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JUNE 4, 1836.)
Public Deposites--District Banks.
lic deposites; which motion was agreed to, with the understanding that the bill was to be taken up after the report was made.
Mr. WRIGHT, from the select committee to which was referred the bill to regulate the deposites of the public moneys, made a report thereon, accompanied by a new bill, as a substitute for the old bill and amendments.
Mr. W. said, to correct some misapprehensions that might grow out of a paragraph in one of the morning papers, that this bill was the agreement of a majority of the committee, and not of the whole of them, some parts of the bill were agreed on unanimously, but the most important part of it was the report of a majority only.
The bill and amendments were then ordered to be printed.
THE GLOBE NEWSPAPER.
Mr. WEBSTER said he did not often trouble the Senate with anything personal to himself, but a friend had pointed out to him a paragraph in the Globe of this morning, which was so flagitiously false, and which so directly affected his conduct as the head of an important committee of the Senate, that he thought it due even to the Senate itself to refute the calumny. The paragraph is in these words: “It is a most remarkable thing that, while the opposition in the Senate every day parade before the public the seven millions in the stock of the Bank of the United States as a part of the surplus in the Treasury, they so contrive it that not a dollar of it can reach the Treasury. Judge White, Mr. Calhoun, Mr. Clay, and Mr. Webster, are ever and anon pointing to the seven millions of bank stock as a fund for distribution, while Mr. Webster, as chairman of the Committee on Finance, holds back for months, from the action of the Senate, the bills passed by the House of Representatives to provide against the notorious conversion by Biddle of the means of the old bank to the purposes of the new.” Now, sir, (said Mr. W.,) the journals show that neither I nor the committeee have held back any thing from the action of the Senate. All bills in any way respecting the late Bank of the United States, which have been referred to the committee, have been reported to the Senate long ago, and are now on the list of orders, to be taken up in their turn. If this libeller had not been willing even to traduce and injure friends, rather than to lose an opportunity of injuring opponents, he would have remembered that a majority of the members of the Committee on Finance are supporters and friends of the administration, I am happy to bear my humble testimony to the diligence and promptitude with which these gentlemen discharge their duties, and every body knows that it is in their power at any time to report any measure they may choose to report, or to call up any business which they may desire to call up. The bill to which the foregoing paragraph refers, was referred to the committee April 14, and was reported by the committee, without any amendment, April 21, as appears by the Secretary's minutes, endorsed on the bill: “Act repealing the 14th section of the act to incorporate the Bank of the United States. April 14, read twice, and referred to the Committe on Finance, April 21, reported without amendment.” I will only add, sir, that this is not the first time that I have been obliged to take notice of statements in this paper respecting my conduct as chairman of the cominittee, which were in direct contradiction of the printed journal of our proceedings, and of its own diurnal report of them. On motion of Mr. KENT, the bill to recharter the
District banks was reinstated in its place as the special order. The Senate then adjourned.
SATURDAY, JUNE 4. LIBRARY OF COUNT BOURTOULIN.
The resolution authorizing the Joint Library Committee to contract for the purchase of the Library of the late Count Bourtoulin of Florence, was rejected: Ayes 16, noes 17.
At a subsequent period, Mr. CLAY, who voted with the majority, moved a reconsideration of the vote; which was agreed to, and the resolution was laid on the table.
CONVENTION WITH SPAIN.
Mr. CLAY, from the committee of conference appointed on the subject of the bill to carry into effect the convention between the United States and Spain, made a report recommending to the two House so to modify the bill as to appoint one commissioner instead of three commissioners, to execute the duties, and to reduce the time allowed for the performance of the duties from eighteen months to one year.
Mr. CLAY having explained the amendments,
The report of the committee of conference was concurred in.
