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MAnch 3, 1837.]
C’s constituents, it was possible he might find that he had himself incurred the same disaster which he had so earnestly deprecated in the case of Mr. C's colleague. For his own part, he had not seen a single man in his own quarter-of the country who at all disapproved of Kentucky’s taking her share in the distribution of the surplus. Yet he had never understood that the people of that part of the Union were distinguished by an inordinate regard for money. He did not think that in that respect they went very far beyond the people of the North and of the East. He feared, lest some great change had passed upon the character of the gentleman’s constituents, that he would find on his return home that they had again relapsed into at least a due estimate of the value of money. He could not but apprehend that the honorable Senator would find it somewhat hard to persuade them that it was better that millions of the public revenue should remain in the Treasury than in their pockets. The honorable Senator, however, did not, he presumed, need any of his admonition; he doubted not i. he would be sufficiently careful of his own popuarity. Some of the States, to be sure, had shown themselves very coy in taking their share; but whatever might have been their scruples, and the throes of their conscience, he believed that as yet not one had refused; and, what was more, they would take the same again and again, whenever it might be deemed necessary to disencumber the Treasury. The Senator from New York [Mr. Warghor] had said that it was the policy of the coming administration to have no surplus. A very proper policy, indeed; and the present amendment would give to the nation ample security that such a policy should be observed. Give them this security, and then the majority would never be found creating a surplus with a view to retain and manage it. There were several ways to prevent a surplus: one was, not to raise more money than was wanted; another method, equally certain, was to make the expenditure come up to the amount of the receipts. Now, the amendment proposed would tend to preserve the economy of this Government. If virtue, as has a thousand times been observed, was the foundation of republican Government, then a lavish expenditure of public money, by corrupting the virtue of the nation, must have a direct tendency to undermine public virtue; and the amendment, by preventing the accumulation of an extravagant surplus at the disposal of the Government, would contribute so far to the preservation of virtue, and thereby to the safety of our liberties. In every point of view, Mr. C. consid. ered the distribution policy as good. Gentlemen had expressed an apprehension that if the experiment of dis. tribution should again be made, the thing would, in a short time, become habitual, and that all previous meastires would be calculated with a reference to that end. He had no such apprehensions. It was proposed to distribute only the superfluous and unnecessary revenue; and what better could be done with this, than to give it back to the people? He trusted that none of those who had supported this policy at the last session would oppose it now. The action of the House of Representatives went clearly to show that the people approved of the measure. ... So forcible had been the pressure of public opinion, that it had broken down all party trammels. Men had revolted from under party discipline, from a wholesome fear of their constituents. As sar as his knowledge extended, the public sentiment of the country was all in favor of distribution. There could be no good reason for leaving the surplus in the banks. The Executive had told the Senate that it furnished great means for speculation; and so strong had been his conviction of the evil to be apprehended, that, with a view to prevent it, he had assumed the responsibility of issuing
the Treasury order; and yet the Senate was to be deterred from a measure which was legal and legitimate, and which would remedy the evil. This went to show that, aster all, the majority of the Senate were in favor of banks and banking. He remembered well when the President, in commencing his attack on the United States Bank, held out to the nation the golden prospect of a specie circulation. It was the cheap purchase of anticipated glory. It rang from Maine to Georgia, and the bank was destroyed. The nation had all been in the most triumphant anticipation of , those halcyon days which were to follow; but when the time was actually come, and the friends of the administration were asked for what they had promised, behold, what a multitude of objections were at once interposed. One was afraid that the money would corrupt the people; another that its possession would create interminable discord; another dreaded the danger of the example, and predicted that it would weaken the Government, and make it a mere collector for the States. Thus, after all the promises, and after the first great step had been taken, gentlemen were likely to fall back into the old position, to keep fast hold of the money bags; and when the people remonstrated, to reply by assuring them that they were incapable