Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

MAY 27, 1836.)

Public Deposites.

(SENATE.

AL

amount of stocks, the result would necessarily be to cre- | chievous consequences that must follow, I moved, during ate, in effect, the relation of debtor and creditor between the last session, for a select committee, which, among the States. The States, whose stocks might be purchased other measures, reported a resolution so to amend the conby the commissioners, would become the debtors of the stitution as to authorize a temporary distribution of the Government; and as the Government would, in fact, be surplus among the States; but so many doubted whether but the agent between them and the other States, the there would be a surplus at the time, that it rendered latter would, in reality, be their creditors. This relation all prospect of carrying the resolution hopeless. My between them could not fail to be productive of impor- opinion still remains unchanged, that the measure then tant political consequences, which would influence all the proposed was the best; but so rapid has been the accuoperations of the Government. It would, in particular, mulation of the surplus, even beyond my calculation, have a powerful bearing upon the Presidential election; and so pressing the danger, that what would have been the debtor and creditor States each striving to give such then an efficient remedy, would now be too tardy to a result to the elections as might be favorable to their meet the danger; and, of course, another remedy must be respective interests; the one to exact, and the other to devised more speedy in its action. exempt themselves from the payment of the debt. Sup. After bestowing on the subject the most deliberate posing the three great States to which I have referred, attention, ! have come to the conclusion that there is no whose united influence would have so decided a control, other so safe, so efficient, and so free from objections, as to be the principal debtor States (as would, in all proba. the one I have proposed--of depositing the surplus that bility, be the fact) it is easy to see that the result would may remain at the termination of the year in the treasuries be, finally, the release of the debt, and consequently a of the several States, in the manner provided for in the correspondent loss to the creditor, and gain to the debt- amendment. But the Senator from New York objects or States.

to the measure, that it would, in effect, amount to a dis* But there is another view of the subject still more tribution, on the ground, as he conceives, that the States deserving, if possible, of attention, than either of those would never refund. He does not doubt but that they wbich have been presented. It is impossible not to see, would, if called on to refund by the Government; but after what has been said, that the power proposed to be he says that Congress will in fact never make the call. conferred by the amendment of the Senator, of applying He rests this conclusion on the supposition that there the surplus in buying and selling the stocks of the would be a majority of the States opposed to it. He States, is one of great extent, and calculated to have admits, in case the revenue should become deficient, powerful influence, not only on a large body of the most that the southern or staple States would prefer to rewealthy and influential citizens of the States which bave fund their quota, rather than to raise the imposts issued stocks, but on the States themselves. The next to meet the deficit; but he insists that the contrary question is, in whom is the exercise of this power to be would be the case with the manufacturing States, vested? Where shall we find individuals sufficiently de which would prefer to increase the imposts to refunding tached from the politics of the day, and whose virtue, their quota, on the ground that the increase of the duties patriotism, disinterestedness, and firmness, can raise would promote the interests of manufactures. I cannot them so far above political and sinister motives, as to agree with the Senator that those States would assume a exercise powers so high and influential, exclusively for position so utterly untenable as to refuse to refund a de. the public good, without any view to personal or politi-posite which their faith would be plighted to return, and cal aggrandizement? Who has the amendment selected rest the refusal on the ground of preferring to lay a tax, as standing aloof from politics, and possessing these bigh because it would be a bounty to them, and would consequalifications? Who are the present commissioners of quently throw the whole burden of the tax on the other the sinking fund, to whom this high and responsible States. But, be this as it may, I can tell the Senator trust is to be confided? At the head stands the Vice that, if they should take a course so unjust and monPresident of the United States, with whom the Chief strous, he may be assured that the other States would Justice of the United States, the Secretary of State, the most unquestionably resist the increase of the imposts; Secretary of the Treasury, and the Attorney General, so that the Government would have to take its choice, are associated; all party men, deeply interested in the either o go without the money, or call on the States to maintenance of power in the present hands, and having | refund the deposites. But I so far agree with the Sena. the strongest motives to apply the vast power which the tor as to believe that Congress would be very reluctant amendment would confer upon them, should it become to make the call; that it would not make it till, from the a law, to party purposes. I do not say it would be so wants of the Treasury, it should become absolutely neapplied; but I must ask, would it be prudent, would it cessary; and that, in order to avoid such necessity, it be wise, would it be seemly, to vest such great and would resort to a just and proper economy in the public dangerous powers in those who have so strong a motivel expenditures as the preferable alternative. I see in this, to abuse them, and who, if they should have elevation and however, much good instead of evil. The Government virtue enough to resist the temptation, would still be has long since departed from babits of economy, and suspected of having used the power for sinister and has fallen into a profusion, a waste, and an extravagance corrupt purposes? I am persuaded that, in drawing in its disbursements, rarely equalled by any free State, the amendment, the Senator from New York has, and which threatens the most disastrous consequences. without due reflection on the impropriety of vesting But I am happy to think that the ground on which the power where he proposes, inadvertently inserted the objection of the Senator stands may be removed, the provision which he has; and that, on review, he without materially impairing the provisions of the will concur with me, that, should bis amendment be bill. It will require but the addition of a few words adopted, the power ought to be vested in others, less to remove it, by giving to the deposites all the exposed to temptation, and consequently less exposed | advantages, without the objections which he proposes by to suspicion.