The bill to extend the charters of certain banks in the District of Columbia, was taken up as the order of the day. Mr. BENTON addressed the Senate at considerable length in opposition to the bill; after which he moved to recommit the bill, with the following instructions: To report a bill to wind up the affairs of all the banks now existing in the District of Columbia, and to allow them to use their corporate name and facilities for two years for that purpose. To report separate bills for the incorporation of —— new banks, with small capitals, adapted to the capacity of the District to sustain specie banks, and strictly limited to the business of the place; the said incorporations to contain, among other provisions, the following principles: 1. The capital to consist of gold and silver, one half of each; stock, stock notes, notes of other banks, and every thing but gold and silver to be excluded from the capital. 2. The banks to pay no bonus, but the stock to be subject to taxation, like any other property in the District. The notes issued by the banks to be subject to taxation, by stamp duties or otherwise. 3. Every stockholder to be liable to the creditors of the bank in his person and property, for the debts of the institution, to the amount of his stock, in the event of the failure of the bank to pay gold and silver; with summary proces for the recovery; and all alienations of stock to avoid this liability, to be void. 4. The banks to issue no notes of less denomination than twenty dollars, and all notes of less denomination than twenty dollars, issued by other banks, to be prohibited from circulation within the District. 5. All the notes and paper currency issued by said banks to be paid in gold and silver; one half of either, at the option of the demander, the other half at the option of the bank. 6. The banks to own no real estate except for their immediate accommodation. 7. To deal in nothing but gold and silver bullion, and in foreign and domestic bills of exchange. The charters SEN Are..]
to be forfeited for buying or selling any coin made current by the laws of the United States. 8. The charters to be limited to moderate terms of years, and to expire at different periods from each other'. 9. The charters to be alterable, amendable, and repealable, at the will of Congress; and not renewable under any terms whatever. After some remarks from Messrs. SOUTH ARD and WALKER, in favor of the bill, and in opposition to the motion, Mr. BENTON asked that the question be taken first on the motion to recommit the bill; which was agreed to, and the question was decided in the negative: Yeas 10, nays 28, as follows: Yr As—Messrs. Benton, Ewing of Illinois, King of Georgia, Niles, Rives, Robinson, Shepley, Wall, White, Wright—10. NAys--Messrs. Black, Buchanan, Calhoun, Clay, Crittenden, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Golds. borough, Hendricks, Hubbard, Kent, King of Alabama, Knight, Leigh, Moore, Nandain, Nicholas, Porter, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Walker, Webster–28. Mr. BENTON moved to strike out the name of the Farmers and Mechanics' Bank, of Georgetown; which motion was decided in the negative: Yeas 9, nays 27, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, Ewing of Illinois, King of Georgia, Niles, Robinson, Shepley, Wall, White, Wright—9. NAYs-Messrs. Black, Buchanan, Clay, Crittenden, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hendricks, Hubbard, Kent, King of Alabama, Knight, Leigh, Moore, Naudain, Nicholas, Prentiss, Preston, Rives, Robbins, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Walker, Webster––27. Mr. BENTON moved to strike out the name of the Commercial Bank of Washington, to be formed by the union of the Bank of Washington and the Patriotic Bank of Washington; which motion was rejected: Yeas 10, nays 27, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, Ewing of Illinois, King of Georgia, Niles, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Wall, White, Wright--10. NAys--Messrs. Black, Buchanan, Clay, Crittenden, Cuthbert, Davis, Fwing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hendricks, Hubbard, Kent, King of Alabama, Knight, Moore, Naudain, Nicholas, Porter, Prentiss, Preston, Rives, Robbins, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Walker, Webster--27. Mr. BENTON moved to strike out one of the two descriptions of capital provided for in the bill, included in the words, “and property equivalent to specie;” which motion was rejected: Yeas 11, nays 27, as fol. lows: Yeas—Messrs. Benton, Black, Ewing of Illinois, King of Georgia, Niles, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Wall, White, Wright—11. NAxs—Messrs. Buchanan, Clay, Crittenden, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hendricks, Hub. bard, Kent, King of Alabama, Knight, Leigh, Moore, Naudain, Nicholas, Prentiss, Porter, Preston, Rives, Robbins, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Walk. er, Webster—27. Mr. BENTON moved to strike out the other description of capital described in the words, “funds equivalent to species” which motion was also rejected: Yeas 9, nays 28, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, Ewing of Illinois, King of Georgia, Niles, Robinson, Shepley, Wall, Wisite, Wright--9. NAxs--Messrs. Buchanan, Calhoun, Clay, Crittenden,
