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[APRIL 28, 1836.
them, are not perfectly solvent and safe depositories of public funds must be considered as safer, so far as rethe public funds? What are the grounds on which con. gards any considerable loss, than when in the Bank of fidence is reposed in any banking institution? Is it not the United States. As respects capital, that bank had, its capital, and its reputation for being prudently and exclusive of what belonged to the United States, but correctly conducted? Whatever objections, then, there twenty-eight millions; that of the deposite banks is more may be to the present system of selecting banks for pub- than forty-three millions of dollars. lic deposites, it certainly has some advantages. The The condition of these deposite banks, on the thirtySecretary of the Treasury has an opportunity of select- first day of March last, according to a report of the Secing for places of deposité, such banks as have acquired retary of the Treasury, of the 23d day of April, was as an established reputation, and as are known to be con- follows: ducted on safe principles; he also can select as large à Loans and discounts, .
$68,850,287 67 number as he pleases, by which means the aggregate Domestic exchange, ..
32,775,529 42 capital is increased, and the risk divided. Is it not ap- Real estate, .
- 1,929,056 68 parent that the public revenues are safer deposited in Due from banks,
• 15,931,916 22 thirty-six banks than they would be in one bank having Notes of other banks,
11, 107,447 78 the same capital? Experience proves that a bank with Specie,
. 10,885,996 92 a large capital may as likely become embarrassed as one Foreign exchange, .
532,450 96 with a small capital, as their business is on a correspond Expenses, .
184,901 22 ing scale. Interest prompts all banks to extend their Other investments,
10,651, 759 92 business to the utmost limit their capital will allow. If the public treasure was deposited all in one bank, as was
$152,849,346 79 the case some years since, and that, by an improper extension of its business, or by speculation, should be- Capital,
$43,690,980 28 come embarrassed, the whole revenues of the country Treasurer of the United States,
33, 294,024 08 would be in jeopardy; but if they are in numerous insti- | Public officers, .
3,477,252 42 tutions, the danger is greatly diminished, as it is not to be | Due to banks,
15,366,674 49 apprehended that several of the deposite banks will be Contingent fund,
1,102,763 15 come involved in difficulties at the same time. They are Profit and loss, &c.,
4,094,358 12 independent of each other, and their operations no way Circulation,
28,796,186 98 connected. The history of the Bank of England, as well | Private deposites, .
15,453,092 11 as the Bank of the United States, justifies what is here Other liabilities,
7,574,015 16 stated. It is well known that the former was compelled to suspend specie payments, and to call in the aid of the
$152,849,346 79 Government to sustain it from total ruin. And the Bank of the United States, by a system of profligate and I have made these statements, not from any partiality to fraudulent speculations, unparalleled, brought itself to the deposite banks, as I am not their advocate, and consider the very verge of bankruptcy wbilst it was the deposi- all banks as conducted essentially on the same principles tory of the public revenue. For three months, from to make the greatest profit, without regard to the public February to May, in 1819, that bank was in the most or private interests of the community. I do not approve critical situation, and daily exposed to be compelled to of their having so large an amount of the public funds, stop payment. To save itself, it drained the State banks and especially without paying any interest for the same; of their specie--broke the banks of Kentucky, and made but this is an unusual and unexpected state of things, such forced and rapid curtailments of its loans to indicand, I trust, will soon be remedied. My object has not viduals, as greatly contributed to the severe money been to defend these banks, but to show that the public pressure and distress which prevailed at that period. funds are safe. Such was the situation of the public funds in the Bank In addition to the security afforded by the capital and of the United States in 1819. .