of managing their money; that it would only corrupt them; and that their wisest course would be to leave it in the pure and incorruptible hands of those who now had the management of it. Mr. EWING, of Ohio, was desirous of submitting a few remarks, which he considered due to the occasion. He was not one who was in favor of collecting revenue for the sake of again distributing it, and the gentlemen who placed the matter on that footing lost their argument on him. He had no such disposition now, nor had he been so disposed when the deposite bill of last session was passed. It was not the proposition of this amendment. The proposition went on the supposition that there would be a surplus. If no surplus should arise, the clause would have no effect; it would be altogether nugatory; but if there was a surplus, it would place the money in safe keeping, and at the same time avoid all the mischief of retaining it in the deposite banks. While Mr. E. was unwilling, on the one hand, to create a surplus with the view to distribution, he would not, on the other, consent to unsettle the business or disturb the tranquillity of the country for the sake of avoiding one. He was opposed to interfering with the compromise, and he still hoped it would not be interfered with. He would not upset an arrangement of that importance to prevent a surplus of two millions, at the expense of more than fifty millions of injury to the country. It would be better to throw the money into the Potomac... Nor was he disposed to give away the public lands, to prevent the price of them from coming into the Treasury; nor was he willing to give the public domain at less than its value to a certain exclusive set, rather than let all our citizens share equally in its advantages, as heretofore. If a surplus arose, he would rather distribute it than avoid its accumulation by measures like these, or by extravagant appropriations beyond what had ever been known before. If the laws of the country brought a surplus into the Treasury, he would not wrest the laws for the sake of preventing it; nor would he absorb the revenue in lavish and wasteful expenditures, rather than dis. tribute a surplus. If it came into the Treasury in a fair and legitimate manner, he would dispose of it as it had been disposed of last year. He could not see the least distinction between the two cases. Some gentlemen had said that they could see no resemblance between the case of last session and the case of this; to him they appeared not only like each other, but the same. This a','endment was in the very words of the distribution bill of last year; it was a perfect sac simile of that bill. SENATE.]
Here was certainly some slight resemblance. It was, indeed, very true that, while the form of the bill was the same, there might exist a state of things which would make the bill very different in principle. Now, let us see what are these alleged points of distinction. Gentlemen had said that last year it had been admitted that there would be a surplus. It was very true that he had admitted it, and those who acted with him; but there had been gentlemen on the other side who protested strongly that there would be no surplus. All the difference, then, in that respect, consisted in this: that more had been admitted at the last session than now. Mr. E. heard none now say that there would be no surplus. His own estimate at the last session had been that there would be one of ten, fifteen, or eighteen millions, if the appropriations were marked with any thing like moderation. But both appropriations and revenue had far exceeded his calculations. But be this as it might, the same argument which had been urged last year applied equally well now; if there was no surplus, this law would divide nothing. It was a hypothetical law. He would not, indeed, agree to pass a law which would probably be nugatory, but that did not apply to the present amendment, because there was every probability that there would be something, and not a little, to divide. They knew that there was to come in a large incidental sum from the Bank of the United States; then there were the receipts from the customs, and the receipts from the public lands; so that when gentlemen came to see the actual figures next winter, he rather believed that they would find not less than twelve millions of dollars, which must either remain in the deposite banks or be distributed among the States. As to the proper time for passing the bill, gentlemen knew that various deposite banks complained even last year. The Secretary told Congress that the sudden withdrawal of the money from those institutions would cause a great shock. Why not, then, give him time? If they waited until the next ses. sion, much time would necessarily be consumed in legislation; and after the bill passed, the banks would need time to conform themselves to the new arrangement, so that it would be past midsummer before a cent could actually be distributed. There was another reason for legislating at this time. It would give the deposite banks timely warning that the public moneys. in their hands were not to be loaned out permanently, for the purpose of investments. Such a notice would be very important. But it