his plan. It will be easy to provide that the States sball I have now stated the leading objections to the several authorize the proper officers to give negotiable certifimodes of disposing of the surplus revenue, which I pro-cates of deposite, which shall not bear interest till depose to consider; and the question again recurs, Wbat manded, when they shall bear the usual rates till paid. shall be done with the surplus? The Senate is not un. Such certificates would be, in fact, State stocks, every informed of my opinion on this important subject. Fore-way similar to that in which the Senator proposes to vest seeing that there would be a large surplus, and the mis- I the surplus, but with this striking superiority: that, inSENATE.]

Public Deposites.

[MAY 27, 1836.

stead of being partial, and limited to a few States, they confederacy, which constitute the greater portion of the would be fairly and justly apportioned among the sev- small States, it would not give them a larger share of eral States. They would have another striking advanthe deposites than what they would be entitled to on the tage over his. They would create among all the members principle of direct taxes. But the objection of the of the confederacy reciprocally the relation of debtor Senator to the ratio of distribution, like his objection to and creditor, in proportion to their relative weight in the condition on which the bill proposes to make it, is a the Union; wbich, in effect, would leave them in their matter of small comparative consequence. I am prepresent relation, and would of course avoid the danger pared, in the spirit of concession, to adopt either, as one that would result from his plan, which, as has been shown, or the other may be more acceptable to the Senate. would necessarily make a part of the States debtors to It now remains to compare the disposition of the surthe rest, with all the danger resulting from such relation. plus proposed in the bill with the others I have discuss.

The next objection of the Senator is to the ratio of ed; and, unless I am greatly deceived, it possesses great distribution, proposed in the bill, among the States, advantages over them. Compared with the scheme of which he pronounces to be unequal, if not unconstitu expending the surplus, its advantage is, that it would tional. He insists that the true principle would be to avoid the extravagance and waste which must result distribute the surplus among the States in proportion to from suddenly more than quadrupling the expenditures, the representation in the House of Representatives, without a corresponding organization in the disbursing without including the Senators, as is proposed in the department of the Government to enforce economy and bill; for which he relies on the fact, that, by the consti responsibility. It would also avoid the diversion of so tution, representation and taxation are to be apportioned large a portion of the industry of the country from its in the same manner among the States.

present useful direction to unproductive objects, with The Senate will see that the effect of adopting the ra heavy loss to the wealth and prosperity of the country, tio supported by the Senator would be to favor the large as has been shown; while it would, at the same time, States, wbile that in the bill will be more favorable to avoid the increase of the patronage and influence of the the small.