| other property of the banks, the Secretary of the Treas. But the Senator told us that the deposite banks bave ury has in some cases required collateral and personal only eleven millions of specie, and endeavored to make security for the public deposites. These contracts, the an impression that this was all their resources with which Senator from Kentucky informs us, are totally void, beto refund to the Government nearly thirty-two millions. cause there is no law expressly authorizing them. He If this was a true test of the ability of banks, what has asks, with apparent triumph, by what authority, and unbeen the situation of the Bank of the United States, der what law, these contracts are made? This objection, which the Senator has regarded as so safe a depository if valid for any purpose, is applicable to the contract of the public treasure? In 1831, that bank had but itself; for there is no act expressly authorizing the Sec$8,198,682 in specie, when the Government deposites retary to employ agents for the safe keeping of the pubwere $7,252, 249, and private deposites $9,115,836, and lic revenues. If the argument proves any thing, it its circulation was $22,399,447 ; making in the whole, to proves that the contracts with the banks are illegal and say nothing of other debts, $38,768,532, to be paid from yoid, and that the money can never be reclaimed. If a specie fund of little more than eight millions. At some the contracts are valid, then the stipulation for personal periods, the specie of the Bank of the United States has security is binding, as that is a part of the contract. The been less, and, if I recollect right, the President of that argument proves too much, and therefore proves nothing bank has stated, in some of his reports, that six millions at all. in specie was all that was required for the safety of the The Senator also says, that the regulation of the Secbank and the public.
retary requiring the deposite banks not to issue bills of Would the Senator require one rule for the Bank of less denomination than ten dollars, is an alarming asthe United States, and another for the State banks? The sumption of power; a species of executive legislation delatter was regarded as perfectly safe, and as furnishing signed to regulate the currency. He says, he will not the best national currency for the country, without re inquire wbetber the regulation is a wise one or not; gard to the specie in its vaults; it was sufficient to rely whether it is calculated to have a beneficial or an injuri. on its general means and solvency; but the State banks ous influence; but asks where the Secretary gets his must have specie equal to their indebtedness.
power to control the State banks, and regulate the cur. • In any view which can be taken of this subject, the rency of the country? He had supposed this power be
APRIL 28, 1836.1
longed to Congress. Why, the Senator must know full constantly asserted, is not only unsustained, but is opwell that neither Congress nor the Secretary have any posed both to facts and principle. In point of fact, the power over the State banks. This, like the requirement State banks bave increased more rapidly since the estabof personal security, is only a part of the contract. The lishment of the Bank of the United States in 1816, than Secretary, in employing the fiscal agents of the Treas they ever did previous to that period. And in respect ury, can prescribe such conditions as he sees fit, not in of principle, it is absurd to contend that banking is to consistent with law, but the agent is not bound to agree bę limited and restricted by superadding the legislation to them, nor has the Secretary any means to force him of the Union to that of the States, in granting bank to comply with his conditions. All that he can do is, to charters. The cause of the alarming multiplication of decline to employ the agent who will not comply with banks and increase of bank capital lies much deeper; it the conditions he may prescribe. This is the alarming is to be found in the spirit of traffic and speculation usurpation which the Senator has discovered. But he which prevails so extensively in our country, and which will not inquire whether the object is a good one or a the Bank of the United States bas been, in an eminent bad one, which, it appears to me, is the essential point. degree, instrumental in engendering and sustaining. Are we to understand tbat he is opposed to restraining Shall the champions of the Bank of the United States, the circulation of small bills issued by the State banks? who maintained that its notes were the only sound naIf not, why this complaint of an attempt to stop their tional currency, reproach those who were opposed to circulation by contract with those banks, which are em that corporation, and to the present banking system ployed as the receivers of the public revenues? . It is generally, for the consequences and evils of the unpresaid that the present surplus in the Treasury, and which i cedented increase of banks in the States! Sir, such is deposited in the State banks, is unprecedented and taunts come with a bad grace from the Senator from dangerous. An overflowing Treasury seems to be a sub- | Kentucky. ject of as much alarm now, as an exhausted one did two Who are the advocates of State banks, and the petiyears ago, which was then so confidently predicted. The tioners and