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further extension of banking institutions, and their necessary concomitant, an increased paper circulation, its recent expression evinces 'a decided opposition to any measure connected with this subject, short of introducing into our circulating medium a due proportion of the metallic currency contemplated by the constitution of the United States." ?6,
This, then, is the confession ; which, I think, affords evidence enough, considering its high and official authority, to satisfy any one that banks have, in this State, engendered a depraved and vitiated spirit, and caused there to be " a kind of stepping ont of republican principles, and of approaching towards those of despotism.” Wolf says that, to his knowledge, he having been at the head of the concern for nine years, they have, from time to time, done those things which their constituents have protested against, and have put their seal of reprobation upon. While Paine has told us, that “the power of the representative is, in many cases, less, but never can be greater, than that of the people represented.” And yet, he says, “ for the next or any other assembly to undertake to dissolve the State from its obligations, is an assumption of power of a novel and extraordinary kind. It is the servant attempting to free his master,” What are we to learn from such jargon as this? If the representatives have power to charter away from us anything, even the right of a river or road, certainly they have the same right to do as they have done--charter away everything that is worth possessing. Surely this man must have been infatuated at the time he wrote this pamphlet, for one paragraph advocates what the next destroys, or attempts to destroy. However, he says that “the power of the representative cannot be greater than that of the people represented.” Therefore, if we take for truth bis statements, and believe the evidence of Wolf, we have no alternative but to come to the conclusion, that ours is no longer a republic, but a despotism, centered in bankers and usurers. To be sure, Wolf's may be termed a sort of State evidence, he being one of the guilty himself; and, what is still worse, he has been more guilty, if possible, since than he was before, having, after making these statements, signed and approved of nearly one hundred charters that very session. But we must recollect that, when such evidence is corroborated by an unbroken chain of other circumstances, then it becomes the best of evidence; and that that is the case, no man can or will, I think, attempt to deny.
“ A power has risen up in the government,” said Mr. Calhoun, in his place in the Senate, "greater than the people themselves, consisting of many, and various, and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks. This mighty combination will be opposed to any change, and it is to be feared that such is its influence, that no measure to which it is opposed can become a law, however expedient and necessary, and that the public
money will remain in their possession, to be disposed of, not as the public interest, but as theirs may dictate. The time, indeed, seems fast approaching when no law can pass, nor any honour be conferred, from the chief magistrate to the tide-waiter, without the assent of this powerful and interested combination, which is steadily becoming the government itself, to the utter subversion of the authority of the people. Nay, I fear we are in the midst of it, and I look with anxiety to the fate of this measure as the test whether we are or not,
" If nothing should be done—if the money, which justly belongs to the people, be left where it is, with the many and overwhelming objections to it, the fact will prove that a great and radical change has been effected; that the government is subverted; that the authority of the people is suppressed by a union of the banks and executive—a union a hundred times more dangerous than that of church and state, against which the constitution has so jealously guarded. It would be the announcement of a state of things, from which, it is to be feared, there can be no recovery; a state of boundless corruption, and the lowest and basest subserviency. It seems to be the order of Providence that, with the exception of these, a people may recover from any other evil. Piracy, robbery, and violence of any description, may, as history proves, be followed by virtue, patriotism, and national greatness; but where is the example to be found of a degenerate, corrupt, and subservient people, who have ever revived their virtue and patriotism? Their doom has ever been the lowest state of wretchedness and mişery; scorned, trodden down, and obliterated for ever from the list of all nations. May Heaven grant that such may never be our doom !”
Paine goes on and says, that “the people, in their original compact, of equal justice, or first principles of a republic, renounced as despotic, detestable, and unjust, the assuming a right of breaking and violating their engagements, contracts, and compacts with, or defrauding, imposing, or tyrannizing over each other; and, therefore, the representatives cannot make an act to do it for them; and any such kind of act would be an attempt to depose, not the personal sovereign, but the sovereign principle of the republic, and to introduce despotism in its stead.” How far this paragraph will go towards serving the bankers, I do not pretend to know; but, if I understand it, it is an assurance of the despotism and injustice of the bankers' principles, which justify the breaking and violating all sorts of engagements, contracts, or compacts, except those that are made between the government and themselves, and which are altogether in favour of the latter. Do the bankers not tyrannize over the people, and break their engagements and contracts, whenever it suits them to do so? And, moreover, they force others to do the same thing, in cases of mortgages, annuities, and, indeed, in every other case. They
pay when and how they like. They are the government, and their judges sanction their wicked proceedings: of which, we shall have something to say hereafter. Their governor, too, in his late message, exults, because the people, as he falsely states, have a virtually repealed the laws" that were made, as it was pretended, to restrain and keep in order these unprincipled men.
**!!"; } voimaan Is this not an attempt, and a very audacious one, " to depose the sovereign principle of this republic?! Nay, has it not already restablished despotism in its stead ?,'
"in, 770.14590T And yet the first bank in this country, or the seed of all these things, found its main support in this liberty-loving Paine; for which he richly deserves all the abuse that has been so profusely heaped upon him by the party that is now hoping to profit by his work. He pleads the necesi sity of the case'; but, as I have before remarked, no necessity on earth could ever justify a measure so fraught with misery, immorality, and crime. It may be said, that, not having had the experience on the subject that we have had, he might never have dreamt of the possibility of such horrid results. But, as he remarks (p. 33), " where knowledge is a duty, ignorance is a crime;" and besides, we find that those whom he undertook to instruct knew all about the consequences. Greatly to the honour of the people of those days, in Pennsylvania, they foresąwland clearly predicted the present state of things. Everything that they stated in their petitions, and everything stated by the committee ofrithe Legislative Assembly, was correct; while Paine's predictions have every one of them failed ; owing, no doubt, in a great measure, to means of his own recommending. I will here copy the substance of the petitions and the report, the authors of which Mr. Paine thought proper to ridir cule, and to treat as ignorant men.