was said that this practice of distribution, if repeated, would become habitual, and that the General Government would starve for want of the requisite appropriations. Gentlemen who urged this objection must have greatly changed their ground within a few years. The friends of the honorable Senator on his less [Mr. Buchan AN] had advocated the doctrine that too much was expended for the General Government. He held in his hand a report of a speech made by the honorable Senator from Missouri, [Mr. BEN to N,) which seemed to have been carefully considered, in which that gentleman had endeavored to show that it required not less than eight millions to put the machinery of Government in motion. Allowing for extraordinaries, it might require twelve millions. The gentleman would remember that they had expended thirty-seven millions last year, and that he had recommended and strongly advocated the expenditure of not less than sixty millions, which was five times the amount of his own estimate of the neces. Sary expenses of the Government. Did not this go to show that the danger was not that of starving the Gene. ral Government, but quite on the other side? That the real danger was of making the appro siations so extrav. agant * o, absorb the revenue, iet it amount to what it "&" The expense was not fit, bou. money
flowed into the Treasury without direct taxation; but the danger was only the greater on that account. Who had ever heard of a Government going backwards in its expenditure? What Government had ever been able to retreat? England, it was true, had freed herself from one million and a half, out of about forty millions—an enormous load of taxation—but it had not been without a mighty effort, a struggle which shook the kingdom. How could we ever accomplish a reduction of our national expenses, unless we fell on some disposition of the public revenue which should induce gentlemen to think what could be saved to their constituents? Mr. DAVIS rose and said he could not permit a measure of so much consequence to be lost without expressing his dissent from so ill-advised and injurious a policy. The measure proposed was precisely the same which went through both Houses at the last session, with an almost unexampled unanimity. It proposed simply to trust the several States with the custody of all the surplus revenue, if any should exist, beyond five millions. If this fails, the money will go to the deposite banks. It is singular, if such distrust is entertained of the States, that their credit is not as good as that of the deposite banks! The amendment has been deprecated as introducing a new and dangerous policy; but let it be distinctly understood that it proposes that whatever, sur: plus there may be beyond five millions shall be placed with the States, instead of being left in the deposite banks—that it shall be held by the officers of the States, instead of being under the control of the office-holders of the United States. This is the measure, and the whole measure, which has excited the extraordinary alarm and apprehension which we hear from gentlemen in this chamber. Some Senators seem indignant because it is connected with the fortification bill. This is pronounced unnatural and highly objectionable, because the matters have no affinity. If the two measures could be conveniently separated, and presented each in a bill by itself, I should prefer that course; but every one who witnesses the daily proceedings in the other end of the Capitol knows that the order of business and the rules of action there are such that matters incongruous in themselves are every session brought together in the same bill, from necessity. The stutute books contain the most plenary proof that such a course has it in nothing unusual. Admitting, therefore, that the connexion is unnatural, there is nothing in it unprecedented or uncommon. . No one here can be ignorant of the fact that this important measure could not be acted upon at all by the House, unless as an amendment to some bill; and it must thus come up, or be left without consideration. But is there any thing so unnatural as is represented between the bill and the amendment? The bill is an appropriation act, purely so; taking money from the Treasury to strengthen the defences of the country. The amendment provides for taking what remains, after these and other appropriations are satisfied, and placing it with the States. The great object of each is to dispose of the public money-–the one in a useful, the other in a safe way; and all they differ in is, that the bill gives to what it takes one direction, and the amendment to what it takes another direction. Can it be said that they do not relate to the same subject? Does not the fortification bill relate to the public money? And does not the amendment relate to that, and nothing else? I confess I am not able to see much force in the objection, and am not surprised that the House disregarded it. It is, after all that has been made of it, but an unsatisfac. tory apology for giving a preference to the deposite banks over the treasuries of the States. But it is a new act of distribution; and we are warned of the injustice and unconstitutionality of collecting Manch 3, 1837.)
