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think it would be convenient, for all parties, that this Bank should have six years to run. The new bank would hardly get into full operation under a year or two, and time is absolutely necessary to enable this Bank gradually to collect its debts. A hastened collection must distress the people. With an existing debt of fifty-five millions, and pressed and solicited, on all sides, still further to extend its loans, in order to relieve the country, all must see that the affairs of the Bank cannot be closed without intolerable pressure on the community, unless time be given for that purpose. But, if six years be thought too long, I will consent to five, or to four. My own opinion is, that six years is not too long.
The second section provides, that the public moneys, becoming due after the 1st of July, shall be deposited in the Bank and its Branches as heretofore, subject, however, at any time after this act shall be accepted, to be removed by order of Congress. If Congress shall establish a new bank, they will of course remove the deposits into it. The effect of this provision will be to give to Congress, at all times, what rightfully belongs to them a full control over the public purse. It separates that purse from the sword, and reëstablishes the just authority of the Legislature.
Then comes the section by which the Bank is to pay $200,000 a year, for each of the six years, as compensation for the benefits of this continuance of its charter. This provision is adopted from the bill of 1832. For one, I should have been willing that a fixed per centage should have been paid, instead of this bonus, to be divided among the States, according to numbers ; but others objected to this, and I have sought to avoid all new causes of difference.
The next section authorizes Congress to restrain the Bank from issuing notes of less denomination than twenty dollars, if it shall see fit so to do, any time after March, 1836. This, too, is borrowed from the bill of 1832, and its object was fully discussed on that occasion. That object is to get rid of the circulation of all notes under five dollars, and, by so doing, to extend the specie basis of our circulation. When the States shall direct their own banks to issue no notes less than five dollars, then it is proposed that Congress shall direct the bank of the United States to issue no notes below twenty dollars. The state of our currency will then be, as I explained the other day, that, up to five dollars, the currency will be silver and gold ; above five dollars, it may be silver, and gold, and notes of State banks; and above twenty dollars, silver, and gold, and notes of State banks, and notes of the Bank of the United States. This greater use of silver and gold, for common purposes, and small payments, I have thought to be a desirable object, as I have often before said.
The next section looks to the winding up of the affairs of the
Bank; and it provides that, at any time within the last three years of its continuance, its directors may divide, among the stockholders, any portion of the capital which they may have withdrawn from active operation. The remaining sections are only such as are formal and necessary: one continues the acts of Congress connected with the Bank, such as those providing for forging its notes; and the other requires the acceptance of this bill by the Bank, in order to give it validity and effect.
Such, Mr. President, are the provisions of this bill. They are few and simple.
1. The Bank is to be continued for six years.
3. Congress is to be at perfect liberty to create any new bank, at any time after March, 1836.
4. The directors, in order to wind up their concerns, may, three years before the six years expire, begin to divide the capital among the stockholders.
Mr. President, this is the measure which I propose ; and it is my settled belief that, if we cannot carry this, we can carry nothing.
I have thus, Sir, stated my opinions, and discharged my duty. I see the country laboring, and struggling, and panting under an enormous political evil. I propose a remedy which I am sure will produce relief, if it be adopted, and which seems to me most likely to obtain support. And now, Sir, I put it to every member of Congress, how he can resist this measure, unless by proposing another and a better. Who, among the agents and servants of the people assembled in these Houses, is prepared, in the present distressed state of the country, to say, that he will oppose every thing, and propose nothing? For one, Sir, I can only say, that I have been driven to this proposition by an irresistible impulse of obligation to the country. If I had been suddenly called to my great reckoning in another world, I should have felt that one duty was left unattempted, if I had bad no measure to recommend, no expedient to propose, no hope to hold out, to this suffering community.
As to the success of this bill, Sir, or any other, I have only to repeat what I have so often said, that every thing rests with the people themselves. In the distracted state of the public councils, any measure of relief can only be obtained by the decisive demand of the public will.
By an exercise of Executive power, which I believe to be illegal, and which all must see to have been injurious,-by an unrelenting adherence to the measure which has thus been adopted, in spite of all consequences, and by the force of those motives which influence men to support the measure, though they entirely disapprove it: the country is brought to a condition such as it never
before witnessed, and which it cannot long bear. But it is not a condition for despair. Nothing will ruin the country, if the people themselves will undertake its safety; and nothing can save it, if they leave that safety in any hands but their own.