Government, with all their corruption and danger to the The State I in part represent occupies a neutral posi liberty and institutions of the country. But its advantion between the two. She cannot be considered either tages would not be limited simply to avoiding the evil a large or a small State, forming, as she does, one of extravagant and useless disbursements. It would twenty-fourth part of the Union, and of course it is the confer positive benefits, by enabling the Statęs to dissame to her whichever ratio may be adopted. But I charge their debts, and complete a system of internal prefer the one contained in my amendment, on the improvements by railroads and canals, which would not ground that it represents the relative weight of the only greatly strengthen the bonds of the confederacy, States in the Government. It is the weight assigned to but increase its power, by augmenting infinitely our them in the choice of the President and Vice President resources and prosperity. in the electoral college, and, of course, in the adminis. I do not deem it necessary to compare the disposition tration of the laws. It is also that assigned to them in of the surplus which is proposed in the bill with the the making of the laws by the action of the two Houses, dangerous, and, I must say, wicked scheme of leaving and corresponds very nearly to their weight in the judicial | the public funds where they are, in the banks of de. department of the Government; the judges being nomi. posite, to be loaned out by those institutions to specula. nated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. tors and partisans, without authority or control of law. In addition, I was influenced in selecting the ratio by Compared with the plan proposed by the Senator from the belief that it was a wise and magnanimous course, in New York, it is sufficient, to prove its superiority, to case of doubt, to favor the weaker members of the con say that, while it avoids all of the objections to which his federacy. The larger can always take care of them is liable, it at the same time possesses all the advantages, selves, and, to avoid jealousy and improper feelings, with others peculiar to itself. Among these, one of the ought to act liberally towards the weaker members of most prominent is, that it provides the only efficient the confederacy. To which may be added, that I am remedy for the deep-seated disease which now afflicts of the impression that, even on the principle assumed the body politic, and which threatens to terminale so by the Senator, that the distribution of the surplus ought fatally, unless it be speedily and effectually arrested. to be apportioned on the ratio with direct taxation, All who have reflected on the nature of our complex (which may be well doubted, the ratio which I support system of government, and the dangers to which it is would conform in practice more nearly to the principle exposed, have seen that it is susceptible, from its struc. than that which he supports. It is a fact not generally | ture, to two dangers of opposite character: one threatenknown, that representation in the other House, and ing consolidation, and the other anarchy and dissolution. direct taxes, should they be laid, would be very far from From the beginning of the Government we find a differbeing equal, although the constitution provides that ence of opinion among the wise and patriotic, as to which they should be. The inequality would result from the the Government was most exposed; one party believing mode of apportioning the Representatives. Instead of that the danger was that the Government would absorb apportioning them among the States, as near as may be, the reserved powers of the States, and terminate in as directed by the constitution, an artificial mode of dis. consolidation; while the other were equally confident tribution has been adopted, which in its effects gives to that the States would absorb the powers of the Governthe large States a greater number, and to the small a ment, and the system end in anarchy and dissolution. less, than that to which they are entitled. I would refer It was this diversity of opinion which gave birth to the those who may desire to understand how this inequality two great, honest, and patriotic parties which so long is effected, to the discussion in this body on the appor divided the community, and to the many political contionment bill, under the last census. So great is this Alicts which so long agitated the country. Time has inequality, that, were a direct tax to be laid, New York, decided the controversy. We are no longer left to doubt for instance, would have at least three members more that the danger is on the side of this Government, and than her apportionment of the tax would require. The that, if not arrested, the system must terminate in an ratio which I have proposed would, I admit, produce as entire absorption of the powers of the States. great an inequality in favor of some of the small States, | Looking back, with the light which experience has particularly the old, whose population is nearly station | furnished, we now clearly see that both of the parties ary; but, among the new and growing members of the took a false view of the operation of the system. It

Mar 27, 1836.)

Public Deposites.

(SEXATE.