uzroka ojni disgw “ Minutes of the Assembly, March 21st, 1785.-Petitions from a considerable number of the inhabitants of Chester County were read, representing that the bank established at Philadelphia has fatal effects upon the community; that, whilst men are enabled, by means of the bank, to receive near three times the rate of common interest, and at the same time receive their money at very short warning, whenever they have occasion for it, it will be impossible for the husbandman or mecha nic to borrow on the former terms of legal interest and distant payments of the principal; that the best security will not enable the person to borrow; that experience clearly demonstrates the mischievous conse quences of this institution; that impostors have been enabled to support themselves in a fictitious credit, by means of a temporary punctuality at the bank, until they have drawn in their honest neighbours to trust them with their property, or to pledge their credit as sureties, and have been finally involved in ruin and distress, that they have repeatedlyı seen
stopping of discounts at the bank operate on the trading part of the community with a degree of violence scarcely inferior to that of a stagnation of the blood in the human body, hurrying the wretched merchant who hath debts to pay into the hands of griping usurers; that the directors of the bankomay give such preference in trade, by advances of money, to their particular favourites, as to destroy that equality which ought to prevail in a commercial country; that paper-money has often proved beneficial to the State, but the bank forbids it, and the people must acquiesce. Therefore, and in order to restore public confidence and private security, they pray that a bill may be brought in and passed into a law for repealing the law for incorporating the bank." in i loggia in za tu? yd"
March 28th.-The report of the committee, read March 25th, on the petitions from the counties of Chester and Berks, and the city of Philadelphia and its vicinity, praying the act of the Assembly, whereby the bank was established at Philadelphia, may be repealed, was read a second time, as follows, viz. : , dunyonibikes 1o "The committee to whom were referred the petitions concerning the bank established at Philadelphia, and who were instructed to inquire whether the said bank be compatible with the public safety and that equality which ought ever to prevail between the individuals of a republic, beg leave to report that it is the opinion of this committee that the said bank, as at present established, is in every view incompatible with the public safety; that, in the present state of our trade, the said bank has a direct tendency to banish a great part of the specie from the country, so as to produce a scarcity of money, and to collect into the hands of the stockholders of the said bank almost the whole of the money which remains among us; that the accumulation of enormous wealth into the hands of a society who claim perpetual duration will necessarily produce a degree of influence and power which cannot be intrusted in the hands of any set of men whatsoever, without endangering the public safety that the said bank, in its corporate capacity, is empowered to hold estates to the amount of ten millions of dollars, and, by the tenor of the present charter, is to exist for ever, without being obliged to yield any emoluments to the government or to be at all dependent upon it ; that the great profits of that bank, which will daily increase as money grows scarce, and which already far exceed the profits of European banks, have tempted foreigners to vest their money in this bank, and thus to draw from us large sums for interest: test
Worrod irof The foreigners will doubtless be more and more induced to become stockholders quntil the time may arrive when the renormous engine of power may become subject to foreign influence this country may be agitated with the politics of European courts, and the good people of America reduced once more into a state of subordination and depend?
ence upon some one or other of the European powers. That, at best, if it were even confined to the hands of Americans, it would be totally destructive of that equality which ought to prevail in a republic. We have nothing in our free and equal government capable of balancing the influence which this bank must create; and we see nothing which, in the course of a few years, can prevent the directors of the bank from governing Pennsylvania. Already we have felt its influence indirectly interfering in the measures of the legislature. Already the House of Assembly, the representatives of the people, have been threatened that the credit of our paper currency will be blasted by the bank; and, if this growing evil continues, we fear the time is not very distant when the bank will be able to dictate to the legislature what laws to pass and what to forbear.
“ Your committee therefore beg leave further to report the following resolution to be adopted by the house, viz. :
“ Resolved, That a committee be appointed to bring in a bill to repeal the Act of Assembly passed the 1st day of April, 1782, entitled An Act to incorporate the subscribers to the bank of North America :' and also to repeal one other Act of Assembly, passed the 18th of March, 1782, entitled 'An Act for preventing and punishing the counterfeiting of the common seal, bank-bills, and bank-notes of the president, directors, and company of the bank of North America, and for the other purposes therein mentioned.'
You will not understand what is here meant by paper money having often proved beneficial to the State, and that the credit of their papercurrency was threatened to be blasted by the bank.
I must therefore inform you that, before this bank was chartered, the government, when it wanted money, used to do as an individual would do in similar cases; that is, give its note, to be paid at a future day. This sort of government-money was paid from one to the other, and which, together with the specie, formed the currency of the country. No sort of paper-money, used as a circulating medium, will ever meet my approbation, but, if there was any profit in the using the notes, the people all shared it; and was it not more rational to make their own money out of nothing than to privilege individuals, foreigners or natives, to do it for them, and to charge them six per cent. per annum ? ''No, it seems at that early stage of their villany the bankers defied the law, and charged “ three times as much as the law allowed them."" These fellows have enjoyed this monstrous privilege ever since, except a year or so, at the time their “vested right,” which was to endure “ for ever," was, nevertheless, quashed, and made of none effect, as if it never had been. But, by the aid of Mr. Paine, it was, as the charter has it, revived, that is, brought to life by galvanism, or some such thing. The