revenue to distribute among the States. Let me say, at once, to all who thus speak of the amendment, that they misrepresent it. It makes no provision for the collection or the distribution of revenue. You will not collect a cent more or less of revenue, whether we adopt or reject it. It involves no question of policy, nor has it any connexion with the tariff; and the Senator from Mississippi is quite mistaken, when he attempts to prove that it has. It neither proposes to alter, modify, enlarge, diminish, or continue the revenue laws. Turn it which way you will, give to it whatever reading ingenuity is capable of, scrutinize it as closely as you please, and it provides for the safe keeping of the public money, if any sum over five millions shall be on hand; nothing more. And the only question here is, shall the States have the use of it till it is needed, or shall the stockholders of the deposite banks be enriched by loaning it out for their own benefit? This is all the matter we have to deal with; and let us meet it fairly; let us call it by the right name; and, if it is to be so, let the people understand that the interest of these banks is more powerful than their own in this place. Whose money is this? It belongs to the people; it is their property; and whom do you talk of corrupting and seducing from their duty by the fascinating influences of money? The people. The people are to be bribed and corrupted by possessing their own property. How wonderfully pure and patriotic the officers of this Government! They can trust themselves with the money; but the people will be corrupted and seduced, if their own property is permitted to approach so near to them as the State treasuries! It is said, sir, that a spirit of avarice and cupidity will seize the people, and that members of Congress will become so infected with the mania that they will refuse to make the necessary appropriations; and what most astonishes me is, that our experience under the act of 1836 is urged to justify this reasoning. In my judgment, never was any thing more unfounded. Look at the appropriations of the last year, amounting to about $50,000,000. When and where has this extravagance any parallel? Look at the appropriations of this year, the amount of which I have no means of ascertaining, but scarcely less profuse, as we all know, than those of the last year. Nay, more: I appeal to every gentleman here to consult his own conscience, and then to declare whether he has felt any such sordid influence on his mind, in the votes which he has recorded. And if he has not, I leave him to settle the question whether he is more pure than his fellow-citizens, and more capable of resisting temptation. Sir, I have seen a great and commanding influence exerting itself, ever since the bill of 1836 was proposed, to defeat it., . It worked in vain last year, but its power has increased in this body. It has grown determined to set the States down as narrow-minded, avaricious, and unworthy of confidence; ay, not fit to be trusted with their own. And there seems to be such a conviction of this unfitness, that the deposite banks are to be placed over them as guardians. Now, sir, there is but one of these arguments entitled to the slightest consideration; all suggestion as to the avarice and corruption of the people is a calumny—a slander; it is an attempt to teach them to disgrace themselves. But when we are told that the powers of this Government may be diminished by this process, I will not say it does not deserve consideration. I have hither. to seen no proofs of it, and yet I confess I should not regret to see the patronage of the Executive diminished— cut down to a tithe of its present ample dimensions. It is plethoric, and I am willing to see it depleted. lf, therefore, it should produce this effect only to a reason. able extent, (and I should let blood freely,) I should be
far from objecting to it; indeed, the medicine is needed, for this branch of the Government wants purifying. Here lies, whatever else may be urged, the great objection to this measure, which is felt by those in, and who hope to be in, power. It is they who feel all this anxious solicitude about the avarice of the people, and their danger of corruption. But I cannot resist the belief that they feel much more solicitude about retaining power and patronage. No power works with more effect, or insinuates itself more certainly into the feelings, and winds itself about the hearts of men, than that of money. You have a host of deposite banks, scattered throughout the country, one and all bowed down to the executive will. Connected with them is an army of stockholders, borrowers, and persons seeking special favors. The Executive is the magnet, the centre of attraction, which holds all these in their places, and in obedience. Those who have dwelt with horror upon the influence of the Bank of the United States, and its successor, will be able, by turning their eyes from that monster to this, with its multiplied heads, to understand the power and patronage which money bestows. It is the fear of losing