The bill to extend the time for receiving the proof of certain pre-emption claims under the act of the 19th of June, 1834, was taken up, as in Committee of the Whole. Mr. EWING, of Ohio, moved that this bill be indefinitely postponed. Mr. WALKER asked for the yeas and nays; which were ordered. It was contended that this bill gave an improper encouragement to squatters on the public lands, and that they are too numerous already. On the other side, it was insisted that the settlers on the public lands were a most meritorious class, and deserving of the countenance of the Government. It was stated by Mr. EWING, of Ohio, that the speculators had fallen upon the practice of putting families on lands previous to the surveys, that they might be prepared and qualified to obtain rights of pre-emption; in one case, in Illinois, about forty families were thus disposed of. The Senators who participated in the discussion were, Mr. WALKER, Mr. BLACK, Mr. EWING of Ohio, Mr. PORTER, Mr. MOORE, Mr. CRITTENDEN, Mr. KING of Alabama, and Mr. KING of Georgia. The question was then taken on the motion of indefinite postponement, and decided as follows: YEAs--Messrs. Calhoun, Clay, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Kent, King of Georgia, Knight, Leigh, Naudain, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Swift, Southard, Tomlinson, Webster--18, Navs--Messrs. Benton, Black, Cuthbert, Ewing of Illinois, Grundy, Hendricks, Hubdard, King of Alabama, Linn, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Porter, Rives, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, White, Wright—22. The question being on the amendment reported by the Committee on Private Land Claims, Mr. CRITTENDEN moved various amendments; which were agreed to. The bill was further amended, on motion of Mr. KING, of Georgia; by introducing a provision that the act shall not extend to any lands the Indian title to which had not been extinguished on the 1st of January, 1832. Mr. EWING of Ohio, moved to amend, by adding a proviso that all assignments be void; which was agreed
10. Mr. PORTER moved to amend, by inserting a clause that no witness should be allowed to give evidence in more than one claim; which was agreed to. The amendment was then agreed to as amended, and the bill, as amended, was reported to the Senate.
June 7, 1836.]
Choctaw Reservations—District Banks.
The question was then taken on the amendments, and they were concurred in. The yeas and nays were ordered on the question of engrossment, on motion of Mr. EWING, of Ohio. The bill was then ordered to be engrossed, and read a third time, the vote being as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, Black, Buchanan, Ewing of illinois, Grundy, Hendricks, King of Alabama, Linn, Moore, Nicholas, Niles, Porter, Rives, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Tipton, Walker, White, Wright—21. NAys—Messrs. Calhoun, Clay, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Kent, King of Georgia, Knight, Leigh, McKean, Naudain, Prentiss, Southard, Swift, Tomlinson, Wall, Webster—18.
The bill to extend the charters of certain banks in the District of Columbia, came up on its third reading. Mr. BENTON signified an intention to oppose the bill, but wished the Senate, at this time, to go into the consideration of executive business. On motion of Mr. GRUNDY, the Senate proceeded to the consideration of executive business; and, after remaining some time with doors closed, The Senate adjourned.
TUEspay, JUNE 7. SALES OF PUBLIC LANDS.
Mr. EWING of Ohio, from the Committee on the Public Lands, reported a bill to change the mode of conducting the sales of the public lands; which was read and ordered to a second reading. [The bill proposes, for the purpose of preventing combinations, frauds, and violence, at the public land sales, that, on the day of the sale, each individual wishing to purchase, shall hand in a sealed bid for a particular tract or tracts, which bid shall be numbered mmediately by the Register and Receiver, and the number handed back to him, designating the tract bid for; and that after the close of the sales, the land officers shall proceed to scrutinize the bids so given; after which the bids received shall be called out by number, so that each successful bidder will know by his number the tract he has purchased; no other individual at the sale having any knowledge whatever on the subject, unless informed by him. The bill also imposes a penalty on any officer or clerk of the land offices who shall divulge the names of the successful bidders.]
