) as well as many others, when lic lands, at the places most desirable to give them a unitransacting business for their principals, the official connex- form and high value as a currency; and, at the same time, ion of the Department has, in all other respects as well as promised any aid or facility in the power of the Departthese, been similar, and the manner of transacting business ment, consistent with its duties in other respects to the has been similar, except as the business may differ in Government, to promote so desirable an object; and, on amount, extent, or difficulty, and requires in some cases one occasion, when it was understood that a circular was inuch more frequent and constant attendance and inquiries preparing and printing to advance this object by the agent, than in others.
and the Department was asked for its approval of this My anxiety has always been, in concerns so very nu. course in behalf of the deposite banks, and its willingness merous, and involving, as many of them do, not only such to frank that printed conmunication on this public and indifficult questions for decision, but ch large amounts of teresting subject, when addressed to the public officers and property, to furnish every proper facility to each, every agents, whose duty it was, according to long usage and species of public information connected with their respective frequent orders from the Department, to conform to the arbusiness, and every access to papers pertaining to their rangements of the banks as to the matter, I have a strong cases, which might be deemed useful to the principal in impression that I assented to both ; certain it is, I should interest, and at the same time not injurious to the Govern- feel justified in doing it, under the practice and views long ment.
existing in the Department. “But in the case of the agent of the banks no indulgence “ I have never conferred any authority, in any way, on of any kind is known or believed to have been granted, this subject, on any person other than is above stated; I which, if requested, has been withheld from the agents on have never conferred any on Mr. Whitney, except the asother subjects, and especially the agents of corporations, or sent above mentioned, when he proffered to act as agent persons in public employment, nor any withheld which, in for some of the deposite banks, and always regarded any other like cases, has on request been granted.
power, properly exercised by him in res
to it, as one “I can think of no further explanation desirable as to derived merely from the banks themselves, in bis capacity the official connexion between the agent for some of the as their agent. deposite banks and this Department, unless,” &c.
Page 50, journal of committee.- * Question 22. Have Pages 36 and 37 of journal of committee:-“Question you ever consulted or advised with Reuben M. Whitney 14. Have you ever consulted or advised with said R. M. upon the selection of banks of deposite of the public Whitney upon the propriety or expediency of measures, money? or informed him of measures respecting the public money “ Answer. I remember he has in some cases offered his and the deposite banks, before or after such measures were remarks to me on the subject, as have other persons. adopted or rejected by the Treasury Department ? if so, is “Question 23. What was the character of the remarks, the practice of so advising and consulting with, and of so reasons, or considerations, submitted to you by said Whitinforming him, habitual with you, and upon what meas- ney, for the selection of banks of deposite, in the instances ures have you consulted and alvised with and informed he offered his remarks to you? Were such remarks, reahim !
sons, or considerations, of a political party character? and « Answer. i have not been in the habit of consulting if so, state in what respect. Mr. Whitney on the propriety or expediency of measures, " Answer. I have no doubt the persons making those or informed him of measures respecting the public money communications have, in some cases, mentioned political and the deposite banks, except in cases where he first ap- circumstances in connexion with this subject, and in gen
eral as opposed to the propriety of the selection. A ma- belief, I must say that I shall feel it a duty to do all in my jority of the stockholders and officers have usually been power to discourage the selection of any institution as a stated to be, when any thing was said in respect to their confidential agent of the Government, at any personal pepolitics, opposed to the view of the administration. I have cuniary sacrifice whatever. no recollection of any particular remarks of a political char- “I hope the Illinois Bank will be able to show the whole acter made by him or others on this point, beyond such to be founded in error," &c. ones as are above described, and those in only a very few This appears to have been the commencement of the
correspondence between that bank and the Treasury DePage 52, journal of committee.--"Question 24. Are partment, which resulted in the failure of the bank to obthere any communications in writing from any agent or tain the deposites. An abstract of said correspondence is agents of the deposite banks, or others, urging directly or herewith submitted, which was made out from various letindirectly upon the Department the selection of particular ters obtained from the Department hy a member of a subbanks of deposite, from political considerations; if so, to committee, Mr. Wise, which was appointed at his instance whom, and by what agent or agents addressed ?