was admitted by both that there would be a conflict for proaching nearest to restitution, is that which is propower between the Government and the States, arising posed-to deposite it in the treasuries of the several from a disposition on the part of those who, for the time States, which will place it under the disposition of the being, exercised the powers of the Government, and immediate representatives of the people, to be used by the States, to enlarge iheir respective powers at the ex- them as they may think fit, till the wants of the Governpense of each other, and which would induce each toment may require its return. watch the other with incessant vigilance. Had such But it is objected that such a disposition would be a proved to be the fact, I readily concede that the result bribe to the people. A bribe to the people! to return would have been the opposite to what has occurred, it to those to whom it justly belongs, and from whose and the Republican, and not the Federal party, would pockets it should never have been taken. A bribe! to have been mistaken as to the tendency of the system. place it in the charge of those who are the immediate But so far from this jealousy, experience has shown that representatives of those from whom we derive our auin the operation of the system a majority of the States thority, and who may emplov it so much more usefully have acted in concert with the Government at all times, than we can. But wbat is to be done? If not returned except upon the eve of a political revolution, when one to the people, it must go somehow; and is there no danparty was about to go out, to make room for the other | ger of bribing those to whom it may go! If we disto come in; and we now clearly see that this has not burse it, is there no danger of bribing the thousands of been the result of accident, but that the habitual opera agents, contractors, and jobbers, through whose hands tion must necessarily be so. "The misconception result it must pass, and in whose pockets, and those of their ed from overlooking the fact, that the Government is associates, so large a part would be deposited? If, to but an agent of the States, and that the dominant ma avoid this, we leave it where it is in the banks is there jority of ihe Union, which elect and control a majority no danger of bribing the banks in whose custody it is, of the State Legislatures, would also elect those who with their various dependants, and the numerous swarms would control this Government, whether that majority of speculators which hover about them in hopes of parrested on sectional interests, on patronage and influence, ticipating in the spoil? Is there no danger of bribing or whatever basis it might; and that they would use the the political managers, who, through the deposites, power both of the general and State Governments have the control of these banks, and, by them, of their jointly, for aggrandizement and the perpetuation of their dependants and the hungry and voracious hosts of spec. power. Regarded in this light, it is not at all surprising ulators who have overspread and are devouring the that the tendency of the system is such as it has proved land? Yes, literally devouring the land. Finally, if it itself to be, and which any intelligent observer now sees should be vested as proposed by the Senator from New must necessarily terminate in a central, absolute, irre York, is there no danger of bribing the holders of State sponsible, and despotic power. It is this fatal ten stocks, and, through them, the States which have issued dency that the measure proposed in the bill is calcula- | them? Are the agents, the jobbers, and contractors; ted to counteract, and which I believe would prove ef. are the directors and stockholders of the banks; are the fective if now applied. It would place the states in speculators and stock-jobbers; are the political managers the relation in which it was universally believed they and holders of State securities, the only honest portion would stand to this Government at the time of its forma of the community? Are they alone incapable of being tion, and make them those jealous and vigilant guardians bribed? And are the people the least honest, and most of its actions on all measures touching the disburse liable to be bribed? Is this the creed of those now in ments and expenditure of the Government, and which power? of those who profess to be the friends of the it was confidently believed they would be, which would people, and to place implicit confidence in their virtue arrest the fatal tendency to the concentration of the en and patriotism? tire power of the system in this Government, if any I have now (said Mr. C.) stated what, in my opinion, power on earth can.

ought to be done with the surplus. Another question But it is objected that the remedy would be too pow. still remains--not what sball, but what will, be done with erful, and would produce an opposite and equally dan- the surplus? With a few remarks on this question, I gerous tendency.' I coincide ihat such would be the shall conclude what I intended to say. danger, if permanently applied; and under that impres There was a time, in the better days of the repubsion, and believing that the present excess of revenue lic, when to show what ouglit to be done, was to ensure would not continue longer, I have limited the measure the adoption of the measure. Those days have passed to the duration of the compromise act. Thus limited, away, I fear, forever. A power has risen up in the it will act sufficiently long, I trust, to eradicate the pres Government greater than the people themselves, conent disease, without superinducing one of an opposite sisting of many and various and powerful interests, comcharacter.