The Senate proceeded to consider, as in Committee of the Whole, the bill to extend the time for proving and establishing certain pre-emption claims suspended by the centingent location of certain alleged Choctaw reservations.
[This bill, as introduced on leave by Mr. WALKER, contained a single section, and provided that any person entitled to pre-emption, but prevented from establishing his claim in consequence of the opposition of a Choctaw location, set up under the treaty of Dancing Rabbit creek, shall be authorized to establish his claims by proof at any period not exceeding six months, and shall be pla. ced on the same footing as if proved and established under the act of 1834.]
The Committee on Private Land Claims amended this bill by inserting a provision that the contingent locations of the Choctaws which come in conflict with the claimant, must be reservations “which have been since disallowed, and ordered to be sold.” Also, by adding a second section, enacting that where any such claimant
so entitled has been deprived, by the location of any Indian reservation, of his pre-emption right to a tract, he shall be permitted “to locate elsewhere within the same district, 160 acres at the minimum price.” The amendment of the committee was agreed to, and the bill having been reported as amended, the amendment was concurred in by the Senate. Mr. EWING, of Ohio, called for the yeas and nays on the engrossment of this bill. Mr. EWING, of Ohio, Mr. BLACK, Mr. WALKER, Mr. CRITTENDEN, and Mr. KING, of Geo., discussed the merits of the bill. Mr. KING, of Geo., moved to strike out the first section of the bill, being the whole of the original bill, and called for the yeas and nays; which were ordered. The question was then taken on the motion, and decided as follows: YEAs--Messrs. Calhoun, Clay, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Kent, King of Georgia, Knight, McKean, Mangum, Morris, Naudain, Prentiss, Robbins, Ruggles, Shepley, Southard, Swift, Tomlinson, Wall, Webster——22. NAYs–Messrs. Benton, Black, Buchanan, Ewing of Illinois, Grundy, Hendricks, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Moore, Nicholas, Robinson, Tallmadge, Tipton, Walker, White, Wright—16. The question was then about to be taken on the bill as amended; when, After some observations from Mr. FWING of Ohio, Mr. KING of Alabama, Mr. KING of Georgia, Mr. BLACK, Mr. CRITTENDEN, Mr. BUCHANAN, Mr. MOORE and Mr. WHITE, On motion of Mr. BI.ACK, the bill was laid on the table.
DISTRICT BANKS. *
The bill to extend the charters of certain banks in the District of Columbia, was taken up; and the question being on the passage of the bill, Mr. W RIGHT spoke against the passage of the bill. Mr. KNIGHT made a few remarks in reply. Mr. NILES also spoke in favor of the bill. Mr. BENTON rose to oppose the passage of the bill, notwithstanding it was at the third reading, and that it was not usual to continue opposition, which seemed to be useless, at that late stage. But there were occasions when he never took such things into calculation, and when he continued to resist permicious measures, regardless of common usages, as long as the forms of parliamentary proceeding would allow him to go on. Thus he had acted at the passing of the United States Bank charter in 1832; thus he did at the passing of the resolution against President Jackson in 1834; and thus he did at the passing of the famous land bill at the present session. He had continued to speak against all these measures long after speaking seemed to be of any avail; and, far from regretting, he had reason to rejoice at the course that he had pursued. The event proved him to be right; for, all these measures, though floated through this chamber upon the swelling wave of a resistless and impatient majority, had quickly run their brief career. Their day of triumph had been short. The bank charter perished at the first general election; the condemnatory resolution was received by the continent in a tempest of execration; and the land bill, that last hope of expiring party, has dropped an abortion from the Senate. It is dead even here, in this chamber, where it originated—where it was once so omnipotent that, to speak against it, was deemed by some to be an idle consumption of time, aud, by others, to be an unparliamentary demonstration against the ascertoined will of the House. Yet that land bill is finished. That brief candie is out. The Senate has revoked that bill; has ra