applicants for their charters? Are they not large amount of money in the Treasury has arisen from the supporters of the Bank, or a Bank, of the United two causes: the unprecedented sales of public lands, States?' In some of the States it is true that many who which, during the year 1835 and the first quarter of 1836, were, or professed to be, opposed to the national bank, have exceeded twenty millions; and the delay to pass the are the zealous supporters of the State institutions. appropriation bills, whereby money that ought to have But there are a large portion of those opposed to the been paid out is still retained in the Treasury. But, Bank of the United States, who disapprove the whole from the remarks which have just been made on this banking system, or desire to reform it by withdrawing subject, it might be supposed that there had never be. a large portion of the paper circulation, and substituting fore been a balance in the Treasury. But there have a hard money currency in its place. In my own State, usually been balances, and at times very large balances, this is almost universally true; all who are opposed to wbich have been deposited either in State banks, or the the Bank of the United States are opposed to the mulBank of the United States. The balance in the Treas tiplication of State corporations, and in favor of restrictury, at the close of the year 1815, and deposited in State ing the circulation of the existing institutions. The inbanks, was $13,000,000; in 1816, $22,033,519, more crease of State banks, the last two or three years, is than two thirds the present amount; in 1817, when the truly alarming; and if this spirit be not checked, an ex. Bank of the United States was encouraging speculations plosion of the entire paper sytsem will be inevitable. In in stocks, and using the funds of the Government for an able work by Mr. Gallatin, formerly Secretary of that purpose, the balance was $14,989,465; in 1823, the Treasury, he states that, in 1830, there were two it was $9,463,922; in 1826, $6,358,586; in 1827, hundred and eighty-one banks in the United States, with $6,668,000; in 1828, $5,972,000; in 1829, $5,668,000. a capital of ninety-five millions; and it is now estimated From the last period, to the time the connexion of the that there are about seven hundred and fifty banks, possesTreasury with the Bank of the United States was termi. sing an aggregate capital of nearly three hundred millions. nated, there was a balance of from five to ten millions. Mr. Gallatin's statement was not entirely correct, and
The honorable Senator from Kentucky (Mr. CLAY] probably fell short of the true number; it was five short has alluded to the State banks, and apparently with the of the number in Connecticut. But the increase of purpose of creating a panic, on account of the rapid banks and banking capital has been sufficiently rapid increase of these institutions, and the alarming extension and alarming; it cannot have been less than one bunof the paper system. In bis apprehensions on this sub dred per cent. the last three years. If this spirit of ject I can fully participate; but can by no means con- speculation and gambling continues, and instead of being cur in what he assigns as the cause of the increase of checked, is encouraged by the improvident and reckthe State banks. He attributes it to the measures of the less legislation of the States, a fatal and ruinous exploGovernment in hostility to the Bank of the United States, sion of the whole paper system must be the consequence. or to the overthrow of that bank. This cause rests on This is as inevitable as those results which follow from an assumption of a fact which is not true; the Bank of natural causes. And will no effort be made to arrest the United States has not been destroyed, nor have its these evils? Will the prudent, the wise, and the honest, operations ceased. It is true, some of its branches have calmly witness, and without an effort to arrest an evil of been discontinued, and this circumstance, with other such magnitude, the gathering elements fraught with causes, may have had some influence on the establish such incalculable calamities to their country? ment of State banks in some of the western States; but, The Senator from Kentucky says that the surplus in if the withdrawal of the capital of this bank is to be re the Treasury has already engendered a spirit of extravgarded as occasioning the incorporation of State institu agance and wastefulness; that, instead of the old repubtions, it is a cause that could operate only so far as to lican practice of inquiring what is the lowest rate of supply, by State banks, the amount of capital withdrawn appropriations with which the service can be carried on, by the Bank of the United States, and this would be no the inquiry now is, what is the highest rate, and how increase of the aggregate banking capital in the Union. we can spend the most. On what authority was this
Nothing can be more unfounded, and even prepos remark made, applied, as it was, to the appropriations terous, than the pretension that the Bank of the United | generally? it is wholly gratuitous and unsupported. States prevented the establishment of State banks, and The only inquiries of the kind which have been made of restrained their operations. This position, so often and the head of apy Department haye been confined to fortiSEXATE.]