bined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive But the plan proposed is supported by its justice, as | power of the vast surplus in the banks. This mighty well as these high considerations of political expedien-combination will be opposed to any change; and it is to cy. The surplus money in the Treasury is not ours. be feared that such is its influence that no measure to It properly belongs to those who made it, from whom it which it is opposed can become a law, bowever expedihas been unjustly taken. I hold it an unquestionable ent and necessary, and that the public money will reprinciple, that the Government has no right to take a main in their possession, to be disposed of, not as the cent from the people beyond what is necessary to meet public interest, but as theirs may dictate. The time, its legitimate and constitutional wants. To take more indeed, seems fast approaching, when no law can pass, intentionally, would be robbery; and if the Government nor any honor be conferred, from the Chief Magistrate has not incurred the guilt in the present case, its ex- | to the tide-waiter, without the assent of this powerful emption can only be found in its folly--the folly of not and interested combination, which is steadily becoming seeing and guarding against a vast excess of revenue, the Government itself, to the utter subversion of the auwliich the most ordinary understanding ought to have thority of the people. Nay, I fear we are in the midst foreseen and prevented. If it were in our power--if of it, and I look with anxiety to the fate of this measure we could ascertain from whom the vast amount now in as the test whether we are or not. the Treasury was improperly taken, justice would de. If nothing should be done; if the money, which justly mand that it should be returned to its lawful owners. belongs to the people, be left where it is, with the many But as that is impossible, the measure next best, as ap- and overwhelming objections to it, the fact will prove

Vol. XII.-103

SENATE.)

Public Deposites.

[Mar 27, 1836.

that a great and radical change has been effected; that be wholly inadequate. He believed that a member of the Government is subverted; that the authority of the the other House from Pennsylvania (Mr. BINNEY) had, people is suppressed by a union of the banks and Exec at the last session of Congress, proposed to apportion utive-a union a hundred times more dangerous than the amount of deposites which should not bear interest that of church and state, against wbich the constitution to the capitals of the respective banks. He was under has so jealously guarded. It would be the announce the impression that this would be a fairer mode of proment of a state of things, from which, it is to be feared, ceeding than to establish a fixed sum applicable alike to there can be no recovery-a state of boundless corrup- to all the banks, whether their capitals were great or tion, and the lowest and basest subserviency. It seems small. to be the order of Providence that, with the exception Mr. B. said, however, that the question of interest of these, a people may recover from any other evil. Pi-might sink into one of comparatively little importance. racy, robbery, and violence, of any description, may, as if the surplus in the Treasury at the end of each year, history proves, be followed by virtue, patriotism, and except three millions of dollars, should be deposited national greatness; but where is the example to be with the several States, according to the proposition of found, of a degenerate, corrupt, and subservient peo- the Senator from South Carolina, (Mr. Calhoun,) or if it ple, who bave ever recovered their virtue and patriot- should be invested quarterly in State stocks, leaving five ism? Their doom has ever been the lowest state of millions of dollars in the Treasury, in pursuance of the wretchedness and misery; scorned, trodden down, and amendment which had been offered by the Senator obliterated forever from the list of nations. May Hea from New York, (Mr. WRIGHT,) the adoption of either ven grant that such may never be our doom!

alternative would, in a great degree, dispose of the When Mr. CALHOUN sat down

question of interest. The banks, in either case, it was Mr. BUCHANAN congratulated the Senate and the probable, would not generally hare more money on decountry upon the tone and spirit in which this debate posite than would be a fair and just compensation for had commenced. He believed that a general disposi- the services which they perform. It was as much the tion prevailed, on all sides, to surrender individual opin- interest of the Government as their interest that we ions as far as they could be surrendered without a sac-should not drive hard and unreasonable bargains with rifice of principle, and to unite upon the best measure them. for regulating the public deposites. From this disposi- These banks were at present in a most awkward and tion, he augured the most happy results; especially as embarrassing situation in regard to the public deposites. the Senators from New York and South Carolina (Messrs. They had vast sums of public money in their possession, WRIGHT and Calhoun] did not seem to differ essen without knowing what moment they might be called tially in regard to this branch of the subject.

upon to pay them. They were awaiting the action of In the few remarks which he intended to make, he Congress; and, in this state of suspense, they could not, would follow the argument of the Senator from South with a proper regard to their own safety, discount Carolina. This would enable him to present distinctly largely upon these deposites. They must always be his own views on the different points which had been ready to meet our demands. Hence they could not afmade by that gentleman.