-> tracted—recanted—and sung its palinode over that unfortunate conception. It has sent out a committee—an extraordinary committee of nine—to devise some other scheme for dividing that same money which the land bill divides! and, in doing so, the Senate has authentically declared a change of opinion, and a revocation of its sentiments in favor of that bill. Thus it has happened, in recent and signal cases, that, by continuing the contest after the battle seemed to be lost, the battle was in fact gained; and so it may be again. These charters may yet be defeated; and whether they will be or not, is nothing to me. I believe them to be wrong—greatly, immeasurably wrong! and shall continue to oppose them without regard to calculations, or consequences, until the rules of parliamentary proceeding shall put an end to the contest. Mr. B. said he had moved for a select committee at the commencement of the session to examine into the condition of these banks, and he had done so with no other object than to endeavor to provide some checks and guards for the security of the country against the abuses and excesses of the paper system. The select committee had not been raised. The standing Commit. tee on the District of Columbia had been charged with the subject; and seeing that they had made a report adverse to his opinions, and brought in a bill which he could not sanction, it would be his part to act upon the meager materials which had been placed before the Senate, and endeavor to accomplish, as a member of the body, what could have been attempted, with better prospects of success, as a member of a committee which had had the management of the subject. The committee have reported for six banks in one bill, all of them existing institutions, and some of them having twice had charters before. In fact, there are seven banks to be rechartered, but reduced to six by the consolidation of two into one. The leading provi. sions of the bill are, 1. Capital, amounting to $2,250,000. 2. Duration, till the year 1850. 3. Nature of capital; specie—funds equivalent to specie—and property equivalent to specie; the proportions of each not fixed. 4. Circulation, equal to the capital. 5. A future provision against small notes. 6. The charters subject to amendment by Congress. 7. No bonus, or any reduction of interest, or taxation on capital, or circulation in lieu of it. These are the leading provisions; and against banks so constituted, and so rechartered, Mr. B. said he felt numerous and insuperable objections, which he would proceed to state to the Senate with the brevity and precision, if not with the perspicuity and force, which the occasion required. And he would premise, that he considered the legislation of Congress, on this subject, as not confined to the District of Columbia; but calcu. lated to affect, by its example, the banking system, for good or for evil, throughout the whole Union. Mr. B. objected to the bill because, in the first place, it contained a batch or litter of banks, no less than seven, all pigging together, if he might use the expression of Edmund Rurke, in one truckle bed. He was opposed to combining banks in their births; they combined with sufficient rapidity of themselves after they were born. . Every bank in its creation should rest upon its own merits, and not upon association. When several were put together, the friends of each naturally stood together, and might make up a majority for to: whole out of minorities for each. In this case, four Senators for each bank will recharter the whole. There might be no ombinations in this case; there might be no covenants for mutual support; there might be no . Jiances; but the Principle was objectionable, and an example so Pernicious ought not to be set by Congress. A union of interests is unsafe in all legislation.”il avoided everywhere. We avoid it in all our laws; in
bills for the relief of individuals; in bills for pensioners and for local objects. Above all, it should be avoided in the creation, and still more in the continuation, of banks. They are moneyed powers, seeking privileges at the expense of the community. They are corporations, in the hands of managers, and can readily unite their means, and combine their strength, to perpetuate their existences. It is not a case in which the rods should be tied together--in which the sticks should be made into a bundle--that the union of all might give strength to each, which, separately, it does not possess. Each bank should stand alone in the acquisition of its charter. Surely they can be passed fast enough, one at a time, and a few at a session. It is not a case in which it is advisable to promote double births and even litters; far better for the Senate to imitate, in the creation of these corporations, the slow and parsimonious gestation of the elephant, than to emulate the rapid and prolific fecundity of the rabbit. Even in New York, that State so much reproached for the multiplication of banks, they still produce them at single births. Mr. B. objected, in the next place, to these charters, because they were renewals: they were all renewals, and some of them for a third time. This was adding perpetuity to monopoly. It was perpetuating a privilege. It was bad enough to grant exclusive privileges in the first instance; it was far worse to renew and perpetuate them. It was perpetuating privileges in the hands of a few; in the hands of a little family circle, or in a little knot, or nest of men, who, having got possession of a bank, concentrate all its power and all its benefits in the hands