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tricks so stale, so threadbare, so often practised, so much worn out, on serfs and slaves.
“ The natural hatred of the poor against the rich !” “The danger of a moneyed aristocracy !” “A power as great and dangerous as that resisted by the revolution !” “A call to a new declaration of independence !”
Sir, I admonish the people against the objects of outcries like these. I admonish every industrious laborer in the country to be on his guard against such delusion. I tell him the attempt is to play off his passions against his interests, and to prevail on him, in the name of liberty, to destroy all the fruits of liberty ; in the name of patriotism, to injure and afflict his country; and, in the name of his own independence, to destroy that very independence, and make him a beggar and a slave. Has he a dollar? He is advised to do that which will destroy half its value. Has he hands to labor ? Let bim rather fold them, and sit still, than be pushed on, by fraud and artifice, to support measures which will render his labor useless and hopeless.
Sir, the very man, of all others, who has the deepest interest in a sound currency, and who suffers most by mischievous legislation in money matters, is the man who earns his daily bread by his daily toil. A depreciated currency, sudden changes of prices, paper money, falling between morning and noon, and falling still lower between noon and night,—these things constitute the very harvest-time of speculators, and of the whole race of those who are at once idle and crafty; and of that other race, too, the Catalines of all times, marked, so as to be known forever by one stroke of the historian's pen, men greedy of other men's property and prodigal of their own. Capitalists, too, may outlive such times. They may either prey on the earnings of labor, by their cent. per cent., or they may hoard. But the laboring man—what can he hoard? Preying on nobody, he becomes the prey of all. His property is in his hands. His reliance, his fund, his productive freehold, his all, is his labor. Whether he work on his own small capital, or on another's, his living is still earned by his industry; and when the money of the country becomes depreciated and debased, whether it be adulterated coin or paper without credit, that industry is robbed of its reward. He then labors for a country whose laws cheat bim out of his bread. I would say to every owner of every quarter section of land in the West— I would say to every man in the East, who follows his own plough—and to every mechanic, artisan, and laborer, in every city in the country-I would say to every man, every where, who wishes, by honest means, to gain an honest living, “ Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. Whoever attempts, under whatever popular cry, to shake the stability of the public currency, bring on distress in money matters, and drive the country into paper money, stabs your interest and your happiness to the heart."
The herd of hungry wolves, who live on other men's earnings, will rejoice in such a state of things. A system which absorbs into their pockets the fruits of other men's industry, is the very system for them. A government that produces or countenances upcertainty, fluctuations, violent risings and fallings in prices, and, finally, paper money, is a government exactly after their own heart. Hence these men are always for change. They will never let well enough alone. A condition of public affairs in which property is safe, industry certain of its reward, and every man secure in his own hard-earned gains, is no paradise for them. Give them just the reverse of this state of things; bring on change, and change after change; let it not be known to-day what will be the value of property to-morrow; let no man be able to say whether the money in his pockets at night will be money or worthless rags in the morning; and depress labor till double work shall earn but half a living—give them this state of things, and you give them the consummation of their earthly bliss.
Sir, the great interest of this great coụntry, the producing cause of all its prosperity, is labor! labor! labor! We are a laboring community. A vast majority of us all live by industry and actual occupation in some of their forms.
The Constitution was made to protect this industry, to give it both encouragement and security ; but, above all, security. To that very end, with that precise object in view, power was given to Congress over the currency, and over the money system of the country. In forty years' experience, we have found nothing at all adequate to the beneficial execution of this trust but a well-conducted national bank. That has been tried, returned to, tried again, and always found successful. If it be not the proper thing for us, let it be soberly argued against ; let something better be proposed; let the country examine the matter coolly, and decide for itself. But whoever shall attempt to carry a question of this kind by clamor, and violence, and prejudice; whoever would rouse the people by appeals, false and fraudulent appeals, to their love of independence, to resist the establishment of a useful institution, because it is a bank, and deals in money; and who artfully urges these appeals wherever he thinks there is more of honest feeling than of enlightened judgment, means nothing but deception. And whoever has the wickedness to conceive, and the hardihood to avow, a purpose to break down what has been found, in forty years' experience, essential to the protection of all interests, by arraying one class against another, and by acting on such a principle as that the poor always hate the rich, shows himself the reckless enemy of all. An enemy to his whole country, to all classes,
telligent, well-informed of its own interest, enlightened, and capable of self-government, submit to suffer embarrassment in all its pursuits, loss of capital, loss of employment, and a sudden and dead stop in its onward movement in the path of prosperity and wealth, until it shall be ascertained whether this new-hatched theory shall answer the hopes of those who have devised it? Is the country to be persuaded to bear every thing, and bear patiently, until the operation of such an experiment, adopted for such an avowed object, and adopted, too, without the coöperation or consent of Congress, and by the Executive power alone, shall exhibit its results ?