ford that relief to the community which they would be And, first, in regard to the payment of interest by the able to do under other circumstances. And here he deposite banks, Mr. B. said there did not seem to be would take occasion to say that he believed the public any essential difference between the two gentlemen on money was perfectly secure in their hands. There was this question. It was very clear to his mind that, if not the least cause for apprehension on this account. Congress should adjourn without making any disposition He thought that every Senator must arrive at the same of the surplus revenue, these banks ought to pay a conclusion who would take the trouble to examine the moderate interest for the greater portion of the public statement of their condition made by the Secretary of money in their possession. He said the greater portion, the Treasury to the Senate on Monday last. because he was disposed to deal fairly towards them, | Mr. B. concurred in opinion with the Senator from and charge them no interest, except on sums which ex- South Carolina, that transfer drafts should not be used ceeded a fixed amount. He was disposed to give them by the Secretary of the Treasury, except for the purpose the use of as much money, without interest, as would of facilitating the public disbursements. They certainbe a full equivalent for the services which they were ly ought not to be used for the purpose of protecting a required to render to the Government. Beyond this bank in doubtful circumstances from the consequences amount, which would be determined by the Senate, of its own imprudence. Each bank owed it to the pubwith a just reference to all the circumstances, he thought lic to take care of itself, and never to place itself in such they ought to pay interest; and he could not say that a condition as to require the money of the Government two per cent. per annum, as proposed by the Senator to sustain its credit. The Secretary of the Treasury from South Carolina, was unreasonable. The banks had never used transfer warrants for any such purpose; discounted upon these deposites, and made money for therefore the Senator's proposition could have no pertheir stockholders out of these deposites; it was, then, sonal application to his conduct. He saw no objection, but justice to our constituents to charge them interest. however, to the incorporation of this probibition in the It would be unjust towards the people of the United bill. It would give fair notice to all the banks that they States, that the use of their money should be given to must rely upon themselves to sustain their own credit, the stockholders of these banks as a mere gratuity, with and not upon any aid to be derived from the public out any compensation. He should certainly vote to Treasury. make them pay something for the use of this money. He would say but little in regard to the selection of

In regard to the amount which each of these banks deposite banks, the third point made by the Senator should be entitled to hold, without interest, he thought from South Carolina. He thought that a plan might be the proposition of the Senator from South Carolina lia devised which would be decidedly preferable to that ble to well-founded objections. To establish as a uni- proposed by either the Senator from New York or the versal rule that the sum of fifty thousand dollars should be Senator from South Carolina. On this subject a midthus retained by each of them, would be, in his opinion, dle course might be adopted, which, whilst it would enunjust. If the capital of the bank were small, say sure a proper responsibility from the head of the De$100,000, this would be a considerable sum; but if the partment to Congress, should, at the same time, leave capital amounted to one or two millions, $50,000 would I him such a discretion as the public interest demanded.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Mar 27, 1836.]

Public Deposites.

(SENATE.

Ile could not agree with the gentleman from South Car- circulation, and their deposites, but also one fifth of this olina in limiting the Secretary of the Treasury, in the balance. The gentleman's bill does not embrace this first instance, to the present deposite banks, and to case. Under his bill, one of these deposite banks might them alone, as his bill proposes. ' Neither did he be- / have $100,000 of specie in its vaults, might be indebted lieve that it would be proper to confer upon that officer to other banks in an aggregate balance of $500,000, and the unlimited discretion in selecting the depositories of might have notes in circulation and deposites on hand the public money which seemed to be sanctioned by the / to another amount of $500,000, and yet not violate its amendment of the Senator from New York. He was not provisions, although it could pay in specie but one dolafraid of the judicious exercise of this power; but still, | lar in ten, instead of one dollar in five, of its immediate as a general rule, as little discretion ought to be left to liabilities. He had prepared an amendment to obviate executive officers as was consistent with the public in- , this objection, but should not offer it at present. terest.