of some half dozen or dozen individuals, to the exclusion and prejudice of the existing community, and of the whole rising generation. He was against renewals of charters. It was not only wrong to perpetuate them, but right to wind them up, and see whether they were able to wind up. There was no way to ascertain their condition but to wind them up. The exhibition of their books and papers was nothing. The worst banks often make the best exhibitions. Finally, if banks were beneficial institutions, they ought to be diffused; they ought to change hands; they should be subjected to the law of rotation. If bad, they ought to be restrained and checked. A third objection taken by Mr. B. to what he called this oven-full of banks, was, that part of the batch was spoilt; three of them were broken; three of them had stopped payment--had stopped during the panic of 1834--and when there was no necessity for a good bank to stop, as was proved by the fact that out of 750 banks in the United States none but these three, and one more in Baltimore, closed their doors. The three to which this objection applied were, the Farmers and Mechanics' Bank of Georgetown, the Bank of Washington, and the Patriotic Bank of Washington. Without the slightest reference to the question whether these stoppages were the result of good or bad intentions, Mr. B. held it to be sufficient that, in point of fact, they did stop when no others, but one, in the country stopped: a defect of some sort was thereby established to be in them; and surely the country was not so bad off for banks as to be without the means of getting any unless they take these defective ones! Banks which stop in this way prove that the fault is in themselves; that the cause of failure is not general, but particular, is not in the country, but in themselves. There is a presumption against them, and they should be set aside; there is a flaw in them, and they should be examined by themselves; there is a leprous spot upon them, and they should be separated from the rest. This single cause, then, without reference to good or bad intentions, without reference to necessity or wilfulness in the failure, should be sufficient to prevent the renewals of the charters to
June 7, 1836.]
these three banks, and, by consequence, to prevent the renewal of all that are in the same bill with them. A lesson of public justice should be taught, that a few banks which have failed when others did not, are no longer entitled to public favor; that they are no longer upon a footing with other banks, and must not only go down themselves, but carry down those which embark in the same vessel with them. Not only justice upon the past, but security for the future, requires this discrimination. A bank should see that, to fail, when others generally do not, is to die; and the fear of this would stimulate it to the greatest exertions to avoid a stoppage. This should be the fate of banks stopping payment when others do not, without regard to the cause of the stoppage; but in the case of the three banks referred to, there are special reasons for placing them under the ban of legislation. They stopped at a time, and under circumstances, to forfeit the confidence of the country, and certainly to lose all title to the favor of the democ. racy, of the Union. Materials would be forthcoming-and here Mr. B. alluded to the labors of the select committee of the House of Representatives on the banks of the District—materials would be forthcoming, he undertook to say, before these charters had made their way through all the forms of legislation, which would enable gentlemen to speak with precision, and to form opinions from authentic data in hand. The extreme meagerness of the report of the Senate's committee, was a deficiency to be regretted; but the select commit. 'oe of the House might supply what was wanting, and the inference was strong in favor of the fulness of their report from what is weli understood, namely, that that committee has arrived at conclusions directly the reverse of those which have been presented by the Senate's committee. He would limit himself, then, to saying, that these banks stopped payment during the panic **ion of Congress in is34,- and resumed payment shortly after the Congress adjourned; that there were reasons for believing, and of this he had shown some evidence when he spoke some days before, that they stopped voluntarily, and in conformity with the predić. tions daily made in the two Houses of Congress, and re*"med again voluntarily when they found that other banks would not obey the predictions, and after the laboring part of the community had been fleeced of the notes which they held, and some uninitiated stockholders had been fleeced of their stock. He presumed there would be materials for forming a judgment upon all these points before the two Houses of Congress were done with the subject; and that the delinquent institutions could not be saved by the expedient of put. ong them into the same bill with the deposite bank of