In the name of the hundreds of thousands of our suffering fellowcitizens, I ask, for what reasonable end is this experiment to be tried ? What great and good object, worth so much cost, is it to accomplish? What enormous evil is to be remedied by all this inconvenience and all this suffering ? What great calamity is to be averted ? Have the people thronged our doors, and loaded our tables with petitions for relief against the pressure of some political mischief, some notorious misrule, which this experiment is to redress? Has it been resorted to in an hour of misfortune, calamity, or peril, to save the State? Is it a measure of remedy, yielded to the importunate cries of an agitated and distressed nation? Far, Sir, very far from all this. There was no calamity, there was no suffering, there was no peril, when these measures began. At the moment when this experiment was entered upon, these twelve millions of people were prosperous and happy, not only beyond the example of all others, but even beyond their own example in times past.
There was no pressure of public or private distress throughout the whole land. All business was prosperous, all industry was rewarded, and cheerfulness and content universally prevailed. Yet, in the midst of all this enjoyment, with so much to heighten, and so little to mar it, this experiment comes upon us, to harass and oppress us at present, and to affright us for the future. Sir, it is incredible ; the world abroad will not believe it; it is difficult even for us to credit it, who see it with our own eyes, that the country, at such a moment, should put itself upon an experiment fraught with such immediate and overwhelming evils, and threatening the property and the employments of the people, and all their social and political blessings, with severe and long-enduring future inflictions.
And this experiment, with all its cost, is to be tried, for what? Why, simply, Sir, to enable us to try another "experiment;" and that other experiment is, to see whether an exclusive specie currency may not be better than a currency partly specie and partly bank paper! The object to which, it is hoped, we may
arrive, by patiently treading this path of endurance, is to banish from the country all bank paper, of all kinds, and to have coined money, and coined money only, as the actual currency of the country!
Now, Sir, I altogether deny that such an object is at all desirable, even if it could be obtained. I know, indeed, that all paper ought to circulate on a specie basis; that all bank notes, to be safe, must be convertible into gold and silver at the will of the holder; and I admit, too, that the issuing of very small notes, by many of the State banks, has too much reduced the amount of specie actually circulating through the pockets of the people. It may be remembered that I called the attention of Congress to this subject in 1832, and that the bill which then passed both Houses, for renewing the Bank charter, contained a provision designed to produce some restraint on the circulation of very small notes. I admit there are conveniences in making small payments in specie ; and I have always not only admitted, but contended, that, if all issues of bank notes under five dollars were discontinued, much more specie would be retained in the country, and in the circulation ; and that great security would be derived from this. But we are now debating about an exclusive specie currency; and I deny that an exclusive specie currency is the best currency for any highly commercial country; and I deny, especially, that such a currency would be best suited to the condition and circumstances of the United States. With the enlightened writers and practical statesmen of all commercial communities, in modern times, I have supposed it to be admitted, that a well-regulated, properlyrestrained, safely-limited paper currency, circulating on an adequate specie basis, was a thing to be desired-a political public advantage, to be obtained, if it may be obtained ; and, more especially, I have supposed that, in a new country, with resources not yet half developed, with a rapidly-increasing population, and a constant demand for more and more capital ; that is to say, in just such a country as the United States are, I have supposed a safe and well-regulated paper currency to be allowed to produce particular and extraordinary advantages; because, in such a country, well-regulated bank paper not only supplies a convenient medium of payments and of exchange, but also, by the expansion of that medium in a reasonable and safe degree, the amount of circulation is kept more nearly commensurate with the constantly-increasing amount of property; and an extended capital, in the shape of credit, comes to the aid of the enterprising and the industrious. It is precisely on this credit, created by reasonable expansion of the currency in a new country, that men of small capital carry on their business. It is exactly by means of this, that industry and enterprise are stimulated. If we were driven back to an entire gold