(April 28, 1836.
fications and other objects connected with the defence regarded as a new scheme to amend the constitution. of the country. These are no part of the ordinary an. It would, in fact, be an amendment of the most imnual expenditures. How far it may be wise to go, in portant character. The duties on foreign importations, expenditures for purposes of this kind, may be a ques. as the principal source of the public revenue, as well tion; but whatever it is proper to expend, in public as incidentally affording protection to the manufacturing works for the defence of the country, may as well be interests of the country, have been a subject of more expended in one year as in a series of years. Indeed, legislation than any other, and must continue so for all this is true policy and economy; for the more time which time to come. The state of the Treasury, the growth is consumed in laying out the money, the more of it will of new interests at home, the decay of old ones, foreign be abstracted by the agents who have the disbursing of legislation, and various other causes, will require freit. If an individual has occasion to build a house, will quent modifications of the revenue laws. To attempt, he not do it in one season, or in as short a period as he therefore, to restrict, limit, or regulate the power or can find any one to contract to do the job? He does not action of Congress over this subject, by an ordinary consider it economy to be several years about it; neither law, or by any understanding or compromise among the does he regard the outlay as a part of his annual expend. | leading members of Congress, as to the passage of that itures; be considers it as an investment, as an addition law, is preposterous. It is an attempt by one Congress to his estate. What is true of an individual is true of to tie up the hands of their successors, and deprive the Government. Whatever it may be proper to ex-them of tbat equality of power which the constitution pend on fortifications, ordnance, or other permanent has conferred on each successive Legislature. Had the means of defence, the shorter the period in which the bigh rate of duties been brought down to the proper money can be expended, the better, if there is no waste | point of reduction more rapidly, it would have lightened in the application. Neither are appropriations for pur. the taxes, and we should have had a less surplus in the poses of this description to be regarded as a part of the
to be regarded as a part of the Treasury to contend about. annual expenditures of the Government, any more than | Mr. President, having disposed of the extraneous and the erection of a house is to be regarded as a part of the preliminary topics, I will proceed to consider the bill annual expenses of an individual. The calls for the | before the Senate. This measure, in any view which maximum appropriations, for permanent objects of can be taken of it, is of the highest importance. The defence, are no evidence of profuse expenditure, as bill provides for distributing among the States, accordasserted, but of true economy, especially when we have | ing to the federal principle of representation, the nett money on hand that we have no other use for.
proceeds of the public lands for five years, commencing The compromise tariff act of 1833, to which the bond with the vear 1833 and ending with the year 1837. As orable Senator alluded with so much complacency, is amended at one time, it proposed to distribute the pronot entirely irrelevant to the subject under considera ceeds of the lands for nine years, from 1833 to 1841. tion, as that law has in part contributed to produce the That amendment has been abandoned by the friends of surplus which the gentleman seems so anxious to seize the bill, and it now stands as at first introduced. There upon for distribution. He seems to look back upon that are some minor principles in this bill, as the grant of compromise as a bright spot in the record of his political certain portions of lands to the new States, and the allife. The gentleman appears to have been partial to lowance to those States of ten per cent. of the sales of compromises, and has had a hand in many, of different public land within their territories, which I do not prodescriptions. The tariff compromise, so far as it was a pose to notice. The bill as it now is, should it become means of quieting, for a time, a distracting question, a law, will distribute among the States about forty-five and of calming the troubled elements in one quarter, millions of dollars. Its friends calculate upon a large was a salutary measure; but the principles of the com- sum. Before the amendment was disagreed to, the bill promise were unsound and unwise. The reduction of would have distributed eighty-seven millions of dollars, the high duties was too slow on the one hand, whilst on provided the sales of the public lands for the ensuing the other the attempt to establish by compromise a uni. five years should equal what the friends of the measure form principle of imposing duties was either delusory estimate them at-ten millions a year. I think, howor a gross assumption of power. In consideration of ever, tbat estimate much too high. Eighty.seven milretaining the high rate of duties, subject to a graduallions would be nearly one half of the proceeds of all reduction for ten years, the principle