to visit the Department, examine the correspondence of the “Answer. There are none, to iny knowledge, from Mr. same with the deposite banks, and cause copies of any Whitney ; on the contrary, it is due to Mr. Whitney to papers to be sent, which any one of them considered imstate, as before intimated, that, when speaking of the po- portant. The urgent and pressing business of two comlitical views of the blockholders of most of the deposite mittees, of one of which he was chairman, prevented Mr. banks, he has, if knowing their political opinions, and Wise ; and the constant attendance on this conimittee of mentioning them, often observed, that though they were the other two gentlemen, Messrs. Martin and Johnson, opposed in general to the opinions of the administration, prevented them from devoting more than a few hours' time he thought the present system of State depositories should to the examination which resulted in the discovery of the be administered on principles similar to what I have before above correspondence with the Illinois Bank, of which the described, as to fitness, locality, and security of the banks Secretary of the Treasury bad given the committee no parselected, and the fiscal wants of the Department, and with- ticular information. Had sufficient time been allowed, out any reference to the politics of their officers and pro- much more important evidence might have been obtained prietors."
by a strict examination into the Treasury Department. Mr. Woodbury disclaims all political influence in the For a further illustration of the political and party considselection of depositories of the public money. To place erations which have been relied on by the banks in obtainthis part of the case in its true light, and show whether ing the public money, as well as in using it after it has Mr. Whitney is entitled to the compliment bestowed upon been obtained, the minority would beg leave to refer to the him by the Secretary, the minority beg leave to refer partic. correspondence with the Burlington Bank, State of Verularly to a letter, written by said Whitney to James C. mont, an abstract of which is herewith submitted. Wilkins, Esq., of Natchez, Mississippi, president of the From the testimony of James Schott, president, and Planters' Bank, a depository of the public money, for which William D. Lewis, cashier, of the Girard Bank, it appears said Whitney is agent, commencing
that the said Whitney gave information in advance of the
intended issuance of the Treasury circular of July 11, 1836, " WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 1835.
requiring specie in payment for public lands, or at least “DEAR SIR : When I wrote you last I did not inform that such a measure was under consideration before the you that it had been represented here that you were, or adjournment of Congress.-(See the president's answer, would be, the candidate for the Senate, in opposition to at p. 151, to 13th interrogatory ; see the answer of the Walker. This I then considered was a tale for the pur- cashier, at p. 155, to 13th interrogatory.) pose of operating prejudicially to the interest of the Plant- Answer by the cashier. “I was apprized by Mr. Whiters' Bank, got up by some one who was striving to direct ney of his belief that such a measure was under consideraa part of its Government agency to another institution." tion, but do not know that he derived his knowledge there
(See pages 99 and 100. See, also, at pages 101 and of from the Treasury Department, or any such persons as 102, the correspondence of said Whitney with John D. are mentioned in this interrogatory; and being at WashBeers, of New York, and also the correspondence between ington about the beginning of July, his impressions were John Tillson, one of the directors of the State Bank of Il-confirmed by my own observations. The information was linois, then applying to become a deposite bank, and said given as a matter of intelligence coming within the sphere Whitney.)
of the agent's duty, and for no specific purpose. Nor do Mr. Tillson offers Mr. Whitney & salary, and wishes to I know that any specific use was made of such informabe informed what course the Secretary of the Treasury has tion, so far as relates to any written correspondence upon taken in reply to the letter of Mr. Ridgley, the cashier of the subject. I refer to my answer to the 3d interrogathe Illinois Bank. Mr. Whitney, in reply, says he will be tory.” candid-says strong prejudices oxist, and serious charges The minority of this committee would respectfully call are made against that bank. The first charge is as to the particular attention to this fact, that during the session of violation of its charter, &c., and that the ultimate object of Congress a measure involving the exercise of such doubtthose who control the bank is to effect a political change ful powers on the part of the Executive; a measure which in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, in the Secretary of the Treasury declined to adopt, until, as opposition to the principles of the present administration. he informs the committee, he was so directed by the PresiIle refers to the charter of the bank to sustain the charge dent; and one so materially affecting the currency, the of violating its charter. He refers to the list of stock hold- exchange, the whole moneyed concerns of the country, ers, shows that some of them reside in Cincinnati, and and consequently the trade, commerce, and value of every that they are connected with the Life and Trust Company, species of property of the people of the United States--&c. He further adds:
that this measure, which had been rejected by the Senate, "And it has been declared that, in the late election in should be decided on before the adjournment of Congress, Ilinois, the bank dil employ its influence in the Sanga- which was left in profound ignorance of its existence, mon district. Of the result of this election, you will prob- while Mr. R. M. Whitney was not only in possession of ably have noticed an extract of a letter of Governor Dun- this cabinet secret, but was actually communicating it to con, which has gone the rounds of the opposition press
. his distant friends as a matter of intelligence coming as these, and such grounds for their within the sphere of the agent's duty,” cannot but arrest Vol. XIII. --W
With such charges