In this respect, he felt bound to say he greatly preferThe present deposite banks bad faithfully, he believ red the bill of the Senator from South Carolina to the ed, performed their duty to the country. Their con- amendment which had been proposed by his friend from duct had been satisfactory to the head of the Treasury New York. That amendment simply provided that each Department; at least, he bad never heard any thing to deposite bank must keep in its vaults sufficient specie the contrary. He would suggest that the bill itself to pay the one fourth of its notes and bills in circulation, should continue them by name as banks of deposite. / and the balance of its accounts with other banks payable From what he had heard in the course of this debate, on demand. It had no reference whatever to the amount he had no doubt it was necessary to increase the num- of its public and private deposites, the whole of which ber of these depositories. This would be required in might be demanded at any moment. If a deposite bank New York and Boston, and perbaps in Philadelphia. have sufficient specie in its vaults to pay one fourth of its There might be other places in the same situation. He notes in circulation, it might be indebted to its deposi. would therefore authorize the Secretary of the Treasu-tors ten or twenty times the amount of its specie, and ry, between this time and the next meeting of Congress, yet not violate the terms of the amendment. to select as many deposite banks, not exceeding a cer- | Mr. B. said he now approached the more difficult tain number, as the public interest might require, in ad- question, of what disposition we ought to make of the dition to those already selected. After these additional surplus now in the Treasury. He believed this surplus selections should be made, after the system should thus would be very large on the first day of January next, be completely organized, he would not authorize the notwithstanding our liberal appropriations. He had Secretary to make new selections, without the previous himself made an estimate of the amount; but he would consent of Congress, unless it were to supply the place not now commit himself by stating it, as it had not been of such of the existing banks as should cease to be de made with sufficient care to enable him to speak with positories under the provisions of the bill which will be any degree of positiveness. passed.

He would take this occasion to remark, that, although The fourth point of the Senator from South Carolina he had voted, and intended to vote, during the present is one of so liitle importance that he should pass it over

session, in favor of liberal ---some might say extravagantwithout any remark, except that it cannot materially appropriations for defence, he considered these apinterfere with the satisfactory adjustment of this ques propriations as the exception justified by the special tion.

circumstances in which the country was placed, and not On the fifth point, Mr. B. entirely concurred in opin as the general rule. He never should depart from those ion with the Senator from South Carolina. Was it a maxims of sound and wholesome economy by which this measure of severity to require that the deposite banks Government ought always to be administered. The should always have immediate means in their possession expenditures authorized at the present session ought or power to meet the one fifth of their immediate re. not to be considered as a standard for future years. sponsibilities? He thought not. Every bank ought, at He presumed no Senator thought of increasing the perthe very least, to have an amount of specie in its vaults, | manent expenses of the country to any such standard. which, with the debts due to it from other banks, which We had just finally discharged the debt contracted during might be converted into specie without delay, would be the last war; our Treasury was overflowing, and all we equal to one fifth of its notes in circulation, and of its had done was to appropriate more money than had been public and private deposites. He should be unwil. usual heretofore to the completion of those necessary ling to trust the money of the United States in any defences which had been projected long ago, and which bank which was either unable or unwilling to com- the safety of the country demanded. Whilst we were ply with this condition. He should consider it unsafe paying our debt, policy required that we should not in any such depository. Taking the general aggregate progress in these measures as rapidly as we ought now of the condition of the deposite banks, according to the to do. Hence, increased appropriations were now last report of the Secretary of the Treasury, if we highly proper; not for the purpose of wasting the pubshould apply to them the rule of the one third, instead of lic money in useless expenditures, but for the purpose the one fifth, they would still be much within that limit. of accomplishing objects which have always been He had not, in detail, examined the condition of each deemed necessary. For his own part, he never had one of these thirty-six banks; but he believed he might voted away, and he never should vote away, a dollar venture to say that there was not one of them which of public money, merely because we had a surplus in the would be affected by the rule proposed to be applied to Treasury. them by the Senator from South Carolina.

Mr. B. said he would proceed to make a few remarks Ile would suggest to the Senator, however, that his upon the plans proposed by the Senators from South bill was defective on this point, and did not embrace, in Carolina and New York, for disposing of the surplus in all its extent, the principle for which he had intended to the Treasury; and, first, in regard to that of the Senator provide. In preparing it, he must have forgotten that, in- from South Carolina. He proposes to loan the balance stead of the aggregate balance of the deposite banks in remaining in the Treasury at the end of each year, until their accounts with other banks being always in their June, 1842, (after deducting therefrom $3,000,000,) to favor, it might and would be sometimes against them. the several States, without interest; each State receiving In such a case, they ought not only to have specie in such a proportion of the whole amount as her Senators their vaults sufficient to pay one fifth of their notes in and Representatives in Congress bear to the whole num

« AnteriorContinuar »