of discrimination the lands now unsold in the States and Territories. The in regulating the duties is proposed to be relinquished. gross amount, at the minimum price, has been estimated Those engaged or having capital invested in manufac- by the Senator from New York (Mr. WRIGHT) at one tures in 1833 were to become rich by the protection hundred and eighty-seven millions of dollars. This bill, afforded to them during the ten years of high duties; as it is, will distribute more than one quarter of the and those who might become interested in manufactures whole proceeds of the public lands in the States and near the close or after that period, were to be left to Territories. shift for themselves. There is no reason on earth why By a report of the Secretary of the Treasury, it ap. from fifty to seventy-five per cent should be required pears that there are in the States and Territories to protect the manufacturing interests in 1833, which 122,397,462 acres of lands surveyed and offered for could be sustained by duties of twenty per cent. in 1842. sale, and which was unsold on the 30th September last, Either the high rate of duties was not required, or the and 9,772,739 acres surveyed and not offered for sale, point of depression is so low as will sacrifice the manu making 132,170,210 acres, to which the Indian title has facturing interests. The experience and skill requisite been extinguished. There are, besides, 79,126,838 to the successful prosecution of most branches of acres, to which the Indian title has not been extinguishmanufactures had been acquired in 1833; and although ed; but this will cost nearly as much as we shall get for there are constantly improvements taking place in all it. The bill, in its present form, will distribute a large the arts, yet as these are as great in England and other share of the proceeds of the entire national domain. It manufacturing countries as in this, they will give no is retrospective in its operation, and will distribute all advantage or security to our manufactures. In regard the money raised from the sale of the public lands since to the attempt to settle, by an act of Congress, under 1833, which will include nearly the entire balance now the assumption that it is a compromise, a uniform in the Treasury. The gross receipts for the sale of the rule by which all duties are to be imposed after the public lands which will be distributed, should this bill year 1842, if not altogether delusory, it can only be pass, will amount to
APRIL 28, 1836.]
In 1833, .
$3,967,681 from thirty to
from thirty to forty per cent. interest, it can hardly be " 1834, .
4,875,650 supposed that money will be extensively employed in (* 1835, .
15,200,000 land speculations. All revulsions in business immediateFirst quarter of 1836,
5,439,650 ly affect the revenue, from whatever source derived,
and hence the great fluctuations which our revenue has Money now in the Treasury to be distribu
experienced, both from customs and the public lands.
- $29,682,981 The receipts from the customs in 1816, were 36,306,874 Proceeds of sales for the last three quarters
dollars; in 1817, 26, 283,348 dollars; 'in 1819, 20, 283,608 of the year 1836, estimated at
8,500,000 dollars; in 1820, 15,005,612 dollars; and in 1821, Proceeds for 1837, estimated at
. 8,500,000 13,004,447 dollars. The year 1816 was the first after
the war, which accounts for the great excess of importTotal amount to be distributed, . : - $46,682,981 ations; but from 1817 to 1821, a period of four years,
the revenue was diminished more than one half, falling This estimate for the remainder of the current year, off from more than twenty-six millions to thirteen miland for 1837, is considerably below the calculations of | lions. the friends of this measure, as they consider that the Speculations in public lands commenced in 1818, sales sales will be nearly or quite at the rate they were du- then being made on credit; and the receipts for lands ring the last year, when they exceeded fifteen millions. the following year were 3,270,000 dollars; in 1820 But I have supposed that the pressure on the money they fell off one half. In the years 1823 and 1824 the market which now prevails, and will be likely to con- annual receipts were less than one million, and last year tinue, will check the speculation in lands. The estimate, the sales have produced more than fifteen millions. however, may be low.'
This has been the result of speculations, which cannot In a financial view of this measure, the bill before the continue. It is not to be apprehended that the reaction Senate may be regarded in the light of an appropriation which has commenced will be as severe or as protracted bill. Should it become a law, it will take from the as that of 1819. The embarrassment and distress then Treasury during the present year, about thirty-seven continued for three years, and extended over the whole millions of dollars. The first question, therefore, is the country. The Bank of the United States, which had effect it will bave on the finances, and whether such a exerted a controlling and pernicious influence in origi. sweeping appropriation will not exhaust the Treasury, nating the spirit of overtrading and speculation, was also and render it difficult to carry on the different branches the principal instrument in occasioning the distress, as of the public service?