the District. He, for one, could not be coerced by that conjunction. The administration can do better without a deposite bank, than with it, in this District. The Treasurer can be treasurer here, and can keep gold and pay it out, and give checks on any part of the United States to those who do not choose to receive their money here. At the most, it would only want a bank of discount and deposite, not of circulation. Pursuing his objections, and dealing, more than he would wish, in general statements, for want of fulness and precision in the committee's report, Mr. B. arrived at what he conceived to be the actual condition of these banks—the whole seven taken together, as they came together, and had evinced a determination to live and die together. Taken in the lump, and he presumed it might be said that, since they were all rechartered in 1821, they had gone sadly and rapidly down the road to ruin; that they had wasted and sunk about one half of their capital, and had locked up in permanent loans to friends, in real estate, in stocks, in mortgages, in debts
sued for, and in accommodations to non-residents, nearly the whole amount of the remaining half; so that a mere modicum, a fragment of the half of the capital now supposed to be remaining, would alone remain disposable and available as active capital for the use of the community. To charter banks for two millions and a quarter, thus reduced and cramped, thus fettered and clogged, thus pre-occupied and pre-engaged, thus whittled away to nothing, was, not to create public institutions, but merely to perpetuate old monopolies and inveterate abuses in the hands of half a dozen knots and clusters of individuals. Mr. B. objected to the material of which the capital of these banks might consist. In five of them it was to be composed of specie, and funds equivalent to specie; and in the new one proposed to be constituted out of the two old ones, the capital was to consist of specie, and of specie funds, and of property equivalent to specie; the proportion of either not fixed. He repudiated all idea of this composition of capital, even if the proportions of specie, paper, and property had been fixed. But it was not; and the terms of the charter might be satisfied by putting up a five cent piece in silver, and the rest in stocks, or stock notes, or notes of other banks, or bills of exchange, real or fictitious, or in any kind of real or personal estate which the laws of the District recognised to be property. Certainly slaves were the best property in the District; they were most easily exchanged for money; and as the report of the committee acknowledged the necessity of giving solid foundations to their litter of banks, and limited the property part of the capital to that kind of property which was “altogether” equivalent to specie, the inference might be drawn that slaves were intended. He would not, however, draw that inference. It was sufficient that the charter allowed property and paper to constitute a part of the capital; this was a fatal concession, in his view, and he would have no act nor part in the creation of institutions so to be constituted. Mr. B. objected to the amount of capital to be granted to these banks, upon the ground that the District of Columbia was unable to raise two millions and a quarter of dollars to sustain them. This, he said, was confessed in the bill; for it was evidently on the known inability of the District to raise the amount in gold and silver, that paper and property were to be received as capital. But it needed not the confession of the bill to establish the fact. Our own tables were loaded, our own ears were filled, our recent legislation was pregnant with the proof. What have we been petitioned to do for the last twelve years? First, to allow the District to borrow money in Europe! What next? Why, to pay the interest on that loan! And what next? Why, to pay the principal also! And we have done it! Paid both plincipal and interest on the loan which we authorized, and that under the loud and incessant cry of insolvency! under the reiterated, solemn, and persevering declaration, that they could pay neither principal nor interest, and must be sold to the Dutch if Congress did not assume their debt! Under these moving appeals Congress has interposed, and becomes paymaster for the Holland bebt, both principal and interest, and scarcely is this done, before these same cities want charters for banks--for two millions and a quarter of banks—and authority to issue currency, and to infest the land with two millions and a quarter of bank notes! Mr. B. took a higher ground of objection to the amount of the proposed capital of these banks; and that was, that the District could not use it if it had it. They could lend it, he would admit; but he denied that the borrowers could use it. They could not use or employ two millions and a quarter of loans and currency, and that of itself, without looking to the supply of currency which they daily receive from the Government expendi.