this influence that creates this holy horror, and excites this distrust of the States. You are willing to pile up the public money in these banks till it overtops their capital, and run the risk of all danger, rather than part with the controlling influuence it gives you; and this is the reason why the people cannot be trusted with their own property; why the deposite banks are better entitled to use and enjoy the earnings of the public money than the people themselves. But they well understand this reasoning; they well comprehend that you have a very studious care of their morals, but a sharper eye upon your own power and interests. It is said there will be no surplus. Be it so; what harm will come of this law in that case? It only proposes to divide and deposite what may exist; and if none exist, there will be nothing for the law to act upon, and nothing to corrupt the people. It will be a harmless dead letter merely, for it is not permanent, as has been suggested, but provides for the deposite of such as shall be on hand the 1st day of January next. Nothing more. If the Senate resist this measure because the office-hold. ers are in danger of losing some of their power and patronage, the responsibility must rest on those who do it. All I ask is, that the issue be fairly made up for the public decision. Let the people understand that they are considered less worthy of confidence than the officeholders and the pet banks. After some further debate, the question was taken, and the Senate determined to adhere to its disagreement, by the following vote: YEAs--Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Ewing of Illinois, Fulton, Grundy, Hubbard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Linn, Lyon, Mouton, Nicholas, Niles, Norvell, Page, Parker, Rives, Robinson, Ruggles, . Sevier, Strange, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Wright—27. Noys—Messrs. Bayard, Calhoun, Clay, Clayton, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Hendricks, Kent, Knight, McKean, Moore, Morris, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Southard, Spence, Swift, Tipton, Tomlinson, Webster, White—23. The Senate, on motion of Mr. BENTON, spent some time in executive business. When the doors were reopened, the Senate took up and acted upon some other minor business; when Mr. HUBBARD submitted a joint resolution, providing for the appointment of a committee, to join such committee as may be appointed on the part of the House of Representatives, to wait on the President of the United states, and inform him that the two Houses, having SENATE.]
finished the business before them, were ready to adjourn the present session of Congress. This resolution was agreed to, and sent to the House for concurrence.
THANKS TO THE PRESIDENT pro tem.
Mr. KING, of Alabama, the President pro tem., having temporarily left the chair,
Mr. DAVIS submitted the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That the thanks of the Senate be tendered to the honorable WILLIAM R. Krng, President pro tempore, for his late impartial and dignified services as presiding officer.
Mr. SOUTHARD moved to take up the memorial presented by him some days since, from the Cherokee Indians, for the purpose of its being printed. Mr. KING, of Georgia, objected to the printing, on the ground of there being no object but to keep up an unnecessary excitement. Mr. SOUTHARD warmly advocated the motion, and asked for the yeas and nays. After some remarks from Messrs. KING of Georgia, BUCHANAN, WALKER, and WEBSTER, the question was taken, and the Senate refused to take up the memorial. Leave was then granted to the memorialists to withdraw it. Mr. HUBINARD, from the joint committee appointed to wait on the President, and inform him that the two Houses of Congress, having finished the business before them, were now ready to adjourn, unless he had some further communication to make, reported that they had performed the duty assigned them, and were answered by the President that he had no other official communication to make, but that he had charged him to say that it was the wish of his heart that each member of Congress might enjoy health and prosperity in this world, and happiness in the next. On motion of Mr. WEBSTER, The Senate then adjourned sine die.
In conformity with the above-recited summons from the President of the United States, the Senate assembled in their chamber, in the city of Washington, at 10 o'clock A. M. this day. The Senate was called to order by Mr. KING, of Alabana, the late President pro tem. Rich Ann M. Jolixson, of Kentucky, Vice President of the United States, being present, was conducted to the Secretary's table by Mr. Guus by, and the oath to support the constitution of the United States having been administered to him, Mr. KING vacated the chair, and Mr. Joils so N took his seat as President of the Senate and Vice President of the United States. The YICE PRESIDENT, on taking the chair; address. ed the Senate as follows: Genomen of the Senate. In entering upon the dis.
Thanks to the President pro tem.—Cherokee Memorial, &c.