it was compelled, in self-defence, to make rapid and Without pretending to accuracy, the following state. forced curtailments of its loans. From February to Dements and estimates of receipts and expenditures may cember it reduced its loans twelve millions of dollars, throw some light on the subject of the finances of the being nearly one third of the whole amount of this year:
period of distress, Mr. Crawford, in 1819, then SecreMoney in the Treasury on the 1st of April,
tary of the Treasury, remarked: “Few instances are in round numbers,
- $32,000,000 on record of sufferings so deep and extensive as those Estimated receipts from the customs for
which have overspread the United States." the three quarters of the year 1836, at the
Let us now examine into the probable expenditures of rate of eighteen millions for the year, - 13,500,000 the present year. It must not be forgotten that appro. Estimated receipts from the public lands
priations for the year are one thing, and the moneys acfor the three quarters of the year,
tually drawn from the Treasury for public purposes are
another thing Total revenues of the year, . . $54,000,000 The letter of the Secretary of the Treasury, address.
ed to Congress early in the session, contains the followThe Senator from Tennessee [Mr. WHITE] and others ing estimates as to the appropriations and expenditures have estimated the money now in the Treasury, and | for the year 1836, viz: what will be received during the year, at seventy mil. Estimate of appropriations required for the lions. I do not understand the process by which they service of the year 1836,
- $17,515,933 make so large a sum, and am persuaded that it is alto Appropriations for the service of the gether an over estimate. I do not claim any accuracy year 1836, made by former acts of Confor the estimate I have made, but believe it will be gress, .
. 2,273,000 found not to vary essentially from the truth. The cal Appropriations not required for 1835, culation as to the customs is based on the assumption which it is proposed to apply in aid of that the importation of dutiable articles will be equal the service of 1836, . .
S44,707 the present year to the last, when the duties on imports Existing appropriations which will be rewere about nineteen millions. But by the compromise quired to complete the service of the act of 1833, one tenth part of the excess of duty over year 1835, and former years, but which twenty per cent. is taken off, which will amount to about will be expended in the year one million of dollars, leaving for the duties of the whole 1836,
. $7,306,765 year eighteen millions. The first quarter, it is true, Deduct appropriations not has considerably exceeded that rate; but the great wanted,
475,321 amount of importations the last quarter of 1835, and the
$6,831,444 first quarter of the present year, will be likely to occasion less importations the last three quarters of the pres. Total appropriations for 1836, - $26,965,084 ent year. In connexion with this cause, the extreme pressure on the money market in the commercial cities But the entire amount of these appropriations will not must occasion a check and reaction to all kinds of bu- be actually expended during the year; the last year a siness. This cause will operate still more forcibly to little over seven millions were unexpended. It therecheck the sales of the public land, a great portion of fore will be reasonable to conclude that about twenty which, the last year and the first quarter of the present, millions will be required to complete the service of 1835 has been purchased on speculation. When good notes, and former years, and for the ordinary service of the as is said to be the case, are discounted in New York at year 1836. This estimate of the Secretary of the TreasSENATE.]
[APRIL 28, 1836.
ury is only for the ordinary service of the year, and has the money now in the Treasury, and which is wanted no reference to the extraordinary expenses of the Flor for the public service, divided among the States and ida Indian war, for fortifications, (except the ordinary squandered on works of internal improvements? All appropriations for that purpose,) ordnance, increase of the objects, too, for the more complete defence of the the navy, Indian treaties, or any other extraordinary country must be abandoned. objects of expenditure.