Would to God, Sir, that I could draw around me all these twelve millions of people ; would to God, that I could speak audibly to every independent elector in the whole land. I would not say to them, vainly and arrogantly, that their safety and happiness required the adoption of any measure recommended by me. But I would say to them, with the sincerest conviction that ever animated man's heart, that their safety and happiness do require their own prompt and patriotic attention to the public concerns, their own honest devotion to the welfare of the State. I would say to them, that neither this measure, nor any measure, can be adopted, except by the cogent and persisting action of popular opinion. I would say to them, that the public revenues cannot be restored to their accustomed custody; that they cannot be again placed under the control of Congress; that the violation of law cannot be redressed, but by manifestations, not to be mistaken, of public sentiment. I would say to them, that the Constitution and the laws, their own rights and their own happiness, all depend on themselves; and if they esteem these of any value; if they were not too dearly bought by the blood of their fathers; if they be an inheritance, fit to be transmitted to their posterity, I would beseech them-I would beseech them, to come now to their salvation.
[The following is the bill which Mr. WEBSTER asked leade to introduce.] A Bill to continue, for the term of six years, the act entitled " An Act to
incorporate the Subscribers to the Bank of the United States." Be it enacted, fc. That the act entitled “ An Act to incorporate the Subscri. bers to the Bank of the United States," approved on the tenth day of April, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixteen, shall continue in full force and effect for the term of six years, from and after the period therein limited for its expiration, to wit, the third day of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six; and that all the rights, interests, properties, powers, and privileges, secured by the same act, with all the rules, conditions, restrictions, and duties, therein prescribed and imposed, be and remain after the said third day of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six, during the said six years, as if the said limitation in the said act had not been made : Provided, nevertheless, That so much of the said act as declares that no other bank shall be established by any future law of the United States, during the continuance of the corporation thereby created, shall not be continued by this act; but that it shall be lawful for Congress, whenever it shall see fit, to establish any other bank, to come into existence and operation at any time, on or after the fourth day of March, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That all public moneys accruing to the United States, and becoming payable from and after the passage of this act, in places where the said Bank or any of its Offices is established, shall be deposited in the Bank of the United States and its Offices as heretofore : Provided, That, at any time after this act shall have been accepted, Congress may, by law or joint resolution, cause such moneys to be withdrawn and removed to any other custody or place of deposit.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That, in consideration of the benefits and privileges conferred by this act, the said Bank shall pay to the United States the annuity or yearly sum of two hundred thousand dollars; which said sum shall be paid, by the said Bank, on the fourth day of March, in each and every year, during the said term of six years.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That Congress may provide, by law, that the said Bank shall be restrained, at any time after the third day of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six, from making, issuing, or keeping in circulation, any notes or bills of said Bank, or any of its Offices, of a less sum or denomination then twenty dollars.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That, at any time or times within the last three years of the existence of said corporation, as continued by this act, it shall be lawful for the president and directors to divide among the several stockholders thereof such portions of the capital stock of said corporation as they may have withdrawn from active use, and may judge proper so to divide.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That so much of any act or acts of Congress, heretofore passed and now in force, supplementary to, or in any wise connected with, the said original act of incorporation, approved on the tenth day of April, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixteen, as is not inconsistent with this act, shall be continued in full force and effect during the said six years, after the third day of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the president and directors of the said Bank, on or before the first day of the next session of Congress, to signify to the President of the United States their acceptance, on behalf of the Bank of the United States, of the terms and conditions in this act contained; and if they shall fail to do so on or before the day above mentioned, then this act shall cease to be in force.
ON THE PRESIDENT'S PROTEST, DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF
THE UNITED STATES, MAY 7, 1834.
MR. PRESIDENT: I feel, Sir, the magnitude of this question. We are coming to a vote which cannot fail to produce important effects on the character of the Senate and the character of the Government.
Unhappily, Sir, the Senate finds itself involved in a controversy with the President of the United States ; a man who has rendered most distinguished services to his country, has hitherto possessed a degree of popular favor perhaps never excelled, and whose honesty of motive, and integrity of purpose, are still maintained by those who admit that his administration has fallen into lamentable errors.
On some of the interesting questions, in regard to which the President and Senate hold opposite opinions, the more popular branch of the Legislature concurs with the Executive. It is not to be concealed that the Senate is engaged against imposing odds. It can sustain itself only by its own prudence and the justice of its cause. It has no patronage by which to secure friends; it can raise up no advocates through the dispensation of favors, for it has no favors to dispense. Its very constitution, as a body whose members are elected for a long term, is capable of being rendered obnoxious, and is daily made the subject of opprobrious remark. It is already denounced as independent of the people, and aristocratic. Nor is it, like the other House, powerful in its numbers; not being, like that, so large as that its members come constantly in direct and sympathetic contact with the whole people. Under these disadvantages, Sir, which, we may be assured, will be pressed and urged to the utmost length, there is but one course for us. The Senate must stand on its rendered reasons. It must put forth the grounds of its proceedings, and it must then rely on the intelligence and patriotism of the people to carry it through the contest.
As an individual member of the Senate, it gives me great pain to be engaged in such a conflict with the Executive Government. The occurrences of the last session are fresh in all our recollections; and, having felt it to be my duty, at that time, to give my