[MAnch 4, 1837.
charge of the duties of the presiding officer of this body, the necessity of addressing its members has been very much lessened, if not superseded, by the opportunity afforded me of presenting some of my sentiments when I accepted the situation. I cannot, however, permit the present occasion to pass without again tendering to you my grateful acknowledgments for the honor conferred upon me by your choice. There is not, in my opinion, upon this globe, a legislative body more respectable and more exalted in character than the Senate of the United States; and there is not, perhaps, a deliberative assembly existing where the presiding officer has less difficulty in preserving order. This facility is attributable principally to two causes: the intelligence and patriotism of the members who compose the body, and that personal respect and courtesy which have always been extended from one member to another, in its deliberations. These qualities have a tendency to produce a unity of design, and a mutual confidence, in the ultimate object of all, whatever difference of opinion may exist in relation to the means of gaining the common end; and inculcate that sentiment of equality among the members, which constitut:ts the essential principle of our free institutions, and which will never cease to animate a body so enlightened as this. These reflections have mitigated the intense anxiety of mind, and well-founded apprehensions, arising from a consciousness of my own deficiency of qualifications to preside over this elevated body. In the exercise of the powers conferred upon me by the constitution, it shall be my effort to pursue that course of conduct which has recommended me to the consideration of my fellow-citizens—a faithful discharge of my public duties, to the extent of my abilities, and in a manner that shall seem best calculated to give satisfaction to all. Contemplating the duties and ceremonies of this day, it might be considered improper in me to consume any more of your time by adverting to other subjects, however relevant to the new position which I now occupy. I shall, therefore, close my remarks by informing the Senate that I am now ready to proceed with the business for which we are assembled. There were now ascertained to be present every Sen. ator from every State in the Union, except one, (Mr. McKIN LEy, of Alabama,) being fisty-one in number. The new members present were— From Indiana, Oliv Eri H. SMITI; srom lllinois, Rich ARD M. You Ng; from Ohio, WILLIAM ALLEN; from Maine, REUEL WILLIAMs; from Connecticut, l’ER ax SM Ith. The oath prescribed by the constitution was then administered by the W1Cz President to the new Senators, and those Senators re-elected, except Mr. Sevien, of Arkansas, the consideration of whose credentials of appointment by the Governor (as to filling the vacancy occasioned by the expiration of his own term) was postponed to Monday. The Senate continued its sittings on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday following, and were engaged, principally upon executive business--acting upon the nominations of the President. On Tuesday, Mr. GRUNDY, from the Judiciary Committee, reported “that the IIon. AM Bhose H. Sky1 ER is entitled to his seat as a Senator from Arkansas, under the executive appointment of the 17th of January, 1837, and that he now have the oath of office accordingly administered to him.” On Wednesday the report was debated, and on the question of agreeing to it the yeas and nays were as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Allen, Benton, Brown, Bachanan, Clayton, Cuthbert, Fulton, Grundy, Hubbard, Linn, Lyon, Nicholas, Niles, Norveli, Pierce, Preston, bives,
Manch, 1837.] Extra Session of the Senate. [SENATE.
Robinson, Ruggles, Smith of connecticut, Tipton, Walk. At the close of Thursday's sitting, a committee was er, Wall, White, Wright, Young—26. appointed, on motion of Mr. Wnight, to announce to
Nays--Messrs. Bayard, Black, Clay, Crittenden, Da- the President of the United States that the Senate had vis, Kent, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Knight, got through its business, and was ready to adjourn, if he McKean, Morris, Mouton, Prentiss, Robbins, Smith of had no further communication to make to them. Mr. Indiana, Southard, Swift, Webster, Williams—19. WRIght and Mr. Lyon were appointed a committee ac
Mr. Sevier then appeared and took the oath of office. cordingly.
The Vice Parsipinor having retired from the chair On Friday morning, at 10 o'clock, the committee reon Tuesday, according to usage, to allow of the choice ported that they had discharged the duty thus confided of a President pro tem. before the adjournment, the to them, and had received for answer that the President senate proceeded to ballot for a President pro tem., had no further communication to make them. And then when WILLIAM R. KING, of Alabama, was elected, . The Senate adjourned sine die,