If the bill should not become a law, there will, accordMore than two millions have already been appropria-ing to the estimates and statements made, be a surplus ted for the expenses of the Indian war in Florida, and at the close of the year of about nineteen millions. The as the hostile Seminoles have not been subdued, a con- various public and private bills before Congress will siderable force must be kept there during the year, as probably reduce it to two or three millions below that little can be expected to be done during the warm sea- amount. Are there no national purposes to which this son. Five millions will be a very moderate estimate for fund can be applied wisely and judiciously, for the comthe expenses of this war, and it is to be feared they will mon benefit of the whole Union? Is it not wanted for exceed that sum. The two important Indian treaties now the more complete defence of the country? Is there before the Senate, should they be ratified, will, it is any one, however averse to an extensive system of forunderstood, require an expenditure of about seven and tifications, who can doubt that this sum is wanted for a half millions; so that these two heads of extraordinary | fortifications, the increase of the navy, ordnance, and expenditure alone will amount to twelve and a half mil the improvement of navy yards? The question is not lions. But there will be others, amounting to several whether this sum can be judiciously and economically millions, independent of fortifications, increasing the expended on these objects this year, for that is not navy, and all other objects of permanent defence. The necessary; but whether it is for the interest of the Union, frontiers of the States west of the Mississippi have be whether it is wise and patriotic, to retain this surplus, come much exposed to Indian hostilities by the removal now we have it, and apply it, as fast as it conveniently
I the Indians east of the Mississippi to the and economically can be, to the defences of the councountry west of those States. There is said to be two try. On this question I should think there could be but hundred and forty thousand Indians west of that frontier.one opinion; the sum is less than one quarter what has The war now raging in Texas will, from the known been estimated by the engineer department and the character of the Indians, be likely to enkindle a spirit of navy commissioners, as being required for the objects hostility among some of those tribes, and additional specified. troops will be required for the defence of that exposed on the subject of fortifications, and the defence of the frontier. There is, I understand, a bill before the House country generally, the report of the Secretary of War providing for raising a regiment of dragoons, and autho recently made, is a most important and valuable docurizing the President to accept the services of companies ment. His views are sound, judicious, and practical, of volunteers, not to exceed ten thousand men, for the
they evince a thorough knowledge of the subject, and defence of the western frontier. This bill will probably an eminent discrimination and judgment in the applica. become a law, and will involve a considerable expendi tion of that knowledge. He does not contemplate a ture, probably not less than one or two millions. system of fortifications, for the protection of the sea
These three heads of extraordinary expenditure alone, coast, but only for the defence of certain points, as the added to the ordinary disbursements of the year, will large cities and navy yards; and for these purposes, he make about thirly-four millions and a half, which, de does not recommend large and strong fortifications, ducted from fifty-four millions, the whole revenue of the constructed to stand a regular siege. In the views of year, would leave but nineteen and a half millions. the Secretary of War, differing somewhat from those of What would be the situation of the T'reasury, if this bill the engineer department, the President has added his were to pass? It would draw from it the present year | full concurrence. about thirty-seven millions and a half. The sums given The engineer department have estimated the expense are the gross amount, from which some deductions are for completing the military defences of the United States, to be made. Tbis would occasion a deficit of eighteen including fortifications, ordnance, arsenals, depots, &c., millions, without any appropriations (except the ordi at about sixty-one millions of dollars. This entimate is nary) for fortifications, ordnance, increasing the navy,made upon a larger and more comprehensive scale of or other permanent objects of defence. How is this | fortifications than the President and Secretary of War deficiency to be supplied? There are but two ways. recommend. To complete the fortifications now under We must either raise the duties on imports, or borrow construction, the estimate is $11,609,444, and for the the money. If there was to be an increase of the cus-first class of new forts, they estimate $5,873,000; and toms, it must be done by restoring the duties on the free for ordnance for the forts, $17,840,249. This is a subarticles, as the rates of duties cannot be interfered with ject on which I do not profess to be competent to form consistently with the compromise act of 1833. But the any opinion; but I have now, as I always have bad, a mode of doing it is not material; in any way, it will be a strong aversion to an extensive system of fortifications; tax on the country. Will you distribute the money now it does not seem to be consistent with the genius of our in the Treasury among the States, and then raise, by institutions, and has, in my mind, an intimate connexion increasing the taxes, fifteen or twenty millions for the pub- with a standing army. lic service? This is the question which Congress and The board of navy commissioners estimate the expenthe country are called on to decide. There can be no ditures for the naval purposes, as follows: essential error in this statement; for if the estimate of For increase of the navy and purchase of materials for the receipts from the public lands should be too low, it preservation, to be used in case of war, - $17,760,000 would not vary the result; for the whole proceeds of For ordnance for the navy - - 1,800,000 the land are to be distributed. Should this bill pass, the For navy yards, .
3,600,000 twenty-nine millions now in the Treasury, being the amount of proceeds from the lands for the years 1833,
Total, - - $23, 160,000 1834, 1835, and the first quarter of the present year, would be distributed to the States in instalments, com For all these important objects, connected with the mencing in July, whether there was a dollar left in the permanent defence of the country, the surplus of ihe Treasuay or not. Are the people prepared to pay fif- present year, amounting to from fifteen to twenty milteen or twenty millions in taxes, for the sake of baying lions, together with the small surplus there may be the